Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday story

Tis the season and all that. So here is a story from my childhood.

One year my Grandma came to stay with us for Christmas. By that point in her life she slept maybe five hours a night. So she was in bed by ten and up by three or four in the morning.

So naturally she was up by the time myself and two of my sisters were awake. (At this point there were only two official Sisters of Professor Matthew. The Youngest was yet to join the party).

Somehow we convinced ourselves that rather than waiting the relatively reasonable amount of time for our parents to wake up that it would be acceptable for us to begin since with the presence of Grandma we had an adult observer. Surely that is all that is required on Christmas morn.

And somehow we convinced Grandma this must be true.

Shortly after we began opening the offerings under the tree, our mother struggled halfway down the steps. Not surprisingly, she was in no way full of Christmas cheer.

We were ordered to re-wrap all of our presents and then to return to our beds until released.

Let us just say that I was particularly ... enthusiastic that year about the unwrapping. And in case you were wondering it is a huge pain in the ass to try to cover presents when all that is left is scraps. It took a lot of time and tape just to get them up to half-assed.

Once my parents actually got up they took extra time preparing coffee before we were summoned from our rooms.

To this day I am still not sure how we decided that it was okay for us to unwrap without our parents there. And I am really not sure how we managed to trick our Grandma in to this (pretty shitty that we took advantage of an old lady like this).

So happy holidays to y'all.

And I'm sorry Grandma.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It needs to be said

College football is way more fun to watch than grading papers.

I mean I know I'm being paid to do the grading so I better get it done. But some days I wish I taught in a field that only had objective grading. Teaching Math is probably hell, but there is something to be said for homework that only has one right answer and either you get it or you don't.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

Spoiler alert, this story may upset some people (if curiosity got the better of you M. then "hey there!").

So a Friend of Professor Matthew and her wife got a couple of cavies as pets (that's the technical name for guinea pigs. Now you've learned something). And that reminded me of a story from before I was Professor Matthew and was just Youngster Matthew.

The Sisters of Professor Matthew frequently had cavies as pets. So when Middle Sister of Professor Matthew asked for one as a present for her birthday one year, the Official Parents decided that she was old enough to handle the responsibility (which meant that she was old enough that Official Father would not end up doing all of the waste management).

Off to the pet store we went. Official Middle Sister picks one out. It gets brought home and put in a temporary home. We children observe it. Much speculation is made that it is acting odd. But if you've ever had a cavy as a pet you know that pea brained and nervous rodents. How can you describe them anything they do as odd? Odd is standard operating procedure.

Still, this one seemed "Just not quite right."

Next morning Official Older Sister and I are first up. We head to the kitchen for breakfast and also to check on the critter. It is not moving.

OOS: "I think its dead."

Me: "Nah, it's breathing."

"No, it's dead."

"It's asleep."

"You're wrong."

"I'll show you." And with that I scoop it up.

It was stiff. Dead long enough for rigor mortis to set in. I responded with something eloquent like "Glaaaah!" and dropped it.

To this day I will swear that it bounced a little.

For a sense of closure, I'm pretty sure that the corpse was taken back to the store and exchanged for a more "alive" one. I'm not sure if a receipt was necessary.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My life remains odd

So why so few posts posts over the last few weeks? I got busy with real life stuff that would have made for some interesting posts if I could have made time for writing.

There was a Film Seminar on campus that I got busy helping with. I might do a post or link to that soon, still deciding. We had a visit from a different documentary filmmaker, Helen Whitney, that ended up providing me with some good ideas for an upcoming class. The Official Parents of Professor Matthew came to visit for a weekend and we managed to avoid any real fight, only one small loud disagreement that ended quickly. Anyone who knows of my relation the the Official Mother of Professor Matthew should be shocked and amazed by this. Oh, and I presented my research project on porn at an academic conference.

"What's that?" you might be thinking as you read this. "Porn?"

Yes, porn. I have now added Porn to the list of my research topics. You may adjust your disgust or jealousy levels accordingly. Think about how much time and money is spent making and consuming it. And yet not many academics are willing to be associated with researching it and the stigma that it brings.

But I've never been someone who has done the "safe" thing. Or the "intelligent" thing for my "career." I'm not great at avoiding being an "embarrassment" to "myself" and "others."

Three of the many odd realizations you have when you are looking at pictures of naked people for a living:

It becomes work! Sure, it's better than grading lousy student papers. But it is weird when you attach a sense of responsibility to nudity.

You reach a point when you think you are getting boring or monotonous wanting to talk about your conclusions with people. "Hey, you wanna know what else is fascinating about porn? No? You're leaving? Okay, maybe we can talk about it later...."

I started to get very paranoid while analyzing the photos that I would come across someone I knew. Luckily I did not. Oddly, I did find out I have friends who do know people who have posed for or photographed porn.

I have future research ideas, so I'm not done with the topic. Professionally that is.

And what do you want to bet that I get at least one or two extra hits from this post and that those people are upset when they realize what I'm actually writing about.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I didn't know

I realize I got way distracted by work but I didn't realize it had been almost two months.

Sad that one of my students actually pointed this out to me.

As a way to make it up to you with something funny, here is a link to a hilarious explanation of independent film-making, courtesy of the brilliant minds over at Homestar Runner. Amazingly enough, my college blocks access to this site. Maybe they are worried that students will get too distracted if they are exposed to too much funny business. Or that they'll consider doing something creative. I have no idea myself.

Tomorrow perhaps I'll put up a post about what I'm planning on working over the semester break.

If anyone is still out there and interested that is.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I know I'm preaching to the converted but...

Odds are pretty good that anyone coming here already agrees with me. Or is so opposed to me that nothing I say is going to change your mind.

I'm not asking you to agree with me. But I am begging you to get educated. Learn the facts. From multiple sources.

We will rise only through knowledge and education. But this country will drown if its citizens allow themselves to remain ignorant.

And never put something on a sign or t-shirt unless you know what the fuck it means. For real people.

Just a couple of hints. Medicaid is technically socialized medicine. And our military is supported through those taxes you don't want raised. The same military you want to stay in Iraq to protect us against the terrorists.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I've got a pain in my ass.


When I was a child, one winter they plowed the street I lived on and it left a huge snow mound in the middle of our cul de sac. Well, huge in relation to a skinny boy in the fourth grade. And I had a great time climbing to the top and leaping off, sliding down the sides.

It started getting late. I realized I should head home for dinner. One more jump, just one more leap before I had to abandon the fun.

I landed, straddling something hard and frozen. The pain and shock knocked the wind out of me. It shot up my spine. Breathing hurt. Trying to stand was impossible. I have trouble still finding the right words to describe what it felt like but try to imagine pain so bad that it feels like everything above the waist is being driven away from everything below the waist. And remember what I just wrote about having trouble breathing? So I couldn't make enough noise to yell for help.

What could I do? I could crawl. Combat crawl that is, on just my elbows and forearms. Forget using my legs. I mean I could feel my feet and legs and all. But my spine hurt so anything that required using it or my legs was out of the question. And my house was the distance equivalent of a city block and a half away.

I crawled across the frozen road till I got to yards and then I crawled through snow. I can't remember how long till I could put weight on my knees, let alone get through the front door.

It was bad but for some reason my parents didn't take me to get x-rayed till the next morning. At the time I was told the x-rays were negative for a break, just a really bad bruise. I sat on foam padding for days. If I wasn't already developing a reputation for being a freak this might have hurt my social standing.

This summer the pain came back. A few days have been bad and sometimes when I sit on the wrong type of seat or in the wrong position it comes back. Never as painful as that first time but a nuisance. So Wife finally talked me in to getting it checked out.

New x-ray revealed that all those years ago I didn't bruise it after all. I broke it. Not that they could have done anything really back then besides hope for the best. There is a small piece in my tailbone not connected to anything anymore. I'll probably develop arthritis in it as I get older. I could get surgery to have it removed. Which would take a long time to heal up.

But the fun thing is it is not bad enough to really demand that path. It is just going to be this thing that I have for the rest of my life. Unless it gets worse. Most days it doesn't bother me. Till I get reminded. Because I sat wrong.

Do you realize how much time we spend sitting?

Monday, August 31, 2009

I don't get it, well I do, but.....

Why was it when "we" made statements like "He's not my president" we were helping the terrorists and anti-American?

Yet when "they" pray for Obama to die and bring guns to events they're being patriots and to question or criticize them is to deny them their First Amendment rights?

You don't need to respond to that. They're rhetorical questions. As a member of the liberal elite I also know other big words.

Like hypocrisy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What next?

Strange days lately. I realized that I've pretty much accomplished my major goals in life. I have Wife. I have Dog and Cat. I have my scooter and a pretty decent car. We have the house. I have a job I love (except that it could pay a little better) that allows me to occasionally travel. Pretty sweet. Other than seeing more of the world before I die and buying more toys and tattoos, those are what I've wanted to do and more.

Kind of left with a sense of "now what?" I mean, besides enjoy it of course.

It is kind of a strange feeling. A little restless. And really, what else is there?

More travel? Sure but no rush.

More pets? That's a maybe but Cat is getting older and we really don't want to stress him out with new additions that disrupt his well being.

Kids? Hell no, not even if they come with huge stipends and an army of paid for nannies.

Maybe I just need to get back to teaching next week and I'll be too busy to think about it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pictures of wrought iron

I put a bunch of New Orleans photos on my flickr if you want to check them out.

There's a link to my photos to the right.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Post-modern haiku: Tattoo

Yes, of course it hurts

The needle digs and skin bleeds

And soon it will itch

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Is there anybody out there?

I've been spending a lot of time alone and outside of my normal routines lately due to various traveling. It has been a strange experience.

Wife went on a family visit. Then I had business travel as I've mentioned. Then Wife had business travel. During my business travel I managed to catch up with an old friend and tried to make some new ones (jury is still out on that).

School hasn't resumed and I managed to hit a perfect storm of finishing my book, latest video game, and netflix a day before Wife got home. Plus no good TV. Nice stir crazy affect. I could have contacted some locals to hang out. But I couldn't think of anything last minute I wanted to do in order to decide who to even bother to try to get together with. I'll confess some of it was pure laziness on my part. Inertia is a bitch.

But I'm also just plain weird when it comes to socializing. I'm not very good at it, except for those times when I am. I'm so hot and cold at it. I hate making small talk. I love meeting new people. Except when it comes to talking to them. I made some very intense connections to people in college and after that I almost never talk to anymore.

I moved too many times to put down strong enough roots to feel connected. And that is where I've really screwed myself. Cause I just don't feel like starting over again making new friends here. "Oh, you've all got pretty satisfying social lives? Cool. You change your mind, you let me know."

So many people I've let get away. I miss you all. Drop me a line some time. I hope you're all happy.

But I'd prefer if you'd all move here.

School starts in two weeks. I promise I'll be less maudlin then.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pimping my wife

Wife has a side business making hoola hoops. She got a nice write up in the weekly city paper.

I'm just so excited and happy for her. I have nothing snarky to add.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I know what it means to leave New Orleans

Just got back from a conference in New Orleans.

It was a strange mix of work, fun, and self-analysis. I guess it is only fitting in a town with NO's reputation. When I first thought about writing it up, I thought about doing some sort of diary entry, spelling out the day and what occurred of note. That almost seems too traditional and mundane to cover it.

Some highlights though:

I caught up with a friend from high school days. How do you overcome two decades of time? Amazingly enough I like to think we might have succeeded. Time will tell on that but I also feel I put to bed some of my lingering issues from then. I also learned just how much goes on that one is oblivious to knowing. We think we know most of the picture. Some times we have the equivalent to a snap shot and a piece of twine. Clues that we think tell a story but turn out to be far short. I also had the best cup of coffee I've ever drank.

My life never stops being surprising or entertaining. I saw a horse cop ride half way in to a karaoke bar and dance on the back of his mount to a hip hop song (yes, I and several of my friends sang at the bar. No, I was not the person on stage at that moment). I got to witness part of the New Orleans Red Dress Run, an excuse to drink and for many participants to cross dress. Just now I remembered that I saw two tranny hookers. At 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. I had someone explain to me and a friend in much more detail than was called for the details of his heart attack.

I had several of the nicest meals of my life. In case you were wondering, haute cuisine appears to be about reducing food down to its essence flavors. A feast for the senses. Very indulgent. I highly recommend it. But at the same time there is something analytical about it. The experience gets in the way of the nourishment. Comfort may not be a transcendent experience but it sticks to your ribs. Some times we feed our body. Some times we feed our soul. Haute cuisine falls somewhere between those two poles. I'm glad I got to do it.

Actual conversation (slightly paraphrased) that happened to me on the streets while I was taking a photo:
Strange woman who may or may not have been hitting on me: "Can you answer a question for me?"
Me as I realize she is not going to walk into my shot so I can take it: "I can try."
SWWMOMNHBHOM: "Why are guys such douchebags?"
Me: "Testosterone."
Me: "Yes."
SWWMOMNHBHOM: "That's it?"
Me: "Yes."
SWWMOMNHBHOM: "How do you get them to stop being douche bags?"
Me: "Hurt them."
Me: "You've got to hurt them in such a way that makes them realize how much they are hurting other people."
SWWMOMNHBHOM: "Oh. That won't work. He's always going to be a douchebag.....Oh no. Oh no! OH NO! OH NO! Someone is calling me a douchebag!"
At that point she ran down the street to have a half shouted conversation with someone she had seen walking towards us. And of course she was drunk. It was after noon. But her title was long enough.

By the time I left I was nearly crushed by the longing to see Wife again. We had been apart for over a week due to overlapping trips. Suck ass to a painful degree.

I also must say thank you to B.S. for being there.

And to E. and N. for new experiences and hopefully new friendships. And for making me feel welcome with the cool kids. I have no idea if either of you will ever read this. But if you do, I'd just like to say: "Porn."

It seems the most appropriate way to summarize the trip.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This has no right to be this awesome.

The whole mash-up idea has a certain level of fascination for me. In its most primitive versions it is very rough, little more than replacing the chorus of one song with a much different song that almost, but not quite, fits.

But at its finest, it shows great talent and vision to see how two songs that don't go together actually belong that way. Yes, DJs have been mixing songs together for years. But the fusing that a good or great mash-up shows, perhaps better than anything, the true power in the hands of the average fan in the digital age. The ability to take something so pop (or pap as the case may be) and make it this compelling:

What else is the Internet for?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ho ho huh?

I promised this one a little while back and it is time.

I've posted before about Wife and I eating at cheap Chinese buffet but it is too late for me to go look for it in the archives. You can look for it if you want but to summarize, it has quite a colorful clientele. But even when you expect weirdness, every once in a while the world reminds you that there is still more strange out there.

Last time we ate there I look up and see two or three portly gentlemen with white hair and long beards. "Ha ha" I chuckle (or something like that. The gist is I laughed. Or LOLed for those of you "tech" people). "You're missing the Santa Claus parade." Wife asks, "Oh?" Or words to that affect. Some sort of brief query like noise or statement. "Yep, there's a dude or two that looks like Santa that just walked in."

And I return my attention to my assorted pieces of MSG conveyance. And I glance up again to see a couple more white haired fat dudes. "Uhm, honey. Seriously. There's a parade of Santas." She seems at best mildly interested, concentrating on her crab legs.

I soon realize that they continue to trickle in. I quickly convince Wife that she should look up because they just keep coming. Several are entertaining local kids. At least one is passing out tiny plastic "toys". We lost count around 30. It was, in fact, a Santa convention.

Later in the parking lot, every other car had a bumper sticker reading "My other car is a sleigh."

So maybe that's the secret. There are over 30 Santas, enough for one per time zone plus a few back-ups. And when they laugh their bellies shake like a bowl full of kung pow chicken.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one too!

If you don't recognize, you better do a search for Mike Lange.

Penguins win Lord Stanley's Cup!

Worship the Beard!

I was so nervous I couldn't bring myself to watch the game except to monitor the score online and through various other means. I turned it on literally two seconds after it ended. I'm a bad sports fan when I really care about it and find it best to watch alone or with other die hard fans. When it is just me and Wife, I quickly become a nuisance an a pain in the ass to be around. So since we were hanging out tonight, we watched other programming.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not my fault

The move is done. Now comes the unpacking.

But we won't have home computer till Friday at least. So I have a great story to tell but no time to write it out at work. This weekend I will share. And you will be dumbfounded.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel

And it isn't a train.

Porch: 95% done
Understairs storage: Done
Bedroom: 99% done
Hall Closet: Done
Dining Room: 90%+ done
Bathroom: 95% done

Other rooms: still need work.

But we do have a couple of days to get it done before the end of the month.

Getting the main bedroom packed this morning did wonders for my outlook. And we should be getting cable tomorrow in the new house. And you know how important that is.....

PS. Thanks to all the well wishers, especially TonyN and A.

PPS. Thanks to Car for all the hauling it proved capable of doing. It has been a rock star. And deserves a good cleaning of the interior when this is done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where did it all come from?

I get up. I pack and move a load of stuff. I go to work. I teach my classes. Then I pack and move more stuff. Then I sleep.

Mix and repeat for four days now.

I miss you interwebs.......

Friday, May 22, 2009

It is here

The big announcement that most of you know already:

Wife and I are now homeowners.

I tried to mentally write this many times before hand. I should have jotted down some notes because now that it is here it is so overwhelming that I'm not ready to write it yet.

I'll try to explain this. Eventually. But not yet.

In the mean time realize that while we have till the end of the month to move, it is supposed to rain for almost all of that time. So that should be fun.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;

Or in my case just seems like it will never get here.

In other news, my beard is getting past the "rough trade" look and just starting on the "mountain man" look. Starting to become a factor in eating as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kidneys of Darkness

The rain, it just won't go away to come again some other day. It doesn't care who wants to play.

I trudge through the swamps that used to be parking lots. Step outside and there's no way to stay dry. My rain jacket has started shedding it's liner on my shirts. It's time for a new one.

I've seen things man. Wet things. Things you could never comprehend in your dry shoes and your dry socks.

Oh, and the countdown is at two. Two.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'll count it, I'll count it off

Three days till the announcement that is one of the worst keep secrets. Partially because I've leaked it too many other places.

In other local news, the monsoons are so bad that several streets are under water. You could try to kayak around some parts. And in other parts you can hear frogs and their mating calls.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Counting down

Four days till the big news that was promised earlier in the month.

Some of you already know, but for the other 1 and a half of my regular readers, you'll just have to wait. I'm nervous enough as it is without jinxing it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In case you didn't know

It may be tempting to order the Pizza Hut pasta deal where you get two pounds of pasta and breadsticks and then eat it by yourself over the course of four days while your significant other is out of town.

But you'll probably regret it by the end of that fourth meal.

Just trust me on this one.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A close shave

If the Penguins had lost tonight and gone down 3 games to none then I would have shaved. But they pulled it off in overtime so there's still some magic left in these whiskers after all.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm concerned.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pimp and Circumstances

Last week was graduation. I looked damn fine in my Doctoral Cap and Gown. As always.

For those who don't know, Doctoral robes are a lot fancy than the plain black you wore for your graduation ceremony. Velvet highlights, puffy hats, metallic "gold" tassels. The works. The school I received my PhD from goes even further and rocks the alternate color robe. Regal purple. Did I mention I looked damn fine?

I have two theories on the color. First is that it is a safety feature. That part of the country is known for heavy snow. You go down in a snow bank in that purple and rescuers will have an easier time finding you. The other is a message to other schools. And that message is, "Our degree costs more."

While sweating out the ceremony in the poorly ventilated gym (it holds more people than the auditorium but is hotter then hell inside) I kept myself awake by jotting down some notes that should prove useful if you ever find yourself being asked to be the Commencement speaker at a graduation. Commencement speakers seem to think that what they have to say is important and everyone is excited to hear their words of wisdom. I've done several of these now. I've heard one good speaker in all the ones I've attended.

So with that in mind, here is what you need to think about when you compose your speech. You may want to write these down for future reference.

  • Be brief. Even if you haven't started writing yet, it is already five minutes too long.
  • Only try to be funny if you are genuinely funny. Be honest about this. Are the only laughs you get pity laughs or from terrified underlings?
  • Don't be in love with the sound of your own voice.
  • Dramatic pauses are not dramatic at 8 in the morning. They're annoying at best, invitations to fall asleep at worse.
  • Avoid cliches. I hate the part where you tell us all about what it was like for you when you sat "right where these graduates are sitting right now."
  • Avoid "In conclusion..." If it really is your conclusion it should be obvious. If it isn't then you've given us all hope and then destroyed it.
  • Nobody but your family and the trustees care that you are here (Note, trustees only care if you are donating money, are a golf buddy, or will attract attention with your fame). Parents just want to hear their child's name announced and you are holding up the show*. Professors just want to go home or go eat (or go drinking depending on the Professor). Students just want to party.
By the time you speak, the crowd is already growing restless. You are not why they are here. Of course if you are a celebrity, none of these rules apply.

As for the alumni speaker, if you go longer than 2 minutes to make your asinine "join the alumni association and give us money" pitch then you are a douche bag. Yes, please, tell us the joke about how you are older than the students but not as old as their parents. That one is hilarious. Or the story about how much (or little) things have changed on campus since last you were there, especially if it involves cafeteria food. Never gets old.

And I care about how much our school still touches your life. Truly.

I need one of those wrap it up signs from the Chapelle show for next year. Or to start sneaking in my ipod. Because I've got decades more of these to sit through.

*My own Father however, enjoyed the speaker for my undergraduate degree immensely. When you know that, you know I had no chance but to be weird.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trust me on this one

I know, I've been trying to be better about posting and then I disappear for a week.

I've got a silly post I'll put up in the next two days. And after that, well, it's huge news.

HUGE news.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something else for the young lad on the town

Long time reader(s) or those who got really bored one day at work and went through the archives might recall that I'm willing to share my wisdom regarding how to be successful when wooing a lady.

So I've come up with a few more ideas in that vein. These are pick up lines that I have modified to be more modern or more successful. If you use these on the lady of your choice I guarantee results.

(Note that Professor Matthew has a much different definition of results than you may be thinking of. Also, this guarantee is useless in a court of law or a bar or the ladies room of a family restaurant, or anywhere else you go to pick up women).

So here are modern pick up lines for the modern randy lad (I leave it up to you to find the original if you are so inclined):

  • If I told you that you have a beautiful body would you allow me to photograph it and post it to my facebook page?
  • I hope you know CPR because in the current economic climate insurance rates are becoming cost prohibitive.
  • Do you know karate? Because I bruise easily and would hate to be kicked.
  • Are you from Tennessee? Because I hear Memphis has some really great bbq and I really like bbq.
  • Baby, I'm no Fred Flinstone, because he is a fictional character and also quite a bit dated as a cultural reference at this point.
  • Pardon me miss, I seem to have lost my twitter username, could I borrow yours?
  • Would you like a staring role in my next vlog?
  • Is your father an investment banker? Because he must have acquired the stars through a ponzi scheme and put them in your eyes.
  • Do fries come with that ass?
So there you go. Good luck and remember to get a DNA test before you admit to anything in a deposition.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's beard time of the year

If you are new here then allow me to explain something. I live in the South and love hockey. Some of my fondest memories of my youth are watching NY Islanders games with my dad on TV. Later he took me to a couple of games and we were still able to communicate about hockey even while I was going through the usual (and in my case unusual) issues of teen angst. We got to see Lemieux and Gretzky face each other one amazing night. So many goals were scored that we won free chili thanks to a local give away (ahhh, the magic of the chili goal).

With that introduction out of the way, the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the playoffs. It looked rough there for a little while and firing the coach midseason (the same coach who took them to the Finals last year) seemed like a desperation move at the time.

But it seemed to light a fire under them. That and some key acquisitions at the trade deadline and they're in again this year.

With two games left in the season it's time for the growing of beards. In fact, a student already asked me why I hadn't started growing one yet. (Because you don't start until your team clinches. I'm not jinxing them).

Except this year there is a big but.

I have a wedding to attend in a few weeks. Now if it were within two weeks time or less then this wouldn't be an issue because it would not have had time to grow into something too fuzzy. But it is about a month away. I can grow some mean levels of hair in a month. And I actually like the couple getting married.

On top of that Wife is related to one of them. So I don't want to upset them or her. I've done that already. One of my Sisters got married and I had crazy long chin whiskers at the time. MANY comments were made during and afterward that I should been more "considerate" in my appearance. (On a side note this is not the only time my family has been upset at my appearance during an important gathering. At some point I need to tell the story of my bleached hair during my grandmother's funeral).

In fact, my telling this story will potentially result in Wife commenting on it again. Except that now I've typed it out so it might work as a whammy and she won't because she doesn't want to be predictable. Except that I've typed that out so it might work as a double whammy so she will. Except that would make her predictable in that direction. And she hates to be predictable.

The gist of all of this is this year it will have to be a playoff goatee. I know. I feel like I'm letting them down too. But something is better than nothing.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm so mad that I'm angry

This is not an April Fool's joke.

I've mentioned before that I have a love of Taking of Pelham 123. The original has a great story, low key but tense action, very clever dialogue and an amazing cast of actors. The biggest names though are Walter Malthau and Robert Shaw. It also has Ben Stiller's dad. If you haven't seen it, put it on your netflix and watch it already. Or Robert Shaw will make you regret it.

And tonight what do I see? They're remaking it. And what makes this worse? Robert Shaw is being replaced by John Freaking Travolta. It's not his fault but this just sucks so much ass. You know they're going to replace the low key tension and clever NYC style cynicism and humor with lame action cliches and high impact action. Because who needs clever writing when you can have explosions and car chases?

Get that action beat in, it's been almost ten minutes since something went boom!

So a big old screw you to Hollywood for remaking a movie that so did not need to be remade. Why make something new when you can just redo a movie from the 70s only in a worse version? Fuckers. Think this would happen if Robert Shaw was still alive? Let him tell it in his own words what would happen,

"Now, then, ladies and gentlemen, do you see this gun? It fires 750 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition per minute. In other words, if all of you simultaneously were to rush me, not a single one of you would get any closer than you are right now. I do hope I've made myself understood."

And that's real.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Can't be bad

Got an email from a former student that some advice I had given her had actually been useful. And that her roommate had actually read the blog. So first, "Hi roommate of former student. I'm sorry you were so bored that you read my ramblings."

As for the gist of tonight's post, if you were ever wondering why I teach (not why I teach media because that's pretty obvious by now if you are paying attention) but why teaching instead of a job making media, that email would be why. I hope that my lessons are useful and have benefit to the students. But it's hard to say even when they tell you while they are still at school. Trust me, I've had my fair share of brown nosers and grade grubbers.

And then a former student lets you know that yes, indeed, you taught them something that did made a difference. And that's the payoff.

Do you understand how intense it feels to have someone tell you that? Let's just say it fucking rocks and get back to our lives.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I'm working on a possible change of delivery for the blog.

I'm working on doing some small scale podcasting. Nothing too long. Just telling some stories. I'm going to set it up so that you can listen to them from the blog itself.

Mostly I'm doing this to see if I can. That and I have a microphone.....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In case you were wondering

Spring break is a little less fun when you are stuck in the house waiting for a Very Important Package for Wife.

Not that I was planning on going anywhere or doing anything but when you have a day off and you can't do anything it makes it harder to feel motivated.

At least I'm going for a scooter ride tomorrow. So I have that going for me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Now I know I'm not failing in my job

I can't help but share this. Because when I really look at the future for my students, I'm doing what I can. But other educators are just not doing enough to prepare them for what they will really face in their day to day lives.

Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?

See? This justifies my teaching of video games. Suck on that business professors! I'm lecturing on practical matters after all. Your accounting won't have much use when the destruction comes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dirty dirty tease

Ahh, NHL Network has already been taken away from me.

Damn you Cable Company. First taste is always free. But you failed to give me a strong enough taste to hook me and pay for the other 29 to 59 channels in order to upgrade my subscription for the ability to watch replayed games two days late.

Not even with the promise of Don Cherry and his spectacular suits.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Somebody needs to say it

I just feel that it is my responsibility to point out some of the truths I see in the world. And since I have a blog, I'm going to do it from time to time in a segment I'm calling "Somebody needs to say it."

Uma Thurman is not an attractive woman. And she's not that talented an actress either.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beat me like a rented mule

At this point the season is over half over (not including the playoffs) and my Penguins are struggling to get back in the playoff race. They even went so far as to fire their coach, usually a sign of desperation or deep frustration with the way the season is going.

And what did I just find out by accident? That we get the NHL Network on our cable package. At least for this weekend that is. Nice. How many games did I miss? How much news coverage? How much Hockey Night in Canada? Who can say?

How many insane suits worn by Don Cherry have I missed out on? If you don't know, google image him. I'll wait.

See the majesty? I realize some is better than none but I'm still sad inside. Senators versus Capitals starts soon though, so I have that going for me.

And the title is a reference to Mike Lange, voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The man is an artist. If you don't know, you better find out. Michael, Michael Motorcycle, am I going to watch some hockey.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let he who is wearing white shoes cast the first stone

Don't know if this came across your pop culture radar but I just found out about it. A month or two ago, former relevant performer Pat Boone made some...interesting remarks about his feelings about homosexuals, equating people who protested Prop 8 with the Mumbai terrorists. Yes. Seriously. No, really, go read the article and come back. He went there.

One of my favorite blogs, Armagideon Time has been taking Boone to task over the last few days. But I couldn't resist taking a shot myself.

I was working at a record store when Boone's covers of heavy metal songs came out.

At the time I thought he was in on the joke. Now I wonder if maybe he was thinking, "Pat Boone is back on top, baby, giving the kids what they want." At this point he's obviously delusional so anything is possible.

I thought about buying it for the weirdness factor (and because it would be dirt cheap with my employee discount). Now I'm glad I didn't.

On the other hand, you'd think that Boone would be a little more supportive of minorities. He made his career ripping off African Americans in the first place. You'd think it would have made him more open minded.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a professor

Wife's most recent description of me:

"You are a prodigiously hairy man."

She went on to ask what it is like to be so hairy.

Most of the time it is a lot of fun. But some days it is itchy. And it takes work.

To tell the truth there are days I wish I could shave it all off for a while and keep it clean. Lot less work. Clean shaven also makes me look even younger than I already do (last week someone told me they thought my age is ten years younger than it actually is). Much better than looking 10 years older than I am.

But the secret shame is I have a skin condition* that gives me dry patches in the mustache region. Most of the time it is not too bad but when it flares up it's a little gross. Mustache hair covers it easily. So shave and risk it or stay in a constant state of fuzz. Pretty easy choice.

*The weird thing is my skin condition is mostly seen in infants and senior citizens. I'm a genetic anomaly. I'm also really lazy about going to the doctor unless it involves bleeding that won't stop or coma-like conditions. So getting to the dermatologist just isn't a priority. Maybe I'll try after the semester ends.

Monday, February 2, 2009


This is pretty lame to just post links to other sites but considering my love for the more peculiar of the holidays (previous posts about Halloween and April Fool's Day) then you got to know I love Groundhog's Day as well.

So watch this while you ponder the impact of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow today.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Parade Rest

TonyN's comments on my last post reminded me of a time when I could take a shower in under 30 seconds.

See, when I was a teenager a number of people in the peer group I was in joined the Civil Air Patrol. I was in the cadet program which is like Junior ROTC but for the air force and members are civilians. Even though we met on an air force base. Hard to say their greatest claim to fame but CAP pilots did manage to sink two Uboats in WWII.

In order to hang out with them I joined too. For a year it was kind of interesting and some of it was fun. What was weird was how quickly you can get sucked in to the quasi-military mindset. It's built around testing self-esteem and then giving tiny little rewards that make you want to try and get the next little reward. And creating a sense of belonging to a group that exerts more pressure on you to conform and fit in. And this wasn't even the real military.

The best part about it was the group I was in "won" and got to represent the state I grew up in for a cadet competition. I say won because we were the only one in our state to enter. The cool part was we got to fly to another state in a C-130. It's a big prop plane and equipment transporter. It was like flying in a bus with wings. Back then I didn't get airsick like I do now. That and the plane flew low so we didn't have to deal with full pressurization.

We did poorly in much of the competition, though far from the worst, and did manage to win best spirit. The team from New York was an unstoppable juggernaut that lived for the competition and was among the best in the country. Yes, they can be very proud of their ability to march as a group in both preordained and creative patterns. I'm sure it is a skill that has come up again and again in life.

What does this have to do with showering? We did a separate week long retreat and training thing while I was there that involved groups from our geographic area. One of the things they did to "break you down and build you up" was we got no more than 30 seconds for a shower for most of the week. So you learned to lather up in the sink and use that time to rinse and not much more. The weird thing, the last day we got all the time you wanted to shower and after about a minute you were clean. Anything longer seemed wasteful.

I do have to say though, to this day I'm still not sure how making perfect hospital corners helps a soldier in the field.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Trying to do good for the planet

Recently I read an article in the local alternative weekly about the amount of water used in our part of the country. We face drought conditions in a few years due to overuse. One of the suggestions was to not shower every day arguing that most people don't need to unless they work a physically demanding job.

I shower every day, it helps wake me up in the morning before coffee and I really do enjoy a long hot shower. Heck, if I had the time there would be many days where I would shower till the tub filled with hot water and then soak in the tub till it cooled and then another hot blast from the shower before I got out of the bathroom.

But this is not water smart. So today I just washed face and pits in the sink. I have felt itchy, sticky, and greasy all day. I feel gross. Now I also exercised today but it was only tai chi, not exactly high impact. Still, Wife just told me that I smell bad.

So maybe I'll just work on taking shorter showers and not turning the hot water up too high. Small improvements are better than no improvements.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quick thought for my 100th post

This is just a thought that hit me as I was getting ready to ride to work this morning. So one of the arguments made against homosexuals is that they choose to have sex with the same gender. Choice, not genetics, right? And some even argue that with counseling they can overcome this and learn to choose opposite gender partners and be "normal and happy."

How come the same argument is not made about pedophiles? If sexual attraction is a choice then pedophiles choose to be attracted to children and with counseling can overcome this easily. Yet I don't see Exodus International starting up a string of day care centers. Look them up yourself if you are interested. I'm not increasing their traffic by linking to them.

Please be aware that I'm not arguing in favor of pedophilia or that we should equate homosexuality with pedophilia. I just really hate both hypocrisy and flawed logic.

Coincidentally, my friend Elephants on Bicycles touched on similar, but more thorough and intelligent, ideas in the fourth paragraph of his latest blog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Student Evaluations

Time for another round of what my students think of me. The thing I'm learning is that for 24 hours I'm a little annoyed with the negative comments. Then I get a little defensive. Then they get amusing.

Then I share them with the Internets. Not a lot of negative ones, most were positive or too generic for commentary. But four really shine.

One student had advice for how I should behave: "Stop the tough guy act. You're a nice guy." This is true. But evil is more fun.

For a different student I had a positive long term impact on their future: "After taking this course I am not sure I even want to major in communications now." Better to realize that now rather than on graduation day.

Normally this one would be the finest one to share. But one tops it. Keep that in mind as you read this: "[Professor Matthew] is a bitter disgruntled man who desparately [sic] wishes to upset and humilate students.... Enjoyed putting down students in front of the class and embarrassing anyone who dared speak up. Really made me regret being a student here, and I cringe when I think of him remaining a teacher...."

Normally you would think making a student cringe would be the high point of these evaluations but you would be mistaken. For one goes to a level that no student has ever gone before. This comment is the new extreme in unique student comments. In fact it is so singular that I will not sully it with commentary afterwards. This is the future of our country:

"I was born in the dungeon of flesh solitary confinement underneath your duress but I broke those shackles I bent the bar I got out of there and drove away in my car"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dear Internets

Sorry I didn't see The Dark Knight till this last weekend. I get why all the buzz, my bad.

Batman did seem a little un-Batman-like at times though. Just saying.

And who is going to be the bad guy in the next one? Running low on the really good ones.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I don't get it

Why is it when many people dial a wrong number they get mad at you? I'm not the one who dialed your phone. Or on the other hand I'm not the one who gave you the wrong number when you asked for their "digits" with your "mad game skillz". I've gotten four wrong numbers in the last two days. It's getting annoying.

Actual conversation from earlier today:

Them: "Is (mumbles) there?"

Me: "I'm sorry, who?"

"Can I talk to Rachel?"

"There's no one here by that name."

"I'm calling for Rachel."

"This is not her number."

"Who is this?" He sounds annoyed or suspicious. Like Rachel is cheating on him with me. Or maybe he's a telemarketer willing to sell to anyone who answers the phone.

Me: "Who are you?" He hangs up. Maybe he's the one Rachel is cheating with? I'll never know.

To the anonymous caller I have a question. I don't hang up on you when I realize you're a dumbass, why hang up on me without apologizing? I'm the person getting their time wasted.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Other teachers get coffee mugs

Some teachers receive small gifts around the holidays that show that their students like and appreciate them. Once, a long time ago I even received a pretty decent pen from a student. She was recent immigrant and I'm still not sure if she was trying to bribe me for a passing grade or really felt that I was worthy.

But those days are long gone. Now what do I get from students to show their "affection"?

Some student or students copied a picture out of our text book that looks somewhat like me photographed from the side and then drew tattoos and earrings on it and posted them around the library before our final exam. I didn't notice till after it was over so who knows how many folks saw it. I don't know whether to be flattered with the effort, creeped out, or just amused by the whole thing.

I don't get secret Santas. I get secret stalkers.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What must the neighbors think?

Yes, yes, I'm back after family visiting. Blog post to follow on that one. But in the mean time, here's a little New Year Day story for you.

Wife took Dog out for a last pee before bed. And then came back in very upset. It seemed Dog found something interesting to smell. A dead rat. It's the second one that has been found in our back yard in the last few weeks. And might explain the sounds of cat screaming we heard earlier.

This is understandably upsetting and gross. We don't want Dog trying to play with it again and it would probably be best if it wasn't left out to attract flies or other critters. I go out and get the shovel.

A quick survey makes me realize that the front yard by the street has ample light and very soft sandy soil to dig in. So I carry the corpse up there and find a decent spot to go to work. One shallow grave later and the rat is hopefully entombed. A quick pat down of the dirt and I look up to see a middle age African American woman walking down the street.

"Happy new year" she says. I respond in kind. It was very neighborly. But part of me does wonder what she was thinking to see some tattooed guy digging a hole in the middle of the night.