November 20, 2009

The Weeklies #109

The Weekly Time Waster. The World's Hardest Game. Hey, I didn't call it that. Go find out for yourself.

The Weekly Activity. Working. A lot.

The Weekly iPhone App. Convert (iTunes link). I'm incredibly challenged when it comes to converting stuff. Probably because I'm no good with numbers. Currency, weights, measures...I just can't do it. Convert is an awesome app. And I finally know what British folks when they weigh stuff in stones. Always wondered about that.

The Weekly Music. I'm going retro and obscure this week. Mad Season. There's absolutely no reason to think you've heard of them. They released one album then never recorded again. But they did have some pretty impressive members, namely Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin. Their only album - Above - is one of the great unknown albums of the Seattle grunge period. It was probably overlooked, though, because it bore no resemblance to grunge. Instead, it's quiet, meditative in parts and bluesy, straightforward rock with a 70s feel in others. It's sparse, haunting, odd, relatively uneven but also very beautiful. McCready would go on to continue his guitar god status in Pearl Jam. Barrett Martin would go on to play with REM and begin releasing truly impressive jazz albums. And Layne Staley would record one more Alice In Chains album before overdosing. And if you listen hard enough, you can foresee each of these things in this one impressive album.

The Weekly Read. I love Nick Hornby. High Fidelity and About A Boy were triumphant and two of my favorite novels. But his last few novels, while great, just haven't grabbed me the way some of his earlier novels did. So I was thrilled when I heard that Juliet, Naked was a return to form. And it is. Juliet, Naked is the story of a 40-something fan-boy, an unhappy English woman, and a reclusive former rock musician now leading the life of a suburban dad. The way the story plays out isn't surprising and Hornby doesn't go out of his way to get a laugh. In short, it's an understated but nice story. Not Hornby's best but one that shows a maturing author who's still at the top of his game.

The Weekly Shoes. I'm not a hippie. I don't like hippie shoes. Like Birkenstocks. I've actually actively made quite a bit of fun over them over the years. But then the kind folks at Birkenstock sent me some shoes. And, well, they're comfortable. Like, really comfortable. So I'm kinda coming around on hippie shoes.

The Weekly Cringe-Worthy Holiday Television. Have you ever seen the Star Wars Christmas Special? It's terrible in a very awesome, Death Star please shoot my eyes out way.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Me. I've chalked up a billion hour week this week, thus bending the laws of space and time. And I'm a little tired. Oh, and also all Virginians to include me because of this winner from CNN: Virginia Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell on Wednesday would not disavow Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson’s recent claim that Islam is not a religion, but “a violent political system.” McDonnell, though, stressed that he reached out to Muslims and visited mosques in Virginia throughout the governor’s race and will continue to do so when he takes office in January." Gah. Get me some boxes. I have to move.

The Weekly Hypothetical. What do you think would be the number one advantage of being the opposite sex?

Posted by Chris at November 20, 2009 7:15 AM

Not having to wait in line at the bathroom! (and peeing standing up!!)

Posted by: Debbie at November 20, 2009 7:35 AM

Oh no Chris...I knew you were a lib and because I love your style of writing and that you have a good head on your shoulders I like to read your blog, but Birkenstocks...we may have to end our friendship. HA!

The number one advantage of the opposite sex is peeing anywhere, a boat...oh you have to pee right off the side, oh you are outside, oh pee in a bush, have to pee in a traffic jam, pee in one of those "camping urinal" things...women...oi vey we have to use leaves in the wilderness which may or may not contain itch inducing oils, we would have to demand we go back to shore as quick as possible in a boat and during a traffic jam, well we are just screwed.

Posted by: Dee at November 20, 2009 7:40 AM

Eeek! The Star Wars Christmas Special!!! My husband introduced me to it a few months back. I'm permanently scarred...

It's only topped by the Paul Lynde Halloween Special-- seen that one? Awesomely bad, and therefore just plain awesome. (clips available on YouTube if you dare)

Posted by: leslie at November 20, 2009 7:52 AM

I would have a cute young wife waiting on me!

Posted by: Maribeth at November 20, 2009 8:19 AM

I think there would be two best things about being a man and both of them happen to be centered around having a ding-a-ling.
1. Pee standing up. Of course. Ask any woman who has squatted behind the bushes after a boozy night out in college.
2. Not having to work so hard for the big O. Yup, I said it.

Posted by: Wack-a-do at November 20, 2009 9:11 AM

Number one theoretical advantage of being the opposite sex (for me, male): people would dote on me and think I was awesome for my mad homemaking skillz.

"OMG! You wash dishes?! Awwwww! And laundry?! You FOLD it, too?!?! Wait. You scrub toilets? I can't believe it! You are SOOO sweet. Your wife is SOOOO lucky!"

To quote Chris Rock: You're SUPPOSED to do that! You don't get to take credit for shit you're *supposed* to do!

(Can you tell I'm having a bitter/feminist type week?)

(Oh no, now I have pissed off the women by using bitter and feminist as synomyms. Gah.)

Posted by: Sabrina at November 20, 2009 9:13 AM

Weekly ipod app: thank you!!! I usually use Google for this (excellent calculation functions) but this is great for when I have no access.

Weekly shoes: don't bash Birkenstocks. They're comfortable, practical and I don't end up with a twisted ankle.

Weekly hypothetical: it's a tie between peeing standing up and no periods and all that those entail.

Posted by: Hannah at November 20, 2009 9:18 AM

Update on weekly shoes (after I saw the link): I never got the point of clogs. Worth trying?

Posted by: Hannah at November 20, 2009 9:20 AM

Just so long as you're not wearing Crocs or Uggs. Start doing that, and I'll send someone over to, um, educate you... :)

#1 advantage of being the opposite sex: more clothing options. Girls can wear guy stuff and no one bats an eye.

Posted by: martin at November 20, 2009 9:23 AM

Pee standing up and the amount of time it takes a man to get ready in the morning....

Posted by: C at November 20, 2009 9:47 AM

Pee standing up and the amount of time it takes a man to get ready in the morning....

Posted by: C at November 20, 2009 9:47 AM

Pee standing up and the amount of time it takes a man to get ready in the morning... SO JEALOUS!

Posted by: Christina at November 20, 2009 9:48 AM

My husband has a very clear memory of being all excited for the Star Wars Christmas Special to come on TV, and then being horribly disappointed. The first time his illusions were dashed by Hollywood, I guess.

Posted by: bad penguin at November 20, 2009 9:52 AM

#1 advantage of being a man: no periods.

Posted by: April at November 20, 2009 10:13 AM

Thanks for the link to the convert app. I love it and it will come in handy.

Posted by: Jeff A at November 20, 2009 10:26 AM

Pee standing up.

(And hee hee, clogs!)

Posted by: sherri at November 20, 2009 10:43 AM

I guess the ability to have sex at any time. Other than that, I love being a guy.

Posted by: Brad at November 20, 2009 10:59 AM

Regarding the Start Wars thing, the commercials are easily the best part of that entire ordeal.

I bought Mad Season when it came out and still listen to it occasionally. You're right. It's a lot better than it was ever given credit for being.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at November 20, 2009 11:17 AM

I turned down the Birkenstocks becasue I thought the republican party would kick me out.

Posted by: William at November 20, 2009 11:27 AM

thanks for the laughs this morning. another good post to make the bedrest that i'm on a little more fun.

your east coast is showing. as a native north-wester, i know all about the benefits of mad season and birkenstocks :) in fact, my husband, who is in no way a hippie, has those exact same clogs. every winter he breaks them back out. and wishes he could wear them to work because they are so comfortable...

and about moving due to the insane amount of Schadenfreude this year? i'm thinking portugal or denmark sounds nice.

Posted by: kati at November 20, 2009 11:31 AM

My husband has that exact pair of birkenstocks. He and I both dig the hippie shoes and birkenstocks are definitely among the most comfortable, even though not always the most fashionable. :)

Posted by: Sarah at November 20, 2009 11:51 AM

I thought we covered this yesterday--Peeing where and whenever you want.


Posted by: debb at November 20, 2009 11:56 AM

peeing. IN the snow.

Posted by: k8 at November 20, 2009 12:15 PM

I hate wearing shoes. I think I was a hippie in my past life.. All I wear are Birks, if I HAVE to wear shoes at all. LOL. A benefit to being a Floridian I guess. I certainly could not get away with the no-shoe-wearing if I still lived in Massachusetts!

I cannot even tell you how many pairs of them I own.

Annnnyway. The #1 advantage would definitely be the peeing thing. And not having a period and all that jazz would be nice too.

Posted by: Jen at November 20, 2009 12:19 PM

Standing up to pee of course!!

Posted by: Rose Winters at November 20, 2009 12:23 PM

Your VA election made me actually grateful we only have to deal with the governator. I can't believe the cable news is calling your guy a pragmatic moderate.

Have a nice weekend.

Posted by: Ann Adams at November 20, 2009 12:33 PM

was all set to come over here and make a witty "peeing in the shower" comment, but I fear my parade has been rained upon. gah. that was bad, even for me.

Posted by: jeanne at November 20, 2009 12:36 PM

Mad Season may be the first band you've talked about that I've actually heard. I like them. Gotta steal that CD from my ex.

Biggest advantage: procreating is pretty much a spectator sport for men.

Posted by: Brooke at November 20, 2009 2:26 PM

The possibility of being able to let shit go and move on. I mean, I like to *think* I do, but sometimes, months later, there it is, and *damn*!

And penetrating that fucking glass ceiling. Maybe they're related.

Posted by: harmzie at November 20, 2009 3:29 PM

I have indeed seen the horror that is the Star Wars Christmas special. I was right at the target audience age group when it aired.

I also have the awesomeness that is the 45 record of "What do you get a Wookee for Christmas (When he already owns a comb)" and "R2D2 We wish you a Merry Christmas". (Forgive the random capitalization, I'm lazy and not going back to fix it).

The background vocals were from something called the Galactic Children's Choir or something awful like that. I treasure that 45, it's so weird.

Posted by: Amy at November 20, 2009 3:45 PM

I'm about a quarter of the way through Juliet, Naked and it's lovely to step back into Hornby's prose, like coming home.

If I were the opposite sex, I'd still have a career, and it would be a whole different one. At age 16 after hours of academic, physical and psych testing, I earned a prestigious scholarship to the Australian Air Force. Not in my first program choice which was to be a pilot since they didn't admit women to that program in the 80's, but in aeronautical engineering. At that time a number of women left the Defence Force Academy citing sexist bullying and abuse, and I realised it would be hard enough doing a difficult job in the defense forces, without your own colleagues against you as well - they are the people you have to be able to rely on, and if you can't, well... As you are no doubt aware, women in the US defense forces are more likely to be assaulted by their own colleagues than the enemy. I have no idea how they can put themselves in that position, but I absolutely admire their courage and fortitude. I pulled out of the program, but I remember the complete lack of misgivings in the males I went through the scholarship testing with (all of whom were in the pilot program), and would gladly have surrendered my ovaries to join them.

Don't move dude! Run a viral guerrilla publicity campaign against the douchebag! Resistance is the secret to joy :)

Posted by: Jo MacD at November 20, 2009 6:28 PM

Advantages of being a man? I'd really love to skip that whole period thing. I was also gonna say that men don't get that whole weird set up for having unrealistic body expectations/self esteem b.s., but I changed my mind this week when my husband's issue of Men's Health showed up with the buff 17 year old werewolf Twilight boy on the cover. HE'S 17 DAMN YEARS OLD. He's not a man. And I'm sure the target demographic of the magazine is not super thrilled about the cover choice either. So, I take that body thing out of the equation. Just the periods. That's no fun.

Posted by: sarah at November 20, 2009 8:48 PM

Fuck I love Mike McCready. And Mad Season is one of those gems... freaks me out when I think of Mike's own addiction issues. I think about this stuff far too MUCH.

BTW -- ditto on work.

Posted by: Nat at November 21, 2009 12:43 AM

i use convert all the time. i have to. everything is in metric here and it means nothing to be. although i have finally figured out that 300 mg of lunch meat means lots of sammichs, 200 just a few.

Posted by: jodi at November 21, 2009 7:56 PM

I agree that having kids and keeping your body as your own must totally rock. I hated being at the pool last year amoungst all my flabby and poofy momisaries and their super buff and hottie husbands. So unfair.

Other than that, I'd say peeing standing up and being paid a fair wage for work done look like lots of fun, too.

Jeez, downer.

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