June 01, 2004
Smooth talkin' Jaro
Actual conversation with the girl at the table next to me at Common Grounds today...
Her: "Could you tell me the time again?"
Me: "Sure, no problem."
Her, repeating: "Could you tell me the time?"
Me: "Oh, you mean now."
There are a few things I could say in my defense, but I think I'll just leave it at that.
In other news, today was my first day on the job. And you know what I found on my desk? A one pound box of rubber bands. Associates from my previous internship know that this is a bad, bad, very bad idea.
May 31, 2004
Things to look at while I'm busy
I'm back in D. C. now, but still have a week of crashing on couches until I can move into my apartment. Work starts tomorrow. Updates will come as they come. In the meantime, here are a few things to keep you busy:
Speculation continues as to whom John Kerry will select as his Democratic running mate. McSweeney's John Moe has done us all a favor and humorously analyzed the pros and cons of the top twenty candidates. Link thanks to Chad Wilcox.
Kevin O'Reilly has written a delightful post about rediscovering the simple joy of bouncing a ball against a wall and remembering childhood fantasy. Read and enjoy "Leather Memories."
Radley Balko, scourge of the Nanny State, has a debate piece on obesity in this week's issue of TIME. He'll be at the magazine's conference on obesity this week sending in regular dispatches. This is the same conference that inspired the USA LOWFAT Act, so expect it to be infuriating.
May 28, 2004
Happy birthday to blog
Well, here we are, exactly one year from when I started keeping this weblog. 149 entries, 378 comments, and 1 Mr. Blobby later I'm happy with the way it has turned out. Thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, linking, and sending me stories. Thanks also to Adam for convincing me that MovableType was what this site needed and taking care of the technical side of things.
Updates have been sparse the last few weeks as I have been busy graduating, packing, moving, unpacking, repacking, moving again, working on my Fizbin drop, etc. I'll be back in D. C. tonight and moved into the Clarendon apartment by early next week, so this site should pick up again soon.
Keep checking back, and I'll keep updating in accordance with my three rules for good blogging:
Rule #1: Be meaningful.
Rule #2: If meaning is elusive, be amusing.
Rule #3: If meaning and amusement are both out of reach, be brief.
May 25, 2004
No animals were harmed...
After nearly cruelly dispatching my dog in my rejection letter from home, I should mention that he is safe and sound now that I am employed. To make it up to him I've posted a few pictures. These were taken by my sister last summer at our family place in the Michigan U. P.
Divot, a.k.a. Seamus McDivot of Muirfield, Div, D, and Digger, is a wire hair fox terrier. He enjoys long walks on the beach, chasing tennis balls and mink, and romantic kibble dinners. He is single and neutered.Continue reading "No animals were harmed..."
May 23, 2004
The Return of Taco Boy
Ah, Texas -- a state where the tortillas are fresh, the margaritas are cold, and the queso flows like oil. In a place like this a superhero can start to lose his edge. For the past week my will to battle the forces of evil has been evaporating, vanishing into the air with the sizzle of the spicy fajitas that make life so satisfying. I begin to wonder if I should lay down my arms, abandon my Cantina of Solitude, and return to civilian life. After all, there is a new generation of fromagian heroes to watch over Earth: Captain Brie, Feta Girl, Monterey Jack. They are young and brash, but they learn quickly.
Tonight, as my salsa bowl finally ran dry and the mariachi band packed up their instruments, I felt just about ready to retire. Then a mysterious messenger approached, dropped a crispy shell into my lap, and faded into the shadows. It was a letter, a riddle wrapped in a mystery clothed in a taco.
I cracked open the shell, rummaged through the lettuce, and removed the paper. I could tell immediately who sent it. His grammar and spelling had improved, but his megalomaniacal bravado was as unabashed as ever. He had been silent for nearly a year. I should have known he had been plotting his return. Yes, the letter was from him. From Taco Boy.
Retirement will have to wait.Continue reading "The Return of Taco Boy"
May 20, 2004
Ender Wiggins they're not
Last cicada post, I promise. Actually, I don't promise, but we can hope. You see, I thought cicadas were cool before, but now I find out they do more than taste good -- they scare the hell out of children and send them to the ER!
Julian Reif sends in this article that quotes Dr. Ray Baker of Cincinnati Children's Hospital about numerous cicada related injuries. Dr Baker notices a spike in ER visits everytime the buggers emerge, due to kids running away in fear and into something far more painful (like a brick wall) or attempting to kill a cicada only to end up hurting themselves or a friend (such as by hitting a pal in the nose with a baseball bat).
My favorite: "'We had a stab wound to the arm from a kid who was trying to kill a cicada on the arm of another child but unfortunately he was using a knife,' Baker added."
Lots more fun examples in the article.
[Instant update from Renee: Learn the ugly truth at Cicadaville.com!]
May 19, 2004
Cicada update: adventurous diner Erin says, "Just for the record--the act of putting fried cicada in your mouth is a bit disconcerting; however, the taste is not half bad." Also, Justin sends in this warning on possible allergic reactions to the buggers.
May 17, 2004
Only in Nashville (actually the nearby town of Lebanon, pronounced "Lebenin") would you find a place like this: Krooners, the "world’s only biker sushi bar and leading parts supplier for Harley Davidson and custom bikes from over 200 suppliers." Yep, really. How's that for convenience? Their motto is 'Ride American - Eat Japanese." The restaurant part of the store, Sushi Dogs, features traditional sushi and some rolls with southern ingredients, like okra.
Unfortunately, I didn't find out about Krooners till it was too late for me to give it a try. But if I had, I have a feeling it would have gotten a 6.5 on the Jake-wishes-he-was-a-samurai-biker-hog-food-critic scale.
May 15, 2004
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail
Commencement was today; my time at Vanderbilt has reached its end. Tomorrow I return to Houston and, soon after, to writing, to magic, and to a new chapter in Washington, D. C.
May 06, 2004
By now you've probably heard about Brood X, the billions of cicadas who are soon to emerge from the ground and torment my outdoor graduation ceremony. I knew these buggers were big, loud, and annoying, but I didn't know they were tasty, too, until Justin sent me this article. Celebrate spring with soft-shelled cicadas, El Chirper tacos, or cicada rhubarb pie. Yum!
Expert Michael Schauff says, "They are quite soft and take on the flavour of whatever you cook them in... They are not quite like a piece of meat, more like a small white potato that's been cooked."
Mmmm, ripe for the picking. Photo by Gaye Williams, Maryland Dept. of Agriculture.
Soccer referee recertification exam, question #37: It's the first half of the game. The ball is outside the penalty area. A violent dust devil hits the field. What is the proper restart?
A. Throw-in for the team who did not touch the ball last
B. Drop ball where the ball was located when the dust devil hit
C. Drop ball where the ball is located after the dust devil hits (i.e. somewhere in the Pacific Ocean)
D. Switch to indoor soccer
May 05, 2004
Eli Manning: Leet skillz
[Update: Oops, when I first posted this I had mislinked the image files. They're working now. I guess that'll teach me for mocking someone else's Web production abilities!]
Yesterday my buddy Zhubin linked to the webpage made by Eli Manning for his introductory computer science class. (For people as ignorant about football as I am,* Eli was this year's number one draft pick and is the younger brother of Peyton Manning.) It was a fun site. As Zhubin noted, "I especially like how you apparently e-mail ESPN to ask for the NFL scores." The random Mr. Spock picture was cool, too.
Unfortunately, the University of Mississippi took it down before I could write an entry about it. What gives? Are they not proud of the way they educate their athletes? Do they think they can hide this man's accomplishment from an adoring world?
If they do, they're wrong. Thanks to Google's cache and Eli's rather unoriginal selection of pictures (2 out of 3 are from the standard MS clipart library), it was easy to recreate this marvel of the Web in perfect detail. Voila! Now it can stand forever as a monument to America's jock education. I wonder what his grade in the course was?
*That's pretty darn ignorant. For example, I was in D. C. for at least a month before I realized that the Washington Redskins were based there and not in the state of Washington. I learned the truth when a coworker asked me if I was "going to watch the Skins game this weekend?" and I replied, "You mean the golf tournament?" That's the kind of ignorance I'm talking about.
May 04, 2004
Tomorrow night, three and a half years of cafe-philo come to an end. For all of that time (4 years if you count our predecessor Phat Tuesday) this group has been meeting over coffee for conversation and repartee. Next week most of the group graduates, likely making this the last of the weekly meetings.
So if you're a cafe-philo regular, if you've come once or twice, or if you've so much as thought about coming, be at J-J's tomorrow night from 9:00 to 11:00. Celebratory drinks at Blackstone likely to follow.
Agitated! Hitted & Runned!
Wow, these two links (and a handful of others) are putting a nice spike in my referal logs. Also, Court notes that my Sexter idea is now up and running. If Friendster, Orkut, and Tribe aren't giving you enough social networking opportunites, why not sign up for WhoBangedWho.com?
Don't get too worried or excited, the site's just a clever parody... for now.
Back to the District
At 3:00 I began my French final. At 5:00 I stepped out a free man, with zero work remaining in my college career. Today, my life is my own.
That's not the only good news. Despite my general committment to gainful unemployment, yesterday I accepted a summer intern position. Come June I will be working with my friends at The Institute for Humane Studies! The IHS has done a lot for me these past couple of years and I'm looking forward to joining these very smart, very cool people. This also means that after much weighing of the options I've decided to come back to D. C.
A few hours after accepting I found out that this job was open. Oh well... Just kidding, I'll be more than happy at IHS.
[Once again, link via Stone.]
May 03, 2004
The Post-Reductio Challenge
The Hemingway Star returns with this exclusive report on the growing nanny state, "Congress passes USA LOWFAT Act of 2004." Satire? Of course. Made up? Not entirely.
Back in November of '03 Radley Balko published an op-ed called "Post Reductio America." He argued that we're in a time where what would have been a reductio ad absurdum a few years ago is a commonplace today. For instance, back when the class action lawsuits against tobacco companies first got started, asking why we didn't sue fast food companies for making us fat seemed like a good reductio argument. Now it's really happening.
To see how much reductio creep we've suffered, I decided to try writing this fake article with as many real quotes as possible. Read it first, then come back here and continue reading to see what's made up and what's real. It's not always easy to tell them apart.Continue reading "The Post-Reductio Challenge"
April 26, 2004
With a name like Pecker...
And since you're unlikely to try it yourself, this is what you get when you microwave a CD then run it through an image scanner.
April 24, 2004
There's nothing I look forward to more at Vanderbilt than Rites of Spring, the annual three day outdoor concert that comes at the end of April. It's non-stop music, food, and drinks right on my beloved Alumni Lawn. Most importantly, it's the ideal time for Aerobie: the throngs of people provide the added challenge of not bonking innocent by-standers in the head with the astonishing flying ring. My friends and I train all year for this event to keep the sorority girl and other soft target casualties to a minimum (of course, hitting a Tri-Delt still counts for 10 points).
This year it looked like this, my last Rites, was going to be washed out in thunderstorms. Luckily, the sky has cleared and the weather couldn't be better for spring time ring tossage. Here's my view of the Lawn, in a photograph from about this time last year:
Enough blogging. Time to play outside!
April 23, 2004
A break from deadlines
The school year's last issue of The Torch came out in print last week and now it's available online. My column is on the recent progress in the X Prize Competition. This is my last obligatory article for a Vanderbilt media publication, and let me tell you, that's a good feeling.
[Image of SpaceShipOne available from the X Prize Foundation.]
April 21, 2004
"And then there's the part where Jacob goes insane..." - editor
The last Slant published under the successful and puppy-filled reign of Meredith Gray came out today. I got the lead with this report about left-wing internal conflict, “Green Power Initiative Countered with Black Power Initiative.” This one has the most “WTF?” ending of anything I’ve ever written. It may be a little too out there.
Behind the scenes story: During this weekend’s Slant production we were interrupted by a guy coming into the office to talk about some business. I didn’t have any idea who the guy was. In fact, my first thought was that he was there to fix the phone (which wasn’t even broken, but never mind). As it turned out, he was sort of a VIP of the student body. It took me awhile to figure this out though, and by the time I did his obvious sense of self-importance and political way of talking had put him on my bad side.
Well, after the business was taken care of he decided to introduce himself to the entire office, that being the political thing to do. He began with “You all obviously know who I am. So, who are you?” That was too much. I responded in a friendly voice, “Actually, no. I have no idea who you are.” And hell, it was true for most of the time he was in there. When he finally realized I wasn’t joking, he introduced himself to me and I introduced myself to him as Jacob and it was a good moment.
Then our managing editor did a round of introductions. “This is Colin, our editor for next year. This is Tim, he writes for us and does a British column for The Hustler. This is Jacob, he was editor of The Torch last year…” At which point Mr. VIP interrupts with, “Oh, you’re Jacob Grier. I read The Torch all the time.”
And suddenly I felt like an ass.
April 19, 2004
Twelve dollars spent
When I was in D. C. last month I spent much of my down time back at Common Grounds, my frequent coffee shop hangout from the fall. One of those days they played a song that really caught my attention and I immediately began trying to track it down on Google. No luck. But compelled to find out what it was, I asked the barista for a list of the CDs in their rotation that morning.
That narrowed it down to six and the song turned out to be the opening track of local singer Leah Morgan's "Zero Dollars Spent." Twelve dollars later the CD was in the mail. I haven't been able to stop listening to it this week; the songs are eclectic and hard to classify, but folk rock may be the best description. They're all good. You can hear samples on her website or at the CD sales site. Or, for my D. C. friends, check the schedule for upcoming live performances. (There's one in Common Grounds! Makes me wish I was back in town.)