Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Karandish Watch- The End Of The Road

Sadly, Dave was let go by Martha Stewart after this week's show (the 6th week). I have to say that he acted with integrity throughout the show (unlike a number of his competitors); David worked himself to the limit on each task, didn't insult or blame others, and he refused to lie in the boardroom to get ahead. He represented himself (and my high school, FHC) admirably out there.

Of course, I had a sneaking suspicion that he was going to take the fall this week, when the Mark Burnett Editing Engine put its sights on David. The task was to arrange and auction off events with certain celebrities, and David stuck with taking notes while his teammates talked to the celebrities. (Merv Griffin made fun of David for silently typing notes on a laptop during the discussion, and the producers cued the dramatic music.) He was let go for 'not contributing enough', which was too bad.

But I don't think that this was David's one chance at success- he has a good career already in consulting for Web design. It was great to see him out there having fun and working hard, and I congratulate him on a successful and crazy summer.

(Now the only real reason to keep watching the show is to see how long the Dead Man Walking lasts- Jim has to be the only one unaware that Martha would be nuts to hire him. I bet the aforementioned Mark Burnett has just been begging Martha to keep Jim on each week, for the sake of ratings.)

P.S. I've been cheering for the White Sox over the last 3 seasons (you know, school on the South Side, the Cubs deserve their curse, etc.), so it's great to see them roll over Boston, Anaheim and Houston. Especially Houston.

The World Series games were exquisite, the most suspenseful four-game sweep you'll ever see. It had everything: late-inning comebacks, walk-off home runs, unlikely heroes (Geoff Blum), the electric (and wild) closer Billy Jenks, a 14-inning marathon where each team stranded multiple runners in extra innings, and finally a pitcher's duel of #4 starters that ended 1-0, the run scored in the eighth inning off of Houston's closer Brad Lidge, and a Series-ending play of milliseconds at first while the tying run crossed home.

The only predictable thing was the way that the commentary jinxed the action. The best timing of the Series was the play-by-play in Game 2, tied in the bottom of the ninth, Scott Podsednik at bat against Lidge. One announcer noted that Lidge's previous appearance was Game 5 of the NLCS, in which he gave up a massive game-winning home run to Albert Pujols.

Announcer 1: You think that Lidge might still have a bad taste in his mouth from that?
Announcer 2: Nah, I'm sure he's put it behind him.
*CRACK*
Announcer 1: And it's a game-winning home run by Scott Podsednik!
Announcer 2: Maybe he hasn't put it behind him after all.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Linketh He To Blogs Strange and Various

The title alone of this post nearly made my morning: Jesus Rescued in Daring Commando Raid. Then the post itself actually made my morning. With all the back-and-forth rhetoric of "Who Would Jesus Vote For?", the author of The Medicine Box applies the missing perspective.

Lauren of Cnytr on why identifying yourself as a Neo-Cath- or, at any rate, a more "real" kind of Catholic than others- is vain and foolish.

Continuing to bat 1.000, Lauren also gives a pretty solid and pithy account of in what way the Church reads the Scriptures, in response to a piece of atrocious reporting in the London Times titled "Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible".

And I've meant to add Darwin Catholic to my blogroll for some weeks now. Darwin and Mrs. Darwin have quite impressed me with their insight and intellectual honesty.

UPDATE: In a much lighter vain, Kelsey has come up with the Ten Minute Measure For Measure (in two parts). Sample:

Lucio - Come with me now.
Isabel - What is your problem?
Lucio - Your brother's in the slammer.
Isabel - What is his problem?
Lucio - He slept with his girlfriend.
Isabel - Idiot.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Yay.

I have Internet.

Now here's what I wrote on Monday:

A Sports Addict And A Sports Fanatic

I deny neither, though I distinguish between the two. I am a sports addict because I can't get away from it, I can't go a weekend without watching football, I can't turn off a Cardinals game. I am a sports addict because I have learned the jersey numbers of most Rams players (#82, tight end Cam Cleeland, for example) and the explanation for the Infield Fly Rule (really, ask me any time).

I am, however, a sports fanatic because of the way that I act when watching sports. My housemate Thomas put it best. We had just been in the stands for a disappointing home loss to Oregon State, then I'd caught the final heartbreaking minutes of the USC-Notre Dame game in silent color on the stadium TV by the exit (so very very close to showing up those arrogant brutes). So I walked in sullen, stunned silence for the first half-mile of our journey home. Finally, I composed myself enough to mutter a half-hearted, "Well, it's only a game", Thomas laughed and said (picture his German accent):

"Ah, Patrick, it is amazing. Normally, you're pretty quiet- even shy- but when there's football on, you're suddenly all 'YEEAAAHHH... KILL HIM!!!' and everything... You know you would make an excellent hooligan, like the English."

And he's right. There's something about competition, either direct (did I ever tell you I punched someone over a game of Mario Kart? While I was in college?) or vicarious (yes, that was me shrieking tonight in an octave you'd never believe as Albert Pujols hit an unimaginable home run with two outs in the ninth inning to save the Cardinals' season), that just gets my blood pumping. I even think that I love arguing so much because it contains that competitive element of verbal sparring.

Other hints that this might be pretty pronounced for me:

1. Hearts. We've been playing Hearts most every day in the math department, as a break from the tension of doing proofs. Actually, I think I usually end up more tense than before I started- but I can never stay away from it. Invariably, I get beaten soundly (John's explanation: "Well, it's just so much more fun to see you lose; you take it so [expletive] seriously!"), but I'm always back the next day.

2. Revealing Conversations. Last week, Barbara and I watched a really excellent PBS documentary on the Palestinian intifada (I recommend watching it if you can find it), and follwed it up by talking till 2 AM about faith and politics and temperament and everything. One thing we touched on was anger- that there are some political figures at whom Barbara gets so furious it makes her ill. Now I don't tend to get that way at all about politicians or about people with whom I disagree. I was about to say "I just don't get that angry at anyone," and then I realized that I do: not when they advocate something I think to be evil, but when- darn it- they're beating me at RISK. So I realized that as regards anger, my temperament is as screwed up as anyone's. I'm sure that Erik, Josh, and others can testify to that.

3. Familial Witness. I mentioned the above conversation to Katie. Her reply: "Ya think!?!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Argh.

I upgraded my system this weekend. I don't have the proper driver to run the wireless peripheral in the new OS. So my home Internet is down until I figure out how to get the driver downloaded on another computer and transferred to my aging iMac.

I wrote something for the blog last night, but the computers here on campus only want to reformat my Mac-formatted floppy disks.

I tried to transfer my Facebook account to Berkeley, but the Powers That Be simply deleted it. Oh well.

UPDATE: Thanks to Thomas, downloaded the driver, but for some reason it's still not working right. And I saved my last post to a DOS-format disk, but the computers here call the files "inaccessible".

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I need a phone call,
I need a raincoat...


My driver's license-the replacement one I ordered after the original didn't arrive here- should have arrived here by now. Stupid DMV.

Once again, I have football tickets- they're free this time (Faculty and Staff Day includes grad students). I probably ought to buy a Cal T-shirt or something.

Speaking of football, remember the time I bet my hair on the Super Bowl and lost? No you don't, because you didn't know me my freshman year of high school. But anyway, I've bet John (the USC transfer to Chicago, now another Berkeley grad student) that the Trojans would not go undefeated this season. If I win, he has to buy a Cal shirt and wear it proudly for a week. If he wins, I have to change my name to Kevin DuBrow... er... rather, I would have to wear a USC shirt to a Cal athletic event.

So all I'm saying is... Go Fighting Irish!

OK, you got me. I have absolutely nothing interesting to say today. Come back this weekend.
Yet Another Irresistible Time-Waster



Look! It's me!

Results of the Mini-Mizer.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Man Who Blogged Thursday

I. The California Is A Jealous State

It's been a busy week since last Wednesday, when I found out that by dallying a few months in registering my car here in California, I was threatening to sabotage my application for California residency (and thus the university would make me pay next year's difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition). This would be a Very Bad Thing.

So I did just what you all expect: panicked. After successive adventures with
* FedEx (the title was at home),
* the smog test (the old car pulled through, Deo gratias),
* the DMV (no wait, but horribly confusing to me),
* City Hall (I got a blasted parking ticket in front of Barbara's house 1 week before I was eligible to park there in the day),
and
* AAA insurance (the easiest stop, but most costly of them all),
I am finally in compliance with The State Of All Mercy, May Its Name Be Ever Reverenced. Yeesh.

II. Last Weekend

Me: "Argh! How stupid of me, I didn't do anything last weekend!"

Alice: "Patrick, you went to a party, a football game, and a game night!"

Me: "Well, I mean besides that. Social stuff doesn't count!"

No, really, I meant I didn't get any math done. But yeah, Friday night I went to a dance party put on by the grad student Jeff; the theme was "Homecoming '92" (so I wore a suit with a purple dress shirt and a bad tie), so there was punch (spiked, naturally) and a long mix of early 90's pop (Ace of Base, where have you gone?). It was fun. And I ran into a Chicago alumna who, upon hearing that I was in Shoreland, asked if I knew Nick, whom she worked with on the literary magazine Aubade. So Nick, Monica says hi.

Then on Saturday, I saw my first college football game from the stands, as Cal beat the stuffing out of Arizona, 28-0. I brought Christoph and Thomas with me, and they even seemed to enjoy American football quite well.

After that, it was time to head over to Bianca's house (she's another math grad student) for the first Game Night. I was on a great team for Cranium, as we came back from the brink of defeat to win it all. Card games continued till past 2 in the morning.

No wonder that on Sunday, I found my voice embarrassingly raspy for the opening hymn of Mass. And that reminds me...

III. Why I Like The Tridentine Mass

I've been going to weekday Tridentine Masses at St. Margaret Mary's, a few times a week. It's run by the Institute of Christ the King, as is St. Gelasius in Chicago.

I'd never been to a Tridentine Mass before, and at first I was disconcerted by how distant, how silent, how alien it was to my expectations. Participation is of a different sort: rather than singing every few minutes, and reciting the major fixed prayers in unison, I am asked to simply follow along in the order of the Mass and to unite my prayer to it. For me, I find that it's much less distracting than the Novus Ordo Mass in that respect: I'm less tempted to be saying one thing and thinking another, less tempted to wander off into meditations and daydreams, more focused on the present moment of the worship.

And more importantly, the Consecration is somehow closer to me. All happens in silence, with the priest facing the Sacrament rather than the congregation, reciting a Canon of elegant and beautiful invocations of God (as I follow along in my missal). It is the same each time; there is no ad-libbing to make points, even good points: these are distractions from the very reality of God giving Himself to humanity in the Last Supper and on the Cross. Each time is precisely like the last, which is like the time before, which to me emphasizes that the Mass participates each time in that one Sacrifice at the nexus of history. I feel that I am a witness at the Last Supper itself.

When the priest raises the Body of Christ for the adoration of all, I have never failed to be moved. I find it a moment of excruciating truth and beauty, to the point that I don't really know what to say. Except, perhaps, "Lord, it is good that we are here."

Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things, which I haven't been reading regularly, has recently written a very informative series on the liturgy of the Tridentine Mass, if I've just confused you.

And yet, on Sunday I go to the Novus Ordo (in Latin, yes) rather than the Tridentine. Why?

IV. Why I Like The Novus Ordo Mass

Because, for one thing, I do like the external participation of the faithful. I like to sing the Gloria, the Credo/Creed, the Pater Noster/Our Father. The structure and the responses are universal now, too: just as it was with the Old Mass before Vatican II, the New Mass has the property that if I walk into almost any Catholic parish around the world, I may not know the language but I'll know what is being said and done at each instant. It's a gift I ought not take for granted.

Most importantly, the Novus Ordo is home for me. I like to see the house cleaned up a bit (e.g. when the parish follows the rubrics), I even like to see the real wood floors even when linoleum is more popular (e.g. I enjoy the beauty of Latin in the Mass), but when it comes down to it, it's my home, and it's been very good to me.

And besides, I oughtn't let the Tridentine thing go to my head. Spiritual pride is something I already have too much of.

Though English grammar, it seems, is something of which I have too little.

V. Karandish Watch- Week 3

Well, after the first two Team Matchstick Project Managers fell on their respective swords, I was a bit worried to see David take the mantle. He led his team better, though, than either of his predecessors: he delegated much more than Jeff and worked much more than Chuck. Sadly, it still wasn't enough to win the challenge.

By the way, Mark Burnett (or whoever edits the tape for these shows) is downright evil about creating commercial-break cliffhangers, then only resolving them implicitly later on. He left us hanging on a possible $3000 sale, in a tension resolved only by the downcast faces on Matchstick members in the ensuing conference room scene.

The business team (Primarius) looks nigh invincible now, with good teamwork and 60% more manpower than Matchstick (now down to five members). I don't see Matchstick realistically winning another one of these challenges, so I'm wondering what the rules are. Is there a point where they'll redistribute team members, or would the producers let one team beat the other into the ground? That wouldn't make very good TV, so I'm holding out hope for a realignment before David falls victim to the attrition by default.

And maybe it was the editing, but it was clear to Barbara and I from our armchairs that Marcela had no part in the team's failure, so it was a shock to see David pick her as one of the two team members responsible. I realize it was a tougher pick than either Jeff or Chuck had to make, but in the end Martha had to overrule David and change the rules of the conference-room showdown. She brought back Shawn, Jim and Bethanny into the room, and fired Shawn (a choice which was certainly justified by the scenes shown, though of course the editing is always going to try and make Martha look good).

Well, David promised excitement (see the posts on the last Karandish Watch), and this week did deliver. Last week was like watching a train wreck; this week felt competitive until the end.

Good luck, David; may you survive until at least Sweeps Week!

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Best Movie Trailer Of The Year

If you ever liked Stanley Kubrick movies, you'll love this one. Trust me.

After watching it, check out this NYT article for more info.

Hat tip to Cnytr.