A sporting flutter on horrible media wickedness
I saw the first episode of Survivor II: The Australian Outback on Sunday, and I was immediately hooked. (Maybe the fact that I didn’t see any of the shows from Survivor I contributed.) These people are awful! I tried to imaging going camping with any of them. With a couple of exceptions (Rodger), I would be trying to get them to stand under a poorly-balanced rock in less than ten minutes.
The one who annoys me the most is Kimmi Kappenberg, a bartender from Long Island. She has a mixture of stupidity, stridency, and boorishness that makes my blood boil every time she’s on screen. “Don’t build the fire over here, Keith, build it over there, in case we need to move it later!” Also, she wouldn’t shut up at night! I don’t think that she should be voted off the island — I think that she should be killed and eaten by her teammates.
So I went to InterTops, a graymarket Internet betting site, and signed up so that I could take a little action on the show. I put ten bucks on Kimmi to win at 10-1. That way, I won’t feel too bad if she actually comes through, defying all that is good and holy in this world. Then I put twenty bucks in on Keith Famie, who I think actually has a chance of winning, but I only got 4-1 on him. Elisabeth Filarski, the footwear designer with the goofy headress, was a hallmate at Boston University of one of my team members — Asad Khan — and the inside scoop on her is that she isn’t a goer, so I didn’t bet on her.
If only they offered odds on Temptation Island!
I went to a wedding in Maryland this weekend; Kate’s friend Karen Breame, who we both went to Westtown School with (though in different years), was marrying a guy who has a radio morning show in Maryland. There was an Episcopal service (Kate thinks that it’s a shame that churches have to be really explicit with their directions to the congregation — “sit,” “stand,” “please rise,” “please turn to page 332 in the red book of common prayer — that’s the red book, page 3-3-2.”) Anyhow, there was a reception and dancing afterwards, and the friends of the groom all work in radio, so they all were taking turns on the microphone and using their radio voices. And the removal-of-the-bride’s-garter thingy was embellished with the discovery of lots of stuff under the bride’s dress — the head of a Toy Story Woody doll, a set of car keys, a box of macaroni and cheese.
I realized that we were near the Appalachian Trail, so Kate and I drove a few miles out of our way on the way back to Greenbrier State Park, so that we could hike on the trail for 100 yards. Partly, I kind of liked the self-conscious foolishness of walking through the snow for two minutes in Manhattan clothes, taking a picture, getting back in the car, and declaring loudly “I hiked the Appalachian Trail today!” Mostly, though, I find the concept of the trail amazing. A small trailhead sign by the side of the road and a short blue-blazed feeder trail lead to a practically unpublicized path TWO THOUSAND MILES LONG. As a teenager, I often walked the six miles or so from Devon, PA to Paoli; I once dreamed that I stumbled on a single-seat chairlift bobbing along that route through the woods just out of sight of the road. In my dream, I was amazed that this wonderful thing existed — not exactly secret, but just out of sight, waiting to be stumbled on. The AT seems the same way. Anywhere you go on the East coast, this tremendous footpath is running just on the other side of someone’s backyard, or following a track through the woods behind a completely featureless industrial park. It’s magical to me.
So, for some reason (Cubicle re-compression syndrome? Vacation carryover?) I’ve still got the hiking bug really badly. I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods on Monday (thanks, dad!), Dan Bruce’s Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker’s Handbook on Tuesday (thanks, mom!), and have been putting myself to sleep every night with 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks. I have an almost uncontrollable urge to take a leave-of-absence from [My employer] this summer for five weeks and hike the Appalachian Trail. Of course, the last hiking trip I went on, we spent one night in the Sheraton and the other night in a “Sir Edmund Hilary Three-Room Lodge Cabin”, purchased at the last minute because I HATE the rain. So I’m not sure how seriously I should take myself. Should I actually splurge and buy the Garcia Bear-Resistant Food Container, or just reupholster my reading chair?
Someone has taken my hint that Scriptural references to the Deluge in requests for the Ultimate Water Gun are more likely to be recieved favorably. Geoffrey Bab wants to take it to Orlando to overmaster fellow robotic engineers, and had this to say:
“And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered . . . all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” Genesis 7:19
Hey hey! I’m back from vacation, and am a very different color. Vieques was great, the small plane rides to and from the island were safe (if bumpy), we were met by Sue Green, who manages my family’s house down there (the porch | the living room), Kate and I took a pontoon boat ride through Esperanza harbor and heard the local legends about Monte Pirata, ‘Pirate Mountain’, that may contain deep, ocean-connected caves, pirate gold, and a secret UFO base being monitored by the US Navy, went snorkeling, lay on the beach, took a kayak at night across an indescribably amazing bioluminescent bay, met and had dinner with friends from Kate’s hometown of West Chester, PA, including the guitar player from The Hooters, read lots of Dashiell Hammett, and now find myself unexpectedly back at my desk at work. Sic transit gloria mundi!
My Team At [My employer]
This is my team at [My employer]. As recognition for their hard work and their devotion to our mission, I purchased 100%-human-hair facial appliances for each of them. Here’s a photo of everyone:
- Alejandro Rubio, Senior Technology Analyst, sporting a classic “P.J. O’Pootertoot’s Pizza-Time Theater” handlebar mustache.
- Jason Robinette, Senior Technology Analyst, wearing a modified Kentucky Pork Chop.
- Bob Russell, Senior Technology Analyst, as Watson.-
- Ken Courtney, Senior Technology Analyst, wearing ginger “Sindbad the Sailor” whiskers.
- Asad Khan, Programmer Analyst, in a silver Wu-Tang special.
- Some guy that showed up in the lobby.*
- Not pictured: Adam Hyer, Senior Programmer Analyst. I have something special planned for him.
*Actually, that’s Brandon Goldstein, Programmer Analyst. That’s his real mustache, by the way.
I had a hella birthday, and am now off to Vieques for a week. I’m frantically tying up loose ends, mailing last-minute Christmas thank-you notes, and handing off projects at work. Whew! I can’t wait to go start working on the big stack of Ian Fleming books I got out of the library for beach reading!
I rolled out of bed this morning, brushed my teeth, pulled on gym shorts and walked to the Spring street New York Sports club to meet my trainer Jason Bravo. The block of Broadway in front of the club was blocked off, though, and there were three or four fire trucks surounding an open manhole cover. All the NYSC trainers were out in front — Jason told me that a manhole cover had blown off, and that the building was “filled with carbon dioxide!” He pointed to the open cover — clouds of acrid, plasticky-smelling steam were coming out. A firefighter was playing a stream of water all around the hole. Intermittently, flashes of blue-white light shone from underground, and sizzling and popping noises could be heard coming from under the street. Hurrah! Aging infrastructure snow day for me and my workout!!
There was a big snowstorm in New York this weekend. Here’s a picture of Saint Mark’s place at about 9PM on Saturday. It’s a pretty winter scene, but just out of the frame are ten kids from the Bronx watching their friend get his tongue pierced at a sidewalk stand.
“Bring it on!” I said to Steve, the tracksuited manager of Beach Bum Tanning on 23rd street. This was my second visit, on a mission to lay down a primer for my trip to Puerto Rico. Steve responded by putting me in the “medium strength” machine for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes in the clamshell bed listening to Christina Aguilera resulted in a painful sunburn on my ass; I’ll take Steve and his machines more seriously from now on.