Monday, March 17, 2008

Locura del Marzo

(If you only have 5 minutes, please skip to the last paragraph and video at the bottom of this post)

It feels strange, this year, to be so satisfied with looking down at an NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament bracket, finding the name "Kentucky" and seeing next to it the number 1... followed by another 1.

We are an 11 seed,
and I'm perfectly okay with that.

The truth is, as most of you I'm sure are aware, it has been doubtful that we would even receive our invitation to this dance ever since, oh I don't know, the last time I was on ESPN.
I can remember the drive home from Rupp Arena that day. It was the second most miserable one that I can remember (the first being the time we ate at B-Dubs right before the game and had to leave at halftime...if you know what I mean). Hopes had been so high for the one called Billy Clyde. Now we were falling to the likes of San Diego and Gardner-Webb. It was almost enough to make a Big Blue faithful find himself wishing for football season (what?)...

Anyway, that was then; this is now. In less than three days, we will be facing a tough Marquette team in the greatest show in sports. And even though we are missing our best player; in spite of one of the rockiest non-conference seasons I can remember; despite coming up short in our first SEC tournament game, we have a chance. Clearly, one of the most beautiful things about looking at those 64 converging little lines is that they represent, above all else, the simple notion of chaos. "Anything can happen."

All that is to say, I think that my 11-year old self would be ashamed to see how relieved I am with the current state of affairs. A true Wildcat should never be content with anything less than a 1 seed, maybe a 2. A lot of people here (read "Indiana") don't really understand why UK fans seem to hold their team - players and coaches alike - to such a high standard. I will resist the temptation to insert here the obligatory Kelvin Sampson joke - you know, the one about including "high standards" for coaching and the state of Indiana in the same sentence. I digress.

The point is, if you don't understand why it is SO frustrating to see the University of Kentucky Wildcats Men's Basketball program performing at such a "low" level, you didn't grow up in Central Kentucky during the mid-1990s. It's a fact. If the following series doesn't make your heart beat a little faster - Delk, McCarty, Walker, Epps, Mercer, Anderson, Edwards, Padgett, Sheppard, Turner, Evans, Mohammed, Magloire, Mills - you don't get it.

Well, get it...

Go 'Cats!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Feeling Blue?

Good news: This album is still incredible.

About two years ago or so, I started to think that perhaps Weezer's self-titled debut - The "Blue Album" - only appealed to my 16-year old version. I feared that, as I grew older - wiser, more cultured, less apt to teen-angst, no longer taking weekly jaunts on the riding mower in my parents' backyard with my discman and huge headphones and singing my heart out - Rivers Cuomo and his gang of merry geek-rockers had grown, at worst, childish, or at best, something to be filed away under "nostalgia."

And yet, as I sit here at Payne's, taking a momentary pause during the grand production that is Research Portfolio, the simple, driving, consistent sounds of my all-time favorite band are still simple, driving, and consistent. I love it still.

I could go into more detail about why this piece of music sits atop the heap - at least in my mind - but I really do have to get back to work. For now, I will say that there is most definitely a prominent element of nostalgia/familiarity for me in this album. It's like putting on your favorite old t-shirt: the soft, worn cotton feels exactly right against your skin; the cracked and dingy screen-printing used to speak with a greater boldness and originality, and yet it's still funny; the various stains and holes a road-map of your life so far, each with its own harrowing tale of bravery, hilarity, and intrigue. You've had to save it several times from your mother as it hovered perilously above the trash can, and you've felt self-conscious more than a few times when you found yourself wearing it in a slightly more upscale place than you thought you'd be. But the fact remains: that t-shirt is still in your drawer; there are more pictures on Facebook with you wearing it than you not wearing it; and to toss it out because you had somehow outgrown it would be a violation of something deep inside of you.

After a while, every laser in every CD player I've ever owned probably didn't even need that little plastic disc to recite the refrains of classics like "Say It Ain't So" or "Only In Dreams"; it had them memorized. My speakers and headphones knew the chorus to "Holiday" by heart, and my fingers could feel themselves mimicking the opening riff of "My Name Is Jonas" involuntarily. It's as if the membranes of my eardrums were on autopilot when the guitar solo for "Undone" piped through the air, and I didn't even need to close my eyes to picture myself "In The Garage."

This afternoon, I put that old t-shirt back on and realized that, no matter how old I grow, no matter how serious I become, and no matter what new musical frontiers I explore, there will always be a 120 mm × 120 mm sized hole in my heart that can only be filled by one color...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I really don't have time to post right now

And yet, I feel I must.

I've got more reading to do before class (in 20 minutes), but I just read the latest article on Jim Wallis' blog. It's about Mike Huckabee and his place "at the forefront of evangelical revival." He references this quote from The Washington Times:
He has become the leader of a new generation of Christian conservative voters. ... There is nobody else you can identify outside of Mike Huckabee as a leading person to take on that role, really in a new era where evangelicals care about a lot of things like the environment and working with the poor.
It is also interesting to consider the relatively un-conservative nature of John McCain's social policy. Is a shift occurring in conservative political thinking? Are younger Evangelical voters starting to make felt their positions? I'm interested...

Also, Barak Obama supporters make the coolest videos. Yep.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Talk amongst yourselves...

The Golden Delicious is neither golden nor delicious. Discuss.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I promised myself this blog wouldn't be completely about music, but...

Wilco was on Saturday Night Live tonight.

I want to see them live so bad. I want to see them live so bad!
Jeff Tweedy wore a jacket covered in roses. I couldn't find a picture yet.

I'm using the enjoyment I got from seeing that to try and forget the pain of the news earlier today. Actually, it's just generally good for SNL to be back on the air with new episodes (even if Ellen Page was a pretty weak host). Maybe I'll actually try to watch the Kentucky game tomorrow...

Soon, I plan on having a post with some thoughts on things I've been thinking lately. Having a blog puts pressure on me to reflect, which I think is actually good. In the mean time, everyone go listen to Wilco.