CT is the Shits

Yesterday I began my traveling for New Years. That meant SEPTA to Trenton, NJ Transit to Penn Station, the 1 train and the shuttle to Grand Central, and Metro-North to New Haven, CT. Then Darcy's car to Hartford. This would have been made more enjoyable if I did not have a raucous case of the shits. I don't really know where they came from, but late Saturday night I started shooting liquid from my ass. I almost canceled the whole thing, but I thought I felt better Sunday morning. I was wrong about that though. 

Eventually I made it to Darcy's apartment and Oliver came and said hi. I felt a little bit better. But not better enough to order more than a salad at Plan B. This was embarrassing. After "dinner" I had to make another trip to the littler shitter's room. This resulted in a detailed conversation about exactly how things went in there with Darcy and her doctor friends. Later we were supposed to go see "No Country for Old Men", but I had to put the kibosh on that. Instead we went home, made tea, and watched "40 Year Old Virgin". The good news is that around 5:00 AM this morning my fever broke. And Oliver came back to snuggle.


Friday Night Fish Fry

Friday night fish fry has become an instant tradition in Germantown. Beer battered perch seem to be just what the Dr. Pepper ordered. So is Pyrat Rum. Kermit continued to make a fool of himself, and as you can see, and is still wearing the same sweater he was yesterday.


Sweaters a Go-Go

Kermit didn't make it off the couch until about 5:00 PM tonight. Not surprisingly he soon had his bottle of wine ready to go. What a drunkard. It is a nice sweater though, I'll give him that. Actually I did give him that. It almost makes you forget that this guy made a complete fool of himself on Christmas. Almost. A sweater can only do so much.

I have to admit that I did not wear a sweater for most of the day today. I didn't get up until noon as a result of dinner not starting until 9:00 PM last night, and including after dinner liqueurs. By late afternoon I had demoralized myself by doing some Bears & Chiefs, showered, and changed into a sweater. My simple blue crew neck was out shown by Kermit, but we could both laugh about it. Dinner tonight was retro. In Barnebey tradition we do a fondue on Christmas Eve. That didn't happen this year because both the brothers had to put in face time in New Jersey. So it got postponed until the 28th. Which was tonight. Our fondue recipe comes to us from our Good Old Great Aunt Ellie (GOGAE), who brought back the tradition after living in Europe in the '30s. The fondue set itself dates back to our parents' days in college at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA during the late '60s. But it really started seeing regular use once they got to Philadelphia in the early '70s. From what we can tell, there were regular 'fondue' parties throughout that decade in the house behind us ours that our parents shared with the couple that still lives there now (and former home to Brown Marks the Cat, R.I.P. 2007).The cheese course is usually followed closely by a chocolate course, which was modified this year to a chocolate truffle course. If you weren't here, you wish you were.

Tomorrow we Fish Fry.


After Dinner Singing

As promised, the Barnebey Family Sing-along:

We warmed up with a little Mahna Mahna -

Then moved on to the main attraction, Lydia the Tattooed Lady

For your viewing pleasure -

The beginning of what I know will grow to be a large collection of photos: wbarnebey.com/kermit


Hiyo eBay!

My first expedition into the world of eBay was in the fall of 2002. I bought a polo shirt with a tiger on it. Over the years I have bid on quite a few things. The thrill of competitive buying can be quite addictive. On a scale of 1 (rolling in poison ivy) to 10 (crack/cocaine) it rates at roughly a 7.8 (N.B. unshelled peanuts = 8.3) To get to the point: this year eBay re-emerged as the hip, trendy, mod gifting utensil. Or at least The Moderatilist, The Nerdess, Jobonga and I thought so. We played Secret Santa via eBay, which was cool and inventive of us. We are awesome. The deal was that you had to wait until Christmas Day to open your package of auctioned goodness. This was easy for me since I didn't get home until Christmas Eve anyway. I feel like Darcy probably had a hard time with this aspect of the arrangement. I'll admit that I I may have come close to opening up the large package I got from Sheila Stockhousen on Christmas Eve. If we had opened a teaser present on the Eve I would have; luckily we didn't do that. Instead we went over to the Trudeau's (a set of backdoor neighbors) for a little pre-midnight mass social event. The Trudeaus are Irish Catholic. So they have a party before going to church. They had eggnog, and Cruzan Rum. I stopped thinking about eBay. This morning I woke up at 9:30. The Brothers were both in The Dirty Jers' and weren't expected until after 12:00. So I went for a run. Then I did the crossword. Then I wrapped my presents. Then I waited. Jersey is a terrible place. It sucks you in and never lets you leave. Or at least charges you to get out. Sort of like a whore. But without any of the fun.Eventually Evan showed up with his Jersey Girl. We played a hand of Sheepshead. Then the happy Jersey Couple arrived. Pictures of the tree were taken. Coffee (non-ethnic) was made. We started opening presents. Taylor had to go first because he got the mini-Kegorator. I went next because I got the 3 Liter Pilsner glasses (intentioned to be boots, à la The Essen House, and used immediately). Only at this point could I open anything from my mother, which had all been addressed to 'Whitter'.Soon it was my turn again. There was an obvious choice, and inside of that choice was Kermit. He likes being out of his box, it was cramping his style. Later we'll sing along to the Muppet Show Album, which is a Barnebey family classic. We've never had an actual cast member here before though, so that's pretty exciting. Later in January, Kermit will be able to catch up with Rizzo (the party Rat). They had been on the outs because Kermit has ethical issues with the gratuitous use of butter. Rather than give up on his lifelong passion for butter-skating, Rizzo said some things that anyone else would have regretted. Luckily Kermit is a fairly mature frog and has forgiven, if not forgotten.

This last picture was taken on my new QuikPod. As you can see, I have already mastered the technique. Expect many more of these long-armed shots (both with and without Kermit) in both yours and my futures.


Holiday Sweaters

Thursday night, and there were alot of sweet sweaters going on.


The Language of Sweaters

This is me in the Linguistics TA office. Wearing a green sweater. I had office hours today because LING 101 has its final Saturday morning. On the board you can see part of a syntax tree for a simple sentence. This is quite dull, so I decreased the color in this picture to match.


A Karmactic Primer

Today I will be writing about my, and those around around me's, relationship with Karma. This isn't that Hindu or Buddist mumbo-jumbo, "let's all reincarnate as a snow leopard" karma; this is Karma with a Kapital K. And this shit will fuck you over for realzies. Accordingly, Karma is my least favorite cosmic force, right behind the Normal Force.

For all its perceived mystery, Karma is pretty simple; just think of it as one big checking account. The more you deposit, the more you've got to spend. Beware though: just like your account with Citi Bank, it does not accrue interest. Similarly, if you write a cheque your Karma can't cash you will be slapped with an outrageous over-draft fee. Something like the cell phone I lost Friday night. Also, sometimes you find out that your Karma has made a series of bad investments in subprime mortgages and as a result your car has been stolen by the City of Milwaukee. Barring these rare occurrences Karma is a game of Even-Steven, just like Jerry Seinfeld's life. Karma IN = Karma OUT. So, the next time a bus driver let's you on even though you don't have the full fare, or you make a new unexpected friend, or you have a really good slice of pizza, or you find that parking spot right where you wanted it to be, or everyone thinks you're the most attractive guy at the party, or you find a blow-up snowman in the spare bedroom, or your plan to hitchhike to Pizza Shuttle works; start doing some good deeds, because your account balance is plummeting. And Karma never stops doing the Bartman.


Saturday Socks

Today's Saturday Socks was easy, both the socks and the socking were obvious. 1st, the socks. I did laundry yesterday so I had a lot to choose from but these were sitting right on top of the sock draw, making them the obvious choice. 2nd, the socking. This story begins at Ian's Pizza late last night, from which we called a cab. 5 minutes later a cab rolls up. 2 people get into our cab. We say "hey, that's our cab". They say "no, it's not." So we all get in. [The fact that we let them share our cab was most likely a direct result of Katie feeling like she was in karma's debt due to an overly accommodating bus driver earlier in the evening] Katie and I are nice people, so we attempt to engage in pleasant banter with our cab-mates. The male half of the couple is a complete loser. He says nothing. He also may have been holding something on his lap. Possibly a pie. The female half is more talkative. And by talkative I mean, annoying. Our banter quickly escalates to mild disagreement. Voices are raised. She questions my directional sense. Words were said. Katie likens her voice to fingernails on a chalkboard and thinks about asking for a discounted fare, having had to put up with her for the whole trip. At some point someone makes me lose my cellphone. Karma is satiated. Upon exiting the cab we hear: "good riddance..."

I would like to sock that girl.


It's 5:00 AM, Why am I Awake?

Anyone who ever spent a night at my little State St. apartment last year will remember its one major draw back: diesel. the Charlie's delivery truck would typically show up around 11:00 PM nightly; Chipotle on the other hand usually got early AM deliveries, sometime around 6:30 or 7:00. Then there were the deliveries for Wallgreen's, Fudrucker's, The City, and every other store down there that I never figured out the schedule for. And of course there were the 4, 6, and 82 buses which drove right outside my window from 5:00 AM to 3:00 AM, on a (pseudo-)half hour schedule. Anyway, the point is I very often slept with earplugs in in that apartment. I got so used to it that sometimes I'd wake up in the morning with them in and not even remember inserting them. Of course I had a bag of plugs for anyone who was staying over. (Interesting note: I saw the guy get shot on State St. last year because I couldn't find the earplugs I kept by my bed and had to get up to find more.)

Well, we do have a bus line that goes by our apartment this year, but I haven't used my plugs since mid-August sometime. None-the-less, they've been sitting faithfully by my bed for months. Tonight I wish I had remembered them. Starting around 11:00 the city began removing snow from Monroe St. Not plowing, removing. With large front-loaders. That beep whenever they back up. And run on diesel. Finally a little before 5:00 I grabbed my earplugs from the windowsill, warmed them in my fat little hands, and stuck them in. Unfortunately, it was too late for me. So I got up and wrote this blog.


Umm, ok, I guess.

So I guess I've committed myself to this pyramid scheme by commenting here. Which means gentle readers:

I hereby pledge to send a handmade gift to the first three people who comment on this entry. No real promises about time frame, but it’ll be within the next 365 days. In return, you have to post the same offer on your blog, and prepare to send a gift to three other people.
What you get may not be pretty (it won't), or useful (unlikely), but by god will it be interesting.

In conclusion, I have two concerns about this whole affair:
1. I'm only doing this because a) in considering the realm of handmade gifts I might get from Lucia I like my options (has she figured out how to make her own liquor yet?) and b) I was the first person to comment, so I felt like I was winning something.
2. doesn't doing this only because I have to nullify the whole pay-it-forward spirit anyway, sort of like mandatory volunteerism?

Sweatering In Blue

Sweater Thursday came as a surprise to me this morning. I woke up in a hurry because I had to finish grading my students' last homework of the semester and then get them entered online before my first section at 9:55. I would have finished this last night but Jobonga called me. And despite her claiming on numerous occasions that she didn't have anything else to say to me, we actually had a lot to talk about. Some highlights: Libertarians are disturbing, especially since they're usually well-off white kids from the suburbs; someecards has a card for every occasion, remember that next time you wish to express something/anything; I'm not a huge fan of christ, specifically if you list him as one of your interests on Facebook; Boston = New Year's '08.

Anyway, the point is I was in a rush this morning, what with entering grades and having to walk to school through 2 feet of (mostly shoveled) snow because the bus never runs on time. I ended up with this blue vee neck, which I like, but which has a few moth holes in it. In this picture, while home for lunch, I contemplate my next Scrabulous move.


Lazy Scrabble

Breakfast this morning was partaken at Lazy Jane's on Willy Street. Tommy drove Martin, Deji, and I over to Hippy-town, Brad wore a santa hat, and an impromptu Scrabble game broke out. You may take issue with some of the words played; UO is certainly not in the Official Scrabble Dictionary and neither is TROL. Whatever, it was only Breakfast-Scrabble.
Not After-Dinner-Scrabble. And we needed to keep things moving. More to the point, I'm currently addicted to Scrabulous. Specifically, the Facebook incarnation of Scrabulous. [If you don't know what this is, you should figure it out. And then start a game with me. I'll probably win, but you'll have a good time anyway.] I'm currently playing 6 games, one of them with my alternate Rochester personality, and have begun compulsively checking to see if it's my turn to play yet. And when it's not my turn I am compulsively planning my next move. It has sapped what little productivity I used to have when at the Hmong Lab. HMONG, by the way, is not a valid Scrabble word. SMAZE is though, being a combination of smoke and haze. I recently came upon that curiosity while trying to make MAZE into a 5 letter word. It worked, and scored me 75 points. Which just goes to show, no matter how much I complain about people using arcane Scrabble vocabulary like AA, ZA, WEND, or JO, I'm clearly not above using it for my own personal gain.

Sock Muppets

Today Rizzo and I had a quick photo shoot. I kicked him, and he loved it. Please disregard the boxers lying on the floor, I haven't really unpacked from Thanksgiving yet.

These socks were a game-time decision that I feel pretty good about. When Ansley arrived at 10:00 to take us to breakfast I was still in bed and still a little drunk. Luckily these brown argyles were right on top of the sock drawer. Sophisticated and stylish, just like me.

RE: who I want to sock today. I'm conflicted, but I've narrowed it down to two possibilities: either people who like going to The Cardinal, or myself for going with them. I hate that place. I expect Rosemblat will have something to say about this.

Yes, this happened last night.


Winter Sweaters

Last week Sweater Thursday featured a beard, this week we are treated to a mustache. Specifically The Omega. In addition, it's snowed a lot here. Standford and I went "sledding" on the icy hill behind our apartment on Monday. Today I made a snow angel.

I like how big my head hole is here.


Sock it to Me

Today's Saturday Socks is brought to you by American Consumers everywhere. Last Friday Darcy and I went shopping. The goal was to hit the hip, trendy, too-cool-for-school establishments sprouting up in the 6th Borough. As such we spent the day wandering around Northern Liberties, NoGo, Queens Village, and Rittenhouse Square. At the end of it, all I had was two pairs of socks. This is one of them. And I don't even know what animal that is on them. Do you?

Today I would like to sock Andy Hanson, as played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Tommy and I went to see this tonight. We almost died several times because of the snow/sleet action going down in Madison right now, but it was worth it. And as a bonus we got to see Marisa Tomei's boobs, which I highly recommend. More to the point, Andy/Hoffman is a douche. He ruins his life, then ruins his family's, and then to top it off he ruins some peoples' lives who he doesn't even know. Oh, and you have see him doing the nasty with Marisa. Which I do not recommend.