Saturday, September 29, 2007


Happy Saturday!

J and I made it to the 'Ham with relative ease. We were accosted by a sheriff's deputy once we got close to Birmingham on I-20. I wondered why I was doing 70 in a 60 and I was flying by people. I moved over from the left lane once traffic was clear and saw a car come flying up on my left. He turned on his spotlight and shone it into our poor little Focus. I squinted my eyes and looked over at him once I realized that he wasn't just flashing it. I'm not really sure what he was expecting but I guess I wasn't the high school kid with an open beer and a blunt hanging out my mouth that he was expecting so he flipped the spotlight off and went about his business. Weirdo.

Our friends were at the Sidewalk Film Festival, which has become a fairly prominent independent film festival. Watch out Sundance, Sidewalk's comin'!

After that we met up at Marty's, which is always on the list for Best Burger in Birmingham. We opted for the bacon cheeseburger and it was pretty damn good. I wish J had put some condiments on it, but I wasn't in charge of burger preparation in this instance.

Before then I took J to one of my signature date spots while I was big pimpin' in undergrad. It's a private road that is closed to traffic from 6 pm to 7 am but they still allow foot traffic, so we parked and walked up to the spot. It's a row of houses that arguably has the best view in Birmingham. I wish I knew how to link to Google Earth better because you really need to be able to see the elevation change. Yep, there it is, Crest Rd 35223, one hell of a view.

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If you have Google Earth, please check out the view. It really sparkles at night.

We're planning on cathcing "Mexican Sunrise" at Sidewalk tonight, so I'll have to give a recap of it when we meet again. Now we're off to a family luncheon and I get to see my parents who are on vacation from Central America for 3 weeks!

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Thursday, September 27, 2007


Defcon 7

I just got out of seminar. The speaker was pretty good and there was almost a fight between one of our faculty and the speaker. I'm half kidding. The reception that followed was top notch with mussels, chicken wings, a spicy buffalo cheese dip and a delicious assortment of fruits, beers and liquors. I made a beeline to the Maker's Mark which was shockingly unopened. I love Maker's Mark. I truly don't understand how anyone could drink Jack Daniels after having Maker's Mark. I do like TGIF's Jack Daniel sauces though. I've never toured their distillery but if I'm ever in KY (Jelly) again, I'll be sure to swing by.

First to address Princess of Power's query about blue stilton. Stilton cheese has its own damned website. That is some serious cheese. Here is the history of Stilton. Enjoy. It should be available at all fine grocers around the country. I think I had the blueberry variety, which is stilton with blueberries and is quite good.

I didn't drink too much but still woke up Sat. morning a bit dehydrated. I hit the water pretty hard. Ran into McDonalds real quick for a sausage McMuffin and ate my "nutritious" breakfast on the way to Reem's Creek Golf Club which is north of Asheville in Weaverville, NC. I'm not a golfer. I literally play a round of golf once a year. This was my one time this year. Luckily it was "captain's choice" or "best ball" or basically whoever hit the ball the best, the other 3 jokers could pick up our balls and go hit next to the other guy's. The first hole had an easy slope downwards and we made par. The next introduced us to the drastic elevation changes in store for us that day. The tee box was at least 30-40 meters (yards) above the fairway. You couldn't see the beginning of the fairway unless you walked to the front edge of the tee box. We went 5 over par for the front 9: 3 bogeys, 1 double bogey. We stopped at the clubhouse for our boxed lunch which involved a freshly made sandwich, a candy bar (I traded for a Zero bar because I like almond nougat and white chocolate), a piece of fruit (banana) and a bag of chips (Cheetos). I scarfed my sandwich and took the rest with me because I thought we were pressed for time. We were not so I had inhaled my sandwich for nothing. Crap. Then Subaru (who is in our foursome) asks for a smoke. I had picked up some of the new flavored Camels and went with the Infused.
then I started to not feel so good. I successfully made it through holes 10-12 and then at the tee box for 13 I started to feel bad. Really bad. I'm about to have lunch in reverse bad. That particular tee box is surrounded by at least 3 other holes so I have nowhere to hide and ralph in peace. It's hot, the sun is blazing and I just want some shade so I can get this over with. I'm trying to chew it back but it doesn't matter. My mouth starts to salivate and I know the end is near. I kneel next to some weird bush thing which has a tiny bit of shade and blow chunks. Care to take a guess what I saw? That's right. Little bits of turkey, sliced american cheese and bread bits. Fuck. I hate throwing up. Thankfully the other 3 guys let me just hang out in the golf cart for the rest of the holes. I get out to putt occasionally. Surprisingly I knock in the birdie putt on hole 13, so maybe it was a good thing? We end up 2 over par for the back 9, 3 bogeys and my birdie, and I'm sure we come in dead last with a +7 on the day. I think Protege's 4some won it with 6 under par, which is nice since it's his wedding day.

By the time we get back to the clubhouse, I'm feeling much better after riding around in the shade and drinking some water and Gatorade. I drive back to our friend's house, shower and eat the delicious carnitas torta that J bought for me when they went to lunch. I guess I somehow knew that I would be hungry when I got home. Catch the end of the Clemson/NC State game (we kicked some Wolfpack ass) and rest for about 30 minutes then put on my monkey suit and get ready to go to the wedding.

I'll let that sink in and finish the story tomorrow. Some highlights and lowlights:
Gorgeous weather for the ceremony
the minister's back to the audience for most of the ceremony
the deuchebag who didn't button his top button of his shirt and never tightened his tie, he also watched the LSU/U of South Carolina game on his cell DURING THE CEREMONY
the lovely reception
bustin' some mad dance moves on the dance floor

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Almost there

Not just yet. I'll have a real post and finish up the Asheville Wedding saga tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007



That is the code that someone picked for Asheville on those stupid stickers that are supposed to represent your country or city or county or whatever those things mean. I thought AVL was a terrible choice. Was ASH taken? How about making it longer and go with ASHVLLE? Meh.

I'm not gonna go into the rest of the weekend wedding 'o rama right now so I'll leave you with:

America's Top Seven Most Hated Substances

From Guerilla Imports via

Friday, September 21, 2007



Subaru and I drove up today around 1 pm. We also had another passenger in Focus. She didn't mind. Actually it helped because a new V6 Kia SUV passed us on the uphill coming up here. It passed us on the way up because they had the two extra cylinders and the extra burned gas. I even downshifted into 4th and they still blew by us. But once we hit the top my radar detector blew up and Subaru pointed out a NC state trooper in the oncoming traffic. I spotted him as he whipped into the median and slid slideways hitting the brakes and pulling a U-turn. He pulls into our left hand lane (I'm behind another SUV in the right hand lane) and lights them up. He turns on that V8 Charger powah and quickly catches up to the V6 Kia SUV that incindentally still has dealer plates on it and pulls them over. Sorry Kia, but better you than me.

We arrive right on time and go through rehearsal. The ceremony and reception will take place at the Inn on Biltmore Estate and the vista is to die for. It overlooks the entire valley with various mountains in the background and is really awe-inspiring.

The rehearsal dinner was at Carmel's Restaurant in downtown Asheville. I had the spinach salad which was delicious but what really made it pop was the candied pecans and the blue stilton. Wow. My filet mignon was a bit overdone but it's possible I received the wrong filet. With a party of 30, it can get a bit hectic. J was not impressed with her crab cakes. I tried a bite and definitely tasted the salty sea. J tasted urea and ammonia and didn't touch them after that. For dessert we both had the "ring-dings" which was a chocolate cake with a white chocolate mousse center covered in a Belgian chocolate. Oh yeah. I inhaled it and wanted more even though my stomach was begging for an end.

We bailed on the post rehearsal dinner activities and went to our friend's house who used to be our neighbors in Clemson. We've been hanging out and having fun and drinking beer. They are yet another couple with a flat screen TV and HDTV who we're jealous of. But it's ok. They're still cool. Their cats Leela and Deta are very chill and personable. In fact, Leela is currently asleep on the footrest of our friend's LaZBoy.

OK, it's an early morning tomorrow with an 8:15 am tee time and I might be able toget back on later but if not, I'll see you Mon. morning with a full recap!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


Don't taze me bro!

My labmates and I really enjoyed the Youtube videos of Andrew Meyer, a student at the University of Florida, being tazed for being an ass.

CNN's edited version of it sucked.

I'll get a real post up before Protege and Acura's wedding this weekend.

Monday, September 17, 2007


It's on!

I'll get to my review of the DJ Tiesto show at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross, GA last Friday night (Saturday morning) on September 14th in a second.

First I want to tell you about the fight/accident that almost happened as J and I were going to Miyabi's for a kick ass sushi dinner.

We're waiting patiently right here:

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Perfect! Thanks Google Maps and your crazy satellites!

We're waiting in the left hand turn lane facing the right side of that image, waiting to turn into the on-ramp at the top of the image. We're #4 car in line. #1 is a very pretty big Benz AMG coupe, CLK or something, #2 is a Camry or something, and #3 is a very pretty champagne Audi A4 2.0L Turbo. Light turns green and the AMG is off! I see him turn into the mini on-ramp, roughly in the middle of the image. But out of my right peripheral vision I see some big white truck towing a small trailer come FLYING into the picture! Shit! The AMG slams on its brakes and comes to a complete stop. I look for a YIELD sign on our side but then realize that if we yielded that we would block traffic and that would make no sense. So this stupid truck is in a big 'ol hurry and not paying attention. What a deuche.

But wait! The truck comes to a complete stop too and the guy gets out of his truck! Fight? Fight? Fight! But it wasn't meant to be. The AMG guy stayed in his comfy leather lair and just yelled some insults out his window. Boring. Oh no! #2 and #3 in line came to complete stops too! WTF! Go around! Later J would say that she thought #2 and #3 were too close and couldn't go around. Rookie mistakes. Me being the more competent driver have left plenty of maneuvering room in between the A4 and Tercel. I lay on the horn and realize that isn't going to work. Traffic in both lanes is at a standstill. I'm not sure if they're just stupid or are waiting to see a fight that isn't going to happen. I drop Tercel into first and tear around all the cars just sitting at the entrance to the on-ramp. Still on the horn and give the two stupid fight teases a nice one finger salute as I tear on by.

Ah, good times.

DJ Tiesto was pretty impressive. The venue was a tad lackluster. Concrete floors, a few concession stands ($7 Jagr shots), and a very nice light display up front and in the middle of the crowd was a large structure with some more lights. Good security, lots of restrooms and smoking was allowed inside since it's a private venue.

Doors opened at 10 and I was in no hurry to go stand in line. It was a nice night and I knew Tiesto wouldn't go on until at least midnight. They finally convinced me to get in line at 10:30 and it moved fairly quickly. Once inside and affixed with the proper 21+ wrist band (which the guy made entirely too tight) we went to the bar and got some libations. They had neat little Jager bomb glasses (which is a shot of Jagermeister and Red Bull) that had the Jager (straight from a Jagerator) in the middle isolated from the surrounding moat of Red Bull. Neat idea even if it only holds no more than 1/4th a can of Red Bull, which I guess is the point. Profit profit profit.

Hung out and danced some (the opening DJ was okay), walked around the venue, people watched. The demographic was fairly unique. Mainly white with a few African-Americans, Oriental and Hispanics, all within the 18-49 demographic. Definitely an eclectic mix of people from all walks of life.

About 1 am they announced that DJ Tiesto was about to take the stage. Everyone started making their way towards the stage. We made it into the middle and had a good view of the stage. He comes out and has a spoken word intro for his Elements of Life set. It was a good mix of beats and lights. The visuals of people in Ace bandages got a little old after the first hour and a half and I think everyone felt the crowd coming down about 2:45 or so. The lights go out again and Tiesto kicked it up a notch. The next hour of music was absolutely phenomenal. The crowd was into it the entire time and it felt like we had been abandoned when he left the stage at 4 am. It was such an amazing show. I'm glad Atlanta had a show like that and can't wait for others. The opening DJ came back on and we got out of there as fast as possible.

The cool morning GA air was such a relief after the heat of thousands dancing for hours on end. The water we stashed in Focus for afterwards saved our lives.

J and I went with Protege and Acura (who are getting married this Saturday!) and Protege was telling me that there was some drama going on near the one set of bleachers that were set up. People ODing and spasming on the concrete. Glad I missed that. During the show, J and I danced, kissed, hugged, walked around, stood swaying to the music to cool down (it was a good 10 degrees cooler outside the main mass of people) and danced some more. We definitely worked off the Chipotle dinner we had all enjoyed earlier in the evening.

Shit! Which reminds me. After dinner, we went to Green's on Ponce de Leon in downtown? midtown? Atlanta. For starters let's look at the keg list from Georgia. Nice huh? Lots of selection to please any beer drinker. Now lets look at the keg list from South Carolina. Oooh, I can special order Amstel Light? Score! Just another reason why SC sucks.

They had a walk-in Belgian beer cooler/humidor. So many different amazing beers. They had cases of SweetWater, but no Blue, which made me blue. They had the large (750 mL) bottles of Lambic in 5 different flavors. High gravity beers, barleywines, meads, honey wine, ales, porters, stouts, pilsners, all hand-crafted for your enjoyment. It would take months to drink your way through this place. Maybe a liver or two. We picked up 2 big Lambics, I picked up a 750 mL of Ommegang Abbey Ale, and a 750 mL of Grand Marnier because it's delicious and was on sale for $30.

After our sushi dinner we shopped at Whole Foods which had a very decent beer selection (even though I couldn't buy any because it was Sunday, yes another reason SC sucks, although there are lots of other states that don't sell alcohol on Sunday) and they even had the big Lambic but not the selection of flavors. So it looks like Whole Foods on Woodruff is my new favorite beer supplier.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007



The rally community was struck with a hard loss this weekend as Colin McRae and his 4 yr. old son died in a helicopter crash.

Colin McRae made his name in the rally world by piloting a Subaru Impreza and a Ford Focus to rallying success. More recently he competed in the first 2 years of rallying during the X Games and in the Dakar rally in 2004 and 2005.

You will be missed Colin. You inspired so many of us to drive over dirt and rocks and trees way too fast.


Friday, September 14, 2007



I was gonna post about how the FIA is screwing the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team and will but first I want to post this link.

Doc in the Box has a good friend, Lieutenant Commander David Tarantino, who came to the rescue on 9/11/01. It wasn't at the main site of the World Trade Centers or in a field in Pennsylvania. He was working in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into it. He's a Navy corpsman (doctor) and is trained to react in times of distress and emergency. He did just that 6 years ago and helped save the life of Jerry Henson, a former Navy commander who also worked in the Pentagon. It's an amazing tale and I hope that we can all live up to the example that David has set.

Lt. Comdr. David Tarantino, Jerry Henson, and Capt. David Thomas

Eye in the Sky by Marlane Liddell from

Pictures about that day.


Now on to more pedestrian racing concerns. Formula 1 (F1) is the premier racing series. The top 2 teams are Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. I'm not sure how it started but I think Mercedes talked to a Ferrari engineer who had some secret Ferrari information. The issue is whether or not Mercedes used that info for a competitive advantage. I don't think they did. The FIA (governing body of most top motorsports) and the FIA World Motorsports Council disagrees with me, so they fined Mercedes ALL of their constructor's points (they had the constructor's championship almost locked up with 40 or so more points than Ferrari) and fined them $100,000,000. 100 million?!?!?! That's a shit ton of money. It almost seems like the FIA is trying to kill F1! Why would they essentially ruin 1 of their top 2 teams? Mercedes is definitely appealing and hopefully can reduce the fine and reclaim their position at, or at least near, the top.

And the worst part is that the Ferrari engineer has so far gotten off scott-free. No penalty. No fine. Nothing. If anything he basically won the constructor's championship for Ferrari by leaking their info. So fucked up. I'm even a Ferrari fan and I know that's messed up. No one likes to win by forfeit; it's unsportsmanlike.

If you are fortunate enough to get the Speed Channel, definitely watch this weekend's F1 race. It's in the south of Belgium at Spa-Francorchamps. A gorgeous racetrack in the mountains with lots of elevation changes and some very interesting turns. It's also the longest F1 course by about 0.75 miles at 4.33 miles long.

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Gorgeous. If you have Google Earth, I would definitely search for Francorchamps, Belgium and then scroll south a bit. Then you can really check out the elevation change. Let's go see if that works.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


All the news that's fit to print

J met at Acura's (her bachelorette party, engaged to my friend Protege, although I was friends with Acura first) around 10 am on Friday. The Clemson crew going met there and drove down to ATL. They flew Air Tran down to Miami and even got a really good fare. Hang out in Miami a bit, check into the hotel.

They were definitely big pimpin' all weekend and the Ritz Carlton South Beach is an excellent start. They were on the club level which meant access to the club lounge, cocktails, juices (beet, carrot, carrot-raspberry, etc...), they served breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktail hour, basically they never had to leave the hotel for any reason at all. But that's not why they're there is it?

Saturday night was the BIG night out, so Fri. night they just went to Wet Willies but it was just a loud bar and who likes to overpay for drinks and yell at your friends? So they bailed, went back to the hotel, hung out in the jacuzzi and pool then crashed.

The room they had was a corner ocean view room. The wrap around porch had gorgeous views of the beach and even some of the strip. Ceiling to floor glass did nothing to hide the view if you didn't feel like being outside. It was a suite with 2 bathrooms and I think they jammed 7 ladies in there.

One friend showed up Sat. and proceeded to announce that she was already on her 3rd beer, then tipped the valet one dollar and a sample of the drug she peddles. Oh yes, warning sirens are going off. She enjoys talking and does so with gusto. The last thing I'll say about her is she's 27 and proceeded to urinate on the carpet, hopefully, in a drunken stupor. Classy.

Sat. J slept in until 2 pm when she was roused awake. J's a sleeper, what can I say? They went to the pool and walked around a bit then got ready for the official bachelorette party. Dinner started at Touch where J had tuna tartar (she's a sushi fiend) and there was live entertainment: a fire dancer and juggler coupled with bongos and a DJ mixing. They were all stuffed and had lots of fun. J said the atmosphere of the restaurant was very cool, exciting and inviting. Then the party moved to Mansion where they had a VIP table and a bottle of Moet, Stoli Oranj and Malibu. The party poopers left at 2 am but all the cool kids shut the club down at 5 am. They met some people at the club and hung out with them until about 7 or so. The others went to sleep but J knew that it was stupid to go to sleep cuz they had to get up and get ready to leave at 8 am. So J stayed up all night and her text message to me at 8:15 am on Sun. let me in on the secret.

As soon as they were on the plane and seated, they were all out. Don't even remember the plane taking off. Next thing they know they're in ATL, getting in the car and heading back to Clemson. J gets back to our house about 3:15 and we hug and talk about our respective weekends. I already know hers is going to be better than mine. We both take a shower and then a nap. It takes until about Tues. afternoon for everyone to be back to 100%.

Hope you enjoyed. Yes I should've posted this when it was still fresh in my mind but that didn't quite happen.

Back to work! We're going to see DJ Tiesto north of ATL this Friday but I should be around some this weekend.

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Lab woes

I'll tell you the story about the bachelorette party but first several social awareness points.

First, please keep Indonesia in your thoughts. They received a 7.9 earthquake a few days ago and once again must rebuild their country, economy and lives.

Kathy Griffin is making news for a comment she made accepting her Emmy for her show "My Life on the D-List". She said "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it Jesus! This award is my god now!", which is very funny and exactly why I love Kathy Griffin. No topic is taboo. I'm gonna quote Cynical Chris' post about it which sums it up nicely.
Kathy Griffin’s Emmy Speech to be Censored Because of Jesus Comment

Suck it Jesus is not a blasphemous comment if it is made by somebody who doesn’t believe that there is a god. If you are an atheist, it is impossible for you to commit blasphemy goddamn it! And besides that, when did the Catholic League become the leader and voice of Christians everywhere? Hell, the Catholic League isn’t even the voice of Catholics.

Google the words “Bill Donohue” and “hate speech” to see that is his modus operandi. He finds a high profile example of somebody not bowing to his particular deity (any other seems to be find) and accuses them of “hate speech” in a press release. It’s getting quite boring but it still is effective.

Oh, and Suck it Jesus.

If you feel like signing a petition against censorship, then please go to

Everyone knows the NFL (National Football League) is big business. Last year the TV rights sold for $3.7 billion. The owners are making money off the sweat and blood of their players. You would hope that after the players retire that they are still taken care of through pension and health insurance.
In a game expected to take in $7 billion this year and that exceeds all others in causing bodily harm, fewer than 3 percent of the men who played in the league succeed in getting disability benefits. Worse, the players union turns away ailing vets despite a pension fund with $1 billion in assets.

Twenty years ago, when linemen weighed 280, it was common for them to play on into their 30s. Now offensive tackles average 320, and a typical career lasts three and a half seasons, or just half a season more than the minimum to qualify for a pension. Nor does playing longer secure one's finances during old age. Full pension payouts start at 55, which is around the time the average former player dies, two decades sooner than non-players.

According to the Men's Journal article, Casualties of the NFL, it all comes down to Gene Upshaw, head of the NFL Player's Association, that is supposed to protect the players and their interests, but "what emerges is a picture of a labor union that has turned its back on the men who built it, and officials who use their power not to advocate for their brethren but to protect the assets of the 32 owners with whom they once did battle."

These guys gave their all to play the game they loved, made some money, ravaged their bodies, and once they retired are completely discarded and forgotten about. It's shameful. Fuck the NFLPA and Gene Upshaw. Huh, apparently Bryant Gumbel agrees with me. Gene, please work for the players like you once were and not the bottom line.

Wow, those really got away from me. Ok, back this afternoon with the story you're all waiting for.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm on time!

I'm on time for lab today. I teach 3 undergrad labs this semester. It's the non-major chemistry so it's much less intensive for the student and the TA.

Yes I know I haven't recapped J's Miami Tales but I will before the weekend.

Yesterday was also a big day. Sloth came back with possibly the cutest video of her chihuahua Penny waking up. She also revealed to us her name. Definitely a big moment in my little blogosphere. I'll equate it to the revealing of Tutankhamun's tomb (yes I googled that spelling).

How do people believe that we didn't land on the moon? It's almost as bad as believing the Holocaust never happened. If the moon landing never happened then NASA (not this NASA) is a gigantic slushfund and all those aeronautical engineers they've been hiring over the years could've been working on something else. I personally believe that space travel is very important and should be researched, but until we get at least very close to the speed of light or really develop hibernation for humans, it won't really amount to anything and robots will be just fine. So Dubya, I think your plan of humans on Mars is stupid and just a ploy to draw attention away from your myriad failures. Oh sorry, lots of big uh-ohs.

Off to lab!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


We're not drug dealers; we're fund raisers.

- Thurgood Marshall played by Dave Chappelle in Half-Baked.

I picked up lunch from Bi-Lo's new wing bar and a nectarine. Should be delicious. I got to see pics of the bachelorette party last night. They definitely had a great time. I'll even tell you guys the stuff I'm not supposed to tell anyone.

But not now. I've got some work to do. Check back in after lunch some time.

We'll never forget.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Big things poppin'

My weekend went well. Friday we went downtown a bit, bar hopped, ran into some Chemistry folk and then ran into some Clemson Sports Car Club folk at Nick's, the official bar of the Clemson Sports Car Club. Nick's has a great selection of beer, both bottles and tap, and is never out of it, like Keith Street eternally is. But if you're low on cash, Nick's has the $1 can of Schlitz for the discerning broke college student pallet. Then back to Protege's for some hot Wii action. It was Protege's bachelor party.

Then I slept in, caught some college football, went to the store and got the ingredients for my BBQ chicken sandwiches for the bachelor pre-game party. Clemson beat LA-Monroe, GA Tech destroyed my dear ol' Samford Bulldogs by a score of 69-14 (Samford usually doesn't play ranked teams but the GA Tech coach, Chan Gailey, used to coach at Samford). I was disappointed that Wake Forest couldn't beat Nebraska but I'm sure USC will take care of that this weekend.

Sorry, got distracted by college american football. Marinated the chicken in BBQ sauce, made some cupcakes (I had planned on filled cupcakes but didn't have a pastry bag and my improvised zip-loc pastry bag had a major failure, so they turned into regular yellow cupcakes with vanilla frosting), showered and then took a nap for the long night to come.

Made it to Protege's (Acura, Protege's fiance, was in Miami with J and others for her bachelorette party; they had a much better time; I'll share tomorrow), tossed the meat on the grill and some sliced onion, started drinking on the quarter keg (30 L) of Spaten Optimator:

It was a pretty good doppelbock. I like my beer just a tad darker and if I'm trying to float a keg, alot lighter, but it had a good note, good taste and a good, if slightly bitter, finish. Here's a couple other reviews that are fairly accurate.

After food, beer, football and Wii, we called in the designated driver (Subaru's wife who didn't go to Miami) and headed off to the strip club. Yay for boobies! We went to Platinum Plus who have a terrible website that I won't link. Not a huge amount of hot ladies, some nice, some not so nice, some busted (I think those are for the truckers), but most everyone got a lap dance and tipped some ladies and successfully got boobs rubbed in their faces. There was one drunken stripper who was being entirely inappropriate and we couldn't wait for her to get as far away from us as possible.

We left after a few hours to return and keep the party going. Most everyone left about 3 or 4 but I stayed with Protege and his two friends from TX until we couldn't take it anymore and finally the party stopped just as the sky was getting lighter signaling the coming of dawn about 6:30. Got home, fed the cats, relieved some strip club tension, and went to sleep.

Oh, also on Saturday I watched qualifying for the F1 Gran Prix of Monza. Then I woke up about 11 or 12 and watched the race! Sorry, it's the F1 Gran Premio d'Italia 2007. Quali was exciting. Kimi Raikonnen had a very big wreck in the last practice session but the mechanics were able to salvage his engine and put it in the spare chassis and got him running. Incredible. The amazing Lewis Hamilton timed it right and was one of the last few guys to finish their lap within the time limit but he was 0.037 seconds behind the defending world champ and teammate, Fernando Alonso. Congrats to "Quick" Nick Heidfeld for outqualifying Kimi and Ferrari.

The race went well. David Coulthard got brake-checked by Giancarlo "Not gonna have a job at Renault next year" Fisichella and damaged his front wing which sent DC flying off-course once he was in a high speed turn and needed his front wing to generate some downforce. Fernando and Lewis blasted out to a great start. It got a little hairy in Turn 2 with some wheel to wheel contact between Lewis and Felipe Massa's Ferrari, but everyone made it out okay. Felipe had a serious suspension issue and had to withdraw from the race which took all the pressure off the McLaren boys who had already run away with the race and that's how it ended. Fernando, Lewis (both Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) and Kimi for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. The top 8 was rounded out by the two BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, Nico Rosberg's Williams-Toyota in 6th, Heikki Kovaleinen in his ING Renault and with the last point of the day, Jenson Button got his Honda to behave like a Honda to come in 8th. Big congrats to Honda for scoring points and actually making out of the third and second qualifying sessions. Lewis Hamilton had an amazing pass of Kimi to retake 2nd place late in the race.

Another big congratulations on Fernando Alonso with his 100th career start in F1 and even making it a solid win!

Then I tried to watch the Indy Racing League race in Chicago. I couldn't do it. It's a bloody circle. I just like my racing to have left AND right turns, or be a much smaller oval so it's pure chaos. I fell asleep and awoke to Ashley Judd being interviewed which meant that her hubby Dario Franchitti won. I just saw that he wants to go to NASCAR in 2008. I also heard that former F1 driver, Jacques Villeneuve, is looking to get into NASCAR. I think he's gonna start in that truck series they have and then make the jump.

And that is one of my big problems with NASCAR. They have so much money that they're taking quality drivers from other racing series. But until they start stealing WRC drivers and F1 drivers, I won't mind too much. And I NEVER see that happening. Can you imagine going from racing through the woods and trees (World Rally Championship) or the best racetracks in the world (F1) to racing on an oval? The on-track action would be different (which is the only thing NASCAR has going for it) but the actual track would put them to sleep. I have to go around that thing how many times? Ugh, no thanks.

Oh, I also watched the Red Bull Air Race Series. Wow, it's like autocross with a damn plane! They set up these huge pylons in a large course and these guys fly their planes through and around them. Here's a pretty good intro video.

Happy Monday! And tune in tomorrow for the bachlorette party recap. There will be less racing talk, I promise.

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Friday, September 07, 2007


I'm okay

J flitted off to Miami this morning for a bachelor party. Before she left she managed to let Leon (our older cat) out of the house. Again.

The corresponding bachelor party is on Saturday. We're getting a quarter keg of a beer that I'll review later and then going to pay for some ladies' attention and nudity (just topless, it's still the Bible Belt).

Hopefully I will clean and move the plants from the back of the house to the front to make watering them much easier. (no outdoor faucet in the back) I also plan to get some cleaning done.

I should be coming into work Sun. morning too, or at least early afternoon. Hopefully I'll find my way to a more interesting and thought provoking post then.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Bad day

Yesterday was a bad day. I was in a funk all day. I think it's because I was hungover for the first time in a long time. I still can't believe alcohol is legal.

I thought lab started at 9:30, showed up early at 9:15ish and then found out that lab actually started at 9:05. Doh. Lab went okay after that.

Hopefully I'll be back later with a "real" post.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Body Worlds!

Edit: If you're just interested in the Body World synopsis, scroll way down.

My wife, J, and I arrived in Charlotte around 11:30 am on Saturday. I dropped her off at the SouthPark Mall (Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman were sadly nowhere to be found). She bought a couple dresses and a pair of sunglasses and a couple other things.

While she was spending our hard earned money, I headed over to Inner Peaks, a most excellent indoor rock climbing gym. They had so many different holds and different features on their walls. They had a big bouldering cave with some very nice roof sections. Some really tough routes, or "problems", and some not so tough ones. The one thing I wish our wall had at Clemson was a roof. We have a small cave but the decline is only about 30-35 degrees, where as a roof is completely parallel to the ground. Great upper body workout but foot placement is still very important. I always enjoy a good roof with big beefy holds aka jugs. Bouldered for about an hour, laughed at the little girl who was crying because "the green hold was too far away", she wanted to reach the top so bad but seeing as how she was 5 or so, just couldn't reach it. The woman from one climbing couple had a very nice Blue Jay on her shoulder. I told J about the lady's Blue Jay and she pictured some lady climbing with a bird sitting on her shoulder eating bird seed. I love the weirdo I married.

Left the gym, hit the hotel to check in and change shirts, then delved into the mall. Damn. This is definitely the "nice" mall of Charlotte. Burberry, Louis Vitton, Nieman Marcus, all the big names were there. There was a new one though that we hadn't heard of. Billy Reid. Apparently he's a designer from Florence, Alabama (near where an uncle lives) and has stores in Dallas, Houston, Florence and Charlotte. Atlanta might get one next. They had just gotten in their fall line and were very excited about it. His clothes struck me as manly and rugged yet refined. If I was going fox hunting or just relaxing around a fire with a book, his clothes are perfect for both. His store gave off a posh lodge vibe with the real magnolia branches and dark hard wood floors. Definitely a nice change from the Juicy store next door. Good luck Billy! I hope you do very well for yourself and help Alabama's image a bit in the process.
Picture of Billy's Houston store:

Pic and this quote stolen from Heather Staible who is the Shop Girl for the Houston Chronicle.
For men who might not want the total hipster look, but know better than to wear a short-sleeve shirt with a tie, Billy Reid in Highland Village is an upscale and decidedly Southern take on men's fashion. The high-quality clothing is functional and fashionable. It appeals to men who may not be too keen on a distressed blazer but would love a contemporary take on a jacket. Billy Reid is for the man who doesn't mind paying more for investment pieces and recognizes the value of a great-fitting pair of pants.

Haha! Haven't even mentioned Body Worlds yet. I'm getting there. Patience.

Back to the hotel, rested and then I realized that I had completely forgotten shoes. I was wearing flip flops and they won't let you autocross in flops, but luckily I need a new pair of shoes anyway so it was off to REI! I love love love REI so I won't get into how awesomely amazing REI is but I am very proud to be a member of the REI co-op. I picked up a pair of North Face Prophecy, a cross training shoe and the first North Face product I've ever purchased.
So far I really like them. They replaced my blue Adidas Climacools, which were good shoes and I loved the open ventilation unless it was raining and then the ventilation became water inlets.

Leave REI to head downtown and get dinner. We ended up at Arpa Tapas Wine Bar & Grill. We sat on the patio and had a nice breeze. There was a table numbering mix-up and we kept getting dishes we didn't order. The food we did order was very good although too big to be tapas in my unprofessional opinion. The roasted mushroom salad was pure fungi and delicious! I mentioned that it was my birthday dinner and they brought out a molten lava cake with a candle. Ooey gooey and super chocolatey deliciousness. They had an extensive wine list and I tried a Murphy's Irish Stout. A very crisp clean beginning with a darker finish. Very good beer.

Scroll down to the previous post for the scoop on all the autocrossing action.

Got back to the hotel about 8:15, hopped in the shower, talked with J a bit who was up at her weekday wake up time and then we both slept until about 11 am. Headed downtown, parked in the Discovery Place, DP, parking deck, $7, and then walked to lunch. We had a bit of trouble finding the DP but I saw the Rock Bottom Brewery and knew that was where lunch was happening. I had a good burger and J's club on foccacia with chipotle mayo was really really good. You could taste the chipotle before you even took a bite of the sandwich but it didn't overpower the meats and cheese. I think it was called the Brewmaster Club. Close, the Brewer's Club. We also chose the beer sampler. $5.50 and you get a small glass of all 7 of their beers. Their Iron Horse Stout was really good with a coffeish finish. Their Prospector's Pilsner made me wonder why anyone would ever drink a lager. This stuff had America and ball games all over it. They also had a seasonal Belgian white beer that had a hint of lemon that I could've drank all day, but apparently we snagged the last few drops of it for our taste.

Then it was off to the Discovery Place for Body Worlds! Hooray! The people in front of us paid $44 for 2 tickets where as I paid $50.60 to pick mine up at the same spot. (stupid internet and its surcharges, but at least we were guaranteed tickets) Wandered over to stand in line and looked around the Discovery Place. Standard really cool exhibits that are super hands on and kid friendly. I have loved these places ever since our grade school field trips.

As we were waiting inline I was trying to get a sense of the demographics. Mostly caucasian and that was about it. Men, women, a few kids, teens, us, Baby Boomers, grandparents, everybody. There was even a pregnant lady who I really wanted to be near when she saw the preserved pregnant lady, but I missed it.

We enter and it starts with a few innocuous bones. A femur split down the middle (that's the big one on top of your leg) and they had the smallest bones in the body, the anvil, stirrup and hammer. They were really small. All 3 might fit on your thumbnail if you place them right. Then they ease you into plastination with the muscular system. There's a guy standing. There's another guy with some of his muscles pulled back so you can see the others. They have some preserved parts from folks with hip replacement surgery and knee replacements. How they get metal and bone to coexist is beyond me. Then there's the Basketball Player. He's posed with a basketball and the sign tells you that he has the most developed muscles of anyone yet plasticized. His arms are pretty cut and his pecs are gorgeous and huge. It helps that his skin is gone so you can really check them out. You can see his bladder just above his penis and testes in the pelvic cavity. Yeah, there's a fair bit of nudity, a few boobs and quite a few penises.

From the muscles it's onto the nerves! Yay for nerve impulses! The cluster of nerves around the hands was really cool. They had one guy sitting playing chess and they had removed some of the spine so you could really see the spinal nerves, they look like a root system branching out, and see the sciatic nerve that goes from your pelvis down to your feet. I heard someone comment that they were only men so far and just as she said that we came across a lady with some muscles and nerves. She was standing next to the lung and heart display. They showed a normal sized heart and then an engorged heart. It was about twice the size. The sign explained that athletes can have bigger hearts but every other reason is an adverse medical condition. Some even grow up to 800 grams (1.75 lbs.)! All the measurements are in the metric system with the english equivalent in parentheses. The lungs were bigged and explained about the bronchi and bronchioles. Then they had smoker's lungs! Oh no! Black and grey and gross. The sign noted that "only" 20 cigarettes a day for a year is the equivalent of pouring 5 ounces of tar into your lungs. You try breathing under tar.

Then they had a separate section around a corner with an arrow marked "Prenatal development". Babies. They had fetuses from 4 weeks (very tiny) up to 33 weeks (normal baby sized). J's favorite was the 8 weeks fetus cuz you could see the tiny hands and toes. They used 2 liquids with differing densities to get the preserved fetuses to float in the middle of the container. One of my favorite chemistry tricks. Then as you round the corner, there she is. A sign before you entered explained that she had a serious disease and got pregnant. She passed on and they could not save her baby so it went with Mommy. The fetus was fairly large (11 inches) and had already rotated head down for an "easy" natural delivery. It was really cool seeing how the organs moved around and squished to accommodate this kid that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Very good and educational mini-exhibit. I'll delve into what emotions were stirred in me in a later post. Yes abortion-talk will come into it.

You leave there and are greeted by the Winged Man. His muscles were spread out to expose other muscles and bones and it looks like he has wings.

Cardiovascular system! They had preserved the veins from a human head. There were so many! No wonder head wounds bleed like mad, you probably cut 40-60 veins in one fail swoop. It was really cool seeing all the thousands of blood vessels and how they travel throughout the body.

Wow! They had an entire horse! It was to showcase the difference in bone structure and the ole go-to for us humans: Look how small its brain is! The horse's lungs were gigantic. They left a strip of fur down the back with the tail. I believe they did this to hide the prominent anus of the horse. It was like a big tube. Gross.

They had cross sections of a fat (300 lb.) man and a skinny (120 lb.) man. The fat guy's organs were bigger and had to work harder, he had tons of fat and the sign said the fat guy died at 50.

They had some livers. A healthy liver. A fatty liver which was caused by immoderate alcohol use (binge drinking?), but said that if you cut back on the booze, it would heal itself and go back to normal. Then we had the liver with cirrhosis. It was tiny and bumpy and looked awful. I could just see the liver giving the middle finger to the alcoholic who did this to it. Also thanks to Google who offer suggestions for misspelled words cuz I was pretty far off on cirrhosis (cyrohisis) but it guessed right.

Then the endocrine system. Testes, kidneys, penises and I saw the prostate gland too. It was so small, how does it get cancer? Then I was wondering why those sadistic doctors have to jam a finger up your ass to inspect it. I found out why. They had a cross section of the pelvic area. The rectum was directly next to the prostate. Fuck, so that's why they go up there. I'm really not looking forward to prostate exams, if anyone was wondering.

They had a couple employees with models of lungs and such that you could touch and feel (no touching anywhere else in the exhibit). One kid commented that the lungs were soft and spongy. I guess I used to think they were like plastic bags that filled up with air too. Then as you're leaving they had the cardiovascular system of a rooster and a duck.

My fun fact that I didn't know beforehand was fraternal twins have 2 placentas and identical twins share a placenta.

Congrats to Dr. Gunther Von Hagens for coming up with the ingenious method of plastination. (They drain the body of fluids then drop it in acetone for about a week to get rid of any excess water, then they drop it into the plastic goo and then drop the pressure which forces the plastic into every nook and cranny and then you're plastic!)

Excellent exhibit. I might not take kids, at least not little kids, maybe middle school up. Very educational and shows what certain "lifestyle choices" can do to your body. I thoroughly enjoyed Body Worlds.

Then J made me drive home. She was in the hotel room all night and the guy who was in a parking lot for 8 hours and got 2 hours of sleep AND whose birthday it was had to drive home. Nice.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007


Post 800!

Eh, easy title and a pseudo-milestone. I'll have a complete recap tomorrow but just wanted to get the autocross story out of the way.

Dinner ended about 10 pm, Arpa, a Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Charlotte, got back to the hotel, lied down and relaxed. Then 11:45 pm on my birthday rolled around ,I bid J adieu and headed off to the Continental Tire factory. Huge thanks to Continental Tires for allowing us use of a couple of their parking lots. There was a tiny issue with registration but I had pre-registered and it was all okay. Swapped tires and got in line. Nice off-throttle oversteer but I hit a cone. 34.7 and I spent the rest of the morning trying to match it. It wasn't to be. My official fastest was a 35.2 (you got 6 official runs and as many practice runs as you could wait in line for). It was a tad frustrating but at least I was consistent. My slowest was a 35.4, not a bad spread, and only a few cones all night. Incidentally, if I would've recorded the 34.7, that only would've bumped me up to 9 out of 15. 10th in class, 104 out of 147 raw time, 90 out of 147 PAX. Besides feeling that I'm at my limits and need to take a driving school or spend lots of money on the car, I had a great time. Lots of practice, camaraderie, and only $30. Keep the racing off the streets yo.

After my work assignment I was able to get in 9 runs in 4 hours. Last year I got about 15 in the same amount of time. Needless to say, the event grew and we had a much larger contingent of night owls this year.

The rest of Seth's exciting Charlotte Birthday O'rama tomorrow. Be sure to tune in to ESPN at 8 pm eastern to watch the Clemson Tigers take on the Florida State Seminoles.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007


Happy Birthday to Me!

Tiny amount of joy in the face of all the ugliness happening in the world. Today marks the 28th year since my birth!

I'm aging like wine baby, screwcap and all.

Huge thanks go out to Mom, Dad, J, Brother, Foxy, Leon, Julio (RIP) and Henry (RIP) and of course each and every one of you too!

Posted from the lobby of the Marriott Southpark in Charlotte.

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