4 buttons, all butt

One-of-a-kind custom selvage denim thong - $300 on Superfuture (including worldwide shipping). All of the expected questions about pictures of fit have already been asked and answered, so don't think you're gonna be funny.

Hooray also for wins by default!

OleNelson can go ahead and just ship the OurDepartment traveling Crazylegs trophy directly to me, since I was the only one who ran. 15,000 people on a five-mile course (that goes right by OurBuilding) and none of them from OurDepartment? I accept the trophy with an asterisk - TimH is a sub-3:00 marathoner and definitely would have beaten me, had he ran. I put in my best time ever, by almost three minutes, though, so it would have been a fight.

With a combination of adrenaline and a mostly-downhill last quarter-mile, I hit the first mile marker in 5:55 - whoah, that's too fast, I can't hold on aaaaaa. Mile 2 climbed said road by OurBuilding, which is a moderately steep uphill S-curve, and I got to that mile marker at 13:00 - for just a hair over 7:00 for the second mile. I turned over 7:10-7:15 miles for the rest, threw up in my mouth a little at mile 4.75, sprinted down the field at Camp Randall, and immediately got in line for beer. Beer in hand, I positioned myself near the entrance chute to watch for M.Bro, who started a few waves back. She came in a few minutes sooner than I expected her, though, so she had to yell to get my attention so I would cheer for her. Then I promptly lost her for 20 minutes. Reunited near the sweat-bag pick-up, I got my training shoes out of the car, changed shirts, and ran the eight miles home.


Holy snot - a Ted Leo show is everything you'd expect, particularly when the opening band is sick and The Pharmacists play an extended set to make up for it. They closed the encore with Rappaport’s Testament: I Never Gave Up, which is from the EP that came with some copies of Living with the Living but is also a cover of a Chumbawamba song. Weird.

Hooray for new neighbors!

I don't know your names, I don't know what you look like, but I know that you are providing my apartment with a blanket of very strong wireless internet access, and for that I thank you. Thanks you, new neighbors, for replacing what the jerks upstairs took away when they moved out in February.

Sartorial schizophrenia

Based on what I saw on campus today - and perhaps others can back me up here - there's no consensus on how to dress for mid-60's in April with a chance of rain. Although the modal category was jeans+t-shirt, some folks aren't quite ready to put away that winter parka just yet, while other folks (these folks are very tan girls) are already in their summer uniform - terrycloth shorts and a very small tanktops.

Nike Loon

I know a lot of you are smitten with The Land of Fewer Lakes than Wisconsin, and I thought you'd like to know that Nike shares your smititude. For reasons I don't understand. That Nike does, not that you do. I get you. Why does Nike have a shoe inspired by a state bird at all, much less Minnesota's? I know Nike likes money - maybe it's inspried by Minnesota's state quarter? Is this the first of a series of state bird shoes? To be followed Dunks inspired by state flowers and Air Force 1s based on state vegetables?

Great Scott!

Straight from the 2015 of 1989, it's the Nike Air McFly from Back to the Future II! Now where the hell is my hoverboard, Nike?!

Halo 2 is Plan B

I waited to write anything until it was officially official, but I'm going to be developing and teaching a 3-week class in Los Angeles this summer (details intentionally vague - e-mail me or buy me chicken wings if you want to know more).

Here's the thing - I need a creative activity for the first day - one that demonstrates the basic principles of international politics through a playground game. I've used rock-paper-scissors/tic-tac-toe in the past, but I'd like to take advantage of the sunshine and do something outside. More specifically, I'm looking for a game that revolves around the choice between selfish action for short-term benefits vs. collective action for greater gains in the long-run. Basically, I want to play an active, interesting, engaging free-rider game with two dozen students. Small difficulty - I'm going to be half-a-country away from home, so I won't really be able to bring any stuff with me.


It's possible that I've joined the VoteForTheWorst.com crowd. Nay, mob. NAY! LIBERTY PARADE! 1-866-IDOLS-03 - you still have 35 minutes to make my new dream come true! Our victory shall be Malakarious!

Not that I have anything against Sanjaya, or even the other contestants. Or like I would know a on-key note if it walked up and belted Unchained Melody in my face. I just like being part of movements. The same reason I have this stupid tattoo on my chest - ugh.

VT shooting

Are you watching this? 2 hours between the first shooting and when classes were cancelled - WTF?!? I've also heard reports of dozens of injuries from students jumping out of dorm rooms windows to get away from the gunman.

Update: And now conflicting reports on whether the two shootings were by the same person, related, or a complete coincidence.

Update: An instant-message conversation posted on Somethingawful, between a poster and his brother, who was apparently in one of the classrooms -

ME (1:08:03 PM): so he came into your class?
Bro(1:08:08 PM): yeah
Bro(1:08:17 PM): i didnt think there was any way id live
Bro(1:08:52 PM): he finally left and me and the one other guy that wasnt shot ran to the door and held it shut
Bro(1:09:04 PM): and he tried to come back in and was shooting through the door
me(1:09:27 PM): holy shit
me(1:09:48 PM): what kind of gun was it
Bro(1:09:55 PM): pistol
Me(1:09:52 PM): and did he line people up
Bro(1:10:08 PM): no just shooting at people on the ground

Update: I'd just like to say that reading this thread is far more informative than watching/reading official news sites. Large-n online forums are the future of internet news - the original post happened before any news channel picked up the story, there's direct and immediate input from people that were there, etc. Information-aggregation from a wide variety of sources beats all.

Update: And now (well, a second ago), someone on Somethingawful is text-messaging with a reporter-friend at the press conference, and questions are being relayed from the internet to the police captain. It looks like he/she didn't get any in before the TV cameras cut off though.

Update: "holy shit its so weird talking to my friend who goes there. thank god shes ok. she had to jump out of the second story window of the building. her professor was killed. shes banged up, but 'ok'. cant believe what she must be feeling." And the woman with the shaved head that CNN has been re-airing the interview with was in the same classroom as the brother above.

Bob Loblaw, representing Garrett, Garrettletts

I wouldn't want anyone to miss the anonymous comment I just got on my last New York post:
Brad Garrett is 6'8" tall. There is no doubt to this. Your measurements are a bit off. I hope you asked permission to take a photograph of him with his kids. Afterall, he was there to share an experience with his children, not to be an object for people to photograph as well.


The title doesn't refer to that classic piece of qualitative research, but rather to where I overheard the second-funniest thing I've ever overheard running. (Nothing tops "Duuude - look at her legs," a statement of disgust which I prompted when I ran past a group of tweenage boys last summer.)

The setting was Middleton, WI - about four miles from my house. The weather - spring-esque, but still a little too much of a chill in the air to break out the short-short running shorts. Walking down the sidewalk a well-heeled middle-aged woman, who you could tell had pledged Delta Rho in 1987, and her daughter, who was at that perfect age where she knows enough to observe and say what she things, but not so old that she's learned what is and isn't appropriate to let past her mouth-filter.

As I ran by: "Mommy! That man doesn't want to be fat either!"

RIP Kilgore Trout

Kurt Vonnegut is dead at 84.

So it goes.

Go read Harrison Bergeron, my favorite Vonnegut short-story.


That's the sound of electrons connecting ideas in my head, which they did just a few minutes ago (while I walking to the Ingraham Deli to abscond with a plastic fork). My dissertation is finished now, except for that pesky writing it all down part, because the last conceptual piece of the puzzle just dropped into place. I'm so excited.

NYC Cont.

None of you want to see pictures of the Statue of Liberty (which was about 1/4 the size that superpatriotic country music videos led me to believe it was) or the Empire State Building (exactly the size rap-rock videos make it seem), but maybe you'll stick around for some less-ordinary shots. I'm only doing a few at a time - it'll be a longer project and there's a smaller chance I'll get bored and quit.

1) Ellis Island - yes, yes, America is a melting pot of awesomeness and everything. But did you know Ellis Island was completely abandoned between the mid-1950s and the early 1980s? It's true! And there are pictures to document it! Sadly (perhaps because it is too sad, ironically), the gift shop didn't have a book of forlorn abandoned-building photos. There are, however, massive blown-up photos in one of the display rooms -

2) These were covertly taken by M.Bro (codename: ScrappyOne) at 45RPM - a high-high-end denim store that only exists in Tokyo and New York. The dudes may have been fine with us taking pictures of their shop, but frankly, the salesfolk at the boutiques in soho (south of a street prounounced "How-sten" I've since learned) displayed such a high degree of arrogance and jackassitude that she didn't risk it. For example, at Blue in Green, a slightly less high-end denim shop, we not only didn't even get a nod of welcome, M.Bro says one employee gave the other a watch-them-they-look-like-shoplifters eye. She says she recognizes it from giving it to her employees. It's a universal sign she says you can only learn on the mean streets of small-business retail.

And I was wearing my Samurais, a vintage Levi's repro that exactly TWO stores in the entire country carry - can you guess what oddly-named store in soho is one of them? (I didn't buy them from there, but there's no way they could have known that.) The whole experience gave me a new appreciation for Context, where Sam and Ryan are willing to chat with graduate students for 30 minutes about denim, despite the fact that the graduate student said he's not buying any new jeans for at least a year.

3) There were dozens of flashbulbs popping as we walked into the gift shop at Liberty Island, so I sarcastically told M.Bro we needed to get out the camera to get some shots of the miniature statues. It turns out Brad Garrett is neither as tall (maybe 6'4" is my guess) nor as dopey as you would guess. He is, however, far more tan than you could imagine.

World-famous homeless man lives on the street for a day!

Not quite (since that wouldn't make sense), but Joshua Bell, a virtuoso violinist got $32.17 of dollars and change by playing at the D.C. subway stop in jeans for 45 minutes.
A onetime child prodigy, at 39 Joshua Bell has arrived as an internationally acclaimed virtuoso. Three days before he appeared at the Metro station, Bell had filled the house at Boston's stately Symphony Hall, where merely pretty good seats went for $100. Two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience so respectful of his artistry that they stifled their coughs until the silence between movements. But on that Friday in January, Joshua Bell was just another mendicant, competing for the attention of busy people on their way to work.

So what do we take away from this? That the true market value of good classical music is pretty low? That Symphony Hall-goers are pretentious? That's the average dude is an uneducated schmuck? That the real ignorance was that someone didn't knock him down and steal his multi-million dollar violin?

For sneaking, I guess

Between some killer Goodwill finds, bargain shopping in New York, and yesterday's Big Shoe Sale Event at Nordstrom Rack in Schaumburg (Mel wanted to go to a huge mall for spring break and neither M.Bro nor I wanted to drive all the way to Minneapolis, so Woodfield Mall is a good alternative), I've doubled the amount of sneakers I have in the last two weeks, and I've done it for well under $100. Next to jeans, sneakers are my favorite item of clothing. I'm also afraid I'm rapidly approaching the point where cool sneakers make me look like a middle-aged dude that's trying too hard, so maybe I'm going overboard until I'm 30. Then I'll sell them all and buy a pair of $1000 Grenson Masterpiece oxfords, Crockett & Jones captoes, or John Lobb handgrade wholecuts.

Or fuck it, I'll keep wearing dunks with my suede-elbowed sportcoats.

From left-to-right:
-Nike Air Force 1 Moon Boots (Goodwill)
-Nike Dunks in Maple (Goodwill)
-Vans Sk8-His in happy-skull checkerboard (Nordstrom Rack)
-Vans Prison-Issues (Nordstrom Rack)
-John Varvatos-designed Converse Jack Purcells (Century 21 in NYC)
-Cr8tive Recreation Cesario Los (Vault in NYC)

So that's a lot of sneakers, or "kicks" as the kids say, right? Melanie certainly thought it was too many for any boy to own, so I showed her some photos I've saved of hardcore sneaker collectors. She retracted pretty quickly.

My Easter gift to you

A story about pit ponies - horses used to haul carts in mines - being brought to the surface. The UK's oldest pit pony, which had lived at the National Coal Mining Museum for 18 years, died this week.
The reaction of the ponies to their release into open fields was, predictably, one of violent action. "...It was proper bedlam. They 'd run about kicking und squealing and they seemed to go mad at first.' The ponies were brought up and turned out, they just turned them loose. And there were ponies killed. Killed each other. They were all fit, full of choppy, and never been up, and the kicking and the fighting you never saw anything like it, it was chaos...."

Some boroughs (and a little New Jersey)

New York City is exhausting, but not as exhausting as a cancelled flight from Laguardia to Chicago that put us back into Madison a hair before 3:00 this morning. As I told Spice earlier today, I'm surprised to find myself relatively ambivalent about the thought of living there. I expected to come back either (1) ready to move there next weekend or (2) stridently opposed to the idea of living within three area codes. Instead, I can see why some people love it and why some people hate it, but I'm not sure I fall in either camp yet.

I'm too tired to caption, much less explain these - a tiny slice of the embarassingly-large number of photos we took.

All glass and cement

I'm blogging from the Fifth Ave Apple Store. Whoah.