Cliff Gardner

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bizarro world

This evening I hung out with some really awesome old friends Emily and Kristen. You know how you won't see some folks for months and then when you see them again it's like you were never apart? Yea, that's the way I feel whenever I'm around these folks. Good friends are one of the truly great things in life.

So anyway, we went to Shari's, the only place within 30 miles of Fo Gro that's open all night. I remembered Shari's as a decent but not remarkable restaurant. It was our old hang out in high school, but believe me when I say that a TON had changed since I had been there last. The entire place had been remodeled and some of the new additions included a breakfast bar and wireless internet access. It was like that scene in "Demolition Man" when Sylvester Stallone is blown away when he goes to Taco Bell expecting fast food and finds that over the last few years it became an extremely classy establishment.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It must suck to be blind

Things you shouldn't do during the hour immediately following a glaucoma test at your optometrist that dilates the shit out of your eyes:

--drive for 20 minutes through traffic facing the sun

--walk across a crowded store parking lot staring at your blurry prescription, oblivious to the dozen SUV's that almost kill you and come so close you feel a breeze

--get a haircut

Sometimes I'm amazed that I can dress myself in the morning.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I'm out of ideas

I've owned my car Yucca for about a month now and haven't washed her for two reasons:

1) I travel at least once a week to Salem in order to visit Mandy, and this means lots of highway miles. Since part of my frequent journey takes me through the outskirts of Forest Grove, I inevitably get stuck behind a hay truck for 20 miles on these trips, meaning that any efforts I spend washing Yucca will be undone the next time I visit my sweetie.

2) I live in Oregon. This means that it will eventually rain buckets and theoretically do my Yucca-washing for me. Unfortunately the downpour this morning disproved this theory and Yucca is still a dirty girl. *In the voice of Stewie from the "Emission Impossible" episode*

I'm out of ideas. How exactly does one get a car clean?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm prejudiced against prejudiced people!

I've been increasingly aware of my own assumptions lately in two specific and frequent circumstances, and in both cases, I am getting extremely frustrated.

First, when I see someone with a "Support Our Troops" bumper sticker, I assume they mean "Support the War. Support President W. Bush. Don't support those hippie liberal protesters." I assume they're redneck and macho. I assume I have nothing in common with them. I assume they own lots of guns and a Confederate flag. The thing is, I do support our troops--my brother Patrick served in Iraq and my dad fought in Korea...Believe me, I love the troops, but I don't support the war. It really frustrates me that supporting the troops has become a euphemism for supporting the president's war.

Second, when people go out of their way to tell me that they're Christian, I make lots of assumptions about them. This one bothers me more than my assumptions of the support our troops folks because I know a lot of really kind, compassionate and wise Christians who love and respect people of all sexual orientations. I am one of them. However, when someone goes out of their way to highlight their faith, by a bumper sticker or in a conversation, I assume their doing it to point to their views on a lot of hot-button political issues, like abortion and GLBT rights. I feel that Christian has become code for Republican.

Mandy and I had a long conversation about this the other day and I thought I would ask for feedback. Does anyone else feel the same way? Is this a problem and if so, does anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Channel surfing made easy

My dad got me a universal remote for my TV and DVD/VCR. The funny part, though, is that he originally bought it for my mom who has trouble with technology a lot of the time, so this thing is huge. I mean, it's longer and wider than my forearm, with buttons the size of quarters that light up when you press them. I'm pretty sure I could see this thing from space. This remote impresses me almost as much as Atlanta Braves first baseman Julio Franco, who turned 47 today. Happy birthday slugger.

How Familiar

I'm finally settling in at the old McCloskey homestead. It's amazing how quickly I've fallen into a routine:

9:50 am: Wake up, grab soda, head back for my bedroom containing my bed and tv.
10:00 am--12:00 pm: Watch two episodes of "ER" on TNT. Hey, if I haven't seen it, it's new to me!
12:04 pm: Run 2.5 miles.
12:45 pm: Eat lunch consisting of ham and cheese, doritos and a soda.
1:30 pm: Shower, get dressed, make the rounds online.
2:30--5:00 pm: Do something productive. Today I registered for the October LSAT and the LSDAS. Tomorrow I'm meeting with a student and will hopefully look for a job. Thursday I'll continue said job search, start my personal statement and decide whom I will ask for letters of recommendation.
5:00--7:30 pm: Watch the Braves game. If they're not playing, I cry and stare out the window for a few hours.
8:00--11:00 pm: Eat dinner, watch television. Tonight it's "Tommy Lee Goes to College," woooo!
11:00 pm--1:00 am: Make the rounds online, talk to friends on AIM.
1:05 am: Get ready for bed, sleep.

A lot of this will change when I get a second job, but for now, I'm ok.

Monday, August 22, 2005


If you've ever wanted to watch a car wreck in slow motion, "Taradise" is for you. Watching Tara Reid slowly destroy herself is like watching "The Real Cancun" and "Leaving Las Vegas" at the same time. And she showed so much promise offering to blow Jeff Bridges in "The Big Lebowski." How far the mighty have fallen...

Regal Cinemas: Lamer than Bob Dole minus Viagra

Mandy and I went to see "Red Eye" last weekend, and I must say, I was highly impressed. Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy showed how talented they are and it was the best horror/suspense movie I've seen in a long time. However, what almost ruined it for me was how annoyed I was with the Regal Cinemas rewards program.

I signed up for this thing because I figured that Mandy and I would be seeing lots of movies this summer and it would just be a good idea to take advantage. However, as it turns out, this is the lamest rewards program ever. Seriously, it sucks. Let me walk you all through this. If you spend $40, you get a free popcorn, if you spend $80, you get a free soda, and if you spend $120, you get a free movie ticket. This is where it really gets lame, though, because rather than upping the ante after $120, the popcorn-soda-ticket rotation just starts over again, meaning that unless you want to spend almost $500, there's really very little incentive to go to the movies and spend more money. Full details of this lameness can be found here.

But wait, there's more. After a frankly really disappointing summer at the movies (seriously, with few exceptions, does anything really stand out from all this crap?), I had finally spent enough to get a free movie ticket and planned on using it to see "Red Eye." However, despite me having my card that proved I had spent $123 in various Regal Cinemas, I was told that I couldn't receive my free ticket without bringing in a receipt from the last time I saw a movie that had my total "credits" listed on it, and was reminded to do so next time in order to take advantage of this great opportunity. Fuckers.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Don't forget the hand truck!

I'm going down to Salem to help Mandy move into her new apartment and snuggle (yay!) and I won't be back until Monday. Since I won't be blogging until then, I just want all my blogging buddies out their in blogger land to know that your milkshakes bring me to the yard. You all complete me. I blog you.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rick # 3

This post is the third volume in my stories about Rick, my co-worker at Goodwill. You can enjoy volume one and volume two on my old blog.

Earlier this afternoon, I was cleaning out my desk and stumbled upon an old binder of mine labeled "flows." It was a collection of all of the debate flows I had from my freshman year of college, saved and organized neatly with a typed index. I re-read them each a hundred times that summer, trying so hard to get better. Stuffed in the back flap was a slip of paper that brought back memories. It was a list of potential slogans for Goodwill.

See, working at Goodwill was incredibly boring...the same old routine would have driven me insane with monotony had I not found some way to distract myself with humor and/or some other form of mental stimulation. The debate flows, and the dozen books I read that summer, took care of the mental exertion portion of my sanity, while the slip of paper, along with Rick, took care of the humor.

It started when the manager announced at the weekly staff meeting that the umbrella Portland branch was holding a competition to see who could come up with the best slogan for their store, with a $50 gift-certificate any Oregon Goodwill. Like Tim Robbins in "The Shawshank Redemption," Rick and I just needed something to keep us busy, so we took it upon ourselves to submit the most clever slogans we could come up with. Our ideas were on the slip of paper in the "flows" binder, my favorites including:

--Goodwill: Oregon's answer to Jimmy Carter!

--Goodwill: If you're not with us, you're against us!

--A good day begins at Goodwill. A bad day begins anyplace else.

--Goodwill: A garage sale...with a PULSE!

Sadly, we were snubbed by the elitist fucks at the Portland branch who rejected all of our suggestions, but we still had a really fun time putting them together!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fun with numbers

I've always struggled with math. While Mandy recalls her high school AP calculus class with a smile, the pre-algebra class I took as a senior still gives me nightmares. Apparently our polar opposite experiences with math are actually fairly common. Since I always struggled with math in high school, I assumed that my required math class at Willamette would certainly spell my doom.

Fortunately, the class was one of the easiest I took at Willamette. The official title was "techniques of math," but everyone just called it "fun with numbers." My professor pointed out that while most math classes build on what you learned in the previous level class like you're climbing limbs on a tree, under that analogy, this class was the dying shrub in the corner of the yard. We spent two months discussing various methods of voting. I shit you not, a question on the final asked me the following:

"There are three candidates for the president of the marching band in a high school election. Abby gets 10 votes. Carl gets 15 votes. Kim gets 2 votes. Which of these candidates received a plurality?"

Stupid story problems. Math is so hard!

Take a look, it's in a book...

I recently finished unpacking in my old/new room in Fo Gro. Today I glanced over at my bookshelf and laughed at the entertaining assortment of books that I had randomly assembled in a row:

America by Jon Stewart

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Feminist Theory from Margin to Center by Bell Hooks

The Bible by Jesus and company

How to Make Love Like a Pornstar: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson

Yup, that's me in a nutshell.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Baby Got Back

Those of you who know me will attest to my desire to have a big family one day. It's an on going debate between Mandy and I. See, she wants to have two or MAYBE three kids, and only if the first two are boys, while I want to have enough to enter the entire family in a local co-ed slow-pitch softball league. However, given that my biggest contribution to the birthing process will be something that I do for fun (loving, hot fun!) anyway, I think my perspective on the issue is a little biased, so we'll probably end up closer to her end of the baby spectrum than mine. Especially after today.

This afternoon I went to the local Health and Human Services Department to take care of some food stamp issues, and the place was packed with screaming kids and their inept parents. One particular boy sounded like he was being stepped on by a giraffe, and I'm pretty sure the young girl behind me was responsible for shattering my glasses, that is until her mother started breastfeeding her in the most blunt and overt way possible. When a little girl around four or so threw her sippy cup at me after minutes of careful aiming, I was considering a vasectomy. By the time I had driven most of the way home, I had cooled down a bit, but I still stopped by a 7-11 and bought a lot more condoms.

Dollar Menu

It was late March and in Salem, that meant that the cherry blossoms were blooming on the north side of the capitol. As J and B walked towards McDonald's in silence, however, they were both thinking about very different things that had nothing to do with the pink petals they were treading on.

J: My ass itches.
B: Something's bothering him...on a day like today, I can't see anything to get upset about. It's always something.
J: Stupid monthly herpes outbreak. I really should tell her before she finds out the hard way.
B: Why can't he just smile at me and tell me he loves me? Just once would be nice. I'm not asking him to turn into one of those prissy Beta's who are totally whipped or something, but Christ, I've been giving him head for damn near a month now and I'm not even sure we're exclusive.
J: Meh. That conversation would be hella, "hey, B, I gave you the clap! Thanks for the hummers!" Or is chlamydia the clap? I forget....It's almost 11:00, I hope we make it there before they stop serving those kick ass sausage mcmuffins.
B: I wake up wearing some stupid theme party t-shirt in his damp fucking dorm room, he tells me he's taking me out to breakfast, and we start walking towards McDonalds? I mean what the shit?! AND WHY DOES MY THROAT KEEP TICKLING?!

*J and B turn to each other*

B: J, this isn't working.

J: I know, I'm sorry. They're already changing over to the lunch menu, I can see it from here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Car talk

After driving to Salem to see Mandy yesterday, I feel like Lloyd in "Dumb and Dumber" shouting, "HEY! WE LANDED ON THE MOON!" A few things I've discovered about driving now that I do it a lot myself:

--Traffic sucks. At least it gave me a change to set the new record for bowling on my cell phone.

--Gas is expensive. I spent $30.00 to fill up, and I still had a 1/4 tank left. It's almost as if some old white man is rubbing his hands together somewhere.

--There are a lot of torn tires on the sides of highways. Why am I the only one concerned by this?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Angels in America

I'm on Episode Three right now...It's really, really good. I'll probably want the rest of the six-hour mini-series today.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


This evening I was more depressed and sad than I've been in a long time, for a variety of reasons. However, after running 2.5 miles in 14:26, I feel a whole lot better. There's nothing like a really intense run to help me cope.

My father: scholar and construction worker

This morning my dad and I got up early and moved a bunch of garbage out of this apartment complex that he recently finished repairing from top to bottom by himself. Dad has really warped my views on age since, at 66, he's working 50 or so hours a week in a physically demanding job. He's doing all of this, by the way, to pay for about half of my 120K in Willamette costs and to put my sister, who will be starting her junior year at Oregon State in a month, through school. The man is my hero.

Along the way, I asked him about the proposed flag burning amendment. His opinion seemed qualified to me since he represented both the stereotypical liberal and conservative extremes, having received a masters degree and served in the Korean War. I actually expected him to come down on the side of banning it since he's been getting more conservative lately, but to my surprise, dad said that "outlawing flag burning would make a mockery of my service under that flag...I fought for the civil liberties that it represents." Well said, old man.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Fun things about Pacific

I went to Pacific today to visit with Sam Mathies, the director of forensics. He's really a great guy and one of the few people I've ever met who manages to be thoroughly friendly and classy at the same time. Anyway, when I accepted the Assistant Director job I was under the impression that the team didn't have a squad room, a.k.a. a place they could call their own to practice. I'm discovering that there are a lot of things that I just took for granted at Willamette that most other schools lack, a big one being a squad room. Luckily, though, Sam told me that we're getting a squad room this year, except it's more like the first floor of the old library, all to ourselves! This will make things much easier. Another bonus he told me about was the fact that I'll be getting my very own office! I know it's silly, but that really made me happy. Add to that the Northwest Coaches Conference that I'll be going to in September and I'm just knee-deep in adulthood! Now if only I could dress myself in the morning without putting my pants on backwards.... :-)

Why I moved....

I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think it's time for me to leave xanga. Honestly, I have never had a problem with it, ever. I like xanga a ton. However, I kept thinking that it just wasn't appropriate for my blog to be called "WUDB8ER," a.ka. "Willamette Debater," when I'm coaching another team. I thought about how I would have felt if Rob Layne, my coach last year, had a blog named after the school he competed for. So, I'm here now. I chose blogger because it's free, and has a few cool other features like spell-checking that aren't available on xanga classic. Plus, this was the site used for "Online Onslaught" and I liked it so much then I figured I'd stick around for a while. I'll still check xanga to stay in touch with folks, but this is my home now.

As for why I named this blog "Cliff Gardner," well, I'll let Aaron Sorkin explain it:

"You guys know who Philo Farnsworth was? He invented television. I don't mean he invented television like Uncle Milty, I mean he invented the television. In a little house in Provo, Utah. At a time when the idea of transmitting moving pictures through the air would be like me saying I've figured out a way to beam us aboard the Starship Enterprise. He was a visionary and he died broke and without fanfare. The guy I really like though was his brother-in-law, Cliff Gardner. He said to Philo, "I know everyone thinks you're crazy, but I want to be a part of this. I don't have your head for science, so I'm not gonna be much help with the design and mechanics of the invention. But it sounds like, you're gonna need glass tubes. See Philo was inventing the cathode receptor, and even though Cliff didn't know what that meant or how it worked, he'd seen Philo's drawing and he knew he was gonna need glass tubes. And since television hadn't been invented yet, it's not like you could get 'em at the local TV repair shop."I want to be a part of this", Cliff said, "and I don't have your head for science. How would it be if I taught myself to be a glassblower? And Icould set up a little shop in the backyard. And I could make all the tubes you'll need for testing." There oughta be Congressional medals for people like that...I'm somebody who knows how to do something. I can help. I can make glass tubes."