Cliff Gardner

Friday, December 30, 2005

525,600 minutes

2005 has been a really great year. So much so that I’ve decided to chronicle the entire thing on my blog:

January: a pretty boring month all around. It’s cold.

February 4th: I turn 22. In other news, the Point Loma tournament kicks ass.

February 9th: Sean and I receive a second round bid to the NPTE but upon realizing that we can’t attend the tournament, we decide to attend the Truman “Free” Tournament instead.

February 16th: I decide to become a lawyer. Having my picture on the back of a phone book becomes too much of a temptation to pass up.

February 20th: Sean and I win the WSCA tournament. Well, sort of.

February 27th: After a really fun weekend at the Hatfield tournament, I qualify impromptu to nationals. Rob Layne proves why he's such a good coach.

March 7th: Sean and I get to finals at the Truman tournament before forfeiting the final round so we can make our flight. Hey, we wanted some peanuts.

March 8th: Mandy wins her student government election. Congratulations?!

March 22nd: Matt Harms, Ryan Walsh and Sean Powers all demonstrate why they are three of the best debaters in the country, and I try hard to keep up. NPDA nationals is a really fun tournament!

April 3rd: I talk about porn in an academic setting.

April 27th: Mandy turns 21!

May 14th: I graduate from college.

May 31st: I am hired as the Assistant Director of Forensics for Pacific University!

June-August: I work at summer conferences and try not to throw myself out of a window. In happier news, I participate in Online Onslaught!

August 12th: I move over to Cliff Gardner. Booya!

October 15th: Mandy and I celebrate our three-year anniversary!

November—December: I blog a lot, apply to a bunch of law schools, get really excited about the Baha’i Faith , and have a great time

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wedding Wrecking Crew

I’ve spent the last few days doing wedding stuff with Kristen Brooke, David and Zayne, three of the most awesome people and friends in the whole world, and I’ve learned a few things during the whole process:

--weddings are the worst and most stressful things in the world to organize, and families (not friends) are the reason for that.

--I don’t care if Mandy and I wait a really long time to get married because it will delay the misery that will be planning our wedding.

--weddings are expensive. No matter what, you’ll be spending around five grand at least, unless you do it in a backyard, which isn’t an option (see the first thing I learned).

--eloping becomes a progressively cooler alternative as the process continues.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

*Putting on my nerd hat….*

I know Luke was a Jedi Knight and all, but I still think he got the raw end of the deal in terms of home planets and I’m betting he was pissed off about that when he found out where his twin sister Leia grew up. To illustrate my point, here’s a scene from their childhood:

On Alderaan...

Hot house boy: Would you like more grapes, Princess Leia?

Leia: What a STUPID question. You’re USELESS! Go make me a Faberge Egg omelet, Marco. NOW, BITCH!

Hot house boy: Yes, Princess.

Meanwhile, on Tatooine…

Uncle Owen: LUKE! You still haven’t finished your chores! Feed the hog, then go to the market and get some parts for my pod racer, and don’t give me any shit about Tuscan Raiders shooting at you again. When you get back, you’re shaving my back.

Luke: God damn it.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bring me back some fireworks!

In a few hours, Mandy is leaving for China for two weeks to compete in a debate tournament and not buy cheap opium (the Department of Homeland Security might be reading this, you never know). So, I present a few quasi-offensive things she and the rest of the folks on the trip can do to make the whole experience more fun:

1) Ask people if they know Yao Ming personally. Wonder aloud why he's so tall.

2) Be very disappointed with the Great Wall. Say loudly, "oh...well it's pretty big, I guess."

3) Ask, “what’s with all the flags?”

4) Confuse Japan and China. Ask them if they've seen "that new Geisha movie."

5) Ask if they've seen the movie "Mulan." Start singing.

6) Demand to speak to the Emperor.

7) Ask where you can buy fireworks.

8) Get really wasted on the plane and say loudly at customs that you're only on this trip to buy cheap shoes.

9) Angrily shout, "those aren't real made up letters! Who the hell do you think you are?"

10) At the tournament, refer to "Godless Communists" as much as possible during impact development.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

What the hell are you so happy about? It’s Christmas!

Given that it’s Christmas, I am, of course, really depressed. Between fucking up the LSAT, Mandy going to China for two weeks, there being no internet access at my house and having nothing at all to do for the next week but hang out with my family (whom I love but don’t like that much), I’m a sad panda.

So, let’s make a list of things I do well to cheer me up:

--blogging (the post excluded). It turns out I am the plague rat of blogging because I’ve brought it with me to Pacific and encouraged my friend/boss Sam to start his own. He’s awesome, everyone go check it out.

--coaching forensics. I think I’m good at this but I’m really not sure...I could have been sucking this whole time. You’ll have to ask my students on this one. I know I want to be good at this because I love forensics and my students more than just about anything.

--being in a relationship. I’ll never understand people who are afraid of commitment or don’t communicate in relationships. These things are easy for me, most of the time. Plus, I’m a good snuggler. If you give 10% in a relationship, I’ll give the other 90%.

--playing poker. I’m getting better, although I’m not quite at the stage where I want to play with real money.

There, I feel better...kind of.

Friday, December 23, 2005

That Would Rock: Volume Eight

I want to be Robocop. Seriously, how awesome would that be? My keys are in my fist so I won’t ever get locked out and I could save money because baby food is cheap. I’m just saying, THAT WOULD ROCK!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I love my job!

There are dozens of reasons why my job at Pacific is awesome, but today I got another one. My paydays are on the 15th and 31st of every month. Normally when a payday falls on a weekend or on a holiday, the University sends my check out on the closest-preceding business day (usually a Friday), which is nice. However, since the University is closed for winter break from today until January 2nd, I was expecting to get my check on or around the 3rd, and honestly, I was a little bummed about that. Let’s just say that paying for all of those law schools applications really tapped me out. Anyway, my check arrived TODAY, a full ELEVEN DAYS EARLIER than I expected it! Yay! My job is awesome!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas with the Kranks

Last weekend my family and I had our annual Christmas get together. The comedic highlight of the evening came about ten seconds after I walked in the door when my Grandmother and I had the following exchange:

Me: Happy Holidays!

Grandma: WHAT? We say Merry Christmas in this house.

Me: *silence*

Grandma: Why are you making that face? Do you have to sneeze?

Me: No, I’m fine. Let’s eat some pie and open some presents!

Yup. That pretty much sums up the relationship I have with my family.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two out of three? Damn right!

"Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" is often overlooked in discussions about the great films of our generation, and that's sad because really, it's awesome. In one particular scene, Bill and Ted play Death in a game to determine whether or not they can return to earth. They choose battleship. When they win, Death refuses to let them go, and demands a rematch. Bill and Ted choose twister, and win again. This continues for a while, and eventually Death agrees to take them back to earth.

This got me thinking--if I had to play Death in a dame that would determine whether I went back to earth or stayed in hell forever, what would I play? Probably something about debate, running, poker, or even a nice round of "risk" or "pretty pretty princess."

What would you play?

Final Cliff Gardner Award Winner

The Winner of the "Best Cliff Gardner Post" Award goes to "*," which narrowly edged out "My Obituary." Thanks to all those who voted!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Cliff Gardner Awards, Continued...

The "Best Cliff Gardner Post" Award is still up for grabs. At the moment, "Obituary" has two votes and "*" and "My Mom: Musical Historian" have one vote each. I'm re-posting this because there are a lot of loyal CG readers who have yet to vote. Again, the nominees for Best Cliff Gardner Post include:

--“Machismo Sucks

--“My visit with the bone man

--“My Mom: Musical Historian.”


--“My Obituary

Friday, December 16, 2005

This is really sad.

John Spencer, the actor who played Leo McGarry on "The West Wing," died of a heart attack at 58. He was a great actor. My prayers are with his family.

The Cliff Gardner Awards!

Welcome to the first ever Cliff Gardner Awards for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Blogging, or the CGAFOAITFOB! The winners of these made up categories are decided arbitrarily and entirely by me. Remember, if you don’t win an award, it is because I hate you.

Most Loyal Commenter: Kim!
This one is easy. Despite having never met me, ever, she always comments on my blog. Always. This is a blogging success story.
Other Nominees Include: Kristen. You rule, K-$!

Least Frequent Commenter: Mandy!
Sorry honey, but it’s true. If I wanted to keep something a secret from you, I would blog about it.

Most Hyperlinked Blogger: Mandy!
See, here’s one you can be proud of, sweetie! Most CG posts link to her so Mandy runs away with this one.

Best Religious Blog: “Questions and Answers about the Baha’I Faith,” Briana.
Since this blog personally shaped my faith, I’ve got to give it the nod.
Other nominees include: “Churchgoing,” Christine. Always good stuff.

Best Political Blog: “The Bill Richardson Blog,” Ian and Andrea.
This blog made me excited to be a democrat again. Enough said.

Best Blog By Someone I’ve Never Met: “Dooce,” Heather Armstrong.
After I discovered this blog last summer, I spent hours reading through the archives and laughing hysterically.
Other nominees include: “Barely Legal,” Russ and Mike.
This blog got me really excited…and scared…to be a law student.

Best Contribution to the Blogging Community: Marie.
Online Onslaught,” the blogging competition she hosted, changed the way I blog and the way I write in general, and inspired me to write more fiction. Also, her contributions to “Wake Up Debate” are useful and often entertaining teaching tools. Finally, her personal blog, Modern Acropolis, is routinely hilarious and insightful. Thanks, Marie!

Cliff Gardner Lifetime Achievement Award: Christine. I won’t bother hyperlinking to all of her blogs because I’m pretty sure even she has lost track of them all…but sufficed to say, they’re all hilarious and witty. Christine founded the “Willamette Bloggers” club and worked hard to meet her fellow bloggers in a non-blogging environment. Also, she went out of her way to teach other folks how to blog. For example, until I met her, I didn’t even know how to hyperlink. Even now that she's working 60 hours a week and is usually exhausted, she still finds time to blog. Christine is a great blogger and a better friend.

The last award will be decided by you, the CG readership, so please vote in the comments!

Best Cliff Gardner Post:

--“Machismo Sucks

--“My visit with the bone man

--“My Mom: Musical Historian.”


--“My Obituary

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Law school mania!

Over the past four days, I have applied to 18 law schools and spent close to $600 doing so. Hey, I figured it was better to spend a little more and cast a wide net on this one. I applied to:

Florida State, Lewis and Clark, Seattle University, University of Denver, University of Oregon, DePaul, Willamette, Creighton, Syracuse, Texas Tech, University of New Mexico, University of San Francisco, Franklin Pierce, Golden Gate, Gonzaga, Howard, Vermont and the University of the District of Columbia.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A discussion about faith

Editor's note: I sometimes embellish the details of stories to make them more entertaining. However, the following exchange is entirely accurate. I swear to Baha'u'llah.

Me: I think I might be Baha'i. I went to this really cool Devotional Program tonight and liked it a lot and really want to learn more abou--

Dad: Does this mean that you're going to be one of those people at the airport wearing orange sheets?

Mom: Yea, those Bonzi people are weird.

Me: Look, I can't really criticize you for having no knowledge whatsoever of the Baha'i Faith because up until a month ago I didn't either, but have no knowledge whatsoever about the Baha'i Faith.

Dad: Whatever, I'm gonna go watch Madagascar.

Whoa there turbo...

I was under the obviously mistaken impression that urinals work for me, as in “I’ll let you know when I’m finished and then I’ll tell you know when to flush.” But oooooohhh no! Yesterday at a movie theatre, an overzealous and ambitious urinal just up and flushed on me while I was doing my business! Thank the Lord for blessing me with the reflexes of a peeing cat, otherwise that could have been messy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That Would Rock: Volume Seven

OH BOY! Just when you thought this series was as dead as the political career of John Hoynes, it comes back!

So, I was in Blockbuster today and noticed that they still rent VHS tapes. Who are these people who think this is a good idea? Are there honestly folks out there who say, "hey...I want a dull picture and shitty sound. I think I'll get VHS4LIFE tattoo while I'm at it!" Whenever I'm watching a movie on VHS, I constantly check my cell phone because I've been Pavlovianly conditioned to expect it to ring whenever there's static on the screen. I think all of the machines that make new VHS tapes should be loaded into a rocket and fired into the sun. Hey, if you haven't invested in a laptop or DVD player by now, I have no sympathy for you.

I'm just saying, THAT WOULD ROCK!

This is just terrible

Tookie Williams was executed.

Aside from the usual reasons why the death penalty, at least in practice, is horrible, this particular execution made very little sense. There were absolutely no unique benefits to killing this man that couldn’t have been gained by keeping him in jail for life. None. However, there were plenty of good things that could have happened, i.e. Tookie continuing his successful anti-gang outreach, saving hundreds of lives, which would have been gained had someone at some level stayed the execution.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I have no taste in music, but still…

I don’t claim to have a good sense of what is and what is not good music. After all, I own several Backstreet Boys Albums and the Titanic Soundtrack. With that being said, however, there are some musical trends that I just can’t get past.

For instance, any music where the vowels outnumber the consonants just irks me. I like Green Day and Michelle Branch as much as the next guy, but after a while they just get on my nerves.

OH! And what’s with people screwing with words to make them fit? A good example is when rappers either don’t enunciate or eliminate entirely the “a” in “appreciate.” Even Kanye West does it and he’s a great rapper.

I wish they all could be On the Rocks.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

This one goes out to all the stressed 1L's

Right about now, several friends of mine are taking their law school finals. A lot is at stake; the first semester grades are the most important, so how well they do on these exams will have very real implications for their future jobs. In the midst of all of that pressure, I imagine it's easy to forget why they got themselves into this academic battle royal in the first place. So, with that in mind, I thought I would offer my reasons for wanting to be a lawyer as I apply for law schools this week. Hopefully it will help my friends reflect on their reasons for wanting to be attorneys and ease a little of the stress of finals, or at least serve as a needed distraction! I want to be a lawyer because:

--Lawyer jokes would be more entertaining.

-I know I would be good at it. Seriously, what other job would allow me to write and speak for a living? Besides, I don't run well enough or play poker with the needed degree of skill to go pro, so it's either this or telemarketing and I don't have the patience.

--I would love it. See above.

--I've been looking for an excuse to drink caffeine again.

--I could help people. I honestly don't know what type of law I want to practice, but I'm pretty sure that I'll want to work in some sort of public interest area and that I could do more with a law degree than without one.

--John Grisham novels would more interesting.

For all of you studying for law school finals.....

My friend Andrew, a 1L at the University of Denver, just sent me the following e-mail:

This is why I study Aviation Law.


All in the family

I was having a really shitty day until my sister Katie decided to cheer me up. She had just come from a wedding and was a little tipsy, so the 10:40 showing of "The Chronicles of Narnia" was more entertaining than it deserved to be.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Tis the season

Do you ever wonder what Christmas tree farmers do from January until November? Do they have other 9-5 type jobs, considering tree farming as more of a hobby? Like, when asked about themselves, do they answer, "I work for Intel, build model airplanes and farm Douglas Firs?" If so, where do they rank in terms of their coolness within the farming community? Do Christmas tree farmers and pumpkin farmers have the most entertaining seasonal rivalry ever, throwing decorated bricks through car windows to intimidate each other?

Friday, December 09, 2005

The religion of all religions

Here's the thing...I'm consider myself Christian but I have a really hard time with a lot of other Christians. I hate the fact that many people use the Bible for hateful political purposes instead of reaching for the better overarching message of love. To be clear, I'm not saying that all Christians are bad or that there aren't denominations out there that are tolerant and kind. All I'm saying is that many Christian zealots use the Word as a justification to persecute homosexuals, women and people of other faiths and for me that is very frustrating.

Enter the Baha'i faith. It addresses almost all of the problems I have with certain branches of Christianity and preaches a message of tolerance and love for all other religions. My friend Briana and I have started a blog where I ask lots of questions about it and other Bahai's answer them. Feel free to ask questions too. At this point I’m just trying to get as much information about it as possible.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

LSAT gnomes

Do you ever wonder how standardized tests are written? As I was taking the LSAT last weekend, I got to thinking about it. I pictured some dude who looks like a cross between Mary Katherine Gallagher and Bigfoot sitting on a crate in the back room of an Arby's in Omaha, smoking a cigarette with a light bulb swinging back and forth overhead, thinking "hmmm...I think I'll get them to organize my Christmas dinner seating for me. Mark can't sit next to Susanne because he gave her herpes in high school. Charlie will only sit next to Carl because they want to talk about how the Broncos are destined to win it all this year. Mom has to sit at the head of the table because she's an egomaniac. Which of the following is NOT a possible order of seating?” Yup. They're either written like that or by LSAT gnomes who live next to Santa on the North Pole.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I'll see your Kwanza and raise you New Year's Eve!

Tonight was the Pacific speech and debate holiday party and predictably, it kicked ass. It was at Sam's house. Normally when someone is feeding a large group of people, you expect them to just go to Costco and get a veggie tray and some chips, but Sam went all out, feeding us steak, rice, salad, mashed potatoes, rolls, ice cream and brownies. I felt like stapling the steak to my thighs because that's where it's going, but it was still really yummy!

Then we had a gift exchange, Yankee swap style. My gift was season one of "The Simple Life," and Bethany enjoyed it thoroughly. I walked away with a nice set of speech-related things from Mark, including a three-hole punch. Booya!

Finally, we played poker for a while. I started off with $5.00 and on three of the first five hands, I almost doubled my money (I was DELT a royal flush, picked up a straight flush on the river and caught a fourth eight on the turn), walking away with $9.40, a personal best. Anyway, it was a great evening. I've said it before and I'll say it again--I love my team!

Things I miss about middle school

--phrases like "just joshing," "you wanna make somethin' of it?"

--the bowl haircut

--people around me struggling after puberty but before deodorant

--that guy who wears sweat pants every day

--how grades and student council are the most important things ever

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A red letter day for American cars

In addition to their cars being generally pretty shitty, add placating homophobic bigots to the list of reasons not to buy a Ford.

My Living Will

People never think about these things before it's too late, so I thought I would write up my living will now. Don't worry, I'm not depressed, just hilarious.

What up, folks?!

If you're reading this, I'm dead, or pretty close to it. Bummer. I hope I died in some really kick ass way like being eaten by a grizzly bear instead of an aneurysm I suffered while on the toilet. However, if I'm not dead yet, don't let me go all
Terry Schiavo on you. Seriously, just pull my damn feeding tube so I can go tits-up and party with Reggie White and Tupac already.

Am I dead yet? OK, good, now let's start dividing up my shit.

--The money in my savings account goes to Mandy so she can look hot at my funeral, or at least finally afford to get a nice pair of
Jimmy Choo shoes. Well, on my bank account, probably just one shoe. But, still, I love you honey.

--My car, Yucca, I will to my parents, because how else do you say thanks for decades of love and devotion aside from leather seats? My sister Katie can have the spare tire.

That's about all of it. If you're here for a piece of the McCloskey fortune, I'
m very sorry to disappoint you. I guess I died before my thumb wrestling career could really take off. Oh well.

As for my body, here's the deal: take whatever parts of me that can help someone else (Steve Martin can have my judgment about films, Beth on "The Gauntlet 2" can have my heart and my legendary wit is a gift to the blogging community), and then just throw what's left in the ground, no casket needed. I'm claustrophobic.

I guess this is the part where I'm supposed to say something inspirational about how you should live life to the fullest or something, but frankly who has time with all this work to do? ;-) But seriously, tell someone you love them, have more sex, laugh every day and root for the Braves. I'm out.



Monday, December 05, 2005

Ahh, forensics...

Last weekend, while I was taking the LSAT a second time, my team was competing at the University of Portland speech and debate tournament. Sam kept me posted throughout the day, and while we did well, I think the general consensus was that the tournament judging left a bit to be desired. Now, I know I wasn't the best speaker or debater when I was a student, but compared to some of the folks who consistently get ballots in our region, I'm a genius. Knowing that these people were going to be in a position of authority over my students last weekend was like having Kobe Bryant take my daughter to the prom.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Oh I'm sorry, we were talking about chocolate

Mandy: *Going to do laundry* Honey, please tell me when "Grey's Anatomy" is back from commercial, ok?

Me: Sure, no problem.

Five minutes later...

Mandy: You didn't tell me it was back!

Me: Oh...sorry.

Ten minutes later...

Mandy: *Going to do more laundry* Ok, seriously sweetie, please tell me when it's back from commercial this time, ok?

Me: Deal.

Five minutes later...

Mandy: HONEY! You didn't tell me that it was back from commercial again!

Me: I'm really bad at this game.

Made: I want to be a Sumo Wrestler!

Mandy and I are having a lazy Sunday, watching the "Made" marathon on MTV, and I've decided what my back up is if this whole "law school" thing doesn't work out: I want to be made into a Sumo Wrestler!


--bathe in irony, all day long: thousands of small, polite people who don't like to touch each other will watch me, a fat sweaty guy, slam into another chubby dude
--don't have to wipe my own ass
--eat carbs all day long
--make enough money to live like a warlord
--star in whiskey comercials

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Well, I can't fault their logic

Mandy and I were up and moving at the ungodly hour of 8:00 am yesterday to run some errands. Our exhaustion made us both wonder how the hell we got up so early for all those years in high school. Anyway, Mandy wants a Blackberry for Christmas so we went to the mall to price them. When we got there, two things surprised us. First, nothing in the mall opens until at least 10:00 am—sometimes capitalism just lets me down. Secondly, there were a bunch of people just walking around, exorcising! Some had sweatpants on, others wore headphones and listened to iPods and one woman in her mid-fifties had a really awesome set of ankle weights. While I found the whole notion of working out in a mall entertaining, but I must admit, it makes a lot of sense; the mall is warm, dry and big, and by the time you’re done, the food court will be open and you can get yourself an nice cold drink from Orange Julius!

Friday, December 02, 2005

I googled your mom last night

We all have our vices. Some of us are cruelly getting an entire city’s hopes up when we all know that a first round playoff collapse is inevitable. Others don’t fill up their gas tanks when they know that it freaks me out when it gets below a quarter-tank. However, my vice is simple: I inappropriately use google (and, let's be honest, I hyperlink to things too much. I mean really, who doesn't know what google is? But I digress...).

If I don’t know how to spell a word? No problem, I’ll google it! If I don’t know how to type the “U” with the little dots over it for a blog post about me being an ubersexual, have no fear! Google is here! I feel like those people who just stand on those long motorized walkways at airports as if they’re riding on the Tea Cups at Disneyland. That’s just not what they’re there for.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Shut up, I have something in my eyes!

I’m a bit of a crybaby, but not in the “oww, that rug burn hurts” sort of way. Instead, I'm a “aww, that’s so happy” kind of crier. Case in point: In the last 72 hours, I have cried while watching three different movies. First, I cried when Johnny and June Cash finally got together at the end of “Walk the Line,” then I cried during the life-support meeting in “Rent,” and finally I cried last night while watching the first five minutes of “Love Actually.” Maybe this makes me an übersexual.