Cliff Gardner

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Your Cliff Gardner Horoscope!


Today is your day! Well, not really, let’s be honest.


Tupac isn’t alive, he wasn’t part of a CIA conspiracy, he was just shot, and it was probably gang related. There, I saved you another sleepless night.


You will win the lotto tomorrow, but only if you buy 1,600 tickets.




Well what did you think was going to happen? I mean, you tip a cow over enough, he’s gonna kick you in the face.


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game didn’t eat your quarter like you’ve been drunkenly bitching about for the last hour—you just put in a nickel.


It fell in the toilet, but don’t worry. I SAID DON’T WORRY.


It’s not too late to pursue a career as a sumo wrestler.


Invest in a/the pumpkin patch.


The comparisons of you and Pumba from “The Lion King” are meant in the nicest possible way. Fatty.


The roof is, the roof is, the roof is on fire.


You’re a Russian prostitute. It’s ok, blame your parents.

I'm still laughing...

We're all sitting around the team area, prepping for Point Loma this weekend. Jared has headphones on and hasn't looked up from his extemp filing to say anything for at least 45 minutes, when he shouts:

"WHO THE FUCK CUT THIS? If there's a topic about MICHELLE FUCKING KWAN going to the GOD DAMN OLYMPICS this weekend I'm going to fucking shoot myself!"

Monday, January 30, 2006

How I used one problem to combat another and stay alive

At 3:45 in the morning, we arrived in Salem after driving all the way back from Bellingham, Washington when the final Willamette team got eliminated (Sam and Sean, in Semi’s). However, I still had another hour and fifteen minute drive ahead of me because I had to drive back to Forest Grove. Now I know what you’re thinking, because it is exactly what everyone in the van and my parents told me last night: “drive home at 4 a.m. in the pouring rain after a 22 hour day and no sleep the night before? Are you nuts?”

Well, it wasn’t that everyone was wrong, just that I knew something they didn’t. See, anyone who has spent a night around me knows that I get up to pee like a racehorse every four hours or so. I probably aught to get that checked out, but my philosophy on matters of health is to ignore them for as long as possible until the symptoms get so unbearable that they can’t be ignored. What could go wrong? Anyway, when we stopped for dinner I had a lot of water, so I already had to pee badly before we even got to Salem, and it was that urgency that kept me conscious and focused on the drive back to Fo Gro. I got in at 5 and sleep in my comfy bed, and it was glorious.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tournament update!

Sam and Sean (6-0), Logan and Matt (5-1) and Shannon and Elizabeth (4-2 in their first tournament in eight months after semesters in Spain and New Zealand, respectively) cleared.

*Assumes Ralph Wiggum voice cheering for banana*


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Get a room, us two!

I’ve blogged before about my friend and former coach Rob Layne. Well, this weekend we’re having a lot of entertaining fun. First, we both nominated each other for this “good judge of the northwest” award without knowing the other was doing it. Second of all, the hotel beds aren’t quite queens but not quite twins either, so the result is cramped sleeping for us. It’s ok, I’m a good little spoon. Third, we had a blast on the drive up here. To illustrate, here’s a funny story from the trip:

We were parked outside of a Denny’s waiting for the other van to finish up breakfast (we ate at McDonalds earlier), when we saw a few people jogging alongside the road in front of us. After a while, I looked up and saw this really obese guy (seriously, upwards of 350 pounds) veer off the road and towards a Jack in the Box. I laughed and said, “hey Rob, look, a fat guy is running into Jack in the Box.” While I thought this was funny, Rob really thought so, and laughed until he cried. Good times.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I'm going to the Western Washington tournament tomorrow with Willamette to judge for them and make some money. It's great to hang out with the old crew again, they're awesome. I probably won't post again until Monday, so the blogging community will have to go without me until then.

Columbian Friends Volume Six: Amy Sample

Right around the time I graduated from high school, I was really in to the movie “Memento.” It was deep, funny, original and clever. In a lot of ways, Memento just kicked a lot of ass. But, even though I owned a copy, when I went to college it somehow got misplaced, and one thing led to another and for whatever reason, I didn’t watch it during the entire time I was at Willamette. Then, yesterday, I was going through my closet and found it under some old jeans and was really excited! I immediately watched it and remembered why I loved it so much the first time around, vowing to not let myself forget how awesome it is again. Yup, that’s pretty much what happened with my really good friend Amy, too. But not to worry, Amy! Just like Memento is going back on my shelf of DVD’s, I am going to put lots of effort into our friendship again and I promise to not forget about you under a pile of old jeans!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


To all Apple employees:

iThanks for being so dedicated and hardworking. It is that iSpirit that makes us superior to all other iComputer companies. The iRevolution iSteve and I started is still alive and well. This iMemo serves one iPurpose: to convey yet another iGenius idea I had yesterday as I was listening to “The iNeverending Story Soundtrack” on my iNano: product placement in language! iWords have meaning, my minions, so let’s use them correctly and for the betterment of Apple! By simply inserting the letter “i” in front of words during casual conversations, you are plugging our iPod, the lifeblood of our company! If I haven’t already provided enough iExamples on how to do that in this iMemo, here’s another: say you and your friends want to get some food before you go to the local internet café and sit in papazan chairs to watch “Pirates of Silicon Valley” on Podcast. Instead of saying “let’s get some sushi,” say, “let’s get some iSushi.” See? You just turned a casual conversation into a subtle advertisement! Sure, you might confuse iPeople and it might get annoying after a while, but it’s worth it as long as it iHelps the company.

Apple above all!

Steve Jobs
Supreme iRuler

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I am the anti-cool

Let the record show that:

--I do not own an iPod.

--I know nothing about music. Seriously, I own several "Jock Jams" albums.

--I am not a genius like most of my friends. You know who you are.

--I have no fashion's really amazing that I can dress myself almost every morning.

--I like blogging and read/comment on other blogs that I like at least twice a day.

--I spend more that $5.00 but less that $30.00 on my haircut.

--I own a PC (which is in the process of being fixed, finally, by the way) instead of a Mac.

--I drive a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker that I named after a debate round (Yucca!).

--I weigh 125 pounds and am 5’7’’. BUT IT’S ALL MUSCLE!?!

--I look forward to the rare occasions when I get to see my friends. See you tomorrow Amy!

--I am so not cool that I’m afraid if I gave Ian, Marie or Andrea a hug, they would melt.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Freedom bread

I’ve blogged before about the entertaining/logic-defying conversations I have with my mother. Here is the latest installment from yesterday:

Mom: Would you mind going to the store to get some French bread for dinner?

Me: Sure, no problem, I’ll go when the NFC title game is over.

Mom: Oh…would you mind going to the store now? It’s almost 3:00--that’s when they put out the fresh loafs, and your father loves warm bread right out of the oven.

Me: But we’re not going to eat dinner until around 7:30, right?

Mom: Yea…

Me: So wouldn’t that counteract your reason for wanting me to go get it now?

Mom: Look, he just likes warm bread.

Me: I understand that, but by the time we eat it, the bread won’t be warm anymore. I’m saying I’ll go get it, but in a half hour when the game is over.

Mom: Fine, whatever, do what you want. *storms off*

Running down a dream

Well now Zayne and I have backup careers if lawyering, poetry and tomfoolery fail us. I just hope we don't get lost at some point during the race(s) and end up in the Mohave Desert, but even that wouldn't be too bad (read: I like sand).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Shrek, but more wasted

One of the funniest people I’ve ever know is a former debate partner of mine named J. Adam Peterson. What made him so hilarious was his witty yet profane demeanor...if Dane Cook was a 285 pound offensive lineman from Roseburg, Oregon, he would have been J. Adam. Once, at the OSU tournament, J. Adam mistook some dude with a poney tail for our teammate Robert Venamin-Hughes, who also had long greasy hair. Wanting to know when the next round started, J. Adam tapped the kid on the shoulder who turned around and revealed that he was holding a giant dildo. Horrified, J. Adam jumped back and said loudly, “You’re not Robert…and that’s a fuckin dildo!” We would find out later that the young man was doing a speech on sex toys. Yup, that was J. Adam for you, always wearing his hilarious horror on his sleeve.

However, my favorite J. Adam story involved a time when he and his fraternity brothers may or may not have been wasted out of their minds and wanted to have some fun. A stream runs through the center of Willamette and there are several small bridges that go over it. One night, Alex Dukalskis, another really funny and cool dude, stood at one end of the bridge nearest the cafeteria and demanded that a group of three sorority girls pay a toll before they could cross the bridge, or “the ogre would get you.” They laughed and told Alex to get lost as the walked past him and across the bridge. Just as the got to the other side, J. Adam jumped out from behind a pillar wearing nothing but tighty wities and loudly growled at them, shouting, “you should have paid the toll!!!! AAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!” Yes, they should have.

The Shire can be cruel sometimes

My sister Katie walks in the room wearing an oversized “Lord of the Rings” shirt.

Me: Was that shirt the prize for your lawful-good Paladin reaching level twenty at the D and D convention?

Katie: What the fuck are you talking about?

Me: ...You've ironically exposed my nerdiness. Well played.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sam rocks. No, really, he’s awesome. Here’s a story that illustrates how awesome-tastic he is

Last semester we were at this crappy tournament out in Idaho and apparently there was some regional cheerleading competition going on there too, so our hotel was packed with high school cheerleaders…and us nerdy, witty people. My friend Josh thought he was on a new episode of “Beauty and the Geek.” Anyway, these girls were flirting with all of us, but particularly with Sam (who is happily married and has a wonderful family), the entire weekend.

Finally, one morning, after a few minutes of this eager cheerleader throwing herself at him, she asked, “So, are you guys in some sort of…club?” Sam had reaching his boiling point and replied, “Yeah, the ‘not talking to you club,’” got on the elevator and went back upstairs as she stared at him in horror.

Sam: 1

High School Cheerleaders: 0

Friday, January 20, 2006

Can you hear me all the way back in the sixties?

When I was thirteen, my dad and I went shopping for a new television. At the time we had seven in our house already, but my dad wanted a really big one (side note—my folks subscribed to the Steven Johnson school of parenting which I am very grateful for). Anyway, when we got to the store, I witnessed the following exchange:

Twenty-something-clerk: So ya, this one is 42 inches and has surround round. It comes with a remote that allows you to progr—

Dad: Let me stop you right there. Before we go any further, is it a color television?

Clerk: *looks like my dad asked if the TV ran on kerosene* They haven’t made a black and white television since the sixties, man.

Dad: The times, they are a-changin’.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Bath Mat Diaries

This morning I took a shower (naked!) and got to thinking about how the life of a bath mat must suck, so I wrote a short story from the perspective of one of these necessary rubber things (if I had a nickel), in the form of diary entries:

March 6th

The fat man showered last today. He should buy some stock in head and shoulders because I’m convinced that he’s single-handedly keeping them in business.

April 9th

I like weekends because the smelly teenager who pees on my usually skips showering when he doesn’t have to go out in public. Thank you, World of Warcraft, for distracting him so well.

June 1st

At first I didn’t mind when the woman with the warts on her feet sang while standing on me, but if I hear one more version of “Walk like a Man” where she just repeats the chorus, I swear to Loofah I’m gonna kill her. This is melodious genocide!

June 7th

Today the teenager dropped the soap on me three times. If I wasn’t so sure his high school years would soon answer this question for me, I would wonder aloud how he likes getting hit in the face repeatedly.

June 27th

Cleaning day! I suppose on some level it is wrong for me to get this excited about being hung over the shower door for ten minutes while the fat man scrubs away below me, but really, it’s the only vacation I get. One of these days I’m just going to pack up and move to some island hot tub.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Who needs emotional catharsis? Uh, ME!

All those who know exactly where they will be in fifty years please step forward---uh, not so fast THOMAS MCCLOSKEY!

Hahahaha! I kid! I kid cause I love! And because it’s a really fun coping mechanism!

OK so here’s the deal…I haven’t cried yet, but I know I will, and those of you who know me understand what a crier I am, so this is a little concerning. I’m afraid that I’m just going to randomly start squirting some big crocodile tears at a stoplight if I don’t do something soon.

You know how when you were a kid and some boy in your class got the chicken pox and your mom made you go over to his house and play with him just so you would get it then and not when you're 45 and die, you know, forcing the issue? Well I think I'm going to do a little emotional pre-emptive strike and make myself cry by doing one or more of the following:

--Watching “Titanic,” “Love Actually” and “Dead Poets Society” in a row.

--Pay some homeless guy a ten spot to kick me in the shins. But then he’d spend it on booze, which is, come to think of it, where I should be spending it. Never mind.

--Look through old photo albums of all the fun things we did together….oh, that did it. I better go buy some Kleenex.

Thanks to everyone for all of your kind and supportive words!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This is the NPDA out round loss of breakups

Leaving my double-octa finals round at NPDA last year, I felt really confident. I didn’t think there was a single position in the round we were losing, or at least nothing that we could lose on. When the judges called us back in, I remember giving Sean and little smile as if to say, “we’ve got this.” When the decision was announced as a 4-1 against us, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I had never been that shocked in my life. This was too early in the tournament for my career to end, I thought. For a second I wanted to get up and walk out of the room in frustration, but I needed to hear the reasons for decision. I knew I would be replaying this moment in my head for a long time.

When the judges were explaining their decisions, I felt even worse. Maybe they made sense in the minds of the judges, but they really didn’t make sense to me. It would have been easier had Sean or I messed up in that round…that way I could point to something and say, “well, ok, it’s our fault.” The inarticulate reasons they gave made the pain I was feeling much worse because I couldn’t justify why I was feeling it. It’s been almost a year and when I think about that moment, it still hits me right in the gut.

Yup. That was pretty much how I felt this morning when Mandy broke up with me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Smooth...that's how we do it

I totally do that too! Hell, I'm already quoting the "Miami Vice" trailer.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

News lovers

Since Mandy got back from China, she and I have been updating each other on what happened during the two weeks we were apart and out of contact. Of all of the little stories she’s told me, my favorite was about how she now considers the BBC her mortal enemy. No, seriously.

Apparently while over there, Mandy didn't have regular access to the news, which for her is the equivalent of me not watching “The West Wing,” and when she did, it was the BBC. Unlike CNN or Fox News (now 100% pure evil!) which update constantly on the days events, the BBC only films one news show a day—in the morning in China time—and re-airs that for the rest of the day. For Mandy, this was like offering a crack addict Tylenol.

Friday, January 13, 2006

My extensive knowledge of movies is no longer useless

This morning I was shaving and listening to the radio in my bathroom when the D-Jays had a random trivia question based on a movie quotation. They read the following exchange and wanted to know what movie it was from:

Rob: Liking both Marvin Gaye and Art Garfunkel is like supporting both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Laura: No, it's really not, Rob. You know why? Because Marvin Gaye and Art Garfunkel make pop records.

Rob: Made. Made. Marvin Gaye is dead. His father shot him.

I thought this was pretty obvious, but after a couple of people got it wrong, I called in (yes, there’s a phone in my bathroom and I was pretty damn grateful for that extravagance today) and correctly answered “High Fidelity,” one of my favorite movies, and won a couple of tickets to the “All American Rejects” and “Fallout Boy” concert in Salem this April.

A couple of things are worth mentioning. First, I still hate talk radio and wish they would just shut up and play some damn music. Second, you know that awkward pause when someone doesn’t realize they’re on the air? Yea, that’s not the fault of the person calling in—radio stations just don’t do a good job of letting you know you’re on the air. I know because I did one of those “oh, um hi…” moments today when I was on, and it had less to do with me being an incompetent public speaker and more to do with them not giving me a little heads up.

The tournament today was every bit of the shit-tastic train wreck we predicted, and it finishes up tomorrow. Still, three cheers for me knowing movie quotations!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jump right into my nightmare, the water is warm

I’ve blogged before about what it is like having some of the yokels in our region judge my students, describing it as if Kobe Bryant were taking my daughter to the prom. Well, tomorrow I’m going to drive my daughter to Kobe’s house after he’s had too much to drink, shove her through the front door and sit on the lawn for the next two days. Yes, we’re heading to the Clackamas Community College tournament, which is exactly like the University of Portland tournament except without all of the good judges from Lewis and Clark and Willamette and with a few more ass clowns. Entertainingly enough, we’ve already developed a little signal to use every time something predictably stupid/terrible happens in a round, a signal I’m blatantly stealing from Kristen and David: we cut out a piece from the imaginary misery cake and show our little slice of hell.

I don't know what this says about me, but....

It took several months at a really boring summer job and me discovering that my friends at other schools are on there too, but I have 500 friends on facebook. Congratulations?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Debaters Can’t Jump: Volume Two

I’m exhausted, but we won.

Tonight Sam, Josh and I played a team of four short, fast dudes who played dirty (Sam got hacked consistently). Again, we only had three players so we were running on fumes towards the end, but we gutted it out. We won the first game after I hit the winning deep shot (a theme for the game—I was shooting really well) and lost the second game after being up big.

Their fastest player also had a really good quick-release jumper that just killed us, so for the third game, I said that I would take him and shut him down, and I did, holding him to only about half a dozen points. Despite that, we still trailed by four mid-way through the game, but rallied to win on a deep, off balance shot by me off a great screen by Josh, who played solid throughout and was a monster on the boards. Sam also had a great game. He played hard and hit some key shots down the stretch that helped a ton.

The final scores were 21-16, 18-21, 21-18. We are now 1-2, but it’s worth mentioning that this is the first game the forensics team has ever won.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Mandy is back from China! She had a super fun time and posted a bunch of pictures on her facebook page, so feel free to go take a look! I'm going to Salem tonight after my last meeting of the day because we've got some serious snuggling to do!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Debaters Can't Jump: Volume One

I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons Pacific forensics rocks is because we actually do things together, like form 3 on 3 basketball teams and play in the intramural league over winter term. Tonight was the first game(s), and it was really fun. Our squad formed two different teams, and mine is made up of me, and two freshmen, Josh and Mark. The format is to 21 by 1’s and 2’s. We lost to the first team we played 21-16, 21-16, and to the second team (made up of several people who really could be playing for the school team) 21-7, 21-9. Josh and my three-point shooting really kept us in these games longer than we had any business being in them considering that we don’t have anyone taller than 5’7’’, get pretty much dominated in the post and have no reserves (most teams have at least four people). The other forensics team scored a combined 7 points in their two games, so we really were the high water mark, though a fun time was had by all! Several other members of the team came to watch and cheered us on, too, it was so nice! The games are on Mondays and Wednesdays for the next three weeks, so I’ll keep you all posted on our progress!

Well that makes sense

I just realized that the actor who played former Vice President John Hoynes on "The West Wing," and the successful but sleazy father of "Van Wilder," also played the cocky frat boy who sleeps with the dean’s wife in “Animal House.” Somehow, both of those future roles seem like a natural transition.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Another reason not to live in Utah

See, I thought my friends and I had it bad because we had to drive to Beaverton to see "Brokeback Mountain," but this is just ridiculous. I feel bad for the folks in Utah who wanted to see this movie and won’t get to now because of sad, hateful bigotry.

Pacific Forensics is like....

Last weekend a lot of high school coaches who had judged me as a student asked me what it was like to be coaching speech and debate, in college no less. I came up with a series of entertaining answers:

Pacific Forensics is like....the acclaimed movie "Troop Beverly Hills.” We’re all fun loving and multi-talented merit badge winners with a great leader in Shelley Long.

Pacific Forensics is like….a pioneer family towards the end of the Oregon Trail. The days are long, half of us have cholera and we’re tired of the grizzly bear attacks, but at least we’re not in Montana anymore.

Pacific Forensics is like....the new Ford Edge: same power but half the size. Plus, we get good gas mileage.

Pacific Forensics is like....drinking milk right from the carton. Seriously, this team feels that liberating and fun.

Person hygiene—your no longer misunderstood friend!

I spent the last few days at a high school speech tournament, also known as that awkward time after puberty but before deodorant. Admittedly, it’s really hard to smell good and have great breath after a 14 hour day drinking soda and eating junk food in between rounds. As the day progressed, I started wondering how long deodorant really lasts and covering my mouth with my hands to smell my own breath. It occurred to me that this isn’t the first time I’ve had these concerns towards the end of a long day, so I think in the future I’m going to bring the following items with me to tournaments:

--travel sized deodorant stick
--cologne (“Eternity,” thanks honey!)
--lint roller

Does this make me a vain, self-absorbed bastard or just a concerned hygiene zealot?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Columbian Friends Volume Five: David Metzger

David and I have been buddies for almost a decade now. In high school we were debate and duo partners and helped bridge the gap in our school between theatre and speech. Although we went to different colleges and he’s on the other side of the country now, we’re still extremely close. There are few people in the world that can make me laugh, challenge me, be as loyal to me, or inspire me as much as David can. He’s a really great person and a super friend. I think the following story will illustrate that:

When we were juniors in high school, David and I really didn’t know what the hell we were doing in speech, largely because our coach was absolutely no help. However, we knew we were pretty good interpers, so when we went to the national qualifying tournament, we thought we had a decent, but not great, change to earn a birth at nats.

After three exhausting and intense days, David and I competed in duo finals, which were around 8:00 am. Awards weren’t until 4:30 that afternoon, and the stress would have killed us had we not went to a local movie theatre and watched “The Whole Nine Yards.” When awards finally came and they announced that we had won the tournament and were going to nationals, we couldn’t believe it. Finally, after a few seconds, we just stood and hugged hard. Although I had many great speech moments later in my career, none of them made me feel as proud and happy as I did in that moment because David and I had done it together. I think that’s a great analogy for our friendship—we are stronger together than either of us could be apart.

The best part of waking up...

Scene: 6:15 am. I am up and moving after going to bed only four hours earlier (bad idea, by the way, in case you were wondering). I had set the oven to preheat a few minutes earlier on my way from the shower to my room, planning on returning in a few minutes to toast some English Muffins for breakfast. When I get back, I find my mom in full panic mode over the over, taking out some semi-cooked sticky buns that my sister must had left in there the night before and planned on cooking this morning. The following dialogue ensues:

Mom: Well this is just how I wanted to start my day! What they hell is wrong with you?

Me: Good Morning!

Mom: Don’t give me that shit! *Pointing to oven* You’ve just got to stop this, Thomas! I can’t take it anymore!

Me: (thinking) *Yea, cause this is the fourth time this month I’ve gotten up at dawn and almost burnt sticky buns, you psycho.* You’re right, I’m sorry.

Mom: *Storms off*

I’ve decided that my mother would be a really good white supremacist because she never makes any sense and is usually very angry.


Random thoughts when I have to be up in about five hours to help out at a high school forensics tournament...

I have this affection for people who are without question the best at what they do. Usually the only way to know for sure if that’s true is if they’ve been at the top for a while. There’s something to be said for being so great that everyone around you is in awe, that people think they’re part of something special just by watching it happen. In that sense, I was pulling for Ian and Marie to win NPTE last year, and for the same reasons, I was sad when USC lost last night.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What is this, a middle school cafeteria?

You know who really pisses me off? People who applaud when a server in a restaurant drops something. Come on, give that waitress a break, she’s been on her feet for 14 hours straight, had coffee spilled on her three times and her baby was probably up all last night crying. I think she’s aloud to have some shaky hands while carrying your spinach omelet. People like that should be locked in one of those designated smoking rooms at airports for the time it takes a waitress to work just one shift surrounded by juvenile, sophomoric assholes like them. OH, and if they’re already a smoker, then they’re way ahead of me on the whole punishing them for being idiots thing.

Columbian Friends Volume Three: Kristen Brooke Tweedy

I remember not getting along with Kristen for a while in high school for really silly reasons, most of which involved us both vying for time with David. I wanted him to work on debate/our duo, and she wanted to snuggle with him. In hindsight, I think we were both right, in our own way. However, while we were sort of friends in high school, I think we became much better friends a few years ago, largely because we just have so much in common.

Simply put, Kristen and I understand each other and that is the core of what has become a really strong friendship. At least half a dozen times last week, I would start in on something, like not having anyone my age around me to hang out with, and Kristen would smile and say “I KNOW!!!” and hi-five me. We’re just going through a lot of the same stuff in relationships and life, and that makes her a very easy person to confide in and her in me.

Aside from that, she is just a really fun person to be around. Kristen is a biology genius and drives around Florida all day looking for certain types of water (don’t ask, I’m the guy in biology who electrocuted himself while dissecting a fetal pig) for a living. She’s funny, knows how to handle stress and is fiercely loyal to the people she loves. Kristen is a great person and a better friend.

Arrested Development

Alright, now I’m mad! I know I’ve said before that I thought “The Office” was the funniest show on television, but that was before my Columbian friends sat me down last week and showed me a few episodes of “Arrested Development.” On the one hand, I was laughing so hard that I was almost in tears. On the other, I was pissed off that they had waited until now to give me the heads up about the Bluth family. SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE! :-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Columbian Friends Volume Two: Andrew Swan

I have known Andrew for almost five years. We met at debate camp as incoming freshman. During our time at Willamette, we debated together, argued, were roommates, hated each other for a while, and ultimately returned right back to where we started: a friendship built on emmense loyalty and trust.

The thing about Andrew is that I’m pretty sure he’s a genius. Like, Mensa genius. He scored about 25 points higher on the LSAT than I did, a feat which ensured that he make money off of law school. Aside from that, Andrew is a concert opera singer, accomplished Philosophy student and airplane expert. When we lived together, I grew to appeciate these hobbies and ultimately took great comfort in the opera I heard when entering our apartment.

While I consider myself very liberal, Andrew is a loyal GOP conservative, a fact which has created more than a few heated arguments over the course of our friendship. Since we’re both pretty good at arguing (although he has a bit more official hardware in that department than I do after clearing almost half a dozen times at various national tournaments), these debates were often epic. However, at the end of the day, we each pushed each other to learn more, work harder, and ultimately move more towards the middle. I am smarter because I have known Andrew.

As I said earlier, the core of my relationship with Andrew is absolute loyalty and trust. I can tell him anything, and he can confide in me. If I’m ever in trouble, he’s the first person I call, and visca-versa. Andrew really is a great friend.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I can’t wait for my allowance!

I came to a realization last weekend—I have the comparative purchasing power of a six year old. Then, I spent most of my ten dollar monthly allowance on fun thinks like G.I. Joe’s and a really good harmonica (don’t ask). Pretty much all of my income was disposable. Now, while I make a lot more, between my loans, saving money for law school, rising gas prices and egg nog being so damn expensive, I only have about ten bucks a month to burn.

Being the financial equivalent of a six year old wouldn’t bother me so much if waiters wouldn’t rolls their eyes when I ordered off the kids menu and asked for more crayons.

Columbian Friends Volume One: Zayne Turner

Let the record show that:

--she’s HILARIOUS! Sometimes her humor comes in a story or response to something someone else says, but most of the time there’s just this general wit about everything Zayne says. I find myself laughing a hell of a lot when I’m around her.

--Zayne is just very, very kind. This weekend, she drove from Eugene to Forest Grove (a 2 and ½ hour drive) and back twice, just to pick us up and drop us off and spend time with us. There were other options (like my car, for example), but she didn’t complain about it once. Also, she taxied us around Eugene for two days, let us crash at her place, and hosted a really awesome party, at which she told me several times how happy she was that I was there. All of this came when Zayne had some good reasons to be pissed off at the world, demonstrating how classy she is.

--she’s cooler than just about everyone in the world, but in an understated way. Zayne owns a turn-table (probably not the right word, but you get what I mean—it’s a record player), an iPod with music I don’t know (that means it is good because I think I’ve established that I have no taste in music), knits scarves and got her nose pierced.

--Zayne is smart…like, brilliantly smart. I’ve always read a lot and took classes in politics in part because I wanted to be well-read and educated, but the ultimate motivator was (and is) being prepared for debate rounds. Zayne has no such motivation and is still smarter than 97% of the people I’ve ever met, myself included. Plus, she writes poetry, and although I haven’t read any of it, I would bet the farm that it is really good.

I wrote on my old blog a while back about the concept of a “Columbian Friend.” They are friends who, if you found out they were in trouble in Columbia, your first thought would be “what’s the fastest way to airport from here?” Well, I’m happy to say that my list of Columbian friends just got a new addition.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Friends are fun!

I just finished one of the best weeks I’ve had in a while. While I love my job at Pacific, there just aren’t a lot of people my age in Forest Grove that I can hang out with, and all of my friends (including my sweetie) are in Salem or even further away. The result is that I’m lonely a lot of the time, and this week was a pleasant change from that. The highlights include:

--seeing “Brokeback Mountain” with David, Kristin, Zayne and Emily. I’ve decided that my toast to David at his wedding this summer will simply be, “we’ll always have Brokeback Mountain.”

--going with Zayne and Kristin when they got pierced. GO TEAM PIERCING!

--doing wedding stuff with David and Kristin. Weddings suck.

--partying with half of Eugene over New Years Eve. Getting made fun of because my weapon of choice for the evening was wine coolers.

--eating at several amazing restaurants in Eugene. Pazookie!!!!

We may go months or even years without seeing each other, but when we do, it is like we were never apart. I really needed a week like this, thanks everyone!