Cliff Gardner

Friday, June 30, 2006

I have a crush on NPR

Is it wrong to like like a radio station? I hope not, because I have a bit of a thing for National Public Radio. Do you ever turn on NPR and not like what you’re hearing? Yea, ME EITHER. When I’m flipping through stations and can’t find anything good, I’ve been known to shout, “NPR WILL SAVE ME” and emphatically change the dial. It always has something smart and/or clever to say and is constantly satisfying…you might even say it has been the talk of the nation. All things considered, I kind of want to get wasted and let NPR take advantage of me in a sexy, nerdy type of way. We could even make it a weekend edition and then have brunch in a world cafe, filling out the crossword puzzle together and playfully screeching, wait, wait...don't tell me. Honestly, that would be a breath of fresh air, although I would being willing to take things day to day if NPR felt like we were rushing into anything.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Oh crap, I'm going to have to learn the metric system, aren't I?

I realized yesterday that Ukraine, like the rest of the world, uses the metric system. I thought I new at least one unit given my former addiction to 20 ounce bottles of Pepsi, but according to Sam, it turns out that ounces don't count and aren't part of the metric system at all. Sheesh! This whole "living in another country" deal is going to be harder than I thought. On the plus side, at least my parents didn't refuse to vaccinate me for a disease that causes a deadly cancer.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Just the men

Mom is in Utah at a stamping conference (I swear I’m not making that up) and Katie is in Corvallis all summer, and that leaves just dad and me at the house for the next few days. So far I think we’ve been doing ok, aside from the cold war over who should do the dishes—they’re piling up in the sink in a stack that resembles a county dump. I really feel like we aught to be doing more male bonding with our time together. Maybe I’ll suggest cutting down a tree or wrestling bears or something.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Two scoops of sports and a side of law

Oregon State won the College World Series last night when they really had no business staying with a well-rested North Carolina team as long as they did. When asked for comment, my sister Katie, an OSU senior, replied, “OSU has a baseball team? Wait, what is baseball?” Gotta love her.

Ukraine advanced in the World Cup, again. Seriously, this is awesome! Making it to quarter-finals in your first ever Cup is amazing and I’m totally pulling for them!

Oh, and it turns out that I was basically right about law school. I had to spend over $1,000 in applications and tests to figure that out, but better that than $100,000 in loans and me hating my life.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I watched Mr. Holland’s Opus this morning for inspiration

Today I taught my first public speaking class and I feel like I can take on the world! But seriously, it was awesome. Being the one expected to fill all the awkward silences will take some getting used to, but I really like it! My students are adorable rockstars and the material is fun and easy to present. This is going to be an awesome six weeks!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Another day, another wedding

Today my friend Courtney (pictured) married a nice guy named Keith. The ceremony was short, which was good considering it was outdoors at 3:00 pm and I was sweating like a politician in church in the 100 degree heat. While I don't plan on getting married anytime soon--I'd have to get a date first, after all--I've decided after going to my second wedding in as many days that the best weddings are those that have the least amount of stress for everyone involved. For me, that means two things: minimal parental involvement during the planning stage and good friends to celebrate with at a fun and safe reception. The second part shouldn't be a problem, but the first part is making me think very highly of the Elvis Chapel in Vegas. :-)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wow, what a day!

This afternoon I went to a wedding. All my friends are getting married and it's freaking me out a little, I'm not going to lie. Still, Ryan and Alletta are two of the nicest, smartest folks I know and they really love each other so I was glad I could be there when they got hitched. I cried a little during the ceremony and I'm not ashamed to admit was touching in the way the first five minutes of Love Actually are.

Anyway, while there I got to talking with my friend Moses and I've decided I have a fundamental problem with the whole notion of "coming out of the closet," or at least the pressure to do so. I don't feel the need to tell folks that I'm straight unless I want them to know. The idea that homosexuals should feel unique pressure to tell people their preferences is a double standard that I think represents a form, albeit a relatively passive one, of descrimination. If you want someone to know what you're in to and telling folks makes your life better, great, have at it. However, I don't think that gays and lesbians sharing that knowledge should be any bigger deal than straight folks doing the same, and I think making "coming out of the closet" a big deal is what makes it a big deal.

What I'm getting at is this: sexuality should be whatever you want and no one should ever feel compelled to share anything about themselves that they don't feel comfortable sharing, especially when it doesn't really matter anyway and we're all just people looking for someone to love.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Two sports posts in one day!

I've blogged before about how much I love the Atlanta Braves. However, I haven't been talking about them a lot lately because there hasn't been a lot to talk about. They are in the midst of one of the worst rough patches in the history of the franchise, and although they snapped their ten-game losing streak tonight, their best pitcher, John Smoltz, was injured. I'm having a hard time figuring out how things could get worse for my boys, but I still believe in them! However, I will admit that this is an odd situation to be in as a Braves fan given that we've won 14 straight division titles, a record in any professional sport. When winning is all you know, losing is both easier and harder to deal with.

Andriy Shevchenko is so hot

Ukraine advanced to the second round of the world cup today! Woohooo! GO UKRAINE!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Good stuff

I went for a long run tonight and it was good.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Does a river REALLY run through it and just how big is the sky?

Damn it’s early…as in bone-aching, blood shot eyes, this-was-more-a-nap-than-a-REM-cycle early. So, this is probably the best time ever to drive for a long distance! Hahaaa!

But seriously, Jess, AshAttack and I are driving to Montana in half an hour…well not IN half an hour, because frankly we’re not that fast. I meant we’re leaving then. OH, and by WE I mean Ashley and Jess will be doing all the driving because the consensus seems to be that a drunken moose drives better than I do. Oh well, NAP TIME! We’re going to hike, kayak, talk a lot and listen to a lot of good music. I’ll be back on Wednesday, no posts until then.

If you don’t know what to do with all your free time usually spent reading CG, check out the good stuff over at Online Onslaught. Or, if you don’t like good writing, just tell this chicken to do stuff, that’s always fun.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hot or not?

Yup, I signed up for hot or not for some reason. Mostly I was bored. Oh well. I have a feeling this will be an exercise is destroying my self esteem/me realizing that my self worth isn't tied up in aesthetics/me forgetting all about it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Five year plan

Bahai’s are big on five year plans, so I’ve decided that it is a good idea to have one too, but like Caroline and AshAttack, I really can’t settle on what that should entail, exactly. For a while I’ll teach some nice folks in Ukraine English, although I suspect I’ll learn as much from them as they’ll learn from me. However, that only covers two years…well, 27 months. Beyond that, I have several options.

First, I could decide to be a speech and debate coach/professor. I like forensics; it has always made me happy and I have this general policy that being happy is good. The folks over at Western Kentucky are totally awesome too, so I could check out their graduate programs.

Another option that I’m considering came out of the blue. I could become a professional rock-paper-scissors player. I mean, I’ve been kicking Jess’ ass for a while now but I didn’t know there was funding available.

Or, I could just choose another thing that I haven’t thought of yet and be totally happy. No matter what my five year plan entails, I’ve settled on this—I’ll make myself a good and happy person first and then let the rest of it just happen. I think I’ll be ok.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Happy Flag Day! Don't worry, I didn't get you anything either

Tomorrow is National Flag Day! It sneaks up on me every year! Anyway, I plan on celebrating by doing one or more of the following:

--playing capture the flag, possibly while really smashed

--learning how to do that flag thing that folks used to do in high school from Kristen, an expert on the subject

--running a pair of my boxers up the flagpole like Budnick did on Salute Your Shorts

--rolling down my window and giving one of those construction worker flagger folks a tip

--getting a strawberry lemonade, not to commemorate Flag Day but just because they're tasty. Seriously, remember that time when you had a bad strawberry lemonade? ME EITHER!

Code breakers

For weeks now I’ve been thinking about why I didn’t like The Da Vinci Code. I had some ideological problems with it, sure, but I knew there was something else that was bothering me about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, until now. See, I just had unrealistic expectations about the puzzle-solving, code breaking abilities of the main character, Robert Langdon. Admittedly, other pop culture figures set the bar pretty high. Nicolas Cage’s character from National Treasure probably would have found the grail easily and still had time to make out with Helen of Troy. Hell, even Dustin Hoffman as Rain Man would have been able to use his savantian math skills to crack the code immediately. The bottom line is this, though: Ghostwriter would have figured that shit out in about ten seconds. All I’m saying.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bangerang, Rufio!

I’ve blogged before about great tragedies in American cinema, but I think I overlooked a major one: the death of Rufio in Hook. Just imagine for a second that you're in his situation. You’re hanging out, staying forever young and having a pretty awesome time when one day your best friend and leader decides to ditch you and chase after some euro trash girl named Wendy. Instead of completely losing it, you step up and hold the other lost boys together in the face of almost insurmountable pirate army odds. Then, one day thirty years later, your friend randomly shows up again and everyone just takes him back after a few days, pretending his emotionally abusive ass never left. It all reminds you of a bad Lifetime movie, but being the awesome guy you are, you eventually forgive him too. Despite your big heart and awesome multi-colored, multi-tiered mohawk, you get stabbed in the chest by a man with a bad mustache and one good hand.

Add to that the fact that since Hook came out fifteen years ago, Dante Basco has largely been shunned and relegated to guest roles on bad TV shows and a recent T-Mobile commercial and this becomes one of the biggest shames in cinema.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Personally, I think we all have Mona Lisa Smile to thank

This makes me happy. The third wave feminist in me likes that more women are getting educated than men because it reverses lots of ancient stereotypes about women and expands their options. The single man in me who is attracted to smart and talented women likes that the dating pool is getting bigger every year.

And I'm not even that big a tennis fan!

I got up at six this morning to watch the French Open final and Rafael Nadal, a 20 year old kid who, after winning today, has won his last 60 matches on clay. Tennis normally isn't my thing, but frankly this streak really does impress me.

I don’t like dogs. There, I said it.

I will never own a dog. For years now I’ve been chased by them while running and at this point I’m a little gun-shy of pretty much all of them. I have no respect for a dangerous animal that can’t tell the difference between an attacker and an innocent passer-by. Also, I hate the way they smell…they shed and shit everywhere and are a huge pain in the ass because you have to worry about what they’re doing. Inevitably, even the really good one’s end up taking away time that could be spent on, well, anything but a dog. OH, and what’s more is that you always have to wash your hands after touching them. Forget that. They’re expensive, too. If Diane Lane made loving dogs a condition for a relationship with her, I would pass. Pass on Diane Lane. That's how much I don't like dogs.

It is probably worth mentioning that my family has a dog now and some of the best people I know have dogs. Clearly it works for them and I’m glad. I'll also admit that there are probably some really nice dogs out there that I could learn to live with. However, on the whole, dogs are just not for me, and I’m convinced that that doesn’t make me a bad person. I want leash laws strictly enforced with steep fines and the irresponsible owners of dogs that attack people should get lengthy prison terms. I don't care who let the dogs out, I just want them put back the hell in right now.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Empty Nest Syndrome

I’ve blogged before about the robins outside of my office window. Well, a few weeks back, the two surviving eggs hatched and out popped Harry and Lloyd (I was on a Dumb and Dumber kick when I named them). After a few days they started to grow and were super cute, then annoying because they wouldn’t stop chirping about wanting food, then back to cute again. Finally, it came time for them to leave home for good. Harry just jumped right up and flew away. Lloyd on the other hand was more cautious, inching along the windowsill for about an hour before finally flying to a nearby tree branch and then off into the unknown.

While I’m sad that they’re gone, I can’t help but realize that those birds are a pretty good analogy for my life. Assuming I complete my Peace Corps service on schedule, I will be done around Christmas, 2008. Had I gone to law school right out of undergrad, I would be working in some job I’m now pretty sure I would have hated by then. I don’t know where I’ll be in two and a half years or what I’ll be doing, but sometimes it really is worth it to just walk on the window sill for a while if you’re not sure where you want to fly.

Here’s one more analogy: better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than the middle of one you don’t.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

West Wing porn

So there I was, trying to distract myself from the jerk in front of me at Blockbuster, when I saw a magazine rack and did a double-take. What the hell was Annabeth Schott from the West Wing doing on the cover of FHM? Given that AshAttack has convinced me that LAD magazines are pretty much the worst thing ever, I refused to buy a copy.

However, I did go home and investigate the magazine online, and it turns out that the "crazy Russian girl" on the Real World isn’t actually from Russia at all—she’s from UKRAINE...and was also in FHM. Go figure.

Let’s compare things, volume two

Continued from here.

This edition is: Kanye West vs. The Hubble Telescope

Round One: Contribution(s) to society

Kanye: Indicting race and class problems in America through powerful and clever music

Hubble: Staring into space like a stoned infant

Winner: Kanye

Round Two: Relationship to the sky

Kanye: 'Fore the day he dies, he’s gonna touch the sky

Hubble: Looks all the hell over exploring like a mechanical Lewis and Clark

Winner: Hubble

Round Three: Intelligence

Kanye: You know how many classes he took, extra classes, extra classes?!

Hubble: Not actually capable of a sentient thought, but named after a really smart dead guy

Winner: Draw

Round Four: Position on shiny things

Kanye: Take your diamonds and throw 'em up like you bulimic

Hubble: Covered in glass, metal and tin foil, an epileptic nightmare

Winner: Kanye

Your winner, on a 2-1 decision, KANYE WEST!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Advice to strangers, volume one

To the guy in front of me at Blockbuster today, I have a few words of advice. First, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray” is not cologne and should not be used as such. Second, just because you’re wearing a Promise Keepers t-shirt doesn’t mean you get to SHOUT at the cashier over a late fee for—I shit you not—Captain Ron. I bet you were one of those kids in high school who prayed around the flagpole and then knocked up your girlfriend a month later. Remember, condoms are a sin! Third, not that I expect good decisions from a middle aged dude with a soul patch, but you might want to not scream at strangers in public IN FRONT OF YOUR KIDS. Send their blonde asses to space camp or something.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here's your receipt, a Valtrex coupon is on the back

This has got to be one of the least fun ways to get an STD...on your FACE...ever. I’m just saying.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pretty Girls Make Graves...but apparently not in Portland

Amy and I tried again to see Pretty Girls Make Graves in concert tonight and again the show was cancelled. Assholes.

Anyway, the evening was still pretty fun because Amy and I just hung out for a while. She even burnt me THREE CD’s…my friends collective revolt against my terrible taste in music continues…

Yawn. Glorious, wonderful yawn.

While pretty much everyone I know is working really hard, I am doing very little. My days lately consist of lots of sleep, running and watching stuff on TV. Sometimes I eat cheetos. My logic here is pretty simple: I won't get a chance to simply relax for a long, long time. Between teaching this summer (my class starts in a few weeks) and joining The Core in September, this will probably be my last chance for total relaxation for years, so I'm trying to take advantage of it while I still can.

Like this one time, Tiffanie loaned me season two of Nip/Tuck, and then I spent a Sunday laying around and watching the entire season.

Yup. Today was pretty rad. :-)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

667 friends and counting. Congratulations?!

Remember that rockstar Angela from Texas on "Spellbound"? Yea, she's my Facebook friend. Thanks to AshAttack for loving spelling bees more than me.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Two things I’ve learned in the past 72 hours:

--Sherman’s March is a masterpiece…seriously one of the five best movies I’ve ever seen. Thanks a lot, AshAttack!

--Ukraine has the most hassle-free Visa application ever. Seriously, they’re all like “oh, you want to live here for 27 months? Awesome! What’s your phone number? Where were you born? OK, that about does it, check-ya-later!”