Sunday, July 30, 2006

Something to Keep an Eye On

A student in the course I was a TA for last fall is suing the University of Houston, and my supervising professor for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I don’t want to discuss this too much here (considering our family does not have a quality attorney on retainer), but I will mention that the news articles only tell one side of the story. I was aware of the situation at the time and believed it was handled in an appropriate and just manner that was inline with the university’s policies. That being said, there is no way the university wins this lawsuit and the policy is sure to be changed.

As best I can tell I was not named in the lawsuit, but was mentioned at least in passing:
"The four teaching assistants assigned to the class refused to take notes for Bradford, the lawsuit says.”
Or so Bradford claims. But, um, any publicity is good publicity…right?

Anyway, you can read more about it here and here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

...The Ball Bounces

In thinking about or discussing success in sports, the major factors associated with this are generally thought to be effort, persistence, discipline, passion, and hard work. Rarely does the importance of luck garner mention as a significant contributor to athletic achievement. When luck is referred to, it is typically seen as a byproduct of one of the aforementioned qualities. For instance, Samuel Goldwyn said "The harder I work, the luckier I get" and the Roman philosopher Seneca believed that "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity". This less capricious view of luck makes it seem predictable and perhaps even controllable.

I would argue that sports and life consist of far more randomness. Carl Jung spoke of the concept of “synchronicity,” which he described as "temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events". I challenge you then to look at your own life and examine the good and the bad and to consider how many of these could be attributed to luck or at least some sort of arbitrariness. In the mean time I will introduce you to two athletes and the trajectories of their sporting lives to demonstrate the apparent power of the luck effect.

Toby Wright was born November 19, 1970, in Phoenix, Arizona. He played running back and defensive back for Dobson high school. As a junior in 1987, he led the Mustangs to their first state championship. While his team was unable to repeat this feat during his senior season, Toby was named to the Arizona all-state team as a defensive back. Following high school he attended Phoenix Junior College. In 1991 Toby was a unanimous junior college All-American while leading his team with 119 tackles, nine sacks and two interceptions. After his successful junior college stint Toby became a member of Nebraska’s 1992 recruiting class.

Grant Wistrom was born July 3, 1976 in Webb City, Missouri. He attended Webb City High and played football, basketball and competed in track. As a senior Grant had 122 tackles, eight sacks, six fumble recoveries, nine forced fumbles, and a blocked punt as a linebacker. He also played tight end and caught 30 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns and rushed 11 times for 115 yards and three touchdowns. During his career he led his football team to two class 4A championships. Grant was a first-team All-America selection by Super Prep, Blue Chip and USA Today and later became a member of Nebraska’s 1994 recruiting class.

In 1992 Toby Wright arrived on the campus of the University of Nebraska and quickly became an important special teams player and also saw action in the Huskers’ nickel and dime defensive packages. Toby drew rave reviews for his ability to blitz from the secondary and became known as a ferocious hitter. Nebraska finished the season 9-3 and ended their season with a loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Nebraska began the 1993 season ranked ninth and Toby earned a blackshirt as the starting Rover. In the regular season finale he picked off his third pass of the season as Nebraska remained undefeated by finishing off Oklahoma 21-7 and clinched a spot in the Orange Bowl. In the Orange Bowl #2 ranked Nebraska would face off with heavily favored and #1 ranked Florida State for the national championship.

Given that Nebraska was tagged a as a 17 1/2 point underdog going into this match up, it was clear that they would need some sort of good fortune or luck. Toby Wright had his brush with chance in the third quarter. Following a long completion, Florida State had the ball at the one yard line and Charlie Ward handed off to William Floyd. As Floyd went airborne and surged for the endzone he was met head on by Wright dislodging the football from Floyd’s grasp. Although Nebraska recovered the loose ball, Florida State was awarded a touchdown on the play. Television replays indicated Floyd appeared to fumble prior to breaking the plane of the goal line. Was it a bad call, bad luck or the unseen hands of fate?

After a frantic final few minutes Florida State won the game 18-16 as Byron Bennett’s last second field goal sailed left. It was certainly a hard luck ending to Toby’s Nebraska career. During the 1993 season Wright had 79 tackles and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He was also named Honorable mention All Big-8 and made one publication’s All-Bowl team following his Orange Bowl performance. In April of 1994 he was drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Rams with the 49th pick.

1994 also saw the arrival of Grant Wistrom to Lincoln. Grant made an immediate impact at Nebraska and was one of only two true freshmen to letter. Playing in every game as a reserve outside linebacker he finished with 36 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Grant was also selected as the Newcomer of the Year by the Big Eight conference. Nebraska finished the regular season undefeated and ranked #1. This created a match up with Miami in the Orange Bowl and another shot for a Nebraska national championship. Grant had three tackles and a tackle for loss late in fourth quarter and Nebraska took care of Miami 24-17 and secured its first national title since 1971. So just one year after Wright’s heartache, Grant was celebrating a national championship on the same field. Here we see the randomness of life demonstrated by Toby’s bad timing and Wistrom’s good fortune. It would not be the first time.

Wistrom would finish his Husker career by winning two more national championships in 1995 and 1997. His Nebraska teams compiled an incredible 49-2 record. Grant’s career totals include 206 total tackles, 26.5 sacks for -178 yards, one interception, three passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. As a senior he was a unanimous All-American and a First-Team All-Big 12 Conference selection. He was also the recipient of the Lombardi Award, given to nation's top collegiate lineman. The St. Louis Rams made Wistrom the 6th pick of the first round in the 1998 NFL draft.

While Grant Wistrom was completing his illustrious career at Nebraska, Toby Wright was beginning his NFL career with the Rams. As a rookie in 1994 he played 16 games and made two starts. He finished second on the team in special teams tackles with 18. In 1995 the L.A. Rams moved to St. Louis and Wright had his best year as a pro. He led Rams’ defensive backs with a career-high 126 tackles (100 solo), which was a club record for tackles by a DB. He also tied for fourth in the NFC and fifth in the NFL with six interceptions. His performance earned him a spot as a Pro Bowl Alternate.

In 1996 Wright ended the season ranked fifth on the club with 79 tackles despite being limited to only 12 games due to a shoulder injury. Toby also defended nine passes, forced a fumble and returned his only interception of the year 19 yards for a touchdown. During the 1997 season, Wright played and started 11 games. He finished the year with 92 tackles after missing the first three games with a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason. Toby also missed the final two games of the 1997 season with a right knee injury sustained on the very last play of a game at New Orleans. Injuries can be considered the worst type of luck. They are circumstantial in nature and cannot be controlled as they are brought on randomly.

The paths of our two athletes crossed for the first time in 1998 as both were members of the St. Louis Rams. Wistrom played in 13 games that season on both defense and on special teams as a rookie. He finished the season with 30 tackles, three sacks, one fumble recovery, and five special teams tackles. He was also named the Rams’ Defensive Rookie of the Year by the coaches. Wright, on the other hand, played in just three games while trying to recover from reconstructive knee surgery from the previous season. The Rams finished the season 4-12.

Prior to the 1999 season Wright’s knee continued to bother him. When it failed to respond, he was eventually cut by the Rams in a salary cap move before training camp. During his tenure with the Rams, the team compiled a combined record of 26 wins and 54 losses. He was picked up by the Redskins but appeared in only one game in 1999. Wistrom, by contrast, started all 16 regular season and three playoff games during the 1999 season. He was selected to 1999 All-Madden team while setting career highs in tackles (60), sacks (6.5), interceptions (two), interception returns for touchdown (two), passes defensed (two), and tied a career high with one fumble recovery. The 1999 Rams rode their offense nicknamed, “The Greatest Show on Turf” all the way to the Super Bowl against the Tennessee Titans.

So in the year in which he is cut Toby Wright is forced to watch his Rams from home in what many consider to be the greatest Super Bowl ever. To further the insult, the game included a notorious goal line play reminiscent of the one he was involved in during the 1994 Orange Bowl. Trailing by seven, Tennessee mounted a desperate, last-minute drive, reaching the St. Louis 10-yard line with six seconds left and no timeouts. Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair threw to Kevin Dyson on a slant. Dyson caught the pass at the 3 but was tackled by Mike Jones just eighteen inches shy of the goal line, ending the game and giving the Rams their first Super Bowl victory. Eighteen inches here, an apparent fumble there. The power of the luck effect is evident again as Wright’s bad timing is overshadowed only by Wistrom’s good fortune.

By 2000 Toby Wright was out of the NFL because of injuries. He finished his NFL career with 304 tackles, 2 sacks, 7 interceptions and 3 touchdowns. In 2001 Toby was drafted by the Las Vegas Outlaws of the short-lived XFL. During the lone XFL season he was traded to the San Francisco Demons who eventually made it the league’s championship game. As luck would have it Wright and the Demons lost to the Los Angeles Xtreme 38-6.

While injuries cut Wright’s career short, Wistrom has enjoyed a successful eight year NFL career. In 2004 he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks and in typical Wistrom fashion he wound up in the Super Bowl again in 2005. Unfortunately this time Grant Wistrom’s luck ran out as the Seahawks fell to the Steelers.

I don’t think anyone can look at the careers of these two athletes and not see the role played by luck. I mean honestly, did Wistrom work harder? Was his passion more evident or his persistence more deserving? I doubt it. Luck doesn’t care about any of that. Luck works independently of the laws of probability; it shuns the notion of predictability and is influenced solely by the randomness of life. There is an amazing quote in the Woody Allen movie “Match Point” that deals with the importance of luck:

“The man who said ‘I’d rather be lucky than good’ saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It’s scary to think so much is out of one’s control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and for a split second it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck it goes forward and you win. Or maybe it doesn’t and you lose.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In the Neighborhood

When Lauren and I decided to move in together one of our major desires was to remain in the Montrose area. We both love the history, eccentricity, and vibe of the area. Montrose is now known as the trendy and gay area of Houston, but Montrose Street was once one of Houston’s most elegant thoroughfares. You can read more about our neighborhood here.

While out walking the neighborhood with Sam, we have discovered remnants of Montrose’s notable past. Lately I’ve been carrying my camera to document some of these discoveries. All of these homes are within six blocks of our place.

This first picture is of the historic Waldo Mansion. From the plaque out front I discovered that this the oldest occupied house in Houston. It was built in 1885 at the intersection of Caroline and Rusk Streets (essentially what is now downtown Houston), and was moved to its present site in 1905. The house was built by a man who had married the daughter of a railroad executive and then later became an executive with that same railroad company.

The second picture is actually of the house right next door to the Waldo Mansion. Unfortunately I know nothing about this home, but I remain fascinated by it and hope to find out more. Trust me this picture does not do it justice at all.

This last one is a house that is located even closer to ours. It is probably the largest dwelling I have ever seen up close. It is very run down, but has amazing architectural features. I imagine that there has to be an interesting history behind it, but again I have been unable to locate any information about it as of yet.

Through my research, however, I did discover other fascinating tidbits about homes in our neighborhood. For instance, around the corner from the first two houses at 435 Hawthorne, is where Lyndon B. Johnson lived when he taught at Old Sam Houston High School in the 1920's. This home is apparently still owned by the Johnson family. I haven’t been by it yet, but plan to shortly. In addition, near St. Thomas University are several other interesting homes. A home in which Howard Hughes once lived at 3921 Yoakum has actually been incorporated into the University. In addition, near the campus sits The W.W. Fondren, Sr. house, built in 1923, which is seemingly the last of the many mansions that once lined Montrose Street.

Unfortunately gentrification and the lack of zoning laws have not been kind to this area. There are now far too many little rundown apartment complexes and shiny new condos and town homes. If I had the money I would love to buy up properties in the area one at a time. However, rather than tearing the old places down I would love to restore them to their forgotten splendor. Beyond that I would tear down the rundown apartments and build modern houses that fit the old architectural style of the neighborhood. Unfortunately this is only a pipedream, but it is nice to imagine as history literally passes me by during my strolls. At any rate this neighborhood is the major reason I can never imagine moving out to the suburbs.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Updates and Stuff

I thought tonight would be a good time to provide some updates to the topics I have covered in my first three months as a blogger.

•My May 31st blog centered on the coming hurricane season. I suggested that the 2005 hurricane season was an aberration and that I expected a calmer summer despite intense news coverage and fear-mongering. The Houston Chronicle recently ran an article titled, Hurricane season comes in like a lamb. It points out that, “In contrast to last year's record-setting destruction, the 2006 hurricane season has opened with a whimper."

•On June 2nd I discussed Dirk Nowitzki’s 50 point explosion in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and related it to the “hot hand fallacy” from sport psychology. My blog then seemingly found its first victim of a Sports Illustrated cover-like jinx. Following my write-up Dirk shot just 39% while averaging 23 points over his team’s next seven games. As Dirk’s hand cooled, so did the Mavs, and Mark Cuban’s boys provided another ring for Shaq and Pat Riley.

•On June 7th I wrote about the history of Nebraska quarterbacks in the NFL and our apparent difficulties in recruiting top-flight high school QBs. It appears that Nebraska has found their man for the 2007 class in Patrick Witt from Wylie, Texas, who committed exactly three weeks after my post. Witt is 6’4”, 215 lbs. and is rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals. He looks the part of a strong-arm QB and the coaches are clearly impressed by his mechanics. It will certainly be interesting to see how he fits in over the next couple of years.

•The World Cup ended with Italy crowned as the well-deserving champions. I really enjoyed watching the coverage and plan on continuing to follow the sport when the English Premier League begins in August. Unfortunately this World Cup might be best remembered for the poor performance of the U.S. team and the vicious Zinedine Zidane headbutt in the final. My only comment about the latter is who knew soccer players avoided using their hands even while fighting?

•On June 28th I wrote about the 20th anniversary of the passing of Len Bias. In the weeks since, ESPN Classic has been airing "The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...Len Bias' Death for the Demise of the Boston Celtics”.

In addition, here are some random thoughts I've been pondering lately.

•There is an antique store in our neighborhood that we pass while walking Sam. I recently noticed a sticker in the window that read “Protected by Radio Shack Security System”. I immediately imagined the alarm asking an intruder for his phone number. It’s a shame no one will get that.

•The English language is so peculiar. We have “horrible” and “horrific”, and then “terrible” and…“terrific”?

•I know it’s a terrorist organization and all, but Hezbollah is really fun to say.

•Last week we had a police helicopter with its spotlight on circling our neighborhood at tree-top level for about 20 minutes. I never really know what to do in that situation besides make sure the doors are locked and perhaps turn on the local news. In the back of my mind, however, I’m always thinking it would be a really bad time for a black male to decide to go jogging.

•So let me get this straight: Smoking a cigarette in a bar = illegal. Making a U-turn while driving = illegal. Fireworks that actually go “boom” = illegal. Carrying a gun in your waistband = legal? Oh you wacky Lincoln lawmakers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Test Yourself

I recently created my first test for my summer class. My students will be taking it on Monday. I'm giving you the chance to quiz yourself today. I will post the answers in the comment section. No cheating and feel free to post how you did.

1. Carlos grew up with his parents and 3 siblings. After Carlos moved away to college, he married his girlfriend Maria, and they eventually had two children, Juan and Monica. With their children, Carlos and Maria form a(n)

a. family of orientation
b. family of procreation
c. foster family
d. extended family

2. The primary reason for the existence of the incest taboo in most societies is to

a. reduce the likelihood of birth defects and abnormalities
b. adhere to traditional moral and religious codes
c. protect innocent children who are dependent upon their caretakers
d. prevent sexual jealousies and conflicts within the family

3. Jack and Jill have an 18-year-old son, John, who lives with them. John recently got a job and started paying rent to his parents in order to help them financially. No one in the family realized how proud Jack would be of his son’s efforts, and how much John’s self-esteem would rise because of his contributions. According to structural functionalism, feelings of pride and self-esteem would be described as ______________, and paying rent to help the family finances would be described as __________________.

a. expressive; instrumental
b. instrumental; expressive
c. latent; manifest
d. manifest; latent

4. You are conducting a comprehensive study on the apparent differences between males and females. This study is likely to reveal that

a. apart from physical differences there are widespread differences between the two sexes
b.there is really no difference between the sexes
c.the differences within each sex are greater than the differences between the sexes
d.the differences between the sexes cannot be studied

5. Based on Cuber and Haroff’s (1966) study of married couples and their typology of marital relationships, what can we best conclude

a. the process of adjustment is fairly uniformed among couples
b. the survival of the relationship is based on a set of key factors
c. marriages vary in communication patterns and interaction styles
d. commitment is the best predictor of marital status.

6. Because of a husband’s __________________ rights, in about half of the states, a wife cannot charge her husband with rape.

a. common-law
b. conjugal
c. coverture
d. commingling

7. Research findings indicate that

a. men complain more about their marriages than women do.
b. wives tend to be happier than husbands.
c. women complain more about their marriages than men do.
d. husbands experience a higher rate of psychological problems than wives.

8. The nuclear family is comprised of which of the following?

a. wife, husband, and children
b. wife, husband, children, and other relatives
c. wife, husband, and children under age 16
d. a recently married couple

9. A teacher uses the analogy of the body, with its various parts all working together, when explaining one of the theoretical approaches in studying marriages and families. This would be the __________ perspective.

a. conflict
b. social exchange
c. structural functionalism
d. symbolic interactionism

10. The term "feminization of love" refers to

a. women taking the lead in love relationships
b. the research on love being conducted by women
c. love as a central aspect of the female domain and experience
d. a given stage in a relationship in which both partners exchange a special tenderness

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sam I am...Still

So I figured it out. You know, this whole computer thing would be a heck of a lot easier if I had thumbs.

I did make one new friend on Sunday. He tried to get me to go swimming with him, but I declined. I didn't catch his name, but he smelled friendly enough.

Can you find me in this one? I promise I'm there somewhere. I was just trying out my natural camoflauge and attempting to freak out my parents when they couldn't see me for a bit. Isn't it odd that there is a swampy forest this close to downtown Houston? The only bad part about exploring in the woods is that it means my momma will want to give me a bath. I hate baths almost as much as I hate cats.

Here I am after leaving the woods and coming back towards my parents and their blanket. I think this is a fabulous picture of me, don't you agree? If I get a chance to create a page before my parents wake up from their nap, I will probably use this as my profile picture.

Finally, I thought I would show you my favorite chair. My parents recently put a down comforter on top of it for me. They said it was to keep my dog hair off it. But I know the real reason is just because I am so SPOILED.

Speaking of spoiled, I'm going to go beg for a treat. Peace out.

Sam I am

Ok, so my people finally gave me a chance to use the computer and post a little something on papa's blog. It's about time they let me near this thing, I mean I think I deserve it after all the walks I take them on. To make things a bit more interesting for my readers, I thought I would post a few pictures of my favorite

First of all, here is a daylight picture of the front of our place. I thought I would go ahead and put this up here, since my papa can't seem to remember to post it. He means well I suppose.

Here I am out behind our place. I love to come out here and just hang out. I've also become a pretty good watchdog, but sometimes after all that guard dogging, I just need a nap.

I had a great weekend. My people took me to the dog park on both Saturday and Sunday!! It wasn't too busy, but I like it that way.

Here I am checking out the woods. There is a bayou down the hill from here that most of the dogs like to swim in. I think those dogs are crazy! The water looks yucky, and I've heard there might be aligators in it and besides I didn't have my water wings with me.

Um, I think I might have broken something. Let me see if I can start a new post and put up some more pictures.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Well Adjusted

I dug out some old books that I thought I might be able to use to spice up my lectures. In doing so, I was reminded why I am so fascinated with one book in particular. I’m not actually sure what originally led me to this book. All I know is that it is now out of print and my copy is weathered, torn and more or less falling apart. The book is The Adjusted American: Normal Neuroses in the Individual and Society. It was written by Snell and Gail Putney and was published in 1964.

The preface of the book states, “this is not a book about them (whose foibles we can view with detachment or even a certain relish); it is a book about us – the normal, the adjusted of our society. Its basic concern is with certain neuroses which are normal in America, and with the means of escaping them."

Despite being over 40 years old, the book is surprisingly timeless. It discusses the military industrial complex, which it highlights as a new and marked change in American institutions. Of this phenomenon, the authors state:

“Thus the world drifts toward war, carried along by the momentum of institutional development and individual neurosis, which are both tending in the same fatal direction. To justify its existence, the great military industrial complex continues to expand and elaborate weapons systems (and not only in America). At the individual level lies neurotic motivation: the needful man feels angry, and the angry man welcomes destruction. The end will presumably come with a thermonuclear holocaust (the literal meaning of holocaust is a sacrifice wholly consumed by fire). The downward spiral in which neurotic people create social institutions to mirror and implement their misdirected desires, and in which these institutions in turn perpetuate the neuroses and use them to manipulate the people, will then have reached an irreversible bottom”.
The authors continue:

“However much he may consciously recoil from the idea, the American finds thermonuclear war increasingly credible. This is largely a result of the efforts of the public relations departments of the various military branches, who make war credible to the public in order to justify their appropriations (or personal or familial vendettas)”.

Okay, so I added the last parenthetical bit, but you have to admit it was sounding pretty familiar already.

My favorite chapter of the book discusses the sense of pressure that is/was thought to exist within American society. I think this chapter has taught me more about myself and the actions/attitudes of others than any other source. The major notion of this chapter is that most of what the adjusted American does is undertaken for the effect it will have on other people. The authors state:

“Thus, he imposes on himself a constant concern with what he thinks other people think he should be doing, or how other people evaluate what he has done. Such misplaced concern underlies his sense of an endless striving leading nowhere – which is approximately where his efforts do lead. No matter how hard he works at it, he will never arrive at self-acceptance by doing things to impress other people.”

I feel like this explains some of my struggles in graduate school. This has been my attitude from day one. I have never felt the need to live up to anyone’s expectations, but my own. Because of this I manage to control my stress and understand that my schooling is a essentially a series of tasks of varying difficulties, whose sum does little more than add a culturally valued suffix on to my name. I have a hunch that for others, the stress comes from the feeling of being under pressure from others, rather than the amount to be done.

Putney and Putney extend this idea by pointing out that:

“Moreover, so long as he expends his energy in this fruitless quest, he will remain unsatisfied and tense. The American is prone to misinterpret this tension – which arises from his unfulfilled needs – and to regard it as anger, anxiety and pressure. Believing that what he wants is success, high status, popularity or prestige, he pursues these things, but the pressure never eases.”

In concluding their discussion on pressure, the authors state:

“The adjusted American has learned to interpret most of his own drive as if it were external pressure, and the result is that he feels under pressure most of the time. He may defy what he believes to be pressure from others. But even if he complies with it he is likely to put up a good deal of resistance, and his enjoyment and efficiency both ebb. The things he believes are expected of him seem to stretch endlessly before him, and he may become so dispirited as to believe that he requires external pressure to accomplish anything.

With much of his energy diverted to a struggle against his own drive, he has a sense of running as hard as he can but with little progress to show for his effort. Considering the amount of internal resistance he has to overcome before he moves, perhaps it is remarkable that there is any progress at all.

The autonomous alternative is to move beyond pressure by recognizing that any sense of insistent pressure is one’s own projected drive. The man who recognizes that what he feels is his own drive will neither resent nor resist the pressure; he will act.”

Lastly, I think the book’s views on intimacy and love are also spot on. It is no secret that the most rewarding relationships are those that involve trust, which in turn allows for open, honest and direct communication and feedback between involved parties. These qualities, however, are also the most difficult and frightening characteristics to nurture. In discussing this, Putney and Putney state:

“The adjusted American has learned to expect intimacy only in exceptional friendships. He thus finds it only occasionally. The rest of his association is reduced to role playing in which he seeks to conceal much of himself. Even much of his intimate association is twisted toward misdirected ends as he seeks a supportive relationship rather than the open, candid relationship which could contribute to insight and self-acceptance."

I’m not sure what my point with this was other than to illuminate a truly insightful book and one that is not likely to be pimped by Oprah anytime soon. In other words, thanks for reading this if you made it this far and I hope it gave you something to think about.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I realize I haven’t been posting much and I don’t really know why. I’ve started teaching my summer class, which has forced my sleep schedule back to normal. So I guess there is an inverse relationship between my inability to sleep and my blog productivity.

But here are some random things that I can share.

First, my toenail has officially come off. It was looking pretty nasty and was starting to loosen. As a result, I soaked it in hot water and took matters into my own hands. It required a surprising amount of pulling and twisting and was almost as painful as it sounds. I stand by my theory, however, that doctors are overrated. Some guys can fix their own cars, I just mess with my flesh.

In other toe-related news and just as I had suspected, I am once again an accidental fashion icon. The New York Times recently ran an article about the emergence of flip-flops as the latest Hollywood trend. You can view the article here (registration required). But here is a quote:
"Suddenly, flip-flops -- those slabs of rubber with V-shaped slivers between the toes -- are ubiquitous in what were once dressed-up settings."
Finally, here are some recent arbitrary thoughts:

•So Ken Lay died of a heart attack. I can’t be the only one who was shocked to discover he actually had a heart.

•I wonder if they serve fish at Sea World.

•I don’t know exactly who this “middle man” is, but I’ve got to think he is getting tired of everyone trying to cut him out.

The Cohabitation Station Part II

Let's try this again.

This is one view of the living room and my furniture that barely fit in the place. We are currently accepting donations for artwork for the walls. As you can see, Sam has taken up residence in the chair.

Here is the second view of the living room, which includes my favorite part (the TV obviously). What you can't see is that I once again had to exercise my amazing cable routing along the walls of the apartment skills. Why they don't put the cable outlets in a reasonable spot is beyond me.

Finally, here is the bedroom. This is the room that is the closest to being finished and yes, my insomnia has lessened since moving here.

The Cohabitation Station

I finally took some pictures of our new place. Lauren wants you to know that we did not pick out the colors and that she hasn't even begun to work on the design of it. So in other words, this is the barebones version of our humble abode.

This is a creepy night time shot of the front of our place. I promise to replace this with a daytime shot soon, so check back. Our unit is located in the bottom left quadrant.

This shot shows the kitchen and the back door. Our kitchen is very bright.

This is another view of the kitchen. Again, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in color.

This is a view of the dining room as you face it from the kitchen. Taylor and Sarah were nice enough to leave us their dining room table. As a result, we can now eat without the use of TV trays.

This is the dining room as you face it from the living room. As soon as I move over all of my books, the cabinets in the background will come in handy.

Ok, I guess that will have to do for the first view. Blogger is not letting me post anymore pictures in this post so I will try and start another post and continue the tour.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Well, Lauren and I are officially living together. We have spent the last two nights in the new place and finished putting everything away last night. It is a great little place and should fit our needs nicely. The back door had to be taken off its hinges to get my oversized furniture in, but that was the only major difficulty. We have more space now than we were sharing in her old apartment and this gives us a chance to create “our space”.

That has led to much cooperation and compromise. Lauren has A LOT of stuff. That factor was responsible for the most common conversation of the weekend. It went something like this:

Lauren: Do you think we could put this here?
Jeff: Um, do you really think we need to keep that?

But luckily we have quite a bit of storage and Lauren is being a real trooper as she learns the meaning of “downsizing”.

The next step will involve the design/decoration aspects. Fortunately Lauren’s schooling has perfectly prepared her for this endeavor. Unfortunately I thought I was destined to live alone forever, and thus have developed my own opinions. It all reminds me of an old Dennis Leary bit.

“Guys, learn this: even if you're just living with a woman you're not even married to, give up any thought of being involved in the interior decoration of the place you're going to live in. All your beer stuff, your sports mirrors, put them in storage. I've been to Wayne Gretzky's house, he's got five MVP trophies, and you know where they are? They're in the garage.”

I promise to post pictures as soon as I find the charger for my camera…or order a replacement from Ebay.