Competing in the Dew Tour today at Breckenridge, Shaun White threw both a frontside double-cork 1080 and a cab double-cork 1080 to come out of the qualifying round in men's superpipe in first place. The dude absolutely shreds.

Also today, also at Breckenridge, I performed my patented switch heelside get-in-the-back-seat-and-then-fall-on-your-butt-uninjured so yes I think it's fair to say I'm a bit of a shredder myself.

How to Win the Love of a Writer, Part 2

I said it before and I meant it: it's just not worth the hassle. He'll have stronger opinions than any sane person should about the way words are spelled. He'll unabashedly use phrases like "the madness of English orthography." Give a writer a little space, and he'll write a story about the madness of English orthography, and then some kind of weirdly self-referential follow-up. This is the kind of stuff that's rattling around in his head. Trust me on this. Save yourself the pain and the heartache.

How to Win the Love of Your Barista, Part 4

My favorite coffeeshop is open from too early until quite late, and in order to cover all the shifts, eight different girls work there. Those eight comprise about twelve total girls worth of cuteness. (The hiring manager clearly knows what he--I'm gonna assert that it's a he--likes.)

It's November now, a time of tights and long-sleeved shirts, and so it's not clear just how many of them are actually baristas and how many are merely working as baristas. Cuteness alone is no indication.

The cute girl working as a barista is more likely to be receptive to your advances, and so there is temptation. Some might ask: Is it not enough to go on a date with a cute girl who works as a barista? No, it is not. What has that accomplished? There are many cute girls in the world who are not baristas. We have higher goals in mind.

On the Characteristics of House Spirits

House spirits, as you probably know, have a very different relationship with time from ours, and usually exist in a kind of floating dream-like observation. "Sleepy" might not be a bad word to describe it, though it does anthropomorphize something that is very much not anthro-. You almost don't want to say that the house spirit "saw" my stalker take the t-shirt, "saw" my subsequent befuddlement. It would almost be more accurate to say that because those events happened in the house, the house spirit couldn't not be aware of them: in a sense the resting house spirit is the observation ability of the house itself.

When did it fully "wake up?" Probably during the Boulder floods of 2013, in response to the insult the house experienced when the sewers backed up. That we took a long time to rebuild might explain its continued restlessness.

It remains active. I got home after midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning, and my wife sleepily told me that she'd awakened at some point to find all the covers thrown totally off the bed. Now, she's got a weird thermostat and sometimes gets hot for no reason at all and then kicks the covers off, but when that happens she always remembers doing so. Not this time. She was pretty puzzled.

But I know what's up. Definitely the house spirit. Hey, house spirit: I want my Ibex shirt back. I barely even got to wear it.

How to Win the Love of Your Barista, Part 3

Pumpkin chocolate-chip scone OMG! My eyes could well have popped straight out of my head, but I wanted to play it cool.

"Is the pumpkin chocolate-chip scone as good as it looks?" I asked.

"Definitely. And it's high in protein and fat-free and low in sugar and is actually good for you, just as long as you are gullible and don't ask any questions," she replied.

Dear sweet Jesus she is joking with me. How do I possibly respond?

I bought a scone, and thanked her, and then I ate it. It was really good.

What the Marching Band Got Me Thinking

This past weekend I had occasion to go to a college football game, which I do about never. I find big-time college football--meaning the whole complex of sport, media and advertisers--pretty much immoral. It's a billion-dollar industry, and the one actually indispensable part--the players--doesn't get paid. And don't give me any bullshit about traditions of amateurism, or how a college scholarship is value enough. These kids are putting their health--literally, their futures--on the line, and everyone in the game makes a shit ton of money except them. It's disgusting.

But last weekend was Family Weekend at Colorado State, and my mom and my sister and her husband came up to visit my nephew. They decided to check out the CSU-Air Force football game and invited me along. I said sure. I'm willing to put principle aside to spend time with my family.

At halftime, the marching band took to the field. They were dressed exactly how you'd expect a marching band to be dressed, and they got into indecipherable formations (maybe Space Invaders or Galaxians?) and they did a medley of 70s disco-funk. It was fun and it made me laugh.

I had planned on watching the band and then going to get a bite to eat, but when I stood up to head down the stairs, my sister pointed out that perhaps it wasn't the best time--the aisles were full of people doing the very same thing. I had assumed that most people had no interest in the band and would head to the snackbars as soon as halftime started. My assumption was wrong.

Given the seriousness of the tailgaters we'd seen as we'd walked in, and given the multitudes in CSU green, it was clear that most people in the stands took their college football pretty seriously. If they weren't hitting the snackbars until the band was done, that meant they saw watching the band as part of the entertainment of college football, not something divorced from it. You watch the marching band at halftime because that's what you do.

It's an interesting moment when you realize you are intersecting with a subculture that you are completely disconnected from. The marching band halftime performance is pretty much a tradition in amateur football. On Saturdays across the country, bands of snappily dressed young people carrying march-specific musical instruments (all hail the sousaphone!) get into careful formations and play jaunty marching band music for the entertainment of the crowds. And if you don't attend these games, you would never, ever see it.

My imagination began to play. Given the energy put into the endeavor, there really ought to be people who are obsessed with marching bands. People who travel the country attending football games, who watch with only passing interest while waiting expectantly for the clock to count down to the end of the first half when the real entertainment begins.

And among those obsessives, there should be one who takes it so seriously that he blogs about it. Who writes reviews. Who totally fails to see anything ridiculous about either the object of his obsession or the obsession itself. When faced with a performance inferior to his lofty standards, his reviews take on that strangely aggrieved tone you sometimes hear from critics, as though a perceived lack of quality is an insult aimed at him personally.

I imagined him sitting in a seat not far away from me, literally shaking with rage and contempt at all the philistines nearby. How can all these idiots actually be enjoying this? The formation doesn't even appear to be anything, and some of the euphoniums are sharp, and you call that an arrangement of "Staying Alive?"

It's okay, Marching Band Critic Guy. Here, talk to this person in the next section. He critiques stadium food, and he's simply outraged by the nachos.

The Long Path to Winning the Love of Your Barista, Part 1

her dreadlocks and her tattoos and the two gemstones flat against the skin at the end of her comely eyebrow so that I asked her to my eternal chagrin, where's the party? and she was like, what? and I was like, the bling. On your face. And I pointed. And she was like, oh, you mean my piercing? and suddenly I was very old.

So I have been very tactical in my approach to earning her passionate love. It is best not to fuck with the barista's patience. We forget this, I think, but she is a purveyor of mind-altering drugs and for the caffeine addicts among us she is the shining golden path to a shitty morning turning better, and so they are ready to suck her teat, metaphorically, like frightened babes, which is why she's hit on 8,000 times a day by fawning addicts hungering for their fix.

Her special magic is that she is brightly pleasant to everyone, which of course makes neanderthals like, yes, myself think that she's expressing some just-above-liminal flirtation instead of just being nice because she's nice to people.

So I have been casually and intermittently visiting her every so often. No pattern to my visits, no specific times. Indeed, often when I visit her she isn't even there and so presumably only feels it by the echos that my presence leaves in her very world which sorry I'm getting a little carried away I'm really pretty attracted to her.

A Different Sort of Victory

I tend to have a problem wherein I hold on to things forever and ever. What if I need them? That's the impulse that arises in my brain.

Thus the hard drive on my DVR fills up.

A few days ago I was scrolling through the recordings and found the last Super Bowl. Maybe I'll want to watch it again.

As is proper for Super Bowl Sunday, I was not 100% entirely sober when I watched the game. Thus while I was definitely entertained I find upon reflection that I remember exactly one play from the entire game, and if you watched you already know which one that was.

I started fast-forwarding through the game to see what memories it would jar. No score at the end of the first quarter. 7-7 just before the two-minute warning. A Patriots touchdown with 31 seconds left in the first half. An answer by the Seahawks 29 seconds later. "Goodness," I said. "This was an entertaining game. Should I actually watch it?"

I thought about it. Did I really want to see the Seahawks, the team with the human monster truck at running back, elect to pass on 2nd and goal from the one with 26 seconds left on the clock and still one timeout? Did I really want to see stupid, cheating Tom Brady and the stupid, cheating Patriots win for a second time?

I did not.

However, I remembered that there was one part that I definitely needed to watch a second time:
Katy Perry and the Lion