Saturday, December 20, 2003


First, a little background -
Bruce is in Texas. He is moving to Richmond, where he will be living with Mike L., who goes to school there. Being in school, he is currently on break and is heading to Texas to help Bruce move. They are packing a truck (a big one that happens to be going to Richmond anyway in which Bruce has rented space). The truck will depart under its own power, and then the two of them will be roadtripping in Bruce's car to Charlottesville, where they will meet the rest of us on Monday for lunch, followed immediately by snowboarding and/or skiing.

A few more details -
The original plan (pay attention this gets complicated) was for Mike to drive to Bruce's girlfriend's (Colleen) work. Colleen would get a ride to work from a friend. She would, when she met Mike at work, drive him (in his car) to Dulles airport for his flight. Then she would drive Mike's car back to her place and leave it there until Monday, when she would drive it to Charlottesville to meet up with the snowboarding crew. Bruce and Mike, meanwhile, would pick up Lissie (Mike's girlfriend) on the way to Charlottesville (in Bruce's car). In Cville, the rightful owners would be returned to their cars. Mike would drive Lissie in his car for the rest of the trip. Bruce would drive Colleen in his car for the rest of the trip and ultimately back to her place after the trip is over (although odds are good neither Bruce nor Mike will be interested in doing anymore driving at this point and the girls will most likely be the ones behind the wheels). Did you catch all that?

The reason I have a story to tell -
The Plan, as they say, is often the first casualty of battle. Mike missed a turn on his way north from Richmond. He did not realize for a long time that he had missed a turn. He did not realize it, in fact, until the highway he was on stopped. He probably suspected something was up, but the end of the highway confirmed it for him. When he finally found the road he was looking for (in his defense the directions gave him the wrong road - well, right road, but wrong name for that stretch of it), it was rush hour and he was pretty much stuck. He did eventually make it to Colleen's work, and she did eventually drop him at the airport, but it was too late.

This is where our hero finally appears in the story -
Bruce called me at 6:30 Wednesday night and states "Mike missed his flight." To which I responded by laughing, because it's Mike and it's funny. I then agreed to a) go get Mike from the airport and b) make sure he was returned to the airport for his new flight. At the time, I thought this might mean calling up my brother, who was working night shift at the time, and asking him to drive Mike to Dulles sometime mid-morning while I was at work. I was wrong. A few phone calls later, we had both pick up and drop off arrangements straightened out. Mike's new flight was at 6:11 AM. I dropped him off at the airport at 4:30. They say you should be at the airport two hours early. I said pthbbbb! to that and probably still got him there earlier than he needed to be. I then went to work. One of my coworkers needed help with some delivery stuff, so I was supposed to be in early anyway. The timing actually worked out pretty well.

Epilogue -
Mike's car is in the right place. Mike is in the right place. I am also in the right place, but for some reason, am rather tired (so, probably, is Mike who slept even less than I did that night). I decided to take a nap when I got home that afternoon, and a shower too, since I skipped that as well that morning. Once I did that, I figured we would have officially achieved Happily Ever After (where Ever After is an unspecified amount of time which could include forever, but is neither required nor likely to do so). Unfortunately, I had to work late that day, of course, so I missed the nap. I did get the shower, though, so while it wasn't quite Happily Ever After, it was at least Adequately Ever After.

I am, for those of you who have not yet noticed, something of an odd duck at times. I have several quirks, habits, and preferences that occasionally make my friends shake their heads and wonder if maybe I shouldn't be kept under closer watch. For instance, I do not like Seinfeld. I have nothing against the man personally, but I'm not a fan of the show. I will occasionally quote it at you and I have seen enough episodes that I can pick up most references. I think I used to like it, but I do not anymore. If you turn it on, I'll usually go find something else to do. For this, I have been accused of being un-American.

The topic of discussion today, however, is not Seinfeld, it is pizza. I like pizza. I am, in fact, remarkably unpicky about what goes on my pizza. I'll eat anything. Although I do have to admit that I tend to avoid olives and pepperoni. Avoiding pepperoni is one of those acts that gets raised eyebrows. Where I get squawks of indignation regarding pizza is not the pepperoni, though, it's the cold pizza. I love cold pizza. It is, in my humble opinion, the only way to eat leftover pizza. I absolutely prefer cold pizza to reheated pizza. You might even, if you caught me off guard, get me to admit that there are times when I prefer cold pizza to heated pizza in general (not always, but sometimes). I think cold pizza is the glorious epitome of what is possible in a leftover. All leftovers should taste this good the second time around. And with so little effort! It is an amazing and joyous thing to discover that the food I put in the refrigerator the night before has not lost any of its appeal AND that to partake of this marvelous victual one has only to remove it from the refrigerator and place it in one's mouth. Instant satisfaction. There are no intermediate steps necessary. No plates, no silverware, no pushing that single large button on the microwave, no waiting thirty seconds to a minute for food to heat up! Immediate, simple, delicious: cold pizza is one of my favorite ways to start a Saturday morning.

I have discovered that pizza, like Seinfeld, is one of those inane things about which people can get quite passionate. My fondness for cold pizza is simply a preference in taste, and one that does not inflict itself on others. Just because I choose to eat it that way does not mean others have to (the genius of the slice system), nor is there any smell for them to find distasteful. And yet, hot pizza is one of those things people feel the need to defend. I am not the only person who likes cold pizza, but I do believe we are in a minority. People watching me eat cold pizza feel the need to tell me that there's a microwave nearby, that it works, that it's available, that heating it there doesn't really complicate or slow down the fridge-to-mouth process all THAT much, as if I was only eating cold pizza because I had not yet discovered a way to efficiently heat the pizza. I try to explain that I like my pizza this way, but it's difficult. They shout, they wail, they threaten and cajole. Then they physically attempt to remove the pizza and put it in the microwave for me. There's a scuffle and I have to beat them off with a stick. They cry for a while, and then life goes back to normal, until the next person notices that my pizza is cold. Actually that's not true. People are generally pretty peaceful in their objections. And in the meantime, I finish the pizza at which point they'll shrug, smile, and nod as if they understand, and then tell me I'm weird. But I've heard that before.

Friday, December 05, 2003


I like snowboarding. Once I learned how to turn left last season, a whole new world opened up for me and I loved every white packed inch of it. Enough to go get my own snowboard. The inaugural trip for this season (and my new board) is already scheduled. I have new snowpants, good goggles, a good jacket, excellent gloves, and a variety of hats from which to choose (and did I mention the new board?). Bruce and I (mostly Bruce) have also completed the work on our snowboard mix CD (I can say no more at this time). All of this is ready and waiting, and I still have two and a half weeks to go before I can get on the slopes. The ski resort webpage is still telling me the same thing it said twelve minutes ago and I am about to burst with anticipation if I don't find some other way to prepare for the upcoming trip. Of course, I already have an idea, or I would not be writing this blog entry.

I have considered every angle of this inaugural adventure and identified the one factor I and my cohorts have thus far overlooked: Battlecries. We have given serious thought to our gear, our transportation, and even our music, but not to our battlecries. While not absolutely necessary, a good battlecry can significantly enhance the skiing or snowboarding experience. Nothing makes barreling down the mountainside more fun than shouting incoherently while you're doing it. It really is the perfect accessory to a good careen.

Because I refuse to do anything simple when I can make it complex, I have divided battlecries (or hollers) into several categories. I have presented these categories below for your amusement and education. Those of you planning on snowboarding soon should pay close attention and think carefully before designing your own hollers for use on the slopes this season.

**Bravado** - aka The "Look Out World Here I Come" Shout
This is what you shout when you're full of zest and ready to conquer the mountain. Often heard at the top of the trail immediately before or simultaneous to the beginning of a rider’s descent. Examples include: "Geronimo!", "Let’s get this party started!", “Bombs away!", and "Hail to the king, baby!"

**Warning** - aka the "No, Seriously, Look Out, I can't find the brakes on this thing!" shout
This is saved for those occasions when everything is going to hell in a handbasket, you're not enjoying the ride, and you want people to know that they'll be involved shortly if they don't move a few feet to the left. It is very difficult to prescript these particular hollers, but improvisation is highly effective. Examples include: "Get out of the way!" "Look out!" "Help!" and "ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod." Can also be a wail of dismay. Often accompanied by wild arm waving.

**Incoherent** - the "Nyaaarraaaaagghhh"
This is a battlecry for those moments when you can't think of anything better to say, you're experiencing a rush that is so intense you can't spare time for syllables, or fear has frozen your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This is a very versatile cry. It can be used to express Joy, Rage, Exultation, Frustration, or Sheer Mindnumbing Terror. As with the Warning, when prompted by unanticipated events, these can be very hard to prescript. In such instances one will often resort to the simpler cries of "Yeaaah!", "Bah!", "Argh!", and "whoaaa!" However there are times when a prepared Incoherent cry can be used to great effect, such as the "Eulailailailai!" of The Long Patrol, the Cavalier "Wahoowa!", and of course Goofy's infamous "Woooooohoooohooohoohoo"

**Mockery** - the "Nyanyanya"
This battlecry is used when one rider has outperformed another by pulling off a better trick, by reaching the bottom of the mountain first, or simply by remaining upright, unmangled, and unmaimed for a longer period of time than his opponent. It is very similar to Bravado, but with less narcissism and more inferiority complex. It should be used with caution because the fates have a sense of humor and strangers might not. Examples include "Ha, take that!", "I rule!", "You suck!", and "Booyah!"

**Smug** - the "hmpf"
On second thought, smug battle cries are very hard to hear. Let's skip those.

**Triumph** - the "ALLLLLLLLLRRRRRIIIIIIGGGGHHHT!!!!!!!!!!!"
This is the finishing cry, for those times when a rider has just accomplished some spectacular feat against all odds, such as a rail slide, a tough jump, or reaching the bottom of the mountain relatively intact. The sentiment expressed is equivalent to "That mountain just tried to knock me over, but it DIDN'T. It's roughly a million times my size, and I beat it. HA! I survived! Let's do that again." Shorter examples include "Yes!", "Sweet!", "I did it!", "That completely rocked!", "Bring it on!", and "Aaawwwwww Yeaaaahhhh, Baby!" No matter how tempting it is, one should always refrain from shouting "I am the king of the world!" if at all possible

These categories and the examples provided should serve as a useful starting place for those of you who wish to craft your own snowboarding battlecries. Now I must attend to my own hollers. Look out world, here I come.