Tag Archives: Imaginary Readership

Step 1, Find Wings. Step 2, FLY!!

28 Jan

I can’t remember really hating winter until recently, but at the present moment I am sick of it, fed up, through, soooo over it (omg, sooo sorry to go “valley girl” on you guys!). It probably has something to do with the fact that last winter was the snowiest one we’ve had on the east coast (USA) in several years and this winter itself has (probably) broken some records — not to mention the fact that the majority of the winters in my life were spent as a schoolboy, who reveled in the wonder of a snowy forest behind my house and the joy of a day off school (Virginia schools are pretty notorious for shutting down if there’s snow accumulation of more than 1/8″) — but I won’t bore you guys with my ranting and complaining about forces beyond my control BECAUSE:

I have great news for our readers that will warm you right up! (1) I am headed places warm and wonderful in the very near future, and (2) I am about to regain my title as World Traveler Extraordinaire. I’m sure it’s well-known by now that anyone bearing  a World Traveler title must leave his homeland at regular intervals to maintain it, and for an Extraordinaire-level traveler, this obligation must be fulfilled at least once a year (OK, that sounds dumb, but hopefully in an entertaining kind of way?). I almost didn’t make it last year — and my brief, business-related trip to Toronto in the autumn only barely counted as international travel (don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED the city — but I was only there two days, and there wasn’t much of a cultural contrast or linguistic challenge for me).

So, without further ado (adue, adieu? These “set phrases” are annoying; if I were a more dedicated linguist I would probably do the research and find out where that even comes from…), sans further delay, I shall unveil my plans:

Paso uno: Mini-vacation in West Palm Beach, mid-February. I’m just taking a few days off to chill by the water, hang out with a really good friend who’s working at a baseball stadium down there, and maybe even scuba dive (no steps have yet been taken to ascertain whether this third pursuit is even remotely possible in the month of February — don’t all the cool-looking fish migrate to the Caribbean, or hibernate in an abyss somewhere during winter? — but it definitely sounds cool and tropical to mention (and might make a few of you envious?). Yet while therapeutic and relaxing and extremely awesome, this trip, of course, does nothing to further my reputation as a World Traveler, which is why I just recently decided to take:

Passo dois (lit. paso dos, “step two”. Guess the language, and you’ll have narrowed down the places I might be going to two — or three if you’re informed enough to know the official language of Angola): 10-day vacation to the great city of Rio de Janeiro! I have a good friend there who’s been inviting me to come visit for a couple years now, and I actually had it in the back of my mind that this would be the year — if I could find the right price, of course. Well, I was talking to my amigo Marcos on Tuesday night — remembering our adventures together in Europe, catching up on recent happenings in our lives, comparing how miserable the weather is here and how absolutely gorgeous it is there, etc. — and I started thinking about how much I really want to go visit, and how I’d hate to look back in a few years and wonder why I let silly things like money and time be used as excuses for never taking the adventure — and, prob. more than anything, I was thinking about what an absolute blast Marcos and I used to have together when we were studying in Madrid, whether it was touring Andalucía, booking a last-minute trip to Brussels for a day because the price was right, or playing soccer in a Metro station where I kicked the ball into a lamp, which sent us into a frantic flight to the other side of the city to avoid transportation authorities [Author’s Note: Yes, I realize what an incredibly ridiculous run-on sentence this is, but I hope it’s serving its purpose in conveying my building excitement] — and so I took another look at flights for the end of March, using all the cheesy travel discount websites that are out there, and I found a round-trip flight that would be covered by the tax refund I’ll be receiving later this month [I wish I could insert a <hyperlink> here to a blog entry about filing my taxes this year…], so I made sure Marcos was going to be in town that week and bought it within the hour!

After making the purchase, I must admit that I had a little “Oh no, what have I done??!!!” moment — Was this an impulse buy? Had I really considered fully the risks of traveling to such a crime-ridden city as a white American tourist with little knowledge of the Portuguese language? Who does something like this, and is there a reason that most people don’t? Why hadn’t I researched the requirements for visiting the country before buying the ticket? (I found out later that night that US citizens are required to have a Tourist Visa to even enter Brazil, which I should have expected… But it should be no biggie if I get started on the application process this weekend, because I can get it within a month, and the price will almost be covered by the dinero I’ll be getting back from my state taxes…) — but then I realized that I was being smarter than I realized: I had made sure I had the money for it first, I had paid a little extra for a light travel insurance plan to cover me if I get stranded in an airport on one of my connecting flights or lose my job right before the trip and need to cancel it last-minute, and I have a really great friend waiting for me there who “has my back”, and it sounds like his family won’t let me starve, with the feast they’re already planning in my honor!

Really, I think it’s just the kind of adventure I need, after a year landlocked in central VA and tied down to a full time job. I’m looking forward to good times, learning a lot of Portuguese, enjoying new foods and drinks, hearing some authentic Bossa Nova, Samba and Choro played by Brazilians… I may decide not to come back! (Except for the fact that the only way I can take this trip in the first place is because of this full-time job that’s tying me down… A job which I really do enjoy most days!)

OK, so now we’re reaching the end of the post, and you’re probably asking yourself, why did he say this is “good news” for me the reader? Simply put, you benefit because you will be the ones that will be able to read the awesome posts about my trips — perhaps even while they’re going on, depending on internet availability — without ever having to leave your house! FOR FREE! What’s not to like? 😉

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Señor Bachelor Finds His Wings Again

14 Jan

Hola! Once again, a very long time has passed since I last blogged here (but not as long as it’s been since we’ve seen a post from Joe The Scholar, mind you). My apologies.

Tonight I am writing from my new yuppy apartment in downtown C-ville, after having spent my very first full week here. This is the first place I’ve lived completely by myself, and overall, I am LOVING it. The apartment itself is very nice — hardwood-like laminate flooring, 10-foot ceilings, a decent-sized kitchen with all the latest appliances — and it’s located two blocks from historic downtown and the downtown walking mall. Although the weather’s been a little chilly, I have already braved the cold numerous times to go out and explore the area — after all, I keep convincing myself, I’m paying for the convenience of this location with my rent, so why would I spend extra money on gas?

Earlier this evening, in fact, I walked down to Cville Coffee to see a jazz duo that was performing there. The art and music scene was one of the things that drew me to the downtown area, so I was quite excited to start enjoying culture again. It was about a ten-minute walk, and not too terribly cold, but there was literally nobody else on the sidewalks anywhere on the way — an eery reminder of America’s love affair with the personal automobile. The coffee shop was really sheik and cozy; I had a delicious Cajun sandwich with a “Milky Way” flavored coffee drink; and the jazz duo was soothing and refreshing, with their blend of Bossa Nova tunes, blues, and jazzified folk songs. The atmosphere was very relaxing, and I even had a nice little chat with one of the owners of the place at one point, who told me about some cool places to visit in the area.

The only thing that was a little awkward was that I was the only person there under the age of 50. There was a seniors group from Hood, VA (some backwoods town I’d never heard of) and several older couples and groups of Girls-Night grandmas, but not a single head of hair that hadn’t been turned white or gray with time. Nothing against older folks, I could tell they were having a good time, but it was just kind of a shame that no cool bohemian chicks were there to enjoy the tastes and sounds… Maybe I’ll have to start exploring musical hangouts a little closer to the University, but at least now I know a place where I can get delicious coffee drinks within minutes of my new home.

Ok, I guess this has been a pretty lame post, but you can think of it as just a snapshot into the fascinating life of Bachelor Derrick. I think I’m going to close here for the night and go back to doing literally whatever I want — adjusting the temperature to exactly how I want it, playing whatever genre of music I’m in the mood for, at whatever volume I feel like, double- and triple-dipping my tortilla chips in the jar of salsa, taking a random nap before watching whatever movie I feel like watching, etc — in my own domain; I can definitely get used to this!

Nataly Dawn and Pomplamoose

16 Oct

When we talked about Sufjan Stevens a few months ago, perhaps you gathered a sense of our collective taste in music here at tCP (acronyms make everything cooler). Undoubtedly, you gathered that Intern Derrick and I have fantastic, unassailable taste in music. You gathered that our musical tastes are is eclectic, elitist, and simply better than yours. Don’t be ashamed. You aren’t the only imaginary person with inferior musical taste.

About a week ago, while prowling youtube, I came across a new artist and I thought, people should be aware of this goodness. So I present, “A Happy Song”:

There is something so raw, unfurnished, and starkly beautiful in the lyrics and chords of this song. And sure, that is impressive, and well done on her part. I like it, and really, I think you should like it too.

Which led me to think about what might be done with this song, how the artist might transform it to something I could listen to on my Zune (no, I’m not an Apple/Ipod user like the rest of you; Itunes is one of the worst programs I have ever used; when you turn on Itunes, the rest of your computer stops working; don’t judge me; unnecessary semicolon). She would have to take a song, simple and austere, and flower it up with percussion, synthesizer, and maybe even a piano, plunking chords off in the background. Really, though, I don’t want that. I would just like to listen to it in this form, because that’s the way it was conceived and that is the way it was meant to be played.

High horse dismount.

Anyway, Nataly Dawn has a decent spread of good material on her youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/natalydawn

Also, Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte (another great musician) have joined forces to form Pomplamoose. A few of their better videos are below. Enjoy!

“Mrs. Robinson”

“My Favorite Things”

“Beat the Horse”

Regina v. Dudley and Stephens

4 Sep

So, a while back I mentioned a case that I was reading for the first week of law school, called Regina v. Dudley and Stephens. As it turns out, this is a very famous, and very cool case. You should know about it, and since you don’t, it is my fiduciary duty* to educate our esteemed imaginary readership.

Four seamen (stifled laugh) are stranded at sea in a small rowboat. This adrift quartet is without food and water, save two small tin cans of turnips (tough break, really), and they have been floating about for nineteen days. They are all slowly starving to death. Two of the men Dudley and Stephens decide that it is a worthwhile idea to eat someone to survive. The third, Brooks, agrees. The fourth, a young cabin boy, is not consulted. The cabin boy is dying at a more rapid pace than the others, having drank a moderate portion of seawater, and it is not suspected that he will last more than another two days. On the twentieth day, Dudley and Stephens decide that it would be best to kill the young boy, since he does not have a family to go home to. Brooks, the third, dissents. Dudley and Stephens approach the boy, who is lying helpless and weak in the bottom of the boat, and bludgeon him to death. Thereafter, the remaining three feed on cabin boy’s remains. A boat rescues them four days later.

Dudley and Stephens are charged with murder of the cabin boy. Testimony at trial shows that the boy would have died before the others and that if they had not eaten him, it is likely that they would not have survived until the twenty-fourth day when rescued.

The Queen’s Bench (equivalent of an appellate court in Britain) found Dudley and Stephens guilty of murder and sentenced them to be hanged.

The question of law: is necessity to survive a defense for murder?

Nope. It isn’t.

Take that as you will, and feel free to leave your imaginary thoughts (redundant?), but that is only tangential to the real odd thing that resulted from this case: an extraordinary coincidence.

In 1838, Edgar Allen Poe published his only complete novel, called The Narrative of Arthur Gorden Pym of Nantucket. In that novel, Poe wrote about four seamen (huh huh) who are stranded at sea and have to kill one of the four for food. The name of the person sacrificed in the novel is Richard Parker.

The Regina v. Dudley and Stephens incident happened 1884, almost half a century after the publication of Poe’s novel. And the name of the cabin boy who was sacrificed? Richard Parker.

Weird, right?

*It’s not really my fiduciary duty. But the word fiduciary sounds really cool, so I’m staying with it.

Helping you get your RSS fix

4 Aug

I’m not sure how many of our loyal imaginary readers use RSS feeds, but I am quite fond of them, and I know that intern Derrick is pretty fond of his too (he likes to subscribe to all those Spanish newspaper feeds, it makes him feel international). This post is mostly so our readers can get a few awesome blogs into their RSS universe, in whatever form it may take.

If you aren’t familiar with RSS feeds, dude, get with it. First step, find a RSS aggregator. Google Reader is my personal favorite, but I hear Yahoo has a decent one as well. Next, start finding RSS symbols on pages you like and clicking them. The symbol looks like this:

RSS icon

Except smaller.

Okay, so I will leave it to you to figure out from there. Here are a few awesome blogs that I follow, if you have some that you follow and think are cool, leave a comment so we can benefit from your blogal trappings.

The Constitutional Pheasant (the best blog ever written*)

XKCD (possibly the funniest series of comic strips ever concocted, and very nerdy to boot!)

Joe Posnanski (the best writer in all of baseball)

Sunday Morning Breakfast Cereal (another webcomic, definitely a bit edgier)

2 Birds 1 Blog (quirky and pretty funny)

Freakonomics (awesome book, ergo, awesome blog)

Fail Blog (you’ll like this one)

Okay, that’s all I’ve found that are of interest. I hope you have some to round out the list?


*We cannot substantiate that assertion.

New Banner!

30 Jul

Intern Derrick is awesome, almost like an artist or something.

Imaginary t-shirts will be ordered soon for all our imaginary readers.

Soapbox Time: Red Sox

13 Jul

As promised in the first entry, sometimes we like to climb up on our soapbox and talk much about nothing. Much to Intern Derrick’s chagrin, it is time I shared one of my foremost loves with Constitutional Pheasant’s loyal imaginary readership: baseball.

I played for a long time, and it was awesome, and I was pretty good in high school but I got hurt in college, blah blah blah. It’s the same old story so I won’t bore you with that. Now that I’m “out” of the game, it is MLBaseball that gets my attention and affection. Worst of all, I am a Boston Red Sox fan.

I am a closet Red Sox fan. I really like the team, and I really pulling for the team, but I don’t like to tell people about it. Now, many people (bystanders and innocents) would say to me: “Joe, why are you ashamed of your Red Sox fandom? The Red Sox are a good team, and you are a reasonable and handsome guy!”

This is the part of the article where the true-blue baseball fans can be separated from the rest of the pack. Intern Derrick didn’t get past the byline, but if he did, he wouldn’t pass this point with much comprehension. And that’s okay, I’m just saying, baseball people cringe when they hear of a Boston fan outside of Boston or a Yankees fan outside of New York. It simply smells of bandwagon jumping, a phenomenon which is abhorred by real fans.

(For the record, I am not a bandwagon jumper. I have traced my Red Sox fandom back to 1999. That was the year Pedro Martinez won 23 games and the Red Sox lost to the Yankees in the ALCS. Why did I become a Red Sox fan? Well, when I was young I liked the Orioles, but more than anything, I hated the Yankees and the dynasty which they represent[ed?]. So I rooted for a team which had a shot at beating the Yankees. Plus, I thought Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra were pretty cool dudes. I lived in North Carolina, and there is no close baseball team, so that was where I went. Get off my back!)

Bandwagoning aside, the red sox are no longer viewed as a middle-of-the-pack team. Before 2004, they were a good but not great team every year, and people generally felt positively towards the team and the fans. Today, living in Georgia, it has come to my attention that the Red Sox, and Red Sox fans, have reached a hated status close to that of the Yankees. Why? A lot of different reasons, but generally speaking, people from Boston are not so different from people residing in New York. Big city, big market, big stars, big media, big douchebaggery. And now that the Red Sox are good again, all of that regional baggery is coming out of the woodwork.

As a result I suffer, because I am associated with these people. And I can’t switch teams because then I am definitely a bandwagon jumper. Plus, I like the Red Sox, I think they have a great coach, a great GM, and a great core set of young players. So now I am going to suffer with a decision I made ten years ago when I was eleven years old and hated the yankees.

And that really does suck.

But what we are really talking about here is a much bigger problem for baseball, and that is big market teams dominating via free agency and the absent salary cap. Let’s keep it real here, imaginary people, I am no fan of economic constraints, and I’m about as right as you can get when it comes to economics. But the problem is different here in baseball, there is too much money, and there is too much of an advantage to be gained by teams operating in large markets competing directly against teams operating in small markets. The Tampa Bay Rays really don’t have much of a chance against the Yankees/RedSox in the long run. Sure, they can draft well and develop players well for a six year period, but after six years, all players are eligible for free agency. That means, the rays probably have a two-three year horizon for using those high round draft picks effectively. Then, right back to the bottom of the heap.

There is a decent arguement for the long-term demise of competitiveness in MLBaseball, unless Bud Selig gets down off his retarded horse and does something other than revenue-sharing.

Red Sox