February 29, 2012

i still dream of orgonon


Today's question requires about five seconds of closing your eyes, really thinking about it, then quickly responding. In a nutshell, WHAT DO YOU WANT INVENTED? And it has to be within the realm of possibility, not just "I want a pill that allows me to fly."

We'll take away the two most obvious answers: cure for cancer (and all the big diseases), and flying cars. The rest of them are up for grabs.

I'll start:
• arresting fertility issues... meaning the ability to create perfectly healthy female eggs throughout your 40s

• painless kidney stone disintegration laser

• pollution-free, portable, powerful energy source created here in America

• some blazingly fast internet wifi that simply exists in the ether, without having to pay for an access point anywhere, ever

• flexible tooth sealant that makes cavities impossible

• a cloudbusting device


Posted by Ian Williams at 11:23 PM (Permalink) | Comments (27)

February 28, 2012

i got your slippery slope right here


I know, I know, I should never poke my head out of my self-imposed Indefinite News Media Blackout, but occasionally there's something that leaps out at you, like those Amazonian water snakes that jump into your willy-hole. Case in point: Rick Santorum.

I hate having that sanctimonious cockfarthing on my website, but the way he calls Obama a "snob" in this video makes me so violently angry that I can't help sharing:

It's so rich on so many levels that its hard to know where to begin, but let's just start here: Republicans, how are you letting this fuckin' imbecile get so far into the process? I said it when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as a running mate, but the Republicans are doing it again: they're letting a blithering moron far too close to the office of the Presidency. Most bars have a bouncer to weed out the obvious crazies before they take a shit on the pool table; why doesn't the G.O.P.?

The "snob" comment reeks of so many kinds of cynicism, but I doubt Santorum has the faculties to parse them. In its simplest form, it's just the usual "fuck you" to science, experts, research, facts and everything else that keeps civilization functional, all in a blatant appeal to the Average Guy. It's meant to condition all simple-minded folk to blame smart people for their problems (and in Santorum's weltanschauung, "smart" is synonymous with "Godless").

In a slightly more complicated cynicism, the comment states basic Republican dogma: I got mine, you can eat shit. Santorum has a degree from Penn State, and two from Pitt - and hey, somebody gotta water his lawn. You'd think this message of self-lesserment would seem nonsensical to that workin'-class crowd in Michigan, but Republican lemmings have never found a burning building too small to jump into.

In fact, they love it when Santorum or Gingrich or any other assclown gets up and says something downright cruel or racist or stupid - which is why these politicians always double down when they get criticized. These G.O.P. birther dittoheads always mistake self-confidence for profundity, and noise for relevancy.

It has led to one of the worst traits in modern culture, right up there with snark - the "brazening out" of your lowest behavior. I'll call it The Brazen™ for short.


The Brazen asks nothing of you except your worst. It allows you to continue your life of denial, and it guarantees your cooler head will never prevail. With The Brazen, you can say whatever you want, and when questioned, you can always answer with a variation of "YEAH, I SAID IT. I'LL SAY IT AGAIN. I'LL SAY SOMETHING WORSE. SO FUCK YOU."

When dialogue goes into The Brazen, it never comes back, and if you try to use reason, you've already lost. The Republicans know two things: using The Brazen makes voters hate a Government the conservatives want destroyed anyway; and whether you win or lose, The Brazen moves the goal posts further into CrazyTown.

As such, I'll try to be succinct and honest. Rick Santorum, I find you creepy and scary and stupid and you're an asshole and you need to go away, and stay gone.

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:20 PM (Permalink) | Comments (28)

February 27, 2012

here comes a bikini whale


Friday was our last day in Hawaii, and I had already been sick twice: pneumonia on the way over, and whatever the hell this was. But I rallied my broken-ass body to get the fuck out of bed and not waste the gift of tropical paradise, even though I felt like passing out.

So I grabbed this camera, which I've had for a year:

the Lumix DMC-TS3, highly recommended

...because I was going to go snorkeling with everybody, and apparently it can go 40 feet underwater. My nephew Sean Patrick showed me how to put the snorkeling gear on, and with all 17 of us in the water or on the beach, I let everything go, and drifted into the water.

Yes, this is all the kind of vacation cliché that could put bees to sleep. But it was my first time snorkeling, and it was absolute rapture. I haven't been that jazzed by an adventure in years. After 45 minutes, I approached something close to meditation, just floating and flying and bobbing in the water.

For an hour, I forgot I had been sick, I forgot everything, just followed fish around. It conjured up, of all things, deep gratitude.

I'm going to tell you right now, there are way fuckin' better pictures of fish than these. But I considered it a personal victory that I could function at all, and when my wife met me in the deep water, herself smiling in the mask, I was simply happy to breathe.


a Unicornfish, Butterflyfish of some sort, and a Parrotfish (I think)

Needlefish - these guys were cool

a Pennant Butterflyfish, total showoff

the Orange-Band Surgeonfish

the beautiful and dreamy Tessafish [actually, turns out that's Michelle - ed.]

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:47 PM (Permalink) | Comments (4)

February 26, 2012

will the world end in the night time, i really don't know



Indeed, I've emerged in one piece, but will save that for tomorrow - today's blog, however, goes out to old friends Mathew Gross and Mel Gilles, whose book The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking Tells Us About America is nigh!


They've got the Sunday headline article on Salon, which gives you a sample of not just their thesis, but their talent. Matt was the guru behind Howard Dean's brilliant online campaign back in 2004, and Melony wrote the Politics of Victimization blog that rattled around the blogosphere just after that godawful 2004 election.

I could also tell you that they are both Carolina folks who lived on McCauley Street with the rest of us, and that Matt and I were such huge fans of The Smiths that we subscribed to the Sing Your Life fanzine, but that would be a little beside the point, wouldn't it?


Fact is, I've had my own intense struggle with America's sickening fetish for the apocalypse, and used these very pages to expunge those demons. One blog entry bemoaned how researching your greatest fear only feeds the beast, one was on the "you're fucked" mentality... and the other two were inspired by Smiths songs! That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore and, of course, Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before. Coincidence? Hardly, my patient readers, hardly.

But the real headline here? Matt and Mel's writing is wonderful: elegant, forceful and real call to arms. Read the Salon piece and pre-order the book. They're the home team!

(Oh, and so is Jim Rash!)

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:20 PM (Permalink) | Comments (7)

February 23, 2012

afrin, z-paks and snot rags not included


Tired of that clichéd Hawaiian vacation? Itchin' for something new? We here at xtcian thought so, which is why we're pleased to present


Sure, you could do things the regular way: hike mountains, go paddleboarding, catch warm aquamarine waves and have fun with your family... but why bother when you can JUST HAVE A FEVER for the whole thing?

Yes, getting really, really sick on vacation. Your first real vacation in years. To a place you've dreamed about since you were a child. Sound too awful to be true? Not if you do it the DADDO WILLIAMS way!

What? You were expecting this...?


HA HA HA HA! Nope! Instead, your Craptacular Vacation Package puts you square inside Daddo's internationally-reknown Cave of Sadness™!


While everyone else in your entire family is out sea kayaking and giggling through adventures, we can guarantee white splotches on the back of your throat, and sleepless nights caked with green mucous! IT'S JUST THAT EASY!!!

First, you will inspire sympathy in your relatives. But watch how pity turns to recrimination, as they realize you're just a motherfucking drag! After all, you're sick all the goddamn time, so it must be something you're doing, right?

Love hidden architectural gems? Get to know this secret nook - you'll be spendin' a LOT of time there!

But that's nothing compared to the Deep Self-Loathing© you'll encounter as you think back on the five different diseases you've had in six weeks. You'll raise self-hatred to an art form, going completely scorched-earth batshit until nobody can stand to be around you. And only then will you look at the road ahead and wonder what massive battery of tests you'll have to endure only to find out that nothing's wrong.

What better place to contemplate that... than HAWAII?!?

Yes, Hawaii! You've just flown 2,650 miles into the Pacific Ocean to an island paradise. As we like to say, "It's never too late for strep throat!® "

Whaddya waiting for? READY... GET SET.... MOAN!!!

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:16 PM (Permalink) | Comments (155)

February 21, 2012

strike the mizzenmast, we've hit the sandwich isle




This story begins here, when we were kids. Left for weeks on end while our parents traveled the globe, Sean, Michelle and I used to do our own sort of travel in our bedroom: we'd slide Michelle's crib over to our bunk bed, lash them together, and pretend we were on a ship sailing around the Hawaiian Islands.


I had two things: the Fisher-Price Bowling Set (which acted as the steering controls) and an old Rand McNally map of the islands, which made me the captain. Sean worked the engine on the bottom bunk, and Michelle did whatever you did when you were three years old, mostly screaming in joy.

I was beginning to read vociferously of the world far away, mostly drawing from a National Geographic book of "Our World" that contained this picture of the lava eruptions at Kilauea:


Lava fascinated me to no end - it was so dangerous, so beautiful, and so bizarre to think the Earth just belched up the contents of its interior whenever it felt like it. I could watch lava splash and harden for hours if there was footage.

Fast forward to last year, when a travel ad for Hawaii wordlessly pictured a small boat wandering along the coast in the evening, happening upon a spout of lava pouring into the ocean, as all the people watched breathlessly. I turned to Tessa and said "I want THAT!" When my mom's birthday trip came together, Tessa, Lucy and I took a detour to the Big Island to make it happen.

Before you get on the boat, you have to look on the website and see what's up - the volcano is in a pretty low phase right now, with nothing pouring into the ocean. But the company said there was lava on the hillside and humpback whales in the ocean, so we decided to err on the side of adventure.


This has always been our mantra - all things being equal, do the more adventurous thing. It will likely still be our mantra after this experience. But we have been chastened.

The boat was a steel beast, able to seat about 22, with monster engines and a metal roof. It was the same size as one of those large tourist boats that cart passengers down the rivers of Europe. But the minute we launched into the water, we knew it would be rough. There had been weather warnings for days, and just getting past the beach coral, we experienced giant free-falls that were as stomach-churning as any roller coaster.


However, we were up for the adventure, and simply held on through the worst waves, and held tighter when the rain started. The sun was still bright, we were going with the current, and the view was unlike anything you'll ever see. It's like God had a black candle, and dripped a coastline into place.

After 45 minutes or so, we turned around, but it wasn't lost on us that we hadn't seen any volcanic activity. One miserable old lady complained that she had been "promised lava" and made a disgusting stink about it while the tour guide tried to explain that he couldn't control what the Earth was going to do on any given day.

As the sun set, we started going against the current for real. The winds started an ungodly howl, and the boat listed achingly side to side. As if on cue, someone shouted "there it is!" and sure enough, on the far hillside, a spurt of lava began making its way out of the ground.


I tried taking pictures, but only one or two came out, since the boat was now violently throwing us around our seats. Lucy began to openly wish she was back home, and we told her we agreed, and it wouldn't be long now.

But it was long. It was more than long. We hit one wave that threw all of us in the middle seats fully two feet into the air, coming back down on the metal with a horrible thud. Lucy was on my lap, which meant, basically, a sack of potatoes fell from a chandelier onto my balls.

Any guy who has really been nailed in the crotch can tell you that the first - and most pervasive - feeling is of overwhelming nausea. I kept a brave face, but Lucy was beginning a quiet little cry, and Tessa had the sense to move the three of us into the back part of the boat where things weren't so violent. It helped, but not much.

I'm not a seasick-prone person, but once you've crossed that nausea threshold (and you're on a boat that is being tossed around the Pacific), there's no going back. I grit my teeth and commenced Operation Try Not To Barf, if only to show my little girl there was nothing to be afraid of.

The weather worsened. The sky turned pitch-black, and we lost the horizon. Monster 22-foot waves would suddenly appear like ghoulish black specters in front of us, and we'd brace ourselves, encircling Lucy with our legs, as the boat heaved over in sickening freefall.

We sang songs. Then we went through all the relatives that led to Lucy, going back to the 19th century. And then we could no longer talk. It was all we could do to keep breathing, as massive wave after wave threw the boat into oblivion. Then the passengers started vomiting.

The tour guide weakly said it'd be another 15 or 20 minutes, that they were battling headwinds, but that deadline came and went. It was 30 minutes, then 45, then an hour. We could occasionally see the light of some landing dock, miles away, but it never got any closer.

Perhaps I'm just a pussy, perhaps it's luck, or perhaps there's something I'm supposed to learn. 9/11, kidney stones, unfathomable pain, constant sickness... what do you take away from it? The boat trip back was an exercise in human endurance, actual torture. More than two hours in pitch black violent seas, no life jacket, soaking wet, trying to keep our 6-year-old (and ourselves) from flying into the side of a wave, all the while forcing ourselves not to vomit, through paroxysms of unbearable nausea.

When we finally got to shore, the captain, himself a shell of the man we'd seen when we came aboard, said it was the worst trip he'd ever known, and had contemplated turning around a few seconds after we started.

The other passengers, their legs like Jell-o, willed themselves down the ladder and wandered in a daze to their cars. A few of them, however, came straight up to Lucy and told her they couldn't believe how brave and wonderful she was. And that is who I need to speak to now...

Lucy, since you were born, this blog has - in its own subtle way - been for you to read when you're old enough to find it useful. A capsule of the time when your soul was taking shape. But it may also serve as a reminder of what lies inside you.

During the absolute worst part of that boat ride, as we were pitched far over and holding on for life, I could hear you humming. Humming! I don't know what song it was, and you didn't remember when I asked you, but it shows you possess an inner peace I have never had.

That experience wasn't just the worst trip you'd ever been on, IT WAS THE WORST TRIP ANYBODY ON THE BOAT HAD EVER BEEN ON. And you looked at those gargantuan waves, felt your body rise into the air with no sense of when it would end, and you simply shrugged. And hummed.

You possess that in you. I want you to know that! And that's only part of why, my little ice dancing, dog-training, soprano paleontologist, I love you so very, very much.


Posted by Ian Williams at 11:50 PM (Permalink) | Comments (42)

February 20, 2012

breadfruit is neither



more tomorrow when we recover - story forthcoming

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:06 PM (Permalink) | Comments (4)

February 16, 2012

an archipelago of thoughts


I am writing this to you on the thinnest, most tenuous internet signal I've used in ten years - some ancient router an acre away through a rainforest just off the face of the Kilauea Caldera volcano, in a rental unit hidden behind dark trees on an unlit street off an unlit highway.

If you're used to traveling vast distances, you forget how small Hawaii's islands really are, even the Big one. We landed in Hilo a few hours ago, and it seemed like we were the only ones here, taking a rental car to Volcano Village, where nobody seemed to be awake (at 8:30pm), with our car providing the only light.

I'm not complaining at all; I love it, especially given the egregious light pollution of Los Angeles and New York. Even up in Columbia County, the Milky Way is brilliant, but there's the glow of Albany far off on the horizon. Not here. Black, and almost silent save for the rain tapping on the huge, waxen leaves.

It's so rare that you feel utterly in the middle of nowhere, truly in a corner of the globe that seems the most random point from your usual haunt. I've had many of them when single, a few with Tessa, but this is the first real "where could we possibly be" moment with Lucy, who didn't bat an eyelid when we couldn't find the place, and had to warm up by a "fire" with "animated flames" at a "bed & breakfast" that threatened to have neither.


'Twas all I could do to upload this meager representation of a caldera - those of you asking for pictures will get more than you bargained for, come Monday. In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend and a hui hou, aloha nui loa!

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:57 PM (Permalink) | Comments (1)

February 15, 2012

protect your macadamia nuts


Seen today in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii:

• unbelievably beautiful, completely normal mid-20s Hawaiian woman walking past me on main street who was SIX FOOT SIX at LEAST.

• two-dollar root beer malts at Teddy's Bigger Burgers with extra malt

• total dork guy from 1977 walking home from library, with ponytail and thick black hoodie, looking skyward with eyes that said "why the fuck am I in Hawaii?"

• girl in aggressively-inappropriate bikini at supermarket, her boobs spilling out onto the tray she was holding, trying to give everyone samples of Sugar Blast Crunch cereal

• pancake aisle had three syrups: coconut, pineapple, and coconut-pineapple

• my awesomepants daughter watched the Heels outlast Miami, then played soccer with Noah


tomorrow: the Big Island!

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:45 PM (Permalink) | Comments (13)

February 14, 2012

hawai'i, where the apostrophe means a hiccup


Do you know what you want out of a vacation? After you've flown 3,000 miles, and you, your wife and your daughter have just struggled through three viruses, some walking pneumonia and a sinus infection? Finally feeling on the mend, but exhausted beyond belief?


You want to go visit my friend Stasia first, who will welcome you with a sign in their window drawn by her and her two kids. Then she will make you braised wahoo with mahogany rice salad, and you will sit and chat for hours as a warm, moist breeze blows through the house.

And there will be small flowers on each of your towels, for it is the little things that truly mend the spirit.

happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:42 PM (Permalink) | Comments (12)

February 13, 2012

nānā i kou moʻī, kalani aliʻi, ke aliʻi



"Hey oversharing blogger type!"

Um, yes?

"What're you doing this week?"

I'm glad you asked, fictional writer's prop! As we discussed some weeks ago, my entire family is going to Hawaii for my mom's 80th birthday. However, since this is our first time to America's 50th State, we wanted to see a couple of things before meeting everyone else on Thursday.

Today we're flying to Honolulu to see the effervescent and wonderful Stasia Droze & Family for a day, then we're going to the Big Island to (hopefully) see the lava empty into the ocean. Then to Kauai where my sister rented a house in Poipu. We have no idea what to expect and we're panting with excitement.

Now, hear me out: I know Other People's Vacations™ can be as boring as watching snot dry on a wall, and travelogues to tropical climes can be especially dull. I have leafed through pictures of perfectly-nice couples' sojourns to sandy beaches and WANTED TO STICK MY HEAD IN A VAT OF BOILING DONUT OIL.

I like to think I keep things entertaining, and will spare you any horrifying clichés, but I warn you now: neither Tessa nor I have ever taken a real "vacation" where you're not, like, supposed to do anything. We've gone to Europe and other Important places, but we were always a tight itinerary.

This schedulelessness might make us insane, or it will zen us into pureed bliss, I don't know. I will, however, be reporting from our only island State, and if you find it irksome and dreary, then you can always choose the ever-present option of sucking my balls. Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono!

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:14 PM (Permalink) | Comments (11)

February 9, 2012

reckon i owe you one now



Ah, but it has been a long week. I was at RDU at 2am California time in order to make it back to Los Angeles to play the music for my daughter's class play. The whole trip was whirlwind, but I was struck by a few things.

First off, the comments from the mid-week of sexual lamentation were as revelatory, and perhaps even more engrossing, than the original. They serve to remind us that there is no normal. We have no idea what goes on in the private lives of some of our best friends, which is how it should be, until something important disintegrates. Then, there is suffering in silence until an inevitable explosion.

Another Anony asked what may be the ultimate question: what are we entitled to expect in a marriage? While admitting there is no baseline (again, no normal), we all have our basic needs, and it's obviously a question for next week.

Amidst the sadness of some of my friends - and of course, a game that is still freshly sickening to ponder - I can say this: win or lose, good news or bad, it is always worth the sometimes-Herculean effort it takes to come to Chapel Hill every year. I occasionally question why I do it, and then the plane touches down at RDU and I see everybody, and I'm immediately put to rights.

It reminds me of the lyric from our own James Taylor:

Some are like summer coming back every year
Got your baby, got your blanket, got your bucket of beer
I break into a grin from ear to ear
And suddenly it's perfectly clear
That's why I'm here

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:01 PM (Permalink) | Comments (1)

February 8, 2012

fueled by scotch and righteous indignation


Man, SCREW being a sore loser. I'm happy to be gracious to pretty much any team south of the Al Qaeda All-Stars, but this last game at the Dean Dome encapsulated everything I hate about Dook-branded basketball.

Yes, they ultimately scored more points. If you look at life in terms of W's and L's and don't know anything about sports, then sure, it's a binary equation. But believe me, every time Dook wins, basketball loses.

I'm not even going to apologize for my next move, which is to blame the refs (usually the last refuge of a scoundrel), because just like last February's game in Durham, they motherfucking JOBBED us out of that game. Fuck the blown call when the airball was ruled "out on John Henson". Fuck the four steps Seth Curry and Austin Punch My Face Rivers took on both their last 3-point shots. Fuck Zeller's own-goal tip-in while being shoved.

This game was not called equally. UNC had... what? Eight defensive series with a foul called in a row? Ghost, bullshit fouls on McAdoo and Zeller? A Dook player drew a foul by doing the shimmy on the floor in front of Bullock?

Dook operates on the supposition that if they foul the other team every .3 seconds, there's no way to keep track. They hack, push, poke, swipe, manhandle, cajole, whine, flop, chop and they are RUINING MY FAVORITE SPORT.

Call me a sore loser, I don't care. Say our team doesn't have the heart of a champion, I might even agree right now. Tell me we can't close the deal, we're soft, we lack the guy who refuses to lose... what the fuck ever. I have no profundity to offer this evening. All I can feel through my clenched, bloodshot eyes is the afterglow of deep burning

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:58 PM (Permalink) | Comments (40)

February 5, 2012

turns out prostrate and prostate ARE different


About two years ago around this time, I had a few days of blogs that accidentally (on purpose) ended up asking the regular commenters and lurkers how much sex they were having. I blame my darling LFMD, of course, but it resulted in a blog that made several of my younger friends rethink marriage. Go back and read the original entry if you want, but the basic consensus was pretty dire.

Apparently certain clichés about marriage (and longterm relationships) were coming to bear for a lot of couples, and the revelations managed to be both heartbreaking and cathartic. Some of the conversations continued off-blog, and all I can say is "thank god I was a music and psychology major."

I know this sort of thing tends to be self-selecting, which skews your comments one way or another, but the people involved used pseudonyms, and I didn't see any glaring psychological reason why couples having great sex would avoid posting.


For some reason, Tessa's recent article on maiden-name-changing and last week's Mormon discussion brought the subject back, as I've gotten four or five emails and FB requests to revisit the topic. Put simply, there were some of you who seemed despondent, and people wanted to know if you got a happy ending (as it were).

Since I don't know who the commenters were - they used anonymous animal names - I'm not sure if the natural turnover of a blog audience means they've been replaced. But if you were, say, "hippo", "Fucky the squirrel", "lynx", "Makoshark", "Hermit crab", "wildebeest" or any of the other commenters in flux, YOU ARE BEING ASKED ABOUT.

If you missed that particular debate, put yourself in scathingly honest mode, and try it. Give yourself an anonymous animal name, and answer as they did, the following questions:

• How often (times per week or month or year) do you have sex, as you define it?
• What are you and your partner's ages, and how long have you been together?

• What does it lack, and what do you want? (be as specific or graphic as necessary)

• What is awesome?

...And if you were one of the originals, how have things altered in the last two years? I'll leave this up tomorrow as well, just to give the crowd enough latitude to unlatch from the Great Facebook Teat to see it in real time.

To quote from the earlier blog:

Hopefully this can go beyond titillating and actually be educational, as these sorts of queries - however informal - are notoriously hard to pull off.
Remember to put zebra@zebra.com (or whatever you choose to be) in the "email" field as well. Okay, get it off your chest! (as it were)


UPDATE... - I'm leaving this blog up another day due to popular demand and folks wanting more, which says (to me, anyway) there's a real need to talk about these things in this particular way.

There need to be more places where we can have this kind of... "anonymous honesty". You need to be able to say whatever the hell you want without all the pressures of direct human expectation. Therapy and heart-to-heart confrontation is always the best policy, but having a place to vent is needed as well.

Some of the comments are being caught by the spam filter (because of your filthy language!) but give it a few minutes and it'll get it on the blog. Don't let its prissy nature stop you!

OH, AND ONE MORE THING: I'll be in the Pit today, on UNC's campus, at noon to hang with Andy Bagwell, smash a Dook piñata, and sell some books!

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:47 PM (Permalink) | Comments (55)

February 2, 2012

perchance to scheme



As part of my ongoing series Anecdotally Snooping On Your Personal Habits, here is today's question:

Obviously this changes day-to-day, but in general, how tired do you feel on average during the day?

I'll make it on a scale of 1 to 10 and rate it like this...

10 - lively, hyper, ready, able, psyched
9 - awake and ready with very rare slow moments
8 - alert, on an even keel, coasting nicely
7 - okay, pretty much alert, but a daily "fatigue" moment
6 - fine, but with a very thin layer of weariness
5 - kinda tired, but can usually swim through it
4 - knackered, doing things always takes a little effort
3 - flagging, in the weeds, a little burnt-out
2 - exhausted, raddled, bleary and dog-tired
1 - moribund, funereal, limping and empty

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:23 PM (Permalink) | Comments (30)

February 1, 2012

knock it down, michael


Yes, this is going to be college basketball-related, but bear with me, because it's relevant to a lot of other experiences we're having right now.

Some buddies of mine on a UNC email listserv were asking why the Carolina @ Wake Forest game seemed so... unimportant. Accounts of the game (we won, 68-53) called it "ugly", "sluggish", "painful" and "a slog". Another friend called it "the quietest ACC game involving Carolina I've ever seen."

Ironically, this it was the first game Lucy watched with me from start to finish, memorizing everyone's name and jersey number, and paying very close attention to the referees. I realized that I hadn't actually looked at a ref during a game in about 15 years.

There are several reasons why this game was vaguely blah: Wake isn't very good, it was an "away" game (which is always a drag), and it was the second game in three days (which is rare). But I, too, felt the odd pang of "why am I not as ravenous?"

The guys on the listserv thought it might have something to do with either our age, or the fact that technology has made gameviewing a home experience. Further, it could be that sports in general are holding less sway to a young populace glued to their various screens, and believe me, just writing that sentence made me feel complicit.

But I think it's something else - you can't hold on to your irrational passions if you're experiencing them almost totally by yourself. Tribalism of sport must be ingested in a group setting, or else you start to feel adrift. The reason the Wake Forest game seemed so pointless was because we - all 700 or so of my Carolina Facebook friends and email correspondents - were watching this game ALONE.


Not all of us, of course, since my daughter and my wife made the game awesome for me, but you can't go on like this forever. It's why I drive, train or fly to Chapel Hill every year for the Dook game NO MATTER WHAT. This will be my 27th year in a row, since I was a li'l wide-eyed 18-year-old.

It's why you should buy Duke Sucks: A Completely Evenhanded, Unbiased Investigation into the Most Evil Team on Planet Earth, now available from Amazon (or wherever fine books are sold) with a foreword by yours goddamn truly. It's why you should download this week's Tar Heel Bred, Tar Heel Dead podcast, featuring the authors Andy Bagwell and Reed Tucker AND YOURS GODDAMN TRULY.

They say Dook can't even fill their arena with students - that isn't good news, that's miserable. I want them to be GOOD and I want to BEAT THEM WHILE THEY'RE GOOD. Like I said, every religion needs its Devil, and ours is Blue.

Let's arrest this slide into torpor! Don't let your irrational loves slip into something you used to care about! I have half a mind to call my old roommates Jon, Chip and Bud and force them to Google Hangout with me for the next game. Fuck getting old and scattered and smothered and covered! I DEMAND A REMATCH!

Posted by Ian Williams at 11:44 PM (Permalink) | Comments (14)