Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Flop Year in Fun: 20-11


While 2005 probably won't go down as the best year of my life, or even this decade, that's not to say that it hasn't been fun. In fact, one could say that there's been at least 20 fun moments. Actually, thanks in large part to some really great friends and family and all that good stuff, there's been a whole lot more than that. Of course, I'm going to limit this list to just the first 10 of my own top 20, with the second installment to be published sometime ... well, in the next couple days, possibly even before 2006.

20. Cole Slaw Blog. Yeah, I know, real freaking original. But this blog has been pretty damn good to me, despite sometimes making me feel as if I'd adopted a particularly cantankerous Tamagotchi or Funzo or something. But that's only when I've neglected it. When I'm a good blogger, I feel proud to have contributed to our readers' knowledge of Cucumis melo.

19. New Year's Eve last year. I drank a bunch of gin and champagne and beer and my co-blogger and I kicked the year off in true Cole Slaw Blog style, by dueling with plastic scimitars, crowning a queen and besottedly heckling passers-by. If you're on the lower east side this year, stroll by 1 Cole Slaw Center around 2 a.m. and prepare for curbside haranguing. We'll see you in hell!

18. The Wisconsin loss. Strictly speaking, the loss was not particularly fun. Every other part of the experience was, and I never wrote about it on the blog, so I'll take a little longer to do so now. I was with Her Majesty, the Queen of 2005 and her royal consort [manservant?], Blog Pin-Up Brian. We had just arrived to Hilton Head after a long day of travel. I rose before dawn to catch a flight at LaGuardia, then hung out with HM2K25 and BPUB in Savannah, Ga., until a fourth friend arrived and we drove to Hilton Head. After stocking our cooler with beer, we drove immediately to the local Michigan bar. We were the youngest alums by a solid four or five decades. But the blue-haired alums had plenty of spirit, and drained pitchers at an impressive clip. I enjoyed peel n' eat shrimp as Michigan outplayed Wisconsin for most of the game, then shouted at the screen in a drunken, overtired haze as Michigan's fucking three-deep zone conceded the game. After everyone stopped cursing and expecting a hurricane to hit the island, we paused to take pictures. As I violated several alcoholic beverage-and-motor-vehicle related laws in the passenger seat of our rental on the drive back to our place, I realized that I really want to make sure I'm still watching Michigan games with my friends when I'm so old that I don't know where the headlights switch is, because I never go out at night unless the Wolverines have a night game.

17. Paris. I went to Paris with the entire Flop clan this spring and it was a truly excellent experience. I had a blast waking up early every day, buying L'Equipe and having an espresso or two at the local cafe. I also didn't cause any international incidents, and got to watch the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the dark every night from my window.

16. Winning my office's NCAA Tournament pool. I now forgive North Carolina for the 1993 NCAA Tournament final (Chris Webber is another story). Thanks to a friend who is a Heels partisan, I saw more than my share of them that season, and I like to think that may have helped me to unfurl my "Everyone Sucks But Me" banner. I challenge all of our readers in the the CSB tournament pool, coming in March.

15. The Deadliest Catch. The first indication of my crustacean fixation. I was totally enthralled with the docu-reality show "The Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel this June. I'm sure you all remember the deal: There were boats, and they were trying to catch Alaskan crab. Which is really dangerous. Which makes for kick-ass documentary footage. I even toyed with the idea of taking a job in an Alaskan fishery, but I was pretty down on my job then. Regardless [Still], it was a bitchin' show. Also, the theme song for it was "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi, which my co-blogger recently sang in the middle of Third Avenue as we headed to Around the Clock for some tempura bacon and waffles.

14. The Ha-Ha by Dave King. This novel was unforgettable. The protagonist, Howard, is a middle-aged man who hasn't been able to speak since he was injured in the Vietnam war. Resigned to a daily existence that's neither challenging nor rewarding, he rediscovers living when he has to take care of his ex-girlfriend's nine-year-old son while she goes off to rehab. I was reading this on the subway, and as I neared the end of the book, I arrived at my stop. I stood on the platform for 20 minutes during rush hour to finish it.

13. The Office. No, not the U.K. version -- the U.S. version has actually gotten good this year. Is it better than the original? Nah. But it no longer is so obviously a paler version of the series that ran for two six-episode seasons across the pond and totally redefined for me what a brilliant TV series can be. The U.S. version isn't brilliant, but it's pretty damn good. And in a world where Arrested Development gets dumped while tat like Prison Break and Nanny 911 are nurtured like rare and precious bonsai, that's a good thing. Thank God the inimitable Hot Beckyness of Scrubs is almost back.

12. My iPod. Yes, I know it's 2005 and I just got one for Christmas. What can I say? You know how they call some people "early adopters" of technology? Yeah,I'm not one. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that my great grandfather was the last one on his block to get a Victrola. Or that great-great grandpaw [Flop] was still blasting away with his trusty blunderbuss when the neighbors all had bitchin' new muskets. I'm not saying my family has a portrait of Ned Ludd on the wall or anyything, just that we definitely made sure to borrow the neighbors' newfangled wheel thingy before getting one of our own. On the plus side, the one I got was the video one. I've already downloaded "Lazy Sunday" for it.

11. Stylin' roundups. Ah, back in our bile-filled early days. CrimeNotes and I took turns savaging the New York Times' stupid Styles section. After about we found our snarky rants were met with mostly crickets, we scaled back, mainly because we couldn't stand reading that shit on purpose twice a week. It was fun while it lasted, though. Two greatest hits:

From May 30
I ran back and forth in my apartment, screaming, "Punk rock, bro!", Times-reader style. Damn you, Emile Hirsch, and damn you, Lords of Dogtown. Now I'm so pumped and excited for Lords of Dogtown that I can't finish my Sunday Styles roundup. Time to go outside and spread the word.
From June 16:
I should be hesitant, throwing around the name Neil Sheehan and mentioning the Pentagon Papers. I've done it before. I'll do it again. There was a time, years before I was born, when the Times performed some of the most important work of any institution in America. It is now a screaming fiasco that quotes puppets on the subject of men jerking off in locker rooms. If I hadn't already done it two years ago, this would be the night that I canceled my subscription.

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