Monday, February 07, 2005

MONOPOLY CARD MONDAY: You know in Monopoly, you have the cards that unexpectedly bless you with cash or remove it from you? Like "YOU HAVE WON SECOND PRIZE IN A BEAUTY CONTEST COLLECT $10"? I had their real-life equivalent happen to me today:

According to our records, you purchased a Postal Service employment packet from Think Achievement Corporation. The district court for the Northern District of Indiana has found in favor of the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") that Think Achievement engaged in fraudulent and deceptive trade practices in connection with the sale of Postal Service employment packets. In fact, you never have to pay for information about job vacancies or employment opportunities with the U.S. government or U.S. Postal Service. It is available for free at

On November 18, 2004, the district court approved the FTC's plan for refunds to consumers who had purchased these packets. Pursuant to the district court's order, the FTC contracted with Analytics, Inc., to administer the refund distribution.

My cut? A cool $25 and change.

And yes, I bought the packet--like six years ago, when I was really sick of my office drone status and postal work seemed easy and consistent employment. I never did apply for reasons that escape me, but do not regret now. Probably something about not wanting to trade one kind of monkey work for another. The rest is history.
SOMETHING HAPPENED TO ME DURING THE SUPERBOWL: I started feeling bad for Eagles fans. I'd done my best to hate them for the two weeks leading up to last night, given the constant Eagles hype around here, the "wear green Thursdays" at work, the fact that my brother hates them because he's a Giants fan (even though I hate the Giants because they get all the hype and the Jets get squat), that atrocious fight song blaring over the loudspeakers at the Pathmark. But when they kept it close--and when I saw TO running around on that reconstructed ankle--little thoughts started reeping in, like, "Do the Patriots really need another Superbowl?" and "Boy that Teddy Bruschi is a little bit obnoxious." I kept all these thoughts on the downlow, of course, lest my brother smite me.

But, yeah. When they were in position to make a tying field goal in the end there and didn't do it, I was bummed. My heart had turned for the Eagles. But imagine being an actual Eagles fan and watching that game, watching Reid and McNabb blow those about three? three minutes? I think--of the final five minutes of the fourth quarter on an incredibly inept display of clock management. Then Akers didn't give them a good shot at the onsides kick recovery, but they held the Patriots anyway, but the Pats punted and bottled the Eagles up down on their end with 45 to go, and--and, well, you saw what happened. Given how badly they did scoring quickly the previous time, the Eagles were not going to march 60 yards in less than a minute to get within Akers' potential range. And so the Patriots did it again. McNabb need a mistake-free game to win and while he had a strong game--I think somebody on the tv said his game was fourth-most offensive yards ever for a Superbowl quarterback--it was not mistake-free. Not that Tom Brady had a great game either, and I'm happy, at least, that they didn't give him the MVP just because he's the quarterback. It went to Deion Branch, who was crying when he got the trophy, and I watched a lot of the postgame, by the way, and I didn't see the "I'm going to Disneyland" ad. Maybe they couldn't track him down in the chaos to do it.

Anyway, it was hard for me to be an Eagles hater yesterday. It's going to be hard to be a TO hater ever again, because his performance was really gutsy. McNabb's still a bit hatable, if only for his Peytonesque aloofness on the sideline, though he lacks Peyton's ability to get mad at his teammates and the world around him. Andy Reid....they're not going to get rid of him, but it really does not appear he can get the job done. I guess it's more likely than ever that these Eagles will remain what Bill Simmons said they might be, a memorable team that never won the big one.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

FOOD MADE: Lessons learned:

--Any recipe that involves stuffing things smaller than a turkey is probably more trouble than it's worth. That is to say, the taste payoff from stuffing forty pepperoncinis with a dill-salmon-cream cheese mixture is less than the cost of the effort put into stuffing all those little things, plus you bought fresh dill to make it and what do you do with the rest of it? The stuffed olives are still in super-secret marination lockdown; they'll have to be pretty g-d tasty to make them worth the hour put into them.

--Grandma's meatballs, on the other hand, are incredibly simple, and the payoff would be immense even if it took an hour to make them.

--There is no end to the number of times I will not learn the lesson about eyes being bigger than stomachs, or however that goes. I think that's a lesson about a lesson--a meta-lesson.

Game today. Patriots in a walk.

Friday, February 04, 2005

HAD A CALC TEST TONIGHT: It is quite satisfying to be given a problem--say, that some integral equals some number--and be asked to prove that equation is true, and plug away at it for a while, and come up with what really felt like the right answer. I mean--the steps I took produced the answer that was required. Hopefully I did not cheat with my steps. It's--mentally invigorating. Maybe I'll do calc problems in my spare time the way my mom does crossword puzzles.