Tell me, who are you? (who are you? who, who, who, who? )
Cause I really wanna know (who are you? who, who, who, who? )

SpikeTV begins playing CSI reruns early in the evening…we’re pretty much chomping at the bit for Oprah to quit rambling because it’s our cue to toggle over to channel 30 and watch Gil Grissom solve another case, undoubtedly, a case we’ve already seen solved, and have rare the opportunity to feel truly intelligent as we direct the characters on the screen where to look next, who we “think” the bad guy really is. It’s not really that bad, it’s not like we’ve stopped eating or caring for the household to watch television (Although I think my grumbling stomach kept Nick from falling asleep the other night…and I’m wondering which one of us will finally break and unload the dishwasher—undoubtedly, he’ll play the “I did it last time!” card…), but it’s a comfort to know that it’s always there. The weeknight marathons on Spike, the new episodes Thursday, and the occasional extra episode CBS airs in HD when sports play has left a hole in their TV lineup.

It’s great to fall asleep to, an old friend, security. It’s just like curling up with my favorite blankie in a soft lit room with tiny chimes, watching that stripper-come-scientist get cheeky with the guy in the lab. UNCANNY. So, you can imagine my upset last night when, Nick and I ready for slumber, could not find a single CSI to watch. Hell, even if Spike isn’t playing them, A&E will be playing the sister show in Miami…but last night, they were all dried up. Nothing. I took a turn switching around, Nick tried his hand at the remote…and the verdict was the same. We made small talk for a bit, but that just didn’t seem right at all, and eventually found some other crime show to set the timer to, a show that engaged neither of us, but left a clearer understanding of the void that had now taken hold of our lives.

Back up and running…

There, you demanding lot: a picture.
(Nick, naturally, waits to take the closeups until my hair is undone and my makeup nonexistent.)

My sloth so often manifested, I move to add to his list of charges the photographs page…the photographs page which has been neglected for so long a time that I fear the dust has grown great upon the gallery glass and I do not see a restoration forthcoming. This does not have to be a sad affair, and I will strive to illustrate the text with greater regularity—I personally believe a blog to be more interesting with pictures; you are right my faithful readers, inputers—but do review the opening clause to the first sentence. Thank you; I apologize in advance.

And so, with this theme, it took a mere 14 days of laptop internet non-responsiveness for the two us to have a sit-down, a sort of heart-to-hard drive, sitting Indian style and singing “Kumbaya” while chewing Dubble Bubble and painting each others toenails. (Talk about culture overload.) I am happy to have my baby back, happy to have my Adobe CS2 Suite back, happy to have a connection to my precious camera available to me once more. Mostly though, I am happy that Nick and I can communicate via email from one floor to another, saving the need to talk at all.

Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi

I’m sitting in a private suite, courtesy of a contact of Nick’s, and I suppose by now, one of mine. Steve told me last weekend when we were down for the Big Ten Tournament that he was attracted to me, except my hair was too cropped, the color too light, and my nails too short. I was deeply flattered. Steve had brats catered in earlier, during the first game of our session (Georgia Tech vs. UNLV), as well as wings and a veggie platter. The refrigerator had been stocked prior to our arrival with soda, beer, and water. Thirty minutes ago, I was sprawled out on the swanky couch watching the hi-def television hanging against the opposite wall.

Along with Steve, Nick and I were with one of his coworkers who had proclaimed excitedly that this was definitely the way to watch basketball. Many of these sentiments are gone at the moment, though. My stomach is twisted and nerves are making my ankles believe they are equipped with the pelvis of Elvis as my feet seize erratically. We are nearing the end of the first half of play, and our beloved Badgers have not once had control of this game. They are the number two seed, playing the fifteen…we were hoping for a blowout. Blowouts are no fun to watch until it’s your team that’s blowing the other one out of the water. Our foursome cheered sarcastically when our boys got their tenth point.

A dunk from Tuck as the buzzer rang for the end of the half, and we had a whopping nineteen points to show for our twenty minutes of play. I began to dread our long ride home from Chicago, IL…The car would be completely silent and oh so tense, you know it would. We watched another game from the TV on the wall and silently wondered if maybe we should just leave for home now, beat the traffic.

The next half began much the same as the last ended, and I sat there and wished that that last slam dunk in the first half had come instead in the beginning of this one, keeping both the team and the crowd pumped…eager for more. But then, something started to happen, something unexpected after 30 minutes of game time (and lord only knows how long it was in real time). Kam Taylor started hitting his marks. 10:42 in the second half, he makes a bucket. at 10:15, we, for the first time all game, tie the fifteenth seeded TAMUCC, and also for the first time all game, we’re not being completely dominated…and with Kam’s three pointer, tying the game up at 47, and his next shot, giving us the lead at 49, the Islanders stopped hitting their marks. Shortly thereafter, we watched the Texas team miss the first two free throws of theirs all game. They looked tired all of the sudden, and I got my first inkling that we might win this one after all. We were on our feet, afraid to hope those last ten minutes, but time and time again, Kam Taylor came through, even scoring 14 straight points at one stretch. He got a total of 24 points that game—more points than we had total at the half—all in the 2nd half of the 2nd half of the game.

We battled back from an eighteen point deficit at one point to win it by 13. The game qualified for an Academy Award for best drama, and it was some of the ugliest basketball I’ve ever seen…but at the end, when we had it clinched—which wasn’t until the VERY end—I was light-headed with the sudden surge of relief, and so glad that Nick had us pose for the below picture before play was underway, when the Badgers first came out to warm up—lord knows we weren’t in a chronicling mood once the affair began:

Now, to the next game…but, to be honest with you, after the last two weekends, I’m a little Chicagoed out…but I’ve loved getting to experience all of this. I’ve been so fortunate in my first real year of sports-watching to get two of the winningest teams ever in both Badger Football and Basketball. That can seal fanaticism rather nicely.

Let Down

(Bug Jeff it was…)

So, yesterday, the shirt I brought to work, to change in to before heading to the sports bar, wasn’t a sporty shirt at all. I stopped by the mall to buy something Badgery (even though they didn’t play yesterday…like I’m going to be an Ohio State sweatshirt! Seriously!). I walk in and there is a very large display of carpenter jeans at the entrance.

Now, I love carpenter jeans, LOVE THEM. I’m not sure if it’s the cut, or the discovery of extra pockets every time that I look, but I’ve mourned these long years at their disappearance from the women’s section. You know, some of us just can’t pull off skinny jeans. Or want to. I miss a roomy jean under which you can conceal inflatable rafts, survival kits, and boxes upon boxes of girl scout cookies. I am sure this is the level of both leisure and security Levi Strauss had in mind all those years ago.

So I’m like drooling all over the place and my tongue is wagging at the floor like some bizarre real-life Warner Bros character because not only is this center display (where they ALWAYS display women’s clothing!) chock-full of carpenter jeans, THEY APPEAR TO BE PETITES! Shorter lengths! YES! So I grab my size and hold them up, feeling distinctly fat. I go to the next size and the next, becoming very uncomfortable with my body and, obviously, freaking out that I must have had more soft pretzels at last weekend’s Big Ten Tournament than I remember. Finally, I read.

“Carpenter Jeans for kids!” stamped across the label over and over again…I was bummed…

(…but not as much as I would have been if my distored inner eye hadn’t seen me take on the dimensions of Pavarotti.)

Where to Go

It seems easier for some people to hit bars alone. I suppose it makes a difference if you know the bartender or the regulars. I don’t. Anywhere. Today is the first day of the NCAA tournament, and I have a half-day off at work. I would like nothing better than to watch the bevy of basketball brilliance at a sports bar with high-tech HD televisions, but going alone feels ever so much like I’m entering a meat market. Hey, I figure if that old guy, Tom, with the missing tooth in front and the scruff around his dirty chin can be smutty at the entrance of Walgreen’s, I don’t want to enter an establishment with the less than sober, who probably have better vision, more equilibrium, and won’t be so easily dodged by a a quick left down the cosmetics aisle. The only time I haven’t been put off by comments at a pub is when that lady bartender told me I was pretty. And she made sure to let me know she wasn’t trying to come on to me. Of course, Nick was sitting right next to me…so maybe she just didn’t want to make him jealous. That’s what I like to think.

But then there’s laundry and plenty of housework to tackle here at home…computers to network, surfaces to dust, blah blah blah—but my mother always told me that the dishes and laundry will always wait for you. I should hit the gym. It’s been almost two weeks…the last days being bogged down with post-work activities and utmost lethargy in between. I went to an info session for Edgewood College last night…trying to right the one and only one part of my own history that I truly regret…especially, as I told Nick last night, now that my Mom (who knew the whole story of why I left school) isn’t here to rally on my side while I’m rallying against. 20/20 hindsight really is a bully sometimes. Makes you forget the ugly stuff and you start questioning your decisions. Truth is, my decisions now couldn’t have been my decisions then. A divorced nearly-orphan with medical issues can’t possibly have the same hold on her life as a fresh-faced, first-time-away-from-home college kid whose parents are picking up the bill.

But anyway, I’m drifting. We’re leaving early tomorrow morning to head to Chicago to watch the Badgers play their first (and hopefully not last) NCAA game, so I want to have a fun time this afternoon…before the stress of Illinois traffic and crowds make my temples throb. Where to go? Bug Jeff who is probably catching the games somewhere? Risk another Tom? Tough one.