Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I used to be dead set against all covers of all songs. In high school, I got into a debate ("argument" would be too strong a word) about it with the art teacher, whose position was that it some ways, there are no truly new ideas.

(Before you ask--and I know you're thinking it--Weird Al doesn't do covers. Unless you count his polka medleys, but those are so ridiculous as to also fall under the umbrella of parody.)

I still think most covers out there are pretty derivative, but there are some that are truly excellent. For instance, did you know that Aretha Franklin's "Respect" is a cover? Otis Redding did it first, and let me tell you, it is not in the same universe of good (also, it just doesn't have the same kick to it coming from a dude).

But there are a couple of covers I have in mind that are not only pretty fantastic on their own merits, but give me new appreciation for the originals--one version makes me love two songs, basically.

The first is Stevie Wonder's "We Can Work it Out," which is probably not everyone's cup of tea. But I love because it's just so . . . exuberant!

Before I started listening to Stevie's version, I liked the Beatles' version fine, but it didn't really stand out from the pack of Beatles songs. But now, the differences between it and the cover bring out the elements of it that are really interesting that I never really noticed before.

More embarassingly, I also really like the David Cook version of "Billie Jean." You know. . . . American Idol #7.

(Try to ignore the audience, who can't figure out that they should be neither clapping nor doing the arms-waving thing.) Sure, it's angsty, but it's a pretty angsty song when you think about it. And I suppose that's what my point is: when you're presented with a really different version of a song you know well, it makes you think about it anew.

(I guess this post was pretty dry. I don't feel very funny today, I just felt like telling you about some songs. Sorry.)
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Check It Out!

As I am apparently a little wont to do, I wrote to a guy who writes a column on the internet about Aggie sports. And he replied! (I'm Rachel from Madison, a little more than halfway down the page.)

I'll be the first to admit that it isn't really a question, just a complaint. Also, I think I regret using "whereas." I blame it on my being in thesis-writing mode.

Edit: I decided, on the 'sband's advice, to take a screenshot in case the page ever goes away.And that reminded me (in case anyone but me cares): I didn't put quotes around "almost," I put asterisks, to denote that I wanted italics or bold. But I guess Tim Griffin isn't hip to that.
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Keeping Up With My Correspondence

Dear people in the library who think that it helps when they talk on the phone as long as they duck into a stairwell to do so,

Obvious lesson of the day: when you talk in large, empty spaces with concrete walls? It makes your voice louder.


* * * * * * * *

Dear blonde girl who was talking on her cell phone in full voice while just hanging out in a regular library area,

I am actually a nice person. You received my Icy Glare of Death, which then ratcheted up to Are You Actually a Moron? Glare of Death because you had the misfortune to cross paths with me while I was mentally composing the previous letter.




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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Liveblog! K-State at A&M, Part 2

(See part 1 below, or at this link.)

2:44 Just about back from halftime. Sideline reporter Tom Turkeyville is giving the stats: K-State has 18 first downs, Aggies have 9. That's . . . telling.

2:46 Aggie have the ball, doing OK so far. Goodson started the second half, by the way. I should try to figure out whether he was in trouble, or very mildly injured, or what.

2:47 That Jamie McCoy is pretty good! The Ags keep moving the ball down the field. This is a good drive so far (knock on wood).

2:48 I find the phrase "empty in the backfield" strangely melodious. I love it--"empty in the backfield."

McCoy just got his third catch of the drive, for a first down even! Rack those things up, boys!

2:50 Well, I jinxed McCoy. He dropped one. To be fair, I guess if I'd really jinxed him, it would have been intercepted. Where's some more wood to knock on?!

2:51 Going for it on fourth down again. Gutsy--I like that!

Sounds like it didn't pay off.

Who can tell? Did Jerrod make a first down or not? Dave, Dave, and the refs keep getting confused about things.

2:54 Oh my gosh, they're still reviewing this. In general, I am pro-review, but this particular call is getting ridiculous. It's not even a touchdown question.

2:55 Me, Dave, and Dave don't know what the official just said. I'm not sure it was English syntax. In any case, K-State has the ball now.

2:58 The Tennessee-Georgia game is on our tv right now. They just showed Uga's doghouse--he's got an air conditioner in there! Spoiled.

2:59 I'll admit, I'm not paying attention as closely anymore. Getting a little drowsy. I knew I should have bought two bags of Pixy Stix.

3:00 Dave and Dave have mancrushes on Josh Freeman. Seriously though guys, he doesn't look this good against OK defenses.

3:01 K-State is going for a 50-yard field goal. Again--I'm jealous. He made it, even. They have a kicker who can make a 50-yard field goal! 30-10.

3:04 FYI: Other Dave just said the attendance today is 78,669. So there you go.

3:05 Ugh. Goodson lost 7 yards on his run, and we have an offensive lineman down. We do not have o-linemen to spare!

3:07 Dave: "On second down and a bunch . . ." Indeed, Dave, indeed.

3:08 But on third and ten, voila! A good play! Go, Jerrod! Go, Tannehill! Tannehill is good too. Though it's really easy to get bummed out about the team this year, it's really promising how well a few of the true freshmen are playing. This is why I still think Sherman can turn out to be a good coach. The few guys he got to recruit are some of the brightest spots on the whole team.

3:10 Ooh, Jeff Fuller catches and takes it to the K-State 16. Get those fingers crossed! Knock on that wood! Throw that salt over your shoulder!

3:11 Sweet--Goodson got a first down and knocked at least one dude down on his way. Goodson smash!

3:13 And Jerrod runs in for the touchdown! Whoop.

Extra point no good. That's, well that's inexcusable. It's worse than missing free throws in basketball. It's like if a guy whose only job on the team is to shoot free throws misses free throws. I know I'm being hard on our kickers, but I feel like when your job is so specialized, you ought to be at least dependable and competent. Whatever.

30-16. Still within reach.

3:16 Hey, a penalty on the other team! (Holding.) That's refreshing.

3:17 I still think it's weird that Texas beat Oklahoma. Oklahoma looked crazy good in that first half.

3:18 I know it sounded like I was being snarky about the other team having a penalty for once, but I looked it up: Aggie penalties 5 for 35 yards, K State 1 for 10. That's disparate.

3:19 Dave just said re: Josh Freeman: "That guy is a speciman." I told you. Mancrush.

3:21 K-State is punting . . . for the first time in the whole game. Bright side again: Goodson returned for the first time all season, and did very nicely. The Ags get to start the next drive at their own 37. Goodson smash!

3:22 Two good plays in a row again--one first down and one almost first down. My optimism is coming back. I can't decide whether that's good or not.

3:24 On third and two, we get penalty #6. Fantastic.

But we convert the third anyway. Fantastic, unsarcastically!

3:25 And since it's the end of the third quarter, I get to hear a bit of the War Hymn under the announcers' voices. I hoard crumbs of Aggie game day like this.

3:27 In his stats, Tom Turkeyville lets me know that the Ags have more offensive yards than K-State. That's another baby step.

3:30 Another third down conversion, and Tannehill has almost 100 yards today. Yay.

3:31 First and goal at the 9. That's the kind of thing I like to hear. (When it's my team, obviously.) Also, Jerrod is doing pretty darn well today. I don't think I'll ever make a jersey with his number on it or anything, but there's no doubt in my mind that even if he and McGee are equally healthy, Johnson should start for the rest of the season.

3:32 Two yards from the endzone, and here's the J-Train!

Aw, didn't get in though. But it was still the right call!

3:33 Dangit, J-Train didn't get in again, so we turn it over on downs. That's a downer, but it was still the right call.

3:35 The more I think about it, the sadder and sadder I am that the last drive didn't turn into a touchdown. That really would have made this game winnable.

3:38 Dave just really scared me. He was describing a run by a K-State player: "He's gonna go all the way . . . to midfield."

3:40 Dave quote: "If they're going to keep this interesting, they need to stop this here." He is right, but the Ags do not stop them here; they get yet another first down. Sigh.

3:45 Josh Freeman runs in for another touchdown. Now it's a three score game with four and a half minutes left to go. Previous optimism: good only for additional pain. 37-16.

3:48 Dave mentioned the Texas Tech game again. It gave me the jibblies.

3:51 Another nice catch for Tannehill--he's up to 112 yards now. Come on Ags, let's get some garbage points! (Or, if you prefer, dignity points. Dignity points!)

3:52 And there they are! Touchdown for Goodson! Extra point . . . delayed by illegal formation. Way to go Ags. Again, these are stupidity penalties.

Tannehill set a freshman record for catches with 11. That's pretty cool.

The extra point is good, so 37-23.

3:55 Tom Turkeyville isn't giving up hope, insisting that stranger things have happened. OK, Tom. Name three.

3:56 Onside kick, which Other Dave calls "Unsuccessful, but a good try." Fair enough.

3:57 A facemask penalty brings it up to 8 for 60 yards. That's ugly. That has to stop.

4:01 The Daves just mentioned that this was a pretty close game, statisically (as long as you don't count score as a statistic), which was also true last week. That is improvement from early in the season, and I suppose it's more than I expected in Big XII play. Still, as has often been observed, "Statistics are for losers."

4:03 Crap! Garbage points aren't dignity points if you let the winning team score them too! Freeman scores another touchdown. 44-23.

4:06 About a minute to go, no timeouts, and the Aggies start their final drive.

4:07 Tannehill scores. Other Dave, knowing that this game is on TV precisely nowhere, insists that you'd have to see this catch to believe it. Thanks.

Made the extra point, 44-30.

4:10 K-State runs out the clock, so 44-30 is the final.

So let's summarize this game: it was worse than I expected. I thought K-State would be bad enough that we could beat them, but I was mistaken. I never expected that they would score more than forty points.

There were some bright spots on the offense, mostly Ryan Tannehill. Jerrod didn't make the hideous errors that he did last week. So I think we continued to improve, but the defense is still so bad that we were never really in this game. We were close to being in it, but not really in it.

Texas Tech won't be able to completely shut down our offense--if Jerrod & co really crank it up, we might score thirty or almost thirty again, but I can easily see them hanging 70 or more on us. It's going to be grizzly.
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Liveblog! K-State at A&M

1:08 I start listening to the game. It would have been 10 minutes ago, but Aggies All-Access isn't supported by Firefox, and Internet Explorer is terrible.

1:09 Aaaand Josh Freeman scores a touchdown for K-State. Welcome to the game, Rachel!

1:10 This isn't unique to this minute, but Dave South has a great voice. So comforting.

Aggie trivia commercial: which 3 Aggies have received more than 800 yds in a season? Um . . . Jason Carter? I don't know.

1:11 Answer: OK, it's nobody I've ever heard of.

1:12 Aggies CAN is today. It's a good program. And much less stupid than holding a "Blow-Out" during the Texas Tech game. I know it's for Hurricane Ike relief fundraising, and I don't care. COME ON, Aggies. Don't live up to the reputation for stupidity.

1:13 Ooh, it's Jerrod. I guess I should have known he was starting. You know I love Stevie, but I feel better that it's Jerrod.

Ooh! Cyrus Gray for 20 yards! I get so happy when we makes plays like a real team. Also, he broke 3 tackles, so apparently K-State has similar defensive prowess to the Ags.

1:14 And Cyrus loses a bunch of yards. It's the circle of life.

1:15 Sweet! Another 20+ yard catch! I love real football!

1:16 Note: I bought Pixy Stix fifteen minutes ago. I am so happy.

1:17 Jamie McCoy gets tackled a little before the goal line. The cannon goes off, which is made even more embarrassing since the catch gets called back by a penalty.

1:18 With that and a sack, it's 2nd and 22 just like that. And with our kicker, we are not in field goal range.

How hard is it to find a decent kicker, by the way?

1:19 Going for it on fourth and two . . .
Oh, got it! That's excellent (although I'm still going to begrudge that our terrible kicker probably motivated, in part, that decision.)

1:21 Jerrod was apparently "dancing around." Would that Dave meant that literally . . . .

1:22 Aggies trying a field goal, with freshman kicker Bullock (instead of Bean, the one who's been stinking up the place [sorry, Bean, it's true]). And it's good! Ok! Well done, fish.

1:24 All right, 7-3. That's decent; that's respectable.

1:25 Maybe someday, with practice, I'll be able to pay attention to two games at once. Right now, I'm listening to the Ags while the Red River Shootout is on tv. The 'sips are happy about something right now--I have no idea what.

1:28 Ah, dang it. Me, Dave, and Dave thought K-State would be called for holding, which would have killed their drive. Instead, it turns out the Ags roughed their passer. (Rejuvenating their drive.)

Other Dave just admitted he's "thinking with his heart today." Awww, me too Other Dave, me too.

1:30 FUMBLE! Huzzah! Gig that! As the annoying women's baskteball announcer would say, "AGgies Ball!"

1:32 Man, that Texas-Oklahoma game still looks really interesting. I wonder what's going on.

1:33 Direct snap to Cyrus Gray. Those direct snap plays kind of weird me out.

Mmm . . . War Hymn. I can make out the words as the crowd sings. That's so impressive. Sadly, it gets cut off by the stupid Raising Cane's commercial. I never went there, but how could they possibly be as good as Layne's?

(They can't. That was a rhetorical question.)

1:35 The Ags are behind in score, but ahead in time of possession. That's mildly comforting to me for some reason.

1:36 Oh, Texas is leading. I see now.

1:37 Darn, we have to punt. Oh no, they blocked it! As Dave says, "And a touchdown, just like that." I guess it makes me feel better that it's their fifth blocked punt of the season. That's actually pretty impressive.

Poor Brantly. I like that guy.

1:38 Is it at all comforting that they missed the extra point? . . . Maybe. 13-3.

1:39 I'll note at this point that I have been thinking that the Ags can win this game. K-State is worse than expected, and I was actually rather pleased at the Ags' performance against Oklahoma State last week. Sure, some may consider a 56-28 loss a bad thing, but it was the first radio broadcast game this year I didn't end up turning off in disgust. Baby steps!

1:42 The teeny little upside of an opponent's special teams touchdown is that we gett the ball right back. Offense is fun!

1:43 Dave: Did he catch that?
Other Dave: Well, he almost did.

1:44 OK, sounds like he actually did catch it. Will the replay booth agree?

1:45 Nope. Very sad. Dave and Dave are not impressed.

1:47 Wait, what? Dave and Dave just made it sound like two of our receivers "started running" before the play started. I'm imagining them just jogging down the field while Jerrod is still waiting for the snap.

1:48 Bad news: we had to punt. Good news: They didn't block it, and Brantly is great, and we made a big tackle on the return guy.

1:50 Now K-State seems to be making first downs at will. That's discouraging.

1:52 I just finished my bag of Pixy Stix. That's also discouraging. (I saved the blue one for last. Mmm . . . blue.)

1:53 Let's quote Dave again: "They're into Aggie territory for yet another time."

1:54 Oh, FANTASTIC. The broadcast cut out. The computerized voice is telling me that the event hasn't begun. I hate you, computerized voice.

1:55 Since I'm not listening to the Aggies, I got to hear Kirk Herbstreit invite Brent Musberger to ride the ferris wheel with him after the game.

1:56 OK, the game is back.

1:57 Touchdown K-State. I should really stop tuning in to this game! 20-3.
My optimistic may have been misplaced.

1:58 No, no Rachel. Keep up the hope! It's still within reach! We just have to . . . play much better. Problem solved!

2:00 Hey, a thirty-one yard kickoff return! Well done, Cyrus Gray.

Waitwaitwait. Dave just told me Gray started instead of Goodson? That's weird. Man, I wish I'd gotten to hear the beginning of the game.

2:02 Ew, the Ags are 1 for 5 on 3rd down efficiency, and only 5 first downs.

On the bright side, this third down worked out. Good job, Tannehill.

2:02 "And Tannehill dropped the football, and it's a catch, and are they going to count it?" What does tat mean, Dave? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Oh, it means Tannehill fumbled it? Yeah, K-State has it now. Bummer.

2:04 Neal sees my Pixy Stix wrappers: "OH MY GOSH, YOU ATE ALL THOSE?!" I maintain it was a small bag. He worries my heart will explode.

Oh, and they're reviewing the fumble.

2:05 The play stands. Oh well.

2:07 Wow, Freeman is 13 for 14. Good quarterback, or bad defense? The defense's case is not helped by getting a 12 men on the field penalty just now. Come on. That's a stupidity penalty.

2:09 The crowd goes wild for a K-State incompletion. Good for them for keeping up the enthusiasm; sad that they don't have more to celebrate.

2:10 Speaking of, K-State touchdown. I really thought the Ags would do better than this, I really did. How do they keep failing to meet my expectations when I keep them so low? 27-3.

2:13 Oh man, Texas Tech is next week. It's going to be SO BAD.

At least Goodson just had a good carry.

2:14 Two good plays in a row? Woo hoo!

2:15 Three! Three in a row! A catch so good, Dave and Dave got so excited that it sounded like we scored a 19-point touchdown. First and goal.

2:16 Jerrod scrambled to the one yard line. The cannon went off again.

2:16 Jorvorskie! Sherman sent Jorvorskie in--it's 4th and goal at the one. That's what Jorvorskie is for. I can't even tell you how relieved this makes me. K-State timeout.

2:18 So . . . t.u. is beating Oklahoma by ten in the fourth quarter? I'm surprised.

2:19 I'm so nervous for Jorvorskie. If he makes this touchdown, he sets the Aggie record for touchdowns. So nervous! Aggie timeout.

2:20 WHOOP! 45 rushing touchdowns, J-Train sets the school record! I love that guy.

Apparently, Bullock is kicking because Bean pulled a groin. Riiiight.

Oh, right, the score. 27-10. I don't even care, I'm so happy for Jorvorskie, I'm going to consider this game at least a partial success no matter what happens.

2:24 Halftime. This is where I take out my headphones and, apparently, watch the first bit of the Tennessee game.
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