Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Damn, I have to write my NBA preview, don't I? You're all expecting it, aren't you? I'll just skip to the good part: the Timberwolves will win again, like I always say they will, like they never do.

Happy Halloween! Here are my 3 best Halloween costumes ever.

3. 1984. I was a Blues Brother. Elwood. My friend Patrick was Jake. We sang Soul Man (with Sam and Dave's original playing as a backing track on a boombox) in a windowless conference room at a community college in Paramus, New Jersey. The longest of stories. Ask and I will tell you.

2. 1986. I was David Byrne. Big white shirt buttoned to the top, baggy black pants, no hat, black shoes that fit. I was a time bomb.

1. 1974. I was Neil Armstrong. One small step for a man, etc.

Just when I was going to cancel Showtime and HBO, I have to discover that Dexter is a good show. And The Wire is still The Wire.

And then there's this.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New poetry page

I've created a new page for my poetry experiment.

Go here for a poem a day, for the rest of my life.

I like putting my poetry on Blueprint Blue but I think they sometimes interrupt the flow of the blog. So I'll put them somewhere else.

I have a backlog of 2,000 or so poems written since 1996. That doesn't even count the admittedly lower quality stuff before then. Seeing as that they likely won't be published anytime soon, I thought a poetry page was necessary.

And yes I really will update it every day. For the rest of my life. With the backlog and with my current rate of poem writing being 2 a week, I will run out of material in mid-2017 unless I boost my production.

Yes, I just used all of these words in a discussion of my art: backlog, material, production. I'm like a rhyme factory, a verse man-u-fact-ur-er.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It Takes a Nation of Millions

As I speak various democratic candidates are campaigning into microphones on the steps of the library. I wish them all well and will likely vote for them. But the real excitement will come when Barack Obama, campaining for the alternative fuel proposition and the poor guy who's running against that Austrian governor guy, takes the stage. They didn't crowd on the expansive quad and suffer through six positive hip-hop anthems to see the insurance commission candidate. They're here for the next president of the United States or the president after that. I could walk over 300 feet and see Senator Obama speak. Or I can sit at my desk. I'll be able to hear him clearly through my open window, just as I can hear this song every Thursday in the fall.

Don't forget to change your clocks - one hour back - on Saturday night.

What - no one is throwing a Halloween party this year? Just because everyone from last year's party is all broken up except for the people having the baby doesn't mean there should be no party this year. What - you're not broken up anymore? Things are better. Good. That means you should throw a party.

Alec Baldwin is funny.

Dorset Cereals' Super Black Currant & Cherry Muesli is fantastic! Who said the English don't make good food? Straight outta Dorchester!

Tomorrow my alma mater - the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota - will play the #1 team in the country, the Buckeyes of Ohio State. The Gophers are bad this year. 0 and 4 in the 11-teamed Big Ten. Still, I will write here - check the posting time - that the Gophers will win. Really, what do I have to lose? I'm I'm right, people will be amazed that I had the foresight to envision the biggest college football upset of the decade. If wrong, no one will remember.

Suddenly those strange ROTC people are marching along the parkway. I can't hear the politicians. Are they trying to drown out the democrats? Is this like that one time at the stop light in Fridley, Minnesota when the guy in the car next to me at the light cranked up Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and I countered by cranking Public Enemy's Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos at an even louder volume in my then-brand new 1988 Hyundai Excel?

The ROTC folks are gone. It was temporary. Marchers march and sometimes they just march away.

They just introduced the guy who won't beat Arnold because the democrats used up all the good Arnold scandals back in '93. I feel bad for the guy. His name is Phil. he has the charisma of Bob Balaban combined with the liveliness of Devean George. But Barack must be next so maybe I'll take a stroll.

(post-speech update)

Turns out the guy with no charisma wasn't Phil Angelides. No, that was Mayor Villaraigosa. Phil's a little more exciting - he has the charisma of Chris Parnell combined with the liveliness of Fred Hoiberg. Barack was pretty great. Amazingly, he goes off on more tangents than John Kerry but he manages to bring it all together. He sure sounded like someone ready to run for president. He might want to change up that whole "bending the arc" metaphor though. I haven't been that close to a future candidate since McGovern in '72. Yeah I remember that like it was yesterday - the leaves were falling o'er the Hackensack park. Muhammed Ali was in the crowd...McGovern knew he was a goner but there he was ranting about Nixon and the war... stop hey what's that sound... everybody look what's going down.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


It's a rare Thursday that I feel both sleepy and alive.

20 hours of sleep over the past 2 nights. Amazing.

Today on the treadmill I was a superhero. You see I didn't even know that I was running 6.2mph with the incline set to 4.5. I thought I'd reset the incline to zero. Am I even capable of running that fast/that steep for that long? I suppose I am. It's not that fast/that steep. I'm old you see. Older than cordless phones, older than the Brady Bunch (the show not the actors), nearly 2.5 times as old as the Timberwolves franchise who I'm convinced will win 60 games this season. I have my reasons which I will surely share with you during my second annual NBA preview some time in the next 5 days.

Work-related thought: Now that I'm putting a pie chart in my next report, do I have to turn in my PhD? My dissertation committee would cringe at my endoresement of such a simplistic descriptive statistic as the pie chart. Whatever happened to hierarchical linear modeling?

Today I am humbled. I just read a story of a man in Massachusetts who scored 830 in Scrabble, a new world record (in officially sanctioned clubs or tournaments). The article goes on to list the quirks and sheer luck (not to mention unorthodox not-playing-to-win play) that resulted in the high score but I'm still impressed. 830. 830. 830. My high score? Subtract 293 from the new record.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Situs Inversus

I haven't spoken to you in a while.

Sure there were poems from long ago. And a strange fascination with protective athletic equipment. But I've been keeping my thoughts and dreams and observations fairly close to the vest and I don't even wear a vest.

What's new?

That new My Chemical Romance song is pretty amazing. I can't believe I just wrote that. Here they are in their new video (click on "media"). Yes, your eyes are deceiving you. That's not me singing. Yes that's what I would have looked like in '87 if I had straight blonde - as opposed to kinky brown - hair... and wore eyeliner and a bulletproof vest.

Speaking of skit/sketch comedy, last night's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was the most painful thing I've ever seen. Horrible. I had hopes for that show once. For a few minutes. Way back in late September. I should have known better. Aaron Sorkin.

I feel more confident in the script (referred to here as "unnamed Gainor/Ali vehicle") I'm collaborating on. I get it now. I see where we're going.

Griffith Park at sunset is beautiful.

Timberwolves rookie (and potential superstar) Randy Foye has his heart on the right side of his body. (?!) Scroll down on the linked page for proof.

Barack Obama for President? Sure. Yes.

Don't forget to listen to novelist Marisha Pessl on Michael Silverblatt's Bookworm show on Thursday. She's written the best book I've read in quite a while. And sure - the show always devolves into formless 6-minute questions from Silverblatt followed by vaguely aware answers from authors struggling to keep up but what else are you doing at 2:30 PDT on a Thursday?

Monday, October 23, 2006

3 Poems

I have blogger's block. So today I will be a poet.

Culture Craves A Wanderer

Culture craves a wanderer
With two hands up and out
A forward-thinking astronaut
With wings

Culture craves and we yearn for and squeeze dry
Comes back
Clairvoyant and well-connected
A silence hits the room
A curtain laced with gloom
The end of the confederacy
Has caught up with our darkness

The bomb burns a hole
Terrible and deep, sweet like slow decay
Time lapsed and put up
Worthy of our love, misplaced by our honor
It’s beautiful (it’s not)
It’s beautiful (you are)
The carnival said to the town
“Is there no one better than us?”

Before the Parade

There won’t be a rustling of leaves
Or a pulled string of pained expressions
Or light bulbs left on inside the monument
But there may be dusk
Followed by a night
When weepy people find a way
To mark time with indecision
To make fine art with pencils
To make all the little sorrows

There won’t be a decade left for dead
Or an energetic healing of the lifeless
Or an antsy angel fidgeting away
But there may be a pageant
Followed by a slight
In which absolution of morality
Is a game to play with knives
Is a carol sung by owls
Is the big whole sorrows turned to

There will be a moment
Before we leave the room
When the hint of recognition
That we will leave the room
That there will be a moment
Makes us stay


I shake my hair of all that gets me troubled
But I am too close cropped for it to matter
I wring my hands of all that makes me weary
But I am too flaky dry to falsify my ways
It’s all in the movement of the system
That generates and rubbles to a pile
That forces on the weight of seven years good luck
Not touched, not taken, unwashed

So there you have the sorcery and spells
The kindred brushing up and bruising skin
The boats at harbors never seen and squandered
The heights of sin and loveless maritime

I want to tell you secrets but the truth hurts
There’s nothing there but surface and it isn’t smooth
I want to give you memories of the fancy months
But faith is shorn of all that’s written out

...those optic nerves...

And why I made it home that night I don’t know
I should have slept the desert through the sun
But even if my eyes had seen its glory
The road to home would still be made of glass
The skin on bone of flesh and stone
The stirrups faint with scent of maritime

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Woke Up In Ybor City

Eventually blogs settle down and take a personality of their own, their multi-topic rambling relegated to a cached memory. I know bloggers who have settled on golf as a primary topic, others who have chosen cobra decorating and the trumpeting of obscure films as their daily/weekly subject matter. I look back on my early posts and smile and frown - the laughably optimistic first film script idea, the adventures of Roy the Superintendent, the walks up and down the stairs of tall buildings, the flower fields, the furniture, the separation, the basketball, and the lists. And the utter consistency of my preditable pattern - two rambling and not re-readable posts followed by one keeper, to be anthologized in some future book. 33.3% isn't so bad. I guess I'm writing this to say I don't know if Blueprint Blue has ever had or will ever have a personality. I hope it does get one. I think I have a personality though. It's a good one.

A few updates: I saw The Hold Steady live again on Monday night. It was an amazing and joyous show, one that climaxed with pogo-ing young people on the tiny Troubadour stage. For a band that sings almost exclusively of drugs and misfits and drinking and trouble and violence, their fans sure are a well-scrubbed clean-living bunch. And yes that includes me. Here's their new video.

I am immersed in solving puzzles to find secret treasures. Yes, I am talking about Secrets of the Alchemist Dar! You're surprised - isn't that a little outsider/nerdy for you, AF? Sure, I am not a fan of fantasy and science fiction. I do not like video games. I have never seen an episode of Firefly and doubt its quality. I think animation is cute and all but why not use real people? But give me a crudely written book with ridiculously detailed drawings that hold clues which, if figured out, will yield locations at which secret treasures worth between $12,000 and $300,000 can be found and I'll be up until the late hours figuring out if a 4x8 grid is more likely than a 5x5 and why the theme this time seems to be circles and not squares. And why, if a doth is supposed to be half-dog and half-moth, does Pook look almost exactly like a dog with after-the-fact moth wings attached to his flanks?

As most of you know, John Hollinger's list ranking the NBA's players from best to worst is partially available on espn.com. The Timberwolves have the 6th best and 6th worst players in the league! I'll let you guess who those two might be. The full text requires a financial investment so I direct you instead to freedarko's list of the most "freedarko" players in the NBA. To understand what that descriptor truly means, I suggest reading this freedarko-related McSweeneys piece and this fascinating discussion (be sure to read the comments) on NBARS (NBA racial semiotics).

Finally, I want to commend my former employer for replacing their leader (Roy from the first parag.) with a militaristic but seemingly brilliant new leader with no school district experience whatsoever. Somehow I think it will work. Good luck Dave.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The world is upside-down.

It used to be that the months of the year would proceed in an orderly fashion. If I had to rank the months, from most enjoyable to least, they would consistently follow (or closely adhere to) this pattern:

1. November
2. April
3. September
4. August
5. March
6. June
7. October
8. December
9. February
10. January
11. July
12. May

In recent years, I honestly think I have to change the rankings to:

1. October
2. May
3. June
4. December
5. July
6. August
7. January
8. November
9. April
10. September
11. February
12. March

I don't know why it all changed. I'm not saying this October is without its flaws. It's been a good month, a contemplative one. It still has 17 days to crush itself. I'm talking more about recent Octobers and Mays, not just this one. And how about that May? What a comeback!

Is there any song that ruins a good music day more than Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes? The morning was rolling along, with some very fine songs being played by the British deejays on my sixth favorite iTunes radio station. A great song from last year was followed by a good one from 1983 and a better one from 1988. This led to a few choice 70s cuts hurled into the future by a song from last week. Then In Your Eyes. I turned off my computer speakers, shook my head derisively, and went back to work. I'll never forget John Cusack playing that song on the boombox during the pivotal scene in Say Anything. A fine romantic comedy nearly ruined by a poor choice in redemption songs. Who plays Peter Gabriel on a boombox?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Johnny and John

On September 11, 2003 John Ritter died of a heart attack at the age of 54.

On September 12, 2003, Johnny Cash died due to complications from heart valve replacement surgery at the age of 73.

On September 13, 2003, I wrote this:

Johnny and John in Heaven

Johnny Cash sidles up to a bar called Heaven. He orders himself a Mai-Tai.

John Ritter, nursing a whiskey sour, says "I expected you to drink something a little more, you know, a little more masculine, less fruity.”

Cash clears his throat as if to say "You don't know me, son, you know nothing about me.” But he doesn't actually say this. What he says is: "Ritter, do you remember when we first met? Back in '78. I was in a bad place then. You were king of the world. You had the looks, the hit show, Joyce DeWitt. I had a drug problem and my label wanted to drop me unless I did duets with those bastards Nelson and Jennings. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, it was at the Regal Beagle, on Pico. I was drinking what you're drinking now, a whiskey sour. You were all high and mighty, with your ascot, surrounded by starlets. So right before closing time I was at the pinball machine. And you said 'hey what's up, Man In Black?' Well, you broke my concentration, Jack. I was about to get a free ball! But it's water under the bridge now. I forgive you"

Ritter takes a deep breath and says "Johnny, the Regal Beagle wasn't real. It was just TV. And my name is John."

Cash cackles. "Aw, I'm just fucking with you, Jack. Welcome to Heaven. Guess you're surprised you got here so young. But it's not a bad place. We got a jukebox. And good food, courtesy of June. And an open mike every Tuesday night. Zevon hosts it and the only rule is No Poetry. Kind of harsh, I know, but it's alright. Phil Hartman tells me the other day Barry White did a slow jam, accompanied in dance by Greg Hines. It was almost poetry but not quite"

Ritter takes a swig from his drink. “Heaven, huh? I died before you. How did you get here first?”

Cash grins. “Well, let’s just say Heaven’s closer to Nashville than it is to Burbank.”

Ritter finishes his drink. “Are there any rules here?"

Cash clears his throat. "Yeah, we've got rules. Eight simple rules. One, I already told you. No Poetry on open mike night. Two, no bar tabs. Pay for your drinks when you get 'em. Now, we don't have currency in heaven. So for payment you do whatever the bartender tells you to. If he says cluck like a chicken, you cluck like a chicken. It depends on who's tending. Sonny Bono's an asshole, but Eazy E doesn’t ask for much.”

Ritter interrupts. “"Is that why Jesus made me do a pratfall for my drink?"

"Yes, Jack, that's why. Simple rule number three. No smoking, that which felled Warren and Ella and Lucy Ball. Four, no prima donnas. Hope and Kate Hepburn came in here thinking they owned the place. No one owns the place! At least not until Lenny Cohen gets here. Rule number five, we got a multimedia lending library. Books, records, DVDs. I think we've got season one of ‘Company.’ DVDs you keep for two nights, everything else is two weeks. Don't be late. Paul Robeson's the head librarian and he gets pissed if you're late. Number six, be civil. There are no wars in Heaven. If you come to a disagreement, work it out, in a non-violent manner. King's a stickler on this.”

"Martin Luther King?"

"Nah, Farouk. Simple rule number seven. No religion. Need I say more? And finally, number eight. There’s a test you have to take. It's just one question. The first week here you get a free pass. But then they ask you a question. If you answer it right, you stay in Heaven. You get it wrong, well, there's another bar down the street. And unless you want to spend the rest of your days drinking with Uday and Waylon and Hitler and Stalin and Lennon, you better get the question right. Now, thanks to June, I know the answer, so I'm okay. I would've gotten it right anyway. But I won't tell you.”


“Because of the night at the Beagle, with the pinball. Yeah, I know by the time the nineties came along, I had my comeback and you were struggling, so maybe you got your comeuppance. But hey, it's not my fault you didn't have a guardian angel like Rick Rubin.”

"But, Johnny, the Regal Beagle never happened"

"Again, just fucking with you, Jack. Still, I can't tell you the answer to the question. But I can tell you the question, so you can study. Are you ready? You might want to write this down."

Jesus hands Ritter a pen and a napkin. "It's John and yes, I'm ready"

“Do you promise to study?”

“I promise.”

"The question is: Furley or Roper?"

The Procrastinator

I have these ideas spinning through my head. Ideas for clever blog posts - stories, lists, manifestos. Each of these ideas will find a place on this page one day. You can't see them spinning through my head but they're there.

Today, I have to concentrate on the important stuff - preparing for a big event tomorrow, establishing the precise pregnancy length for a female marmet (marmette?), learning the source of that awful rain-dripping sound outside my window, attending a cerebral urban book reading, and working on my quads.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Analogy Quiz

(answers later today, in the comments section. or maybe tomorrow if I'm lazy)

1. The Departed is to film as ______ is to music.
a. Tom Waits
b. Chingy
c. Radiohead
d. Adam Ant

2. Echo Park is to Los Angeles as ______ is to the Democratic Party.
a. John Kerry
b. Dick Cheney
c. hindsight
d. The Passion of the Christ

3. Mike James is to the Minnesota Timberwolves as ______ is (are) to one's thirties.
a. Edie Falco
b. The Internet
c. Will Shortz
d. ties

4. The first verse of Leonard Cohen's Tower of Song is to the final verse* of Tower of Song as ______ is (are) to ______.
a. shame; sorrow
b. tardiness; apples
c. Michael Keaton in Batman; Christian Bale in American Psycho
d. pirates; pirate costumes

*the final verse being the one that starts out "I see you on the other side..." not the reprise of the first verse.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Years in the making, months in the waiting.... I give to you: My Career As A Breakdancer in the pages of Eclectica Magazine.

If anyone knows what that picture is, let me know.

Note: Memories are fuzzy. Last names have been changed. But it's true. Yes it is.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Top 6.666 Spices/Seasonings/Herbs of the First 2/3 of the '00s

My post from earlier today was a little obtuse... full of references that would resonate with one person (myself) on this planet.

I should start over, give you something fresh and beautiful.

A list maybe?

Top 6.666 Spices/Seasonings/Herbs...

6.666. Cumin
the sleepy little add-in in the corner of the cabinet

6. Ginger
needs to be kept in line; still, a keeper

5. Garlic
open letter to all people in America:
garlic + moderation = good

garlic + no moderation = kitsch (and not the good kind either)

4. Dill
dill? what are you thinking? dill? I'll tell you what I'm thinking! what other infusion on earth can improve both pickled cucumbers and cheese?

3. Cinammon
the Mark Eitzel of spices - cool, crisp, possibly gay, best in winter and morning, too much makes you cry

2. Rosemary
I loved you once; I like you now... and forever

1. Basil
feels good to the touch, to the smell, to the taste - that's 3 of the 5 senses right there!; the David Foster Wallace of flavors - rich, surprising, more satisfying than is apparent at first; prone to footnotes

But You Know That They'll Stay

I've been listening to the new album by The Hold Steady, Boys And Girls In America. It achieves the status promised by its lofty title. Eleven perfect songs - ballads and rockers, thinkers and feelers.

I always wanted to be the one to write the ultimate song about the young women of Bloomington, Minnesota. But Craig Finn beat me to it with Southtown Girls, the Stairway to Heaven/Under the Bridge/Stars of Track and Field of the energy drink generation.

Southtown Girls (named for the consistently disappointing Southtown Shopping Center, near the corner of 494 and Penn) is a song of celebration and remorse, of expectations and platitudes, of eulogies and driving directions. I'm still not sure how Nicollet Avenue gets you to the ocean or which ocean it gets you to, considering it's a north-south street in Minnesota. Maybe the ocean is figurative. Still, someone took the trouble to make a literal map of Twin Cities references in Hold Steady songs. This is why the world is a better place now than ever before.

I hear the university band practicing outside my window here at work. Say what you will about my employer - their (perceived) elitism, their inconvenient location, their conservative architecture, the relatively poor academic performance of their student-athletes, the high tuition, etc. - but please acknowledge the fact that we have the best damn school band in the universe. Wow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

( )

One correction to my earlier post. My rap is actually called My (Name) Is (Ali).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


From my new picture two things are clear:
  • I have huge eyebrows.
  • I'm leaning against a truck. It's not my truck. I don't have a truck.
I think it's briefhistoryoftheriseandfall...'s truck.

The Twins lost Game 1 to Oakland. I know someone in Oakland. She has a dog and parents who favor gag gifts. I know someone near Oakland. She has no pets and believes in tough love. I know a third person near Oakland. Her apartment is messy but her intentions are pure. I know one other person near Oakland. He's impulsive and not to be relied upon.

Wait. I know one more person near Oakland. Actually I knew this person. Never mind.

I received some good news. The news will remain secret until more details are ready. Let's just say that a little bit more of b.p.blue's writing will receive exposure. I may make some enemies this time however. Damn. I don't need any more enemies.

I was called an egomaniac recently. Me? I've thought deep and long about this. Let's consider the facts:

1. I have a blog in which I talk about myself but not really.
2. I wrote a rap about myself. The rap has three unique verses and two slightly different courses. It's called My Name Is (Ali).
3. I'm writing a screenplay about someone with my name but not my life.
4. I keep forgetting to give to charity.
5. I sometimes forget to ask you how your life is going. But then I remember.
6. Roughly 27% of my fiction is really about me. Doesn't seem excessive.
7. My rap is excellent. Ask me to sing it for you.

Yes, I am an egomaniac.

(One more thing: I have an opinion about something that happened in the news recently that is so crazy, so contrary, so off-putting that I just can't express it here.)

Monday, October 02, 2006


A request has been made to change my blog photo. Something about the old one being too "nostrily." So here's something new.

Some random things:

The new Bonnie "Prince" Billy album is excellent. As is the new TV On The Radio.

The new movie Mutual Appreciation is amazing - the best obscure indie film since the one whose name I've forgotten because it's so obscure.

The Pacific Ocean is the best ocean there ever was.