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June 19th , 2018

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- It's officially summer! Not by the orbit of the earth around the sun, but the fact that school's out. Less exciting for me than the rest of my house, but still a nice seasonal perk. Most important is the fact that Montreal is once again on the horizon. The BDGF gets to go for the month of July, with me joining her for the second half. I look forward to being in a country where civility is still a thing.

- But wait! There's more! We also get summer concerts with Nathaniel Rateliff and Parliament Funkadelic on the docket and a special Two-Hearted themed tour of Bell's Brewery in early August. It's gonna be a blockbuster summer.

- Of course we have to at least address the fact that the government of United States is committing child abuse. It's immeasurably sad and horrible and unthinkable even for these amoral lunatics, yet here we are. What makes me happy, or at least gives me a place to put my righteous indignation, is that there are things you can do. Even if you're reps are Dems, call them. Find a protest to attend. Spend your summer reminding people they have to vote in November. This shit has to stop, and your indifference enables it. Do your part.

- Speaking of dissent, history teachers are doing their best to make sure that they can, you know, teach history accurately. I loved my high school AP history classes. They were both an incredible foundation for understanding the world and stoked a fire that demanded I know more. Omitting the uncomfortable or difficult is a disservice to everyone, so go get 'em, history teachers!

- Finally,when you show your talented, creative pseudo-step daughter West Side Story two weeks before father's day, you get to wake up to this on Sunday:

 

Posted 10:03am
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May 15th , 2018

I quit

I got robbed last night. Someone broke into my car and took $70 in cash and several hundred dollars in gift cards. None if it is irreplaceable, but I hustled for that shit. My trivia spoils are wiped out. I'm going to be reminded of it almost daily. I'm avoiding personal interaction until further notice as I may tear someone's head off for no reason.

So let's talk James Cameron. This fucking idiot. Let's be honest, he's a cutting edge digital filmmaker, but Titanic sucks. Avatar sucks. The first two Terminator, Aliens and True Lies are fun films, but he's gonna make Avatar movies for the next decade? Who has a single fuck to give about that?

So fuck James Cameron when he says 2001: A Space Odyssey "lacks emotional balls." I mean first of all, what a stupid fucking turn of phrase. It's almost comically what you'd expect as a criticism from say Michael Bay. Secondly, Cameron's films have "emotional balls"?!? Give me a fucking break.

It always makes me angry that he has two movies near the top of the highest grossing films of all time. I long for the day when they're resigned to the trash heap of history as overrated slop. And I hope the new Avatar movies fail spectacularly. And when he dies, I hope during the Oscars "In memoriam" segment that they play the clip of him yelling "I'm the King of the World!" and everyone points and laughs.

So yeah, don't leave shit of value in your car, even when you're parked at your own house apparently. I'm off to win back my losses by being smart and angry. In the end, the status quo hasn't changed.

Posted 11:42am
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May 7th , 2018

Karma Watch

It's been a while since I've asked anyone for money from this soapbox, so congratulations to all of you waiting for an opportunity to raise your karma a bit by doing something nice for once in your life.

My friend of 20 years has pancreatic cancer. It's a real bummer. At the end of the month we're doing one of those walks to raise cash for research into this stupid fucking cancer, and you can pretend you're John Stockton and make a sweet assist.

If you would be so kind, please go here to make a donation to our team. Your $20 could be the one that puts us over the top and ensures that no one else has to succumb to this horrible illness.

My buddy Steve is one quality individual. I've known him for over 20 years. You've probably met him at some thing or other. He probably made you laugh uncomfortably. Donate as a thank you. Or as a favor to me. Or just because it's a good thing you can do. I'll be very appreciative and so will everyone who someday gets treatment for pancreatic cancer that you helped make more effective. Wow. See how impressive you are?

Posted 9:48am
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April 23rd, 2018

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- The Sporcle revenge tour continues! As long as they exist, I've vowed to win every damn tournament that Sporcle puts on to hammer home that we were right in the great One Day at a Time fiasco of 2017. As such, we won our second straight (should be fourth) Sporcle team tournament last Sunday AND then turned around and won the special 90's music trivia night on Wednesday. That's just short of $2000 collectively from their coffers to ours. The money is nice, the spite is tastier.

- Also, yes I'm playing the popular live trivia game show apps as well. It's not as lucrative, but I'm doing OK. Even without the motivating spite.

- We went and saw Mr. Jeff Tweedy recently, and I expressed my love for him and his buddy Nick Offerman into the ether, and one of them noticed.

I swear I don't try to interact with celebs on Twitter, but when it happens, I totally get over excited about it.

- The BDGF's littlest is the theater kid I always wanted, and she recently made her stage debut as the Mad Hatter in Shrek: The Musical.

Here's hoping they give her better material to work with over the next three years.

- Finally, it was Earth Day yesterday so I cut down a tree.

It was the first nice weather in a while so I did a lot of clean up, tree trimming, etc. over the weekend. There's going to be a lot of that sort of thing in the next few weeks, both because it's spring and it comes with the territory and we have to gear up to have our house torn up and renovated. Lord beer me strength.

Posted 10:14am
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April 3rd, 2018

HULK SMASH!

- So yesterday I felt my first repercussion from the paring down of facebook. Someone I "unfriended" sent me a message that started "Wow. You really are a dick." Given the timing of everything, I kind of get why they were upset, and I tried to calmly explain that it wasn't personal, I was just done with facebook. Also not lost on me, after they ended the message with "You really are Larry David" is that they'd probably be furious that I'm writing about what they said here. But it illustrates a point - even without Cambridge Analytica, facebook is largely a place where someone you've had two conversations with in ten years can call you a dick. Do I need that in my life? Like I said, I get their point and I don't feel bad about what I did, but I am still thinking about what they said so it didn't make me feel great about something that should be as innocuous as innocuous can be. It's accelerated my analysis of being on there just to be informed about what 20 people are up to.

- It's impossible for me, or anyone, to keep up with every stupid, racist, illegal, anti-intellectual thing that Orange 45 is up to, much less write about it every day. However, since I'm doing a post about how I'm upset, let's quickly note two things that are less titillating but more important than the Commander in Chief paying off porn actresses to keep quiet. One - Muslim refugees entering this country are down 32% from last year, as well as letting in the lowest amount of refugees overall since 1980. Likely this won't surprise you, but it is staggeringly racist. And while we're here, let's note that the EPA, you know, the agency run by a guy illegally living in an energy lobbyist's house, is rolling back standards to curb automobile pollution. Who does this benefit? Who does this hurt? I won't justify those questions with a response.

- Finally, Michigan's improbable run in the NCAA tournament ended last night as they ran into the buzz saw that is Villanova. This is disappointing, but fine. Great run, fun team and all that. It hurts more because it personally felt for a while there that they were going to do this as a memoriam for Markie C. It hurts most because we were largely taken down by a redhead, and all I could hear all game was Markie C screaming "GINGERS HAVE NO SOUL!" He hated him some ginger basketball players. I don't know, maybe it's fitting. I know I'll think of Markie C every time a ginger makes a bucket against Michigan, which isn't as good as winning a national championship, but it's not nothing.

Posted 9:48am
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March 22nd, 2018

The price of connection

It's often said that if you are enjoying something for free on the internet, you're not the customer, you're the product. Or something along those lines. I've also had a quote on my desk since 1999 from the chairman of Sun Microsystems who said "You already have zero privacy - get over it."

So since last century, before we even really had high speed internet, evil tech geniuses have been telling you to go fuck yourself when it comes to what you think is yours. Everyone has to decide on their own level of compromise, and when you do that based on facts, most of us agree that's some level of fair and act accordingly.

I've been on facebook since you had to have a University email address to join. It's always been one of my least favorite social media enterprises, but it's become so enmeshed in our lives, it's hard to give up. The Cambridge Analytica stuff is rightfully giving people pause and finally has those who never asked questions to at least look at what they've given up in order to stalk old high school crushes.

I all but quit facebook a few years back due to a bigoted family member. Just seeing the hatred made me upset so I took a break. It wasn't easy. Mostly because so many businesses use it as their webpage. Otherwise, not that bad. I eventually eased back in and just blocked everyone from showing up on my timeline.

It's worse now, so I've taken more drastic steps. I've locked down every setting they allow my to restrict. I've gone from 400 friends to 40. I can't imagine posting much on there outside of a heads up for a GWD show I'm hosting. I'm going to continue to flirt with the idea of deleting everything, but for now, at least I feel a tad better about sleeping with the enemy.

If you are interested minimizing the damage, here's an article that's a good start. It'll at least limit third party assholes from exploiting you and your friends. It's obvious facebook doesn't give a fuck. You should. At least a little bit.

Posted 3:03pm
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March 10th, 2018

Screw you guys, Jehtro Tull is sweet

In 1995 I spent an afternoon yelling at my roommate about how AC/DC was better than the MC5. Not just better, but that AC/DC was "important" and that the MC5 sucked. He was yelling the literal opposite at me. It was two burgeoning music snobs screaming at each other, refusing to move an inch. It was exactly why I wanted to go to college.

I spent the next 23 years arguing with that man. About music, movies, politics, sports and every other damn thing under the sun. He eventually admitted that AC/DC didn't suck. I eventually conceded that he had the stronger argument. Recently I was trying to force Hamilton down his throat, while he was telling me that it was for suburban housewives and I'd be as embarrassed in ten years as if I had advocated for Cats in 1981.

Mark Carlson left us two days ago, and if you didn't know him, I genuinely feel bad for you. You'll never know how much this place is the worse for it. A kinder, generous, more caring person doesn't exist. OK, that maybe a tad hyperbolic, but after all these years he'd expect it out of me.

I don't know how tell you how important he was to me. I haven't had a better friend nor closer confidant since I met him. I've never meant anyone who I both agreed with and wanted to argue with more. For many years we did everything together. There's no one with which I've been to more concerts, sporting events, movies or bars. We picked each other up. We celebrated together. We were brothers.

Markie C and I never had a problem telling each other how we felt. Saying I love you was in both our wheelhouses. What you can forget to say is thank you. I wish I could thank him for all of the things he taught me. I wish I could thank him for being there for almost a quarter of a century. I want to thank him for showing me how to be a better human being.

It was an honor and a privilege to be his friend. He's in my DNA at this point. He's with me where ever I go, whatever I'm doing and I'm an extremely lucky person to be able to say that. But holy shit will I miss the back and forth. Son of a bitch left before I got to hear him admit that I was right about Hamilton.

Posted 9:13pm
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March 4th, 2018

Hostus Mostus

Look, I realize that I talk a lot about trivia. Both here and in person. Sorry if it's annoying. It's just I've always loved trivia. Probably because of the Trivial Pursuit boom of 1983*. That and my memory is pretty good.

Plus now you can play it bars! My other favorite thing! The fact that I can go to a pub quiz every night of the week and drink for free is the greatest dream come true story of my life since they figured out how to make superhero movies.

As you may remember, I decided to try my hand at the other side of the pub quiz six months ago by becoming a Geeks Who Drink Quizmaster. It did not go well in the sense that the show never really took off. But I've been subbing in here and there in the interim waiting for a new show to come along and come along it finally has.

The best part is that it's an already established show! Starting this Tuesday I become the official full time Quizmaster at Mash/Blue Tractor! It's a bar I like filled with great quizzers and the best staff. I've been playing there almost every week for two years now and if I can maintain the great atmosphere that Quizmaster Matt has cultivated, I'll consider it a success.

So come on down, every Tuesday, 8pm to Mash (underneath Blue Tractor) and get quizzed by me. We'll drink, we'll laugh, we'll have a great time. Especially if you haven't had quite enough of me running my mouth about trivia yet.

Posted 1:50pm
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February 19th, 2018

So shines a good deed in a weary world

Last weekend we were in Indianapolis for a little mini vacation. The BDGF got to go see a spaceship. I got to go to the Kurt Vonnegut museum. The littlest got see a local theater production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

During that production, which features several spots for local or topical jokes, one of the characters made fun of the President and how terrible he is. Some of the theater-goers in the affluent Indianapolis suburb we found ourselves in were nonplussed. It was hard to miss the several elderly gentlemen who leaned back in their seats, crossed their arms and showed their displeasure with a scowl. At least we all noticed.

Afterwards, we all agreed that the Indianapolis suburbs were not for us. There was some concern that the ACLU sticker on my car may make us a target for anti-liberal violence, but mostly we just wanted to get somewhere that believed in science and didn't hate women and minorities and the poors.

We eventually remembered that most people agree with us, but you'll forgive us if we have to concentrate kinda hard to remember that sometimes these days. The world is a horrible place and I am literally losing sleep over the fact that Trump has an approval rating approaching 40%. Foreign governments are successfully sowing discord and an entire political party shrugs. Kids are being killed at school and we have to debate about whether we should do anything. Ugh.

That last one is unfathomable to me. There's some evidence that this time might be different. The victims are pissed and don't seem to be willing to sit down and shut up about it. The nicest thing I can usually say about teenagers is to roll my eyes, but I've never been happier change my mind. If we're gonna fix this shit, it looks like it'll have to be a group that hasn't been bought and corrupted yet.

I know this ain't no muthafuckin' ballpark, but this also makes me hopeful.

Just a teenager thanking her waitstaff and generally being appreciative. Like Vonnegut said, "Please... a little more common decency." Maybe we'll get there. For now, I'll take maybe.

Posted 10:55am
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January 20th, 2018

Anniversary

It's a weekend of anniversaries. We've spent a year under Orange Hitler, which is memorialized by his inability to keep the government open. It's also been a year since millions of women took to the streets to show their power, which is commemorated by doing it again and oh so many other ways, not the least of which is the record number of women running for office and speaking up to end societal indifference. I choose to look at how B overshadows A while pointing to an end to it. A sucks, but a B working to end the suckitude is no small thing.

It also, I just figured out, is the anniversary of the last time my son communicated with me. After lying to me for nine months, he finally admitted to me that he had dropped out of school and was doing, well, frankly nothing. It was all via text, which doesn't begin to be the most chickenshit aspect of it all. But all of that is neither here nor there at this point.

In the year that has followed, I haven't gotten a text, email, phone call nor visit. I've sent him heartfelt letters, innocuous texts and general inquiries, all without a response. People hear my sad story and try to understand what it feels like. That's appreciated. I certainly don't like talking about it, but it's necessary. I do feel the air going out of people as I do - the look on their face trying to imagine not hearing from their kid for an entire year. I can tell you that the mixture of fear, anger, guilt and sadness is overwhelming. Every single goddamn day.

While I appreciate any empathy you may have, I'm not fishing for that. More than anything, I just feel like I'm out of options, or at least out of places to put all of crushing emotion that is so pervasive. So I write this. In lieu of anything constructive. He's living with his mother in Columbus now (which honestly, feels like more than a little slap in the face. It's a three curl hop junk punch at least.) If he never wants me in his life again, I suppose that's his decision. I can go on wondering what I did that was so egregious for the rest of my days without so much as an explanation. Perhaps I even deserve it. I just want him to be happy.

People say that all the time and don't really mean it, but as a parent nothing holds more weight with me. I want him to be a partner to some one. I want him to have friends to lean on. I want him to find a way to be productive in this world and strive to make it a better place in whatever small way any of us can. It's all I've ever wanted for him honestly. If getting out of the way is what makes it possible, then I am ready to take one for the team.

But I miss my kid. I love my Siddhartha. If he needs help I hope he gets it. If he wants to be on some path I hope he gets on it. Regardless of my feelings about it, I hope he Women's March's the shit out of whatever he's going through and takes the power back to determine his own fate. It's been a shitty year. Here's hoping there's a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.

Posted 11:46am
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January 12th, 2018

How much racism is too much?

I spent some time this summer arguing with someone from my hometown about whether or not Orange 45 is racist. Arguing is a strong word. I provided several examples of things he said that were textbook definitions of racism and the other side was him going "Welllllll..."

Donald Trump is a racist. There can be no doubt. The GOP won't so much as publicly disagree with him. Racist apologists are racists too. So why would anyone vote for a Republican candidate for anything at any level? Any answer other than "I am a racist too" is about as cogent as "Welllll..."

Posted 11:46am
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This page is written and maintained by Tyler Brubaker. All content is spewed forth from the author's brain, unless otherwise credited. He views his opinion as much more valid than yours, but welcomes all thoughts and comments.