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December 25th , 2006

There's no reason for the picture other than it makes me laugh.

So this will forever be known as the Xmas of the Wii in my house. I won't bore you with another drawn out account of how down to the wire it was. Needless to say, everything turned out OK and everything that was pretext was totally worth it. Sid is in heaven, as evidenced by his 10+ hours playing the thing today. I don't blame him. In a word - Its fucking awesome.

So its finally over. Kinda. Headed to Ohio tomorrow to hang with the Brubaker clan. But that's just hanging and listening to my brothers and sisters have a bitch-off while I sip my cocktail and laugh in the corner. I bitch a lot about all the BS that the season brings, but despite all the hassles and running around, the arguments and the worrying about reciprocity and doing the right things with your new relationship, its usually all right in the end. Tonight I'll go to bed happy, and that's all we can really ask for on any Christmas. Here's hoping you all have the same good fortune.

Posted 11:35pm
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December 21st , 2006

How to wish a boozehound a Merry Christmas

Here's some stuff floating around the interweb that might waste some of your time, as I'm sure you're all working hard on your second to last day before vacation.

- I loved the Transformers when I was a kid. Finding Optimus Prime under the tree 20+ years ago is one of my fondest memories. Too bad that this is directed by Michael Bay.

- I think everyone but me hated Ocean's 12. Yeah, self-indulgent and a tad incoherent, but my man crush on Steven Soderbergh can bear no ill fruit. That means I'll be first in line for this.

- Apparently not even Slate has the answer for everything. Which is unfortunate, because now I really want to know the answer to some of these.

- Harry Potter just found out how his showdown with Voldemort will be billed. To find out the title of HP7, just click this portkey.

- Last night the woman and I exchanged gifts. Its always a tricky situation opening a gift from someone you care about - especially for me since since anyone remotely astute will pick up on my disappointment if I'm saying 'What the fuck?' on the inside. Luckily, Ayesha came through:

I don't know if she knew about my insistence on rocks glasses with heft to them, but these are about the most beautiful things I've ever seen. And now when she breaks up with me for being a drunk, I can point to her contributing to my delinquency. Hooray!

This may be it until Xmas. I'm still waiting on the Ultimate Gift 2006. My stomach is turning like I gorged on draft beer and chili all night (when only half of that is true). Those with religious convictions, pray for me. And to everyone, Merry Christmas.

Posted 2:50pm
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December 20th , 2006

I support the Judean People's Front, not the People's Front of Judea!

It goes without saying that anytime someone yells 'Fuck Bill O'Reilly' it should immediately be followed by a hearty 'Fuck Yeah!' Especially when it comes to this whole war on Christmas bullshit.

Growing up, this was an obvious non-issue. I knew no one who wasn't at least raised Christian. That is not an exaggeration of the truth. No Jews, Muslims, Jehovah's witnesses until I got to Ann Arbor. I was barely even aware of Hanukkah or Kwanzaa until I was in high school. Wait, did Kwanzaa exist before I got to high school? I digress.

Anyway, I could give two shits as to how I'm greeted during December. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Seasons Greeting, Fuck Off - they're pretty interchangeable to me. I usually go with 'Happy Holidays' myself, because it seems appropriate from Thanksgiving through New Years. Its certainly got nothing to do with my liberal elite attitude towards the secularization of Christmas. People bitch about this to hear the sound of their own voice. I honestly don't think anyone really cares.

The only reason I gave this a nanosecond of thought is because on at least 5 (5!) separate occasions in the past week I was greeted (or goodbyed) with 'Happy Holidays' - only to hear the person in front or behind me get a 'Merry Christmas.' And again, not that I care, but the coincidence seemed strange to me. Am I giving off a particularly jewy vibe? I mean I've got the nose for it, and hair curls up nice when its long, but still. Maybe they have special Christ-dar that can tell I haven't been to Mass in 10 years. Or perhaps they've seen me around town with Ayesha and they're thinking 'No Merry Christmas for the infidels!' I know I can't wait for all this joy-spreading to be over so I can go back to my usual 'eh' hello/goodbye routine. Because if this goes on much longer, some poor salvation army worker's gonna end up with that bell up his ass.

Posted 2:28pm
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December 19th , 2006

Fighting complacency

Apologies in advance for the bitchfaced solipsism that's about to follow. This post really serves no one other than myself. Its all because someone made this semi-innocuous comment to me:

you seem complacent here

I don't think it was said to be necessarily derogatory or offensive. You may be thinking to yourself eh, not a big deal. But the idea makes me pretty livid. First, let's synchronize our watches on a definition

com-pla-cent
adj. 1. Contented to a fault; self-satisfied and unconcerned

Obviously I'm a pretty self-satisfied person, and from time to time (I guess especially recently) I'm pretty content. But to a fault and unconcerned I take deep umbrage with.

I've made some compromises and sacrifices in my day, but through it all I've always strived to be a person of big ideas. Someone who wants to be well-rounded and intelligent. A person that wants to make himself better or more at every opportunity. When I begin to feel stodgy, I try to make a change. I try to challenge people on their ideas and confront some of the things that they take for granted. I want everyone to hold themselves to a higher standard. Probably a little cliché and pretentious, but if more people fought against out of date paradigms and sought out things that may be a tad more difficult than what they're used to, the world would end up a better place.

To me, complacency is an ugly ideal. To think that everything is OK is not, in fact, actually OK. Maybe I've become fat and happy. Maybe when looking at certain things in my life that I tend to ignore I have become flaccid and routine. But the thought of being complacent on things I care about or in my life in general makes me want to bite the head off of a chicken.

And right now I choose not to believe it. When I look at my life at this moment compared to what I was a year ago, the term complacency never enters my mind. Maybe its just that being happy and being complacent lie too close to one another. I hope that's not true. But for me, if someone close enough to you uses the phrase you seem complacent here that it has to at least be partly true - be afraid. Be very afraid. I hate to say rage against the dying of the light, but, fuck, I just did. I'm off to try and figure out where I fucked up.

Posted 5:28pm
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December 18th , 2006

Wii have had a problem

I actually felt good about my chances. After some dilligent intelligence gathering it was confirmed that Target would be receiving a Sunday morning shipment of the ever elusive make-or-break ultimate Xmas gift for 2006. So alarms were set, our bodies bundled up, and we headed out into the chilling morning air to wait in the rain at 5:30am. How many people could possibly be as stupid as I?

Turns out about 24. My heart sank as we pulled up. Surely we were to be defeated. Yet undeterred, we dropped off a recon party to stand in line whilst we went across the road to check the line at Best Buy. Of course, the line there was even more ricockulous, so we returned to the upscale dirt merchants to stand as a huddled mass and await our fate.

Thankfully, at 7am (an hour before the store opened for business) a kindly employee came out to hand out reservation tickets to the lucky few who obviously required less sleep than us - all 12 of them. As we walked away dejected, we heard the 13th person in line say he'd been there since 3am. Three fucking a.m.! At least we weren't screwed by hitting the snooze alarm or stopping for coffee.

So after a day of scouring eBay and craigslist, the game is finally over - at only a 70% markup over retail. I feel like I should include a note when I wrap it detailing the ordeal that this has been (including the next two nights of not being able to sleep until the thing is actually in my posssession.) But of course, making your kid feel guilty isn't what its all about, seeing his face light up when he finally opens it is. Because '...don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted ... He lived happily ever after.'

And a p.s. addendum - Thanks to Ayesha, AJ, MJ, Moeman and my babymama for both their help and paitence through the whole ordeal. In different ways you've made an anxiety riddled process bearable. And dare I say this somehow served as a reminder that I'm pretty lucky to have such amazing people in my life. Its almost as if the holidays can actually bring people together and make you feel thankful for your good fortune (despite all the bullshit).

Posted 1:59pm
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December 15th , 2006

We're gonna need a shit ton of booze

I'm not prepared. I couldn't possibly be. There's no way for anyone with my proclivities to properly brace themselves for the impact of a weekend like this one. For I get to endure not once, but twice (TWICE!) this weekend, the ultimate hot poker in the eyeball of the holiday season: the holiday work party.

Its not bad enough that I have to spend more time with these people than my actual loved ones, now I have to see them on the weekend? I have to have causal conversations with these troglodytes and smile at their stupid faces whilst in my head I'm screaming 'You're the most boring person in the world and I'm actually amazed people don't just fall dead asleep while talking to you.'

And of course now I get to do all of it twice, as I have Ayesha's party tonight and mine tomorrow. Which means I get to have the same introductory conversation 15 times tonight about what I do and where I'm from, and tomorrow Ayesha gets to do the same (while I panic and try not to make eye contact with my coworkers who's names I can't remember.)

Thank Christ there's the saving grace of every awkward social situation: our friend the booze. Two or three cocktails can make the world's most tedious person almost bearable. And of course there's plenty of coworkers I actually enjoy. Most of the evening will be spent in the corner, snickering to them and making fun of everyone else while they stand 5 feet away. Come to think of it, that part is kinda fun. Because what are the holidays for if not getting loaded and pretending to tolerate people you loathe? God bless us, everyone. All of this is his fault anyway.

Posted 11:08am
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December 14th , 2006

More bile and venom than you can shake a stick at

Just a little update: I just found this and its making me pee my pants. Its the best of craigslist, and its hilarious. Fuck reality TV, this shit is where its at. Enjoy the vitriol.

p.s. - This was my favorite one: Keep Your Goddamn Anal Beads Out of the Dishwasher!

Posted 3:36pm

Best of 2006 - Music Edition

As with everything here on the bloggy blog, what you are about to read has been written hastily and wasn't really thought through before I started typing. It also has the extra benefit of being about something that most of you will be in the dark about. So here they are, my ten favorite albums of the year, at least right now at this moment, out of the 84 albums I have that were released this year. I'm sure it'll change. 10 blog points for every artist you've heard of (outside of tbaggervance.com) and 20 if you've heard the entire album. Ready? Set? Go.

10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Yup, technically a 2005 release. But I found them in '06, and they rule. They'd be much farther up the list were we evaluating completely objectively, but we're sneaking them in at 10 due to the whole 'not released in 2006' thing. Check out the illegitimate love child of David Byrne and a carnival barker. Its glorious.
Myspace

9. The Long Winters - Putting the Days to Bed
By the end of the album, The Long Winters style may wear out its welcome on you. But not before getting you completely drunk on its indie pop goodness. I heard a song of theirs on the radio and in reading about them, I saw a review that mentioned Nada Surf and Death Cab. Good enough for me.
Myspace

8. Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller
Something keeps screaming at me to hate Ben Kweller. He can't go an entire song without a line that at least makes me roll my eyes. But I'll be damned if he doesn't couple it with a one that's a gem everytime. Pop songwriting at its best.
Myspace

7. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
I'll always be a fan of bands that I can't describe their sound. Which will always lead me to try. So The Decemberists are what I would imagine an indie rock band would sound like in the late 1800's. Best I can do.
Myspace

6. Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
This should be a one-off experiment where an indie rock princess steps into another genre in order to scratch some itch. And maybe on some level that's what this is, but then why is it absolutely perfect? And just thinking about the indie-rock all star lineup on her cover of 'Handle Me With Care' makes me moist.
Myspace

5. What Made Milwaukee Famous - Trying to Never Catch Up
Its a little like the Postal Service rocking out hard. Though not exactly. I can tell you that their songs will roll around in your head like the scent of the really hot girl you rubbed up against at the bar last night. Which is fabulous.
Myspace

4. Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
I really resisted B+S for the longest time. 'Fuck them up their stupid asses.' I would say. But I'll be damned if I didn't get sucked in by The Life Pursuit. Just give in and listen to it already.
Myspace

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
If I saw the YYYs at a bar I'd pry want to punch them in their stupid faces (except for Karen O, whom I would meekly admire from afar). But I'll be damned if they can't play. This album will rock your face. That's all you need to know.
Myspace

2. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
Craig Finn spits lyrics like a drunken savant. This album somehow encompasses the best of everything else on the list. Its as literate as the Decemberists, as rocking as the YYYs, and its songwriting could go toe to toe with anyone else. Its not for everybody, but that which polarizes tends to end up on the end of the spectrum for both the lovers and the haters. And I love the Hold Steady.
Myspace

1. Maritime - We, the Vehicles
I nearly cried when The Promise Ring broke up. I then rejoiced when Maritime arose from its ashes. But the first album was just OK. Then the second album came out. Eh, I thought at first. But somehow it grew on me. I found the intricacies and eccentricities of the album. Then I heard the stuff live and I was blown away. Very few people will ever hear this album, and that's a damn shame.
Myspace

Posted 10:51am
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December 13th , 2006

What took you so long?

Being a drunk, you'd think one bar would be as good as the next to me. Assuming that the prices weren't outrageous, the right people came with you, and the atmosphere not terribly pretentious - any bar will do ya. And that's true, to an extent.

Ask me where I want to go on any given night and I generally don't care. Going out to watch a game? Frasers, Cubs, Scorekeepers - I don't care. Going out to hang? ABC, BW3s, Connors - pick one. Booze, folks and fun can be had at any of these fine establishments and many more. Stay away from any long enough and you'll get an itch to go there. Attend one too often and you'll switch it up to avoid the rut. But there was a time when a bar existed that operated outside these parameters for me. A bar that didn't even require a drinking buddy, because you always knew there'd be one there. A place that was always top of the list and that never got old. A place, for lack of a better word, that was home.

Now this all may be romanticized hyperbole, but man have I missed Mitch's. It shut down just over two years ago (can that be right?) with a promise of a new venue and immediate return. A million promises and several false starts later, it finally reopened Monday night. When I walked in and saw all my friends (and only my friends) sitting across the front of the bar, I may have mentally shed a tear. The default is back, bitches. And while I'm sure that there will come a night not long from now, where I'll be deciding where to go for the evening and complian that Mitch's isn't worth fighting through a bunch of college assholes for. But right now, it just feels good to have a place to call home.

Posted 9:02am
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December 10th , 2006

Pot Kettle Black

Prepare for one of those vague posts where I skirt the issue, dance around the point, and generally hint at things I never get around to saying. I never know who's reading this garbage, and despite massive evidence to the contrary, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Then again, maybe I'll finish another cocktail as I type and I'll just blurt everything anyway. As you can probably routinely tell, I make this shit up as I go anyway.

Being someone's 'friend'* (*for an in-depth discussion of the term, see here) is usually pretty easy. I'm of course thinking of this from a guy's perspective, which I know is often the opposite of a girls, but its what I have to go on, so bare with me. Anyway, friendship - not that hard. You stay in touch, you listen to them even when they are boring, you occasionally drive them to the airport and (god forbid) help them move. And those are the more difficult aspects. The rest is booze, sex stories, sports and well, booze.

But of course occasionally a friendship is tested in ways that make even carrying a dinette set seem like a walk in the park. And I'm not talking about they wrecked your car or slept with your sister. Because when somebody obviously fucks up you have it out and its over. You either get around it or you don't. Again, I'm basically talking dudes here. But from time to time a friend will force you to have a conversation that's on par with anal cavity search.

These are the things that you and your other mutual friends say about the person behind their back. The gossip and head shaking that goes on when they leave the room. Things that everyone agrees should be said to their face, but that no one wants to undertake. Your buddy who has a girlfriend that everyone hates. Your friend the drunk who's gotten out of control lately - even for him. But if its a good enough friend, sometimes you have to bite the bullet.

Recently I saw one of my friends have a sit down with another friend, ostensibly about some drunken behavior. The irony was, the person giving the sit down was one of the all-time blackout jackasses. I wasn't privy to the details of the conversation, but all I could think of was 'How many people have had to do this for you in the past?' Now maybe those experiences made that person the one guy who could actually make sense to the person who need some sense pounded into him. But all I could think of was that my response would have been 'Hey Kettle, this it Pot. You're black.' Maybe that's why no one has ever sat me down and tried to talk some sense into me.

Posted 10:38pm
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December 8th , 2006

Don't you people have lives?

I'm not a very indulgent father. I have no problem telling Siddhartha no. He's familiar with the phrase 'My last name isn't Rockefeller.' (Which, I realize, is a reference most 20 year olds may not get - but I refuse to say 'May last name ain't Trump.') But when it comes to unextravagant things that excite him and I feel he deserves, I will walk to the ends of the earth to make it happen.

To that end, I took the morning off today after I got a hot tip that a certain store would be getting a shipment of a certain hard-to-find Xmas gift today. There were no guarantees, the store manager said, but he 'should' be getting 'some' of the prized item in on Friday. The store opened at 10, so I figured that waiting in the cold for an hour in order to see the look on my son's face Xmas morn' would be well worth it.

Thanks to Ayesha, I was up nice and early. And rather than go back to bed and milk my day off for all its worth, I milled around, worked on the computer and watched last night's episode of The O.C. on TiVo. Around 9, I bundled up and headed the two miles down the road to stake a spot in front of said store.

The nervousness and trepidation I felt as I drove the short distance turned out to be well founded. I pulled up to see no fewer than 20 (fucking 20!) people already waiting outside the store. So rather than wait in the cold for something that A.) May or may not actually happen and 2.)Likely result in only the first 10 or so people being rewarded should it come to fruition, I headed home defeated.

I'm old enough to remember news reports of adults maiming each other over cabbage patch kids. And I remember the look on my sister's face when my dad managed to find a copy of Thriller in 1982. I'll be damned if my boy (and of course by extension, me) will be denied the serene pleasure of getting exactly what you want, when everyone is fighting for the same thing. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that instead of winning an elbow-throwing battle at Best Buy on Sunday morning, I'll likely end up paying twice the price of retail on eBay. Which in a Machiavellian 'ends-justify-the-means' situation is fine (I guess), I just wish my last name was Rockefeller.

Posted 10:28am
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December 6th , 2006

Happy Birthday

They grow up so fast...

tbaggervance.com is two (fucking TWO!) years old today. For those of you too young to remember (or lazy to go into the archives) it all started with the declaration of our mission statement:

This is the first of what I hope to be several entries on this space relating to things I find interesting. The name will hopefully change to something more humorous, the focus will remain on me. Those things include, but are not exclusive to music, movies, books, the internet, events both local and global and things that happen to me. Boring? More than likely. Trivial? For sure. But perhaps from time to time I can find something that will make you laugh, question, ponder, or just say "Hey, that's all right."

I know, the word ambitious doesn't exactly come to mind. But this was 2004. Most people had never even heard the word blog. MySpace was in its infancy and there was no youtube to link to. tbaggervance.com has been around to watch them all rise to prominence.

And while yes, this space has largely become a repository for 'What a drunk am I' stories, I never intended for it to get this way. I certainly never intended to publish drunken voice mails, much less have them remixed into jewish techno. But I guess that putting something like this in the hands of someone like me meant it was bound to happen.

So thanks, loyal readers. More people come here to read this (on even the occasional basis) than I ever would have imagined. Hopefully that means you're being entertained on some level. I promise to always be here - providing you with indie rock updates, tirades on the moronic and most of all, reflections on my alcoholic existence (in often way too much detail.)

Posted 11:07am
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December 5th , 2006

Splitting the check

A while back we talked about the credit card shuffle - a time honored tradition for drunks to gamble on getting out of the bill all together. But there's another, more common staple of group dining that can be almost as precarious - splitting the check.

Now the stakes for check splitting are never as high as ye ole credit card shuffle, but they can be even more frustrating. This of course is due in large part to the fact that its a gamble you don't know your making when you order your meal.

If your like me and usually don't order the most expensive thing on the menu, check splitting can be a severe kick in the junk. You're out with friends, people are ordering appetizers and desserts while you're looking for the cheapest thing on the menu. No skin off your nose, right? Until the bill comes and some jackass grabs it from the waitress, whips out his pocket calculator and announces 'That'll be $35.50 a piece.' $35.50? For chicken fingers and two beers? Unfortunately, it happens to everyone sooner or later.

But tonight, I was on the other end. And as per usual, by savior was alcohol. I had ordered an average priced entrée whilst others were splitting salads and ordering only appetizers. It was a small group gathering and I had figured on separate checks, while everyone throwing in for the guest of honor. But when the bill came, someone grabbed the check and gave us a 'split the bill' price. The catch? I had 3 beers when everyone else drank water.

So when all was said and done, I figured to save about $5. Which means others paid for my drinking. For once, I won split the check. Alcohol lets me win again.

On a quick side note - this site has me totally addicted. It will mesmerize you as well, I promise. Pure fucking genius.

Posted 11:14pm
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December 4th , 2006

Please allow me to seethe with anger

Saturday afternoon was like any other. Hung over, I crawled out of bed and got myself around in time to make Michigan's 2pm basketball game. We weakly discussed if UCLA had any chance of beating USC later that day, thus vaulting Michigan into a rematch National Championship game. The consensus was 'meh'.

After the game and a nap, I started to get around to attend a 'Merry Chrismukkah' party that evening. I cooked. I primped. I watched UCLA lead the game in the fourth quarter. I barely allowed myself to entertain the possibility of our 'Hail Mary' of USC losing becoming reality. But I started to drink. I started to receive text messages along the lines of 'Why must the BCS toy with my emotions?' I paced the floor and commiserated with the other lone Michigan fan in the room. Before you could say 'Oy Humbug' the unlikely (if not impossible) became our Chrismukkah miracle.

For the next 12-16 hours I had visions of LaMarr Woodley dancing in my head - laying that one perfect hit right in Troy Smith's chest cavity. 'This was pay back for Stewart to Westbrook 12 years earlier' I told myself. But five minutes on the internet the following morning made me feel I had just hooked up with my best friend's unattractive sister. This couldn't possibly be happening, could it?

By 8 o'clock we already knew the outcome. Stov and I went to the bar anyway to bitch and partake as what can only be referred to as 'angry drinking.' We spit venom at the shallow arguments for Florida's inclusion. We decried the injustice of the myriad factors that worked against Michigan. Mostly, we cursed the hypocrisy of a system that's supposed to provide for the best two teams in country to play each other doing, well, not that.

So yeah, something I had given up on two weeks earlier and pretended not to care about reared its ugly head and has me fuming again. Such is life for anyone who lives and breathes for a team and situation that they have zero control over. Its only football, right?

p.s. Fuck Urban Meyer.

Posted 3:19pm
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December 1st , 2006

Going under the knife

After living with it for 15+ years, I decided it was time to lop it off. It didn't really bother me, except for the few times I'd catch it when looking in the mirror. Some people didn't know it existed - others said they noticed the first time they met me. But I figured everybody else was doing it, why not try a little cosmetic surgery?

When I went in for my initial consult, I got the one phrase no one wants to hear from their doctor, "I don't know what that is." Truthfully I wasn't that worried. It was just this tiny little extra piece of skin on the end of my tongue. A dentist once told me I probably just barely bit the end of my tongue once and voila! there it was. Don't know when it happened or how. Chances are alcohol was involved.

In any case, my little tongue buddy is no more, removed by the quick flick of the dermatologist's scalpel. And other than having a needle stuck in my tongue, not being able to eat lunch today and having to abstain from doing the fun things one gets to do with one's tongue for a while - it wasn't that bad. I think this cosmetic surgery thing is really gonna catch on.

Posted 2:10pm
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November 30th, 2006

That makes baby Jesus cry

Thanksgiving is many things. A celebration of gluttony? Sure. Compulsory family time? Of course. But what its begun to become for me in the past few years is a starter's pistol for the 'Are-we-having-fun-yet?' holiday season.

Thanksgiving gives you a concentrated dose of what you'll likely have to endure over the following four to six weeks:

- Travel enunciated by traffic worse then being in the back of the parking lot at an Aerosmith concert.
- Parties and gatherings that have requisite attendance but which will make you want to stick a knitting needle through your nostril and into your brain.
- Spending time with people that you despise and loathe yet have to smile at for hours at a time while tasting the bile build up in the back of your throat.

And let us not forget the little things like buying gifts for the unappreciative, enduring bad food, and god forbid, being stuck doing any of the aforementioned when there's no alcohol.

Looking at such a list (as non-exhaustive as it even is) is enough to make an evangelical want to move to China for the month of December. But even a grinch like me can admit that there's a lot to look forward to: the really good parties, the better friends, and all that booze (oh the booze). Even the long weekend with your family is bound to have a few good moments (probably right after they all get tipsy and before the first of you gets really drunk). And honestly, when the Buddha opens his gifts Xmas morn', it'll almost make it all worth it. If it wasn't for the fucking traffic...

Posted 2:10pm
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November 28th, 2006

Forays into competitive eating

My relationship with food is a mysterious one. Much of the time, taking the time to eat something seems like a hassle. There's other things I'd frankly spend my time doing. But mmmmm food. I'd have no problem going to Mongolian every night of the week. And someone who spends as much time both drunk and hungover as I do has a constant need for pizza.

Pound for pound, I'll put away the grub with the best of them. I'm no Kobayashi, but I'll devastate a Li'l Caesars Hot and Ready on a Sunday afternoon like nobody's business. And anyone who's ever been with me to the Fleetwood or watched me eat a BBIT at the truckstop knows that if you're not paying attention, I'll be shoving the last of my hashbrowns onto my fork while you're still buttering your toast.

Still, last night as Stov and I pounded back 22oz'ers at BW3s, the pleas of the waitstaff to join their wing eating contest garnered little interest from either of us. Neither the desperation for contestants nor the batting of eyelashes by attractive waitresses was that enticing. The prospect of gorging ourselves on wings (when we had had dinner there less than two hours ago) was meh at best. That's when the mini-helmets caught my eye.

I tapped Stov on the shoulder and pointed to the box in the corner of the bar. 'What the fuck is that?' I wondered. He immediately perked up. 'Mini helmets? Is that part of the wing eating contest?' And as if the contestant hungry contest runner saw the childlike glee in our eyes, he immediately grabbed the box and walked right by our table with it. 'Last chance to sign up' he offered. We got a closer look at the box. All 32 teams. A display shelf with sliding glass doors. Sliding glass doors! Stov looked me dead in the eye, 'I'll do it if you do it.' Well we all know where this is going. I'm nothing if not peer pressure's bitch. Next thing I know I'm signing some release form that could have said 'I agree to shove a dozen blazin' wings up my ass'.

The next few minutes were a blur. Rules and directions were given - kinda. I had wings in front of me. It seemed as if the first person to eat all the wings in front of them would be the winner. Before I could get the clarification I wanted there was a 'GO!' shouted from somewhere and I threw myself into the gluttonous spirit of the contest. My face and hands were covered in sauce (Later it was found out to be 'Hot', one notch below 'Blazin' on the Bdubs hot scale) I tried to look up and gauge how I was doing, but the table was just a sea of bones. I looked back down and there was but one lone wing left in my basket. That's when I heard 'We have a winner.'

Ended up that Stov and I were both about one wing too slow to grasp the glory of the mini-helmets. Five minutes later we realized the folly of 30 year olds trying to eat a dozen wings in 90 seconds when the heartburn set in. We asked our waitress for some milk of magnesia. Apparently not on the menu. More beer helped, but only some. We were left to commiserate on what could be described at best as a poor decision. But now I have my competitive eating story. And with all that food I ingested, I shouldn't have to eat for a while.

Posted 9:28am
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November 27th, 2006

Back from the dead.

Coming off the weekend in Columbus and heading into the holiday weekend in Chicago, the blog suffered from the schizophrenicness of last week. But we're back bitches - ready to get back to the business of pointless blogging. You'll notice that the bloggy blog is pine scented and peppermint flavored - from now until Xmas. Happy Holidays from the entire staff of tbaggervance.com.

So I spent Thanksgiving at my brothers in Chicago. Well, its technically an hour outside of the city, but for whatever reason its always been referred to as 'Chicago' - even though we as a family have never gone to the city in the 50 or so times I've visited him there. But I digress. The whole family was present for at least part of the weekend - which means a lot of screaming kids, cranky grandparents, drunken uncles and absent aunts out shopping.

I love my family. I really do. But there are times when I feel like I don't have much in common with them. There was country music on the radio. Film choices included The Transporter, The Da Vinci Code and The Punisher. Kids screamed and were ignored. Arguments were had ad naseum about how long people were out shopping. Everyone was in bed by midnight.

All the while I sat by with iPod on, reading Bret Easton Ellis, waiting for the calm in the storm when we actually took a minute to enjoy each other. And those calms did come. But by Saturday night I was ready to return home. Because seeing my nieces and nephews is great. And I love drinking with my brother. And playing games with a roomful of Brubakers is one of the finest things ever. But getting back to my liberal, indie, a-religious existence in my college oasis of a town feels even better.

Posted 9:44am
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November 20th, 2006

Reality sets in.

This is about my third attempt to quantify everything that went down this weekend. Attempts one and two were semi-upbeat musings on spending time with a multitude of friends and not having enough time to properly enjoy any of it. I tried writing about old friends and new ones coming together and how amazing the atmosphere was and how in defeat you turn to different people for different things. But it was all meh. It seemed trite and cheesy and none of it appropriately captured the profound sense of feeling pleasure and anguish all at once.

It was a rollercoaster of a weekend to be sure. Getting interviewed by HBO and then postponing the trip to the following morning. Laughing our balls off on the way down and then the feeling of getting punched in the chest when we heard Bo passed away. Partying like rock stars on Friday night and the the awkwardness of having your girlfriend and your baby mama in the same room for the first time. Having OSU fans treat you like a human being (!) and then losing the game by 3 points. Ups and downs. Highs and lows. Such is life.

All in all I had fun. Without giant in-game controversy or rabid Buckeye fans dumping beer on me or punching me randomly in the arm, there's little to hang my hat on in terms of "should have beens" or "if onlys". We came, we drank, we lost. That's the reality. And minus the final score of the game, I guess I can't complain. Sometimes reality is harsh.

Posted 11:30am
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November 16th, 2006

Don't ever change...

I've had the same friends for 20 years. Sure I've picked up quite a few more along the way, but some of my best friends in the world are the same guys who I played little league with. And I don't mean "Let's get together when we're all home for Christmas" friends. I mean these are the people I go on vacation with. These are the people I call and count on when something good or bad happens in my life. These are the folks I get drunk with for the love of Christ.

And its occurred to me that most people my age don't necessarily have this same experience. By the time you're my age and the people you knew in high school spread across the country, you lose touch. You replace these people with those in your immediate vicinity. They become headlines when you talk to your parents - "So-and-so got married." "You're old friend what's-his-name had another baby." The maintaining of friendships across distance is a Herculean task, and let's face it, most of us don't have the energy. Especially when the person you were in high school is rarely the person you are at 30.

Which is why this weekend is so special. I'm about to go spend the weekend with every friend I had in High School. 30 of us? More? And if you squint your eyes to blur the extra pounds, receding hair lines and wrinkles on the face, you'd have a hard time telling 2006 from 1994. Maybe I know too many drunks. Maybe its that my friendships are based on juvenile humor and football allegiances. I know that when I tell people that I've been doing this for 12 years with people I've known for a lot longer, they look at me funny. Maybe its not normal, but I know I'm about to have the time of my life. Maybe I'm just a lucky, lucky guy.

Posted 11:40am
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November 13th, 2006

Recapping the weekend and the end of productivity

So bachelor party debauchery got relegated to the casino Friday night. One party member did get cut off from the bar at the casino, which is fairly unheard of. Truthfully, it was mostly to do with his liberal use of the F-bomb rather than his ability to hold his liquor. But still, cut off at the casino? I guess they wanted to remind us why Vegas is still and will always be king. Other than that, it was a healthy dose of cock sandings pretty much all around. Rumors persist that some got healthy (monetarily only) Saturday, but most were sanded down to the nub Friday night.

Sunday provided the annual 'Mitch's and Friends' Thanksgiving potluck - proving that as long as everyone knows how to make one dish really well, you can eat like kings. It was a stellar event that was capped with a drubbing in Trivial Pursuit at the hands of Stov and myself. The room scoffed at our ability to take on everyone and dominate. They were quickly silenced when we had finished the game and they had yet to gain one legitimate pie wedge.

Of course I managed to bury the headline - but only because the obsession begins now and my brain will no longer permit focus on anything but The Game from now to perpetuity. Michigan and Ohio State handily took care of business Saturday to set up what can only be described as an apocalyptic matchup for the ages. I've been a fortunate soul to witness some of the greatest matchups in the history of the greatest rivalry in all of sports - and now they all seem like poop. The ramifications are endless and emotions are likely to hit levels not even seen in a woman on ritalin and pregnant with triplets. So don't be surprised if sister site mgovan.com gets a little more love this week. We're in the middle of something that dreams are made of.

Posted 3:06pm
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November 10th, 2006

Last hurrahs

So I'm headed to Mt. Pleasant tonight for some bachelor party shenanigans. I'm not sure of the specific agenda, but you can bet your bottom dollar that booze, gambling, girls and booze will be involved.

I've been to my share (and probably some other people's shares) of bachelor parties. Other than the higher-than-usual preponderance of scantily clad women, I'd say they're not much different than a really good Saturday night. You drink to much, you throw money around that you don't have, someone does something they'll regret in the morning - all in a good night's work. At least that's how it used to be. Then people started to get older. And married. And have childrens. All of a sudden, what used to be just a better-than-average regular old night turned into a once-in-year chance for some people to really revel in the debauchery. When you go out and drink and do dumb stuff on a regular basis, a bachelor party is just kind of a guarantee that good times will be had. When you only do that stuff when you have written permission from your spouse, the sense of urgency that permeates the proceedings is palpable. Things get ramped up faster, which is saying something if you know the dead beats that I hang out with.

I may be overstating the actual effect here. Hell, there's a good chance that I'll be the one making an ass of myself by going off the deep end. One thing is for sure, good times will be had. Much alcohol will be consumed and someone will do something colossaly stupid. And regardless of what happens, much like the Tom Hanks movie, it will be remembered with more fondness than it probably deserves.

Posted 11:16am
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November 9th, 2006

Careful what you wish for

The Times is reporting that the Evil Empire has conceded defeat. Hurray! The wicked witch is dead. Hurray! Now what?

Yes, this probably was a catalyst for giving Rummy the boot, so one in the plus column. Yes, we should be able to get some things at least on the agenda and up for discussion that otherwise may have never seen the light of day, so 2-0. And hopefully, we can stop talking about banning gay marriage and flag burning and prayer in schools. Though maybe not...

And most of all, this hopefully serves as a wake up call to the most conceited, solipsistic, bumbling administration in at least my lifetime - if not this century or, well, ever. But again, probably not. A long time ago GW pinned his legacy to a plot of sand that his dad used to build castles in, and convinced himself that history would see him as ahead of his time and visionary, even though his contemporaries clearly do not. So how does that figure into the fact that checks and balances are now back in fashion? The sad news is, probably not much in the next two years.

I don't want to be too pessimistic about what is out and out good news, but hey, W is still the leader of the free world. Let's not all start sucking each other's dicks just yet. And does anyone have any confidence that the Democrats are gonna deliver a unified agenda? That's what I thought. Careful what you wish for...

Posted 3:47pm
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November 8th, 2006

Sparkling new indie pop makes me giddy as a schoolgirl.

I listen to a lot of music. I've been told by some that they've never met anyone who 'needs' music as much as I do. I don't necessarily believe that to be true, but I do spend an inordinate amount of time searching out new music and its always on at least in the background whatever I'm doing. So lets just call the matter subjective, relative and a question of degree. Moving on...

There's also the little matter of me getting so excited when I find incredible new music that I sometimes pee just a little bit - right down my leg. Such was the case when I finally managed to get my hands on Trying to Never Catch Up by What Made Milwaukee Famous. Someone once referred to them as the illegitimate lovechild of Death Cab and Spoon - a description that makes the hair on my arm stand on end. (OK, so I paraphrased the shit out of the description, sue me).

WMMF is surely an amalgam of a lot of current indie rock trends, but like the best bands of any genre, the heart of this record is pure pop songwriting that will leave your toe tapping and likely haunt your dreams. I feel like a junior high kid whose heart just skipped a beat at the sight of the gorgeous new transfer student - so beautiful, so mysterious - and she has no idea yet that I'm a tool. Oh the possibilities...

Posted 10:59am
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November 7th, 2006

Vote or Die, Bitches.

So I don't want to proselytize here, so I'll make this brief. Vote. If you do so only to pick one person you deem worthy or to vote yea or nay on one issue you care about, get your ass out and vote. Write in Dick Hurtz and Mike Hunt for everything else for all I care, but pick up a paper, find something that makes sense to you and drag your sorry butt to the polls. If the last six year have taught us anything, its that every vote counts and a small group of people can make a difference. Plus you get to wear a cool sticker for the day and condescend to everyone who can't be bothered - and that should be reason enough for anyone.

Posted 12:44pm
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November 6th, 2006

Living up to expectations

Once in a while something gets built up in your head so much that when it actually comes around it has little chance of living up to the expectations you've made for it - much less exceeding them. Often the truly transcendent and memorable experiences we have are the ones that sneak up on us. Its a giant problem for those of us who refuse to lower expectations for anything.

There is an upside of course. Much like getting there is half the fun, the anticipation of an event or experience is just as good as whatever we're waiting for. When I go to Vegas every year, the weeks leading up to the event can bring just as much enjoyment as the trip itself - especially if you end up blowing $500 at the tables in a weekend. The idle times spent thinking and planning about what you're going to do and how much fun you're going to have certainly end up occupying more time than the event itself.

When it comes to 'pop culture' events, like waiting to see a movie or hear an album for the first time, you can get an inkling of what your reaction will be before you have it. Albums beget singles long before their release dates; movies have trailers and interviews on Letterman. These inevitably raise and lower expectations to the point where half of your experience is just evaluating yourself on how right or wrong you were about your expectations.

Last night I finally got around to seeing Borat. My infatuation with the film caused me to see about a third of the movie via clips and interviews before I stepped foot in the theater. My friends and I spoke in Borat catchphrases for weeks leading up to the premiere. There was zero chance I would come out more enthusiastic about the movie than I was going in, because I had already reached the pinnacle of excitement. Free handjobs in the lobby couldn't have made the experience any better should the film live up to my expectations. OK, maybe free handjobs.

Sexual gratification notwithstanding, Borat bulls-eyed what I had crafted in my head as the perfect awkward comedy. I found myself laughing at bits I'd already seen a hundred times, and generally being shocked at how far they went with gags I'd heard about. I had built this film up as one of the funniest things I was likely to see in some time, and it delivered in spades. It may not have been the experience I would have had if I had stumbled upon it haphazardly and unknowingly, but knowing that some things in life will refuse to disappoint you is worth the trade off.

Posted 1:16pm
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November 3rd, 2006

Once upon a time you dressed so fine

There's certain things in life you should never turn down. Free booze. NSA sex (OK probably sex period, but that's a discussion for later). A sober ride home after you've been drinking. You get the idea. That's why when Boike graciously offered me a chance to go see the freewheelin' Bob Dylan with him last night, I said yes faster than I got naked the first time a girl said she wanted to sleep with me.

Before we get to Zimmy, did I mention that Foo Fighters were the opening band? I've always liked Dave Grohl and his music. After last night, it may be full-on man crush time. They played an 'acoustic' set, which basically meant that the guitars were hollow bodied and they had a girl on stage and a dude playing weird elementary school percussion instruments. Otherwise, I imagine its only slightly different than seeing them plugged in. Grohl was one of the more charismatic performers I've seen in a while, chatting up the crowd and name-dropping Detroit bars during some technical difficulties. After telling the crowd that he normally didn't do this song 'and you'll see why...' his solo performance of 'The Best of You' brought a standing O near the end of the show. 'Maybe I should do that more often,' he quipped.

Grohl's gregarious stage persona stood in stark contrast to the legendary Bobby D's. Dylan took the stage facing sideways behind a keyboard and proceeded to blaze through songs from said spot for the entire night. He didn't say a word to the crowd, he didn't strap on an ax and step to center stage. I'd heard stories about Dylan's moodiness, and how his performance on a given night can be wholly dictated by how he's feeling at the time. Last night he seemed to be stuck between totally annoyed with the situation and wanting to rock your face off.

Dylan may be pushing 70 and crotchety, but he's still a bad ass. It was undeniable that you were in the presence of a legend. Someone who will remain in the public consciousness long after he and I are both gone. He played stuff from his newest record, some obscure stuff even a music snob such as myself didn't recognize, and he even placated us by closing the night with 'Like a Rolling Stone' and 'All Along the Watchtower.' So yeah, I saw Dylan rock 'All Along the Watchtower.' How can you turn down a once in a lifetime chance like that?

Posted 10:00am
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November 2nd, 2006

You never call when you say you're gonna call...

So yeah, I've been neglecting my blog 'responsibilities'. Its great/guilty feeling when someone says to you 'What's your deal? You haven't blogged in days!' Yes, it feels good to know anyone is that interested in what you have to say, but yes, you've let them down. So what profound wisdom do I have to wow you with today? Good question. I was gonna talk the other day about adults co-opting Halloween from children and using it to be drunk and slutty (don't worry - it was a 'pro' argument.) But then someone got drunk and someone else decided to IM me for hours and hours. Now it seems late and not all that interesting.

I was going to write this esoteric bit about how asking someone to tell you the truth can hurt the asker more than the askee. You know - how you may be fine with the truth, whatever it may be, but you do that person a disservice by making them have to say something unpleasant to you. But that would lead to too much speculation and potentially awkward questions.

There's the super-secret OSU/Michigan development, but the fact that its super-secret precludes me telling you about it. So this is a tease - you'll get to hear about *probably* next week. It'll either be the crowning achievement of my existence or something that was almost so. I've got the entry written in my head like an election night speech - two versions: one if we win, one if we have to cede it to some dumbfucks.

There's my trip to see Zimmy tonight, but that's an entry for tomorrow. There's Ayesha stories, Buddha stories, Imadrunk stories - there's always those - but none of it seems particularly relevant right now. And more important, I don't feel insightful about any of it. Maybe all this overt happiness has made me soft? If that turns out to be the case, then I'm sorry people. I'm not about to trade it for being 'interesting' again. Even if that means I have to let you all down once more.

Posted 1:56pm
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October 29th, 2006

Welcome to the O(ld) C, bitch

There's an added stress to Halloween when you're a couple. Costumes must be coordinated, and if you have any sense of self respect and dignity, not be trite or cliché. If you're like me, its more important that a few people find your costume inspired than having everyone immediately recognize what you're going for. I'm willing to spend an inordinate amount of time explaining what I am if I get a few "That's fucking sweet"s.

Last night I went to a party with Ayesha and her roommates - the Jesuses (which requires an explanation that I won't give here, just trust me, they're the Jesuses.) Mrs. Jesus was super-excited for the four of us to go together with a theme. It took very little time (after an initial foray into being the cast of 'My So-Called Life') to settle on the cast of 'The OC'. Which was awesome for me, as my turn as Seth Cohen allowed me to wear clothes completely from my own wardrobe. A bad dye job and I was as Cohen-y as would get.

Sure not a lot of people immediately recognized what we were. (There was a lot of explaining to do on the yamaclauses) But watching Mr. Jesus brood as Ryan Atwood and Mrs. Jesus pretend be lush Marissa was all worth it. One 'You are so Seth Cohen right now.' was all I needed to make my night. It was pointed out that I should have had a Spider-man mask to really complete the outfit, but making out upside down sounds incredibly overrated (not to mention incredibly treacherous for a drunk like me.)

Posted 3:27pm
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October 27th, 2006

We're not here to cause no trouble...

There is no booze like free booze. That fact and drunken bridesmaids are the two things that make weddings tolerable. An while 'open bar' are two of my favorite words in the English language when spoken back to back, there is an even greater kind of free booze. I speak of the free booze that is not given of free will. I'm talking booze that is won.

Last night a few of us crammed into Bdubs to watch the Tigers and drink our faces off. Let's just say that if the Tigers would have played like we drank, the series would be tied right now. Anyway, some point in the later part of the night (after we all sang and clapped along to the theme from Smoky and the Bandit) I had an idea. It wasn't an original idea, just one that I hadn't had in quite some time. It was time for the credit card shuffle.

For those unfamiliar, the shuffle is where everyone at the table (at least those willing to participate) throws their credit cards into a pile, the waitress chooses one, and that card is responsible for the entire bill. It ended up being Me vs. Pete vs. Stov for our portion of the bill. Credit cards were handed over and shuffled, then fanned out for the waitress. 'Pick a card, any card.' When it was turned over, my night turned out to be free.

Turns out Stov didn't think our 47 verses of 'Credit Card Shuffle' as sung to the tune of the 'Super Bowl Shuffle' were as funny post-losing as he did before his card got pulled. But as I left to go pick up my dirty pirate hooker girlfriend (another long story) I had a smile from ear to ear. Because every beer and every hot wing I had that evening were suddenly all the more delicious.

Posted 9:56am
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October 24th, 2006

Let the vandemonium ensue

It was to big to either be contained or properly served by tbaggervance.com. That's why we started our new official sister site: mgovan.com. Its the official repository for all the dumb stuff we'll be doing with our shitty van over the next few months/years/until its totally rusted through. Keep in mind its a work in progress and it'll take me a week or so to catch up on the shit we've already done. But for those who love either vans, Michigan football, or drunken idiots, I highly recommend it. If you love all three, make a daily destination. You'll undoubtedly be disappointed by the lack of updates.

- For movie fans, this quiz is fairly easy and mildly clever. I got 19/20 in about 10 minutes. I had to look up the last one. If you finish it, it shouldn't be hard to guess which one I had trouble with.

- Jagshemash! My name a Borat. I have many new clips of my movie film on the gootube. You watch. I liiike. Nice!

- Starting tomorrow, for two days you can get a free trial of Sirius satellite radio - including Howard Stern. I've had Sirius ever since Howard switched over at the start of the year and its been a life changing experience. Anyone who spends any significant time in the car needs this yesterday. Especially if you're a sports junkie/music snob living in a town with no decent radio station or ESPN radio affiliate, like me.

Posted 1:26pm
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October 23rd, 2006

My dream date with Davey von Bohlen

It will be difficult to articulate what it meant to me. Its a band no one's really heard of. Even his former, more popular band was only known by a relatively small group of people for a relatively short amount of time. But as any music snob will tell you, sometimes the fewer people that know about something, the better it is.

I started listening to The Promise Ring by complete chance. I couldn't even tell you how I first came across them. It was back in the days of Napster, when you could find any song ever recorded in 10 seconds and have it on your computer in 20. The point is that I was smitten from the flop. Something about the songwriting and sound clicked for me, and I started to crush hard. I devoured every Promise Ring album I could find. I searched for albums by his all-acoustic side project Vermont. When the Promise Ring was no more, I anxiously skulked around the internet, waiting to see where Davey von Bohlen would pop up next.

Eventually he started touring under the moniker Maritime, bringing his penchant for indie pop goodness back into my life. Before we headed down to show Friday, I told Ayesha that I would be able to die happy if I got my picture taken with Davey. After the show, we waited patiently to meet the man and make my life complete. More often than not, you hear stories about people meeting their idols and being disappointed. My 20 minutes with my favorite emo frontman were anything but. Of course Ayesha did a lot of talking, telling him how he was one of five people I said I'd want to meet on MySpace, about how she was worried that I might like him more than her and about how she begged me for a free pass to make out with his bass player. And of course she had to have him give 3 adjectives to describe his wife (because nobody puts people on the spot like Ayesha). I just soaked it all in, in accordance with my new policy of trying to enjoy the moment.

After we left the club, I had to stop to appreciate the perfection of the evening. I've left out tons of details - from the Thai restaurant we ate at (and so did the band - we actually saw them there before the show) to the drive down, to the surprisingly awesome opening act, to pretty much every last minutiae of the night. I hope someday everyone will know who these guys are, so they can have some of the enjoyment that I've received from their music over the years. But if not, I'll still sit in smug satisfaction - knowing that I know something that few other people do.

Posted 9:48pm
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October 20th, 2006

We don't think we're punk rock, we know

Back when I was in college we used to go to Chicago a lot. Sometimes we'd lay in the bed of a pickup truck the whole way there. While it rained. And was 40 degrees. At least it had a cover over it. And sometimes we'd go for the day. Four hours there, four hours back in less than a day. Fueled by coffee and cigarettes, we'd get up early, drive out to go to a museum or a Cubs game, and then come back 'round midnight. They were some of the finest road trips ever.

Somehow stuff like that gets lost as you get older. At least it has for me. I'm by no stretch of the imagination very mature or responsible, but somehow ridonkuloid things like driving to Cedar Point at 2 in the afternoon to catch their 'after 5' special on a random Tuesday don't happen as much as they used to. Notions like that scare and depress the shit out of me.

Which is why tonight I will be driving 180 miles to lovely downtown Dayton, Ohio to see Maritime. First, Maritime is the phoenix that arose from the ashes of The Promise Ring, one of all-time favorite "I-love-them-you've-never-heard-of-them" bands. Maritime is not playing in Michigan, so what's a boy to do? Six hours in the car to see a 90 minute show makes all the sense in the world to me. I get to see one of my most beloved musicians (man crush extraordinare Davey von Bohlen) and fix my conundrum of not making enough silly decisions in my life (yes, I know - $200 van. Shut up.) I do however, think that I'll ride comfortably up front this time.

Posted 11:13am
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October 19th, 2006

Staving off boredom

"I'm bored." Its the rallying cry for the under 18 set. At least for those who haven't discovered alcohol, at which point there's always at least something to do. Personally, I feel those who moan about being bored are usually some of the most boring people you'd ever want to meet. Give me the internets, my iPod, a book and a stack of DVDs and you'll never hear me cry 'bored'. As long as the supply of alcohol is abundant, put me under house arrest. Sequester me in my living room for 6 months and you'll never get a voicemail asking you to provide me with entertainment. Pick me up something from the library maybe. Make a booze run more than likely, but stir crazy I'd never succumb to.

Today however is testing the limits of even a man with an iron will such as myself. I'm at a conference today to ensure 'nothing goes wrong' with any of the technical equipment. Go ahead fuckers, make your little AV club jokes. I'm getting paid a stupid amount of money to sit here, surf the 'net, and listen to The Promise Ring. The only problem is my ability to deeply delve into anything specific. I'm technically on call for any problems that may arise (though the chances of anything happening are slim) so my neurotic ass can't zone out into the new Bret Easton Ellis too much, or blare Nothing Feels Good at the appropriate volume. Its really hindering my enjoyment of the day. Maybe this is what boredom feels like...

Posted 1:10pm
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October 18th, 2006

Its what all the cool kids are doing

Things have been a little 'T is a drunk/He realized this about himself' heavy lately. While I realize how fascinating that probably is for everybody, its time to clear the palate with some TWIR notes, or for those who don't know who Mel Allen is, you may simply refer to it as This Week in Indie Rock.

- Right now, we can't mention the Indie Rock without mentioning The Hold Steady. Lucky for us, they've given us something worth mentioning by releasing their video for 'Chips Ahoy!' Its a nice blend of Huey Lewis by way of Jared Hess.

- Everybody knows that Jeff Tweedy kicks figurative ass. Turns out he's not afraid to get literal on you as well. See? Not all indie rock guys are pussies.

- Every band who has ever been asked the question 'How do you feel about being referred to as 'emo'?' has immediately flipped out and railed against the moniker. I'll stay away from diatribing about the definition of emo, but suffice to say, P!ATD shouldn't worry, as they're about as far away from emo as the B-52s.

- This may sound like a stretch, but hear me out. Here's a link to some preview footage of The O.C. Yes, teenage melodrama, but this show has one of the best all-time track records for showcasing great new indie rock. Christ, they had a show centered around Death Cab! Not to mention that Beck premiered a bunch of songs on the show last season. Oh yeah, pick up The Information. It rules.

That's all for now. If you got every reference in this post without clicking on the links, give yourself 50 blogpoints.

Posted 3:23pm
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October 17th, 2006

Fighting the battle of who-could-care-less

Depending on who's to be believed, I'm a member of Generation X. (This Wikipedia entry says I am, but its all convoluted and overlappy. I once heard 1965-1975. I always liked that, because it made my brother the last of the baby boomers and me the last of the Gen Xers, so those'll be our operating thesis numbers. Not that it matters. I just wanted to see how long people would read this pointless non-sequitor.) ANYWAY, being part of said generation, I'm prone to its stereotypical slacker behavior. Oh sure, the apathy, the alienation, the general post-modern ennui too, but somehow Linklater's movie title ended up encapsulating us all. From the long hair to the flannel, we were glanced at and immediately labeled, which we found ironic, as it was the first thing our elders ever got right (at least in our little solipsistic worldview.)

I became first familiar with all these feelings somewhere in junior high when I discovered the law of diminishing returns. It was probably always there, but like a lot of things, I became aware of it junior high. Maybe its because you'll concentrate on anything mundane and boring at that age to keep from having a hard-on 24-7. So it came to my attention that in my scholastic endeavors, I could spend no time doing anything and receive top of my class type grades, or I could work hard and get all A's. Guess which I chose? To this day it makes sense to me. If the difference between a 3.8 and 4.0 GPA is 10 extra hours of work a week, who would want to make that trade off? Fair point, a lot of people do all the time. But I was in junior high, my sense of entitlement was skyrocketing, and I set myself on a course of putting forth minimal effort and expecting less than perfect returns.

So I was rereading the bloggy-blog the other day - looking for something that's immaterial now - and realizing that sometimes I don't make any sense. I'm prone to losing points in mid-paragraph and a lot of posts have a Simpsons-esque quality of starting as one thing and ending up being about something completely different (though in my defense sometimes that's a conscience effort to be clever. But not always.) I immediately recognized this phenomena as detritus from my diminishing returns days. I write this blog in about 5 to 15 minutes every couple days. I rarely reread it after writing it. Editing is minimal at best. I did start to spell check a while back, because even I was getting annoyed with that. But lets face it, I'm not sending this to a publisher of getting graded. A few people read this from time to time, and I hope to make them laugh or smile or occasionally think about something differently. Or its just a repository from tales of me being a drunk. EITHER WAY, if you read something on here that wants for prolific prose, just remember that my effort is minimal. If you read something you enjoy, think how much you could have enjoyed it if the author put in some effort and wasn't a giant slacker.

Posted 12:04pm
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October 16th, 2006

If a tree falls and the woods and you're wasted, will you hear it?

In Vino Veritas. Or so the saying goes. Anyone who has ever imbibed enough alcohol to get even the slightest bit tipsy knows the peril that can lie within. Just ask Mel "Oy Vey!" Gibson. And today the peril is even more perilous. Its terrible peril. One hundred years ago you only had to worry about saying something inappropriate to those around you. Then came the advent of drunk dialing and all of a sudden you could make an ass of yourself to people that were hundreds of miles away. Today we even have drunk emailing - which is nice because then you have a record of how much of a drunken idiot you were right there in your sent mail folder.

But ancient Latin proverbs aside, does saying something when you're hammered give it more weight or less? Do you ignore a confession someone makes to you through a boozy slur because they won't remember it? Or do you take it to heart because their guard is down and they're giving you the unabashed truth? Unfortunately, there's no cut and dried answer. It'd be nice to think that professions of love and longing are always true and nasty tirades of resentment never are - but life doesn't work that way either.

The upside is that drunks who run their mouths and those around to hear it can all play both sides of the coin. When someone tells you that you were at the bar last night telling the 350lb girl with no teeth that you're in love with her, you can totally blame the booze and go about your day knowing that nothing could be further from the truth. If you're girlfriend calls you at 2:40 in the morning telling you she needs you and wants to do illicit and explicit things to you, that's a binding sexual contract.

But let's face it, most of the time you're both drunk. And you'll both remember what was said differently - and you'll both be wrong to some degree. Because the bottom line is that truth is a subjective concept anyway. The stupid things we do under the influence are either embarrassing because they're true, or embarrassing because they're things we would never do in the sober light of day. In both cases, how we view our own motives determine the reality of the situation. And that's as close to the truth as any of us are likely to get. That is until we get drunk again.

Posted 9:47am
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October 12th, 2006

Reassessing the tenets of my identity

There's certain things in life that we take for granted about ourselves. Things that have always been true and as far as you know, will always be true. These range from the fairly significant to the trivial. For instance, I'm smart. I've always been smart. Most people who know me would say I'm smart. Its part of who I am and I'm assuming its never going to change. I also don't like to eat salads. I like to stay up late and sleep in the next day. I'm overly confident and not very athletic. These things have been true as long as I can remember. I would expect anyone who knows me to give the exact same answers if asked about me.

Along with all of the aforementioned, I've also always been a redhead. I don't know how most people feel about their hair color, but its pretty significant to me. Growing up in Podunk, Ohio, people knew I was a Brubaker based on my hair color alone. Blondes and brunettes are a dime a dozen, but redheads are a little more scarce. And while the sun and time have changed the color of my hair throughout the years, I've never not considered myself a redhead for a second.

But now some people are trying to tell me I'm not a redhead. That while I may have been one when I was younger, my hair is now more brown than anything. That my hair - MY hair - is not red. Preposterous. Lighter in the summer, darker in the winter, but always red. Always. You might as well tell me I'm not Irish. Or a drunk. Its just not true. And I refuse to believe differently - no matter what people's perceptions are. We spend a lot of life trying to figure out who we are and what we want to be. The little things we take for granted on that journey can be a big comfort. Even something as trivial as what color your hair is.

- In other news, the album collection hit another unofficial milestone today: Album #700 is Boys and Girls in America by The Hold Steady. And its about time. I mean Jesus, I've been waiting on this one for months. Its finally on my hard drive, making me giddy as a schoolgirl. See ya in two weeks Craig. I'll be the drunk guy in the back.

Posted 10:36am
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October 9th, 2006

You'll have plenty of time to live in a van down by the river... when you're living in a van down by the river.

Surprises rarely live up to their billing. Usually someone tells you they have a surprise for you, and you end up going 'Oh. That's cool.' while hiding your disdain for the person who built up your expectations over something so trivial. Stov stopped by last Thursday to pick up a few pieces of tailgating equipment and as he was leaving pulled the 'There may be a surprise guest at the tailgate Saturday. Just throwing it out there - that's all I'm going to say.' I wondered - his mythical girlfriend? His racist cousin? Jer? I didn't think much about it after that. That is until Saturday morning.

Stov had the satellite and TV for Saturday, so it was his duty and responsibility to get there early and have everything set up for our viewing pleasure. When he was a half hour late we called him to bitch. No answer. After an hour we began to wonder 'Who could this fucking mystery guest be and why are they keeping us from watching our satellite TV?' That's when we saw the thick cloud of smoke coming around the corner. When I saw Stov hanging out of the window of the biggest piece of shit van ever, I nearly lost it.

Turns out the 'mystery guest' wasn't a person after all. Apparently the Stovbakers are now a three car family. Here's the beast:

Pete got it running (sort of) and its now up to the rest of us to get things up to snuff. Its gonna take some time. Especially if we continue to treat her like this:

That's right bitches, drinking and grilling on the roof of the van. Life is good.

And so was the rest of the weekend. Wilco rocked (minus 'the incident' which will be kept under wraps for the time being - yes, I'm an idiot, its over, let's move on) Ayesha met the Moeman, Michigan was victorious and I accomplished more yesterday than I had on the previous 10 Sundays. We've been joking around the blog lately about waiting for the other shoe to drop - that things have been so good lately that something big and bad is right around the corner. Boike's been referring to it as 'ICE' (Imminent Catastrophic Event). Saturday he told me that he's beginning to believe it might not come; that maybe all that was prologue to now was the bad juice we had to swallow to get here. I want to believe too. As mgoblog wrote a week or two ago, 'Lucy, I am ready to kick the football.' If she doesn't pull it this time, it'll truly be a surprise that was worth waiting for.

**UPDATE**
I swear to Christ I was looking up links for this post when I see this. It appears I have tempted fate too much. I take complete and utter responsibility if this turns out to be any more than a 'that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger' scenario.

Posted 1:22pm
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October 6th, 2006

Jagshemash! My name a Borat.

I can't remember the last time I was this excited for a comedy. That's not true. I know exactly when it was. It was for South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. And I wasn't disappointed in the least. I put myself heavily under the influence and literally couldn't catch my breath for the first twenty minutes of the movie. I don't know if the Borat movie will have the same effect on me, but clips like this make me think maybe.

But in more pertinent matters, as of last night this weekend just got a whole lot better. Not that it needed to mind you. Michigan/Michigan State (with a 4:30 start no less) is enough to be excited about. But then Ayesha called me last night and asked if I'd be interested in going to see a little band called Wilco tonight. I think I said "FUCK YEAH" or something equivalent. Supposedly the venue sucks and attending requires me to be in ELansing the day before UM/MSU, but to quote the great Matthew Wilder, 'Ain't nothing gonna break-a my stride.' I get to hang with Jeff Tweedy and the boys for an evening, so all continues to be right with the world. I'm having trouble finding good things to wish for at this point. I guess if Oberon started coming out of my faucets at home it'd be OK...

Posted 9:43am
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October 3rd, 2006

Never quit quitting

So as most of you probably know, I quit smoking about a year ago. It was actually easier than I thought it was going to be. I was totally ready to try heroin after a few months, because they always tell you quitting smoking is harder than quitting anything. I made it a solid six months without a single cigarette. Then Vegas hit.

Me being the degenerate that I am, it was about two steps off of the tarmac before I knew I'd never last 5 days in Vegas nicotine free. So I gave in to the sweet, sweet goodness that are my cancer giving buddies. And it was good. I smoked my head off up and down the strip, thinking that once I returned from my smoking utopia I'd go back to living the life of good breath and non-yellowed fingers. I was almost right.

The next few weeks and months I became the scourge of the regular smoker - the social smoker. I'd bum from my friends when at the bar or sitting around drinking - receiving those dirty looks that say both 'You shouldn't be smoking' and 'Get your own pack' at the same time. It escalated from there. By mid summer I was rationalizing - 'I'll never make through Put-in-Bay without smoking the entire time.' September brought on smoking in my car again and having a cigarette at noon. So yeah, time to quit again.

I was thinking of the best way to describe what its like trying to quit for those of you who've never had the displeasure. You know that one relationship you had that was really bad for you? The one where you waited way too long to break it off and then once you did, you kept getting back together, whether for a few weeks at a time or just to have sex again. You knew it was a mistake; that it was bad for you. But it was sooooo easy and for a time it felt really good. So you kept going back to it, thinking that after this one last time, you'd be done forever. Its like having one more drink at the bar. Life just doesn't seem to work like that.

Come to think of it, most relationships are like that - but none more so than the one you have with nicotine. I know all the reasons to quit. I know I'm capable of doing it. Now its just using that will power to trade what's easy and feels good for what is good for me. I guess it could be worse. I could be trying to quit drinking. But that's just crazy...

Posted 9:31pm
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October 2nd, 2006

What the fuck have I gotten myself into this time?

I'm not sure how it happened, but it did. I'm not sure why it happened in only three weeks, but it did. Someway, somehow I have a girlfriend. And for once it doesn't involve the usual 'Do you think she's your girlfriend at this point?' conjecture. All doubt was removed when, swear to Christ, she passed me a note that ostensibly said 'Will you be my boyfriend?' I thought hard about scanning it and putting it up here for everyone to see, but I think for once I'm going to keep a little to myself. I'll save it for 6 months from now when she breaks my heart and I can do a whole 'Why did I have to check yes....' thing. Hi Ayesha. Just kidding. But probably not.

But enough of me droning on about the intimate details of my life. How did this thing become what it is anyway? Wasn't this supposed to be about pop culture and found things on the internet? A place for me to write about music and movies and vent when people make a Vin Diesel movie #1 at the box office? Time to kick it old school:

- I was never more excited to watch a bitch die. The O.C. had lost its way last season and was in need of a serious reboot. What better way to shake things up than by killing off the least likable main character? So I've been waiting since the season finale to see how they were going to fix things; how they were going to return the show to its funny, trashy glory. I had such high hopes. Then I saw this. What the fuck? That's really all I can say.

- Please, please, please listen to this album. Better yet, love this album. Wrap your arms around it and give it the affection it so warmly deserves. Close your eyes and pretend its 1982. Pretend you're in high school driving around town on a Friday night trying to score a case of beer. If it doesn't make you smile just a little, then I don't even know who you are anymore.

Posted 9:44am
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September 29th, 2006

Nobody knows anything

There's a bunch of philosophical musings out there about how wisdom is knowing how stupid you are. I may be paraphrasing a bit there, but there seems to be a consensus that you're not wise until you know that you're not. That's always seemed a little circular to me. But its philosophy, so I guess its supposed to be.

Anyway, what I am starting to realize is that wisdom and knowledge aside, people have no idea what they want. Of course most of the time people will be able to enumerate to you exactly what it is they desire. And when it comes to things like places to eat dinner, what car to drive, and whether or not to have one more drink before they go - they're exactly right (OK, maybe there's some wiggle room on that last one) But when it comes to the bigger, more abstract things in life, people haven't a clue.

Yes, I'm being abstract and vague and even I'm not sure exactly where this is going. My point is that too many times in my life things have happened to me that I thought I didn't want and yet they've made me immeasurably happy. A lot of times I've resisted things that have been wonderful once I surrendered to them. And worst of all, I've turned things away because I thought they weren't for me, only to see in hindsight what an opportunity I missed out on. And of course we've all had the experience of getting exactly what we want, only to find to its the most miserable thing imaginable. There needs to be a word beyond disappointing for that experience, because it'll knock the wind out of you like nobody's business.

So, dear friends, how do we fix this universal, age old problem that will continue to haunt mankind until the end of existence? My theory is to stop being so specific. Don't say you unequivocally don't want something to happen. Don't concentrate on obtaining one thing that you think can solve all your ills. Its harder than you think. As with everything in life, alcohol helps. Or maybe just knowing that you don't know what you want is enough.

Posted 10:09am
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September 24th, 2006

Birthday Shenanigans

Another year older. I think its in my best interest to stop counting. Friday night involved lots of bar games, including my robin hood-esque double 15s to win the game (thanks to Markie C for the photo) Apparently my dart throwing prowess was not enough to keep the bouncer from cutting me off from the bar. Fucking Nazis.

Saturday involved an almost legendary 18 hour drinking binge, with a little 3 hour break to watch some more Michigan domination (we're soooooo good). The real capper was watching MSU choke away another certain victory. Sparty on.

So thanks everyone who came out to celebrate. All the drinks were appreciated. Hope you had as much fun as I did. And one last thing - I received one of the funniest and best gifts ever Saturday. I have no choice but to share it with you now. I present DJ Boike's latest mish mash/clish clash - Tnagila

Posted 7:28pm
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September 21st, 2006

I'm at the nexus of the universe

Those who've drank with me enough know that from time to time I'm prone to head off into into the night on foot. I have a little too much to drink, and before I even know it, I'm walking down unknown streets looking for something familiar to steer me in the direction of a bed. Its not a great personality trait, but we are who we are.

Chicago not withstanding, I usually handle myself fairly well considering. Last Saturday was another exception. Upon leaving the bar solo around midnight, I started walking and talking on my cell phone. When I finally looked up, I had no clue where I was. So I walked. And I walked. After an hour or so, I found a group of dudes hanging out on a back porch. I asked directions to the house where I was staying and they blatantly laughed at me. They told me it would take me all night to get there on foot, and given the route I would have to take, I likely wouldn't make it there alive. They offered me a beer and then a ride home. I owe those cats big time.

But the reason for the post is that before I found the dudes who so graciously took me home, I made a few desperate phone calls. I don't know what I was looking for or what I expected anyone to do, but apparently I was desperate. Let it never be said that I'm not willing to turn the spotlight around and make enormous fun of myself. With that in mind, I give you a drunken, desperate, pathetic, T - The Message.

Posted 10:05am
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September 20th, 2006

Can I give a quick shout out?

I'm so neurotic. Things are so good right now, I'm literally concentrating on not waiting for the other shoe to drop. Michigan is soooo good, the Buddha tested out of 6th grade math (prompting a million annoying Good Will Hunting references from his father), the dating situation is strange and wonderful, and now, I get a shout out from the best Michigan blog on the internet.

Mgoblog is one of my daily destinations on the internet. No one provides better or more comical insights on my alma matter and its (dominating) sports programs. I like him so much, I bought two of his shirts. In appreciation, he gave tbaggervance.com a shout out. Its mid page and totally forgettable, unless your me, in which case it prompts warm all over feelings. So thanks Mgoblog - kinda made my day. I keep thinking of the wise man that once said '...don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted ... He lived happily ever after.'

Posted 3:39pm
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September 19th, 2006

Man Crush: verified

Last night I got to meet one of my favorite authors and uber man crushes: Chuck Klosterman. Unlike my other major man crushes (Tom Brady, Steve Soderbergh, Davey von Bohlen) who I admire for doing something I could never possibly fathom being good at, my love from Chuck stems from the fact that I believe in a parallel universe somewhere, I could have been him.

But let's not delve too deeply into that little conceited statement and let is pass as one of those 'Man, T can be an arrogant prick' moments. The point is, I met Chuck and he was exactly what I expected. The crowd was packed with alternakids in the All-Stars, all probably thinking that they too, with the right breaks, could have been Chuck Klosterman. I think he would argue that its no great feat.

When I finally made it face to face with the man I asked him if he found that his fans had a disproportionate love affair with Chuck Taylors. He took one look at me and said 'Not as much as they tend to have glasses like you and me.' I think I briefly swooned. We totally should be best friends.

Posted 9:44am
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September 18th, 2006

This just in: We're good at football

In true vini vidi vici fashion, we are back from laying waste to the town of South Bend, Indiana. It can only be described as perfect. I commend the fans and residents of South Bend - you're all class. To the point that its annoying (except for the shithead at Corby's - you owe me a $100). Anyway, were back, still smiling - except for the pain that body is still experiencing - and ready to take on the next challenge (which turns out is a home football weekend coupled with me turning very, very old). All the pics and commentary are right here (or through the link on the right)

Posted 10:32am
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September 14th, 2006

Let's Pretend we don't exist

Life is good. I am currently partially inebriated. I just found out that the Buddha was one of a few students to test out of 6th grade math. I'm currently seeing a girl that I think I might actually like (and secretly hoping she's oblivious to this blog - because we all play the game and I don't need her reading that). And perhaps most importantly, I'm about to embark on a weekend that has 100% chance of being one of the more rememberable of my life to this point (and that's saying something.) So why am I blogging about an Outback Steakhouse commercial?

Many years ago I interviewed Chris Coburn ( I think I got his name right, I'm too drunk to check) of Buffalo Tom. They were a minor indie rock band I did a story on for the Michigan Daily when I was a student at the U. They had some minor success with their album Big Red Letter Day, were on My So Called Life, and had one of their songs used in a car commercial. I asked Coburn about the concept of 'selling out', about being on TV and having their music used to sell products they couldn't afford. Without going back to the tape, I remember him saying something to the effect of getting their music out in any way possible, and the fact that being in an indie rock band didn't pay much, and anytime someone would offer them some cash that would enable them to keep doing what they loved to do, they were reticent to decline.

All of which is understandable. Never having been a psuedo-celebrity on that level, I can't say I would act any differently. But tonight I saw something that turned my stomach. Now I'm not a huge Of Montreal fan by any standard. They're a minor indie band that's not exactly in my wheelhouse. But I really loved their single 'Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games'. Which is why my jaw dropped when I heard it in an Outback Steakhouse commercial. And it wasn't just that they used the song, because that's not what they did. They took Of Montreal's undeniably hooky melody and co-opted to sell meat (I think - I was so shocked I have no idea what they were pushing).

My buddy Markie C claims that that the industry went to shit went Sting premiered a song in a luxury car commercial. That may or may not be true, but why agree to let them use your song when they'll only bastardize it to sell cheap steaks? No one will recognize it. Its not like those iPod commercials where people go "I need to download that song". They took a quick buck from someplace that everyone in Of Montreal probably laughs at when they drive by it.

And maybe the better question is why do I give a shit about a band I'm not even into selling their song so that they can get a new water pump on their VW bus? I obviously have issues. And if that's all you take from this post, please remember that I'm partially inebriated. and I rarely go back and edit these posts. Yes, that explains alot. I'm sure I'll forget it all when I step up into the Escalade ESV tomorrow, and I start neuroticizing over another completely trivial matter.

Posted 11:11pm
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September 13th, 2006

Significant distractions

As a single alcoholic, I spend a lot of time in bars. And being of a certain age and disposition, I'm basically left with three areas of conversation: sports, pop culture, and sex. All are equally fertile ground to attempt to wax poetic on, but put members of opposing genders together and eventually it all comes back to sex.

And again, given the age and disposition thing, we spend a lot time going over the same basic stuff. After telling your hookup and horror stories, it all comes back to the basic conundrum of how to navigate the single world. The ability to pick your friend's brains on how your experiences relate and differ is an indispensable tool in becoming better at playing the game we all force upon ourselves. The more others can point out your mistakes and learn from your successes, the better off we all are.

And while I think that is true, I'm also becoming convinced that its all a case-by-case basis. I've spent several months talking with a particular friend on the particulars of being 30 (*cough*) and single. We've argued and bandied about a myriad points, getting others involved at every chance along the way (which, by the way, included one severely painful session of both of us recounting recent sexual dalliances in front of people we dated but didn't sleep with. Ouch.) We've come to some conclusions, happened upon some trends, and thrown out advice - to varying degrees of success. And while its lively banter and great conversation, I have no idea how much any of it means.

That's because I've spent the last few days pulling a Costanza and doing the opposite of what I thought were the rules and having the opposite experiences I've been claiming never happen to me. Its a mind bending, Dali-an reality. Its not that I believe everything we discussed was wrong - the opposite is true. Its just that sometimes you find yourself not thinking and not calculating everything and it still works out. I'm sure said 'particular 30yo friend' will be giddy to hear me have to recant some of my positions. Then again, if I know anything, its that everything could change tomorrow, and then we're right back at square one. And we can have all those great, drunken conversations all over again. I picked a great week for such distractions. T-minus 47 hours till I'm rollin' in the Escalade. Distractions forgotten.

Posted 1:46pm
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September 11th, 2006

Jesus Loves Michigan

First off, the weekend was good. Tailgating was drunken, sitting in the press box was dry, my date Sunday night went better than I could have drawn it up. Second, yup - its 9/11. I have nothing to offer in the way of meaningful insight to offer you here. Thanks to those who've done their due diligence to rebuild, repair and keep us safe. Burn in the ultimate circle of hell those of you who used tragedy to promote personal agenda. Both groups know who they are.

On to better things. This week my brain will be spending all of its energy that isn't already evolutionarily earmarked for booze and thinking about sex to Michigan/Notre Dame. For those who haven't heard or have forgotten, a quick recap:

1. We are staying here. 8+ drunks in this house. Yes, that's the virgin Mary in the corner. Yes, if still possible, my trip to hell will likely be hastened after the events of the weekend.
2. Boike and I are going to the game, thanks to a trade we made with some poor bastard who I almost feel sorry for.
3. Capt. Stizorch is procuring us a Suburban for the trip down. We will be completely prepared should we need to go Delta House on the campus Sat. night.
4:30 update: The Suburban is now an Escalade ESV. We're officially off the hook.

So yes, its on. Those of you view this as a desperate last grasp at our youth by a bunch of aging drunks, we say 'Desperate sure, but who said anything about last?' I hope to remain cognizant enough to blog the shit out of the weekend, so hopefully Monday we can celebrate a victory and reminisce about the myriad ways we stuck it to those Catholic undergrads Friday and Saturday night. Hopefully the Ann Arbor Tippy Cup All-Stars™ will find somewhere to assert their dominance. Its going to be a long week of waiting people, let's find some distractions.

Posted 2:53pm
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September 7th, 2006

Full tilt gambling

When someone comes up to me and says something along the lines of 'You know, you may have a problem,' its a myriad things that they could be worried about. I'm usually actively working on making one of my 'problems' less of one, but that's usually to the detriment of the rest of my vices.

Right now, #1 with a bullet is gambling. I'm now in a total of 7 weekly pools/fantasy leagues/squares that in some way involve my financial health being decided by 350lb lineman and 20 year old head case wide receivers. And that's before I start looking at which games I'm going to take straight up.

Some wise philosopher once noted that gambling is a lot like drinking - you don't need either to enjoy what you're doing, but everything's better with both. I guess that makes my life pretty fucking fabulous.

Posted 2:45pm
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September 4th, 2006

Getting sunburnt when its overcast is the cross I have to bare

Football season is here. I'd forgotten how all-encompasing and consuming it is. Its totally awesome. There are some big things in the works in the next few weeks. I'll keep them under my hat for now, but let's just say I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl with anticipation.

So summer is all but over. Before you know it, even the Oberon will be gone. The Buddha starts junior high tomorrow. I'm saving the freak out for a few months from now when the attitude change begins and I start saying things like "I don't even know you anymore." Its going to be a great fall.

So before I end this all-too-quick post, two gems from youtube I became privy to this weekend:

- Quick, picture Bobby Knight on a golf course. Now stop, because you don't have to. Check out the long shoreman's winning attitude here.

- We all agree that the original RBI Baseball for Nintendo is the greatest sports videogame ever. So simple, yet so intricate. Which makes these guys my hero. How long it must've taken to get that error to happen boggles the mind.

Posted 9:25pm
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September 1st, 2006

Exercises in ineptitude

The last four months have moved to the archives - look to your right.

I consider myself a lucky guy on a lot of levels. Save your sarcasm, just go with me on this. Most kids grow up and learn to watch sports by spending time with their dad. As dudes, its one of the few ways were comfortable relating to each other. If your dad watched baseball, you watched baseball. If you're dad watched NASCAR, you had a mullet at 7. And of course it goes without saying, you're probably a fan of the teams that your dad was. And maybe its not your dad in your case. Maybe an older brother, maybe a cousin. Somebody influenced you along the way, and in their influence they tied your fate to that team for the rest of your life.

Which is why I feel lucky. Last night I attended the Detroit Lions preseason football game against the Bills. Tix were free, and I went as much to see Ford Field (I'd never been - its gorgeous) as anything. But man did I end up feeling sorry for Lions fans. All the prematurely bought Mike Williams jerseys, all the diminished expectations, all those years of futility - you wanted to put your arm around them and tell them 'No one's horrible forever.'

We did have fun though. I mean, how can you beat $8 beers? Plus Stov and Boike really got into the Lions Touchdown song (which sort of explains the picture) But honestly, I was kind of glad when it was over. It was a lot like watching a really sad movie. Or a retarded kid with a pinata. Let's just move on and concentrate on Saturday's game - which is what I'll spend my day at 'work' today doing. I'm a lucky guy.

Posted 9:30am
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August 30th, 2006

Well there's your problem...

Being $400 lighter in the wallet is never fun. Whether its dropping it at the tables in Vegas or paying to fix something in your house you didn't even know was broken, its usually enough to break your spirit. None more so for me than a trip to the auto mechanic. For me, its a case of the shoe being on the other foot.

I have a job where I constantly walk into situations where people are at their wits end. Its my job to come in and fix what's ailing them. Alot of times, it comes down to me doing what they claimed to have been trying for 20 minutes, but for some reason, unsuccessfully. When I walk in and replicate what they've been trying only with positive results, they're often more than a little upset. Its a case of an intelligent person finding themselves helpless and having someone come in and easily solving the problem that had crippled them. I imagine its an ego deflating experience.

And of course I don't have to imagine, because its exactly what I feel when I go to the mechanic. I helplessly have to go to someone hoping they can fix something that I'm incapable of handling. And on top of everything, I get the kick in the junk of having to pay them an outrageous sum of money. I define myself in a large part by my intellect, so any situation where I don't know what's going on makes me uncomfortable. Combine that with shelling out a bunch of cash that would be better spent on Oberon and, well I'm going to need several Oberons. The shoe's not only on the other foot, but I've traded my comfy Chucks for some unwieldy buckle number my mom used to make me wear to church. Jesus Fucking Christ.

Posted 9:30pm
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August 28th, 2006

I don't even know who you are anymore

Its tough to change people's perceptions of you. No matter how much of an effort you may make, most people end up seeing you as the same person they decided you were the first time they met you. Its where we get stereotypes from and its why I'll always be considered a drunk.

This weekend I played softball with a bunch of guys from high school. Half the guys hadn't played in years, the other half weren't exactly bragging about their abilities to begin with. It was a reason to get together, have fun, and make fun of each other. Athletics were never my strong point, so this was my first time on the team in 10 years. Nobody from high school (or pretty much today) looks at me at thinks athlete. And they're right not to - I'm not. But I've spent several years carving out my softball niche and feel like I can play a bit. I was anxious to show up and show off my prowess.

First game I popped out. Twice. Ball never made it out of the infield. This is something I can't ever remember doing. Luckily nobody on the team seemed to remember how to hit, so it likely went largely unnoticed. During the second game we were finally turning things around, and I got up with 2 outs, bases loaded, two strikes. The weird thing was that I never got nervous. The situation I would have dreaded 15 years ago now stared at me with a large indifference. I knew what I had to do, I knew how to do it. I roped a shot into left, scoring two and ending up on second.

Later in the game, after I had another (albeit meaningless) base hit, I was pulled to get more people in the game (that probably needed to be hidden defensively). I'll admit I was a little pissed. Not that I didn't understand the move, but just that after coming up big and giving us the two run lead that we were clinging to (and that ended up being the final margin of victory) I was still the first to go. And honestly, its fine. Had a blast, ended up 3-8 on the weekend with a couple RBI and Runs scored - even if I didn't change anyone's perceptions of my athletic ability. As we all know, the important thing is that they all know I can run circles around them intellectually.

Posted 2:30pm
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August 24th, 2006

Returning to Glory Since 1993

Its all but official - I will be returning to South Bend this September to redeem myself and get my record with Field Goal Jesus to 1-1. A friend and I made a trade and found ourselves with a pair of tix to the annual grudge match between Michigan and Notre Dame.

We've decided that the more drinking and general debauchery we can find for ourselves while we're there the better, which led to this posting on South Bend's craigslist (South Bend has a craigslist?):

Two dudes need a place to crash Michigan weekend
Reply to: hous-198291747@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-08-24, 12:13PM EST
Two Michigan Alumni looking for a place to stay Fri/Sat the weekend of the game. We don't want much, a room where we can place some airmatresses and a bathroom to shower in Sat. morning might even be enough. Willing to pay, the more amenities, the more cash we're willing to part with. Just two 30 year olds looking to party for the big game and stay cheap. If you've got something for us, let us know.

Turns out that there's no room in the inn for a 35 mile radius outside of SB for under $300/night. So what to do? I'm sure we'll figure it out. I'm sure I'll get a laugh or two out of the responses I get off my ad posting. I'm sure sleeping in the car isn't out of the question.

Also, the shirt and the headline are from the mgostore, part of the mgoblog network. Guess which shirt I immediately bought? College Football bitches. Fire it up.

Posted 4:00pm
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August 21st, 2006

Free love on the free love freeway

Those of you who love The Office on NBC (which should be all of you) but have yet to check out the BBC original - first of all, shame on you. Second of all, well no second of all. Just get on it. And please, let's not hear any of the 'I can't understand the accent' bullshit. Get in there and be prepared to laugh.

The reason I mention it is because the co-creator/star of the OG show has two links worth checking out today. First, Gervais taped some stuff for Microsoft, providing the first ever glimpse that someone in Redmond has a sense of humor. And Gervais, along with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington, is set to air a new season of his hilarious podcasts. EW did this little interview to promote it. I highly recommend the podcasts. And if you're the clever sort, they won't cost you a dime. So if you're into intelligent humor and haven't reveled in Gervais yet, what are you waiting for? Of course if you're not, I'm sure there's a new video of some nerd dancing in his garage on youtube.

Posted 1:15pm
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August 17th, 2006

Friends with benefits (and other ways I was wrong)

While we don't like to admit it much, there are occasions when we here at the bloggy blog make mistakes. Perhaps calling them 'mistakes' is being a little too hard on ourselves. Sometimes we make rash decisions. Sometimes we rush to post things before thoroughly thinking them through. We get anxious. We get blinded by sex and alcohol and type things that may, in the end, not necessarily be true. That's what the FOBB© (Friends o' the Bloggy Blog) are for.

Its been brought to my attention, during a detailed in-person retelling of my last post, that my thoughts on the subject were colored by certain other factors. Now as these factors were being pointed out to me, I still held that my thesis was true - that the ability to rekindle a friendship after a period of time without missing a beat is a litmus test. But my particular example may have, as they say, flawed data.

Yes, the girl in question was hot. Yes, alcohol was involved. Yes, sexual tension was a factor. It was posited that someone as obviously shallow as myself would not be part of such an encounter, much less retelling it with such dramatic flair, if the girl was two bills. Nor would I have made time were she in a relationship or I thought I had zero chance. It seems, as much as it pains me to use the analogy, that I was the victim of a When Harry Met Sally conundrum.

I will agree that very few men and women can be friends without sexual tension. When it does happen, its usually with your friend's girlfriend/wife or someone that you've known long enough that you both know that sex isn't going to happen. And I will admit to my own shallowness and that everything that my friends relayed to me is probably true. So does all that mean that being relaxed and easy with someone after not seeing them for a year isn't a great tenet of friendship? No. Does it mean that I ran off to be with someone based in part on looks and that male/female relationships only work when sexual tension is either present or wholly removed? Probably.

Posted 11:45pm
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August 15th, 2006

And you call yourself a friend...

Every once in a while you'll hear someone say 'Oh yeah I'm friends with so-and-so' or refer to someone in some way that friendship is implied that elicits a 'No you're not' response. Friend is a loaded word, it means different things to different people at different times. My working definition for some time has been 'someone you could call on the phone and they're not surprised.' But often times it gets thrown around when it really means a lot less, and in some cases it means a lot more.

Despite my utter hatred for talking on the phone, there's still a lot of people in my working definition mold. But some of those people aren't really 'friends' when I think about it. Is someone your friend if you've never done anything one on one with them? Is someone your friend if you have no clue where they live? These may be things to nitpick at and truthfully, there probably isn't a single litmus test. But I ran across something the other night that made me realize one of the more important aspects of friendship.

A friend came into town and basically had a small block of time to hang out. Since she's also a hot chick, I moved things around to run to her side. I hadn't seen this girl in a year. Talk to her less than once a month, e-mail about as much. But it took all of 30 seconds to fall back into our old rhythm. We sat for several hours and didn't have a single lull in the conversation. You could tell when one of us was trying to make a point quickly so as to not lose momentum by going to the bathroom.

And it occurred to me (much later) that friendship is not seeing someone for an extended period of time and then not feeling a forced awkwardness when you get back together. I don't think that's going to make it onto an inspirational poster of two people walking along a beach at sunset, but I think as far as litmus tests go, its a pretty big one. In my specific case, I knew the minute I saw her how easy it was going to be. Later in the evening, during a walk to sober up, we ducked into a bar and ordered long islands at last call and I realized just how much I missed my friend. Because anyone who knows me that well and is willing to indulge me in such glorious ways needs to be around more often.

Posted 3:13pm
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August 10th, 2006

I guarantee Mike Hart two Heismans

Anything is fair game on the ol' bloggy blog, but let's be honest - we're usually concerned with a finite number of things: indie rock, scientology, movies, girls who won't have sex with me and of course most of all, my alcoholism. But one of the most of important facets of my tepid existence rarely rears its ugly head - but its about to wholly consume me. I of course speak of college football.

I spent this week watching 1997 Michigan/Ohio State (Rose Bowl clinching pre-National Champ victory) and 2005 Michigan/Penn State (4th quarter heroics from a forgettable season). Now I'm in the midst of procuring Michigan/Notre Dame tix for this year. My complete immersion in the world of college football has come early. And I haven't even mentioned Stov and I's efforts for the tailgate improvement committee (think large vehicular transport).

I can't wait to wake up Saturday morning, hung over as hell, march around my apartment and head out to drink myself silly in the Saturday morning sun, only to hope we're up enough at half to take a nap on the grass and recoup for Saturday night. These are college football Saturdays - drinking, gambling, reminiscing about teams past, pontificating on future chances - all the best things life has to offer. Welcome college football, and all the joy and misery you have to offer.

Posted 10:58pm
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August 7th, 2006

Honey, the raccoons are fighting again.

The 2006 camping trip has come and gone, and I'm proud to report that I survived, if only barely. Sunday morning found my body trying to cope with not only the requisite hangover, but two hyper-extended middle fingers, one busted open knee, one toe blistered raw, a sore everything and a 100 degree plus fever. So all in all a successful trip.

We found some new adventures (a rope swing and a bridge to jump off) and learned who's moral center is a little more liberal than others (apparently, some people are swingers). Of course, I managed to tell a story that occupied everyone's attention for several hours Saturday night, but its one I'm not ready to throw out for public consumption... yet.

Posted 2:58pm
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August 3rd, 2006

Um, I don't think Mel was 'boo'ing you...

Nothing is really chomping at my bit right now to blog about. Being between mini-vacations will do that to ya. Here's a few things to think about/check out, quick hit style:

- If you're going to make a violent splatter movie that makes everybody go 'so, you hate Jews?', don't vehemently deny it for a year AND THEN get drunk and say 'I hate the Jews.' Kind of blows your credibility. I always kind of liked Mel. I mean, Braveheart kicked ass, as did the Road Warrior. But if we've learned anything in the past 18 months, its that even our most beloved stars can fall from the sky when they start with the crazy religious stuff. Everyone always secretly suspected Tom Cruise was gay, but it really didn't affect him. But, as its wont to do, Scientology has made him a laughing stock (see Travolta pre and post Battlefield Earth for more evidence) Now everybody kind of assumed Mel was an anti-Semite after Passion, and now we all know. Say goodbye to the A-List, sugartits.

- Tom Petty is an ass-kicker. Very few artists have remained viable in every sense of the word for so long. His best two albums (Damn the Torpedoes and Wildflowers) are 20 years apart. Who can say that? Off the top of my head, he finds himself in this exclusive company (probably in this order):

1. Dylan
2. Neil Young
3. Elvis Costello
4. Tom Petty

Here's a celebration of his career, put much more poetically than I could ever hope to do.

- This weekend brings the annual canoe trip. A little more low key than PIB, but still fairly alcohol-centric (but what in my life isn't?) It think this is my 3rd year and I'll have my 3rd different canoe partner. I'm sure the day will come soon where its find a woman or prepare for the kayak. Just what I need, one more thing that I have to do all by myself.

Posted 2:58pm
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July 31st, 2006

Excuse me, I think you stepped on my liver...

One of these days I'll buy a camera small enough and good enough so that I can bring it everywhere and capture everything. Until then, you get this abbreviated, fairly sketchy PIB photo essay. Its a tad thrown together, but that's exactly how I feel right now. I didn't bother shrinking the pics, so the page may take some time to load. But as it stands, its what there is. I reserve the right to add to it should other testimonials filter in. Back to non-PIB related things real soon.

Posted 9:45pm
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July 27th, 2006

Countdown to the PIB: I can smell the mayflies

Well its basically here. Like a guy who's being hit on by a drunk chick, I'm so eager I can hardly contain myself. I hope I can remain sober enough to take some pictures and remember some details so that I can impart them to you upon my return. Of course, don't be surprised when none of that happens

Today's vintage PIB image comes from 2005:

Its part of last year's photo essay (don't forget viewing them one by one provides commentary).

Today's PIB link is this description of the bay from what looks like a semi-reputable website, but is written by someone who is likely at least semi-retarded.

I'm off. Wish me and my liver good luck. We'll need it.

Posted 9:45am
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July 26th, 2006

Countdown to the PIB: 2 days left

48 hours and I'll be drunk and on the island. There is a disappointing aspect to this years trip - we're missing a new girlfriend. Over the years, the PIB has wreaked havoc on relationships. Its usually a semi-new relationship where the guy says: 'Do you want to come to PIB with me and my friends? We basically just drink our faces off for 2 days.' She agrees, not realizing how much said guy is underselling what goes on. Somewhere over the course of the weekend, either girl is disappointed in the way the guy is acting, or guy is pissed at the way girl is reacting. Either way, its the death kneel for the relationship. And of course, who wouldn't want to watch that whole fiasco go down?

Today's vintage PIB quote comes from 2003:

Jess spent a weekend in a house with The Claw, The Puma, Stephen Hawking, and Barlow and still didn't break things off. This might be serious!
Stov - 7/23/2003 12:33 AM

The relationship was over within a month.

Today's PIB link is the triumverant of evil: The Roundhouse, The Beer Barrel and the Chicken Patio. None are to be missed on a PIB trip.

Posted 4:15pm
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July 25th, 2006

Countdown to the PIB: 3 days left

A scant 3 days left before its back to the bay. Since this trip became an annual thing, its always been a come one, come all kind of affair. But every year we get a little older and hopefully a little more financially secure, and I wonder how long it will be until we start 'not inviting' some in favor of NOT having to sleep four across on a pull out couch. I suppose we could move to another place on the island, but god forbid we leave Dennnnnnnnyyyyyy....

Today's vintage PIB image comes from 2002:

Stov with a cigarette. Can't say I've seen it since.

Today's PIB link is the official site for our home away from home, Harriet's House. How we fell into this place is unbelievable, but we couldn't have found a more perfect place for our antics. And, as the website notes: "No need to bring your Lysol and Comet we're clean--really clean"

Posted 4:15pm
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July 24th, 2006

Countdown to the PIB: 4 days left

Yes people, its almost here - the most anticipated non-football weekend of the year - Put-in-Bay. Nothing gets me quite as excited as gearing up for a weekend at Harriet's House. Productivity comes to a stand still this week, as my thoughts are concentrated on Chicken Dinners at the Patio, Buckets at the Round House, and being spooned by Barlow on the pull-out couch.

Today's vintage PIB image comes from 2002:

Yup, Barlow in daisy dukes.

Today's PIB link is from Wikipedia, which has an in-depth listing of the PIB. It lists some 'attractions' as:
The Round House Bar A 130 year-old, circular building that houses a tavern offering live entertainment seven days a week.
Beer Barrel Saloon Houses the Guinness Book of World Records "Worlds Longest Bar" - 405 feet 10 inches. If you stood it on end it would be taller than the (352 ft high) Perry's Monument.
It also notes that "The population is nearly exclusively white." Which if you've ever been to PIB, you already knew. My only qualm is that it lists the main industry as 'tourism' where it should more accurately be 'alcohol'.

Come back tomorrow for more countdown nuggets. Assuming I can concentrate long enough to type something up.

Posted 4:15pm
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July 23rd, 2006

The plight of the angry young man

There's a special bond between recurring pop culture characters and their real life admirers that share the same demographic. People my age have identified with the kids of 90210, Felicity and Saved by the Bell not just because they like the faggy stories and they fact that the kids were better looking than their friends, but because you in a sense grow up with these people. It doesn't hurt that they're always trading around partners in an incestuous manner that makes every guy long for life to imitate art.

Unfortunately you usually only get these cohort affects in sappy TV teenage melodramas (and your occasional half hour comedy) But every once in a great while a film director will take a cultural touchstone and revisit it years later, inviting fans to take a journey and see where the characters they once identified with have gone. Enter Kevin Smith. Smith has been capitalizing and expanding on his low-budget debut since it first hit in 1994, and now he finally goes whole-hog and makes the inevitable sequel - Clerks II.

While watching Clerks II, it became apparent that Smith really wanted to see what became of these characters in the intervening decade or so. And it turned out that it was about the only uninteresting aspect of the film. I laughed out loud more at this movie than anything since The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Its raunchy, vulgar and inspired in a lot of its humor. But do we need 3 (3!) montages? Do we need Dante and Randall to go on and on with their reconciliation, which is basically a re-hash of the conversation they had at the end of the original movie? Its not that it sinks the movie, I just wish Smith wouldn't try so hard to have it both ways. Next time, more donkey show, less pregnant people.

Posted 9:05pm
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July 18th, 2006

Watch your mouth (and a few other things)

- Apparently I dropped a big, fat c-bomb Friday night. Somebody (who will remain nameless) who has a penchant for being a pain-in-the-ass was doing so especially well and especially towards me - at least it was directly effecting me. So in drunken frustration, I call her a cunt. Apparently everyone at the table quickly gasped, and then silently agreed with me. At least that's how it was explained to me - I don't specifically remember any of it. I knew I called her a bitch, but I can't pinpoint the moment I whipped out the big C. I've apparently come around on this word quite a bit. I used to put it just this side of the N word, which means not even in my vocabulary. Now it appears I'm not afraid to drop it on someone I know when I'm a tad tipsy. And I also think its totally OK to call someone's behavior 'cunty', although you should probably be on semi-familiar terms.

- If you've never seen the underwhelming phenomena that is The Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon, its now on the internets. Although I should say that while we here at tbaggervance.com don't condone substance abuse, its actually pretty awesome if you're high.

- Speaking of movies and drugs, the first 24 minutes of A Scanner Darkly are in the ether as well. I'm going to be so pissed when I never find time to see this in the theater.

Posted 4:30pm
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July 16th, 2006

Have I got the perfect girl for you

If dating were simply a process of trying out other people to see if you can tolerate one another enough so that you have someone to do things with (most importantly of a sexual nature) it would still be plenty hard (no pun intended). If your only worry were that at some point one of you will like the other without an appropriate amount of reciprocity, thus leading to at least an awkward conversation and one more person you have to avoid for a while, it would still be one of the more daunting endeavors that one undertakes. But as we all can attest to, dating is rarely about just two people.

Now were you to meet someone randomly at a bar, supermarket or internet in your area, you'd be largely home free. You could go out once or a couple times and, assuming you lived in an area with a large enough population, be fairly certain that you'd never see the person again. And should you randomly run into said person at your favorite watering hole, you'd either both avoid each other or awkwardly acknowledge each other and go along your merry way. But if you're like me, instances of randomly meeting someone and having it lead to more than a fairly bad first date are minimal at best.

No, the world being the way it is and people being the way they are, you're dating pool is largely made up of friends of friends and co-workers. Which means of course, that when things go w, Courier, mono">General Friday awkwardness

- A co-worker of mine is leaving today - moving to New York. She's been here four or five years, so we know each other a bit due to walking around on the same bit of carpet for all that time. But we're not friends. We've never hung out socially. She's a tad socially awkward to begin with (no interpersonal skills whatsoever), but it would be totally weird to interact outside of our usual office building in any case. So why did she stand so long in my doorway today, saying goodbye and looking like she expected me to jump up and give her a hug? I hope its just a continuation of her bad social skills and its not me on the wrong side of the etiquette scale here - because if you have to hug co-workers who are moving away, I am out people. Recluse, here I come.

- I was in Target today over lunch buying the Buddha his 11th birthday present when some little girl starts saying 'Mom its a boy/girl. Mom look its a boy/girl' My hair must be extra long and/or curly today, because I haven't gotten anything like that since about '96. What really galled me is that the mom never acknowledged the kid. Never said 'Shh, that's not polite' or 'No, its just a boy with curly hair' or 'Where? Let's all point and laugh'. First the IT lookin' guy thing and now this. Its a good thing my ego and self-esteem and fairly invulnerable, or it'd be time for a new wardrobe and a beard.

- I'm told I have a condescending tone. That when conversing and/or arguing with someone, I can often sound like I'm talking down to that person. Call it smug, call it arrogant - I think its just something I unconsciously do because I know how it irritates people (and yes, I often enjoy irritating people. And I have no patience for stupidity. And I'll win an argument at any cost. I have issues). But without getting into specifics, sometimes you're talking to someone of a certain age and a certain intelligence who is acting or lacking the knowledge of someone half his age. At that point, what am I to do? I swear some people just don't care if they look dumb; otherwise they'd keep their mouths shut, nod their head, and look it up on the internet when they got home. It'd be a better story with specifics I know. Find me out drunk and I'll totally break loose.

Posted 3:32pm
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July 13th, 2006

Turn your head and cough (and other things...)

- A friend of mine called looking for moments in film where people cough (he got an editing job where he needs shots of people coughing). This was my quick, off the top of the head list:

Animal House - in the courtroom
Hudson Hawk - in the sidewalk cafe, he excuses himself and then coughs up a bunch of feathers
The Mask - during Jim Carrey's 'oscar' performance
Ferris Bueller - plays a classical piano piece on his keyboard in cough's, etc

I feel like I'm missing some classics, but I actually have to work right now. Man does that suck...

- Of course there's no 'new' TV on in the summer - which is good. Go outside or watch a movie. Or, watch a 'webisode' of TV's best comedy - The Office. It focuses on the accounting department and a missing $3000. It should satiate you until the Jim and Pam saga returns in September.

- Wannabe recluse Rivers Cuomo has disbanded Weezer. Were this 1996 and Pinkerton had just come out I would be devastated. But since Make Believe sucked and Weezer has become the patriarch of punks who annoy me, I'm wholly indifferent to the news. Maybe Rivers will go back to being celibate and produce more vibrant, angry, woe-is-me pop. It could turn emo back on its head.

- We all know that Jeff Tweedy rules. Some of us know that Gary Louris of the Jayhawks rules too, just over a slightly smaller track of land. They've reformed their alt-cunt supergroup Golden Smog, and their new album is streaming over at VH1.com.

- Clerks was a seminal movie for me, having been one of my early introductions into indie film and coming out in 1994, when I could easily identify with its angry-young-man theme. So not surprising that I went 28 for 28 in this Clerks movie quiz. I'm actually excited about the sequel - despite its cash grab/Jersey Girl-overcorrect feel.

Posted 2:28pm
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July 11th, 2006

We got Poindexter on the violin, and Lewis and Gilbert will be joining in

I pride myself on many things - intellect, taste, alcohol consumption to name a few. And I've always considered myself to have a certain sense of style. A tad ahead of the curve without being exactly trendsetting. Unique without being out there. Stylish yet comfortable.

And while I enjoy my job and think I'm pretty much good at it, I don't consider myself a 'computer guy'. I may be fooling myself slightly on some level, but I get told frequently that I don't act like most 'I.T.' guys. And while that's certainly true outside the office, its true inside as well. I can safely navigate nerdy waters, but also feel like I have a right to laugh at their contents when I get out and dry myself off.

That's why I about fell over when being introduced to a new employee today. The introducer said 'This is Tyler, he's our tech guy' and the introducee said 'Oh yeah, he looks like an I.T. guy.' I LOOK like an I.T. guy? Now I was wearing a brown T-shirt, jeans and flip flops and she was 40+, so hopefully that's all that this was about. Because I thought I knew what I.T. guys looked like, and this ain't it. Seriously, if people start saying I look like an I.T. guy on a consistent basis, I may have to kill myself. Or spend more on my wardrobe. And considering I have no one to impress at work, that ain't happening. Let's just assume by I.T. she meant young, intelligent and relaxed. And handsome. Don't forget handsome.

Posted 1:45pm
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July 6th, 2006

Jesus Christ Pose

Gather round people, time for a nerd moment. I, am not, a huge Superman fan. The comics fan in me loves (almost) anytime they bring a comic book to the silver screen. But without getting into an uber-nerdy DC comics/Marvel comics argument, Superman is not my thing. How relatable is someone who has no real world problems? Spider-Man, The X-Men - these people deal with the same shit you or I do - and then they use their superpowers to save the world from someone hell bent on ruining our way of life. Superman's biggest dilemmas are how to get Lois Lane to like a nerdy reporter instead of the perfect embodiment of the human form and where do all these people keep finding all this kryptonite?

So enter Bryan Singer - the man who walked the tight rope of the X-Men's real world/other world problems as well as anyone could have hoped for. I went into Superman Returns expecting to see Singer try and bring a little relatability to the last son of Krypton. But again, how does one make Superman relatable? Singer does his affable best by making the entire film a love story between Superman and Lois. All the action seems subsequent to the question of 'How are we going to get these two crazy kids together?'

To his credit, Singer pretty much succeeds in this goal, but to the dismay of myself, this wasn't the Superman movie I wanted to see. Making Superman Returns a literal sequel to the Richard Donner films seemed to be his other goal, which I'm reluctantly on board with. I would have rather seen a whole new vision, but whatever. I do have nostalgia for those films, so I'll admit seeing those cheesy late 70's titles at the start of the movie made my hair stand up. Spacey as Luthor? Campy and great. Routh as the Man of Steel? As good as MacGreggor aping Guiness in the Star Wars prequels. But a Superman love story? And another insipid plot about Lex making a land grab? C'mon. Singer tries to embrace the camp of the Christopher Reeve films and have his post-modern relatable Superman as well, and ends up on the short ends of both. It doesn't help that he beats you over the head with the Jesus comparison. Here's a hint - you want people to relate someone - don't use Jesus.

On a side note, I saw this in IMAX 3-D. The visuals were cool at times, but the sound alone was worth the extra $3. If you like your shit loud, its the only way to fly. But the movie on the whole? I'd say it was pretty much what I expected. I'd hoped for a drastic re-invisioning of Kal-el from Krypton that used Singer's deft superhero touch to put Superman on the level of Spider-Man. But I knew that wasn't going to happen. What I got was what you always get when the budgets get too big and people start to play it safe and use what's worked before. If you haven't seen it yet you probably won't, but its unfortunate to have to say that when a $250 million film doesn't wholly disappoint you, you get to put one in the win column. So there's my tepid recommendation. Hopefully my bar is lowered enough that I can be blown away by A Scanner Darkly and Clerks II.

Posted 7:15pm
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July 3rd, 2006

Blowing shit up to honor America

Things rambling around the noggin, as I have no coherent thread to post about and am sitting here feeling a need to blog:

- The Buddha and I went out to my friends 'farm' in the country for a little low key BBQ Saturday. Usually, dragging the Buddha out to hang with the 'adults' (using the term as loosely as possible) involves struggling to get him to not be a buzz kill and then getting him to have a good time, only to have him say he didn't have a good time on the way home. Saturday involved exploring the barns, playing bocce, catching fireflies and throwing fireworks into the bonfire. Anytime I can get the Buddha outside is a win - getting him to admit he had fun is a windfall. Thanks Greg and Ang, we look forward to coming o coming back for 'Movies on the Barn' and catching a toad. And I never get tired of hearing what a great kid he is, so thanks for that too.

- I wanted to try and ruminate on honoring our country and what a great place it is, whilst railing against all the things that irritate the shit out of me. I keep coming back to the Wilco song 'Ashes of American Flags'. First, let me take the opportunity to say that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is THE album of the last decade. Wilco has placed itself in a position to be considered the greatest American rock band of all time (although that's a whole discussion for another time) and Jeff Tweedy is the new Robert Zimmerman. But back to 'Ashes...' Taking the position that all art is subjective and open to interpretation, I keep going with the sentiment that 'Ashes...' is about wishing you had the motive/energy/passion to burn the American flag. Not in an unpatriotic sense, but just to care enough to want to really be heard and put yourself out there. I feel that way all the time about this country. I really love it, but dissent being the highest form of patriotism, I wish I could show people what needs to change and the dangers of certain paths that it appears we're headed down.

I would like to salute, the ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves, filling up shopping bags
All my lies are only wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

- The Buddha and I went to Target today to buy socks. First, I bought below-ankle-length socks for the first time. They seem to mesh well with my new airwalks. Its a great feeling to try something new at thirty and say 'Hey, I like this. Why did it take so long to come around?' Second, the Buddha's socks came in a 'resealable bag'. Six pairs of socks that had a ziplock closure at the top. What the fuck? Who needs to reclose a bag of socks after purchase? You open them, put them into pairs, throw them into your sock drawer, throw away the bag. There's no 'resealing for freshness' to seal in that new sock smell. I'm constantly amazed by superfluous packaging, but this has to take the cake. The Buddha thought it was awesome, making for a very Seinfeldian conversation that made me happy to be alive.

Posted 10:42pm
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July 2nd, 2006

Pencils down

I will admit that this idea seemed alot more interesting in the heat of the moment (Asia reference) but as I prepared my response right after I posed the questions, there's no work left to do so...

Everybody ready? OK, the correct response is obviously B. AC/DC's most relevant period is with Bon Scott, as Van Halen's is obviously with Diamond Dave. Both had great albums in their later incarnations (Back in Black and 5150) and good lesser albums (The Razor's Edge and OU812). The only disparity is that Back in Black stands above anything Van Hagar did.

So why are the other analogies less right? Tom Petty, other than not making a lead singer change, may have his best album as a solo artist with Wildflowers. Plus, the Heartbreakers catalogue dwarfs the solo stuff. CSN's lineup was transient, and again, the best stuff featured Neil Young. Genesis had all elements - the larger back catalogue and (arguably) better stuff immediately post Gabriel - as well as a pretty large style shift once Gabriel left.

Other contenders (with their reasons for dismissal):
Beatles:Wings (Beatles greatness preempt any analogies to post-Beatles work)
Police:Sting (See above, with Sting's later pussiness taken into account)
Afghan Whigs:Twilight Singers (Greg Dulli? If you know who he is you're likely not reading this)
The Who w/Keith Moon:The Who w/o Keith Moon (No truly great post-Moon content)
Martin & Lewis:Dean Martin (I thought we were talking music?)
Elvis Costello & The Attractions:Elvis & The Impostors (Elvis stands alone sans backup band)
Black Sabbath w/Ozzie:Black Sabbath w/ Ronnie James Dio (Tenacious D said it better than I could)
Pink Floyd w/Roger Waters:Pink Floyd w/David Gilmore (Syd Barrett also a factor, only snobs can point to when the switch took place)
Queen w/Freddie Mercury:Queen w/Paul Rodgers (The band literally died with Freddie - this is a cash grab)
CCR w/John Fogerty:Credence Clearwater Revisited (See above, without the death part)
Styx w/Dennis DeYoung:Styx w/Lawrence Gowan (If you knew this happened = gay)
Uncle Tupelo:Wilco/Son Volt (Later bands imminently more popular than Tupelo. No direct comparison available)

So how did you do? Community college or Ivy League? My goal is to have the Buddha be able to answer this question in five years. Even though I know he'll hate me for it. I do know that this is now in the lexicon of viable bar conversation for the next month or so. I look forward to watching the chicks run away.

Posted 7:11pm
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June 29th, 2006

Today's SAT question

So Stov had Friday off and wanted to have a beer. I had the Buddha but agreed to meet him for an hour to quench his thirst. During our regular barroom banter AC/DC's "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" came on, and we came up with the following 'SAT' question:

AC/DC w/ Bon Scott:AC/DC w/Brian Johnson::
A.) Tom Petty w/Heartbreakers:Tom Petty (solo)
B.) Van Halen w/ David Lee Roth: Van Halen w/Sammy Hagar
C.) CSN:CSNY
D.) Genesis w/Peter Gabriel:Genesis w/Phil Collins

Now, I have a list of other possible answers, but I think the correct one is above. I'm interested in people's responses (with justifications) as well as any other possible choices for answers that may be more or similarly correct as those listed above. Use the comments link below people, that's what its for. I'll provide my other possibilities, as well as the correct answer in the next post. Break out your number 2 pencils and ready ... begin.

Posted 11:20pm
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June 28th, 2006

No, you that's it let's go

Now let me say off the top, for the record, I am anti-drunk driving. I'm no member of MADD or SADD or DADD (drunks against drunk driving) but I realize the dangers and do my best to stay away from being behind the wheel when I am blitzed. Stop snickering. Its true.

Of course I'm not about to call a cab to travel five miles after I've had 4 beers either. I'd like to think I know my limits. Of course there have been times in the past where I was wrong, but I have a pretty fair sense of where I'm at on the inebriation scale most of the time. Which is why last night put the quick scare into me.

I was driving through the streets of A2 from one bar to another, as the first had closed and the second was still open. I had been drinking a little, but well within my limits. At no point did I even consider my inability to drive, which is to say the issue was moot, because I was fine. So I parked the car at bar #2 and hopped out quickly to go inside. I turned around to shut the door and lock it when I began to swoon. This all takes place in about 2 seconds, but this is exactly what went through my head:

Alright, don't forget to lock your doors... hey, am I passing out? Why am I falling? Did somebody hit me in the head? Shit I shouldn't be driving. I need to get it togeth... shit, my car is rolling backwards down the street.

Yes, I briefly interpreted forgetting to pull the parking break and my car sliding backwards downhill as the drunk dizzies. Turns out I was fine - well, other than the fact that my brain mixed up a moving car and a moving me - and the car only moved about a foot and a half. For those of you who may suggest that the fact that I juxtaposed these two movements is evidence that I was intoxicated - I will reticently admit that I have done this stone cold sober. More than once. Turns out me and balance aren't always the best of friends. Kind of like me and being sober.

Posted 3:58pm
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June 27th, 2006

Its a great day to be a nerd

Of course the slightly gay Superman Returns hits theaters tonight, but for me its all about getting there early, because the teaser for Spider-Man 3 is apparently attached. Better news? Its on the internets as we speak. Since this isn't aintitcoolnews or cinescape, I'll spare you a shot by shot breakdown or analysis of how I think they'll change the Venom saga and what'll do to long time fans. I won't do this because I can already tell you're lost and don't care (although I will say that the black goo is definitely recycled from the stuff in the lake in Creepshow 2). But how much fun were the first 2 Spidey movies? Unless your initials are RJ and find comic books and sci-fi unholy genres, check out the teaser. It gave me wood.

Posted 3:31pm
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June 25th, 2006

Back from the Bay

To say that PIB brings out the immaturity in people is an understatement. For some reason, people are willing to do and say things that they otherwise would blush at the thought of. In that way its a lot like Vegas. I heard somebody refer to it as Disneyland for alcoholics. If I liked Disneyland at all, I might be inclined to agree. Turns out my camera is a piece of shit, and it probably didn't help that I drank my bodyweight, so what follows is a truncated mini photo essay. I kept out some unflattering photos, so all attendees remember I was nice to you once. I'm sure I'll need the favor returned someday. As always, clicking the photos makes 'em big.

The occasion was Jen's birthday, so it took about five minutes on the island for the shots to start flowing. It was 75 degrees and perfect outside - so we decided to spend the next three hours inside watching the Danger Bros.
In between Danger Bros. sets, we discussed the relative depth of people's pre and post coitus conversations. Some people wanted to suggest that guys really 'opened up' and talked about deep, personal things after sex. Stov and I looked at each other puzzled. Oh yeah, and Spider-man had his salad tossed by a rooster.
Somehow we ended up on this shitty patio bar that I've never been too in all my trips to PIB. They DJ asked if anybody liked 80's music. The crowd cheered. He played Wooly Bully. People's genital grooming habits were discussed. We finally wised up and went back to the Beer Barrel, were Lynn got her pic snapped with a guy who looked exactly like Ron Livingston from Office Space.
Turns out that the band playing at the Barrel were gayer than Clay Aiken on ice skates, which means it was time for the Roundhouse. I'm glad to report that it hasn't changed. Jen and Lynn both got the flashlight for dancing on stools and of course, buckets were on heads.
It had been a while since I had to take the ferry back to the mainland Sat. night, and man did it suck. And speaking of sucking, you should have seen our hotel. I thought Stov was going to blow a gasket when he couldn't get the AC to kick out the coldness at acceptable levels. We did manage to grab a few drinks before last call at the ultra shady 'Nicks' across the street from our shithole. As for the pic, I have no memory of taking it or what is happening, though Al does look drunk and happy, and that's always worth celebrating.

So thanks PIB, you're always an accommodating host. We'll see ya in a scant 34 days. God help my liver.

Posted 4:55pm
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June 23rd, 2006

Back to the Bay

Last night, 3 guys drinking only beer had a bar tab that would have easily bought a keg. Sometimes I wonder why we just don't buy the keg and sit in someone's backyard and get a bunch of people drunk. But I guess we do that too.

So what was I saying? Oh yeah, tomorrow is the trip that's being dubbed 'Pre-Put-in-Bay Put-in-Bay' or PPiB for short. As this blogs faithful know, the real PIB trip is the end of July - this is just a mini, one day, not staying on the island excursion to celebrate Jen's 30th year of existence on this earth. But its still PiB, so God knows what'll happen. We do know it will involve buckets on people's heads.

So what 's in and what's out for PPiB? I've compiled a list:

IN
OUT
The Puma
Farlow
Buckets on heads
Afternoon at the pool
Danger Bros.
Pat Daley
Puking on the ferry ride home
Carrying luggage on the ferry ride over
Sleeping comfortably
2am Chicken Dinners


Actually Pat Daley is playing, he's just out as far as I'm concerned. That man is crotchety. I hope enough shit happens to merit an extra-special blog post come Monday. Its the Puma's triumphant return to the Bay, so chances are high.

Posted 2:41pm
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June 21st, 2006

More ways to waste time at work, thus getting back at your evil overlord bosses for paying you so little

- I make happy sex explosion in my pants! The best part of Da Ali G Show finally gets his own movie. You can see the trailer for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan here on Yahoo.

- Speaking of happy sex explosion, if you get another STD, here's some ideas on how to anonymously tell all those hood rats you've been banging.

Posted 3:57pm
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June 20th, 2006

Its a Mogwai!

Yes, Pitchfork is the snarkiest place on the internets, but that doesn't stop me from perusing it daily. You just never know when you're going to get something so incredibly time-killing as their piece on 100 Awesome Music Videos. All videos come complete with a YouTube link, so you can be watching mind-boggling 80's crap and mind-boggling Spike Jonez brilliance from now until the fourth of July. If this doesn't intrigue you at all, I implore you to at least check out this clip for the Kidz Bop version of 'Since You Been Gone.' Don't watch the whole thing, just fast forward to about 2:30 in and then prepare for, as Peter Macia puts it 'the greatest moment in the history of music videos (at the 2:37 mark).' Mogwai!

Posted 4:03pm
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June 19th, 2006

If everyone listened to Creed, would you buy Scott Stapp's solo album?

As a culture snob and self-aware psuedo-hipster, I always check out whatever it is I'm 'supposed' to check out. The last thing I want to be is unaware of some burgeoning cultural phenomenon. Some areas I refuse to tread (95% of reality TV for example) but hell, I'll read whatever the sequel to The Da Vinci Code is just so I can argue with certain people about how its a.) poorly written, b.) factually wrong and c.) overly asinine. However, I won't read Angels and Demons because I can use the fact that I haven't read it to reiterate my distaste for its more popular younger brother. Its a fine line were dealing with here people, and I have no problem trodding all over it.

Music is the trickiest of these minefields to navigate. Not wanting to ever appear uninformed (the kiss of death for a self-aware psuedo-hipster) I'm forced to consume everything. And of course by everything I don't mean the new Dixie Chicks album or Janet Jackson single. While you can admit to not having seen Thank You for Smoking and get a reprieve from your conversational counterpart, there's no excuse for me not having heard anything by Wolfmother. I don't have to have the album or a concrete argument about them, but it is simply unacceptable for me to say 'I haven't heard them yet,' much less 'Do you mean Wolf Parade?' And in fact, when asked about Wolfmother one should have at least a working thesis about them. A few months back, I could have told you that the singer sounds EXACTLY like Billy Squier circa 1983 and that I could play you a Wolfmother song you'd never heard and a Billy Squier song you never heard and you'd be no better than chance at picking which was which. And this was my Wolfmother ammo before hearing the whole album. Now that I have the album, I could pontificate more, but I'm trying to not do an album review right now.

Its not hard to see how this sort of thinking can get one in trouble. Forming instant opinions on things not only forces one to color a experience before having it, its a large reason people hate us culture snobs. We dismiss a lot of shit before giving it a chance. Now in my personal defense, I'm willing to give just about anything a try - but I'll let you know up front that I'm probably right. We all know Pavement is the devil. I knew it halfway through the first song on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. I've since probably heard 90% of everything Stephen Malkmus has recorded at least once. And while you may get me to admit I like a song or two he's done (if you're really hot or I'm really, really drunk) I always hold to the truth that Pavement was a shitty band that a lot of people got tricked into liking because they were different. They were labeled 'cool' by people like me who spend an inordinate amount of time looking for such things and it snowballed from there.

So I try to be self-aware enough to avoid the pitfalls of admitting I once liked a band like The Hives. I'll publicly admit I enjoy William Shatner's Has Been unironically, but I don't want to admit that I ever said The Vines were cool. Which is why up until this point I've avoided the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Garage band-y with a chick singer - total gimmick. I never really cared for any of their stuff I caught on the radio or on my friend's stereos. I figured it was a big trick or conspiracy that would soon fade away. When I heard the first single ('Gold Lion') off the new album I figured it was over like the Yankees up 3-0 on the BoSox in the ALCS. But then I heard 'Phenomena' on the radio and before I even knew it was the YYYs I was hooked on its staccato melody.

So of course you see where this is going. Show Your Bones is fucking brilliant. Karen O oozes sexuality, longing and angst like a female Jim Morrison. And the music is a zillion times more interesting than I ever would have fathomed. So yeah, I dismissed the YYYs and was totally wrong. They're cool as shit. And yes, I now realize that I just spent several hundred words telling you what I could have summarized in those two tiny sentences. I may have to change it to pompous self-aware psuedo-hipster (if that's not already implied).

Posted 8:15pm
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June 18th, 2006

I love it when ya call me big poppa

10 years, don't they go by in a blink. Happy Father's Day to all the dads and dads to be. I think the idea of Father's Day is pretty much a bunch of bullshit, but I also think that fathers on the whole get the short end of the stick in a lot of ways (yeah, I'm biased, piss off) so make sure to tell your pappy and baby daddy he's a heck of a guy. For all the times he's bailed you out of a situation, say thanks. For all the times he could have said I told you so and didn't, tell him he was right. And mostly for all the times you did the unspeakable and he stood beside you, tell him you love him. God knows where I'd be today without the Moeman, so thanks dad. And Buddha, listen to your old man. Because I'm not adverse to telling you I told you so.

Posted 11:02am
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June 15th, 2006

Tales from the rejection front

I used to go to the Blind Pig every Monday night for karaoke. For three weeks in a row this girl would come up to me and make causal conversation. She saw me mouthing the words to every song that came up and was impressed at my vast musical proficiency. At the end of the night on the third week, I really drunkenly asked her for her phone number. She immediately told me she didn't have a phone. I immediately assumed she was a lesbian and spent the next few months not talking to anyone of the opposite sex.

After several months had passed I was at a different karaoke night (yes, it was an obsession for a time) where the cutest girl with the most amazing voice got up and I was immediately smitten. I decided to go over to her table and start up a conversation. I told her she had the most amazing karaoke voice I ever heard. She asked what does that mean? What does karaoke have to do with it? I stopped talking to girls at karaoke night altogether after that.

Since then I've been out with several girls. Sometimes it goes well, often it doesn't. As George Costanza once said, when I like them, they don't like me and vice versa (I'm paraphrasing, but you get me). But the same scenario inevitably unfolds: I drink too much, at which point I tend to talk and talk and talk. And if you've ever seen me drunk (and if you know me, you have) I'm liable, and to more to the point likely, to start spewing forth on a number of verboten first date topics like my son, my dead mother, my relationship history and of course, my alcoholism.

So where am I going with this? All my goings out plans for the evening fell through which left me alone with my vodka sodas and the wisdom of Chuck Klosterman. I was re-reading Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and Chuck was pontificating on how the relationships of people who aren't boring or semi-retarded never work, because everyone wants to be in love in the movies. That is to say, people are always disappointed with their relationships because they can never live up to Monica and Chandler or Harry and Sally. As always with Chuck, there's a lot of truth there.

But I'm not sure its the whole truth. While I agree with him that Coldplay is about the worst fucking band in the world and I've sabotaged many a relationship for the most inane reasons imaginable, how can I give a woman every possible reason to run away and yet she still sticks around? Maybe we're all lonely and willing to overlook things until it gets really ugly. While I'm sure that I'll never stand outside a girl's window holding a boombox blaring Peter Gabriel, I hold out for the possibility that I can bare my soul to someone and still make out with her in the rain during a moment that would make a soccer mom weak in the knees. That may be a gay sentiment, but what do I know? The last girl moved to Denver and the current one is likely headed to New York. What amalgam of situations comes together that leads me to type this bullshit? I have a feeling that I'm drunk enough to read this in the morning and wonder what the fuck I was thinking.

Posted 11:35pm
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June 14th, 2006

Show me that smile again...

I know this is old news, but I love me some Jesus freaks. And the only thing better than Jesus freaks are celebrity Jesus Freaks and Scientologists (with celebrity Scientologists being the top tier). That's why I was super-psyched to find out (via Pulp Culture) that Kirk Cameron was on Nightline the other night.

I've known Mike Seaver was way into Jesus for some time now. I remember the dust up 15 years ago when his TV girlfriend appeared in Playboy. And of course I watched Growing Pains: The E! True Hollywood Story. Everyone around him always says he's way creepy about his religion, and then you see him in interviews being kind of normal about it. So while I always hoped he was worthy of the 'Jesus freak' moniker, you could never be sure. Maybe everybody else was overreacting.

Turns out we were right! In a classic case of the Seaver Syndrome, reading this article on ABC News makes you think that maybe he just found religion and that's that. But thank Christ they also have video. After going to the article, click on the video on the left 'Kirk Cameron and The Way of the Master'. At first I was hoping this was some kind of sequel to Kung Fu starring David Carradine. Turns out its way better.

In The Way of the Master, Kirk and his buddy (both whom have absolutely no religious training) accost people on the street and tell them they are going to hell. And if that isn't creepy enough, watch this clip in which Kirk's buddy explains how a banana is 'the atheist's nightmare' and uses it to explain creationism. I love how the crux of every creationist's argument is 'its just too perfect to happen by chance'. Now that shit is bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s).

Posted 3:22pm
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June 11th, 2006

Walk of Shame

Another Summer weekend, another wedding. As a fellow Naptowner pointed out to me, that's gotta be 50+ in the last ten years. And that's conservative. Apparently this is above average for the public as a whole, as a non-Naptowner pointed out to me when she wondered if the marriage rate for NW Ohio was among the highest in the country. I don't know if marriage rates are statistically higher around Toledo or I just know a lot of people. I do know I love an open bar and the number of single people I know is dwindling, so I'll miss the ride when its over.

What I won't miss is making the walk of shame. No, not that kind of WOS, the other kind. The one where people know you've slept in your clothes and hide the eyes of their children as you pass, reeking of cigarettes and booze.

The reception was over early Saturday - 10pm. Of course the night wasn't about to end there, so we continued on to the bar. The bar closed at 2am (as bars are wont to do) and for a few of us, we still weren't quite ready to call it a night. So after an unsuccessful attempt to find a bar to sell us carryout beer at 1:58am, we went back to the hotel to raid what was left from the pre-wedding party. We grabbed those two beers and the four of us still kicking it went to a friend's house who lived nearby.

After some shenanigans and finishing our 20th drink of the day, it was time for an uncomfortable nights sleep on the couch. Four hours later it was time to get back to the hotel before we had to checkout. We had spent 15 hours drinking the previous day and slept in our clothes, and anybody who looked at us could have guessed it. I know this is a fact because of the looks on the faces of the people in the hotel lobby as we walked through it.

It is of note that this was an 'extended stay' hotel with a tiny lobby. A single room, 15'x20' lined with chairs and for some inexplicable reason, filled with people at 10:30am on a Sunday morning. These were families - people showered and dressed who had agendas for the day. People going golfing or shopping who were probably waiting for the last of their party to come down stairs. People who stared with disgust and pity at the two sad souls who stumbled briefly through their lives that morning.

I don't mind these people silently judging me and I'm not ashamed of my behavior. I had a good time and really good times usually come with a price. Normally for me that's usually just the price of booze and a day on the couch with a hangover. This time it included a dozen or so disgusted glances and glares from those who don't consider drinking your face off to be an enjoyable way to spend an evening. They obviously don't know what they're missing.

Posted 10:10pm
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June 6th, 2006

What am I listening to?

Good question. Here's the answer in the form of four albums I've been looking for (for some time now) and finally found yesterday:

Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint - The River in Reverse - WARNING! If you have zero interest in Elvis Costello or New Orleans Jazz/R&B, move on. This album is not for you. However, if either raises your eyebrows, go out and pick this gem up. Elvis has made some interesting collaborations late in his career, and this is as good as any of them. Much like we needed Canadian Neil Young to put out a good protest album about America's war, we need Brit Elvis Costello to make a serious post-Katrina New Orleans album. OK, Allen Toussaint is a lifelong NO musician and composer, But who's name is first on the record I ask you? Who's name is first.

Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche - Not so much a new album as it is the second disc in 2 disc DVD special edition of Illinois. You know, the one with all the special features. The disc you watch once when you buy the DVD and then never again. This is like a really good 'special features' disc. Ever see Anchorman? The 'special features' disc had a second movie that the director cut out of the all the outtakes and B-story lines that didn't make the actual movie. The Avalanche is Wake Up! Ron Burgandy. Some new stuff, some alternate takes, some variations on themes. I'll pull it out and enjoy it now and again, but it'll never come near the repeated viewings/listens of the original.

Matt Pond PA - Several Arrows Later - I've been looking for this album ever since I first heard Matt Pond PA on the radio a few months back. Man I wish I would have tried harder. This is definitely the find of the season (last season's find was Ted Leo, for those keeping track at home). They'll draw comparisons to Death Cab and The Shins sure, but but if DCFC are the cute, sensitive ones and The Shins are the smart, sensitive ones, Matt Pond PA are the brooding, sensitive ones. You know, the ones most likely to pick a fight at the end of the night (as much of a fight as one can pick set to brilliant pop sensibilities). Check them out on MySpace if you don't believe me, or stop pussying around and get the album already.

Thom Yorke - The Eraser - Some might call this burying the lead. But honestly, this sounds exactly what I expected it to sound like. You can tell its first cousins (or maybe half-brothers) with Radiohead's last three albums. Its got all the cool little bleeps and bloops and Thom's heart-wrenching croon that we've all come to know and love. But I was half expecting this to be the Postal Service-type album of the summer. After a few listens, I don't see it happening. Don't get me wrong, its fucking great. You're going to love it. Just don't expect your friends who listen to top 40 radio to come up to you going 'I just heard this great album, have you ever heard of Thom Yorke?' This of course assumes you have friends that listen to top 40 who aren't dead to you.

Posted 2:20pm
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June 5th, 2006

Take me out to the ballgame

Blah blah blah America's past time, blah blah blah the beauty of a hit and run, blah blah blah I love baseball. I'll save you the rant about how great baseball is and how much I love it. Its about as much of a newsflash for the old bloggy blog as 'hey I went drinking!' or 'listen to this new indie rock band!' But for the first time in about 6 years, I took my son to a game.

Taking a four year old and a ten year old to a game are two very different experiences. The Buddha now 'gets' baseball. He actually understands some of the nuances of the game. He'll talk about scenarios as they're happening and note what the possibilities are, as well as what went right or wrong. Not that trying to placate a four year old at Wrigley wasn't fun too, but sitting back and enjoying a few beers while the Buddha runs out every inning and a half for peanuts/pizza/soft pretzel is more my idea of a day at the ballpark.

And not once did he complain (even when I lost my ATM card and had to borrow money from Stov to buy him a kosher dog) or ask to leave. That's probably because he knew there was no chance of that happening and I'm sure if you asked him if he had fun you'd get a response between 'not really' and 'I guess'. But I think that's just a pre-teen's default reaction. I know I had fun, and a lot of it was because he was there. Funny how it only took six years for the placation to be on the other foot.

Posted 7:25pm
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June 1st, 2006

I'm sorry for your loss...

We've all lost loved ones - its never easy. The worst part is watching someone fade away, clinging to life for weeks, months - until they take a final turn and things are eminent. Its certainly a test of one's character and can cause a self-examination that's more painful than the loss itself. That's why what happened last night is so painful.

I was at a friend's house for a little BBQ/Piston's last night when it happened. You're outside, its warm, you see a picnic table. You say 'Hey, why not sit down and relax?' You sit for a period of minutes, unaware of the damage done. After you get up, you feel a strange sensation. You're feet are sticking to the ground in several spots. You assume the awkward flamingo position to look at the bottom of your feet when you notice it - sap. Sticky brown sap. Still you don't know the extent of what's happened till minutes later, when after having a seat inside you decide to get up again. That's when you immediately realize the intensity of the situation. You feel your pants reluctant to get up from the couch with you, and you know before you go to the bathroom to check, that you've sat in sap.

You see, about ten years ago I was shopping at Kohls or some other discount clothing retailer and saw cargo shorts on sale. I decided I needed some short pants and bought two pair, one in beige and one in an olive green type color. Turned out to be easily the best value I've ever gotten out of any clothing, as I wear them a combined 45+ times a summer. And that's an estimate more conservative than Bill O'Reilly.

In the past year or so I've noticed quite a bit of wear in the greenies, especially in the cargo pocket area. Years of holding cell phones, cigarettes and the occasional alcohol container have caused some strain. I knew that the days of my two perfect pair of shorts were numbered, but I wasn't ready for them to go just yet.

Who knows, maybe my regimen of soaking/shout/scrubbing/and carpet cleaner will turn the tide and remove the sap. Maybe things won't be that noticeable and I'll still be able to wear them to cookouts and casual dress occasions. But I'm preparing myself for the inevitable - letting go. I may never find another set of shorts that are as utilitarian and comfortable as my current cargos, but I'll always have the memories we shared together.

Posted 9:10pm
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May 31st, 2006

How could you miss the sign?

I'm no good at picking up signs. Or maybe I am and I'm just giving too much weight to the wrong ones. Something's definitely a foot. Perhaps its just that women send out so many mixed signals that its impossible to wade through them all and come out with anything resembling the truth. And then again, maybe the truth is never black or white, but always a charcoal color that provides no real insight.

I once went out with a girl several times who, in my estimation, showed little interest in me beyond some level of friendship. I gave her my best stuff and we had fun, but come end of the night (so to speak), nothing. We 'hung out' once in a while over the next several months, and then on the eve of her moving out of the state, she professes her undying love for me, making me promise to marry her should I still be single in five years (to which I reluctantly agreed; don't worry, I was wasted - it'll never hold up in court.)

So I'm going through something kind of similar now - no real measured sexual tension when we're together, but always seemingly up for whatever when we email, reminding me to call her when I get the chance. Perhaps I have no closer. I used to know when to make a move on a girl, but in those days we'd both be drunk, which made things easy. Now I drive home late at night wondering where I went wrong, or what I could have done different, or how things went down hill so fast.

There's no big finish to this or anyone single question I'm looking to have answered. I have no idea what to make of the above, other than I was sure earlier in life that I'd have more of it figured out by now. Hopefully I'm just a normal dumb guy and not someone women find sexually non-threatening so like to hang out with yet that's where it ends. Because that would be tough to take even for someone as dulled by alcohol as myself.

Posted 4:58pm
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May 30th, 2006

Its not what you know...

I used to be into autoracing. I know, shhhhh. Don't tell anybody. Although, it was totally justifiable. I used to watch NASCAR so I could go to Michigan International Speedway once a year and get drunk. Between the ages of 15-17, this was a golden opportunity. There were boobs and drugs and all kinds of debauchery. Good times. And yeah, cars went around in a circle and we went woo-hoo. Don't judge.

Since I left NW Ohio, I could pretty much give a shit. I'm actually barely aware it exists unless I head back south for the weekend. Like this weekend, when there were not one but two (!) races going on Sunday. And it just so happens that one of the drivers in the greatest spectacle in racing (The Indy 500) hails from my hometown of Napoleon, Ohio.

My brief stint in NASCAR notwithstanding, I never cared about Indy cars or open wheeled racing in general. I knew Dave Lettermen was involved somehow, but that was about it. Until Sunday. It so happens that Sam Hornish Jr. frequents my brother-in-law's bowling alley. The BIL has been mentioned in several newspaper articles and even ESPN the Magazine, as Sam uses the River City Bowl-A-Way as a place to relax.

So the whole Brubaker clan felt like they had a personal stake in Sunday's race at the Brickyard. As Sam raced around the track for the final time, hard charging from second place, we were all on our feet (some of us may have been a little tipsy, I don't remember) screaming 'C'mon Sam!' All of the sudden I was an Indy car fan.

It was actually a great race, and I watched all 500 miles of it. It may have helped that someone I 'knew' won in dramatic fashion, but I actually enjoyed cars going in a circle for several hours. I'm sure being half drunk and hi-fiving my brothers, dad and the Buddha along the way may have helped.

Posted 9:30am
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May 25th, 2006

TiVo Alert

I've always suspected that a lot of the truly or even possibly great television shows never see the light of day. Stuff that's too quirky or idiosyncratic may get a pilot or a few episodes, but its not long before some middle age, middle management jackass comes and pulls the plug on anything that has a chance of appealing to anything other than the lowest common denominator.

But enough snobby, cynical ranting. Thanks to things like the internet and cable channels with more airtime than programming, tonight you can get a chance to see one of those euthanized before its time programs. The Jake Effect was a show from 2003 starring Jason Bateman that never saw the light of day. Thanks to brilliantbutcancelled.com and Bravo, that changes tonight. You can watch the pilot episode online and 6 episodes are on Bravo tonight from 8-11.

So check out the pilot (which also has Greg Grunberg from Felcity/Alias, Kyle Gass from Tenacious D and super hot Nikki Cox) and then set your TiVos for the mini-marathon. When you get home tonight from watching the Pistons take it to the Heat you can drunkenly enjoy another Jason Bateman show that deserved more of a chance than it got (RIP Arrested Development).

Posted 1:16pm

Your aging, irrelevant whore of the week

I never liked Madonna. I realize that this not a terribly controversial statement, but to me, she kind of peaked at "Borderline". Everything after that was just sadder and sadder. I don't hold a huge amount of disdain for people who's only talent is the ability to sell themselves, but when you're only way to do that is to scream 'Look at my pussy!' for 20+ years, I'm also not going to listen to an any arguments about the merits of your artistic contributions to anything. Which is why I find this funny:

Ladies and gentlemen, here we have Madonna on a cross. Are you shocked by this? Is this controversal? Is this a metaphor for her persecuted vagina? I think a 50 year old whore screaming 'I am still relevant' is both classy and understated, but most of all, hilarious. Can't wait to see what she's got in store for her 60's.

Posted 10:29am
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May 23rd, 2006

Countdown to 600: #600

Yes, for those of you that are sick of my little vanity side project countdown thing, we are at the end. That's right, #600 is Dire Straits Brothers in Arms.

Why, you may ask, Brothers in Arms? It certainly isn't very congruent with your indie rock sensibilities. Its basically known for that 'I want my MTV' song and the one that had the video with the sports bloopers, right? Yes, all true. But it was also the very first album I ever owned.

Christmas 1985 brought me and my brother Sony Walkmens, along with a copy of Van Halen's 1984 for him and Brothers in Arms for me (yes, I see the irony that it wasn't I that got the VH cassette). I basically played the first three songs on the first side over and over again. As a ten year old, I didn't have much use for Mark Knoepfler's ruminations on dictators or Scottish civil war. I knew he was a pretty good guitar player and that the riff in 'Money for Nothing' was pretty crunchy and awesome. And it had Sting in the background, so like, extra awesome. Listening to the album now, I see not much has changed in 20 years. Except for maybe that Sting was cooler in 1985. Damn him for making that car commercial.

So there it is. The circle is now complete. When I first got Brothers in Arms I was but the learner, now I am the master. But only a master of evil. Sorry. Sometimes the Star Wars quotes just spill out and I am powerless to stop them.

Posted 10:20am
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May 22nd, 2006

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Poor college kids do a lot of things out of necessity: drink bad beer, eat bad food, sleep with the unattractive. (OK, the last thing doesn't have much to do with being poor, but it fit the theme.) The best example of this (besides Natty Lite) is Ramen.

Staple of the college student's diet, ramen provides the perfect combination of a shit ton of calories at a pauper's price. It literally may be your only option for becoming full on less than $.50 (although Taco Bell's $.99 1/2lb Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito would argue that sometimes first class is only $.49 more).

But as long as we're being honest here, as great as ramen is, we all abandon it at our first opportunity. You'll see very few people over the age of 25 reaching down to the bottom shelf at the supermarket to pick up a bulk pack of ramen for $2.89. Because as efficient as ramen is, 'tasty' isn't one of the first 7 adjectives I'd use to describe it.

Personally, it's been almost ten year since I had ramen cross the palette. That was until last night. Somehow the Buddha has acquired a taste for the ramen (perhaps its an asian thing that I'm not privy to). So a while back I purchased some Maruchan Chicken Flavor Ramen at his request. Last night the chicken's came home to roost; as a late night snack, the Buddha ordered up some ramen.

Of course I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by to relive my misspent youth. I scooped out a few spoonfuls of noodles into a bowl and sat down and closed my eyes. I tried to imagine the smell of garbage coming from the kitchen. The feeling of a 12 pack of Natty Lite coursing through my veins. The sound of Mario Kart in the background. The feel of unwashed hardwood floors beneath my feet. The smile was still on my face as I shoved the first spoonful in - at which point it immediately disappeared.

There's a reason this stuff costs $.20 people. Its fairly god awful. I'm actually wondering about the Buddha right now. Who would choose to eat this? The pungent odor produced by the 'flavor packet' should have been my first clue. This is fuel for people who sleep from 4am to 10am and drink the rest of the day. Turns out that growing up has its privileges, and I'm putting not having to eat ramen at the top of the list. Anyone who wants to bad mouth Natty Lite however, we may have to tussle.

Posted 9:46am
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May 21st, 2006

Countdown to 600: #599

Discovering a new band is a beautiful thing - hearing a catchy tune on the radio, downloading buying the album, fingers crossed that it in anyway resembles what the single sounded like - its an exciting process. Sometimes it'll lead you to a new artist with an unbelievable back catalogue (hello Ted Leo) and sometimes that catchy single is the one shining bright spot on an otherwise dismal 40 minute slab of plastic (I'm looking at you, Lashes).

Of course sometimes there is the phenomenon of the one album wonder. Most famously this is known as the Violent Femmes Factor®. Sure, 'American Music' is a great song, but nothing they ever did came close to the magic that was omnipresent on their self titled debut. More recently, it was discovered that Snow Patrol had fallen prey to the Femmes Factor®. While 'Final Straw' was a transcendent pop masterpiece, the follow up 'Eyes Open' is a droning bore fest bespeckeled with a catchy number or two.

Unfortunately, #599 is a classic case of Femmes Factor®. The Walkmen's A Hundred Miles Off takes their endearing lo-fi persona and turns it into something to be held in the utmost disdain. Musically, its not nearly as catchy. Lyrically, its more teenage diary than aging drunken denouement. And I'm not taking into account the two punk/metal experiments towards the end of the album. I'm still trying to convince myself that those were some kind of joke gone awry.

So yeah, The Walkmen are all but off the watch list. The undulating guitar lines and boozy crooning went from inspired affect to overwrought gimmick in a heartbeat. Like so many before them, turns out they should have gone the burn out route instead of the fade away one. I guess we can hold out hope. I hear the new Pearl Jam album is a return from the brink of suckdom. In any case, we'll always have Bows + Arrows.

Posted 8:38pm
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May 19th, 2006

Countdown to 600: #598

I decided to go with a glaring omission here. Immersing oneself in indie rock is all well and good, but let us not forget where it was from whence we came. So to that end, #598 is AC/DC's 1976 classic, High Voltage.

This was AC/DC's debut album. A bunch of kids from Australia bursting on the scene with a vile vim and vigor; they oozed a dangerous sexuality that was as tantalizing as it was hard. This may be my favorite AC/DC album, which is why its so puzzling as to why I didn't have it in my iTunes until today.

Bottom line, if 'It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)' doesn't grab you in the crotch by the time Bon Scott yelps "Look out! Its rough and mean," you may be dead. I may wallow in the mire of emo and indie pop, but I still know that this is motherfucking rock and roll.

Posted 3:18pm
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May 18th, 2006

My life as a teenage girl

So I might as well come clean. If there's anyone left who doesn't know, I'm a sucker for teenage television melodrama. Dawson's Creek, Gilmore Girls, 90210, Felicity, Veronica Mars - you name it, I watch it. I'll spare you the argument that (some of) these shows feature the finest writing on TV, let's just all agree that in this matter I have the tastes of a pre-teen girl. I'm OK with, you're OK with it, let's move on.

Tonight on The O.C., past wrongs have been redeemed. Teenage melodramas often suffer from the curse of the bad 'B' story. Each week you have to suffer through some plot line involving the least interesting character on the show. This is known in some circles as 'Tori Spelling Syndrome'. The past year or two, Marrisa has been that character on The O.C. She's a major character who demands screen time, but the insufferable circle of her character arc is sometimes too much to bare. Tonight, creator Josh Schwartz returned to The O.C. and cleaned house old-fashioned style - he killed off Marrisa Cooper.

The O.C. has treacherous waters to tread next year. Everyone's going to be in college - and that has signaled the death kneel for many a teenage melodrama. By casting off the dead weight, let's hope Schwartz has found a way to save The O.C. to rage against the dying of the light. And while I'm here, Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' is a brilliant and devastating song, but at this point using it during a death sequence is a little cliché. It officially jumped the shark when they did it on The West Wing (and at least they used the Jeff Buckley version).

So while this about as sad as a blog post gets, thanks Josh Schwarz. Let's hope this isn't a case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face and instead the ship is righted. You know I'll be watching either way.

Posted 10:10pm

Countdown to 600: #597

Its well documented that I'm a huge Promise Ring homo. Their break-up in 2002 was devastating to me on a lot of levels. There was a quick promise of salvation however, as Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Davey von Bohlen immediately started to write and tour with his new band Maritime. Maritime's first album, Glass Floor, was fine. Like a junkie who hadn't had a taste in oh-so-long, I mainlined it and convinced myself that everything was going to be all right.

But on further inspection, Glass Floor was merely OK. Which is no crime against humanity, its just that I was hoping for a rebirth - Maritime rising like the Phoenix from the ashes of the Promise Ring. Instead it was kind of like propping up the dead corpse of TPR to perform a new TPR album. It kind of looked right and it sounded reasonable, but it was just somehow off.

But fear not late 90's emo recluses, Maritime has finally delivered on its unspoken promise to fulfill the void left by our beloved Promise Ring. We, the Vehicles is emo all grown up. Its so grown up that its shed the oft misunderstood moniker and become Indie Pop. The catchiest of melodies are delivered in bright, precise packages. Gone are droning, acoustical interludes that betray what von Bohlen has become.

While this ain't your father's Promise Ring, it is the natural extension of a musician's evolution. Maybe if I was 16 (instead of 26) when I started listening to The Promise Ring, I'd still see Maritime as a betrayal of what I loved and meant so much to me at a certain point in my life. As it stands, Maritime is the mature indie pop goodness that I crave. God help me if I ever say such a thing about anything that could be considered 'Easy Listening'.

Posted 1:50pm
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May 17th, 2006

Countdown to 600: #596

After languishing for what seems like years in the 500's, I'm finally about to hit 600 albums in my iTunes playlist. Now those of you who are naysayers may point out that this '600' includes audiobooks, EPs, homemade compilations and the like, but nevertheless, its 600 and I'm celebrating. OK, celebrating may be a tad strong, but I'm blogging about it.

So we'll be noting the last 5 albums in the tbaggervance 600, starting with #596: Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll. To be honest, a few months back I decided I hated Art Brut. My favorite radio station (Left of Center 26 on Sirius) was playing Art Brut's 'Moving to L.A.' on pretty heavy rotation and I was finding it cringe inducing. It was supposed to be snarky, clever and catchy. I found it none of these things. And the English accent was so over the top I wanted to smack somebody.

Then several weeks went by Art Brut-less. A quiet had fallen over the valley. Then without warning I started to see Art's name pop up here and there and before you knew it, I was humming 'Moving to L.A.' as I sat at my desk. Damn it. I guess being snarky and British is something I could like. Time to check out Art Brut.

Somewhere between Talking Heads, Devo, They Might Be Giants and Fred Schneider, Art Brut hang out making declarative statements. Whether as benign as 'My little brother just discovered rock and roll,' or as boisterous as 'We're gonna be the band that writes a song that makes Israel and Palestine get along,' Art Brut seems to exist to provide you with the stream of consciousness running through one man's head. And much like Shakespeare or The Hold Steady, it can take a while to immerse yourself in the style and see it as more than gimmick. Once you do though, it grabs you like the best of indie pop - smartly and with a slap in the crotch.

So that's it. 596 down, 4 to go. If you think you know of something that my collection is lacking and needs inclusion before I hit 600, let me know. If your suggestion makes it into the final four, you win a prize.*

*Offer subject to change without notice. Decisions of contest officials are final. Not valid in Tennessee (sorry Tennessee).

Posted 10:01am
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May 16th, 2006

Your Racial Slur of the Week

"I don't want to hug the tar baby" - Tony Snow, Republican, former Fox news host and all-around good guy during his first day as the new White House Press Secretary. And the hits just keep on comin'.

Posted 10:10pm

Smearing Da Vinci's good name

I have a visceral hatred for The Da Vinci Code. In brief, its way too poorly written and factually inaccurate to be a worldwide phenomenon. This is a tad ironic since it puts me on the same side as many in the relgious right, albeit for different reasons.

In any case, its led to a few arguments with those who have professed love for Dan Brown's 'opus'. I tell them its great that it got them interested in religion/reading/art or whatever, I just wish the imeptus had been something of actual quality. To me, finding passion in something written by a hack is a little like getting your religion from L. Ron Hubbard. Yes, I know I get my news from Jon Stewart; it will not keep me from throwing stones.

So it comes down to me getting into an argument because some people don't understand that I have an irrational insistance on quality. I feel like there are worse vices or compulsions or however you want to refer to it, but I come off as snobby and arrogant and that really irritates some people. I can see this pattern repeat itself in my life and I've come to accept it.

So anyway, I write about this now because I was perusing the internets the other day and saw a post that made me wonder if I don't hate The Da Vinci Code for a completely different reason. Fireflypaper, via The A.V. Club Blog over at The Onion, wrote:

Never read the book, won't see the movie. Why? Because it sounds like Dan Brown fell asleep while watching Hudson Hawk and woke up in the middle of Dogma.

At first I was pissed. Why hadn't I come up with that line? Its fucking brilliant and I own BOTH of those movies on DVD. Then I paused, what if my irrational love for Hudson Hawk coupled itself with my unnatural defense of Kevin Smith and subconciously produced my vile hatred for The Da Vinci Code? I stopped and thought - what if I was wrong? A nanosecond later I realized - nope. Dan Brown's a hack who stole and made up a bunch of shit and most importantly, couldn't write his way out of a paper fucking bag. Don't buy into it. So dark the con of Brown...

Posted 9:49am
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May 15th, 2006

Your Indie Rock Song Title of the Week

"Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby" by Islands, from their 2006 release Return to the Sea.

Posted 9:27pm

Weekend Update

- Drunk math: 2 guys + 12 vodka/sodas + 12 rum/cokes + tip = $100. That's a sad bar tab when nary a female was involved. But also kind of impressive (as long as you're not to the point in your life where drunks are just sad.)

- Watched the entire first season of 24 over about 36 hours this weekend. I know I'm way slow to jump on that bandwagon, but after watching it, let me say not that disappointed to be a late bloomer on this one. I mean don't get me wrong, its pretty good. But after hour 8 I wondered to myself "What does it say about a show when the one thing I'm NOT saying is unbelievable is the fact that they have a black president?" So I'm sure I'll go and watch subsequent seasons now, but for the record, Jack Bauer is no Sydney Bristow - and I'm not even taking halter tops into consideration here.

- I can't believe I'm telling you this, but Saturday I had Fleetwood. Sober. For those of you who may be unaware, the Fleetwood is a greasy diner in A2 where half way through your meal, you look down at your plate and play the game 'If you don't find the hair in your food, you've already eaten it.' But with that being said, it wasn't that bad. I did immediately go out and drink profusely afterwards, but don't read too much into that (obviously).

- Capped the weekend off Sunday night by watching The Constant Gardener. As far as taught political thrillers go, its pretty fucking good. Its not necessarily groundbreaking in any way, but it just does everything so well without seeming hackneyed or cliché (like, say, a giant turd such as Crash does). So if you're at all prone to watch a film like this, queue it up in Netflix and mentally prepare yourself for 2 hours of feeling like shit about the state of the world (but also totally redeemed by the beauty of it).

Posted 11:17am
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May 13th, 2006

King Dork

We don't talk much about the literature here on the old bloggy blog. Admittedly, I'm much more well versed in the arenas of music and cinema, but that doesn't mean I don't have a written word acumen worth noting. So in an effort to right the sins of the past, I bring to you the first great novel to receive the tbaggervance.com seal of approval: King Dork.

Written by Frank Portman (of the Mr. T Experience) King Dork follows Tom Henderson through the first semester of his sophomore year of high school. What follows is part mystery, part social satire, part rock and roll adventure and part evisceration of those of us who belong to the cult of The Catcher in the Rye. If you're familiar with high school alienation, starting a rock band, burgeoning sexual experiences or wondering about the mysteries that make up your parents, this book is for you.

It may sound like typical coming-of-age stuff, and it is, but its the best of its breed. Besides, if you can justify Harry Potter, you can justify this. Start by checking out all the great shit Amazon.com has to say, and then find yourself a copy. You'll be a better person for it.

Posted 11:10am
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May 11th, 2006

The circle is now complete

Ann Arbor has more resteraunts per capita than any other place in America. Or so people like to say. I can't imagine its true. Or if it is true, only by some loop hole technical bullshit. Don't get me wrong, A2 has a shit ton of places to eat. It just strikes me as one of those local pride type things to say.

And soon, it will have the perfect place to eat. Reports are in that A2 is getting its very own Chipotle. And wait, it gets better. It will be ... wait for it ... 1.3 miles from my house. I discovered Chipotle during the great St. Patty's Day Bar Crawl of 2001 and I've been in love ever since. Burrito places have sprung up in droves lately, but none can quite dethrone the King. I mean come on, Chipotle serves beer.

So rejoice Ann Arborites! You no longer have to travel to Ohio or Chicago to get the tastiest burritos known to man. That knowledge, along with the opening of IKEA in Canton, should make your existence here in SE Michigan all but complete.

Posted 11:10am
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May 9th, 2006

Shriveled testicles

I love baseball. I've often mused about how guys around my age are likely the last true American baseball generation. Sure, there are always going to be fans, but take a survey of those 30ish vs those 20ish and see who has more current baseball knowledge. We grew up with this shit. It wasn't really an option. Sure you're Dad watched football on Saturdays and Sundays in the fall and the NBA became acceptable to a degree with Magic, Larry and Michael - but nothing had the permeation that baseball did. Baseball was summer. On the radio, on TV, at the ballpark - you couldn't go 24 hours without some baseball related run-in.

So I still love baseball, which is why I find these so funny (from the blog Pulp Culture):

Like no other sport, baseball is fueled by statistics. And the fact that world's biggest asshole Barry Bonds is getting this kind of treatment across the country gives me the satisfaction of a post-coitus cigarette. I would love it if he got so fed up that he held a press conference where through a stream of tears, he pulled down his pants to reveal his tiny, shriveled, steroid ravaged testicles and pleaded with everyone 'Haven't I suffered enough?'

Posted 3:20pm
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May 8th, 2006

Good heavens Ms. Kensington, you're beautiful!

Saturday was my third turn as coach for the Buddha's Science Olympiad teams. Specifically, I was coaching Pentathlon and Science Jeopardy. I'll spare the descriptions of said events (I'm sure you're struggling with what Science Jeopardy could possibly be) but out of four Pentathlon teams, we managed 2 seconds and a first. The jeopardy didn't fare quit as well, but it was a exhausting fun day regardless. The kids worked hard the last four months and I had a blast with them. Here's me along with the fifth grade team:

I get what compels people to coach/teach. There's real pride and enjoyment in watching kids progress and succeed. How anyone manages to do it day in and day out with elementary school kids who have short attention spans and are prone to slap/tickle is beyond me.

Posted 1:54pm
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May 4th, 2006

Word association

I'm starting to get into Guillemots (check 'em out on - say it with me - on MySpace). My problem is that every time I hear them, or especially when I see their name, I can't help but think of Guillermo Mota. I don't care that his ERA is currently above 4, I don't have a clue how to pronounce Guillemots, so I'm thinking its some kind of shorthand for Guillermo Mota. I don't know why a band from England would name their band after a career middle relief pitcher from the Dominican Republic, but what other logical explanation is there?

Posted 9:48pm
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I'll bet you have...

So I hate to mention this in the wake of yesterdays nerd fest, but its too important to me not to. After years of griping from nerds and fan boys everywhere, George Lucas is finally releasing the original trilogy on DVD. If that makes no sense to you, congrats. You can't possibly be much of a geek, nerd or social pariah. However, to those of us of a certain age and temperament, its akin to the holy grail. No longer having to live under the heavy yoke of 'Special Editions', we can frolic in what made us this way in first place. Perhaps most importantly, my childhood hero will have his dignity restored and Greedo won't shoot first.

Posted 9:40pm
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May 3rd, 2006

Wave of Mutilation

Ah the wonders of MySpace. Would I ever have been able to find this guy's celebrity covers of Pixies songs? You've wondered for too long what "Monkey Gone to Heaven' would have sounded like would Frank Sinatra have applied his signature croon to it. Well I say wonder no more. I guess its not very exciting if you aren't a Pixies fan, but who wants to admit to that?

Posted 3:00pm
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Nerd alert

The internet seems to have nerd fever. OK, that may be redundant. Or at least nothing to be alarmed at, since there's always something nerdy afoot in cyberspace. But right now there's not one, not two, but three giant nerd bombs dropping on the web, all to do with this summer's movie slate. Let's head to the trailer park...

- First up is the trailer for Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. I've never been a Superman fan per say, but I loved Singer's X-men movies, and who isn't excited about seeing Kevin Spacey chew up every scene as Lex Luther? This got me actually excited to see the movie, so mission accomplished.

- Next its a first glimpse of Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale. Here's the important thing to remember - Craig will be fine, its the director that'll make or break a Bond movie. Remember Goldeneye? For my money, the best non-Connery Bond flick. Remember the last Bond movie? It sucked. Because it was directed by a guy who until that point, was known for directing video games. Pierce was great in both, but he couldn't save a film where Bond surfs. Twice. Now Casino Royale? Directed by the same guy that did Goldeneye. Excited yet? Watch the trailer, you will be.

- Finally a little cut scene from X-men: The Last Stand. Remember how I was just saying a director can make or break a Bond film? Sadly, X3 is directed by uber-turd Brett Ratner. Will he ruin a great franchise, or has Singer set it up well enough that things will be fine one more time? The cut scene does contain a Sentinel and the fastball special, which is enough to give any comics nerd instant wood.

Posted 11:17am
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May 2nd, 2006

Line jumping is cause for removal from the park

As someone with quite a bit of bar going experience on my resume, I'm quite familiar with standing in line to get in the bar. Its often a fact of life if you want to spend time in the coolest places - or the one's with the cheapest drinks. Well I'm here to state, for the record, that I'm officially over it.

Last night, after a few rounds of beers and trivia at Connors, we decide to head over to Circus for karaoke and $.55 PBRs. Now you can imagine the crowd that such a special could bring in a college town, but its never been a problem. Until last night. We get to the bar - at midnight - on a Monday - and there's a line. Now I've never been one for lines period and I had to have my arm twisted to come in the first place, but its only about 5 people deep, so we figure 5 minutes is worth the wait.

10 minutes later a literal posse of people comes up, stands right in front of us and demands to immediately be let in. Some bullshit about knowing the owner. I can feel the pressure in my head building, it getting ready to explode. Some words are exchanged about how we've been waiting and that there's no way they're getting in before we do. I'm trying to remain calm and wonder to myself, when's the last time you were pissed off enough that you didn't even want to go to the bar anymore?

Unfortunately, the story has a fizzle ending. They let us in before the fabulously gay 'I know the owner' posse. Markie C turns to me once inside and says 'If they would have let those fuckers in first, I would have never come here again.' I quickly concur and I immediately feel old. But for once, kind of in a good way. I never had much tolerance for that kind of bullshit; now I'm old enough to not have to deal with it. There's other bars, and paying $2 instead of $.55 for a beer isn't going to break me anymore. And when I know the owner/bartender/door guy, I'll get let in the back Swingers style and avoid the ruckus.

Posted 11:30am
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May 1st, 2006

In search of Truthiness

You may notice that I moved the last few months into the archives. If you're dying to read that post about scientology from last March, its still there. Just click on the link over there on the right.

Normally I spend a good chunk of my weekend glued to whatever is on C-SPAN. But what with the draft and all the booze and rock and roll this weekend I completely missed the one thing C-SPAN has every year that's actually worth watching. The Annual White House Corespondents dinner is one of the few times you can find Washington politicos laughing at themselves. Usually they hire a comedian who's from the same side of the fence as the administration to come and jab them a little bit. This year they tapped Stephen Colbert to bring his special brand of truthiness to the dais. And truthiness was brought. Stephen is fond of mentioning his balls on his nightly show The Colbert Report. Watch this, and you'll never doubt him again.

Posted 10:10am
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April 28th, 2006

Its Friday and the air's just right for drinking

Sometimes I hate Fridays. When its 10 in the morning, I'm hungover and I know that the sweet release of happy hour is still 7 hours away, I sometimes want to cry. Yet somehow I muddle through. Perchance its the knowledge that come 5 I'll be surrounded by booze and friends and music and all will be right with the world. Here's some more stuff to help you muddle through the day...

- Bishop Allen will rock you face. In fact they'll rock it 12 times this year. They're in the midst of putting out an EP a month for an entire year. Check em out on - say it with me everybody - MySpace. Be sure to listen to Middle Management.

- Here's what Blender considers to be the 50 Worst Things to Happen to Music. Its interesting fodder. Even I doubt Van Halen needs to be mentioned 4 times though. And I don't care what shit it inspired, Sgt. Pepper's and worst shouldn't even be in the same sentence (ain't no fuckin' ballpark neither). On the bright side, they make fun of Scott Stapp, a fav pastime of mine.

- Neil Young has a new album called Living With War. And oh happy day, he's streaming the whole thing on his website. He's calling it a Metal Folk Protest(?) I'll listen to anything Neil has to say. Doubly so when he's chiding the President.

- I'm headed out tonight to see The Hard Lessons, which is probably way cooler than whatever you're doing (unless you're on your way to Coachella), so get jealous. Listen to 'em on - say it with me - MySpace. Although THL really need to be experienced. Let's all hope that's the most pretentious thing I say today.

- Speaking of Coachella, they're live webcasting from there this weekend. I recommend leaving the house and actually doing something, but it might make a good soundtrack if you're just laying on the couch watching the NFL Draft.

Posted 10:20am
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April 27th, 2006

Deja vu all over again

Last night I got home from the gym (that's right, I go to the gym now) and decided to jump in the shower just in case the bar called later in the evening and had some emergency I needed to attend to. As I am wont to do when I jump in the shower, I pick an album from the ol' iTunes and blare it so I can rock out whilst I get sudsy. I know, enough with the frightening imagery. Anyway, For reasons unknown last night I picked Big Red Letter Day by Buffalo Tom. While this is a classic college era album, its not one I listen to with any frequency anymore.

Which is why I was startled today, at 3:35pm, to hear the first song off Big Red Letter Day being played on my Sirius radio. Let's be honest, its not like Big Red Letter Day was Thriller, and it came out over ten years ago. What are the chances of hearing 'Soda Jerk' twice in 24 hours from independent sources? I'll put myself out on the proverbial limb and say low. I realize this may be a trivial and boring thing to write about, but I got nothing else right now.

But speaking of bad segues, here's a pretty funny essay about them, courtesy of McSweeney's.

Posted 3:40pm
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April 25th, 2006

Let's talk about sex ba-by

Parenting is tricky. When do you tell your kids about this or that, how much freedom do you afford them, how much protection do you provide them? Any honest parent will tell you its a crap shoot. You use what you like or what you think worked about the way you were raised, try to do a little better and then wing the rest. Consult friends and books sure, but at the end of the day you're on your own and let me tell you, its a miracle that every parent doesn't go insane worrying about what they're doing right or wrong.

I could write about this until I'm blue in the face, but I'll try and be brief. My basic rule of thumb for the last 10 (ouch) years has been to always talk to the Buddha like he's an adult and treat him like one whenever possible (big ups to his mom for always backing me up on that). When that doesn't work, you get simpler and simpler until it does, but you start from a position that you're dealing with another human being. Its way more complicated than that obviously (the other big conceit is that if you're not afraid of your father on some level, you're probably a horrible person), but for our story here, that's enough exposition.

Except to say that I've stated openly and publicly for the last several years that there are two rules in my house: You never drink and drive or get in a vehicle with anyone who has AND you always wear a condom. The reason that these are rules are hopefully obvious; why they are the only two is a discussion for another time when we have more space (though some would concede that its a fairly obvious reason too).

So tonight the Buddha and I are watching the show House, M.D., and as is the story every week, a patient is revealed to be difficult to treat because he or she was lying to House. This week it happened to be that a 15 year old couldn't be effectively treated because he lied about not having sex. So the Buddha observes and wonders "Why would somebody lie about something like that?" To which I replied "Some people are really uptight sex <<pause>> Would you tell me if you were having sex when you were 15?" It was kind of a rhetorical question. Not meant to be a test on any level. But the Buddha, without missing a beat or acting like anything about my question was unnatural, replied "Yeah."

Now I dream of a day when my son is a young adult and actually talks to me about those things that are normally fraught with tension for a son and father to discuss. I'm not delusional enough to hold my breath waiting for it to happen, but tonight's transaction did give me hope. Were I ten and heard either of my parents say the word sex, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have been able to look either in the eye for a week. I'm also pessimistically sure that in five years I'll be throwing the Buddha's statement back in his face (because you know I've got tonight catalogued), but at least we made it this far with some kind of open dialogue. Here's to the Buddha for once again making me look and feel like a parenting genius.

Posted 10:40pm
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April 23rd, 2006

O! Cananada...

There's certain things you do out of necessity when you're young that you usually give up when they loose their necessity-ness. Riding bikes, while still a hobby or form of exercise for some adults, is something most of us lose interest in once we have a drivers license. For those that come of age in SE Michigan, Windsor, Ontario is one of those things. Right across the river from Detroit, Windsor has historically offered two things that this side of the border couldn't: gambling and underage drinking.

Cananada's legal drinking age is 19, so much of Windsor's economy has always been based on 19 and 20 year olds from the States making the short drive through the tunnel to cross the border and get smashed. And now that Detroit has legalized gambling, Windsor trades almost exclusively on young drunk assholes and provides almost no reason for anyone of legal drinking age to visit the depressed socioeconomic community of our neighbors to the North.

So why was I wandering up and down Windsor's infamous Ouellette Avenue Saturday night? The short answer is that I was celebrating a friend's 30th birthday. The answer to the follow up question of why he picked to go there is beyond me. I can tell you this - I had the kind of fun you imagine when you think of partying in another country and I'd be shocked if I ever set foot in that town again. Nothing against Canadians or 19 year olds per say, its just a right of passage that I've already undertaken. Truth is, we could of done everything we did in Windsor last night right here in the good ol' US of A (almost - Cananada does have looser strip club regulations. God bless 'em). And we could have done it without changing currency and dealing with border security and fighting 19 year olds to get a round of $2 well drinks.

So thanks Cananada. Its been a fun ride. I'll always cherish our times together and when I tell some drunken story about boozing it up on your well-trod streets, I'll think of you and smile. But its time for me to grow up and move on. America has its own casinos to get sanded at and scrippers to shake their junk for me And most importantly, all this booze isn't gonna drink itself.

Posted 6:22pm
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April 19th, 2006

You can't swim in a town this shallow...

Last night brought the ultimate in double bills - Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand. A few observations:

- You can tell how drunk a musician is by how many times he steps up to the mic to sing backing vocals, and then walks away without actually singing. FF's bass player was very drunk. And he looks like a bloated, drunk Michael Vartan.

- I might be getting to old for all ages shows. I can laugh off the insipid conversations of little kids who have school the next day, but some of them just don't seem to get rock show etiquette. As long as I don't come and stand right in front of you, its not the end of the world if you have to shift your weight for me to get by. Us old drunks need to go to the bar 4 times a set. On the other hand, they are easy to push out of the way and intimidate, which I have no problem with.

- The lead singer of Franz Ferdinand was standing right outside the theater as we left. Only about 10 people seemed to even notice (or they all had to bolt to make curfew, either way)

- Death Cab is phenomenal live. They played a wide selection of old stuff last night, including the two songs I hadn't seen them play live that I was dying to hear ('Why You'd Want to Live Here' and 'We Looked Like Giants') They generally rocked the shit and made me love them all the more. My mancrush on Ben Gibbard was solidified.

- The marquee from last night is, of course, in the marquee section.

Posted 10:34am
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April 13th, 2006

Fool me twice, shame on me

Let me be real honest with you for a minute. The last presidential election nearly killed me. Never before was I so sure I was on the right side of things yet ended up a loser. And now that everything I kicked and screamed about is coming true, I have no energy to kick and scream that I told you so. I'm such a beaten man that I have trouble getting in anyone's face anymore. The truth is that Bush is an idiot. Unless you're a billionaire or REALLY Christian, you can't be happy with the way things have gone. The other part of the equation is that Kerry is/was a turd. I tried really hard to like the guy, but he just didn't have it. So I was stuck with the anti-Bush vote, that despite all conceivable logic, didn't pan out.

One of my conservative buddies said to me after voting for Bush the second time 'I bought the insurance plan (McCain in 2008)'. I made some joke about only if Bush doesn't bring the rapture between now and then. But honestly, I like John McCain. Or I did. I'm not sure yet. I would've voted for McCain over Gore in 2000, because Gore was a turd too (although he's actually been intriguing since then, and I think he generally gets a harder rap than he deserves). But lately McCain is waaaaay too buddy-buddy with evil Republicans. I try not to worry. I read stuff like this to try and assuage my fears. But I think about Bush in 2000 and what he said he was going to be versus what he became and I wonder, how on Earth can I go out and trust a Republican? I really hope that McCain reverts to what he was in the 90's after he sows up the nomination and that the Dems find someone other than Hillary to run, because then we could finally have a debate that isn't necessarily about the lesser of two evils. Wouldn't that be something?

Posted 10:00am
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April 10th, 2006

Always a bridesmaid...

Another one of my high school friends got married Saturday. It was apparent during the evening's festivities how old we are getting. Instead of people passing out, throwing up and hooking up (like the weddings of five years ago), the night was dominated by screaming rambunctious kids between the ages of one week and five years. We always used to wait for the grandparents and teetotalers to leave the reception so we could party without embarrassing ourselves too much. Saturday I longed for everyone under four feet to go to bed so I could stop worrying about getting drunk and stepping on them.

There was also the painful reminder that the number of us that remain single is rapidly diminishing. I said to someone, 'Its getting to be a foot race to see who's the last of us to get married,' to which they replied 'I guarantee you that three of us will be on our second marriage before you are on your first.' Oh, how everyone laughed. But honestly, I don't think he meant it as an insult. This is someone who's known me for 25 years telling me, "who are you kidding, you're not the marryin' kind." And it was very nice not to have to sit there and try to come up with some bullshit to the age old query of 'When are you going to settle down?'

Posted 9:41am
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April 7th, 2006

Your Indie Rock Weekend

Yesterday I saw the 138th story about how MySpace is ruining the youth of America. Depending on what kind of alarmist you are, its either ruining their communication skills, making them prey for sexual predators, or just eating up time that they could be out, I don't know, huffing glue and finger banging. So to do my part to rail against the MySpace backlash, I offer you these tasty indie rock morsels to help kick off your weekend:

- The Thermals - The song you want here is the one that loads up, 'How We Know'. Its angry poppy indie rock at its finest. It'd be great if you had MySpace in your car, because this would be a great song to listen to as you left work at five and drove to the bar.

- The Plastic Constellations - When this page loads up, immediately go to the MySpace standalone player and click 'Sancho Panza'. Love this guitar riff. Its like indie pop Helmet (which is a very good thing).

- Nomo - Saw these guys at this year's Hamtramck Blowout and I haven't been able to get 'Nu Tones' out of my head since. As it was said when I heard it the first time, its 'electro/afrobeat/pop/bebop'. I still think that pretty much sums it up.

- Tapes 'n' Tapes - 'Just Drums' inspires foot tapping and desk chair dancing like few songs in the history of man. While that may or may not be hyperbole, my job is to make you want to listen to this stuff, so hopefully I've accomplished that.

Posted 10:37am
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April 5th, 2006

My head is burninating

- You ever get a headache for apparently no reason in the middle of the day and think 'Damn, I should of gone out and got drunk last night.'? I mean if you're going to feel like shit, you might as well make it worth it. I remember reading somewhere (I think it was in a forwarded email about drinking) about how one should relish hangovers - they're a reminder/price that you must have had a good time. If you could go out and drink and party without consequence, well then every dumbass would be out there doing it.

- More people read the blog last month than the month before. I'd pretend to make a speech about how we're building a grassroots thing here, but I'm honestly shocked that anyone reads this, much less 122 successful requests a day. (I have no idea what that means, but I'm not delusional enough to think 122 distinct people are checking this thing out daily).

- There's a bevy (that's right, I said bevy) of acoustical goodness over at Barsuk records. Some of their finest acts (including Ben Gibbard of Death Cab and Matt Caws of Nada Surf) recorded a bunch of stuff in April 2005 for a songwriters show. You can now hear what went down here.

Posted 3:50pm
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April 4th, 2006

The 'King Shit of Fuck Mountain' Award

We don't give out the 'King Shit of Fuck Mountain' award often around here. Its reserved for those who have elevated their game over time AND have several irons in the fire at the same time. The last recipient was Ben Gibbard, who after years with Death Cab for Cutie, found himself 'King Shit of Fuck Mountain' when everyone was catching on to the Postal Service, Transatlanticism came out and he got name checked on The OC more than Klosterman.

Its time for a new King, and his name is Dangermouse. First he illegally mashed Jay Z's Black Album with the Beatles White Album, creating the internet sensation, The Grey Album. Next he teamed with MF Doom for The Mouse and the Mask, an album based on and featuring Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup. Then on the heels of that, he releases his latest collaboration (this time with Cee-lo), Gnarls Barkley. I dare you to go to MySpace and try to deny 'Crazy'. Can't be done. So get out there and start gobbling up his work, I've only touched the surface. Hail to the King baby.

Posted 3:50pm
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April 3rd, 2006

No beer is worth $9

I was frightened and disappointed when I heard the were making an American version of the BBC show The Office. Turns out, its now officially the funniest show on TV. Why aren't you watching it? For those of you are already in love with the characters, be sure to check out their 'More you know...' segments on NBC.com. They're absolutely hilarious - because $9 is way too much to pay for a beer, just walk away.

Posted 11:59am
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March 31st, 2006

Pay that man his money

Its time for another installment of 'Tales from Sin City'. Those looking for strippers, drugs and illicit behavior will be disappointed. Those looking for proof that I'm a degenerate - seriously, you need more proof?

So its my last day in Vegas. I'm hours away from getting on the Saturday red eye and things haven't gone well. I'm down a few hundred for the trip, but not overly depressed about it. Its Vegas, these things happen. So we're hanging out downtown and we decide to hit an old favorite - The Golden Gate. Its a tiny little casino that caters to low rollers like ourselves. We spot a Texas shootout table with three open spots, so Stov, Kane and I decide to sit down. Twenty minutes later I'm outa hundred bucks. Kane bows out shortly after and we both look at each other in that 'Now what?' fashion that you see about every ten seconds in Sin City. I suggest the magic of nickel video poker. We sit down and I begin to roll. Kane burns through his five bucks and now he's watching me play nickel video poker. We agree that if I get up to $10 (twice my investment) I should cash out. Fifteen minutes and 50 hands later, I hit the magic number and promptly cash out. Now the GG hasn't quite upgraded to 'ticket in, ticket out', so I'm stuck lugging 200 nickels to the cashier.

After I cash out, Kane and I are again stuck staring at each other with nothing to do. He says 'Wheel of Fortune?' I say giddy up. So we sit down at the quarter Wheel of Fortune slots and I again begin to roll. Five minutes in I'm spinning the giant bonus wheel, dancing around the casino like an idiot. Again, Kane burns through five bucks and is stuck watching me spin the retarded wheel. I'm up another five bucks and I cash out again, talking about how I'm ruining this joint's profit margin for the day (conveniently forgetting the hundo I dropped at the start of this fiasco). So Kane and I decide to find the other guys in our party and exit the Double G. On our way out, a nice lady hands us fortune cookies from a giant basket. Not being ones to look gift horses in their mouths, we accept and open our cookies as we walk down Fremont Street. I read my fortune and the hair on my arm stands up. 'Kane, my fortune says I won a free beer at the Golden Gate!' 'Mine says 'One free well drink'!' he responds. And just like that, we're back the Double G.

After five minutes of waving down the crotchety old bartender, we have our free drinks. And when I say free, I mean we didn't even tip the guy. Normally this is something I wouldn't even consider doing, but the dude was extra crotchety. So we start to re-leave the GG and Kane looks at his glass and says "I don't want to leave with this" I say OK and we stop right inside the GG's doors. That's when I notice the penny Star Wars slot machines. Rather than stand around with my thumb up my ass, I stick a dollar bill in the Star Wars slots and spin the wheels.

Wouldn't ya know it, I hit the jackpot. I won $1. That's twice my initial investment people. Kane and I begin to laugh uncontrollably. He says "You know you have to cash out." I'm practically peeing my pants at the thought of heading back to the cashier a third time, this time with 200 pennies. So of course I hit the cashout. That's when this happens:

That's right: Hand pay required. Call Attendant. Kane and I are on the floor. Soon after a much annoyed cashier and a guy writing a receipt visit me and pay me my two dollars. I leave the GG, head held high - wondering how these places stay in business.

Posted 10:50am
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March 30th, 2006

Today's sign of the apocalypse

Ah Time-Life. Two formerly respected magazines now best known for selling you shit you don't need in convenient infomercial form. Even by the time I was a wee lad, I think I associated the brand with Judy the Time-Life operator more than anything else. Who can forget those countless commercials for books about Vietnam from the Time-Life Collection? How about giant crappy music collections endorsed by Casey Kasem? How about old episodes of Hee-Haw on DVD?

That's right, its gone from bad to worse to down right awful at Time-Life, as their best selling DVD collection of 2005 is Hee-Haw. You heard me. Hee-Haw. A celebration of ignorance and shoelessness. (By the way, are you as surprised as me that Hee-Haw ran all the way to 1992?) I'm sure at their corporate offices they have a giant picture of Minnie Pearl right next to JFK jr saluting his father's coffin.

Posted 11:20am
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March 29th, 2006

Headline of the day

A friend last night was describing getting drunk and falling down and waking up the next morning bruised and bloody. She said 'I felt like Tyler when I woke up.' Ha ha. Everyone laughed. Glad people still remember my exploits. I have to say though, it wasn't nearly as funny as this is:

Bonus points for double entendre of 'Big Unit'. Bet he never thought that would come back to bite him on the ass. Also I'd like to take this opportunity to state my preference for the entendre singular. Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time.

Posted 4:06pm
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March 27th, 2006

Look before you're leapt upon

Friday night brought another round of friends turning 30. As you can guess, hijinks ensued. I'll spare those involved in some of the nights more questionable events any embarrassment here. Except to say, a group of drunks hates the guy who breaks up a cat fight. Can't say I blame 'em, but c'mon guys, I shouldn't take abuse for doing the right thing.

Then there was dinner Saturday at the Mongolian BBQ. I'm returning from the bathroom to my table when I come upon a bottleneck and I feel someone hot boxing me from behind. I hear 'I want a piggy back ride, ready?' Without turning around I say 'hop on' and brace for impact. I immediately realize I could have made a huge mistake. I have no idea how much this girl weighs, and I could have easily blown a knee trying to be cute. But I was lucky and could handle the load. She asks where we're going, I say its your dime. We move a way through the restaurant and she says here's good and thanks me. I say 'Anytime' and move on without ever looking back. By the time I get back to the table, everyone's giggling. I recount the details and then ask if my passenger was cute. Stov says 'yeah' and I leave it at that, for the moment. As we pay the bill, curiosity gets the best of me and ask Stov to point her out. 'You don't want to know' he tells me. I tell him it doesn't matter. He says 'Over there, the one that looks like ugly aMANda Peat.' Turns out he was right, I would've been better off not knowing. I guess it could've been worse - it could've been a dude instead of a girl that looked like one.

Posted 8:06pm
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March 24th, 2006

They're always after me lucky charms...

I don't know why, but I saw this and immediately thought of Barlow. Not necessarily because he reminds me of anyone in the video, I just imagine him laughing his ass off to this. Especially the 'amateur sketch'. Barlow, this is for you. If you don't know Barlow, its still funny - and still watch for the 'amateur sketch'. I can barely type right now I'm laughing so hard. "It look like a leprechaun to me!"

Posted 1:39pm
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I'll take 'The Penis Mightier' for $200

Next week provides not one but two opportunities for you to show off the amount of useless knowledge you have tucked away in that noggin of yours.

- Jeopardy! is taking online applications for the first time ever.

- VH1 is hosting the World Series of Pop Culture Bullshit, or some similarly titled game which I would totally dominate but won't be picked for. Fascist bastards.

So bone up kids. Any one wanting practice can contact me and I'll make quick work of you in a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Posted 10:04am
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March 23rd, 2006

Where have I heard that before?

If you glance to your right you will see the terribly awful band Nickelback. If you don't remember, they sang the milquetoast song 'How You Remind Me' a few years back. If you don't remember what it sounded like, we'll get to that in a minute, but again, glance to the right and imagine what a band that looks like that would sound like. Are you there? I have a feeling you're right on the money.

Anyway, it seems that Nickelback is fearing that they will forever be remembered as a terrible Canadian one hit wonder, and honestly, they'd like to have a long spanning terrible career, a la Bryan Adams or Celine Dion. In service of that they've tried to recreate the sound that captivated us all in 2001. Literally. thewebshite.com shows you just how literally. Its the creepiest thing since The Wizard of OZ/Dark Side of the Moon thing.

Posted 11:40am
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March 22nd, 2006

Hello Goodbye There Children

Set your TiVo's kids. South Park returns tonight with a vengeance. It was all over the internets last week that Isaac Hayes had quit the show due to moral and religious obligations. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone noted that it wasn't until they attacked Haye's religion of Scientology that he got pissed and walked out in a huff. Then there's the fact that a scheduled re-run of the hilarious South Park episode skewering Scientology was pulled last week at the last minute. Its rumored that Tom 'Xenu' Cruise used his clout to get it pulled (Cruise denies it). Well according to this story, Trey and Matt have vowed to pile on. I can only imagine what that will entail. Whatever it is, you'll want to be there to see it. And am I the only one who is wowed by the fact that South Park is 10? Sweet Jesus.

Posted 3:20pm
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More of this and that...

- The NYTimes has a brilliant article on current film animators and why they feel the need for the characters in their films to have diarrhea of the mouth. Have these people never seen a Chuck Jones cartoon? I think any film that's marketed to the public at large has a fear of silence on screen, but its a really powerful tool that these guys are ignoring.

- Death Cab for Cutie were on the Dermot O'Leary show last Saturday. You're can hear the stream here.

- While I wasn't a big winner in Vegas, I was upon my return. I listen to a podcast called Cinecast, and every week they recreate a scene of dialogue from a movie. If you can figure out what movie its from, you send in your answer and one person gets their name drawn out of a hat for a free DVD. Anyway, I've been sending in the right answer for about a month now and I finally won for knowing an obscure bit of dialogue from Leaving Las Vegas. Click here to listen to Cinecast #87. You can hear them butcher my name about 36 minutes into the show (How do you mispronounce Brubaker? I'm hoping it was a joke) I'm still deciding on what DVD to get. Right now I'm leaning towards either The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Good Night and Good Luck.

- Todays sign that I'm getting old: I don't understand the internet's obsession with Chuck Norris (even though I did laugh at this site a couple times)

Posted 10:20am
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March 21st, 2006

Tuesday morning quick hits

- The new Flaming Lips album, At War with the Mystics, is streaming online here. You've gotta do a bullshit registration thing, but c'mon, its new Lips - so you know, like, totally worth it. I think Wayne has finally gone off the deep end. Judge for yourself. Its a beautiful, wonderful thing.

- Time to play 'What's more disappointing?' Is it...
A. The fact that the lovely Audrey Tautou will be criminally underused and marginalized in Das Da Vinci Code.
OR

B. The fact that Tom Cruise will defeat Phillip Seymour Hoffman in MI:3, even though the audience will be rooting for Hoffman?

- NBC's The Office is coming out with some webisodes centered around the freaks in accounting. Something about that profession that harbors the neurotic.

- I hate emoticons. In general, I think they're stupid and juvenile and they make feel like an old curmudgeon for thinking so. Same goes for shit like g2g and l8r. And while I'm up here on the soap box, 95% of TLA's can go too (except for LMK, which I include in about 80% of my emails). All that being said, I'll be waiting for one of these to become standard, because I have much need to e-kick people in the e-balls.

Posted 10:20am
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March 19th, 2006

Excuse me but I have yet to receive a blackjack

There's so many things I'd love to say about the Vegas vacation. But I live by the ad campaign - 'What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.' Sure, there's plenty of amusing things I could regale you with - Mini Bono/Mini Kiss, HonkyTonks, $2 payouts paid by attendants - but these are things best left in Sin City. I will tell you that whatever you imagine 12 guys from Snapoleon are like in Vegas, you're probably pretty close. I got my cock pretty well sanded, but it was worth it. Thanks Vegas, see ya next year.

Posted 11:05pm
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March 14th, 2006

Bright light city gonna set my soul on fire

Vegas, you're such a fickle mistress. Last time we saw each other you hurt me - hurt me bad. I swore I was done. I swore I'd never let you do that to me again. Then you started in with the sweet talk. 'Come on out for March Madness, you don't even have to sit at the tables.' We both know that's a lie, but I can already feel my will bending to yours. 'C'mon, Friday is St. Patty's Day. We'll have so much fun.' I already hear the devil on my shoulder telling me how right you are. Before you know it I'm hooked in with a cheap flight and cheaper hotel room. Maybe it'll be different this time. Maybe it'll be all good times. This time it'll be kept promises and the beer will flow like wine. I've got a whole lot of money that's ready to burn so get those stakes up higher. Vegas baby, here I come.

Posted 10:35am
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March 13th, 2006

Its not the years, its the mileage...

Or so the saying goes. If its true, I should be getting quite long in the tooth. But the fact is that I feel quite spry for my age. Turning 30 didn't really bother me. Sure, muscles pull a little easier, soreness hangs around a little longer and getting hammered on a Tuesday and making it to work on time the next day is harder. But I don't feel like I've slowed down considerably and let's face it, I'm still an immature idiot.

All that being said, last week I attended a junior high orientation meeting (and as you may have guessed, bailed after five minutes and walked home) and today the Buddha gets braces. The combination has a creepiness factor of about 8.5. At least I'm not as bad off as his mother, who turns 30 next week. I think its all coming a little too close together for her. Go up to her and tell her you saw some special on TV about junior high kids having sex, then watch her head explode.

I swear to god the 'before' pic was not posed by me. This is the Buddha being funny. Save us all, he's like his old man. Click on the pics, they get big.

Posted 1:30pm
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March 11th, 2006

Making this house a home

There's a common blog feature that we've yet to institute here at tbaggervance.com - the comments section. This is mainly because I don't do MySQL or PHP very well - and I'm pretty sure you need both. Well that all changes now. Sort of. I'll be adding comments section for every post. It'll be a very low-tech solution involving a cgi script that emails shit to me and then I post it. I know, blah blah blah. If anyone wants to volunteer to do the php shit for me, I'm listening.

I'll also be adding a permalink option, so if anyone wants to link to a specific post, now you can. I'm sure all of this will lead to me realizing how few people actually read this shit. It all kicks off below.

Posted 4:50pm

Rounding third and heading for home

So there was a discussion a few weeks ago amongst some friends of mine about first date sex. Last night it reared its ugly head again and has become my impetus for including a comment section on the blog.

The question is a simple one: how often do first dates end in sex? The answers have varied wildly - from under 10% to 40%. They got more cohesive when we restricted the definitions. We are NOT including meeting someone at a bar, getting drunk and then having sex with them. That's not a date. We're talking about a prearranged meeting for the first time where the night ends in sex. So what's the answer? I'm going with somewhere in the 10% or less range. Now I don't go on a lot of dates so I may not be the best judge. I know there's some of you out there who've done it. Let's hear some guesses people.

Posted 4:21pm
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March 10th, 2006

Check out my logo (and I don't mean my gay themed cable channel)

OK, so I was critiquing a web page a friend was working on and my biggest complaint was that he had a generic plain text logo across the top. And then I thought, 'Wait a minute, I have a stupid plain text logo on my site.' So I fired up Photoshop and whipped this up. Its not much, but hopefully we can agree it beats plaintext. Unfortunately I didn't come up with a better name/slogan, but the one we have seems to fit. Of course feel free to give me your suggestions - on the name, the blog, anything. I'll listen and then likely immediately dismiss you.

Posted 4:21pm

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March 9th, 2006

Its the one that says 'Bad Mutha Fucka'

I love when I find stuff from the Moe Man's column that translates to my blog. Its some indescribable synergy that gives me a warm feeling in my belly - not unlike the booze does. Anyway, Moeman (via Stuff Magazine) reports:

Samuel L. Jackson's films have made $3,813,766,044, pushing him past Harrison Ford as the highest-grossing actor of all time...

Now I love Sam Jackson. If the only thing he was ever in was Pulp Fiction he'd still hold a place in heart. But doesn't this seem wrong? I mean Harrison Ford makes sense. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood would make sense. Sam Jackson? I mean, let's be honest here people - this is a participation achievement. Harrison Ford was Han Solo AND Indiana Jones. He should get his own holiday and never have to pay taxes again - I don't even care how much Six Days, Seven Nights sucked. Sam Jackson has taken the Gene Hackman/Michael Cain route to financial success. Does anyone even remember that Samuel L. was in Jurassic Park? Yet he still gets to count those box office receipts. No offense, but not one person EVER went to see that movie because of Sam Jackson, where as every movie Harrison Ford has been in people go to see because Harrison Ford is in it. I hope they get going on Indiana Jones 4, then we can put this argument to bed until Sam picks up his next 10 paychecks.

Posted 10:06pm

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March 6th, 2006

Oscar Hangover

Let's see, an abundance of montages? Check. A really funny host coming off as not nearly as funny as you'd expect? Check. Hollywood patting itself on its back waaaaay more than it deserves? Check. The best movie of the year loses best picture? Check.

In what has become Oscar tradition, a really stupid movie that seems good and maybe important in the moment wins best picture, only to have everyone wake up the next morning and immediately regret their decision. OK, probably won't happen that fast. But seriously, have you people seen this pandering, finger waving, manipulative piece of shit? OK again, its pry not as bad as all that but this movie is a sentimental piece of garbage. Go watch Titanic and tell me that's a best picture. Go back and watch Forest Gump and tell me its better than Pulp Fiction. And let us not forget that Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan. The whole thing's a joke - and yet I still watch, so who's the sucker? At least that Pimp song won. And Larry McMurtury wore jeans. Suck on that Oscar.

Posted 10:06am

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March 5th, 2006

Blown Out

Its over. I miss you already. Me and you Blowout, BFF. Don't ever, ever change. Friday's coverage is here. Saturday's is here. The whole thing lives on in perpetuity in the essay section.

Posted 2:00pm

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March 3rd, 2006

Thursday Night Blowout

Vini Vidi Vici. Thursday night was a success. You can read about it and the rest of the nights in the essay essays section, or by clicking here.

Posted 3:33pm

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March 2nd, 2006

Its the most wonderful time of the year...

My ears will be bleeding
And I will be feeding
My belly much beer!
Its the most wonderful time, yes the most wonderful time,
Its the most wonderful time... of the year!

Ladies and gentlemen, boy and girls, pimps and hos, it is time. Its the biggest local music festival in the country. Its Christmas, Halloween and St. Patricks Day all rolled into one. Its your yearly chance to see Nick Pivot's Cocktail Shake. I'm talking, of course, about the MetroTimes Hamtramck Blowout. We have 200 bands to choose from the next three nights. With luck, we'll get to see at least 12.

I'm not sure how this will be blogged. I have aspirations for a giant essay complete with photos that's suitable for archiving. Whether or not that comes to fruition depends on a lot of things, including but not exclusive to: alcohol consumption levels, willingness to take pictures whilst rocking, hangover intensity and the amount of random bloggable experience.

So wish me luck. This afternoon is like waking up Christmas morning and not being able to open your presents till 9pm. The only consolation is knowing that your parents are rich and your presents will fucking rock. At least that's what I imagine...

Posted 1:55pm

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March 1st, 2006

Educational Television

Things I learned watching TV last night:

- The erection that doesn't go away now has a name. We've all heard the warnings on the commercials that erections lasting more than four hours require medical attention. Well the voiceover guy is now calling that painful condition prioprism. I'm having trouble finding info on this, so I can only assume that this word has been recently introduce to describe a condition that's never really been a problem in the past, thanks to things like masturbating.

- Match Game was not only great because the celebs were drunk half the time, but I think there may have been some hanky panky involved as well. Last night I was watching an episode of Match Game '74 where host Gene Rayburn was so drunk (everyone: How drunk was he?) he was clueless as to what was going on. It was also pretty obvious to me that he had sex - that day - with the hot blonde on the bottom row. Unfortunately I didn't bother to note her name, but I'd bet ya a hundred bucks and give odds that he banged her. It was awesome to watch. What I thought I learned was that Gene was still alive. They showed what looked like a current clip where he was talking about the show. I was shocked. No way would I have guessed he was still kicking. Turns out he's not. Ah well, I'm sure Gene lived life to the _________.

Posted 10:20am

Long live the King

I'm not much of a fan of the pant suit wearing/cadillac givin'/pelvis gyrating Elvis, but the nerd glasses wearin'/big guitar playin'/new wave icon Elvis is near and dear to my heart. You certainly have to admire the longevity and idiocyncracy of his career. His latest experiment is My Flame Turns Blue, a collection of live big band arrangements of some of his old songs. Yeah right? I know. But check this mp3 of Watchin' the Detectives and tell me you aren't intrigued.

Posted 10:10am

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February 27th, 2006

Tonsil hockey

"I don't think we want to sleep with you, just make out."

"Who's we?"

"All of us. At least that's what I think. Sex would be going too far, but making out on the couch for a while sounds about right."

The preceding is a snippet of paraphrased conversation I had with a girl Saturday night. The question is, is this a compliment? I guess someone wanting to kiss you is overwhelmingly positive, but not wanting to have sex with you? Is there something in my personality that says I'd be great to make out with but not so much with the sex? Because if there was, it would explain a lot. All I'd have to explain then is why no one is making out with me.

And while we're on the subject, Stov and I have decided that all of our female friends need to stop telling us how great we are if you're not going to help us get laid. If you're being honest and think we're so wonderful, find another girl and tell them. We've heard it all before. As of now the only women I talk to are waitresses. And let's be honest, the only reason they talk to me is because they have to. This liver's not going to ruin itself people.

Posted 1:55pm

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February 24th, 2006

Your soundtrack for the weekend

While the heady days of Napster are long gone, free music on the internets is not. And I'm not just talking about how you steal your favorite tunes via bittorrent. The latest phenomenon is the live streaming of new/upcoming/unreleased tracks. (OK, not the 'latest' per say, but its good shit. Shut up.) So whilst you sit and peruse porn or whatever else you use the internet for, here's some musical goodness to keep you company:

- The Lashes may or may not be the next big thing, but their single "Sometimes the Sun" is fairly undeniable in a grab-your-crotch, catchy sort of way. They're on MySpace (of course)

- Speaking of MySpace, Maritime (featuring former Promise Ring buddies) has some stuff from their upcoming We, the Vehicles on their page.

- Loose Fur, featuring Wilco-ers Jeff Tweady and Glen Kotche as well as the uber-everywhere Jim O'Rourke, have new stuff being leaked right over here.

- And of course not everyone is into free publicity. Perrenial douche bag Axl Rose saw some early mixes of the new Guns 'n' Roses album Chinese Democracy leak this week. Seriously, this album's gestation period is so long there's no way it won't disappoint. I can't link to the new stuff, but if your internet IQ is average or better you can find 'em and hear what an aging (and apparently gaying) Axl sounds like.

As for me, I'll be checking out Spun @ TC's this Saturday. I may also be taking in a performance by a band called Anal Pudding. I'll let you know how it goes...

Posted 2:37pm

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February 23rd, 2006

I'm not being completely honest with you

Let me start by saying that I'm just happy to be here. When I started the bloggy blog a little over a year ago, I had no idea what it was going to be. OK, I had some idea. I meant to showcase things I found across the internet and in pop culture that needed to be seen, heard or commented on. At some point things from my life started to creep in more and more. Hopefully you've at least partially enjoyed a little of all of the above.

But I've been holding back. There are two areas of my life that I've failed to really address here in cyberspace, for similar yet different reasons. The first is work.. The j-o-b. First off, it just so happens that the place I work hosts the blog. Second of all, I've known people who have run into trouble at work for things they've blogged. This is, in a manner of speaking, the public record. So far, I've yet to find anything worth posting that I'd be willing to lose my job over.

The second is my love life, or lack thereof. What little there is of it begs, nay screams to be commented on. If you know me well, I've probably commented on it to you. However, I'd hate to go out with someone, say something disparaging about them in this forum, and then have them read it. There's also a few people out there that I'm sure don't want to hear about these things, good or bad.

So while I'd love, hypothetically, to make a statement like 'I'm sure a coworker is on drugs,' or 'You won't believe how I got the bait-and-switch pulled on me last night', for the aforementioned reasons, I can't. I can hypothetically make them because they happened to a friend of mine. A cousin actually. In the Niagara Falls area. Maybe someday enough time will pass and my cousin will feel comfortable telling the whole story. Until then, get me alone and buy me a drink. My arm look at the top 10, you can see that these cock asses don't have a clue. Revolver, London Calling and Never Mind the Bollocks, sure. But I have that Libertines album. It sucks. And there should be a special concentric circle of hell for ANYONE who EVER puts ANYTHING Oasis did over ANYTHING the Beatles did. How these people sleep at night I'll never know.

Posted 4:44am

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February 20th, 2006

This indecision's anticipation's bugging killing me.

So March is shaking up to be a month for the ages. It kicks off with what Markie C and I refer to as Christmas, Halloween and St. Patty's Day all rolled into one - The Hamtramck Blowout. You can take South by Southwest and shove it up your ass. That's right, I said it. For those who don't know about the Blowout, stay tuned, next week will be deluged with entries about it. For now, let's just say this: 200 bands in 3 days. Christ on a bike I may have a boner.

If the Blowout doesn't give you one, take a look at the these X-Men 3 posters. I've been sure for a while that uber-hack Brett Ratner would fuck this up and leave me in tears, but damnit if all the promo stuff isn't pretty f'ing good. I guess for a Marvel nerd like me, how bad can it get? I even liked Fantastic Four. OK I know it sucked, but still Ienjoyed it. Hell I even watch Daredevil when its on FX - and I'll never forgive those assholes for ruining my favorite comic book character.

And of course March also brings us a return trip to Las Vegas. This year, we'll be going out the weekend that March Madness opens up. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the Friday is also St. Patrick's Day? And there's also a little matter of a bachelor party to tend to while we're there. Yes kids, its the perfect storm. Concentration levels will be at a minimum until this is all over.

Posted 9:01am

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February 16th, 2006

Top Ten Movies of 2005

All right already. Usually my excuse is that so many of the year's best movies come out in December that it takes me a while to catch up. We'll recycle it for this year, but honestly, laziness was the biggest contributing factor. And there were a lot of great movies this year. See for yourself:

10. King Kong
Nothing works as well here as it did in The Lord of the Rings, but that's setting the bar pretty damn high. This is still top o' the heap escapist filmmaking. ILWho?

9. The Aristocrats
People may not want to see how laws and sausages are made, but this dissection of the dirty joke is both hilarious and insightful. Oh yeah, and did I mention the filthiest thing you've ever heard.

8. Batman Begins
I loved the Tim Burton Batman when it came out. Of course I was like 13 at the time. How appropriate that Chris Nolan go out and make a Batman perfect for the 30 year old me. Almost everything is note perfect here for the Batman living in a post-Frank Miller world.

7. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
The kid who gave us Lethal Weapon and thus two decades of formulaic buddy cop movies turns that genre and film noir on its ear for the snarkiest good time of the year.

6. Syriana
Yes, we stretch the boundaries of multithreaded plots and nonlinear storytelling here, but god damn it if it still didn't end up holding together at the end for me. Plus for your price of admission: Fat George Clooney.

5. Brokeback Mountain
The saddest thing about this impossibly sad movie is how few people will never know anything about this movie other than the line "I wish I knew how to quit you." Like Harold and Maude, its a love story that says more about love than most 'typical' love stories ever could.

4. Sin City
Fear not, only two comic book movies on the list this year. And this isn't your typical comic book movie. Robert Rodriguez continues to further guerilla filmmaking, this time producing a faithful re-creation of Frank Miller's seminal comic book that would have came out as complete shit under normal circumstances.

3. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Hands down the funniest movie of the year AND it actually has a heart to it, thus trumping every other funny movie of the last 10 years. Remember, its not about butthole pleasures.

2. 2046
OK, so I'm a huge Wong Kar-Wai nerd. This psuedo-sequel to In the Mood For Love is probably the most-beautiful movie of the year. Any movie that can grab your attention for two hours with this thread bare of a plot obviously has something going for it.

1. Good Night and Good Luck
Whether its the current political climate, the black and white photography or my George Clooney man crush, this movie hit me like a ton of bricks. I can't imagine this movie not being viewed in high school classrooms for the next 100 years, which is greatness in my book.

Posted 4:40pm

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February 14th, 2006

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

Valentines Day. Who gives a shit? Its either a 'test' for your relationship or a reminder that you don't have one. Sounds like lose/lose to me. Here's some distractions:

- I wasn't going to even mention this, because its too easy. HOWEVER, this is too good to pass up: Dick Hunt

- Again, entertainment companies look for new ways to piss you off. This time, HBO resurrects the broadcast flag in an attempt to prevent you from TiVoing the Sopranos.

- Hopefully you can read this and be less depressed. Or you can just continue to wonder if she was lying when she said it was a good size.

- For those who insist on celebrating, at least have fun with it. (Image from somethingaweful.com They've got more goodness there. Check it out.)

Posted 10:30am

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February 13th, 2006

You gotta get me over that mountain!

Kevin Bacon... Susan Sarandon... There's no place higher than - Mountain High. Rated R..

OK now that we're past that arcane reference, I finally went to see Broback Mountain this weekend. I can confirm two things. Yes, if you're a straight guy, this is where boners go to die. And more importantly, its every bit as good as everyone has been saying. To quote my Uncle Shark (via Truffaut), the scenery is "Bierstadt at 24 frames per second" and the story is quite literally heartbreaking. You'd have to be made of stone not to be moved by what these two guys go through (and consequently their wives).

So I guess its time for the year end top ten list. The chances of getting to see Capote or Munich are pretty nill at this point, so we'll go with what we have. Keep your eyes peeled, it'll be up in a day or two.

Posted 9:01am

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February 10th, 2006

I said retired, not retarded

Me being the lazy and selfish person that I am, I completely forgot that my old man joined the ranks of the semi-retired last week. I doubt golf is in his eminent future, nor a move to Florida, but he is moving into a condo, so he's at least following the semi-retired script a bit.

The Moeman has ostensibly had the same job for almost 50 years. I've known the man for over 30 and his identity is so intrinsic with that of the Northwest Signal (the newspaper he's written for that entire time) I have no idea what he'll do with himself now. Thankfully for everyone involved, he'll continue to write his 'Opinion' columns and maintain his desk at the office. (thus the 'semi' retired bit).

Two things: First, stay strong Tandy. My sister has the unenviable job of keeping an eye on our dad. As the sibling who stayed in Napoleon and cares enough to be a bitch, she gets to keep the Moeman busy and out of trouble. Hopefully he'll spend some time visiting Ann Arbor and Chicago so he can relax with his sons who didn't stick around and their kids who love their Paw-paw.

Secondly, I think I can safely say its no coincidence that Moeman has his columns and I have my little blog. Being around my dad all those years has at least something to do with me being compelled to do this. The tone and medium are obviously very different, but I don't need Dr. Freud to tell me there's more than a correlational relationship here. I'll always be in your shadow Moeman. I'll never have your impact, your wisdom or your class, but hopefully you can appreciate that for whatever reason, I'll continue to try.

Posted 3:33pm

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February 9th, 2006

Make like a circus seal...

Every once in a while my older brother and I (after a few cocktails) get in an argument about what purpose film serves. OK, that's vastly overstating what happens. It usually starts by me making fun of some Jerry Bruckheimer produced turd that he likes (e.g. Armageddon) and I loathe. He then goes on a diatribe about how he watches movies to be entertained, not to be preached to. I then spew something about films that entertain and are thought provoking, or that I like entertaining movies too - when they're well done and don't pander to the lowest common denominator. This eventually devolves into him telling me that I'd suck Steven Soderbergh's dick.
"You would, wouldn't you? Just say it, you want to suck Steven Soderbergh's dick."
I thought about this as I watched Soderbergh's latest opus, Bubble. I'm going to ignore all the hub bub about it coming out on TV, DVD and in theaters at the same time, just because its a different discussion that I don't feel like I have anything new to contribute to right now. Lets talk about the actual movie. Its shot on HD video with available light, uses non actors on a largely improvised script - all things I'm sure my brother finds both gay and boring. But all of these ingredients combine to form something very real and visceral. The video technology is miles from where it was when Soderbergh shot Full Frontal. Its shot in a psuedo-documentary style that immerses you in the rural small town setting and lets you quickly forget that your watching a movie, much less video. As for the actors and the plot - its frighteningly real. The moments feel unforced and natural, and not in the trompe l'oeil fashion of Hollywood, but in the grind it out fashion of a mid west factory worker. Bottom line, if you like independent cinema, low-fi filmmaking and Steven Soderbergh, you'll probably find something to like in Bubble - regardless of how you feel about Steven Soderbergh's dick.

Posted 4:40pm

Today's WTF? moment

So I stopped watching the Grammys years ago. They really don't have anything to do with the music I listen to. Or so I thought. Last night while I was enjoying my Vodka Soda and reading my Neil Gaiman, I turned on the Grammys (because there ain't shit on Wednesdays other than Lost and Veronica Mars, both of which are on from 9-10) So it was mostly ho-hum. I saw Kelly Clarkson win for that don't-call-me-gay-because-I-like-it song 'Since You Been Gone.' (shut up, its really good). Green Day beat a bunch of big names in a category that wasn't 'hard rock'. Kanye won something and U2 won everything else. You can't expect them to honor DangerDoom, so not a bad list of winners. But the real WTF? moment had to be this:

For those still trying to decipher it, that's Jay-Z, Paul McCartney and Linkin Park, singing Yesterday. OK, so Jay-Z wasn't so much singing as going 'Yeah, Yeah', but you get the idea. And yes, that's a picture of John Lennon on his shirt. WTF?

Posted 10:19am

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February 8th, 2006

Let us never speak of this again

Two things from TV that REALLY bugged me last night to the point of obsession, which means I'm sharing them with you here. First of all, I sat through another episode of Love Monkey last night. This is a show I really want to like (and thusly be of a certain quality) I have Jason Priestly nostalgia and I was totally addicted to Ed reruns on TBS for a year (they were on during my lunch hour. A match made in heaven). So that was enough to peak my interest for the show. But wait, there's more. Its about the indie music industry. Holy testicle Tuesday! Nods to bands nobody's heard of? Snarky in-jokes? Figuring out who's song is playing in the background? I've a hard-on the size of Delaware. But alas, so far the show pretty much sucks. They've totally dumbed things down and made it completely bland. Case in point: last night's episode centered around a video shoot for the artist that the main character is repping. The tension comes from the director of the video, who's supposed to be some big shot but is an obvious no talent hack. His idea for the video? A remake of Rebel Without a Cause. So half of the episode is about how bad of an idea this is, yet no one mentions or even eludes to the fact that Paula Abdul had the SAME FUCKING IDEA in 1991. Anyone remember Rush, Rush? It was like, her biggest fucking single? The video had her aping Natalie Wood and KEANU FUCKING REEVES as James Dean? Hmm, seems someone who is supposed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of music might remember that.

And secondly, after being thoroughly frustrated by the Love Monkey, I watched my TiVoed episode of Boston Legal, David Kelly's latest show to have a fast start and then quickly roll down hill towards the unwatchable. The episode was about a woman arrested for protesting redistricting voting precincts, and not once was the word gerry mandering used. C'mon people, let's pretend people went to high school and actually remembered a thing or two. I swear to god this is all part of the culture of stupidity that we promote in America. Its not OK to be ignorant. Please remember that.

Posted 10:10am

Nacho Libre

This is now my most hotly anticipated movie of the year.

Posted 9:15am

Chimpanzee that, Monkey News...

I saw the following still over at Pulp Culture (a great blog) and figured I'd remind those of you who love The Office on NBC to check out the original BBC version. I can give you no better advice than to Netflix these bitches (series 1, series 2, The Christmas Special) and spend a hungover Saturday watching them. For the already initiated or those wishing for more, the show's star (Ricky Gervais) has a hilarious podcast as well.

Posted 9:02am

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February 7th, 2006

Friendster 2.0

As someone who's old (and geeky) enough to remember IRC chats, myspace.com has never really blown my doors off. Honestly, what is the main purpose of this? And seriously, the automatic music when you load a page is fairly annoying. But as my level of boredom at work today rose from "I wonder if there's actual work I should be doing" to "I wonder what Pat Robertson's website looks like?" I decided to fill out out my profile. Before you run over there, its nothing exciting. You get way more info here. But I did find it interesting that you could view people based on where and when they graduated high school/college. I frantically searched, hoping to find some long lost acquaintance. So far, no dice. But I now have another site to peruse during "downtime". Some interesting someone from my past is bound to show up at some point...

Posted 3:26pm

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February 6th, 2006

Getting over a mild case of Super Bowl Fever

Vini Vidi Vici. The Super Bowl came and went. Pretty ho hum game. Seemed more like a coronation. The Steelers had a manifest destiny thing happening that they tried their best to fuck up, but in the end put a nice little bow on the Bus's career for him. The most important thing is that for the third straight year, I did quite nicely for myself during the game, hitting yet another all-prop-bet parlay. The Super Bowl has turned into a license to print money for me.

Of course the ads ran from funny to tedious, but seemed to be overall not as funny this year. Detroit came out looking pretty good from most accounts. I guess I don't know why this didn't seem better than it does right now. Maybe it was because ABC censored the Stones. Twice. Ah well, hopefully next year my #1 man crush (Tom Brady) will be back and I can enjoy things more.

Posted 2:07pm

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February 3rd, 2006

Hey little icon buddy

Well after months of telling myself I would figure out how to do it, the deed is finally done. If you're using a cool browser like Firefox you can see it in the address bar, if you're a sucker who still uses Internet Explorer, you'll have to save this page to your favorites (I know, again) to get a taste. Or you can see the biggie size version directly to the right of the words you're reading now. Its the semi-official-for-now logo of tbaggervance.com. We're confident that our new logo will increase our visibility not only amongst your web favorites, but in the marketplace as a whole. Keep an eye out for t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs and other assorted worthless crap. We hope you enjoy it.

Posted 10:25am

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February 2nd, 2006

If drinking alone is wrong, I don't wanna be right

I admittedly don't know whether to be furious at this guy for semi-co-opting my idea or irate at myself for not taking my original idea to this obvious conclusion.

First, some background. Back in college I came up with what was a sure fire idea that would have made me famous and lots of people rich (or probably more richer). This was back in the heyday of Must-See-TV, when it was anchored by Seinfeld and Friends. ANYWAY, one of the unwritten tenets of Must-See-TV is that you have two really popular shows (that also usually had the stink of quality on them) and two giant turds in between that people sat through, because for some reason even in the age of remote controls, we tend to watch what's already on rather than go looking. Should one of these giant turds become popular or receive any critical acclaim, it would immediately be shipped to some desolate night of the week when no one watches TV.

So during one of these giant turds I proposed that NBC produce a show that basically consisted of me sitting in my favorite chair, drinking. This idea had many incarnations and suggested plotlines. Some will remember that the idea was for me to be in my boxers, sitting in the chair. This may or may not have been the original idea, as all of this took place while I was in college and pretty much drunk the entire time, so the memory is hazy. It was once suggested that the show consist of me in the chair drinking AND watching the giant turd show that I had replaced, the entertainment being me making fun of the giant turd show. There was also a version where I had celebrity guests come and sit in a chair next to me and I'd get tanked with the celebrity. In any case, it was basically a show of me doing next to nothing, sitting in my favorite chair - because that was at least as entertaining as Must-See-Giant-Turd-TV.

So whilst surfing the internet today you can see why I was understandably upset at this. Some guy tapes himself sitting on a couch, drinking and smoking and sells it for $15 a pop. His 'premise' is that now you'll never have to drink alone, 'cause he's your drinking buddy. Well I say to you sir shame! for copyright infringement of my ten year old idea. And I also say kudos! for taking my idea and making money on it. And look for Boozing with T, due out second quarter '06.

Posted 1:46pm

Rototiller knows how to party

The penultimate reason to root for the Steelers on Sunday: their QB gets it done.

Posted 1:10pm

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January 30th, 2006

Real Quick Hits...

- Big basketball weekend - Saturday the Wolverines defeat their second top 25 team in 4 days, Sunday I watch the Pistons take out Kobe and the Lakers. The biggest lesson learned - The parking lot at the Palace is a fucking train wreck.

- Here's a list of the most loathsome people in America. You probably won't like it if you lean to the right (but then, why would you be here?)

- The Super Bowl really does bring the eyes of the world. Here's a blog about everything going on in SE Michigan this week. We didn't see any out of town celebs at the Palace last night, but lots of Super Bowl related signage along the way.

Posted 2:35pm

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January 27th, 2006

Words, words, words...

While the Photo Essay has long been a staple here on the ol' bloggy blog, The Internet Has Come to This? would like to introduce its newest feature, the Essay Essay. (Not to be confused with ese ese, a chicano rap star). Yes most of my posts are short - a link, a little criticism - short and sweet. Some are longer (movie reviews, weekend recaps) but still have short shelf life. Every once in a while though a post is too good (or admittedly, just too long) for normal inclusion in the run-of-the-mill every day blog. So we created the Essay Essay. It'll be a section on the side (see, right over there) And we'll always be sure to alert ya when we put a new one up. Today's inaugural essay is My Very Own Stalker. Its a harrowing tale of crazy old ladies, The O.C. and booze. We hope you enjoy it.

Posted 3:26pm

You can ride my tail anytime...

Everybody knows that Quentin Taratino's best (if not the only good) performance in a film he didn't direct was his cameo in 1994's Sleep With Me. In it he deconstructs the homosexual themes of the Tom Cruise vehicle Top Gun. One of the other ten people who saw this movie and Quentin's diatribe has put those thoughts into movin' pictures with Top Gun 2: Brokback Squadron. How priceless would it be to hear Tom say "I wish I knew how to quit you"?

Posted 9:39am

No more chewing ice cubes...

This just in: water is wet, the sky is blue and sex is better than masterbation.

Posted 9:31am

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January 25th, 2006

Real Quick Hits...

- Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer dead! Chris Penn dead!

- I doubt we'll get Michigan J. Frog in blackface, but it'd probably be the best thing to come from this.

- You never have to worry again about watching TiVo while your drunk and accidentally deleting something (not that it EVER happened to me).

- I can't get the Arctic Monkey's "I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor" out of my head, even though I got the whole album today and I'm not blown away. Avoid this song. Its more infectious than the avian flu.

Posted 2:35pm

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January 24th, 2006

Looking for a way to circumvent Sting's giant ego

I've told just about anyone who I've ever discussed music with that I'd pay just about anything for a Police reunion. Its number one on my 'to see before I die' list that's still actually possible. Apparently Stuart, Andy and Gordon were hanging out at Sundance, but the less famous two couldn't get Sting drunk enough to agree to going out on the road one more time. C'mon man! We need to hear Roxanne as a reggae song again, not that gay ass acoustic version you've been doing since you split the Police.

Markie C has a theory that Rock 'n' Roll officially sold out (or made it OK to) when Sting did that Jaguar commercial a few years back. Its an interesting theory, but then why doesn't he reform the Police for a summer, make a bazillion dollars and then go back to snubbing Andy and Stuart? Let's encourage the sell-out that benefits those of us who were 8 when Sychronicity came out.

Posted 11:16am

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January 20th, 2006

At least his last name's not MeHoffer

Everyone's favorite money grubbing felon has a family with balls. Or maybe they're just old kooks. Jack Abramoff's dad was a tad upset at George Clooney making fun of Jack's name at the Golden Globes Monday. As reported here in the bloggy-blog, the Cloon-ster said "Who would name their kid Jack with the last words 'off' at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up," which, c'mon people, is a pretty good line (for those of us not to stuck up to laugh at juvenile humor).

Well Jack's dad wrote an open letter calling G-money's remarks "glib and ridiculous..." he also called the former world's sexiest man an "idiot" and his actions "pure, unadulterated stupidity". What I don't get is how do you defend your son and what he did? Sure, I bet you want to be left alone and wish this would go away, but guess what? You fucked around and got caught. Big time. Time to pay the piper. And this marks twice in a year that "glib" is the word of choice for those with misplaced righteous indignation (see Tom Cruise v. Matt Lauer). As someone who is frequently glib, that makes me laugh. Jack Off. Ha Ha.

Posted 3:20pm

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January 19th, 2006

Hail! To the Drinkers Valiant!

Not since January 1st, 1998 have I been so proud.
It appears that two fellow alumni have won the First World Series of Beer Pong. I'd like to congratulate my fellow Wolverines, and should they ever want to run some kind of celebrity drinking game tournament, feel free to contact any member of the Ann Arbor Tippy Cup All-Stars ©.
Its great... to be.. a Michigan Wolverine.

Posted 3:20pm

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January 18th, 2006

Celebrities are people too

Everybody knows that eveything you see in every magazine is airbrushed. I'm not giving away trade secrets here. But how would you like to see what those pics looked like before the airbrushing? Go here for a look at the seedy underbelly of celebs (click on portfolio). Be sure to see how they cut Nicole Ritchie in half (before she tried to do it herself, that is).

Posted 3:53pm

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January 17th, 2006

Fat Jack and the Return of Larry

It was a rock star caliber weekend. It usually is when Larry comes to town. I've known Larry for about 20 years, and he's been getting me in trouble for every one of them. Well, that's unfair. I should say that when you hang with Larry, all bets are off and you'll probably utter 'Can't believe we did that' once you're time together is over.

So Larry came up Saturday (after a Friday night where the specific events of the evening will remain unsaid, other than to say wow, alcohol). I quickly learned that both Larry and Stov are obsessed with the Discovery Health Channel. This phenomenon came to a head Sunday afternoon on the couch where we watched 'Fat Jack' (actually called 'Big John'), 'Face Eating Tumor' and the be-all end-all - 'Half Ton Man'.

'Half Ton Man' quickly became our mascot for the afternoon. We spent the afternoon rhetorically asking the Half Ton Man questions, such as "Half Ton Man, is it more impressive to be a Half Ton Man or a Ten Pound Mouse?" You probably had to be there to find this as hilarious as we did.

So back to Saturday though, which involved football watching, football gambling, basketball watching, basketball gambling, lots of vodka, live music and of course, a culmination at the 'sino. Pretty much a normal Saturday, perhaps a little more tightly packed than others. Thanks for coming Larry, its always interesting and remember, it's not about butthole pleasures.

Posted 9:48pm

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January 13th, 2006

Burninating 3 candles

Yes, today is Trogdor's 3rd birthday. As far as internet phenomenons go, Strongbad is one of my favs, especially his creation of Trogdor the Burninator. You can see his tribute here. Happy Trogday.

Posted 9:59am

It doesn't just seem like Sam Jackson's in everything...

Moeman reports via the Town Crier:
Since Pulp Fiction in 1993, Smauel L. Jackson has made 46 films, an average of one every 90 days, reports Maxim magazine.
OK, so I'm posting something on my my 'Blog that I got from my dad's column (which is kind of a an old-school 'blog) which he got from Maxim (which is a blending of Playboy, Victoria's Secret and Mad Magazine.) I don't know what I expect you to do with that info or even how I interpret it, but its my happening and it freaks me out.

Posted 9:41am

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January 12th, 2006

King Shit of Fuck Mountain

So I finally got around to seeing King Kong last night. I love me some Peter Jackson, but I'd put this off a month because, King Kong? I mean seriously people, its obviously a vanity project so Pete can fulfill some long lost hard-on.

OK, so its visually pretty brilliant. Jackson's effects company (WETA workshop) obviously has bitch slapped ILM a few times now. I honestly would have paid my $8 (student-discounted ticket) just to see Kong take on 3 T-rex's at once (all of which were quite a bit more fearsome than Marc Bolan).

But the elephant (or giant Monkey, as it were) in the room is the 3-fucking-hour run time. I was conscious of it going in, but I honestly only looked at my watch 45 minutes in and 30 minutes from the end. Still though, after seeing it, you couldn't get 45 minutes trimmed out of that bitch? It all goes back to it being a vanity project. It was nice to see Jackson get back to his roots a bit by putting in some of the most gruesome shit I've seen in a blockbuster in years though.

All in all, its worth seeing if you at all like Peter Jackson or giant monkeys. Naomi Watts is hot, Adrian Brody is annoying, dinosaurs fighting monkeys are cool - you knew all of this before you paid for your ticket, so enjoy the ride. You certainly won't get many $100 million+ budgeted movies that are this idiosyncratic and risk taking.

Posted 9:35am

I will not eat that cat poop!

I have a fairly adventurous spirit and will try most things after a half dozen drinks (often to my detriment). The one area where I border on ultraconservative is the consumption of the disgusting. I have a very short gag reflex when it comes to the vile tasting. I know you're worried about me, but I'll survive. And besides, now that I have this guy, its almost like being there anyway. Read it and laugh your ass off.

Posted 9:16am

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January 10th, 2006

Getting in on the ground floor

When I first heard about satellite radio I scoffed at it. 'Who would ever pay for radio?' I asked. Well it turns out I would. Sunday I went out and became a Sirius satellite radio subscriber. My reasons were three fold:
1. The departure of Howard Stern from regular radio left me with nothing to listen to in the AM.
2. The preponderance of clear channel radio stations left SE Michigan with no ESPN Radio.

3. I found a station while traveling in ELansing that reminded me how great a really good radio station could be.
Now I can listen to Howard Stern in mornings, ESPN radio when traveling on football Sundays, and I can find new music thanks to Sirius's AltNation and Left of Center channels (the best part of that is, when an artist comes on that I dig and don't know the name of, Sirius flashes it up right on the display).

So far, only two problems. One is that it doesn't want to pick up a signal at my house OR my office at work, and two, it freaks out in the morning cold if you leave it in the car overnight. I'm sure I'll figure out ways around these things. Right now I'm crushing so hard none of it matters.

Posted 10:31am

Heat Vision and Jack

This is way old news, but its something that I just happened on by chance, and in case there's anyone else out there in the same boat, I felt I should pass the savings on to you (so to speak).

Apparently in 1999, Ben Stiller produced a pilot for Fox called Heat Vision and Jack about a super intelligent former astronaut and his talking motorcycle. As you can imagine, its one of the more bizarre thing you've ever seen. And it just happens to star Jack Black and Owen Wilson (as the voice of the motorcycle).

After seeing it its easy to see why the network would pass (hell, Fox can't even keep Arrested Development on the air) but oh what could have been. Those in my demo who ever watched the A-Team or Manimal or any other late 70's early 80's sci-fi/action/adventure show should definitely look up the show. Its out there in the ether if you want to see it.

Posted 10:24am

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January 9th, 2006

Still not even supposed to be here...

The teaser trailer for Clerks 2 is up on their website. Of course I'm a fairly large Kevin Smith nerd so it got me excited. I wasn't initially overwhelmed at the prospect of this flick, but the more I think about, the more potential I see. Kevin has also been posting extensive video journal entries from the set and beyond. The one with Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez is especially surreal to me.

Posted 10:17am

More Clooney action - Black and White Style

I somehow ended up going to back to back George Clooney political movies. And the second was better than the first. Friday I saw Good Night & Good Luck, about Sen. McCarthy and Ed Murrow in the 1950's. I'll save the diatribe about those who'll never see this beautiful poingnent film. (since we recently discussed those issues). And let's forgoe the similarities to the themes in the movie to the current political and media climate - because those are obvious and best left to high school government classes.

Let's instead talk for a second about someone that I've been personally championing ever since Out of Sight - George Clooney. For someone like GC (who can basically sit on his ass and make one movie every year that hits the female demographic and then go out and fuck anything that moves) to go out and make a movie like this is staggering. Its a little black and white art film. Its about something that happened 50 years ago. And it just so happens that its one of the most beautifully shot, well-acted and well-written movies of the year.

I often talk about movies like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List and Bowling for Columbine as being mandatory viewings for high school age kids. This movie definitely gets added to the list. This is important stuff that too often gets glossed over or forgotten all together - privacy rights and freedom from persecution are the bedrock of liberty. But we won't go into that for reasons stated earlier. Just take the time to go out and see the movie - brought to you by one of People's sexiest men alive.

Posted 9:30am

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January 6th, 2006

The TiVolution marches onward

Finally! I can go back to using my TiVo full-on 24-7. Ever since I got my HDTV, the TiVo has become a second class citizen. I can't get certain digital cable chanels easily and watching anything in HD is right out. I find myself staying home to watch certain shows in HD, which completely defeats the purpose of the TiVo. But those backwards days will soon be over. TiVo announces the series 3 DVR - completely ready to rock your face HD style. Line forms behind me people.

Posted 11:35am

Breakin' me off a piece of that fat Clooney action

Now I know most people (especially people I know who live or are from where I grew up) who have little patience for movies that require actual thinking. Sprawling ensemble pieces that are nonlinear or require following multiple plot lines simultaneously are pretty much verboten. These people probably don't know who Robert Altman is, but they hate him nonetheless. Thank God they went ahead and made Syriana despite these people.

Yes, there's little actual plot to follow. Yes, you will be confused from time to time. Yes things are at times convoluted and obviously, the ending of the movie doesn't tie everything together or explain everything with a deus ex machina. But I implore you to see and enjoy this movie despite all that.

Roger Ebert once pointed out that in Fargo, Frances McDormand's character has a scene where she has dinner with a creepy guy she knew from high school that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Its just a funny scene where you get to spend some time with these really enjoyable characters. It doesn't advance the plot and is a complete sidebar to the rest of the film. Ebert went on to argue that the scene was one of the reasons Fargo is a great film. It shows off the ability of confident, talented filmmakers to take you on a detour without removing you from the thrust of the film. To me, Syriana is kind of an entire film of those moments. Fat Clooney is great. Tim Blake Nelson is great. Matt Damon and Christopher Plummer are great.

Watching a movie of this ilk is like seeing Shakespeare. At first it can be intimidating, trying to wrap your brain around something that is both foreign and familiar. But once you acclimate yourself, its well worth the effort. You'll spend the first half hour or so of Syriana orienting yourself, trying to figure out where you are and which story line your supposed to be following and trying to figure out how they tie together. But just like Shakespeare, its worth the effort.

I've always hated the SUV. Never saw the point for about 90% of those who drove 'em. Gas guzzling status symbols for soccer moms (for the most part). And this was before I saw Syriana. After seeing its dramatization of global oil politics and their effects on social change (saying nothing of its effects on domestic policies) I wanted to trade in my 30mpg Mazda for a 60mpg hybrid.

There's nothing new here. No drastic mind-blowing ideas that an intelligent person couldn't imagine. But like he did with his screenplay for Traffic, Gaghan creates a visceral portrait of how something that effects all of us goes so unnoticed. Perhaps if more people saw his movies, that wouldn't be the case.

Posted 10:20am

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January 5th, 2006

Quick hits for the New Year...

- The new Strokes album, First Impressions of Earth, is out now. I'm not in love with it yet, but its undeniably good. Exponentially slicker than where they started, but the guitar sound on the first track will let you immediately forgive them

- USC losing last night was all the more sweet given the crap performances by Leinart and Bush. I'm sure they're nice guys and SC had a great run, but I'm so glad I don't have to hear about them anymore. And is it just me, or is Vince Young semi-retarded - or just goofily happy?

- John Stewart hosts the Oscars, Reno 911 becomes a movie and Futurama fights for a comeback. Kudos to 3 moves from the entertainment community that make sense.

- Finally, not only do Pants, Pants Pants have one of the coolest band names I've ever heard, they made a video that makes me insanely jealous that I never thought to do it. Seriously, watch it - its surreal.

Posted 4:40pm

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December 30th, 2005

The ol' switcheroo

The year that all your friends turn 30, you attend quite a few surprise parties. And as with anything you do on a regular basis, after a while desensitization sets in and you come to think you'll know what happens next. Last night I went to a 'surprise' engagement party where expectations got switched around and crammed up my ass. The build up to the evening was mostly normal - a phone call, a few evites. The volume was a little much, but hey, some people are pushy. When we showed up and found an open bar, we were a little surprised (and happy) but again hey, some people are loaded. When the guests of honor showed up and we moved into the auditorium, we all said 'hey, this will be funny - I bet they have no idea'. Then George stepped from behind the curtain and announced that while we were there for an engagement party, how about a wedding instead. Cold Cock! The surprise wasn't on the newly engaged, but everyone else. Ten minutes later, with everyone's head's still reeling, they were married. (Side note - given the circumstances, we all ended up witnessing the ceremony with drinks in our hand - a tradition I am now fully on board with.) So congrats George and Patty - I've never been so pleased to be duped.

Posted 10:20pm


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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.