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December 27th, 2007

I'm training for something called RAGBRAI?

I hate the gym. Not surprisingly, the only way I enjoy pushing the physical limitations of my body consist of ingesting copious amounts of booze and smoking enough cigarettes to give rats cancer several times over. So while I got to the gym to keep my svelte Swedish pre- teen figure, I take no joy in it. I view it as a necessity and a means to an end. I mean, I've got a kid and I'm an alcoholic, I don't need the third strike of being a fatty on my resume.

Similarly, as a rule I'm not enthralled with the 'christian' set. One of my friends once said that I look down on every one that believes in god. I immediately disagreed with him and than couldn't find a reason to fault his logic. So not surprisingly, a year and a half ago when I started dating Ayesha and she told me 'My roommates are really religious', I rolled my eyes to say the least. But that was before I went to breakfast with them. And they waited in the 5am freezing rain for a Wii for me. And they gave me one of my best birthday presents ever and basked in the glory of Wayne Coyne with me. I often use this example to point to the flexible nature of my character, as I love the Jesuses.

Which is why despite the caveats of the opening stanzas of the first two paragraphs, I'm riding a bike across Iowa. MJ convinced me that it would be 'fun' to participate in this annual trek across the corn fields of Iowa. I was probably drunk when I committed to it, but if nothing else, I am a man of my word. So tomorrow, in addition to my pathetic attempts at running and lifting weights, I will be adding pathetic attempts at bike riding to my gym agenda. Despite its nonexistence on my 'things to do before I'm dead' list, I think it might be something that I'm proud of when I'm done. And for some reason, my love of the Jesuses outweighs my need to sit around and do nothing. Luckily neither gets in my way of my being a drunk...

Posted 12:51am
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December 23rd, 2007

Only the penitent man will pass

The staff here at tbaggervance.com loves three things: wide sweeping generalizations, hyperbole and booze (not in that order). That's why we hold to the age-old maxim that the holidays are for drinking. We were going to go with 'Everyone should stay as drunk as possible from Christmas to New Years' (as it better exemplifies all of our loves) but it didn't quite have the same ring to it. Either way, we assume the astute, educated demographic of our readership is picking up what we're laying down.

Last night we had our staff holiday party. It was pretty much what you'd expect - lots of hot cider and Captain, listening to our latest band crush Vampire Weekend over and over, and typing on our computers. I guess it wasn't so much a holiday party as it was a Saturday evening, but calling it a holiday party allows us to write off the booze, so Felize Navidad one and all.

After I put the last intern in a cab home (after she drunkenly made a pass at me, natch) I started to google chat with the ex before heading out to the bar. I sat with my feet up, awash in glorious Captain and Vampire Weekend and typing with one of the people I love most in the world to converse with, and allowed myself a moment to revel in how good the simple things can sometimes be.

It was especially good because it was less than a month ago that Ayesha wasn't talking to me. After her two week visit in October, we had decided to officially call it quits - for about the 6th time, but this time we both kinda knew it was going to stick. We had been having 'issues' leading up to her visit and I was in a terrible personal headspace by the time she got here. As such, I ended up being kind of a dick while she was in Michigan. We don't need to get into specifics - we all know what I'm capable of. Needless to say I treated her in a way that you just don't treat a homeless man, much less someone you care very deeply for.

Maybe given my neuroticism all of it was inevitable. I'm sure it certainly helped her let go of me by thinking I was huge dick. But even with this little distance between now and those two weeks in October, I know I was wrong. I am contrite and penitent. And more than anything I am sorry. Surely these are emotions I don't express nearly enough, but let us chose to view that as a reason to give them more weight when I do. In any event, its nice to not be cut off from someone you enjoy so much. The holidays can be about forgiveness as much as anything, and that's what I'm working towards. Forgiveness and booze - I apparently need a lot of both.

Posted 5:34pm
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December 19th, 2007

Happy non-denominational greetings of the season

We here at tbaggervance.com are planning a very low-key, stay in your pajamas, drink a lot holiday season. As such, we don't know how much blogging we'll be doing. Maybe tons, maybe none - probably some. But just in case, here's my Christmas holiday greetings to all y'all.

- Despite what you think my nerdy proclivities may be, I'm not big into the whole fantasy literature genre. I've read Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to be sure, but while I know the name Orson Scott Card, I'm in no way inclined to read anything he's ever written. So when I started hearing about The Golden Compass, I completely shrugged it off. (There might be spoilers ahead for those of you sensitive to such things. You've been warned) That is until MJ told me 'You should read it. Its about a bunch kids who kill God.' And when I found out that Catholics were all up in arms about the movie, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Now let me say that I understand why the church was pissed at The Da Vinci Code. I found that offensive on several levels (not religious ones mind you, but still). But really? A fantasy novel that takes place in an alternate universe? This is what you're worried will turn your children into atheists? If The Chronicles of Narnia couldn't make me believe in the Jesus Lion, I don't think The Golden Compass is going to turn kids into Christopher Hitchens. You can usually judge the strength of someone's argument by the panic on their face when you introduce a differing opinion. I'm just saying...

- I'm a huge fan of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I think it perfectly illustrates the hypocrisy of those who champion an inerrant interpretation of the bible. And while I'm a card carrying member of the ACLU, I also get frustrated when people protest the christmas tree outside of city hall. So I'm not a total beehive poking asshole, I just come from a position of laissez faire when it comes to religion - until I feel it directly affects me, natch. That being said, I think this is totally fucking brilliant, even if it violently shakes the beehive.

- Just to be equal opportunity as we swing our 18 inches at the holidays, we pause to remember this Bushism from 2001: "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah." That ought to do it.

- Finally, the full length Flight of the Conchords LP has been announced. HOWEVER, it consists exclusively of songs from the show and its not out till April. I use this as a perfect metaphor for the holidays - tons of expectations and build up, but ultimately when the time comes, disappointment is inevitable. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...

Posted 10:32pm
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December 18th, 2007

How stupid are you?

- Chances are if you're into Scientology, you're pretty stupid. At the very least really gullible and/or looking for ANYTHING to replace the fact the daddy never hugged you enough. In a move I personally applaud, Germany is banning the pseudo-religion/cult. Which is weird, because when I think Germany, I think religious tolerance.

- Somebody recently sent this to me, and my first thought was - I've never met a girl who is completely exempt from all of the behavior on this list. My second thought was - Every guy I know has been the victim of everything described therein. Although what's wrong with going to the bar for an after dinner drink? That usually encapsulates my entire date pre-planning (maybe that explains a lot). My favorite part is the closer: "Here, have this awkward goodnight kiss that's as empty as my soul."

- I'm not sure how funny the entirety of this is, but I think I peed just a little bit around the part where they mention Neil Diamond Phillips. Surely, most if not all of these names are colossally stupid. As a bonus, if you look at the 'Recent' articles on the sidebar, you can catch a glimpse of my crush du jour - Ingrid Michaelson. In the article she explains her affection for Neutral Milk Hotel, which upon reading I immediately made it my goal in life to make her happy.

- I don't think any of us were under the delusion that Peter Brady would grow up to win a Nobel prize (that sweet volcano he made for a science project notwithstanding). But then he went out and did us one better by marrying the winner of America's Next Top Model, who happens to be half his age. Then, just when you think this might be the smartest guy on the face of the earth (or perhaps that he's hung like two cans of coke taped together), this happens. Yes, that's a collective 'What the FUCK?!?' ringing out across this great nation of ours. This completely kills my theory of the Brady kids getting drunk in their trailers and Peter convincing Marsha and Jan to make out. Damn it.

- Finally, Mike Huckabee is a former televangelist who doesn't believe in evolution (nor the separation of church and state). And he is the GOP frontrunner (FUCKING FRONTRUNNER!). The first part obviously hints at the man's cognitive capacity, but the latter is proof positive that we collectively, as a nation, are idiots. OK, 21% of Republicans who will definitely vote in a primary are idiots. Either way, this guy gets elected, I am fucking out of here. I kid you not, this (THIS!) is the dude's campaign commercial. I fucking wish it wasn't true, but it is. Let's hope that this little skeleton can bite him in the ass, because if 2007 taught us anything, its that while there's wiggle room on torturing prisoners and eroding civil rights, dog fighting is right out.

And to extend my incredulous vitriol, I would think that most people not living in Iowa or New Hampshire find it ridiculous that these two states representative of nothing play such a pivitol role in our nations well-being. MJ and I were talking about this at length the other night and one of my points was that this system begets the Mike Huckabees of the world. I understand her counterpoint, but it was based largely on the fact that she's from (and currently in) Iowa. I'm pretty sure I'd think it was awesome too if candidates were sucking me off every day for 8 months. Not awesome enough to move to Iowa mind you, but you know...

Posted 1:55pm
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December 17th, 2007

- Sarah. With an 'H'?
- No with an 'E'. S-E-R-A Sera.

I haven't had to pick up a shovel in five years. Its one of the ultimate benefits of apartment living. Sure I'm throwing away money by not owning a home, but hey, I don't have to bundle up and schlep outside to clear a driveway neither. That was, until this morning.

Last night I went outside to survey the half a foot of snow that was dumped on Ann Arbor the previous evening. I've lived through brutal midwestern winters my whole life, but every year I'm still surprised at the abject suckitude that comes with a snowfall exceeding about 4 inches. As such I was in no way prepared for my car to be stuck in the snow right outside my front door.

But having complete confidence in my snow driving experience, I figured a little of the old forward and back motion would eventually provide me with a fully functional vehicle again. About fifteen minutes of spinning my wheels later, jack frost was peeing his fucking pants laughing at me, seemingly asking if I 'd rather just take the kick in the balls and get it over with. Not to be so easily defeated, I went back inside and found myself a makeshift shovel (a rigid saucer shaped sled) and tried to remove some of the packed white stuff that was impeding my progress. Thirty minutes later it was dark and I decided that maybe a good nights sleep would magically make things better, and I could slide on out and on to work in the morning. This was mistake number two.

Of course the first one was leaving my car in the street out in front of my house and not in the lot behind it when the snow started to commence. Now on day two, snow plows had completely buried my vehicle. I am an arrogant asshole with no forward thinking ability. Except for the fact that I had arranged a shovel the night before, just in case such a thing should occur. So I woke up at 7am, put on my mucklucks and beaver coat, and walked the five mile round trip to borrow a $10 shovel. By the time I got back to my house I was bound and determined never to spend another winter in Michigan. This was before I started shoveling.

So I started shoveling. And digging. And scooping. And cursing. 45 minutes to 3 hours later (I may have blacked out for a moment in there, no one can be sure) my steed was free. I pulled it around to the back of the complex and chose a spot that was relatively clear of fresh powder. I went inside and threw off 40 pounds of wet clothes and vowed to never spend another minute in Michigan during the winter. Preferably I would immediately head to Vegas and start living out my Nick Cage Leaving Las Vegas fantasy.

But of course I type to you now from the relative comfort of my desk at work, with a working vehicle in the parking lot and a new head coach for my football team. Two days from now the streets will be clean and we'll all forget that this unpleasantness ever happened. Until it does again. Over and over until the end of days. Ah, home sweet home.

Posted 1:55pm
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December 15th, 2007

This is exactly why I don't pay hookers with a check.

OK, so I stole this from Deadspin, but wanted to make sure all y'all got a chance to gaze upon its glory:

... and so did all of us (figuratively) for thinking that our heroes were doing it on the up and up. I think everyone on the list should be forced to stand outside their home stadium on opening day this year wearing nothing but a giant sandwich board that says 'I'm a big fat fucking cheater' and let the people they duped boo, curse and spit on them. Especially Clemens. What a douche.

Posted 9:22pm
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December 13th, 2007

Welcome to today's sliding scale - it starts at 'cringe inducing' and ends at 'never been more livid'

- The new one sheet teaser poster for Indy 4 is out. Its not like its offensive on any level, it just doesn't really inspire anything. And lets be honest, we all wish Lucas would have lost Drew Struzan's number after Return of the Jedi, because he's beating a dead stylistic horse.

- The snobs over at Pitchfork have come up with 20 Worst Album Covers of the Year. Yes, they are my kind of snobs. Shut it.

- Just when you think we've reached the highest level of alarming anecdotal evidence of climate change, we get this bomb dropped on us. People no...

- See what happens? I go out and give PETA props for a naked picture of Eva Mendes and then they come back with this bullshit. Really? You're putting your energy into getting people to not drink milk. How about legitimizing my lack of exercise, because that I could get behind.

- And finally, this is why I'll be wearing black for the rest of 2007. The dream is dead people.

Posted 11:52am
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December 12th, 2007

Touch him! Liebe meinen Affen-monkey!

Put most succinctly, I love Ann Arbor because its a pretty liberal town where you're likely to see or experience just about anything and its almost expected to happen. But I sometimes forget that its also a lot like every other bland crap hole out there and has the same foibles as the podunk town I grew up in. I was reminded of some of those similarities tonight - and had some differences reinforced - at my sons 7th grade band and choir concert. Some of the similarities were good, some of the differences bad, but they all stuck out like sore thumbs to me. Here's what stuck out as I enjoyed 12 year olds belt out their angelic melodies.

- As we sit down, I can't help but notice that the dad in front of me is in his late forties, balding, 20 lbs overweight, and wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt (unironically). My first thought was "What in God's green earth could I possibly have in common with this guy?" (other than we spawned at a relatively similar time - and some might say at all). This is not very Ann Arbor.

- There are about 70 kids in the 7th grade band. A full 16 of those are clarinet players. This seems an abnormally large subset, but I'm no expert when it comes to clarinet ratios. On the other hand, a full 6 of the clarinet players are dudes (dudes!). I do know that if a dude had tried to play the clarinet where I grew up, he would have been ritualistically beaten every day until he gave the thing up. And even then he would have been called gay every 9.8 minutes until he turned 18 and moved to anywhere slightly more cosmopolitan than Northwest Ohio. A 38% male clarinet section is very Ann Arbor.

- I sometimes worry about my sons sexuality, what with the tennis and the choir and the American Idol (I attribute all of these (rightfully) to his mother). And then I saw the choir take the stage - 40 girls, 6 boys. Its like home ec without the work. I immediately classify my son a genius and decide I've never been prouder. My sense would be that this is not very Ann Arbor, but I do not care.

- Babymama points out that there is no "holiday' music on the agenda for tonight's festivities. We both consider this odd, as most kid's concerts taking place in December would at least merit a mention of Old Saint Nick. We then decide that with each group only playing four songs, there's not enough time to placate all the necessary belief systems. This is very Ann Arbor.

- The two ladies sitting in front of me are drinking water out of bottles the size of dixie cups. They can't be more than 4 fluid ounces. The fact that people are paying money - any amount - for that quantity of water appalls me on several levels. This is VERY Ann Arbor.

- All singers in the choir are required to wear the requisite uniform of black pants with a black turtleneck. Of course this prompts me to offer my son $20 to slick his hair back, put on my old wire rim glasses and say "Now is the time on Sprockets when dance." as I take his picture. He declines. I have no idea how this relates to Ann arbor, but it is very tbaggervance.

Posted 9:51am
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December 11th, 2007

Best of 2007 - Music Edition

Upon skimming the recent history of the ol' bloggy blog, I see that I've been neglecting my indie rock predilection. Yes, this isn't the time of year when we are inundated bright, sparkly new independent music, but we still need a shout out from time to time. As such, here are my 10 favorite albums of last year (based on the 85 or so that I own), hastily ordered but meticulously chosen.

10. Flight of the Conchords - The Distant Future EP
Yes, its an EP that's a scant 5 songs in length. But that's why we put it way down here at number ten. The Conchords are absolutely brilliant (oh, and hilarious), and they're full length album (due out early '08) is already tentatively placed in next years top five.
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9. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?
Yes, I can hardly believe this as well. Apparently I am now a fan of swirling, Lewis Carroll-ian, psycho disco punk. At least that's my attempt adjective-ize the last Of Montreal album. Try all you want, you won't get any closer (and I don't say that out of arrogance, its just not easily classifiable) Maybe that's why in 3 sentences I made up two words.
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8. White Stripes - Icky Thump
This album should be higher on the list if for no other reason than its kick ass title. But really, all this happens to be is another fucking tremendous White Stripes album. High praise indeed.
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7. Maritime - Heresy and the Hotel Choir
I sometimes get a nervous tummy when one of my favorite bands release a new album. What if it sucks and this is the only new music I get from them for the next two years? That's a pressure rivaled by few things in life that aren't Michigan football Saturdays. Thankfully, Maritime's latest opus is another sparkling gem of post-emo power pop. Thanks Davey.
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6. Once - Music from the Original Motion Picture
I knew sort of what to expect when I walked into a darkened theater to see the movie Once. But I had no idea that it would end up affecting me so much. Needless to say, I've had to satiate myself with the film's soundtrack until it comes out on DVD (next week!) Luckily, the music is (almost) as deeply satisfying by itself as it is when incorporated into the story of two star-crossed musicians.
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5. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Much has been made of the fact that you could pay anything you want to legally download the latest effort from our buddies Radiohead. The much more important thing to remember is that no matter what you pay, its totally worth it. In Rainbows stands as cohesive step forward in the direction that Thom and the boys have been heading since Kid A - but it also has glimpses of Radioheads past, because it has things like, you know, guitar riffs (yea guitar riffs!)
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4. Spoon - Ga GA GA GA GA
Spoon? At 4? Inconceivable! Seriously, this is near perfect album featuring both signature Spoon swagger and panache. I thought this album would really spark them into the pop culture zeitgeist, but they actually seemed to take a step back from where they were during Gimme Fiction. Which is just as well, there's only so much Brit Daniel to go 'round and I need all I can get.
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3. Ted Leo + Pharmacists - Living with the Living
Ted Leo has been burnishing his brand of post-punk political pop for nearly a decade (as a solo artist) and that journey is culminated in his 2007 masterpiece. Throw away a few bits of noise making political statements, and you're left with one of the smartest, most literate, catchy albums that still has enough edge to pee on anyone who would use such nancy-boy words to describe it.
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2. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
What can I say? Wilco is the best band in America right now.; someday to be widely considered the best American band ever. Sky Blue Sky is a welcome addition into the Wilco pantheon, bringing its often muted palate into an already rich and diverse soundscape. Plus, if you're ever to have your heart broken, Sky will commiserate with you in a way that will seem both knowing and prophetic.
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1. Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
OK, so I'm biased. Josh Ritter came into my life and saved me from myself. When I was figuratively standing on precipice and staring into the never ending blackness of Michigan being 0-2, JR saved me. He showed me that there were other important things still left to be discovered. He showed me that the old could be new again. That a guy who can't help but giggle when he sings the word 'underwear' is about the most endearing thing in the world. So while The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter might not be the best album of 2007, it will always be my favorite. And as the old saying goes, its my blog, so suck it.
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And now for some other associated tidbits:

- NPR's excellent All Songs Considered is allowing you to vote for your five favorite albums of the year. I am pleased to announce that 8 of my 10 top albums are available to choose from (sorry Ted and Davey)

- Song of the year not on any of my top ten albums - LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends". The most danceable song built on a discordant riff EVER. They also have a song called 'Get Innocuous', which of course endears them to me.

- The following albums were highly anticipated by myself and ultimately left me cursing their names and wondering why the universe hates me: CYHSY, Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, The Shins, and Dntel.

- Best comeback album by an early 90's alternative 3-piece that once appeared on My So-Called Life: Buffalo Tom's Three Easy Pieces

- Best album I got this year based strictly on an iPod commercial: Feist's The Reminder

- Best cover of a Kaiser Chief's song by a chick I'd kill to have sex with even though in real life she'd likely intimidate the shit out of me: "Oh My God" by Lily Allen

- Best album to be compared to Andrew Lloyd Weber and have be me depressed about it because I see their point: New Pornographer's Challengers

Posted 10:22am
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December 10th, 2007

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

The weekend was a fertile one that provided myriad opportunities for blog pontification. I will touch on none of them and instead, clean out my increasingly cluttered show and tell box. Maybe I'll get around to some of said points later in the week, maybe they are gone to ether, time will tell. I will note that while watching football Sunday, Stov and I managed to make a rebus reference, followed by and Uncle Remus reference - all while massively hung over. This means nothing to most of you, but I find it hilarious and want it duly noted.

- I have been saying for years (years!) that country music makes me want to kill myself. Now I have science on my side. And you can't argue with Science. Its science.

- Damn you PETA. I hate your politics, I love your ad campaigns (NSFW, DOWYW*)

- For those of you into that whole reading business, here's a new essay from David Sedaris.

- In the too good to be true department, the Arrested Development movie rumors are being stoked by both creator and star. And while this makes me positively giddy, I think Olberman may have gone off the deep end with the love. I haven't seen a show sucked off this hard since Bill O'Reilly talked about Walker, Texas Ranger. Come on!

- Finally something not so innocuous. The Atlantic Monthly has an essay that pretty well explains why I'm supporting Barack Obama. You should read it, its your civic duty.

*Not Safe For Work, Depending on Where You Work.

Posted 10:22am
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December 7th, 2007

Doppelgangers

Over the years I've been compared to my fair share of celebrities. When I was in fifth grade some college kid swore I was the spitting image of Pete Townshend. It wasn't until I was older and knew what Pete looked like that I realized what an insult this was (no offense, Pete). Later I would randomly get Eric Stoltz, which isn't bad, except its a comparison largely based on hair color - and there's the inevitable Mask. In college I once got John Lennon, but that was long hair, roundish glasses and an asian woman on my arm (so its ostensibly a Yoko reference) I twice got Eminem, but both times were in Detroit casinos, and the people were probably both drunk and really looking to meet a celebrity.

Recently there's been an unnerving trend in naming my celebrity doppelganger. I was chatting with a recent acquaintance who out of the blue asked me 'Do people ever tell you that you look like a certain celebrity?' I told her that I've gotten a few in the past. 'Well, I don't want to say it if you don't get it a lot.' After some coaxing, she gave it up like a prom date: Andy Dick.

I am here to put this theory to bed once and for all. I look nothing like Andy Dick. Its the glasses. That's it. I'm not going to touch the whole goofy, bisexual overtones of this fiasco, just to say that its not there, so stop it. Let us all collectively agree that the person who recently said 'No wonder Tyler loves Klosterman, they look exactly alike' had it right on the money. I can live with that.

Posted 9:05am
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December 6th, 2007

More birthday wishes

I kind of can't believe I wasted my Swingers headline on my little brother, when today is the blogs birthday. Damn. Oh well. I'll get over it eventually.

Anyway the blog is three (3!) today. Its kind of unimaginable. A year ago I was lamenting at how the site had kind of become a repository for drunken stories and how I was reaching levels of candor that no one was likely comfortable with. And that was last year. Now when I talk to my dad he critiques my sex life based on information he's gleaned from my blog. What have I wrought? And more importantly, where will we find ourselves a year from now? No one wants to imagine the ugly possibilities. More than likely it'll still be me telling you about the strange shit that's happened to me and what I think about this and that in pop culture.

The one thing that will never change is my awe at the fact that people actually take time out of their day to read this. I'd like to think I'd keep writing if y'all stopped showing up, but let's just say knowing you do makes it easier. I'll do my best to keep being a drunk and to keep getting all worked up over the seemingly innocuous so that we have things to discuss. I don't think we have to worry about either going away anytime soon.

Posted 11:17am
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December 5th, 2007

He's growns up and he's growns up and he's growns up

My little brother and I are literally polar opposites. In high school, he played sports; I was in a garage band. As adults, he's been a farmer, a mechanic and a horse trainer in NW Ohio; I've been an IT guy at the liberalest place between NY and Cali (it still amazes me that Napoleon and A2 are only 80 miles apart). My brother is a man of few words, rarely goes out, watches reality TV, listens to country music and loves movies like Armageddon; I - well I am the exact opposite of all those things.

He being my younger brother and prone to embarrassment, I've always tormented him to one extent or the other. Between 19 and 22 or so, we'd very occasionally find ourselves in the same social situation. To him, having me around was the equivalent of your mom hosting your first boy/girl party at 13. You didn't know what was going to happen, but you were fairly sure you were going to be mortified. In my defense, all I was doing was making fun of his uncomfortableness, so from a certain point of view, he was the enabler.

As a result of all of this, its needless to say we aren't close. I see him when the whole family gets together for some occasion. Haven't talked to him on the phone other than to leave a message in my entire life. He spent the night in A2 once. He came up for a football game with the Moeman and knew some other Napoleon people that were in town, so he decided to stay. I think he felt about the same way I would feel at an evangelical christian weekend retreat.

But he is my (little) brother and I love him - despite him being a cheap curmudgeon. So Happy Birthday Stagbert. You are old. Its true that I am older, but I am thinner and have more hair. Anyway, welcome to thirty. As Michael Scott once said, 'You're going to hate it.'

Posted 2:14pm
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December 4th, 2007

Down with the sickness

I've somehow managed to contract my first sickness of the winter season. I don't generally get sick very often, and for years I was told that if I quite smoking I would get sick less. This is apparently an old wives tale. Anyway, a few thoughts...

- Feigning sick as a kid was inevitably never as exciting as it seemed when you were conjuring the scheme in your head. After sleeping in, you awoke to a few stellar hours of game shows, culminating with an hour of pricing games hosted by Bob Barker. Then noon hit and you were fucked until about 3. Depending how old you are, where you lived and how much money your parents had, you may have been at the mercy of books and PBS until the after school cartoons came on - and that was only mildly better than being in school. Thankfully somebody thought to invent cable, then VHS and then Nintendo. Now we're blessed with the internet and 200 cable channels and an avalanche of DVDs. Staying home is a godsend. Although I still wish my dad would show up and bring me some comic books when I'm not feeling well.

- Speaking of TPiR, I have to admit Drew Carey makes for a pretty solid host. Don't get me wrong, I miss me some Bob Barker. But let's be honest - the star of the show are the pricing games, and Drew knows it. He gets that all he has to do is read the cue cards, stand back, and watch people shit their pants when they get to play Plinko or Cliff Hangers. The rest is gravy.

- A few months back my eldest brother had a heart attack (relax, he's doing great) which caused the rest of my family to implore me to get a physical, which I did. For the first time in about 20 years I walked into the doctors office and dropped trou to placate my siblings. Its a commonly held maxim that the two people you should never lie to are doctors and priests. But for some reason (presumably my distrust for both) those are two of the few people I always feel compelled to fib to. As such, when my doctor asked me how many drinks a week I had on average, I fudged a bit. By about half. And the first words out of his mouth were still 'I'd like to see you drink a little bit less'. Anyway, long story short, after all the tests came back I was pronounced a remarkably healthy 160lb bouncing baby boy. Little did the doctor or my family know that all my physical did was provide me with a complete justification for my debaucherous lifestyle. Bartenders of Ann Arbor, you have nothing to worry about.

Posted 6:49pm
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December 3rd, 2007

The deconstructive (and/or reconstructive) power of the txt message

As is routinely discussed here at tbaggervance.com, I'm a bit of a drinker. I like to imbibe from time to time. Its all in good fun and we take the net positive without pausing too often to consider the negative. And when we do talk about the perils of drinking, we do so in reverent, hushed tones so that we can all nod in agreement and then pretend it never happened.

We of course celebrate and champion the things that can help eliminate (or at least lessen) some of the more unsavory aspects of midwestern power drinking. I'm done smoking for the second time in my adult life. And while almost every aspect of that process makes me want to jam a railroad tie into my ear until the pain stops, there is the massive upside that I almost never get hangovers anymore. At least the kind of hangovers that make me cry in the fetal position for the sweet release of death. Its not enough to make things a net positive for me, but whatever. We're not here to talk about quitting smoking. Not today anyway. Forget I mentioned it.

Another of the unsavory aspects of drinking is memory loss. I have a better than average ability to recall events, and yet I still spend many a Saturday having people relate to me the events of the previous evening with me going 'I don't remember that at all' or even too often 'I'm sorry dude, I don't remember doing that at all.' The effects of this can range for mildly annoying ('Dude, you told some girl she had fivehead') to you're never living this down ('Guess who you were making out with at the bar?)

And between the innocuous and the devastating lies a breadth of experience - some if it good, some of it bad - all of it fuzzy. And until recently, the only way to know what was what was to hear the suspect accounts of the other drunks who shared your experience. But sometimes, the wonderfulness of technology gives us a reprieve. I spent my weekend as per usual, marinating the brain stem in various concoctions of alcoholic substances. And as one would expect, the ends of those evenings become hazy at best. Things get said and forgotten; we're told things that we have no hope of remembering. Unless of course, they're said through the indelible medium of the txt message.

Until about a year ago, I had sent about 3 txt messages in my entire life. Thanks to dating Ayesha, I'm now paying some exorbitant fee every month so that I can send an unlimited amount of txts. The upside is, I can now often reconstruct large swaths of the previous evening by myself. Upon waking, I can scroll through both sent and received messages and gather information that will jog the memory and allow me to both deconstruct and reconstruct what went down during my stupor. Its neither perfect nor all encompassing, but sometimes its just enough to satiate ones curiosity and put ones mind at ease over how much of a boo butt you were. And sometimes that can mean the world to you.

Posted 2:22pm
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November 29th, 2007

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

- Its end-of-the-year, best of lists time, and this is the first one I saw. Paste picks the best indie rock of the year, with The National coming out on top. Clearly I should be giving their album Boxer another listen, as my first go round with it resulted in an 'eh, itsalright'. I'm working on a list of my own, but all I can tell you right now is that it doesn't culminate with Neon Bible.

- Somewhere back in the mid to late 90's, sports broadcasts decided it'd be a good idea to make a big deal out of announcing the starting lineups for the game. Unfortunately, no one decided to tell them that it was in fact an awful idea, so its gotten continually worse - to the point where I'm missing actual plays in the game so I can know that Randy Moss went to Rand University (those of you who saw this still have to be shaking your head). ANYWAY the most egregious example of this is the ESPN College Football broadcasts, which have chosen to go with D-list bullshit celebrities to introduce starting lineups, producing a gambit in which nobody wins. EXCEPT when everybody wins. I give thee Eric Cartman.

- It seems at least implausible, even to me, that I've never watched The L Word. I mean back in college, this would have brought my entire house down into the living room for some good old fashioned family time. So with bittorrent, DVDs and every other way to steal media content, how have I not gotten around to a show that's built around hot chicks doin' it? All I can say is that after watching this, I'm running to the store and watching me a marathon. In just a minute. You're going to have to give me a minute.

- In about a month the next presidential election starts in earnest. Hopefully, you've been following at least casually and have an idea of who your horse is. If not, or if you do and want to see if your analysis is correct, here's a handy calculator to help you determine which candidate shares your proclivities. It actually told me to vote for Mike Gravel, but the first candidate to come up with a snowballs chance of winning was my boy Obama. I'm sure you all were hoping it would say Romney...

- Finally, I have no hope of emulating the majority of my heroes. No one's ever going to tell me 'You throw just like Tom Brady.' (nor are they likely to ever say 'You pull tail just like him' either.) And while I secretly hope someone hears me singing one day and tells me that I remind them of Ben Gibbard, my only real chance of being confused with those I put on pedestals is the written word. So I've been on cloud nine as twice (TWICE!) in the last fortnight people have compared me to Chuck K. The first was my oldest friend in the world, upon reading Klosterman for the first time, telling me that he thought 'this sounds just like Tyler'. And the second was someone who doesn't know me at all, upon reading the blog for the first time, noting 'you write a lot like klosterman.' Thanks kids. Unsolicited love is the best kind.

Posted 6:13pm
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November 28th, 2007

She's bald, Jerry!

Last night I had a first date that - well let's just say it was appropriately surreal. I started talking to said date over email about a week ago. She seemed smart and interesting and cute so I figured it was worth a face to face meeting. The only eyebrow raised over the whole situation was that she had written in one of her emails that "...I've shaved off all my hair =)"

Now being a huge fan of hyperbole and sarcasm, I wasn't sure how literally to take this declaration. It could be a super short haircut, right? And besides, maybe I am OK with going out with a bald chick. Right? Well at the very least I had to find out. So I called her yesterday afternoon to try and set something up. She mentioned some plans for later in the evening, but that she would call me when she got done and we could meet for a drink. Perfect, as I am always up for a drink. So I finally get the call later that evening, we agree on a place and a time and she starts to ask me what I am wearing so that she can recognize me when she shows up. Which, by the way, I thought was a little strange since she had seen pictures of me, but whatever. Anyway I give her a brief description and she responds with "I'll be the bald black chick". And I have my answer.

Which was accompanied by incontrovertible visual evidence 30 minutes later. After a few beers I had ascertained that in person, she lived up to her electronic reputation of smart, interesting and cute. And I discovered that she's in a band and drives a VW Eurovan, complete with stove and toilet - and if those aren't intriguing facts I don't know what are. But the question remains, am I OK with going out with a bald chick? What would Costanza do?

Posted 3:03pm
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November 27th, 2007

Things that should never happen, but apparently will (and/or already have).

Also alternately titled, 'Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!'

- I have no way to prove this, but back in 1991 I (and subsequently every male in America who spent an inordinate amount of time listening to pop music) was about 13 listens of "More Than Words" away from turning completely gay. Or having my balls crawl back into my stomach in an attempt to simulate some sort of vagina. I shudder at the thought of hearing that sappy harmony ever again. And I'm down right mad that the names Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt are right now, as we speak, taking up space in my brain. All of this begs the question, who is clamoring for an Extreme reunion?

- The thought of voting for Hillary Clinton is enough to make me want to turn my car head on into a goddamn bridge embunkment. But its nothing - nothing I tell you - compared to the thought of this. Of course the next line is about how Giuliani's wife eats baby puppies, so take it with a grain of salt and whatnot. But the genie's out of the bottle man, and it ain't goin' back in. You know she has to fuck like a dude.

- My reaction to the phrase 'new Weezer' has gone from sheer joy to abject horror over the past 10 years or so. Talk about a steady decline, the second-gen emo pioneers produced one of my favorite albums of all time (1996's Pinkerton) and then got crappier and crappier, culminating in 2005's sucktacular Make Believe (along with its egregious sin against mankind single, "Beverly Hills"). Apparently, Rivers Cuomo was alot more interesting when he was afraid of girls and pining over his Asian fetish. So while as a music snob I implore the lads in the band to stay broken up and stop making it worse, I have to admit intrigue after my initial lamentation over the headline 'New Rivers Cuomo - "Blast Off". Because its not new Rivers Cuomo. Its old Rivers Cuomo. From back when he was timid and on painkillers. Remember?

- I love movie trailers. You'll never find me more anxious than when I'm waiting on someone to get ready to go to the movies and I'm starting to do the math in my head and we get into that danger zone where I think I may miss the previews. I want to see the coming attractions. I want to get excited about movies not coming out for 9 months. But more than anything, I want to make fun of the crap. I want to make jokes to the person next to me at the expense of people like Tom Cruise and Michael Bay. Now imagine I hypothetically offered you a romantic comedy, starring a shirtless Matthew McConaughey and a whiny Kat Hudson, where they race towards a treasure at the bottom of the sea! And its directed by the guy who brought you Hitch! Stop laughing and prepare to stare, mouth agape. I give thee Fools Gold. And yes, I am considering on writing an entire post at the vitriol inspired by them using one of my favorite Police songs in this shit sandwich.

- An 'oh yeah' update (1:26pm) Kirk Ferentz is being rumored/touted as Michigan's next head football coach. Please. God. No. In SAT parlance, Bo:Mo/Carr :: Carr:Ferentz. Its a status quo 'change'. You'll see some improvements, but not the wholesale change that should probably happen. This is as milquetoast a choice as your likely to find. Let us pray that it is all rumor and conjecture. Or that if its not, I'm completely wrong and we're back to beating Ohio State and competing for national championships shortly.

Posted 9:54am
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November 26th, 2007

It don't matter I'm fatter (Ax Butta how I zone).

I am exhausted. I am bloated. I am hungover. This is what the holidays do to me. Four straight days of eating, drinking and inactivity have likely undone the last three months of going to the gym. Ugggghhhh. It seems woefully unfair to me that the unenjoyable things we do in life to feel better and look better can be so easily eradicated by the things that are really worth living for. All those laps around the track rendered meaningless by the simple fact that I chose to not get out of my pjs and do nothing but eat and watch The Office on Thanksgiving.

But incidentally, it was just about the best Thanksgiving ever. Through some last minute hap and circumstance, Sid and I decided to eschew both traffic and familial obligations to spend the holiday as true bachelors. We had your standard quantities of football, booze and food - we just had them without anyone hassling us. It required substituting chicken and rice for turkey and mash potatoes, but it was a trade we were both more than willing to make. I mean I love my family and everything, but I'll see them at Christmas.

The highlight of the weekend (other than going ice skating and doing impressions of Chaz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy) was when Sid finally learned the true gluttonous nature of the holiday. After his second or third plateful of food, he stood up and noted 'I'm full, but I'm not stuffed yet,' and went out to kitchen so that he could get more to eat. Atta boy Sid. Atta boy.

Posted 9:59am
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November 21st, 2007

The fury of the Iron Sleeve, or, ways in which I am old, vol. 117.

Tonight Sid and I were headed to the library, in my daily attempt during vacation to get him to leave the house. We were putting on our overcoats and galoshes when my arm got stuck before it was fully in my sleeve. I began to swing the empty sleeve at him wildly and began to yell 'Beware the power of the Iron Sleeve!' My cynical son began to laugh hysterically and told me, choking back tears, that it was the stupidest thing he ever heard.

So I naturally began to spin a yarn about how, during high school, that I masqueraded as a super hero known as 'The Iron Sleeve', using my empty, magical sleeves to fight crime. I told him of my ultimate move where I remove both arms from there sleeves and spin around (The 'Iron Blossom', for those of you curious). He asked if I could fly, and if not, how did I get around? I told him about my low rider Harley Davidson, or the 'Sleeve Cycle' and about its sidecar for my sidekick, Sleeve Boy (who was similar to me, only he was smaller and wore a T-shirt). At this point my still chortling son started asking for proof. 'So if I go home and google 'Iron Sleeve', I'll find proof of your exploits?' At which the biggest laugh occurred, as I told him 'The internet didn't exist when I was in high school.'

Sid had assumed that, like the rest of my story, this was a fabrication. As I quickly explained to him that the internet barely existed before 1995, the look of horror on his face as he imagined a world without websites and IM made my arthritis act up and made me jones for an episode of Murder, She Wrote. The worst part is, this is the second time this happened. Once a while back I had mentioned off the cuff that 'I wish they had the internet when I was in high school,' which made the under-25 year old next to me almost pee their pants.

So yeah, I've got news for those of you my age - the youth of America is laughing at your childhood. That a life without the internet and cellphones is unimaginable. That VHS and television sans cable is a fate worse than death. I tell you, kids today...*

- Of course a quick Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers of the bloggy blog. May your turkey be moist, the alcohol plentiful, and the relatives tolerable. For a quick refresher on why we celebrate, click here. Seriously.

* Sid's favorite new phrase is apparently 'Eff that'. I am in for a world of hurt someday soon.

Posted 11:49pm
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November 19th, 2007

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment: Thanksgiving edition.

- The thing outside of individual people I'm always most thankful for is music. I finally realized that Michigan losing its first two games this season wasn't the end of the world when I fell in love with Josh Ritter and succumbed to the idea that music's powers of good were as powerful as a losing football team's powers of evil. (I'm still looking for such an antidote to last weekend, by the way). And I'm of course most thankful for indie rock, which allows idiosyncrasies to exist in a world where bland and middling will always be the most popular. Here is a shitty list of the 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums Ever (I am not thankful for Stephen Malkmus. He should die of syphilis).

- I am also thankful for people who give of themselves to make the world a better place. I freely admit that I am often times woefully deficient in doing this, which is a good reason to be thankful that there are people out there better than me. Here's an easy chance to score some karma points and test your vocabulary (I am also thankful for my vocabulary, natch.)

- Needless to say, I am thankful for Flight of the Conchords.*

- The penultimate thing I am thankful for is my friends. I have many more than I deserve, all of which who at least tolerate my aging drunken ass. And even though my former ¡Pobrecita! now refuses to talk to me, I am still thankful for her, especially since I saw this story which I assume is about her, and needed to shoe horn it in here somehow.

- Of course I am always and forever most thankful for my Siddhartha. Thankful he came out with ten fingers and ten toes. Thankful that he's the person he's chosen to be. Thankful that he shares most of my sensibilities. A friend sent me this link, noting that he immediately thought of me when he read it. I felt kinda bad initially, as it could be considered a swipe at my character. Then I saw that the kid was drunk too, at which point it was a swipe at OUR character, which is completely hilarious.

* This replaced an entry about booze, which we felt to be superfluous and unnecessary -ed.

Posted 2:09pm
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November 18th, 2007

Gone daddy gone.

About a dozen years ago I was a freshman at The University of Michigan and had some how finagled my way into a scholarship from the Northwest Ohio chapter of the UM alumni association. It wasn't a lot of money, but it was nice to see that they were both encouraging and helping make it possible for us lucky few to make it out of doldrums and into the light. Anyway, as said recipient my presence was requested at a dinner at which the head coach of The University of Michigan football team was to speak, which - at that time - was Gary Moeller.

So I put on my collared shirt and my tie and spent a few hours eating bad chicken at the right elbow of (at least in my mind) one of the most powerful people in the universe. Someone who's influence held powerful sway over how happy I was for about a third of every year. Needless to say I was pretty impressed. I got my picture taken with him, he signed my program, and at least in my head I had spent some quality time with the most famous person I was likely to be in the same room as for the foreseeable future. He was a nice enough guy and the evening was one that I wasn't soon to forget. And that's before what happened next.

Because the next night was the fateful one, as most of you probably remember, where Gary had a little too much to drink and said a thing or two he shouldn't have. He promptly resigned from his job M's commander-in-chief. I'm not here to suggest in any way that this is some sort of cosmic irony, but it is a weird coincidence that directly affected the next 13 years of my life. Because the ousting of Mo brought Lloyd Carr into my life, and tomorrow, for all intents and purposes, he'll be out of it.

Since this isn't in any way a sports blog, I don't feel it necessary to debate the man's legacy or ponder the meaning of his accomplishments via statistics. I do think I can say without invoking anyone's ire that he was a good coach and a better man. He did his job with great aplomb and went beyond what should be reasonably expected to reach out to the community and touch a lot of people's lives in a way that had nothing to do with 3 hours on Saturday on a 120 yard stretch of grass. So thanks Lloyd. If nothing else you gave me 1997, my senior year of perfection that gloriously extended onto the football field. And as any real triad and true Michigan fan knows, there's been oh-so-much more.

- As for the weekend, everything pretty much went according to the script. I could make the argument that we're getting older and things aren't quite what they used to be, but I spent over 16 hours yesterday (half of it in the rain) on my feet with a drink in my hand, which is pretty solid by any reasonable standard. Barlow spit beer, Brooke smelled like death, Stov touched people inappropriately, Jen 'Zoomie' Baughman touched herself inappropriately, friends awkwardly propositioned friends and I even managed to have a 15 minute conversation about the pronunciation of denouement. Not bad for a day where the football team reeked of ineptitude on an unprecedented level. Sorry Mike, Chad and Jake. I'm not quite done being pissed at you to give you a Lloyd style send-off in the face of defeat. Go win the bowl game and we'll talk.

Posted 9:09pm
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November 14th, 2007

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment: OSU week edition.

- We Wolverines generally consider tOSU fans to be Old Milwaukee drinkin', tobacco chewin', ignorance havin', red-neck, hillbilly truck drivers. While Buckeyes stereotype us as snobby, elitist, overly intellectual, wine and cheese having, boring members of the ACLU. And for the most part both sides are OK with the others description. I am happy to report however, that despite all their hootin' and hollerin', Michigan could still drink Ohio under the table.

- A little less than four years ago I ranted like a lunatic about the impending disaster of another four years of a George W Bush presidency. And while I take no solace in being right, I am proud to be from a state that had nothing to fucking do with it.

- Michigan is constantly given shout outs and tributes in song, with bands like Wilco, Maritime, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers mentioning our fare state in their songs. Hell, Sufjan even managed to make a whole album about the Great Lakes State. Meanwhile, Ohio has that CSNY song. Which yes, is a great song, but its ostensibly about something awful happening in Ohio. Its the opposite of Tenacious D meeting a "tasty babe in Michigan." Oh yeah, and while Elvis Costello wrote a whole song about how Toledo is a joke, Detroit is Rock City.

- Despite my humongous man crush on Super Bowl MVP and dreamboat captain Tom Brady, my favorite Wolverine of all-time will always be Charles Woodson. Maybe its because he's from Northwest Ohio like me, and that I saw him play in high school. Maybe its because I never saw anyone dominate a football field in the same way that he did. Or maybe its because he brought Michigan a National Championship as a graduation present to me. Whatever it is, I'm proud that he's being noted as at least the 11th greatest college football player of all time (even if I'm a little pissed he's not higher).

- The list of famous and important Michigan alumni is something of which every Wolverine can be proud. From President Gerald Ford to Google founder Larry Page to Darth Vader, Michigan alums hold positions of distinction and power throughout the universe. We also have some of the worlds great writers, like Arthur Miller and Lawrence Kasdan (he wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, bitches!) And we can top it off with hot chicks like Lucy Liu, Selma Blair and Ann B. Davis. Out of curiosity, I looked up famous OSU alums to see how they stack up. Here's the names of import I recognized: Patricia Heaton, Melina Kanakaredes, Richard Lewis, J.K. Simmons, Bruce Vilanch and Dwight Yokum. Huh. I didn't even need to bring up the fact that we have an alumni chapter on the moon (space, bitches).

Posted 1:51pm
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November 13th, 2007

Invitation only.

You heard it from your mother a million times when you were growing up: I don't want hear excuses. This was usually preceded by you getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar or with your pants around your ankles at an inappropriate time. As adults, we live for excuses. Little justifications to take part in those things that as adults, we should abstain from. And why we all care deeply about what happens at the corner of Stadium and Main come 12 o'clock this Saturday, the weekend is also an excuse to behave like a completely drunken idiot. And knowing how much my friends love such an excuse, here's my invitation to join us:

From: tbaggervance
To: degenerates@debauchery.com
Subject: 7th Bi-annual Michigan/OSU Drunkathon

Who out there likes football? How about beer? If you said no to both of those, be sure and let me know, because you are dead to me and I need to excommunicate you from my life.

But I know you better than that. You love at least one of the above or let's be honest, we wouldn't be friends. As such, you are invited to the 7th bi-annual Michigan/OSU Drunkathon. For those unfamiliar, a primer:

1. What is this drunkathon you speak of?
- Me and all my deadbeat friends from Ohio who made our way out of that primordial ooze and into God's country use this upcoming weekend to celebrate gaining our freedom, hopefully by pounding some Ohio State ass on the football field.

2. Who will be there?
- Mostly people in their early 30s looking to act like they're in their early 20s. Other assorted drunks of questionable moral turpitude. Lots of Michigan alums. Lots of people from Ohio who cheer for the Buckeyes despite a discernible reason other than being born in a shitty state.

3. OK, like, specifically, what does the weekend entail?
- It kicks off Friday evening with 'Big Gay Stov's Cocktail Hour' Its a lot like Happy Hour, only cheaper and longer lasting (like that generic cialis you ordered over the internet). We'll be consuming all types of booze imaginable at XXXXXX from 4ish on. Expect drinking games of the beer pong and tippy cup variety, trash talking that would make your mother blush, and pointing and laughing at those who can't hold their liquor. Saturday, its a rise and shine tailgate starting at 8am in the XXXXXX There'll be breakfast food, mimosas, and enough booze to get an overweight army laid. We'll also have tents, big screen satellite TVs, and more assorted debauchery. After the game its more tailgating and then back to Stov's for a post game dance party, where 30 year old married guys watch their friend's wives shake their asses, and I hit on the two single girls in the room until everyone's uncomfortable.

That's the gist. If you have any questions you know where to reach me. Hope to see you this weekend, although there's little chance I'll remember it.
Go Blue
-T

I removed some specifics obv., strictly for legal reasons. Chances are you already know you're invited, and if not, well you know how to find me. Whatever excuse you think you have for not coming, its going to seem trivial and stupid once you hear about all the fun we had. I'm just sayin', its only once a year. Let your hair down. You've got all Thanksgiving break to recover. We promise no repercussions for sticking your hands into the 'cookie' jar or dropping pants to ankles. If history is any indicator, there'll be plenty of both.

Posted 9:51am
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November 12th, 2007

Not exactly the eye of the tiger...

Sometimes, you know the outcome before the game's played. Not because one opponent is vastly superior to the other. Not because one guy is outmatched or an against the odds underdog. Sometimes, people don't show up. They forget to put their game face on. Somewhere in their mind, they decided that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if they didn't win. And 9 times out of 10, that spells disaster.

I saw it twice this weekend. One as inexplicable as the next. Saturday Michigan came out and laid a turd like they'd been eating nothing but Taco Bell and Wendy's chili for a week without moving their bowels. It had been argued by the pundits all week that maybe Michigan would lay back a bit, as the outcome of the game really didn't matter. What mattered was next week. Ohio State. The Big Ten title. That was the game that mattered. Let's trot on out there, rest some guys to get them healthy, and if we win, that'd be OK. I never imagined this team would take such a tact, but that's exactly what they did. I'm sure it would have been evident from the warm ups had I been on the field - Michigan didn't come to play.

I know that's exactly what I saw on my son's face Sunday afternoon. I showed up to watch him play his second set of tennis matches and as soon as I saw him I looked him right in the eye and said 'You better get your head on straight real quick or you're going to get embarrassed out there.' He of course assured me that 'I will' and 'I am', but as we all someday realize, dad is usually right. Halfway through his first match his coach came over and asked me 'What's wrong with Cameron? That's not his game at all.' I told her I didn't know specifically what it was, but his head wasn't in it, and it wasn't going to get fixed any time soon.

Because one can rarely right the ship when they don't bother to show up. By the time you realize you're not prepared, your back's against the wall. Your timing is off and the strength reserves you usually call upon to get you through the tight spots seem to be already sapped. All you can do is wait for the beating to be over, and hope you learn from that mistake, because its a terrible feeling to get beat down by someone you're better than. Which is why I refer to this week as 'The end of productivity.' Its Ohio State week and all of my focus is on the game. I'll do whatever I can to placate people at work, but the chances of my getting much done of substance are nil. I'll spend my time devouring pregame coverage on the internet. Thinking about past glories and trying to draw parallels from them to this year, in hopes that we can replicate the good times. But I'll spend of my time worrying. Fretting that we'll come out this week like we did last Saturday. Flat. Flaccid. Not ready to play. It shouldn't happen, this is tOSU. If you can't get it up for this, well then I question the existence of your soul. Of course if we manage to lose, its just a game, right?

Posted 11:40am
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November 9th, 2007

The most traumatic thing that ever happened to me. Ever.

- This post is part of an ongoing series called 'Things you don't blog about when you have a girlfriend'. I have stories untold that weren't posted because of - well you read the title of the series. None of these are likely pleasant nor do they probably paint me in a very good light. This happened before the last girlfriend, but I never wrapped my head around it in time to write it up before the girlfriend entered my life, at which point it seemed crass to tell. It still seems crass, but what the hell. -ed.

Disclaimer: this story involves explicit descriptions of a graphic sexual nature. And they involve me. So those of you with weak constitutions, heart conditions, the elderly or pregnant women may want to come back tomorrow. Or if your a blood relative. Or probably if you've ever met me. OK, most of you have heard this anyway, let's move on. But I apologize in advance.

A while back I got word that a friend of a friend was interested in me. And no matter who is attracted to you, its at least flattering and often intriguing. And given all the factors involved (including considering the last time I had a woman touch me) I was intrigued. So one night after the bar I and a small posse found ourselves back at my place for afterhours - including the girl who was interested in me. It was no secret to anyone in the room what was going on at that point, so me and the interested party quickly found ourselves alone, drunk at 3am. She immediately got down to brass tax, confessing her interest. And shortly after that, we got down to the real brass tax. I was drunk and remember little of what followed that night. Things seemed to go well from what I remember. The relationship, however, was not consummated.

Cut through a couple weeks of phone calls and botched plans, and we finally decide to go out one evening for cocktails. We get slightly intoxicated over a few hours of interesting conversation, and it was a weeknight, so eventually I find myself driving her back to her car. Next thing you know we're going at it pretty heavy in the front seat of my Mazda. This goes on seemingly forever, and somehow I eventually convince her to go back to my place. No one could have predicted what happened next.

We quickly find ourselves back in the bedroom and pick up where we left off the previous night. And when I say pick up, I mean things are quickly progressing to the point of no return. So we're rolling around and eventually I find myself underneath her. She's straddling me, we're making out. She starts to sit up and lean back to peel off her t-shirt. And that's when it happened. Now a woman sitting on top of you half naked removing her clothes should be one of the most anticipatory, joyous occasions in a man's life. But this time, it was the complete polar opposite. Because as she pulled her shirt up over her head, she revealed the hairiest, most disgusting armpits you've ever seen in your life. And I may not know much, but I know that's where boners go to die.

Now for some information that I didn't give up earlier in order to build suspense and keep the reveal as far away as possible. First, despite the caveat about my drought at the time, the girl in question was not unattractive. She was actually quite cute and had a really nice body. Secondly, I found out from the first go-round that other than her head (and consequently her armpits) there wasn't another ounce of hair on her body. Not on her legs, not on her va-jay-jay - thus adding to the surprise. So keep scratching your head, there are no answers.

Now I've told this story dozens of times, and each time I'm barraged with questions and others pop up as to how this could have happened. I hope I've answered most of them above. The one that remained most vexing for longest period of time was 'What is the female equivalent?' I've listened to many theories and the only thing I think approaching a definitive answer is the uncircumcised penis. You know its a possibility, you've heard the stories, you know it exists. But if you are unprepared, in the moment, it can be as jarring as a punch to the ovaries. Or so I'm told.

I'm not sure what the moral of the story is. Its just kind of something that happened to me that in the end, is a plus because its been amazing conversational fodder over the years. And in my book, that's always a win. Even if I still wince for a second to this day when a girl takes her shirt off around me for the first time. And while I don't know the moral, one thing I do know is the conclusion, because everyone wants to know two things. So, for the record, yes I finished; and no, I never saw her again (although I did do my best to let her down gently. Scouts honor.)

Posted 9:00am
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November 8th, 2007

This Week in Sex

- Its common wisdom that youth is wasted on the young. Why should college kids get to be the ones who go out and get drunk and randomly hook up with a different person every night? Especially since they don't know what they're doing. In the latest 'I could have told you that' study, its been shown that drunk hookups rarely lead to orgasms for women. I, for one, am shocked and appalled. I implore the youth of America to get in there and give it your best effort, enough of this abject solipsism.

- I've been accused of having an Asian fetish. My last two long term relationships were with women of varying Asian persuasions, true. But I am always quick to point out that I've also peppered in dates with women that were Jordanian, Romanian, and even some good old fashioned Southern white girls in there for good measure. I like to think of my penis as the United Nations. I see no color, creed or religion - give me your tired, your poor, your drunken masses. And finally, I am vindicated by science. Hooray science! Now proving how I continue to get women so blatantly more attractive than myself to go out with me is a horse of a different color.

- A lot was made this Halloween season about young girls dressing in provocative costumes. And I think that we all can agree that a 10 year old dressed like a hooker is deplorable at best. But if I could speak for a second on behalf of every 30+ dude in America - where was all this tawdriness when we were younger? I mean sure, you had the occasional slutty witch or slutty nurse, but the girls wearing them were usually just generally slutty. Now you see girls who normally wear nothing but turtlenecks going out in thigh highs and a dress that you need two hairdos for. The permeation is astonishing. And while yes, we all can agree that this behavior isn't for the youth of America, I say kudos to the rest of you. Even this nationally syndicated advice columnist agrees with me. And he's talking about 16 year olds! Thank god I don't have a daughter.

- Finally, Jerry Seinfeld once postulated that 95% of the population is undateable (undateable!) When Elaine then asked him how all these people were getting together, he wisely answered 'Alcohol'. If we take his hypothesis as fact, then this is bad news for 95% of us.

Posted 3:11pm
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November 7th, 2007

Delayed infatuation

I'm sort of a believer in love at first sight. At least in the arena of pop culture. Most of the books, movies and albums that I really truly love? I knew it the first time I laid eyes/ears/thoughts on it. Maybe its my love of hyperbole and need to find the new and interesting that lead to all of this. But I knew I had found a kindred spirit the first time I read Chuck Klosterman. With tears in my eyes I wanted to tell the world what I had just discovered the first time I saw the movie Once. And I knew that Brit Daniel and I were going to be BFF from the first note of Spoon that I ever heard. In short, I immediately fell in love.

But these aren't evolving relationships. At least not in the same way that human interactions are. If the next 4 Wilco albums suck* it still won't diminish my love for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. My feelings for that album aren't transient. Jeff Tweedy can't call me a douche, kick me in the balls and tell me its over. If the next Indiana Jones movie blows goats, Raiders of the Lost Ark will still be my favorite movie of all time.

People, on the other hand, tend to be the opposite. Meeting someone for the first time is always couched and reserved. Chances are, I'm not going to like the person, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Whereas most albums I listen to I immediately either want to listen to again or discard, with people I can usually take it or leave it. Its usually only repeated exposure that allows me to see past immediate flaws and judgments that my brain is making. Eventually the pros can tip the cons, but its an uphill battle.

Of course there's an inherent irony in the theory I've proposed. There's a permanence in my superficial relationships that transcends time and space, despite the fact that these are one-sided relationships that I admittedly worked little to establish. And then there's my human relationships - which take time to build and establish and require trust and understanding - that are subject to whim and folly. They can be torn asunder by misunderstandings, poorly timed utterances and alcohol. Half a dozen drop down, drag out fights with a significant other has a much more devastating effect on that relationship than say, the last 4 shitty Pearl Jam albums do on my relationship with Ten.

But of course nothing postulated above is in any way absolute. I didn't swoon the first time I heard Death Cab. I was in the wrong place and into different things when I first heard Ben Gibbard croon, yet eventually they came to be a permanent part of my life. And there's plenty of people (ok, mostly women) whom I met for the first time and was smitten from the flop. Maybe its because they're rarer, but both of the above are somehow more satisfying. Finally falling in love with a band that you've known and been around a while is special. Being able to go into their back catalog and find all this great music you've been missing is a treat like no other. And of course the punch in the chest of an immediate connection with another human being is an experience unparalleled in human existence. Even if its not exactly love at first sight.

* We here at tbaggervance.com believe this to be a statistical impossibility, but use the analogy anyway for sake of argument.

Posted 11:38am
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November 6th, 2007

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

- Sure, when I was 19 I may have partied with high school kids once or twice. I may have "contributed to the delinquency of a minor" and committed a few acts that may or may not have been "morally reprehensible", but at least I wasn't their cheerleading coach when I did it. But still, thank god there was no internet back then.

- This quiz calls itself out as The Almost Impossible Rock & Roll Quiz. I'll admit its pretty tough, with several questions where I had to completely throw my hands up. I still managed a 42/58, which isn't bad for almost impossible.

- I'm not sure why Larry King still gets to interview people. Surely we can find somebody less decrepit to toss softballs to celebrities. Or hey, how about someone who actually interviews people, rather than just giving them a forum to promote a book or publicly apologize for a hate crime? Wishful thinking for sure, but this helps make my case, while providing me with laughter. And everyone knows that laughter, along with booze, is the best medicine.

- Saturday night I got home from a loooong afternoon of watching Michigan pwn MSU once again (and of drinking my body weight in Jaeger bombs) and immediately passed out (incidentally, I love all of the fall out from MSU feeling disrespected. Seriously, you're making fun of Mike Hart's height? You're sooooo lucky he's gone after this year). Anyway, I awoke about 1am in a 'Who? What? Where?' stupor. Great. Good luck getting back to sleep anytime soon. Luckily I had Wilco performing on Austin City Limits (in glorious HD, no less) waiting on my TiVo to help keep me company. I suggest you check your local listings to try and catch the whole performance, but here's a little taste to satiate you.

- The older I get, the less video games I play. This seems inappropriate for someone as unwilling as I am to act my age, but who has the time? OK, I will still play every new Zelda game all the way through as soon as it comes out and will always take all comers in a game of RBI Baseball, so maybe not all that mature afterall. Anyway, much like this reviewer, I wish I had the time and patience to get through this 'lost' version of Super Mario Bros. But I'll likely just go play a few games of Galaga instead.

Posted 10:49am
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November 5th, 2007

No Fatties.

I love online dating. Not so much the part where you actually talk to people you don't know and then maybe eventually go out with them - that's more or less horrifying. But just browsing the online ads and profiles is an exercise in hilarity for me. I could be in a monogamous relationship for two years and in a fit of boredom I could still imagine browsing the W4M on craigslist. Not in a 'maybe I could do better' way, but just in a 'seriously, what are you expecting to attract with this?' way. For example:

- A big point of contention (especially on the CL) seems to be women's weight. Guys are outraged that all the chicks answering their ads are fat! Women who describe themselves as BBW seemingly want to have the same standards of who they'll date as a 22 year old college girl with huge boobs and a tiny vagina! Both of these people are suffering from delusions of grandeur.

- Then there's the people with no expectations. This mostly involves women who's only prerequisites seem to be 'has a job and a car', and 'not a liar', although this is usually couched with an all caps NO DRAMA. A 34 year old women looking for a nice guy that's her age on craigslist might want to reconsider that any guy she's going to find probably has some drama. Nobody gets to 30, single and dateable without some drama in tow. Now that we've all come to that realization, let's agree that there are worse things and move on.

- Of course there's the biggest headscratcher of all in my mind - the bland. These people describe themselves as 'nice girls' looking for 'nice guys'. They love a good night out as much as staying home on the couch to watch a DVD. They think family is important, and they enjoy 'music' and 'movies'. And that's about all they tell you. Who doesn't want to date that girl? Then again, based on that, who does?

Of course apparently some people think that this is how the game is played. I know this because I once posted a pretty specific ad on CL that ruffled some feathers. While most women found it to be in its intended manner - light hearted, pithy and self-deprecating - two womyn sent me very nasty emails accusing me of being sexist, hating women, being anti-single mother and a generally immature drunk. Sure we can all see where they got the last one, but I think we can all assume that the rest are likely issues with them, not me.

Posted 7:22pm
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November 2nd, 2007

PBR me ASAP.

I spend most Thursday nights at The Arena to partake in karaoke as hosted by my longtime friend Markie C. They have $2 pints after 10, which is when I show up. They also have $1.25 bottles of PBR all night. The first time I went up there months ago, I ordered a PBR, as you can't go wrong for a buck and a quarter. But instead of a bottle, the bartender gives me a $2 pint of PBR. I didn't say much, as PBR is PBR and $2 might as well be $1.25. So I drink my PBR like a good little boozehound and go back to the bar to get more of the delicious, sweet nectar. It was my intention to either A.) Get the cheap bottle of PBR, or B.) switch to some other $2 pint that was more pleasant tasting. But as the bartender saw me approaching, he started to pour me a second pint of PBR. I decided eh, its not worth making a fuss over. After the second one, who can taste the difference anyway? I spent the rest of the night throwing back the Blue Ribbon and kicking out the jams on the karaoke mic. The next week I walk into the bar and before I can cop a squat on an empty barstool, the same bartender is pouring me another PBR. This scenario has continued unabated every Thursday since. I approach the bar, the bartender start's pouring the Pabst. Normally I would do nothing but applaud such old school service. Knowing what your regulars drink is a sure way to get overtipped. But I have to drink PBR every week - when I could at least be drinking Miller Lite. But I don't have the heart to tell him. What if I tell him I'd rather have something else and he no longer autopours everytime I belly up to the bar? What if he starts ignoring me because all of a sudden I think I'm too good for PBR? What if he starts asking me what I want to drink every time I need a refill and he gives me that blank bartender stare of 'Come on with it already, I have other customers'? There's too many scenarios, too many horrific outcomes to take the chance. I'll stick with the PBR and like it. After all, it is beer.

- Just the thought of a new Coldplay album makes me vomit - just a little bit into my mouth. Its OK. I'm OK now.

- I went to a funeral on Halloween, which for any Alanis fans in the audience, is not ironical but coincidental. An example of death and irony would be that leaves are more beautiful when they are dying (Thanks MJ). Anyway it was for my step grandfather, who married my grandma about 8-9 years ago when they were both well into their 80s. Its almost too adorable for words. ANYWAY it was my first turn as a pallbearer, which honestly wasn't on my to-do list, but I somehow feel like it was a relevant experience. Rest in peace Paul. Anyone who could make my grandma happy is all right in my book.

Posted 3:28pm
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November 1st, 2007

Q and A.

Question: Why all of a sudden do NFL QBs have green, round stickers on the backs of their helmets?
Answer: Apparently, its a new rule to mark which helmets are equipped with a radio to communicate with the sidelines. Which explains why everyone on the Patriots has that green sticker.

Question: Which will do more damage to my kids psyche, Heroes or Deal or No Deal?
Answer: Well the Parents Television Council would like you to believe that the answer is clearly Heroes, what with its plotlines about people who are different from those around them banding together to do good and, you know, help people. So much more detrimental than say, 42 year old housewives acting like complete douche bags on national tv, only to throw away life changing amounts of money out of pure greed. While we're on the subject, I'd also like to point out that every show that they mark as 'red-light', is on after 9pm. If you have a kid young enough to actually be affected by watching House and you're not aware that he or she is watching it, then your biggest problem is not that your kid is watching House.

Question: How are you like Jesus?
Answer: I hate money lenders, assume I was immaculately conceived (for reasons of sanity), and I drive a stick shift.

Question: I heard Robert Goulet passed away. Should I care?
Answer: Yes. Bobby G not only had a legendary singing voice, but a great sense of humor. He was always willing to mock his public persona and often showed up in the strangest places. But we here at tbaggervance.com will always remember him best for this:

Question: Whatever happened to my cousin Lester? He was pretty cool...
Answer: A tricky question for sure, but let's take a stab. As kids, we're forced to spend time with our cousins like they're our freshman roommates. We're thrown together by hap and circumstance and little more. As such we do our best to find commonalties so we can make the most of holidays and summer get togethers. As we mature, we realize that the only thing we have in common with these people is a small strand of DNA, and that fact can often be quite embarrassing. Couple that with a development of your own identity and diminishing attendance at family functions, and the level of involvement with these friends-by-double-helix approaches zero. If you're wondering what happened to your cousin Lester, wait for someone in your family to get married or die and then you can wonder why you ever wondered in the first place.

Posted 11:13am
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October 31st, 2007

On blind dates and whatnot.

Anyone who has been single outside the warm comfortable cocoon of college life can tell you that the prospect of finding someone that you're attracted to AND that you can tolerate is dicey at best. Oh yeah, and throw in the fact that there should probably be some reciprocity there for things to work and we're at an almost impossible impasse. As such I had tried just about every possible avenue to meet someone willing to let me buy them dinner in exchange for touching my penis in the past five years. I say had because up until a few weeks ago I had never entered the dreaded territory of the blind date. I had been introduced to friends of friends in social situations in hopes that we'd hit it off. I'd even met girls out for drinks that I had only met online and never in person. And while I've had varying degrees of surprising success and abject failure in these endeavors, I'd never been on an actual according to hoyle blind date.

Which is why I was when I got a txt message a month ago asking if I was at all interested in such a thing, my gut reaction was somewhere between trepidation, fear and despair. What kind of screening process will there be? If I say yes am I signing up for an evening with someone who I will find physically and intellectually appalling? I cautiously dipped my toe in the water by asking for some more information. The short story is that a friend of a friend was at a party, where a very intriguing woman casually said that if anyone knows any nice, single men over 30, that she was looking. Well the friend of my friend said that she did, and as luck would have it she was talking about me. She contacted me a day or two later and asked if I could send this intriguing woman the link to my blog. This is where I started to laugh maniacally to myself. I was off the hook already! What were the chances an intriguing woman was going to read tbaggervance.com and still be interested in dating me? And on the off chance that she did, who am I to not at least give a couple hours of my time to someone who reads the bloggy blog and doesn't immediately go looking for the internet police to have me shut down.

Well as luck/fate/karma would have it, I got an intriguing email from the intriguing woman shortly thereafter. She wasn't (overly) appalled with my diatribes and so an email dialogue began. I immediately saw where the intriguing came from. She was smart, witty and attractive (attractive!) and I was as smitten as a jaded, cynical, internet dater can be. I've been the victim of the bait and switch more than once before however - both on the personality and the appearance end. I figured it was only a matter of time before I got screwed over on both, so I tempered my reaction and demanded prudence of my emotions.

We eventually set up the date. She being from out of town and never having visited Ann Arbor before, decided to come our beautiful little hamlet for the evening. I picked her up at the hotel around 6 with no real plans on the agenda. I'm a fan of having little to no set plan on a first date, as if you can't keep each others attention for a few hours when you know nothing about each other, you don't stand much of a chance of getting to date two anyway. I figured we'd go downtown and let the treasures of A2 unfold in front of us. In hindsight, maybe not a great idea. At least as I type it it seems like a recipe for certain disaster. But I did leave the Buddha at home, so I figured worse come to worse I had an out to leave early should things go completely awry.

Astonishingly, they didn't. We found Oktoberfest, tried a few restaurants and cafes, and even ran across an award winning singer songwriter who entertained us for an hour or so. Most importantly (as far as I was concerned) we didn't seem to suffer any serious lulls or deal-breaking incompatibilities. When I dropped her off after our almost 7 (7!) hour date, I didn't want things to end - which I guess is the ultimate barometer of how things went.

Of course despite a fairly splendid first date, things have been slow going since. We seem to be the victims of distance, scheduling and circumstance. Time will tell if it amounts to anything. I guess given my narrow set of expectations, I'm excited to have found someone I consider worth pursuing. Of course this in no way changes my hesitation nor my trepidation towards blind dates or dating on the whole. What are the odds it would ever work that well again?

Posted 12:33am
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October 30th, 2007

The STD incident

- This post is part of an ongoing series called 'Things you don't blog about when you have a girlfriend'. I have stories untold that weren't posted because of - well you read the title of the series. None of these are likely pleasant nor do they probably paint me in a very good light. This story happened very recently and in a way was very indicative of my last relationship. It scared the shit out of me. I hope you at least chuckle at some point along the way. -ed.

So this was an interesting story that, at the time it happened, was blog inappropriate. I like to poke the beehive as much as anybody, but sometimes I actually do put my own well-being first, and as such I held off on talking about this anecdote - until now.

First of all, I freely admit that the version of the events I'm about to relay to you is my own, and that the other party involved would tell a very different tale, at least of what led up to the incident in question. But, this is my little corner of the world, and my use of hyperbole, framing devices, and inclusion/omission of details are in the interest of readability, not to skew the truth in my favor. Of course that could be said about everything I write here, but I still may catch shit for this. Anyway, here goes.

A while back, I wrote a post about how I was setup on a blind date and had a crush on a girl I worked with. It was kind of innocuous in my mind, not intended to do anything other than link these two events that happened nearly simultaneously for your enjoyment. Not everyone saw it as such. My previous girlfriend and I were still in touch and still a part of each others lives. We had ended things amicably, as the break up was a result of her moving out of state more than anything else. Things just kind of fell apart and we had never discussed a long distance relationship. Well, not exactly. Previous girlfriend, missing home and her ex-boyfriend, wanted to be more than "amicably parted long distance exes who remained close". I, didn't feel the same. For myriad reasons, including my age, the distance involved, and the previous issues we had experienced in our relationship, I thought it a bad idea. And we struggled with that for a while, but I thought we had come to a mutual understanding (of sorts) in that I stood my ground and said 'This isn't happening'. Well one night after a huge fight, she decided that we shouldn't talk for awhile. I said that I would still be here when she decided that we could speak again. That's when the shit started to trickle towards the fan.

Because as irony/karma/yin&yang would have it, it was during that period of non-communication that I was offered the blind date and the crush came to fruition. Given my bitterness and the current status of me and the ex, I agreed to the blind date and decided to write about both, because that's what I do. Upon reading my revelations, the ex became incensed and let me know it, breaking radio silence. Unfortunately for me, she called when I was wasted, and her bile led me down the path of least resistance, which is always apologizing and acquiescing to her demands. Which, I didn't know at the time, included not 'doing anything' until she came home for fall break in two weeks.

Of course she should've known better than to trust a drunken promise from the likes of me, but that didn't lessen her vitriol when I told her that I was going on the blind date the weekend before she came home. Again more fighting, her asking me not to go, me explaining how circumstances dictate that I was going to, etc. And I thought we were once again in an OK place. I wouldn't talk about it, she wouldn't ask - a compromise worthy of homosexuals in the Clinton era. I realized that we weren't on the same page when I started to receive incredulous text messages during my date. But being a gentleman (of a fashion) I ignored the txts until the date was over. When I got home, I replied, telling her that the date was over, she could exhale now. Shortly after I sent the message, I passed out, but not before putting my phone on mute. The next morning is when things got scary.

I awoke with the standard Sunday morning grogginess, and stumbled around the house, getting my bearings, grabbing the newspaper, and finally checking my phone to see if anyone tried to contact me during my slumber. Sure enough, 15 missed calls, all from one caller - the ex. I dial up voicemail to hear the single message left. And while I paraphrase, the gist of it was to accuse me of not answering the calls on purpose, and that I needed to call her asap. I may have tried to call, may have decided to wait given that it was early in Michigan and practly nighttime still out west where the ex lived, but in either case I was left waiting a few hours for her to call me. In that time I decided to check her blog, to see if she had decided to put any of her thoughts in prose. Sure enough she had, and there it was: I had given her an STD.

The post she wrote is lost to the ether, but I'm a fairly intelligent, well read person, and the only conclusion that one could draw from what she wrote was that she had gotten test results and since I was her only sexual partner for the last year, I had given her an STD. My mind raced. How was this possible? How could I have this dormant disease in my body and not know it? I had been so careful over the years (becoming a father will do that for ya) Given everything I knew about the situation, I didn't know how I could have an STD and how she, if it was true, wouldn't assume I had cheated on her at some point. All I could do was sit and marinate in the fear until she called.

Which eventually she did. We argued and argued, all the while with me just waiting for her to break the news. And when I finally mentioned the blog - nothing. Turns out that I was a victim of bad writing, a misplaced metaphor, and drunk blogging. The mix of relief and anger were a juxtaposition that nearly crushed me (and elated me). I was clean, but how could she do that? The post was removed almost immediately, and probably seen by no one - certainly not anyone of consequence to me. As the weight lifted and the anger subsided, I finally knew what others had been insinuating to me for some time - that this was an unhealthy relationship that needed to end.

But looking back, it was a pretty scary hour for me. I had never really contemplated getting an STD, because I went from young and stupid to old and careful pretty fast. Of course its easy to point out that my fear shows that I'm still somewhat stupid. But just for the record - I didn't give anyone an STD and I've never had one. Yes, this has been confirmed. Again - no STDs. That is all.

Posted 3:56pm
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October 29th, 2007

Tennis anyone?

You may remember a while back when I lamented the fact that the Buddha had taken up tennis. I was sure (or at least hopeful) that like the rest of his forays into athletics, that it would be a passing fad. Well, here we are 6 months later and I am ensconced in tennis. Yesterday was his first set of matches, at which I quickly learned two things:

- About the Buddha: that he, like his father, has very little athletic ability. He runs flat footed, is slow, short and as graceful as an elephant. However, he's also has an innate sports acumen that blows me away. When he played baseball, he was used occasionally as a relief pitcher. His stuff was so slow it barely made it to the plate. But when it did, it somehow managed to find the strike zone more often than not. He baffled bigger kids who couldn't seem to fathom why they weren't taking these pathetic pitches and parking them in the outfield bleachers. He plays tennis the exact same way. His shots lazily arc over the net, seemingly in slow motion. His serve always seems like its going to catch the top of the net. Yet what one needs more than anything in tennis is the ability to hit it where they ain't. This, Sid has in spades. Everytime his opponent would come play the net, he would drop a lob at the back line and watch as they hopelessly ran backwards towards it. He'd split the other team in half when playing doubles every time they bunched up in the middle. They never seemed to learn what he was doing to them, and you could almost see him fighting back the laughter.

- About myself: that I, while still largely believing that tennis is gay, have to constantly remind myself not to be 'that guy'. With several matches going on at once, apparently we, the observers, are supposed to remain quiet. This is a very difficult proposition for me. I need to cheer. I need to scold. I need to coach from the sidelines, despite barely knowing how to keep score in this silly game. I suppose its good for me, as instead of yelling across the racquet club, I just made snide comments to my babymama about the proceedings - along with an occasional 'Nice shot' from the balcony. I know I rail against parents who are blinded by the belief that they think their kid is the best at everything, and I'm not that guy. And I don't yell at my Buddha for not being perfect nor do I have unrealistic expectations. But I see the slippery slope that people slide down to become those abhorrent individuals, which hopefully is enough to keep me from becoming like them. Having said all that, my kid was 3-0 yesterday, so suck it.

So it appears that I will be spending my Sunday afternoons watching tennis for the foreseeable future. God help me. At least the matches aren't on Saturdays, because Buddha playing tennis versus Michigan football borders on Sophie's Choice.

Posted 11:56am
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October 26th, 2007

Jeremiah was a bullfrog

I have the extreme displeasure of heading North to Flinttown today on a business related thingy, which will only be tolerable if Boike is free for lunch and we get half drunk. Here's hoping. And here's some shit I found lying in the corner of the internet for you to check out while I'm outta town.

- Yoshimi 1, Pink Evil Robots 0... Flaming Lips Alley is official. Long live Wayne Coyne, current King Shit of Fuck Mountain©.

- Jabba no batta... I think what we're missing in all this 'ha-ha Notre Dame is awful' business is how much Nebraska sucks the bag. Not that we should stop pointing and laughing at ND, mind you.

- I made some love stains in the back. You'll see... I'm sure this will be a cash-in sucktacular, but the poster makes me giggle.

- As if this tattoo wasn't gay enough before... Remember when you thought George Michael and Elton John had their right ears pierced because that's how they did it in England, not because they were gay, so you went out and pierced your right ear and everyone made fun of you? This dude has it so much worse.

- Worst haunted house ever... This makes those people who hand out pennies and apples for Halloween look good. By comparison only of course. No truth to the rumors that videotape of me hungover will be included in the exhibit, even though it would immediately make their point.

- As if things weren't tough enough already... Cosmo has new rules for dating. To sum it up, be that giant bitch that all your boyfriend's friends hate with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. Nothing good will come of this...

Posted 8:08am
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October 25th, 2007

I guess sex isn't all that important. Wait. Huh?

- This post is part of an ongoing series called 'Things you don't blog about when you have a girlfriend'. I have stories untold that weren't posted because of - well you read the title of the series. None of these are likely pleasant nor do they probably paint me in a very good light. This first one isn't that bad in my estimation. For some reason, my girlfriend at the time asked me not to post it after I had written it and told her that I was about to put it up. I'm still baffled at the fact that she considered this 'the most unattractive thing I ever said'. -ed.

The other day I was asked to make a theoretical choice - if I had to give up one for the rest of my life - sex or alcohol - which would it be? It was a sneaky attempt to gauge my level of addiction for sure; perhaps to get me in trouble with Ayesha as well (since it was posed in front of her). Of course I knew these factors and decided to weigh it out and answer honestly anyway - because I'm a glutton for punishment.

My immediate reaction was sex. Honestly I've gone a fair length of time before without sex. The same cannot be said about the booze. And sex is dependent on someone else being a willing participant (leave that one alone people). But wait, is masturbation included? No sex means no masturbating? Turns out yes. So I can't let the furious five go to work either. Huh. I still think I'd give up sex. Even when I'm having sex regularly, I still spend much more time drinking than having sex. And after a fair amount of time without release, I imagine I'd go off in the night like old faithful anyway. It was agreed that there's no stopping that, so given that alcohol has been consistently better to me than sex over the years and the fact that I still get to have random orgasms in the middle of the night, I guess hello booze, goodbye sex. But that still doesn't seem right, even to me.

Then a few nights later as I was bopping up and down through my apartment with iPod on and drink in hand, I randomly said to the Buddha 'I love music; and I love Booze.' Somehow he managed to continue the conundrum by asking me 'Yes, but which do you love more?' After a short aside where I had to tell him that I of course loved him more than all those things combined, I realized that the only thing more omnipresent in my life than the booze is the music. So I truthfully answered him, 'I guess I'd have a harder time living without music than without booze, so I love music more.' Which leaves us with a 'T couldn't live without inanimate objects/physical acts' list looking like this:

1. Music
2. Booze
3. Sex

And off the top of my head, nothing is hard charging to move into the top 3. Even looking at it though, it seems kind of odd. Especially since sex likely moves from worst to first if posing the question 'Which do you enjoy most?' Thank god I never have to go very long without any of them.

Posted 11:08am
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October 24th, 2007

Internet is the new television

- I know I've told you before to watch Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so I trust that you are. If you find yourself with the same problem that I do and can't get that catchy little ditty 'Day Man' out of your head, here you go. I'm not sure it holds up as well out of context, but as we discussed, you're already watching the show, right?

- As improbable as it would have seemed when they released the minor hit 'Popular' back in the day, I'm a pretty big Nada Surf fan. Which of course means so should you be. Here's a live performance that they did at the Apple Store recently, complete with a song from their album due out early next year.

- Of course it goes without saying that we're all big Judd Apatow fans - from the Days of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, to The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. I'm not clear what level of involvement he had in this, but its apparently at least 'some', so worth checking out.

- You may remember hearing about me hanging out with Jason Schwartzman and Wes Anderson last week. Well the video of that is finally up on the internet for all to see. The interview's not great, but Wes and Jason are, so enjoy.

Posted 6:55pm
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October 23rd, 2007

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week?

- I know that I spent some time a while back defending Wilco's involvement with VW. And I stand by it. Call me a hypocrite if you want, but Dylan for Cadillac makes me want to vom. I guess at least they're not playing 'Blowin' in the Wind' in the background.

- I'm not saying that I unequivocally have never intentionally had my hands underneath a woman's clothing in a public setting, but if it did happen, it was half a lifetime ago. I can say however, that I've never gone straight finger bangin' at a college football game. People, no...

- Nothing makes Baby J sadder than when something completely inconsequential in pop culture threatens the moral integrity of the youth of America. Which is why we must all scramble to come up with a course of action to deal with the fact that a Harry Potter character is gay.

- "Let me just say people better enjoy it now, have their fun now." - Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, shaking his finger at those laughing at how gawd awful ND is right now. While this pompous windbag makes me laugh uncontrollably, I can only assume that since Charlie the Hutt works for a Catholic University, the Baby Jesus is crying over having to hear this quote read back to him for the next few years as ND continues to be a giant ball of suck. Tee Hee.

Posted 11:22am
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October 22nd, 2007

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

- Last year at this time I was on an all-time high and seemingly nothing bad could happen to me. I was as teflon as a 16 year old driving around in his car with his buddies on a Saturday night for the first time. And while I'm by no means pulling a 'woe is me' now - let's just say that the difference alone of Michigan being unexpectedly undefeated and rolling a year ago, to unexpectedly starting 0-2 this year is enough to have a negative effect on my demeanor. But things are looking up - as our trip to Illinois over the weekend to witness an ugly, ugly win can attest. Hey, we're undefeated in the Big Ten, and barring a collapse of Spartanesque proportions, are aligned to battle tOSU for the Big Ten title in a month. Who knows what kind of snowball effect this could on all things peripheral...

- You can read the entire article if you want, but the headline from this article in the USA Today is purely enough: Technology makes porn easier to access at work. Amen. More great headlines from America's newspaper: Military inadvertently recruits gays. Whoops! My bad.

- I hate it when people at shows shout out song requests to the band as much as the next guy. Seriously? Like they're going to go 'Shit! It totally forgot that was even our song!' But you know what I hate more? Ryan Adams. I don't get why people like his music and he's a huge d-bag. Which is why despite me slightly understanding his vitriol here, I still giggle at the abject douchery.

- I kind of like Bill Maher. He can be a prick, but for the most part I agree with him and admire his (mostly) bipartisanship. This feels like its a little bit of bullshit posturing, but its still pretty funny.

- I don't know about you, but last week's episode of The Office might have been my least favorite ever. Really long on plot and honestly, some of it depressed the shit out of me. Of course it still had great moments and I can only assume that this was a palate cleansing story arc to setup some comedic genius in the next few weeks. To satiate yourself until Thursday, check out Rolling Stones' 25 greatest moments from The Office.

Posted 1:22pm
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October 21st, 2007

Jeff Tweedy is a Pimp

*editors note: This post was intended for last Thursday but got delayed for photographic reasons. To see what we were up to over the weekend, check out mgovan, and there's a new pic over on the marquee page.

I've seen quite a few concerts in the last few weeks, from the birthday-party-on-acid experience of the Flaming Lips, to the ferocious indie rock of Spoon, to the intimate crooning of Josh Ritter. Last night the blitz was completed with the most spectacular display of musicianship yet, as Jeff Tweedy and the boys of Wilco rocked my face.

Nothing against any other musician I've seen in the last fortnight, but Wilco can just fucking play. Its sick and absurd how much talent is on that stage, completely in sync with each other and just enjoying the fuck out of themselves. And then Jeff Tweedy, in the pimpest suit I've ever seen in my entire life, says that they were in Columbus the previous night and the people there were a bunch of pussies, and Detroit was living up to its moniker of Rock City. Stop Jeff, you had me at pussies.

The only real problem of the night was the jinx that I had seemingly placed on myself. Monday night we were out drinking before the Josh Ritter show and playing trivia at a local watering hole. I knew what time we needed to leave to get there before Josh went on, but we were finishing a round of trivia and our beers, so we ended up leaving 5 to 10 minutes later than originally planned. This resulted in our arriving at the Pig as Mr. Ritter was in the middle of his first song. Now at the time all I thought was 'Sweet, we didn't miss anything.' But it turned out that it was more of a warning shot across my bow. See, the Wilco show was at the Fox Theater, a much more respectable venue than I'm used to frequenting. As such, instead of listing the time that doors open on the tickets, they put the time that the show STARTS. This of course results in my usual math being off by well over an hour. Luckily I kind of anticipated this a bit and the end result was that we were about a half late to the show. Thankfully, Wilco plays long shows and we felt like didn't miss much. But I should have seen this coming after calling myself out as having concert arriving superpowers on Monday afternoon. Thankfully, I can still down the vodka and parallel park like a champ. Knock on wood...

Posted 8:42pm
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October 19th, 2007

I'm in Champaign, on First and First

One of the more popular features ever here on the ol' bloggy blog was last years Notre Dame weekend, which of course spawned this and then later this. This weekend we take our shot at Champaign-Urbana. My fingers are crossed that I am not the one to provide the most drunken stupidity of the weekend. But I wouldn't bet on it. Were I to bet on it however, I'd handicap it accordingly:

T pulls a DB Cooper: 5:2
Stov takes on 4 girls by himself in tippycup: 6:1
John drunkenly comes up with the saying of the weekend: 3:1
Somebody tries to get Wex laid: 12:1
It works: 1,000:1

Boike points and laughs instead of helping someone we know who is being drunk and stupid: 1:100
Al is the most responsible person in the group: 1:10,000
We get drunk and embarrass the shit out of our celebrity guest (Brian from mgoblog) and get mocked for it on his website: EVEN

So come back on Sunday/Monday to get the scoop. Chances are it'll be worth your time.

Posted 10:01am
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October 17th, 2007

Too much, too little, too late

I have no idea how someone survives 30 years on this ball of rock and doesn't manage to have sex. OK, well obviously one could choose not to have sex for religious or moral reasons, but we all agree that those people are repressed and creepy and will likely someday go on a killing spree and take us all out. And there are the morbidly obese and the genetically deformed, but more often than not even these people find love. My point is that there are normal, decent looking people out there who don't find sex objectionable in any way and yet they ain't gettin' any. My friend was telling me a story about a girl she works with who was dating a guy that had only kissed 3 people in his entire life. And he's 30. And its not because he was in a ten year relationship. These people are out there, and it boggles the mind.

Well my mind anyway. Don't these people know about alcohol? And college? I was under the impression that it was impossible not to get laid in college. Everyone I knew in college got laid at least by accident every once in a while. Without even trying it happened to even the biggest tool boxes I knew. Yet, these 30 year old virgins exist. Which brought about the following quandary. Assuming you're in tbaggervance.com's wheelhouse demographic of 25-40(ish), would you rather date someone with no sexual experience or someone who has had sex with say, 200 people? For arguments sake, let's say that for our virgin there's no outlandish explanation other than 'it just never happened' and for our slut 'I just really enjoy fucking.' In every other way they are the same person. Who would you rather try and have a relationship with?

I realize that's a pretty abstract question and the likelihood of you being saddled with either situation are slim and that you'd be faced with that actual choice are none. So, let's try something that hits a little closer to home. We've all been in relationships where we've felt neglected. You really want someone to call, txt, email, show that they're thinking of you in some way and they don't. And at least every guy I know has been the victim of a girl who likes to call, txt, email every five minutes. The kind of contact that makes you want to chew your arm off to get out of the bear trap you've suddenly found yourself in. Which side of that sliding scale would you rather be on?

I would think that most of us would prefer to not find ourselves in any of the extremes listed above. Everybody wants someone they're sexually compatible with who knows when to call and when to leave us the fuck alone. I know a lot of single people who'd rest easier and would be willing to overlook a lot of other shit if they could find such a combination. For whatever reason, that seems to be an elusive situation for some of us. Getting those sliding scales to match up with someone else's is tricky business. I, like most guys, would at least publicly say that they'd prefer to err on the side of more sexual experience and less constant communication. But I think I might go crazy trying to date someone who's screwed more people than were in my graduating class and never called me. Ah well, the search continues.

Posted 11:42am
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October 16th, 2007

I am really racking up an impressive list of famous friends

Josh Ritter plays the guitar the way Bret Favre plays quarterback - with a fearless abandon, a twinkle in his eye, and a childlike enthusiasm that's as infectious as VD on a co-ed dorm floor full of freshmen. He smiles to himself before he sings certain lyrics, as if he can't believe he's going to say such things in front of a room of strangers. Again. I had the pleasure of viewing this spectacle twice yesterday. The first time was an intimate solo acoustic performance at Borders, where we got to see Josh's unassuming charm up close and personal. 10 hours later it was a full on rock show at the mother of all hole in the wall concert venues, the Blind Pig. Despite having to stand on tip toes in the back of the room, Mr. Ritters gregarious storytelling still managed to make the hair on my arms stand up and give me the smile of a 15 year old who's just had a girl touch his penis for the first time. If there's any justice in the world, 5 years from now I'll tell people that I saw Josh Ritter twice in one day once, including a performance at the Pig, and people will scoff that such a thing was ever even possible.

- Oh yeah, we also managed to sandwich in there a little Q and A with director Wes Anderson and actor Jason Schwartzman. They had to work really hard to make the inane questions of the moderator and the crowd in general somewhat interesting, but they did an amazing job considering what they had to work with. If nothing else it really made me want to go see their new flick, The Darjeeling Limited.

- Finally, some friends of mine are finalists in a home color contest thing. Angie has been referred to in the past as the punk rock Martha Stewart, and I think that's an accurate assessment. Help her out by clicking here and giving up the kudos.

Posted 4:59pm
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October 15th, 2007

How I met Brit Daniel

Kind of. Not really. Call it a brush with greatness. Literally. Anyway Saturday night was Spoon at the Majestic. We arrived 15-20 minutes before they went on, as getting to concerts at the right time just happens to be, along with parallel parking and drinking vodka, one of my super powers. So drinks were procured from the bar and a suitable spot to rock out from was found near the front of stage left. After spending some time hipster gazing a familiar tall, skinny dude began to snake his way through the crowd. Sure enough, it was Brit making his way from back stage on what must have been some super important booze finding mission, as his face had a look of determination usually reserved for needs of such magnitude.

He stopped and we had a long and insightful conversation about indie rock and the fine line he himself walks between kitsch and avant garde. OK that last part may have just happened in my head, as later that night I tried to call him to tell him how much I enjoyed the show, but his number wasn't in my cell phone, despite the fact that I clearly remember him giving it to me. Maybe I just nervously said 'Have a good show' as he sped by not knowing that I ever existed. Either way the two hours that followed were nothing short of spectacular. Brit and I may never be BFF, but if I could sign his yearbook, I'd tell him to have a great summer and don't ever, ever change.

Posted 2:49pm
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October 12th, 2007

Friend is a four letter word

My brain no work good today morning. Somehow I've spent the last two (TWO!) nights going from 'Maybe I'll just stay home' to 'Seriously guys, one more drink then I have to go, its already after 1.' This is surprising to no one, least of all me. But that doesn't change its level of suckage. Well, 8am suckage I guess. Both nights were pretty fun. There were guys buying drinks for the entire bar, flaming Dr. Peppers, bitchy SoCo girls, personal karaoke, and other kinds of debauchery based good times. Of course this makes for some rough mornings. But as I always say, if drinking were easy, every idiot would be doing it. Really all that pretext is just to explain away the randomness and incoherent nature of the thoughts that follow.

- How does one perform a friendectomy? When a person in your life goes from being someone you spend time with because you enjoy each other to someone who makes you feel like you suck at life, what is the defriending process? When it comes to sexual relationships, most people choose to either pull away and ignore the other person or start to pick fights to force a break up. Does the same set of options exist for a defriending? It feels like it should be a different paradigm. I think a lot of people put up with shit from their friends that they'd never tolerate out of a significant other. And one would assume there's not even sex involved to justify the relationship. This all seems counterintuitive. Oh yeah, brain no work. We'll have to come back to this another day.

- You love the band Spoon, you just don't know it yet. Remember this song from that car commercial? Or how much you liked all that music in that one Will Ferrel movie? How about that one guy who karaoked on Veronica Mars last year? Yup, all Spoon. They seem to be popping up in Postal Service fashion in an attempt to be everyone's favorite band that nobody knows exists. This of course brings about the age old argument of selling out versus laguishing in obscurity which we have enough 'round these parts. I'll continue to champion them, and I'll always bat my eyes at Brit when I go see them live, which I'm doing tomorrow night.

Posted 10:51am
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October 10th, 2007

What are you doing here?

The only acceptable answer is that you've heard In Rainbows at least 3 times through already and you're just browsing the internet as you let everything soak in on listens 5-10. For those not sure what I am referencing, the new Radiohead album dropped today, available at inrainbows.com for any price you see fit. Whatever you decide to pay (and yes, I paid for it. I did download it illegally because that was the much faster way to get my hands on it - seems Radiohead fans stormed the site and brought traffic to a crawl - but I paid for it nevertheless) its worth much, much more. I fully expect the entire staff of pitchfork.com to be discovered sometime soon as victims of a mass, ritualistic suicide - unable to bare the fact that they've seen the top of the mountain, and there is no where else to go. My reaction is a tad more measured and reserved, but the word giddy does come to mind.

- For those who don't care about Radiohead (don't care about Radiohead? Who are you people? I don't even know who you are anymore.) but do care about my health, I think someone is trying to tell me something. Last Friday I went in to grab a couple of packs of smokes while my car filled up with petrol. I came out, placed the cigarettes on top of my car, removed the pump, closed the gas cap, got in my car and headed home. It was a good 45 minutes before I realized that I left 2 packs of cigarettes on top of my car and thus in the parking lot of the gas station. FUCK! As if these things aren't expensive enough. Then yesterday I came home from my local supermarket and was walking into my apartment when the bottom of one of my bags ruptured, spilling jugs of milk and 2 liters of Diet Coke all over the street. I muttered a few profanities, grabbed everything and went inside. About 45 minutes later I realized I had a pack of cigarettes inside said ruptured bag that didn't appear to be anywhere inside my humble abode. A frantic jog back out to the street revealed my brand new pack of Winston Lights, run over by at least one motor vehicle. Luckily the integrity of the flavor seal was still intact, and the cigarettes still proved capable of giving their sweet,sweet (cancerous) nicotine. That was close. Thank god I don't believe in signs, because if I did, the next one would have to be emphysema.

Posted 1:57pm
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October 9th, 2007

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

- Who doesn't love tiny stupid dictators with delusions of grandeur? Sometimes I just wish I could pick up Kim Jong Il and carry him around in my shirt pocket, listening to him rant like the Korean equivalent of Daffy Duck. Why just the other day he proclaimed himself an internet expert. Adorable! Yes, we will be rolodexing this to come back to it at a later date people.

- You want to 'save the planet' and get people to be green, make it profitable for corporations to shove the shit down your throat. Take Machiavellian uber-coporation Wal-Mart - they're at the forefront of the CFL revolution. I won't say anything nice about the American equivalent of the Empire in the Star Wars movies, but you convince the Darth Vaders at the top of the food chain over there that this is a good PR move, and voila! we have something in place that has a chance of making a difference. If you haven't gotten on board with this yet, for shame.

- The biggest reason I'm glad I have Sid and not say, a Sidney, is that a story about Sid getting caught publicly urinating is funny, Sidney doing the same thing would make me loose my mind. Nevertheless, I once saw something very similar to this is PIB, and its still funny now. Probably NSFW.

- Kids can be cruel, for sure, and I do generally feel bad for those that spend their lives ostracized because of the insecurities that everyone has as a teenager. That being said, I wish I could go back to high school to pick on this chick. (link via Fark) Sometimes, those being ostracized have it coming.

- And finally (FINALLY!) the RIAA gets a victory. When are these kids going to learn that we pay for music, not steal it off the world wide web. The audacity of kids today. Finally those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes, eh? Eh comrades? Eh?

Posted 4:55pm
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October 8th, 2007

A Tale of Two Boo Butts

Every now and again someone will tell you that there are 'two types of people in this world' in order to make some point or other about the divisiveness of some contentious point. Usually these people are using hyperbole to make their point (which who am I to thumb my nose at?) because even if I were to say 'There's two types of people in this world, men and women,' I've seen movies that you can't get at Blockbuster with some folks who might differ with even that statement. And I'm not talking about Jamie Lee Curtis.

But Saturday taught me that there just may be two types of fucked up boo butts© in this world - the one's you know and the one's you don't. Now the characteristics of the two variations are basically the same and you usually do your level headed best to not make eye contact with either. They'll both say similarly stupid things and otherwise embarrass themselves in ways they will regret the next day, but the major difference between the two comes when we look at the issues of tolerability and your capacity to do something about the situation.

Saturday at the tailgate a friend of a friend brought an outsider that, after the game, quickly started to jog down the path towards boo butt territory. He was innocent enough, just spewing some profanity that's questionable by even my lax standard, making some of the ladies uncomfortable and repeating and apologizing for himself over and over again. But he had two things going for him. He had been around long enough that we knew him to be an OK guy, just one that found himself a boo butt (one rarely plans FUBB status, which is why they often spend a lot of time apologizing) and since we knew him, he had handlers to deal with his situation. If you're looking around and wondering if you're the person that's closest to the Boo Butt and therefore responsible for his ass, you probably are.

Saturday night was a different story. We found ourselves at Bdubs after midnight, a little weary from the 15 or so hours we had spent imbibing that day. But we were resigned to finish the day like champions and stick it out till 2. And that's when the birthday boy showed up. I call him the birthday boy because I don't know his name and he told the table about 25 times that it was his birthday. The other two things he wanted to know was how old we were and if we were getting any pussy that night. A response of 'no' to the pussy question meant that you were afraid of the pussy - even if its because your wife was out of town (as an aside, the guy was 23 and it was unfathomable to him that we could be either over 30 or married, much less both). But the whole act went from amusing to annoying after about 3 minutes, even though we squeezed some mileage out of it by accusing each other of putting the pussy on a pedestal, which went right over his head. Of course his friends at the next table acted like they'd never met the guy and I can't say I blame 'em. If I had to look at one more cellphone picture of his skanky naked girlfriend I was going to vomit. But since he was random FUBB the only thing we could do to shed ourselves of his annoying oppression was to wait for the sweet release of 2am. I've never been so happy for last call in my life.

Posted 11:22pm
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October 5th, 2007

How much booze could a boozehound hound if a boozehound could hound booze?

Well, its Friday. Tonight one of my oldest and bestest friends descends on Ann Arbor for a weekend where he can get away from the wife, the kid and life in rural Ohio in general. The good news is, he's never been overly great at handling his liquor. This is good because it may save me from going into liver failure before the weekend is out. Then again he just may play it smart while Stov and I go full bore into full on Fucked Up Boo Butt© territory. Time will tell. And just to pile on, Ayesha also returns to Michigan tomorrow morning. If there was one constant in our relationship, it was booze (ok, maybe the arguing, but you can blame a lot of that on the booze, so...) Its the first we've seen of each other since she left for warmer pastures, so it should be interesting to see if we can keep the drama at bay and get along. But put all that together at it means that tomorrow should be a 16 hour drunktacular - the likes of which is usually only seen in Put-in-Bay, on OSU/Michigan weekend, or at 926 Sylvan between the years of 1995-1997. Let's hope if nothing else it leads to some decent blog entries.

- Being obsessed with Star Wars? Nerdy. Playing with model rockets? Nerdier. Building a 21 foot long X-wing that actually flies? Well that's nerdiest thing since doing differential equations under the covers with a flashlight while your college roommate fucks a drunk sorority girl in the bed five feet away from you. While listening to a Stephen Hawking lecture on your iPod to block out the noise. And wearing Babylon 5 footed pajamas. I think you get my point. Of course if they get this thing to work, I'll think its totally awesome.

Posted 2:03pm
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October 4th, 2007

Please allow me to blind you with some science.

Here's a problem I have: I don't like people. In general, I could take or leave most individuals. When I meet someone for the first time, I usually find some undesirable quality in them, lump them into a stereotyped category, and move on. Many people have warned me about the wealth of potentially fabulous individuals I am missing out on by using this method, but it works for me. I'll take missing out on some real winners to avoid the plethora of real losers that would both waste my valuable time and make me want to stick corkscrews in my eyeballs. So if you're reading this, we're probably friends and therefore, I think you are an astonishing individual who can handle themselves in a conversation and either witty, interesting, or really good looking. Hopefully for both of us, you are all three.

So anyway, couple my reticence of meeting new people with my penchant for booze hounding, and we run into the following conundrum:

As we can see from the graph, we start at time=0 on the left hand side. As time progresses, we can see the effect of both booze (in blue) and interest (in red) have on my level of comprehension. So when I meet someone at time=0, my level of interest is low, as I assume the person will eventually reveal himself or herself to be a douche and thus not worthy of my attention. But as exposure is increased over time, my interest will grow, because if I'm spending time with this person, there is something about the individual I am interested in. This will increase the likelihood I will remember or even take to heart something that they say.

However we also have the Booze (in blue) to consider. Assuming time=0 is the beginning of the night, my level of intoxication is low when meeting someone. One would postulate then that Booze (blue) would have little to no effect on my ability to comprehend, remember, or take to heart whatever the person is saying. If this new person over Time holds my interest and I become enthralled, enamored, or slightly more than merely interested in them, my ability to comprehend and remember is still diminished over that time due to the memory erasing effects of alcohol.

So, if we assume that my attention (Interest) and alcohol (Booze) are equal forces, we'd see something like this:

Where my memory of an individual thing said to me is a stagnant line across time. But as we all know, the actual effects of each factor varies over time. Early on, even lack of interest isn't going to prevent me from remembering certain things I may overhear, whether I care to remember them or not. And for me personally, booze actually can focus me like a laser beam until it works itself towards its inevitable end. This would leave us with something like this:

What does it all mean? Nothing probably. Other than the next time someone I just met tells me something important, let's hope its somewhere around 5 beers in.

Posted 2:59pm
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October 3rd, 2007

I'm cleaning out my closet.

Every once in a while tbaggervance.com gets a back log of things to show you or talk about that are tiny, barely worthwhile, and certainly don't merit an entire post. When we can't shoehorn these things into our '5 innocuous things' segment, we pull an eminem and clean out the closet.

- I've never taken time to listen to their music, but Bangers and Cash keep poppin' up all over the indie music blogs and everytime I see their album cover, I laugh uncontrollably. Spank Rock. Tee Hee.

- I love it when science comes up with ways to contribute to my cognitive dissonance by finding the positives that alcohol does to my body (other than fabulous, immediate effects). Well some beloved Kiwis have proved empirically that booze makes you clever. I kid you not. And its science, so you know, who am I to argue?

- We haven't had a Tom Cruise/Scientology update in what seems like ages. This one at least deserves mention for those who missed it. The short version is, Tom Cruise (on location filming a WWII movie in Germany) asked for a moment of silence, someone broke said silence by breaking wind, Tom Cruise wants to track down the person and have them fired. Long(er) version of the story is here (with you know, like actual quotes and stuff - and hilarious title of Tom Cruise: Fart Nazi). And in an effort to help Mr. Cruise, I would remind him that 'He who smelt it, dealt it.'

- I don't know if anyone will notice, but since I think Bill Gates is the devil, I don't use internet explorer. As such, I just realized my site was expanding properly in IE and thus looking, well, not as intended. Hopefully those of you still in the dark ages (e.g. not using Firefox) will get more of the intended layout from now on. Of course if I fucked things all up let me know.

- The pics on the right obviously have nothing to do with anything above, I've just gotten tired of seeing them in a folder and not finding clever ways to use them. So here they are now. They make me giggle. And I retain the right to use them again should the need arise.

Posted 1:41pm
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October 2nd, 2007

Ways in which I was wrong, vol. 37.

A few weeks back I was out with the Jesuses and Langy and as we are want to do, we were asking each other hypothticals about whatever popped into our heads. I tried to get people to answer as quickly as possible, who is the coolest person on the face of the earth? Langy quickly shouted Michael Jackson, which hasn't been an acceptable answer since about 1983, and is actually quite offensive to anyone who cares about the welfare of our children. MJ tried to say JK Rowling (which as much as she may be cool to MJ, is a terrible answer) and AJ said Wayne Coyne. I gave AJ his props for a great on the spot answer, but postulated that the correct answer was Elvis Costello. He's been relevant for 30 years, has his own style, has contributed to all kinds of musical genres and on top of everything, is famous enough to appear in car commercials that don't use his music and guest host Late Night when David Letterman is out sick. Well with all due respect to Mr Costello, I'm here to report that I was wrong and AJ was right, because Wayne Coyne is the new King Shit of Fuck Mountain©.

For reasons passing understanding I had made it this far into my existence with out ever experiencing Wayne and the Lips, so I was chomping at the bit to rectify the situation last night. Having seen them on television and heard reports from others who had been a part of the Lips collective for an evening, my expectations were pretty high. And while I am not a religious man I do believe in transcendence and the power of the collective experience, and last night I threw myself on the mercy of both and was lifted up by the sheer intensity of it all.

I can't think of a more visceral experience I've ever had. Balloons, confetti, smoke, a 40 foot screen and 5,000 laser pointers combined to inundate me in a positive wash of emotion without ever feeling like I was going to be overwhelmed by it. It was like really good drugs without any hazy side effects (yes, of course I was drinking, but that's neither here nor there as far as I'm concerned). It was two hours of playing inside Wayne Coyne's head, and its a wonderful place.

The night had lots of tiny punctuated moments that all were impossibly positive. From getting lost and falling into being in the right place, to getting two free packs of cigarettes and a free drink at the show, to the unabashed irony of going to a rock show with the Jesuses that took place in a church - it was as perfect an evening as one could have. Thanks Wayne, next time anyone asks, you're tops in my book.

Posted 9:45am
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October 1st, 2007

I thought there was a virtue in always being cool...

There's a reason that the classic rock stations I listened to growing up always referred to it as 'Rocktober'. OK, that reason was probably because their cheesy unoriginal marketing department came up with it on a drunken whim in 1975 and just ran with it, but nevertheless, October has always seemed to be a banner month for me when it comes to music.

- It begins tonight with the biggest 'checkmark' concert of the month: The Flaming Lips at Clutch Cargos. I've never seen the Lips, and seeing them at a tiny converted church seems about right. I also have the pleasure of The Jesuses as my partners in crime (and DD's), which should make the evening even more drunken and carefree than usual. I just know Wayne Coyne and I would be best friends if we ever met. Maybe I'll get there early and see if I can't audition to be the guy in the bunny suit.

- The rest of my Rocktober calendar includes Spoon, Josh Ritter, Wilco and The Hard Lessons at the Blind Pig. The first three are within five days of each other, which should make for a good barometer of how my liver and eardrums are holding up in my advancing years. Because for those that don't know, My Aim is True, Never Mind the Bullocks, and Atari (ATARI!) are all 30 this year, so I am in good company.

- And I'm sure by now you all know the biggest news of the month that just dropped this morning, Radiohead has a new album coming out in a mere 10 days. Its huge, its not on a label, and you can pay whatever you want for it. Just, wow. Also, Maritime's Heresy and The Hotel Choir drops in 2 weeks (although I already have it on vinyl - it rules).

All right, I'm off to listen to Yoshimi. Those looking for info or insights on anything else that happened over the weekend, patience is a virtue (or just ask me in person).

Posted 10:10am
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September 28th, 2007

Welcome to our 25th class reunion.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just announced it nominees for induction for the year 2008. And boy does it make me feel old. See, the RaRHoF requires your first single to be released 25 years ago in order to even be considered for its hallowed ranks. This year, Van Halen was inducted to the Hall, which did nothing but make me nostalgic for a time where I when I was 12 and worshiped Eddie Van Halen as god incarnate. This year, I feel old - because the Beastie Boys are apparently eligible.

While I never worshiped the Beasties the way I did Van Halen, I somehow felt like they were in my peer group. Van Halen was a bunch of adults doing something at an adult level. Look at 'em! They're like, old and stuff. But when I heard the Beasties, it felt like these were people only slightly older than I. A bunch of kids doing kid things and despite my lack of rhythm or discernible talent, that could be me in a few years! And I know I wasn't the only one, because no album dominated my junior high school years like License to Ill.

And yes, I was 7 in 1982 and Mike D is 10 years older than I am. But that doesn't make the idea of the Beastie Boys in the RaRHoF any more palatable. They have Boys in the name of the band. They're supposed to represent youth and defiance of authority. Irreverence, vitality, fighting for one's right to party - these are not the traits meriting entry to one's typical HoF, but I guess that's the paradox of the R'n'R version and why people like Johnny Rotten have told them to go fuck themselves. Hell, they're also nominating Madonna. She's always looked old to me, which is comforting - but they know that Madonna is just a whore who has nothing to do with Rock and Roll, right?

Posted 4:15pm
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September 27th, 2007

We're an American Band.

Last night I had one of the saddest experiences one can have within the sweet confines of Ann Arbor - hearing country music. And I'm not talking Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson 'Fuck Off' country neither. I'm talking 'new' country. The kind that you can't tell if its Shania Twain or Brittany Spears until you hear her mention a tractor. Someone had played some hillybilly bullshit on the jukebox and I stood up and loudly pontificated that 'I moved here 13 years ago to get away from this shit. You people are killing me!' I have my drama queen moments.

This led to a lengthy discussion between Stov and myself about music in general. It started with what he considered to be my 'closed mindedness' towards music I don't have a preference for. This coming from a guy who's never heard 2 seconds of a hip-hop song when he had any say in the matter. But I digress. I explained that I can find stuff I like in any genre, it just so happens that 95% of new country is hacky bullshit. And most offensively, its not even really country. Its cheesy bland cliché rock with a fiddle and a slide guitar thrown in. These bands owe more to Bob Seger and The Eagles than they do to Hank Williams. At least Stov heartily agreed that Rascal Flats sucks beyond thunderdome.

Anywho, eventually we landed on an argument that's been like an old friend to me over the years. One I've had dozens of times with dozens of people. One which even I believe doesn't have a definitive answer. And the argument is started thusly: If its accepted fact that The Beatles are the greatest band of all time (and this is accepted fact, as we pointed out recently, those who say otherwise are douche-y.) and that the majority of bands that people would place in the 2-5 slots are British (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc) Then who is the greatest American band of all time?

First let us quickly define great. Great means influence. Great means longevity. Great means some level of popularity and success. Points not necessarily deducted for a decline in relevancy after a period of greatness (see Van Halen, Aerosmith, et al) But that's subjective, so if you now find Aerosmith reprehensible for what they have wrought, that's up to you. Secondly, no solo artists. This includes artists who've had the same backing band for the majority of their careers (see Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty) I know that's nitpicking, but we're drawing hard lines here people. So the playing field is level, line up and hit somebody.

First of all let me say that were we talking solo artists, James Marshall Hendrix wins in a rout. It wouldn't even be a good question if posed that way. All right, Dylan. But its those two in a 13 round slugfest and no one else is in the ring. Secondly, I'm of the belief that in a very short period of time, Wilco wins this argument in my eyes. When I'm having this argument at 40 (and you know I will be) I'll be completely resolute about it. There'll still amazing now that Tweedy has been to rehab! How many bands can say that? But who are the contenders as it stands right now? Here's some names often bandied about:

Bon Jovi - an early Stov favorite, later talked out of due lack of influence and general suckiness (even tho the whole bar of 22 year olds knew all the words to 'You Give Love a Bad Name' Whoopty shit. I know the words to "Runaround Sue'
The Eagles - another Stov stab. Points to their blending of country and light rock. I argue that this blending is still ruining us as a nation, even tho Joe Walsh kicks ass and that one Don Henley album with 'Boys of Summer' on it is still pretty cool.
CCR - this blows up Stov's Eagles argument, as CCR is like a more kick ass, million times better version of The Eagles (and my apologies to John Fogarty for even making that comparison.)
Van Halen - defined a decade of rock, highly influential when it came to live stadium shows and Ed's guitar playing. Dropped to near the bottom/out of the top ten due to Sammy Hagar's general wus baggery and the fact that the decade they defined was a musical suck fest. (p.s. I still think '5150' is brilliant, Sammy)
The Ramones - hugely influential - even you mother knows 'I wanna be sedated'. But ultimately short lived, and other than 3 or 4 songs, all Ramone's songs sound the same.
The Beach Boys - Stov hates it, but I think this may be the answer. Pet Sounds is generally considered to be one of the greatest rock records ever. Influenced everyone including The Beatles. Still relevant despite Brian Wilson's 25 year Rip Van Winkle routine. But then again, how can the people that brought us 'Kokomo' be the right answer?

There were tons more names thrown out there. Everyone from Nirvana to the MC5, The Pixies to Velvet Underground. In the end, just as it always is, we're left w/o an answer. At least a definitive answer. Thankfully we always have The Beatles to answer the truly important questions, the rest is just stuff to talk about at the bar.

Posted 4:12pm
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September 25th, 2007

A brief word from our sister site.

For those among you who don't regularly read our sister site, mgovan, there's some breaking news there that you might be interested in. We now return you to your regularly scheduled ranting.

Posted 8:15pm
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September 24th, 2007

Reg US Pat Off.

Back when I was in college, before the advent of things like TiVo and DVD, we taped things off of TV that we thought we might want to one day watch again. It was a pretty poor system, but it was what we had. The two things we taped most were comedy shows and softcore porn on Showtime - both for their respective obvious reasons. One of my most cherished tapes was an HBO stand up special that David Spade did around 1997. We watched it dozens of times and to this day my friends and I still quote from it liberally. This despite the fact that the tape only existed for a short period of time.

You see, one of the major perils of the VHS format is that once you tape something, you have the ability to tape OVER what you've already recorded. And one night, one of my roommates came across some softcore pornography while channel surfing and deciding that he or someone else in the house might want to see said porno at a later date, he hit record on the VCR. Little did he know that the tape in the VCR was the one containing my cherished David Spade special. And in the span of watching 30 minutes of light topless melodrama, my tape was ruined (and for the record, the porn he taped was really weak sauce, so no, it wasn't remotely worth it.)

But to my friends credit, he was appropriately guilt ridden over his mistake. He apologized profusely and vowed to make it up to me. Well about six months later he found a way to repay me. His girlfriend at the time was in New York and came across an in store appearance where Kevin Smith was signing copies of his movies. My roommate had his girlfriend snag me a signed, personalized copy of Mallrats. It was amends that far outweighed the crime that was committed, and to this day remains one of my favorite gifts of all time.

Gift giving is an art that some people have a knack for and others don't. My best friends wife got him a personal tour of Tiger Stadium with Alan Trammel for a wedding gift a few years back. We all agreed that people like this make everyone else pale in comparison and that they should stop being so generous as the bar doesn't need raised any higher for the rest of us who aren't as adroit at gift giving. Unless of course they want to do something that fabulous for us.

Yesterday I received one of the more thoughtful gifts that anyone has ever given me. About six months ago I was over at the Jesuses and I commented on how much I liked the handmade mug I was drinking out of. I noted that if I had made a mug of such fabulousness I would patent it and sell the shit out of it. Well apparently they were paying attention to my hyperbole, because yesterday they showed up and presented me with the mug of fabulousness, along with this patent application. So thanks Jesuses, nothing makes one feel loved like friends who listen and remember what you say. Even if that means you've set the bar impossibly high.

Posted 3:33pm
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September 20th, 2007

Crushes and blind dates.

So, here's the only problem with the ol' bloggy blog we have going here - people read it. Its something I've been struggling with ever since this space made its gradual descent from being about weird shit that I found on the internet to weird shit that's going on in my life. And while hopefully you enjoy my drunken escapades and stories of me putting my foot in my mouth over and over again, I clearly don't have a very good sense of where the line is and when I've crossed it, and there are perils to that.

Thankfully, I largely don't care. Anyone who can post 500 words on his penis while knowing his father is going to read it clearly can't. But I still have stories that were deemed not fit for posting out of deference to other people involved in the story. Because while I have no problem admitting to being a drunken mess, I don't like to throw other people under the bus with me. Sometimes that doesn't stop me, but I do feel bad when I'm forced to do it - I promise.

The other tightrope I feel compelled to walk is the one involving the ladies (hello ladies). First, the ex-es read the blog. And that makes me self conscious, but I can usually get over it. Secondly - more importantly - I am forced to assume that all potential dates are reading this as well (hello hot, single ladies). That means I should parse my words - and we've already discussed how I'm terrible at that.

So, enough preamble, let's get to headline and thusly, the self-fulfilling prophecy. I've managed to work up a pretty good crush on a girl at work. I'm not a huge believer in signs, predetermination or destiny. But when you randomly run into the same person over and over in the strangest places, it makes for the kind of thing that's hard to ignore. As someone pointed out to me last night 'Shit like that doesn't just happen.' Maybe it doesn't. Who am I to go against the invisible forces that guide the universe? I find myself trying to find excuses to run into her at work, because apparently I am more pathetic than a 12 year old.

I also have a potential blind date. The person playing matchmaker asked if she could send the potential datee my blog. I figured if she can get through a week's worth of posts here and still be interested, how bad could it be? Besides, I don't think I've ever actually been on an actual blind date, and I guess its something to be experienced at least once in one's life. Although she's already reading about herself in my blog - in a paragraph that's preceded by one where I talk about having a crush on my coworker no less. I find myself with the line in my rearview mirror, firmly crossed once again.

Posted 11:37am
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September 19th, 2007

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

- Last night I was on IM and I saw my son's away status read: 'Just sitting in the corner, listening to music, just like a good little emo should.' I, like the douche I am, had to have a conversation with him about what emo actually was, but I don't think I totally spoiled the moment. It still makes me smile even if I did.

- Its National Talk Like a Pirate Day today. I've always loved pirates and have always sided with them in centuries old pirates versus ninjas debate. But is it just me, or has the Pirates of the Caribbean movies tainted the whole pillaging subculture just a bit? I mean, Johnny Depp was cool and all and out of the 3 movies, one and a half of them was pretty good, but now, I don't know. Its just so mainstream. How cool can it be when your moms is making pirate references. Yarrrrgh...

- I hate PETA. The current burr up their butt revolves around the point that you can't be a carnivore AND be an environmentalist. As usual, they take things too far, miss the point, and end up alienating people who they could have made a cogent argument to. But I digress, because they also have this ad in which Alicia Silverstone is largely naked and looks pretty fucking good. I had a crush on her back in the day and assumed she was either fat, making porn, or both. Nice work, Alicia.

- This is everything that is wrong with America. But its still fun to laugh at dumb bitches.

- Finally, it is my birthday this weekend. This is the last you'll hear of it, as its a tad ridiculous to 'celebrate' being 32. I'll start patting myself on the back again when I hit 50, as every year after that will be like a surprise gift for someone with my lifestyle. But I do enjoy the days leading up to my birthday. I have an excuse to drink a little more and eat a little better starting about 4-5 days before hand. Then on the day of I can sit alone in the dark drinking and lamenting what my life has become. Just kidding. About the lamenting part anyway.

Posted 2:56pm
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September 18th, 2007

Regrets... I've had a few.

But then again, too few to mention. As the end of my 32nd year of walking around on this ball or rock draws neigh, I've become slightly prone to reflection. Of course if you're an arrogant prick such as myself, all that usually amounts to is reinforcing your beliefs and decisions.

Which means that most of the few things I would refer to as 'regrets' have to do with inaction and/or decisions to not do something (or do nothing). (Most of these involve women, but that's neither here nor there - or at least a discussion for another time). I think that regrettable decisions have to do with hemming and hawing. Trying to have things both ways often leaves one with two empty hands. If you decide on something and choose to live with the consequences, right or wrong, you've made your bed. And while you lie there in it, at least you can take solace in the knowledge that the sum of your experiences brought you there, and a desire for resolution brings life to you, instead of waiting for it to show up and potentially leaving you in the position you knew you didn't want.

As such, I've lived thus far without major regret. A lot of hearing 'I told you so' and a spattering of 'What if's...', but making decisions and taking the consequences as they come is something I was taught to do at an early age, and I'm of course still learning how to cope with that. But knowing that's the way things have to be if you want to sleep at night makes all the difference in the world. I did what I had to do, and saw it through - without exemption.

- And to complete this somewhat sad, contemplative post, Shakey Jake has died. Anyone who ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with the legend is richer for the experience, and those who never had the pleasure truly missed out on one of the worlds great eccentrics. Here's to you Shakey Jake, hoping you left this world with no regrets.

Posted 1:35pm
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September 17th, 2007

It was a very good year.

Its generally accepted that most people consider the music they listened to between the ages of 16-24 superior to (at least) everything that came after it. Your parents can't stop talking about the fucking sixties and my generation holds the years of say, 1988-1998 a pretty special time in music. I think we both can agree that today's kids are fucked and don't have a leg to stand on.

Despite the obvious psychological underpinnings of my bias, I still maintain that you can make a pretty good analytical argument about the importance of the 90's on American music. From the death of hair metal at the hands of grunge to the rise alternative music and indie rock gaining mass distribution and appeal, the 1990's saw a shift in our collective sonic landscape (and for the better in my opinion). But who am I? I was in high school and college for that entire decade, and I already told you not to listen to me based on that alone. So I give you the Onion AV Club.

The pop culture nerds in the AV Club have provided 18 reasons that 1997 could be the next 1967. Now personally, and it hurts to say this because I love the folks over at the Onion AND it partially negates my argument - the article is kind of bullshit. First of all, it really feels like someone was having thoughts (not unlike my own) about how great and important music was about 10 years ago. They then realized the parralell of 1967 and 1997 being 30 years apart (probably while reading something about the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Peppers). And then when they remembered that OK Computer came out in 1997, BOOM! the article was born. So basically, I agree with a lot of what they are saying, except that I think the year (1997) was picked for reasons that don't necessarily support their argument. The best example of this is the fact that their #2 reason involves Modest Mouse. Its no surprise they did this the way they did - its much more compelling to listen to someone pontificate as to why 19997 changed everything than say, somone arguning that the late 90's were great. I guess that's why they're the Onion and I'm tbaggervance.

And the REAL reason I'm bringing this to all of your attention, is that you'll notice on page four of the article, it lists The Promise Ring's Nothing Feels Good as reason #16. This is important for two reasons (other than I get excited at the mere mention of TPR) One: It helps to solidify my argument that classisifes emo as bands like TPR and The Get Up Kids and not this whiny, makeup wearing shit you see today. That's like calling Motley Crue punk. AND Two: if you notice at the very end, in the 'Other essential listening' section, it lists Pavement's Brighten the Corners. That's right people, TPR is #16, Pavement is an also-ran. Suck it Malkmus. Suck it long and hard.

Posted 11:51am
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September 14th, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, my penis.

So I started to write something, got pretty deep in and it was depressing the shit out of me. So I've had this idea for a while, that, when stuck in a rut, I'd pull something from the archives. Something that would bring me out of a funk, or at least stem the tide when writing was boring or flat out sucked.

Several years back, I used to go to this open mike type thing, where people could get up and tell jokes, read poems, tell stories - what have you. I used to write silly shit (akin to what the blog often is now) and get up and drunkenly recite it. Here's the last one I ever did. After reading it, you may realize why it was my last.

This was a case of setting out to write something and somewhere in the process it gets perverted and when you're done you're left with a monologue about you and your penis. So a lot of this is based on the preface that you know my penis. But hopefully even if you don't, you'll be mildly amused

I have a plan.

I have a plan that exists in four parts, and it is preparing to discretely unfold itself upon an unsuspecting public. Like a Bond Villain, I have carefully schemed and plotted for a period approaching months, and unlike the fictitious Enrst Blofeld or evil Scarramunga, my perfect blueprint will not be foiled by a suave British secret agent with a penchant for shaken martinis and women with names that provide obvious double entendres. There will be no hesitation in my execution, no assumptions that certain things have gone according to hoyle without my careful inspection. So with nothing left to chance, no stone left unturned and without further ado - A plan in four parts, detailing the adventures of one boy and his penis.

Phase One - The Vin Diesel

Yes, that's right, the Vin Diesel. Phase One is called the Vin Diesel not for its intent, but rather its side effect. Let me explain:

First, I take a trip to local video stores and rent as many copies of Vin's movies as the plan's budget allows. I then take the copies home and edit in pictures of my naked body, provocatively posed, throughout the movie. Now the already inexplicably popular Vin Diesel movies are more watchable, thus the side effect. I return my edited copies to the video stores from whence they came and let the game begin.

Once my enhanced versions have been in circulation a while, people will begin to talk. 'Did you see the new Vin Diesel movie?' 'Yes, but which version?' Word will spread, creating a buzz about me and my penis, to the point where when I walk into a room the sexual tension between I and the ladies will be palpable. On to phase 2.

Phase Two - Hungry Like the Wolf

Given my penis and I's new found celebrity status, we will begin our hard target search of area women. There will be no formal application process, just a casual back and forth as we get to know each other - I hate to even call it an interview. Just two people talking, laughing, casually flipping their hair back over their shoulders in hopes of finding that spark, that special something that intellect can't describe. And when intellect fails, we always turn to the penis. A short courtship will begin. A candle lit dinner, some romantic music, a walk in the park - culminating in the two of us making sweet love in the dew of the morning grass. Afterwards my penis and I will smile with a Buddhists enlightenment and dream of what's to come, which of course is phase three.

Phase Three - Burt and Loni

Given our reality show-esque involvement, my new lady friend and I will become the toast of the town. Parties, benefits, social functions - 'Look at the lucky girl with that guy and his penis who are in those Vin Diesel movies!' people will say. She will be like a Publisher's Clearinghouse Winner and I like a real life Evan Marriot. We will wallow in our contentment. From time to time we will even become aware of our fabulousness. We will look at each other and laugh - "ha ha, aren't we the best?" One day my penis and I decide to go out to play poker with some buddies. "But we always stay home and watch Gilmore Girls on Tuesdays!" my Clearinghouse winner says. I tell her to TiVo it and a fight ensues. "Why do you watch so much porno!" she screams. "When's the last time I got roadhead!" my penis lashes back. And there, in the awkward silence, my penis and I look at each other an know, that phase four is upon us.

Phase Four - The End of the Innocence

Knowing that something is inevitable doesn't make it easy. It was part of the plan for Chrissake, we should have known. But there are always surprises. The book she wrote, Good Penis, Bad Penis - Two sides of that Guy in those Vin Diesel Movies, totally caught my penis and I off guard. As did the backlash that ensued from the female population.

My penis and I were even fighting. 'We shouldn't have picked Vin Diesel' he claims. 'You should have looked less angry in the pictures we used' I retort. But the discord was fleeting, because my penis and I are a team. We are in this thing together. Just because one woman didn't like the way we insisted on the reverse cowgirl every time we made love didn't mean the next one would. We still have things to offer. A cable access show, perhaps, or maybe a celebrity golf outing (my penis is a four handicap). Whatever it is, its me and my penis, hand in... whatever. Even if we don't find anything interesting, at least we'll find something new.

So yeah, dated references and all, that's it. I'll save the psychoanalysis. I hope you enjoyed it more than it disturbed you.

Posted 11:59pm
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September 13th, 2007

Apparently, I like to argue.

Sometimes, you just need to let it out. Often times, its an innocuous trigger that let's loose a shit storm of pent up frustration on someone that's not really to blame for why you were upset in the first place. Sucks to be that guy. When it comes to college football, I apparently have a hair trigger for being innocuously set off.

About 6-7 years ago, I use to be a regular caller to the local sports station in town, especially when they were talking about Michigan Football. I also used to occasionally throw up a post or two on Michigan Football chat boards. Go figure. Anyway, these two things came to a head one day, after I got upset over something a Detroit reporter wrote in the paper and posted about it on the internet. What it was over isn't important. Let's just say I called her a hack for the way she covered a certain event surrounding the Maize and Blue. The next day I called into the local radio station, and as my call was finishing up, I get 'Tyler, stay on hold as we go to the break.' When they went to commercial, the host asks me if I post on the message board were I derided said Detroit reporter. I told him, yeah, that's me. He tells me that said Detroit reporter saw it and wants to talk to me, and he told her that he'd give me her number.

So of course, I called. She tried to 'explain' the newspaper business to me, to which I immediately spouted off my lineage and experience in writing for my college paper. In the end, I feel like I refuted her rebuttal, and she admitted to being upset over certain other posts about her, but I just happened to be someone she found that she could try and respond to. Bad luck for I guess.

ANYWAY. Its happened again. My sister sent me an article that appeared in the Toledo Blade about the Wolverines. It incensed her to the point that she wrote the author. I read her response and the original article, and decided to do the same. The original article is here. What follows is my response.

Growing up in Northwest Ohio, I never had much use for the Blade. My father has been a sports writer for 50 years now, so I have some sense of what good writing and journalism is, and the Blade usually isn't it. Maybe things have changed since I moved to greener intellectual pastures some dozen years ago. But then my sister sent me your Tuesday article about Michigan, noting that it got her incensed enough to write you, and now I do the same.

I don't know you or your writing from Adam, so maybe you already know this and just got lazy or bored or were under deadline, but the only thing more bland and boring than people deriding clichés and coach speak are reporters that deride it with the same incredulousness that you recently did. It says 'sports writer' under your name, so one would assume that your familiar with the demeanor and style of what comes out of Fort Schembechler. But all evidence to the contrary. These kids aren't going to give you fodder, so I guess you do what you have to in an attempt to be 'interesting'. But it isn't. I'd take the time to go into the archives to see if this is the same article you wrote in 1998 after back to back losses to Notre Dame and Syracuse, but I don't have the time nor inclination.

I'm going to argue any of your hackneyed points - about inability to defend the spread, about the apparent dispassion in the players. They're as obvious as the nose on your face. But you deride those who say 'disappointed' and yet mock Mike Hart by putting his guarantee in quotes. Isn't that what you were looking for? And then you note Carr's apparent fury, but then chastise him for not giving you what 'media types' want - thus blaming your shitty column on an embattled head coach - even though its exactly what Carr's given you for these past 13 years.

In short, thanks for the laugh. I had more original thoughts in the shower this morning. We'll go back to relying on our tradition and pride to get us through these dark times, while you can keep skimming the superficial waters of the blatantly obvious for nuggets to fuel your scathing barbs. And no need to go to your Strunk and White, that's sarcasm.

Probably a little overly harsh, but it was my chance to throw some arrows at someone I didn't know who I assumed would likely never even read it, and if he did, would immediately ignore it. But I obviously forgot who I am. Or more importantly, who my dad is. Because about five minutes after my message was sent, I get the following email:

From:<dhack@theblade.com>
To: Brubaker, Tyler
Subject: Re: Hack. Huh. That's eerily appropriate.

are you moe's son?

d.h.

Oh fuck. I don't mind some writer for the Blade thinking I'm an arrogant prick, but I never want to reflect poorly on my father's sterling reputation. So my response was:

Yes I am. But don't take my comments out on him, he's got exponentially more class than I do.
-T

And that, as they say, is where we stand. In my mind, he's emailing my dad, in an attempt to show him what a bad boy I am. I think Moe would get a kick out of that. He hasn't gotten that call in a long while. If I get an update at any point in the day, I'll be sure to update the post. Until then, I'll sit around trying to imagine ways to refute him if he comes at me. Of course, I really hope he does, I've got more frustration to unleash.

Update 12:48

The anti-climactic ending is here:

From:<dhack@theblade.com>
To: Brubaker, Tyler
Subject: Re: Hack. Huh. That's eerily appropriate.

i've known your dad for three decades ... your comments are your comments ... and I appreciate you taking the time to write

dave hackenberg

So blah. Apparently the guys got class, or at least the smarts to know to not waste his time on me. I'd go after Drew Sharp but the lines too long and I can't express myself monoslyllabically enough to mock him so that he understands. Guess I'll save it for the field Saturday.

Posted 12:12pm
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September 12th, 2007

Embracing your inner nerd.

Last night I was lying on the floor, playing on the laptop, reading some comic books and listening to The Go Team!, when Sid came in from his room where he was on his laptop listening to the Foo Fighters. He surveyed the situation and started to laugh, saying 'What a sad, sad, family we have.'

Which made me start laugh as well. He immediately assured me, noting that he used 'we', thus including himself in his observation. And that's what really made me smile, as instead of like most kids who live in denial, suffering from a case of the pot-kettle-blacks, Sid embraces his inner nerd. Revels in it. Is secure enough to mock it. And I don't think its a case of, as someone tried to note to me, that being 'nerdy' has become 'cool' in the last 2 or 3 years. Its because he knows who he is and won't apologize for it. Even though I think it helps that he thinks his old man is a way bigger nerd than he is. But being comfortable in your own skin is a tough trick at any age. But if you can manage to pull it off, the world is your oyster. Someday, someone may even refer to you as King Shit of Fuck Mountain©. And that's something to really strive for.

Posted 2:47pm
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September 10th, 2007

Our favorite DWT's long, slow descent to the bottom of show business.

You may not know this, but the internet now has video. Here are some prime examples:

- While I was busy watching football last night, this was happening. All I can say is wow. The body is going and the effort is gone. Bring the kids in the room and tell them 'This is what happens when you believe the hype.' All I can say is the only thing better than the performance is Sarah Silverman's jokes about it.

- Those jonesing for The Office to reemerge from its summer hibernation can satiate themselves with this ad campaign featuring Rainn 'Dwight Fart Schrute' Wilson. That's assuming you haven't gotten the Season 3 Box set.

- Comic nerd alert: The trailer for Iron Man is up and running, complete with plenty of boner-inducing goodness.

- Finally, for those who don't read mgovan.com, here is some awesomeness featuring an tOSU fan having sex. With himself. In a public library. Stick around till the end to see his irate redneck parents. Almost too good to be true.

Posted 2:47pm
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September 7th, 2007

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

They should change the sign above Michigan Stadium to read 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here', because rooting for the maize and blue these days feels like at least purgatory.

I realize that after sucking off college football all last week, this post may seem a little late, but sometimes you have to get your head on straight before you go public. I've been reeling for some time, and even after I convinced myself sometime on Tuesday that life would go on, I was still slapped in the face with reminders at every turn that we had been weighed, measured and found wanting.

We are Michigan. We are the leaders and best. Our bravado is based on tradition - that despite the occasional ups and downs, we shall always rise to the top. That, yes, we are better than you. Its a slur bandied about by every one of our rivals, I'm here to tell you its true. All Michigan men, at least somewhere in their hearts, have a sense of superiority. Of holding ourselves to a higher standard. Feeling like you are above the fray is the only thing that allows a Wolverine to even step foot in Columbus the Saturday before Thanksgiving every other year. And now, all of that is gone.

For literally the rest of my life, I will have to hear about Appalachian State. About abject failure of biblical proportions. And there's no comeback that I can levy against my mockers. No pithy remark to zing my opponent into submission. Conviction and truth are the weapons in a debate, and now I have neither. And I think that's the most crushing part of the defeat.

We may win the rest of our games this season. Lloyd may win another Big Ten Championship and go out on some sort of high note. But I'll never be able to defend him the same way again. The failures of his administration came to a head finally and now no scenario in the world could send him out truly on top. That's something I, along with all of my brethren, will have to live with. Some kind of salvation could start tomorrow, but in the end we're all left wondering if we shouldn't have been spared all this. If the ship could have been righted sooner. I'm not giving up, but the size of the fight in this dog is severely diminished. Maybe making Charlie Weiss or another ND quarterback cry will relieve the numbness. More than likely I'll sit alone, in the dark, in the fetal position, dreading another loss to tOSU for the next few months. Who knows? Salvation is a tricky thing for an atheist.

Posted 9:00am
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September 6th, 2007

More boner inducing goodness.

And for once, I am being literal. At least about one of the following. I leave it to you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusions as to which I am talking about.

- There's nothing I love more in the world than a drinking game. It naturally combines two of my favorite things, booze and competition. Of course I find ways to combine all of my favorite things with drinking, but this is something that's dependent upon booze - much like getting a woman to have sex with me. ANYWAY, it appears that Nintendo is intent on building a super army of drinking game phenoms for the 21st century. That's right, its beer pong for the Wii. Its all the fun of Beirut without the mess. And kids today can use the practice. No son of mine will enter college without being able to dominate the big three drinking games (flip cup, speed quarters, beer pong).

- Life before the iPod is almost unimaginable. And it keeps getting better. Apple just announced its relaunching its entire line, with sweet, sweet improvements all the way around. In reality, I'll likely just wait until next summer and upgrade to the iPhone, but should I drop my iPod while jogging tonight, I've got options.

- My taste in the fairer sex runs from the idiosyncratic to the esoteric, so most of your GQ, buxom blonde cover girls don't do a lot for me. OK, they do stuff for me, but if I had my druthers, let's just say you'd see a marked change. It doesn't help matters that I think most of the celebs I fancy aren't the type to dress up like a whore and show there ass crack to teenage boys everywhere (Jessica Alba notwithstanding). But for all you with similar proclivities to my own, I present you the photo shoot of a lifetime. I'm going home now to watch Secretary, Stranger Than Fiction and anything else Maggie G related I can get my hands on.

Posted 2:33pm
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September 5th, 2007

On the road again.

As you may have read, On the Road is 50. For me, it doesn't quite hold the place in my heart that say, Catcher in the Rye, Slaughterhouse Five or Candide does, but its a close second tier favorite. Incidentally, I'd like to write a comparative essay of those four works, one that points out how similar they are in their 'searching for something that isn't exactly there' quality. If I ever seriously consider writing something where I can't say fuck and egregiously flaunt the conventions of grammar, its first on my list.

Bud sadly, when my thoughts go to Kerouac and his alter ego Sal Paradise, they're marred by one of the stranger incidents in my 31 years on this spaceship earth. I'll quickly recount it for you now, skimming the details and doing my best to protect identities. I was friends with this couple after college that I had met through friends of friends. I was pretty close with the guy and liked his girlfriend well enough, as she was well-read and we often talked about books and made recommendations to each other. Anyway, one night at the bar she mentions her intentions to go down to Bloomington, IN to see the original manuscript for On the Road, her favorite novel of all time. She invited me to accompany her and her boyfriend down to check this thing out and then spend the rest of the weekend drinking on IU campus. Sounds perfect to me.

And the weekend pretty much was. On the Road was written on one long piece of paper, and the original manuscript contains all the famous names of Kerouac's buddies, so it was interesting enough. The rest of the time we ate and drank and shopped for used books. Outside of some normal couple arguing and some slightly odd behavior from my male friend, a nice, drunken weekend was enjoyed by all. Or so I thought.

Weeks later I was visited by my friend, who had changed his appearance so radically in these intervening weeks that I barely recognized him. He said he was struggling with his relationship and wanted to know my opinion of his significant other. I gave an honest assessment, saying I liked her but I could imagine that it would be tough to live with her, at least for me. He seemed OK with my thoughts and took off after a half hour or so. And that's the last I ever saw of him.

Turns out around the time of his last visit, my friend had, well, let's say a mental break. He accused his girlfriend and I of drugging him in Bloomington so that we could have sex in front of him, which is something we'd apparently been doing for months. He moved out of her place and home to his parents, where he told them that I had hired hitmen to come after them. He'd wake them up in the middle of the night, telling them they had to leave because I was coming. Which is somewhere between laugh out loud funny and disturbingly sad.

There's no great ending to the story. He eventually went back to the girlfriend. I heard they got married. Someone once told me that he doesn't come around me or our mutual friends out of embarrassment more than anything, or maybe a fear that the 'delusions' would return when amongst the friends that were a part of his life when it happened. All I can do is hope they are both doing well. They were good friends and better people. I guess Sal Paradise was right, boys and girls in America have such a sad time together.

Posted 4:14pm
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September 4th, 2007

He's not a girl, not yet a woman. Or something like that.

Today marked Siddhartha's entrance into the seventh grade. This strikes as both chronologically impossible for someone of my years as well as eerily appropriate for someone of his intellect and maturity. Most of our thought processes tend to work towards reconciling conflicting ideas and emotions, so score another one for cognitive dissonance I guess.

In truth, I have little trouble with reconciling my parental mileage with what many would consider my overwhelming immaturity. I guess my pragmatic nature tends to view things as existing as they were meant to all along, in as much as my ability to cope with what life throws me allows. I guess that makes me a slightly less delusional Dr. Pangloss for the 21st century. OK, so that's going to put me teetering on the edge of the board looking down into philosophical pool, and as the water looks frigid, let us take a step back before we cannonball into its icy depths.

Yesterday Sid's mom lamented that she wanted her baby to go back to being six and getting ready to start school for the first time in earnest. I not so quietly announced my frustration that he was not as of yet 18 and moving into South Quad. I haven't yet discerned that if this is an inherent difference between mothers and fathers or Kara and I. I guess logic would dictate that mom wants to protect her child for as long as possible, while dad wants his son (if not daughter) to be able to go forth and protect himself. Thankfully for Sid his mother and I usually do a fair job of reconciling those two seemingly opposed positions. It helps that she sometimes knows he has to fend for himself and I'd secretly love him to stick around under the umbrella of my protection for as long as possible.

The good news is that he's a bright capable kid. He knows how to play the game and every day I see him learning its nuances to become a better player. Tonight while waiting in a line of 100 people for him to get his physical, he assured me that I could go home, and that he would call me if and when I was needed. Already without my prompting he's taking situations into his own hands. It won't be long until he's an all-star and I'll be relegated to finger wagging 'I-told-you-so' guy who has to remind him that there's still tricks to learn when he tries to find ways to beat the game by circumventing the rules. Thankfully that's a role I was born to play.

Posted 10:40pm
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August 31st, 2007

Let my people go...

What? Blog posts at 11pm the night before Michigan's opener when you don't have the Siddhartha? Yup, tbaggervance.com is proud to announce the return of Moses to the promised land. My dad, the Moeman, King Shit of Fuck Mountain© when it comes to the maize and blue football program, is in town to watch the dismantling of Appalachian State. I could go for hours about Moe. If there's a better example of the wisdom that comes with age I don't know it. Someday I hope to balance the passion and sensibility about our Wolverines the way he does. There's alot of ways I could say that I've made more of my life than my dad has, but not in anyway that truly matters. I had a roommate in college that attributed his friendliness to the fact that he thought that there was something to learn from everyone he met. I still haven't gotten round to that way of thinking, but I do believe that the Moeman could teach everyone something. About class. About priorities. About knowing what's right and following that up with your actions. And there's probably nothing more important than those lessons. So here's to you Moses. Let's hope those Wolverines carry the day.

And for those of you that care for such things, there's baby pictures of our youngest up at mgovan.com. Go Blue...

Posted 11:01pm
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August 30th, 2007

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

Its late August. The students are returning to campus, making the bars more crowded, parking spots more scarce, and the chance of me hitting a drunk, stumbling co-ed on the way home from the bar all the more likely. Here is what I'm concentrating on to offset that lamentable circumstance:

- Of course everything in my life is secondary to college football at this point, and any piece of information I can scrounge up feeds my addiction. But this, oh this, is like a blow job on Christmas morning right before you open your presents. Of course I hate tOSU coach Jim Tressel. He wears sweatervests and looks like a pedophile. One of my favorite t-shirts that I own is the one that says 'Tressel drinks wine coolers', because it has both the comedy of a ridiculous premise, and the likelihood of being true. These accusations are buoyed by this article, which proves beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he is a Celine Dion fan. Oh happy day.

- I don't get too worked up over fall TV anymore. I miss certain shows, but anymore it often feels like an obligation keeping me from more productive things, rather than pure entertainment. One obvious exception is NBC's The Office. I won't waste my breath extolling the virtues of this show, you're either on board at this point or are more than one standard deviation below average on the IQ chart. For the mentally proficient among you, here is a 3 minute + promo telling you what everyone's been up to on summer vacation. 'I don't remember much about Scranton. I think I dated a black girl...' Can't wait.

- A girl on stage in a band can go from a 5 to an 8 faster than you can say beer goggles. And taking the inverse, the music played by these sexy beasts becomes infinitely more palatable than if they were dudes. Both of these facts are exponentially true for a music snob such as myself. Which is why Candie Payne and The Pipettes get me all worked up. I can only imagine the boner inducing bonanza their live shows must be.

- Nothing is funnier than a hypocrite getting caught in the act. Its even funnier when its a public figure. And it boarders on head-exploding giggling when its a conservative Senator and it involves gay sex. For those of you following the trials and tribulations of Larry Craig and want all your questions about the mysterious underworld of bathroom sex explained, have I got an article for you.

- We're less than 46 hours from Michigan's kickoff, and to say I'm bursting at the seams is an understatement. This despite the fact that our game is a functional DNP against a IAA foe. I usually have some kind of empathy for these lesser teams, having to trod out on the field only to be eviscerated by superior athletes. Apparently, Appalachian State isn't scared. Oh how I wish Woodley were still around to teach these guys what happens when you talk about fight club...

Posted 1:55pm
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August 28th, 2007

The softening of America.

Admit it - you are never going to be as tough as your parents. As a kid, you just intuit this - as being an actual adult - much less one that is responsible for your own well-being, is an unfathomable concept. As you get older you begin to get regaled with stories of 'back in my day' coupled with a lot of criticism of 'kids today'. This something most kids usually slough off until you eventually start having those thoughts yourself, and thusly wonder if your parents weren't right all along.

And while yes, old people exaggerate and just because a younger generation's circumstances aren't as rough as the previous one's doesn't mean they wouldn't be equal to the task, we are much, much softer. My grandparents didn't have indoor plumbing. My parents grew up when television and air travel weren't commonplace. I didn't have the internet or cell phones until I was an actual adult. God knows what the Buddha will be able to say in twenty years.

But you can't stop technology and progress; nor should we. I'm not about to eschew indoor plumbing because walking out in the snow to take a shit makes you more hearty. Nor am I going to stop sending emails because a hand written letter is somehow more thought-out and personal. But there is a softening, and if you'll excuse my french, a pussification of America happening. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is exhibit 1A:

I am cooler than the generation that postcedes me because in my day, we held our lighters aloft during concerts when the power ballads came on. Not our fucking cell phones. I don't care if it costs me a lung and ten years off the end of my life, the above is gay. Do these people think they are being cool? Or ironic? They are neither. My grandfather would punch these people in the face for their behavior. Me, I stand in the back making snarky comments and then write about it in my blog. I guess that pretty well illustrates that the downward spiral is inevitable.

Posted 3:22pm
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August 27th, 2007

You are an obsession. You're my obsession.

ob·ses·sion n.- A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.

When last we spoke I was pontificating upon my somewhat irrational fixation with football and more specifically, college football as played by the University of Michigan. As such, its less than 5 full days until the kickoff of the 2007 campaign, and my brain is mush. Productivity, both personal and professional, has come to a screeching halt. This is extremely exacerbated by the developments going on over at our sister site, mgovan.com. But anyway, when brain occasionally drifts from thoughts of Mike Hart and Chad Henne, there a few other obsessions occupying my world at the moment. These are those:

- Tokyo Police Club - I first heard this band months ago on the radio and immediately took a shine to them. I got their debut EP, gave it a few spins and forgot about it. If someone were to ask, I might go as far as to say 'I love the Tokyo Police Club.' Well through hap and circumstance, I put them on the other night and now I am in a state of full blown infatuation. Try and deny their deft juxtaposition of avant garde and pop. I dare you.

- Straight Man by Richard Russo - I can't remember where I got the recommendation to pick up this tome, but I owe them a beer. To paraphrase the blurb on the cover, its the funniest serious book I've read since A Confederacy of Dunces. And that's saying something. Part of it may be that I envision the book's lead character to be some version of myself in 20 years. Which should scare the shit out some of you.

- Flight of the Conchords - I mentioned this HBO music/comedy show a few months back when it first premiered. I liked it, and then grew somewhat tepid on it after I began to doubt its ability to sustain itself. I wholeheartedly admit that my doubts are now unfounded. This is the best new thing on TV I've seen in quite some time and I plan on spending the rest of my life watching the shit out of the DVDs when they come out.

That's it for now. Time to go back to breaking down game film from last year and listening to Animotion. Nope, not at all kidding (well, about the game film part).

Posted 3:03pm
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August 24th, 2007

Last call for free time

Its shots and carryout only for yours truly, as this weekend marks the last time that my life will exist for several months without the omnipresent thought of football. As of Sunday at 4 o'clock, the start time for my first fantasy draft, there won't be an hour that passes me by in which I don't spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, talking, watching, reading and dreaming about football. Whether its my fantasy teams, my many gambling endeavors, or the big daddy of them all, Michigan Football, intellectual pursuits will take a backseat so I can obsess over the minutia of these seemingly trivial matters.

Its the same every year. August brings preseason college rankings and the publishing of fantasy football magazines. My friends and I start to spend more and more time speculating on the viability of such and such a running back, or the prospect of who will be starting at right guard for the Wolverines. And it snowballs from there. Before you know it my season tickets show up in the mailbox, I begin to scour the internet for fantasy info, and saddest of all, I start to watch game film from last year's season. Call it obsessive, call it pathetic - come Monday morning I'll wake up more excited than a kid starting winter break anticipating his Christmas morning booty.

And by Friday I won't be able to sit still. Michigan's first game (Saturday) is an exercise in futility for its opponent. Its a designed can't lose for the Wolverines. That doesn't change my longing to get to the tailgate Saturday morning, to watch Chad Henne take the first snap, and to high five everyone in my row when we score for the first time in 2007. Its a tad ridiculous, to hang one's emotional well-being on the fortunes of a bunch of college kids playing a game, but I'm past the point of no return on this. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Ayesha once said that were we ever to get married, she would plan the wedding during a home Michigan Football game, so she could finally know where my allegiance lay. God help me if any woman actually makes good on that threat.

Posted 3:53pm
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August 23rd, 2007

The good, the bad, and the ugly: random shit from around the internets edition.

So, yeah, I've been sick. When I'm sick I lay around the house watching TV, reading books and getting fat. So not a whole hell of a lot happens to me worth mentioning. As such, please enjoy these things of note from around the internet:

The Good:
- The first of the super babies hath arrived! Tom Brady's first born, and eventual leader of the army of superbabies he's obviously breeding to bring us multiple national championships, is here. Thankfully, its a boy, thus eliminating the awkwardness of having to be the first Division IA team quarterbacked by a girl. The Vegas odds on U of M winning the 2027 National Championship have just gone to even.

- Don't tell the South he's black. Political man crush Barack Obama made an appearance on The Daily Show last night. I'm in the odd position of agreeing most politically with the guy I'd also most like to have a beer with. It's not awkward bad, but I've told to many people over the last 6-7 years that wanting to have a beer with someone has no bearing on whether or not he should be president. I'm just sayin'...

The Bad:
- Who greenlit Armageddon 2? Its obvious to those of us paying attention that Hollywood has been bereft of ideas for some time now. Couple that America's penchant for swallowing whole the things that look similar to that which they've seen before, and you end up with movie ideas obviously conceived by a fucked up boo butt©. I'm talking about Lost Boys 2 and even more egregious, Ferris Bueller 2: Another Day Off. I'm not kidding.

- Don't make us beg you to go away. This could be filed under 'who gives a shit?' but apparently Axl W. Rose is providing vocals to Sebastian Bach's new solo album. I actually kind of like Sebastian's cartoon-y shtick, but musically guys, its over. Stop embarrassing all of us for ever thinking you were cool.

The Ugly:
- The two worst three letter acronyms known to man. There's two perils to risky behavior that most people with certain proclivities subject themselves to and eventually end up with one or the other. I'm of course speaking of DUIs and STDs. According to rumor, Jessica Alba got the herp from Derek Jeter. This surprisingly does nothing to lessen my crush for Ms. Alba nor my respect for Mr. Jeter (despite him being a Yankee). Its just funny is all. Oh yeah, and ugly.

- My wikipedia page says I have 18 inches of swinging death. Finally in the 'no shit' department, it appears corporations are changing their Wikipedia pages to make themselves look better. I wondered why I wasn't losing weight on that all Arby's diet.

Posted 2:11pm
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August 22nd, 2007

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

As a music snob, I have more music than I could ever possibly listen to. Well that's not totally true, as my iTunes is telling me that I could get through my entire current collection in 38 days. But even I don't have that much free time on my hands. Now some of this polysaturation of music is by design. You're right to think that I will probably never have an urge to listen to Harvey Danger's Little by Little again, nor do I need more than 3 to 4 songs off of the Kenny Rogers Definitive Collection box set, but that doesn't stop me from feeling that I do. There's something in my makeup that drives me to be a collector, and some aspect of my personality requires me to be a completist. This leads me to track down obscure EPs of Ben Gibbard's high school bands and download a 2 disc collection of Joe Walsh's Greatest Hits, even though I already have a James Gang Best of and I only like about 4 of Joe's solo songs. I guess to some that's more than a little sad.

But as per a discussion I recently had with Ayesha and the Jesuses, music snobs listen to music differently than casual fans. Now I'm not here to make some pompous argument about how I 'get' music more than you, casual listener and dear blog reader. But I do think that while most people listen to the same thing over and over again, music snobs are in constant search of something new to listen to. Let's break this down into what I call the three levels of the music consumer:

Level One: Arrested Development
Listeners at level one stop actively consuming new music somewhere between the ages of 18-22. Their favorite stuff is what they were listening to in high school or college. The last album they bought was either a greatest hits compilation or a 'comeback' album by Boston, Def Leppard or Metallica. Once in a while they will hear a song on the radio by accident that they like and go out and buy the album. They will then proceed to listen to that one song over and over.

Level Two: Laissez Faire
Level Two listeners share a commonality with those in level one as their favorite stuff was also produced during their hay-day of drinking and partying, albeit their tastes are usually a tad more esoteric. They used to go looking for new stuff, but the ravages of time and responsibility have left them to rely on there music snob friends to keep them up to date. It gets harder as you grow older to find new music that fits into your wheelhouse, and these people would love to do that, they just, for myriad reasons, don't.

Level Three: 'Did you hear about the new Art Brut/Hold Steady split 7 inch?'
Yeah, the music snobs. The people who care too much for their own good. The people who hear an album once and overreact one way or the other by saying it sucks 2 songs in or declaring it a classic by the first track's chorus. The people who, when asked by the Arrested Development people what they are listening to, raise an eyebrow and answer politely knowing the ADs won't recognize one name. When the LF's ask, they speak slowly, because they know the LFs will try to remember everything, hoping to mine one new artist that they can listen to that's not a waste of their time.

As a member of level 3, I'm proud to provide albums for people's iPods and recommend an artist someone's never heard of when they say things that make me cringe like 'I really like Coldplay, what else should I listen to?' But the original argument that kicked this thing off was being posed the question 'You don't listen to songs on repeat?' And the truth is, I don't have the time, or the inclination. There's too much stuff out there that I'll never have time to even get to. That doesn't stop me from listening to the White Album enough to have it burned into my brain, but you're not going to find me listening to Amy Winehouse's new album twice in a row, much less the single 'Rehab' on repeat. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted 3:49pm
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August 20th, 2007

Today's sign of the apocalypse...

...or how I am an old fucking man. Perpetual feeder into our worst fears and wants, USA Today, has an article entitled 'Backpacks: A new badge of cool.' Now I'm not old enough to have forgotten that by the time you get to high school most of the decisions you make about your person are scrutinized by every one of your peers. Fair enough, I remember begging my mom for certain brand names clothes with the utmost futility. And maybe its that fact, coupled with the relative podunk-iness of my upbringing, that leads me to believe this, but who gives fucking two shits how much your backpack costs? This is completely fucking generated by industry and fed into by shit purveyors like USA Today. I get that what car you drive can get you laid and that a certain wardrobe will make certain people more or less likely to talk to you, but really? Backpacks? They hold your shit more comfortably than a paper bag. End of story. Start the countdown until I'm on the front porch telling those damn kids to get off my lawn.

In unrelated affairs, I tried to write a post (with several false starts) about fighting with Ayesha and how I have a propensity to say one thing when I'm drunk and trying to convince a girl that I like her in some way, only to have different thoughts during the light of (sober) day. But then I thought that the idea of guys not telling the truth to women when they're drunk isn't noteworthy in any way. We're all dicks more often than not - whether due to lack of courage, not wanting to see someone cry, wanting to keep our options open for as long as possible, or just being really, really horny. We can apologize and claim the noblest of intentions (and blame the alcohol), but its really just a dick move. In my case it was all of the above, including noble intentions. But even I can see how its a miracle that the fairer sex would ever put up with any of us assholes.

Posted 3:43pm
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August 18th, 2007

Thanks, but I'm actually not a member of NAMBLA

Most people's drivers license pictures are fairly awful. I guess waiting in line at the DMV can give one quite the sour puss. Last night I was at the Jesuses (again) and I was wondering aloud if I could renew my drivers license through the mail, thus saving me a trip to the dreaded secretary of state. Would they send me a whole new license? Would I get some kind of sticker for my old one? What if I had to carry around an extra card that says my old license is still ok? So while MJ whipped out the laptop and found me my answer, I whipped out my license to gander at my punim and try to decide if the picture was still viable. I knew it was at least wince inducing, but let's be honest, as the years go by I get carded less and less, so its not like anyone really sees it. Upon closer examination, I stared a bit and thought 'That doesn't even look like me' That's when AJ decided to see for himself, so he could weigh in on the debate. Wanna know what he said?

Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a pedophile in this picture.

How do I take that the right way? So yeah, I'll be off to get my pic re-upped so I don't get confused with a sex offender again anytime soon. And just so it can never be said that I'm afraid of making fun of myself:

And just so MJ doesn't feel left out, she got the second biggest laugh of the night out of me with 'I don't mind the heat, I just get wet. But not in the naughty way.' Which I guess is good, because otherwise she'd be way too insatiable to visit Ayesha out in the desert heat.

Posted 8:59pm
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August 17th, 2007

Oh yes its ladies night...

This is likely obvious to anyone who has seen tape (or actually witnessed in person) of women in a male strip club, but let it be stated here unequivocally: girls night out is far more likely to devolve into abject debauchery than guys night out. Last night I watched some friends of mine participate in a ladies night worthy of a cheesy female empowerment movie where someone gets their groove back. I sat in awe as they cajoled the local pipefitters union #1138 (in town for the convention) with their feminine wiles. I can't imagine the disappointing rides back to the hotel as they all went home alone. Yes I can. We've all been on the 'I can't believe how well this is going, I think I've got a real shot' road, only to come back from the bathroom to find what we thought was a smitten kitten gone daddy gone. ANYWAY, like I said, a group of ladies looking to blow off some steam away from significant others is much more volatile and dangerous than their male counterparts. Why? Two reasons:

- Alcohol. This, of course, is where most (if not all) debauchery begins and ends. Let's be honest, men tend to handle their alcohol a wee bit better than the ladies. Don't get me wrong, I know plenty of girls who could drink plenty of guys under the table. But while a preponderance of guys will go out and have a few drinks a couple times a week, women seem to save it all up and try to blow their wad in one night. This can lead to guys saying 'one more beer and then I gotta go' at the end of the night while women suck jaeger out of their best friends mouth and sheepishly say things like 'I don't normally act like this!'

- Viability. Follow me on this one. Guys who get out from under the thumbs of their wives or girlfriends for an evening participate in the things their sig. o's don't care for. This usually involves sports, drinking, cursing, scratching, etc. The last thing they want to do is go out and be rejected by women at the bar. They spent years doing that, the race is over. They won. Women, on the other hand, when traveling in packs, go trolling for attention from the opposite sex. Its easy enough for a woman in a low cut top to get affirmation from drunks at a bar, so let's not begrudge them that. This leads to men watching football and playing poker on 'guys night', and the ladies grinding on some guy named Pedro at the Necto.

To be my own devil's advocate, I know I'm playing with semantics here. Guys do all the shit that a ladies night would dictate on any random Tuesday. But its the pack mentality were dissecting here. And be it ladies night, bachelorette party or the secretary pool at Friday happy hour, chicks in a pack will devour dudes like a lion on a gazelle. It is after all, the girls that go wild. Thank you Jesus.

Posted 2:12pm
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August 16th, 2007

Viewing art objectively.

Fucking kids these days. I try not to be an old curmudgeon most of the time, as well as keep my temper in check. Otherwise I'd walk around screaming at random people for their idiocy and accomplish little else. I've been known in the past for getting in people's faces over things seemingly trivial, even when I have little to no connection to that person. Last night was a perfect opportunity to eviscerate someone for being a complete fucking Grade-A douche bag, and I held my tongue. And I'm having trouble being OK with the decision.

The story goes like this: I was at music trivia last night with my friends the Jesuses and some friends of theirs. We were rolling through the first round of 80's music and, given the relative youth of the rest of the people at the table, I was providing most of the answers. At one point the male friend of a friend says 'I don't think I was even born when these songs came out.' He was right. Born in 1985; not one song in the round came out in his lifetime. Boring for him I guess, but no skin of my back. He was engrossed in the Tigers game so I think he had found his peace with the situation. Later on we're sucking the pipe during the Elvis round and MJ says 'Its too bad its not a Beatles round, because then we'd clean up.' And just as I'm about to agree with her, I hear Mr. Born-in-1985 chime in with 'The Beatles suck.'

Not 'I don't care for their music' or 'Ringo couldn't sing' or even 'The Stones kick the Beatles ass', just 'The Beatles suck.' I'm sure if you could see my face at the the time my eyes would have rolled back in my head and steam would have shot from my ears. For the sake of my friends I lightly questioned it and basically left things at 'You lost all hope of finding any credibility with me.' Which I'm sure he could give a shit. But let's face it, when it comes to music you're not going to find more consensus about anything than the Beatles were a pretty fucking great and influential rock band. The only thing people might agree more about, is that those who posture that the Beatles suck are doing so to try and look cool when everybody in the room sees them as overly douche-y. I wanted to tell him that he was an ignorant fucktard, and that I shouldn't expect much from an asshole in a Korn T-shirt who things Magglio Ordonez sucks too. But I didn't. No diatribes about how none of the craptastic shit he listens to would even be possible were it not for the Beatles. Nothing about how they redefined the recording process while making strides in song structure and arrangements. Certainly no barbs about how Paul's bass on 'Helter Skelter' is 100 times more menacing and evil than anything his precious Korn has ever produced. Just a 'You lost any shot at credibility.' Sometimes it sucks being mature and holding your tongue in the face of abject ignorance. The next person who's woefully ignorant in front of me is going to rue the day, because I've got some pent up frustration to release.

Posted 1:15pm
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August 14th, 2007

No time for love, Dr. Jones.

Regular readers will by now have noticed my obsession with Indiana Jones. First and foremost, I believe that Raiders of the Lost Ark is the greatest action movie of all time. I've had the debate hundreds of times, only to have become that much more resolute in my belief that it is a perfect movie and superior to everything else in its genre. Secondly, Harrison Ford is the coolest person on the face of god's green earth. Han Solo and Indy. The argument really stops there, but I will point out the boner inducing fact that when he played the President of the United States, he did so as a graduate of the University of Michigan. (And of course I never miss an opportunity to point out that Keanu Reeves played a former quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Twice.)

So with all the Indy IV traffic hitting the internets these days, I decided that it merits its own, dedicated post. First of all, today saw slashfilm post a little investigative journalism in regards to the title of the Dr. Jones fourth adventure. Seems Lucasfilm register six possible Indy related titles. Best guess so far? Indiana Jones and the City of Gods. Not great, but its pry just a rumor anyway, so need to get your panties in a wad.

A while back at Comicon, they released the first teaser poster for the film. You can catch a glimpse at iwatchstuff.com. Total nerds will note that the crate is similar to the one used to house the ark of the covenant at the end of Raiders. Uber nerds will almost pass out when they realize that the number on the crate in Raiders is nearly identical to that on the one in the poster. I felt woozy.

Finally, there's a little teaser video up on the official site called 'Reuniting the Family'. You'll notice that yes, that is Karen Allen back as that sexy minx Marion Ravenwood. Good God I think I'm going to go pass out. Thankfully college football starts soon, or I may go crazy with anticipation.

Posted 2:12pm
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August 13th, 2007

Looks like we got ourselves a reader...

It is my new stated goal to talk more about books here on the ol' bloggy blog. Don't worry, it'll be like once a month after I've read a few worth talking about. Most of you can ignore it the way you do when I talk about whatever indie rock fetish I'm currently having. Come back tomorrow and I'm sure I'll be back to telling stories about being a drunk, or hopefully whatever predilection makes you keep coming back here.

For some reason I've been on a real nonfiction bent as of late. I don't know why that is, but I promise you that each of these are as well-written as they are insightful. I was going to call this 'Words Words Words'... like Beavis always used to do (was there ever anything funnier when you were high than Beavis and Butthead? Not that I remember) but felt it wouldn't translate. Hopefully there's a Bill Hicks fan or two out there who gets my second choice.

- The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby wrote on of my favorite books ever about pop music, Songbook. So it stands to reason that he could likely write about literature as well. And gosh darn it if that's not what he does within the pages of this tome. Mr. Hornby (in this collection of monthly columns from The Believer magazine) provides you the laundry list of the books he's bought and read in the last month, and then finds a narrative thread to write about what he's read. Its really not as meta as it sounds, except that reading about some reading is inherently kinda meta. In any case, its brilliant, even if it makes you feel slightly guilty about not reading more than you do. I chalked it up in my head to the fact that he's British, at which point it didn't bother me at all.

- Blockbuster by Tom Shone
A few years ago some d-bag wrote a book in which he at least implied that George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg ruined the Hollywood renaissance of the 1970's with movies like Jaws and Star Wars. As you can guess, I had more than a little problem with that argument. Sure the 70's were a golden age for thoughtful, intellectual filmmaking, but it was the Lucases and Spielbergs that saved Hollywood, not the Altmans and Townes. If you don't believe me, Tom Shone takes the time to back up that assertion with things like facts. He chronicles the last 30 years of 'blockbuster' movie making in such detail and with such prose, that every chapter will leave you wanting to break to watch whatever film he's describing.

- Moneyball by Michael Lewis
About 5 years ago everyone wanted to know how the Oakland A's managed to win games at a pace that was out of concert with their anemic payroll and rogue's gallery of players. Michael Lewis set out to answer that question and does so both thoroughly and beautifully. Anyone who's played more than a season of Roto baseball (and especially those of us who remember a day when playing roto meant doing stats by hand from the USA Today) will get a huge boner from this book. And while boners and baseball don't necessarily go hand in hand, I highly recommend this for stat nerds and fantasy geeks alike.

- God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens
A very smart, well written defense of atheism and attack on the evils of religion and its dogmas. It will give structure to every argument you've ever had about the existence of God (if you are one those people inclined to such conversations). I'd recommend this just as much to the pious who believe in informed faith as I would the pagans out there.

- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling
Alright, so yeah I read it. I've read them all. I kind of had to go in kicking and screaming. When people back in the day tried to convince me that a boy wizard was worth my time, they'd often do so by comparing the writing to that of Roald Dahl. And you know what, its not Roald Dahl, but to call it the bastard child of Dickens and Dahl raised by Tolkien might not be far off. But whatever, you've either read this or you're not going to, so why am I wasting keystrokes?

Posted 2:58pm
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August 12th, 2007

Morals and standards

"I need to know your type if I'm going to find you a girl." That's how the short 60 second exchange started, the one that I'd think about for the next 24 hours. The last time a female friend asked me that question she produced a made to order girl that I immediately fell for, so it was a query that I was at least a little intrigued by. But before I could even answer, she began pointing to girls around the bar, hoping to find my archetype within the confines of a place that had about as much chance of holding her as it did a cure for cancer. She realized her mistake quickly, as the girls she pointed to illicited out and out laughter from the other people in the group. "The all-American girl isn't really T's type," said my friends wife who had only known me 10 years. God knows what the guys who had known me for 20+ we're thinking as she tried to find my type in a dive bar in Napoleon, Ohio.

So if for no other reason than to be polite, I quickly ran off my quick list of wants and desires in the fairer sex. Not wanting to bore the shit out of everyone, I kept it short. "I like short, petite girls with short dark hair. Girls who wear glasses and are quirky. Ones who eschew religion and embrace the booze." She immediately came back in quid pro quo fashion with "So like that girl over there in the bustiere?" pointing to a girl who with a tattoo on her breast that had obviously shown up on a motorcycle. "Think more of someone in Chucks," I responded, trying to get her to wrap her head around what I was looking for. After explaining what Chucks were, I also tried to wrap things up with a little self-deprecation by noting "Really, I just want someone who weighs less than I do who is willing to have sex with me."

That's when it happened. A friend not known for necessarily being insightful popped his head in and said "Its all about morals and standards. You need one, but you can't have both if you want to get laid." It prompted a lot of laughter, and a few accusations that the person making the statement had neither (he incidentally claimed to have standards but zero morals). And that was supposedly the end of it. But I kept thinking about what he said off and on, and fuck it all if he wasn't probably right.

Which leaves me with a conundrum. Say what you will, but I think I am burdened with both morals and standards (what happens when I'm black out drunk notwithstanding). I eventually went back to something Ayesha txted me the other night - that I act like its a chore to get laid when its clearly not. She may be right in some respect, but I don't think she's taking into account our new hypothesis of morals and standards. Don't get me wrong, I'm no saint and not trying to make myself out as a sexual martyr, but as one very close, single friend and I used to often lament, most of the time its just not worth it. I don't want to waste my time with some fucked up boo butt© because she's hot but boring or ugly but willing. Its really not worth it to me. So yes, this is me giving you permission, loyal reader, to slap me right across the face next time I'm drunk and diatribing about my dating ineptitude. To tell me to fuck off next time I complain about lack of sexual gratification. Remind me about morals and standards and tell me to loosen one or shut up. Then I'll go back to looking for the bottom of my vodka and soda.

Posted 10:42pm
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August 10th, 2007

One not-so-innocuous thing that has me all pissed off in and around the present moment (plus some other stuff to offset that)

My very first football hero growing up was Jim Harbaugh. He emerged about the time I finally awoke from my nerd cocoon and started to notice things like that football stuff my dad and brothers spent so much time on. (This of course would start a life long, tenuous relationship that would cause other, more important areas in my life to suffer needlessly, but that's a discussion for another time). ANYWAY, Harbaugh played the QB position like he was packing 18 inches of swingin' death and unless you played nice, he'd prove he knew how to use it. So I instantly fell in love - a love that wouldn't wane despite his shitty pro career. Which is why it both depresses and enrages me that as it turns out, he's a total douche bag.

For those of you who haven't been following, Harbaugh basically threw U of M under the proverbial bus. He shook his stupid finger at our athletic admissions policies, decried us for pushing athletes into easy majors, and lamented that we used up and discarded these young men like so much blast rags. A bigger bunch of bullshit you will find in no other man, at any other level of intelligence. mgoblog went out and proved him wrong in a more eloquent and thorough manner than I could here, so I'll let you read his take if you're interested. The bottom line is that its sad when you're heroes turn out to be dimwitted fucktards that have a lesser understanding of public discourse than my 12 year old son. Please Tom Brady, don't ever do this to Sid. Neither of us could take the heartbreak.

- Speaking of Captain Dreamboat, here's a funny little Who's Now? parody that pits Tom against Galactus. I actually didn't read it, but the two little pictures and profiles almost made me pee, so its worth two seconds of your time, even if it happens to remind you that the stupid fucking Who's Now? thing ever existed.

- Here's a profile of Superbad's Michael Cera. He's that kid from Arrested Development that also has this sweet web show I told you about a few weeks back. The piece is well written enough that it pissed me off that I'm not a better writer, so you know, whatever that's worth.

- "Newspaper" (and I use that term loosely) USAToday talks about decorating your dorm room. Its laughably stupid. You want to know how to decorate your room? Steal a bunch of shit from around your parents house, add your 4 foot water bong, throw everything else in a corner. Voila!

- This is a friend of a friend's commercial for Heinz Ketchup (or perhaps catsup - depending on where you're from. Your mileage may vary, offer not valid in Tennessee). I think he would appreciate it if you looked at it and rated it highly. I hate giving homework on weekends, but I hardly ever ask, thus eliminating the need for guilt when I do. So get going....

Posted 3:33pm
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August 9th, 2007

Wet pavement and the crack of fiberglass

I have little to no need to drive a 'nice' car. I in no way view my automobile as representative of my status in life nor as an extension of my penis. My favorite car I've ever owned was the first I bought myself - a 1979 Toyota Celica. It never broke down, was a tad funky looking, had a manual transmission and a moonroof you had to open by hand. Everything an 18 year old could want in a car. I'd have driven it until it literally fell apart, had my brother not totaled it while I was away at college. But that's a story for another day.

My dream is always to drive my cars until the repairs get too expensive to justify it. I long for the day when I don't have a car payment. I haven't had too much luck with that in the recent past - in large part, because of days like today. I was chauffeuring Siddhartha from one side of A2 to the other over my lunch break. It was raining. I am impatient. And people sometimes take FOREVER to turn into a driveway. These three factors combined into me slamming on the breaks and ending up with a trailer hitch size dent/hole in my front bumper.

It could have been much worse. We were going like 3 mph. I did little more than scratch said hitch on the other persons car. It will (knock on wood) end up being completely superficial damage that I can learn to live with. But seriously? Why can't I just for once have something a little nice that lasts until I pay it off. I really don't think I'm asking too much. Besides, if that yellow piece of shit can hang on for four more years, Sid can get behind the wheel and beat the shit out of it and I'll get something new to defile with my carelessness.

Posted 1:18pm
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August 8th, 2007

The neuroticism of unjustifiable ownership

Music snobs such as myself often find ourselves in the following conundrum, catch-22, rock and a hard place, what have you: the desire between wanting our favorite bands to be wildly successful, in accordance with their talent and ability, and wanting to keep the secret all to ourselves. Its a fine line at that. I want to turn people on to new, obscure music that makes the hair on my arm stand on end. I want hipsters to recognize and get excited by the t-shirt I bought at my last Magic Stick show. But I also want bands I seek out and love to be a well kept secret. I want to be in the exclusive club that 'gets' the cool things that nobody else knows about. I was in love with Death Cab for Cutie the first time I heard them. I became more and more obsessed to the point of infatuation. Then they signed to Atlantic. And they showed up on The OC. And M&M commercials featured Postal Service music. Don't get me wrong, I still love Death Cab. But those of you who are reading this and have no idea who they are can see how small an amount of fame can tweak someone like me (who obviously cares waaaay too much and is completely too sensitive and inexplicably proprietary).

I'm sure I've written a similar rant before - or at least touched on these themes in the past. I do so again now because my favorite-ist of favorite indie darlings are getting some serious pub out in the blogosphere. You may remember Maritime as the band that Ayesha and I drove to Dayton and back on a Friday to see. Well they've finished recording their new album (Heresy and the Hotel Choir) and have leaked the first two songs out to internet listening public. My biased ears are happier than they've been in months, and it seems that other uber snobs are in agreement with me. I encourage you to listen and judge for yourself. I wish them nothing but success. Hell, a band the size of Maritime can struggle to survive enough to keep making music, so support the shit of 'em. Just remember who got there first...

Posted 5:44pm
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August 6th, 2007

Back to the Bay 2007

At the end of the day, our 2007 annual trip to Put-in-Bay will probably be most remembered for the things that didn't happen. Sure, there was your standard, boilerplate debauchery - featuring drunkenness that approached Fucked Up Boo Butt status. But instead of packing people into Harriet's House like sardines, we topped out at actual capacity on Saturday night (with Friday featuring a scant 5 of us). No Kanes, no Germans, no Anee, no random Columbus peoples. And somehow, only the Bickels got to eat Chicken dinners from the Patio. Of the 10 people there on Saturday, 7 had kids in the last year.

Which really served as a reminder of just how newly single I am. With even Stov bringing his girlfriend with him, I was the only remotely single person in our group. Its something I'll have to get used to again, and I'm honestly not looking forward to it - especially when it leads to Jen forcibly trying to get me to dance with bachelorette parties. Ah well, let's get on to the pictures, complete with commentary you may or may not understand:

After drinking at the house for several hours, it was finally time to head out. Kiki says "I bet he loves her stretch marks from head to toe"
I'm not sure the impetus of this, but clearly we are clinging hopelessly to sobriety.
This was an all too common sight over the weekend. Someone would by shots for the group, and then everyone would start to worry about buying more shots over a sense of reciprocity. That is a slippery slope, people.
It is amazing to me that either of these cats appear remotely sober here, as it is the beginning of the end. Turt notes that 'Men are the new women'.
See what I mean? This is Turt giving his wife some kind of lap dance at the bar moments later. He whipped that belt off faster a stripper on meth.
Luckily, there wasn't too much lovey-dovey stuff like this. Stov was working overtime to try and overcome the curse of Put-in-Bay, which is commendable.
More 'Turtle is wasted' goodness. We can only assume that this is in tribute to Troy.
Final pic of the night. I have no idea what's going on at this point. Stov later refers to me as a 'marionette' that he and Arrika manipulated into doing their bidding by the end of the night. Luckily, I remember very little of that portion of the evening.
Next day, more dude's show up. 2007 marks the return of the Puma.
Aarika reminds us that 'Stretch marks are the new sickle cell' as we dominate tippy cup at the Round House.
11:27 - Stov pees his pants...
... at which point its time for buckets on heads.
I'm not sure what is happening here, but I'm guessing Turt is drunk.
This is quite standard.
This is quite scary.
Aarika was a rookie to the PIB, trying to overcome years of us bringing girls to the island, only to see the relationship immediately fall apart when we returned to the main land. Only time will tell if she managed to break the curse, but if this photo is any indication, she stands a pretty good chance.

 

Posted 1:20pm
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August 2nd, 2007

Sobriety is a terrible thing to waste have

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are sitting down because the news I am about to impart may shock and appall you. I, tbaggervance, have been sober for four days. Now before you pass out let me quickly point out that this is not by choice. I am a victim of streptococcal pharyngitis, which among other things, has caused me to go on a course of antibiotics on which alcohol is verboten. After a lengthy discussion with my medical professional where I pleaded to have just one beer, or two take two pills at once so that I could drink 12 hours earlier than scheduled, I was informed that my lifestyle has already placed my liver in a precarious position, and that I should stick to the schedule. Given that this weekend is the annual trip to Put-in-Bay and I will likely be testing the tensile strength of said liver anyway, I acquiesced and vowed to abstain from the booze until noon on Friday (at which point my body will think St. Patrick's Day or OSU/Michigan has come early).

Last night I was asked if five days is the longest I've gone in my adult life without taking so much as one drink. While I can't say definitively, its a pretty safe bet that it is. At which point I was immediately asked that if like when George Costanza abstained from sex and became a genius, had I noticed any increased brain power or other heightened senses? Alas, I feel more like Popeye without his spinach, or Samson after his hair cut. The source of my powers and prowess has been taken away. I will forever claim that everything I attempt in life is done with greater aplomb after 3 beers. This increased virility lasts through beer #6, at which point we see a small, and then exponentially greater decline. Whether this acuity is perceived or real matters not, because like politics, perception is reality, and that leaves me currently feeling utterly flaccid.

Posted 1:20pm
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August 1st, 2007

The subjectiveness of perspective

I try not to brag too much here on the ol' bloggy blog. I've always had somewhat of a problem where my arrogance is only exceeded by my hubris. Hopefully those who both read these posts and have regular conversations with me note the disparity. If not, then what did you expect? And when it comes to Siddhartha, you probably have experienced the inherent chaos theory that's on display when I start talking about him (the butterfly that flaps it wings in NYC and causes a hurricane in Singapore). But the conversation we had the other night was too good to not share with you, intrepid reader.

Sid and I were discussing the latest Harry Potter book, and he admitted to me that he had 'accidentally' read the last page of the book. I lost it. How could you do that? You're spoiling all of the secrets that yet to be laid out and then revealed to you over the next few hundred pages! You're cheating! You're cheating! He calmly explained to me that there were no rules, written or otherwise, when it came to reading fiction, and thus calling him a cheater was unfair. I railed against this quick-fix way of going about things; about how the journey was as rewarding as the goal. That now all of the twists and turns that the author would make along the way would be lost on him. That in a sense, he had cheated himself by spoiling the pleasure he would derive from reading the thing left to right, top to bottom. After a brief interlude in which we discussed subjectivity and how that without right and wrong, black and white definitions of things, everything is subjective, Sid laid it out for me.

You see, he explained. He's seen everything. Kids his age have been subjected to such an onslaught of pop culture through television and DVDs and video games that surprises were no longer truly surprises. That knowing the absolute end would not, in fact, ruin the twists and turns, as he could still objectively judge them as clever or not, and evaluate their appropriateness. For a second I was sad. Are kids that much more aware and jaded these days relative to where I was when I was his age. And then, of course, a split second later I realized: You're talking to a teenager. Their arrogance knows no bounds! Of course they've seen it before! Of course they know what will happen next! They won't be impressed my mere pop culture. They are dialed-in in a way you can never hope to be again.

We talked some more about the differences in his evaluation of Harry Potter versus mine, which led to an assessment of the Star Wars films that looked like this:

Sid
VI* > III > V >IV > II > I

tbaggervance
V > IV >VI > III > I > II

Yes, that is only mildly interesting to the nerds out there, so I'll go into it no further. I just wanted to let you know that I had a frighteningly deep conversation with a 12 year old. Yes, even the smart ones have a long way to go. So if any of you run into Sid in the next five years, please don't mention Keyser Soze. Or that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time or that the chick from The Crying Game has a schlong. Because eventually he will realize, that even the most jaded of us can be surprised.

* We had just finished watching Jedi as the discussion took place, which may have played into this placement. -ed.

Posted 7:35pm

Post coming (one that's pertinent to the headline). I'm doing some maintenance now, so for the moment, gaze upon your 2007 Ann Arbor Rec + Ed Tuesday Night Men's League Champs:

Posted 2:35pm
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July 30th, 2007

This just in: We are so good at Beer Fest

For reasons passing understanding, I had never been to the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. You'd think that I'd be a staple at something called 'Beer Fest' that took place five miles from my house. But strange as it may seem, 2007 brought on the 10th annual festival and it was my rookie year. Luckily, my friends had a year under their collective belt and upon sitting down, boike took time to remark that 'We do Beer Fest so much better than everybody else.' and it was hard to argue.

What followed was five hours of imbibing some of the finest ales, stouts, lagers and every other variety under the sun of matled hops, barley, yeast and water imaginable. Such circumstances don't necessarily lead to concise, accurate synopsis. So here's a few things that happened:

- Turns out Beer Fest is also, for some, stupid hat fest. People brought and bought some of the stupidest things to wear on their craniums that I've ever seen. It was like some retarded version of the Kentucky Derby. Early in the day, Greg asks me if I'll give him the rest of the beer I was drinking if he goes and steals the stupid hat of the stupid girl right behind us. He did. And then drank the last sip of my beer

- Hangover cure extraordinaire Vitamin Water was at the Festival giving away free vitamin water. They had parked their van 50 yards from us and we proceeded to take about 20 free samples. We spent the rest of the day trading them for tokens (tokens=beer) to suckers who had missed on the swag. But unfortunately, the VW van was blasting some annoying techno from the speakers on top that was preventing us from enjoying the live music at the Festival. After enough was enough, Boike got up, walked over, and removed the keys, rendering the van utterly silent. Their was a small skirmish with the driver of the van (along with an ineffective attempt to pass off Boike as 'Mr. Vitamin Water') but 20 minutes later they had picked up and left. Next time, don't let us have to tell you twice.

- Some fucked up boo butt© swung by our table, started chowing on some beef jerky we had lying around, telling us how she's vegan and never eats meat. An aghast friend pulled her away before we could make things truly interesting.

So yeah, beer, boobs, beer, sun and beer. I won't make the mistake of missing it again. For posterity, here are the beers I 'sampled' on that memorable day:

1. Shorts Brewing Co. - Pontious Rd. Pilsner
2. Dragonmead Microbrewery - Nagelweiss (Small and white, Clean and bright...)
3. Arcadia Brewing Co. - Whitsun

4. Schmoz Brewing Co. - In Your Face IPA (We liked these guy's attitude, and their beer)
5. Dragonmead Microbrewery - Final Absolution (This one best beer in the world at the World Beer Cup. I failed to see what all the fuss was about)
6. Motor City Brewing Works - Ghettoblaster (A favorite of Stov's from last year, I tried this in honor of him. Stov - Your taste in beer is awful)
7. Bastone - Belgian Wit
8. Saugatuck Brewing Co. - Kolsch Pilsner
9. Michigan Brewing Co. - Celis White
10. Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. - Fouth Dementia (10%+ alcohol on this bad boy. Ouch)
11. Schmoz Brewing Co. - John T. Pilsner
12. Royal Oak Brewery - Northern light
13. Copper Canyon - Summer Haze Wit
14. Fletcher St. Brewing Co. - Sunrise Wit
15. Tri-City Brewing Co. - Phoenix Golden (Hi Ayesha)
16. Atwater Block Brewery - Vodoovater (we drank this because it sounded like it was named after the Haitian Darth Vader)
17. Black Lotus Brewing Co. - People Mover Pilsner
18. Black Lotus Brewing Co. - Detroit Hip Hops (we immediately went back here after we happened to notice that the girl serving had large breasts that were falling out of her tank top)
19. Schmoz Brewing Co. - In Your Face IPA
20. Great Barraboo Brewing Co. - Wit's End (The last of the day - they were one of the few still pouring)

Posted 7:55pm
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July 26th, 2007

This is for the people of the sun...

Part one: Preamble
In which Sting has the body of pro athlete, I narrowly avoid capture and the drinking begins

The Palace of Auburn Hills is far away and in the middle of nowhere. It was an obvious observation for someone who 12 hours later would be driving 2000 miles across country. I thought about making the drive to The Palace 8 times a day for four straight days. That's what I would soon be up against. But first things first - time for some white reggae.

Stov and I weren't exactly sure what to expect from a bunch of 50 year olds who hadn't put out and album since either of us reached puberty. It could have been a complete trainwreck - Sting slowing down Roxanne to a crawl and playing it acoustically. But he seemed to remember that know matter how big you think you've gotten, its still a song about a hooker. I turned to Stov about half way through the show and noted that if you closed your eyes, it was almost like it was 1983 (Sting can't hit all the notes he could when I was in 3rd grade, but it rarely takes you out of the moment) Open your eyes and it was your dad and his poker buddies fiddling around on instruments.

With one exception - Sting's arms. Most of the time the sight of any guy in a sleeveless/tank top number elicits either a giggle or the head shake of disbelief. Somehow Sting's arms brought on something just short of 'Holy shit I'd fuck that guy.' Stewart looked to be in the shape of someone half his age as well, leaving Andy Summers (a quite average looking 50 year old man) looking like the world's biggest schlub. If I were him I'd be injecting the other guy's vitamin water with bacon fat.

So we left the Palace of Auburn Hills triumphant and somewhat tipsy - determined to get back to Ann Arbor so we could get really drunk. But before we could get back to the 696, disaster struck. In a hurry and fueled by vodka and sodas, I decided to run through two very yellow lights on the way back to the highway. OK so they were orange. At least. I didn't think too much about it until I saw the lights in my rearview a few miles later. 'Have you been drinking this evening?' was the question I had been waiting for. I told him the last drink I had was hours ago, which to the relief of everyone inside the vehicle, seemed good enough for him. We got back on the rode a little lighter in the wallet, but as Stov finally said after five minutes of complete silence 'That could have gone much worse.'

We returned to A2 to meet up with some friends who, surprisingly, had also been drinking that evening. So much so in fact that they were in complete shot mode when we showed up. It didn't take us long to catch up. By the time I got to bed around 3ish, I had completely forgotten about the ticket and the fact that according to Ayesha, our trip would commence in a mere 5 hours. Unfortunately for my liver, the bags under my eyes and generally my body as a whole, precedents were being set...

Part two: A2 to STL
In which we learn about Beechwood Aging, start the bar crawl and Ayesha shows her matronly disdain for the bouncer

Any drunk will tell you that 8am comes awful early when you were at the bar the night before listening to the bartender beg 'Come guys, its seriously 2:30, you have to get out of here.' It somehow hurts even more when its 8am and you're on vacation. But Ayesha the anxious was in full Willy Nelson mode and wanted to get on the road (again). I contemplated the no shower, but smelling like a beer soaked ashtray in a tiny Honda Civic for 8 hours seemed like cruel and unusual punishment for Ayesha, me and the car. So I stood underneath some hot water for a few minutes, mostly trying not to fall down and crack my head wide open on the porcelain. We finished packing the car to the ceiling, climbed in the car and I was asleep again by the time we hit the highway.

A few scant hours later and we were out of the home state and it was my turn to drive. As you can guess, driving south 5 hours through Illinois is about as interesting as watching old vacation slides at your girlfriend's parent's house. The thought of one thing drove us onward and kept me from casually steering the car into a goddamn bridge embunkment: we were headed to the promise land. A place so magical that Willy Wonka himself would worship at the alter of it. I'm of course referring to the world headquarters of Anheuser-Busch, in St. Louis, MO.

In the weeks leading up to our little excursion, Ayesha would often ask what places I wanted to stop along our way. My response was always the same, always singular - The Budweiser plant. I felt it was only fair, like the prodigal son returning to the place from which he taken so much. And all I can say is that it didn't disappoint. From the brewing process to the bottling of the sweet amber liquid, we saw it all. And at the end, we were given two complimentary glasses of the aromatic nectar. I ended up purchasing a Natural Light T-shirt and pint glass from the gift shop, as a way of paying homage to that which had got me through so many tough times in my youth.

In an effort to be carefree and spontaneous, along with no set agenda we had booked no rooms at any of our planned stopping points. While this would bite us hard on the ass very soon, we grabbed a visitors guide after our brewery tour and found a room downtown fro a mere $70. Of course $70 in downtown STL gets you a room just this side of rinky-dink (no wi-fi? who does that?) but for our purposes (walking distance to the bars) it was perfect. So we showered and washed the smell of Civic off of us and preceded to the bar.

Now the one thing every guy knows about women's fashion, is that for some reason passing explanation, it usually comes sans pockets. These leaves boyfriends and husbands the world over in a common predicament - have her boil things down to the essentials (wallet, keys, cell phone, camera, etc) and tote her life around in your pockets for the evening, or bring the purse. And its the definition of a catch-22. Take on all her stuff like a sherpa and you may look and feel like Schneider from One Day at a Time all evening. Don't, and you spend half the night purse sitting. 'Can you hold my purse?' 'Can you watch our purses while we go to the bathroom?' 'Can you please tuck this under your arm for a while so I can both claim and emasculate you at the same time?' For the record, that night I walked around with about $2000 worth of electronics in my pants.

So we toured the little strip of STL riverfront bars. We ate some unbelievable food (and they even let us draw pictures on the table) and drank our body weights. There was a teaching conference in town so Ayesha chatted up her peers and got several job offers. One desi girl cornered her for twenty minutes - seeing that they were the only two brown people in a sea of white, I guess it made sense. We drank and drank and then decided to hit one more bar at the end of the night on the way home - some little hole in the wall that 4 people were drinking at. We sat down and Ayesha started to talk to the bouncer. I paid little attention, as Ayesha will talk to anyone. I vaguely heard them discussing where he was from and what he did, but I was mainly concentrating on my drink. Then, like hearing a hot girl's voice say your name in a crowded room, my head snapped around as I heard Ayesha's condescending tone query 'And that's what you want to do with your life?' I chugged my drink in an effort to get us home ASAP as they argued a little (the 250# bouncer was a tad nonplused). It was clearly time to call it an evening, especially since I had a feeling there would be another very early wake up call the next morning.

Part three: STL to OKCity
In which we delve into the tourist trap, ponder why a major American city would shut down at 10 and take time to increase diplomatic relations between muslims and jews

Luckily the booze had made Ayesha a little sleepier than the previous morning, and we were allowed to sleep until 9:30. As soon as we were out of STL proper, we got our first glimpse of tourist trap America. The stragety for these places seems to be 'put up a billboard every five feet until we beat it into their heads that they should come here'. And we fell prey to the first of these such schemes - Meramec Caverns. We got off the highway after being begged like a child who neeeeeeded some candy and I immediately heard the theme song to Deliverance in my head. I had commented to Ayesha before we left that I hoped nobody would take offense to the fact that we were an interracial couple while in some of the more 'rural' parts of this great nation. I figured if we could make it to Texas, we could pass her off as hispanic and no one would pay any attention. And while I've never gave much thought about our differing skin tones, the hour we spent off the beaten path in rural Missoura gave me pause once or twice.

Luckily, the tour was too expensive both monetarily and of our precious travel time to stay, so it was back to the interstate. Then we proceeded to make a number of inefficient stops and side routes that made for a day that felt like eternity. Long story short (yeah, I know...) we got to Oklahoma City tired, cranky, and hungry. It was 9:00 by the time we stopped in the visitors center to ask about hotels. I asked for the cheapest place in walking distance to the bars in 'Bricktown' - which seemed like where we wanted to be. It was an old historical part of town with bars and restaurants and entertainment. Score. So she points us to the Marriot where we are promptly told that they are booked for the night. But we were in luck, their sister hotel, the Residence Inn right down the road, had plenty of rooms. So we drive a few blocks only to be told that it'll be $200 a night. A go-fuck-yourself later and we're in the car calling hotels looking for a room. Even the airport wants $120. So on the verge of beating each other's heads in halfway to the airport hotels, we agree to suck it up and pay the $200. We clean up and go looking for sustenance, as no one wants to poke a hungry Ayesha witha stick.

My spirits were buoyed when we found ourselves at the corner of Mickey Mantle and Flaming Lips Alley. Truly a more juxtaposed intersection has never existed. I get excited at the prospect of running into Wayne Coyne, and we continue our leisurely walk through OKCity, deciding which restaurant will get our business. After circling the small neighborhood, we tried some Bistro or other, only to find it closing shop for the night. Weird, we thought, but ah well, on to the next one. Then we got worried - as we got gas faced by the maitre d at our second choice. Panic set in at restaurant three when when we got another 'Parks closed, Moose out front should have told you.' We start trying anywhere that looks like they might have food an has hours past 10. We finally settle down in a shitty sports bar for nachos and quesadillas at 10:30, and all the momentum of Flaming Lips Alley has dissipated. How could Wayne let this happen? He should be ashamed. 10 o'clock on a Thursday and people are telling us the only restaurant open is the IHOP? 10 is when we start to think about going out in my town, bitch. If I was Wayne, I'd take my name off that alley.

Luckily, the booze helped to calm our vitriol. We began (or continued day two of, if you prefer) our bar crawl through OKCity. There was a pub with 800 beers and guitar hero, a trendy place with a giant door and decent hipster music, and then there was the final stop at the hole in the wall. We happened upon by accident, after trying get into some rooftop 'oonce oonce' bar that wanted $10 cover for dudes. A go-fuck-yourself later and were in some non-descript joint with three drunks at the bar and us. We sit down and start to talk to the bartender about how drunk the other three patrons are. One eventually notices us noticing them and comes over to us. The guy recognizes my Promise Ring T and we start to talk about music. After several minutes of ignoring her (caught up in conversation) I eventually make some sort of gesture to introduce Ayesha. She immediately pipes in with 'I know you. You're the guy who wouldn't give us a room at the Marriot.' Turns out he was the guy working the desk earlier when we had tried to procure a 'cheap' room. He immediately blames it on the fact that he thought that she was muslim and he is a jew. A few more minutes of solving the mid-east peace crisis and our attention turned to the female that Jewy McJewstein was with. Fucked Up Boo Butt© doesn't begin to describe this girl. We watched her make out with every single person in the bar, minus me and a failed attempt at sucking Ayesha's boobies. She bit Jewy's nips so hard they bled. Thank God we were too drunk to be scared.

After being kicked out (well, everyone but the Fucked Up Boo Butt©, who we assumed stayed to suck off the bartenders) we start to tell our new jew-friend about our next stop on our trip. He immediately offers to get us a room at the employee rate in ABQ. We all hugged and wondered why Israel and Palestine can't get along so easily.

Part four: OKCity to ABQ
In which we learn that in the desert, you don't need to build up when you can build out and how painful living in corporate hell can truly be

My first instinct for this leg of our journey was to give the ubiquitous two word review: shit sandwich. But that's not exactly fair to anyone. We decided not to 'sleep in' the next morning and were on the road bright and early. Our only goals for the day were to find some authentic Tex-Mex in Amarillo and get Ayesha a car charger for her cell phone - since she was drunk when she packed her regular cell charger, couldn't find it in the overpacked Civic and now had a phone with 0% battery life. Without going into particulars, the first attempt to find a Sprint store was disastrous, and threatened to make make day 3 as stressful as day 2. But we persevered on, deciding that if we see one sitting off the highway, we'll stop, but otherwise not worry about it. We the brown sprawl of Amarillo and our bellies burned for some down home Tex-Mex. We found what we looking for tucked away underneath an overpass. When the waitress gave us easy directions to a Sprint store right down the road, we left Texas with a skip in our step, after all, we had a cheap-o room waiting for us in ABQ.

To paraphrase Dave Atell, you know what's fun to do in Albuquerque? Pack up and leave, because it sucks. As we drove through the 'city' I kept looking for 'downtown'. And even though we drove right through and around ABQ, I couldn't tell you within 5 miles what's considered 'downtown'. In my world, downtown is the place you point to from the highway with all the buildings over ten stories. Apparently nobody told ABQ this. Our hotel, while very nice and very cheap, was no where near much of anything that didn't have 2,000 locations coast to coast. And we learned that a cab ride to 'downtown' was about $25. We began to wonder if our cheap-o room was a blessing or curse.

We eventually found a micro-brewery with decent food, and ended up drinking all night at some corporate cookie-cutter bar, filled with stereotypical, cookie-cutter patrons. At least it was near a complex that allowed us to take the sweet picture below, which reads 'Ayesha @ 25' - which she is. Well it was all for the best perhaps, as we had to be in PHX early the next morning and getting to bed before two was very necessary.

Part five: ABQ to PHX
In which we learn what it feels like to live on the face of the sun and just how much it costs to furnish an apartment

I wasn't a huge fan of Ayesha's move to the desert for several reasons, many obvious, some not so much. But once it was avalanche comin' down a mountain that I could neither outrun nor avoid, I decided to not make too much fun and be supportive in my limited ability to do so. But the one thing I wouldn't compromise on is the heat. A person as white as I wasn't built for the desert, and I would in no way be silent on the subject. So I had been surprised, despite our driving south and west for 1500 miles, that the temperature was still very bearable. Even when hit Flagstaff, AZ, it was raining. Raining! In the desert! What will they think of next. Turns out, rain doesn't cool things off in the desert like it does up here near the great lakes. Because 30 miles South of Flagstaff, a half hour after it had finished raining, we pulled over at a rest stop, stepped out of the car and onto the face of the sun. Dry heat my ass.

But before you knew it we were at Ayesha's new living quarters, right across the way from the site of Super Bowl XLII. After signing away the next year of her life, we started to unpack the sum of her possessions into the apartment. It became immediately clear that this place was going to need furniture. And toilet paper. And garbage bags and towels and all the other things that make a house a home. So for the next 16 hours we ran to Ikea (twice) and Target (twice) and the other places that one buys things to furnish an apartment. And then we hammered and screwed and covered and adjusted, until we had formed a suitable living space - at least the outer shell of one that could be a foundation for the next year of acquiring more 'things'. And while we managed to celebrate a little in the middle of all that settling for a while with Ayesha's friend Detta, Sunday night it was time to unwind, Naptown style.

Part six: PHX to A2
In which Napoleon reunites in the desert and life begins anew

By sheer twist of fate, a few of my good friends from way back in high school lived 30 minutes from Ayesha's new place. So we had made tentative plans to see them while I was out there. After finally getting a return call from Sketchasorous Rex (Jer) we headed across the valley to spend the evening with Larry and the Brothers Spencer.

After much reminiscing, grilling, guitar playing and drinking, it was time to venture out of the house. They took us to a dive called Ernies, where we did shots, sang karaoke and did shots. AZ has a smoking ban, but everywhere had outside patios which you walk out on and sneak a toke. Ernies even provided you with a light mist of water to cool you down on hot summer nights. Unfortunately it smelled like it had been pumped straight from a river where people were dumping raw sewage and left you feeling like you had just sweat through all your clothes. It could be argued that just walking into Ernies makes you feel that way, but I was to drunk to draw any distinction.

Unfortunately, not much more remains in memory from that evening. I know it was great to see Pants and Larry. I miss those guys. Its a good feeling to know that the first time and last time you got blind drunk with someone are more than 15 years apart. Wait, is that good? Yeah, consistency is good. Shut up, I'm going with it.

The next day we awoke with colossal hangovers we drove to shower and then grab lunch. After that and Ayesha's compulsory nap. We decided to visit Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's Scottsdale compound. It was beautiful, impressive, and appropriate, as we bookended our trip with the only two touristy things we followed through on. After Taliesin, there was just enough time to go home, grab the bags, and head to the airport. Ayesha dropped me off at the Northwest gate and we said our goodbyes. She was to stay in the desert heat and start a new life, I to return to the midwest and resume my old one - that is my old old life before Ayesha entered it, a single guy amongst all the married folk. I supposed one could argue that its not the same, that I'm a far richer person for all my experiences with Ayesha. And I know one could argue that now I'm really up shit creek, as a year later more and more of my friends are either no longer single or no longer childless, leaving my pool of irresponsible drunkards slowly dwindling. That's about as philosophical as I'm going to get about it. For now. Best of luck ¡Pobrecito! I love you. You'll do great out there in that desert heat I'm sure. After all, your melanin levels are far better suited for it than mine.

Posted 4:40pm
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July 24th, 2007

My liver, why hast thou forsaken me?

Its true, even a drunk has his limits. As I rolled back into A2 this morning fresh my cross-country jaunt, my liver whispered to me that maybe a night off is in order. And that maybe watching Leaving Las Vegas would be a good object lesson for me. To say we drank our way across America doesn't even quite do the trip justice. Needless to say, it was a blast. Full recap is forthcoming, but it may take a bit as I try and piece my life back together - a process that becomes more and more difficult as we get older and take longer vacations.

So I quick thank you to Anheuser-Busch, Jewy McJewstein of the OKCity Marriot, the disappointment of Wayne Coyne, The Spencers, Larry, Frank Lloyd Wright and especially my ¡Pobrecito! It was truly unforgettable. And yes, I hope to clarify the previous sentence shortly. Just as soon as my enzyme levels get back to their normal levels.

Posted 1:39pm
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July 16th, 2007

365 days until my breakdown.

Its presenting itself to be the greatest week of my life. Of course the pragmatist in me (take that cynic label and shove it up your ass) realizes that the expectation alone will lead to nothing but disappointment. That notwithstanding, I'm ready to jump into the deep end like its a 75 degree day in June. Brace for impact and let your body adjust once its in the thick of it - it'll all be worth it in the end.

- Tuesday marks the fulfillment of a decade long dream. As a ginormous music snob (someone recently remarked 'I thought I was music snob, but T takes it to a whole new level'. Who knew?) I go to a lot of concerts. But they're mostly of the $20, dive bar variety. As such, I'm diametrically opposed to overpaying to see a band. $20 to see a solo Ben Gibbard? Totally there. $100 to see Paul McCartney? Go fuck yourself. But I've always said that I'd pay anything to see a reunited Police. I think they're one of the most important bands of the last 25 years and that they still have the stones to pull off a show that would be somewhat reminiscent of what they were in their heyday. So when they announced their reunion tour, my erection was massive. My attempts at procuring tickets were rebuffed by $50 offers for seats behind the stage or $250 tix for the main floor - offers that were either insulting to my intelligence or my pocketbook. Somehow - call it karma, kismet, or dumb luck, Stov managed to get us decent seats for the paltry sum of $75. So Tuesday night, I, much like Spider-man or Batman, fulfill my destiny and kneel before the alter of Sting, Stewart and Andy. How I'm going to concentrate the next two days I'll never know.

- Wednesday the off again/on again trip to AZ will finally commence. I'm taking Ayesha to her new life in Phoenix, crisscrossing the country via St. Louis, OK City and ABQ. Driving across America has always been a dream of mine, so its another fulfillment I can check off the list. Anyone with cross country travel tips, the comments section is below. The plan will be to update things from the road, modern day Kerouac style, but I make no promises.

- And the week begins with Siddhartha's entry into his 12th year of existence. It really seems like yesterday that I was a college kid shitting my pants over how I was going to make my way in the world and raise a kid at the same time. We've made it this far, and if you ask me, we're doing just fine. He's truly unbelievable and my absolute favorite person in the world. Who knows how I managed to get so lucky. Check back in a year for a post of a different color where I have a mental breakdown at being 32 and having a teenager. More to come.

Posted 12:25am
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July 13th, 2007

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

- The new Spoon record is out and getting some illusrious reviews. I had a chance to check 'em out live last Wednesday, and it is a much recommended experience.

- Two great albums in one week? Check. After a long absence, Buffalo Tom is back with Three Easy Pieces, their first album in almost a decade. It'll definitely take you back to the days when Angela snuck out of her house to see them on My So Called Life, but it also manages to sound fresh. An impressive feat for the first band I ever interviewed back in 1996.

- The word is finally getting out, W is the worst. president. ever. I try not to laugh since its quite sad what him and his cronies are doing to this country, but tee hee anyway.

- In the words of Fark: Suck it, creationists. Let us end the debate now.

- If I haven't seen you and mentioned it yet (and if I've seen you, I probably have) Once is the best movie I've seen in some time. Well, if not the best, certainly the most charming and original thing I've laid eyes on in ages.

Posted 3:34pm
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July 11th, 2007

Movin' on up like George and Wheezy.

I have an unnatural love for the place I live. It was a big deal for me to make my way to the University of Michigan. As such, I formed an instant attachment to the place and the city that surrounds that rivals the bond between mother and child. Its been ten years since I graduated college, and I'm still here, still working for the University, still in that hazy, lovey-dovey head space that you find yourself in when you're 13 and the girl who gives you day long erections agrees to slow dance with you during Mr. Big's "To Be With You".

I bring it up because two people I know are leaving A2 in the next week for 'greener' pastures. A week from today I'm schlepping Ayesha across this great country of ours out to the oppressive heat of Arizona. A native Michigander (and State alumnus) Ayesha has come to the conclusion, in her words, that its time to leave the mitten. While I like to think that in the last ten months I've made Ayesha more fond of my little hamlet here in SE Michigan than she had previously thought possible, she came here with plans to leave. Plans that were years in the making and that even my charisma and animal magnetism could not overcome.

More apropos to our little one sided discussion here is Wex's exodus to the Windy City. After 30 years in Michigan and several degrees from one of world's elite institutions of higher learning, the Mantooth is leaving it all behind for work in the city of big shoulders. He's leaving the comfort of the well worn paths of softball, tailgating, and bars where everybody knows your name to start again with a new job in a new city. I realize this happens everyday and let's not get over dramatic about it, but the older I get, the more I wonder if I'll ever do it.

I was lucky enough to have the Buddha (and his baby mama) come to Ann Arbor about 8 years ago. And their existence will ensure my sticking around this place for the next half dozen years or so (more likely 10 if and when the Buddha enrolls at UofM). A lot of people assume that if it weren't for them, I'd have left this place long ago, going forth to make my way in the world in some exotic locale. No one can say where I might have ended up if not for my teenage entrance into fatherhood, but with each passing year, this place feels more like home. Secretly, I think I'm glad to have the excuse of the Buddha keeping me here, instead of having to explain that I'm so head over heels for this place that I may never leave.

Of course who knows how I'll feel in ten years. Maybe the cabin fever will set in and it'll be time for me to pack it in and start fresh someplace where everybody doesn't already know I'm a loud drunk asshole. But as it stands, I can't imagine walking away from the people and places I've grown so accustomed to. That may be complacent. And it may make me a townie. But as any guy will tell you, its difficult to get up and leave when you have a massive erection.

Posted 2:01pm
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July 9th, 2007

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime On vacation, doubly so.

Did you ever see that awful film (starring America's favorite anti-Semite and purveyor of torture porn Mel Gibson) Forever Young? If you're lucky enough to have never witnessed it, let me save you the trouble. Mel gets frozen in some military experiment and yadda yadda yadda what was supposed to be 5 weeks ends up being 50 years. Eventually he wakes up, 1940's Mel makes his way in 1990's America, hilarity ensues. The reason I reference it now is not to warn you against seeing a 15 year old movie that if you've successfully avoided to this point in your life you're pretty obviously safe from. Rather because after Mel makes up from his psuedo-carbonite deep freeze, his body eventually starts to catch up with time. Those 50 years he slept through still happened, and at the end of the movie, Mel looks like the old man you'd expect.

OK, so my terrible synopsis of a terrible movie aside, both our points are this: you can't stop time. It moves forward despite our best efforts to ignore that it is a constant (with apologies to Mr. Einstein for that oversimplification) This is glaringly apparent to me when ever I decide to take a vacation. It used to be that a guy could leave the world behind for a week or so and when he returned he would insert himself back into the continuum unnoticed. And pardon me for a second if I sound egotistical (you should be used to it) but that doesn't work for me anymore. I have become too important. Which is to say, leading up to a vacation requires a lot of running around and prep work to ensure that protocol is in place for disaster should it strike in your absence. And of course upon your return, you must put out all the fires that flared up while you were gone and no one either knew how to or cared to extinguish.

I'm sure most people feel this way as they get older and are assigned more responsibilities at their job. I find myself checking and even answering (ANSWERING!) emails while I'm on vacation. This is ridiculous. I'd like it to stop. Somehow, I'm not holding my breath on that one. I took 2 days off last week and I'm complaining. Sheesh. Let's attribute it to the anticipatory headache of being gone for an entire week soon. Because I'm going to try and enjoy myself and not even think about work during that. Wish me luck. I know if I succeed I'll likely be setting myself up for that much more pain and disaster upon my return. Welcome to adulthood, where everything's a catch-22.

That being said, the last 5 days were wonderful and ultimately worth it. I got to see Spoon and Cheap Trick, I got to pretend I was 22 again with a spontaneous trip to Cedar Point (the new coaster rules, btw), and most importantly, got to take 3 generations of Brubakers to see the Tigers beat the Red Sox. That's totally worth all the extra work a vacation can induce.

Posted 2:39pm
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July 3rd, 2007

On social contracts and harrier jets

I love me some John McClane. I've often had the drunken bar argument about what the greatest action movie of all time is. And while we all know in our hearts that the correct answer is Raiders of the Lost Ark, I respect those that make their case for the original Die Hard. In the end, Nazis and the ark of the covenant are just cooler than Alan Rickman and the Nakatomi building (even though Rickman gives the more interesting performance, Ronald Lacey's face being melted off wins in the end.)

So I was giddy when I saw the latest Die Hard installment getting good reviews. I was even more pleased when I went to see it this weekend and it rocked my face. In a summer of underwhelming sequels, Die Hard brought the shit. It stayed away from becoming some sort of hackneyed perversion of itself and just ran through 2 hours of action packed goodness, with dear old (OLD!) John lamenting what he was going through again the entire way. The end was satisfying and I walked out thinking, 'That's what a summer blockbuster should be.' Except for that one tiny bit near the end.

Let me preface this by saying I have no problem suspending belief. I realize that even your garden variety action hero is going to pull off the impossible before the credits roll. He wouldn't be an action hero if he didn't. And given the context of the movie, I'm willing to raise or lower my acceptable level of plausibility based on circumstances. Which is to say I don't worry about the physics of Spider-man swinging his way through NYC and I don't calculate the odds of whether or not Indy could have actually outrun that boulder. But you know when they've crossed the line. It often involves unintentional laughter from the audience and usually attributes superhuman abilities and uncanny luck to a mere mortal, with no acknowledgment that they're doing so. Remember when you saw the last Pierce Brosnon James Bond movie and he parachutes/surfs into the bad guys hideout? Yeah, that stuff. (Actually, just for the record, pretty much every scene in the last Brosnon Bond felt like that.)

Which is why I felt my eyes beginning to roll when the harrier jet shows up at the end of Die Hard 4. When you buy a ticket for an action movie (and well, almost any movie really) you are entering into an unwritten social contract with the makers of the film. You promise to give us your best effort, and either stay within the bounds of believability, or justify it when you skirt the laws of physics, etc. I don't care how you do it - maybe your protagonist is a meta-human. Maybe you're in the Matrix. Maybe you're playing something up for comedy and the little wink or shrug your hero gives the camera makes everything all right. And in quid pro quo fashion, we agree to let you stretch that plausibility to its breaking point. Hey, its a movie after all. We're there to be entertained. But when 50+ year old John McClane takes on a harrier jet with a semi and wins! All the yabadabado yipee kay yea mutherfuckers in the world won't make it all right.

That being said, I still liked the movie. Just please, film makers of the world entrusted with 100 million dollar tentpole films, remember sometimes less is more. Because, without giving anything away, the low key, personal, no-explosion ending was waaay better than McClane falling onto the harrier and then falling off just in time to have it explode over his head. C'mon people, you're better than that.

Posted 4:07pm
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July 2nd, 2007

...into a goddamn bridge imbunkment!

Its not hard to rile me up. Especially when I'm in my car. I often dream of rear ending assholes who cut me off on the highway and am a frequent deployer of the 'naughty' finger. But at least those are semirational flights of fancy. My real dementia kicks in when it comes to bumper stickers. I honestly get pissed when I'm behind an SUV with W sticker on it. If I see a car sporting a jesus fish, I assume that the passengers are self righteous assholes. I want nothing more that to hope in some Mad Max deathmobile and pick these dolts off one by one. Thankfully I'm a much calmer person in my old(er) age, and these are nothing more than idle fantasies - the severity of which is dependent on my mood at any one time.

And the sad part is that bumper stickers that espouse attitudes or ideas that I'm in agreement with bring me no pleasure. I don't want to get out and shake the hand of someone with a pro-choice bumper sticker. And I'm not necessarily more likely to allow someone to merge in front of me if he has a Michigan sticker on his car. OK, maybe a tad more likely if I'm in a real good mood. Maybe I just have an unnatural dislike of people who choose to express themselves politically through the back of their hoopty. But yesterday, I found myself in a bit of a conundrum.

I was driving back to Michigan from Ohio along the all too familiar route of US23. Shortly after crossing the boarder back into our great state (thus allowing me to exhale after 28 hours of holding my breath) I saw something that my blood into the liquid hot magma of krakatoa herself. There, on the smug SUV in front me, was a small sticker in the lower left hand corner of the window that read 'The Ohio State University'. (On a side note, if anyone can figure out how to type an 'i' without dotting it, please LMK ASAP). Now having just spent sometime in truck driver country, my immunities to scarlet and gray were pretty high. You get inundated by it down there, and eventually you just go numb to it. But this guy was spoiling my return into God's country. I almost let it go, but then I glanced down at his license plate, and this douche wasn't someone from Ohio sneaking north for some clean living, he was from Michigan.

So I again start to imagine my (irrational) fantasy where I put this dude into the burm Blues Brothers style. And that's when I noticed the other statement my new nemesis had decided to make with his unit. There, below the hideous ode to tOSU, was the Darwin fish. Now I had myself a real quandary. Does the tribute to science and reason negate, or even outweigh (?!?) the douche baggery that I had so recently credited to someone who would reside in the great state of Michigan yet root, nay proclaim love for!, tOSU? Its certainly a question the philosophers will wrestle with for ages to come. While I've gone through numerous permutations as to how I should feel about the situation, my current state of mind is that the guy bought the car with the Darwin fish already on it, and added the OSU decal himself later, thus justifying my loathing hatred of everything he stands for. Let's just hope I don't ever see a Michigan alumni decal next to a 'God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' sticker. My head may explode.

Posted 1:51pm
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July 1st, 2007

Ernie Harwell is far from loooooooong gone.

We've talked quite a bit in the last few weeks and months about the start of summer and when you know its finally arrived. And while I stand by them (at least on the principle that if you challenge me on them I'll argue with you until you admit I'm right) we've never really discussed what will forever be summer in my mind. Because that as far as I'm concerned, revolves around a screened in porch, the Moeman's pipe, and Ernie Harwell.

To avoid going into the tedium of backstories, I'll assume most of you know the Moeman and his profession as a sportswriter of neigh these 50 years. This fact lead to my dad spending the majority of his time consuming sports and information on the whole as I was growing up. And back in those days, that meant newspapers and AM radio. So during those lazy hazy days of summer in my youth, the Moses would sit on the back (screened in) porch of 1006 Westmont and devour half a dozen newspapers, smoke his pipe and listen to the Tigers on WJR. And given my parents financially prudent penchant for not turning on the AC, my brother and I would join him there to play whatever G.I. Joe/Transformer/Lego thing we were into at the moment, as it was the coolest part of the house.

So as Pavlov would tell you, the smell of a pipe, the feel of a broadsheet and the voice of Ernie always immediately take me to the summers of my youth. Perhaps nothing more than the sparse stylings of Mr. Harwell, and his myriad catchphrases and signature ability to turn a phrase. Which is why I feel like I stepped right into Mr. Peabody's wayback machine tonight.

After driving 80 miles south for a quick hitter in Napoleon to see the family and spend some quality time, I returned to A2 to find ol' Ern in the booth helping to broadcast ESPN's Sunday night baseball with the Tigers. And I immediately wondered if I might be killing of brain cells at too rapid a pace. Because 89 year old Ernie was as sharp as anyone I'd ever heard pontificate about anything. His recall of statistics and events was uncanny, and I can only assume he was 100% right about everything he said.

Before his all too brief guest appearance in the booth was over, Joe Morgan and John Miller stepped aside and let Ernie do what he did for 55 years as well as anybody has ever done - call the game. And I don't care what philosophy you ascribe to, it was kismet that his final words got to be 'He stood there like the house by the side of the road and watched it go by,' Because Ernie should know - no one's sat there and watched more baseball go by than he has.

Posted 9:44pm
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June 29h, 2007

Take me drunk I'm home.

While I have some devilsihly interesting thoughts gestating inside my head at the moment, I had five beers at lunch (who does that?) and thusly am incapable of giving them the literary justice they deserve. So instead, enjoy these things you can stare at on the internet:

- Fans of the Will Ferrel short 'The Landlord', its good news/bad news. Pearl is back! This time as a no nonsense renegade detective in 'Good Cop, Baby Cop'. The bad news - she's retiring.

- Cousin lusting George Michael, late of Arrested Development, has a pretty funny web show up and running here. If you like you're comedy like your sherry (very dry) you might enjoy it. If you hated Arrested Development, go back to laughing at the dramatic squirrel.

- Do you love Reno 911! and think voting apathy is deplorable? Have I got the site for you.

- I've pretty much liked Aaron Sorkin ever since I saw A Few Good Men for the first time. That and The West Wing were pretty much home runs, if not solid stand up triples. However he's always been more an architect of dialogue rather than a master plotter in the Hitchcockian sense. There's no better example of this than his latest cancelled series Studio 60. Great acting and dialogue, with a plot and storylines that only a mother could love. Those who missed the whole thing or just the last few episodes they recently aired after an extended hiatus, can watch full episodes here.

Posted 2:55pm
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June 28h, 2007

Take on me...

I can't even look at myself in the mirror this morning. Last night Ayesha and I were hanging out and for lack of something better to do, we decided to go up to the bar to participate in music trivia night. Given that it was just Ayesha and I, hopes didn't run high that we'd win the thing. While I pride myself on my trivia prowess (as well as my knowledge of music), Ayesha isn't so much on the trivia tip. And she's the polar opposite of me when it comes to competitiveness - which is to say while I've had games of Cranium come to blows, she has a marked indifference to winning or losing. Put it all together and we were basically there to have a couple beers and laugh about the songs I knew all the lyrics to that she didn't even recognize (often because they came out before she was born).

But a funny thing happened on the way to half drunk. My semi-encyclopedic knowledge of obscure Peter Cetera songs, coupled with Ayesha's recall of turn of the century 'booty' music, stood up better than we thought against the competition. Despite being undermanned, we somehow managed to squeak into a tie for third place by the end of the evening. And as it the old maxim goes, all ties must and will be broken. So it was time for a music nerd showdown of Potsie like proportions.

We were called up to the front where the host would play one (and only one) song, the first to name that tune would walk away triumphant. Of course as my old buddy TJ implemented all those years ago, to the victor go the spoils, so the quickest wit got a king's ransom of bar swag, whilst the synaptically challenged went home empty handed. But I felt good. We'd come this far on smoke and mirrors, surely we'd be rewarded now that we were so close to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

The song began to play. My mental rolodex of mid eighties synth pop began spin like a weathervane during a tornado, as I immediately recognized the time and genre. But it was nondescript. I began to sing along in my head to frantic beat. I was on cusp. I knew the giveaway melody was about to enter - I needed to get there before my opponent. I tried to sing faster but it just wouldn't come. And when it finally did, I felt wicked stupid. I immediately felt sorry for myself. I started to picture the classic video, with lead singer Morten Harket trying to break the confines of his comic book world. How could this have taken me this long? And as soon as the name began to slide off my tongue and parse my lips, that's when I heard it. "Take on Me".

I was too late. While I was busy feeling stupid and sorry for myself, I had been vanquished. Sucker punched by a song I've probably heard 500 times. A song that has one of the most easily identifiable keyboard lines in music history. Stabbed by synthpop! I walked back to the table a beaten man, cursing that damn Norwegian band for ever existing. Stupid one hit wonders. I'll never hear that falsetto 'For a day or twoooooooooooo..' the same again. Damn the persistence of memory.

Posted 11:15am
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June 27h, 2007

On blackouts and such (no, not those kind of blackouts)

I love thunderstorms. As a kid I would sit on our screened in back porch on stormy summer nights and just take in the rain. Listening to the barrage of thick, heavy raindrops ('Chubby Rain', as Steve Martin might call it) was like meditation for me. Or maybe more accurately like one of those old magic eye pictures. If I relaxed my ears enough, I could hear the pattern in the drops hitting the earth. Of course it also helped that my big sister was deathly afraid of thunder and lightning - so taking joy in her fear was also part of the equation. I on the other hand, think I felt strangely empowered by the flash and rumble. A good lightning strike accompanied with a powerful thunder clap can make you jump a bit, but I think being so close to something so powerful, yet harbored safely away from it made me feel above nature's fury. Its probably all well and good I don't live in Florida or New Orleans.

And blackouts are the best. As a kid, not always so much. All blackouts meant was that you were stuck home with your parents and had no TV to watch. Now a blackout is like Christmas come early. Power goes out at 2pm on a Wednesday? There's nothing for me to do at work, so go home! Blackout at 8pm on a Thursday? Best call some peoples and throw together an impromptu session of binge drinking! Blackout at 5am on a Monday? I'm not late for work because I'm hungover, my alarm clock is just flashing 12:00! So here's hoping the lightning fairy blows a transformer in your neighborhood - but just long enough to dig out flashlights and pretend like its the 19th century - not long enough that you have throw out shit in your freezer that thawed.

Posted 3:09pm
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June 26th, 2007

Old man take a look at my life...

Its hard to make me feel old anymore. My son is about to turn 12 and start the seventh grade, so pretty much everything else pales in comparison. But that wasn't always the case. Someone recently posted a comment on my myspace account, noting that I attended high school in 1990, replete with an incredulous exclamation point. I shrugged it off, as somewhere in my head 1990 doesn't seem that long ago. When reflecting on things that happened in pop culture during the 90's, I think of them as happening yesterday, despite the fact that 1990 was 17 years ago. I'm sure that this is all tied up in clinging to youth and viewing myself as perpetually somewhere between the ages of 16 and 24.

But it did get me thinking about the first few times my age hit me. The first was when I was someone wearing a varsity jacket with '00' as the year. For some reason when I saw that for the first time the same incredulous exclamation mark showed up in my head. The second was when I saw the first Playboy centerfold that was born in 1980. That one came with a great tinge of sadness. And of course related to that and even sadder, is when the signs in the bar that read something to the effect of 'You must be born before this date to drink alcohol' started to show dates in the 80's. All three were striking visual reminders that I may not be who they were talking about anymore when they bitched about 'kids these days.'

And as someone in my *cough* early thirties, I know I'm not that person anymore. My friends are all married - homeowners that pop out kids like pez dispensers. I see high school kids hanging out at the movies and I think 'punks'. I talk to college aged interns at work and wonder what they must think of me. Because in my mind, I relate to them more than I do the PhDs in their early forties - despite the fact that they probably lump me in with them, and probably rightfully so. But I guess part of me will always see the 90's as not that long ago, even when somebody who graduated high school in 2000 deems it necessary to put in an incredulous exclamation mark after it. Maybe that'll change in 2 years when I have a teenager about to start high school. In all likelihood my head will explode and it will be a moot point. Either that or it'll be time to buy a corvette.

Posted 11:15am
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June 25th, 2007

This just in: Billy Corgan is a huge fucking douche bag

The other night I was having a long, heated, drunken debate about the temerity of artists who allow their music to be used in television commercials. I was trying to make the nuanced point that lower tier artists (say, Wilco) can not only help to eke out a living by getting paid through new revenue streams for their music, but help to promote their music and attract new listeners. Did anyone know about The Postal Service before they started showing up in commercials everywhere? I'll admit that they overdid it a tad there, but it is largely responsible for making their album Give Up the second biggest selling album in the history of Sub-Pop (at a mere 650,000 copies) Sure I think it's hideous to hear Zep in a Cadillac commercial, or for Sting to sit like a pompous ass in the back of a Jaguar. But Wilco pimping VW? With the death of commercial radio and the rise of CD pirating, any way Wilco can get their music out there is fine by me - esp. if its for a product that's (at least in my mind) less evil than say Microsoft. My friend's counter argument was that whatever product it is, its a sellout. And Wilco ain't hurtin' anyway. We agreed to disagree, except on the Sting bit and the fact that Of Montreal let Outback Steakhouse rewrite one of their songs. That should be bile inducing to everyone.

And so should this be: uber-dork Billy Corgan wants you to go to the mall. The once and future Smashing Pumpkin is putting out no less than four (FOUR!) versions of his new Pumpkins album Zeitgeist. This is a move that only George Lucas could love. There will be different songs on the copy of the album you buy, depending on where you buy it. Target, Best Buy, and iTunes will all have 'exclusive' tracks that you won't be able to buy anywhere else. Those of you trying to support small ,independent record shops, suck it, so sayeth the Pumpkins.

So thanks Billy, for shitting on small business and trying to make your devoted fans buy your new album four (FOUR!) times. Normally I don't (publicly) endorse using the power of the internets for lawlessness or copyright infringement, but if you still think you want to hear this d-bag's latest opus, become one with the power of the bittorrent.

Posted 11:18pm
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June 22nd, 2007

Keep that up and you'll go blind

Any cop or lawyer will tell you - there's nothing less accurate than an eye witness account. Turns out our brains ain't so good at remembering things as they actually happened. And of course any quantum physicist will readily remind you that by observing an even you inherently change it. I was reminded last night about how our terrible memories, along with 'observing' events over time in our own heads, really disproves the maxim that hindsight is 20/20.

A few weeks back I was having drinks with a female friend who was relating the events of a recent first date that went impossibly well. There was great chemistry, he said the right things and my friend was one smitten kitten. He even called the next day, verifying for her that they were on the same page. Cut to two weeks later when my friend and I again are out to imbibe and swap stories. When we sat down and the headline wasn't about the intervening two weeks with the new Mr. Wonderful, I figured she'd buried the lead. But when I eventually got around to asking about the guy, history had been somewhat rewritten.

Turns out that after the next day phone call from Mr. Wonderful (post first date), he was never heard from again. And Mr. Wonderful had become Senior Asshole. And suddenly, I was being relayed a different account of the first date that originally went impossibly well. Now there were signs. Things that were originally cute and endearing were now signs and precursors for someone who would call the next day and then disappear into the ether.

And I don't want to insinuate in any way that I feel my friend was duped or played - there's a million different scenarios for what happened and given that she never heard from the guy again, we'll never be sure what actually went down. But for our purposes, that's neither here nor there. The point is that the perfect night had become something drastically different in a span of a fortnight. The event was being viewed in hindsight both times, but intervening events had changed the flavor of what went down. Things that were ignored were suddenly prescient and quirky behavior had become the tenets of an asshole. Keep in mind that nothing that actually happened that night had changed in the fabric of space time, just how this person viewed it.

Theoretically, we could find out tomorrow that Mr. Wonderful/Senior Asshole was kidnapped by militant Uzbekis and upon his return from captivity his first call would be to my friend he dicked over and suddenly he'd have a whole new moniker of Captain Sympathetic. And the impossibly good/I should have known first date would be back to the former. Thus is history always in a state of flux. Unless you can get your hands on a Delorean with the optional flux capacitor, the events won't change. But how you remember them will. All we can hope for is that revisions work in our favor, and we can fondly remember people and events as better than they were. Take it from an old pro - alcohol can greatly improve the chances of this happening. Just don't expect to make your eye witness account any more credible.

- Your boner inducing moment of the day - the first official pic of Harrison Ford back in the saddle as Indiana Jones. Let me year long erection begin.

- I don't necessarily have a problem with Republicans, conservatives, or anyone who has beliefs that differ from my own. But I think that we all can agree that no one likes a hypocrite. Which is why I overly enjoyed this smackdown of fucktard extraordinaire Bill O'Reilly. Seriously, what a douche.

Posted 11:22am
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June 21st, 2007

My eyes are up here!

There's a study recently published that found that women were more likely than men to stare directly at the crotchal region when viewing nude photos of the opposite sex. The long and short of it is that women spend more time on the dong, while dudes spend more time looking at the face. This is seemingly counterintuitive, at least superficially, as we'd assume the opposite to be true (with the guys jumping up and down yelling 'Boobies Boobies! Boobies!' all the while). But researchers hypothesize that women go straight for the junk because its an immediate barometer for whether or not the guy is 'in the mood', whereas guys are trying to glean any speck of info they can from say, a raised eyebrow.

Which when you put it that way, makes perfect sense. Like most guys, I have to be some weird amalgam of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and the Hubble telescope to figure out if a girl is interested in me. Did she lean in to hear me or was that a sign? Did she mean to just touch my arm? She took a drink at the same time I did, what does that mean again? Now I get that its not (always) as easy for women as looking for an erection, but let's admit that the playing field isn't exactly level either.

In my single life, I've been in the position where women were supposedly throwing themselves at me and I had no fucking clue. Naturally I've also been utterly convinced that a woman was dying for me to make a move only to be completely rebuffed. The hope is that as we get older we get better at reading the signs, and ideally learn to take rejection so that when we're wrong we're not devastated. But forgive me if I still hold out for someone to discover the female equivalent of an erection.

Posted 10:40am
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June 20th, 2007

Whistlin' Zip-a-dee Doo Da out our assholes.

I am not well traveled. Not because I don't like to travel, quite the opposite is true. I've road tripped to Boston, make bi-monthly trips to Chicago and Vegas annually beckons me and my high school friends. I've visited my brother when he lived in places like Arkansas and Minnesota, and friends in places as godforsaken as Orlando, FL. I once even got to see Michigan win a National Championship in Pasadena, CA. Unfortunately, that more or less encapsulates my travel experience.

Growing up, we didn't go on vacation. Once we went to Chicago with my dad as he attended the Big Ten Football meetings. Another time some friends of my parents invited us to Hilton Head, SC. And that's all she wrote. Every other year, our vacation was a trip 90 minutes East to Cedar Point. Not that I'm complaining - between that and Mud Hen's games I never really knew I was missing anything. But it didn't exactly instill a sense wonder for the exploring this great land of ours either.

One thing it did provide is a sense of wonder for the open road. I was 22 before I set foot on a commercial airliner, so anytime we went anywhere growing up it was in the back of the stationwagon (and later a conversion van). Now when I dream of getting away, my mind turns to hoping behind the wheel and driving 8 hours in any one direction to find something semi-interesting and most importantly, different from my everyday life.

As it stands, I haven't had a real vacation in about 18 months. Just as I'm sure was true for my dad when I was growing up, work, family and finances don't exactly permit me to hop on a flight to anywhere and spend a weekend dining out, staying in hotels and taking in shows and ballgames. And as I seem to be in a state of arrested development while my friends around me are growing up, travel partners are becoming a problem as well. But I feel like I need to get away. I don't know where I want to go. I'm not sure who I want to go with. But something is compelling me to get in my car and drive. I have no idea when I'll find time to do this or where I'll end up, but maybe I'll get a blog entry or two out of it. Hey look! I just did.

Posted 11:10am
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June 18th, 2007

The audacity of hope.

Hope is a wonderful thing. The promise of something wonderful happening is what keeps us going on those days when things look their bleakest. Mind you hope isn't much without some action behind it to get things moving in your favor, but its still great conceptually - esp. for the things that are beyond your control. Like say, I hope the teams I like win most of their games (or in Michigan football's case, all of there games). I also hope I get a big raise at work, but that's something largely in my control, so we should try and keep away hope from such endeavors and concentrate on the actions that eliminate the need for it.

The reason I bring it up is that hope isn't always positive. In fact, and maybe this is me, but hope can denigrate. In fact, in the two specific instances I'm thinking of, hope is down right condescending. Its almost always that way when someone says one of these things to you:

- I hope its worth it.
- I hope it makes you happy.

If you're unlucky enough to hear either of these phrases, the person saying it to you neither thinks that 'it' will make you happy nor be worth it. Its a backhanded way of saying 'You know you're wrong. I think you're doing something stupid. If you'd stop to think about it, you'd reach the same conclusions.'

Now I'm self-aware enough to realize that this a sentiment that needs to be imparted to me from time to time. But please, if you find me in a situation where I'm about to do something dumbfounding, don't try and stop me by saying 'I hope its worth.' It will assuredly only embolden me to press onward. Because if you can't do better than a condescending 'I hope it makes you happy', than I may proceed on spite alone. Trust me, whatever it is you're trying to warn me about, I've done worse. For stupider reasons. I know that in the end, I'll still come out all right. And that knowledge is worth an avalanche of hope.

Posted 4:31pm
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June 17th, 2007

Who is your daddy?

I don't want to get overly sentimental or philosophical about parenting - I feel like I do that enough around here. But I do want to give props to all the dad's I know out there. As a parent, I always tell people that the worst part is having to deal with other parents. But luckily, most of the dads I know are top notch. They're old school dad's who recognize the importance of teaching their kids to be independent thinkers, while making sure the boys are tough and the girls are princesses. Some may call that a little outmoded, but a dad's gotta do what dad's do. We're not the one they run to first when they scuff their knees, but we can teach them to throw a ball and when to bluff at poker and to stay away from guys who drive trans ams - and those are the things that in the end will get them through the day.

- There's some new content around the site. Well, ok two little things. A marquee pic from the Pig was added to the 'Marquee Pics' section, and there's an obit over at mgovan.com. Bring your kleenex.

Posted 8:28pm
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June 15th, 2007

Is it name dropping if no one recognizes the name?

Last night marked the triumphant return of tbaggervance.com's most famous friends, the band Taproot. They were playing a warm up gig at the Blind Pig as they prepare to play some summer festivals and finish up their latest opus. Its always weird to tell people about 'my friends in this band'. Sometimes people look at you like 'how are they famous if I've never heard of them?' and other times they think you're lying, because there's no way you know people that cool. That's when I get to tell stories about living with Jarod for three years, knowing Phil before he knew how to play the bass, and seeing Steve get drunk and stumble around my apartment well before he hit 21. Now they're rock stars and I occasionally get to seem cool because I have their phone numbers. It helps that I like their music, because even if I was best friends with the guys in Rascal Flats, I don't think I'd mention it to a soul.

- Spoon's new (kick ass) album is streaming over at gagagagaga.net

- The White Stripes new album 'Icky Thump' is rocking out here.

- In an unrelated note, venerable indie publisher McSweeneys is having a fire sale. Turns out they got dicked over by a distributor and need to raise some quick cash. So go buy something, its a win-win.

Posted 3:03pm
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June 14th, 2007

The TiVolution will be televised, but feel free to watch it at your convenience.

We talked a while back about the summer being the doldrums of the television schedule - with a dearth quality programming available to you, the viewing public. And while I'm not about to change my status (regardless of how awesome you think Hell's Kitchen is) there are some gems to be mined from the vast wasteland of summer programming. As always, we here at tbaggervance.com suggest you set your DVR (preferably your TiVo if you're hip) and watch these when your hungover on Saturday or Sunday morning, rather than make these appointment television.

- The long awaited Robot Chicken episode of Star Wars airs this Sunday. It doesn't get much nerdier than this, but those in the tbaggervance.com target demo should giggle with glee repeatedly at Luke Skywalker is gay jokes.

- I watched this premier episode of the new HBO comedy show Flight of the Conchords and laughed repeatedly. As a rule, HBO does comedy with a consistency of quality unparalleled in tv history, so I obviously have high hopes for continued hilarity here. Plus, its the dude from those old Outback commercials, which I at least snickered at.

- Tomorrow is the final Bob Barkered episode of The Price is Right. This article speaks pretty well to the shows calming impact and regenerative properties. Sick days will truly never be the same. I only wish I had a pet to spay or neuter tomorrow in honor of Bob's 35 years of public service.

- Finally, few premises are more of a home run than Triumph the insult comic dog. And while Triumph making fun of the Star Wars nerds will never be topped, Triumph at the Tonys makes a strong case for number 2... for me to poop on.

Posted 2:22pm
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June 12th, 2007

Pop culture through osmosis.

I've seen half an episode of Survivor. I watched American Idol for about a month (5 years into the show's history). It took me four years to watch my first episode of 24. I don't know that I've ever heard a Justin Timberlake song in its entirety and I assure you, I've never seen something from The Fast and the Furious franchise. And despite these lapses in my viewing or listening database, all of these phenomenon still managed to find their way into my lexicon.

The permeation of pop culture into are daily lives has become polysaturated. With the rise of channels like E! and VH1 (along with syndicated staples like Entertainment Tonight and Extra!) there are as many shows about these entities as there are entities themselves. Couple that with venues that consider themselves actual news organizations who spend an inordinate amount of time on entertainment related ventures and voila! You have pop culture through osmosis.

The most recent example of this is Sunday night's series finale of the Sopranos. I watched about a season and a half of this show about 4 years ago. Through apathy and the cable company taking away my free HBO, I stopped watching. Yet somehow, I didn't. I knew when the show was up and when it was down. I knew when somebody got popped, and who was talking to the feds about what. All without ever seeing an episode. Which is why I didn't have to run for zee hills today and try to avoid the omnipresent spoilers everywhere, just in case I wanted to go back and actually watch the rest of the series on DVD at a later date, with surprises intact. There's no need. I've already experienced it.

Which is why I know about the gay guy who won the first Survivor, and his crotchety old nemesis. I know about Taylor Hick's Soul Patrol and Jack Bauer's daughter's incident with the cougar. I know who's bringing sexy back and that Vin Diesel is a tool. All without ever having to experience any of it for more than five minutes. Is this a positive thing? I'm not sure. In the case of things like American Idol, its a resounding yes. For I can be 'in the know' as its discussed by the mouth breathers around me without having to actually endure watching the show. But quality programming like the Sopranos? I'm probably missing something by not being able to get away from it. My faux-experience is tainting any real one I could ever hope to have with the show, which puts me a little worse for wear. But as long as this osmosis thing keeps me in the loop without having to watrch people make asses of themselves on reality TV, I say my brain is a sponge, ready to be soaked.

Posted 4:16pm
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June 8th, 2007

That's not what I meant when I said 'suck it' Ms. Hilton.

I normally wouldn't waste my breath talking about Paris Hilton, as I feel the mere utterance of her name contributes to her continued status as America's #1 celebutard. (Let's be honest, giving a good blow job qualifies you for dinner, maybe jewelry - not fame and fortune). But this is too good to pass up.

The quick breakdown - Paris Hilton violates parole - twice. Is sentenced to to 30 some days in jail. After serving 3 days, is released and relegated to house arrest. And then some judge (apparently hoping to gain King Shit of Fuck Mountain© status) stood up and said 'Not on my watch'. He dragged her ass kicking and screaming (literally) back to court and told her to get her skank ass back behind bars. She sat there, cried and asked for her mother. Too fucking sweet.

Paris pretty much embodies everything I loathe. She walks around with a sense of entitlement, she seems to have an aversion to any kind of pursuit of knowledge, and she's ridicalously famous for doing nothing. Which is why this is such sweet, sweet karmic justice. I hope she gets the shit beat out of her repeatedly. And I hope that when she gets out, she decides to stay out of the public eye. Forever. But I'm not holding my breath. As for me, I'm officially going back to refusing to mention her, even as a punch line. I'll do my part. Will you do yours?

Posted 3:34pm
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June 7th, 2007

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

- I managed to know a preponderance of these words, which always makes me feel good about myself. Its good to be able to appropriately express oneself when some loquacious asshole is making you lugubrious.

- I know a lot of you are entertained by the ol' bloggy blog (albeit mildly) and in return, I've never asked for anything. But if you really loved me, you'd buy me a bracelet made out of Ben Gibbard's old guitar string. Its only a measly $100 (and it goes to charity!)

- As a pragmatist, I'm not one to usually lead the charge of 'keep hope alive!'. But as Lloyd Christmas once said 'So you're sayin' there's a chance...'

- I'm pretty sure that Jack White sold his soul to the devil a few years back to become the baddest guitar player alive. So I'm ecstatic that rumors are circulating that their new album has made its way into the ether. What more do you want out of an album title than Icky Thump?

- Kevin Smith is attempting to put his View Askewniverse to bed (again). But I'm generally excited about a movie called Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Its gotta be better than Jersey Girl, right?

Posted 4:04pm
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June 6th, 2007

The number of the beast

Like most guys, I'm horrible at remembering dates. Birthdays, anniversaries, you name it - I'll eventually forget it from time to time. Well, not as much anymore I guess. Thanks to the ubiquitous Palm pilot, I get yearly reminders when people's birthdays are, so I have no excuse to ever forget. It doesn't help so much for things like '6 month anniversary of our first date' because there's no way I'm ever typing that into my Palm. And as you can guess, I'm not much for celebrating the 6 month anniversary of our first date to begin with, no matter how much chicks dig on that stuff.

But before Palm pilots there was nothing but the firing of neurons between your ears to remind you when birthdays were. We talked awhile back about birthdays that fall on holidays and how its great because they're easy to remember. Its also great when you get 'double ups' - two occasions on the same date. My nephew and father have the same birthday, so, you know, one less date to remember. But even better are dates that need remembering that have some sort mnemonic device that make them unforgettable.

My dear sister has the greatest birthday of all. She was born on 6/6/66. Which is why I know that today, my sister is 41 (41!) It seems like just yesterday I was dragging her out into the street and locking her out of the house so that I could have control of the TV (true story). So happy birthday Teeny. Your my favorite person that I've never seen drink (minus that wine cooler in 1987). Loveyameanit.

Posted 3:11pm
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June 5th, 2007

Denouncing the arbitrary and capricious

I feel like the worst is yet to come. The shit has yet to really hit the fan, so to speak. George W. Bush is certainly an awful, awful president. An ideologue unable to admit failure, have a nuanced policy or change a position to fit circumstance. He's hijacked the Republican party, along with the religious right, to the point that I can't even find the ideals of that party that I once respected anymore. But I digress, because the worst is yet to come.

When W was re-elected (really? I'm stil lshaking my head at that) I ran around like chicken little trying to warn people what he was going to do to the US court system. I'll never understand why a party that believes in state's rights, smaller government and personal responsibility wants to be all up in my business when it comes to civil liberties. Anyway, W's been appointing these ass fucks to lifetime positions of power everywhere, and we should all be afraid. There. I've said it again. Be ready for my 'I told you so'.

But apparently, not yet. The US court of appeals just told the FCC to go fuck themselves, calling the FCC's indecency policy 'arbitrary and capricious'. Hooray logic and reason! The FCC's policy is based on complaints. Which means that stations get fined because a small group of religious people with no lives go looking for shows where people say 'blow job' and 'asshole' and then call the FCC. Does that make sense to anyone? Because it doesn't to me. And this is without going into the argument of what actually is indecent (because I have a feeling my definition might be different than yours). I don't think that full frontal nudity is necessarily appropriate for 9pm on NBC, nor should Dr. House go around telling patients to 'Fuck Off.' But I also don't think that Oprah can have show where she discusses sexual habits of teenagers and bandies about terms like 'rim job' and nobody says boo, yet Howard Stern is fined millions for saying 'penis'. I long for a day where we can all be adults and realize that bad words and sexuality exist, and that if you prepare yourself and your children for it, nobody is going to get hurt. Now go fuck yourselves.

- This list of the '20 Best 'That Guys' of All Time' made me laugh. That'll do pig.

Posted 11:11am
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June 3rd, 2007

Wormer... dead! Niedermeyer... dead! Charles Nelson Reilly...

I'm a tad late on this, but it really hit home for me today. I woke up rather early for a Saturday (9:30ish) and schlepped out to the couch to find some mindless tv entertainment. I scrolled through the channels looking for anything mildly interesting to veg out on. I got nervous when I had hit channel 170 without finding anything to satisfy my idiosyncratic tastes. That's when I came upon Saturday hangover heaven - a day long salute to Charles Nelson Reilly on the Game Show Network.

And of course when I say day long salute I'm referring to 12 straight hours of Match Game - the iconic program that brought Mr. Reilly's wit and personality into the public consciousness. To me its not as surprising that Charlie was an overt and obvious gay man on the most popular daytime show of an era where its an understatement to call homosexuality taboo, but rather that how much it was no big deal. It really seemed that everyone was in on the joke and OK with it. I guess I'd assume that he'd be the butt of most of that type of humor, but apparently his wit and demeanor were able to overcome something that, to this day, makes a shit ton of people uncomfortable.

But let us not focus on the fact that CNR was gay. Or that somehow, after we've managed to push the bar for what's allowable on TV to unimaginable levels from where it was 30 years ago, Match Game still seems bawdy and hilarious. Let's take note that its so lamentable at how shows like Match Game and specials like the Dean Martin Roasts don't exist anymore.

Match Game was a party. You can always tell in the first five minutes of watching a Match Game rerun whether it originally appeared at the beginning of the week or at the end. The shows at the end of the week were always better, because everyone was wasted. Match Game would film a week's worth of episodes in a day, and as the celebrity panel imbibed throughout the taping of the shows, things got looser and funnier as the day went on. And that's what made Match Game work - it was people with great rapport hanging out and trying to make each other laugh.

To remake Match Game now, you'd find B list celebs showing up to plug their latest project and everyone would be out for number one. It'd be filled with reality TV stars and up and coming starlets with zero personality. In short, it would suck. Even now, when Comedy Central has its roasts, its not people who hang out with each other off the set getting drunk and trying to make each other laugh, its low rent comedians auditioning to get casted in some shitty sitcom. The camaraderie isn't there and it shows.

So tbaggervance.com salutes you Mr. Reilly - master of the double entendre, skewerer of Brett Summers, and wearer of the neckerchief. You're an icon and thanks to GSN, you'll live for ever. Just thinking about you makes me want to BLANK.

Posted 11:05am
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June 2nd, 2007

Peter Parker: NASCAR driver

I love movies. The Moeman's encyclopedic knowledge of film when I was growing up set the bar pretty high, and I've been trying to catch up ever since (incidentally, Moeman the movie buff is probably responsible for my music snobbery and overall penchant for wanting to know everything and always wanting to be right. Thanks dad?) Of course at some point I eschewed Daddy Moe's populist taste for one more, let's say esoteric.

Which isn't to say I don't love me some summer blockbusters. I am still a comic book geek after all. And when you can pull off a great popcorn movie that still tells a great story, the hair on my arm stands on end. The first two Spider-man movies, the last James Bond, all 3 Indiana Jones movies - I love these movies every bit as much as I love a film by Almodavar or Wong Kar-wai. But after seeing a pair of fairly disappointing sequels in the last month, its apparent to me that summer movies have gone the way of NASCAR.

If I had the time and wherewithal, I'd extend this argument to all summer blockbusters (and films costing more than $100 million in general) and cast stones at the likes of Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer for ruining my life. Hell, I suppose I'd have to take an apologetic shot at George and Stephen too. But since I don't want this to turn into actual work, let's refine out argument to sequels - especially since I'm still reeling from the three hours (3 hours!) I spent watching Pirates 3.

People watch NASCAR for two basic reasons. One is that they find a driver to root for and stick with him. As a sport, NASCAR realized a few years back that their bread is buttered by the fans who root for a single driver. As such, they've done a great job of making these guys personable and accessible. The merchandising alone boggles the mind. Your average NASCAR driver identifies with his 'hero' and views all other drivers as the enemy. Its a real us against the world thing that keeps fans following the sport week to week, despite the fact that, let's be honest, its dudes making left hand turns for 5 hours.

The other reason people watch is the high potentiality for mayhem. At 200mph, anything could happen and often does. I don't want to insinuate that people wait for cars to crash, but when they do, its a spectacle, and anyone who says they don't enjoy it is trying to be politically correct (and lying to your face).

Unfortunately, this business model has been adapted whole hog by the sequel industry. Give the people their heroes in the same old costumes and situations we've seen them in before and wait for the spectacle to ensue. The story? We'll get to it if we have time. Just don't disappoint anyone by not giving them what they expect. And oh yeah, don't forget the merchandising.

As studio's bottom lines become more and more dependent on these tentpole movies that can makes or break them with every outing, we're unlikely to see things revert to a place where storytelling is king. Take the Matrix trilogy for example. The first film was a triumph of storytelling and effects, that became a phenomenon by word of mouth. By the time the sequels rolled around, the budgets and egos became bloated, and all we were left with was a convoluted crap bag of an impossible to follow story with some pretty fighting. Eck.

So while I hold out hope that Live Free or Die Hard has the wit and witticism of the first flick, I'm not holding my breath. Thanks to There's Something About Mary, the other staple of summer is the irreverent comedy. And thankfully you can still make those movies on a shoestring budget where directors are given freer reign to follow their artistic vision, rather than making sure somebody blows something up every 20 minutes. Let's hope that Knocked Up lives up to the hype, otherwise I'll be looking for redemption from Transformers. God help me Moeman, God help us all.

Posted 12:01am
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June 1st, 2007

The power of not thinking.

Last fall was a magical time. The universe seemed to align and things opened themselves up to me in what can only be described as an embarrassment of riches. Its documented in the bloggy blog. Pretty much everything seemed to go right and I was receiving things I didn't even know I wanted that were making my unbelievable life even better. And I attributed it all to the power of not thinking.

You see, I'm a tad neurotic. Like most people, I tend to overthink things. And then I play out these disastrous scenarios in my head that keep me from taking action, thus paralyzing me and keeping from getting what I want. Yes, that's a shit ton of hyperbole, but you get the point. At some point early last September, I made a conscious decision to not be that way. To make decisions based on what I felt I wanted in the moment without trying to consider too many of the consequences. To assume things would work out and not try and plan escape scenarios for when they didn't. In short, I decided to not think.

And by at least the correlational evidence, it worked. I espoused the theory to those around me, encouraging them to stop thinking, and just enjoy. And we were all happy, frolicking through a land of milk and honey. And then my dormant brain became antsy. It begged to be involved. ("Father, the sleeper has awakened.") And before you knew it, the thinking began to creep back in. It was inevitable I suppose. You can't not think forever. But it snuck up on me. In hindsight, I didn't even realize I had started to think again. I guess old habits die hard. But before you knew it, Michigan was losing to Ohio State and my life began its slow descent back to baseline.

Which, not to be conceited, is still pretty good. But it was like having super powers for a while. And I didn't realize that they were slowly fading away until they were all but gone. I had forgotten my mantra and the privileges it had provided me. Until, of course, I was reminded.

Last night I was brought back into the fold of not thinking. I remembered what it can provide and the doors it can open. I was born again. So with people leaving the state, more babies on the way and the constant coupling of my remaining single friends, I'm ready to embrace my inner nothingness. I may not catch lightning in a bottle twice, but it should minimally produce some good stories. And what am I good for if not drunken anecdotes?

Posted 10:55am
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May 31st, 2007

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

- Knocked Up comes out tomorrow, after what seems like months of waiting. I hope that I'm not setting myself up for the proverbial disappoint via expectations. But what I'm equally excited about, is this new redband (read: NSFW) trailer for Superbad, a movie by a lot of the same guys. I predict that it will make the world finally realize how much the American Pie movies sucked hairy asshole.

- I swear to christ I had this conversation with someone this past week about Griffey/Bonds, proving once and for all that The Onion should hire me.

- My favorite Detroit rock club the Magic Stick has made this list of best places to see a show in the USA. And there's this interesting list of great songs from bad albums, which looking at, should piss off very few people.

- The schedule for Top of the Park in Ann Arbor is finally up. It looks like the best nights will find me otherwise engaged, so that's disappointing. Although I anticipate that the Buddha will asking to be 'dropped off' here to join the rest of the degenerate punks who hang out at places like this.

- Most of you know how I feel about Phil Fulmer. (He's one fat fuck.) And now he's taking pot shots at Michigan. I'd love to punch him in the balls, but I think I'd be too tired after lifting up his belly to get to them.

Posted 4:44pm
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May 30th, 2007

Come sit on Uncle Drunky's lap...

Memorial day weekend serves as an unofficial kickoff to the summer. Not for me mind you, as regular readers are well aware of my summer precursors. But the public at large seems to kick off the summer lifestyle by breaking out the shorts, grills and beers the last weekend in May.

Of course far be it from me to not oblige social conventions, therefore it was incumbent upon me to partake in the grilling, the lounging, and of course, the drinking. So I saw a lot of family, lots of friends, and it became painfully clear over the weekend that life as I know it is slowly dwindling away.

I made a joke at some point early in the weekend about every one of my friends who is married has either given birth in the past year or is currently pregnant. Not technically true, but close enough to elicit a 'huh.' And over the weekend one of my friends had a baby, and another announced that they were pregnant. Huh.

Monday I hung out with some very good friends and their two kids. We had fun enjoying the only great weather of the weekend. I commented on how everyone was procreating like they needed to repopulate the earth. They quipped that all that means is that I get to be 'Uncle Drunky' to a lot more kids.

So for some reason all of my friends seemingly collectively decided that it was time to grow up. And I'm here to tell everyone that I am not ready.. Ayesha is leaving for browner greener pastures in July, and I told her that my greatest fear is that she'll leave, and then all my single friends will decide to get married, and all my married friends who enjoy going out will have kids, and I'll be all alone. I'm just not ready to be the sad old guy at the end of the bar who the kids point at and wonder 'what is he doing here?'

And yes, one could argue I'm already that guy. Fuck off. I'm not ready to stop living like every night is quarter draft night and I don't have class the next day. But I'm also not ready to do it alone. So I implore you - if you've yet to tie the knot, consider picking a fight with your significant other and meeting your old buddy baggervance at the bar. And you - married guy who still comes out to the bar with alarming frequency - wear a condom. Uncle Drunky is asking you to stay away from jewelry stores and wrap it up. Is that too much to ask?

Posted 4:44pm
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May 24th, 2007

The rise of the txt message.

There's a lot of shit that runs round your head at the end of a relationship. Most of it can be covered by your Rhino 'Slow Jams' box set. As such, I'll stay away from quoting Spoon lyrics in an attempt to convey my pain. But usually after a significant relationship, certain things stick out in your life that you realize are remnants of that person. Things that weren't there before and are now pervasive. With Ayesha, the residue is glaring - I've become a txt messenger.

Txt messages were one of the first thing to ever make me feel old. I can't remember when thumb typing started to appear in the wild, but it was obvious that it whenever it was that I noticed it, it was being done my those much younger than I. I'm not sure if I was pissed because I thought they were being rude, or because I didn't have anybody to txt myself. Let's be honest, its invaluable to be able to remove yourself from a boring conversation and have a better one by whipping out your phone and typing.

Which I learned very early on by dating someone 7 years my junior. Ayesha and I communicated to the point of ridicuosity via txt messages. I quickly became the person I previously loathed - squirming my way out of boring conversations by whipping out my phone and attempting to find interesting interaction. Fortunately, txting has blown up and most of my friends are not immune to the occasional message. Stov will txt me to tell me to "turn it to channel 62" or Boike will make long-distance fun of Brady Quinn as he huffs his way through his free-falling draft status. All good stuff. But the pervasiveness of the txting is likely to fall like an erection when your mom walks into the room. No more expecting txts every few hours (minimum) and no more txting while I'm actually having a good time. It'll be awkward, but what about things right now isn't?

Posted 7:27pm
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May 23rd, 2007

3 to make you giggle, one to make you horny.

- Bob Odenkirk was one of the geniuses behind the seminal sketch comedy program Mr. Show. He also just happens to be the original purveyor of the phrase 'King Shit of Fuck Mountain©.' That alone should be enough for you to check out his new web series . Anyone who ever let slip an 'I love you' can really commiserate on this week's episode.

- I know of a few teachers who read this here bloggy blog, and let me say I love you. I paraphrase something I heard once somewhere by saying that I think schools should be palaces and you should be paid like doctors (I also think that, like police and fireman, you shouldn't be able to strike - hence the incredibly bitter picture to your right that's sat on my desk since 1994, but that's another story for another day). ANYWAY, this McSweeneys article really made me laugh, and I though of all of you teachers out there fighting the good fight. Keep your chins up.

- What's more ironic about images of dead rock iconoclasts Kurt Cobain, Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious being used to sell shoes? That they're all anti-corporate guys who would piss on these ads or that if any of them even believed in heaven, they all knew they weren't headed there?

- Dane Cook is not funny. I'm fairly sure that you can walk into any crowded bar on a Friday night and find one gregarious guy that will make you laugh harder than Dane Cook. In fact, I think Dane Cook probably was a guy like that, and just started to write down all of his and other people's stories and turned them into an act. That's not good stand up to me, but I guess whatever floats your boat. My point is that this poster of Dane getting a hummer can't impugn my enjoyment of what's above it: Miss Jessica Alba looking so hot she's getting sticky. I'll always love you Jess, no matter how dumb you probably are in real life or how many bad movies you make. Call me.

Posted 3:11pm
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May 22nd, 2007

Please allow me to bring you out of your comfort zone.

There's a lot of disturbing shit on the internet. Here's some things that will make you huh?, wha? and d'oh!

- I don't know that I've ever been 'scared' of Lindsay Lohan's vajayjay, but let's just say I always knew I wouldn't want to come across it in a darkened alley. Turns out I woefully underestimated things. Be afraid... be very afraid.

- Christians can get real scary real fast for me - even the supposedly 'normal' ones. But anyone not at least scratching their heads over these nut jobs probably has a screw loose themselves. And not to get into a theological argument, but how does one interpret the bible and leave out the 'Love thy neighbor' bit?

- I can't remember if I mentioned this on the bloggy blog or not (and I'm too lazy right now to check) but I recently watched the last Rocky sequel (titled Rocky Balboa) and it was pretty good. I found it almost believable and nostalgically enjoyable. But it in no way erased my skepticism for the upcoming Rambo installment (titled John Rambo - notice a pattern?) My fears are realized in this clip. For those of you who think this isn't worth watching, what if I were to tell you that 2 minutes in Sly PUNCHES A GUY'S HEAD OFF. I shit you not.

- Who doesn't love greedy bastards? Especially when they're greedy corporations. Well, the RIAA wants money from radio stations for playing music. If that isn't ridonkulous enough for you, read the Onion's account of this debate, dated 2002. Thanks Fark for the links.

Posted 10:20am
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May 21st, 2007

And like that, poof! They're gone...

We've all made colossolly stupid and expensive mistakes that happen in a tenth of second. Sometimes you pull out of the driveway too quickly and its some expensive body work on your car. Others you don't pull out at all and its some painful work on your body via penicillin. In any case, by the time you realize you made the mistake - whether careless or stupid or both - its too late to do anything about it. Which is what happened to me Saturday. I had traveled down to Lake Erie for a day of trolling around the lake on my friends boat. We are at the dock prepping the boat for our departure, and I lean over to place the cooler into the boat. That's when I hear 'Sploosh' and I knew before I looked that I was fucked. I stared below to see my glasses, that had been hanging on the neck of my shirt, sinking to the bottom of the Lake. And given the temperature of the water and what I was likely going to have to search through on the weedy bottom, any idea of rescue was immediately abandoned. So my dumb ass is out one very expensive set of glasses. Thank Christ for insurance - it should take most of the sting out of dropping a few hundred bucks into the lake. And of course the great irony - completely and utterly sober. I guess every story doesn't have to start with 'So we were having a few drinks...'

- Last week we had a quick Tecmo update. In Quid pro quo fashion, here's a great RBI Baseball update. It also includes a link to play the game online. I tried it - its not nearly as fun as holding the old school NES controller in your hand, drunk, sitting next to Stov while he tries to take Doyle Alexander the distance. Now that's how RBI was meant to be played.

Posted 4:04pm
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May 18th, 2007

Are you reelin in the years?

It took me a long time to warm up to Bill Clinton. It wasn't hard to see from the flop that he was a smarmy charmer, and all that time he wasted on universal healthcare really pissed me off. But in don't know what you got till its gone fashion, turns out he was a pretty good president. Not perfect, but when major criticisms start with 'liberal' and 'blow job', its not hard to see how things could be worse (as most people usually like one of the aforementioned).

But unlike some blinded by the light dems out there, I in no way want a Hillary Clinton nomination, much less a presidency. I'm not sure what people think they'll be getting with her. I know there are probably some that are enamored with a woman president and others who equate electing Hillary as reelecting Bill. But I'm here to tell you that both of those are stupid reasons to vote for someone. I'll spare you the policy debate, and just say if you're a dem, look into Barack Obama. And should you be one of those republican types, please don't even consider anyone who'd raise their hand when asked 'Which of you doesn't believe in evolution?' (or Mitt Romney for that matter).

So if you're like me and are blanching at the thought of having Hillary Clinton represent your party of choice, or you're like my friends Boike and Stov and just have a justifiable hatred of the woman, know is the time to express yourself creatively. Turns out Ms. Clinton is having her constituents pick her campaign song. And as Stov put it, even more foolishly, they allowed the option of a write-in vote, which deliciously serves to open the door to exploitation from assholes such as ourselves. So whether you're like Stov and want to cast your vote for 'The Bitch is Back', like Boike and want to cast for 'Dumb Girl' or like myself and want to express your displeasure with 'Bitches Ain't Shit', your opportunity is now. At least some flunky staffer will have to wade through and read your response. That thought makes me smile, and distracts me momentarily from the fear of a Clinton nomination. The things that pass for knowledge I can't understand...

Posted 10:22am
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May 17th, 2007

I'm a slave, I'm a slave, I'm a slave to your lovin'

I watch too much TV. Its the time of year that the networks announce what's going to be on the schedule for the following fall. I always hope for two things: That the marginal shows I watch aren't renewed and that there's nothing promising debuting. Its especially prescient because these announcements come at the same time as the regular season shows are ending. If the first sign of summer is Oberon and the second is softball, the third is when there is no new TV to watch.

When I was growing up, it was as if the networks and Americans came to a mutual understanding that while it was nice out, the networks wouldn't tempt us to stay inside and watch new programming. Sure, they were there with the reruns and the movies in case it was raining, but otherwise there seemed to almost be an attitude of 'Why don't you go outside for awhile?' coming from the big 3. Now summer brings on the shittiest of the shitty low rent reality programs. Broadcast TV isn't the King Shit of Fuck Mountain© it used to be, so these days they'll try and scrape a dime from any hour of shameless programming they'll think a few million people will watch. And it turns out, people will watch anything. But I implore you, next time its 82 degrees out and you're sitting on your porch enjoying an Oberon and your friend turns to you and says 'Let's go in and watch 'America's Next Top Hottest Dwarf!'', punch them in the face.

- I realize that most of you look forward to those few seconds of anticipation as you click your bookmark for tbaggervance.com and wait breathlessly for the site to load, hoping that there's a new post. However, I understand that some of you don't have the time or inclination to click 'refresh' every hour on the hour waiting for some new bile to spill forth from my keyboard. So, for those of you who want the latest updates as soon as they happen without all that needless checking to see if I'm too hungover to write anything, we've created the tbaggervance email list. Its right over there on the right. Enter your email address and through the magic of the internets (its a series of tubes!), you'll receive an email every time I post something. Because we here at tbaggervance.com know your time is valuable - well, some of you anyway.

Posted 10:58am
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May 16th, 2007

Wormer... dead! Niedermeyer... dead! Falwell...

Now, I live in the little liberal bubble of a college town, so hedonistic tendencies tend to rule the day thus making me immune to this, but I can only assume that the homosexuals and abortionists are running rupshod through the streets now that Jerry Falwell is dead. A few weeks ago I insinuated that I was raised right and would not speak ill of the dead. But I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to say that Jerry Falwell was an intolerant, imbecillic, hateful bigot. And let me also mention that if all the things I consider to be wrong with this country (at least politically) could be traced back to one person, ol' Jerry would be a candidate. He made George W possible. If for nothing else, he should burn in whatever hell he believed in for that. Slate compiled some of the stupider things he said over the years, and the Onion got some reaction from people in the street.

- Just as I am convinced that college girls take every opportunity when guys aren't around to strip down to bra and panties and have a tickle fight, I feel like this is what every night at Bruce Campell's house must be like.

- I love video games. Not in that cliché, sitcom-y way where I'm sitting home playing Playstation while my girlfriend begs me to go out for the evening (at least usually) - but I've always played them and always will. And while I enjoy the innovations shit like the Wii and Guitar Hero have brought along over the years, nothing will ever compare to RBI Baseball and Tecmo Bowl. (Apologies to Goldeneye and Mario Kart on the N64) And once and for all, OG Tecmo, not Super Tecmo - which actually resembles an attempt at a quality football game. Well it appears that Tecmo is looking to make a come back. Let us all sigh, lament the fact that this has a 90% chance of sucking, and go back to dreaming about throwing touchdowns to Cap Boso.

Posted 10:16am
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May 15th, 2007

Summertime, and the livin's easy

If Oberon is the unofficial marker that summer has begun, softball is the sign that it is in full swing. This will be the 8th season (in like six years - I'll spare you the complicated math) and since we've started playing together, its become as intrinsically intertwined into my summer experience as driving around campus looking for girls laying out in bikinis.

Our team was designed from the outset to be nothing more than friends getting together to play and then subsequently go to the bar and begin to truly enjoy ourselves. As such, no one's ever been cut due to a substandard skillset, and in recruiting new players, a willingness to hit the bar and play poker after the game is as big of a consideration as the ability to run down a fly ball. Of course if you're familiar with the guys on the team, an immediate paradox begins to rear its ugly head.

For to call most of the people on our team 'competitive' is like referring to the pope as 'a tad religious'. Amongst ourselves we spend an inordinate amount of time playing games that pit one friend against another. Most are gamblers and left out in the wild with nothing to do, within five minutes a group of us would invent some sort of contest in attempt to prove which of us could throw one rock the closest to another. Needless to say that when outsiders become the opposition, tempers are armed with hair triggers and failure becomes infuriating.

Its often joked that softball is an excuse to go to the bar afterwards and drink. While that's not necessarily untrue, I often think that the real focus of the evening is to play softball for an hour so we can to the bar and TALK about the game for 3 hours. Every close call is debated and every questionable statement or gesture by the opposing team is broken down. If we win, triumphs are celebrated. If we lose, blame assessed. No matter the outcome, we discuss how if we took this more seriously how good we could really be. But thankfully, we have the casual nature of friends getting together to play a game to fall back on. And that's what at the heart of summer. Playing games with your buddies amongst all that sweet, sweet booze.

Posted 1:10pm
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May 10th, 2007

Christ on a bike!

We've got updates on some old favorite topics around the the ol' bloggy blog. These may be of no interest to anyone but crotchety old me, but we try to be nothing if not self serving around here.

- Kirk Cameron proves God exists! Most of you know that Kirk Cameron is a hard core evangelical who hosts a show that, for some reason, has the kung fu oriented name 'The Way of the Master'. The other night on ABC he debated some atheists in an attempt to prove, scientifically, that God exists. Now, I don't care what you believe and as long as you leave me alone, I don't care how you choose to believe it. However, YOU CAN'T PROVE GOD EXISTS. Not scientifically. That's why its called FAITH. By definition, its believing in the absence of evidence. So just stop it. I respect you if you believe in God. I think you're a fucking idiot if you think you can prove he exists. I'd plead with all of you to just separate science and religion and try to be OK with that, but its too much fun to watch Mike Seaver flounder around illogically.

- They went and did it. Sex = Violence = Smoking. It just depresses the ever living shit out of me what we choose to protect our children from and they ways in which we choose to protect them. Thankfully I believe in teaching my kid about these things myself and not relying on some governmental agency to do my job for me.

Posted 11:10am
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May 9th, 2007

Cleaning house

So I have this folder on my computer that I throw things into as I'm surfing the web so I can share them with you here on the bloggy blog. What follows (including the bad ass picture of Han Solo directly to your right) are things that have been floating around in there for an undetermined amount of time. As I am not sure what they have in common and I fear I may never find a place for them, I dump them on you now, like a boyfriend who's breaking up with you right after he borrows $20. That's a terrible analogy, which is why I got rid of it here.

- Zack Galafinakis is funny. I'm not sure how clever this clip is with its fancy splicing and editing, but there's some great lines in here. Its so raven.

- Your local pride minute: A big write up on Zingermans in the NYTimes.

- I've always thought that in the analogy comparing the Bush Presidency to the Empire, that Cheney was the Emperor, Rove was Vader and Bush was Grand Moff Tarkin. But that didn't stop me from enjoying this quiz that requires you to differentiate things associated with Darth from things associated with Dick.

Posted 4:00pm
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May 8th, 2007

Tennis is gay/not gay

One of the first thoughts I had when the Buddha was born was that someday he'd play football at the University of Michigan. Brand new fathers are delusional. Of course once I did the math I realized that the chances of that dream ever becoming a reality were slim and none (though in the back of my mind I'm still hoping for some massive weight gain that would allow him to become a long snapper). So I turned my thoughts to other, more plausible athletic outcomes for me to live vicariously through my son. Basketball was out for similar genetic reasons. Baseball seemed like my best shot, but after a few years of gently nudging him in that direction, he's abandoned that as well.

So I'm stuck at an impasse. The big 4 (football, basketball, baseball, hockey (immediately excluded due to Asian heritage)) are out. He tried Lacrosse for a season. I had no idea what a violent, sweet sport that is! But alas, after hundreds of dollars of equipment, it was over after a few short months. I'd almost resigned myself to spending my energy in getting him to NOT play soccer - because that might kill me.

And just when I thought all hope was lost and was ready to concentrate solely on getting him to become the Marching Band's Drum Major (backbend practices are grueling) Sid's mother's influence reared its ugly head. See, my baby mama is somewhat of a tennis nerd. She played in high school and still watches femme dudes hit a fuzzy ball back and forth on Sunday mornings. So Sid has had plenty of tennis exposure. I always worried that some day it would manifest itself in an interest from Siddhartha himself. That day has come.

When Sid decided to abandon baseball this summer, his mother and I immediately made him cognizant of the fact that he needed to replace that with some other form of scheduled athletic endeavor. He immediately popped back with 'I think I want to play tennis.' Oh god, why have you forsaken me? All my hours of teaching him the infield fly rule down the drain. Well, at least he's outside exercising, right? And if history is any indicator, this whole nightmare will be over by labor day.

So having never picked up a racquet in his life, we signed him up for beginner lessons. He seemed to be enjoying it, and I was glad he was doing something other than playing video games. In fact, he came home from his lesson last night with some news. "My teacher says I need to be in the advanced class. She has me demonstrating things to the rest of the kids, and its pretty obvious that I'm better than most of them." So there you have it. As difficult as it is for me to say, my son is a tennis player.

And of course despite my hatred of the sport and my default feelings about the dudes who normally play it, I was immediately immeasurably proud. I guess the fact that my son is showing any athletic ability outweighs the bitter pill of what arena its in. And this could all still be a fad that's over in 6 months when the only thing he cares about at all becomes 12 year old girls - but I can imagine my future as a 'tennis dad'. Its frightening, but these are the sacrifices we make as parents. It makes me shudder. I just have to keep telling myself - at least its not soccer...

Posted 11:23am
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May 7th, 2007

The cheese stands alone

Breakups are often long, painful protracted things. They're filled with massive amounts of Death Cab, August and Everything After and of course, a bit of booze. At least with me apparently. I think its because I'm trying to figure out whether in six months I'm going to look back and think 'That was the dumbest decision of my life' OR 'Why in the fuck did I put up with that for as long as I did?' I've been on both sides of the equation before and I've apparently learned little to nothing about the process - other than it sucks so much that I usually end relationships before a breakup voice mail would be considered rude (please shelve any 'breaking up over voice mail is never appropriate' comments, as you're only making things harder on the next poor girl who gets tricked into going out with me.) So that being my state of mind, here's what I've found recently in and around the internets:

- Spinner has a list of The 25 Most Exquisitely Sad Songs in the world. Its great break up fodder, even though a lot of the songs have to do with pets, relatives, and the civil rights movement. I would add the previously mentioned Counting Crows album, induct DCFC into the Hall of Fame, and sign a petition to get Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" moved up to number one. That song can make me cry at the drop of a hat.

- The nerds at Engadget found it hilarious when Conan made fun of the nerds at Intel. As a nerd, I laughed and wondered 'Is this what people assume I do for a living?' - at which point the laughing stopped.

- Here's a note from the AV Club about Ben Gibbard's solo shows in Chicago. I will say 3 things about it:
1. I agree with it.
2. I got to hear him do a cover of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" which fulfilled a dream I did not know I had, so suck it.
3. Notice the headline in the very first comment after the post. Why y'all have to hate?

Posted 1:49pm
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May 6th, 2007

Hell is other parents people

This isn't a new thought for regular readers of the ol' bloggy blog - or, for that manner, anyone with kids over the age of two, anyone who's ever been a teacher/coach or anyone who's been to a public place and just stopped for a second to watch the traffic go by: parents are the most vile and despicable people on the face of god's green earth.

I often tell people about to have kids or those with newborns that parenting is a surprisingly easy endeavor most of the time (providing you have bottomless patience and a child not intent on seeking revenge against you for bringing them into this world.) But I quickly follow that up with 'Except for other parents.' Now call me a snob or elitist or even a pot calling the kettle black, but it will never cease to amaze me how few parents get it.

Saturday as you know was the science olympiad. And I have to say that in some respects, running the thing was almost better than coaching. Because while the kids were running the actual event, I was excited. I was cheering for every team to do better than the next. I wanted every kid to bounce the ball in the bucket on the first try and answer the questions on their first guess. The genuine excitement on the faces and in their expressions was infectious. And ultimately, that's why I volunteer my time. But of course, for every kid that succeeds, there are several that fail. And when kids fail, parents point fingers.

Because that's what I mean when I refer to parents that don't get it. Guess what? You're kid may not be the best. You can't protect them forever and sooner or later they will fail. Which means that you can either teach them to give 100%, enjoy the process and be prepared for the outcome, or you can bitch about the general fairness of things and scream at people who've given their time and energy so your kids can have a rewarding experience - regardless of outcome.

The truth is I've been very lucky over the years. I've coached and volunteered for Sid's various activities at nearly every opportunity presented, and almost without fail we've been surrounded by parents and kids who have the right attitude and expectations. And honestly, there were 100 or so kids who ran my event Saturday which means there was a possibility of 200+ parents who could have put there two cents in. Its just too bad that the half dozen or so that chose to do so can really spoil how you feel about a certain experience. I guess really more than anything I feel sorry for the kids who have to grow up under such auspices. It makes the kids whose parents never show up at all seem lucky.

Posted 2:44pm
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May 4th, 2007

The glove compartment, isn't accurately named

For the obtuse in the audience, the last four months of posts have been archived. Those interested in walks down memory lane need to merely click on the link, directly to your right.

Some say that weekends were meant for relaxing. But religious convictions aside, weekends should be spent doing the things that our weekly obligations prohibit us from enjoying. Especially things that happen late at night that require staying in bed until a minimum of 10am the next day. Which is why I'm spending this weekend doing the following:

- Siddhartha and I are kicking things off with a screening of every nerds dream, Spider-Man 3. The reviews are coming in mixed at best (sounds like they tried to throw in a few too many kitchen sinks) but there's little chance of either of us being disappointed. Sandman, Venom AND the Green Goblin all in the same movie? OK, give me a second to settle down. And of course the best aspect of all of this is that Sid is excited too - which means the experience is disaster proof regardless of fanboy style nitpicking or Return of the Jedi type Ewok disasters.

- Tomorrow (at 7:30am!) we're officiating the Pentathlon at the Washtenaw County Science Olympiad. Some of you may remember previous mentions of this event where I was a coach and Sid was a participant. Apparently we were gullible enough to volunteer so good at it in the past that this year we're running it. Let's hope I don't have to bitch slap any overbearing parents who don't like some of my rulings. Then again, maybe that'd be fun too.

- After a quick nap to refresh the mind, body and spirit, its back to Woodward Ave. to see a solo Ben Gibbard. One could argue that a 31 year old guy going to see a sensitive singer/songwriter sing and play his hits acoustically is a little, well, gay. To those people, I say 'have you seen how dreamy he is?'

- Sunday (after sunrise service) I'll be headed north to help the Storch's put their boat dock back in the water for another summer. This process is exactly as arduous as it sounds. It involves waders, massive amounts of profanity, and the questioning of whether or not my friendship with these people is actually worth all of this pain and suffering. Since this is about the fifth year of doing it, I guess it must be. I just wish we were better at it than we are. At least we'll be outside and in the sun - taking care of one of those things that the hustle and bustle of Monday through Friday prohibits.

Posted 10:42am
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May 2nd, 2007

Link-O-Rama

This weekend looms large - what with Spider-Man, science olympiad, and a dream date with Ben Gibbard on the docket. But more on that later in the week. Right now all I can muster is some links that I've been wasting my time with recently:

- I miss good ol' bat-shit crazy Tom Cruise. Whether it was railing against psychology, marrying someone half his age with a crazy 'I've been kidnapped' look in her eye, or just trying to hold his tongue when somebody called him out on the cult that is Scientology, he was damn entertaining. Britney Spears is doing her best to be a similar trainwreck, as these fairly legit looking semi-topless photos attest to. But don't we all feel that this is just an uber-white trash chick who'd be doing the same thing(s) if she wasn't famous? It all just seems inevitable, thus far less enjoyable.

- Rolling Stone has a cool list of the 25 most underappreciated artists. Hard to argue with most of these, and there's some well deserved names on the list. We used to have a debate in college as to what the greatest American band of all time was (as most great classic rock bands are British). I think my vote right now goes to Wilco. Look at the evidence and prove me wrong. Yeah, they don't have a quintessential group of songs that any FM radio head would know, but I think by the time I'm an old man, at least us rock snobs will be in agreement on this.

- The Onion's AV Club has a summer movie preview up. Its smartly taken from the perspective of what to rush out to the theater to see and what to wait to watch on hangover Sundays this fall. I have to admit that after reading it, I'm pretty psyched to hit the multiplex this summer.

Posted 1:42pm
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April 30th, 2007

People who live in houses shouldn't throw glass when they're stoned

This weekend I spent a lot of time running around outside and picking up my first sunburn of 2007. In doing so, I learned that it will be a very short period of time before Sid is better at tennis than I am, and that the first time you try and play softball in a year can make you look more than little rusty.

I also managed to pick up some sort of cold type thing along the way. Now I feel shitty and I have to go see Ted Leo (and Pharmacists) tonight. All of this has led to arguably the worst post ever, as all I want to is go take a nap, hoping to wake up refreshed and ready rock out post-punk/pop/dirty liberal style. So lay off - its not like you never wrote a shitty blog post before.

Posted 2:20pm
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April 27th, 2007

Wormer... dead! Niedermeyer... dead! Valenti...

Despite what you may think, I was raised to be a polite, well mannered and understanding person. To that end, all I will say about Jack Valenti is that he is dead. Although I will say that I think our Puritanical views towards certain things here in the good ol' U. S. and A. are a huge source of certain societal problems rather than a solution. And organizations like the MPAA exacerbate this by telling us that sex is to be abhorred more than violence. Moving forward and getting past certain things happens with more information, not less. Yes, I'm looking at you abstinence only education. Can't we all just admit that penises and vaginas are the finest things in the world and be OK with that? I know I've come to terms with it.

Posted 3:45pm
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April 26th, 2007

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

- In a classic case of 'Your chocolate is in my peanut butter!' Adult Swim's Robot Chicken is doing a 30 minute tribute to Star Wars. They've even managed to wrangle George Lucas and Mark Hamill for some voice work. The only bad news is that its not set to air until mid June, so you'll have to wait for these two great tastes that are sure to go great together. Until then, you can dream about a day that your Star Wars geekiness reaches the level of this guy.

- Jack and Meg are back and they're here to remind us that 'You can't be a pimp and a prostitute too...' Their new single 'Icky Thump' is out there in the ether. They've also announced some tour dates that will bring them to every state in the contiguous that they've yet to play. So after this summer if you haven't seen the White Stripes, its nobody's fault but your own.

- Alex Legion is not going to Michigan. How can this in any way make me happy or be a good thing you ask? To put it simply, he doesn't want to be here, so fuck him. Its in some way the opposite of the old Marx quote 'I'd never belong to any club that would have me as a member' (and that was Groucho btw, not Karl). He's in, he's out, he's in, he's out. He's a great player, don't get me wrong - but I don't want anyone who's half-assed about being here. He's obviously at least part-schizo/weirdo/pending trouble vortex, so don't let the door hit ya, fella. I'm way sadder at the departure of Reed Baker, Rainmaker.

- Howard Stern's On Demand TV Network is available for free this weekend, albeit over the internet. I in no way see how this is worth $13 a month or whatever it is they charge, but I'll watch a sybian ride or two this weekend, just to make sure its not worth my money.

- In the next ten days I will see Ted Leo, Ben Gibbard and Spider-Man. In no way does my life suck. That is all.

Posted 11:22am
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April 25th, 2007

I'll take hypersensitive indie folk for $200, Alex.

One of the unique little widgets to come out of e-commerce is the ability for retailers to 'recommend' other products to you based on previous purchases. Now despite the loss of privacy inherent in this, this has been an enormously positive thing in my life. I started rating music on Amazon years ago and based on their 'similar customers also purchased...' feature, have found my way to some of my most beloved artists. The major problem is, it doesn't seem to be able to learn which artists I HATE. Why does every recommendation service from Amazon to MOG.com seem to be dying for me to listen to Bright Eyes? Have you not seen the rest of my music collection? I know who Bright Eyes is and he sucks. Same goes for you, Arcade Fire. And Ryan Adams? I just don't get it. I don't care how many pseudo hipsters swoon to their music or that emo kids write their lyrics on the outside of their trapper keepers, I'm not buying into the bullshit. Its like I said Band of Horses was OK once and now I have to be eternally stamped as a Conor Oberst fan. Love for the Decemberists doesn't mean I want to ever hear the Arcade Fire again. Its like I told my TiVo to record The L Word and all of the sudden its automatically recording everything on Logo. Watching softcore lesbian psuedo-porn doesn't mean I want to see a documentary on trans-gendered females. Arghhh. Hopefully the technology keeps getting better and someday I can listen to Neutral Milk Hotel without someone telling me I should really try Pavement. Because that my friend, will get a you a slap right in the bitch face.

- Everytime I think we (and I realize its a presumptive 'we') are making progress in educating people about the environment and the simple things we can do to help it, I get reminded that some people are really, really stoopid. Its all a liberal conspiracy people.

Posted 1:42pm
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April 24th, 2007

Trailer Park

The weather's finally warming up, which means summer is almost here. And of course what better to do once the glorious sun finally reappears than to spend your afternoon inside a darkened movie theater. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the latest trailers to wet your pants appetite:

- Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (July 13)
Eh, you either read the books and know the plot of this one or you don't read the books and could give a shit. For those that do, this looks pretty kick ass. These movies have started to rock after getting rid of uber-hack Chris Columbus.
Chance of sucking: 20% Let's face it, fanboys (and girls) will find faults with what gets left out. Tell them to go back to not getting laid and letting the rest of us enjoy ourselves.

- Balls of Fury (Sept. 14)
I have to admit, I hadn't even heard of this until I was browsing around the Yahoo! movies website today. But let's be honest, if someone tells you to 'click here to see Christopher Walken in Balls of Fury,' you click here to see it. Oh, and there was a picture of him dressed up like a cross between Ming the Merciless and the gay Dracula in the Coppola version (see fig. 1). Did I mention that its by the people who brought you Reno 911? (forgive them for the movie, the show still rocks)
Chance of sucking: 51% Broad comedies are hard to pull off. I suggest this one for a 100 degree day when the air conditioner breaks down. You're guaranteed some laughs, but if it sucks ass on the whole, at least your nipples will be hard.


figure 1

- The Bourne Ultimatum (Aug. 3)
Matt Damon is back to show James Bond how to not be a pussy one more time (OK, not fair to Daniel Craig and the most recent installment. I'll just never forgive the Broccolis for screwing him over for all those years) You ever wonder if Affleck sits back and thinks "If I would've played Will Hunting, I'd have the career Damon has!" Nah you're right, he probably just has sex with Jennifer Garner on top of a giant pile of money.
Chance of sucking: 33.3% The final installment of a trilogy is often bad news, as producers try and tie up loose ends and make things middling enough to get the largest possible audience to come out for their cash cow one last time (see Return of the Jedi, Godfather III). But Bourne is 2 for 2, and Paul Greengrass is back on board, so feel good about paying full price on a Saturday night for this one.

- Spider-Man 3 (May 4)
Why are my pants so tight? Oh yeah, 10 days until Spider-Man 3. I was always kinda pissed growing up that they made awesome movies out of DC comics characters but not Marvel comics characters. In hindsight, I'm glad they waited for the technology to catch up with what's in the filmmakers noggins, as Spider-Man has totally made me feel like a 12 year in each installment.
Chance of sucking: .01% Only way it sucks is if they make Spidy like Singer's Superman and not have him fight ANYBODY. Trailer dispels that possibility, so go rock out with your cock out.

Posted 2:33pm
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April 23rd, 2007

A-B-C - Always Be Closing.

Work is a tricky thing. When I was much younger, I was very motivated to find a job where I could make a shit ton of money so I could have all the things that those with money can afford. Shortly after becoming a father and getting a degree, it became paramount to have a job that provided a certain flexibility with my hours and vacation time and most importantly - was something that I could forget about everyday at 5 o'clock.

Some people call it the difference between working to live and living to work. I come to a job that I pretty much enjoy most days, show up, do my work, and go home. And 90% of the time, I don't think about work once until the next day. I spend the rest of my time doing the things that I enjoy. This sort of arrangement makes sense to me. But there are those who either choose or fall into a situation where the opposite is true. And God help them because as far as I'm concerned, they are living in the bowels of my own personal hell.

Thursday night I met a dear friend who was in from out of town and we went out with a couple that she was good friends with. Her friends were a personal trainer and a skin care products salesperson (who, by the way, said 'facial' 87 times that night and I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO LAUGHED. Everytime. What is wrong with people?) These two people proceeded to spend the ENTIRE night at the bar talking to either clients or business partners - mostly about their fields of expertise. And when they weren't talking protein bars or protein facials (heh) they were being so ingratiating to these people that they wanted money from, I wanted to vomit.

How is that any way to go through life? I didn't hear these people have one intelligent conversation all evening. No one mentioned music. No one discussed politics. No one even bothered to comment on some stupid bull shit pop culture phenomenon that was prescient at the moment (Sanjaya!). That ain't living, people. At least not in any manner that doesn't turn my stomach. I implore all of you, find at least some time to be a human being where you relate to people on a level that doesn't involve how you've chosen to pay the bills. Because that's why you go to work, to pay the bills. If you're never off the clock, when do you get to enjoy all the things that those bills are paying for?

- Luckily my palate was cleansed by Stov's surprise 30th birthday party Saturday night. The turnout was impressive and the organization was impeccable thanks to his main squeeze (even if his cousins tried to screw the pooch at the last minute). Anyway, good work Aarika and congrats Stov. It was a hell of an evening.

- And real quick, Vonnegut fans (or those looking to be introduced) will want to click here, as the AV Club has compiled 15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will.

Posted 10:10am
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April 19th, 2007

Our long national nightmare is finally over

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their conspiracy theory. I'd like to believe that forces behind the scenes conspired to Sanjaya voted off of Idol last night - that Karl Rove and Joseph Kennedy stole votes and blocked text messages from getting through. But in truth, it was all a pipe dream. Someone that gawd awful was never going to go the distance. He sucked so beautifully, I will miss him. The obvious upside is that Idol is now out of my life - and the positiveness of that fact can't be underestimated.

I don't really want to go into all the terribleness that occurred at VA Tech this week. I have no special insight as to what makes someone do something so horrific. I can't imagine how that entire community must be reeling and my heart aches for them. But I do want to take a second to say I'd like to sodomize (with a wiffle ball bat) every news producer that decided to air his 'manifesto' these past couple days. Congratulations. You've given a mass murdering lunatic what he wanted. And despite what counter argument you come up with, all you've done is an exploitative, hurtful thing that provides nothing positive to anybody. May you all contract painful STDs that turn your genitals inside out. That is all.

Posted 1:25pm
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April 18th, 2007

Doesn't it all end up in some revelation?

I think my Idol experiment may be coming to a close. As I sat there last night listening to excruciating renditions of songs I would never EVER listen to in the first place, I wondered to myself 'Why am I torturing myself? I hate this show, I loathe country music, is rooting for Sanjaya really worth all of this?' I have a feeling that the decision may get made for me tonight. The movement is losing steam. Last night, a lot of the singers had their best night of the season, because, let's face it, anyone can sing country. Its simple and stylized. And somehow Sanjaya still stunk up the joint. Which I loved, but I think people are getting bored with it. At this point, I don't know if I'd be happier if he went all the way or got voted off tonight. Que sera sera.

- Some of you may not have been forwarded this yet. Its Will Ferrel and Adam McKay's daughter in a video called 'The Landlord'. I'm not big on youtube or viral videos usually, but this is pretty classic. You pay now bitch.

Posted 11:15am
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April 17th, 2007

Assholes are everywhere!

- Chevy Chase has not done anything funny in almost 20 years. By all accounts, he's a pompous dick that somehow lost his sense of humor somewhere between Fletch and Fletch Lives. Which, given those statements, I'm guess its not that big of a surprise that he thinks he invented the Daily Show. What an asshole.

- Had John McCain won the Republican presidential nomination in 200, I probably would have voted for him. Hell, if Karl Rove wasn't an evil, maniacal, Machiavellian asshole he would have won. But I digress, the fact that Karl Rove is an asshole is not in any way new or pertinent information. But now John McCain is an asshole too. Its really sad. I'd like to blame it on all the shit that's been piled upon him in his life and say he's just a beaten man, but man. What an asshole.

- I've always considered whomever runs annarborisoverrated.com to be an asshole. But I still browse the site occasionally when the pangs of boredom hit me. I was begrudgingly browsing recently and found this article - and in reading, acquired a new nemesis. The group "Ann Arbor Campus-Community Conversations" wants to "educat(e) people as to whether they should use alcohol," and "curb 'excessive' drinking by students." I've got 2 words for the A2C3 - Fuck Off. I'm starting a group to strategize as to how to get self righteous pricks to stay the fuck out of my business and how to get them to shove their agendas up their stupid asses. What assholes.

Posted 10:02am
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April 13th, 2007

Wormer... dead! Niedermeyer... dead! Vonnegut...

I certainly have no hope of writing an obit worthy of a man who should be considered the greatest author of the second half of the 20th century. But were I to try, I'd start by saying just that. Most people get introduced to Mr. Vonnegut via Slaughterhouse Five somewhere around high school, at an age where they likely have little to no hope of understanding its depth and brilliance. Maybe they're taken with its unadorned style and relatively short length and go on to read Cat's Cradle or Breakfast of Champions. At some point everyone comes across Harrison Bergeron. But I think too many people get caught up in the time travel, ice nine, Kilgore Trout aspects of his work and kind of view him as a science fiction Stephen King. Or, if you're of a certain age and proclivity, as the guy who was in Back to School. In truth, he was a man of great insight, uncanny wit, and unbelievable compassion. He, more than any other single author, made me love literature. And that is the nicest thing I could say about anyone. Thanks for everything, Kurt. The world's a far less interesting place without you in it. But, as you'd say, so it goes...

Posted 9:11am
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April 11th, 2007

Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue

Michigan is kind of a mixed bag. You have this bastion of liberalism and semi-cosmopolitanism (he said with a straight face) tucked away in the Southeast corner of the state, surrounded by gun-toting, Ted Nugent listening, dirt-road driving country folk. An oversimplification, but I still try and stay in the metropolitan tri-county area. Thank god for economic recession, because when in times of trouble, even the government turns to booze.

That's right people, hide your livers because the mitten is considering be brought up to par with the likes of the big apple and the windy city. I'm of course speaking of this proposal by my new hero Rep. Steve Tobocman to keep us soaked in booze till 4am. I'm having trouble finding the appropriate metaphor to explain how giddy this makes me - some combination of schoolgirls, erections and a 70yd Henne to Manningham touchdown pass.

In reality, all this does is help me to spend more money and intensify my hangovers. But somehow, deep in the cockles of my heart this makes me smile. It just feels right. As the French say, it has that certain I don't know what. Rest assured that I will be going into training the next few weeks (so my faculties are good and ready) and trying to build up my good karma to help this come to fruition. Because what my life needs more than anything, is more booze.

- And a quick aside, I was watching TV today and saw a commercial for that demon spawn of a series 'Kidz Bop', where children sing banal yet irritating versions of your favorite pop hits. In my mind, its the epitome of everything that is wrong with the world. But I digress. The reason that this installment of the 'Kidz Bop' series (titled Kidz Bop 11) is particularly grating is that the tagline is 'This one goes to 11.' If I have to tell you why that makes my butt cheeks clench, move on people, move on.

Posted 2:55pm
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April 9th, 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly - weekend movie edition

With people out of town for Easter and I being mostly broke, I spent a lot of the weekend watching free movies courtesy of gift cards, coupons and the Ann Arbor Public Library. It was a real mixed bag. The results:

The Good: Children of Men
Helmed by one of my favorite directors Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter 4), this dystopian sci-fi thriller is absolutely heartbreaking and brutal. This is proof that tragedy can be awe-inspiring, and doesn't have to be absolute crap like Crash or just marginally OK like Babel. Recommended for: Those who like heavy, thought provoking movies; People dying to reference Blade Runner and The Boys from Brazil in the same discussion.

The Bad: The Puffy Chair
What made me decide to get this is beyond me. I obviously had a reason, as I requested it from the library and a few weeks later, there it was ready to torture me. I can't tell you how god fucking awful this movie is. Have you ever been dragged by that girl you had a crush on in college to some artsy indie movie that you knew you would hate but sat through anyway in hopes that the forces of karma would let you in on some slap tickle later that night - only to realize the movie was four hours long and half way through it she tells you about her boyfriend back in Iowa that's flying in tomorrow in hopes that they can 'work things out'? Well that's how I felt about this piece of dogshit 10 minutes in. And yet I watched the whole thing. Why? Suggesting I may hate myself is not out of the question. Recommended for: Sadomasochists; No one.

The Ugly: Grindhouse
Yeah, I absolutely loved this movie. Upon leaving the theater I was speeding down Carpenter doing 20mph over the limit with my heart racing. But man, is the first half of this movie disgusting. I'm probably only slightly above average when it comes to tolerance for the disgusting; there are certain things that bother me quite a bit. This movie has something for everybody in that category. I can't imagine anyone watching the whole thing without at least wincing a bit - not even a nurse from the burn ward. But man was it fun. Recommended for: Fanboys; people over 30 whose parents would drop them off at all day movie marathons as kids without looking first to see what they'd be watching.

I also watched Escape from New York, Midnight Cowboy and Snakes on a Plane. I recommend all three in the following wine list fashion:
Escape from New York: Goes good with Saturday morning hangover; poultry.
Midnight Cowboy: Hints of sexual immorality compliment feelings of 'I don't need to go to church on Easter to be a good person'; fish.
Snakes on a Plane: Perfect with many beers and a quick witted companion; beef.

Posted 3:33pm
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April 6th, 2007

Give the people what they want

I can be a little bit of a slappy when it come to Michigan. I was excited at the beginning of the Brian Elerbe era. When they brought in Tommy Amaker, it was enough to get me to buy season tickets. And this is basketball people. If my football allegiance was a band fronted by Steve Winwood, it'd be Blind Faith. It sometimes seems that I spend every August vehemently defending Lloyd Carr against the ignoramuses of the world. But this is my lot in life. So when I was chastised (see April 5th comments) for not commenting on the beginning of the Beilein era, I decided to put my feelings into song a post. These are those feelings:

- The theory of best available versus best fit. Anyone who's ever drafted a fantasy sports team of any kind will tell you that the most common conundrum you come across is choosing between the best available guy on the board OR the guy who best suits your needs. Do yo take the outfielder with the best overall stats or the 2nd baseman with no power but will get you 25 steals? In this analogy, Beilein is 25 year old short stop who'll give you 90-20-90 with 20 steals and flirt with .300. So yeah slappy, a bit of both.

- Facilities and recruiting. Yes - the fact that Crisler is a dump makes me want to gouge my eyes out. True, the lack of a practice facility borders on the egregious. I think whatever can be done by a head coach to fix such a thing will be done by Beilein. And let's be honest, recruiting's not an issue. If you win, they will come. So shut up about him not going to Flint or the PSL. That's ri-god-damn-diculous.

-The system. Yeah, modified Princeton and 1-3-1. Let's just say that after a lifetime of terrible X's and O's coaches at Michigan, I'm ready for anything that resembles something more than street ball or pass the ball around the outside of the three point line.

The bottom line is that we got a white Tommy Amaker who sounds like he could actually coach some guys up. That's exactly what I wanted (though the white part was not a pre-req). And to me, the most important thing is that he looks just enough like Peter Boyle that I'll be imagining this for the next half dozen years:

And that's more than I could have ever asked for. Puttin' on the Riiiiiiitz!

Posted 12:33pm
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April 5th, 2007

Songs that made the hit parade

I got a call from my dad this morning. Mostly just a normal 'Hey, hope everything's all right' type of thing. But he did manage to slip in a 'I've really been enjoying your blog' that threw me for a bit of a loop. In a bit of WTF? surrealism, my high school gym teacher turned him onto it. I'll never understand how the world works.

There's a post somewhere in the archives about how the ol' bloggy blog is, in some unconscious part, an attempt by me to continue what the Moeman has been doing nigh these past 50 years. That's of course a bar that's been set impossibly high. I could only hope to have a tenth of my old man's charisma and ability to turn a phrase. Plus to be that classy, you can't write posts where you refer to Alanis Morrisette as a cunty bitch. And yes, I did it again, knowing that my dad probably just read that. I'm such an asshole.

Speaking of which, I was reading this interview with The Office's Mindy Kaling where she talks about liking Ben Affleck because he said he likes the Dave Matthews Band. She made a good point about how affable Affleck was and wasn't posturing by pretending to like something that was too cool for school. Now first off, Armageddon aside, I like Affleck. I think he's gotten the short end of the stick because people pay him a lot of money to be in shitty movies, and I think he's a better actor than Michael Bay can make him look like. Like Kaling (sort of) said, I bet he's a down to earth guy you could hang with.

But I immediately hate him for liking the Dave Matthews Band in 2007. Yes, I'm a judgmental music snob, but its not just that. I used to listen to DMB. I even saw them in concert several times. When they debuted, they were new and different, and Mr. Matthews had a lot of good ideas when it came to writing a pop song and playing the acoustic guitar. But let's be honest, that train ran out of steam some time late last century. Can't we get behind something fresh? At least if you're going to cling to the past, choose something classic. I have more respect for people who feel that way about the Grateful Dead. Kaling's right, having shitty taste isn't a crime, but I have a tough time abiding it a lot of the time.

I was browsing a friend of a friend's MySpace account the other day and he listed his favorite band as DMB and I immediately decided I didn't like the guy. I know this makes me a bad person. I could argue how that my finely tuned musical knowledge gives me advanced insight as to other areas of that person's personality based solely on that single fact. But truth is, sometimes I'm just an asshole. I think its obvious that everything the Moeman tried to teach me didn't sink in. I'll keep trying dad.

Posted 3:38pm
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April 4th, 2007

Things I was wrong about

- A month ago I listed Wilco's upcoming Sky Blue Sky as one of the 5 innocuous things that had me all pissed off in and around the present moment. After several subsequent listens, I admit that I was wrong in merely calling it great. I now realize that its one of the most heart breakingly beautiful things I've ever heard. So much of it is like a sledgehammer to the chest that leaves you flat on your back, staring up at the sky and not wanting or being able to move. I heart Jeff Tweedy.

- I always thought that Alanis Morrisette was kind of a cunty bitch. Even after turns as God in Kevin Smith's Dogma and herself in Curb Your Enthusiasm, I still figured - superbitch with little to no understanding of irony. Then I saw this. Now I am prone to think that drinking with Alanis might be awesome. Call me...

- Even after an avalanche of bad reviews, I figured when I finally got around to watching Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny I would love it. Their debut album is an all time comedy classic that Stov and I have listened to on many a roadtrip and continue to quote from liberally years after its release. Well, I'm here to tell you it sucks. It has moments, but not even enough for me to justify recommending it to fans of the D. That's some supreme suckitude.

- Of course one thing I continue to be right on the money about is Sanjaya! He's so wonderfully awful I can't stand it. Last night's performance was dreadful - yet I couldn't look away. I think some of Sanjaya's cockiness is rubbing off on me (hit me with your best double entendre please) as I have no doubt that he'll survive another week.

Posted 10:32am
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April 2nd, 2007

Nerd Alert

Here's some extra geeky stuff, for those of you not cool enough to hang with the recent Sanjaya fixation.

- EMI is so over DRM. Succumbing to both the will of the people and the d'oh! realization that its not stopping anyone, EMI has made its catalogue on iTunes DRM free. What this means if you're not a geek? You can download music on iTunes and share it with your buddies! What this means if you are a geek? Nothing. Who pays for mp3s?

- "This is so much cooler than when we tried to get on Puttin' on the Hits." Guitar Hero will soon be available in four way action. Now your delusions of grandeur not only can include the ability to play guitar, but the ability to sing and play the drums as well. What this means if you're not a geek? One more thing that your nerd friends make look easy for you to suck at. What this means if you are a geek? One less reason to leave the house.

- Happy opening day. When did baseball get nerdy? Or is it just stat obsessed geeks who play roto that are nerdy and baseball is still all man baby? What this means if you're not a geek? As soon as its warm, beer and hot dogs at the park. What this means if you are a geek? Take a nap after work so you can stay awake for the 1am Baseball Tonight.

- 5 days till your boner goes down. Grindhouse opens Friday. What this means if you're not a geek? I hear that new Ice Cube movie is supposed to be funny. What this means if you are a geek? Start lamenting the fact that this film has zero chance of meeting your astronomical expectations.

Posted 11:07am
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March 30th 2007

Gimme $10 on 'Hung like a Donkey' to win in the third

Few things in life have the broad, mass appeal in life as gambling does. Maybe sports. Probably booze. But booze (and sex for that matter) have obvious underpinnings for their far reaching success. Gambling seems to span the vast span of socioeconomic demographics like nothing else. Where else do the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich meet with the same voracity (at least where an earth shattering orgasm isn't attached)?

In Vegas, massive luxury palaces like Caesar's and the Bellagio sit across the road from dumps like the IP, and more disturbingly, right down the street from real shit holes like Slots-O-Fun. You don't get that a lot of other places in life. Tom Monaghan doesn't live in the same neighborhood as Shakey Jake. For the most part, CEO's don't watch NASCAR and janitors don't watch the America's Cup. But I'll bet you a lot of janitors bet on cars going around in circles and CEO's throw a grand or two betting one schooner is faster than another. (and btw, a schooner IS a sailboat, stupidhead)

Tonight, I travel to Northville Downs to throw some money away betting the ponies. Even at a low rent place like the ND, there's reserved seating at tables where you can get a steak dinner and sit behind a brass railing on comfy chairs with plush carpet underneath your feat - right next to concrete bleachers littered with paper beer cups and cigarette butts. You can find two couples sipping chardonnay betting $100 on a box exacta 50 yards away from a homeless guy covering himself up in newspaper asking passersby for a quarter so he can meet the minimum $2 bet requirement.

Me, I'll be the guy in the middle - looking up at the assholes in the reserved seating and laughing because they think they're better than me; looking down at the bums and telling them to fuck off and die when they ask me for the quarter. At least we'll all be together, under one roof, throwing our money away and getting hammered. God what a beautiful thing.

Posted 2:07pm
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March 28th 2007

Please don't get voted off, because otherwise I wasted $20 on my 'I'm a fanjaya' T-shirt

- All I can say is that I was never more resolute in my quest than when I saw Sanjaya's faux-hawk. And now people are saying that it will ruin the show if he wins! This couldn't be going better. And I think all the attention is starting to go to his head. Its obvious that the judges are irked that he's still around and know that he's mostly being kept around as a joke. And my guess is he either A.) is completely aware he's a joke and has decided to be as out there as possible or B.) is completely unaware and actually thinks he's moving on based on merit. Either one is fine with me. The singing is clearly going to continue to suck, and that's what keeps me watchin'. Actually, were he to get voted off I could stop thinking about this crap and that would work for me as well.

- I'm sure by now Patera, you've confirmed that you were right, and I was way off thinking of 'Triping on a Hole in a Paper Heart.' I readily admit my hip-hop deficiencies.

- Here's a thousand word piece on how Geddy Lee really likes fantasy baseball. Just, why?

- Stop the press! This is Sanjaya's sister? How did I not know about this? That's it. I'm done for the day.

Posted 1:59pm
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March 27th 2007

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

- Spoon currently has a place in my heart that is normally reserved for Death Cab and Maritime (don't tell Ben or Davey). Which is why this post gave me goosebumps and then a boner. First, we get specs on the new album, and then, we scroll down to see the they will be playing the 2007 Detroit Cityfest! So I will be spending July 4th watching Spoon. For free. Suck on that. Oh and btw, the fact that Britt Daniel wrote a song called 'Black Like Me' may make it my favorite song title since !!!'s 'Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard'.

- I watched United 93 last night. I was literally shaking at the end of it. Paul Greengrass somehow found a way to show what happened with complete dispassion and yet I was in tears. Powerful stuff. I've always said that kids of a certain age should be forced to watch Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List. I'm officially adding this to that list.

- Al Gore told me I should replace my lightbulbs with compact fluorescents, so I've begun to do so. I didn't realize how much sense it actually makes. Read this and follow the man who invented the internets. P.S., sorry I didn't vote for you.

- I bought this shirt because A.) It was on sale and B.) Its true.

- Don't forget to vote for Sanjaya tonight. Seriously. I'll be watching. And laughing.

Posted 9:30am
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March 26th 2007

Melancholie and the Infinite Sadness

As breakups go, I'm no expert. As the second longest relationship of my adult life comes to a close, I struggle to piece together what are the similarities and what are the idiosyncrasies of my experiences. Both in and of themselves and to the populace as a whole.

Obviously I've been told similar things over and over again by several women that are flaws in my character. These are things that would likely be of no surprise to anyone who knows me (other than to say that not one of them has ever explicitly been booze). And of course there's the consistency of sadness and being pissed at the other person and even more so at myself.

I realize there's certain cliché things everyone goes through. But being my closed off yet sycophantic self, I have no clue how universal my experiences are. I don't know if everyone feels the failure and regret I tend to as soon as I walk away. Despite my litany of reasons for choosing to be alone, I wonder if I made the right decision and spend hours wondering if people think I'm an idiot or are saying 'thank God' behind my back. Does everyone have a pattern of protracted breakups where the relationship continues in some bizarre fashion after you both agree there's no going back?

I do know I feel shitty. I think Ayesha is wonderful and likely deserves better than an aging drunken hipster such as myself. But I'm a better person for having known her. And I feel like maybe next time things will be better (assuming there's still a market out there for what I'm selling). And who knows, with my history, maybe I'll come crawling back and she'll get drunk and be convinced. Or maybe Ayesha and those before her are right and I was built to be alone. I ask those nodding their heads as they read that to keep it to themselves.

Posted 12:46am
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March 23rd 2007

Get your filthy hands off my intellectual property

A google search of "Fucked-up Boo Butt®" returns no results (not even my site - I'm working on that). My lawyer confirms that this fact gives me the complete right to claim the ®. Or ©. We're working on that as well. Assume I have both. It made me wonder about other things I've claimed ®, ©, or ™ on the bloggy blog. This is what I found:

King Shit of Fuck Mountain © - An obvious reference to the venerable Mr. Show. However, I have deemed that my unique use of the term and the idea of proclaiming one person KSoFM at any one time to be my intellectual property. For those who've never seen the origin sketch, I present it to you now through the magic of youtube:

Circle of Shame © - This unfortunately happened so long ago that I can't remember the originator of the phrase. It could of been me is the point here. There's references to lots of other circles of shame on the internet, but I claim it in reference to drunken nudity that takes place in any semi-round format. So if you're participating in such things, you owe me money. Or at least a chance to watch.

Ann Arbor Tippy Cup All-Stars © - All right, the Tippy Cup All-Stars have been the subject of much heated derision over the years. Who's an All-Star, who's an honorary All-star, who's an original All-star? I'm no Solomon and won't pretend to settle all disputes on the matter here and now. Other than to say I *think* I was the first to use the phrase and retain copyright either way. So suck it.

At the end of the day, I feel pretty good about the fact that Fucked-up Boo Butt® and Ann Arbor Tippy Cup All-Stars © aren't found anywhere on the interweb except for right here at tbaggervance.com. Now if I can only get them to come up in a google search. Eh, its Friday, I'll likely get drunk instead.

Posted 2:36pm
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March 22nd 2007

The plight of the fucked-up boo butt®

We've all been there. It starts with an empty stomach and a phone call that says 'Let's go out for a drink.' For some strange reason, the booze is particularly tasty. So tasty that maybe you start to order doubles. Then maybe its a shot or two. Or maybe none of the preceding happened. Maybe there was just evil in the air that night and some bizarre set of circumstances led you to being that which you fear most - the fucked up boo butt®.

Now I'm not talking about those nights when you 'had a little too much to drink' - that time you tripped and fell in front of everyone, or even when you gave that questionable looking person of the opposite sex your phone number. Hell I don't even mean that time you made out with that girl who weighed more than you did while her friends pointed and laughed. I'm talking fucked-up boo butt®.

The fucked-up boo butt® is the girl at the end of the bar with three unattractive guys all rubbing her back in hopes that her drunk ass randomly chooses them to take her home. Its the dude with his head on the table and dried puke on his collar - the one that the bartender tells his buddies 'If he doesn't wake up, he's outta here.' Its the people doing things they won't remember and will be ashamed of. And their friends are either no where to be seen or are seen standing not far away, pointing and laughing.

This will come as no surprise, but I've been the boo-butt and I've been the bad friend pointing and laughing. Let's face it, when you're a certain age, its almost expected you get boo butt once in a while, and that when you are, you're the entertainment for the evening. But most of the time these days, especially with the ladies, I try to intervene when possible to keep things from attaining fucked-up boo butt® status. And in those moments I've noticed that there are two kinds of boo butts - those who want you to save them from themselves and those that want to fight you tooth and nail. If its a guy fighting you, I have no qualms about letting him continuing on the path that he's on that will eventually require stitches or penicillin. But with the females, I'm compelled to push back.

Which, I was reminded of last night, is never fun. Helping people who clearly need it but don't want it is never easy. When they've drank their body weight in booze its damn near impossible. So my advice to you, dear reader, is next time you turn 30, or win your bowling league or get dumped by your girlfriend and you feel that fucked-up boo butt® aura start to permeate from your pores, grab a buddy, and be cooperative. Because getting a tattoo removed that reads 'I love sweaty man meat' is expensive.

Posted 3:09pm
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March 21st, 2007

Malakai! Malakar! WTF is wrong with me?

A quick Idol update before we move on to more standard things. So I tuned in for about the second hour last night. Thankfully, I got see my man boy reason-for-watching Sanjaya. Man is he awful. Its about what I expected. Some of the people I saw were all right, others pretty awful. I guarantee Monday night karaoke at the Blind Pig circa 2003 had more talent and was more entertaining. But they did get their hooks into me. I will be watching the results show tonight, and if things go my and Sanjaya's way, I'll be watching next week. Because yes, I want to see if my vote counts.

- Back in the mid-1990's, when computers were giant, slow and beige, I played a lot of a game called You Don't Know Jack. It was a snarky trivia game hosted by some asshole, so, you know, right up my alley. Plus given the technology at the time, it was pretty advanced. Anyway I hadn't thought about it in years - until yesterday I saw that YDKJ is back and online. Apparently you can play new 'episodes' of the game online and at your leisure. I haven't tried to do so yet, but if its as good as I remember, its worth checking out.

Posted 10:53am
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March 20th, 2007

I'm still pissed that I know who Justin Guarini is

I've seen about 20 total minutes of Survivor in my lifetime. I don't watch America's Next Top Model, I could care less about The Amazing Race and I sure as shit wouldn't sit through an episode of Fear Factor. I may have watched the first few seasons of The Real World (true story!) back in the day, but now you won't find me watching MTV unless I'm sleeping off a hangover on Stov or Dawn's couch, or Ayesha is over. So yeah, I'm not real big into 'reality' TV.

But that could change starting right now. Apparently, one of the current American Idol contestants is pretty wretched. And there's a movement afoot to crown him as the next American Idol. His name is Sanjaya and apparently he's kind of an effeminate, tone deaf idiot. Just look at him - I want to punch him in the face. FINALLY! I reason to watch - and dare I say, vote?

This is (to my knowledge) a movement started by votefortheworst.com and given momentum by Howard Stern. And I have to say I am on board. I've always heard that the freaks coming out to audition early in the show were the best part about Idol, but that never really interested me. Honestly, how different can it be than bad, drunken karaoke? And once they whittle it down, none of these cats and kittens are doing any music that I could give a flying fuck about. So where's the incentive for a cynical, snarky, music snob to watch this claptrap? Give the rest of America exactly what they don't want - Sanjaya.

So tonight I'll be tuning in and attempting to sit through this bullshit. I hope this kid is as laughably bad tonight as he is right now in my head. I hope that I am so moved that I pick up my phone and cast my vote for Sanjaya. I hope that he makes it, week after week, and people who love the show are outraged (especially this girl). Because that's funny to me. Hello. My name is Tyler Brubaker, and I'm an asshole.

Posted 10:36am
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March 18th, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: St. Patrick's Day weekend edition

The Good:
- Amaker is gone daddy gone. In a weekend where Michigan and basketball weren't to be uttered in the same breath, we got the news we had all been hoping for but feared would never come. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, because he was a class guy all the way, who did everything right off the court. Hopefully the next guy is half as good at that stuff. Oh yeah, and can like, coach and stuff.

The Bad:
- It was close to 4pm before I got to a bar on Saturday. How did this happen? Short version: I hitched my fortunes to the wrong horse. As a newly single cat, I forgot the old axiom about third wheels and whatnot. Standing in the kitchen while a couple argues over the dog does not a happy St. Pats day make.

The Ugly:
- I'm probably navigating the minefield of who is what to whom in this whole relationship breakup thing about as well as you imagine. I'd already be the dude in the video for One if the metaphor was reality. Maybe it'll get better. Maybe I have a lot of laying in bed, drunk, arguing over things that I screwed up. Bets?

The rest of the weekend is fairly haze-y. I would like to say, in closing, that "What's funny about a Rueben? Nothing. So just eat it." and, of course, that 'I think Kenny Rogers has the AIDS." Erin go bragh.

Posted 11:24am
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March 15th, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do. Apparently.

So I got dumped last night. Something about being an old, selfish, smoky asshole. OK, she didn't actually say that but we're all thinking it, so watches synchronized and whatnot. It was actually the least acrimonious dumpage I've ever been privy to, as on some level, we're apparently still seeing each other.

Now as this happened about 8 hours ago (and of course I was drunk at the time) who knows how true any of this is; but as it stands, the only thing that's supposed to change is she's not 'officially' my girlfriend anymore. So anyone prepping 'I never liked her anyway' style statements of support, shelve 'em. She still wants to see me. She still wants to go out together. But now we can see other people? I'm still not sure what any of this means.

In an optimistic world, I get all the benefits of having a girlfriend that I've enjoyed these last six months without the pressure and hassle of being a couple. Or something like that. We all know I don't live in any world described as optimistic. Candide I am not. I got dumped. Bring on the booze and the Death Cab. Thankfully I have shamrocks and basketball to keep me company the next few days. I'll do my best to return to your regularly scheduled snarkiness ASAP.

Posted 9:15am
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March 14th, 2007

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

Its dirty, stinky, expensive and will give you cancer. Its also one of the most enjoyable things God has put on this earth. No, not sex - despite what your church official may have told you, sex will not give you cancer. I'm of course talking about the mother of all legal vices - smoking.

I've spent the last 18 months in slugfest with our lady nicotine. I laughed in its face for 6 months while it apparently lay in wait for its opportunity. A year after it got its chance, its pretty much got me back its death grip once again. For the moment I guess I'm OK with it. I really have no choice but to be. I get a lot of disappointed looks, but as a smoker I'm use to that. Its part of the allure.

All smokers know that we're an endangered species. One by one state's are banning smoke from everyplace but your car an your living room. More and more people are defecting. There's a dwindling number of us degenerates left. We huddle together outside the one exit of stadiums where they allow you to light up. We blow smoke in the direction of people who make faces at us in bars. They places that we can celebrate our favorite carcinogen are few and far between.

But the one place I thought that would always stand as a bastion of thick smoky haze has just gotten a leg knocked out from underneath it. I'm talking about the casino. The one place on earth where every legal and illegal vice get together and mingle in a sweet sweet cocktail of sinful goodness. Now they're going smoke-free too. What is the world coming to? Why can't bars and casinos make up their own minds as to how they let their patrons kill themselves? I tell you what, its enough to make a guy think about quitting.

Posted 2:46pm
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March 13th, 2007

No such thing as too much of a good thing

St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday. It also happens to be day three of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament. When did this start happening? Have St. Pats and the Tourney always coincided? Why is this surprising to me? Am I the only one? There's nothing quit like a Saturday St. Pats. Last year, I was in the Vegas for a Friday St. Pats that took place on day two of the tourney. That was a bit of all right as well. But Saturday Pattys? My liver just flinched. Here's your TWIB (This Week in Baggervance) notes:

- Ted Leo is the leftiest liberal vegan you'd ever want to meet. He's also one of the punk rockin'-ist indie rockers around. He will rock your face. Check him out on this AOL Music thing-y. Who knew AOL still existed? I did not.

- I'm a comic book nerd. I still go every week to the comic book store and pick up the two or three titles I still bother to read. Except last week I got busy so I didn't make it to the store on Wednesday (the day new books come out). Well turns out that it happened to be the day that Captain America died. And now I don't have a copy of that issue. And its going to be worth a fortune. Fuck. I don't know whether to me more pissed at the fact that I don't have a copy or that I actually care about this.

- Friday I get to meet Dave Eggers. He wrote a book many years ago called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It was an autobiography about young people raising children and parents dying - two thing I have experience with, so I kinda got into it. In the intervening years he's become one of my favorite authors, which means I get to check another hero off my list. Sometimes I feel stupidly lucky.

- Last night I showed Siddhartha this video of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog heating on Star Wars nerds. He almost peed his pants. If you have never seen it, I recommend you watch it immediately. Caution: the crotch of your pants may become wet.

- I never thought much of Tracy Morgan. He was on SNL long after I stopped watching, and the little I had seen of him was unimpressive at best. Then I started watching 30 Rock and started to change my mind. Then there's this trainwreck. I now consider him either a comic genius or just someone I really want to party with.

Posted 10:20am
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March 9th, 2007

At least it doesn't say 'Pearl Jam 4eva'

When I was 17 I got my first tattoo. I realize it may be hard to tell, but that's it on the right. The reason I got the tattoo was as standard as any 17 year old who's ever gotten inked. (Keep in mind that this was 1993, so it's not as cliché as its become in the intervening 14 years.) The reason for where I got the tattoo was far more practical. It resides on the instep of my left foot - a place where a 17 year old can be relatively sure that his mother will never see it. As for what it is, well I always thought that it was just a small, simple design that was picked on the spur of the moment that made me laugh. Its certainly not cool or tough. But apparently, its a much more symbolic icon than I initially intended.

The other night as I sit on my couch watching TV with the sig. oth., she looks down at my foot propped up on opposite knee, and opines "That stupid little smile pretty much sums up your life." I paused and thought about the fact that someone thinks that a cross eyed smiley face with its tongue sticking out encapsulates me. And then I laughed, because in a universe that's completely trite, if someone would have asked either the 17 y.o. me or the 31 y.o. me what I want out of life, I might be inclined to cross my eyes and stick my tongue out. I am an accidental genius. Or a master justifier. Take your pick.

Later I got a Michigan 'M' on my back shoulder (photo not available). And when I think about that tattoo in conjunction with the stupid little smiley face, I feel like maybe I am summed up by my tattoos. Which I guess is better than feeling like either were a mistake. But all this tattoo talk has me itching for another. With all this new found insight, the pressure is really on for it to be important and amazing. How can I incorporate the Buddha and music and drinking into one perfect tat? The search is on...

Posted 11:01am
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March 8th, 2007

Do these shorts make my butt look fat?

We don't do a whole lot fashion commenting here at the ol' bloggy blog, and depending on your proclivities, not near enough sports commentary. Here's a twofer that also mocks Ohio State, which is something we do a lot of.

Double G (of the Connecticut Double G's) heads upped me to Nike unveiling its new mullet-tastic uniform design this week. They're very business up top, party down below. I understand going to a little tighter fitting jerseys in football - where you're likely to get held and want to eliminate things for a linebacker to grab hold of and throw you down by. But these are laughably bad.

The article mentions that Nike listened to player's requests when designing these atrocities that somehow make me think I'm at a gay Las Vegas revue show. It also makes me think of the Simpsons episode where Homer designed his dream car.

And the there's tOSU. Nike 'personalized' each team's unis to incorporate some of the proud history and tradition of each individual university. Nods to uniforms and logos of old, inclusion of past players names on the unis - you know, classy stuff that's kinda cool and makes you remember the rich heritage of your school's program. What does tOSU decide to include in their uniform's 'personalization'? Lebron James' logo. Because remember when Lebron took tOSU to the final four? Me neither. I do remember when he said he would have gone to tOSU if he hadn't gone straight to the NBA - which is why they included the logo. What a bunch of jackasses.

Posted 9:44am
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March 6th, 2007

T-minus 72 hours until my life is complete

After months of speculation and waiting, the day is finally (almost) here. Chipotle's grand opening is this Friday, March 9th.

Fuck Qdoba. Screw Salsaritas. Shove Pancheros up your ass. The mother of all freshmex burrito places is about to live less than 2 miles from me. I know I've blogged about this before and that even those of you who live in Ann Arbor could probably give two shits. But look how close!

First Mitch's, now this. I tell you, my eating and drinking needs are almost completely taken care of now. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to wipe a tear from my eye and do something about this perma-boner I've had since I saw the grand opening sign.

Posted 3:57pm
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March 5th, 2007

5 innocuous things that have me all pissed off in and around the present moment

1. Michigan Basketball
I realize this shouldn't be anything new to me. How can one be disappointed in results so amazingly consistent?
But the thing is, we had that game WON. Then we pissed it away. Then we couldn't take it back. Four seniors who leave a legacy of nothing other than abject failure. I feel like a battered wife. Shit never changes.

2. Vodka-Off
Some friends had a vodka tasting party Saturday night. I was given 5 vodkas to rank in order by taste and then label as to which brand I thought they were. I somehow juxtaposed Skyy and Stoli, giving me a 3 for 5 on round one. Round two had only three vodkas to rank and name, providing me with an easy 3 for 3 run. But when I found out that someone else had only missed one all night in the same manner I had, it was time for a vodka-off. Unfortunately, after eight shots the tastebuds were not their normal, acute selves. Both my competition and I missed all 4 in the vodka-off. Damn you Stoli and Skyy, so close to retiring perfect...

3. Sky Blue Sky
The new Wilco album is floating in the ether, a full two months before its scheduled release date. And frankly, its not the quintessential piece of American rock and roll that I had hoped for. Sure its good to great (I've only listened to it once this morning) but I had fingers crossed that it would be another Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Instead I'm stuck with just another great Wilco record. Bastards.

4. The Departed
Don't get me wrong - good movie. Classic Scorsese. But this is the movie he's going to be remembered as winning for? I guess in the end it doesn't matter. Its all sort of bullshit anyway. But I just saw this movie recently (i.e. after it won best pic/director) and I was like 'Wow. That was pretty good. Sure as hell isn't Goodfellas, but pretty good.' So I guess it sticks in my craw that this is his one shining moment. But as an aside, Alec Baldwin rocks the fucking house. Seriously. I can't believe it either. Between that movie and 30 Rock, he's approaching King Shit of Fuck Mountain© territory.

5. The Hamtramck Blowout
It appears I won't be going this year. Forces have conspired against me - both seen and unseen - and I'm going to miss what is my absolute favorite yearly event. It makes baby Jesus cry.

Posted 11:17am
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March 3rd, 2007

Zero sum game

Its been 24 hours of wins and losses. The rundown:

Win: Seeing Kevin Smith
Seeing Clerks in 1994 helped change the way I thought about film. Insanely vulgar for its time, Clerks was my first foray into watching low budget, guerilla filmmaking. It taught me that character driven films that feature little more than people talking in the trompe l'oeil fashion that we all like to think we sound like were a viable form of entertainment. So I jumped at the chance to see its director do a 3 hour Q & A. He was insightful, entertaining and most of all vulgar and hilarious. I almost felt bad for the four 70+ year old women who got up and walked out 20 minutes into his second diatribe. Almost.

Loss: Brubaker's Pub
Last time I was in the Akron area (which is where we had driven to see Smith last night) I saw a sign for Brubaker's Pub. For reason's passing understanding, I didn't stop then. I was determined to rectify that last night. The mission: to grab a Brubaker's Pub T-Shirt and wear it proudly. We pulled into the parking lot of the Pub after the show and were relieved to find that it was fairly worthy of its proud moniker. Unfortunately, they didn't have any T-shirts, leaving me with only this as a souvenir:

Loss: Seeing the Police
Despite getting back into town after 2am last night, I rolled out of bed at 10am this morning in an attempt to procure tickets to a life-long dream of mine: Seeing the Police. After waiting patiently and hitting 'refresh' on my browser 50 times, I finally selected the lowest seat price ($52.50) and clicked 'find seats' When they came back with 2 available, I nearly shat myself. Luckily I didn't waste the excitement, because they were for seats BEHIND the stage. I told Sting to take his lute and shove it up his stupid ass. I had a backup plan to enlightenment.

Win: Seeing Ben Gibbard
Fortunately, tickets to see Ben Gibbard solo at the Majestic went on sale at the same time. I managed to snag 2 general admin ducats for a mere $20 each (plus $15 ticketmaster anal raping charge). So while I may never get to see Sting and Stewart attempt to tolerate each other for 2 hours from 500 yards away, I do get to get up close and personal with my second biggest man crush of all time. I crawled back into bed a very happy emo boy.

Posted 3:08pm
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February 28th, 2007

Know your enemy

If there's two things I never really cared that much about, they're basketball and Michigan State. Maybe its because I never played basketball and have always just been a little pissed off that I never had the coordination or body control to do so. Maybe its because you can only care about so much in your life, and most of what I have that's allocated to sports goes into Michigan football. And as for Michigan State, what was there to care about? Growing up in Ohio, the Buckeyes were the enemy. Those damn golden domers were even number 2. State was just a pesky little brother who landed a lucky punch once every half dozen years or so. Annoying sure, but mostly you pitied them.

And of course when I said never in the opening line I meant until a few years ago. Somehow, around the turn of the century, I started going to basketball games with Markie C. Before I knew it, I was a season ticket holder spending waaaay too much time talking about how big Courtney Sims' vagina is. And with my new found interest in basketball came a hatred for Michigan State that burned with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

Thankfully, its a hatred that burns about twice a year. Most of the time I still think of Sparty as that pesky little brother, doomed to live in big bro's shadow for eternity. I'll even (for the most part) step aside of arguments where Spartans chastise Wolverines for being elitist and Wolverines sing back 'If you can't get into college, go to State...' But when we meet on the basketball court, I really want to punch each and every one of them in their bitch faces.

Especially like last night, when the game is at Crisler Arena. The state of Michigan's basketball program being what it is, the arena is filled with way too many Spartys. There's times when you feel like you're at the Jack. 'Go green, go white' spins through my head making me dizzy and disoriented. And that's when my fists clench and I start to pray that Dion finds his jumper and for once - just once - Courtney steps up and acts like a man. Because sending that angry midget Tom Izzo back to ELansing knowing he's not king shit of fuck mountain is the only thing can calm my Hulk-like rage.

Thankfully, we won going away last night. I think if we went back to the days when State beat us twice a year in basketball whilst I was dating a Sparty, I may have had to kill myself. Now its all over and things can go back to their natural order. No more mentions of 'Breslin East' or cries of 'Who runs this state?' I can ironically give all MSU fans a thumbs up and tell them 'Sparty on,' all the while laughing in my own head. All is right with the world.

Posted 10:27am
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February 27th, 2007

Humpty Dumpty and shit hitting the fan

I was looking forward, as Dave Attell says, 'Strippers and midgets and balloons - all types of fun imaginable' this last weekend. What I got Saturday night was something much different. Thankfully, I was just an innocent bystander for once and not the center of concern/attention.

It started off like any other booze filled Saturday. I headed up to the bar in the afternoon to get drunk and watch some Michigan basketball (or the approximation thereof that passes for Michigan hoops these days) After several hours of bball, beer and photohunt, it was time for a quick nap before heading up to Mitch's an hour and a half later. With Michigan spring break in full swing it figured to be a quiet night. Of course it turned out to anything but.

First there was 'the fight'. Some large, quiet looking guy came up to the bar and told the bartender 'I just wanted to let you know that there's gonna be a fight in the pool room. Can I have four shots of jaeger?' Turns out the staff was already on top of it. It was a ridiculous squabble over cue chalk (seriously) But that wasn't the end of it.

Now I didn't see any of this, but by all accounts, this is (basically) what happened. Some dude who pissed off some other dude grabbed a hockey stick off of the wall and broke it in half over the back of the dude's head. People were told to leave, some left of their own accord. Things were a little hectic, but the worst seemed to be contained and over. That's when the dude ran in yelling 'Fucking call 911'.

Turns out the man mountain who warned the bartender about the fight and bought the shots fell a good 25 feet from the top of Mitch's entrance balcony to the cement floor below. By the time I got out there to see what the fuss was about he looked like this:

Two ambulances, a fire truck and several cop cars later, he was boarded and taken away. I assume/hope he'll be all right.

Things basically shut down after that. A dude falling almost to his death can really take the air out of a room. Of course there was still several hours of recapping and sussing out of details, but that's just a given. I guess the evening turned out to be a memorable one. It wasn't strippers, midgets and balloons, but exciting and drama filled nonetheless. Especially since I wasn't the one who took the fall this time...

Posted 2:43pm
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February 23rd, 2007

Celebrating Bachelorfest 2007

Its official. I am unencumbered. Starting tomorrow, no girlfriend or progeny for four straight days. Guess what I'll be doing?

Truth is, the answer is a lot more blah than I'd like to admit. Or at least, a lot less special. I anticipate seeing some movies and reading some comic books that I always swear I'm going to get around to but never do. The rest of the time will be spent drinking. If you see me passed out outside of the Landing Strip at 3am tomorrow, you'll know I was lying. If you see me stumbling out of Mitch's at 4:30, well like I said, not that special, but still awesome.

As I told Ayesha, the first 36 hours or so will be like I've hopped on a plane and managed the world's cheapest vacation. Then at some point on Sunday, when everybody else is in the midst of their weekly routine and I can't gather the troops to get drunk and do something stupid, I'll long for my loved ones to come home and be my dancing monkeys. Because damnit if I don't love my life and enjoy the daily, simple pleasures it provides. Thankfully, I've still got the next 18 hours or so to enjoy Sid's foray into tournament video gaming and dinner and a movie with my s.o. Nothing like soaking it all in before heading out into the weary abyss of a rock star-esque bender. Viva la booze!

Posted 2:43pm
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February 22nd, 2007

Please, please, please do not go (oh-oh)

This may be it. It'll break my heart if its true, but all good things must end. I can feel the heroin like withdrawals coming already, and Veronica Mars is no methadone. I'm of course referring to the end of The O.C. and the hole its about to leave in my life.

My obsession with teenage melodrama probably started with the show Fifteen on Nickelodeon. It was BAD junior high melodrama. Worse, it was bad Canadian melodrama. It made Degrassi look like a Merchant Ivory production. But it became a staple of my Sunday morning TV viewing. It was where I learned to straddle the line of watching something laughably bad while still caring about what happened to the characters on the show.

Then came the seminal Beverly Hills, 90210. In some ways, 90210 will always be king. It came along at the perfect time, as the characters on the show were in high school at the same time I was (I of course acknowledge the disparity that the actors playing the teenagers were at least in their mid-twenties). And it was groundbreaking in its hey day. It dealt with drinking and sex and all the consequences that came with those evils (granted, in a sometimes almost Puritanical way - no one ever drank and drive without crashing their corvette) But nonetheless, Tori Spelling b-stories aside, 90210 brought teenage melodrama to the masses like none before it. And it gave me another full-fledged addiction to yet another vice.

Of course 90210 hung on too long. Thankfully by the time it was in major decline Dawson's Creek came into my life. And wouldn't you know it, but I had college roommates who had the same 15 year old girl taste that I had developed. Dawson's became a communal experience, bracketed by darts and video games and part of a weekly routine involving 40's of bad beer and enough cigarettes to choke a horse. Dawson's stood on the shoulders of 90210 w/o really advancing the formula. By the end, it was basically a star vehicle for the future Mrs. Scientology. But still, Dawson's signaled a move towards character based melodrama rather than the strictly soap opera style plots that 90210 centered around. Again, it hung on too long, but it fed the addiction in a way that truly satisfied.

Which brings us to The O.C. On The O.C. you could drink and not go into a coma (Marissa notwithstanding) The geeks didn't become popular over time. It was snarky, self-referential, and was usually more intent on being itself than responding to what was going on around it. But that was when it was at its best. It of course succumbed to overwrought plotting and clichéd, forced paradigms like those before it. But when it stuck to the idiosyncrasies of its characters and the dynamics of their interactions, it was melodrama at its best - which of course means it transcended melodramatic status and became actual quality programming.

So after tonight, The O.C. is no more. I fear that nothing may be able to quench my thirst for this unique brand of show. I fear I'm too old to care about the problems of rich high school teens played by people who were in college the same time as I was. Chances are I'll outgrow this crap like Christopher Robin did Pooh. But maybe, just maybe, there's another Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen around the corner. What else am I going to talk about to the college girls at the bar?

Posted 1:22pm
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February 21st, 2007

Don't be gay!

I always wondered why I was prone to watching Logo with the sound off whenever I listed to Wilco. Now I know. Turns out these bands will make you gay. I actually wasn't going to mention the site, because its not run by average overzealous Christian righters (like I hoped) but rather the 'God Hates Fags' people - who anyone who's ever encountered agrees are crazy. But there's so much to comment on here.

My personal favorite is the (really gay) comment next Elton John's name. I mean, seriously? Its like saying I really like booze. Also, Cindy Lauper (who wrote my favorite female masturbation song 'She Bop') is under safe bands. Oh yeah, and it has a quote about Oscar Wilde that refers to him as a 'reformed homosexual' I wonder how reformed a guy is when his last words are purported to be 'Either those curtains go or I do.' If Oscar Wilde wasn't gay, then I don't drink.

OK, I keep going back to the site as I type and this page is worth the logo alone. It totally reminds me of this classic Mr. Show sketch:

 

So, yeah, don't be gay. Forget all that Jesus 'love thy neighbor' stuff. Get out there and cast the first stone.

Posted 2:00pm
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February 20th, 2007

25 cent beers jump the shark

Polar bears. They're beloved the world over by both the Coca-Cola Company and global warming alarmist hippies like Al Gore. Its also a generic nomenclature for any event that takes place in the cold. My first foray into the polar bear experience involved hurling my body into the Maumee River in early March about 13 years ago. Not one of my smarter moments. It took about three weeks for my testicles to descend back to their normal position. After that, I swore off attempts to prove my manhood by enduring freezing temperatures. But of course, with the passage of enough time and the inclusion of alcohol, it was time to attempt another, less severe, 'polar bear' event yesterday.

Recently some friends and I joined something called 'The Mug Club' at local microbrewery Grizzly Peak. The basic lowdown is that you pay $60 for a lifetime membership, which entitles you to discounted drinks every day, as well as special members-only events throughout the year. We figured it'd pay for itself within a month, and give us a few extra reasons to go out and drink (which is always nice). The first extra reason was yesterday's 'Polar Bear' event. The premise is a simple one - 25 cent beers from 4 to 8 if you drink them outside. It was an event tailor made for a cheap alcoholic such as myself.

So I agreed to meet some friends and brave the cold in an attempt to get drunk for under $2. Things started off well enough. We showed up, grabbed some prime seating and started to throw back pints. The temperature hovered around 20 degrees and between some extra insulation and the warming effects of alcohol, all was right with the world. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last. After about pint #3, our server disappeared. We tried to flag someone down. We grabbed people to go check on our order. After about 30 minutes of people at our table without drink, it was time for Grizzly Peak to fuck off. I peeled two frozen ones out of my pocket and threw them on the table in disgust. Because sitting outside in the freezing cold without beer is just stupid. And at some point, a 25 cent beer isn't even worth it.

Posted 10:58am
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February 19th, 2007

Prioritizing the arbitrary

Its fucked up what we decide to care about. People who drive SUV's recycle their newspapers. Parents shield their children from sex but expose them to massive amounts of violence. I complain about money but will throw it around like my last name is Rockefeller at the bar on a Friday night. Sometimes we view things as zero-sum and justify one belief or action by another. Sometimes we care when its easy or convenient and shed that caring when its difficult. And sometimes, certain things really matter more than others for reasons passing understanding to those around us.

Unfortunately, none of us is immune to this. I guess we shouldn't be. We'd be paralyzed if every action and decision we made was of paramount importance. We choose to make certain things important (hopefully those that are under our control) and define our happiness and self-satisfaction by how well those choices play out in our day to day life. When it comes to driving a hybrid car, its a feel good everyday affair. When it comes to your alma matter's football team, it can be a rollercoaster ride - leaving you riding high after a big win and devastated after a tough loss. When it comes to those we love, well that just makes your gas mileage and your bowl record sound silly.

We all know that caring about people is a tricky business, as when things are good your life is transcendent, and when your loved ones disappoint - well that's the other side of the coin isn't it? When your kid brings home all A's you swell with pride. When they forget to take out the garbage you can find yourself yelling at the same person you doted on mere hours earlier. And you often know in the middle of your 'take our garbage' tirade that its not nearly important as the success they had in school. But that doesn't stop you from caring about the latter. When it comes to our significant others, it gets even trickier. Because in your mind, adults should know better. Your S.O. makes decisions and has at least an inkling of the consequences when the decision is made. Which means when they upset you, they knew they were going to upset, making the pain that much more wince inducing. Because we all care about different things, and when we can't control those things, we're forced to live with the consequences. One of these days I'll completely wrap my head around que sera sera.

Posted 10:15am
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February 16th, 2007

You don't even want to know what you'll have to do for a raise...

Its finally happening. I'm going to be someone's boss. This is either laugh out loud funny, mind numbingly scary, or just merely a case of one more person in this world failing upward. Now let me say, for the record, that which follows is merely for entertainment purposes only. I intend to take my new responsibilities very seriously and will conduct myself with the appropriate candor. Now that my ass is covered, the following is a sampling of my 48 point questionnaire I intend on grilling my applicants with:

Question 3: In your opinion, what night of the week offers the best special at Mitchs?

Question 7b: OTHER than Stephen Malkmus, which musical persona's head would you like to see posted on a pike at the edge of town as a warning?

Question 13a: What are your views on downloading copyrighted material off of the internet illegally?
Question 13b: Do you have friends or family in law enforcement?

Question 27a: Do you know any hot single girls?
Question 27b: If yes, are they creeped out by dudes over 30?
Question 27c: If no, what are their phone numbers?

Question 31: If you were given a choice between watching a 48 hour marathon of the movie Armageddon on TNT, or burning yourself on the genitals with lit cigarettes until you passed out, how long would it take you to choose B?

Question 35: Finish the following TMBG lyric:
All the girls in Constantinople live in Istanbul not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople she'll be waiting in __________?

Question 41: (If applicant is female) What is your personal attire like during warmer months?
(If applicant is male) Are you above kissing your bosses ass by buying him drinks, were you to randomly run into him at a local pub or eatery?

Question 44: Name the top three shows you saw at the Blind Pig in the past 18 months.

Question 47: List, in your opinion, the top three grammatical AND top three factual errors in The DaVinci Code.

Question 48: Have you used a computer before?

Posted 1:50pm
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February 15th, 2007

Paging Mr. Jack MeHoffer

- I'm always kinda fascinated by stuff like this. At howmanyofme.com you can get an estimate of just how many people in the United States share your name. (For the record, there's 5 Tyler Brubaker's in U.S. and A.) But what I really found fascinating was their 'Random Famous Person' button. Jorge Julio? Eric Bress? Lee Van Cleef? (OK, the last one is pretty fucking bad ass). Who went through and tagged these people as celebrities? I'm guessing someone who happens to be friends with both Eric Bress and Jorge Julio who happens to love The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

- I never cared much for Carlos Mencia. I always thought his shtick was kinda recycled and hacky. I guess I had no idea how right I was. Turns out Carlos (or Ned, according to his birth certificate) steals his material. Joe Rogan (who was actually funny in News Radio before cashing in to host Fear Factor) is a tad hot and bothered by it. They had it out on stage at The Comedy Store last week. Its all detailed and linked up over at one of my favorite blogs, Pulp Culture.

Posted 10:33am
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February 14th, 2007

Pleasing no one, none of the time

I'm no fan of arbitrary holidays. I'll use anything as an excuse to drink of course, but other than that and days off of work, I can take or leave holidays. But that's just me. I'm a cynical, snarky bastard who thinks everything is stupid. But on Valentines Day, I feel like a man of the people - because no one likes Valentines Day.

Single people loathe those in a relationship who have someone to share the day with, because singles are constantly being reminded by advertising and friends that they are in fact single. Coupled folks get to fret over exactly how they're supposed to express their affection on the most arbitrary of days - both men and women worrying about the same thing - that the guy is going to screw things up. The truth is, the singles should realize that Feb. 14 is one of the more annoying times to be coupled, and the coupled should remember that stuff done out of the blue usually means more than stepping up on a day commandeered by those who want to sell flowers and chocolates.

But as this is the first time in a long time I have someone to celebrate the day with, I going to throw away the cynicism and the snarky comments at the end, and say that love is a beautiful thing. We should all spend more time appreciating it when we have it - whether its the middle of February or not. Now throw on the Al Green and get naked with someone. Or yourself - because loving yourself is just as important as loving someone else.

Posted 11:02am
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February 13th, 2007

I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to

I try to be a tolerant person. I realize that most people are coming from a good place, and that sometimes good intentions get masked by over wrought actions. The truth is, most of want what's best; its just that none of us usually agree on the best way to go about getting it. So I try and remain calm when I see people knee-jerk reacting and acting, in my opinion, irrationally. I'm a lot like Jesus in that way. But sometimes, like Jesus, I just say enough is enough - time to bring the thunder and chase the traders and moneylenders out of the temple.

Which is exactly what I thought when I read about this. The headline is about making smoking a litmus test for giving a movie an R rating - making it the equivalent of hard core violence, nudity, and the F bomb. OK. I get it. God forbid kids see anyone smoke. But OK, this affects my life in no tangible way, as I'm over 17 and can see whatever I please. But if you look closely, buried in the piece, it mentions that 60% (60%!) of people surveyed want smoking completely banned from movies.

All I can say is What. The. Fuck? Seriously people, are you that fucking dumb? Trying to make smoking 'uncool' and take it out of the public consciousness is about as plausible as teenage abstinence programs and effective as raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. Its a fact of life - smoking is cool. Spare me your arguments otherwise. Its fire in your hand. It allows you to be aloof and dangerous. Kids will want to do it if for no other reason than adults tell them not to.

And of course, the real tragedy here is that parents will spend time working on this rather than talk to their kids about the real problem. Because its easier to rail against outside factors than to take the time to make sure your kids are intelligent, informed, individuals who are strong and secure enough to rise above peer pressure. Because that's the only way to give your kids a fighting chance against all the shit out there that keeps parents up at night. And when you succeed in raising such a kid and then they go out and make a stupid decision anyway, have their backs. Because kids are sheep, but they're not completely stupid. Forgive them - they know not what they do.

Posted 12:16pm
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February 12th, 2007

Bomb shelters and bowling alleys (and Gordon Sumner)

What's scarier than walking into a bowling alley that looks like a straight cinder block bomb shelter with a nondescript sign that says 'Bowling' out front? Walking in at 10pm on a Saturday and realizing you can't bowl because there's a baby shower going on. I swear to Christ I sometimes feel like the Mason-Dixon line is right on the border between Ohio and Michigan. I mean, when we finally found a bar Saturday night where we could smoke, they were playing "Freebird" when we walked in. But it was good to see Larry and Book'em again. I was telling someone how much I love those guys and how much fun we have hanging out, and they were like 'Then how come you don't see them more?' Its a fair question. One I don't have a good answer for. It somehow makes sense to me though. Of course that being said, I hope to see Book'em again real soon. And Larry, good luck in 'Zona. See ya next time I'm in Vegas.

In other news of note, The Police actually made it through "Roxanne" last night on the Grammys without killing each other. Stereogum has a post up that compares their press photos from now and 25ish years ago. Its only mildly sad and depressing. In any case, they're announcing their tour today at 2pm. If you listen closely, you may hear me scream in abject pleasure if they're playing somewhere close to A2. I've said for years that I'd pay anything to see The Police reunite. Let's hope they don't decide to call me on that and charge $150 a ticket. Of course regardless of where it is or what it costs, I'll be there. Who could pass up an opportunity to hear "So Lonely" for one last time?

Posted 9:22am
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February 9th, 2007

3 things to remember going into the weekend

1. There are two ways to get a nasty hangover. One, of course, is drinking too much. We all learn this one the hard way, and know what's coming everytime we choose to forget it. The other is drinking too many different boozes. They tell you 'Liquor then beer, never fear' in kindergarten. But what they don't tell you is 'Vodka then Miller Lite then PBR then Red Stripe then tequila, you head's in a vice grip 8 hours later' Don't get me started on what we're not teaching our children.

2. Apparently you can live the most trivial, gold digging, fucked-up boo-butt of a life and it won't stop people from speaking of you in hushed, reverent tones upon your death. That is if you've ever had a modicum of fame. My advice is to get your name out there and ingest whatever pill is put in front of you. Live it up people! Jesus and CNN still love you no matter what.

3. People who say shit like 'Don't sweat the small stuff' are fucking stupid. And while I could be talking about any advice that fits into cliché form or is referred to as 'chicken soup for your soul', I'm hear to advocate for small things. As the Lorax spoke for the trees, I speak for the little things. Finding a dollar in an old coat! Enjoying a movie you haven't seen since you were 14! The taste of booze! Punching people in the face who use exclamation points un-ironically! The point, and what I really want to say, is that they just put up the sign for a new Chipotle 3 blocks from my house and it gave me a boner when I saw it, OK? Sheesh.

Posted 2:11pm
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February 7th, 2007

An equal playing field

Friendships are usually based on mutual interests. I know, big insight there Kierkegaard. Stay with me. I have friends I watch sports with. I have friends I go to concerts with. I have friends I sit around and talk politics with. Good friends are those I can count on to do any one of these activities (and myriad more) when we get together. Great friends can do several on the list, often two at a time. Me being me, all of the above usually involve a drink or three. You'll notice, I didn't list 'I have friends I go out drinking with', as that is implied. 99.9% of my friends drink more than, say, you're average American. And last night something made me think that probably, for a lot of people, I'm the 'I have friend(s) I got out drinking with' guy.

Again, I know this isn't revelatory. But I got a call last night from someone far far away who was both shocked and disappointed that I was drunk when she called. She even made a point of noting that she couldn't remember talking to me when we both weren't drunk. Which made me think, this person correlates me with booze. And from the sound of it, its the number one thing associated with me, or at least our particular relationship.

And I know that this is supposed to depress me in some way, or make me want to evaluate how I'm seen by others. Of course, none of that is happening. But the weird thing is that normally, I enjoy talking to the person who called me last night immensely. But this time, she being drunk and I not, it didn't hold the same magic for me. It was a fine 20 minute 'how you been?' sort of thing, but my heart wasn't in it 100% like it normally would have been. So of course as with everything else in life, we're blaming this one on alcohol.

While my relationships may not be strictly booze based, some of them may be booze dependent. I know the knee jerk reaction is to say that 'all of your relationships are booze dependent', but we can't be drunk all of the time, so I dismiss that notion out of hand. However, I think that some friendships need to find that line of best fit when it comes to things like sobriety levels. Otherwise all the mutual interests in the world may not be able to prop up your conversation.

Posted 2:12pm
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February 6th, 2007

Snow Day Shenanigans

There are no two words sweeter to the under 18 set between the months of December and February - snow day. Its a mini vacation; a day for mental rejuvenation. Especially when you can anticipate its arrival. Last night I got a call that AAPS had called off school for today due to 'extreme weather conditions.' (Which now, as an adult, I call bullshit on. I mean, its cold. BFD.) Too bad for Sid that he had already gone to bed and missed out on an extra few hours of video games. But it reminded me of a night long, long ago when advantage of a predicted snow day was taken, and taken heavily.

It was a Sunday night my senior year of high school. We had gathered at someone's house for a little end of the weekend boozing, due to the fact that said someone's parents were out of town and, well, we were 18 and in the middle of nowhere, what else were we going to do? But a few friends gathering for a few drinks quickly took a turn for the far more interesting when the snow began to fall. And when I say fall, I'm talking virtual white out here. By mid-evening it was very apparent that our weekend was about to be extended for another day.

So calls to parents were made and lies were told. It wasn't hard, as the roads were already bad and no parent wants their kid out driving in that shit - just stay at your friends house, come home in the morning. We hunkered down and proceeded to binge drink in a manner befitting an afterschool special. The rest of the night ,as they say, is legend.

Unfortunately for those of you who may not know the rest of the story, decorum and binding agreements prohibit me from going any further. I will say that the evening produced a new word for our lexicon: The Circle of Shame©. And that those who left the party early, worried that the snow day might not come to fruition, regret it to this day. I guess the moral of the story is to take advantage of situations that present themselves to you unexpectedly - or some bullshit like that. I really just wanted to say God bless snow days. I miss you.

Posted 1:50pm
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February 5th, 2007

Where is my Virgil to show me the way?

Catholics refer to it as Purgatory. The Russians Siberia. Its the feeling you had in college when you'd get black out drunk and wake up Saturday morning having no idea where you were. Whether in your vernacular you prefer limbo or oblivion, its the state between being and nothingness. Its not knowing where you stand nor how to improve your situation. As Milton said, its the paradise of fools. Unfortunately, I'm once again too smart for my own good.

Because this isn't paradise. By definition its nothing; but it feels worse than that. Not hell. Not agony. Just the between time of what was and what will be. Its the line at the DMV. Its the time between peeing on the stick and seeing the plus sign. Its the wait that seems like it will never end. At some point, all you want is change for the sake of it. Because you know that the shift is inevitable, and eventually you just want it to happen - regardless of the outcome.

How's that for vague and esoteric? Just in case anyone out there thought I wasn't capable anymore amidst all of this blatant blog honesty. I know, I hate it to. Hopefully Virgil walks by soon, takes me by the hand, and we get back to 'Boy am I a drunk' real soon.

Posted 10:51am
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February 3rd, 2007

Open mouth, insert foot 2.0

So it happened again. Not nearly as bad as last time, but it somehow involved Pete and women again, so take that for what you will. Here's the synopsis: We're drinking at Mitch's (natch) and its late and we're drunk. We're exchanging barbs about one of the bartenders who we'll just say isn't very good at his job. Pete starts to talk to a girl he recognizes and they continue to toss mild insults about said bartender. I join in a little. Then I say 'Every time I see (said bartender) I can't help but thinking of that freaky chick he brought to Wex's card game that one night. Do you remember her? She was like the freakiest chick ever.' Well turns out the girl we were talking to was said bartender's girlfriend. She was a tad nonplussed. In my defense, once again Pete let me go on and humiliate myself when he had the power to save me. Thank Christ this wasn't nearly as bad as last time.

Posted 7:20pm
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February 2nd, 2007

Happy groundhog day

I know. Whoopty shit. But the pic of the gopher from Caddyshack always makes me laugh, and this seemed a good way to shoe horn it into the ol' bloggy blog.

I have an old friend whose birthday is today. Is it good or bad to have your birthday on a holiday? One would think birthdays on Christmas, Halloween or St. Patty's Day would obviously be bad. Let's be honest - no one is thinking of you. They're concentrating on Santa, slutty witches and drinking green beer (respectively). HOWEVER having your birthday on a minor 'holiday' should be a plus. Because while no one's concentrating on the holiday enough to detract from you, it makes it infinitely easier to remember when your birthday is - as demonstrated by the fact that I remembered its Lisa's birthday today even though I haven't really talked to her in like, a decade. So congrats if you birthday is today or tax day or flag day. My condolences for the Ron Kovics of the world.

Other things to waste your Friday on:

- The foul-languaged trailer for the new Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) movie Knocked Up is online.

- I'm praying this guy wears #5, because I will buy his jersey tomorrow and be the happiest kid in the world.

- By now you've heard the uproar over the ATHF publicity stunt. People are stupid. But I guess it worked, because at the end of every article about the incident they say A movie based on the cartoon will be released March 23. Here's the teaser trailer for those interested. And by those I mean nerds like me.

- Years ago Markie C and I ran into The Hard Lessons at the Hamtramck Blowout and were immediately impressed. Since then, they've become not only favorites of Mr. Carlson and I but indie rock hipsters everywhere. My Old Kentucky Blog gives them props in a post today. If you have the means to see them (preferably at the Pig) I highly recommend the experience.

Posted 2:55pm
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February 1st , 2007

Don't let the door hit you...

How many second chances does one deserve? How many times do you let your girlfriend cheat on you before you realize that your at fault for letting her stay? How long do you stay with a pimp who only lets you keep 10%? When do you say enough is enough and take back the night?Much like your girlfriend fucking one of your friends or your pimp slapping you in the face without taking off his rings, last night I hit rock bottom. Tommy Amaker must go.

I'm an unabashed homer; an apologist who will stand side by side with any Wolverine until it burns like gonorrhea. Hell, I was making excuses for Brian Ellerbe long after it made any sense. But losing at home to Iowa (Iowa!) was the last straw. The criticisms people have been levying for a year are now painfully clear. Players don't get better under his tutelage. His teams fade down the stretch. The offense is anemic and the defense lapses like a four year old with ADHD.

I was never even that big of a basketball fan. Game or two a year, mostly to go to the bar afterwards. But Markie C convinced me - six or so years ago - that this was the guy. Let's get season tickets now so when we're back to being a national powerhouse, we'll be in the front row. Ground floor baby, ground floor. Six years later: no tournament appearances, a road record that Northwestern would be ashamed of, no success against the serious players in the Big Ten and not a single player that was molded into the superstar they were capable of being when they signed up to come here.

So yeah - you're a well-spoken, good lookin' guy who came in with the right pedigree and said all the right things for a program crawling out of the mire like we were. But now, once again, we ask you to do the best thing for the program as a whole and leave. You'll catch on at a lower tier school or as an assistant somewhere. The sad truth is, it just didn't work out. We still care about you and thank you for what you did; for always being classy and being, for the most part, a Michigan man (minus the whole losing all the time thing). But its time to move on. Its what's best for both of us. I hope you find someone else that makes you happy. And I hope that someday soon, we'll do the same.

Posted 2:55pm
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January 31st , 2007

Its like I'm an alcoholic, but for video games?

Some would say that I have an addictive personality. What with the booze and the cigarettes and all. Turns out I just rekindled a former addiction that I had thought I lost about 4 years ago: video games.

OK, specifically one video game: Zelda Twilight Princess. When Sid got his Wii for Xmas I was amazed at how easy it was to play and how much fun, but I had little trouble putting it down after 30 minutes of playing. Being a former video game addict, I was worried. I used to go from one adventure game to the next, looking for any fifteen minute period where I could turn a system on and complete some small quest within the game. If no one called me to go to the bar, I'd be fine with a fifth of vodka and five hours of Final Fantasy. Which is why the Wii scared me initially. What if I get a taste and go down the rabbit hole again?

And as previously stated, I was fine initially. The sports games were fun but didn't offer the goal-oriented gaming that I used to crave. But Zelda was there, waiting in the wings. I figured I'd try it, just to make sure I was too old to get immersed in a video game like my former self would have. And I was fine. At first. I started my own 'quest' in the game, but after all of the exposition you have to go through when starting a game, after a few hours I was ready to put it down. Whew! That was close.

But of course the story doesn't end there. After picking it up and playing three or four subsequent times, it appears I'm back on the smack. Last night I was sword and shield in hand till well past 2am, eyes heavy and hands cramping. Today at lunch I tuned it on for 20 minutes so I could grab two more heart containers and get even with where my son was at in his progress on the game. Right now I'm considering not going to the gym so that I can go home immediately after work and play. Then ditching the bar and the girlfriend after the basketball game so that I can conquer the third temple before work tomorrow. Christ am I sad.

The good news is that other than some mild carpal tunnel, video games rank low on the 'danger to my well being' scale compared to my other addictions - unless you count the eroding of my social skills and rise in my nerd quotient (which I choose not to). And once the game is beaten I'll go back to my good ol' boozehoundin' ways. That is until the new Final Fantasy comes out - then it might be time for a relapse.

Posted 2:27pm
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January 29th , 2007

I gave my love a cherry...

I've been playing guitar for over 20 years. Which, in itself, is a depressing thought; as saying I've been doing anything for 20 years reeks of being older than I would like. Slightly more depressing is how awful I continue to be at it.

I had great ambition in high school to spend my life in rock bands, playing guitar on stage for people and getting drunk in the process. Not even to be a rock star per se, just to always play music with people and have fun doing so. But my insecurities about my ability that had crept in during high school became full blown affirmations by the time I got to college. I wasn't that good. I was never gonna be that good. My talent is minimal and my work ethic sucks. That's a one two punch that will leave your aspirations on the canvas.

So I sold off the huge amplifiers and effects pedals, opting to play acoustically for myself. I learned to play and sing at the same time and continue to enjoy the accomplishment of getting through an entire song. I've identified my limitations and work around them, which I guess on some level is an accomplishment. Most importantly I know that nobody wants to hear you whip out your guitar for a sing along version of 'Kumbaya.' You all can thank me later.

Posted 2:22pm
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January 26th , 2007

Work party etiquette

It could be argued that the following post can be summed up in three short words: I have none. I do little to hide my love of the booze from anyone, be they friends, family, or even coworkers. I was once introduced by one coworker to another thusly:

Coworker: This is Tyler he's...
Me: The computer guru.
Coworker: No, I was gonna say the town drunk.
New coworker: Which town?
Coworker: All of them.

I also once had someone say to me 'You're not the biggest drunk I know, but you're probably the smartest.' Which I guess on some relative scale is a compliment. The point is that these people say these things because they know I have no qualms about being spoken of with such irreverence.

Which is why it makes sense that when partying with people who may have a direct impact on my career, I don't necessarily hold back. Now I don't usually have 5 vodka and sodas when having dinner with my boss, but I will order a beer without hesitation, even if no one else is drinking. And at holiday parties I tend to look like I have a mouth full of blueberries at the end of the evening from all the wine I consumed.

Tomorrow night I'll be at a party with several well-established members of my department. And since this isn't even technically a 'work party' but rather a party at which people from work will be attending, it will be a no holds barred situation. Vodka and sodas will be mixed at concentrations approaching paint thinner, and downed with a voracity usually reserved for those who either just turned 21, are about to be married, or have just lost their job. And there's a band playing, so the likelihood of me getting on stage and saying something wildly inappropriate are high (last time I got up and did 'Fuck Her Gently' by Tenacious D). Maybe by talking about it now I'll have some sort of restraint and keep things in check for once. And if not, let's all hope I still have a job come Monday.

Posted 1:33pm
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January 24th , 2007

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

1. Extra sleep
Not last night, but earlier in the week I went to bed about an hour earlier than normal and I wasn't drunk (!) Admittedly, I still had the exact same trouble I have every morning getting up and around the next day. But by 10:30 or so (when I usually start to come out of the fog) I was almost bursting with energy. Which is to say I wasn't as crabby as normal and I didn't long for a burrito and a nap. Unfortunately this doesn't make me want to start going to bed at midnight. But still, hooray sleep!

2. I hate, you hate, we all hate the President
As fucked up as things are at this exact moment in this country, and more specifically Washington, just the fact that everyone finally seems to be getting that W is a stubborn, ill-advised, moron feels like victory. 6+ years too late, but victory. Hooray for enough is enough!

3. Siddhartha
I'm actually not referring to any specific behavior exhibited by my progeny, but rather just referring to him as Siddhartha. After 10+ years of intense Buddha saturation, I'm enjoying going with 'Siddhartha' or 'Sid' more and more. Hooray evolving nicknames!

4. Friend of a friend
Probably a majority of your friends are people you met through other friends. But there was a time where your current friend wasn't your friend, they were just a friend of a friend. And over time they weren't just a FOAF anymore, they were an actual friend. Its kinda of a unique, special tipping point - one to be celebrated (at least internally) when you actually see it happen. Hooray for friends sans 'friend of a'!

5. The Essex Green
They're opening up for a band that I was considering going to see next week, so I decided to check them out. And I'll be damned if on initial listen, I don't like their latest album more than the band I originally intended to go and see. Hooray for opening act surprises!

Posted 3:22pm
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January 23rd , 2007

Apples falling from trees

One of the most rewarding parts of being a parent is seeing yourself in your child. When they show interest in things that interest you; when you notice that they dance exactly like you do; when they repeat the same expletives you do when they get pissed off - its hard not break down in tears sometimes much less beam with pride to everyone within earshot.

Its a common conceit that the Buddha looks like Kara and acts like me. Which is an oversimplification of who he is, but what else are you gonna say about a dark haired kid who's a loud obnoxious goofball? And I'll admit, the similarities between us are eerie at times. Someone once told me that we walk into a room exactly the same. I've never seen myself walk into a room, so I'll have to take their word on that one. But anyone who's ever played cards with Sid knows that whether through genetics or his unfortunate immersion with me, we're pretty much two sides of the same coin.

And of course even before he's old enough to wrestle with his love of alcohol, anyone could tell you that there are some, let's say, unfortunate aspects of being T junior. Ego will preclude me from giving you a laundry list of them here, but let's just say he already knows All-American Quarterback at Michigan isn't exactly in his future. And if that was the first detriment he discovered, he may be on to #2.

I got a call from his mother last weekend informing me that the Buddha had a girlfriend - which interested me really only to the extent that I could bust his balls about it. But apparently the girl's parents were a tad worried about this development, leaving me absolutely nonplused. I mean, he's 11 right? Even I wasn't knocking girls up in junior high. But according to my baby mama, they deemed the relationship inappropriate. So by the time I got to talk to him about it and ask him if he had a girlfriend, his response was 'not anymore'.

I felt like telling him 'get used to it', as no parent in the past 20 years has ever been exactly pleased that I was dating their daughter. Whether it was my hairstyle, my reputation, or just the fact that I was a white boy, I wasn't exactly ever welcomed with open arms. Luckily for Sid, he'll most likely be a much more upstanding citizen than I ever was. Leaving only the obstacles of being a mulatto with parents who were never married and don't live together to overcome. You can thank the genetic lottery you look like your mother Sid.

Posted 1:48pm
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January 19th , 2007

Got me a check I'm gonna cash it, so I can spend it on the ho's on Gratiot

Detroit is world famous for being a hell hole. The exodus to the 'burbs in the late '60s, Coleman Young's 'Muther Fucker in Charge' attitude during the '70s, the massive crime rate in the '80s, the play of the Detroit Lions - all have contributed to the D's tarnished reputation over the years.

And as someone who has lived on the outskirts of Motown for a dozen years, its hard to argue that its a reputation completely undeserved. As a college student I had to interview people in places like the Wayne Co. Jail and in the boarded up houses just off Gratiot. Even in the daylight, all that blight made me feel dark inside. I wanted to pack up and get back to a major freeway with all expediency.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in Toledo, which is a lot like Detroit Lite. The main difference was, I was familiar with T-town. Were I to get lost in some if its seedier parts coming home from a concert on a Saturday night, I was never 2 turns away from being back in my comfort zone. My first few forays into Detroit involved a lot hurried driving, stop sign running, and a general refusal to leave the car to ask for directions back to what I considered civilization.

But over the years, the Motor City and I have become fond of each other. I can make my way to all the major concert venues and casinos without a map; and if I know which side of me the river is on, I can usually navigate back to I75 in less than five minutes. But its not just becoming familiar and comfortable with the D. I have pride in Detroit. I celebrate its sport successes. I revel in its music scene. I'm proud of the progress its made in recent years and actively want things to continue to improve. I think about all the positive things about the city and its identity and say 'That's me too. I'll stand up for that.'

Tomorrow night Markie C and I will head down into the bowels of Greektown for drinks, casino, and most importantly, Sloan at St. Andrew's Hall (one of my favorite places to see a show). We'll drink and gamble and rock out - and do so without thought of the fact that we're in a hell hole. Because say what you will about Detroit - its ours. And despite how big of a fuck up your brother may be, he's still your brother. And that counts for something. Now if you could just get your brother to fire Matt Millen...

Posted 2:43pm
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January 18th , 2007

Tips for the boozehound on a budget

I'm fortunate to have attained enough status in life that I no longer have to drink Natty Light. I still do of course (on occasion), but knowing which local carryout currently has the best deal on a 30 pack of nattys is no longer a priority in my life. But believe me, there was a time not long ago that finding the best way to squeeze the most alcohol possible out of a dollar was something that I prided myself on.

Don't get me wrong, I still look for bargains. The poor college kid inside of me will never let me exclusively drink Oberon from May till September, no matter how sweet and tasty it may be. And while the best way to do the bar will always be to go to the place with the coolest people and the best music and throw money around without a care in the world, sometimes - when its right after Christmas or you find out that you actually OWE on your taxes this year, that a little belt tightening is in order. To that end, I have decided to give you, intrepid reader, the following tips to ensure you too, can party like a rock star on a budget. Or at least party like a struggling indie band that doesn't have to get up until 4pm the next day.

#1 - Always pre-party
Yes, the bar is where you want to be. Hopefully the cute chick with the eyebrow ring and belly shirt will be back again this week. But lets face facts, bars are designed to fleece the drunks of the world of their money as quickly as possible. The easiest way to combat this is sufficiently lubricate yourself before you show up. Because even if you insist on drink that snobby Belgian Stout before you go out, I guarantee it costs less at Kroger than it does at the bar. And ultimately, you're not going out until 10 anyway. Wake up from your nap at 8 instead of 9, and you have time for a quick sixer before hitting the town.

#2 - Stop being picky
I know, I know - I love a Grey Goose and 7 as much as the next guy. But after the first two, not even those with the most sensitive of palates can tell the difference between top shelf and well. Since we've already established that you'll be half in the bag when you show up, go ahead and skip the costlier items on the menu. To that end, every bar everywhere has at least something on special every night of the week. Learn to drink whatever they're pushing. One night of PBRs won't kill you. And it'll likely cut your tab in half over the course of a night.

#3 - Start a tab
This may seem a bit counterintuitive, as you're not tracking your drinks as you go, but hear me out. Handing over your credit card and saying 'put in on my tab' saves you the $1 per drink tip that every good bar patron will tell you is a standard tip. If you have 10 $2 beers during the night and buy them one at a time from the bar, it'll cost you $30. If you tab it and write them a 20% tip at the end of the night, it costs you $24. What? The bar you're at won't run tabs? Always buy beers at least in pairs. If you buy 2 beers at $2.30, its permissible to leave the bartender $6 (for a $1.40 tip on two beers) However, buying them one at a time would dictate you leaving a dollar each time. And we all know that dime will end up on the floor and the 2 quarters will end up in the photohunt machine.

#4 - Its not where you go, its who you go with
So this sweet new bar opened up downtown where there's tons of hotties and they have shuffleboard. You're so there right? Guess what? Sweet new bars don't usually have $2 long islands. Stay to the places that cater to those who want to get drunk rather than be seen. You can have just as much fun pointing and laughing at freaks as you can standing in the corner and staring at some hot chick and not talking to her.

#5 - Shots are a bad idea (on so many levels)
I know shots are fun. They taste good, they erase inhibitions and they get the marginally attractive laid. They also cost as much as 2 drinks, last five seconds, and always must be purchased at least in pairs. Shots are the biggest reason you spent $50 at the bar last night instead of $25. Also remember two misnomers about shot etiquette - 1.) If someone asks you if you want a shot, they mean they want to buy you a shot. Never offer to pay. Its insulting. If someone asks you to pay for said shot, do so politely and then assign that person 'dead to me' status. 2.) If someone buys a round of shots, you are NOT obligated to reciprocate. If your drunk buddy wants to spend $30 buying a round of shots, good for you. Don't ruin it by being as dumb as he is. However, you should always do your best to reciprocate rounds of beers.

#6 - Know your bartender
The best (and by best I mean cheapest) bar experiences of your life will be when you know the bartenders. Now I would never suggest you go anywhere but a wedding expecting free drinks, but a friend behind the bar is the best friend you'll ever have. Say your buddy pours 3 SoCo and lime shots for the SigmaPi girls in the corner. Chances are, there'll be a shot and a half left in the mixer when he's done pouring. Play your cards right, and that shot and a half could end up in your belly for free. Some fucked up boo-butt orders a Miller Lite and then changes his mind after the bottle is opened? Another free drink your way. And should your buddy forget to put a drink or two you ordered on your tab? All the better. Just remember, its easiest for a bartender to cheat if your drinking draft beer. Bottles and $25 worth of shots are harder to justify.

#7 - Drinking: Its not just for the weekend anymore
Yeah, Saturday and Sunday mornings were made for hangovers. Unfortunately, bars know that just as well as you do, and subsequently don't schedule $1 pitcher nights for Friday and Saturday nights. Going out on a Thursday or earlier in the week can save you a fortune. And don't forget about happy hour - it can scratch that itch to be out amongst the people, and even some of the nicer places will charge up to half off for your booze. Get drunk from 4 - 7, then go take a nap and have friends over later to drink the swill you get from the store.

Wow. That turned out to be quite a bit longer than anticipated. Maybe I'll polish it and put it in the essay essays section. Perhaps you disagree with one of my tenets, or have one to add. Let's call it a work in progress. You're welcome to come over and discuss it over some Natty Lights.

Posted 3:09pm
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January 17th , 2007

One dollar!

Bob Barker makes me feel old.

Certainly not in any relative sense, but yesterday he was a catalyst for reminding me just how much things have changed.

Yesterday was the first snow day of the year. Since Sid was staying home and I was not feeling 100%, I decided that a day on the couch might be just what the doctor ordered. Of course as soon as I called in sick, my thoughts went to one place and one place only - come on down, bitches.

Because nothing says sick day or snow day to me like the Price is Right. As a kid, it was the one enjoyable thing on between 9am (when cartoons went off the air) until 3pm (when they came back on). It was a little oasis of adult programming that in its simplicity, appealed to everyone who has ever watched it.

Except maybe not anymore. Because between Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon and 10 other 'just for kids' cable channels, kids don't have time to come on down anymore. Now I'm not one to lament the fact that there are more choices these days and we have less common experiences as a society (that's another argument that I'm overwhelmingly in favor of). But I think we all suffer when kids today don't the price of a Broyhill sofa, or can't easily figure out how many bottles of Prell shampoo you can buy for under $10.

And of course Bob Barker is retiring this year. Its truly the end of an era. Before you know it, I'll never call in sick and get to sing along with the yodeling theme to cliff hangers. And when I start making Plinko! references and receive puzzled looks from the youth of America, I'm going on a bender and sitting alone in the dark for a week. Now come here and reach into my pocket for a hundred dollars...

Posted 10:37am
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January 14th , 2007

Its like rai-eeee-ain, on your wedding day

Irony is one of the most misunderstood concepts in English. And not only for those of you who's last name is Morrisette. It even outranks the use of 'irregardless' and 'myriad of' on the 'I need a copy of Strunk and White' scale of hill-billyness. So let me get some irritation off my chest and drop a little knowledge by giving you a textbook case of irony.

Without getting on a tangential diatribe, the use of pop music that I care about in advertising is a sore subject with me. No one wants to see their favorite Beatles song used to sell fabric softener. And once in a while, you get a plethora of products and movie trailers and TV shows glomming on to the same hot, formerly indie, artist. It happened to great affect with The Postal Service. From Grey's Anatomy to M & M's, everybody loved Ben and Jimmy's electro-pop masterpieces. Of course in time it all faded, and now we can all look back and realize that Give Up was a masterpiece, even if suburban housewives put it into heavy rotation in their Volvos.

But recently, UPS went back to the well and recycled 'Such Great Heights' to pimp their new line of shipping services. Have you spotted the irony yet? UPS is using a song by The Postal Service to hawk their wares.

Ethan Hawke defined irony in Reality Bites as when the exact opposite of what's expected happens. American Heritage Dictionary says "Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs." But by any definition, trying to move product by using a song by a band named after your competitor is ironical. Even if soccer moms only hear the pretty bleeps and bloops and are oblivious to who Ben Gibbard actually is.

Posted 12:26am
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January 12th , 2007

Your indie rock weekend

For some inexplicable reason, January seems to be a big month for the indie rock. Here's some stuff to surf for this weekend that's new to the scene (and one that's not, but I just started to listen to it, so suck it.)

- The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
You know what to expect with The Shins - literate indie rock crafted into tightly constructed pop goodness. Wincing is no exception. Its not their best album, its actually their worst; but that needs to be taken in a relative context, as The Shins rock the shit. They do a little genre busting, dabbling here and there with some new styles and incorporating things like hip-hop beats (its not as bad as it sounds) The album is officially out at the end of the month, but savvy internet overlords have had it for months. Now its your turn. Sample it on the MySpace.

- Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
I've always been a little hesitant to embrace Of Montreal. Sure they craft groovalicious pop gems that easily fit into the background of Outback Steakhouse commercials, but listening to an entire album is an exercise that could wear out the skip button on your CD player iPod. All that changes with Hissing Fauna. If The Flaming Lips decided to become more of a groove oriented dance band, they'd probably end up sounding like Of Montreal does here. Works for me. Cool kids add Of Montreal as their friends on MySpace.

- Bloc Party - Weekend in the City
I never got the first Bloc Party album. Which isn't to say I don't have it, I just never 'got' it. I really don't see what all the fuss is over another artsy post-punk band whose songs aren't even as good as The Killers (and no, I don't like The Killers. Don't hang out with me, I'm a nerd.) This seems to be a little better effort, which likely means that everyone who liked Bloc Party initially will no hate them. I could still take them or leave them, but now with a 'Their second album is all right' caveat. Bloc party has more MySpace friends than the Shins and Of Montreal combined, so they don't need you.

- Stars - Set Yourself on Fire
From the sublime to the surreal, Stars (who, unlike Of Montreal ironically, are from Montreal) have crafted a pop masterpiece that combines the best of everything you see above. They're clever like The Shins, Danceably unpredictable like Of Montreal, and even hipper than Bloc Party. This is five o'clock on Friday, let's head to the bar music. Which, as you may have guessed, is among my highest of compliments. See how pretty they are on MySpace.

Posted 1:11pm
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January 11th , 2007

How could you be so obtuse?

I love to argue. Really, about pretty much anything. Politics and religion are fine - a little cliché, but fine. When I can find someone to argue about whether Raiders of the Lost Ark is the greatest action movie of all time, I get really excited. And if I can find someone to listen to me make my case for Pavement being the worst band in the history of God, the universe and everything, I'll run on and on until everyone in the room is bored to sleep. Basically, the more trivial the argument the better.

That's because when I argue, I'm an asshole. My two favorite things in the world are being right and winning - in that order. So when I argue, I argue to win because I'm always convinced that I'm right. (Everyone reading this who knows me is likely nodding their heads right now.) And much of my arguing technique (other the recitation of facts) relies on being condescending. I don't know where this started, but apparently I'm royally condescending much of the time. I try and frustrate people. Make them hate my smug arrogance and assurance. Because if you can't win on facts (and let's face it, most of the time you can't) you can frustrate someone to the point where they lose their cool and walk away - which has always felt like a win to me.

Which is why I like the trivial stuff. If someone thinks I'm an asshole because I think A Beautiful Mind is the worst movie to ever win best picture, they usually can move on fairly quickly. That's because no one (save maybe Ron Howard and Russel Crowe) have any real emotional investment in whether the film is intrinsically good or not. However, should you try and make people feel stupid for not believing in evolution, you may make some enemies (albeit enemies of people who think Jesus went POOF! Adam and Eve!, but enemies nonetheless). And if you have the audacity to argue in this manner with family and loved ones, they better be really forgiving or you need to have some really redeeming other qualities.

Fortunately for me, I have a lot of people in my life who are the former (because you can save your jokes about the latter). Sometimes I feel like I have too many friends for the amount of time I've had to listen to people yell 'Let it go.' or 'Thanks, I'm not stupid.' or 'You know what, go fuck yourself.' Maybe some day I'll learn to calm down and realize that everyone's opinion is equally valid. And maybe you can sit down next to me at the bar sometime and tell me how you really loved The da Vinci Code without my head exploding. Anything's possible.

Posted 3:07pm
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January 9th , 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: National Championship Edition

I had no idea how happy to be. I was watching my archenemy go down in a heap, arms flailing and looking as embarrassing as possible - but it was at the hands of someone I deemed unworthy. Someone, while not my archenemy, was certainly a nemesis. How does one quantify such divergent emotions? Here at tbaggervance.com, we split it up Eastwood and Leone style - into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Cue the Ennio Morricone.

The Good:

- Another Heisman trophy winner goes down in the National Championship game. The award is mostly a sham, so this makes me happy. The fact that it was Troy Smith only sweetens the deal.

- OSU fans are in an unbelievable amount of pain. This is why we play the games and don't anoint our champions. The only thing better than Buckeyes in agonizing, gut-wrenching, doubled-over, pain, is Wolverines in exalted jubilation.

The Bad:

- I lost $50. Yup, I drank the Kool-Aid. I saw both teams play and couldn't imagine OSU not moonwalking into the endzone all night. Whoops.

- This isn't good for the Big Ten. Let's face it, your top two teams went down hard. This stings right now, and could easily leave a scar that screws a Big Ten team down the road trying to get into the mythical National Championship game.

The Ugly:

- The Ohio State University Marching Band (affectionately referred to as 'The Best Gay Band in the Land') played Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' at halftime. For some reason, under a blue tarp. Though one could argue that its probably the most appropriate tune for a coach in a sweatervest.

- Urban Meyer is still a whiny bitch. So the guy can coach. Whoopty shit. He could win the next two NCs and he'd still be a whiny bitch to me (with a hot wife).

So yeah, a lot of the fallout sucks and will continue to suck for some time. But man, how can I not have a smile on my face? No second National Championship for Tressel and tOSU nation. OK, now I've got the giggles...

Posted 10:20am
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January 8th , 2007

The fragile schedule of sleep

I am not a morning person. This is a truism that exists regardless of the amount of sleep I've had. Should I wake up at 7:30am, I will be tired and bitchy. Again, it doesn't matter if I went to bed at 11 or 2:30 the night before. For some reason my biological clock says stay in bed until 10.

And its not like I need a lot of sleep. At least not anymore. When I was in college, I would live for days when I could sleep till noon (or even later depending on the previous night's activities). Now even when I close down the bar on Friday night, I'm usually out of bed by 10:30 the next day. This is apparently either an astonishing feat of physical fortitude or abject stupidity according to my 24 year old girlfriend. I know she doesn't understand it, and can only assume that if pressed she'd lean towards calling it stupid.

I'm not sure what causes this change. And I have no idea if it happens to everyone. How long until I become a morning person? When will I be anxiously awaiting the arrival of my morning paper (as opposed to knowing it will be there hours before I awake)? Will I start going to bed before midnight? Will I need naps in the middle of the day? Will I start eating dinner at 5? Where does it end?

Slow down. This is obviously hyperbole and I'm not really worried. Sleeping more than 8 hours just seems mostly lazy to me now. I've got shit to do and no one needs more than a solid 8 hours (unless booze is involved, in which case I'll give you 10 plus extra couch time the next day) As for me, I can't foresee a time when I will consistently go to bed before midnight. And I can't imagine ever being a pleasant person to be around before 10am. I need between 6 and 8 hours a night, preferably between 2 and 10. If I ever get that dream schedule, prepare for people to stop referring to me as 'crabby' and start calling me 'pleasant', 'cheerful', and 'chipper.' But don't hold your breath. For now, stay out of my way and speak softly until the scowl leaves my face - usually around 10am - because I am not a morning person.

Posted 11:01am
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January 5th , 2007

End of an era (and some links for good measure)

For the obtuse in the audience, the last four months of posts have been archived. Those interested in walks down memory lane need to merely click on the link, directly to your right.

- The first sign that '07 has a chance to be better than '06 has surfaced. My musical holy grail may come true.

- Here's some clips, some trivia, and other assorted goodies on The Hold (Fuckin') Steady, unofficial band and drinking buddies of tbaggervance.com

- As per usual, Chuck K says what I think better than I could (or would take the time to). I love that my favorite pop culture writer also writes sports. Hot shit.

- The last season of ATHF kinda sucked. At the very least, it was gross and bizarre by even ATHF standards. However that in no way diminishes my excitement for the ATHF movie. Though this has been hoaxed before, so I still view it as rumor and conjecture for the moment.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't take a second to say bon voyage, adios, and toodles to one of my oldest friends in a2. I met Lynne my first week in town here lo so many years ago. It wasn't necessarily a chance meeting, as she was the roommate of a very good friend (and one of about 4 other people I knew in town). But I never would have fathomed to guess that we'd still be friends 12 years later. Lynne, you're one of my favorite people. Have fun out there practicing your transatlaticism. I think the world of what you're doing and hope to be regaled with some of your tales of the astonishing via the internets - until you get back of course, when we can share them over a pint.

Posted 9:45am
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January 4th , 2007

...and I don't feel any different.

So this is the New Year. Seems kind of like an arbitrary passage of time to me. Like birthdays (at this point in my life), New Years seems like A.) An excuse to drink and B.) A reason for people to remind you that things need to change in your life. Since I don't need an excuse to drink, guess how I feel the rest of New Years?

But since its an easy way to crank out a blog post and god forbid I go against societal conventions about being reflective, here are some things that went right in 2006, and how they could be better in 2007.

- I finally started going to the gym in 2006, thus making me the thinnest and in-shape I've been since high school. Now if I could get rid of the gut in 2007...

- Michigan football crushed Notre Dame and had 11 wins, giving me one of the greatest weekends and home seasons in memory. Now if we could teach Morgan Trent not to bite on every juke and make better second half adjustments, 2007 might be even better.

- Work kept promoting me and giving me more money in 2006. But the real test is how they'll compensate me for the new position in 2007.

- I posted my best year ever gambling in 2006. Now if the MAC can cover this weekend, 2007 will start off with a bang.

- I started 2006 a non-smoker, and ended it back on the nicotine. It doesn't take a rehab counselor to figure out how to improve that scenario.

- Sid started junior high with spectacular results. I have no worries about continued successes.

Of course the biggest change for me in '06 was the introduction of a significant other into my life. Certainly the largest shake up my little stagnant bubble has undergone in sometime. I don't know how it could get much better in the upcoming 365 - I guess I hope it stays as good as its been to this point. And I get better at dealing with some the issues that seem to come up between us. As with all significant changes in your life, there's a learning curve - and I hope to be on the upside of it in 2007.

So best of luck on your resolutions, be they general (be a better person) or more specific (cut masturbating down to twice a day). I wish nothing but health and happiness for you. Unless you're my enemy; then I wish you nothing but STDs and despair. And always remember, if you have to ability to read this right now, you're already an extremely fortunate individual (and not just because I write such brilliant prose).

Posted 9:45am
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