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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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This is me


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