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December 27th, 2007

I'm training for something called RAGBRAI?

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

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

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

Posted 12:51am
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December 23rd, 2007

Only the penitent man will pass

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 5:34pm
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December 19th, 2007

Happy non-denominational greetings of the season

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 10:32pm
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December 18th, 2007

How stupid are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 1:55pm
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December 17th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 1:55pm
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December 15th, 2007

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

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

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

Posted 9:22pm
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December 13th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:52am
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December 12th, 2007

Touch him! Liebe meinen Affen-monkey!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:51am
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December 11th, 2007

Best of 2007 - Music Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 10:22am
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December 10th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 10:22am
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December 7th, 2007

Doppelgangers

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

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

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

Posted 9:05am
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December 6th, 2007

More birthday wishes

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

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

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

Posted 11:17am
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December 5th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 2:14pm
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December 4th, 2007

Down with the sickness

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

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

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

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

Posted 6:49pm
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December 3rd, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 2:22pm
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November 29th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 6:13pm
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November 28th, 2007

She's bald, Jerry!

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

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

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

Posted 3:03pm
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November 27th, 2007

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

Also alternately titled, 'Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!'

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:54am
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November 26th, 2007

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:59am
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November 21st, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:49pm
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November 19th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 2:09pm
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November 18th, 2007

Gone daddy gone.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:09pm
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November 14th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 1:51pm
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November 13th, 2007

Invitation only.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:51am
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November 12th, 2007

Not exactly the eye of the tiger...

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:40am
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November 9th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:00am
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November 8th, 2007

This Week in Sex

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

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

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

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

Posted 3:11pm
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November 7th, 2007

Delayed infatuation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:38am
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November 6th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 10:49am
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November 5th, 2007

No Fatties.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 7:22pm
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November 2nd, 2007

PBR me ASAP.

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

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

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

Posted 3:28pm
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November 1st, 2007

Q and A.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:13am
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October 31st, 2007

On blind dates and whatnot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 12:33am
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October 30th, 2007

The STD incident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 3:56pm
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October 29th, 2007

Tennis anyone?

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:56am
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October 26th, 2007

Jeremiah was a bullfrog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 8:08am
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October 25th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

1. Music
2. Booze
3. Sex

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

Posted 11:08am
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October 24th, 2007

Internet is the new television

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

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

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

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

Posted 6:55pm
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October 23rd, 2007

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week?

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:22am
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October 22nd, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 1:22pm
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October 21st, 2007

Jeff Tweedy is a Pimp

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

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

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

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

Posted 8:42pm
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October 19th, 2007

I'm in Champaign, on First and First

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

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

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

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

Posted 10:01am
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October 17th, 2007

Too much, too little, too late

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:42am
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October 16th, 2007

I am really racking up an impressive list of famous friends

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

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

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

Posted 4:59pm
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October 15th, 2007

How I met Brit Daniel

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

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

Posted 2:49pm
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October 12th, 2007

Friend is a four letter word

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

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

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

Posted 10:51am
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October 10th, 2007

What are you doing here?

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

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

Posted 1:57pm
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October 9th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 4:55pm
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October 8th, 2007

A Tale of Two Boo Butts

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:22pm
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October 5th, 2007

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

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

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

Posted 2:03pm
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October 4th, 2007

Please allow me to blind you with some science.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 2:59pm
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October 3rd, 2007

I'm cleaning out my closet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 1:41pm
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October 2nd, 2007

Ways in which I was wrong, vol. 37.

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:45am
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October 1st, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 10:10am
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September 28th, 2007

Welcome to our 25th class reunion.

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

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

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

Posted 4:15pm
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September 27th, 2007

We're an American Band.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 4:12pm
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September 25th, 2007

A brief word from our sister site.

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

Posted 8:15pm
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September 24th, 2007

Reg US Pat Off.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 3:33pm
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September 20th, 2007

Crushes and blind dates.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:37am
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September 19th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 2:56pm
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September 18th, 2007

Regrets... I've had a few.

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

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

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

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

Posted 1:35pm
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September 17th, 2007

It was a very good year.

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

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

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

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

Posted 11:51am
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September 14th, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, my penis.

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

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

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

I have a plan.

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

Phase One - The Vin Diesel

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

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

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

Phase Two - Hungry Like the Wolf

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

Phase Three - Burt and Loni

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

Phase Four - The End of the Innocence

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

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

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

Posted 11:59pm
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September 13th, 2007

Apparently, I like to argue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

are you moe's son?

d.h.

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

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

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

Update 12:48

The anti-climactic ending is here:

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

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

dave hackenberg

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

Posted 12:12pm
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September 12th, 2007

Embracing your inner nerd.

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

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

Posted 2:47pm
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September 10th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 2:47pm
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September 7th, 2007

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 9:00am
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September 6th, 2007

More boner inducing goodness.

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

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

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

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

Posted 2:33pm
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September 5th, 2007

On the road again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 4:14pm
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September 4th, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 10:40pm
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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.