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June 30h, 2009

That's my jam!

We often talk here at tbaggervance.com about fleeting things that float into our lives that, while innocuous, bring us joy. Today we talk about some things that always make us happy, every time we experience them. They may or may not be innocuous, but they are consistent purveyors of happiness, and should be appropriately celebrated.

- I love smart people. Can't get enough of them. I want to read things they write. I want to have conversations with them. I want to be humbled by their intellect. There's nothing better than that. That's why I love Paul Krugman. That guy's my jam. I wasn't sure how to feel about Waxman-Markey until I read this. Thanks Paul, I trust your judgment implicitly.

- I love movie trailers. Have to be at the theater in time to see them all or I won't even bother. There's something visceral about them, the way they have to grab you and get their point across in under 2 minutes. I end up going to the movies by myself too often, which isn't a big deal and something I don't lament, other than the fact that I have no one to turn to after every trailer and give my summary judgment about whether or not I intend to see said movie based on the previous two minutes. Its probably my favorite part of going to the movies. Anyway, so I clearly spent an hour yesterday going over this list of the greatest trailers of all time. In my opinion, they nailed it. And it really made me miss Don LaFontaine, he's my jam.

- I love a good chart. There's nothing better than a good graph that gives you information in an interesting way. That's why I love this site. Its why I am a fan of Nate Silver and this episode of HIMYM was one of my favorites. And this site? This site is my jam. Seriously, its a huge intersection of a lot of nerdy things, but ostensibly about sports, so not. Baseball nerds, hold your head high.

Posted 11:01am
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June 29th, 2009

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

- So this happened Friday night:

and a bunch of other stuff that was preceded by the line "This is NOT to end up the internet, OK?" So yeah, you guys missed out.

- Last night a sold out performance of Twelfth Night led to a viewing of The Brothers Bloom. I highly recommend it. Funny and sad and quirky, not unlike a Wes Anderson movie, although I feel that's a trite analogy.

- Speaking of movies, this trailer and this trailer make me want to go see those films. I'm totally gay for Michael Cera.

- Surprise! A new Spoon EP is out tomorrow. It will be awesome. If you don't absolutely love Spoon, then clearly you haven't heard them yet. Every one of their albums is pure sonic bliss. Get out there and and fall in love with Brit Daniel.

- And can I just say one more time, for the record, that living downtown is the best thing to ever happen to me in the history of the universe outside of the invention of Oberon. Last night Sid and I were walking home from Top o' the Park and despite the fact that he had just lost his cell phone, all felt right with the world. I recommend that you too, with all expediency, move to a central location that allows you to walk and take public transportation to all of your obligations and favorite things. The quality of your probably already fulfilling life will get exponentially better. Its really just amazing.

Posted 11:16am
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June 26th, 2009

Don't stop til you get enough...

Last night I was watching ESPN when it came across the bottom line: Entertainer Michael Jackson dead at 50. All I could think of was "Wouldn't it be funny if it said 'Alleged child molester Michael Jackson dead at 50."

That's the sad truth. The man who was King Shit of Fuck Mountain© in 1983 will mostly be remembered for diddling little boys by a large swath of people. And while I in no way excuse any of the strange and/or illegal behavior he exhibited over the years, that's what happens when you make your kids become dancing monkeys and their star explodes. Not many people can handle that loss of innocence, and even fewer can manage when its coupled with that level of fame. Yes, you get to write songs with Paul McCartney, but you also are forced to build an amusement park in your backyard in order to regain some part of your childhood.

But enough psychoanalysis. Personally I never really cared for much of what he did after Thriller. I mean, "The Way You Make me Feel" and "Smooth Criminal" are good songs, but let's be honest, MJ wasn't Bad. I never bought him as tough. My 8 year old self was captivated by the single gloved one, and my adult self will still spin "PYT" or "ABC" at any party, because they're about as good as it gets. But the shy, charismatic entertainer who I loved died around the same time his head when up in flames on the set of that Pepsi commercial. Turns out Neil was right, better to burn out than fade away.

- And let it be said, the biggest loser in all of this: Farrah Fawcet. MJ totally cockblocked her.

- Tonight I am singing at a party with the band that gave me the boot a month ago*. They really wanted to play a couple of the tunes I wrote lyrics for, so they asked if I wanted to get up and do 3-4 songs. I immediately said yes for 2 reasons: 1.) I don't really hold any grudge 2.) I feel that the songs I sing on will be the best things they do all night and everyone will tell me so. So if you ever wanted to see me sing a song I wrote - in front of people - without a guitar in my hand - tonight is the night. First time, probably last time. Seriously, you're all invited. Swing on by - there will be booze, potential nudity and guaranteed embarrassment of tbaggervance by tbaggervance.

*That's Jesus 1, tbaggervance 1. Tie ballgame!

Posted 10:12am
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June 25th, 2009

Summertime and the livin's easy?

Don't get me wrong, summer is awesome. Almost as good as fall, better than winter and edging out spring. But it can also be a bitch, as witnessed by my following summer pet peeves:

- Heat. And humidity. Its 90 today but it might as well be 110. When your car's AC is busted and your too cheap to fix it (like me) its an extra bitch. I hate running out for lunch and then being sweaty at my desk the rest of the day. Blech.

- Michael Bay. Summertime means I have to suffer under the oppressive awfulness of whatever stupid explosive bullshit Hollywood has assigned Mr. Bay this year. This is slightly mitigated when everyone agrees that said claptrap sucks harder than a freighter's bilge pump. At least this is confined to the summer.

- My fat. Every year I swear I am going to be ready for it and be completely comfortable taking off my shirt. Every year I fall short. This may be nitpicking in a sense of relativity, but it genuinely bothers me, because I am shallow and vain.

- Sunblock. I hate putting it on. What a pain in my asshole. This inevitably leads to sunburns, another sucky summer thing.

- Vacations. Not mine, other people's. Seems like everytime I try to get people together for something as simple as a happy hour, everyone is 'out of town for the weekend'. Why can't people just get drunk outside and call that vacation? Its what I do.

- The dearth of rock shows. Really? Yes. Summer is a time for festivals. I'm not big on festivals. Its hard to booze, they're filled with snot nosed punks and they inevitably only contain 3-4 bands I want to see out of 20. And all these cool bands filling festival bills means nobody is out on tour solo. This is why fall rules - the best month for shows is October.

- Bugs. Seriously, I fucking loathe bugs. They are everywhere in the summer. Not just mosquitos either (which, incidentally, require you to lather your skin with another chemical). All bugs suck. Figuratively.

All right, you can drink outside and play bocce ball and watch baseball and being on the water rules. And Oberon. Sweet, sweet Oberon. But if we don't nitpick here, we'd eventually be down to making fun of Lindsey Lohan or some bullshit.

Posted 1:52pm
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June 24th, 2009

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

- If someone doesn't support gay marriage, I usually tend to ignore them because they are an ignorant, hateful person. But if you want to get in an argument and be prepared/foresee the outcome, check out this handy sorta-flowchart.

- The bus is awesome. I am actually upset that I had to drive my car to work today for time constraint reasons. Not only did I finally finish The Forever War (thanks ljv) I get to relax on my way to work without having my temper flare due to people's inability to follow the rules of the road. I've outsourced my road rage.

- We finally have the internet in the new apartment! Unfortunately, we had to suck it up and get cable too. My garden level place at the bottom of a hill doesn't seem to want to pick up any digital signals that just float through the ether. But hey! I got hooked up with U-Verse from AT+T, which from my 5 minute interaction with it this morning, kicks Comcast's stupid fucking ass.

- As witnessed by the post made recently about my grandfather, I love me some old timey racism. I think we can all learn something from it in all of its blatent ugliness. Speaking of, turns out Tricky Dick wasn't a fan of oreos...

- It is humid as a mofo out there today. I'm hot, sticky sweet. And its supposed to storm later. The good news, I don't think the heavy stuff is gonna come down for awhile yet.

Posted 1:40pm
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June 23rd, 2009

Clap your hands everybody, everybody clap your hands...

I've always tried to walk some sort of line between jock and nerd. OK, you're right - jock is taking it a bit too far. I've always been a nerd who loves sports. Left to my own devices, I may have found it completely unnecessary to care about sports, but from a young age I realized that as much as I loved Spider-man I also liked having friends (and girls, incidentally). This required sports. It didn't hurt that writing about sports was what my dad did for a living and that in rural northwest Ohio you either liked sports or were gay. Whatever casual innate interest I had in sports got brought to the surface toot suite.

So while I do things like read for fun, enjoy sci-fi tv shows, subscribe to comic books and tinkering with computers, I also have season tickets to Michigan football, play softball, participate in fantasy sports and watch baseball - for fun, on TV*. These things never seemed mutually exclusive to me despite their disparate natures (and what 1980's comedies told me about nerd's exacting their revenge). Perhaps that was just my desire to keep my foot in both camps, as there are plenty out there who don't see it this way. This is most apparent as of late when one of my literary nerd friend's from 826 stares at me like I'm going to beat them up when I mention sports.**

But the other night John Hodgman explained how our Commander in Chief is a sporty nerd (I knew there was something I liked about that guy!) He then went into detail (on Olbermann) about how the more we allow ourselves to exist within both philosophies, the better off we are. I realized that this was a dichotomy I had been endorsing my whole life. So jocks - read a book; nerds - play a game of softball. You'll be better off in the long run (even if a nerd laughs at you at the library or a jock throws a ball at you and makes you cry).

- Speaking of nerds exacting revenge, here's Paul Begala beating up on Meghan McCain. I suspect the reasoning behind this is that he's always had a hard time getting girls to talk to him, and he's not used to winning fights, so he pounces on an inferior opponent. This is kind of awkward, because Ms. McCain should get credit for going on shows like that in the first place, and her only real message is 'Get with it, Republicans.' On the other hand, she's ill informed and plays it off with an ironic "I'm a young dumb blonde" routine. The latter is more detestable.

*yes, it could be argued that the first two are largely about alcohol and the third is at least as nerdy as it is sporty.
**The first time I played kickball with these people, I asked them all 'Who knows how to run the bases?' They all stared at me - or rather, the ground.

Posted 1:40pm
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June 22nd , 2009

I am a fabulous human being - with even better friends

I've been saying 'Plus I can take the bus to work!' when describing my new apartment ever since I signed the lease. And while the excitement was genuine and my intentions true, I always secretly worried that I would chicken out. That I would get lazy and hit the snooze bar and tell myself 'Aw shucks, missed the bus. Guess I'll have to drive!' That I would ultimately be a green poseur.

But after a restless night's sleep, I was actually laying in bed, staring at my alarm clock waiting for 7:30 to roll around and the beeping to start. Thirty minutes later I made the five minute walk (five minute!) to the main bus stop and awaited my ride. Long story short, I made it to work without major incident. However, it did take me an hour to get there from the time I walked out the back door. Now I can surely cut at least 20 minutes off of this, but its still going to be a 40 minute commute. One that I can spend reading and watching podcasts, but still, I could drive my car and be there in 12.

So it may not happen every day. My goal going in was 3 days a week, and I'm going to do my best to beat that. But it is a little weird to not have the freedom that your own personal automobile parked outside affords you. But hey, its about sacrifice.

- Speaking of which, I also gave blood today, after a 15 year lapse in my donating schedule. It felt good. Not literally, but you know.

- And as green and giving as I am, my friends rock harder. Specifically, the Baughmans and Stovcsiks. I had plans to leisurely take a few loads of my stuff from old apartment to new apartment Thursday night, then at some point over the weekend, rent a truck and finish up the big stuff. Little did I know that the former Naptowners had different ideas. Before I knew what was even happening, Troy had the minivan (with seats stowed and ready to go) loaded with my mattresses and Jen was throwing everything in my closets into garbage bags. The Stovcsiks showed up and it was a caravan of cars carting my goods across town. A few hours later and old apartment looked like it belonged in Whoville, post Grinch. So thanks team. I don't know what I would have done without you.

Posted 1:48pm
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June 18th , 2009

Our house, that was where we used to sleep

Its my last night in my apartment*. I've lived there for 7 years, so it comes with no small amount of nostalgia. Sid did a large swath of his growing up there. Ayesha and I fell in love there (which will probably be my most enduring memory of the place). There's lots of stories that happened at F-44, too many of them chronicled here already, so let's not get too teary eyed. That place had also really started to suck ass, and we are truly moving to greener pastures.

That's pretty much it. I was going to wax nostalgic about all of the things that happened to me over the last 7 years, but I've been talking about this for months and all the great stories have probably been chronicled here already, or are lost to one drunken stupor or another. So that's it. Come see me at the new place. Or feel free to crash there when you're too drunk and too cheap to get a cab - that's why I moved there.

- This guy makes great charts. I like this one. And this one.

- Want to have a great weekend? Do what I do - Friday night head on down to Kzoo to see the reformation of my favorite band from college Circus McGurkis. Then Saturday you can support 826 AND dance your ass off at the Robo BANG! I guarantee you won't be sober for any of it.

*This is probably not true. Its supposed to rain all weekend so I may postpone tomorrow's moving o' the furniture...

Posted 11:41am
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June 17th , 2009

Movin' on up

Moving is a time of evaluation. Its full of large somewhat existential questions like 'Why are you really moving?' and 'What do you hope to accomplish by it?' but also lots of little ones like "Do I really want to expend the energy to move this chair that mom got me after college but I never really liked anyway?" I have a pretty good handle on the larger existential questions and have talked about them here before (the gist: I want to walk to more bars) so let's look at some of the more innocuous queries:

- Ashtrays. I have a shit ton of ashtrays. Some of them were stolen, some of them were won as prizes, some were stolen as prizes from my parent's house when they moved 15 years ago. But my new apartment is strictly non-smoking and there will be no need for ashtrays of any sort.
Verdict: Pitch everything but ma and pa's trays

- Paving stones. When I moved in there was a patch of dirt 2.5 feet by 8 feet at the end of my patio that was supposed to be for green growing things, but no seed would find purchase due to the fact that sun never shines there. So I went out and bought 12 really nice paving stones to extend the deck out and make use of the space. My new space has no need for such a thing, but they are nice and weren't cheap. I'm sure the next tenant would appreciate them.
Verdict: Donate them to a friend. Fuck my apartment complex up their stupid asses. Nothing against whomever lives in my place next, but I'd rather have my stones go to one of friends with a house who could use them.

- Goose. In college hap and circumstance led us to stealing a concrete goose one night. We used it to play pratical jokes on each other, as it weighs about 50 pounds and once you put it somewhere (like a drunk guys bed) it was a bitch to get out. Somehow, over ten years later, I still have the goose. I love it, but it is ugly and heavy.
Verdict: Undecided. I really want someone to tell me its OK to jettison this icon of my youth. Failing that, it'll pry come with me. He really deserves a more fitting end than being abandoned at Arbor Village.

- Baseball cards. For reasons passing understanding, I have a 20 pound box of baseball cards from the late 1980s. I've moved them several times (out of nostalgia?) knowing that they aren't worth the cardboard they are printed on.
Verdict: Recycle. And don't lose any sleep over it.

- The couch. I have this funky, ugly couch that I got from Kara when we split up. It is older than I am. It is 7 feet long. I've had to replace the inner working with things like 2x4's more than once. But man is it great to sleep on, and I built the color scheme and decor of my last place around it.
Verdict: Keep it. Forever. Dump any girl who tells you to get rid of it, marry the one who offers to have her cousin who restores furniture take a look at it for you. Some things you hold on to past their prime and/or usefulness.

Posted 2:03pm
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June 16th , 2009

What's making baby Jesus cry this week?

- What's happening in Iran is amazing. Surely Baby J is crying over sham elections that are held under the jack boot of a theocratic government that isn't christian. There's no good way to link to the overall story. Here's an attempt. I hope (and baby J does too) you're all paying attention and pulling for freedom. Unless you're a neocon, in which case this clearly mean bomb the shit out of them.

- If there's one thing Baby Jesus wants you to hate and fear its H-E-double hockey sticks. So why do we use the word everytime we meet someone? Texas to the rescue!

- Clearly Baby J's got a lot of people who consider themselves latter day apostles, and chief among them is Newt Gingrich, who clearly fancies himself as one of the sons of thunder. Recently Newt noted "We are in a period where we are surrounded by paganism, and paganism is on offense." citing America's ties to religion going back to Jefferson. Retard. I want a level headed conservative party in this country, but I fear Republicans will always be too tied to Jesus for me to ever take them seriously at this point. Or maybe Huckabee is right and God did defeat gay marriage in California. Who knows?

- Jesus hates gays, so he hates American Idol, right? (this is not even an Adam Lambert joke!)

- Not all news is bad news. Jesus 1, Atheists 0.

Posted 12:05pm
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June 15th , 2009

The farmer takes a wife, the cheese stands alone

Recently a friend of mine had triplets (ouch). This is on top of his two stepkids that are in their teens (double ouch). Your heart has to go out to people about to attempt such an overwhelming undertaking. As such, fellow Ann Arborite and long time friend Jen said that she was going to send them some food from Schwans, as it might help ease the pain of finding time and energy to do things like eat. She offered to let me in on the action. Spit spot, done and done.

Now while I immediately thought 'What a wonderful idea' when Jen suggested this, it is clear that I would not have thought of this on my own. I'm a guy, so I consider it a victory that I wished him well on facebook after his kids were born. But thanks to Jen, I look appropriately thoughtful and helpful during my long distance friend's time of need. So when Jen informed me that the gift had been ordered, I thanked her and jokingly noted "This just reaffirms my belief that I don't need a wife when you guys take care of this sort of thing for me." Jen did not take it with its intended humor.

"I propose you come up with the top 10 reasons why you do not need a wife. We, your supportive group of friends, will come up with the top 10 reasons why you do need a wife. We will compare the lists - I think you'd be surprised that nearly half, if not more of the reasons you think you don't need one, we perceive as the reason you do."

Ouch. Now I have homework? I make a little joke and now its intervention time? Let's face it, there's no way I'm going to come out looking good in this. But hey, I'm nothing if not a good sport. So I'll start working on my list of 10 - quid pro quo Jennifer.

(For the record, no I don't see the necessity of marriage outside of reasons having to do with children, but yes, I'd like to find someone who would tolerate me for infinity. And yes, having a wife would straighten out aspects of my life that most people would agree need straightening. I'm still making the list.)

Posted 1:28pm
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June 12th , 2009

He's Flipish: half Filipino, half Irish

Last night we were talking about old timey grandparents and their crazy ways, which meant I got to tell my racist grandfather story. It goes something like this: 10-12 years ago I was visiting my grandparents and my grandpa told a story about how he saw a white woman with a black baby at the Wal-Mart and how that wasn't right and why couldn't people stay with their own kind. He told this story as my two year old half-breed rolled around on his living room floor, making it all the more fun/offensive.

Now I'll confront anyone who maligns the Beatles in anyway and I'll confront most people - including family - on homophobia and racism, depending on the context. But there wasn't much to gain by pointing out the irony in my grandpa's diatribe given the affection he'd always shown his great grandson. Especially since I was all of 22 at the time and my grandpa chopped wood everyday and at 80 something could still put me through a wall. It was a que sera sera situation if there ever was one, even though it made me mad and uncomfortable. Ah well.

Anyway, here's the real bad news for Sid: as I was telling the story and referred to Sid as half-asian at some point, I was interrupted with 'Oh is that what he is? I wasn't sure.' This came as a quite a shock to me, not unlike when people started telling me I didn't have red hair. It was explained to me that he was obliviously not 100% white, but that he could have been Indian or Middle Eastern or some other mix. I suppose this is fair, just something I never considered, as Sid is pretty into being Asian. I guess lookout kid - you're not as obvious as you think.

- And since its Friday, let me leave you with this bit of happy, wondrous news: Beer hydrates you better than water. It's science.

Posted 10:29am
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June 11th , 2009

Dads and Grads

Blech. I hate that phrase. I mean, is there a more pandering slogan that's also more nonsensical in its pairing? No, no there's not. First of all, these two demographic groups have nothing in common. A dude in his late forties is the furthest thing from an 18 year old girl that you can possibly get. Yet there they are, together. Side by side in that trite little slogan.

So why pair them? Obviously its because people tend to graduate right around father's day and households everywhere will be out buying gifts for these two disparate entities. It's really easy for advertisers to tap you on the shoulder and say 'Hey, don't forget your morally obligated to get these people gifts.' And it just so happens that 'Dads and Grads' rolls off the tongue better than 'Fathers and Graduates'.

But the bottom line is that these two groups don't remotely want the same thing. Truth be told, you don't need to 'shop' for either of them. For the grad: cash. Straight money. They've either got college coming up or one last summer to hang out with their friends before everyone leaves them in the dust. Either way, they're going to need booze money, not a leather bound date book. For the Dad: leave them alone. If you insist on spending money, buy them a pizza and a six pack. Then go to the movies. Double feature, take the kids. Let them sit home alone and watch golf in peace and quiet. It will be the best father's day ever.

- Speaking of grads, I give to you the best commencement speech ever. Seriously. Take five minutes and watch it. Seriously. "The main difference between yesterday and tomorrow is that you can now go to the bathroom whenever you want. Its a big repsonsibility, but you've earned it."

- Here's a great message to graduating seniors. I know a guy who might have seen this and taken it a little too much to heart, since clearly once you've graduated you can bang away.

- Siddhartha is on his class trip in D.C., so guess what he'll probably remember most? I won't hold my breath waiting for conservatives to apologize to the DHS in light of yesterday's tragedy. Not surprising that this list features the most ignorant, slimy, douche bags in Washington.

Posted 11:03am
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June 10th , 2009

Moon River

We don't often offer disclaimers here at tbaggervance.com, but well, even we realize the semi-questionable nature of this post. So - those with a heart condition, pregnant women, people offended by foul medical conditions and especially, any females who may ever want to find me sexually attractive again - please don't read this. You've been warned.

Regular readers may have noticed that we're at least a day and half behind in our posting around here. Well, it all started yesterday morning when I awoke at 6am after a night of moderate to heavy drinking with a pain in my asshole that suggested nothing short of sodomy by something surely larger than a baby's arm. But let's back up a bit first for some context.

I've had a hemorrhoid for several years now. Its never been that big of deal. It flares up from time to time, goes away after a brief period of time without much fanfare. I figure its something you learn to live with - a kinder, gentler herpes. That's why when over the weekend I started feeling that twinge back there, I didn't think much of it. But instead of a minor fading annoyance, it started to get worse, not better - culminating in the sharp stabbing pain that felt like someone was trying to up the size of my poop shoot. It was bad enough that I called my doctor's office the minute they were open. This from the guy who walked around on a broken ankle for two days and waited 12 hours to get a massive head wound looked at out of convenience.

So several excruciating hours later, the doctor finally waltzed into my exam room. "It's never good when I walk in the room and the patient is standing up." he drly noted. After some brief chit chat about what was happening to my asshole, it was time to get down to brass tacks. "Drop 'em and lay down on your left side." I obliged and the doc got down and gently spread my cheeks. "Whoa. Nice." My hand to god that's what he said. "I've seen a lot of people claiming to be in pain today, but you win. That looks excruciating." Apparently my hemorrhoid had developed a blood clot, causing it to swell up and feel like death. Go figure.

I kinda of liked this guy, but of course my standard doctor critique still applied - he couldn't offer me a cause or solution. He gave me a cream and some vicodin (vicodin!) and told me that in a few days it would go away and never bother me again. That was the good news. "You may have some bleeding. Not that you'll bleed to death or anything but its a lot of blood for sitting around at home." As far as he knows anyway.

So I've spent my time since laying on my side and having my head swim with the sweet mellow malaise of vicodin. There's worse things, other than my ass is still pretty tender to say the least. But at least when its over it will be over for good. And chances are I will have some vicodin left over for a rainy day.

Posted 7:05pm
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June 8th , 2009

Recapping the weekend that was

Siddhartha is out of town this week on his class trip to Washington D.C., so its bachelor week here at tbaggervance.com. This basically means that I get to go to trivia tonight and don't have to leave the bar early after softball tomorrow. That and I'm likely to be more like 30 minutes late to work rather than 15. I'm looking forward to it. It's also my last official week in my apartment of 7 years. I started to pack shit up last night, and its odd to say the least, but more on that later. Here's some shit that went down over the weekend.

- I managed to see Up and The Hangover this weekend and I highly recommend both. I almost made it a trifecta with The Brothers Bloom yesterday, but I would have had to see it at the State, and I avoid that place like it's the Necto. Anyway, Pixar has yet to make a bad movie and Up fits well into their pantheon. As for The Hangover, it totally deserves the hype. Funniest thing I've seen in the theater since Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It somehow makes me even more anxious for Year One.

- After Up I went to the bar with some kids who couldn't give two shits about hockey - which is a problem when its game 5 of the Stanley Cup. Luckily the Wings took care of things quite handily, and now have two shots at winning the Cup over the next four days. Keep this stat in mind as you watch tomorrow night.

- Oh, and those on facebook or twitter already know that I had to crash on a couch downtown Saturday night because I was incapable of riding my bike home. This is reason number one I am moving. Doing the walk/ride of shame on a Sunday morning is bad enough, but it really sucks when you live next to a giant Catholic church and mass is getting out just as you're getting home. Classy.

- The first real litmus test in the middle east post Obama's Cairo speech turned out pretty well. I'm not attributing causation here, but just sayin'. For what I consider to be dead on analysis of the actual speech and what we're trying to do going forward, peep Andrew Sullivan.

- Elvis Costello was on Letterman Thursday night, dressed like a pimp (Thanks GLane for the heads up). I get nervous when Declan makes genre records, but this one at least has its moments. I'd prefer he make stuff like last year's Momufuku over and over, but I guess he wouldn't be Elvis Costello then, would he.

- Finally, I didn't watch the Tonys last night because, well, I'm straight. But this closing number from NPH is pretty brilliant. It also should make you appreciate his playing Barney on HIMYM, because how gay is NPH? The answer is very, very gay.

Posted 10:52am
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June 5th , 2009

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

- We win! Our 0-4 kickball team played our last game last night against arch rivals Neutral Zone. And let me just say that we raked, 13-3. I take some small measure of credit for teaching a bunch of literature nerds how to run the base paths. Onward Robots!

- I'm not sure how much of a cultural touchstone Magnum P.I. is anymore, and that is sad. Fortunately, Han Solo is still universally regarded as awesome, so folks young and old alike should get something out of this. If you're over 30, watch this second and you'll realize just how awesome the first part is.

- This morning I went to my son's 8th grade graduation ceremony. Let me state - unequivocally and for the record - I am against all graduation ceremonies other than high school and college undergrad. Guess what? You're done with junior high? Great, back to work as you've yet to accomplish shit. But hey, I missed one international night at Sid's school 5 years ago and he never let me live it down, so I begrudgingly attend these asinine timewasters (even though Sid is smart enough to know that this is bullshit by now.) Anyway, I suppose this officially means that I have a high schooler now. Kind of hard to believe, kind of awesome. I get excited, as the older he gets the more adult fun he gets to have. Plus, I'm so close to being done!

- And while it is with a heavy heart that I report David Carradine apparently has killed himself, let us remember him for how fucking cool Caine was. He was so cool that Tarantino used him as a spiritual aspiration in Pulp Fiction, and then went on to cast Carradine himself in Kill Bill - which I will watch this weekend in his honor - either drunk or hungover, enjoying every frame.

- I took today off in honor of 'graduation', so its time to go drink. Its really starting to feel like summer...

Posted 2:16pm
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June 4th , 2009

Which of these is the dumbest thing said this week?

- Up first: colossally un-self aware actor Craig T. Nelson. Now I want to point out that he said this on Glen Beck - a man generally considered to be in the running for the top five stupidest people on television. How did he out Glen Beck Glen Beck? Anyway, here's what Craiggers had to say about America and its lack of ability to pull itself up by its collective bootstraps:

They should be allowed to go bankrupt! What happened - we are a capitalistic society. OK, I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No. No.

Now I've got no love for the show Coach, but everybody loves Poltergeist, so while I want to ignore the inherent lack of acknowledgment that the U.S. government bailed out Craig T. with, well, welfare and food stamps, I cannot. Craig T. Nelson - you are the worst kind of hypocritical conservative asshole.

- Second - Senate fuckwad Lindsey Graham. Lindsey first came on my radar, not ironically, during the Alito confirmation hearings, where he gave the justice-in-waiting full out felatio on the floor of the senate. Now, he seems to have a problem with President Obama's pick of Sonia Sotomayor:

Sonia, you would not believe how much I want to vote against you. It is literally insane, the level of hatred I have towards you, personally.

That's what he supposedly said, by his own admission, to her face. After meeting her and admitting that she was quite friendly. Hopefully there are enough Senators to just know it in their hearts that Sonia's got it going on, since Lindsey is currently 'literally insane'.

- Third, Dick Cheney, all around creepy curmudgeon and a man clearly desperate to convince anyone that damnit, he kept us safe for, well, 7 years 3 months anyway. But who's to blame for that one little spot on his record? He finally let's us know:

You know, Dick Clarke. Dick Clarke, who was the head of the counterrorism program in the run-up to 9/11. He obviously missed it. The fact is that we did what we felt we had to do, and if I had to do it all over again, I would do exactly the same thing.

The problem with that, as even the moderator told him, is that Clarke repeatedly warned them about al Qaeda. Of course Cheney's response to that? "That's not my recollection, but I haven't read his book." Har har Dick. You can watch Jon Stewart eviscerate the former VP here. You dick.

Posted 10:26am
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June 3rd , 2009

Town Crier: A2 edition

- I always feel a rush of hometown pride everytime A2 is in the NYTimes. Doubly so when it has to do with how green and awesome we are. Here's a cool article about our LED streetlamps.

- Speaking of green A2, buried in this city council article is the decision to delay the decision on banning plastic bags until Spetember. Just do it already,chicken shits. People will learn to suck it up.

- Nothing is getting my attention more locally these days than whether or not to get rid of the Argo dam. My position, in a nutshell, is fuck the goddamn crew assholes and blow it the fuck up. They seem to be the only ones advocating keeping it, and the rest of us would be better off without it. Who wouldn't rather have class one rapids than a bunch of douche bags in a skinny boat? I think my side will eventually cave to the rowers, but they can still suck it.

- Another 'Should we or shouldn't we?' debate - closing down Main Street more in the summer. I don't have a strong feeling on this one way or the other. If it's only on the weekends in the summer, I guess I'm for it - especially if it provides more outdoor seating upon which I can get drunk. But I'm not adament like I am on the dam thing. Seriously, I'm not taking it in the butt for goddamn rowing.

- Missed in the Summer Festivals write up was 'Restauarant Week' here in Ann Arbor. Mostly because this just seems like a scam designed by Main Street Ventures to separate you from your cash. But hey, if you're into it, go try some new grub - I'm sure there are deals to be had.

- Finally, this is a fabulous idea: Grab a bus to downtown Detroit for $16, round trip. Better yet - these trips are specifically designed around Tigers games and general drinking and debauchery. The next one is this Saturday, and July 12th is Casino Night. If only I knew people who liked to drink and gamble...

Posted 10:26am
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June 2nd , 2009

When the totally unexpected comes to fruition

- In the parking lot of the Eddie Money show we had a discussion about who would be our generation's Edward Money: Really popular for an extended period of time, go away for a while, come back and play the oldies circuit (daughter as opening act optional). We had a lot of bands that didn't meet the popularity quotient (Hootie and the Blowfish) some that never went away enough (Dave Matthews Band) and some that we thought would never stoop so low as to come back and play the oldies circuit (Pearl Jam). The best answer (IMO) was the Counting Crows. In ten years, I can see my high school buddies clamoring to catch them some fat, bloated Adam Duritz. But wait! What's this? Pearl Jam is the musical act on the first night of Conan O'Brien? Wait - they're making an ad for TARGET!?! Huh. So much for the guys who refused to play venues that sold their tickets via Ticketmaster. See you at the Knob in 2020 boys. Totally worth the $5 ticket.

- OMG we're socialists! The government is taking over corporate America, as evidenced by this chart in The Atlantic:

As they note, the government owning GM makes for an interesting debate and one that has far reaching implications. When you start taking about how we're socialists now, its a lot less interesting debate.

- Pro-life killers? I'm not going to get too into it - I'll let The Onion do my talking for me.

- And in news completely unrelated to today's headline in any literal or sarcastic way, Burt's Bee's is giving away 1,000 tubes of lip balm a day for 25 days. They tend to go fast, so you need to check the link every morning and get lucky, but hey, that's shit's expensive and totally awesome, so worth checking out.

Posted 10:11am
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June 1st , 2009

That's when the internet bites you on the ass

Most of you know by now of my burgeoning long distance, one sided romance with Ms. Neko Case. If you need a reminder, well, OK - let's show the album cover one more time:

That's Neko. She's raven haired, has the voice of an angel and well, she's crouched on the hood of a muscle car with a spear in her hand - of course I'm in love with her. Me and every other over 30 aging hipster in the universe who's ever been to see The New Pornographers.

But of course not everyone sees my obsession as cute and hilarious. This weekend Ayesha was discovering what Neko (Neko! Isn't her name just adorable?!?) actually sounds like, and we exchanged several txt messages in which I reiterated how hot she is. This culminated in me finally receiving this txt:

Dude, seriously.

Now I think celebrity crushes are healthy things. I'm never going to meet Neko Case much less have a drink with her. Therefore no one should ever have cause for jealousy over my hyperbolic obsession with her. I would never feel threatened by a girl's obsession with say Clive Owen - even if she chose to be over the top about it in the way I express my feelings for Neko.

But then I got to thinking, what if there was cause for alarm? Not in the sense of 'What if your significant other is involved in a celebrity affair?' but more along the lines of 'What does your celebrity crush say about you and your relationship?' That's a huge topic, so specifically, is it better to have your significant other obsessed with a celeb that is similar to you or wholly different? One could argue that having your s.o. obsessed with someone who is nothing like you indicates their preference for something different and a rejection of your specific qualities. On the other hand, if they show a preference for a celebrity you share a number of qualities with, you may sleep a little easier knowing that you're at least in the ballpark. Of course the opposite of those could be true as well: idolizing something different is just celebrating diversity whereas looking for something similar is an indictment of your specific shortcomings.

Ultimately, I think if you're actually worried you either have trust issues or your relationship has problems that extend beyond the celebrity crush. There's much more to be concerned about if your s.o. is obsessed with someone actually in their life that isn't you. I think if your girlfriend keeps talking about how hot the new guy at work is, you might want to pay attention. As for their love of redheaded Canadian songstresses, well that's just a healthy appreciation of talent and beauty. Unless said songstress ever google's herself and comes across this - in which case call me.

- A very important person in my department just commented on a comment that I made to another employee's facebook account. Six months from now when I am jobless, remember this moment as the beginning of the end.

- Those who check out the flickr page may have noticed that I posted a pic of Dutch Leonard last Thursday after hearing him speak. It's a grainy cameraphone pic from a band angle, but hey, it's what I could get. Well over the weekend I got a request from the AADL, asking to link to the photo from their photostream. This would seem like an honor, but what if I captioned the picture by noting that Dutch is King Shit of Fuck Mountain©? Did the AADL notice that and over look it or just not see it? Well I approved their request, so let's hope that no overly sensitive library patrons see it and throw a fit.

Posted 10:11am
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May 29th , 2009

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

- Elmore Leonard is King Shit of Fuck Mountain. I listened to him, his son and some other dude speak at the public library last night and just, wow. The cat's eighty-fucking-three and smarter and quicker than anyone in the room. If you enjoyed watching Get Shorty or Out of Sight or Jackie Brown and have never read Elmore (Dutch to his friends) then you are not living life to its fullest my friend.

- Speaking of timewasters (as we were yesterday), here's a great one celebrating Empire's 20th anniversary. I'm stuck on 30/50 and will kick myself when I figure out what Shakespeare on the rings is.

- Sometimes, when you're that asshole who has to have every bit of music the minute it hits the ether, you don't get exactly the same album that the rest of the world does. Por ejemplo, My copy of The Strokes 2001 debut Is This It was built piece meal off of Napster or Limewire or whatever was the downloading program du jour back then. As such, my copy of the album has demos and alternate takes and ultimately sounds nothing like the version of the LP that made them the saviors or rock of and roll of the day back then. But guess what? I love my copy. I tried to download the official version once and hated it - even though I knew it was arguably a vastly superior effort. It just wasn't what I fell in love with. Anyway, I recently came across something similar. I had Vampire Weekend's eponymous debut at least 3 months before the street date. In those 3 months, I gave it to everyone I knew who had an even cursory interest in good music. Well it turns out - 18 months later - that my copy was missing a track. I knew of the existence of the song "m79", but I thought it was a b-side or something. Nope. Its track five. Can't say why my copy was missing it, but it was. So I now apologize to everyone I passed that album on to - you got shorted. I promise to make it up to you.

- My kid makes me happy in all of the important non-innocuous ways, but I often find the innocuous much more satisfying and visceral. Recently he used a phrase that he heard when we were hanging out with Tom and Sarah that dates back to my college days and it made me beam from ear to ear. "When they say Thomas, they mean da asshole." That's my boy.

- Its Friday. Happy hour approacheth. That makes me a kid on Christmas morning.

Posted 11:38am
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May 28th , 2009

Timewasters

I got nothing. Here's some shit to waste away the day.

- Here's an exhaustive list of comedians that are available for you to follow on twitter. I am very pleased to announce that this resource not only proves just how funny @mitchfatel and @michaelianblack truly are, but also how funny @carlosmencia and @danecook aren't.

- Here's another giant waste of time: Name that movie in four frames. I wish it was better setup so that it was more of a game, but if you are careful with your scrolling, you can go for hours.

- I will have something to say about this subject at some point, but it won't sound as girlie as this does.

- The Yahoo! Answers service is laughably bad at providing information, but awesome at being laughable.

Posted 11:25am
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May 27th , 2009

Wednesday's are for politickin'

- You can decry identity politics, say she's too liberal or not liberal enough. You can wail about her statement about the policy making court of appeals and claim her resume is too thin. But you can't argue two things: she saved baseball from itself and more importantly, she dicked over Maurice Clarett. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

- Yes, Prop 8 in California was upheld by the California Supreme Court. But fear not, leftys, liberals and friends of the gays everywhere - I know it hurts, but its going to be OK. Here's a liberal reassurance that it doesn't mean what you think it does. It just means that when the gays get married they can't call it marriage (yes, this is stupid, but its the game we play as we move towards equality). And here's the gay conservative voice on the matter, espousing the case against what could be seen as judicial fiat. See? We'll all be fine one day soon, and you can tell your grandkids about how naïve and backwards we all once were.

- Gambling? On the internet? Say it ain't so, Joe! Speaking of the gays, Barney Frank has introduced a bill to legalize online gambling in United States. Your first response to this may be 'Online gambling isn't legal?' Yeah, so, this changes little to nothing, as anyone who's ever wanted to place a bet on anything hasn't probably had much of a problem doing so (I certainly haven't). This basically is a pandering argument about whether or not Congress should save us from ourselves and "Won't you think of the children?" But hey, more gambling is something I am always for, so, yay!

- OK, so Mancow Muller is a douche nozzle. He tried to be Howard Stern when that was popular, and then took on a conservative bent when Rush Limbaugh seemed to be the way to go. But I also don't think this is a stunt in the sense that it he didn't plan on having to say this was torture. Let's be honest, it was six seconds and he could stop it at the drop of a hat. How about when you aren't in control? And if Sean Hannity still has your respect, you're a respect slut and you should try having some for yourself.

- And just so we hit all of our peccadilloes, here's the Freakanomics Quorum on pot legalization, as well as a video history of weed, courtesy of the show Weeds.

Posted 11:25am
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May 26th , 2009

Overheard and overseen over the weekend

That was maybe the most perfect weather weekend Memorial Day has ever seen. Just 70 and sunny for 4 straight days. I did my best to take advantage of it, going to concerts, barbecuing, and drinking my way through the holiday. Here's a few things seen and heard during that period:

- Stov and I showed up at the Eddie Money concert Friday and realized that we were way over the median age of attendee, which was the opposite of what we expected. We had a blast, but perhaps the most memorable moment was when a kid who looked like he was my son's age came up to me and asked "Y'all ain't got no weed?" I told him "It's 'Excuse me, do you perchance have any weed?'" and sold him a dime bag of shake.

- It wasn't just Stov and I at Eddie Money. As we sat in the parking lot with our minikeg of Oberon, we realized that Boike both might be willing and able to come to the show. After some hemming and hawing, the txt message exchange went something like this:

stov: Shall we get two tickets to paradise or three?
boike: Baby hold one for me.

You should really come to Eddie Money with us next year. Seriously, take the afternoon off and come. We'll make it our official summer kickoff event.

- Saturday as I was riding my bike through campus I noticed a group of college kids sitting in the back of a pickup truck that was parked in their front lawn. I immediately thought that this was a rather hillbilly way to spend an afternoon, and behavior more fitting of Columbus than Ann Arbor. That was until I got closer. Because this wasn't just people using a tailgate as furniture. Oh no. These future leaders of men had lined the bed of the truck with a tarp, filled it with water and were using it as a swimming pool (no diving). I suddenly found myself very nostalgic for my youth and wishing I was still in college.

- Being smart is pretty tied up in how I see myself. This is evidenced by my hubris of trying to take on four people (who are wicked smart) in Trivial Pursuit by myself Sunday night, after about 8 hours of drinking (there is no hubris like drunken hubris). That may point to me being a jackass more than anything, but honestly I just really wanted to play the game, and the jackassery ensured we did. Anyway, I point to this because then wouldn't you think that this might be the worst possible thing to ever say to me?

You'd like him. He's really smart. Almost as smart as you. Maybe smarter.

Even if one were joking, or teasing or whatever, that's not going to go well. You might as well say Oberon sucks, Wilco is boring and Tom Brady is gay in the same breath.

Posted 10:06am
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May 22nd , 2009

Kickball Douche Bag of the Week

Its really a shame. I've been playing some flavor of 'Recreation Department' adult sports for over a decade now, and the pattern is so shockingly stable that it makes you wonder where all the d-bags are coming from. You know the guy/girl I'm talking about. The one that takes things way too seriously. The one that is reliving some past athletic glory - back when they had the world by the balls and they felt like they were King Shit of Fuck Mountain©. They argue rules. They say the most annoying things, make unbelievable gestures when they succeed. They are douche bags.

Usually its one person on a team. Softball seems to lend itself to having that one person infect everyone else, but there's still one guy at the heart of the matter. The guy who thinks he knows more than the ump and is actually pissed that he's playing against your team and its clearly inferior athletic prowess. How he's never been punched in the face you'll never know. But that's to be expected in a sport like softball. A bunch of overweight dudes who used to play baseball reliving past glories. That makes sense. Well sadly I'm here to tell you that this phenomenon exists even in kickball. Among non-profits.

It seemed like an innocuously fun thing to do: play a kids game with a bunch of people who are less athletic than I am? Oh to play sports and not worry about being the worst player on the field! Against people who are doing this to strictly have fun? Why not? Well because even the Red Cross has douche bags.

The first week it was the former high school softball pitcher. She was out for blood. She threw the ball towards the plate with as much velocity as she could muster, and defensively she was a general - barking out orders with a voracity that would indicate life or death. I can't remember the last time I wanted to punch a girl in the face that much.

Week two it was former frat boy douche bag. From his position at short stop, he made every play in the infield (often pushing his teammates out of the way to do so.). In the last inning (which was just for fun to extend the game - it didn't count, they had already won.) He deliberately kicked the ball into the outfield towards a TEN YEAR OLD and even though the ball was in the infield as he rounded second, he kept running all the way home and slide into the plate to just beat a tag. Congrats dude. You are totally awesome.

That last guy also had a teammate who insisted we couldn't throw the ball at her. That we weren't playing that way, even though it explicitly says in the rules that we are. After we lightly threw the ball at her on her way to second, she stood there, arms crossed, saying "No, I'm not out. We're not playing that way." Of course frat boy douche bag had her back. Man I wanted to punch him.

So there's little chance we'll win a game, and the fact that I have to do all the base coaching and pitching on our team probably makes me our team douche bag by default, but eh, I've been called worse.

Posted 10:06am
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May 21st , 2009

Should or should we not, follow the advice of the galactically stupid?

"If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me. Nobody."

That's Bristol Palin, the wise sage who went from 'Abstinence isn't realistic' to 'Abstinence is the only way!' as soon as she realized she was a single mother, needed a job, and could get one doing nothing other than being the quasi-famous daughter of a national joke and telling kids that sex is evil in the eyes of Jesus. But I'd like to examine that statement for a second, as it may be the most bitter/stupid thing I've heard in some time.

First let's take the bitter aspect of what she said. My first thought when I read it (after I said out loud "Well that's not true", but we'll get to that in a second) was that Levi Johnston clearly doesn't know how to bring it. I think it's the "Trust me. Nobody." kicker that brings it home for me. I can almost picture her holding up a hand with just the pinky out for the visual as she says it. Like she needs a t-shirt that says "I had sex and all I got was this lousy baby." Poor Bristol needs the big O, and I'm not talking guest spot on Oprah. And was her kid in the room as she said this? I was a teenage dad and I've never referred to my kid as a 'consequence.' I mean I'm sure that Levi, in addition to being hung like a fruit bat and having the skill set of a Jesuit priest, is a deadbeat dad and you're going this alone, but even if the reality of the situation is that your kid is a consequence of some unfulfilling teenage fumbling and contraceptive ignorance, you don't need to say it out loud. It sounds bitter.

Now let's talk for a second about how this may be the dumbest, most reality denying statement ever uttered in the history of the spoken word. First of all, if you told teenagers that in order to have sex you had to play Russian roulette afterwards and there was a one in six chance you'd end up with a bullet in your head, most of them would still take the chance after two Bud Lights (as long as the sex came before the gun). Everyone will always take colossally stupid chances to have sex, especially when they're young - no matter how smart and educated they are. Now how can we help to mitigate the danger of that fact? First off, let's not act like sex = pregnancy. Thousands of people try to get pregnant every day and fail. Second, you know what the consequences of sex are when you're on the pill and I wear a condom? Outside of whatever guilt your religious upbringing has instilled in you, nothing. No offspring, no painful sores. If we're attentive and lucky, we'll both have toe curling orgasms and then fall asleep satiated. So shines a good deed in a weary world.

Look, I have a 'sexual consequence' who's about to be in high school and my biggest fear in world is that he's going to do something stupid (like a Bristol Palin). But thank God I'm smart enough to know that the surest way to ensure that he will would be to tell him not to have sex. So let's take our heads out of the collective sand, shall we? Next time People comes a'callin Bristol, lets try this: "If kids realized the consequences of unprotected sex, they would take more precautions. But since nobody thinks about that when their dick is as hard as a diamond and they've done 6 shots of apple pucker, let's drill it into their pea brain heads until putting on a condom is a pavlovian response." I won't hold my breath.

- Second dumbest statement of the week? This douche bag. That someone with so little understanding of basic science could be elected to public office irks the shit out of me. Fuck you, Texas.

Posted 10:23am
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May 19th , 2009

tbaggervance.com's 2009 guide to summer festivals

Its time again for tbaggervance.com's annual guide to Michigan* Summer Festivals** - in which we here at tbaggervance.com provide you the reader with a convenient guide to what's free*** and fun this summer in the mitten. It will live as a link over there in the sidebar, so feel free to access it all summer long, whenever you want to plan a weekend or just forget what's playing at the TOP. Now come, grab an Oberon, and let us plan our summer together...
* and other driveable distances
** and other various assorted concerts/events/things to see and do
*** or not so free in some cases

Edward Money
May 22
This annual kick off (in 2 days!) to the Pine Knob Summer Concert series is an institution in SE Michigan. And this year, after several of maintaining that 'We're definitely going this year,' Stov and I will finally attend the extravaganza. It certainly is a herald for what cannot help but be the best summer ever. If you click on the link, you can laugh at how comically old the picture of Edward they used is.

Taste of Ann Arbor
May 31
This is kinda meh to me, as I've eaten at all these restaurants before. But hey, if its nice out, walk around and have a taste of everything! Plus there's always a clown or juggler or something to make everyone feel awkward.

Sonic Lunch
June 4 - Aug. 27
I always meant to get downtown and check this out last summer, but my lazy ass never quite made it. I tend to get down more often these days to lunch with my architect friends, and heck, I will live there soon, so look for me here on Thursdays.

Ann Arbor Summer Festival
June 12 - July 5
The ol' A2 standby, featuring music, movies, and teenagers participating in behavior that will surely make you uncomfortable. Too many good acts/movies to mention individually. Make TOP a part of your drunk night out in A2!

Detroit River Days
June 19-21
These dimwits have yet to announce any sort of a schedule, so I can't really comment on whether this is worth your hassle to head downtown. Last year though we did catch Taproot here, and Weird Al and Rick Springfield have been featured performers in the past, so something may show up here that merits your attendance.

Naper Days/Taste of Randolph Street
June 20-21
I'm strongly considering a trip to Chicago for back to back great rock shows for under $10 this weekend. Saturday night features Matthew Sweet in Naperville at 'Naper Days' (nice name). Naperville is 45 minutes southwest of Chicago proper, and more importantly, 20 minutes from my brother's house. Then Sunday its the Taste of Randolph Street featuring The Hold Fucking Steady. Hopefully a friendly Chicagoan will offer up their floor so I don't have to stay sober and drive home after the show...

Detroit City Fest
July 1-5
Formerly Taste of Detroit. Two years ago Spoon played here. The year before that? New Pornographers. Before that? Fucking Wilco! So where is the awesomeness gone for two straight years now? No offense to De La Soul or Buddy Guy (or even Ray Parker Jr), I'm just not down enough to drive down and pay $8 a beer to see you.

Rothbury
July 2-5
I have lots of disdain for Rothbury - for being so close to me and so lame. However, there is hope. Last year there wasn't a band playing here that I'd cross the street to pee on. This years lineup has four (four!) bands that I've already seen (The Hold Steady, Bob Dylan, Black Crowes and Hard Lessons) and another 3 or 4 that I could actually sit through. However, 4 day passes are $249.50. This does not include the $23 'ticket fee' nor the $10 ($10!) shipping fee. Alas, Rothbury, you can still lick my balls.

Common Ground Festival
July 6-12
Holy Shit! Stone Temple Pilots?! Billy Squier?! HUEY FUCKING LEWIS AND THE GODDAMN NEWS?!? All are playing Common Ground this year. Unfortunately, the festival is in Lansing, the above artists are playing midweek and this thing costs $26 per show. Thus tbaggervance.com cannot endorse Common Ground, but could be talked into going to see Mr. Lewis with you.

Elvis Fest
July 10-11
This doesn't do anything for me personally, but hey, whatever blows your hair back.

Ann Arbor Art Fair
July 15-18
I'm living downtown for the first time, meaning I am sure I will seethe a whole new level of hatred for the Art Fair. No, you can't park at my house.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 17-19
Best bang for your buck festival around. Sunday you can see The Thermals, The Walkmen and The Flaming Fucking Lips (plus 15 other bands) for a mere $35 - which is what you'd be happy to pay for the Lips alone. Let's get on this, shall we?

Beerfest
July 24-25
If you don't go to this you are lame. Stop reading my blog, you do not meet the coolness quotient.

Lollapalooza
August 7-9
This fucker's so big that there's bound to be something here for everyone. And by something I mean several things. Unfortunately the headliners are meh, so I'll be waiting until at least next year for this one - at which time I will again weigh the cost/benefit ratio of this and Pitchfork and see who wins.

Woodward Ave Dream Cruise
Aug. 15
As we do every year, we note this as a public service, so you can completely avoid it and the entire Detroit Metro Area this entire weekend.

Pontiac Arts, Beats and Eats
Labor Day Weekend
Yeah, its in Pontiac. No, there hasn't been much worthwhile in the past few years that merits the fucking drive. I'll keep an eye out and let you know if something comes up when they announce the schedule, but we'll all more than likely be too geeked about football season to care.

Posted 10:24am
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May 18th , 2009

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

- Over the weekend MJ and I were talking about the role of the Federal government and what they should and shouldn't do. Its a delicate subject and oftentimes a fine line. This, however, is a long time coming. Air pollution, energy consumption and global warming are national issues, best standardized by the Fed. Otherwise we all know that the south would still be producing energy by lighting old tires on fire.

- Here's two great "Ha-Ha religion is stoopid." videos from the kids over at videogum. In the first, Pat Robertson tells a woman to dump her atheist boyfriend and manages to insinuate that she's a slut in the process. And second, we have the trailer for the straight-to-DVD movie about a MOOT court trial centering around abortion. Awesome. I almost wish I was still had catechism class, where I surely would have had to watch this. Almost. Oh! And as a bonus, here's Jesse again talkin' torture. This time, he schools that idiot Hasselback on The View. Seriously conservatives, get someone out there who's not an utter embarrassment to abstract thought.

- Here's an interesting map of North America's best sports cities, based on winning percentage since the year 2000. All I can say is once again, fucking Lions dragging us down.

- One of the coolest things about the internet is that I don't have to sit through a 90% boring season of SNL in order not to miss the 10% that's really good. There was a time that I was more than willing to do this, because I had the time and hadn't discovered the wonders of alcohol yet. But the decline in quality of the show and the rise in my love of booze means I haven't seen an episode of the show this century. But now I can enjoy the good parts, skip the crap, and still go out drinking on Saturdays - thanks to sites like this.

- Tonight will be the last junior high choir concert that I ever have to attend. Ever. With any luck, it will be the last choir concert I ever have to attend period. Sid generally loves music and singing, but is appropriately embarrassed when an element of choreography seeps into these things. As of now he is not signed up for high school choir and the box step requirement should keep him out of any show choir type thing, so I appear to be out of the woods and safe for the time being. That being said, he absolutely loves this album, and I'm sure he'll end up watching this, so shit ain't over. Why can't he just join a garage band and be in the musicals like me?

Posted 10:47am
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May 17th , 2009

Your Indie Rock Weekend (That was...)

I was in ELansing on Friday and never got around to writing up this blog post that I had already planned, so you get it now, 3 days later. Its still fresh, trust me...

- The new Wilco album is streaming over at their site. I'm trying hard to get into it, and while there are definitely things I like, I'm not in love yet. But as we all know, sometimes it doesn't happen right away, but that doesn't mean its not going to happen.

- The Flaming Lips are headlining Pitchfork! This officially makes it the festival of choice this summer, besting lame lineups for Lollapalooza and the perpetually disappointing Rothbury. The Thermals and The Walkmen are also playing Sunday, so we should totally go, right? The Lips also have a new album in the works btw, and its a double.

- John Legend sucks ass. He can't even really sing. If you've seen him live*, he's all over the place and needs 18 backup singers to make it sound at all like the album. Or that he's not tone deaf. Anyway, there's also no way he should be above Cake and Radiohead on this list.

- Brian Williams: Indie Rock Blogger.

- Remember how we were talking about Vampire Weekend backlash recently? If you didn't get it then, read this and it might begin to gel for ya. It certainly made me like them less. I mean I still love them, but no jeans or t-shirts? Fuck you in your pretentious assholes.

- We all lament how far Weezer has fallen. Now its come to this? Poor Rivers.

- Here's a cool list of the Next 100 bands that you should be listening to. If you're like me, you'll mostly go through looking for names that you recognize. If you read past that though, you might find something new to get excited about. It really made me want to go out and get the new Wavves album.

- Don't click here. You've been warned.

- Finally, Neutral Milk Hotel's seminal In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has been turned into a musical. It was only a matter of time. It has yet to bring Jeff Mangum out of hiding though. In my mind, he's somewhere in New England with J.D. Salinger being exasperated by all of the 'phonies'.

Posted 10:06am
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May 14th , 2009

They should make them sit through my kid's choir concert. Now that's torture.

I really find it unbelievable that this is a point of contention. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that certain people don't view Islamic terrorists as human beings. But how can that be true, because who would publicly hold a view that transparently racist?

My argument on this can be boiled down to the last two paragraphs of this piece by Matt Taibbi (and this response from Andrew Sullivan). Or how about the notion, as Dostoevsky once said, that "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." How obtuse do you have to be to not see the throughline of becoming what you are fighting against? We're fighting for freedom? We're preserving our way of life? Then we don't torture. Otherwise we're not the greatest nation on earth nor is there a case to be made for American exceptionalism.

I know the history - what we've done in the past. And I don't lose sleep over someone who wants to kill me (and as Sullivan noted, I'm on the top of their list) feeling a little pain during an 'enhanced interrogation'. But when we allow this, how do we feign outrage when the same thing happens to an American serviceman captured by our enemy? And spare me the 'it's not torture' argument. Jesse Ventura may be batshit crazy on a lot of levels, but the guy was a SEAL and has seen things that'd make you shit your pants, so when he says "You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders" I believe him.

The term 'Machiavellian' isn't a compliment for a reason. It's because the idea of the end justifying the means isn't a pleasant one. Winning at all cost generally means that the victory is tainted. Discretion is the better part of valor, so to speak. Otherwise it all ends up in some Lord of the Flies scenario, and I don't want to end up like Piggy.

- Yeah, so I'm not thrilled with how Obama is handling all of the above business. What do I like you ask? How about a common sense approach to drugs and scrapping abstinence only education. Thanks for reminding me why I voted for you. I hate that I needed it, but thanks.

- Here are 5 ways to make the Republican party viable again. Actual ideas! From a Republican! I'd vote for this dude.

Posted 10:27am
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May 13th , 2009

The most epic game of Jenga ever to be played in the history of the universe.

Its pretty well documented around here that I'm a competitive asshole and that I've passed down this trait to my only begotten son. Its a pretty Brubaker thing to win at all costs and throw it in your opponent's face when you do so. Those relatives of mine who think they are above this are lying to themselves and are just bitter because they don't win very often. You know who you are.

Sid doesn't have school today, so when I got home from softball last night, we decided to play some games. After he took me out 2-1 in Blockus, he said 'Let's play something we haven't played in a while.' Little did he know that he was about to initiate the most spic game of Jenga ever to be played in the history of the universe.

Luckily, technology makes it almost impossible not to document the shit out everything we ever fucking do. Often times this can be utterly soul crushing. But in this case we are all better for it, as I now present to you the most epic game of Jenga ever to be played in the history of the universe: the photo essay.

Posted 10:35am
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May 12th , 2009

Fruity, with a hint of oak.

Staying on top of new music is a chore. Its not hard to see why there is an inevitable decline in everyone's consumption of new music as the years drone on. First of all there's the whole becoming an adult and the accumulation of responsibilities. As we get older time becomes more precious, there's just less of it to go around. And who wants waste valuable time on something you may or may not like? Add to that the theory of large numbers: the amount of music available to you is ever expanding at an exponential rate. How does one even get to it all? And even if you can effectively suss out what you like from the dreck, there's only so many hours in the day. I still love a lot of music from ten years ago, meaning I have to balance listening to old favorites with exploring new infatuations. All this and I still have to make time for the Beatles.

A friend postulated a rambling theory recently that as we get older, music becomes like wine. You never stop enjoying wine and everybody knows basically what they like. But then there are those who really get into wine. The people who talk about tannins and regional differences and go to wineries on vacation and sit around and talk about wine. These people are usually assholes, but you have to become something analogous when you get over 30 if you want to stay 'into' music. Of course everyone knows what they like and will try new things from time to time when somebody thrusts it in front of the them, but mostly you casually enjoy old favorites. To go above and beyond that cavalier attitude is to get hyper involved and try to soak up as much as you possibly can.

Its really hard for me to argue against this, as I'll gladly sit around and discuss the merits of the new Camera Obscura album or what the ultimate impact of Clap You Hands Say Yeah is if they never make another album. I'm exactly that kind of asshole. And I guess I'm OK with that. I like being that guy who gets asked who sings what song, or when they hear something in Urban Outfitters, ask me to burn them a copy, assuming I already have whatever it is. Because I like wine, but I'll never be able to articulate what exactly it is about Malbecs that I love so much right now, I just know it tastes good and gets you drunk. That's more than sufficient as far as I'm concerned. I'll be sitting around drinking it enjoying some classic Spoon from when they were still on Matador records. No, you've probably never heard it.

- Last call for the super terrific screening of the hilarious and heartbreaking movie Away We Go. Its Thursday. Dave Eggers will be there. So will I and it will be all around awesome. You should come, proceeds benefit 826 Michigan.

- And finally, I saw this and thought "That sounds about right."

Posted 10:37am
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May 11th , 2009

Nothing beats a good 'pulling out' reference.

I can't seem to get it together this morning. Here are some video links:

- If you whack off in your car, close the sunroof.

- New Woody Allen with Larry David playing the Woody Allen part. That sounds about right.

- To paraphrase something someone said to me fairly recently "Do you think Rivers Cuomo knows what's happened to him?" I'm guessing by his train cap, no. But man, Pinkerton was the bomb diggity yo.

- Best Keyboard Cat yet.

- Obama was pretty funny at the White House Corespondents Dinner. So was Wanda.

- I didn't make it to Star Trek this weekend, but not for this reason.

Posted 11:59am
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May 8th, 2009

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

- Last night I played in my first kickball game in approximately 25 years. It was exactly as much fun as I remember. Well a little different, since the best part was that that the game lasted for 30 minutes and then we drank for three hours, but the game part was fun too. Two observations: A.) The league is made up of non-profits, so I'm pretty relatively athletic, which is fun. B.) People who stick around to finish a 30 pack of PBR after the game are my kind of people.

- Longtime readers will remember the creepy stalker lady who lives in my apartment complex. Well the weather is nice outside, which means that my sliding glass door is usually open, which means that creepy stalker lady can now talk to me when she slowly walks by my window and stares in uncomfortably. Tuesday night I heard the familiar call "Tyson! Tyson!" (I don't have the heart to tell her...) I eventually got up to go see what she wanted. She started ranting, exasperated by her auto mechanic and the person who lives above her who has the gall to walk around their apartment at all hours of the day and night. "Have you eaten dinner yet? Can I take you to Red Lobster? I'll pay..." Gulp. I've never been so glad to A.) Have already had my dinner and B.) about to be leaving for softball. I've always dreaded the day she would try and cross the line and get my phone number or try to come into my apartment. I feel like I should tell her I'm moving, but the prospect of that conversation literally scares the shit out of me, so maybe I'll just pull up stakes in the middle of the night. Its probably for the best.

- I'm kind of fascinated by Miss Opposite Marriage/Miss California. First of all, the PAGEANT paid for your boob job?!? Huh. You are so hateful and ill coached that you gave THAT answer about gay marriage to Perez Hilton? Wow. Topless photos? Cool. But after seeing these papers, it all kind of makes sense. All fathers should let their daughters know that all men with mustaches are gay.

- My friend Mariah (Michigan's official Yelp Ambassador) is featured in this CNN story of why people love Detroit. The biggest surprise? They found 13 people with something nice to say about Detroit. ZING!

- I've long searched for another redundancy in my birth control options, so this is exciting news. I'm on the pill, she's on the pill, I'm wearing a condom. Unfortunately that's just starting to sound safe enough for me. It sucks that I have to have a conversation with my son that goes something akin to "I don't care what she says she's on and/or using, you wear a condom," but now fathers everywhere will get to have the same conversation with their daughters, which I imagine is way worse.

Posted 10:26am
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May 7th, 2009

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week?

Its funny (to me), I always look to see how recently I've run the Baby J segment when I start a new one. I do that for no other recurring headline. I guess I don't want to beat up the kid too much.

- Yesterday I had to defriend another high school classmate. This time it was for joining a group called "Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman". I saw that the person had joined, so I angrily clicked on the link and then angrily read people's stupid justifications for like 20 minutes. I'm angry enough already without facebook getting all up in my grill, so defriend. Feels good.

- Speaking of gays, Maine caved on gay marriage, leaving Rhode Island as the only barrier between New England and total fabulousness. And in other gay news, Kelly McGillis and David Ogden Stiers are both tooooooootally gay. Take my breath away...

- Lots of news articles as of late about both the growth of Atheism and the lack of young people attending church. The second article is especially intriguing since its a 'news' story that basically equates lack of church going with the decline of western civilization. Trust me, we'll all be better off. All of your correlational data about people not going to church not voting and not giving to charity are from an outmoded paradigm. I find it kind of annoying that ABC News is running this is 'news' - no church, we're all fucked. Bring in the apathy and amorality! Ignorant fucktards.

- I'm totally fascinated with Bristol Palin. I feel like if I analyze enough tape of her, I'll find a facial tick that is spelling out S.O.S. over and over again, or hear a high pitched voice in the silence screaming 'Help me!' like in the original movie The Fly. You may remember in her first interview after she popped out her kid, she referred to abstinence as 'not realistic'. What do you think she says now that her official job title is 'Ambassador of Abstinence'? I guess single mom's have to take work where they can get it.

- Speaking of abstinence, this video shows just how scary their program of fear and shame and ignorance is. It did totally make me not want to have sex, but not for the reasons they want. Wait, yup, I'm over it. Ready to have sex again.

- And finally, maybe my favorite Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat video. I can't believe I never had an exchange like this with my mother. 'Because that's what Christmas is about - Jesus Christ.' The entire American retail economy might disagree with you there, mom.

Posted 10:43am
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May 6th , 2009

Throw out your hands, Stick out your tush, Hands on your hips, Give 'em a push...

Undoubtedly my first introduction to Dom Deluise was as a comic foil to Burt Reynolds in some early 1980's movie that involved a fast car or cars. Which I enjoyed, don't get me wrong. But it wasn't until I later discovered the works of Mel Brooks that I truly came to appreciate the man's genius. In small, brief roles - Pizza the Hutt, Emperor Nero, Buddy Bizarre - he was always memorable, always brilliant. He passed away over the weekend. I imagine him being greeted at the pearly gates by a chorus of angels doing the French Mistake. In addition to his associations with Burt and Mel, there's two other things I will always think of when Dom Deluise's name comes up: 1) His son Peter was on 21 Jump Street and 2) This impression of him by Chris Farley. Rest in Peace, Dom.

- OK, let's lighten the mood around here. For those of you not following me on facebook or twitter, I really wanted to show you this yesterday, because as I noted then, it may be the greatest thing that the internet has ever created. I'll let it speak for itself and just give you Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat. (most of my favorites are compiled here)

- I think the price of a rock show should be $20. You should be able to buy the tickets from the box office of the venue and that should be that. Most of the shows I attend abide by this. A lot of them are under $20, and I can usually circumvent service fees by using will call or paying cash at the door. The glaring exception to this is Wilco. Wilco tickets are always over $30, and since the shows always sell out, you have to get them right away online from ticketmaster or some other concert goer raping entity. I just bought 2 tickets to see Wilco in July at the Royal Oak Music Theater and it cost me over $90. Not that its not worth it, its just disappointing that its so expensive - especially relatively. I mean, I paid $12 flat to see the Thermals. And beers were $2.25 at the Pig, which they won't be in Royal Oak. Ah well. It almost makes me sympathize with Jay Bennett for suing Jeff Tweedy. I say almost, because we all know that Bennett is a whiny bitch. But I also know that Tweedy probably has $50,000 in his couch cushions at this point.

- Hey Ann Arborites! This Saturday you can recycle all of your old televisions, computer parts and other assorted electronics at Pioneer High School FOR FREE. And as cool as the Drop Off Station is, they charge $.50 a pound to recycle your TV, so grab this opportunity by the balls. Because if I ever find out you tried to throw away a TV in the garbage, I will kick you in yours.

Posted 10:50am
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May 5th , 2009

King Shit of Fuck Mountain©.

A few months ago, Sid and I were playing Wii sports and ended up, as we often do, playing through every sport that the game has. It just so happens that there are 5 sports to play on the game, so its easy to determine a winner by taking 3 out of the five contests. Usually Sid, having logged many more hours playing Wii than I, beats me 3-2. But this last time, I managed to eek out a win. And in our house, winning means bragging rights. And by bragging rights, I mean obnoxiously run your mouth until the other person is sorry they ever played in the first place. So I wrote something akin to the following on a post it note and made my son read it. Out loud. Because to the victor go the spoils:

Tyler Aaron Brubaker is King Shit of Fuck Mountain© at Wii Sports. We all bow to his vastly superior talent, techniques and ability, and thank him for descending upon high long enough to show his benevolence, by taking time to play with lesser beings.

Yeah. What a prick, I know. But I still think its pretty funny. Of course last night those chickens came home to roost. Sid came into the living room, tennis racquet in hand to inform me that he was going to go hit balls. I told him that I'd be up for some tennis. So we both headed across the road to the courts at his school. All the courts were taken when we showed up, so we hit the ball to each other on the sidewalk, sans net as warm up. Everytime I'd hit the ball and it would land on a crack, causing it to careen off into the grass, I would claim it as intentional and proof of my tennis prowess. Sid kept announcing that he was taking it easy and that he would destroy me once we got on an actual court. Guess who was trying to be funny and guess who was telling the truth?

We only had time for one set, but I got torched, 6-2. And it wasn't really even that close. As soon as it was over he started in on me. "Say it! Say Cameron Alexander Flora is King Shit of Fuck Mountain© at tennis. SAY IT!" So I said it. Out loud to his face. Because while I am a spoilsport and sore loser, I'm not a total prick. I can take my lumps, especially when they come in a bed that I have made of my own accord. In my house we call that teaching the kid humility.

- MGoBlog had a the coolest pic I've seen maybe ever yesterday (originally from here). And who knew the international hand symbol for Wolverine was almost exactly the same as the shocker? I also somehow came across this, which I laughed at out loud. Detroit: not as bad as Robocop would lead you to believe.

- And finally, I discovered two sites from @tedleo's tweets yesterday: fuckyoupenguin and fuckmenofuckyoupenguin. Thank you, internet.

Posted 10:45am
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May 4th, 2009

Correct me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock me up and throw away the key...

- Turns out that being a billionaire and the founder of one of the greatest, transformative companies ever does not make you an eloquent public speaker. Larry Page - Michigan alumnus - gave the commencement speech at Saturday's graduation ceremony for U of M's class of 2009. I scored a ticket and rode my bike down the block to hear Mr. Google himself spew forth some sage advice. Except eh, it was pretty meh. He mostly told a bunch of anecdotes about his and his family's connections to Michigan. He was nerdy and sweet, but neither sage nor zen like. His main point seemed to be 'keep a pen and paper by your bed', as he apparently thought of google one night as he awoke from slumber and happened to actually write it down before going back to sleep. Not bad advice, just more of the "In case of an earthquake, stand in the doorway" variety than actual wisdom. When I graduated Ken Burns - Ann Arbor native - was the speaker and he gave a stirring speech about the importance of history as we look towards the future. I know, go figure right?

- Sid and I had a blast at Caddyshack Saturday night. He wasn't even the youngest kid there, so I didn't have to feel too guilty about bringing my 13 year old son to a movie that has a bit of the nudity in it. It was a cool experience - you can read my yelp review for more. And yes, we did win this.

- We didn't, however, make it to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I heard mostly bad things, was sick over the weekend, and it didn't work out timing wise with our other obligations. I'd like to say I'll definitely get out there and see it, but Star Trek comes out Friday and before you know it, I will have forgot about it until it hits the $1 theater. But since I am a big fan of both Logan and my University's mascot, I enjoyed this article that asked the non-musical question: How strong is the Wolverine? College Football News answers that question (for 2009 anyway) with the answer: Motor City Bowl. Which I hate to say, would be all fucking right with me.

- And this didn't happen over the weekend, but I read about it then. Michelle Bachmann does not have a junior high student's understanding of American history. She simultaneously makes me hope she gets elected representative for life and that Minnesota's rights to participate in our representative democracy are revoked.

Posted 12:05pm
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May 1st , 2009

Picture pages.

I've always wished I was a photographer. The great and powerful Moeman is a helluva one, and big sis Chaka Khan dabbled as well. When I was little, Moe used to take us to the newspaper after church on Sundays and we would run around the office while he worked. I was always enamoured by the smell of the chemicals as he worked in the dark and under the redlight. The whole process was just - cool.

When I was in college I messed aroud a bit with a cheap autofocus camera. I would buy black and white film and develop it in Moeman's office at the Signal, recreating the Sundays of my youth. They were mostly pictures of Siddhartha. but the cheap camera and work of going back to Snap-town to develop them got to be too much, and my foray into becomming the next Ansel Adams was brief. Since then, I've basically counted on the women in my life to document things in pictures.

But last week I was talking to friend of the blog Lynn, and she had started a project on her flickr page to take picture every day and post it. Needless to say I was very jealous. So naturally I co-opted the idea and started doing the same. You can now go to my 'A pic a day' set on flickr, and visually see what's going on in my life. Yes, this is overkill. Yes, I am taking these pics with my low quality camera phone. It doesn't have any of the romance of black and white film nor the love and care and artistry of developing them in the back room of the Northwest Signal. But its a fun experiment. And cleary there's not enough of my life on the internet yet...

Posted 1:23am
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April 30th, 2009

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

- Thermals tonight! At the Pig! I've got a cold so its going to be a struggle, but I will suck it up. I even found people to go to the show with me! I know, you read all about it the other day. But speaking of Markie C - erstwhile concert buddy currently on the road with Taproot, he sent me the best txt message I've received in a while today: "Why was Wakko British anyway?" Truly one of the great unanswered questions of our generation.

- New England is becoming fabulous! New Hampshire joins the gay train that's barreling through America. NH fun fact - they are 6th nationally in median income. Who knew? Better still, favoring marriage equality is now in the (slight) majority in this country. Don't be the last one on the gay bandwagon folks (and don't worry too much about the Iowa backlash.)

- This weekend I'm taking Siddhartha to see one of the greatest comedies in the history of film - Caddyshack. Its playing at an old restored theater near Detroit. I remember the transcendent experience that was my first viewing, so here's hoping Sid laughs. Oh, and also, I'll most likely drag him to Wolverine too. Snikt snikt, bub.

- Of course nothing makes me more innocuously happy than when Michele Bachmann opens her mouth. This time she blames FDR for turning a recession into a depression with the "Hoot-Smalley Tariff." Of course FDR wasn't exactly in office when that one passed - it was W's 20th century equivalent, Herbert Hoover. These are serious times you obtuse fucktard. Go away. (Just kidding, I love you.) Incidentally, everyone should know that she got that wrong thanks to Ben Stein and Ferris Bueller.

Bachmann bonus! She also equated gays with pedophiles yesterday! Don't ever change!

- Finally, speaking of the gays, movies and politics - here's a movie I cannot wait to fucking see. There's nothing I enjoy more than getting righteously indignant over hypocrisy.

Posted 11:53am
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April 29th, 2009

Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confidant.

I received this email from Stov yesterday. I didn't ask him if I could post it, but let's assume he's OK with it:

From: Stov
To: tbaggervance
Subject: Thank you for being a friend?

FOUR DAYS have gone by and no "in memorium" for Bea Arthur on the blog? And then there's Maude? Dorothy Spornak? No witty commentary on the fact she looked like a weird uncle in drag? Not even an Estelle Getty/Stop or My Mom will Shoot reference? Throw me a bone here. If you threw a party, you would now see the biggest gift would not be from me and the card attached would say Fuck you.

So yeah, Bea Arthur died. Stov made most of the appropriate jokes already. I mean, her name was Bea. I think you're born old with a name like that. She was a helluva broad though. I always think of two things when I think of Bea Arthur: 1) She had an abortion on Maude and 2) At a Comedy Central roast one time, after a really bad song by Sandra Bernhardt, Jeffrey Ross got up and said "I wouldn't fuck Sandra Bernhardt with Bea Arthur's dick." Rest in peace Bea. Thank you for having an incredible sense of humor about, well, everything.

- I wasn't going to touch the whole Swine Flu thing, because its mainly hysteria brought on by the too much information age. But then our new favorite person in God's America, Rep. Michelle Bachmann had to comment on it. She noted that it's an "interesting coincidence" that the last outbreak of swine flu also occurred under a Democratic President. Never mind that its not historically accurate. What a cunt. Here's where God is punishing us for electing Barack Obama.

- This kind of reeks of being fake, but I laughed - mostly because I expect to get caught in a similar sting someday.

- Arlen Spector is now a Democrat. People identifying themselves as Republicans are down to 21% of the population. Maybe the pro-Jesus/anti-gay platform isn't as sustainable as you once thought. I love the failure of realization going on here. When you lose your moderates, you don't get them back by running to the extreme end of your rhetoric. Republicans - you are bereft of ideas and have betrayed what should be the core principles of your ideology in exchange for winning a few elections based on fear. I hope you get replaced with Libertarians toot suite.

Posted 11:53am
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April 28th, 2009

This Week in Indie Rock.

Ever since the last residents of the Green Door Chapel picked up stakes and left town, I've been bereft of concert going buddies. Sure when Ayesha is in town we hit shows, and when Markie C is around and not working he's always willing, but too often I find myself weighing going out to a show I really want to see by myself or staying in the comfort of my own home, getting drunk and listening to the CD. The latter happens more than I'd like to admit.

I was facing this dreaded dilemma the other weekend and decided to head out across town to Ypsi for Chris Bathgate and Champions of Breakfast. It turned out to be an amazing show and once I got there, there were people I knew already in attendance, so double score. This gave me the resolve to go out an buy a single ticket for The Thermals at the Blind Pig this Thursday. I love this band and there was no way I was going to miss the show, concert going buddies or no.

But wait! I say unto you - aging single people with too many married friends and not enough willing debaucherous co-conspiritors: Behold the power of the twitter! Last night Sid and I were watching the season finale of Chuck and the opening song played in the show was the new single off the Thermals new LP. So I sent an excited tweet about the pending show, and long story short, I now have a few definite and pending concert going buddies for the show. Aging hipster saved by technology, ready to have his face rocked clean off come Thursday night. Rock.

- I've been to Oklahoma and it made even less sense that the Flaming Lips were from there after having visited. Its pretty backwards, and OKC shuts down at like 10pm on Thursdays. I find this unacceptable. Anyway, you may remember that Oklahomans voted the Lips "Do You Realize?" as the state's official rock and roll song. Sweet. Then the legislature yoinked it after a communist t-shirt dust up. Makes sense. BUT THEN the gov overruled them and signed it into law anyway. Huh.

- Here's an awful list of great 90's album openers. It sucks because it's totally pedestrian and even its cool choices (Radiohead and Beck) are so obvious it's painful (not to mention Nirvana at number one. Way to get out there on that limb). Try 'Divine Intervention' from Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend or "Race for the Prize from the Lips The Soft Bulletin. I mean, Rage or Foo Fighters would have been better choices than "Enter Sandman".

- Try as I might, I can't condone any Vampire Weekend backlash. Its such a good fucking album and I still love listening to it - I don't care how many people love it (which I realize is still a relatively small number of people - go figure). Anyway, good news - they're at work on a follow-up.

- Here's another crap list of Radiohead appearances in popular culture. It mostly sucks for how back loaded towards In Rainbows it is, but it also informed me that there's a Radiohead song in the FUCKING TWILIGHT MOVIE. I'm going to go kill myself.

Posted 11:53am
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April 27th, 2009

Two men enter, one man leaves.

I'm a tad competitive. I have a pretty intense need to win any contest I enter. Games of skill get pretty cutthroat pretty fast. Not surprisingly, I've largely surrounded myself with friends who feel the same way. Perhaps its the extra satisfaction of winning against someone who really wanted to win as much as you did. Its clearly not as fun dominating someone who's just playing 'for fun.' That's a phrase I've never understood, I mean, I play for fun too - the fun of winning.

Anyway, Saturday night Sid and I went out for dinner at my friend's house in the country. Since I don't have a significant other who can attend these type of things with me, I drag Sid around. This is especially apt when going out to Tom and Sarah's, because in a sea of competitive friends, they float near the top. When its just me, we're pretty limited in what we can play, but Sid makes four, and I've raised him to be a cutthroat asshole, so he fits right in.

I've known Tom and Sarah for 15 years now. I lived with Thomas for five years, and since they've been together the entire time I've known them, those five years were a lot like living with Sarah too. There's been several constants over the years we've known each other, but perhaps none more interesting than (Tyler + Thomas + Sarah) + games/competition - inhibitions that sobriety gives you = controversy. (This often times includes the fourth of Markie C.) The four of us once got so worked up over the game Cranium, that it has been banned from being played at their house. I can't tell you what the controversy was about, but it got ugly. Once, after beating Markie C in euchre, I was being such a prick about it that he looked me right in the eye and told me to get the fuck out of his house. He was serious. And I left. So yeah, we take this stuff way too seriously.

Which happened again Saturday night. After hours of drinking and playing Wii, we decided to sit around the table and play some cards. This devolved - as it usually does - into a game of spoons. Now amongst normal, civilized people, spoons may seem like a fairly innocuous game. But I'm here to tell you that spoons is violence incarnate. So much so that we've had to institute rules to help curb the carnage. If two people grab the spoon at the same time, the person holding the business end wins, end of story. Except of course, it wasn't.

After playing for about twenty minutes, Sid and Thomas both grabbed a spoon and had a hold of it. Neither wanted to let go, but Thomas noted he had the business end. At first that was that, but I was pissed because Sid had the spoon first. It wasn't close. Everyone at the table knew it. This quickly spiraled into a screaming argument. My point was that the idea is to grab the spoon first and Thomas was stealing the spoon - that the 'business end' rule favored people that grabbed second, not first - and that the rule was designed to solve controversies, not to allow stealing when everyone saw who grabbed it first. He argued for consistency and removing the judgment of the people at the table. We were soon screaming at each other. Hypocrite. Idiot. We finally walked away from the table in anger. Five minutes later we were all standing together and Sarah says 'Well that's over.' and Thomas and I almost simultaneously said 'Oh I'm still fucking pissed.'

Are we juvenile? Yes. Is this alcohol fueled ranting and competition healthy? Probably not. Am I still upset and do I believe I was right? Certainly. But will I go back out to Tom and Sarah's and play games again? You bet. Sometimes we even play and don't hate each other at the end of the night, but that's neither here nor there. Its just who we are, and while I am pissed at argument, I don't hold it against Thomas. If you can't get in a drunken argument about regional house rules for a game of spoons, who can you? He's just being a competitive asshole, and that's something I can respect. We just have another game for the banned list at their house.

- Speaking of friendship, here's some 'no shit' research.

- And this research reared its ugly head at me pretty consistently over the last week. I keep hearing Boike's voice in my head, when I was making fun of the people with small children when mine is practically grown: "Just wait T, you were the first, and you'll be the last. I'll be the one laughing at you in five years, I'm calling it."

Posted 11:53am
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April 24th, 2009

Jesus is my Yoko Ono.

Welcome to Friday's post on Thursday night. I'm half drunk so let's get started...

I was kind of kidding myself to think it would ever work out. I listen to Spoon and Death Cab and Wilco and they were doing some Primus/STP mid 90's hybrid thing. But much like a relationship you know is know no good for you, you're caught up in the fact that the sex is good and the idea of the thing is what you want, so you skate along and do your best despite the overly glaring evidence that neither of you is really happy. In the end, it wasn't a blindside but rather a coming to fruition of what everybody already knew. Ain't that always the way...

As you may have gleaned from the not so subtle evidence above, I got kicked out of the band tonight. It was done in an almost too genial way. It started with discussions of style of fit, and moved on to how great so much of the stuff I was doing was. After a while though, I was the one who had to say how things were. It was the quintessential breakup - we have a heavy heart, you're obviously a great person who knows a ton about music and wrote some of the best songs and lines we've ever been apart of, but we're just not happy, and to drag it on any longer isn't fair to anyone. These - arrogance aside - are all things I knew. In the end the only thing I'm surprised about is how they pussy footed around the thing. I'd expect a little more directness when being broken up with by dudes.

Truth be told I'm not all that broken up about it. It fell in my lap and it was fun for awhile. I challenged myself and produced some creative output. The likelihood that they'll ever be huge and famous, forcing me to carry a torch forever is nil. They're great guys and I'll be friends with Steve forever, so I wish them the best. But at the same time rejection hurts. I mean, they'll never find someone with the same combination of stage presence and writing skills as I have right? Besides, their shit was stale and who wants to be part of a rock and roll band that's 'not interested in offending anyone with our lyrics.' Because as I finish this post, that's the story I'll tell - they kicked me out of the band because I offended Baby Jesus. I never wanted to be in Creed anyway.

Posted 12:01am
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April 23rd, 2009

Me fail English? That's unpossible.

Hello. My name is tbaggervance and I can't spell.

OK, well all things being relative I spell quite well. But there was a time when I didn't take this blog seriously enough to even spell check it until someone pointed out to me how bad things had gotten. And my hand to god, every time I type the following words, I do so in the following way:

- bullit
- challange
- resteraunt

The thing is I know its wrong. When spell check reaches one of these words, I stare at it and go 'Really? Again?' Yet as sure you can can find me at the bar come 5 o'clock on a Friday, I misspell those sons of bitches (and countless others) time and time again. Thanks to spell check, people don't have to think I'm a first class idiot - except for the fact that I just told everyone.

- Ann Arbor has announced its Summer Festival Schedule - including movies and music for Top of the Park. Its fun, its free, and if you keep your eyes peeled, I'm sure you can catch my son hanging out like a delinquent, holding hands with his girlfriend and doing other things I don't need details on.

- Finally, I little capper on the NOM's coming homo storm. World's biggest sci-fi douche bag Orson Scott Card has joined the organization's board of directors. I've never read the man's prose before - he may well be brilliant - but I'll never know. Go ahead, click on his name above and read his political views on his Wikipedia page. Are you comfortable supporting a homophobe who denies global warming and blames violent crime on premarital sex, all while giving George W Bush an intellectual reach around and calling himself a Democrat? I am not. What a hateful hypocritical fuckstick.

Posted 10:26am
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April 22nd, 2009

Happy Earth Day! (and other lefty, communist causes)

Its Earth Day! A day so hippy sounding it even makes me what to hop in a Hummer and club a baby seal. But of course instead I will take the opportunity to encourage you to think about ways you can be a better steward of this rock. Drive less, turn shit off, and enough with the packaging already. Stop it with the plastic bags and the bottled water. In fact that's my Earth Day resolution - if you drink bottled water we can't be friends anymore. Get yourself a reusable bottle and we'll talk. Oh, and you should really apologize to the Earth.

- There's lots of cool stuff on the electric car front. First, they standardized the EV plug. Now you don't have to worry about buying the right car for the outlet your office building will be installing in your work parking lot any day now. Plus, no VHS/Beta style gang war to be fought. Suck it, backers of HD-DVD. Anyway, there's also this cute little bad boy, which I would totally try and snag if I, you know, lived in England. And oh yeah, Neil Young just released a concept album about electric cars. I shit you not.

- Want to know how stupid the average Republican is about the environment? George Hamilton wannabe and party leader John Boehner (OH) said its ridiculous to think that C02 is harmful to the environment because it clearly doesn't cause cancer! Zing! OK, maybe that isn't average thinking, but here's an interesting article about the GOP's discord on the topic.

- In gay marriage news, first there was NOM's 'Gay Marriage Storm' ad that you know, lied and featured actors and was pretty laughable. Then there was Stephen Colbert's hilarious response. Then NOM THANKED Colbert for showing how laughable their argument is, further proving how little they get it. Now here comes the compulsory part of my diatribe where I laugh at how silly and backwards this is all going to seem in 10 years.

- And in what is certainly one of the saddest blows to freedom here in Liberalvania in some time, the University of Michigan is set to go smoke free in 2011. Yes cigarettes are awful in nearly every aspect of their being, but man I miss being in college when everyone smoked all the time and (almost) no one gave a shit. At some point, probably for my son's generation, smoking won't even be antiestablishment, adult and dangerous anymore - just smelly, gross and expensive. Sure they'll live longer and be happier, but they won't look as cool.

Posted 11:11am
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April 21st, 2009

Censorship is UnAmerican.

I obviously have no qualms about offending people. No one's above being offended and in fact I think we all need it from time to time. So I don't worry about offending people's sensibilities in what I write or what I do. I generally don't try to be offensive just to be an asshole, however I am not going to not say something I believe to be true or interesting because it goes against what someone holds dear.

Has this gotten me into trouble over the years? Countless times - with my family, with friends, with members of the opposite sex. Perhaps obtusely, I carry on undeterred. I'm not going to stop asking what's making Baby J cry, or telling people they suck if they like Coldplay or letting Republicans who aren't rich know that they're killing themselves. My friends can take their turns telling me I went too far, and my family, well they're stuck with me. Sorry guys.

So I shouldn't have been surprised the other night when one of the guys in our band sent out a recording of one of the songs we've been working on, and the headline of the next email in my inbox was "Are you saying something about Jesus in there?" Fuck.

Just for some background, I started singing with these guys after they had been playing with each other for months. As a result, I've been trying to come up with lyrics and melodies to over a dozen songs as quickly as possible. Its fairly daunting. You have to throw a lot of ideas out there before something sticks and you become at all comfortable with it. Just sayin'...

Anyway, the offending lyric was "Jesus, Santa, Ron Popiel, None of it was ever real." It was a silly kind of throw away line that I thought was funny and fit the context of the song - which fails to come anywhere near religion or Jesus anywhere else. I don't love the line - can't guarantee I wouldn't have changed it on my own, but man does the whole discussion that followed piss me off. I'm offended getting emails that include the lines "Religion is something different for everyone and also the scale in which they devote themselves varies too."

Ugh. Like I said, I'm not trying to take some huge stand, am not in love with the actual line, and agree that it has the potential to be offensive (to dogmatic assholes who can't take a joke.) But I don't know that I'm comfortable being in a band where saying 'Jesus' sparks an intro to comparative religions discussion. If the band was wildly successful, the people that ever hear us once will likely cap out at the low triple digits. If half a dozen walk away offended, um, its Rock and Roll, isn't that sort of the point?

Posted 10:04am
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April 20th, 2009

You're so Money.

Those who follow the twitter will remember that after inviting you to come out for Oberon in the sun (it was awesome - your loss) I debated on whether to go to the close bar for easy booze or across town for sweet live music. Whether you follow the twitter or not, you can guess what I chose. And it was totally worth it. The night spiraled into a weird sort of pseudo debauchery and I ended up falling asleep sometime after I heard the morning birds start to chirp. This of course led to me wasting the nicest day of 2009 laying on the couch and doing nothing. Yay booze!

So I need some things to look forward to - to assuage my guilt for not being outside and active last Saturday. And because the forecast for the next two days includes snow. I'm serious.

- This Thursday we'll be back to 65 and partly sunny, and next Thursday I'll be headed to the Blind Pig to see Portland Oregon's finest pop punk trio, The Thermals. You should come with me and listen to them sing songs about Jesus and evolution and just generally be wowed at how every song is so catchy it sounds like you've heard it before, even though you probably haven't.

- The following Thursday marks the beginning of the Ann Arbor non-profit Kickball league. I'll be kicking for 826's team. This excites both because there will probably be post-game boozing, and I'm playing sports with a bunch of people who work for non-profits - the chance that I am on the relative athletic end of the spectrum are pretty good.

- Thursday after that? Special advance screening of Away We Go, a movie written by Dave Eggers and his wife, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Jim Halpert. Again, we should hang out and go to this. Especially because A.) Its a fundraiser for 826Michigan and B.) The screening is followed by a Q&A with Mr. Eggers himself. You may remember that we are practically BFF's now and I can probably totally introduce you. Buy tickets here or come by Wednesday and see me at the Robot Store.

- The next Thursday Friday, its the fulfillment of a lifelong dream that goes back 15 years. Every year the summer concert series at DTE Energy Center Pine Knob is opened with a performance by 80's icon and rock superstar Eddie Money. Tickets are like $5 and if you think you have something better to do on May 22nd you are wrong. Every year Stov and I swear we are going to this and for some reason, every year we fail to make it happen. NOT THIS TIME MOTHERFUCKERS! I am going to start summer 2009 off with Mr. Money and it will be the start of the greatest summer ever. You've been warned.

Update 11:36am
-Gah! Totally just noticed that Busch's has Oberon on sale this weekend only for $7 a six pack. The over under on number of cases I will buy is 1.5. Take the over.

Posted 11:28am
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April 17th, 2009

Apples and trees.

I've talked before about how my blogging is either spurred on or a reaction to the Moeman's career as writer, truthteller and raconteur. Its a complicated mess of mish mash, but certainly my dad looms large over my need to write and well, most everything else.

So it wasn't much of a surprise when Siddhartha started a blog of his own. Its - well - its the blog of a 13 year old, let's leave it at that. I'm happy he's writing and picking up the mantle. And man is he angry! You're foolin' yourself if you don't believe it...

He says he doesn't ever really read what I write here, and I think we're both thankful for that. I suppose someday he may get curious and start combing through the archives - I just hope that day isn't anytime soon. It likely takes a pretty strong constitution for a son to read some of the stories about his father that are contained within these pages.

On a happier note, here's another flickr set, featuring Siddhartha and I over the last 14 years. Enjoy the awkwardness. Its approaching 70 degrees and I'm going go do my favorite thing in the world that doesn't involve another person or my genitals: drink Oberon in the sun.

Posted 2:39pm
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April 16th, 2009

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week?

It must have been a rough couple of weeks for Baby J. We all remember when the (admittedly less adorable) Adult Jesus told us "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself - unless they haveth the same genitalia as thyself, then a hearty handshake sans eye contact shall be as close to 'love' that thy shall get. " So the tears must have been flowing with all the homo marriage legalization happening over the last fortnight. I'm hearing that its threatening the fabric of society. More bad news:

- I love a good advertisement for Jesus. They're almost always comically bad (apparently Baby J needs a new PR and Marketing department) This is especially true of the 'testimonial' ads - where people look into the camera and testify about whatever Jesus-y thing they're trying to get across. But what if those people aren't really awaiting the rapture but just, you know, actors? As Rachel Maddow points out "Pretending to be a straight person hurt by gay marriage is very very challenging." You can see the awkward goodness about 2:30 in.

- I've known two things for sure ever since I first heard that Katie Holmes was pregnant with Tom Cruise's baby: 1.) That she would be undeniably adorable and 2.) That at some point, before she hit puberty, I would want to mount a Temple of Doom style rescue effort to save her from her father's cult. That time may be now. What five year old needs a low carb diet? Mola Ram! Kali Ma Shakti de!

- Speaking of bad Jesus advertising, can anyone explain this one to me? Seriously. Best I can come up with is "Believe in God or you might as well kill yourself." Which correct me if I'm wrong, but that doesn't sound very Christian.

- Atheists generally get a bad wrap as smug, arrogant, religion hating assholes who look down on anyone claiming to have faith in anything. I realize that at times I may appear to be perpetuating that stereotype, but that's my cross to bear (so to speak). Truthfully, most nonbelievers hold nuanced positions couched in the concrete assumption that we don't have the answers. And while I have no contempt for anyone's belief in God, your actual religion and its dogma runs the gamut from pretty silly to downright hurtful and dangerous. Whoops. I got off track there. What I meant to say is that even I think this guy is a douche. I'd love to fist bump the Baby Jesus in solidarity.

- Finally, if there is a God, how can he justify this? Oberon is already $9.50 a six pack! A just Lord and savior would find another way to fight child abuse - like giving people who commit such atrocities horns and a tail and making their orgasms painful - not by punishing beer drinkers! C'mon Jesus, little help?

Posted 11:03am
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April 15th, 2009

Righteous indignation.

I can't say it any better than the Daily Show did last night, quoting Team America: America, Fuck Yeah! Obama gives the go order and Navy Seals take out 3 bastard pirates - who were stealing relief aid and holding an American hostage - with one bullet each. The whole thing is like a really cool late 80's Steven Segal movie. Now there are a lot of heroes in this story, and I'm not holding Barack Obama up as one of them per se, but those who like to describe the man as somehow effete can surely suck on this, no? I mean let's look at the evidence:


via Mottram Station

It reminds me of this email I got just the other day from my Uncle Shark*, entitled CHANGE has come to Washington:

Fire up the Lee Greenwood! Someone get Toby Keith on the line to write us an anti-Pirate anthem!

Then there's Boss Limbaugh. He gets on the radio and - as per the headline on his own website notes - talks about how President Obama Ordered the Killing of Three Black Muslim Kids. You fucking hypocrite fuckstick. Oh how I hate manufactured controversy and indignation. It reminds me a lot of that fucking idiot Glen Beck, crying socialism as the Administration scrambles to save capitalism. Its fucking fear mongering and if you listen or give any credence to these people you are part of the problem.

I'm all for the loyal opposition. Its quite necessary. But when you get what you want and cry foul anyway, you can go fuck yourself. When you manufacture dissent because it sells or you think it will get you reelected, you can cram it up your poop shoot.

* Once I was on my way to a bar with a bunch of people and we couldn't remember what the acronym for the Cream song SWLABR stood for. I said 'I bet my Uncle Shark would know,' so I called him and he reminded us that it was "She Was Like a Bearded Rainbow" (yes, seriously). Someone in the car noted, "I don't know what's cooler, that you have an uncle named Shark or that he knows Cream acronyms." Yes, Shark is pretty cool.

Posted 11:11am
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April 14th, 2009

You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

A lot of times I'm the last to leave. If you're not firm with me, I will gladly overstay my welcome. This is deeply rooted in years and years of being single and not having a sensible female on my arm saying 'time to go.' That and my concrete belief that you can always squeeze one more great moment out of a situation and that another drink is always a good idea. I know I've sat in your living room or basement, gotten up and asked if anyone needed another drink at some hour well after midnight and the minute I left the room you had an argument with your significant other about who is going to tell me to leave. Its OK. I usually get the hint when I come back and someone says 'Man, we are beat!'

There's just something in me that loves the night and drinking and playing games and telling stories and listening to music. If I could get a job doing that I'd be the happiest man on the planet. So when I'm in the middle of one of those situations, I don't ever want it to end. I try to extend it into the infinite. Who knows when it will happen again? OK, probably soon (probably tomorrow if its a Friday). But I guess I'm somewhat of a glutton. An addictive personality who wants more if there is more. And I'm willing to look for it if its not readily apparent.

But I'm not a petulant child. I will lightly goad and chastise when you say its time for you to hit the road or go to bed, but quickly let it go. I realize that you're probably making a smarter choice than I am, and that while its always sad when you're defeated by the night, it almost always eventually happens. Even I know that when you're sitting at the blackjack table and the sun starts to rise and you begin to wonder if this is what it must feel like to be a vampire because the sunlight doesn't feel natural on your skin, that its time to call it a night.

So the question remains, when will mondo douche bag of the decade Norm Coleman call it a night? The guy's holding onto a million to one shot - one that if it would manage to hit people wouldn't be slapping him on the back but rather in the face. "You fucker. Why are you dragging this out? You're making us all look like assholes." Can't you just hear them already?

And here's the real bitch of it - back in November, when Coleman led by the slimmest of margins, he told Franken to give it up. Concede and put this all behind us! Do it for your state, for your country! Even after he had a lead, Republicans told him to quit it. Then Coleman wanted a whole new election. Seriously dude, you reek of desperation and hypocrisy. Its over. Time to go home.

Posted 10:58am
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April 13th, 2009

Picture pages!

Last Saturday was Michigan's Spring football game. A few of us decided that outside + sunny + football + Oberon = yes. So we headed out to our normal tailgate spot for a little taste of fall in the spring. It was my plan to take lots of pictures in the warm spring sun and provide some sort of pictorial essay of the afternoon. This is as far as I got:

Oberon! Unofficial sponsor of, well, pretty much everything I do from March until November.

Here's Sid playing washer toss. Thankfully at this point he knows how to handle himself playing games with guys who are competitive assholes and guzzling Oberon. Speaking of...

We had such a good time drinking Oberon and playing games, we never actually made it inside the stadium. We instead decided to go get more Oberon and head to Johns to play...

...bocce. John and Boike beat us more often that not in washer toss, but Sid and I won bocce. I love that having my son as a teammate is not a liability.

So that's it. I hear the team looked good, and I know for a fact that our tailgating skills were in midseason form. Looking forward to a more successful season on several levels.

- Speaking of pictures and me and alcohol, here's a little trip down memory lane featuring me and booze.

- For those of you who enjoy female nudity, here's Padma Lakshmi, Chelsea Handler and Eliza Dushku stripping down for Allure magazine.

- And finally I saw this on Friday and thought it blog appropriate:

Posted 10:03am
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April 10th, 2009

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

- Happy Good Friday! Here's a video of Jesus showing the Pope what he thinks of his birth control policy. Thatta boy Jesus!

- Speaking of Good Friday, it always makes me think of the Good Friday party we had in college. It was sacralicious. Here's the flyer we used to promote it:

- Merge is one kick ass record label. They're celebrating with this appropriately kick ass compilation of kick ass bands covering other kick ass Merge artists. Its streaming here. Prepare to have your ass kicked.

- This was all over the internet earlier this week. Its farming! In Detroit! Of course I'm a huge fan of shit like this. It also bodes well for a future not of the dystopian Ridley Scott variety.

- And finally, as I've been telling most of you in private recently, I am now the lead singer of a rock and roll band. After years of playing shitty guitar in bad cover bands and some more years of doing acoustic covers here and there, I've somehow found myself behind a microphone, sans guitar, singing original music for the first time in my life. Its pretty frightening and challenging and awesome all at the same time. Hopefully at some point soon I'll be begging you to come to a gig so that you can tell me that we aren't that bad. Until then you can check out this trippy little video bass player Steve made of one of our songs. Thankfully its him singing in the clip and not me. You'll have to show up in person for that special form of embarrassment.

Posted 11:40am
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April 9th, 2009

Your time is gonna come.

OK, I'm a little obsessed with gay marriage as of late. I've always been pro gay marriage, as there isn't a cogent argument as to why the government wouldn't allow it. And its just silly. As the guy from Iowa noted in yesterday's cheesy video, its over. This is all going to seem unbelievably arcane and silly in 20 years. I know this because my 13 year old son joined the facebook group 'Make Gay Marriage legal in Michigan' before I did. Yes, if anything I have to worry about my kid being too liberal, but he's 13. Gay wasn't anything but a potential punchline when I was 13. This isn't a fight anymore, and you're shouting at the rain.

But of course we still have miles to go before we sleep and all that. So the question is when? Of course, Nate Silver of 538.com has the answer. By the way, I don't think I can quite make him King Shit of Fuck Mountain©, so I'm creating a new award for Nate. Let him be the first tbaggervance Smartest Man on the Internets©. Anyway, Nate did some math and Mapscroll made it pretty so that you can know when the gay chickens are coming home to roost in your state:

- And then there's this poor bastard. You should have the utmost sympathy for this kid while you laugh at him. His internal feelings and what the community around him are indoctrinating him to are going to be at odds for a very long time. And while it makes for good youtube video, its also kinda heartbreaking.

Posted 11:45am
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April 8th, 2009

Politics, politics, politics.

- Its official - the gays are taking over! I for one welcome our new homosexual overlords, as everything will likely be more fabulous, clean and organized. First - those pesky Iowans. Just when you think about taking away their way too important for a farm state early primary caucus, they go and nominate Barack Obama. Then just when you think its a fluke, a year later they legalize gay marriage! And I thought the only good things ever to come out of that state would be buddies Al and the Jesuses. Here's a cheesy little video that makes the very important point of 'You don't get it. You've already lost.'

THEN - a week later - from the 'What took you hippies so long?' department, Vermont followed suit. This time not from activist judges with gay agendas, but elected representatives in the state legislature - with a special "Fuck you, governor" veto override. Can you feel the whirlwind of gay pride? Let it wash over you and sweep you away. I am proposing that now that all the furor of state quarters has died down, we get one state to allow gay marriage every week for a whole year. Wouldn't that be exciting? Best year ever.

- I know there's a big hullabaloo over Bristol and Levi and who knew what and did what to whom when. This is old news and just information we all already knew coming to light. All these people are just this side of white trash, and the fact that its taking place in Alaska and that Sarah Palin's star on the national stage has officially burnt out, we won't get into it. The new hotness continues to be Michele Bachmann. This time she's warning of Obama placing the youth of America into reeducation camps. This is serious coo coo for cocoa puffs territory people. I can't wait to see what happens next.

- I want to create a montage of images like this and set it to 'God Bless the USA.' Fucking idiots. Here's a better idea - let's start kidnapping people wearing these shirts, throw 'em in the back of the van and then drop them off blindfolded in Harlem or Detroit.

- Here's some sweet sweet (correlational) science showing that soon we'll all not only be gay, but high as hell too. Yes, I think both of these things will make us better as a people. I do expect a movement in my lifetime for resuccession of the South - where they will form their own country to be named 'Biblevania'. I will be a leader in this movement, albeit one that doesn't want to live there.

Posted 11:03am
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April 7th, 2009

Sparty on.

Sometimes I say I'm from Detroit. This is always and only in sports related arguments with people I've just met and won't ever see again after we are finished getting drunk together. There's just a certain cache you're afforded being from Detroit. You're automatically a legitimate hockey fan. You've suffered the Lions for eternity. Your style of play is blue collar, and no one wants a piece of you. Its cool to be a Detroiter, but in that instance only.

Any other time its not respect but 'poor bastard' that accompanies Detroit. In fact, in any non-sports argument no one would ever believe me when I said I was from Detroit. It'd take all of 30 seconds for anyone to break me down. I'd be sheepishly admitting 'well Ann Arbor really...' in a heartbeat. But regardless, I still have a certain sense of pride about Detroit. I want it to do well, to come back.

So last night, I was reluctantly rooting for Michigan State. Had they been overwhelming favorites that had run rupshod through the tournament I'd have been actively cheering for their failure. People say Wolverines are smug and arrogant (and we are) but Spartys are just as big of pricks after they win - it just bothers us less than it bothers them because they're the little brother. But ANYWAY, last night I was hoping for a miracle.

OK, a lot of it was getting caught up in the hype. Sparty was an underdog not unlike the city of Detroit itself. ESPN was showing these long wistful segments about what sports mean to Detroit and what a Sparty win would mean to a city and a state that's been so beaten down. And then stupid fuckstick Mitch Albom* went and wrote this:

It will not save us. No basketball game can do that. No matter who wins Monday night, Tuesday morning the jobs still will be gone, the factories still silent and empty, the houses still for sale or abandoned altogether. The out-of-town media who see a national championship tonight at Ford Field as some uplifting salve for downtrodden Detroit are a bit misdirected.

And I was in full Sparty on mode. Way to spark the hope there Mitchy. Sports can be transformative. Sports can lift us up and make us forget whatever else isn't OK for the time being. No, it can't create jobs or make businesses solvent, but it can at least make people feel better about their miserable existence for five minutes. That is unless you read Mitch Albom and have him constantly flicking you in the nuts, reminding you that you'll still be miserable in the real world when its all over. You should not read Mitch Albom.

So Sparty didn't manage the gargantuan upset. Sorry Ayesha. And sorry Michigan. I was willing to get behind a rival's success for the good of my home state, but it wasn't meant to be. I just hope that next chance for the transformative power of sports to lift up the collective woes of Michigan comes from a Wolverine instead of a Spartan.

*You may know Mitch Albom from his appearances on ESPN or his stupid sappy fucking books about old people dying and Jesus and whatnot. Before all that he had a radio show in Detroit that I used to listen to now and then. About 10 years ago he was vehemently against the new Star Wars movies for glorifying violence. Anyone who's ever seen Star Wars knows that this is about the stupidest fucking statement on the planet and I will forever hate Mitch Albom if for no other reason. Fortunately for me, he keeps writing books that suck my ball sack, making up facts in his column, and writing complete fucking dreck like the Spartans are not 'some uplifting salve.' You're a douche bag, Mitch Albom.

- Last night they announced the winners of Mustache-A-Thon III (not me - and I blame you). Afterwards I ran into the bathroom at ABC and unsheathed my electric razor like a lightsaber and rid myself of 6 weeks of upper hair growth. Of course the sink in the bathroom was already clogged and cleaning up my face pubes tuned out to be quite the chore, but anyway, the 'stache is gone but not forgotten. If you would like to assuage the pangs of guilt you are feeling over not donating in time, fret not! You can still donate for another week.

Posted 10:54am
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April 6th, 2009

Mustache Mondays: Ultimate Edition.

T-minus 9 hours to go, then I can get this fucking thing off of my upper lip. No more thumbs up from construction workers, porn stars and NAMBLA members. No more mothers giving me worried looks and pulling their children closer as I pass. No more running my fingers over facial hair 900 times a day. Its almost over.

Which means time is running out for you to donate. C'mon man - $5 (or more). Its tax deductable. It goes towards teaching children. I've suffered for 6 long weeks, make it worth it! As a bonus, I promise to all of you (especially Ayesha) that I will not participate in this ridiculous exercise next year.

So you can pony up a little dough and remain in my good graces, or you can be a deadbeat prick and forever ostracized like one of those losers that always comes up short when you split the check. You KNOW that everybody else is going to tip like 40% to make up for your cheap ass. How do you sleep at night with such solipsistic behavior? I thought I knew you.

http://826michigan.blogspot.com/

Posted 10:58am
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April 3rd, 2009

Excuse me, but can you tell me how a bill becomes a law?

Last night Stov and I spent several hours at the bar enjoying the finest 12 pints of Oberon that money could buy (12 between us, not individually - we'd be dead.) In that time, we seamlessly discussed the following, in order:

- The viability of Old Town as a place to eat food versus its ability to get us drunk relatively cheaply. How A2 has tons of great restaurants but Stov always ends up at the same ones, and the relative risk/reward of different international cuisines, including, Indian, Thai, Ethiopian and Mediterranean. Also, how your significant other effects your ability to indulge in said cuisines, and how if I ever live with Ayesha I will likely be in a constant state of wanting beef.

- The Ann Arbor housing market and how one weighs location and amenities versus cost when choosing where to live. The overall attractiveness of Boston as a place to live and the various other locations that would be worth moving to (including Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Austin and North Carolina)

- Barack Obama's first hundred days, Geitner's plan to stem the tide of financial ruin, America's failing infrastructure, and the sea change necessary for green technology, including a light rail corridor in the part of the country that birthed the auto industry.

- The shamefulness of Michelle Bachmann, and the relative inanity of politicians and the entire state of Minnesota. How we could swap Minnesota for Puerto Rico, making the former a non-representational protectorate and the latter a state, and no one would have to wake up Bob Heft to change the stars on the flag.

- How getting older effects people's willingness and/or ability to randomly go to the bar, how relationships are affected by this, and overall, how people need space and their own interests in order to successfully be together.

- Nicolas Cage's acting career and just when he became completely unnecessary. How Ben Affleck gets a bad rap and was actually a better Jack Ryan than Harrison Ford (who hasn't made a decent movie in a decade) and that Alec Baldwin was actually the best of the three. How Sean Connery may have an affect on that truism and how he can completely turn a crap movie like The Rock into an enjoyable romp, and The Bourne Trilogy's influence on the Bond franchise's reboot, and how we could make a better James Bond movie than anyone named Broccoli.

It gets hazy after that. I'm sure there was more, but its a little known fact that Oberon doubles as a memory eraser in certain quantities. The point is, there is nothing quite so comforting as sitting and drinking with your best friend. I know that no matter what happens for the rest of my life, Stov and I will always be able to sit down, drink our faces off and never want for a topic of conversation. That's a pretty good feeling.

Posted 10:49am
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April 2nd, 2009

Tales of the colossally stupid.

- This story is colossally stupid and amazing on several levels. First there is the obvious - man gets DUI on motorized bar stool. Who would have thought? DUI on a BAR STOOL. Huh. OK. Second: it goes 38 miles an hour. A. How do you know that? and B. approaching 40mph on a BARSTOOL. As if things weren't stupid enough. Third: He TOLD THE COPS he had consumed 15 beers. Not "the arresting officer administered a breathalyzer and the idgit was found to be fucked up." He bragged about drinking 15 beers and then crashing his motorized barstool. Fourth: Its not 'Area Man' nor 'Local idiot' in the headline - just the dude's name - Kile Wygle - like we're all supposed to know who this village idiot is. And finally, it all takes place in Ohio. Excuse me, but that cherry on top is clearly just for me.

- I love me some green technology. I wish I could drive a car that ran on my own excrement that I had to convert in a still in my backyard. However, I understand that not everyone is as gung ho as I am, which is why I am a proponent of those technologies that are easy to adopt and save people cash - because those are things that we can get done en masse and really make a difference. This $120 light bulb is just colossally stupid.

- OK, so I may be nitpicking because ultimately this went my way, but hey, let us begin the shoehorning. Texas recently voted to remove the so-called 'Strengths and Weaknesses' rule from their science curriculum, which ostensibly was used to backdoor religion into discussions of evolution. The problem is that they didn't really vote to overturn it. It was a tie! And somehow the tie goes to the runner, which in this case must be evolution. Seriously - a tie. I know I should be happy that a huge bible belt state is getting rid of arcane anti-science, but a tie! Jesus Christ on a bike...

Posted 12:02pm
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April 1st, 2009

This week in indie rock.

- Ah lists. Nothing polarizes music snobs by ordering and arbitrarily ranking something that is supposed to be subjective. But of course that's why they exist, because they raise the ire of people like myself and serve as conversation starters. Well here is Amazon.com's 100 greatest indie rock albums of all time. The order is complete bullshit, but all my favorite bands are inlcuded, so you know, cool beans and stuff. And here is another bullshit list - the AV Club's albums that work best when listened to in order. This is a great idea executed with nothing but pure bullshit. The first thing you do when talking about albums that need to be listened to in order is to throw out concept albums. Duh. Of course you need to listen to them in order. Sorry AV Club, I love you but that is weak sauce. It is worth noting that both of these lists include Neutral Milk Hotel's In an Aeroplane Over the Sea, an album that made my list of 12 perfect albums of the last dozen years.

- Ah Neko Case. Your siren's song could easily lure me in to crash my ship amongst the cliffs. It does not hurt that you look like this.

- Art Brut makes an early entry for song title of the year: 'Alcoholic's Unanimous'

- Upcoming shows at the Blind Pig include Ezra Furman (with the Hard Lessons) and The Thermals. I am going to both. you should come get drunk with me.

- Wilco has a live DVD due out April 18th, and a new album set to drop at the end of June. It will be the album of the summer - mark my words.

Posted 11:45am
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March 31st, 2009

Home is where your stuff is.

Maybe I just need a shakeup in my life of the non-mustache variety. Maybe I just want to live closer to my friends on the Westside. Maybe walking access to downtown bars makes sense. In any case, after seven years at Arbor Village, its time for me to move.

Actually, all of the above are the reasons as to where I want to move. The impetus of it all is my current apartment complex. Ownership of my place has changed hands recently, and new management and I aren't exactly getting along. First, it was not plowing the parking lot of our complex on the worst snow storm of the winter, stranding me indoors for two days. Then it was the institution of 'residents only parking', pushing guests out to the street when parking in the lot is never a problem. And of course they are instituting a $50 per month 'association fee', despite the fact that we have no pool, gym, or free laundry. But the real kicker is how they treated me over vacation. I'll spare you the details, because I don't really want to relive it, but they lost my rent check, made we write another one, and the found and cashed the original one. The problem was the money was coming from different accounts, and long story short, their screw up cost me about $500 - all while they were ignoring me for an entire day and calling me a liar over the phone while I was on vacation. So while I enjoyed my stay, its time to go after 7 long years. Too bad I have to leave on a sour note.

So onward and upward. The current leader in the clubhouse is this place. I haven't seen it yet, but its two blocks from the Blind Pig, in my price range, and I am assured that all the money upgrading the joint has been spent on the inside, so its nicer once you get indoors (I hope I hope I hope). Of course none of it is a done deal, so anyone who knows a place close to downtown that has two bedrooms and costs under $1000 a month, I'm listening. Maybe I can get some of my moving costs subsidized by the bars I will now be frequenting more frequently.

Posted 2:04pm
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March 30th, 2009

Mustache Mondays: The Final Countdown.

All right fuckers. You have one week before you all are dead to me. The mustache is rocking at full force and you can't take 5 minutes to give me $5*. You disgust me. Do you hate children? Do you not want them to learn to be better writers? Who will write the episodes of Murder She Wrote you will watch when you are old and gray, if not the children of today? I'm asking you to make a tax deductible investment in our future and you are slapping me in the balls. And not in the good way.

I've spent a month walking around looking like a douchebag, and its almost over. You can say 'Hey, I feel bad for what Tyler had to endure, let me make a sizable donation to a worthy cause to show that it was not in vain." or you can take three curl hops and plant your foot squarely in my crotch. The choice is yours.

- I know you're sick of hearing about it, but its Oberon day. After the start of the Michigan football season and St. Patrick's Day, it may be my most looked forward to day of the year. As we get older, I think we need more carrots on sticks to get us out of bed in the morning. I do anyway. When that carrot is actually a frothy mug of Oberon, I run at full force.

*preferably more, but give what you can.

Posted 11:52am
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