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September 30th, 2009

My kid is exponentially better than your kid

Please indulge me while I get excited about how awesome a parent I am, or rather, how lucky I am that Siddhartha is pretty much King Shit of Fuck Mountain©.

- Yesterday Sid had his third tennis match of his JV tennis career, which also happened to be his first singles match. I patiently waited in the gray, windy field for my offspring to take the court. After an hour of shivering in the cold, he finally ran up and informed me "I'm on court three. Supposedly this is their number 2 guy, so I'm probably going to get crushed." I tried to fortify him by reminding him (as I've done countless times over the years) that you don't get better by playing patsies, but by taking on those better than you.

Then I saw the kid. Keeping in mind that Sid has shot up over 4 inches in the last year and is still barely cresting 5' 2", this dude was as tall as me. And while his build lacked my tight muscle tone, he was clearly years ahead of my kid in body development. I'll be nice and say he was a sophomore, but he easily could have been a junior.

Then I saw him hit. Sid being who he is both mentally and physically, is pretty strictly a finesse player. This Goliath had straight gas (What's the correct metaphor here? He hit like a truck? His balls had serious heat? I don't know the tennis lingo, so I have to mix my sports metaphors. Luckily you can't make fun of me because it's tennis.) I immediately felt bad for my kid. After starting his career 2-0, he was gonna get his ass handed to him and blemish his perfect record. Ah well, if anything he could always use a humbling, and I had places to be later on, so at least we were getting out early.

They started to warm up and it looked like everything was going to go according to script. His Herculean opponent had already played one set, and was smashing the ball all over the court. Sid, on the other hand, was having trouble getting his serves over the net. Sid served first and got broke toot suite. Federer junior barely had to return a ball. He had won his previous set 6-0, and it looked like this was going to go the same way. Then a funny thing happened. Little Nadal missed a couple serves and the second game found itself at deuce. I started to think well, if Sid can hang in there and get lucky, he might steal a game. They then proceeded to battle back and forth for the next 15 minutes. Deuce. Add in. Deuce. Add out. Deuce. You get my drift. Finally Sid hits a cross court winner to take the set and we're tied 1-1.

The next 30-40 minutes were a replay of that second game. After trading points they'd find themselves at deuce and then sit there for ten minutes. I started to wonder, can you wear a 16 year old kid down? More back forth and suddenly we're at 2-2. By the time Sid went up 3-2, I think both of us were sure he was going to win. When he went up 4-2 I started to wonder why I ever doubted him. I got slightly nervous at 4-3, but felt silly for that at 5-3.

Now here's what happened next in my mind. McEnroe lite wins a game on an unforced error to make it 5-4. But he's wiped. He knows he's beaten. He knows at best he's going into whatever you do in tennis for tiebreakers, and at that point he'll barely be able to stand - especially if they continue to trade back and forth on deuce like they have. So he calls his coach over, says "Coach, I've got leg cramps." and he forfeits the game. I'm pretty sure I saw tears in his eyes as he walked away, head hung low after conceding the set to Sid with a handshake and "Good game."

I waited for Sid as he talked to his coach and all of his Asian tennis buddies after his match, thinking about how to congratulate him and what to critique a bit to keep him humble. He finally ran over and before I can even high five or congratulate him, the first words out of his mouth were "I can't believe I was ever down to that guy." Yup, that's my boy.

- It's pretty well documented around here that Sid is a pretty big lefty bleeding heart liberal like his old man. He's only 14, so I don't exactly expect him to read the Times every day or turn on MSNBC when he gets home from school, but I like it when I get stuff out of him that shows he's at least somewhat informed. So I was over the moon thrilled when I sat down last night to watch the previous night's Daily Show and Sid walks by and notes "Oh, it's a good one." A good one? You watched it? When did this happen? These are things I wanted to say, but instead muttered a simple 'nice.' Of course it was a little awkward when I started guffawing at the "Qumshot" joke and Sid ran into to see what was so funny and goes "I know, right?" Yup, that's my boy.

Posted 11:20am
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September 29th, 2009

Wormer... dead! Niedermeyer... dead! Stupak...

I love Las Vegas. Not the family friendly Vegas that passes off a giant gold plated turd as some sort of opulence, but the seedy underbelly that built all that. I don't shop in Vegas. I don't see shows. I don't care if my hotel has a pool and the less people I have to tip when checking in, the better. Give me cheap gambling next to cheap hookers. Places that local dealers go after work to cash their paycheck and grind out a few hours playing $5 blackjack. That's my Las Vegas.

Which made Bob Stupak my patron saint. Stupak was an old school Vegas carnival barker. He perfected every reel 'em in and then fleece 'em scam that Vegas has ever seen, and invented dozens more. His entire empire was built on smoke and mirrors and the thinnest possible veneer to cover up the ugly underneath. He was old school Vegas. The new guys on the strip saw him as a joke, but Bob squeezed blood from a stone in ways that behemoth gambling conglomerates could never fathom.

The Vegas that Stupak dwelled in and I love is slowly dying. Our shitty run down gambling parlors keep getting swallowed up by corporations in attempts to polish that gold plated turd a little more. Soon all the Westward Ho's and Ellis Islands will be gone, wiped clean by some recreation of the Taj Majal or a - god forbid - a giant fucking ferris wheel. Stupak passed away last night and in my mind, a little part of what Vegas is really about died with him.

- You know how Glen Beck is a total asshole? It's not a new thing.

- Here's a pretty good blooper reel from How I Met Your Mother's last season.

- This is a really well written and reasoned argument about freedom, democracy and California's Prop 8 from Dr. Drew.

- If you didn't get your tickets for next week's screening of Where the Wild Things Are yet - too late sucka, they sold out. HOWEVER - you can still come to tomorrow's PAJAMA PUB CRAWL. I keep telling you - pajamas, pub crawl. Why wouldn't you come to this?

Posted 10:47am
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September 28th, 2009

Killer parties almost killed me

So that was just about the best birthday week eva. It came to a close like this:

- Friday I hosted a small gathering of the usuals at my place. This pretty much sums it up:

If that doesn't, how about this?

I got goosed (photos: C Jason). I may actually be moving backwards towards my college days after all. Anyway, back to pic one, where yes, crown and hell yes, whiskey fountain. If I told you we literally drank a gallon of whiskey (L I T E R A L L Y - a gallon) would you believe me? You should. Oh yeah, and a half batch of pink panty pull down, two growlers and a another random 20 or so beers. Ugly is the word you are looking for.

Somehow the Downtowners managed to hide 'presents' all over my apartment and I'm still finding them. I mention this mostly because I found something this morning and it was signed "Love, the DT's". Which made me laugh out loud and say to no one in particular "Ha, we're the DT's. That sounds about right."

- Saturday it was tailgate breakfast with mimosas. Boike thought is might be funny to get me a fifth of the apple liqueur that I got black out drunk on last November. It was funny. And delicious. It really adds a nice kick to your champagne and orenthal*. The Michigan game was more interesting than it needed to be, and the post-game tailgate featured more talk about my love life than was necessary, but good times nonetheless. Then, this:

That's us in the first row, 40 yard line of the Doyt (photos: Al). This was followed by us hitting downtown BG like it was 1997. Highlights: Boike declaring "I want to fuck this beer" about his Two-Hearted, me going unconscious** and scoring 69 at pop-a-shot in the back of the Brat Haus, ordering 4 beers and 4 shots and it costing me $18, and capping the night with some 3am Myles Pizza. At least I think there was Myles. There's pizza sauce all over my jacket and I have a credit card receipt from there, so probably.

- Sunday: recovery. Plus a little wine and some very frank conversation at the end of the day under the stars with a beautiful girl. That's become a little complicated due to outside factors, but it's remarkable how much easier things are when everyone acts like adults. Plus: I'm still smiling like an idiot, and that my friends, is what's important at the end of the day.

*aka OJ.
** not literally. Until later.

Posted 11:21am
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September 25th, 2009

Strap your hands 'cross my engines

I share a birthday with Bruce Springsteen. He turned 60 on Wednesday to my 34 - which as it turns out, is the same age as his masterpiece Born to Run. (1975 was a pretty good year). The Boss spent 6 months recording just the title track in 1974. Six months. One song. Since I wasn't even a zygote at that point, I can only speculate what it was like to pour over a song day after day for six months. I do know what it's like to sit around and tweak something that you feel is on the verge of perfection, and I am privy to Bruce's results. So while I imagine those six months were fraught with frustration and consternation, I also assume that most of it was done with a sense of unaltered joy.

I imagine it was a lot like the first six months of a new relationship. First you decide that this is an undertaking worth your time and energy. (Most songs and relationships get abandoned pre-flop). Then you spend a month or two playing around, enjoying the newness of the thing. (If you hit that two month mark and it doesn't still feel fresh, then it's probably time to walk away). Months three and four you start to settle in, make peace with the things you don't like, try to project if the idiosyncrasies you initially found cute won't be utterly annoying a year in the future. Then those last two months you tweak. Fiddle the knobs of how the two of you work together and set things up for going forward, because at some point you're going to have to live with how things stand.

OK, maybe that's a really forced metaphor. Truthfully, this was an idea I had while drunk last night that seemed really important at the time. I was drinking, listening to great music and experiencing some dating drama that I was completely amused by and I had just read that article about Born to Run, so I may have pounded a square peg into a round hole. Yes, there is dating drama at 34 kiddos. And maybe it's this particular situation or particular girl, but so far it's fun, no worries drama. Maybe I'm finally old enough to not let the innocuous worry me? Probably not, but right now I ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines, so who cares?

- I love Sen. Al Franken.

- Clove cigarettes are now illegal. I feel like I wasted my breath telling Sid all these years "...and whatever you do, don't be one of those d-bags who smokes cloves."

- Krugman drops some knowledge on climate change today. I've got tickets to see him speak next Friday, so I'll let you know if he's as dreamy in person as he is on the pages of the Times.

- Penultimate night of birthday week is tonight. Stop by and enjoy a cocktail. Tomorrow: Tailgate, football, then Boike, Stov, Al and I to BG for BG/Boise. Sunday: death.

Posted 11:41am
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September 23rd, 2009

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

- Schadenfreude! When we beat Notre Dame two weeks ago, Michigan State and Ohio State also lost that same day. When you win and your three biggest rivals lose, that's some sort of quad-fecta, because the only thing that approaches the warm feeling of a Michigan win, is a Buckeye or Sparty loss. That's why this article is like straight porn. Quoth the Moeman: What goes around, comes around.

- Fall starts today, and that's usually a great time for indie rock. NPR's All Songs Considered has a great fall music preview, including songs by Ben Gibbard, The Flaming Lips and The Swell Season. If you're not into 'new' music, here's a documentary called loudQUIETloud: A Film About The Pixies. Sometimes I feel like my head will collapse, because there's nothing in it.

- That crazy Mike Seaver is back at it again. He's distributing Darwin's Origin of Species with a special 'intro' that explains how Darwin and Hitler were buddies and God will smite us all for our insolence (or something like that). After seeing this I spent a bunch of time over at and I just love the delusional.

- I've had some well documented forays into internet dating in the past. Stigmas clearly don't bother me and like most things I throw myself into, as long as I get a decent story out of it, we'll call it a success. Before the internet however, there was this (which incidentally, makes me want to watch a Chuck Woolery 'Love Connection' marathon). Not sure I could bring myself to that.

- Tonight I'm going to a swanky benefit dinner with a date who is sure to turn heads. Then I will return to Ann Arbor for drinks, drinks and more drinks with people who make me laugh, laugh and laugh some more. Its not even 11am and I've already received well wishes from people in half a dozen states (update: eight). I hope all you kids out there are even half as lucky as I am.

Posted 10:47am
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September 22nd, 2009

Welcome to the last day of my early 30s.

I turn 34 tomorrow. As people keep reminding me, that means tomorrow I enter my mid-thirties. I'm not really sure how all this happened. It seems like just yesterday I was a carefree kid spending every night at the bar, and now I'm a grizzled old man spending every night at the bar. Man, things have changed.*

But honestly, I couldn't care less. As we've been noting around here as of late, I've been on a bit of a roll. Outside of the fist 45 minutes of the day when I wake up in a stupor, I mostly feel like a 17 year old. That makes me a senior and my son a freshman, which is a little weird, but thankfully I have a sweet afterschool job and we manage to make ends meet.

I can't imagine it's overly entertaining to continue to hear me gush, even though that's what I want to do. I assume it all comes off in a very "Dear diary..." sort of way. But man - from the tailgate crew to the Downtowners I have the most amazing group of friends. And we're having the most amazing time lately right? So thanks team. Congrats, high fives, kudos and cheers. I know it's human nature (or at the very least my nature) to assume that this will come spectacularly crashing down at any moment, but I'm too busy having too much fun to even contemplate that at the moment. Let's just see how far we can stretch this bitch out.

- For those of you not on facebook, that's me last night in the babydoll T I won at trivia. I hope it doesn't shrink when I wash it, because I'd like to wear it this weekend. (photo credit: C. Jason)

- Shockingly, gay marriage did not make Iowa implode. I'm headed there in a couple weeks and despite my football team opposing yours that weekend, I'd like to give your entire state a collective high five.

- Holy shit, you mean this is what diplomacy looks like? I'd forgotten.

- This is 100% super awesome and actually makes me want to go to a Lions game. No, I didn't type that last part with a straight face.

- I don't know whether to 'Awwww' or 'NOOOOOO!'

* I never watched the show thirtysomething as a kid because I remember thinking "Man, does that sound adult and boring." Now that I am thirtysomething and awesome, I feel like I should go back and watch that show. I'm sure it's dated, but maybe it's also kind of awesome, like me.

Posted 11:01am
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September 18th, 2009

The look ahead...

So last night was sort of amazing. I got some free booze, a private tour of a really interesting building, and I saw Marcel Duchamp's autograph. I even sort of won tickets to this hoity-toity event (and by won I mean Jason won and couldn't go so I somehow ended up with them. Thanks Jason.) Later in the evening I even saw my first episode of Project Runway. Well, half an episode anyway. It confirmed my suspicion that I'd really love to have cocktails with Tim Gunn. There's other fabulous details I'll leave out for sake of brevity, but trust me, last night was good.

But what's past is past. The question du jour is what's next? We know about Saturday's double tailgate, but let's peer into our crystal ball and see how long this hot streak I'm on is going to play out.

- Wed., Sept. 23rd: tbaggervance turns 34. I know - whoopty shit. I've already got said hoity-toity event, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't buy me a drink at some point later that night or any night of that week for that matter. If for no other reason than I'd do it for you...

- Sat., Sept. 26th: Aye Ziggy Zoomba. Saturday morning Michigan takes on the fightin' Hoosiers of Indiana, and then later that day, the Falcoons of BGSU host Boise State away from the smurf turf. There is a rumor afoot that we may be attending both of these gridiron clashes. Personally I'm excited to go back to all the BG bars of my youth and wonder how I ever had a good time at them.

- Wed., Sept. 30th: Where the Wild Things Are Pub Crawl. We talked about this. Drinking in pajamas. Why don't you have your ticket yet?

- Fri., Oct. 2nd: Paul Krugman at Hill Auditorium. Pulitzer prize winner, NYT columnist and all around dream boat is coming to speak at Michigan! What will he speak about? Health care reform and the public option? International monetary policy? Keynesian macroeconomic theory as it relates to our current fiscal crisis?!? Whatever it is I will be there to soak it all in (and stare into his gentle brown eyes.)

- Tues., Oct. 6th: Where the Wild Things Are red carpet premier. 'nuff said.

- Sat., Oct. 10th: Michigan @ Iowa. Four guys in an RV road trippin' to Iowa. You heard me. More on this later.

- Tues., Oct 13th: David Cross @ Borders. The man behind Mr. Show and Dr. Tobias Funke comes to Border's flagship store. I will stand in line waiting to get my book signed, trying to think of something interesting to regale him with, and then fail utterly miserably.

Just a few of the choice events on my social calendar. The good news? You are invited to almost all of them. I keep trying to tell you that life is really good right now and you should jump on the bandwagon. If you fancy a boozy good time, then come aboard - we're expecting you.

Posted 11:01am
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September 17th, 2009

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

- Siddhartha played his second JV tennis match yesterday and is now officially 2-0. In his parlance, w00t!

- The Flaming Lips were on The Colbert Report last night, rocking the first single on their forthcoming ball of weirdness Embryonic. You can stream the whole album right now (and through the weekend) at (it's that box on the left hand side of the page). You can bet your sweet ass it's what I'm doing right now.

- Tonight it's back to Detroit for more art and more cocktails. Yelp has invited its elite members (toot toot, that's me) for some free booze and grub at the Scarab Club. I've never been to the Scarab Club, but I enjoy art and I love booze - especially when both are free. I'd say I'm becoming part of the D-town art scene, but really I just stand in the back and make jokes, along with trying to decide which Beatles song best represents each picture. Try it sometime! It's fun.

- Also tonight - for those not lucky enough to be escorting me to boozy art galleries - The Office and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia return. Here you can can see two clips from tonight's Office premier, and somewhere on this page is a Sunny preview (seriously FX, your video page sucks ass). Also, I saw the pilot of Community on the internet a while back, and it looks promising as well. Check it out, losers.

- The other day in the comments MJ called me out on something I drunkenly said three years ago. The Jesuses had a habit of that - since one of them was always sober, they'd take my off the cuff drunken remarks at face value and call me on them in the sober light of day. Usually this was some hyperbolic statement that I would then have to try and halfheartedly defend, but sometimes it was drunken promises that turned into things like Aaron and I forming an acoustic duo for one night only and playing a concert. I guess ultimately, being held accountable is a good thing, as we generally got good times out of it. Turns out I've done it again - different people, same result. Friends (and fellow Downtowners) Amy and Jason are having an apartment warming party to celebrate moving in together. The problem is that they have a ton of friends and a tiny apartment. Their solution? To invite people in shifts, keeping the amount of people in the apartment at any one time to a minimum. My drunken solution when they told me this? Dr. Walker (fellow Downtowner) and I will host a tailgate in your front yard to keep people entertained before and after they take their turn in your apartment. So guess what I am doing Saturday after the Eastern game? Anyone looking for a little post game tailgate, come on over for drinking games and pink panty pull down. That's right, I said it.

Posted 11:46am
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September 16th, 2009

Fuck you, Stephen Malkmus

Every so often, some d-bag hipster somewhere in SoHo decides to like something just to be different. OK, this happens a LOT, but every so often they choose something that sucks harder than a boo butt with daddy issues and for reasons passing understanding, it spreads like wildfire and we all end up paying for it. Nobody thinks trucker caps are cool. The mustache boom may be hip, but you still look like a pedophile. The worst for me is when this happens musically. There's usually four or five bands a year that manage to cobble together one good song and have some obscure blog somewhere proclaim them as the next thing that will save rock 'n' roll, and we're all forced to consider if that's true or not for about 10 days - before hearing the rest of the album and realizing it's clearly not.

You want ultimate proof that these people are desperately trying to just be different and not spread ideas that ultimately merit it? When that said album is actually good, there's an inevitable hipster backlash. Take Vampire Weekend, who went from sheik to geek from the time it took their album to leak and then actually hit the shelves. People aren't looking for something good as much as they are different that they can then hold on to and declare you lame for 'not getting it'.

None of the above is news of any sort. It's not particularly insightful nor clever. I'm just filling space to get to my point: I hate Pavement. They are the ultimate example of the above phenomena. They have the ultimate exponential modifier in that they broke up in their 'prime' allowing d-bags everywhere to wonder what could have been. PLUS! they almost had a sort of hit with the song 'Cut Your Hair', which was ABOUT selling out! See what they did there? Pavement rules!

Except they don't. Pavement sucks. Go listen to them. They wrote a bunch of shitty pop sucks and deliberately made them more shitty by allowing to Malkmus to sing them and having a general disdain for knowing how to play their instruments. You're going to hear quite a bit about these assbags because they reuniting for at least one show (look how excited Pitchfork is. That's a red light douche alert). No matter what anyone tells you, Pavement sucks. If someone looks at you and says "You haven't heard Pavement? They were my favorite band in college!'" you immediately punch them in the face and/or junk. Trust me, they've had it coming for a long time.

- Speaking of a-hole d-bags, here's a cool story from super nerd Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson in which James Cameron comes off extra douche-y, and the super nerd wins in the end. Hooray science!

Posted 1:28pm
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September 15th, 2009

Wormer... dead. Niedermeyer... dead. Swayze...

There's certain brand of actor that will get you through a hangover Saturday like nobody's business. Their films aren't necessarily great, but they're constantly on TBS and they contain a certain dated charm that comforts you in a way that you really need when laying on the couch unshowered and unwilling to move. Kurt Russel. Van Damme. Bruce Willis. But perhaps no actor typified this more than Patrick Swayze. I dare anyone reading this to flip through the channels (try it anytime, it's probably on right now) and catch a glimpse of Roadhouse and not watch at least 20 minutes if not the whole thing. And of course he had a great sense of humor about himself, as witnessed by his SNL appearance that netted this classic sketch and of course, this one. RIP Patrick, we'll always have Point Break. And I think its fair to say, no one ever put Swayze in the corner.

- Here's an article that names Ann Arbor the second foodiest small town in America, and then mentions the Fleetwood and Bilmpy Burger? I mean I agree with "Ann Arbor is filled with forward-thinking smart people who love good food," but they ain't hanging out at the Fleetwood. In related news, the new Jolly Pumpkin opens on Main Street tomorrow, and we should go have a drink there after I get out of the Robot Store at 8. Please?

- Call me a sycophant if you want ljv, I agree with our President.

- Last night I had 'Capsule Night' at Sid's high school, where you walk around and meet all of the teachers and get the low down on what's going on. A.) I learned almost nothing that I didn't already know from the conversation I had with Sid after his first day and B.) To quote Jean-Paul Sartre, "Hell is other parents." In ever single 'class', some idiot parent (usually more than one) would feel the need to extend my torture by asking some inane question that the teacher had just spent 10 minutes going over. And the amount of parents that I saw going through their kids lockers! Those poor kids. Sometimes it's easy to see how I didn't screw Sid up.

Posted 10:17am
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September 14th, 2009

Wow. Just wow.

Friday I predicted this:

- This will approximately be my weekend: Happy Hour -> Detroit for an Art Opening -> Slows BBQ -> A2 for a drink -> sleep -> wake up and march -> tailgate -> drunk -> beat the ever living snot out of ND -> victory party -> dance party benefit for 826 -> sleep? -> breakfast mimosas -> Annie sing-a-long? -> NFL -> zzzzzzz. I'm getting so good at living life, I should teach a class.

Replace 'Annie sing-a-long?' with 'lay underneath a tree in the diag with a pretty girl for two hours, then go drink two Oberons' and I was spot on. I was worried that I was getting obnoxious with all my happiness and success, but reading everyone's facebook updates yesterday I realized that it's not just me - all of you are making life your bitch as well. Good times people. Anyone feeling like they're not hitting on all cylinders yet, come get a drink with me, I think it rubs off*.

Some notes on the specifics:

Friday happy hour lasted a little longer than expected, meaning we were drunker than anticipated for the art opening, and due to said happy hour's extension and I96 going down to one lane, we ended up getting there very late (all of this was exacerbated by trying to pee at two different gas stations that had no public restrooms. This forced me to pee behind an abandoned building. Thanks Jason for driving over and shining your headlights on me.) Anyway, Dr. Walker and I decided to wear the ties we found in Amy's back seat to make up for our lateness and drunkenness.

Saturday. Oh Saturday. You were there or you saw it.

It felt so good. Like a four hour long orgasm. When you play a team like Notre Dame - one that you hate with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns - you get both the satisfaction of a win for your team, and the sweet schaudenfreude of seeing someone you hate crushed. We may have a banjo mouthed hillbilly for a coach, but he's really, really good at his job. Later that night I danced my ass off at the Elks Lodge. You'll be happy to know that they don't allow any of that 'rap' music that the kids are all playing on their ghettoblasters.

Sunday we had breakfast at Bar Louie - mostly because they have a $9 bottomless mimosa. This is a very, very good idea (for us anyway, they took it on the chin). And despite the fact that it was the opening Sunday of the NFL season, I spent most of the day outside enjoying the waning days of summer. It's been a great one, I really hate to see it end.

* not in a literal or sexual sense. Probably.

Posted 10:27am
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September 11th, 2009

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

- As MJ noted in yesterday's comments, 826 Michigan is getting an advance screening of the sure to be phenomenal Where the Wild Things Are on October 6th. Tickets are $20 and sure to be worth every penny (or only $15 for volunteers!). AND there's a whole week of wild things in celebration of our red carpet premier. The one you really need to know about: Wild Things Pub Crawl. In your pajamas. Best. Pub Crawl. Ever.

- Top 20 (20!) Zack Galifianakis web moments.

- The new Beatles Remasters are so good, even Pitchfork is being reverent. Needless to say I've been listening to them nonstop. Last night I had a transcendent moment as I returned home from the bar. I was listening to Sgt. Peppers and walking to my front door as the album was apexing and "A Day in the Life" was coming to its climactic crescendo. I just happened to swing open my door as the whole thing came crashing down. It was so cinematic I almost cried.*

- It's dramatically different when you start to go out with someone and you have mutual friends. Also, when it is your friend's sister. One of these things is ostensibly good, one is kind of awkward. Fortunately, if you have ball busting friends like mine, the mutual friends make as many inappropriate jokes as possible to help mitigate the awkwardness. In any event, I smile a lot lately. Go figure.

- This will approximately be my weekend: Happy Hour -> Detroit for an Art Opening -> Slows BBQ -> A2 for a drink -> sleep -> wake up and march -> tailgate -> drunk -> beat the ever living snot out of ND -> victory party -> dance party benefit for 826 -> sleep? -> breakfast mimosas -> Annie sing-a-long? -> NFL -> zzzzzzz. I'm getting so good at living life, I should teach a class.

* or I actually cried. But you can't prove it.

Posted 10:59am
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September 10th, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

Today we talk about booze and sex, because as the announcer at Michigan Stadium is fond of saying "You can't have one without the other..."*

- This just in: Playboy is irrelevant. Who needs 10 pages of airbrushed nudes for $8 when I have Besides, I am convinced that someday I will come across amateur porn of someone I know. There will be much celebration and I will officially retire my penis from internet masturbating**. Want further proof? Here's Playboy's 10 Sex Acts That Should be Retired. (marginally NSFW) First of all, if you've been in a relationship long enough, everything should be on the table to keep you at least mildly interested. But handjobs? Role playing? ROAD HEAD? I may never get that last one again but good god people, do not let the finest things in life pass you by like that.

- 15 Uses for Vodka. I've managed 7 of these, 3 on a regular basis. I might get to the rest this weekend - big plans.

- Why do women have sex with men? "I saw him cheering on his favorite sports team and I just had to have his cock in my mouth" conspicuously absent. Not listed? Booze. Which we all know is the only way anyone ever has sex. Come on science, you're better than that.

- I don't really play video games anymore. Especially now that my hobby of boozehounding takes up the majority of my time. But wait! What are two great tastes that go great together?

*He might not be talking about booze and sex specifically, we usually miss the band pregame show.
**This will never hold up in court, so don't bother calling me on it when it never comes to fruition.

Posted 10:17am
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September 9th, 2009

A little not-so-light reading

Turns out there's some things on the internet that aren't exactly pithy and flippant. While it's certainly not us, we still occasionally enjoy things that are important and go on for more than 500 words. Here's a few:

- We here at love us some Paul Krugman. We follow his blog, read his column in the Times and cross our fingers every Sunday morning in hopes that he's on the panel on This Week with George Stephanopolis. But even we blanched when we saw this article was 8 (8!) pages long. So honestly, we put off reading it. Then we got forwarded it by our fiscally conservative, Harvard MBA friend and felt obligated to oblige. We're glad we did, and encourage you to as well, even if you are not a follower of Kenyesian economic theory (but you should be).

- Tonight President Obama addresses Congress in an attempt to finally lead on the subject of health care reform. We're REALLY REALLY hoping he gets this right, but given how this thing has gone so far, we're couching our expectations (we also have plans tonight so we won't know how it turned out until tomorrow). ANYWAY, here is Matt Taibbi droning on for 7 (7!) pages about where we are, how we got here, and where we should have been already. Ignoring the particulars, he is 100% right and this is an excellent primer that everyone should read. Yes, we are biased because our friend posted the article on facebook and noted "This is what I imagine you'd write about the health care "reform" debacle, if you had the time. Okay, I also imagine that you might use a few more well-placed expletives..." We blushed, and then noted yes, we would have gone much further than simply calling Max Baucus a dick (solipsistic fucktard, off the top of our head).*

- As you've probably noticed, the Beatles re-invaded this week. All of their albums have been remastered and re-released, and they've got their own edition of Rockband (3 part harmony?!?! Swoon...) We here at believe in that old axiom that more Beatles is always a good thing. We also believe that anything Chuck K writes should be read at least twice and digested over time - then taken as gospel truth. So how about Chuck K opining for 2000+ words over the entire Beatles catalog? Yes please. A cursory warning: like most Chuck K efforts, this requires a fairly advanced degree of pop culture/Beatles knowledge to get everything here, but hey, you're a reader, you'll do just fine.**

- Not much of a reader? New episode of Between Two Ferns with Zack Galifianakis. Enjoy.

*Synchronicity! Krugman (quickly) on the public option. (A sleep trance, a dream dance, A shaped romance...)
**Synchronicity II! Obama apes the Beatles. (Many miles away, Something crawls from the slime, At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake)

Posted 10:17am
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September 8th, 2009

Maybe this weight was a gift?

Editor's note: I had a really great post half written in my head about what was (hyperbolically) Best. Weekend. Ever. But that changed this morning. So this post is more for me than you. Sorry, I try not to do it that often.

Remember that scene in Swingers when Ron Singleton is consoling John Favreau about his ex-girlfriend? Favreau wants to know why she won't call him and Singleton tells him that they never call until you don't want them to call anymore. That kind of happened to me this morning. Sort of. Not really but it seems somewhat analogous and it fucked with my head.

The last few years it's felt like my romantic interests have been somewhat tied that of Michigan's varsity football team. This theory was first postulated in 2006 when Michigan was improbably awesome at football and I was falling in love. Then Ayesha moved away and we lost to Appalachian State. And it arguably got worse after that. Then last month Ayesha and I called it quits after almost three years.

The only reason it didn't completely devastate me was that it felt like it was a foregone conclusion for months before that. I found myself able to move on and be OK with things quicker than expected. I still thought about her a lot and a lot of the stories I tell are still tied to our time together, but it was all healing over at a remarkably steady pace. So much so that I allowed myself to become smitten with someone again.

That of course wasn't the only part of my life that was starting to open up to possibilities. After two years of pain - both the dying and the growing kind - Michigan maybe, just maybe was on its way back. The quarterbacks are young and the defensive depth is razor thin, but just maybe there's reason to hope.

By now you know the football team crushed it Saturday. I danced and smiled my way through the day and generally felt like an 18 year old who just lost his virginity on prom night. The long dark night was finally breaking and I was there to once again let the warm golden rays of the sun beat down upon me.

The romantic situation isn't quite like that. But there is this girl who makes me smile. Stupidly. Hyperbolically. It's a remarkably complicated situation but I don't care. It turns out my default position is that of wanting to hurl myself off of the cliff - not expecting to meet a violent end but willing to risk it in case I can actually fly (or barring that, at least land safely.)

So things are better than a schlub like me has any right to have them be. And while it's only been a month, I didn't think about Ayesha at all this weekend. That's a positive, necessary thing. Of course guess who I got a voicemail from at 3:30am last night? Turns out someone was playing catch up on the last month or so of posts here at and didn't care for some of the things I wrote. Huh.

What exactly is on that extra X chromosome that allows you girls to do that? Just when the stars had aligned and I was feeling on top of the world, bang. The voicemail ostensibly doesn't change anything and just serves to fuck with my head, but man, timing, right? I hope it is in no way any kind of omen for Notre Dame.

Posted 10:17am
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September 4th, 2009

Hail! To the Victors Valiant!

I remember coming home for Thanksgiving in 1994. The previous Saturday I had been in Columbus for my first Ohio State/Michigan game as a student and we had lost. It was a pretty brutal weekend and as an 18 year old I was taking it especially hard. As I was moping around the house, I overheard my mom say to someone "Poor Tyler, what if they never beat Ohio State why he's there?" Thanks for cheering me up Judy.

But that was just my mom being who she was, and thankfully she couldn't have been more wrong. The next two years we weren't very good and Ohio State was, but we went in and kicked their ass anyway. And then 1997, my senior year... let's just say there's no better graduation present than going to Pasadena to watch your alma matter win the National Championship in the Rose Bowl. It's been up and down since then. Sure the last two years have been abysmal, but let's not forget that the year before that we were one bullshit late hit penalty from playing for the National Championship again. Damn you Shawn Crable.

To invoke my other parental unit, "what goes around, comes around." That's the steady, even handed, almost zen-like Moeman. Now while this may not be true if you're say Indiana, for the Leaders and Best, surely it's an axiom worth remembering. Yes, we've had some embarrassing losses over the last two years. Yes, 3-9. Yes, our coach is a hillbilly of Aldo Raine proportions. Yes, our expectations have been lowered to 'Come on, winning record!' But no matter what the ass-bag Michigan hating fucktards at the Freep tell you, this is still Michigan. Not long from now the last two years will all be a distant memory, shredded by slot ninjas and left in the dust by quarterbacks who move at the speed of sound. What goes around comes around, and we start coming back around tomorrow.

I hope. I know that I'm nervous and excited. But other than that, I know nothing with any certainty. Will our secondary continue to soldier on in ineptitude? Has the punt return team found someone who can catch the ball? Have we really pinned our hopes on an 18 year old kid named Tate? If I was a freshman I don't know that I'd be able to handle it. Hopefully we all really do become our parents, because I'm working real hard to find my Moeman zen-center. I need to sing the lyric "Hail! To the Conquering Heroes!" again and mean it.

Posted 10:41am
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September 3rd, 2009

Make sure you're connected

There's something about wanting to be wanted. I take that back. That's a song lyric that doesn't get to the point. At least the point I want to make. Wanting to be wanted is for the lonely and heartbroken. Wanting is the search for. To want is to not have. I'm thinking more of being wanted, and that, my friends, is everything.

It's a sad fact of life that most of the time when we're out there looking, it's impossible to find somebody who wants you. We get in our own heads and worry about the possibility of never finding someone who wants you. We get obsessed with our own baggage and that of those around us, convincing ourselves that should we somehow find someone wants us, we surely won't want them back. And that scenario usually folds in on itself, sending us further down the spiral. Eventually we find ourselves at the bottom in complete despair, ready to throw in the towel and give up - free ourselves of expectation and resign ourselves to the status quo.

But if you can get to that place and avoid the inherent bitterness of such a position, often times that's when it happens. When we stop looking and come to terms with the fact that there's no timetable for connection, that's when it happens. Everytime I've ever really had that thing, that spark with someone, was when I least expected it. When I stopped worrying about whom I was supposed to be with or what was expected of me was when it happened. When I got out of my own head and decided to enjoy whatever it was that was happening, when I ignored the advice of everyone and opened myself up, that's when I've found myself staring at someone with that unstoppable, unmitigating smile that is connection.

Look, maybe this is all me ret-conning history to fit the narrative of one too many teen comedies that have been rammed down my gullet. Maybe it's hap and circumstance that I've found myself enamored with someone - or more to the point found someone enamored with me and I'm excited to find there's reciprocity there - at any one specific time. Or maybe, just maybe, that connection finds us not when we're looking for it, but when we're open to it.

It's a difficult trick to pull off for sure. Letting go of our insecurities takes brass ones. Trusting your instincts after so much failure is daunting. Being open to connection requires one to lose their fear of failure (and in this author's opinion, all of the above require copious amounts of alcohol). But when the proverbial stars align to everything above, that's when, at least for me, I've found myself making an honest to goodness connection. And that, my friends, is everything.

Posted 10:17am
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September 2nd, 2009

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

- I'm not the biggest fan of the Guitar Hero/Rock Band video game series. Ultimately, I feel like being able to play an actual guitar is detrimental to being good at the game. AND it allows for no creativity. You press what it says when it tells you to. That's not how music works. That being said, they are still fun from time to time. I'm not about to go out and spend the hundreds of dollars these things cost and have my living room perpetually littered with plastic instruments, but you know, I'll bang out a tune or two if you've got one laying around. Especially if it's the new Beatles edition of Rock Band. Here's an interesting list of the easter eggs hidden in the game.

- Sometimes when I mention working out people look at me incredulously. They assume my debaucherous lifestyle doesn't permit time for cardio. I suppose this is somewhat intuitive. I started to actually workout in earnest the first time I quit smoking, for fear of replacing cigarettes with food and becoming a great big fat person. I've kept it up (more or less) through being on and off the smoking wagon over the years, because my metabolism will slow and my booze consumption will not. Again, still single, can't afford to be a great big fat person. Turns out I'm not the only one. Here's a study that shows that regular drinkers exercise more. It's science.

- Nate Silver is one of our favorite nerds here at His election coverage last year was insightful and original. His site - - is still pumping out stat laden coverage of politics in America. This article is interesting for several reasons, but I want to focus on the last paragraph, where Nate notes " for their morning program: Wow. I've never met people more terrified of what might happen if they actually tried to engage in a rational discussion." Not that this should surprise anyone who's ever seen five seconds of the show, but just a confirmation for the next time you see Steve Doocy get righteously indignant about something.

- Will Ferrel, as George Bush, on Global Warming. 'nuff said.

- This list seems like a lame, generic forward that used to clutter my inbox 10 years ago when people were still excited about sending a piece of electronic mail. Thankfully that annoyance has been replaced by annoying facebook apps that I can ignore once and never here from again. Turns out this list is actually kind of new and insightful. Both for it's inclusion of what is kind of this blog's credo (3. Bad decisions make good stories.) and the fact that yes, I do this (34. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.) But not to you...

Posted 10:15am
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September 1st, 2009

Your Fall Preview

One week from today my son begins high school. That reality set in yesterday as I watched him play his first JV tennis match (which he won, btw, 8-5). Sid is still 5 foot nothin', but seeing him stand around a bunch of upper classmen that are burgeoning adults - yeesh. There's high school girls that could get me in a ton of trouble. And that's where I was when I was Sid's age - on the verge of getting into things that parent's classify as trouble. He seems to have a much better head on his shoulders than I did when it comes to that stuff, but then again he's probably never had a girl he has a crush on offer him a beer at a party. It's all downhill from there. I consider it my job to make sure he's at least being safe in his stupidity, because Sid, I understand.

- Fall means the return of first run TV episodes. Here's a handy schedule to let you when everything's coming back. Two dates to mark with your highlighter: Thursday the 17th, when The Office and It's Always Sunny in Phildaelphia return, and Sunday the 20th, for the return of Curb Your Enthusiasm and NPH hosting the Emmys - which will be totally gay and awesome.

- Fall also means the return of indie rock bands actually coming to your town. After spending the Summer at festivals, indie rock returns to the grind as the temperature drops to release albums and play at venues where I can actually get within a 100 yards of them. Here's a list of upcoming releases. Look out for releases from Yo La Tengo, Muse, Mission of Burma, The Clientele and Sufjan Stevens.

- Rounding out fall's pop culture: 25 indie movies to see this fall. The Coen Brothers, Michael Cera and tons of Woody Harrelson (?) are all on the docket, so look out Michigan Theater, here I come.

- Finally, I'm not touching the Michigan football controversy. Other than to say the following:

1. The Freep is populated with assholes. I knew Michael Rosenberg when we both worked at the Michigan Daily, and he was a douche bag back then and he is now. Between him and Drew 'ass hat' Sharp, I've never seen two alumni who have more disdain for their University.
2. That's not journalism. That piece was about as objective as me talking about Ohio. But of course it was presented otherwise, and for no other reason you should never read the Freep again. I know times are tough, but you can't fire all of fact checkers and copy editors guys.
3. No program in the country expects their athletes to only spend 20 hours a week on their sport. It's a ridiculous notion. I don't if we committed an according to hoyle violation or not, but it's all gray area anyway. It's fucking arbitrary. This, like the AA News 'investigation' into athletics and academics a few years ago, is a witch hunt designed to sell papers. Nevermind how much of it is true.

That being said, we'll pry go .500 or slightly above. We'll struggle and sometimes appear brilliant, giving us all hope for next year. Go blue.

Posted 11:02am
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August 31st, 2009

I'd give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind

It occurred to me last night that when people drink they either become their best possible selves or their worst possible selves. The people whom I chose to hang out with generally just get a little louder and a little less inhibited whence alcohol is applied. Of course there are those who get so loud it becomes violent and those whose inhibitions are completely necessary to function as a normal member of society. These are the people we try to avoid.

So anyway, I'm as tired as I've ever been right now. I honestly am nodding off every third word. Last night was AndyFest/826 prom. Everyone was dressed to the nines in their finest salvation army wear, and then proceeded to get as drunk as possible whilst dancing their asses off (I'm sure I'll get tagged in some facebook photos soon). Why it was on a Sunday I'll ever know. What I do know is that I was out until 2:30 and I woke up at 7:03 this morning. I am too old for such shenanigans. I totally should have called in with a case of the brown bottle flu.

I'm still trying to make sense of everything that's happened since Thursday night. It's a lot to process. I saw a lot of comedy about racism and rape. I tried to skip out on a bar bill accidentally. I got drunk on champagne. Twice. In one day. I saw Inglourious Basterds (again). I worked on robots for a Where the Wild Things Are themed store window. I went out for breakfast. Twice. And then I went to prom, drank my body weight, and now I'm here. At the moment I am completely satiated in every aspect of my being, save for sleep. I could totally sleep.

- The headline for this reads 'Death Cab for Cutie Jumps...' and it totally should have finished with '...the shark.' I have no idea how I am going to make peace with this. I think it might be worse if the song is good. Fuck.

Posted 10:55am
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August 27th, 2009

After the boys of summer have gone

Depending on one's perspective, this may be the last weekend of the summer. Most will tell you that next weekend is, due to the large mushroom stamp on it's forehead given to it by Labor Day. But college football starts next weekend, which means its fall. Those who tell you it's the weekend of September 18th (due to the Autumnal equinox on September 23rd) are douche bags. Stop being friends with them. Anyhoo, being it's the last weekend of the summer, I'm taking off around noon today for an extended weekend. And oh what a weekend. It's a long story, but tonight we're going to a shitty comedy club in Livonia, that we're so excited about we got a hotel room in anticipation of how much fun we're going to have. At this time tomorrow I'll be drinking mimosas. Later suckers.

- Want to relive all those awesome things that were popular on the internet for five minutes? Know your meme.

- Nothing is funnier than a hacked facebook account when it's done for reasons like this. "You are permanently invited to the "love-cave between-my-legs.""

- America's 25 douchiest colleges. I'll spare you the drama - Ohio State only clocks in at 19.

- I thought this was funny - Rich Dicks.

- And finally, I saw Inglourious Basterds last night. I'm happy to report that it's fucking brilliant. I don't know how to talk about it in a real way without blowing it, partially because I'm still processing a lot of it. But fuck is it a twisted piece of genius.

Posted 9:43am
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August 26th, 2009

Happy Birthday 826!

OK, not literally. But being that it is 8/26, let's take a moment to celebrate what a wonderful organization 826 Michigan is. 826 teaches kids to be writers. It takes kids who loathe writing and teaches them to tolerate it. It takes kids who love writing and encourages them, providing an outlet and support system in what can otherwise be a lonely world. It does a million other things that make an actual difference in actual people's lives on a daily basis. And oy! the plethora of bad ass volunteers that make this place hum. When I signed up to start volunteering here 15 months ago, I thought maybe there'd be a like minded soul or two. Never would I have imagined how many cool of human beings populate 826, nor how good of friends some of them would become.

Enough gushing. You've heard it all before. I love this place, so should you. Many, many of you have donated to it in the past, and I am humbled by that. This year there's rumblings that the Scrabble tournament will be replaced with a euchre tournament. Sid and I and giddy at the prospect of this. We will no doubt be soliciting your good will and cash money in a month or two. IN THE MEANTIME, there's two awesome ways in which you can support this wondrous organization right now (or shortly):

1. - Today at you can get an awesome robot shirt designed by the super awesome Chris Ware. Awesome, right? What if I told you that it's only T E N B U C K S. And that the profits benefit 8 2 6 ?!? NOW BUY IT.

2. The Wild Things are Here. You've seen the trailer for the new Spike Jonez/Dave Eggers adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, right? If not, here. Are you back? Wipe those tears away and prep yourself, because 826 is hosting its own PREMIER of the movie on October 6th!!! Tickets go on sale September 10th. It will T O T A L L Y sell out, so get yours fast - it's not to be missed. And by the by, Dave Eggers will be there for a Q & A after the film. We're practically BFFs at this point, so it's not that big of a deal for me, although it will be nice to see him.

And of course if you're in town tonight there'll be a birthday picnic in West Park from 5 to 7. This occurs during my weekly shift at the robot store, so I made this sign to denote I'll be closing it down to attend the picnic.

You should come by. Sid and I will gladly own you in bocce balls.

Posted 9:53am
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August 25th, 2009

Numbers game

I was recently having a conversation with Markie C about a girl I have a crush on and this exchange took place:

MC - She's a lot... whiter than the girls you usually date
tbv - That's a misnomer! The overwhelming majority of girls I've slept with were white!
MC - Eastern European and the like don't count.
tbv - Well... it's still a majority!

My last girlfriend loved to make lists. We spent a lot of time on my couch drinking (naturally) and many a time we'd have a discussion that would lead to her (and subsequently both of us) writing things down on scraps of paper. They were often competitions or games, but they usually fell under the auspice of getting to know each other. Or from my perspective, her trying to glean information off of me in a non-confrontational manner.

Case in point: on two occasions, she had me list every sexual partner I've ever had. I suppose this is a conversation most couples have at some point and at their own peril at some point in a relationship. In this instance(s), especially so since in two separate attempts to determine my "number", I provided two different answers. I realize the assumption here is likely that I was trying to bolster or just straight lie about my history, but you'll have to trust me when I say that wasn't the case. In my head there were three contributing factors to the disparity:

1. We were drunk. Both times. Shocking. The only thing my last girlfriend loved more than lists was drunken confrontation. Trying to list by name every person you've ever banged after 4 double vodka sodas is difficult. Because...
2. Define sex. In the course of one's sexual existence, there is inevitably an experience or two that begs the question 'Was that sex?' This can range from getting your penis half way into a vagina and then her roommate walks in putting the kibosh on things and then the next day she gets hit by a bus, to waking up next to someone and asking each other "Did we have sexual intercourse last night?" And sometimes in the latter situation, you don't stick around for the answer.
3. I don't care. As much as I parse the minutia of my life, how many people I've 100% strictly according to hoyle had sex with is completely unimportant to me. Sometimes sex is a competition and that can be fun, but notches on the bedpost are no point of pride. At least not when viewed collectively.

Besides, what's normal? I could throw my approximate number out there and I imagine most people would go 'that makes sense.' The US government says the median number for men is 7. This site says the average in the US is 11. And this survey gives an average of 20 and a median of 8. We used to have discussions about the hypothetical conundrum: Would you rather date someone who has had sex with one person or with 50 people? People who got married early tend to say one, whereas those of us in our thirties and still single tend to be freaked out by that. The point is that unless your number is some sort of anomaly given your age and history, who cares if you slept with 5 people or 15 people? Well, I guess I know first hand that there are clearly people who care, I'm just not one of them.

Posted 10:17am
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August 24th, 2009

Celebrating the gays

- I got a txt last Friday from MJ saying 'Baby Jesus isn't crying today!' I had no clue what she was talking about, but sent her back a 'Hooray!' anyway. Turns out she was referencing this, which very much does deserve a hooray for homos! I knew Jesus was down with the gays.

- Here at we're fond of noting that by the time we're old, this whole gay marriage debate is going to seem so antiquated and silly, our grandkids will laugh at us and our backward ways all the way back at the turn of the century. Want proof? Here's some data that notes "If people over 65 in each state made the laws, 0 states would have gay marriage; if people under 30 made the laws, 38 states would have gay marriage." (and guess where those 12 states who wouldn't have it are...) And here's Nate Silver weighing in on the age gap. They gay storm is here y'all. Might as well start with the getting over yourself.

- Of course right now it's still OK to be outwardly homophobic. As it turns out, your reasons don't even have to be any good. Here's the President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, citing the top 5 things that gay marriage will bring down upon our nation. As the link points out, 4 of the 5 things are positives in my mind. But don't listen to me, I like the gays and don't believe in Jesus, thus clearly un-American.

Posted 10:59am
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August 21st, 2009

Your Indie Rock Weekend

I know some of you couldn't give two shits about my music snobbery, so in an act of appeasement: Here's a list of the most annoying types of facebookers (and it's from CNN! which I find weird) and here's the argument for health insurance reform, explained on the back of a napkin. It's actually concise and fairly comprehensive (although it doesn't explain death panels). Now onto the rock...

- Tomorrow night, two blocks from my house, Markie C and I are headed to see Detroit's own Brendan Benson. Brendan, aside from being buddies with Jack White and a member of the Raconteurs, writes brilliant power pop that takes me back to the heady days of early 90's Matthew Sweet. If you're in town, you should check it out. At least check out his blissful song stylings on myspace. That's right, myspace - still viable when it comes to quickly checking out a musician.

- Hey guys! There's new Weezer! And it doesn't suck! (It sounds like they've been listening to a lot of Phoenix) Someone pointed out to me the other day that Weezer will never be as good as they were on Pinkerton again because the guys in Weezer all hate that album. That is lamentable. It makes me want to try and alienate Rivers Cuomo and make him ashamed of his love for Asian women to try and recreate that time period in a Boys from Brazil kind of way. Oh, and if you're really excited that their new album might actually be good, check the name, it's where boners go to die...

- Fellow trivia nerd RJ sent me this 'name the band' quiz. He finished it faster than I did, but I still nailed it with 90 seconds left.

- I just finished this book about the rise of digital music and how it has changed the record business over the last 15 years. It's pretty insightful, and it actually assures me that the music I love will always be available, which is comforting.

- Radiohead have decided to stop putting out albums and instead now just throw single tracks out into the ether whenever they've got something they want us to hear. I've always worried/expected that Radiohead would eventually implode like the Beatles - stop touring, decide they don't like each other, leave fans to debate the merits of Thom Yorke vs the Greenwood brothers. I just hope that this isn't the beginning of it, or at least that they go out on one more tour. I've never seen them live and I'd hate to have to put 'Never saw Radiohead live' on my tombstone.

Posted 10:11am
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August 20th, 2009

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

- The great 'pop vs soda' debate seems to be one largely had be those early in their college careers. I remember being dogmatic in my insistence that southerners and both coasters assimilate and refer to it as 'pop' - no exceptions. I guess being a midwesterner my entire life I felt the need to defend our regional eccentricities. Now I could pretty much care less - although I still consider 'pop' correct and in my house if you ask for a 'coke' you get a coke and if you say 'soda' you get clear water with bubbles. In any event, here's an intense breakdown of who says what when they mean a flavored carbonated beverage.

- Going to the movies - especially in the summer - is about managing expectations. Beware the hype, as it will turn on you faster than a golddigger in heat. In the last two weeks I've seen two very disparate sci-fi movies that at least met if not exceeded my lofty expectations. The first - District 9 - is a popcorn blockbuster for nerds that has no business being as smart or good as it is. If you're the type of person who is at all interested in this type of thing, you've heard of it if not seen it. If you've only heard, go see. Then last night we saw tiny indie movie Moon, directed by son of David Bowie Duncan 'don't call me Zowie Bowie' Jones. Its a taught, ethereal treatise on isolation and identity that like District 9, plays with a lot of sci-fi conventions in interesting ways. If you can find it and my description isn't pompous enough to turn you off, I recommend it as well.

- This video belongs in yesterday's crying Jesus post, but I just saw it so, you know. "I know you're going to hell and I don't want you to go to hell." It's fascinating to me how ignorant and dogmatic the little christian girls are, especially in comparison to the Indian girl who readily admits she doesn't have answers. I'm thinking about making a School House Rock video about indoctrination (Indoctrination!), with dancing Krishnas and Moseses and Jesuses and Buddhas, and then have Jack Sheldon singing "You know, maybe your parents don't know as much as you think they do."

- We're a tad over a fortnight away from the start of the Michigan football team's 2009 campaign. I'm excited for myriad reasons, including but not exclusive to: we're going to be at least marginally better, I'm going to Iowa in an RV, and we may see an episode or two of 'The Wolverine Bachelor". But more on the latter two as things get closer. I completely expect us to get above that .500 bar and be back in a bowl game (albeit a shitty one) But hey, if we're fun to watch and I end up in Detroit for the Motor City Bowl over the holidays, I'll be a happy camper. No matter what, I get to play washer toss again real soon.

- Last night I walked home from the movie in the rain. It was warm outside and there was something about it that made me feel preternaturally young. I look forward to doing it again.

Posted 12:26pm
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August 19th, 2009

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week? Special political edition

- Remember the last President we had that said he thought it was God's divine will for him to be President? Well if that doesn't shake the foundations of one's belief in a higher power, then I suppose nothing will. That is unless everyone's favorite congressional idiot Michelle Bachmann gets the call. She's waiting by the phone, apparently. You know, Ben Franklin once said that "Beer is proof that God love us and wants to be happy." Well I for one would view a Michelle Bachmann presidency as proof that God hates us and existence is a cosmic joke. That is unless he's calling her to run for my pure amusement, knowing that she'd never win - in that case good times.

- Speaking of Michelle, you should be wary of any group that's willing to demonize all of congress EXCEPT her. That's these people, who are saying that 'Obamacare' is making Baby Jesus cry. Please read the article, its quite astonishing the way they come to that conclusion. God created the government, and if we reject the government, we reject him. But then Obama wants us to put our faith in government and not God, even though he just basically said they were the same thing? It's dizzying logic. No where does he mention that there are millions of Americans uninsured and suffering, and if I remember correctly, Baby J once mentioned something about that which you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do unto me. Or something like that. I guess I'm not pious enough to know the priorities.

- And we don't want to forget our favorite political punching bag, Sarah Palin. Here's a pretty accurate article comparing her to Joe McCarthy. She comes in and yells 'death panel' and then runs away. What a dumb fucking bitch. As someone who's been through an end of life process with a loved one, I'm here to tell you that you're going to want to talk to someone, which is all we were talking about here. But instead of covering something that can both educate and console people in the most difficult time of their life, let's invoke my down syndrome baby as a political tool one more time and try to scare people back into the status quo. Baby Jesus is appalled at your lack of compassion Sarah Palin.

- Oh Mormons. So cute in their crazy, homosexual hating beliefs. Even Baby J shakes his head at your magic underwear. But were they really that naive that they thought they could mount a multi-million dollar campaign against gay marriage in California and not get some backlash? I mean right now it's just dude on dude action on their front lawn, but what's next? I for one can't wait to see what they come up with.

- I don't have any biblical evidence of this, but I imagine that Baby J is an environmentalist on some level. He'd certainly be using CFCs. And he walked everywhere, so I'm thinking he'd use public transportation or at least drive a hybrid. That's why I'm sure he'd be thrilled that Ann Arbor banned lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus, and lo and behold our waterways cleaned up, just like that! Go ahead, smile for once Baby J.

Posted 2:05pm
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August 18th, 2009

When I'm home, feeling you holding me tight (tight, yeah...)

Once Sid was old enough to stay home by himself in the summer, I figured it was my parental duty to find activities for him to fill his day. The most consistent of these tasks was the 'Album of the Week' experiment. This consisted of me choosing an album for him to listen to, and then coming up with a ten question quiz about the albums themes, instrumentation, etc. These albums included:

The Beatles Revolver
Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
The Beatles Sgt. Peppers
Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The Police Zenyatta Mondatta
Beck Odelay
Ben Folds Five Whatever and Ever Amen
Weezer Pinkerton
Violent Femmes Violent Femmes
Death Cab for Cutie The Photo Album
The Postal Service Give Up
The Beastie Boys License to Ill
Cake Fashion Nugget
Green Day Dookie
Matthew Sweet Girlfriend
The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
Radiohead In Rainbows
Josh Ritter The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Spoon Kill the Moonlight
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
Ted Leo + Pharmacists Shake the Sheets
Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine

We stopped doing it this summer because A.) He's pretty busy otherwise and capable of filling in his own time and B.) I've indoctrinated him enough. He's forming his own musical sensibility now and it's time for me to stand down a bit (albeit not completely - I still maintain my sphere of influence.)

Now it's time for movies. We've been knocking out most of the classic comedies over the past year (Caddyshack, Animal House, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Revenge of the Nerds, Blazing Saddles, etc.) and tonight we're going to the Michigan Theater to see A Hard Days Night on the big screen. It's a nice little end of summer tie-in with the old music listening tasks. I've only got so much time left to exert my impeccable tastes upon Siddhartha, and I need to make sure he never comes home from college listening to Big and Rich and watching Michael Bay movies on DVD. That would be a total parenting failure on my part.

- Speaking of movies, here's a list of 15 of the worst direct to DVD sequels of all time. And I have to admit I kind of want to see the last two on the list. Malcom Reynolds and Starbuck in the same movie? Sign me up for some of that terribleness.

Posted 11:30am
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August 17th, 2009

Reunited and it feels so awkward.

So two bits of housekeeping before we throw ourselves into it. One: I took a mini vacation last Thursday/Friday that was only partly planned, so I apologize for being away and not telling you. My bad. HOWEVER, the comments were down for almost two weeks and no one said anything?!? Yes, this was technically because I screwed up, but shoot me an emails yo's. I mean I'm over it, but next time speak up.

So, Saturday night was my 15 year high school reunion. I had deemed this very early on as an un-worthwhile endeavor. I in no way felt it necessary to listen to my former classmates drone on about their children, nor to state 20 times "I'm up in Ann Arbor, I work for the University," and then hope they don't want anything more specific. I mean don't get me wrong, I can be a pretty nostalgic person now and again, but I still see the majority of my high school friends on a semi-regular basis, and the rest, well, isn't facebook enough contact for people you sat next to for 40 minutes a day 15 years ago?

But then RJ decided to fly in for it from Vegas. And then Jer signed on from Arizona. Add those things to a mild sense of duty as senior class president (and the hopes of a decent blog post) and things started to be justifiable. I figured if I showed up half drunk and then proceeded to get really drunk that I'd be all right. I'd stick to the shadows, avoid eye contact, see a few friends and get out without too much collateral damage. If somebody tried to pull out a picture of their kids for me to look at, I could just walk away.

So after some mild social lubrication I hit the American Legion hall and I unhyperbolically tell you that the first five minutes were every bit as awful as the nightmare scenario I had envisioned. Upon entry I quickly scanned the room and didn't recognize a soul. The reunion organizers had failed to provide nametags, which was supposed to keep me from embarrassing myself throughout the night. This led to implementation of the buddy system for the rest of the night. Don't move about without someone to go with you - they might bail you out by remembering someone, or just provide the buffer of looking like you're already in a conversation and don't want nor need a new one.

It wasn't long however (3 or 4 vodka sodas) that things started to get a little easier. Hang out by the bar, have as many sustained conversations as possible, and run out the clock. I did have fun reminiscing with those I don't get to see as often as I like, and by the end of the night I actually had to seek a few people out for fear of them leaving before I got to talk to them. I even successfully avoided talking to the one person I was really trying to avoid, and didn't even win the uncoveted "first to procreate after high school" award. Score.

The last paragraph has been redacted.

Posted 11:53am
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August 12th, 2009

The perils of minutia dissecting

Last week when I got picked up by that guy at the bar, he initiated the rendevouz by asking what I was writing (as I was at the bar by myself writing in my moleskine) to which I responded "My girlfriend just broke up with me so I'm writing down every negative, awful, crazy thing she did to me over the course of three years." He looked at me skeptically, but it was gospel truth. Now I would love to post this (it would blow your mind) and you would love to read it (because its funny and, of course, mind blowing), but alas, I can't. Or at least I shouldn't.

You see, anyone can read this blog. Anyone. And while I clearly don't have many issues just putting myself out there for your scrutiny and enjoyment, sometimes that has consequences. I learned this the pretty hard way the first time Ayesha and I broke up, when I said some not-so-nice things about her. It didn't help the situation when we got back together two months later. Of course not writing things has consequences too. I once had a fabulous first date with a girl and failed to mention it here, and after a week or two, she clearly was offended that I had failed to post about it. Apparently women are sensitive.

So while I don't do so out of deference for a possible future together, I can't publicly list all the negative things Ayesha did while we were together. Mostly because I think it's kinda mean and ultimately I'm not mad at her nor do I want to appear attempting to garner sympathy. It's just something I did to try and make peace with all that's happened in the last month. Besides, she broke up with me both in Vegas and via txt message, that pretty much says it all, right?

Of COURSE discussing these things with me over a beer is a totally different story. That's neither public nor mean. I consider it continuing therapy for your enjoyment.

I also have a really great post written in my head about being single again and having a giant crush on someone and all the awful anxiety and awesome anticipation that goes with that. But again, ANYONE can read the blog and I can't write about it without it being really obvious who the person is, and that's a childish and awkward way for someone to find out you fancy them. Besides, if you've been around me lately, it's either a.) really obvious or b.) I probably already talked to you about it. Likely both. I don't hide these things well.

Posted 2:05pm
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August 11th, 2009

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

- I agree that their commercials featuring Alec Baldwin and Seth McFarlane are not that funny, but if you haven't checked out Hulu yet, you are seriously missing out. For example, here's the awesome public television show Live from the Artist's Den, featuring hour long performances from people like The Hold Steady, Ingrid Michaelson and Josh Ritter. And here's my current favorite TV show - Spaced. Its the guys from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before they started making movies. Its got a really high geek quotient, so enjoy.

- While the HuffPo has a real downer take on the trend, I see women drinking more as a win/win for everyone. Of course the DUI thing is bad. Ladies, I live a block from downtown. Feel free to call me when you you've had too much and can't drive home.

- Speaking of drinking, here's an Onion slideshow about the subject. I am kind of disappointed that the very fist headline "Having-One-Beer Plan Goes Awry" doesn't feature a picture of Stov and I.

- It's a common neo-con talking point that history will be kind to the presidency of George W. Bush. Now this elicits something between seething bile and rolling laughter from me, especially since I've finally figured out the right parenting metaphor for him. He was clearly the offspring of a three-way between Jake and Elwood Blues and Joan of Arc. How else does one explain the fact that he was on a mission from God?

- If you ever find yourself in the Corktown area of downtown Detroit, you may come face to face with this:

I can't really get that into what the Unicorn Lovers Club is all about, other than to say membership has its privileges. If you can figure out the complicated password/secret knock, a cornucopia of pleasure awaits you. Its like walking into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory for the first time...

Posted 11:36am
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August 10th, 2009

I was born a poor black child...

Growing up the only black people I knew were an affluent family from New York whose father wore awful sweaters and mugged a lot for the camera. This of course quickly changed when I went to college, and while my black friend count is still fairly low, there at least is one. It's something I generally don't think about too much unless I'm hanging out with people of other ethnicities and I need to make a quick decision on whether or not to make a racially insensitive reference in an attempt to get people to laugh. I'd say I make the right choice about half the time.

I spent the weekend getting in touch with my blackness, even if it wasn't necessarily with the company of African Americans. Friday night I went to the Ann Arbor Soul Club, where DJs spin old Soul and R+B 45's at the Blind Pig. Good times. Then Sunday, we went to Detroit to see the documentary Soul Power and have some BBQ at Slows. I'd say that's quite a bit of black culture for a white boy such as myself, except for the fact that between the documentary and the BBQ, we watched West Side Story on DVD in a minivan. And that my friends, is as white as it gets.

- Sid spent the weekend at Lollapalooza and got to meet his favorite band - Vampire Weekend - in the autograph tent. I noted how cool this was in a txt message exchange with Mrs. Jesus and she retorted "He's closer to their age than we are. Ponder that for the moment." Of course a quick check of the internet allowed me to reply: "I will not. The take home is that I introduced him to them and my kid may someday be as cool as me. And for the record, the lead singer is 24, making him closer to my age. Suck it." Thanks Ezra for being born when you were and allowing me to still feel cool for a little longer.

Posted 10:32am
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August 7th, 2009

Wormer... dead. Niedermeyer... dead. John Hughes...

The summer of 1987 I was 12 years old. Somehow we ended up with a copy of Ferris Bueller's Day Off on VHS and over the course of that summer I swear to you without an once of hyperbole I watched that movie 50 times. I'm pretty sure that by the time school started I could have performed the entire movie from memory.

I feel pretty lucky to have grown up in the age where John Hughes was writing and directing his specific brand of teenage comedy. Make no mistake about it, your kids and even their kids will someday watch The Breakfast Club and feel like someone finally gets them. I remember how excited I was when I watched Ferris with Sid for the first time, and how happy I am every time he suggests we watch it again. There's a lot of directors out there that I admire and would just like to shake hands with and say thanks. Thanks for all the good times. Certainly John Hughes is one of those people. Rest in peace John. Thanks for all the good times and for making all of us feel a little less like an outcast.

- Here's a John Hughes montage worth wasting your time on.

- Last night I tried to go to the bar for one beer. Some guy in his late 30's who's wife was out of town sits down next to me and next thing I know he's paying my cover and buying me drinks at the Blind Pig. I got worried for a second that I was going to have to put out but luckily he proceeded to work his way through the bar hitting on every girl in it. Oh, and his favorite band was Tesla and I had to listen a lot to how Five Man Acoustical Jam was the best album of all time, so I guess nothing really is free. This has nothing to do with John Hughes, but it was a weird night and needed to be documented.

Posted 10:32am
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August 6th, 2009

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

- Usually fake or faux is a bad thing. From pleather to RC Cola to everyone Holden Caufield ever met, you get what you pay for. And don't get me started on fake boobs. They almost always look like they hurt and I bet 9 times out of 10 girls would be better off learning to live with what the good lord gave them. But sometimes the imitators get so close to the real thing that you don't care. Like imitation crab meat. Or Jennifer Love Hewitt. That's how I felt when I watched this video. Clearly fake, yet still pretty awesome. Kudos.

- I fucking hate Tucker Max. The guy's a giant unapologetic douche hole. A lot of people over the years have mentioned him to me, assuming I'd be a fan, or on a few occasions, suggested their was a comparison between the two of us. This makes me want to slap said person in the face and then go home, sit in the dark and reevaluate my life. It really irritated me that his crappy book about what a fuckstick of a human being he is got made into a movie. Until I saw the trailer. Looks like the movie is going to be an even bigger piece of shit than Tucker Max is. Finally, some justice.

- After avoiding the entire phenomena for about 10 years or so, some friends finally got me into watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer a few months back. Of course I thoroughly enjoyed it. But even I was shocked that I liked the spinoff Angel even more. I just finished watching all five seasons and I'm kind of sad that it's over. It was so much fund and it always excites me because there's got to be other undiscovered gems out there waiting to be devoured by my voracious pop culture appetite on hangover Sundays. Anyway, here's a list of the top 10 Angel episodes.

- There's a new Radiohead tune. Always good times. Well, melancholy times?

- I don't want to sugar coat this too much, because in many ways my kid is a typical teenager. His hygiene is suspect, his room is a mess, his attitude about most things is 'whatever', and occasionally he does something so mind numbingly stupid I wonder what could possibly be so flawed in my DNA (I usually just blame it on the other half). But sometimes Sid totally blows me away. Yesterday I got home and found the dishwasher had been run and emptied - and no one told Sid to do it. Now I completely assume there is some solipsistic explanation to this wherein he needed his favorite bowl and it was dirty so he just ran the dishwasher, but still, good times. So shines a good deed in a weary world.

Posted 12:02pm
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August 5th, 2009

On being the perpetual bachelor.

Let me get it out of the way up top: I don't truly believe any of this. Which is to say, this is my typical hyperbolic, over-the-top response to a query Jen made and never intended me to answer (see here). And while I do see these things as true on some level, they are in no way reasons I don't need a wife. I should probably have a wife or some suitable wife-like substitute. Someday. In any event, here's 10 reasons I don't need a wife.

10. Friends wives. I have Jen and Aarika and Anee to make sure I buy appropriate wedding gifts, baby shower gifts, and coordinate food for tailgates.

9. Procreation. Marriage is an institution largely imbued with the continuation of the species. Not only have I already done that, I'm quite uninterested in doing it again.

8. The 'Barney Stinson' effect. Every group of friends needs a perpetually single male friend to serve as the always available drinking buddy, to provide them with drunk stories when they no longer create their own, and to live vicariously through by setting him up with their single female friends.

7. Food. Many males need a female in their life to ensure they eat right. I do not. I don't eat out very often nor do I indulge in prepackaged, processed foods. I can cook for myself.

6. There is a ton of porn on the internet. Yes, we all need a little release. But I could whack it a half dozen times a day from now until I need Viagra and I'll never run out of free, awesome pornography.

5. Wives are expensive. From the wedding, to the house, to having to buy TWO of everything when we go out, wives are expensive. Certainly if you can find me a sugar mama I'll eat my words, but its more likely for me to date a teacher, academic, or (gulp!) employee of a nonprofit that would be a strain on my already tight budget.

4. I'm all set on obligations. Work, volunteering, child rearing, drinking... I have a pretty full life. I don't want to have to worry about quitting softball because "We never spend any time together!" and now I have to take a Spanish cooking class.

3. Historical incompatibility. Let's face it, the last two significant relationships I've had went to school at rival Big Ten universities and had families that hated me. There's little doubt I'd marry someone who went to Notre Dame and had parent's that were heavy into Scientology. That's exactly what I don't need.

2. I'm a huge snob. I have an opinion on everything and am very specific and idiosyncratic with my tastes. There is 0% chance I'd find someone who is 100% compatible on these things, meaning a lifetime of suffering from bad reality TV, or sappy chick flicks, or shudder to think, country music.

1. I still got it. Despite my advancing age, I can still pull girls in their mid-20's. We're coming around on the first round of divorces and there's a lot of ladies who, to quote Brett Michaels, aren't looking for nuthin', but a good time. How can I resist? Shouldn't I hold on to that for as long as possible?

Organized responses in the comment section are encouraged.

Posted 1:11pm
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August 4th, 2009

We only hang out like 3 times a week! That's not even half the time.

At what point do we stop making new friends? I suppose the short answer is never, but that's only true technically. As we get older the likelihood of making new lasting friendships dwindles significantly. I think this becomes exponentially more true when you're in a couple and cusps being infinitely true when you have kids. When more and more of your time is spoken for by work and family, you're probably not going to meet someone and start hanging out on a regular basis. If you've got free time to hang out, it's probably spoken for by friends you've had for a while now.

Two years ago when Ayesha moved to Arizona and left me alone in Michigan I became terrified that I would be forced to sit in the dark and twiddle my thumbs while I drank copious amounts of alcohol and listened to music that most of my existing friends didn't like. Ayesha and I were spending about 75% of our free time together when she left, so my routine was about to be severely disrupted. That's when I realized just how precarious the position I had found myself in was. Most of my friends were married. Most of them were having their first or second kid. Those that weren't married and procreating were coupled and spending most of their time with their significant others. My existing friends were busy being adults and as a guy in his 30's, making new friends felt daunting to say the least.

I know. Woe is me. For a while I managed to become pretty tight with Ayesha's ex-roommates, the Jesuses. They liked going to see obscure concerts with me and one of them was always up for being the DD, so good times. But then they left too. That's about the time I decided to start volunteering at 826. I figured at worst it'd occupy some of my free time with something worthwhile, and if I got lucky, well there might be some like minded individuals there who also like the booze and the indie rock.

As it's well documented around here, it went better than I imagined. After a year I had made several new friends with which I can do the random things that old friends may be too busy for or just uninterested in. And as of late, a small group of these kids have become my most constant companions. As a foursome we hang out 3 or 4 nights a week. We have plans for every weekend through the end of August. They are cool, nerdy, inappropriate and love booze. They are my kind of people. Here's hoping none of them decide to move away anytime soon.

- Here's a pair of top 100s - one listing the top sci-fi movies (which, I think is BS, but it did make me want to watch several movies, including Westworld!) and Wired's list of things your kids will never know about. It's often humbling to get old.

Posted 11:31am
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August 3rd, 2009

My rhymes are so potent that in this small segment I made all of the ladies in the area pregnant

So as expected, my trip to PIB largely centered around my new official status of being unencumbered. Along with lots of recounting of the end of my previous relationship and discussing the prospects of things to come, I finally read my list of reasons I don't need a wife to Jen. In their drunken stupor the ladies failed to provide much of an organized retort, other than to yell things like "That's reason number 7!" when some hot chick would walk by. Of course the weekend was capped, as it always is, with breakfast at Big Boy on Sunday. As the waitress took our orders and all of the couples noted that they were together for purposes of check splitting, she got to me and gave me the sympathetic "Awwww, you're all alone?" Jen rightfully assumed her point was made. Other things of note:

- We learned that you can take chicken dinners into the Roundhouse. I learned that I am willing to still eat my dinner after dumping it all over the floor of the bar. Yes, I expect to get a strange rash or a burning sensation when I urinate any day now.

- I shook my ass on the dance floor lots. Jen estimated I impregnated up to seven girls without even touching them.

- I didn't bother to pull the couch out when I got back to the house to finally crash Saturday night. My neck will pay for this for several days to come.

I took no pictures. Facebook friends will probably see me tagged in various compromising positions as others post their pics over the next few days. In the meantime, let the countdown to PIB 2010 begin. I've 360-ish days to find someone to bring with me. No one hold their breath.

Posted 1:16pm
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July 28th, 2009

How much douche could a douche bag bag if a douche bag could bag douche?

I often get the feeling that people don't get how much of a bully douche bag ass hat Bill O'Reilly is. Other than his disdain for things like facts, history and analytical thought, my real beef is his claim to being an independent. Yes, I realize he's no Glen Beck or even Rush Limbaugh, but he purports himself to be this high minded idealist when he's a blowhard shill obsessed with his own fame. Here's some evidence:

- It's a common conservative conceit that liberal permissiveness is ruining America. Bill picked up that meme when talking about legalizing marijuana recently and noted what an awful place Amsterdam is. Then Amsterdam responded with this. Suck it, ass hat.

- People who watch O'Reilly are always so sure that they are on the right side of things because they have all of these facts! And they can refute your liberal point point with logic! Like Bill did with this bit of mathematical genius. Suck it, ass hat.

- Bill does a lot barking and attempts to intimidate anyone who comes on his show with whom he disagrees. He shouts over them, turns their mic off, and never lets them finish a point. On his show, I suppose it works and his viewers think he really 'nails' his guests. Here's what it sounds like when he tries those tactics on someone else's show. Thanks Triumph; suck it, ass hat.

- And while we're here, in fairness, Bill is a moderate compared to Glen Beck. Here's a guy with zero credentials to comment on anything, calling the President a racist and saying he has a "a deep-seated hatred for white people." If you are still watching Fox News, you are an ass hat and should be made to suck it.

- And, for fun, more Shatner doing Palin. She's harmless and from now on I treat with the empathy I have for picked on teenage girls. She's cute and helpless! Save her!

p.s. Off tomorrow, PIB Saturday. Pray for my liver.

Posted 10:50am
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July 29th, 2009

Ice cold beer here...

Three days until I'm at PIB, drinking beer like it's my last night on earth. Here's what's going on this week booze.

- So the Ann Arbor News is no more, and has been replaced by I saw their reporter at beerfest asking people what their favorite beer quote was and thought "Huh, that's a pretty stupid way to cover this event" After reading the report, it's exactly as informative as I imagined. The talkback at the bottom though is pretty funny, including the guy who'd rather stay home and drink his 22oz Bud.

- Speaking of craft beer versus mass produced swill, I was very concerned when I heard that premium beer sales were in the decline and 'subpremium' beers were growing. That is until you realize that 'premium' beers means Budweiser and Heinekin, not Shorts and Bells. Turns out actual craft beers are doing just fine thank you.

- Main Street is getting another brewpub, and it sounds like things are starting to happen. Jolly Pumpkin will be a welcome addition to my rotation of booze - especially if they make good use of the rooftop outdoor seating at that location.

- Anyone want to head to Lake Placid for some free booze? Who doesn't love a good boozehunt?

- And unrelated to beer, here's proof that Tiffany Theissen is still hot, and Michelle Malkin is still crazy.

Posted 10:57am
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July 28th, 2009

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

- PIB week! I'm getting my arm twisted to go with the early crew now that I am solo. Two couples are headed to Cedar Point Thursday and then staying on the island Thursday until Sunday. This sounds like a fabulous idea, except that this month I paid for football tickets and put new tires on my car, so cash is tight. Whether its a late Thursday or early Saturday arrival for me, its still less than four days until this:

- I know that we all collectively swoon at the thought of the Spike Jonez/Dave Eggers adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, so here. Enjoy.

- Like many things over at McSweeney's, I really wish I had thought of this. And of course, this is a match made in heaven. I can't decide if I want the pretty lady with the two cent head to just go away or to stay around so we can make fun of her.

- Since canceling my satellite radio, I've had to find daily fresh material to fill the sonic void in my life. The biggest boon has been old episodes of Loveline. Now, this is a show I never listened to on any sort of semi-regular basis when it was in its heyday, but here I am obsessed with Adam, Dr. Drew, B-list celebrities and 17 year olds who want to know if they can they still get pregnant if they do it standing up. Good times.

- Breaking up is certainly hard to do, even when it's not a violent screaming and yelling bitchfest that comes out of the blue, but rather a slow crumbling of trust and connection that meanders down the mountain for months. What makes it easier and sometimes even palatable is your social safety net: the friends that listen to you bitch, the ones that prop up your self-esteem, and those that trash your ex and reassure you that you are better off. So thanks to all y'all who have been doing that over the last few days (and months) and those that will continue to do so in the near future. I promise to make it the fun kind of healing that involves alcohol and hitting on women inappropriately, and not the wallowing 'woe is me' kind as much as possible.

Posted 10:44am
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July 27th, 2009

Heartbreak, booze and vacation - 3 great tastes that go great together

There are three things that I need to impress upon you with all the post haste I can muster. These are those:

1. Beerfest happened. While meterologists of every stripe tried to tell us we were going to be constantly barraged by buckets of water falling from the sky, the weather was actually all kinds of perfect. Oh yeah, as was the beer. Here's the few photos I took. Here's the beers I drank:

1. Bob's Witbier (Darkhorse Brewery)
2. Chipotle Mango Ale (B.O.B.s Brewery)
3. Golden Rule Organic IPA (Shorts Brewing)
4. Can I get a WITTEness (Traffic Jam and Snug)
5. Orange Lotus Hopsun (B.O.B.s Brewery)
6. Kid Rock's Badass American Lager (Michigan Brewing)
7. Oops-a-Hefe (Big Rock Chop and Brewhouse)
8. Summer Wit (Royal Oak Brewery)
9. Second Wind Wheat (Mt. Pleasant Brewing)
10. ClockWork Orange Belgian Wheat (Grand Rapids Brewing)
Organic Wit (Rochester Mills Beer Co.)
12. Summerbrew (CJ's Brewing Co.)
13. Some Cherry Bullshit (Khunhenn Brewing)
14. Red Tao Amber Lager (Black Lotus Brewing)
15. Summer Hefe (Olde Peninsula Brewpub)
16. Chipotle Mango Ale (B.O.B.s Brewery)
17. Golden Saison (B.O.B.s Brewery)
18. King Lager (King Brewing Co.)
19. Custom Blonde Lager (Woodward Ave Brewers)
20. Ghettoblaster (Motor City Brewing)
21. American IPA (Redwood Brewing)
22. Second Wind Wheat (Mt. Pleasant Brewing)
23. Schwartz Black Pilsner (Schmoz Brewing)
Golden Rule Organic IPA (Shorts Brewing)
25. Resession Ale (Copper Canyon)
26. Hefe-Weizen (Woodward Ave Brewers)

The Chipotle Mango had to be tasted to be believed, and Kid Rock makes terrible beer.

2. It's Put-in-Bay Week. That means I have already mentally checked out of all of my responsibilities and am dreaming of being drunk on an island and gorging myself on late night chicken dinners.

3. PIB is notorious for being a relationship killer. Many a man has brought a girlfriend to PIB only to find that she was no longer his girlfriend shortly after. 2009 was supposed to be my first time bringing a girl to PIB - to test my luck with the curse of Catawba Island. Alas, that's not going to happen. Ayesha and I officially and for reals called it quits Friday night. She did it via a text message from across the apartment (a scathing critique of my behavior followed by the words "We're done") but it had been coming down the pike for some time now. We had beat each other up for too long and the strain of being 2,000 miles apart finally caught up to us. I know that this is the third or fourth time we've done this, but this was the quiet, no screaming or fighting breakup where you both just say it's over and walk away. So yeah, the not quite 3 year oddyssey is finally done. Ayesha's a fabulous person and I wish her well. As for being single again? My loss is probably the blog's gain, so prepare thyself for that.

Posted 10:44am
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July 24th, 2009

The impending extravaganzical mess that is Beerfest

It's finally here! Another year of waiting is over and 24 hours from right now I will be predrinking for Beerfest 2009. If you want some historical perspective, here's the 2007 wrap up and of course 2008's. If you want some 2009 info, here's the Michigan Brewer's Guild website, along with a list of all the brewers that will be there and what they are bringing. Here's some (probably a little late) info on Michigan Beer Month/Ann Arbor Beer Week, and here's a weak sauce article on craft brewing in the Freep. If you're cool enough to be there tomorrow, stop by and say hi. We'll be the one's that are so good at Beerfest. Here's hoping it doesn't rain.

- Chicago soft on weed? That's my kind of town.

- Longtime neighbors the Baughman's were a little distressed recently at their inability to find their son a bike helmet that resembled those of Michigan Wolverine varsity athletes. So when they started to talk about paying someone to paint a regular helmet maize and blue, I said nonsense, I will give it a whirl for nothing. Here's the results:

It was a lot of drunken man hours for such an imperfect result, but hey, anything for a future Wolverine.

Posted 10:09am
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July 23rd, 2009

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

- Back to back great shows. Wilco rocked my face for well over two hours straight, and Neko Case was as lovely and charming as you would expect her to be. Ayesha claims she looks 'old' in person, but either I'm blinded by lust or she's participating in some cognitive dissonance, because I was still smitten (for the record, both those things were totally going on).

- I swear I long for the day when I don't have to talk about her anymore. I honestly believe we all get a little dumber and die a tiny bit on the inside whenever she enters the public consciousness. But I can't ignore this: Sarah Palin's resignation speech, copy edited and fact checked. This just in: she's dumb.

- I'm not quite old enough to remember Walter Cronkite as an actual newsman, but looking back on his body of work it's hard not to respect the shit out of him and understand why he was the most trusted man in America. He has been and will continue to be missed. The question is, who takes the baton? Who, in this post-modern world where everything is meta and folds in on itself and the blurred line between information and entertainment has imploded and no longer exists? If you said Jon Stewart, you are correct. Yes its an online poll that is as unscientific as Glen Beck trying to explain the Constitution to you, but it makes a certain amount of sense. No, there's not much of a through line linking Cronkite to Stewart, but in today's jaded culture where there is no unbiased reporting, Stewart's point of view is as reliable and honest about its agenda as anyone. Plus, I guarantee that people who only get their news from The Daily Show are better informed than those who listen to Rush or O'Reilly.

- Here's a fascinating chart that gives you an idea about how much time we have left before we start running out of things. The good news: We've got plenty of aluminum. The bad: No data on hafnium!?!

- Some friends and I were talking about going to see the new movie (500) Days of Summer, and then a few days later seeing the old movie The 400 Blows. This was followed by the suggestion that subsequent weeks we could view the homoerotic gore fest 300, then 200 Cigarettes, and on and on down the line. Of course as my loyal readers would expect, I took this to the nth degree:

500. (500) Days of Summer
400. The 400 Blows
300. 300
200. 200 Cigarettes
101. 101 Dalmations
93. United 93
60. Gone in 60 Seconds
57. Passenger 57
50. 50 First Dates
48. 48 Hours
42. 42nd Street
40. The Forty Year Old Virgin
39. The 39 Steps
34. Miracle on 34th Street
32. 32 short Stories about Glen Gould
28. 28 Days Later
27. 27 Dresses
25. 25th Hour
24. 24 Hour Party People
21. 21
19. K-19 The Widowmaker
15. 15 Minutes
13. Friday the 13th
12. 12 Angry Men
11. Ocean's 11
10. 10
9. Nine to Five
8. 8 Seconds (Starring Luke Perry)
7. Se7en
6. 6 Days Seven Nights
5. V
4. Four Weddings and a Funeral
3.14 Pi
3. 3 Days of the Condor
2. Two Mules for Sister Sarah
1. Once

That was without the help of the internet, I'm sure you could fill it in a bit. That's what the comment section is for...

Posted 11:48am
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July 21st, 2009

This week in indie rock

- Tonight! Wilco! I'm not head over heals in love with the new album, but live Wilco is always something that makes me giddy with anticipation. If you can't make tonight's sold out show, their latest concert film Ashes of American Flags is playing now and again on the Sundance Channel. It's a highly recommended live Wilco substitute.

- Tomorrow! Neko! The irony of me being in love with a red headed beauty who sings country music is lost on no one, especially me. But then look at this:

I mean c'mon, right? How does that not curl your toes? If she asks me tomorrow to leave my job and follow her across the country, it's been a pleasure to have you read my blog these past few years, but later suckers.

- As all you good little indie rockers already know, The Flaming Lips latest opus Embryonic drops 9/29. But you can hear two songs from the upcoming freak out here. Its every bit the headscratcher that you've come to expect and love.

- Speaking of awesome things coming in Spetember (no, not me turning 34) It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns to FX. Here's a little promo video of people covering the rock anthem 'Day Man'. It features Ted Leo + Pharmacists, so double awesome terrific happy fun time.

- There's was something about Thom Yorke's previous solo effort (The Eraser) that didn't quite hold together for me. Frankly, its like it needed the rest of Radiohead (much in the same way I usually feel McCartney and Lennon's solo stuff always misses each other, if not the rest of the Beatles). But hey, in all aforementioned instances, it's still compelling and better than most dreck we are subjected to on a daily basis. Anyway, there's rumors of some new Thom Yorke solo stuff coming down the pike, and he may have given us a preview last weekend. Good times.

Posted 10:44am
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July 20th, 2009

Just like high school, I get voted "Most Jaded"

This was written when I was drunk and is transcribed below, just fair warning, as I have a disdain for editing.

Everyone suffers from fear of rejection on some level. Some people freeze up at the mere thought of public speaking. Others are fine until they get outside of their comfort zone - be it singing karaoke or merely being forced to be extemporaneous. Personally, I'm good until it comes to approaching a complete stranger of the opposite sex. In my cognitive dissonance that ends up being less about 'What if she doesn't like me...' and more about 'What are the chances I'll like her? Slim to none, so why waste the effort?' Its a convenient lie I tell myself to keep myself on the sidelines whenever I find myself single, since I can usually remain relatively happy even in the absence of regular sexual conquests.

But in every other aspect of life I relish the opportunity to put myself out there. Try being a lead singer in a band? I'm on it. Perform at free form poetry night? Count me in. I fear neither rejection nor reprisal when it comes to having some group of strangers judge my artistic integrity. OK, well, it does induce a certain level of anxiety, but in a good way. I'm willing to take the blank stares on the off chance that a few people will actually have a visceral response to something that either makes me giggle or that I somehow find important. It's an unparalleled rush that neither booze nor sex can provide. I seek it out despite the somewhat crushing anxiety that often comes with it.

So when I heard about 826 hosting their first annual Ann Arbor Art Fair Film Festival, I knew I had to partake. I don't think I've put image to celluloid for the judgment of others since I was in high school. There was a time when it was a common conceit due to class projects - but despite my penchant for screenwiritng and general artistic endeavors - filmmaking isn't something that has reared its head in some time. But when the organization that I hold most near and dear to my heart announced the call for submissions to make films centered around the Art Fair, I couldn't resist.

After some germination on the subject, I decided to use the most obvious theme - the bane of Art Fair's existence - Art on Sticks. Not owning a video camera, the modus operondi of my endeavor also became crystal - I'd write a song and set it to still images. The fact that Ayesha was in town with her camera and Macbook with iMovie meant the entire project came together in a snap. So the Sunday before Art Fair I went to Grizzly Peak and wrote my script. I wrote the words and imagined what the appropriate images might be, and then immediately forgot about it until the morning it was go time.

I awoke on production day knowing that I had to write the score toot suite or the whole thing would never get off the ground. As my easily embarrassed 14 year old son will attest, I write several songs a day about whatever I find fascinating around me, so writing the music took all of 20 minutes. It was then time to head out into the belly of the beast and actually shoot footage. This was perhaps the easiest part. With my mental shot list, a few hours of standard Art Fair browsing gave me more material than I needed. For the record though, most artisans at the fair aren't exactly keen on you taking pictures of their wares. We did a lot of "OK, I'm almost in position, take the pic in 3... 2... 1..." We still managed to get the shots with being accosted. It helps if you're accustomed to dirty looks.

When we got home it was time to record the score. After some brief technical difficulties, I recorded the music on my guitar and then started to attempt lay down the vocals on top of it. After about 10 attempts at 10:30 at night, I hear someone yell "Shut the fuck up!" followed by a stomping on the floor above me that both broke the lightbulb in my ceiling lamp and nearly scratched my passion for the project all together. After a much needed booze break and some quiet reflection, I got the vocals recorded, learned iMovie, and finished the project. This is the result:

Given more time and my druthers, it might have been a little different/better, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It premiered at the festival Saturday night and won the coveted "Most Jaded" award, which the judges informed me was an award not just for the film, but for my view of life in general. I also worked on this film, winner of "Most Romantic" and this is the film that won the night's top prize, the Stick d'Or. Thanks to Aeysha for all the help and 826 for once again, getting me out of my comfort zone.

Posted 11:17am
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July 17th, 2009

The thing is, they knew I was going to say yes...

When is an invitation not an invitation? This is a question that one seemingly should never have to ask. If someone says "Hey you should totally come over..." then you should be able to reasonably assume that they totally want you to come over. You shouldn't have to pause and question the intention of said invitation, they asked hoping you'd say yes. Inversely, if someone mentions their plans and doesn't give you a "Hey, you should totally come with..." then guess what, don't show up in their driveway the next day in your swim trunks asking "What time are we headed to the pool?"

But sometimes when someone says "If you're not doing anything, stop by..." they really mean "Hey, we both just discussed our plans, so I will extend you an offer to join us as to appear pleasant and cordial, but under no circumstances are you to accept the invitation." This recently happened to me. Maybe twice. Let me start off by noting, not that it needs to be said, that it is public knowledge that I love booze, and I love to booze in public. Worst kept secret in the tri-state area. One can only assume that if you ask me to have a drink, that I will always say yes in absence of other plans.

The first incident was only slightly awkward and the invitation I accepted was probably genuine. Working at the Robot Store recently, female friend #1, as she was walking out the door, says too me "We're drinking #1 PBRs later at Seva, you should totally stop by when you get off." I say something to the effect of sounds good, maybe I will. Then an hour later, female friends #2 and #3, as they are walking out the door, note "We're headed to Seva for $1 PBRs, I'm sure we'll still be there when you close up, you should totally stop by." Now I have 3 invitations to drink cheap beer with at least 3 people I enjoy, of course I'm going to go. But when I show up to pound a few cans of Milwaukee's finest, I find female friends 1, 2 and 3 enjoying some vegan appetizer and drinking a bottle of wine. My first thought was "Um, you were serious when you invited me right?" I mean hey, I sat down and ordered a PBR after PBR and rolled with it, but for a second it was like showing up to a party in costume when everyone else is in formal attire.

THEN just last night, it happened again. Only worse. After enjoying a couple of Oberons with some 826ers, I got home and decided that I might like another beer or two, yet didn't have any on hand. So I grabbed an empty growler and started to walk up to Grizzly Peak. As I started to stroll up the hill on Ashley, I get stopped by a former co-worker who just happened to be getting out of her car as I passed. We chit chat, I tell her that I am headed to the Peak to get my Growler filled. "Oh, my boyfriend are headed up to Old Town. You should totally stop in and have a drink with us." I think for half a second "Isn't it a little awkward to invite me along with just the two of you?" But then imagine a few scenarios where it wouldn't be weird and immediately say yes. Guess what? It was weird.

We walk into the bar and it turns out that they are meeting another couple to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The four of them are all nicely packed in to a booth and I'm the drunk that followed them in off the street who has to pull up a chair to the end of the table. I quickly order an Oberon and drink it fast enough to give myself an ice cream headache as they exchange inside jokes and tell stories about people I've never heard of. I then throw quickly throw $5 on the table and mention that this growler I'm carrying isn't going to fill itself and high tail it out of there.

So let me say, for the record, because apparently there are people out there who haven't figured it out yet: if you ask me to go drinking I am going to say yes. If I say no, then chances are I really don't like you. Conversely, if I ask you to totally come over, I mean you should totally come over. As a rule I don't extend invitations out of courtesy. But you probably already knew that too.

Posted 10:51am
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July 16th, 2009

Stay low key, BG

Today my little Buddha turns 14. He's a precocious little scamp who now borrows my clothes, has no problems dropping a casual cuss word into a conversation, and has become obsessed with becoming a 'regular' at several businesses downtown. Every year I give him a new nickname* based on the number of years he has accumulated on this earth. At 12 it was domino, 13 was Tiger Beat. 14?

BG, in honor of our benevolent savior Brian Griese. He's off to take a test today in an attempt to skip freshman math. I couldn't be prouder of my little bus riding liberal. I've got a year until he get's his learner's permit and I actually start to panic about having a teenager, so let's all enjoy the next 365, shall we? Happy birthday Siddhartha. Four more years and the free ride's over.

- I heard this story on NPR this morning and thought it worth posting because a.) I know the reporter, Jen Guerra b.) Its about UM students and c.) Harry Potter ends up being intrinsically tied to Sid's birthday. He's taking some friends to see the new movie Saturday night actually. Consider this a warm up.

*None of these nicknames actually take, I still almost always call him Sid.

Posted 9:25am
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July 13th, 2009


Ayesha has returned for her annual pilgrimage to her home state, so I'll be taking days off here and there over the next couple weeks. This likely means less posting, but more pictures when I do. Judge for yourself whether that's good/bad/both, in any event it's what you get. We'll also be participating in the following:

- Creating a movie for 826 Michigan's first annual yet to be named Art Fair Film Festival. I'm sure you'll get to see it. Its going to be weird.

- Seeing Wilco and then Neko Case on back to back nights. And for the record, it was Ayesha's idea to see Neko, so if our eyes meet at the concert and we fall madly in love, it's Ayesha's fault for putting us in the same room.

- Beerfest. 'nuff said.

- PIB. This will be the first time I bring a girl to the island. No, this historically has not gone well for others. I put the odds of Ayesha surviving the weekend at pretty high (me being a drunk is not news) and the odds of her making it to the end of the night for a chicken dinner at drastically low.

Them's the highlights anyway. I'm sure we'll see a movie or two (saw Whatever Works last night. Liked it. If you like Woody and Larry, you pry will too) and participate in other drinking themed events (like trivia tonight!) So you know, my normal routine but with a partner in crime, so better.

Posted 10:51am
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July 10th, 2009

One of us! One of us!

Its an end of the week clean-out-the-bin sort of post. Expect no coherent theme, other than tbaggervance is slowly staving off the DT's until happy hour.

- I've been harping on this for a while now: bottled water is evil. You'll save in myriad ways by getting yourself a plastic or stainless steel reusable bottle. Want it filtered? Buy a Britta. But now there's a new tact I can take other than "Seriously? You know what plastic is made out of right?" Turns out that there's almost zero oversight as to what goes in those bottles. But have fun paying all that extra money.

- This is sad but true. I don't know why they chose Ann Arbor, but it made it hit home with me.

- This week in gay: some straight talkin' on DADT and if this doesn't get to you, you have no soul.

- Every proponent of religion of any sort has to face palm at this one: "The Earth has been here 6,000 years, long before anybody had environmental laws, and somehow it hasn't been done away with. We need to get the uranium here in Arizona, so this state can get the money from it," - Arizona state Senator Sylvia Allen (R). Having visited AZ several times now, I really feel like its gotten shortchanged on how much of a conservative, hillbilly backwater it truly is. It explains why there's so many OSU alums out there.

- Finally, Barack Obama is a man of the people:

It's my duty to please that booty.

Posted 11:33am
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July 9th, 2009

Ancient Chinese Secret

I know that my affinity for girls with skin tones other than white has been an oft discussed topic around here over the years, usually to the point where I imagine most of you saying to yourself (or perhaps outloud) "Methinks he doth protest too much." So you know what? Screw it. I like Asian girls. Certainly expressed as a percentage of time I've spent in relationships with Asian girls versus not, it borders on fetishism. I'll spare you counter-arguments where we dissect the racial and ethnic backgrounds of all of my sexual partners and overall number of dates with WASPs and nice Irish Catholic girls and just embrace it. I mention this because there's a whole book that explains why I am this way and how I am both at the mercy of history and in the majority. Its science.

- Unfortunately, this puts a pin in my hopes of ever being asked to co-host an ingratiatingly annoying and hypocritical morning show on Fox News. See, over there, they don't get down with the race mixin'. We shouldn't be humping other 'species'. Christ on a bike do I hate the far right.

- Here's a list of the most powerful columnists in America. I note it because Michelle Malkin is number four. FOUR! And despite her being Asian and attractive, I'd rather blow Andrew Sullivan than have sex with her.

Posted 11:23am
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July 8th, 2009

News from in and around my apartment

Sometimes I write posts like this and just immediately want to apologize for assuming anyone cares about the minutia of my life. But hey, you're already here. I promise to make it quick and as relatable and interesting as possible.

- Tired of being at the mercy of the worlds most off time bus (the UM intercampus commuter shuttle) today I tried the bike/bus tandem. The AATA bus only stops about three quarters of a mile from my building, so I threw my bike on the front of the bus and then rode into work the rest of the way. It cut about 20 minutes from my average commute time. While I wasn't a big fan of exerting myself before 9am (even the little bit I had to) I think this is the move going forward. Unless there's rain of course.

- The biggest problem with my new downtown location is grocery shopping. It requires a car and thus makes me cranky. Busch's isn't far, and its right on the way home when I drive to work, but its hard to believe that there's no market downtown at all (just the insanely expensive Beer Depot - fuck that place). Well hold your water - that could all change toot suite. I mean, this is A2 so it is an 'indoor farmer's market' but it could work for certain things or in a pinch when I am hungry. Plus, if you read carefully, you'll notice one important word in that article: microbrewery.

- Of course I'm indoctrinating Siddhartha into the wonders of public transportation. He regularly takes the bus back and forth between babymama's house and mine, saving us the headache of driving through one of A2's heaviest traffic areas. I doubt he will be dissuaded from getting his own transportation with all possible expediency however.

- Our neighbors apparently play shitty techno music during the day when I'm not home. I know this because Sid told me "Dad, the neighbors are playing shitty techno music. Let's crank up our stereo and blow them out of the water." Of course we will son, of course we will.

Posted 10:54am
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July 7th, 2009

All I can think of is a Dave Matthews reference, which like, not gonna happen

So I just canceled my satellite radio subscription. The reasons for this are myriad:

1. They upped the price. Not by much, but I was always weary of 'paying' for the radio to begin with, and increasing the 'paying' turned me off to say the least.

2. They started charging money for listening on the internet. Honestly, this was where I listened to Sirius the most. I would put on Howard Stern when I got to work and he would take up most of my morning. When they instituted a fee to do this, I balked, citing reason #1. Turns out I didn't miss it. There's tons of NPR podcats to listen to, and chances are they're doing me more good than Howard was.

3. I am now the Eco Warrior. At least that's how Markie C made fun of me over the weekend. I hate having to take the car anywhere, which means I don't do it that much anymore. Since that's the only place I could listen to it anymore, it began to make zero sense to have it.

I could also argue that Stern had become less interesting to me and since the merger with XM, by favorite indie rock station on Sirius became all techno-y and shitty. But really, it was a cash + availability to listen thing. I don't hate the satellite radio now. I would highly recommend it to those of you who drive a lot and have the disposable income. I'm not that guy. I will really miss the 'Left of Center' channel. Its where I first heard bands like Tokyo Police Club and Vampire Weekend, so I owe 'em big time for that. Who knows, I may be back some day. As some friends of mine pointed out recently "You should really get a girlfriend to live with you if for no other reason than to split the expenses. We can afford to get HBO now!"

- Speaking of the indie rock, Merge is 20. Happy Birthday, you glorious bastards.

- This is your representation at work, Ann Arbor. Hooray Beer Month!

- Here's a quiz for you sci-fi nerds and political nerds alike. Being both, I aced it.

Posted 1:25pm
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July 6th, 2009

I have a hangover worthy of our founding fathers

So here's some things that happened on the fourth:

- We paid one of our friends to pee off of a pedestrian bridge crossing the Huron River in broad daylight. It went from $2 to $7 to $13 to a whopping $33, at which point he grabbed the cash, walked over and waited for an all clear. He stepped on the bridge just as a family on bikes was crossing, people in canoes were going by underneath and the Amtrak was going by in the background. If only that would have happened mid-stream...

- We launched a pineapple off of the third story of a parking garage via a water balloon launcher. It cleared the pool, so 50yds? We plan on making this tradition.

- I discovered a fabulous new drinking technology, thanks to Dr. Walker. Take a freeze pop, bite of the top couple inches, and then replace that void with vodka. Its a tasty treat that would make Ben Franklin proud.

- I took half a dozen photos, mainly of us trying to get creative with cheap ass fireworks. You can find those here. Someone took a picture of me that I think really encapsulates the day and may be one of the best pictures I have ever been involved in. I'm working on securing the rights so I can show it to you, but it doesn't involve bodily secretions and potential partial nudity, so we'll see. Cross your fingers.

Posted 11:15am
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July 2nd, 2009

America! Fuck Yeah!

Happy Birthday America! Let's celebrate with a three day weekend, lots of meat and booze, and of course, explosions...

- I have this conversation at least half a dozen times every June:

a2newbie: When are Ann Arbor's fireworks?
tbaggervance: Ann Arbor doesn't have fireworks
a2newbie: Huh. Really?

Really, we don't have fireworks. Urban legend is that the moonpie religious zealot who works across the street from me used to purchase them and put on a show for the town, but at some point he deemed us either unworthy or ungrateful heathens. Either way, no official fireworks. Some crazy people who really enjoy blowing things up gather here and put on their own show, but its far from official. Here's a handy list of places to go if you really are jonesin' for explosions.

- Summer is supposedly a time for you to read more. This has never made much sense to me, as there's so much more to do in the summer. I guess the idea is that you're going to be outside where there are no TVs. That's a sad notion to me, but hey, if you're going to read more, kudos I guess. Here's NPR's summer reading list, as well as Newsweek's. tbaggervance has read recently/is reading the following and highly recommends them one and all:

Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal
Gregory McDonald - Fletch Won
Richard Russo - Straight Man
Dexter Filkins - The Forever War
Robert Bolanao - By Night in Chile
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming - Who Killed Rettro Girl?

- There's a new Wilco album, which would usually mean that it would serve as the soundtrack to summer 2009. Unfortunately I pretty much agree with this review and it just hasn't taken yet. But fret not! Although I'm not 100% sold on the album in its entirity, Sid and I agree that 'Lisztomania' is the song of the summer.

-This has nothing to do with the Fourth, but here's a list of the best movie robots. Not as cool as my robot timeline, as it includes BOTH robots from the The Black Hole.

- And its the weekend, I wanna be in the show/Come on baby let's go

Posted 10:02am
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July 1st, 2009

Wednesdays are for politickin'.

- This piece on Sarah Palin is getting a lot of publicity - and rightly so. Even though you likely have your mind made up about her already (either you think she's a complete toolbox or you are) its a fascinating read. Her family is The Wasilla Hillbillies. Maybe my favorite bit:

More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin's extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of "narcissistic personality disorder" in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy" - and thought it fit her perfectly. When Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig's condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God's, and signed it "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father."

That woman was almost a heartbeat away from the presidency. Its scary how close to seriously fucked we were. I really hope she runs in 2012, because we'll get to see more stuff like this. Hathos indeed.

- Obama and the gays aren't getting along. There's some buyers remorse amongst certain groups who feel that campaign promises aren't being kept, to which I say whoa, just hold your water. Four years people, not four months. No, everyone won't get everything they want - it doesn't work like that. But I think that this general sentiment - "I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration." will hold true for homos and non-homos alike. Well, at least amongst those of us who voted for him.

- Speaking of the gays, they're ruining everything. Which is ironic, since I'm not even sure there are gays in Oklahoma.

- Yesterday ljv and I had a conversation about Ricci v. DeStefano, Grutter v. Bollinger, the difference between the two and whether or not George Will is a douche bag. For the record, I cam down on the subject(s) thusly (a little out of context, but you'll get it)

I wouldn't go as far as a d-bag for that.

I don't think they are quite the same thing, and neither did the Supremes apparently. The line between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome is a blurry and winding one. I happen to think Ricci kind of got screwed and Grutter was a whiny baby with a sense of entitlement, but hey that's me. I understand his (George Will) wanting to be able to "simply insist that government cannot take cognizance of race." but we're going to have to go through these individually for a while longer, probably long past either you or I being around to judge talking head's responses as "d-bag or not d-bag."

- Finally, Happy Cananada Day! I love me some Canadians and was recently informed (by an American) that Cananada Day in Cananada rocks harder than the Fourth in the States. I don't know about all that, but I do hope all you crazy hosers enjoy whatever it is Cananada Day commemorates. Here's some Canadian remembrances (including one from A.C. Newman!) and here's one of my favorite Canadians performing a rousing cover version of "A Day in the Life" with a special guest. Had I been in attendance, my head may have exploded.

Posted 10:48am
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