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December 29th , 2009

Ritual de lo habitual

The holidays are about rituals. The food. The gift giving. The quality time with family. Most of us can predict with pinpoint accuracy what's going to happen - how, when and with whom. Right now my living room is witnessing day four of Siddhartha sitting in front of the television playing video games for about 12 hours at a time. It's been this way for about 10 years. He vacillates between being completely immersed in a world of explosions and voraciously explaining to me what is happening. I won't go as far as to say his explanations of what he's doing make me feel old, but it might as well be in a different language most of the time. He gets so excited, I don't even have to feign interest, just fib about what I actually find interesting.

As for me, I always get the week between Xmas and new years off. I generally use this time to live out my ultimate life goal of waking up late, reading and watching movies and then drinking the night away. So far, so good. Yesterday I gave blood so it was officially a Monday night bender. If I could perpetually keep myself a pint low on the hemoglobin, I'd save all kinds of money on booze.

I did manage some to find some traditions in the making this year. The Downtownerz et al spent Xmas eve drinking, exchanging gifts and watching bad Xmas movies starring Tori Spelling and William Shatner. It was all kinds of awesome. With any luck it makes its way into the holiday routine.

- Sid's big gift this year was a PS3. I had no problem ponying up the $300 as it gives us another media streamer and hello blu-ray. Talk about clarity. I'm not going to tell you to run out and convert your movie collection, but if you see a convenient avenue to get on the train, it's tits.

Posted 4:17pm
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December 22nd , 2009

Home for the Holidays

I feel like I've been in a fog. Off the grid. That happens when you go to Ohio where people still connect to the internet by dial up. I always get back from the hinterland amazed that the world continued on while I was blind, deaf and dumb. We have health care reform? Did any more of Tiger's whores give publicly embarrassing interviews? What's the dumbest thing a Republican said while I was gone? Paul Krugman and David Brooks wrote op-eds that came down on opposite sides on an issue and I agreed with both? What the fuck is going on?

All part of a standard trip down south, where things move a little slower and people don't care much for subject/verb agreement when they speak. But always good to see my family. My little brother grunts at me. My sister and big brother frustrate each other and she claims she's "only like this when I'm around you guys." Moeman tells the grandkids to settle down and goes to bed by 8. Good times. Routines like that are comforting if you can keep them from driving you batshit crazy. I suppose alcohol helps.

I imagine most families sit around and accuse each other of behavior of which they are all guilty. The Brubakers are nervous and anal. We are loud and stubborn. We take every opportunity to bust anybody's balls about any slight foible we perceive in them. I love every one of these peccadilloes. Being around them feels appropriately like home. Perhaps more importantly, it serves as great reminder of what I'm prone to, and helps to steer me away from some of the not so pleasant aspects of my nature. Even though we all know I'm by far the least anal of us.

- Fark's headlines of the year. Enjoy.

Posted 12:53pm
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December 18h , 2009

Oblivious

When I turned 30 my friends threw me a surprise birthday party. Despite all of my friends being there, I was unaware that it was happening until about 30 seconds before it actually occurred. At the time I thought "Man, my friends are really good at this. I had no clue!" Now I have adjusted this line of thinking to "Man, there must be a whole world out there that I am completely oblivious to."

Two weeks ago I wrote about My Taxi. My friends being who they are, really know how to to take a theme and beat the ever living shit out of it. Last night I emerged from my apartment to walk up to the gas station and as I passed by the back of my car I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It turned out to be this:

I got Downtownered. My initial assumption was that this has been here since my birthday and I am a total dupe. Thankfully it's only been a few weeks - since around the time of this photo:

I had just opened my trunk and loaded it with a werewolf astronaut. Oblivious.

Posted 12:25pm
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December 17h , 2009

Excelsior!

Things are still hectic around here and I'm having trouble forming coherent narratives in my head. Unfortunately this debuted today, forcing me to watch it 7 consecutive times with an erection the size of Texas. This is no way to productivity, but man, it's so fucking  C O O L.

- Speaking of boners, there's new Vampire Weekend up on their myspace page. The latest release is by far my favorite of everything that's leaked so far from Contra. Can't wait for the rest.

- Slightly less awesome, but still totally sweet: Hot Tub Time Machine.

- I'm not usually a big fan of Nick Kristof, but he did a nice job of highlighting Valentino Deng and the problems of Sudan today. If you haven't read What is the What, you should.

- Does anyone actually think that Nickelback is the best band of the decade? Is there anyone who doesn't think Let it Be was the best album of the 1980's? Probably, but they are stupidheads.

Posted 12:50pm
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December 16h , 2009

Fuck him up his stupid ass

A few years ago I was playing some silly subjective board game where you read a question on a card, everyone answered said question and then one person had to decided who wrote what. It was slightly less maddening than a rousing round of Apples to Apples. Anyway at one point the question came up "If you had to kill one person on the face of the Earth, who would it be?" I had to figure out whom said what out of these choices:

W, President Bush and George W Bush

Let's ignore the fact that the three people above were attempting to stick us with President Dick Cheney for at least 2 years. I can't remember if I guessed right or not, it's immaterial really. Cute girls are about the only thing that can get me to participate in such nonsense. I only mention it because right now, I wish I could put a bullet in Joe Lieberman's brainpan.

Here's the facts: Lieberman represents the great state of Connecticut, home to many of your favorite insurance providers, who also provide him with over a million dollars in campaign contributions. At the start of the health care debate, Joe opposed a public option, threatened to fillibuster any bill that contained one. So, three months ago, he proposed a medicare buy-in for those under 65. Great. Let's do that, said the Senate. Guess what Joe opposes now? And while we're at it, let's not forget dickhead's attempt at removing the filibuster back when that's what suited him.

Are the Senates arcane rules stupid? Yes. Should people be able to use those rules as they see necessary? Yes. God knows I'd do the same fucking thing. What I wouldn't do, is use them to grandstand. To wave my dick around and then wait for everyone to come kiss my fucking ring. This guy is bitter. He is irrelevant outside of the fact that he's the 60th vote. If there's one thing I can't abide it's hypocrites, and Joe Lieberman is one giant fucktard of a hypocrite if I've ever seen one. State of Connecticut, I swear if you elect this pompous, vindictive assface again, I got a good goddamn mind to get a huge public works program going, where we dig all they way around your stupid state and let you float off into the fucking sea like an elderly eskimo on an ice flow. Or one of you can start to feel appropriately guilty and put Senator Lieberman out of all of our misery.*

*This is hyperbole. I don't advocate actually killing him, although I do wish he were dead.

Posted 2:14pm
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December 15h , 2009

But the lows are so extreme, that the good seems fuckin cheap

OK, that's hyperbole, but who doesn't love a good Rilo Kiley quote? And who sends a message to 200 hundred computer users two weeks before we all leave for the holidays that they are rebuilding their machines, so back up your data and oh yeah, any important software you use may or may not be there when you get back? Well after the best possible start to my day, that's kinda what happened. And by kinda I mean exactly. The colossal ineptitude of the hospital's IT support group (of which I am not a member, thanks) astounds me.

I generally don't bitch or even talk about work because a.) everybody can bitch about work - if you believe in relativism than someone out there has it worse than you, so shut your trap, and b.) the rest is boring. But christ on a bike why does the stereotype of IT support guys having bad people skills have to translate to the way an entire organization goes about its business? No communication, and when there is it's so uninformative, trite and condescending that it does more harm than good? I've spent my day calming people down and placating them, while telling the powers that be how awful they are at their jobs and to get out of my way so I can do mine. It's working, but man, not how I wanted to spend my day. I need to go back to the beginning and remember that sometimes when you're on, you are really fucking on.

- There's good news a plenty if you live in the District. First, weed! Second, gays! Really. Fucking. On.

Posted 4:26pm
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December 14th , 2009

tbaggervance.com's top ten albums of 2009

Welcome once again to my little exercise in vanity (I suppose one could argue that's the entire blog, but shut up) as I opine on what was the best of the preceding 365. As always, a year from now I'll probably regret a lot of it, but hindsight and all that. Also welcome the only reason to use myspace anymore! But I digress - on to what you should have been listening to in 2009.

10. Eugene Mirman - God is 12-year-old Boy with Aspergers
http://www.myspace.com/eugenemirman

I first became truly aware of Eugene via this, the best commencement speech I've ever heard. Here he holds the weird energy for an entire 45 minutes. It's smart and different and most importantly, hilarious.

9. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
http://www.myspace.com/flaminglips

It should make the list for the album cover alone. Of course it's the Lips so the disc is a giant ball of wonderful weirdness - this time out pulsating with a fuzzy energy and fury that is relentless. But not in a techno/rave/dance sort of way. This is rock and roll.

8. The Swell Season - Strict Joy
http://www.myspace.com/theswellseason

It's a thin tight rope to walk when you're both sad and hopeful. Glen Hansard does it with great aplomb. Like a more wistful, higher registered Van Morrison, I'm never sure if Glen is making me cry tears of sadness or joy at just how fucking beautiful everything is. Either way, "I'm feeling the Pull, Dragging me off again, I'm feeling so small against the sky tonight." is a lot prettier than saying you've got cabin fever.

7. Throw Me the Statue - Creaturesque
http://www.myspace.com/throwmethestatue

This is largely an album of two brilliant pop songs and a bunch of filler. Not that there aren't moments of bliss otherwise contained here in, nor that the filler isn't worthwhile, it's just that those two songs are so good that they will stick in your head like that image of your parents having sex from when you were 9. And nothing will ever be the same after that.

6. The Thermals - Now We Can See
http://www.myspace.com/thethermals

My reaction to the news that the Thermals follow up to 2006's The Body, The Blood, The Machine (an album about the perils of religion) would be an album about evolution, was "Of course it is." Naturally it's also every bit of a pop punk masterpiece that its predecessor was. Thank God.

5. Death Cab - The Open Door EP/Spoon - Got Nuffin EP
http://www.myspace.com/deathcabforcutie
http://www.myspace.com/spoon

Death Cab surprised fans with an EP of Narrow Stairs cast-offs that were every bit as good as the stuff on the album they were orphaned from. Spoon threw an EP out that was more of a teaser for next month's Transference. It's a safe bet that these two artists will always make every one of my top ten lists as long as they have eligible material.

4. Hockey - Mind Chaos
http://www.myspace.com/hockey

Sure, it's basically british dance rock via Portland, OR. But if you came up to me and said 'there's this great dance rock band that's 100x better than Franz Ferdinand is anymore,' I'd say sign me up. You should sign up for Hockey.

3. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
http://www.myspace.com/nekocase
Did I say the Lips make the list for the album cover alone? Uh, hello Neko:

Oh yeah, she also sings like an angel. If American's liked actual country music instead of bullshit pop songs dressed up as country, Neko would be like a Super Shania Twain - better looking, better voice and 100x more ass kickin'. I love you Neko. Call me.

2. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
http://www.myspace.com/wearephoenix

I feel similarly about Phoenix as I do about Throw me the Statue - 2 pieces of pure pop brilliance surrounded by a bunch of filler. It just so happens that Phoenix's entries are better on both sides of the equation. Summer 2009 will be remembered by their song "Lisztomania" and "1901" is sure to grace my playlists for years to come.

1. Brendan Benson - My Old Familiar Friend
http://www.myspace.com/brendanbenson

My Old Familiar Friend is pitch perfect pop album along the lines of Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend or Wilco's Summerteeth. It's a bunch of songs about girls and being in love (and not in love) surrounded by the hookiest guitar lines ever laid to wax. Thirty years ago this album would've played non-stop on FM radio. Unfortunately these days it's relegated to huge music nerds and people who follow the Jack White family tree. Fortunately I fall in both those camps and now you too are aware. Spread the good word.

That's it. That's the list. For historical perspective about how wrong I am every year: 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005.

Posted 10:27am
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December 11th , 2009

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

- I'm not quite sure how New Years Eve is going to shake out yet. That happens when you have a kid and so does your bdgf and you're both good looking and popular and get invited to several things. But the odds on favorite is probably Mittenfest, whose only downside is that it takes place in Ypsilanti. Wouldn't it feel good to support 826 with your NYE dollars? AND to ring in the New Year with Chris Bathgate? He's super dreamy.

- Sunday I'm headed to the Michigan Theater to see It's a Wonderful Life for FREE! I'm a huge sap that cries at almost every movie one is supposed to cry at, and there is no bigger trigger in the world than the last 10 minutes of this movie. Merry Christmas movie house!

- As we mentioned the other day, up next on the gay marriage undercard is a bout in New Jersey. Thankfully the Boss has spoken, which basically means it's already law in the state. I always thought the line "Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims, and strap your hands across my engines" sounded like a gay pick up line, so there you go.

- Attention uteruses (uteri?) of the world: watch this at your own risk. Jen always warns people that just hanging around me can get you pregnant, and I imagine so could watching this video. It makes me feel like I should have been forcing something like this on Sid when he was that age. That's basically what he looked like. Of course it wouldn't have been a Jason Mraz song, but what evs.

- Finally, I don't generally talk to specific people via the blog or use it to send messages, but I make an exception in this case because, well you will enjoy it too.

Stov,
One of us has to get this tattoo. Let's make it part of some elaborate bet where the loser ends up with Bea Arthur in ink on their body. Because if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me.
Thank you for being a friend,
-T

Posted 10:57am
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December 10th , 2009

Snow day (wish I was)

Back in the times of Ayesha and the Jesuses (before they made their exodus from the state) I came up with the theory of the inevitable snow day. It was an idea that had its genesis in the Circle of Shame© incident of 1994, and to this day serves as impetus for others to throw caution to the wind and hang out and drink with me. It goes like this: forecast is for snow. I'm not talking an inch with some blowing, I'm talking SNOW. But as surely as we've all been burned before by pills claiming to make our junk bigger, the weather man isn't always 100%. So what dear friends, can we do to ensure that the Superintendent will see it our way and tell everyone to stay home for the day? Why the same thing we do to relieve all of our other problems - drink our faces off.

I first posited this argument to MJ and Ayesha (both teaching at the time) that if we went out and got spectacularly drunk, there'd be no way they could make it into work the next day - but it wouldn't matter because we'd given the universe no choice but to cancel school anyway. Then I too would call in 'sick' the next day and we could all sleep until noon and then go to the pizza buffet. (and then once, pub crawl through Washtenaw County. What a day that was!) Hooray! Snow Day! It's been a while since I tried this trick, but to the best of my knowledge we were 3 for 3 with it. And who knows, the BDGF is of the teacher persuasion, so I may just get a chance to try for a fourth. There's nothing more satisfying than coaxing people into getting drunk with you.

- All I'm saying is that when I was in the dorms, it was tens of thousands.

- Get ready Michigan smokers, our long, long run of being civilized is about to come to an end.

Posted 4:00pm
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December 9th , 2009

We are a nation of stupid, stupid people

- I saw this in the Economist yesterday:

Percentage of Americans who believe in angels: 55
Percentage of Americans who believe in evolution: 39
Percentage of Americans who believe in anthropogenic global warming: 36
Percentage of Americans who believe in ghosts: 34
Percentage of Americans who believe in UFOs: 34

Now we should note that these numbers are not from one comprehensive study but an amalgamation of several. Still, what the fuck? First of all, we need to stop using 'believe' when it comes to evolution. We don't 'believe' in gravity (exceptions for Chuck Jones Warner Bros. cartoons). As we say here at tbaggervance.com, it's science. And less people believe in global warming? Well I guess we all need to start praying real hard that Jesus will decide to start cooling the planet with his daddy's magic air conditioner, because otherwise we are fucked.

- Given the above numbers, this should surprise no one.

- I generally like fair fights. It's much more fun to watch two evenly matched wail on each other tit for tat rather than say the lion devouring the gazelle. But when an overmatched opponent is someone you hate with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns and the beat down they're receiving can be seen as a well deserved comeuppance, well then that's just good times. That's why this is perhaps one of the most enjoyable blood baths I've ever seen. Rachel Maddow utterly eviscerates this fuckwad who thinks he can turn people from gay to straight. And - wait for it - he 'used' to be gay! And of course he's had a few 'relapses' since he was cured. It's a real life Mr. Show sketch.

- Joe Lieberman is an insecure asswipe who needs people's attention like I need booze. That's why he can publicly say things like 'Yes, the public option would lower costs but I'm not voting for it.' all while taking millions from insurance companies. What a douche nozzle. How did he get elected? How did Gore pick him as a running mate? Truly we are a stupid, stupid people. Luckily, it looks like there's been a compromise, and it's a good one. So suck it Lieberman. Time to go back to your hovel and dream up new ways to get your name in the paper that simultaneously make everyone who has ever voted for you or even heard your name regret your mere existence.

- Just to cheer you up, here's a trailer for CANADIAN sketch troupe The Kids in the Hall's new miniseries. Welcome back gentlemen, you've been missed.

Posted 10:39am
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December 8th , 2009

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week?

- A lot of Atheists come off as dicks. We're smug and arrogant and convinced we're right, so you know, bound to happen. That's why I'm thankful for guys like Richard Dawkins. He's at least 37% less smug than your average Atheist. Plus, he's so well reasoned and credentialed, even the devout would have trouble arguing with his logic. Just kidding, they'd totally argue, they just wouldn't have an actual leg to stand on.

- Xenophon vs. Xenu? FIGHT!

- Rick Warren is a colossal fuckstick douche bag. But hey, it's "not his job" to take sides - unless of course you're talking about abortion. So much hate. I've read a lot of scary stuff about The Family as of late and their role in Uganda and other places. It shivers me timbers.

Update December 10th:
Warren must have reread his contract as he picks a side and disowns the Uganda bill. So sorry about the colossal fuckstick douche bag thing. I have a feeling I'll find ocassion to use it again, so you got a free one coming pastor.

- Kirk Cameron: Evolutionary Biologist.

- Here's an interesting argument against Creationists and New Agers being eligible for public office (and it's by Roger Ebert!) I'd throw Mormons into that pile myself, wiping out your three front-runners for the GOP's 2012 nomination. Look, Obama's not perfect. He does a whole shit ton of stuff that infuriates me. But right wing fucktards refer to him as Spock as criticism. Cool, calculating, considering every angle? That's exactly what I want in my leaders. W rode around brandishing his flaming sword as given to him by divine right and look where that got us.

- Nobody plays a better victim than Sarah Palin, which compounds my seething rage when I see her toting around her Downs Syndrome baby. You can be a narcissistic attention whore or a good mother. Pretty sure you can't effectively be both.

- New York (ironically, the second gayest state in the union behind California) passed on gay marriage. Boo. The fight now moves to Jersey. Come on kids, we could really use a win.

Posted 11:14am
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December 7th , 2009

Happy Birthday to us!

Back in 2004 I started this weblog as a way for me to quiet the voices in my head. The constant, droning voices. Who would've thunk that we'd be here five years later? That this blog would become a repository for my drunken antics? That people would read it? That it would consistently piss people off and get me in scads of trouble? Yes, some people may have seen that coming.

Perhaps it was all inevitable. I like to say that I don't do things half ass (because what's the point) and if that's true, then of course I'm going to mention sex and drugs and Jesus and whatever else that makes family and girlfriends and friends of friends stop speaking to me for large swaths of time. Now that I think about it, of course that's what was going to happen. It's really not my fault for writing that stuff, it's your fault for reading it. You don't watch Glenn Beck and then get surprised when he says something stupid.

For those of you who do keep coming back: a sincere and heartfelt thank you from all of us here at tbaggervance.com. I'm still shocked that anybody reads this drivel, much less the eclectic group of readers that admit to it. Ex-girlfriends, girlfriends exes, my former teachers, my family and people whom I've never even met. All of you are reading this. Hello. The interns and I hope you mostly leave here smiling. But hey, if from time to time you're offended, let's not feign shock. You knew it was going to happen.

Posted 10:42am
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December 4th , 2009

Your indie rock weekend

Last night I went to see A Pony for Christmas. You remember them - they're the band that I used to be the lead singer of for five minutes who fired me for writing a lyric that compared Jesus to Ron Popeil. Good times. But hey - I'm still good friends with the bass player and I've been in enough shitty bands over the years to know that it's always appreciated when someone shows up at your gig. But then my so called good friend went and pulled a total dick move. My time in the band was short lived but I wrote one really great set of lyrics to one pretty good good song. And guess what? The band is still using the lyrics. Nevermind that they never once asked me if they could. Nevermind that they're using my creative output without credit nor compensation. Not so much as a fucking heads up. Someone call Alanis, because they fired me for not liking my lyrics but continue to use the ones they thought were OK. Isn't it ironic? Douche bags.

- This new Spoon song makes me wonder what I'm going to do with the giant erection I get every time I listen to it.

- New Ted Leo too.

- I'm the only person I know that likes The Get Up Kids - but don't expect me to apologize for it. I missed them on their reunion tour in October, which made me very sad. Fortunately, it looks like I'll get a reprieve.

- More fun with record covers.

- What will they think of The Beatles in 1,000 years? And yes, Scottie Pippen is as ugly as you remember.

Posted 9:48am
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December 3rd , 2009

Oh my drunken mouth

It's well documented around these parts that I have a penchant for getting drunk and saying things that I later regret. Especially when it comes to making grandiose future plans in which I have to perform some ridiculous act or feat. Guess who opened their drunk mouth again and painted himself into a corner?

Monday night we were at Joey's comedy club for Dr. Doctor's birthday. We've kind of fallen in love with the bad, awkward comedy that exists there on amateur and open mic nights. Anyway, we spent our dinner before the show arguing about which one of us was going sack up and participate in the open mic comedy by getting up on stage and making a fool of themselves. I was the odds on favorite, but I had nothing prepared and concentrated on putting the onus on C Jason, whom we established an act for in which he would get on stage and pee his pants. In the end, it wasn't even open mic night and thus a moot point.

Until later in the evening. After seeing some colossally bad comedy and imbibing about 10 vodka and sodas, I agreed that at a future time, we would return to Joey's and I would bite the bullet and get on stage. Don't ask when this will be, as I'm not in the business of advertising train wrecks. Rest assured that I will need to get drunk to do it, I will tell a lot of dick jokes, and no one will laugh. Between now and then I will be feverishly writing jokes in my head for most of the day, so please do something funny in front of me toot suite.

- However this, this is funny.

Posted 11:07am
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December 2nd , 2009

My Taxi

Last Fourth of July I was hanging out with my fairly new friends Amy, Jason and Dr. Walker. We hadn't known each long and didn't know each other all that well, but if you can't bond with people over booze and explosives, well then what hope is there?

Anyway, Dr. Walker and I and a few others were enjoying some Oberon (mmm Oberon. I miss you already!) waiting for Amy and Jason to arrive. That's when I got this txt message from Jason:

Mytaxi?

I had no idea what he was talking about. I now wish I never figured it out.

About six years ago I was forced to go shopping for a new car. While I still owed about $2,000 on the car I was driving at the time, it needed $800 worth of repairs and if I had that work done, it would have brought the cars value to about $500. So I did what I always do when it's time for me to purchase a vehicle: I walk on to as many used car lots as I can and ask them "What do you have on the lot for $10,000 that has a manual transmission?" That's when they shake their head, show me the one car that fits my criteria, and we both walk away bitter.

Unfortunately, due to the dangerous condition of my car at the time, I didn't have the luxury of fucking around for a month or two, perusing every lot in SE Michigan. I was literally driving around hoping that my wheels wouldn't spontaneously fall off, or that I'd get out of the car, slam the door and the entire thing would collapse like I was Elwood Blues.

This led me a shady dealer on Michigan Ave just past Ypsi. I was told they had cheap foreign cars. I showed up and threw out my usual salvo, and they had a veritable plethora to choose from: a 2002 black Honda Accord and a 2002 bright yellow Mazda Protégé 5. I tested out the Accord and it felt like I was driving my dad's 1982 Coronado. I was a boat captain. Eight year old Siddhartha hated it too. So it was on to the Mazda.

The Protégé was peppy. It cornered like a dream. It had a moon roof. Sid loved it. I could learn to live with a bright yellow car right? You just have to own it. Besides, I would never have to worry about finding my car in a parking lot ever again.

Back to Fourth of July. Jason and Amy finally show up to the soirée and I inquire as to what the message Mytaxi? meant. Turns out there was another yellow hatchback in the parking lot that day with a vanity plate reading 'Mytaxi'. And while they claimed that they didn't think I would put anything so ridiculous on the back of my vehicle, they admitted that they didn't know me that well, so they were just asking.

Of course I was incredulous. How dare they? Yes hap and circumstance led me to drive a ridiculous yellow mode of transport, but "Mytaxi"? Naturally my display of disdain ensured that as long as I drive that car, the Downtowners et al will call it "MyTaxi". People will write "Mytaxi" on the windows in the backseat when they fog up in the winter. Six year olds will get in on the fun. All I can do is cry and die a little on the inside everytime someone says it.

- Regardless of color, I wish I didn't have to own a car. If it were only a little warmer and a tad easier (the AATA doesn't go all the way out to my building at work) I'd bus it every day and use ZipCars to do things like grocery shop. Alas I'm not there yet. Fortunately for me, A2 is one the 15 best places to live if you hate to commute.

Posted 11:07am
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December 1st , 2009

Subterranean 826 Blues

About a month ago I got a message from 826's interim director asking for my participation in an idea. She wanted to do a parody of Dylan's 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' centered around 826 Michigan. If I could write a song, then they would film some of our students doing their best imitation of Zimmy flipping over cards. They wanted to play it at the 826 National meeting, in front of people like Dave Eggers and Sarah Vowell. Oh, and could I do that in about 5 days? Thanks.

As all of you surely know, I have a hard time saying no to one more drink, smart pretty girls and 826. So I spent a day or so with my guitar trying to come up with something that would be an original song in the style of 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'. I had a few flashes of inspiration and thought I was well on my way. But of course it was Halloween weekend and I had other plans that didn't involve holing up in my apartment and writing music for a couple days. So I procrastinated under the guise of "I work better under pressure of deadline anyway."

Sunday came and I had nothing. I now had 24 hours to congeal whatever had been rolling around in my head for the previous few days. First thing I did was abandon the original song idea and decide to go straight parody. Boom, half my job done. Of course I had concert tickets in Pontiac that night, so after writing about half my lyrics, I had to go get spectacularly drunk.

Monday morning I felt like death, but I still had two verses and some polishing to do. So between answering emails and praying for someone to put a bullet in my brainstem, I had my notebook open to write down a line or two as they came to me. By five o'clock I had a full set of lyrics and a karaoke backing track downloaded from Amazon.com. I went home, recorded the sucker in two takes and sent it out. It eventually came back to me like this:

 

Not bad eh? I think we can all agree that the moral of the story is if you put stuff off and drink your life away, you can still pull your shit together at the last minute and be moderately successful. I mean, I never heard from Sarah Vowell personally, but I assume she absolutely loved it and thought it was adorable.

Posted 3:17pm
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November 30th, 2009

Pass the turkey - and my daughter's virginity.

Most* of my previous girlfriend's parents were predisposed to not like me because I was white, had knocked up their daughter, or both. This manifested itself as either semi-open disdain during holiday get togethers, or a denial of my existence in whatever naive way plausible. I don't want to overstate how much this sucked, I clearly don't have an overwhelming need to be liked (attention, yes; liked, no). However, it does add an extra level of suck to holidays. It turns your drinking into the not fun kind.

And the thing is, despite the fact that I can be somewhat of a curmudgeon and my default position is to openly express my views and poke beehives when necessary, I am also capable of being somewhat charming. Yes, first I need motivation and of course I can be fairly easily derailed, but controlling for all other variables I'm generally able to impress children and old people for finite spans of time. Parents generally want someone to listen to them and for you to prove you're not too cockamamie, kids just want you to be goofy (and if you can make the kids laugh and hold their interest for 5 minutes, so much better in the eyes of the parents).

I spent the weekend with parents of the gf variety and otherwise, and it is amazing how much easier things are when when people don't automatically despise you from the flop. I don't want to get into hyperbole (for once) and clearly people are capable of being polite whilst seething on the inside, but I got thrown into several situations this weekend that had the potential for being superawkward, and from my perspective, I came out unscathed. Everyone smiled and poked fun and had a good time. Perhaps more importantly, no one said awful things about me in a foreign language while I was in the room.

I guess time will tell if I performed as well as I thought I did. One enters these situations from a position of survival: keep your head down, do one or two things that might impress, stay out of the way the rest of the time. I feel like I mostly managed to do that. Hey, if I screwed up, I sent thank you notes this morning. In the mail. Parents love that.

*all

- This is all over the internet, so you've no doubt seen it, but hey - Star Wars Facebook Status updates.

Posted 10:42am
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November 25th, 2009

You can't possibly be getting anything done at work today.

So I don't know about you but I've mentally checked out for the holiday already. I'm forced to twiddle my thumbs for the next four hours or so. If you are in a similar situation (or if you're one of THOSE people who are sitting at home by now, family getting on your nerves already and you're looking for something to distract you) here's some lovely videos, courtesy of the internet:

- Muppets. Queen. Enjoy.

- Aren't hugs sinful? I mean, when you hug someone, your genitals are aligned! What would Baby Jesus think? But what can we do to non-sexually greet people we casually enjoy? Yo, side hugs y'all. (BTW, I assumed this was totally fake because what the holy fucking hell? But it appears to be legit. I may have to leave the country soon if this escalates.)

- Are you prepared for schmaltzy onslaught that is the Christmas season? Yeah, me neither. Thankfully people like Patton Oswalt exist to help us give voice to our rage.

- Hey, Dana Perino said that there wasn't a terrorist attack on this country during the previous administration. I would call this a slip up and ignore it, except for that a.) She's a former Press Sec. and b.) it's kind of a retarded Republican talking point that 'they kept us safe', which let's just say does a tad more than obfuscate history.

- Lego Matrix. Bad ass.

- Last night I was talking with the bdgf about video games and I noted that while I don't really ever play anymore, I will probably always obsessively play any new Zelda or Final Fantasy game - to the point that I take days off the work and miss going to the bar to stay home and play. Guess what? New Final Fantasy! Looks like it comes out just after March Madness, so perfect timing.

- Speaking of the bdgf, this one's for her: Canada's favorite son goes home to Bel Air.

Posted 10:55am
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November 24th, 2009

It wouldn't be such a big deal if we traveled in tubes already.

Two years ago I decided that I had enough of the pressure and traffic that accompanies Thanksgiving vacation and decided to stay home. I'll see my family in a month, it seems superfluous to me to move heaven and earth to spend a few days with them in November. That was also my year to have Sid on Turkey day, so I had family around. I made food, we played games and watched DVDs. It was a stress free, relaxing and enjoyable experience - exactly what the holidays are supposed to be but never are.

Last year I got roped back in to going to Chicago. Don't get me wrong, I love my brother and had a good time, but I longed for my utopian Thanksgiving at home. So the minute the topic of Thanksgiving came up for this year, I made the executive decision to replicate 2007's wonderland of pajamas, football and laying on my own couch. Turns out I have no executive power.

First I lost my family component when Sid got co-opted by the babymama. Which, OK, she deserves the consideration for being so football flexible all fall, and I don't have to have a partner in crime to enjoy bad Detroit football and my stupendously comfortable couch. But then I forgot about all of my other preexisting partners in crime.

So while the particulars and logistics have yet to be finalized, I won't be spending my holiday in a bunker like a hermit, half drunk and shirtless working my way through seasons two and three of The Venture Brothers. Instead I will be surrounded by friends and loved ones, telling jokes, playing games and eating delicious food. Woe is me, I know. Yet I implore all of you - just one time - stay at home. Don't fight traffic. Don't spend all day cooking. Don't shower and get dressed. Just relax and enjoy the fact that the government has decided to give us one mandatory four day weekend a year. Then wake up at 5 am to run out and elbow a septuagenarian in the chest to get the last half off blu-ray DVD player. Because we all know that's what Thanksgiving is really about.

- Looking for alternatives to my alternative Thanksgiving? Here's takes from the University of Andy and the hedonistic nerve.com. I can safely endorse both of these as they are wholly solipsistic in their approaches.

Posted 12:49pm
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November 23rd, 2009

The nightmare ceases

Somewhere between the Moeman getting tipsy at happy hour Friday night and DPS coming by our tailgate at 11pm Saturday to tell us to put out our bonfire, there was a football game. I don't have many thoughts on what went down specifically. We were doomed from the start by youth and inferior talent. Afterwards I ran into one of my friend's dads and shook his hand noting, "Well, that's about as well as we could have played." His response of course was "That's the problem."

The pragmatist in me feels a little bit like a battered wife. All I can do is put on a smile and make the best of the rest of my day - to not have expected the beatings to continue would have been naive. After all, what choice did I really have? But whatever still exists in me that can be considered optimistic sees it quite differently. I'm a Wolverine. That's the K and there's nothing to be done about it. So I fight and defend to the best of my ability and try not to let losing battle after battle ruin everything else.

Saturday's 3 hour football game was ensconced in over 12 hours of tailgating. I cracked the first beer before 9am and when I left after 11pm, it was largely because I could barely stand. The important thing was that the atmosphere was more celebrating than mourning. I can't say if it's because we're too tired to care anymore or because there is a certain sense of accomplishment in surviving this year. I do know I wasn't going to let five turnovers from a freshman QB ruin my enjoyment of the holiday. I think that's quite an accomplishment coming from a guy who used to sit for hours in silence after a loss. Now if Tate can mature in the next 9 months to the equivalent of my progression over the last 15 years, we may finally be able to stop telling our loved ones "Oh, this? I just fell down, it's nothing."

- Here's a decent riff on the old meme of "tOSU fans are drunken hillbillies and Michigan fans are elitist snobs." I love a good stereotype that no one disagrees with.

Posted 1:01pm
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November 19th, 2009

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

- I don't expect everyone to go out and read Thomas Friedman's brilliant book Hot, Flat and Crowded (although you'd be smarter and generally better off if you did). However, you can take 3 to 5 minutes to read his op-ed piece in the Times from Tuesday. It's like cliff's notes that provide a quick jolt of liberal guilt - something I have no problem with in this case.

- New Between Two Ferns with Zack Galifinakis. Always something to be thankful for.

- I've made an executive decision to stay in Ann Arbor for Thanksgiving this year (more on this later). While I'm very excited about that decision in and of itself, it has the added bonus of allowing me to go the bar on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for the first time in about 7 years. Back in the day, Thanksgiving Eve was one of the biggest nights of the year and something to look forward to, because debauchery would surely ensue after a pint of Mad Dog and a 12 pack of Busch Light. 2009: I'm ecstatic that Bar Louie has $3 pints of Bell's ALL NIGHT. My life is imminently better now, and I may sleep in the gutter.

- Yesterday friend and fellow nerdy Beatlephile* C. Jason sent me a link to this, which caused me to spend nearly 2 hours combing through the Beatles catalog. The good news is that I got answers that are at least plausible for 13 of the 15 songs. The bad news is that those last two (along with the other 5 or so I'm not 100% on) with plague my brain until I figure them out. Blerg.

- Needless to say I'm off tomorrow in anticipation of Saturday's holiday festivities. I don't hold out much hope for victory Saturday. I'm resigned to watch offensive turnovers and defensive big plays that defy explanation and ultimately hang my head and wait for next year, wallowing in memories of John Cooper's 2-10-1. But at the end of the day OSU and it's fans are largely drunken, ignorant, inbred, truck driving hillbillies and I am a Wolverine. In the bleakest of times I can always hang my hat on that and the immortal words of the Moeman: what goes around, comes around.

*Apropos of nothing (other than a demonstration of how nerdy we sometimes get) we once contemplated creating a Wikipedia page about Beatles songs that reference other Beatles songs, e.g. "Glass Onion", "Savoy Truffle", "All You Need is Love", etc. Oh, and he once dared to txt me a trivia question about side 2 of Abbey Road during a football tailgate that pretty much ruined my enjoyment of the day trying to come up with the answer. Good times.

Posted 12:00pm
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November 18th, 2009

This week in indie rock

- Early 2010 is going to be all about Vampire Weekend. Here's a feature on the fresh faced lads from Vanity Fair. You can also listen to their new song "Cousins" and see their newest batch of tour dates (that completely bypass the midwest.)

- The list of the decades best albums and recordings keep flooding in, some good, some obvious attempts at sensationalism. NPR lists the 50 most influential albums of the decade - in alphabetical order! - that's good. NME lists their 100 best albums, and while we here at tbaggervance applaud a bold choice of Is This It? at number one and Whatever People Say That I am, That's What I am Not at four, you blow your credibility by putting Yankee Hotel Foxtrot at 43 (43!) right behind Vampire Weekend. Idiots.

- Before Craig Finn and Tab Kubler formed the world's greatest bar band in the Hold Steady, they plied their wares to more alterative-rocky band called Lifter Puller. LP is getting a full reissue treatment, and for those of you who enjoy Craig's brand of singing, it's well worth your time and money. Read the man's thoughts about it here.

- Parodies walk that fine line between clever and stupid - especially dated ones. So despite it's comic pedigree, I was wary of this "Do They Know it's Christmas?" video. I should have known by the people involved, it's pretty fucking fabulous.

- Your obligatory OSU/Michigan tidbit of the day: Here's some science that explains how winning after your hopes are dashed leads to greater euphoria when it comes to fruition. Which like, duh - after the 1997 win my favorite is probably 1995, when OSU was undefeated and we were supposed to get crushed, only to see Timmy Biakabatuka rumble for 313. If something like that happened Saturday, I'd surely die from a brain embolism, but with a smile on my face and an erection in my pants.

Update 1:33pm
Neko was on Fallon last night. Watch and swoon.

Posted 1:51pm
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November 17th, 2009

The age of diminished expectations

I've always listed the Michigan/Ohio State game as my favorite holiday of the year. All my favorite people get together to drink and celebrate. There's food and games and all types of fun imaginable. Over the years there's been more drunken makeouts, fall downs, pass outs, throw ups than you could possibly imagine. There's been footraces in street. People fell through roofs. Children were conceived in bathrooms. And that doesn't even include what's gone down at Heinygate.

The build up to the game is a several week long verbal barrage of opposing factions disparaging each other in any way imaginable. At least it used to be. This Saturday will represent year three in which the loyal Maize and Blue enter the game with the most diminished expectations. It's neigh on impossible to jaw against the hillbillies to the south when you know it will likely take a bus crash and a miracle to win the game Saturday. Honestly, if that perfect storm were to happen, I guarantee it would be Thanksgiving before I dared believe it. I'm as jaded as a hooker offering $10 blow jobs.

So there's a little luster missing from this year's proceedings. It's like having to drive four hours to spend Thanksgiving with your in-laws who don't drink. Don't get me wrong - I will be spectacularly drunk for the entirety of the weekend and there's plenty of things to still make fun of when it comes to tOSU fans, it's just not the same when your hopes for victory start at about 10% and rapidly diminish after kick off. Technically it's still a holiday, but I won't have trouble falling asleep the night before hoping Santa really brings me what I asked for.

- Something the state of Michigan still rules at: making beer. Here's a list of America's 25 Best Breweries - 3 of which are in Michigan - including one that has a satellite operation two blocks from my house. My only qualm is the placement of Bells, which clearly should be number one.

- And this looks suspiciously fake, but I totally expect Barlow to pull the equivalent of this over the weekend.

Posted 11:48am
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November 16th, 2009

When they say T and Sid, they mean da assholes...

Update 12:37pm
AnnArbor.com has a story up about the event, in which Sid and I are compared to the Cobra Kai. You'll find it's pretty much how I described things, but with pictures and Peter Cetera.

Last year it was Skrabbel for Cheaters. Sid and I practiced our asses off and raised a shit ton of money. We eventually lost to what everybody agreed were the assholes of the tournament who took all of the fun out of the proceedings with their over-seriousness. This year, the shoe was on the other foot.

Sid and I needed no practice for Euchre for cheaters, as we both have Malcom Gladwell's requisite 10,000 hours necessary to become de facto experts. We knew our game, and figured with our $376, we had enough to take home the gold*. Little did we know we'd have to piss off a room of strangers to get to where we did.

Here's the thing - Sid and I play fast. We know the rules and at worst, you have a 20% chance of playing the right card. In a tournament scenario, we expected at the least to have everyone on the same page of following suit. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Our first game we played a team who had barely a cursory knowledge of how the game is played. While we were habitually four suited and playing against superior cards, we managed to eek out a win by calling out reneges and euchering bad calls. It took longer than it should have, and we had our first instance of people calling us 'intense' but we advanced to round two.

This is where it got ugly. By stupid rule of bequeathing money only to those who defeated you, we were outgunned financially in round two. Every hand had someone throwing money down for cheats. When we called this team out for reneging, they were immediately indignant. We thought we were as nice as we could be about them not knowing the rules - but apparently some people are sensitive about being called out on their stupidity. We eventually took them down, but they wouldn't have looked us in the eye if you paid them after we won.

Round three we hit our stride. We started the round free and easy. After the contentious round two, we were happy to find people 'on the same page' as us and started to roll. Of course, after we had to call them out on reneging, we were the assholes again. It probably didn't help that we won 10-0.

The finals were a horse of a different color. We were up against our friend (and 826 program director) Amy's parents. They are super nice, super friendly, and Amy took us aside and explained the following - "Everybody here thinks you guys are assholes, which I know you don't care and is fine, but this is my parents. Act appropriately." We were fine with that. Besides, several teams had given Amy money and said "Give this to whomever plays Tyler and Sid in the finals," so we were looking at a 3-1 financial deficit.

Long story short, we lost a close game to the Sumertons. Ironically, it was truly the most fun we had all day. The Sumertons were used to playing the game as it was intended, and animosity took a back seat. We finished in second, but assured that we were the most skilled team in the room. And most importantly, 826 made several thousand dollars to fill their coffers. So yeah, we're the assholes - for wanting to play the game the way it was intended and ensuring that our opponents played by same the rules. We walked away happy and frankly, we've got plenty of friends and didn't show up looking to make more. That may make us assholes, but such is the price of being good.

* A note on this. Seriously people? We are generally humbled by everyone who made an effort to donate. You guys rock and your thank yous are in the mail. We know - we hate fundraising too, but this is something we really believe in and every single dollar you donate went straight to helping kids get help. So awesome. But those of you who couldn't be bothered? Fuck you. I'm specifically thinking of those of you who who have asked us for favors in the past year - to which we've never said no - and couldn't pony up five bucks. We made a list. Just FYI, we're busy the next time you need your computer looked at or plan to move or your kid is selling wrapping paper for their school. Seriously, regardless of our outcome in the tournament, fuck you. That is all.

Posted 10:55am
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November 13th, 2009

All things 826...

I hate to do this two days in a row, but I feel like I should give you one last warning before I (and by proxy Siddhartha) have to shun you. You have 48 hours left to donate to Euchre for Cheaters. Let me make one last impassioned plea: 826 helps the childrens. It helps nerdy kids who love to write find like minded individuals. It helps kids who can't write very well learn to tolerate, nay enjoy, the process. It tutors kids in every subject they can throw at us. It helps teachers give students the one on one time that budget cuts won't allow. And it does all of this FOR FREE. How do we manage such a feat? By people like ME goading people like YOU into giving as little as $5. Come on - donate $5 (or more - those of you with two incomes and no children - you know who you are). I'd do it for you - just sayin'.

- On to more pleasant things: I hear some of you out there saying, 'I'd love to help out 826 Michigan MORE, but I only gots the $5, is there anything else I can do? Funny you should ask. Ann Arbor's Main Street Area Association is having a holiday window contest. As such, the army of 826 volunteers spent last weekend and all of last night constructing what I have to say is the damn finest window I've ever had the privilege to be a part of.

(That's 826's own Amy S. coming in the door) The concept* is a robot family (The Gearbots) sitting around during the holidays watching their version of It's a Wonderful Life (which we deem to be The Day the Earth Stood Still). I was more involved in large scale construction on this, along with brainstorming the initial concept, but here was my one big creative idea:

You can't see it from the outside, but this is the sign that hangs above their door. Anyway, we are all super proud of our creation and we would LOVE it if you took the time to vote for us. Once a day. From now until whenever the contest is over. (You can win prizes too!)

Special thanks to my favorite neighbors the Baughmans and the StovRiggs, who provided materials and tools with which we would have been lost without. You guys are dear dear DEAR friends and 826 and I thank you. And of course thanks Siddhartha, who spent the nicest Sunday EVER in November inside, helping me hang doors and construct walls. So vote. We could win $500! As you know, it all goes to the kiddies.

- My second favorite 826 event every year (behind the cheaters tourney) is Mittenfest: Four nights of local music at a local bar where the money from the gate goes to 826. This year it runs New Years Eve through January 3rd. Put in on your calendars now, and keep checking here for the highly anticipated lineup.

- And apropo of NOTHING 826, the RNC opts out of abortion coverage for people under its employ. You stay classy, big tent party.

* I assume better pictures (not taken with a camera phone) will be up at 826michigan.org later. Better yet - stop by - it has to be seen in person to be believed.

Posted 1:51pm
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November 12th, 2009

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

I'm back to work but only at say 85%. My head is still in a vice, so you get the following, with no real insight attached:

- This kid (in ARKANSAS) refuses to say the pledge of allegiance until we recognize the legal rights of the gays. That's balls people. I promise never to get married until the gays can also get married in every state in the Union. Even Mississippi.

- Here's a list that I simultaneously agree with and feel guilty about, since I've yet to watch an episode of The Wire, Mad Men or Breaking Bad. Truth be told, I know they're great and I will undoubtedly like them, but I am completely unmotivated to digest any of them. I have almost every other series on this list on DVD, so you know, feel free to request a loan.

- While this in no way makes me think for on ass hair of a second that Sean Hannity is any less douchey, I do enjoy hearing him say "You were right Jon Stewart."

- The AMA tells the government to stop being so uptight about marijuana. Which, like, duh. I'm not saying make it legal tomorrow*, but can we all agree there are legitimate uses and it should at least be studied? For the love of Jesus, it's worse them stem cells.

- We've raised $236 so far for 826 Michigan's Euchre for Cheaters tournament. That is amazing and we are humbled by your generosity. To those of you who haven't taken 5 minutes to donate $5 to an organization that helps children become better writers and learners FOR FREE - what the fuck is going on in your head? I've never donated to your bullshit before? I haven't taken my valuable time to help you move? To fix your computer? To listen to you drone on about how you'll never find someone to love you? I thought we were friends? At the very least you read this blog on a semi-regular basis and are mildly amused/bemused/infotained by it. That certainly is worth $5 A YEAR**!?! Kick off you shoes and put on your swim fins people. Or be dead to me. The choice is yours.

*tomorrow however, I will say make it legal today. I was acquiescing for argument's sake.
** I pledge not to ask you directly for money again until this time next year. For realsies.

Posted 2:26pm
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November 11th, 2009

All night long (all night...)

My mom used to say that nothing good ever happens after midnight. I of course was of the opinion that the only really good things happen well after 12. Her argument really started to take on water when she added the addendum "There's nothing you can do after 12 that you can't do before." She obviously wasn't privy to how long it takes a booze enthusiast to get drunk, and how one's inhibitions aren't truly gone until it's technically the next day. Or more likely, she had a pretty good idea and that's exactly what she was worried about. Either way, I bet I could count on one hand the number of times she was actually out past midnight, so her argument is specious at best.

I've always been a nightowl. My internal clock says bedtime is around 2am and morning rolls in around 10:30. For the sake of societal structure that dictates a 9ish to 5ish workday, I've managed to tweak my natural proclivities so that I can remain gainfully employed. But believe me, when the weekend rolls around, I revert to my natural state like a dog chasing a squirrel.

As such, I'm not always ready to call it a night when last call rolls around. When the night hasn't peaked by 2am, there's usually someone willing to host after hours to keep things rolling. This is, more often than not, a disaster. The momentum from the bar gets lost on the ride home. You usually end up with two people making out on the couch, someone passed out as soon as they walk in the door, and one guy calling everyone else pussies, as he tries to drink the entire case of beer he bought on the way there that no one now wants to drink.

So how to combat this tragic scenario? Well the State of Michigan Legislature has finally heard my pleas. There's a bill out there that would allow bars to stay open until 4am, AND allow liquor sales on Sunday at 7:30am. The later just recently becoming important to me as Sunday DrunkBrunch© has started to become a staple of my existence. Anyway, kudos to Michigan's attempt to join civilized society by throwing off the shackles of these puritanical bullshit laws. I'm probably too old to truly take advantage of the change, but someone has to think of the children. I for one believe they are the future - teach them well and let them lead the way.

Posted 1:51pm
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November 10th, 2009

Bedhead.

I'm currently incapacitated with the sickness. My fever is mild to nonexistent, so I doubt it's the swine. Then again, given my spectacular immune system, perhaps H1N1 just makes me mildly sore with a fever of 100 and turns me into a cranky pants. This is what I look like:

Thirty-one years ago anyway. In all that time little has changed about being sick. I sleep until The Price is Right comes on. Then eat some soup, go back to sleep. I generally have bedhead and just want my mommie to bring me stuff so I don't have to move.

OK, so some things have changed. Mommie's not around to bring me anything and Drew Carey is no Bob Barker. On the plus side, they still have Plinko, the bdgf checks in on me and gives me the sympathy I crave, and now I have the internet and a DVD library of Blockbuster proportions to keep my mind occupied between bouts of passout. And most importantly, skipping work is way better than skipping school, seeing as how I still get paid and I have underlings to minimize my make up work upon my return. It'd be a shame if that fever came back just enough that I had to stay home again tomorrow. Maybe I can start downloading Mad Men and finally catch up with the rest of you hipsters...

Posted 1:25pm
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November 9th, 2009

F A I L.

Every year Sid comes to at least one Michigan football game, in which he's allowed to bring a friend so they can occupy themselves with anything that isn't football and dad and his drunk friends.

Saturday was supposed to be that game, but Sid's friend Bisquick came down with a last minute case of the swine. So instead of hanging out with his friend's, he was stuck with mine. My boss called me late Friday and offered me tickets for Saturday's hockey game vs. #1 Miami. Sid gave me the thumbs up on making Saturday a Michigan sports double header, and it was going to be 65 degrees and sunny. What could possibly go wrong?

Theoretically, everything. Michigan got up two touchdowns on Purdue and then pissed away the lead and the game to an inferior team. Later that night the hockey team played with less energy than a fat video game addict with mononucleosis of the lupus. They turned what should have been a perfect day of father/son bonding into a case of Stov eating a jello shot:

Stov knows how to drink. I would never impugn his ability to hang, as after 17+ years of drinking together on at least a weekly basis, I know he can go toe to toe with anyone. But Stov has an inability to remove jello shots from their containers. When his friends see a jello shot in his hand, a crowd silently gathers to watch the spectacle. We point and laugh at the fail. Saturday he tried to avoid the humiliation by eating his jello shots with plastic tableware. This was judged to be an even bigger fail.

Alright, truth be told the weekend wasn't a failure and theoretically, nothing went wrong. Sid and I hung out Friday and I showed him Swingers for the first time. Saturday the weather was perfect and Sid and I hung out OUTSIDE the house for over 12 straight hours and had quite a good time. Sunday I went to drunkbrunch and then spent the day building the window at the Robot Store*, again with Sid helping in the construction. As a night cap the bdgf and I went and saw It Might Get Loud, which is basically for guitar nerds and people who swoon over Jack White, because he's a Detroit bow-tie wearin' bad ass. Luckily we both fall into one of those two categories.

So yes, outside of things that happen on the fields of play and are decided by 18-22 year olds, everything is still going swimmingly. Except for Stov and his jello shot taking prowess. Here's hoping RichRod stays away from whatever the football equivalent is of trying to take a shot with a plastic spoon.

* more on this later this week. It's going to be awesome and you're going to be impressed. Also, you now have S I X D A Y S to donate to Euchre for Cheaters and not be shunned by our clan.

Posted 1:08pm
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November 6th, 2009

Call me Salacious Crumb.

I'm in ELansing today, surrounded by Spartys and the faint smell of cow dung. I'm also stretched for time. So I'll just offer you this and say have a good weekend:

My inner 10 year old's head just exploded. Oh, and I may be drinking at Whole Foods for happy hour today. Stop by.

Posted 12:03pm
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November 5th, 2009

This week in indie rock.

- New Spoon! Britt and the boys just announced that they'll drop their new LP Transference on 1/26 via Merge records. Hooray! THEN they went and leaked (or somebody did anyway) a song off the album. It's vintage Spoon, so you know, awesome.

- New Tokyo Polica Club! TPC leaked this little acoustic diddy and hinted that their Forthcoming LP is close to completion. I obviously can't wait.

- New Vampire Weekend! VW's Contra is out in the US on 1/12. Here's some cellphone video of the track "California English". The audio is terrible, but you get the idea.

- New Ted Leo! Well, sort of anyway. When you're a bad ass like Teddy, you dress up as Glen Danzig and do two sets with your buddies as The Misfits for Halloween. Fuckin' A.

- New William Shatner! I love Shatner. His 2007 album Has Been is a masterpiece. That's right, I said it - masterpiece. Anyway, if you ever watch Conan you may have seen the Shat on there recently giving dramatic readings of Sarah Palin's tweets. Well Bill is back, this time to read Levi Johnston's twitterings. 100% pure Columbian awesome. And let me just say for the record that I love Levi Johnston. He seems to get what a joke he is, and he's clearly exisiting only to poke Palin's beehive at the moment, which is sweet.

- Paste went ahead two months early and posted their 50 best albums of the decade. I say huzzah and kudos, other than the fact that Bright Eyes and Arcade Fire suck, and YHF trumps Illinoise. But still, solid Paste. Solid.

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November 4th, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good:
Yesterday was a great day for weed. Maine passed a law licensing pot stores and Breckenridge, CO legalized marijuana.* And positive for the gays: you now have rights in Washington state. Perhaps my favorite election result from yesterday: Owens takes down Hoffman in NY-23. Suck it Palin; Suck it Beck; Suck it Rush; Suck it teabagger movement. I'll take my name back now.

The Bad:
Maine's all for pot smokin', not for pole smokin'. Setbacks suck, but are part of any movement like this. I'm encouraged by the turnout at the polls, but blech - what's wrong with you people?

The Ugly:
Washtenaw County's education millage got crushed yesterday. I'm sad for Siddhartha and all of my friends who work in Ann Arbor schools, but I'm pissed for the following reasons:

1. Ann Arbor voted yes. Unfortunately, stupid fucking state law prevents passing things like this on a city level, so we're tied to fucking towns like Saline and Milan. Fucked over by hillbillies.
2. Asshole real estate developers spent a lot of money to defeat the proposal. I mean, are the inefficiencies in how the schools spend money? Sure. Does that mean we shouldn't try to cover a shortfall that exists because the state is slashing funding? Albert Berriz, you sir, are a dickbag.

I should be used to not getting my way in elections, as outside of a year ago I rarely have. But I can't help but feel disheartened on a day like today. I'd very much like to go to lunch, get drunk and then go lay on the couch all day and watch bad TV. Or perhaps old spaghetti westerns scored by Enio Morricone.

*Still illegal in the state.

Posted 10:54am
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November 3rd, 2009

V O T E.

I've spent the last couple days producing a parody of Dylan's "Suubterranean Homesick Blues" as a favor for 826 Michigan and quite honestly, I'm feeling a little spent creatively. Especially since in the next 10 days we have a new window to put in at the store and there seems to be a lot riding on this one. Daunting.

So this might not be the articulate, empasioned plea that it could or should be, and for that I apologize. But for anyone residing in Washtenaw County, get out there and VOTE today. And when you take 20 minutes out of your day to perform one of the few civic duties asked of you, please vote for the school enhancement millage.

I love teachers. They have a really hard job and we shouldn't make it more difficult by denying them resources. And if you want things to get better in Michigan, the education of our children is a pretty solid place to start. Making them wicked smart is step one, we can worry about getting them to stick around later.

I KNOW I am preaching to the choir, because we here at tbaggervance.com have seen our demographic reports, and you guys are educated, smart, good looking and fabulous dancers. People with those characteristics would never vote against children AND teachers, would they?

- Speaking of voting, here's a great article about how gay marriage and marijuana (along with less important things) will soon be legal. It's a cogent version of an argument I've been making for a while now, so needless to say I agree with it. Your kids are going to think we were awful silly about all of this.

Posted 10:49am
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November 2nd, 2009

Tyler Brubaker is in a relationship.

I've been on Facebook for over three years now. Back then you had to have a university email address to even become a member, and I was wrangled in by then girlfriend, her noting that it was much, much better than myspace.

She was right about that. Going back and reading old blog entries it seems quaint how much I used myspace. Granted it was for music and not social networking, but still, when was the last time anyone was on myspace? I digress. Despite being on fb all these years (before it got co-opted by teenagers and people I went to high school with and haven't thought about in 15 years) my 'relationship status' has always been single. Ayesha has some ongoing joke with her bff from college where they were in an "it's complicated" relationship. Which was fine with me, as back in the day no one was even on facebook (remember 2007?) and let's face it, anyone I care about knows exactly what's going on in my life via this blog or my big, drunken mouth. Despite the preponderance of people who use it exactly for this express purpose, I don't tend to use fb as a way to let people know what's going on in my life. It's kind of an unintended consequence of the thing as far as I am concerned.

Well the entire world now knows that the single status days are over now. After a whirlwind weekend of booze, costumes and live music, I'm officially entrenched in a relationship. At least according to facebook anyway. I've actually been in a relationship for a while now, but you dear blog reader, probably knew that already.

If I hadn't figured it out before this morning, it was certainly brought home when I woke up and was confused for a second because she wasn't there next to me. Maybe I should have made that my status "Tyler Brubaker is alone in his bed." But as it was pointed out to me several times this weekend, the bdgf and I are sickeningly happy together, and we don't want to throw that in everyone's face more than we already do. We'll do our best to dampen down the adoreableness, but hey, what do you want, we're in a new relationship. Just ask Facebook.

Posted 1:17pm
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October 30th , 2009

The internet: Now with video.

- There's really only one reason for today's post and this is it: Drunk History. I implore you - nay insist - that you immediately watch this masterpiece. I'm so upset that I never thought to do something like this, because it may be one of the greatest ideas ever. My personal favorite is Danny McBride as George Washington, but really, there's not a bad one in the bunch. Alexander Hamilton. He's on the ten.

- I have to thank C Jason for pointing me to the aforementioned genius. He also recently turned me on to this, which is comedy gold for all you Star Wars nerds out there. We got Death Star! We got Death Star!

- It could be argued that pwning Melissa Joan Hart is no great accomplishment, and I would be inclined to agree with you. But this sir, takes balls.

- Ted Leo is a punk rock lefty vegan who writes angry pop songs about things like eating disorders and war hawk branches of government. This means Fox News does not consider him a 'Real American' and why I have a giant man crush on him. Here he is playing a new song acoustically, not surprisingly in the msnbc.com digital cafe.

- Want to play guitar just like your favorite artists? Here's a video series that shows you how to play along with bands like Vampire Weekend and The National, taught by the artists themselves! I'm going to bet its going to take more than a 3 minute video to get me to play my ax like Ezra Koening though.

That's all I got, but really, Drunk History was worth stopping by, no? I took a half day, which means I've been here an hour and I'm already mentally checked out. There's minikegs of Oberon AND Two Hearted in my fridge right now (jealous much?) so stop by for happy hour folks. William Henry Harrison, God bless you.

Posted 1:43pm
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October 29th , 2009

Free free, set them free.

I once had a girlfriend call me by her ex-boyfriends name in the heat of the moment. To say that brought things to a screeching halt is an understatement (it's where boners go to die). In hindsight, I'm not sure how I didn't kick her the fuck out of my bed and never call her again. What did happen was a lot of talking and explaining and reassuring followed by some semi-awkward sex. Not my finest hour. I honestly don't know if I've ever told that story before because on the one hand it kind of makes me seem like a pussy. Oh well, it's out there now. Any story that ends in sex can't be all bad, right?

The truth is that I don't sweat the exes. That may be because I think in my personal history most of the exes I've had to hear about were dumpees and not dumpers. This cuts down on the unrequited love factor by about 9000%. When you're dating someone and they were the ones who broke it off in their previous relationship, you get to hear about how awful that person was, providing a blueprint on how not to act, which is always helpful. I suppose some might worry that the person is going to wake up one morning and realize they made a huge mistake and float a test balloon to their ex on facebook which could lead to drinks and then her blowing him in the parking garage while you sit at home txting her asking when she's coming home. That's bad times, especially if it happens more than once. But I certainly am not interested in anyone who doesn't want to be with me, so while the multiple BJ scenario would hurt, I'd enjoy the getting really drunk and ranting about "what a fucking bitch" part.

I guess all of that is pretty dependent on being the dumper. Dumpees are a little trickier. Start dating someone too soon after a relationship where they got shipped, and you inevitably have to confront the truth that if the person you are dating had their way, they'd probably still be with someone else. While every relationship has to go through a period of comparing current person to all that became before them, you're really playing from behind the 8 ball if the last person you're being compared to is still idealized (other than that one fact that they left - but you know, details).

The one thing to remember is that you ain't Magellan so you ain't discovering shit. Everyone has exes. They mostly serve as object lessons of what we don't want and help to light a path to getting where we want to be. And if your current significant other wanted to be with their ex, that's probably where they'd be. Just remember to take the hint if they call you the wrong name while their hand is on your genitalia.

Posted 11:44am
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October 28th , 2009

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

- Euchre! Seriously team, I find almost all of you in dereliction of duty. Now I know for a FACT that you have five bucks. Come on dude, I saw it in your wallet. Take the next two minutes of your existence (that you were just going to use to check facebook anyway) and donate to Sid and I's Euchre for Cheaters team. Even if you think I'm a d-bag, won't you do it for Sid? He's adorable and deserves better than me having to explain that nobody donated to our team because our friends are lazy assholes. Won't you think of the children? (Here's my dear dear dear dear DEAR friend Amy talking about the tournament. Oh, and did I mention that the Robot Store has a new website? It's super terrific happy awesome.)

- Chuck K has a new book of what he does best - pop culture essays. It may surprise you to learn that I have not purchased and devoured it yet. When it comes to a hotly anticipated book, I have the exact opposite need to be first that encompasses me with music and movies. I want to be in the right headspace. I want to be able to find some time to block out and leisurely enjoy reading said tome. I'm thinking Thanksgiving. Anyway, here's an interesting interview with Chuck (courtesy the AV Club).

- I have an unnatural love for Pulp Fiction, so if I had wicked editing skills, too much time on my hands and gave up drinking, I might have come up with this. No worries, none of the above is going to happen, probably ever.

- I was one of the naysayers when this lawsuit was filed. To quote the article, "the wrong claim in the wrong court in the wrong state at the wrong time." But after reading the article, maybe I was wrong. I mean I've said all along that I really hope I am wrong, just sayin'. And speaking of the gays, if you missed Colbert talking about 'everything but marriage' in Washington, check it. Good, gay times.

- Halloween is this Saturday and I haven't a clue what I will be doing and/or wearing. This is completely out of character for me and I'm trying not to freak out about it. The good news is I have options. Chances of me getting very drunk in some minimalist costume with fabulous people are 100%. Where was I going with this? Oh, this has a 90% chance of being fake but is still 100% awesome.

Posted 10:49am
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October 27th , 2009

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week: excommunication edition.

The short answer for what's making Baby J cry this week: me.

Last week I wrote a post in which I wanted to talk about volunteerism because halftard Glenn Beck equated it to communism, which pissed me off. I like volunteerism and think it's pretty important, and I remembered that despite the fact that I'm an atheist, I was raised hard core Catholic and huh, that may have something to do with all this. Weird. And before we go any further, let me say that I went back and read the post and I don't even think it's that offensive. I mean relatively it's ostensibly not at all - I say worse stuff all the time. Yes, I said christians we're being duped and called them automatons. And I suggested that many of them don't think about religion, but like, duh.

But as we all know, offensive is in the eye of the beholder - and behold the comments section of that post. Big sister shaka didn't take none too kindly to what I still think is a pretty innocuous post - and one that could be argued is as nice a thing as I'm going to say about religion. Shaka clearly didn't see it that way, telling me to shut up and grow up, calling me a tyrant, and reminding me that I am going to rot in hell. I freely admit that in my response to her vitriol I was both pithy and condescending, which wasn't the most measured response, but hey, this is the internet and more specifically, my blog. You all knew what you were signing up for.

Here's the thing I have a problem with: grow up and shut up? Not being called a tyrant, not the threat of my sister not 'defending (me) to people' (since pretty sure I can defend myself) or even not being accepted anymore. Shut up? You can't tell me to shut up on my own blog. How dare you? I didn't even invite anyone here. Don't get me wrong, glad you came, but despite my erudite writing style, this is not a conversation I am having with you personally. This is my place to espouse my views, because I enjoy doing it. And grow up? Between the stories about being drunk and making dick jokes, I think we occasionally have grown up conversations around here. We at least ask grown up questions and once in a while provide a grown up answer. Yes, even about religion (or lack thereof).

Maybe it's just the fact that I use the word 'atheist'. Perhaps that fact alone raises my sister's ire. But what if I was gay? Would it be wrong to 'run my mouth 24/7' about that? It makes me wonder. I generally think I'm a decent human being and that should be all that matters to Baby J or members of my family. Of course I don't have thousands of years of religious dogma to dictate how I feel about things, so it may be a little easier for me.

- Here's Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League and clearly, batshit crazy zealot. Moneyshot:

The culture war is up for grabs. The good news is that religious conservatives continue to breed like rabbits, while secular saboteurs have shut down: they're too busy walking their dogs, going to bathhouses and aborting their kids. Time, it seems, is on the side of the angels.

If we were to analogize, Big sister shaka would be 'Bill' and I would be the 'secular saboteur', which is probably a step below tyrant.

- I won't speak for shaka on what she believes in matters of science, but I hope she's in that 39% minority that believes in evolution. I assume she's in the 79% that knows the Earth revolves around the sun and not around Jesus.

- Still not sure where you fall on the religion spectrum and want to know if you have a belief system that might get you kicked out of your family? Here's a handy flowchart that might help you out. (Flowchart for your family's ensuing outrage not included).

- Finally, I'm no fan of Paul Haggis. While the movie Crash is the type of film my sister would assume I like (because it's people sitting around talking about supposedly heady things) I pretty much actively hate it. I won't get into it, especially because of this letter that Paul just published renouncing Scientology. Good stuff yo. Took you long enough.

Posted 10:49am
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October 26th , 2009

Placation in the age of diminished expectations

Somewhere in the doldrums of a rainy, disappointing first half performance by the Michigan varsity football team Saturday, a man in his late forties sitting in front of me with his family clapped sarcastically for about the fifth time after Michigan's young, struggling team made another mental mistake. I'd finally had enough and tapped him on the shoulder.

tbv: Hey, if you're going to clap sarcastically, either put on some Penn State gear or get the fuck out of my stadium.
dbag: (incredulously) Are you mouthing off to me?
tbv: You're god damn right.
dbag: (ready to fight) I'll act however I want.
tbv: Go ahead and be a douche in front of your kids then.

He tried to give a look to Dr. Walker, either looking to her for agreement that I was a drunken idiot or to warn her that someone better get me in check. She just stared back at him as if to say "You heard him, now turn around."

Historically I don't handle days like Saturday very well. It's well documented that after we lost to Ohio State in Columbus my freshman year that I didn't utter a sound for several hours afterward. A lot has changed in the intervening 15 years but me love for Michigan football certainly hasn't waned. Even after a year of 3-9 and even playing a team that I know is empirically better than us, I hate to swallow hard and take it like we did Saturday. It's not something I do well.

Most of my life I've been referred to as a cynic. As a cynic I am usually wont to point out that I'm not a cynic but rather a pragmatist, but that subtlety is usually lost on people trying to prove their point that I can be a crusty old curmudgeon. They're right in that regard and I should let it go - but as we noted, I don't do that well. At least, historically anyway.

If it's true (and it is) that we all eventually turn into our parents, then I may be quickly finding the Zen of Moeman. Moe has found a certain evenness in his aged wisdom. It's had to upset him. He's seen it all and knows that what goes around, comes around - so there's little point in getting too upset as the pendulum swings a way you don't like. This is something that isn't comprehensible to an 18 year old who has just seen his University lose to its arch rival, and something that's a little frightening to a 34 year old who craves the highs and lows that passion provides.

Maybe it's that things will never be the same since we lost to a I-AA team and had a losing season. It could be that the aura and mystique of all the streaks that are now dead are lost and we can never get them back. Maybe maturity provides a perspective that allows you to absorb certain pains more readily while still allowing you to enjoy the highs. What I do know is that game sucked and I was kind of over it by the time I got back to the tailgate. I know that what I will probably remember most about Saturday is that someone told me to shotgun a High Life so I did - for the first time in at least 10 years.

I think that if nothing else, I've found ways to concentrate on things other than the pain of your alma matter letting you down for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. That the foibles of a bunch of 18 to 22 year olds shouldn't spoil Oberon outs, chili cook-offs or time with the BDGF. And if I ever start to worry that newness and passion are waning in my life, I can always shotgun a beer and call some douche on his shitty fandom. Certainly Moe would know better than to participate in such nonsense.

Posted 10:48am
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October 23rd , 2009

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

- I love it when things I love interact with other things I love. Who doesn't appreciate two great tastes that go great together? Take, por ejemplo, this excerpt from Chuck K's new book that centers around Michigan football. I know right? Our how about the news that The Hold Steady's Craig Finn is writing a screenplay based on Klosterman's Fargo Rock City? Fuckin' A. It's like getting a blow job at a Death Cab concert while Tom Brady brings you a bottomless Oberon.

- So super terrific awesome happy times: the FCC is starting to implement laws to ensure net neutrality. Hooray! Everyone who isn't a corporate whore can agree that the internet should be open and free, right? Enter world's biggest fucktard Glenn Beck, who argues that net neutrality (an idea whose sole purpose is to ensure no one can pay for favoritism) is government control of content. Jesus H Christ on a bike who watches this douche nozzle? And for those of you who voted for McCain and think we'd be better off if he were running things, he introduced a bill today to block net neutrality. You sir, are a douche bag.

- If you've never been to Slow's BBQ in downtown Detroit, you my friend are letting one of the finest things in life pass you by. For those of you who are already converts, you'll be happy to know they are expanding. You'll still wait 40 minutes for a table at 10pm on a Friday night, trust me (still worth it though).

- I may have mentioned it already, but I kind of like the new Weezer song. And after watching a Weezer concert on cable a few months back and being thoroughly depressed by how old Rivers looked, I'm glad to see him looking boyish again in the video (even if its just Hollywood magic). And we can all agree that he shipped that girl because she's not Asian, right?

- Quick hits: This is some awesome CSPAN porn. Here's some pickup lines from throughout history. Ohio State schadenfreude. And if you're reading this on Friday and want to go drink a beer with me around five today, holla.

Posted 12:17pm
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October 22nd , 2009

Paper or plastic? Neither.

I haven't quite figured out why yet, but Target treats plastic bags exactly the opposite way every grocery store (at least in Ann Arbor) does. When I'm at Busch's I throw my canvass bag at the checkout/bagger person and if for some reason all of my groceries don't fit, they automatically give me paper bags (because I assume they know I will reuse them.) They give me nickel discount for being green and we all move on. This is true at Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joes you name it. I imagine if you didn't bring your own bag to the Produce Station they'd spit on you.

This scenario couldn't be further removed from trying to do the same thing at every Target to which I've ever been. It usually goes like this: I hold my bag out to the cashier and they avoid eye contact with me. They then start swiping my merchandise and placing it their giant oversized Target branded plastic bags. Then I have to tell them "I have a bag." The first time they either completely ignore me or stop to look at me like I'm a special needs child, then continue scanning. Again: "Hey! I've got my own bag." The cashier stops again, puzzled. They look at their bag and finally notice my bag. You can see the wheels turn. Smoke leaks from their ears. They again stare at you like a child wrapping his head around adding numbers together without using their fingers. Finally "Look, I don't want your god damn plastic bag!" At which point the cashier looks at me like I just sent my steak back because it was touching the mash potatoes on my plate, because they have to take 10 seconds to remove my goods from their plastic bullshit and place it in my nicely worn canvass bag. Sorry to put you out, 16 year old minimum wage slave who can't really wait to go on break so they can txt their bff about how stupid Billy was in 7th period today. If you would have listened to me in the first place, we wouldn't have to go through this whole rigmarole where you bag my deodorant and $10 T-shirt twice.

Yes, I realize that was a long way to go to tell you maybe that will change in the near future.

- This is a pretty inspiring piece of video that should make anyone you might know who is anti- gay marriage feel about two inches tall. He's 86 people. I'd love to shake his hand.

Posted 11:50am
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October 21st , 2009

Euchre for cheaters

If there's one thing I've tried to engender in my son, it's that you play to win at all costs, and when you're done, you shove it in the face of those you have beaten (I made sure his favorite book growing up was The Prince.) All those years of indoctrination into Machiavellianism are about to pay big dividends as we enter 826's Euchre for Cheaters tournament.

We talked to Malcom Gladwell and he assured us that the 10,000 hours we've spent playing this game over the years makes us experts and all but assures us that we'll win the tournament. Vegas has installed as a 1-5 favorite. But winners like us leave nothing to chance.

That's why we're asking you - our friends whom over the years we've helped move, fixed your computers, taught your children life lessons and made home improvements on your dwellings - to sponsor us. The more you give, the more we can cheat and ensure that some young upstart euchre team won't come and usurp what is rightfully ours.

So give what you can - we've gone over this before, you know what a GREAT organization you're helping - and live forever in our hearts as one of the few bright, shining lights in a weary world. Or don't and be dead to us.

Hugs and Kisses,
-T and Siddhartha

Posted 9:51am
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October 20th , 2009

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

Outside of weddings and funerals, I haven't been to church in about 15 years. Before that, I was in church every Sunday of my life. This despite the fact that I've known since I was about 10 that I don't believe in God. This made for an awkward 8 or so years where I was forced to participate in an overly ornate ceremony on a weekly basis that I in no way believed in. It's really hard to stand up at 12 (or 16 or even 24) and scream "You people are all being duped!" - especially when you know saying that would mean your mother would never be able to look you in the eye again. So of course you bite your tongue and have a lot of conversations with yourself in your head whilst reciting centuries old prayers like the automaton that religion requires.

For the longest time the only thing that this consciously engendered in me was a searing hatred of religion as a whole and specifically Catholicism. Once I started being open about being agnostic/atheistic, I realized that all those years sitting in a pew and being forced to attend CCD gave me tons of ammunition to defend/argue my worldview with the devout (not that it's generally that hard to win an argument about something people are more indoctrinated into rather than spend any time actually thinking about - and by 'win an argument' I mean frustrate someone into telling you you're going to hell.)

After I got (mostly) done with being an angry young man, I realized something even more positive about my Catholic upbringing. A year or so ago I met some friends at a bar after a bout of volunteering at 826. I explained where I was coming from and there was general disbelief amongst the crowd that I had spent any amount of time doing something for nothing. That's when one of them noted "Well you were raised Catholic right? That's a big part of that religion." I quickly realized he was 100% right. There's a definite through line between my volunteering and the behavior my parents modeled for me growing up. Now believe me, I am in no way suggesting that religion is required to convince people to give of themselves. I like to think I'm modeling the same behavior for Siddhartha and he knows exactly how I feel about religion. But hey, my parents were really Catholic and really gave their time to things they believed in. So if I'm feeling magnanimous, thanks Jesus, I guess.

And that's why this made me seethe with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. How dare you sir? I realize you're an egomaniacal fuckstick with a two cent head, but what kind of retarded person hears someone say - without agenda - "Why don't you do something for someone else without expecting anything back other than the sense of satisfaction that comes from such endeavors?" and DISAGREES with it? I realize that calling Obama a communist stokes the flames of the toothless troglodytes that hang on your every word, and thus gives you both the money and adoration that helps to fill your empty, soulless existence, but SERIOUSLY. If there was a God, he'd give you cancer of the AIDS of the rectum and make you sit cross legged on a cold rock watching obese, unattractive people have loud sex for the rest of eternity. Amen.

Posted 11:23am
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October 19th , 2009

Turning your orbit around.

Someone asked me my address this morning and I literally couldn't come up with it. She had to start "441..." and I took it from there, but I still might be standing there if she hadn't helped me out. I see this is a testament to just how good my weekend was. It went something like this:

- As per usual, things started with Friday Happy Hour. Dr. Walker and I started at the Red Hawk and they reaffirmed what we've been noticing for the last week or so - Oberon is almost gone. While this is sad, I'm learning to embrace the Two-Hearted. Even though our waiter - who was a dude - gave us our bill like this:

but I couldn't concentrate on that for very long, as the BDGF called up to tell me that she had just procured 4 free tickets to see Wilco in less than two hours, and less than 200 yards from where I was sitting getting drunk on Two-Hearted at that very moment. Serendipity! Here's a crappy cell phone picture that doesn't do justice to the fact that we were in the eighth fucking row:

As always, it was a fabulous show. My favorite part was when Jeff Tweedy stepped out from behind the mic and let the crowd sing "Jesus, etc." You were right about the stars... Somehow the night ended up with Stov and the BDGF yelling at each other about health care reform at Old Town - which if you're me, is all kinds of awesome.

- Then it was football Saturday. I think I can say unequivocally that there was less pre-game activity and excitement for this game than any other I've attended in the 15 years I've lived in Ann Arbor. That didn't stop the small band of merry revelers we managed to assemble. Now normally I don't like to brag about the amount of alcohol consumed at any event - it's a little gauche. You and I have a tacit agreement that it's a lot and move on. But man did we put it away Saturday. Even I was impressed. You can probably tell by the looks on our faces:

Needless to say we were a little late showing up to the game and a lot early to leave it and go back to drink some more. At one point post game there was running and at another some prescription drug abuse. Somehow Turtle and I made it out to the bar later that night (after a well deserved nap) where I know I drunkenly rambled on about myriad things incoherently. Good times.

- Sunday started the way every Sunday should - with bottomless mimosas at Bar Louie. This is the best way to start any day and I highly recommend you experience it with all expediency. Then the Downtowners et al took a trip to an Apple Orchard for a little Agri-tainment. I have a few pictures but I stupidly left my camera at home this morning, so come back this evening if you want to see Siddhartha trying to stomp a pumpkin, or Amy trying to shake off one of the world's worst hangovers.

As noted by my inability to remember where I live this morning, some of you may start to wonder or worry if this pace and lifestyle are sustainable. To those nonbelievers I say there's only one way to find out. This weekend is an Oberon-out tailgate and Heather turns 40, so yeah, the train doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Posted 10:16am
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October 16th , 2009

When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

I'm in Elansing today, which means I'm surrounded by filthy Sparties. This makes me cranky, irritable and in dire need of massive amounts of alcohol post haste. Luckily I've got just such a scenario on the docket. Turtle is coming to A2 and I plan to put him straight into palsey mode. Come join us downtown this weekend and celebrate an MTD Mow-Em-Down Inning.

- Did you know that Whole Foods has a FUCKING BAR inside of it?!? Yesterday I was on my way to do some shopping at America's favorite overpriced hippy organic superstore (because 5% of proceeds went to 826. Hooray!) when C Jason txted me: There's a WINE BAR at this Whole Foods! FANCY! Well I jammed on the long skinny peddle and got over there toot suite. Turns out (after we scratched our heads for several minutes and a nice lady came over to answer all of our queries) that not only is there a bar, but you can carry around your booze AS YOU SHOP. It is now my goal in life to make enough money so that I can do all my shopping at Whole Paycheck Foods.

- Every once in a while when Ayesha and I were dating, we'd be holding hands, walking down the street and we'd garner a stare or two. Usually Ayesha would ask "Do you think that's because you're 7 years older than I am?" and I'd have to tell her "No, that's because I'm really white and you're really not." I suppose it was a good thing we lived in the liberal North, because down in Loosiana, the interracial thing engenders more than stares. How did they ever elect Bobby Jindal?

That's all I got. As the headline suggests, my life is pretty perfect (The Buddha (the real one, not mine) was a pretty smart guy). And I say that being stuck in Sparty country at the moment! Come have a drink with me, my good fortune may rub off.

Posted 12:27pm
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October 15th , 2009

This Week in Indie Rock

Time again to sonically inform you as to how to be a better, hipper, happier person. Those looking for stories of my love life, my drunk life, or political whining (and those that whose musical interest peaked when they still rocked a mullet) will have to come back tomorrow.

- Hockey is fabulous new band from Portland (I know, right? I would have guessed Cananada too). They played Ferndale Tuesday night (with Throw me the Statue!) and I missed it. Redemption (sort of) lives in the form of Jimmy Fallon tonight. Tune in (or better yet, TiVo then fast forward, as Fallon is unbearable) to catch their version of Arctic Monkeys/Franz Ferdinand dance pop mashed up with the voice of Greg Dulli/Hamilton Leithauser.

- Speaking of late night talk show rocking, check The Flaming Lips rocking "Watching the Planets" from Conan the other night. Warning: watching this while standing may knock you flat on your ass.

- I've been a fan of Garfunkel and Oates for a while, but "This Part Took a Turn for the Douche" may be their finest hour yet. Congrats ladies.

- I have very fond memories of walking out of the State Theater a few years back after having fallen in love with the movie Once. It totally knocked me on my ass in a completely different way than Wayne Coyne does. Glen and Marketa are still making music together and it will still make you swoon. You can stream their new album right this second over at NPR.

- Brendan Benson has a session up over at Daytrotter. Totally worth it to hear him rock the Superdrag alone.

- There was a time in my life that I had no idea that Neil Young was a polarizing figure. I thought that I had rightly assumed that while their were varying degrees of how much one enjoyed Neil, that he was universally respected and recognized for the musical genius that his career clearly mandates. Apparently I vastly underestimated people's lack of taste. Turns out there are those that find his voice nasal and whiny and, believe it or not, his songrwriting depressing. Now maybe these people have just never gotten really baked and listened to Harvest. Or maybe it's just that Neil gets too close to the truth and makes them uncomfortable to be alone with their own thoughts and feelings. Who's to say? Thankfully these uncultured dolts are only a vocal minority and the rest of us can appreciate the godfather of grunge for what he is - the chunkiest guitar player of all time with more beautiful sorrow in his voice than is sometimes bearable. To wit there will be a celebration of his music at the Vancouver Olympics in February. An all star lineup (including Broken Social Scene and Joan as Policewoman) will pay homage to the Canadian rocker's oeuvre. Keep on rockin' in the free world Neil.

Posted 11:04am
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October 14th , 2009

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

- It's been suggested to me twice now (perhaps jokingly, but my ego won't let me believe that) that I enter the Washington Post's Next Great Pundit contest. That leaves me a week to come up with 400 coherent words about something I have an opinion on. I'll be taking topic suggestions through the weekend...

- 30 Rock returns tomorrow! Here's a list of 5 of their funniest moments. Plus, since Halloween rapidly approacheth, treat yourself to the full version of Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. (Spooky, scary... Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves...)

- This probably doesn't need to be said, but fuck all this cold weather bullshit. I shouldn't need a winter coat in October. Hot Cider and Captain shouldn't make an appearance at a tailgate until November. And there certainly shouldn't be snow in the forecast before Halloween. Its still fall for fuck's sake. Speaking of, there's a rumor that I may be heading to a Cider Mill on Sunday. Despite living in Michigan for 15 years, this would be a first for me. I pretty much know what to expect, outside of the surprises of 'goat walk' and 'bee hive'. (I'm trying not to concentrate on the fact that it's called 'agri-tainment <<shudder>>) Question: Do I bring my own booze? Because I'm looking forward to some pumpkin humping.

- 826 Michigan is hosting a Euchre tournament (for cheaters!) on November 15th. Once again, Sid and I are entering and Vegas lists us at 1-5 to win the whole shebang. We're pretty much the prohibitive favorites. Of course this means we'll soon be asking you for a donation to help our cause and that of 826 Michigan, so prepare thy wallets. However, if you think you got the sac to compete, they are still looking for teams to actually play. Get in touch and I'll let ya know how to get involved. Sure you've been beaten by Sid and I at cards before, but in a tournament format? Don't miss this rare opportunity...

- So after what may have been an admittedly too short dalliance in being single again, I somehow find myself in a relationship. Luckily I'm wizened enough at this point in my life to not dwell too much on the quick turnaround but rather how lucky I am to have found someone so gorgeous and smart who likes me back (because these things don't happen every day). Of course it's been less than two months so we're still in stage one according to this. Here's to the slow, inevitable decline.

Posted 1:30pm
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October 13th , 2009

Yoooooo Hooooooo! (aka This Week in Gay)

- Last weekend was the National Equality March in Washington D.C. And while it was significantly toned down from what we all probably imagine in our heads to be a gay pride parade, the gays still make way wittier signs than the tea party protesters. My favorite may be the guy in the Veritek jersey saying "I really shouldn't have to be here." No Jason, you really shouldn't. Those that want to deny you what's rightfully yours are clearly both scared of something that doesn't exist and/or black and evil on the inside.

- Speaking of heartless bastards who trade in fear, here's the worst anti-gay marriage ads. My favorite is the one clearly targeting the homophobic hipster youth vote. Biggest waste of anti-gay money ever (which of course we here at tbaggervance.com are fans of).

- I'm so afraid to say that I think this would be effective. Not with old crusty nicotine addicts like myself mind you, but for the babies. Unfortunately I'm not willing to trade decreases in lung cancer rates for an uptick in homophobia.

- Here's an article that was in the Times magazine a few weeks back about gay teenagers. If this doesn't make you empathetic, at least it should show you how silly homophobia is going to seem to your kids.

- DADT remains one of the true barometers of the Obama administration for me personally right now. It represents one of the many things that most of us who voted for him want him to do that seems really easy and there's a lot of us starting to ask why it isn't done yet. I'm still a believer, so I'm patiently waiting on action, telling myself that there's coalition building or some other political bullshit going on behind the scenes that justifies all of the posturing. This is at least placating. I mean, keep up with the governator. For a smart, even handed analysis, as always turn to The Economist.

- I'm going to hear David Cross speak at Borders today over lunch. I'm hoping he will sign my copy of The Man Inside Me.

Posted 10:21am
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October 12th , 2009

You said we could sleep in a pile!

Six months ago I went camping in the Grand Canyon. In preparation for said event I actually looked at the forecast and noted the 30 degree overnight temperatures - thus I managed to appropriately prepare myself. Don't get me wrong - I was in a tent and it was 30 degrees and I froze my ass off, but still, I was prepared both mentally and physically for what I was going to endure. In the end it was sort of a source of pride - I camped out at the Grand Canyon when it was freezing overnight. Suck it.

But my outdoorsy nature has limits. I can handle most situations but it's not like I'm out there actively looking to test the limits of human endurance. I've got no problem going and out and being cold or wet in order to have a good time, but give me a warm bed at the end of the day. I'll stand outside at a tailgate while it snows for 4 hours, but give me a warm Captain and cider to sip on at the very least. Needless to say that when the perfect storm of drunkenness, stupidity and hubris hit Saturday night and I had to sleep in an RV without heat when the temperature was below freezing outside, I was not amused.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here was our rental Sammy:

Ain't she a beaut? It came replete with shower (which we used to store our fire pit) range (which we used for its ambient heat) microwave (which we didn't use at all) and bathroom (which we used for LIQUID WASTE ONLY). We loaded up our tailgate gear and hit the open road around 9am Friday. The drive was pretty uneventful once we got used to the way things rattled around in the back and the fact that we were eye level with truckers as we passed them. Six hours and two seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia later we were in Davenport.

Yes, Davenport. While the University of Iowa is in Iowa City, our RV parking lot didn't open for several hours, so we decided to stop at the Front Street Brewery to see if we could get drunk before actually showing up at our destination*. An hour later we were pulling into our lot and cabbing it downtown to the bars.

The next few hours were a blur. I know we went to several bars. I know I won money by winning several games of darts. I know I bought a pack of cigarettes in some dirt ball convenience store and then went on a rant to anybody who would listen about how this place sucks because they don't have Winston lights and cigarettes cost $7.25 a pack. I bet a stranger $50 that Iowa wouldn't get 150 yards rushing (which they didn't. I'm not holding my breath for the cash, even though I texted him several times to remind him he owed me). And I also had this conversation with a bartender:

bartender: What do you want?
drunktbaggervance: Pitchers.
bartender: We're all out of pitchers.
drunktbaggervance: Then just beer.
bartender: What kind?
drunktbaggervance: I don't care. Cheap.
bartender: How many?
drunktbaggervance: I don't know, 8?
bartender: That'll be $24.
drunktbaggervance: Awesome.

Sometime later I rode back to the RV in the trunk** of some girls car. The rest of the guys started a bonfire, I went to sleep.

Oh how I wish I had checked out the heat situation before I did that (not that I was capable of doing so, mid you). Turns out four drunk dudes should check in advance how stuff like how not to die of hypothermia works, because I awoke shivering the next morning (afternoon) in the fetal position. I looked outside and sure enough, it had snowed. That's right. October 10th - snow.

So I put on all the clothes I had and we began to get drunk again. We took a lot of shit from Iowa fans and did our best not to say anything stupid to anyone who was drunker or bigger than us. After a lot of meandering we ended up here:

Four guys dressed in white amongst a sea of black. We may have stood out a bit. The game was the game. By the time it was over I couldn't feel my feet. When we finally reached the RV again and fired up the heat, we were pretty much spent. A day of standing up and shivering while trying to drink enough to raise your body temperature even one degree takes a lot out of you. Luckily we were sober enough from being at the game when we got home that we figured out the heat. Which is a good thing, because if we would have to sleep in a pile to keep warm, it may have been the end of these road trips.

* We did. Except for our DD, he only had two beers.
** It was a hatchback, not that big of deal.

Posted 11:08am
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October 8th , 2009

East West bound and down...

That there Clark, is an RV. Tomorrow I embark on an adventure of truly biblical proportions. Boike, John, Al and I are loading up and heading to Iowa City to watch Michigan take on the Hawkeyes. While we surely aren't the first group of aging boozehounds to attempt such an undertaking, it certainly feels like we are breaking some sort of new ground. That we are attempting something both simultaneously foolhardy and can't miss. That we will assuredly be successful, yet have a weekend filled with abject failures. Did I mention it was a night game?

Will we stop at breweries along the way? Of course. Will five minutes pass by without gambling on something? Absolutely not. Will we run our mouths and rile the native Iowans to the point that we besmirch the good name of our entire state? Naturally. Truthfully I can't predict what will happen to us this weekend, and that's the real fun. To say there will be debauchery is a given, but what form it will take is a mystery. We've been taking these trips since 2006 and each time we've come home with a slew of stories and new colloquialisms. From being stuck at the corner of First and First to "Neck Fat, to the Beer Cave!", we've gotten pretty good at this whole road trip thing. So keep your eyes on twitter, pray for my liver, and most of all, hope I stay sober enough to form memories so I can tell you all about it on Monday. Certainly I'll be relying on my compatriots to help be reconstruct large swaths of the weekend. Between the four of us I hope to find some sort of narrative. As per usual, I'll make up the rest and leave out anything that would get me in too much trouble with the law, family or my bdgf.* Wish me luck and Go Blue.

- You probably find Keith Olberman smug and righteously indignant. Me too, but since I have a lot of self love, I tolerate those qualities in others as well. I thoroughly enjoyed his hour long diatribe on health care reform. And smartest, sexiest man alive Paul Krugman sees hope, so I'm sighing relief.

* Just kidding sweet.

Posted 11:11am
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October 7th , 2009

What's making Baby Jesus cry this week?

It's been a while since we poked the Baby J beehive, which means like whoa is there a backlog of Jesus tears to wade through. Let's get crackin'...

- I've often theorized that would an antichrist exist, it may very well be walking among us in the form of Karl Rove. If the Turd Blossom isn't the walking epitome of pure unadulterated evil, I don't know what is. While his power has been usurped and he's now a shallow, feckless empty shirt, he's still trying to dispatch minions. Rove has endorsed science hater Marco Rubio for Florida's Senate seat over somewhat likable* Republican Charlie Crist. Rubio, recently trying to get Creationism taught in schools, noted "And for me, personally, I don't want a school system that teaches kids that what they're learning at home is wrong." Ironically, this is exactly what I, you, and everyone else should exactly expect from our public schools when parents are telling kids that the Earth is 5,000 years old.

- Speaking of gay, Congress is holding hearings on repealing DADT. You know what's next. Which Republican will be first to compare Homosexuality to bestiality, necrophilia and pedophilia? Why it's Rep. Louie Gohmert of (naturally) Texas. Now to be fair, he "hope(s) this doesn't offend," but someday some court is going to say "If you're oriented toward animals, then that's not something that can be held against you... toward corpses, toward children... " Good times. Texas and Baby Jesus both might want to rethink their representation.

- We haven't talked about this in a while, but net neutrality is a big deal and of course, it's facing opposition from the GOP. If we go back to scripture, it was Baby J himself who said "Whatsoever you do to the least of my websites, that you do unto me."

- While we here at tbaggervance.com have yet to hire a full time theologian or biblical scholar, enough of us went to Sunday school as kids that we are convinced Baby J is for health care reform. So in a placating hat tip, here's some Republicans who seem to get it. Of course none of them are in any position to do anything about it, and Bill Frist is still a douche bag.

- This picture was the real reason I started to write this post today, but it appears that the citizens of the internet have crashed the site. I spent about a half hour with it yesterday, and it is 100% awesome. I for one, never knew that Jesus wrote the constitution. (Maybe that's what Hannity means when he says 'America is the greatest, best country God ever gave man') I'm also wondering if Mr. McNaughton has ever read Jefferson's version of the Bible, where he edited the Gospels to remove all the miracles and hocus pocus. Perhaps my favorite quote from the painting (should the interactive portion ever come back up, you can see all the fun): Fifty Stars - Represents the fifty states of the Union. Some stars shine brighter than others. You stay classy, christians.

*relatively - I know he's a homophobe (and probably gay).

Posted 10:25am
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October 6th , 2009

Don't panic.

At some point as a child I remember making a decision to not care what other people thought of me. OK, that's admittedly hyperbolic. I do, however, remember thinking that you could have an infinitely more amount of fun if you don't care what random strangers you're likely never to see again think of you. I first remember thinking this during our yearly family vacation to Cedar Point, where I would try just about anything to get my sister to laugh. So what if a bunch of people at a theme park thought I was weird? It's not like they are going to show up at school on Monday morning and call me on it.

This apparently engendered some sense of honesty in me whilst removing whatever filter most people have about talking about certain things in mixed company. For almost five years now I've used this blog to both pontificate on the world at large and share stories of what's happening to and around me. And while my readership includes the majority of my family, coworkers, former teachers and current/ex/possible future girlfriends, that fact has thus far failed to stop me from writing about sex, occasional drug use, and copious amounts of alcohol consumption.

I've also managed to piss quite a few people off over the years. These transgressions range from contrarian opinions to classic overshares (and, believe it or not, undershares). I don't want to relive any of them specifically, but for any of you thinking about putting your life on the internet, you're going to get feedback from those around you, and not all of it good. I guess maybe it could be just me and my hyperbolic one sided telling of stories from my idiosyncratic point of view. That or some people are just overly sensitive.

Anyway we're all friends here so you may not have noticed, but I recently had to lock down my facebook page and twitter account. I'll be honest, it stung a bit. I've managed to justify it thusly: 1.) I haven't changed any content and nothing has been redacted. 2.) You can still see everything if we're friends, and I'll pretty much friend anybody.* 3.) This is a temporary measure due to outside forces beyond my control 4.) It occurs at the request of the bdgf**, and I'm a pushover for that one. 5.) The blog soldiers on unchanged. I've only begrudgingly redacted one thing in the five years of tbaggervance.com, and as this little drama has unfolded I was worried I was headed for more. But fret not dear readers - I promise to always be as inappropriate and open as possible here, we just may have to get used to a pseudonym or two.

- New Vampire Weekend. Hooray!

* this offer applies to the internet only and is null and void if you bombard me religious or conservative bullshit.
** more on this later/ask me in person if you haven't figured it out yet.

Posted 10:27am
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October 5th , 2009

I don't like Mondays

I've got a wicked cough and think it would be best if I went home and spent the afternoon on the couch. I'm taking an RV to Iowa this weekend and need to be 100%. Here's the quick skinny on how I spent my weekend:

- Krugman! Every bit as dreamy in person as he is on the pages of the NYT and on This Week. He talked and then answered questions for about 90 minutes. If you would have told me even a year ago that I would be absolutely enthralled listening to an economist wax poetically about globalization, trade and the financial crisis, I would have asked if I could have some of whatever was making you so high. The whole thing went by in a flash.

- Sid! Now 4-0 in tennis. His final two matches are today and tomorrow (weather permitting). I'm hoping for an undefeated freshman campaign, but he's already a success no matter what happens today tomorrow. Still, kill those fuckers (or whatever it is you say to cheer on a tennis player).

- Gervais! The Downtowners taught an impromptu class at 826 Friday (more about that here) and then we swapped a sick Amy Sumersquala out for a healthy Sid and went to see The Invention of Lying. If you like The Office (BBC), Extras, Jennifer Garner, early Monty Python movies about religion and/or tons of cameos by famous people, I highly recommend it.

- Sparty! So fun day, bad outcome. I'm not going to go into 500 words on what happened, let's just say man oh man do I hate Sparty. Now they're gonna run around like they own the place for the next year. So annoying. Adding insult to injury - we couldn't make a tackle and force the field goal in overtime? I had Michigan +3.5. Blerg.

- Sunday! Is a day of rest. I still managed to run the requisite errands, fix a door knob, procure some jeans for Siddhartha that don't display his ankles, and catch a night cap with the most exquisite girl imaginable. I'm a lucky man.

Posted 10:44am
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October 2nd , 2009

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

- It's Michigan State weekend! Since the game's at Michigan Agricultural College this year, we'll be traveling up to Flinttown area where we are likely to end up at a bar with populated with plenty of Spartys. It's always fun to watch some football with your little brother.

- This afternoon I'm off to hear Paul Krugman speak (and it's streaming on the web, so you can see his dreaminess too!) What's perhaps even more exciting than just getting to bask in presence of one of my favorite Nobel Laureates, is that I have a date who actually wants to go and isn't just placating me! Hooray cute nerdy girls!

- Here's an interesting article about some sitcom sets from hell. As you can imagine, I especially enjoy the Growing Pains bit. Although I should lay off Kirk Cameron, as I imagine he's sitting in some dark corner, curled up in the fetal position after reading this. I'm sure he'll find something new to annoy me about now that the evolution thing is settled. Maybe he can team up with Michelle Bachmann over in school abortions?

- Quickly: Ann Arbor has microbreweries, David Foster Wallace is a better writer than Dan Brown, a weekly A2 beer column that mentions the pajama pub crawl you foolishly missed, and Pitchfork posts the top ten albums of the 00's. I'm trying real hard to concentrate on YHF at #4 and NOT Funeral at #2. Gawd damn Arcade Fire.

- I had the same roommate in college for 3 years. We bought an old set of dorm bunk beds our sophomore year so it was a lot like summer camp for me in the mid 90's. An alcoholic summer camp with lots of sex. (Come to think of it, that's kinda all college really is - an expensive summer camp where you learn to do keg stands and have sex for longer than 90 seconds). Anyway we always had a tacit agreement that if one of the roommates were lucky enough to coax a lady back to the room, the other would dutifully go find somewhere else to crash. No one wants to hear much less see your buddy have sex, and taking one for the team by crashing on the couch is a rite of passage. But sometimes you have a party and there's an extra 20 people crashing at your place and there's nowhere to go. Other times you're in a relationship and it's not fair to ask your roommate to sleep on the couch 4 nights a week. The point is, eventually there's going to be some moaning emanating from the bunk above/below you. At this point, you can clear your throat and hope to get the "Sorry! We thought you were asleep!" or you can once again take one for the team. Look, it's not pleasant, but there's a lot of things that you do in college that are perfectly normal in the moment that you'd never condone outside the loose moral/low hygiene environment that is University life. That's why it's so sad to see that Tuft's has banned (BANNED!) banging in front of your roommate. One can only imagine the troglodyte fun governors that complained enough to get this fascist rule passed. Someone needs feed them two Smirnoff Ices and bend them over a desk while their roommate reads the Cliff's Notes to Ulysses five feet away. I guess what I'm trying to say is I miss college.

Posted 10:25am
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October 1st , 2009

Come with me, and you'll be, in a world of pure imagination...

I'm currently running on 4 hours of drunken sleep and the only thing propping me up is diet coke and the will to not get fired. OK, mostly the former. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that this is really important and I will in no way be able to do it justice in my current state of impaired cognitive function. So, apologies and all that.

Last night was the Where the Wild Things Are Pajama Pub Crawl. I told you about several times. For those of you who weren't there, not only did you miss being at the bar in your jammies, but you also missed our impromptu Rod Stewart sing-a-long medley. And that was before 10.

Needless to say the night was a complete success. Jammy drinking is every bit as fine as you would imagine it to be. I know there are a ton of photos from last night, and I look forward to seeing them (especially from later, as I'm sure I had a bunch of fun that I don't 100% remember. Good times...) But I should really get to the good part, as I've really buried the lead.

Yup, guess who won dinner, hotel, drinks and a PRIVATE TOUR OF BELL'S BREWERY?!?!?!!! I am LITERALLY* Charlie Bucket. Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three. It's like someone handing you the thing you wanted most in the world, except you never would have been to articulate that exact thing, because it's beyond your wildest dreams. I'm going to Bells. You know what happened to the boy who suddenly got everything he ever wanted?

* I know, not LITERALLY literally.

Posted 10:37am
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