Custom Search

December 18th, 2019

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moement - Best of 2019 Edition

- Lizzo is obviously the artist of the year. There's so many great things about her. She has so much crossover power that I'm talking about her, and I haven't liked "pop" music in 25 years. Maybe it's because my 16 year old asked me in 2019 "You know about Lizzo right? She seems like someone you'd know about and like." whch is the nicest thing a 16 year old has ever said to me. In any case, this was my favorite music moment of the year. She pulled out that flute and I died. Tiny ass desk. Mmm Mmm.


- Probably my favorite piece of culture all year? Easy. Co-Op: Original Cast Recording. It's got everything a tbaggervance could ever want. Broadway stars. John Mulaney. Richard Kind. An homage to an obscure documentary about Stphen Soundheim. I've watched it 40 times no kidding. "A Little Cocaine Tonight" is now permanently on my holiday playlist. It's the best and it's on Netflix. While we're talking Netflix and Sondheim, check out another Company homage as Adam Driver sings "Being Alive" in Marriage Story. I mean give me the Adam Driver musical with all expediancy please. You can skip to 2:01 to watch just that scene, which I have several times.

- The Lighthouse is a weird film that I wouldn't recommend to many people. It's super weird and after having seen it and thought about like every day for a week after and for months since, I'm still not sure what was going on there. But I liked it. I especially liked this image, which is super grainy and I can't explain it (obv.) but it haunts my dreams.

- Parasite is probably the best movie of the year. Someone somewhere once suggested that the Oscars should be for the films of five years ago, because that's when we really decide what was great and what was just a crush. It'd save us from another Greenbook for sure. But if I could save one movie from 2019 to preserve for people from five years from now and beyond, it's Apollo 11. Thanks to the BDGF I've consumed every podcast/documentary/museum/book about the Apollo program that there is, and I've never seen anything like this. It's a fantastic film, it's a fantastic historical artifact. See it as big and loud as you possibly can.

- Finally, goddamnit that Baby Yoda. The Madalorian is a pretty great Star Wars show that gets back to the root of what makes Star Wars great in my mind, basically that it's a weird space western. And yes, there are dangers of over exposure and even moreso that all Star Wars shows that come after this will try to kill us with cuteness, but goddamn it that Baby Yoda.

Posted 11:05am 
permalink - comments

December 6th, 2019

Happy Birthday!

Our little blog celebrates 15 years of political whining and dick jokes today. When I think back about all of the iterations of our site - from pop culture commentating to drinking and relationship diary to occasional posts about trivia exploits and furniture making, it's really just always been about me. tbaggervance.

I mean, this whole things predates social media. I originally started it to talk about things people used to send in email chains. I've maintained it because a.) facebook is the devil and fucking knock it off already b.) 140 characters aren't my bailiwick and c.) I don't take that many pictures. None of the available outlets suit me quite like this does.

Yes those things are free and this isn't, but I mostly keep it going for historical purposes. As a person in my mid 40s, I think a lot about the fact that sooner than we all think I'll be dead and no one will remember me. All of which is fine and happens to almost everyone, but it obviously bothers me. Nothing I've written here in the last 15 years is great art. Nor particularly insightful. Most of it is embarrassing with even 24 hours of hindsight. But all of that is who I was. And am.

Yes is past its prime in both content and readership. It was always more or less just shouting into the wind and now it's exclusively that. Happens as you careen towards 50. But I recognize that, which I think is something? I'm also OK with it, which definitely is.

Posted 11:05am
permalink - comments

November 4th, 2019

The appearance of security

I don't like flying. Which, I know, hot take. I think I would have liked it in the 60s. Back then people got dressed up to get on a plane. The people that worked on the plane weren't so overworked that they saw you as a customer and not a burden. And fuck me the security. Remember when you could meet someone at the gate?

Maybe none of that quite ever existed in the way it gets idealized in movies. I'm only so old so I can't say. People going outside of their houses to do public things in sweatpants isn't an airline problem, it's a societal problem. And airline staff are overworked and constantly dealing with people freaking out, so who can blame them? Security, however, is another story.

I went to the Michigan v Maryland game Saturday where this happened:


They wanded every single fucking person going into that stadium. I mean it's a small stadium by Big Ten standards and not remotely sold out, but the bigger point is that it's Maryland. Who feels violence towards Maryland? This was the 14th Big Ten Stadium I've visited and the first time I had to be wanded. What they think they're preventing I'll never know.

I've felt the same way about the TSA since they came into existence. Now I'm sure they're good people who work there and they've likely kept some scary stuff off of airplanes, but this was an initiative to appear secure. To do something while giving a huge payday to whatever rich friend of W's makes body scanners. To my knowledge they've never foiled the type of thing they're there to prevent.

They eventually came up with a way to mitigate this, it's called TSA Pre Check. You pay $85 and let the government run an FBI background check and fingerprint you and you no longer have to take off your shoes or jacket or completely deconstruct your carry on for five whole years. I always eschewed it because I don't fly much and I have reservations about giving the government my shit.

But after flying two weeks ago and then having to turn around and do it again, I decided to bite the bullet. I've led a squeaky clean life according to law enforcement and I suppose the government can get my prints anytime they want them anyway, so why not? And you guys, holy shit is it worth it.

Getting "approved" took ten minutes of my time and then I sailed through the airport like it was 1999. I mean, I was literally giddy. If you fly even once a year, it'll be worth your $85. Perhaps the feeling will wear off after a few more trips, but I can tell you this, I'm not going back. Flying has become unpleasant enough. We probably can't get rid of the TSA, but we can mitigate it.

Posted 11:05am
permalink - comments

September 13th, 2019

It's the Little Things

The big projects are done. The BDGF still has some things in the works but they can't proceed until she makes purchases/decisions. So I'm on to some smaller stuff.

Here's a little side table I made out of the leftovers from the other outdoor furniture:


It's super cute you guys. Someday soon I'll be retired and probably assembly lining these things out to sell.

And here's an almost honest-to-god art project:


As our pantry and "terasse" our Montreal themed, I wanted to make a fleur de lis to hang on the wall outside. I glued some boards together, cut out the shape, and then painted it yellow, then red, then blue, then white. Distress until it looks weathered and all the colors show up and voila! I don't hate it.

Also, since I'm mostly documenting projects here at this point, here's a moon I drew/painted for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 while we were in Montreal. It now hangs in our bathroom.


Posted 11:05am
permalink - comments

August 23rd , 2019


I've discussed at length the problems I have with Ann Arbor's most prevalent trivia company Sporcle. Their penchant for poorly worded or researched questions have caused me consternation and cash over the years. It hasn't stopped me from playing their game obviously, mostly because they are unavoidable and it's still very profitable for me.

I mostly play with my trivia partner-in-crime Lynn anymore, but when he's busy or I feel like alone times I still go out solo, and apparently I hit a milestone last week.


I got this email yesterday:

Hi Tyler,

Your team, Blue Moon Investigations, has pulled off a rare achievement: you scored over 165 points in a night of Sporcle Live trivia! Since 171 is the max a team can score without bonus points, your score of 165 on 8/7 at Haymaker Public House is no small feat. 

We wanted to applaud you privately with this email, and offer to recognize you publicly social media. If you'd like a team photo featured on our Sporcle Live Facebook page, please share one with us in the next few days.

While it would be funny to me to submit a picture of just me for their "advertising" I think I'll pass. This is me bragging I suppose, or just truly finding it funny that after all of our spats, I can still beat their game.

Posted 11:05am
permalink - comments

July 8th , 2019

My home and native chosen land...

I previously wrote about how I was trying to get "everything" done around our house before July as that was the one year anniversary of construction starting on our renovation. I then immediately stated how that was folly but was soldiering on anyway. The revised goal and date became to get the back porch outfitted before we left for vacation. And guess what dumb dumbs? WE DID IT!


table end

It's also worth mentioning that I've been working my ass off in similar fashion at the paying job. The middle managers were nonplussed when I told them I was taking off, so I did two months worth of work in one to not only appease but to tell them to fuck off. It's all made me at least twice as surly as normal for a while now.

Here's to the cleansing, cooling, calming power of the great white north...

Posted 8:59am
permalink - comments

June 24th , 2019

They knew what they were doing.

Kids are being held in concentration camps. In conditions that are being described by medical professionals as torturous. I think about this a lot.

Remember that "birthday party" I mentioned in my last post? In hindsight I'm fairly certain it was a ruse to get my family together, orchestrated by some old friends of my parents. I didn't want to go because 1. My brother-in-law is an anti-gay, anti-trans bigot who makes my skin crawl and 2. My brother voted for Trump because "of the party" which makes me want to vomit.

So (and I only assume on my in-law's part but come on) they knowingly voted for a racist, misogynistic bigot so they could have a tiny bit more money. These are supposedly religious people (which, I've got new for you, you're not) who I guess aren't losing any sleep over my opening statement.

The only thing I'm really struggling with is how we were raised in the same place by the same people. OK that AND the fact that I've taken shit from these people for my entire life for being an atheist, when it turns out I'm 10x the christian they are, at least if you mean living your life based on the ideals put forth by Jesus.

I'm just constantly angry about this, so I wanted to write it down. I think my little brother is all right, so maybe it's just that 10 year gap between my older siblings and us younger ones. And of course my nieces and nephews are good people and still have a chance. But god fucking damnit, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ What a bunch of assholes.


Oh, that's a coffee table that splits apart and becomes four stools/chairs. I built it this weekend, and I'm not even the son of a carpenter.

Posted 11:59am
permalink - comments

June 3rd , 2019

In da couch.

Last weekend I was in Ohio for a birthday party for an old family friend. We had to play one of those terrible ice breaker games that involved listing your hobbies, and given what I've been doing as of late I said "making furniture". I had also spent the previous two days starting to build our outdoor couch, so when an older lady asked me what I built I answered "Well I built half of a couch over the last couple of days". She then spent the next several hours busting my balls over being the guy who "built half a couch". Literally like ten times in 2 hours. So this is for that bitch.


A couple of months ago I had fantasies of getting all of our renovation-based building projects done by July, as that marks the one year anniversary of the start of construction. That is not going to happen, despite me killing myself to make it so. But hey! Progress! Someday I will get to rest. Forever sleep.

Posted 9:19am
permalink - comments

May 15th, 2019

The real work begins.

We survived our renovation. The contractors have been paid in full and I never have to see them again (I will be picking up their cigarette butts for ages, but that's just how this works, right?) When people ask about our project, I tend to bitch about all the lazy work they did that I have to fix and how they told us it would take two months and it took nine. The BDGF always chimes in that we paid about half of what other contractors were asking and now I get to put our personal stamp on everything by finishing everything that still needs to be done!

I don't know about "get" to, but my foreseeable future is now building things to flesh out our renovated home. First it was this built in daybed for the littlest's room.



Yes I sang "Daybed...Ah Ah Ahhhhhhhh!" the entire time I was building this. Then we had to do something about the backyard, which was totally fucked.




This weekend I "get" to build the furniture for the adorable little screen room you see up there. Someday I will be able to rest. Someday.

Posted 3:28pm
permalink - comments

April 18th, 2019

Radio Gaga.

You may remember from two posts ago when we won another trivia tournament - this time the vaunted Quizzo Cup. Apparently part of our duties as reigning champions was this bit of publicity: The Quizzo Cast. Tune in to hear Lynn and I ramble about Tiger Woods, Tailgating and Black Holes. Actually we recorded for 90 minutes and they cut it down to 30, so I have no idea what's actually in there. Chances are I come of as a pompous clown, so worth checking out if that's your thing.

Posted 9:19am
permalink - comments

April 15th, 2019

The Spirit of Giving In.

Going back to where I grew up is weird. I suppose most people would refer to it as "going home" but that's not what that place is to me. I've been gone 25 years. My parents are dead. The house I grew up in is physically unrecognizable. I have two siblings that still live there but I have more of a relationship with several bartenders in Ann Arbor.

The older I get the less that any positive memories I have about the place mean to me. I obviously couldn't wait to leave and spent years being angry at my father for not getting me out of that podunk nowhere sooner. But I didn't go far enough away. Things kept pulling me back and so now I've been mad at myself for 20 years for not severing more ties sooner. Referring to going back as weird isn't accurate. It's mostly sad and depressing.

So guess what I had to do last week? My aforementioned dead parents have a scholarship at the community college where my mom started her education in her 40s, and once a year someone in the family has to go give it to a lucky recipient. This year was my turn in the barrel. So I put on my black and red velvet smoking jacket, an ascot and my black and white wing tips to try and appear what I assume in my little fantasies everyone in that town who remembers me thinks I look like - both to not disappoint and note that they're goddamn right.

Here's the thing though - the evening kind of melted my cold black heart. The college gave away over $650,000 that night to over 300 students. The stats they kept reeling off about their student body were impressive. I started to remember how much the place meant to my mother and a sense of pride started to creep in. When it turned out that this year's recipient of our scholarship was a woman also going back to school in her 40s, well I'm not made of stone.

I retract nothing from the first two paragraphs. Ann Arbor is my home and I have some version of the life I always wanted, it just turns out Napoleon and I are and were incompatible. I didn't get away cleanly, that's on me, and it was also probably not as bad as I remember. Hometown pride for my place of birth isn't coming anytime soon, but we're all adults here. We can just say it didn't work out. It was both of our faults. We can maybe just wish each other the best without needing to be each other's villains, and go on with our lives.

Posted 2:20pm
permalink - comments

March 18th, 2019

The Giant Check Collection


There are three trivia companies operating in SE Michigan that offer "league play" where over the course of a season, you compete against other trivia teams, culminating in a tournament where you can win cash and prizes. My experiences playing Sporcle and their league have been well documented here, and I've had the privilege of being a hired gun to play in the My Trivia Live tournament, which we won as well. So a few months ago I decided it was time to go for the triple crown and try and take down the Quizzo Cup, the last giant check I'd yet to win.

This one was a little different, as I would be operating as de facto Team Captain and trying to take down a league with just me and my friends. Spoiler alert: it worked. Since this is probably of little interest to anyone, here's just a few highlights for posterity:

- We managed to make the playoffs in the last spot (due to spotty attendance) but they failed to email us about the date. So we had to wildcard it into the finals, where we took down the previous years champs in the process.
- People thought we had coordinated our team outfits as 3 of the 4 of us were wearing jackets.
- We won the finals by one point. Most teams had 8 players, we were the first team in Quizzo history to win the championship with 4.
- We are now villains in another trivia league.

So that's that. I don't know how long this all will last. At what point does culture pass me by and I can't keep up anymore? When will I get bored by it? When does my inevitable cognitive decline come into play? All things come to pass, but now is ours to enjoy. Worrying and speculation are overrated. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Posted 11:44am
permalink - comments

February 25th, 2019

Clean living


We finally "moved in" to our new bathroom upstairs. I can brush my teeth 15 feet from where I sleep. I can pee in the middle of the night without potentially falling down the stairs. I haven't been this happy in months.

It will still be a while before I can say it was all worth it. For now, I'm enjoying it.

Posted 2:45pm
permalink - comments

February 1st, 2019


I've really wanted to write something, anything, for a week now to take my last post down from the top of the page. Maybe then people will overlook it and it will go unnoticed. Unfortunately I didn't get around to it before somebody left an anonymous comment about it that simply read "karma."

Comments on the site don't go live until I approve them. It's a pain but more importantly it's quality control. It keeps away bots and the occasional troll, the latter of which I've had very few of over the years. I've blocked like a dozen comments over our history because it was just people being mean and since I'm the big swinging dick around here and I don't want nor need that, I reserve the right to not post people being dicks.

The other feature of the comments is that it sorta works on the honor system. It simply asks for who you are and we all assume truthfulness. Blocked comments are generally people being cutesy with their name, which when it's a clever joke I've allowed in the past, but usually it's people being feckless assholes. But here's the thing about the internet people - anonymity doesn't really exist.

You'd think we'd all know that by now. You'd think on a site as tiny as mine people would know it's extra hard to hide. And were I to reveal who wrote this, your eyes would roll out of your head at the idea that this person wouldn't immediately understand that I know exactly who wrote it. But they posted it anyway.

Maybe I inferred a malice that wasn't there. I don't know what interpretation to make other than someone who thinks they're anonymous implying "Hey you're unhappy? You reap what you sow. Good." but I've been wrong before. My initial reaction, before I took the five minutes it takes to see who it was, was to just post my own comment about what a shitty thing to say to someone, fuck off and go away, but even before knowing the identity I decided not to.

Partly because why give them the time of day about this? Partly because why do I care? Partly because they are objectively wrong, partly because they're a little right. They can think whatever they want about me. They can think they "won" because it generated a response. They can go back to their little life of smug superiority. I've got bigger things to figure out as you can see from the post. But don't think you can come here of all places and get in your little dig anonymously. You are allowed to think my pathetic whining is a comeuppance, but you can't be chickenshit about it. You really should know how karma works. Sheesh.

Posted 2:45pm
permalink - comments

January 24th, 2019

Just fucking breathe...

I wrote a screed post-holidays about how much I fucking hate them. It was really bitter and angry and born of frustration and sadness. Luckily I was sober enough when I finished writing it that I had the sense not to post it.

I've done the same thing several times about the renovation on our house. Bitter, angry, frustrated, sad. It sucks to go home every day expecting to find something that's going to piss you off. But I shelved those too.

I'm angry and frustrated every day with the government and all of its stupid fucking racist, misogynist enablers. Bitterness and sadness are pervasive in my life because my son hasn't communicated with me for two years.

I swallow all of it that I can and then some more. Most of the time I can remember how lucky I am, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

At this point I just want it to be over. I don't care about vindication or justice. I'd let the entire Trump family fuck off to Saudi Arabia to never have hear from them again. I couldn't give a fuck what state they leave our house in if they'd just leave. If Siddhartha walked into my house acting like nothing ever happened, I'd probably just play along, happy for the silence to be over.

The truth is I have to live with all of this, most likely forever. I'll never enjoy the holidays again. When Trump is gone we'll still be left living amongst millions of emboldened racist hypocrites. Years from now if I manage to fix the bullshit at my house, I'll still remember the pain. And at this point, while I don't expect to have a relationship with my son again, if I ever do it'll be a hollow, untrusting one.

I know it's all whoa-is-me. Part of me feels stupid for writing it, but the rest feels like I have to say it. Out loud, to someone. That's all it is. I just want to write it down. Maybe someday I can come back and feel like an idiot for wallowing in self-pity (There's plenty of that in the archives). For now, just get it out and remember to breathe.

Posted 4:39pm
permalink - comments

January 17th, 2019

Kitten Kong is gonna get ya

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself an Anglophile, but I do love the Brits. Like most people my age I grew up on Monty Python and Benny Hill reruns on PBS, and I've been a fan of British comedy ever since. In the wonderful age of the internet, you can get up to speed on classics like Fawlty Towers as well as stay abreast of the best panel shows, from 8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown to Alan Carr Chatty Man. I've gone down the rabbit hole on all of them.

If there's anything else the internet can teach us, is that there's a plethora of ancient content that you never even knew existed. Some of it, is glorious. Years ago I found the genius British comedy Spaced which to this day may be one of my favorite shows of all time. One of it's creators went on to be one of my favorite filmakers, Edgar Wright, so naturally enough I take his cultural recomendations seriously. When he started posting gifs on twitter of a show called The Goodies, well I was taken aback that something I had never heard of looked so glorious.

And while I will be upfront and admit that so far I've only seen one episode so far, I'm still shocked that I had never so much as heard of it before, because more up my alley it could not be. So staying true to our mission statement here at, I offer for your approval the "Kitten Kong" episode of The Goodies. You're welcome.

Posted 10:04am
permalink - comments


This is me

Other stuff:
tbaggervance on instagram
We Are So Good at Football

The Archives:
2023 - 2022 - 2021
- 2020
2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016
- 2014 - 2013 - 2012
2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008
2007 - 2006 - 2005

2015 Movie List
2016 Movie List
2017 Movie List

2018 Movie List
2019 Movie List
2020 Movie List
2021 Movie List
2022 Movie List
2023 Movie List

The Essay Essays

Hamtramck Blowout '06
Notre Dame 2006
Put-in-Bay '06
My Very Own Stalker
PIB Photo Essay


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