Custom Search

December 28th, 2020

5 innocuous things that made me happy during the worst year of our collective lives

-I built stuff! I took all the money I usually spend at the bar and bought wood and tools, then took all the time I spent at bars and combined the two to make some neat stuff. I've been dabbling for a while but really used the extra time to go deeper. I don't know if I'm any good yet, but I learned a lot, had fun doing it, and got some cool stuff out of it. It's pretty well documented here, but here's some cutting boards I made for Christmas presents.

- I watched stuff! A couple of years ago I watched over 365 movies that I'd never seen before in one calendar year. As of writing this, I've watched 209 "new" movies and 183 I'd seen previously. I also watched every Netflix/Hulu/AppleTV/Amazon/HBO Max/Peacock show that was worth watching. I watched a 12 hour documentary on the history of film! I saw so much good stuff that outside of going to the movie theater as much as possible when that is possible, I feel like I can slow down a bit. Although I still have Bergman's Fanny and Alexander to watch. It's only 5 hours long.

- I had family times! The BDGF's oldest came home in May after her Americorps stint got shut down, and the youngest is off to college in the fall, so before we become empty nesters in 2021, we got some deep immersion therapy of family togetherness. And it wasn't terrible! I don't think we'll ever look back on these times fondly, but it was nice that we were forced to spend so much time together. It will probably make it a little easier to see them go, too.

- I occasionally made it out into the world! I know we were never supposed to leave the house except for groceries and never see anyone period, and I mostly did that. But we also had backyard movie nights. We saw my niece and nephew way more than we likely otherwise would have. We went to the UP. I made up a silly vending machine game at work. We went to the Drive-in and rented out an entire movie theater for our friends. Our in-person social interaction fell 95%, but it's been fun seeing my friends every Thursday for virtual poker.

- I've had the luckiest timing! I almost feel like an asshole for saying it, but this happened at a pretty good time. I haven't been stuck in an apartment for nine months. I still have a very reliable income. Our home renovation was completed in time and we're still using our heated screen room in December. God knows what would have become of me had this happened five or ten or twenty years ago. I likely would have bought a Playstation and slowly sunk into my couch until we became a single entity. So I'm grateful for whatever maturity and security I've obtained that saw me through this real shit pile of a year. Now let's all get vaccinated, go to the movies, waste time in a bar and go see some live music. We've earned it.

Posted 11:59am
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
November 12th, 2020

NSFW

We're all tired. We can be buoyed by removing Trump* but we're going on eight months of being in lockdown and it's gonna be an entire year before anything gets back to a minimum of breathing room. So you can still give yourself room to be exhausted even though there's nothing to do. Exasperated is an even better word. We all are prone to Covid brain. Time has no meaning.

So without naming names, let me share with you this image that was supposed to go out to in a lesson pack to elementary school students this week...

If you're playing "spot the egregious mistake" you might spend time staring at the wood bubble. But that's clean. Then you might get to the actual raccoon and think "Why is he stoned?" I even wondered if that raccoon is hiding a bong behind that book that's clearly photoshoped in. But if you're like me you buried the headline, because that raccoon has a visible dick and balls.

Thankfully this "error" was caught before it was sent to actual children, saving the embarrassment of an overworked teacher (which, for the record, was not the BDGF, although she is overworked like all of our teachers) who's just trying to get through this nightmare.

But the next time you're down and frazzled and ready to say fuck it and go eat indoors at a crowded restaurant, just picture the stoned raccoon with visible dick and balls. Breathe. Get ready to hunker down until spring.

*and still down that he's president for another 70 days and is going to be a baby for every one of them.

Posted 1:59pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
November 5th, 2020

I have never seen the General so despondent

So yesterday morning, in a malaise over the election results and lack of sleep and too much booze, I sat down and wrote the post below. Things got better over the course of the day (and continue to...) so I didn't put it up. Now that I am feeling somewhat OK with things, I read it again and decided why not? I think it's still accurate without actually saying anything? Something like that. We know more now (good) but still don't know much (bad) and that's kinda what this is. I think.

In my twenties, I once sat on an island in Lake Erie, talking with the people I went to high school with, trying to convince them that evolution by natural selection was real. I wasn't successful.  I was told that my friend's wife, a junior high biology teacher, knew more about the subject than I did and she didn't believe we came from monkeys. So there.

It took me another 10 years to stop attending that annual trip. I'm trying to make sense of what happened yesterday and I keep coming back to that story. I couldn't convince a group of supposedly educated people of basic facts and yet I kept going back. I thought it was noble? I liked these people otherwise and thought I could eventually "win" the argument because I had a better command of the facts.

In 2008 I was at a bachelor party, trying to convince the same people to vote for Obama. My best friend sat there and argued against me by spouting lies and giggling along the way, because he knew he was being disingenuous. In 2012 another "friend" sent me a picture of a racist Obama T-shirt he had just bought and told me he was voting Romney to spite me. In 2017 I explained how Trump was a racist and misogynist to yet another classmate and he said "I don't know if that's true" and then asked me to explain single payer health care.

The point isn't that the place I grew up is racist and stupid. Or that America is. I knew that before I moved to Ann Arbor. It's why I moved to Ann Arbor.The point isn't I'm stupid for trying. I'm not ready to completely stop trying, even though the universe is increasingly telling me it's asinine to do so. The point isn't we all should have seen this coming, even though we should have. 

I don't know what the point is. There is no point? I just don't know what's next.  I've run from ignorance and tried to confront bigotry, but we're surrounded. I'm insulated as best I can be, but I'm sitting here typing this and I feel like garbage. If I could move to Canada I would. I could quit more social media but engaging with less people seems like the wrong move when I can't even go to the bar. I apparently hinged my mental well being on last night being a strong rebuke of the ignorance and the hatred and well, it wasn't that. Making peace with whatever happens next is apparently what happens next.  I guess I'm left with imagining Trump broke and in jail. That's still on the table, and that's not nothing? I just don't know if it's enough. 

Posted 11:53am
permalink - comments (2)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 9th, 2020

Au revoir, vieil ami

The nightstand that sits next to my bed has done so since the 1980s. I built it in shop class in junior high and I've used it every day since. It's certainly the oldest thing I own that I see and interact with every day. The old girl you see above was, until recently, in second place.

It's strange that I've had such a love affair with this couch given its origins. I ended up with it after the demise of a previous relationship. She got the brand new couch we had just purchased together, I got this antique that came from her parents' house. She obviously doesn't like me very much, her parents even less so, but boy oh boy do I love that couch.

I mean look at her, in all of her beauty. Long, low and velvety, I always imagined her as a relic from an opium den. And that's not even the best part, because boy is she comfortable. Four across? You got it. Six foot four and need a nap? Stretch out big boy. I imagine half the people reading this can attest to how great a nap couch she was. Even after I had to take her apart to replace broken parts several times over the years, she seemed to be able to lull you right to sleep, and you'd wake up feeling fresh as a daisy.

For a decade she was the center of my living space. Every picture taken of my place in the 2000s prominently features her soft, cushy visage. I had a lot of good times on that couch. When I moved in with the BDGF, she was relegated to a corner of the basement, where she was sadly mostly used as a place to set things, not people. Unfortunately, the BDGF was not a fan. Maybe she saw it as the couch of a single guy, or she just didn't dig her vibes.

When we decided to remodel the basement, I knew she wasn't going to be long for this world. It was along time coming, and while I would have likely coordinated the entire room to feature her as a centerpiece, the BDGF had other ideas.

So a new, younger model has replaced her. She's shiny and firm and I've already taken a nap on her. It was fine. After lovingly anthropomorphizing a couch for 400 words, I feel a little weird telling you that I skinned all of the fabric off and I'm going to make a jacket out of it. It'll be thick and heavy and neigh unwearable, but I want to keep the memory alive - of when I was young and funky and interesting things were happening all the time. That couch bore witness, and I'll always be grateful that she was part of my life.

Posted 1:59pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 5th, 2020

Podcast famous

My old podcast We Are So Good at Football died an ignominious death, at least in the sense that after many years of entertaining and informing folks, it just kind of went away. I genuinely miss certain parts of it. I miss getting to hang out with Stov on a weekly basis during football season, and I miss the weird creative outlet it provided.

Like most podcasts, We Are So Good at Football was just a couple of old white guys rambling with little to no preparation. That part was fun. Just hanging out and trying to make your friend laugh may be my literal favorite thing. But I was actually proud of the production bits. When we found time and inspiration, we wrote and recorded jingles and song parodies that were ocassionally pretty damn funny. Plus it was a skill set that I had to learn how to do, which again was fun to lean and made me proud when I pulled something off to my satisfaction.

Those skills have been dormant since the death of WASGAF. Until last week anyway.

I've been a big fan of Never Not Funny for years. Jimmy Pardo is one of my favorite comedians, and in the great podcasting tradition, listening to a cast of "characters" hanging out every week is very comforting. After years of listening, you start to feel like you're part of a community, even though there's little interaction on my part. Again, until last week.

Never Not Funny has myriad recurring segments, each with its own theme song. They're generally song parodies of 80's hits, created by fans of the show. So two weeks ago, when they went into their weekly bit where Jimmy's son Oliver writes a trivia question that they all attempt to answer it, Jimmy noted that there was no theme song for the segment, and my Spidey sense started tingling.

So I went to work on something that seemed almost too obvious to me. I dusted off my recording skills and the ol' Elvis Costello karaoke impression, submitted my ditty and a week later, heard this:

 

I want to thank Jimmy, Matt, Eliot and Garon for playing the song and being incredibly kind about it. It also goes without saying that I recommend listening to the entire episode of the show, as well as becomming a subscriber to NNF every week. Who knows? Maybe inspiration will strike and I'll make it back on the show someday. Turns out that I have a certain set of skills, and it'd be a shame to just let them sit idle.

Posted 1:59pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
September 21st , 2020

Do You Remember?

Celebrating Earth, Wind & Fire and @electrolemon. Happy September 21. If you can, donate.

 

Posted 1:59pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
September 1st , 2020

Assessing my return on investment

Half a lifetime ago, I graduated from The University of Michigan. It wasn't easy. My mother begged me not to go, specifically because of the cost. Then I became a father after my freshman year and everyone told me I had to transfer to a school closer to home. For better or worse, I decided to go despite my mother's wishes, knowing that I had to foot the bill myself, and decided to stay because if my circumstances meant I was going to have to give a up a lot of things, Michigan was going to be the one thing I kept.

That's probably why I love the place so much. I sacrificed a lot to come here and stay here, so it HAS to have been worth it. Right? I'm happy or delusional enough to say it's a decision I have zero regrets about. Yes, I could have gotten an almost free education that certainly would have prepared me for my job just as well, but I came here for this education and the town and the people, and I'm happy to announce that the bank no longer owns my degree.

After another half a lifetime, my college loans are now paid in full. Only took 22 years. Even back in the dark days, when I was a single dad trying to maintain a two bedroom apartment for me and my son while paying off an avalanche of loans, I never questioned my decision. It was just something I had to do. And now I own it.

In our current environment, there's a lot of questioning of higher education and the costs associated with it. Most of that questioning and the arguments against how the system is laid out have merit, and if they forgave everyone's loans tomorrow I'd be fine with it, because even if I didn't benefit from that, I know how much so many people would, and quality higher education is always a good investment. But I like my story. I made it and take great pride in it, even if the logic behind all of it fails to hold up to scrutiny. I'm a Wolverine, and that shit is paid for.

Posted 1:59pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
August 24th, 2020

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

- How are you doing? Staying sane? It's rough out there, when you're only out there is your home. We're trudging along, and students are moving back into town now, and the girls in my house are starting "school" soon, so shit is about to get weird. One thing that definitely lifts my spirits these days is the new album by The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers. Kiwi power pop that can buoy you through one of these particularly tough days.

- We haven't been to Montreal in nine (NINE!) months, which is the longest we've been away in over 5 years. Montréal me manque. We tried to sooth that by going even farther north to the U.P., but while things up there have French names, it's not the same. And by U.P. I mean we crossed the bridge to say we did and then spent our time in Mackinac, which is covered in horse shit and too many people who weren't wearing masks.

- While UP north, the BDGF and her eldest went parasailing, while the youngest and I watched from a nearby park. I can across this info plaque and I immediately thought "Well that explains how far we've fallen pretty succinctly."

- As a real heart-on-my-sleeve liberal, I loved the Democratic National Convention. That stuff gets to me in an all-the-feels way. The big speeches were great, and I thought they knocked it out of the park with the role call and the videos and especially this. I mean come. ON. Don't get me wrong, the next four months are going to be a post-apocalyptic hellscape, but we can still enjoy Bannon being arrested while we work to make sure we all vote and get every idiot we know without their shit together to do the same.

- Of course I've still been building my tight little buns off. Most of this stuff is for our newly renovated basement, but more on that later. Apparently this isn't going to be over anytime soon, so thankfully there's still stuff to "fix" around the ol' homestead.

 

Posted 1:27pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
June 19th, 2020

#vendquest

Near the beginning of quarantine or safer at home or what have you, I took a picture and posted it to instagram. Now let me be clear, I don't post things looking for likes or to actually engage with the few people who follow me. I'm on there to see pictures of friends, post pictures of things I'm making (strictly for my own edification) and OCCASSIONALLY something I find funny or I can make a pun about (OK and some cat pics). I'm sure at some point someone has said to me "Oh I saw your post on instagram!" but I couldn't tell you in reference to what. Until there was #vendquest .

Two months ago I posted this picture of the vending machine outside my office.

I knew it was going to be months before our building saw actual activity, either in people to consume the contents of the machine or an actual delivery person to refill it. So I thought it would be interesting to see how long the nasty snacks would last, and then immediately thought well it's up to me to eat those nasty snacks. But to be honest, I posted it and kind of forgot about it.

But then something happened that had never really happened in my history of being on instagram: people started asking me about it. Which is doubly weird, since I wasn't really seeing people to talk to them. But anyone I came into (virtual) contact with, it was the first thing they asked me about. Hence #vendquest was born, with this post a month later.

A bunch of stuff was gone that I didn't eat! I started to think I might be able to do this without eating beef jerky, which made it a thousand times more plausible. Then I came back and even MORE jerky lovers paid a visit to the machine.

I was WFH for a week, but got called in on Friday for a meeting, and shit got real. We had whittled that thing down to four items, and #vendquest became a fait accompli.

Given our "interesting times" and people's interest, I decided to see if I could do something good with our little trifle of a game. I offered to send anyone anything from #vendquest for any amount of money. I'd also match their sum and donate it to the NAACP legal defense fund. My great friends the Jesuses immediately chipped in to buy ALL of the KIND bars and half the gum, leaving us here.

I figured we had until end of the week, because there's was no way I was going to chance someone coming in and restocking the machine while I was working from home the following week. I didn't know if there'd be any response to my insta offer, but the first salvo dried up after the original burst. Again just to be safe, I bought up all the gum and mints. There was a lot of gum. That got us down to just whatever these things are.

Egg whites, almonds, cashews and dates? I say good day sir to all of these contents, much less mixing them all together in bar form. But with three items left, I figured one more post on behalf of #vendquest and the NAACP, and it worked! More money poured in, which the financial masochist in me decided that it meant one more post.

My only regret here was that I mistakenly titled this "Nobody Panic!" instead of "Don't Panic," so apologies to the late Douglas Adams. Anyway people fell for the head fake, and someone asked to open this up to their friends, which at this point I had to say yes to, as I commit to the bit. In the end...

WE DID IT! This is definitely the weirdest thing I've been involved in in some time. It was super fun and most importantly, I got to send a donation to the NAACP for $300. If you missed out, you can still donate to the NAACP legal defense fund, or any of these charities that are partnered with Black Lives Matter. Contact me and let me know you did, and I'll send you a #vendquest treat. Or buy you a beer, draw you a picture, write you a song ... whatever you'd like as a thank you.

Thanks to everyone who followed along, doubly so to those who donated. Your prizes are in the mail. I love you all, stay safe.

Posted 9:44am
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
June 3rd, 2020

Creationist

So the world is on fire. I have a million feelings about it but nothing really to say. At least nothing you haven't heard from myriad perspectives. As a rapidly aging cis-gendered white man, no one really needs to hear from me. There's so many more important voices out there, so I'm just trying to listen. Listen, amplify, support. Be on the right side. Try to do the right things, even when they are hard.

That said, how's everybody doing? I decided to build my way out of quarantine. I've always had a need to create. It keeps me sane. That's taken many forms over the years (see this blog that's been existing for 15+ years) and now it's woodworking. It's going well enough for it to be my current retirement plan. We'll see how long that lasts, but here's what I've done while quarantined like everyone else.

This is a wooden orrery I made for the BDGF's birthday. It doesn't work very well, but I promised to give it another try to fix the mechanics.

Here's a Death Star table replete with cup holder. I made this out of scrap wood so now I have to re-build it out of cedar so it can successfully live outside.

Here's a bench! It's entirely too long, but I kind of love that about it now. It's ridiculous. This took forever and wasn't a lot of fun, because sanding and sealing sucks. But I think it'll be around for along time, which makes me happy.

This was my first commission! I made this potting bench in exchange for a case of Bells. It was quick and easy and I would totally do it again.

This is just a little bathtub desk I made for Mother's Day. It's pretty and really warms up the bathroom.

These are even prettier cedar planters. "These" because I'm building its twin right now to go on the other side of our steps. They might be the first things I've made where I was like "I bet they would be pretty expensive if I saw them in a store."

This is a Pikachu. And a niece and nephew. None of them are made of wood, but I made this for Abe's birthday. I think he liked it.

I miss lying on the couch all day on a Saturday. But this is better. For now.

Posted 1:59pm
permalink - comments (2)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 14th, 2020

Let us practice our civic duty

Ann Arbor's free monthly (one of 'em, anyway) has just announced their nominees for the Best of Washtenaw County 2020. Through hard work, diligence and overwhelming popularity, my little trivia night at Mash has been nominated.

OK so it's a little weird to go online and vote for a bunch of stuff that you can't experience at the moment. I guess my rebuttal is what else are you doing? Come bask in the memories of the world that was! Plus it would be really cool if our night somehow won. I mean, I totally expect to lose to the Tiny Lions Cat Cafe, because kittens rule the internet, but maybe runner-up or miss congeniality?

Anyway, please vote for "Geeks Who Drink @ Mash" here. You can even bookmark it and vote once every day! Practice your low stakes voting now to gear up for November when it matters, because otherwise we're completely fucked. Stay safe.

Posted 1:59pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 4th, 2020

Accelerated Timelines

It goes without saying that everything sucks. The world is drastically different than anything we've ever known and we have NO idea what it'll look like five months or five years from now. I have true empathy for any and every one facing true anxiety about what happens next. TOMORROW. From front line to furloughed workers, my heart goes out to you.

Before all this went down, I was planning on celebrating today as SEVEN YEARS TO RETIREMENT DAY, as that is what the University of Michigan tells me is possible. It's weird as I never imagined I'd be able to retire. Not financially viable or I'd just be dead before I got there, plus "retire" is a relative thing. It's not like I can completely stop working at 51. Also I feel like I'm still young (kinda true?) but that I've been working forever (not literally but mostly true?) Anyway, technically I can retire seven years from today.

Celebrating is strange word for these times, but the day is prescient because this sort of feels like a dress rehearsal? We are finding out what life is like when you have all the time in the world and what we'd do with it. This is a worse version (obv.) as there's less to do at the moment, but I like making things and fixing things so, so far so good. A few weeks of puttering around the house are like falling out of a boat and hitting water for me.

Of course we must consider that most of the things I'm doing are being financed by my continued steady income. And the truth is, I fell into my job twenty plus years ago because I needed health insurance for my child, and stayed there because it was easy and the hours were felxible. (Also because I am lazy.) Turns out that dumb luck seriously paid off, as the world is on fire and that luck means I have income and insurance and thanks to the BDGF, a house. If this situation happened 15 years ago, I'd be seriously fucked.

So I can retire in seven years. Again, not really. We'll still have five years left to pay off the house after that (which means serious income) and still, I'll have to work to afford our "lavish" lifestyle. But as I sit here with nothing else to do, it's a fun notion to entertain. I feel like I could do it. Maybe I'll get to someday. Let that sustain my sanity for the next few weeks. Practice makes perfect.

Posted 3:39pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
March 23rd, 2020

So you've been quarantined...

I haven't been to a bar in a week. A WEEK! Without independant verification, that's gotta be a personal best for at least the last 20 years. This is of course for the greater good. As an "essential" service providor, I'm back and forth into work as needed, but there's also an avalanche of downtime in which we need to distract ourselves and try to maintain sanity.

SO! here are some things to watch, to listen, to play, etc. in an attempt to not murder your family as you self isolate/social distance/quarantine yourself over the next god knows however long.

To Watch! This might be tough. However, popular consensus over the last few years has been that there's TOO much TV and no one can possibly watch all of it. Those hot takes now over, where to start? Here's mostly feel good stuff from the popular sources:
- Letterkenny on HULU Rural Canadian word play and great characters that gets better over time. Worth it if you've ever spent time in the midwest, which is basically Ontario too.
- Schitt's Creek on Netflix The BDGF's favorite show. Takes a bit to get going, but once it finds its feet in season 2, it becomes perhaps the best sitcom of the last five years. No Schitt.
- Fleabag on Amazon Perhaps you've heard? If you're the moron who has put this off, don't start it too late in the evening because you are almost guaranteed to blow through both seasons tout suite.
- Taskmaster on YouTube Part game show, part British panel show, comedians compete in weird and elaborate tasks. Great for hip teens too.

To Listen! Music, podcasts, Audiobooks? I find these soothing:
- Never Not Funny Jimmy Pardo hosts one of the longest running podcasts on the internet. Patient zero for a bunch of friends hanging out with no agenda podcasts, which is weirdly a genre.
- Bullseye with Jesse Thorn Hybrid NPR/Maximum Fun! show, it's probably my favorite interview show out there. Much more interesting than WTF (which I also listen to, but Jesse Thorn is a superior interviewer with more eclectic guests.)
- Vampire Weekend Father of the Bride was the best album of last year. I know you've heard VW before, but check out this album if you slept on it. It's a masterpiece.
- Kate Bollinger Go buy her I Don't Wanna Lose EP. It's calming and wonderful

To Play! I go through trvia withdrawls, so...
- Sporcle We have problems with many of things Sporcle does, but it's still part of the routine. Our Thursday night host is doing a round everynight on FaceBook at 7pm EST. If you want to tune in and play against me for a friendly wager, do let me know.
- Geeks Who Drink MY company is going live on Tuesdays at 10 EST with an "official" quiz. Hard core trivia nerds only.

OK. That'll get you through the next 36 hours or so. After that, stream all the Star Wars or Harry Potter or likely, both plus the Marvel films. Stay home. Stay safe. I love you all. XOXO.

Posted 4:40pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
February 17th, 2020

Vote for Me!

I don't know that I've ever campaigned for anything before. The one time I was elected was as president of my senior class in high school. I put up no flyers and showed up on election day wearing a Metallica t-shirt, having prepared nothing to say before speaking in front of the entire electorate. I suppose it was like running as a Republican in Mississippi.

But Now! After recently conquering the quadfecta of winning all of the state-wide trivia contests in Michigan, I figure I'll try my luck at the other side of things by throwing my hat in the ring for Best Trivia Night in Ann Arbor.

First off, all candidates must ask themselves "Am I worthy of this honor I am attempting to win?" While even I haven't been to every trivia night in town, we're at least in the top five. Geeks Who Drink has the best format and I'm certainly as fun and knowledgeable a host as anyone else. So why not me?

First thing first, and that's getting nominated. It's just a popularity contest, so go here and nominate "Geeks Who Drink @ Mash" for BEST TRIVIA NIGHT. If you do, you'll get the opportunity to be hounded by me for two months as I shill for votes across all of the internet and social media, until I eventually lose to the Tiny Lions Cat Cafe, because I can't beat a trivia night played with a bunch of kittens.

Posted 3:39pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
February 7th, 2020

OscarQuest 2020

Back when I was a more reasonable person I prided myself on seeing all of the films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars each year. Then with the rise of streaming and the fact that the Michigan Theater bundles all of the nominated shorts for easy viewing at the cinema, I decided to jump in and make an effort to see every nominated film. Thanks to my friends at TheGoldKnight.com, tracking my progress has been made a crap ton easier.

And thanks to a last minute reprieve from the internet, I'm happy to announce that OscarQuest 2020 has been a success! I saw the five live action shorts last night to round out the list. Yes the Oscars are problematic and don't necessarily reflect the best films of the year, but I've come to enjoy the process and the broadening of my film knowledge that's come with it.

There are many nominations that are asinine. There's one film (Apollo 11) that's far and away the best film of the year in its category and it didn't even get nominated. But setting aside Joker's 11 nominations and the rage it stirs within me, here are my will win/should win for each category, because I bothered to watch all of 'em, I might as well render an opinion:

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood
Parasite

Best Director

Martin Scorsese - The Irishman
Todd Phillips - Joker
Sam Mendes - 1917
Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho - Parasite

Leading Actor

Antonio Banderas - Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio - Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood
Adam Driver - Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix - Joker
Jonathan Pryce - The Two Popes

Leading Actress

Cynthia Erivo - Harriet
Scarlett Johansson - Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan - Little Women
Charlize Theron - Bombshell
Renee Zellweger - Judy

Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins - The Two Popes
Al Pacino - The Irishman
Joe Pesci - The Irishman
Brad Pitt - Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood

Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates - Richard Jewell
Laura Dern - Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson - Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh - Little Women
Margot Robbie - Bombshell

Original Screenplay

Knives Out - Rian Johnson
Marriage Story - Noah Baumbach
1917 - Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood - Quentin Tarantino
Parasite - Bong Joon Ho & Han Jin Won

Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman - Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit - Taika Waititi
Joker - Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
Little Women - Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes - Anthony McCarten

International Feature Film

Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Miserables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)

Costume Design

The Irishman - Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
Jojo Rabbit - Mayes C. Rubeo
Joker - Mark Bridges
Little Women - Jacqueline Durran
Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood - Arianne Phillips

Production Design

The Irishman - Bob Shaw & Regina Graves
Jojo Rabbit - Ra Vincent & Nora Sopkova
1917 - Dennis Gassner & Lee Sandales
Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood - Barbara Ling & Nancy Haigh
Parasite - Lee Ha Jun & Cho Won Woo

Makeup & Hairstyling

Bombshell - Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan & Vivian Baker
Joker - Nicki Ledermann & Kay Georgiou
Judy - Jeremy Woodhead
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil - Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten & David White
1917 - Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis & Rebecca Cole

Cinematography

The Irishman - Rodrigo Prieto
Joker - Lawrence Sher
The Lighthouse - Jarin Blaschke
1917 - Roger Deakins
Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood - Robert Richardson

Film Editing

Ford v Ferrari - Michael McCusker & Andrew Buckland
The Irishman - Thelma Schoonmaker
Jojo Rabbit - Tom Eagles
Joker - Jeff Groth
Parasite - Yang Jinmo

Visual Effects

Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Original Score

Joker - Hildur Gudnadottir
Little Women - Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story - Randy Newman
1917 - Thomas Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - John Williams

Original Song

"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" - Toy Story 4 (Randy Newman)
"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" - Rocketman (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)
"I'm Standing With You" - Breakthrough (Diane Warren)
"Into the Unknown" - Frozen II (Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez)
"Stand Up" - Harriet (Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo)

Animated Feature

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Documentary Feature

American Factory - Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert & Jeff Reichert
The Cave - Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod & Sigrid Dyekjaer
The Edge of Democracy - Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris & Tiago Pavan
For Sama - Waad Al-Kateab & Edward Watts
Honeyland - Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska & Atanas Georgiev

Animated Short

Dcera (Daughter) - Daria Kashcheeva
Hair Love - Matthew A. Cherry & Karen Rupert Toliver
Kitbull - Rosana Sullivan & Kathryn Hendrickson
Memorable - Bruno Collet & Jean-Francois Le Corre
Sister - Siqi Song

Documentary Short

In The Absence - Yi Seung-Jun & Gary Byung-Seok Kam
Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl) - Carol Dysinger & Elena Andreicheva
Life Overtakes Me - John Haptas & Kristine Samuelson
St. Louis Superman - Smriti Mundhra & Sami Khan
Walk Run Cha-Cha - Laura Nix & Colette Sandstedt

Live Action Short

Brotherhood - Meryam Joobeur & Maria Gracia Turgeon
Nefta Football Club - Yves Piat & Damien Megherbi
The Neighbors’ Window - Marshall Curry
Saria - Bryan Buckley & Matt Lefebvre
A Sister - Delphine Girard

Sound Editing

Ford v Ferrari - Donald Sylvester
Joker - Alan Robert Murray
1917 - Oliver Tarney & Rachael Tate
Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood - Wylie Stateman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Matthew Wood & David Acord

Sound Mixing

Ad Astra - Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson & Mark Ulano
Ford v Ferrari - Paul Massey, David Giammarco & Steven A. Morrow
Joker - Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic & Tod Maitland
1917 - Mark Taylor & Stuart Wilson
Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood - Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler & Mark Ulano

Posted 10:40am
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
February 5th, 2020

I wish I knew know how to quit you

I've thought about LJV more times than I care to admit in the last three years. For those unfamiliar, LJV was a frequent commenter on tbaggervance.com back in the day. A self-proclaimed Libertarian, friend of my father and high school coach and gym teacher, he thought it was fun to come on here and "argue" politics with me. He eventually got himself banned for being a rampant misogynist.

He enters my thoughts because I still get angry at myself for entertaining him for as long and as much as I did. I'm writing this now because last night Rush Fucking Limbaugh got the presidential medal of freedom, and I was reminded how Rush called a Georgetown undergrad a "slut" for wanting birth control covered by her insurance. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but that's what got LJV banned. He referred to that same woman as complaining about not getting her "fuck medicine". What an asshole.

It's myself I'm angry at. Of course I'll always be mad at my parent's for raising me in a town where that fucking utter moron is what passes for an intellectual, but I'm the one who continued to engage him. I listened to his faux arguments about climate change and how it's not anthropogenic. How the Tea Party wasn't racist. How LGBTQ+ people didn't need protections. About how we already won Roe v. Wade and should shut up about it.

I knew they were all bullshit at the time. I came at him with facts and he came back at me with logic so specious it made Ayn Rand blush in her grave, and then I'd call him a fuckwit and move on. I mean, he wanted to me to get upset and name call him, so it was just trolling before it had that name. Anyway I booted him for being a horrible human being that lacked empathy, but I should have never engaged him and certainly not for as long as I did, as he was literally wrong about everything.

I suppose there's an argument about engagement to be had. You know how it goes so I'll skip it. I prefer the Maya Angelou ideal: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." Take that with the old Proverb of being known by the company you keep and think how it applies to you. AND think about what it says about those around you. Tell me how someone who voted for Trump hasn't aligned themselves with racism and misogyny and then tell me what it says about you to continue to look the other way.

I quit facebook forever ago and you should too. You'll feel better about yourself and the world. I don't really talk to my older siblings anymore because one for sure voted for Trump and the husband of the other spent his time being a bigot on social media. Bigots and racists and misogynists don't deserve your time or your energy. Even if they're related to you or were friends with your dad.

Posted 4:00pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 22nd, 2020

Headhunted

Every once in a while a trivia team is looking to bolster their chances in a trivia tournament and I get called in like the mercenary I am to try and bring home so of that sweet sweet trivia cash. Every once in a while it works out.

By my count, I've now won every regular trivia league championship in the state of Michigan. We had to drive 2 hours through horrid conditions to get there, but it turned out to be worth the trip. It was a bunch of older gentlemen this time, so we didn't even have to take a team photo. You can just trust me that we won. And if you need trivia expertise for a cash tournament that I'm not already competing in, consider me Tyler: For Hire.

- As long as we're doing trivia brags, our regular Sporcle team What the Shibboleth? gets a shout out on the Trivia Hangover Podcast. It sounds like it's hosted by a low rent Crazy Ira and the Douche so I can't say that I would recommend you listen to it, but for posterity, I can confirm that we were mentioned. Trivia! A little money and the lowest amount of fame possible. Be jealous.

Posted 10:40am
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 8th, 2020

Twenty Twen-Twen Twenty!

Is this the greatest song ever recorded? I can't stop listening. Help.

 

Posted 02:37pm
permalink - comments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------







This is me


Other stuff:
2021 Movie List
tbaggervance RSS feed
tbaggervance on twitter
tbaggervance on instagram

 

The Archives:
2019
2018

2017
2016

2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005

Uncle t-bags Podcast
Musée d'tbaggervance
Marquee pics

Brewery pics
Studybots!

2015 Movie List
2016 Movie List
2017 Movie List

2018 Movie List
2019 Movie List
2020 Movie List

The Essay Essays
Southern accents.
This is for the people of the sun...
Budget Boozehounding
Hamtramck Blowout '06
Notre Dame 2006
Put-in-Bay '06
My Very Own Stalker
PIB Photo Essay
Cubs AC pics

 

 

 
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.