Monday, September 24, 2007
If you ever want to feel your age, try partying all night at a friend's bachelor party after you've settled down, had kids, inherited actual job responsibilities and turned 40.
The results aren't pretty.
First things first. The bachelor party was a rousing success with cigars, many many many beers, various shots of hard liquor, strippers (not for me as you'll see), gambling, me being accosted by Foxwoods security people, and an extremely long ride back with too many cigarettes being smoked around me.
Things actually started for me around noon when I headed out to pick up beer, ice, cold cuts, and various other supplies for the cookout. Brother of the groom picked up meats from Butcher Boy. Marinated Italian chicken, BBQ chicken tips, ribs and some of the best steak tips I've ever had. People arrived around 3pm and we had a great time eating at the BBQ pit.
After we ate, I offered cigars around to whoever wanted them and we mellowed out in beautiful weather until bachelor's fiancee showed up (told ya!) with a boob cake. Two large tits on it with 'Breast Wishes' in frosting. Whatever. We were so full from the meat we grilled up that nobody wanted any. A lot of the guys at the cookout are part of our fantasy football league so the conversation eventually turned to who got screwed and how great some player has been doing.
It was basically what you would expect from a bunch of guys hanging out at a cookout. Good times. Unfortunately, we had to pile into a van and head down to Foxwoods. Besides already gaining two guys that weren't even invited, we learned at the last minute we were picking up two more on the trip down. So, we stopped at some Joe's along 95 to pick up Steve's work buddies and headed on down the road. It was all good, so far. I was feeling good, having laughs...
..and then we got to the casino. Here's the thing about hitting a casino with 15 guys: when you get to the casino, everyone heads in their own direction. Some guys want to get into a poker game, others head to Blackjack tables, some head to the food line, others head to the slots and still others head to the sports bar to bet on games.
Here's what I did: Hit the BJ tables for a bit and lost about $150 in 30 minutes. I fucking hate blackjack. It's evil. I then hit some slots for a bit and won $75. Cashed that in and hit the roulette table lost $50, then hit on 40 (my age, if you're wondering) to almost break even. My chip wasn't just on 40, but one of the corners. Wound up losing $40 on the night, which wasn't bad. After that I was done. Went to the sports bar to watch the Sox rally in the ninth. Or at least I thought I had watched them. I know I sat down and saw Lugo's homerun, but next thing I know my foot was being kicked by some asshole security guard. Yup, I fell asleep. I would tell you what time, but Foxwoods doesn't like you knowing the time so they don't put clocks anywhere. My cell told me it was after midnight, but it felt a lot later than that.
Anyway, I open my eyes to find two Foxwoods security people staring down at me. 'What?' I ask and they say nothing. They just walk away relieved they didn't have a dead guy to deal with. That was nice of them. As I'm attempting to get my ass up, my buddy (groom to be) appears in the seat next to me, laughing his ass off. 'Dude, I was sitting across the room and thought 'that guy is out cold', then realized it was you while the guards were kicking you'.
So me and buddy chatted for a bit (he lost $300 at the blackjack tables) and as I'm telling him we should get going I look over and he is sound asleep. Us 40 year old's need our sleep. I let him sleep for a bit and wander around looking for the rest of our motley crew, fail and finally swing back around, wake him up and head for the exit. As we're wandering, trying to find people, his cell goes off and it turns out they've been looking for us. We meet at the main exit and head out.
Here I'm thinking we're going home. Foxy Lady has already been dismissed as an option because it's too far a drive. So we're driving around (and I'm falling asleep again), when suddenly we pull a 180 and pull up next to a place called 'Cheaters'. Yes, a strip club. Groom to be looks up and says 'Fuck no! I've been here before and it's nasty!' This really doesn't deter the rest of the group, but I know my buddy and if he says it's nasty, it has to be bad. So rather then joining the group of drunken idiots, my buddy, me and two of his working buddies (who have also been there and want no part of entering) stay in the van. Not sure how long the rest were gone, but I know I laid down for just a minute before everyone was piling back into the van. That's right. I fell asleep rather than going into a scuzzy strip joint. Told you I was old.
Anyway, turns out not going in was a great move as the idiot brother of the groom decided to get a lap dance from one of the strippers, but was drunk enough that he forgot he had no money to pay for it. He was then followed around the club by the irate stripper demanding her money until his cousin paid her off. I was also told that as they were walking up to the door to get in, the bouncer had some guy by the throat and was literally throwing him out of the place. All things considered, I'm glad I slept through it.
After that I had to sit next to idiot, drunken brother of groom who constantly smoked a cigarette the entire ride and almost set his cousin on fire when he dropped a lit one into his lap. Plus he kept shaking my hand telling me what a great job I did with organizing the party. Had to have been at least three times. This did lead to a great rant by the groom's other brother on why the youngest and drunkest was so fucked up. 'The problem is you came out with a full sized brain at birth. This means it never grew along with the rest of you. So as your head bobbled along during childhood, the rest of your body took all the nutrients your brain needed to develop. It explains your mild retardation.' His brother looks at him with half closed eyes, then at me chuckling and slurs 'I don't get what you're saying', which led to me and other brother laughing hysterically for a solid 20 minutes.
The rest of the trip was uneventful as most of our crew wound up falling asleep. I did have to drive idiot, drunken brother home, but he was half asleep, which meant he stopped talking at least.
Bottom line: Good time seemed to be had by all. Have some good stories. Overall I think I would have just preferred staying at the cookout or just bouncing different bars in the area and, possibly a higher class strip joint than going to Foxwoods. The highlight was eating great food and shooting the shit with guys I hadn't seen in a while.
Money Tally: With the van rental, food, booze, and gambling I probably went through $600. Some was recuperated with contributions from the boys. Figure $480-$500.
Booze Tally: I told groom to be that I wanted to keep track of what I drank. My record is 22 beers, however, that was one time I managed to track them by stacking the empties next to my chair. My actual consumption total I'm betting is way more than that. Anyway, lost track at 10 beers, plus had a shot of Southern Comfort, a shot of Jagermeister (which tasted like cough syrup) and a Kamikazee at Joe's.
Hangover Tally: Surprisingly none. Although I got home at 4am and was awoken by seven year old at 7am and had to clean out and return rental van by 10am. Not so much hungover as completely exhausted.
Conclusion: I am way to old to be doing this.
That's it from the Beach. I'm heading to Chicago for the rest of the week and things look to be hectic. Will try to post when I can.
Today's distraction: Some Bachelor Party ideas. I really like the Frisbee Football one and wish we had done something similar. I'll be honest, I don't get the whole body shot thing. Why make doing a shot complicated? You want to do a shot, then toast and down it.
Friday, September 21, 2007
How about either of the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' sequels? Or the insulting 'Meet the Fockers', which still makes me angry when I think of the time I wasted watching it. Hollywood is quickly becoming a black hole of original ideas. As one screenwriter once said 'Hollywood is where great ideas go to die'. Not sure who said this, but it was probably the guy that wrote 'Showgirls'.
Never has the creative bankruptcy been more evident to me than this past week. I rented two movies for my business trip that I knew my wife wouldn't want to see. Namely, two violent movies from Korea. The first was called 'Lady Vengeance' which is the third in director Chan Wook Park's Vengeance Trilogy. The first being 'Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance' and the second being 'Oldboy'.
While 'Lady Vengeance' isn't as satisfying or streamlined as either of the first two ('Oldboy' haunts me still) and it takes a good 20 minutes into the movie to figure out what's going on, it's still far and away better than anything Hollywood has put out this year. Park isn't content to simply tell the story of a woman seeking revenge, but challenges the viewers to decide for themselves if the acts of revenge are worth the price. Is vengeance an honorable act or is it a self destructive force that solves nothing? The beauty in Park's films (besides the stunning visuals) is that he doesn't give us an answer. He leaves it up to each of us to draw our own conclusions.
I will warn those looking for something different to watch, that these movies are not for everyone. They are brutal in their honesty of what one person, when driven to extremes, can do to another. But they are at times beautiful, graceful, chaotic and humorous. 'Oldboy' has one of my favorite scenes of all time as it's centerpiece. A 5-6 minute, unedited, uncut fight scene where one man takes on an entire prison staff. This isn't the usual kung fu scenes we grew up on. This is how it would actually be if one guy fought 20 or more. Kicking, biting, thrashing, basically fighting for you life by any means necessary. The fight takes place in a narrow hallway outside prison cells and the camera follows the ebb and flow, the back and forth in one continuous take.
If Park were the only example, I would simply chalk it up to one extraordinary man just making films in another country, but I also watched 'The Host'. In many ways, this movie is even better then 'Lady Vengeance'. On the surface it's a monster movie. But it's unlike any monster movie I've ever seen. It begins in a Korean military morgue where an employee is ordered to dump hundreds of bottles of chemicals down the sink. The chemicals wind up in the river, which creates a mutant monster.
The difference with this movie, is the monster is never explained or examined. In fact, the first sighting of it provokes people to throw beer bottles and peanuts at it to see what it will eat. This leads the creature to rampage across a picnic area in one of the most exciting, horrifying and hilarious scenes in movie history. Keep in mind this is the first 30 minutes of the movie. It wastes no time and spares nobody. Including an innocent girl idling listening to her iPod while people are running past her screaming. Ignorance is not bliss in this case.
I don't want to ruin much about this movie, but it basically involves a family of complete screwups trying to rescue one of the daughters (who they mistakenly think has been killed in the rampage). Like the best horror movies, it isn't just a monster movie, but a family drama and the realization of what it takes to be a real father.
What amazes me about this movie - and the main problem I have with Hollywood movies - is it doesn't cop out with the ending. Things don't turn out the way we would expect, yes, but even more eye opening is how the characters have been changed by their experience. I never understood how the mainstream horror movies can show us a 'happy ending' with the hero walking into the sunset and make believe that everything is better while all of the hero's friends and family have been murdered or killed. Who would be the same after facing down some mysterious creature that tried to eat you or a member of your family? Nobody. This movie shows us the traumatic results, the psychological scars that remain after the ordeal.
There is another, somewhat disturbing sub plot within this movie, as well. The U.S. Government is portrayed as, not only ineffective and bumbling, but downright deceitful. There are press conferences with U.S Army officials shown on television where the officers are lying to the public. Is this how other countries view our military now? Is our government corrupted to the point where a running joke in a monster movie is how ineffectual, incompetent and untrustworthy our government is?
It certainly appears that way and, sadly, it's hard for me to blame them.
Today's distraction: Another movie quiz. I love these things.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
For the record, I have virtually no knowledge, expertise or formal training. Combined with my inclination to give every award to David Ortiz (even the Cy Young), this is going to be a total disaster.
Read on if you dare.
American League: Alex Rodriguez. Sorry, there's just no way around this. He's having one of the best seasons ever for a right handed hitter and kept his team within striking distance the first two months of the season. I feel nauseous.
No Cigar: David Ortiz, Vlad Guerrero, Magglio Ordonez, Mike Lowell (no shit!), Carlos Pena (if he was playing on any other team)
National League: Prince Fielder. Admittedly, I just like this guy. Like the way he plays, like his enthusiasm, but the reason I picked him was because he kept his team afloat when injuries decimated his team. If you were like me, you counted them out when they started losing. Thinking 'Yeah, well, they couldn't be expected to keep that up', before Fielder went on a tear to keep them around .500 while his teammates healed.
No Cigar: Matt Holliday, Eric Byrnes, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz
American League: CC Sabathia. The toughest call for me. But here's what sold me on CC. First, he is top 5 in wins, ERA, and strikeouts (I know, like Beckett). What amazed me is he's only given up 19 home runs and only walked 35, while striking out 198. So why do I pick him over Beckett, who has only given up 15 homers and walked 38 while striking out 180? Because CC has pitched 30 more innings than Beckett. Holy crap!
No Cigar: Beckett, Fausto Carmona (!!!), Dan Haren (remember him?), Chein-Ming Wang (over rated).
National League: As tough as the AL was, this was a no brainer. Jake Peavy leads the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts and is fifth in innings pitched. Landslide victory here.
No Cigar: Brandon Webb, Chris Young, Brad Penny, David Ortiz, John Smoltz
BEST RELIEVER (I need to think up a name for this award)
American League: JJ Putz. An absolute machine this season. Batters are hitting a measly .145 off him this year. .145!!! He's pitched 66 innings and struck out 72 batters. The highest compliment you can give him is this: When he came into the game, people started leaving. Well, not in Seattle, but in other cities. You get my point. This is why I don't get paid for writing.
No Cigar: Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima (esp considering September), Francisco Rodriguez, Eric Gagne (AHAHAHA, totally joking), Bobby Jenks.
Note: I'm not putting Joe Borowski and his 5+ ERA on this list. I don't care that he has 40 saves.
National League: Takashi Saito. Sure he's only 3rd in saves with 39, but he's pitched nearly 60 innings and given up 8 runs. That's single digits and he's the only one in either league that has pitched all season to make such a claim.
No Cigar: Jose Valverde, Francisco Cordero, Trevor Hoffman (yeah, he's still playing), Billy Wagner (just kidding, Met fans), Brian Fuentes (who I need to put on here after slamming him in the April entry. Sorry, Brian)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
American League: Dustin Pedroia. Let's consider he had about 3 hits the first month and a half of the season and everyone was urging Francona to sit him and play Alex Cora everyday instead. He's now hitting .320 and will be an All Star next year if he keeps this up.
No Cigar: Delmon Young, Josh Fields, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Gordon,
Note: I have no idea what arbitrary requirements are needed to be considered a 'rookie', but I figured if you are in the majors for the first time you are a rookie.
National League: Kelly Johnson. Again, I'm not sure if this is his technical 'rookie year' or not, but the guy is one of the best all around players to come up in a while. Offensively, defensively, and team wise a very good player.
No Cigar: Chris Young (not the pitcher), Troy Tulowiztki, Kevin Kouzmanoff
American League: Kei Igawa. Yankees posted $26 million just to sign him and he has been stuffed back in the suitcase. Cashman and the rest of the team hope he doesn't come up for air.
No Cigar: JD Drew, Julio Lugo (who saved himself with a solid second half), Kevin Millwood
National League: The Giants basically sold their baseball souls when the signed Barry Bonds to that 18 million dollar contract. They gave up on the season so the game's biggest cheater could break the all time home run record. It was a chase nobody enjoyed and everyone thinks is tainted. Nice work.
No Cigar: Barry Zito. Giants had a great offseason.
American League: Carlos Pena, who bounced around the majors and even stopped in Boston for a bit, winds up with 40 homers and 110+ RBIs for a crappy team becoming semi decent. His salary is $800,00, by the way.
No Cigar: Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa, Gary Matthews and his case of HGH, Gil Menche
National League: Ted Lilly. No really. Go look at his stats for the year for the (tied for) first place Cubs.
No Cigar: Alfonso Soriano (are the Cubs the anti-Giants?), Jason Marquis (yup, looks that way), Dmitri Young
American League: Francona leaving Papelbon as the closer. I really don't need to say more.
No Cigar: Yankees demoting Kei Igawa to Single A, moving Johnny Damon to left field (the Yankees run started with this move, I'm convinced), Devil Rays letting the young guns play all year, Indians moving Carmona to starter.
National League: The Diamondbacks allowing Eric Byrnes to run wild and letting us all see him realize his potential.
No Cigar: Braves giving Kelly Johnson full time duty, Braves trading for Mark Teixeira, Chicago and St Louis not panicking when things started badly.
American League: Red Sox trading three promising prospects (one of which was undefeated) for Eric GAG-NEE. I will apologize if he is hurt, but the guy has cost the team at least 4 games in the standings. Could go down as one of the worst trades in history if the two prospects turn out like I think they will. Should have let the Yankees have him.
No Cigar: You know what? None. Nothing is even close to this one. The first no contest winner of the year. Congratulations, you bastards.
National League: Please see Giants - Barry Bonds.
No Cigar: Mets not trading for some pitching help, Houston letting Clemens and Petitte go to NY to help them into the playoffs.
I'll let the winners know via email and ship out the BeachBum trophies soon. I would expect them to be placed in a prominent place in the winner's households. Like on the toilet.
Today's distraction: In case you missed it, Donovan McNabb said that black quarterbacks get more criticism than white ones. My first, politically correct reaction was to agree with him. But then I thought the most criticized quarterback of all time has to be Peyton Manning. Despite his huge regular season numbers, he was constantly criticized for choking in the big games.
McNabb isn't being criticized because he's black, but because he's quarterbacking for one of the most rabid fan bases in the NFL. That he was sucking wind and basically strolled away the Eagles chance at their first championship in 25 years probably has a lot to do with the shit raining down on him right now. That and his team is winless. Race has little to do with getting booed or questioned. Losing has everything to do with it.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Nothing like starting your morning off the right way. I discovered a new Starbucks in the lobby of the hotel I'm staying at and the adorable girl working there was all flowers and sunshine when I approached the counter. 'What can I get for you today?' she asks with the biggest, brightest smile I've ever seen. Definitely a morning person and she managed to pass her mood onto me.
Discovered an old friend lives in the Baltimore area and received an unexpected email from her the day I arrived here. Haven't seen her in over 5 years, but we're scheduled for dinner tomorrow night.
Not much impresses me (as you can tell if you've been reading), but there is a Brazilian Steakhouse called Fogo De Chao that just opened in the Inner Harbor area. A woman I work with took me to lunch there and it is AWESOME! Here's how it works: There are cardboard disks on each numbered table. Walking around the place at all times are waiters with 2 foot long skewers holding different kinds of meat. Chicken, lamb, sirloin, pork, fillet, prime rib, and sausage are what I saw. For a flat price (lunch is $22, dinner $41) you get a table and all you can eat salad bar with fresh salmon and a bunch of other treats that you don't normally get at a salad bar. When you are ready, you flip your disk over so it's showing the green side. Immediately a waiter comes over and offers you some of the meat. If you want it he slices off some from the skewer while you grab it with tongs. If you keep the disk green, more waiters with different meats will keep approaching you. When you have what you want, you flip the disk to red and nobody bothers you. I loved it, only because it lets you eat and talk without being harassed. Plus the food is fantastic! Fillet was some of the best I've ever had. When I asked they claimed they cooked the food in 'Open Campfire'. I assume this just means a big, open flame pit in the back yard, but it might be more complicated than that. Plus the beauty is you get to try a little bit of everything. You aren't stuck with the one thing you ordered. Don't be surprised if this catches on at other restaurants.
More than one writer recently compared Bill Belichick's cheating on the sidelines with Richard Nixon bugging the Watergate hotel rooms. For the last time, can everybody just calm down. One was President of the United States and one is a football coach. For fuck's sake, does everything in this media saturated age need to be completely blown out of proportion? (Sorry, this will be my one negative item in this entry)
Anyone else see Brian Billick's rambling, borderline insane rant on the Jets defensive linemen faking the hike counts in their game last week. I loved this line 'The fact of the matter is...it's a fact!' Now everyone is cheating. EVERYONE!!!! My first thought was Billick was making excuses for his team, but then I remembered they WON THE GAME!! He makes me laugh.
Sometimes people just take the right approach.
Did you read that 14 spies were taken into custody while crossing the Iranian border? It's true. That they were squirrels didn't diminish the seriousness of the situation at all. OK, it completely diminished it.
This book could be the title of all my mornings. Including today.
Archaeologists have uncovered a 1300 year old Buddha statue in Gyeongju, Korea. No word if any ancient curses have been accidentally released at the same time. Like they would tell us even if they did. Archaeologist jerks.
Lastly, the toilet stall Larry Craig 'allegedly' solicited sex from an undercover officer is quite the tourist attraction. Not sure why, but this turn of events makes me happy all over.
Thank you for my mood, Starbucks girl.
Today's distraction: As a tribute to my brutal travel schedule, here is a list of 100 places to see before you die. Sadly, my life is half over (probably more than that) and I've barely made a third of these.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I don’t care how last night’s game ended, the fact that every single Yankee player and fan was TERRIFIED when Papi was at bat in the ninth was worth it all. If he had hit in the tying and winning runs I do believe NY would have cried out in anguish all at once. It would have been heard all over the world and made everyone else happy.
While we’re on the Sox, I know Friday night’s game was crushing, but I loved the way they came back the next day and tromped all over the Yankees. As if they said, ‘Last night was a fluke, here is how we usually do it’. I stood and cheered when Posada was plowed over by Hinske, who should have been credited with Ellsbury’s run. Posada was so skittish he forgot to apply the tag as Jacoby slid right underneath him. That was funny.
Patriots 38, Chargers 14. Any questions?
I have my first Fantasy Football win of the season, thanks to Dwight Clark having a big game, the Raven’s D finally showing up and my opponent playing Cincinnati’s D against me. Is it possible to get negative points? I’m still worried about Drew Brees, Colston and the Saints, though? They showed signs of life in the second half, but they are looking off kilter so far this year.
Questions and answers from the NFL:
Q: Are the Texans for real? A: Sure looks that way. Defense is tough.
Q: Is Favre back? A: No, he’ll have a 4 or 5 interception game soon.
Q: Do I start Jay Cutler over Drew Brees next week? A: Considering Cutler couldn’t put up 300 yards against Oakland, I would say no.
Q: Did I just waste $100 on my fantasy league. A: Probably
I have a news flash for everyone that read my Marital Strife entry. Wifey apologized to me on Thursday night. I shit you not. Here’s what I think happened. She wasn’t talking to me that morning or afternoon. She then went out with her girlfriends that night for a few hours where she attempted to trash me to them. They heard her side and probably said something like ‘Um, no offense, but you are wrong.’ She came back very conciliatory and said, ‘Sorry, I’ve been such a bitch lately.’ I nearly fell off the bed. I responded ‘That’s ok, I’m used to it.’ I know, I have to get my digs in. In this case, I think I earned it. This made it much easier to give her the birthday gift the next morning. She was appropriately floored.
From the child’s perspective: When I gave wifey the gift, seven year old pauses for a minute, then says ‘Wait, this means we have a boys only weekend coming up. Woooo!’, then threw his arms in the air. Wifey says to him, ‘As long as you don’t miss me too much while I’m gone.’
Enough with the holier than thou attitude with the Patriot’s camera spying thing, ok? Tom Jackson was his usual blow hard self in saying Belichik should have been suspended and that the punishment wasn’t sufficient. I found it curious that the only ex-coach on the program – Ditka – kept very quiet during the conversation. My thoughts on this: Ditka knows nearly every team and/or coach does something similar. It’s no secret teams are trying to steal every other team’s signals any way they can. Every other team is breathing a sigh of relief it was the Patriots and not them that were caught.
Remember Tom Jackson saying that the Patriots ‘Hate their coach’ after they traded Lawyer Milloy to the Bills, then lost to them 31-0 in the opening game? I do. I also remember they won the Super Bowl that year and when Jackson went to shake Belichick’s hand after their SB win, Belichick told him to ‘fuck off’.
Today's distraction: Play Bauns. It takes some getting used to, but it great fun once you figure it out.
Friday, September 14, 2007
And it will get worse. Monday I head to Baltimore for a week. When I get back it will be Bachelor Party weekend. Then I spend a week in Chicago. I have a move, a migration, an expansion, new hires, fired employees and projects to manage. I'm worn out just thinking about it. Maybe it's good my wife's not talking to me. Not sure I could form a complete sentence in my defense right now.
Anyway, I wanted to offer some random news and links. It helps me as much as in entertains you. Yeah, I know there's a joke there, but you can make up your own. Too tired to do it myself.
- There are very few times I feel for the fan base of another team. I pitied the long suffering Oriole fans earlier in the year, but that didn't last long. This, however, is just too much. From euphoria to despair in one summer and, if the past is any indication, Oden won't be at full strength until midway through next season. Just look at Amare Stoudemire. Sorry, Portland fans. I really do feel bad for you.
- On the other hand, if the Celtics had the number one pick and this happened, I do believe Bostonians would be jumping in front of the Duck Boats. Funny how things work out.
- Say what you will about the Patriots and their cameraman, but every other team in the league just did a collective 'Phew' and quietly put away their own spying equipment for a few weeks.
- Bachelor Party update: It's official. We're starting with a cookout/drink fest at my buddy's place and heading to Foxwoods for some male bonding and massive money loss. I decided we'd go in style, though and hired us one of those Minibus Limos. Looks sweet and figure the money the guys pay me for the rental will be blown on gambling. I really do rock sometimes.
- Wanted to pass along this strange news item and wonder aloud if Prince is becoming the new Michael Jackson. You know, a musician who had phenomenal success early on, never living up to it again, then slowly and publicly spiraling into madness. Let's just hope child molestation charges aren't in his future. For the record, I doubt this. Since Prince is barely bigger than a child, he would get his ass kicked if he ever tried anything on anyone older than 3.
- New CD recommendations:
The Fratellis - Costello Music. One of their songs was used on one of the iPod commercials, which made me resist them, but I literally can't stop listening to this. One of the best of the year.
The Cribs - Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever. Besides a great title, it's their latest and best. Musicianship is greatly improved which, in turn, has elevated their song writing.
The Kooks - Inside In The Inside Out. Actually not sure how old this CD is, but it's fun and catchy.
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga. Title is stupid as it gets, but this is one of the most under rated bands around. I still listen to 'Gimme Fiction' and this is just as good, if not better than that.
Will Work For Beer
- Here's a nominee for the biggest asshole of the year (don't think I'm not working on that list). Owner of a restaraunt fires a waiter who ran out to help a woman being carjacked. Good news is that the fired waiter has had so many job offers after his story was told, he can't figure out which one to choose. If you live in the Fort Lauderdale area, don't ever eat at the 84 Thai Food again.
- Just when you think all the ideas for restaurants have been explored there comes this. Sign me up, although I think having the swordfish would be a bit inappropriate.
- Just heard the punishment for the Pats and was floored. Belichick fined $500,000, Pats fined $250,00 and a first round pick IF they make the playoffs. If they don't make the playoffs they lose a 2nd and 3rd round pick. Holy crap! Guess Goodell isn't fooling around.
- While we're here, why does any scandal have to end in 'Gate'? The reason they called it 'Watergate' was because it was the name of the freakin' hotel. Don't refer to is as 'Spygate' any more. Why not get more creative and call it 'Jetlagged' or 'PATsies' or something. Think outside the gate, media people.
- Three movies I've seen recently but can't recommend:
Pirates of the Carribbean 3: Even more convoluted and confusing the the second one. And that's saying something. On the plus side they've left it open for a sequel. Again.
Rise of the Silver Surfer: Was lucky enough to catch this on the flight back from Phoenix. By lucky, I mean I didn't have to pay for it.
Little Children: This is tougher to call. Technically it's a great movie. Good acting all around, solid story, good directing. The problem for me was I had read the book and the book, while telling a rather disturbing story, had moments of uncomfortable humor. The movie leaves a lot of the humor out, while changing the ending to a much more violent, dramatic and less believable conclusion. It's a good movie, but I can't recommend it.
- Channel surfing miraculously brought me to '5 Reasons You Can't Blame...' which focused on the 3-0 blown lead by the Yankees back in 2004. Suddenly I'm feeling much better about the series this weekend.
Today's distraction: 25 skills every man should know, according to Popular Mechanics. I'm proud to say I know all of them except how to fillet a fish (that's what Legal Seafoods is for), navigate with a map and compass (that's what GPS is for) and backup a trailer. I tried many times to backup a trailer back in college and finally got out with a bunch of my friends and manually lifted it to straighten it out. We drove off vowing to never back up with the trailer attached.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Oh, and I'm best man at a wedding next month and I'm moving the Baltimore office the week after. Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right? Well, this may kill me.
Too bad same can't be said for my marriage. I just found out that I need to be in Baltimore next week (Mon - Thur for those keeping track at home) then Chicago the week after that (Tues - Fri). Insanity is the name of the game. For the record, wifey was warned well in advance (like in spring) that work was going to get crazy and to be prepared. At the time she blew it off because it was going to be summer and, since she teaches, was off with the kids. There was no schedule to stick to.
Now, the kids are back in school and things are a bit hectic in the mornings. I understand this and try to keep the travel to the minimum when I can. When I do travel I try to schedule it around the school drop off times. For example, I usually drop seven year old off at his school since wifey needs to be at work before his lets in. So when I fly out on a trip I make sure I have time to drop him off, thus eliminating a day for her to worry about. This, of course, means I have to work late to catch up once I arrive at whatever office I'm heading to.
Needless to say, it's stressful for both of us.
So, when I find out about Chicago (we knew about Baltimore; Chicago was news to me) I know she won't be happy. What are you going to do? It's my job and it's only temporary. It won't - can't - stay this crazy forever. I leave her a text on her cell to call me when she has time. She calls about 3 hours later saying she left her cell at home and just got my message. (Quick sidenote: she is always leaving her cell at home, which makes me wonder why she has one). I tell her about the plans and she says 'Are you trying to give me a breakdown?' and hangs up on me.
She hangs up on me! This is a soon to be 40 year old woman with two children! I call back just to be sure, 'Did you just hang up on me?!' 'Yes. I'm upset!' 'I realize that and I'm not happy about it, either, but I didn't hang up on you!' She tells me to hold on, gets a pen and writes down the schedules. I offer 'Do you want me to call my parents so they can drop the kids off at school?'
'No, I'll figure it out,' she says angrily and hangs up on me again. I don't call back this time and she has yet to talk to me since that call. This was Monday afternoon That's right. 40 year old mother of two is acting like a spoiled 6 year old girl. I'm wondering if she'll next hold her breath until she turns blue. Any questions I ask are answered with a one word response.
'You want anything to drink?' 'No'
'Did you eat already?' 'Yes'
'Have you completely lost your mind?' Actually that would be a two word response.
She even walked out of the house yesterday without saying goodbye. Just grabbed two year old and out she went.
Plus, (and I've been saving this as the icing) she slept on the couch Monday night. She is so upset with me for something I have no control over and something I schedule in a way to minimize the inconvenience for her that she wouldn't sleep in the same bed with me. Maybe this is the wrong reaction, but when I found this out the next morning I started laughing. How juvenile can you get?
There may be some contributing factors in her behavior I should pass along to be fair.
First, it's that time of month. Second, she is insane. Third, this is a repeating pattern with her since we got married. Every three - six months she will find some trivial thing to get angry about and not talk to me for a few days because of it. She's been doing better since I pointed this out to her, but it still happens. It's a game she plays and is now playing it by herself. I'm no longer feeding into it (which, to her, means I don't care) and don't stay in the room with her when she's acting this way (which, to her, means I'm avoiding her).
I can't win and, to be honest, I've stopped trying. At first, I thought I had really done something wrong and felt bad. But when she stopped talking to me because I made a chicken sandwich for dinner while she was out drinking with her friends, I realized how effed in the head she really is. I advise any man out there to intentionally do something to piss off your girlfriend. Stay out late without calling, disappear for a weekend, do something so you can see what she's like when she is truly angry. If the anger is appropriate to the act, then you should put the girl in the 'potential wife' category. If she acts like you killed her pet because you dried your hands on the decorative towels and not the 'real' ones, then run like hell. Just trust me.
What really scares me is that she might start doing this to the boys. As bad as it is when she does it to me, I can at least deal with it and know it's her dementia at work. If she ever started acting this way towards the kids I would lose it. So far, she hasn't. She snaps at them irrationally sometimes, but that is usually because she has been spending too much time with them and I take it as a sign that it's time for daddy/boys quality time.
Now, here's the kicker. Friday is her 40th birthday and I've gone over board to get her a great gift. Ready? An overnight spa package in Lenox, MA complete with limo ride to and from the spa. But wait, there's more! I even paid for two people, so she can take a friend of her choosing and arranged for a baby sitter so I can take her out to dinner on Friday night. How great a guy am I? Sadly, I did this before she started acting like Satan's Spawn. I was going to call some of our couple friends and have them meet us as a surprise, but not sure I should do that now.
Wait a minute. If there are other people there, maybe she'll act normal. Calls commencing.
Today's distraction: Brush up on the 10 main symptoms of insanity. Wifey is currently displaying at least five of them. Six if you include alcohol abuse, but that's standard operating procedure in our house.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Patriots: They served notice that the hype is legit. That pass from Brady to Moss where three - no, really, three - Jets covered him the entire way and still couldn't stop him showed this team could be SCARY good. I know, it's the first game, but the Jets are no pushover and the Pats made it look easy.
Cause for Concern? - After the touchdown they showed the offense reviewing what had just happened and instead of paying attention to the coaches, Moss spent more time accepting congratulations and explaining what his celebration was about. His attitude was a stark contrast to Brady, who was sitting right next to him, absorbed in game photos. I'm not saying it's a problem, it was just something I noticed. And it is Randy Moss we're talking about.
Jets: As much as I dislike New York teams, the fans' cheering Chad Pennington's injury was as low as it gets. Kudos to Pennington for getting back in the game and leading the team on an impressive TD drive immediately following that disgusting display. Any fan that cheered the touchdown after cheering the injury should have their tickets revoked.
As for the team itself, they might be taking a step backwards this year. Although it was hard to tell if the Jets are that bad or the Pats are that good. We'll find out soon enough.
Chargers: I know Norv Turner gets a lot of crap, but having Tomilinson pass for that TD was a stroke of genius. It threw everything out of whack for the Bears defense and they were scrambling for the rest of the game. Still, 14 points at home? If I were a Chargers fan, I would be a bit worried.
Bears: Holy shit is Rex Grossman bad. It's not just the 145 yards, 1 INT stats, either. It's all those passes that were there and he just missed. You have to wonder if there is some sort of psychological problem with him now. Like Steve Sax or Scott Brocius throwing to first base. The throws he doesn't have time to think about look fine. It's the ones where the guy is wide open and he isn't being rushed. They wind up behind, way too far ahead or 10 feet over the receivers head. Ugly display. Sadly, this says more about how bad the offense is for the Bears than how good the defense is for the Chargers.
Vikings: There is usually a defining moment for a team or at least an indication of what to expect in the first few games of the season for every team. I think I saw the moment for the Vikings when Adrian Peterson took a handoff on a 3rd and 10, took 3-4 running steps and was hit head on by a Falcons defender. Peterson got his off arm under the defenders chest and shoved him backwards and off him in one quick, brusque move while AT THE SAME TIME moving forward. It was like the defender was one of the inflatable tackle dummies. Peterson got the first down, by the way.
Falcons: Anyone still think they'll be decent without Vick? Yeah, me neither.
Seahawks: Forget the offense. Sure Hasselbeck and Alexander looked good, but that defense really impressed. Holy crap. If this team's defense is really as good as this first game indicates, they should be in the elite for the entire season. Or maybe...
Buccaneers: ...this team just sucks.
Texans: Wow! Granted, Kansas City is going to suck this year, but this was pretty impressive. Could they be the sleeper team this year? Mario Williams looked like a superstar and the Texans less like complete morons for picking him over Reggie Bush. They're still morons, just less so.
Chiefs: Managed to put up a measly 3 points against one of the worst teams from last year. Need I say more?
Lions: Was Jon Kitna leading a Lions comeback against a fairly good defensive team (at least last year) the biggest surprise of this game?
Raiders: Or was it Josh McCown throwing for over 300 yards?
Titans: I can't figure this out. The Titans rush for over 280 yards against the Jaguars, yet they only score 13 points. Is that right? Does this mean they absolutely suck in the red zone or they run and fall down just before the goal line?
Jaguars: In the meantime, wasn't this team supposed to be one of the better defensive teams in the league? What the hell?
Cowboys: Interesting note to this barn burner between the Cowboys and Giants: Nobody in either one of my fantasy leagues took Romo or Eli Manning at quarterback. Not one. So what happens? Romo throws for 340+ yards and 4 TDs
Giants: While Manning throws for 312/4 TDs while still looking lousy. How does he do it?
Speaking of which....
Fantasy League #1: Currently 5 points up heading into tonight's games. I have Boldin from Arizona going and Baltimore's defense. Problem is, the guy I'm going up against started Leinart, so if Boldin has a good game, chances are Leinart will, too. Bastard. So it's up to the Ravens D to help me out. Plus my opponent is playing Chad Johnson. If my D can shut him and the Bengals down, I should win. Considering I went against last year's champ and Tomlinson, I'm more than happy right now.
FF2: This one, on the other hand, I would rather forget. The guy leading played the Vikings D which gave him 30 points!! What the hell??!! I can only hope to get those kind of numbers from the Ravens D tonight or any night.
Today's distraction: Get some aggressions out playing Rooney Rage. Great fun! If you're wondering about the connection, this is a football entry and the game involves football...from Europe. See how clever I can be?
Thursday, September 6, 2007
First, I hung out with my new best friend last night. By best friend, I mean the bartender who kept giving me beers for a price while I worked up to an acceptable level of drunkenness. By new I mean I had just met him that same night. He’s not from Phoenix, by the way, but from Tucson. Still not a native, but at least I’m in the same state, so I’m making progress..
Bartender (who’s name I can’t remember for the life of me) was telling me how Tucson was 5-10 degrees cooler than Phoenix despite it being further south. I asked how this could be and he told me that Tuscon sits 1600 feet or so higher above sea level than Phoenix which accounts for some of the degree difference. The other part – and to me a more interesting part of our conversation – is the belief that all the asphalt and concrete that Phoenix has causes the heat increase. The argument is the black streets and big buildings absorb more heat than the ground which in turn makes things hotter when the sun goes down.
I have no idea if this is true or not (and I have my doubts), but it’s an interesting theory. Do man made structures and streets cause temperature increases? If so, is this one of the contributing causes of global warming? Shouldn't all cities have trouble cooling down at night if this were true?
The second conversation involved the same bartender and the cutest damn waitress I have ever met (no, not from Phoenix, either). Somehow, someway the conversation turned to penis size (please don’t ask me how I get involved in these conversations with people I don’t know. I have no answer for you). The cutest waitress I ever met (which is her official name) said to bartender, ‘You’re short. Girls can’t expect you to have a big cock’. This made me laugh, not only because of the complete honesty from Cutest Waitress I Ever Met, but because she slammed the bartender right in front of me. Plus, I have absolutely no idea if this is true. Do shorter guys have smaller penises just due to proportion? I doubt it, although I always assumed the taller and bigger the guy the bigger the cock. I’m guessing it’s a general assumption most people make.
Cutest Waitress I Ever Met responded to bartender’s claim of not having a small penis with this gem: ‘Please. You really think any guy that had a small cock would admit to having a small cock?’
This stopped both me and bartender as we realized the truth in that statement. Would any guy with a small penis openly admit to having one? It’s not a question I ever considered before. It also threw me because Cutest Waitress I Ever Met repeatedly used the term ‘cock' and somehow made it endearing.
But let’s examine the inquiry. Would a guy with a small dick openly admit to it? I would guess no, since a lot of a man’s confidence (whether accurate or not) seems to reflect on his sexual prowess. Sexual prowess (whether accurate or not) seems to relate to penis size. Again, I have no idea if this is true or not, but my assumption would be that men with big dicks can be lousy lovers. Just as men with small penises could be great lovers. If there are any ladies reading, please feel free to inform the masses. Not you, DA, I said 'ladies'.
And exactly how small does it have to be to become ineffective? We've all seen the mutants in our midst, whether it's in pornos or, in one case, watching HBO's 'Rome'. One of the queens was presented with a male sex slave who, in a shot of full frontal nudity, proved to be....uh....well let's just say every other guy watching it must have felt inadequate. No exaggeration, it was the size of my forearm.
But it kicked off another train of thought: Could I actually have a small penis and never been told? I would think I would have heard at least one complaint or comment over the years, but maybe women don’t care about size. Wifey definitely would have told me if there was a problem there, no? Would she have even married me if the sex were lousy? Maybe the size issue is purely a male preoccupation. I once heard a married women talking about how she took great care picking out what she wore to work every day and how she got her hair and nails done. I asked her why she cared so much since she was married. What guy did she have to impress? After insulting my intelligence she said ‘Girls don’t dress for other guys, they dress to impress other women’. (Quick note: I respectfully disagree with this. I think women like to get compliments from men other than their significant others as long as it's sincere and not leering, creepy or from me. Yes, that is redundant.)
Is that what penis size is about? Not to impress the women, but to impress other guys? I remember one guy I used to hang out with constantly obsessing about his. He would turn everything into a dick joke. Was that because he had a small one or a big one? I have often suspected that men buy the biggest houses and nicest cars not to impress pretty girls, but to make other men jealous. If they happen to get the best looking girl with the biggest tits, then all the better. Just makes the other guys even more jealous. I also think those men are compensating because they are lacking somewhere else. Were they ignored by daddy? Are they striving to please their mothers? Are they just idiots and think that's what life is about?
But a bigger question arises from this; at least for me personally. Does my lack of obsession about my own penis mean I'm well adjusted or a freak? Am I in the minority of men when I don't grab my crotch every 5 minutes or boast about how many women I've slept with or how much money I make? Sadly both those last items could be summarized with a single sentence and an empty bank account, so that may be one reason. Sure there are times I need to adjust and things get out of whack, but that's just a part of being male.
I suppose all that matters is I'm comfortable with myself and my physical build. That I haven't put much thought into my penis should be a good thing.
As Popeye once said, 'I yam what I yam!'. I think he did some kind of wierd sailor laugh after that, but I'll skip that part.
Today's distraction: A funny experiment in whether women notice the size of a man's penis. The problem with this experiment is how could you not? This is a video so turn down the volume if you're at work.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I know we Bostonians have to suffer through some putridly hot and humid days (what I call assy), but at least there is an ocean breeze that can keep things relatively bearable. There is no wind here at all. Nothing is moving unless the leaf blowers one of the thousands of landscapers are using around this area are blowing. I understand why retirees move to this area: People with blood the consistency of paint thinner will never be cold. Sweaters on old people is a sight you will never see here.
What's really discouraging is how things do not cool off at night around here. When the sun goes down there is no relief. The ground is so baked and hot that the heat continues to rise off it throughout the night. You know those really hot days in New England, where people bitch and complain about how unbearable it is. Well, on most of those nights (there are exceptions, of course) things cool off and a breeze picks up when the sun sets. Often times you wake up in the morning and it's fairly cool. The heat picks up as the day goes on.
In Phoenix, it's 100 when you go to sleep and maybe 95 when you wake up. If you think I'm joking or exaggerating, then you've never been here. Remember, this is the place that invented outdoor air conditioning. Those water misters are built in to nearly every canopy and roofline in the area. They are part of the scenery. I wonder how much water is spent running those things.
The status of the heat can be summarized thusly - this morning I got in the elevator with a gentleman who looked at me and said 'Seems like things are cooling off'. I must have given him a strange look because he quickly followed it up with 'At least I HOPE it's cooling off. Wishful thinking...' As he stepped off the elevator I noticed a line of sweat staining the back of his shirt. Considering it's been over 110 the past two weeks, he was probably right. 100 would be cooling off. Everything's relative.
Enough about the heat. I actually like the warmer weather, so it won't ruin my stay here. It may kill me, but it won't ruin it. Besides, when you build a city in the middle of a desert what should you expect. I keep hearing that between Nov and April the weather here is perfect. 80 degrees and sunny nearly every day. I'll take them at their word and just consider this time of year their winter where everyone grins and bears it and stays inside.
I haven't seen much of the city itself. I've been in the eastern part, which I assume is the business or financial district. One thing that I have noticed is the ongoing trend to make all cities generic. Is generification a word? If not, I just created it. Nationwide corporations are working to generify all our major cities. There is a Starbucks on the corner, a Cheesecake Factory across the street and is right next to a Capital Grille. Houston's is in my building (although it doesn't have Boston's kick ass bar), and in back is McCormick and Shmick's and Morton's Steakhouse.
That's all well and good (especially Morton's and Starbucks), but are cities starting to lose their identity? If every city has the same bars and restaurants, then where are the unique qualities that make you want to come visit? If it's not Morton's then it will be Shula's. If it's not Cheesecake Factory then it will be a Chili's or an Applebee's. If it's not a Houston's it will be an ESPNZone. At what point do we distinguish one city from the next?
I guess that will be the city's problem. I know Philly and Baltimore are incorporating the generification into their personalities and not the other way around. Boston, too. I love the way things are starting to come together with the new buildings and Rose Kennedy Parkway. Boston, believe it or not, is becoming a beautiful city.
But will newer cities, like Phoenix, have that same success. Everything seems so general and sterile here. If a leaf falls on the immaculate lawns, it's immediately blown off or picked up. Outside the Ritz Carlton I saw the same guy mowing the same lawn with the same mower two mornings in a row. It's the fucking desert, nothing can grow that fast.
Two more quick notes before I do some real work -
1: The suburban sprawl here is enormous. Flying in I could see neighborhoods for 50 square miles in every direction. I could see new construction every where. Since it's nearly all flat, you can actually see it all. There is no break in the houses. It's amazing how many people live within a 15 mile radius of the city. I would guess that means a thriving night life. Well, unless 60% of your population is retired and in bed by 7pm. I'll need to investigate this further the next two nights.
2: This area is like New York City. Everyone is from somewhere else. I have yet to meet a native Phoenixian...uh....Phoenician....whatever they're called. And they may not have a name for them since nobody seems to be one. In fact, most people seem to have come from the East Coast. People I've met so far (that I have asked) have grown up in upstate New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, Vermont, and two were from Virginia (brothers). No wonder it's tough to get people to commit to the professional teams here. There are no true Diamondback fans, they're just rooting for them until the Mets or Phillies or Red Sox come to town.
Overall, not impressed with the city. It either doesn't have a personality or I haven't been here long enough to identify it. I'm hoping this changes if and when I can get out and meet some more natives (if there are any). So far the best I can say is the city if very clean.
And it never rains.
Today's distraction: Learn about the history of Phoenix. It really was named after the big, stupid bird that rose from the ashes. See? I'm entertaining AND informative!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
...that Schilling is as good as gone. Unless he agrees to a discounted price, pencil Buchholz in to his slot next year, while Schilling heads back to the National League (Phillies?) for another 2 or 3 mediocre seasons.
...how good Buchholz can be. Hype is one thing, seeing is another. When all his pitches are working he is literally unhittable.
...that the Yankees are the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team. Sweep the Sox and get themselves back within striking distance only to lose two out of three to the Devil Rays, then get romped on by the Mariners. Will the real Yankees please stand up.
...that the Phillies and Padres are for real. And, yes, I had my doubts.
...that everyone in the National League's worst nightmare is coming true.
...that the Red Sox lineup of the future ain't too shabby, either. With Ellsbury impressing me every time I see him play, what does the future hold for Coco? I say move him to left or right and have one of the best defensive outfields in baseball.
...that ESPN's GameCast is no way to try and keep up with a no hitter.
...that you need to program a television to see all the cable channels before you can surf them all. This lesson came about an hour too late.
...that 'Sox in 2' is one of the greatest things ever invented as I got to watch the abbreviated version of the no hitter the next day.
...that school opening before Labor Day in some places is beneficial to my plans. Usually Wells, Maine is choked with traffic and I was expecting the same last weekend. Fortunately, all the college students were gone and many high schools had gone back, as well. This cleared things up for me and mine to go where we wanted without threat of gridlock. I hate gridlock.
...that Buchholz will be the ace of the Sox staff very soon. Considering the Sox had lost 4 games in a row, the Yankees has already won that afternoon, and injuries were starting to pile up (Manny, Drew, and Wakefield being the more notables). Buchholz steps up and delivers a spark for the ages. Besides being a no hitter, it got the blood pumping in a tired, listless team that needed a lift. Anyone know if any team has ever hit 4 home runs in a game AND pitched a no hitter in the same season? Jayson Stark...paging Jayson Stark....
...that the new online movie viewing from NetFlix may save my sanity when it comes to business trips. They need to upgrade the choices, but the quality is much better than I expected and it didn't pause or crap out on me once.
...that even professional athletes, with their built in confidence and arrogance, can be awed and humbled by their own achievements. Buchholz' post game interview was eye opening. He was at a loss for words - no, literally - and kept looking around Fenway wondering what the crowd was cheering about. The look on his face was one where he had convinced himself it was all a dream. Wake up, Clay!
...that I may be a bit obsessed about Clay Buchholz.
...that despite this obsession, he is not the most attractive guy.
...that the saying 'But it's a dry heat' is a crock of shit. Especially when it's 95 before 9am.
...that Phoenix has an unheralded, spectacular view. Mountains all around. Too bad it needs to be viewed from an air conditioned office building.
...that I CAN last 5 and a half hours on a flight without killing a flight attendant.
...that the movie version of 'Little Children' is good, but it still doesn't live up to the book.
...that it is now time for me to get to work.
Today's distraction: One man's take on the MVP race. As much as I hate A-Rod, he's having a monster season and should win this one nearly unanimously.