Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Update

A few tidbits from the weekend.

- Fantasy draft went fairly well considering our commissioner quit less than 24 hours before we were supposed to meet and another guy simply didn’t show up. The commish quitting set off a frenzy of ‘do you know a guy?’ phone calls and texts and one ‘Fuck this. I’m out, too!’ from another organizer. Bunch of fucking pussies in this league apparently.

Anyway, the commish changed his mind less than 3 hours later and we drafted for the dildo that didn’t show. His team looks comical and includes Jake Delhomme, two kickers and Buffalo’s defense. In other words, fuck him.


- Not that you care, but I have nothing else to write about and need to fill space, here’s what my team wound up looking like.

RBs: Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Jonathan Stewart, Thomas Jones, and Clinton Portis

QBs: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton

WRs: Miles Austin, Donald Driver, Pierre Garcon, Julian Edelman, Naanee from Chargers who I hope is breaking out this year.

TE: Chris Cooley

Eagles Defense and a kicker to be named later.


- We held our draft at some small, dingy, ratty looking hole in the wall where one of the crew was a member. Beers were two bucks a pop, you were still allowed to smoke indoors and everyone smelled like shit walking out the door. Say what you will about these non smoking laws, but it’s nice to not have to shower four times and burn the clothes you wore in order to get the stench of stale cigarettes off you.


- Since they had pool tables, we formed teams after the draft. One of the guys insisted – nay, DEMANDED – we play for money. ‘C’mon! Five bucks a game,’ he whined. Fine. We agreed and my teammate and I won five games in a row. After the last game, betting man quit in a huff and went to shoot darts by himself. Big baby. Still, I’m glad he pushed it, because I had more money with which to buy beer. Score!


- During the draft, we asked the bartender to keep the jukebox off so we could hear each other. At the time there was nobody else there and the music was loud. Halfway through the draft some haggard looking fat dude approaches our table and asks ‘Can we really not play any music? As a group we responded ‘Nah, man, feel free.’

He staggers over to the jukebox and picks an ancient Paul Simon song. Not even a good one. Well, we were all over him. Yelling across the room ‘Holy shit, this is what you wanted to play?!’ and ‘We changed our minds. Turn it off!’ He took it in good cheer, but no other song was played until we were finished. Sometimes ridicule is the best medicine.


- Before I forget, that same commissioner douche that wanted to quit less than a day before the draft also possesses my trophy from last year. The thing is at least three feet tall and has brass plates so each year’s champion can be etched as we hand it around. He was supposed to get my team name etched on it and hand it over before the draft. Did he show up with it? Or course not! Considering I see him once a year, I’m not expecting it any time soon.


- The boys and I took a cruise on my brother in law’s boat yesterday. A spectacular day through Boston harbor and out to some of the surrounding islands. I must admit that if I could afford it I would have a boat in a heartbeat.

After stopping at one of the islands to swim and have some lunch, we headed a ways out to do some fishing. Guess what? Nothing. Well, not entirely nothing. We did catch one, large, very unhappy blue fish that we released as soon as we could. The thing was like a rabid dog; snapping at our fingers every time we attempted to unhook it.

Other than that monstrosity, there was nothing else. I heard from another friend that his fishing charter also came back empty. An entire boat and not one guy caught a fish. What the hell?

This is one fishless summer so far.


- I have not cut my hair in nearly two months. I realized this yesterday when my hair was coming down to my eyes after swimming. My hair doesn’t really get long, though. It just bushes out like a half assed afro. Short hair, here I come.


- I witnessed an unusual phenomenon over the weekend. I watched a movie that was better than the book. I know! It almost never happens. The movie in question was ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. I read the book last winter and found it very difficult to get into. Lots of who’s who and past relationships and background before getting to the actual plot of the story.

The movie dispenses with a ton of that bullshit and gets right to it. The movie is streamlined and efficient where the book is ponderously descriptive and complex. I know a lot of people who have read the book and everyone seems to like it, but I didn’t think it was anything special.


- Stephen King’s new one is fantastic, though. It’s called ‘Under the Dome’, runs over 1000 pages and, so far, hasn’t wasted one of them. Usually his are 200 pages longer than they need to be (‘Needful Things’ and ‘It’ the two biggest offenders), but this one is quick and vicious. I’ve read nearly 700 pages in less than a week. Considering my mouth still moves when I read, that’s no small feat.


- My busy summer doesn’t let up this coming weekend, either. We’re heading to Vermont to visit my brother in law’s new house. No idea where this is or how long it will take us to get there, but there better be lots of beer waiting for me when I arrive.

Or else!


Today’s distraction: 40 unwritten rules to live by. I totally disagree with number 19, by the way. You can save a fortune bringing your lunch to work.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fantasy Life

At 3 am this morning I woke with a start, chilled to the bone, my mind scrambling to figure out why I was so alarmed. It took a few incoherent minutes before I figured it out.

My fantasy draft is Saturday and I have done absolutely no prep work for it. None! Considering how many players have switched teams, rookies I’m unaware of and running backs that have scattered to the wind today is prep day.

If you have no interest in my take or bullshit or fantasy in general feel free to skip this, but frankly, why are you reading this anyway if any of the above is true? This is more my way of getting my thoughts in order, strategy in place and talking myself into passing over players who would have done me some good if I knew what the hell I was talking about.

I’ll skim over the players first then get to my strategy – which is changing up this year depending on where my pick falls.

QUARTERBACKS

Good Bets:

Drew Brees
Tom Brady
Peyton Manning
Aaron Rodgers
Philip Rivers
Tony Romo
Joe Flacco
Matt Schaub (if he can stay healthy)

Frankly, any of these guys are going to give you solid numbers every week. Flacco is probably the biggest question mark, but he has Boldin this year which should improve his impressive numbers from last year.

Meh:

Jay Cutler
Matt Ryan
David Gerrard
Carson Palmer
Eli Manning
Matt Hasselbeck
Kyle Orton

Any of these guys will have good weeks here and there, but if they’re your every week starter you’re going to be in trouble.

Question Marks:

Donovan McNabb
Kevin Kolb
Ben Roethlisberger
Brett Favre
Chad Henne
Mark Sanchez
Alex Smith

Of all of these guys, I would take a chance on Kolb. Sanchez looks good at times, but he’s probably going to be inconsistent for another year.

No Thanks:

Sam Bradford
Matt Leinert (at one point does he become a bust?)
Jason Campbell
Jake Delhomme (for the record 15th straight year allow me to add: Or any Cleveland QB)
Any Buffalo QB (they have one, right?)

Sleepers:

Vince Young (I’m hoping to snag him around the 7th round if possible)
Matthew Stafford (although I haven’t heard how well his shoulder has healed, yet)
Matt Cassel
Josh Freemen (although he broke his thumb in preseason, so watch that)
Derek Anderson

My theory on Anderson is that Leinert will be pulled as starter at some point. Anderson, who thrived in a spread offense in Cleveland could fit right in and jump start both Arizona’s and Larry Fitzgerald’s season.


RUNNING BACKS

Good Bets:

Chris Johnson
Adrian Peterson
Ray Rice
MJD
Ryan Grant (could have HUGE year)
DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart
Jamaal Charles
Frank Gore
Steven Jackson (although he has to crash at some point, right?)
Michael Turner (comeback year!!)
Rashard Mendenhall

If I have to choose, I’m taking Stewart over Williams. I think he gets more carries for the first time this year.

Meh:

Pierre Thomas/Reggie Bush
Joseph Addai
Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams
Marion Barber/Felix Jones
Beanie Wells/Tim Hightower
Willis McGahee
Ahmad Bradshaw
Michael Bush
Justin Forsett

Question Marks:

Cedric Benson (which one shows up this year?)
Kevin Smith (is he healed enough?)
Matt Forte (comeback year?)
Steve Slaton
Shonn Greene
Knowshon Moreno
Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw

If you have to gamble on one, I’d stick with Benson. It certainly SEEMED like he got his shit together last year, but he’s got Terrell Owens and Ochocinco to deal with now, so who knows what that powder keg holds. Forte I just don’t know about. Maybe he and Cutler are just the wrong mix.

No Thanks:

Darren McFadden
LaDainian Tomlinson
Correll Buckhalter (unless he’s your backup)
Any Seattle running back
Fred Taylor
Jerome Harrison

Sleepers:

Clinton Portis (two fossils – Larry Johnson and Willie Parker - are his only competition)
Donald Brown
Arian Foster (depending on which Slaton shows up this year)
CJ Spiller
Jahvid Best (esp if Kevin Smith isn’t fully healed)
Bernard Scott (esp if Benson implodes)
Laurence Maroney
Thomas Jones

Jones has been solid for the past three years yet teams keep dumping him. Maroney opened my eyes near the end of last season and seems to have rediscovered his mojo somewhere along the way. Has looked impressive in preseason, as well.


RECEIVERS

Good Bets:

Andre Johnson
Randy Moss
Roddy White
Miles Austin
Gregg Jennings
Marques Colston
Anquan Boldin (if you think he can stay healthy)
Reggie Wayne
DeSean Jackson
Steve Smith (the OTHER one. From the Giants)
Dwayne Bowe

Meh:

Hines Ward
Donald Driver
Hakeem Nicks
Pierre Garcon
Bernard Berrian
Jerricho Cotchery
Eddie Royal
Robert Meachem
Lee Evans

Question Marks:

Brandon Marshall (Chad Henne?)
Larry Fitzgerald (the Leinert effect)
Calvin Johnson (was last year his break through or a fluke?)
Steve Smith (Carolina’s QB is who?)
Michael Crabtree (could be great, could be terrible)
Mike Sims Walker
Chad Ochocinco
Percy Harvin (have you heard those migraine stories?)
Vincent Jackson (holding out and may not be with the Chargers much longer)
Dez Bryant (hear good things, but you never know)
Santana Moss (new QB, new coach. Again)
Jeremy Maclin (will he even be #2 in Philly with Kolb?)
Santonio Holmes (with Jets now and might be suspended for a bit, too)
Derrick Mason (how does Boldin affect him?)

No Thanks:

Nate Burleson
Sidney Rice (hip surgery?)
Mike Wallace
TJ Houshmandzzhaha whatever the fuck….
Braylon Edwards (Mr. Drop)
Any Oakland receiver. Hell any Raider at all.

Sleepers:

Steve Breaston (although, again, Leinert is in the picture)
Terrell Owens (just saying, maybe not being THE guy will be good for him)
Johnny Knox
Legedu Naanee (love this dude)
Julian Edelman (esp if Welker isn’t really 100%)
Justin Gage (maturing along with Vince Young?)
Some walk on rookie nobody has heard of

Take a look at this list and you’ll notice there are more question marks here than any other position. A lot of those questions will be answered poorly, too. This factors into my strategy in case you were wondering.


TIGHT ENDS

Good Bets:

Dwight Clark
Antonio Gates
Tony Gonzalez
Jason Witten

Meh:

Vernon Davis (no way he’s having the same run he had last season)
Kellen Winslow
Heath Miller
John Carlson
Chris Cooley
Kevin Boss
Jermichael Finley


Question Marks:

Brent Celek (what sort of relationship does he have with Kolb?)
Visanthe Shiancoe (depends on Favre)
Greg Olson (new offense, Jay Cutler, might be better staying away)
Todd Heap (wildly inconsistent and adding Boldin probably won’t help)

No Thanks:

Zach Miller (Raider factor)
Jeremy Shockey
Tony Scheffler
Benjamin Watson (Cleveland factor)
Anthony Fasano (suckiness factor)

Sleepers:

Aaron Hernandez
Brandon Pettigrew
Fred Davis (Donovan does like his tight ends)
Owen Daniels (this Houston offense may light it up this year. All of them)
Bo Scaife (too great a name not to like)

You can figure out defense and kickers because they don’t really matter that much. I would just stay away from Buffalo no matter what. They’re going to be terrible.


STRATEGY

After writing the above it struck me that you’re nearly guaranteed a quality quarterback in a 10 team league. You’ll probably get one or two serviceable running backs, as well.

Receivers, on the other hand, are valuable merchandise. Especially with so many hurt, holding out, with new teams (along with new QBs) or stuck with crappy teams. Larry Fitzgerald is a perfect example. Last year you put him in the top 3 automatically. This year? No Boldin with a Warner replacement that has looked abysmal? I’m not sure I’d risk taking him in the first two rounds.

Now, obviously if you get a top 3 pick you’ll have to take a prime running back (my top three are Johnson, Peterson, Rice). But what if you get pick 7? Or 8 – 10?

If that’s me, I’m taking Andre Johnson. Without hesitation. He’s the only monster receiver on that list that doesn’t have a fuzzy question mark hanging over him. Sure you could wait and maybe get him on the way back, but if not you’ll have to settle for Greg Jennings or Colston (no slouches, but no Andre, either).

Roddy White, along with Matt Ryan, is coming off a subpar year; Reggie Wayne wasn’t nearly as effective; DeSean Jackson and Brandon Marshall are both playing with new QBs; Welker is coming off knee surgery and there is no telling what mood Randy Moss will be in.

In short, the number of can’t miss receivers is down to a handful. Maybe less. If I can get two quality receivers along with the quarterback that throws to one of them (for example, get Shaub and Johnson or Brady and Moss) on my team, I’ll be happy. What I'm trying to say is this:

Don't be surprised if I pick two receivers with my first two picks then fill out the rest of the roster with leftovers. Don't be surprised at all, my friends.

Now, after all that, here’s hoping my picks can stay healthy.


Today’s distraction: It’s simple: Obey the game. Well, the rules are simple; execution…not so much.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Birthday Survival Guide

Last week Wifey came down with one of her patented ‘migraines’ which, strangely enough, seem to coincide with her drinking a bottle of wine the night before. While normally this would involve me keeping the boys out of her hair while she sleeps it off in a dark, quiet room, this time I wound up having to take my youngest to a birthday party.

For those without children allow me to impart this knowledge: Attending a five year old birthday party is about as close to torture as a parent can get. Not only are you swarmed by screaming children but you also get the lovely experience of awkward, stilted conversation with their parents who, by all indications, really shouldn’t be parents and who you will probably never see again.

If there is a Hell in any form of afterlife I can promise you two things:

1: I’ll be there.

2: It will constitute a perpetual birthday party with children whose parents let them do whatever they want. Most likely they use you as the pony ride, as well, but that’s just speculation.

But, hey, I’m here to help. Here’s a quick guideline for running a children’s birthday party. It’s comforting to note that things get easier the older they get. The worst is between the ages of 3 and 6 so I’ll focus on that age frame to minimize damage and keep your mental health in tip top shape.

You can thank me later.

Have A Plan: Party themes always go over well, but you need to have a plan in place. Simple, borderline retarded games to keep their feeble, easily distracted minds occupied for 20 minutes at a time are highly recommended. Even if you make something up like obstacle courses with chairs or Simon Says it will help enormously. I would also recommend one of those ‘Bounce’ places with inflatable slides and crazy gyms. They cruise right along and the kids are constantly entertained. Plus there’s no cleanup.

Keep It Moving: Let’s be honest, parents don’t like hosting any more than they like going to these things, so move things along. Keep in mind that children have the attention span of a sand flea and they came for three things: Fun, ice cream and cake. Fun just happens naturally when hapless, clumsy humans run around and bump into each other and, with the games mentioned above, everything should be fine. Just focus on getting the ice cream and cake ready about an hour into the party.

Party Favors: Believe it or not this is THE most critical aspect of any party. Every child must leave with a little something to make them feel like it was worth going. However, you have to be careful not to piss off the parents at the same time. One party gave every kid slide whistles and every adult the strong urge to shove those whistles into very inappropriate places. Think along the arts and crafts line. The best idea were mini Etch-A-Sketches which everyone loved. Magnetic games or even glow sticks work, too.

Use Common Sense: This last party was themed after Star Wars so the parents thought handing out huge, foam light sabers was a fantastic idea. Want to know what happens when you hand out large swords to five year old boys then pump sugar into their blood streams? You already know, don’t you? It was like a steel cage match with the ref unconscious in the corner. A complete free for all that – surprise! – ended with more than one kid crying.

Also, if any activity involves the children climbing a stepladder in order to hit something with a stick you might want to second guess what’s going on in your mental processing as something is misfiring. I’m of course referring to…

Lose The Pinata: Has any child ever left a birthday party asking why there was no piƱata? Ever? Never mind that someone (most likely the adult running it) is going to take a pole to the head and/or ball sack, the effort it takes to get the stupid candy into it, but nobody even cares. Lose it and if even one person – adult or child – complains about it, I’ll personally drive to your house with a hand made one shaped like my head. If you want the kids to have even more sugar (or are trying to induce sugar seizures in an attempt to end the party early - which is freakin' genius!) then stick some in a small bag with the favors.

Allow Bartering: When we were kids, the best part of the birthday party favor bags (we called them ‘loot bags’) was the trading that went on after. ‘I got corn chips and a small Milky Way! I’ll take a bag of peanut M&Ms for them!’ This sets off an impromptu, auction like environment that is more fun than the actual party. I’ve noticed all the kids get the same thing. BOOOORRRING! Mix it up and let them fight it out. Plus it teaches them the value of a capitalist market so you can consider yourself educational (if snobby).

Watch Your Kid (Yeah, You!): This is for all the parents who consider a birthday party a free babysitting service. Everyone goes into these things knowing there will be at least one parent who lets their kid run wild or simply drops them off and runs for the hills. Don’t be that parent. If you kid is smacking other kids or single handedly trying to ruin the party, deal with it. Even if that means you dressing the brat down in front of everyone else. Part of being a parent is making sure your child can function in a social setting even if you can’t.

No Alcohol For The Adults: Normally I would consider this sacrilege, but this is a special case. For one thing you don’t want parents driving their high as a kite children home after letting them drink. But the more important reason is that adults tend to slip into socializing mode when beer and wine are introduced. This means parents are hanging out with each other and the kids are watching themselves. See where this is heading? Soon none of the parents give two shits what the kids are doing and ‘Lord of the Flies’ is being reenacted on the playground. Be responsible for two hours. You can do it.

Don’t Open The Gifts: Just wait until everyone leaves and have the birthday boy/girl open them later. Not only does it take fucking forever, but no other child wants to see the cool toys some other brat got that they didn’t. It’s cruel and always – ALWAYS – ends with ‘Dad, can I get one of those?’ or ‘I wanted that….WAHHHHHH!’ followed by a pouty, miserable ride home.

Those are the basics. Stick with those and you should survive with your sanity intact. I would also suggest telling your children not to make many friends or simply toss invitations into the trash when they arrive.

Sadly, many hand them out at school before you can intervene, so you’re going to be trapped at some point. Just keep this survival guide handy and remember that same kid will probably be wiping your ass in 40 years.

Payback’s a bitch.


Today’s distraction: Ten more tips for raising a child you shouldn’t have had in the first place.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Movie Reviews

It’s been so long since I reviewed any movies that this may be my longest entry ever. I’m probably going to miss some that I’ve seen lately, as well, since my memory is crumbling faster than a decade old Devil Dog. That analogy makes sense to me.

The Blind Side: Finally got around to seeing this and enjoyed it. Sandra Bullock deserves her Oscar, I guess, but I wasn’t overly ‘Wowed’ by her. Certainly funnier than I expected, but I’m guessing Bullock’s character is given a bit more credit than she deserves for her football input.

The Crazies: Fast paced, intelligent, and highly disturbing tale that makes me think Timothy Olyphant is starting to pick the right roles for himself. Between this and ‘The Perfect Getaway’, he’s on a major roll.

The Book Of Eli: Denzel kicks ass, as usual, but the ending left me confused and I’m fairly sure it cheated along the way. I liked the twist, but didn’t care enough about the movie to go back and double check. See this for the kick ass shoot out at the house, though. Too bad they didn’t take as much care with the rest of the movie as they did with that five minute sequence.

The Invention of Lying: I’m fully in the Ricky Gervais fan club, but this movie misfired from the beginning. There are still his trademark, awkward, bumbling comedy scenes, but when he decided to recreate the 10 Commandments on pizza boxes this movie lost me.

Edge of Darkness: Crazy Mel Gibson sports a terrible Boston accent (note to Hollywood, very few people actually sound like that around here. We’re not all Kennedy’s) in a confusing, less violent and vengeful than I was hoping for revenge flick. I never understand why movies make CEOs who are already making obscene amounts of money with legitimate business still deal with criminal activity with very little pay off. What was the point of this back room deal exactly? If you think I just ruined the movie for you wait until you see it.

ZombieLand: Despite the glut of zombie movies out there, this one had me hooked from the beginning. Fast paced, funny, gory and – just when you think things are going to drag – an appearance by Bill Murray.

Inglorious Basterds: While I enjoyed many parts of this movie, the ending sort of ruined it for me. I was watching this thinking it was Tarantino’s take on history. Maybe a bit more twisted and violent perhaps, but still based on some actual events. By the time things end, though, I realized this was nothing more than a revenge fantasy and it lessened the impact. I would recommend it still, but I feel cheated in a strange way.

Shutter Island: In the interest of full disclosure, I read the book years ago and had a hard time remembering the ‘big twist’ ending. I remembered it vividly when the men first arrive on the island and was a bit dismayed when I thought the rest of the film was ruined. Not so. This is so well done and visually inventive that I was absorbed the entire time. And, yes, I knew how it ended, but it didn’t lessen the affect when the main character learns for himself. While DeCaprio has spent most of his life as a movie star, it’s shocking how good an actor he’s become.

Alice in Wonderland: Tim Burton’s take on the classic is more a sequel than a remake. I would have enjoyed this more if he simply told the original story rather than making Alice some rebellious late teen looking for her way in the world. Visually involving and having Depp on hand certainly helps, but there was an absence of consequence that I found a bit frustrating.

Orphan: What the fuck? If you haven’t seen this, skip over this part because I’m going to ruin the ending. You know what? Read anyway so you save yourself the wasted time. The twist is that this psycho little adopted girl is actually a 35 year old woman with dwarfism. I shit you not. Frankly, this movie would have been more creepy and interesting if she was actually a little girl (ala ‘The Bad Seed’ or ‘The Good Son’). Instead they throw in a twist so ridiculous and far fetched that I laughed out loud before getting very angry at the film makers. Bastards!

Daybreakers: Here’s what pisses me off about Hollywood: Shit movies like the 'Twilight' get all the money and press while legitimately interesting and well made movies like this get over looked. People think ‘Another vampire movie? No thanks’ and dismiss it. Don’t dismiss this one where vampires are the majority and human blood is running scarce. Yes, it’s ultra violent but also very well acted and tragic. One of my favorites of the year.

The Damned United: Another over looked sports movie that is better than ‘The Blind Side’ in nearly every way. Michael Sheen has quietly become one of the best actors around. Compare his performance here to ‘Frost/Nixon’ and it’s hard to believe this is the same guy.

The Orphanage: Spanish language horror movie that has more scares and a legitimately tragic twist ending than Hollywood releases in a year.

Pandorum: Sci fi/horror flick that was much better than I was expecting. The ending left me a tad bewildered but the trip there was entertaining enough.

North Face: Harrowing, involving, true story of two German friends who want to become the first to conquer the North Face of Eiger only to have things go horribly wrong. At one point a reporter on the ground says to his friend ‘We’ll never fully understand what goes on up there’. Watch this movie and you’ll know.

The House of the Devil: From the opening credits, this movie is an homage to all those low budget 70s horror movies. What’s surprising is how well it evokes the ‘I’m alone in a strange, dark house’ mood. Some truly scary moments and the ending sticks with you.

The Last Winter: Strange things start happening in an Arctic outpost. While it sounds intriguing, it’s really not. Rewatch ‘The Thing’ instead.

My Sister’s Keeper: Fuck, yeah. I watched this entire, emotionally manipulative (yet not moving in the least) chick flick. The price of marriage. Cameron Diaz proves once and for all she shouldn’t act in a drama ever again and the film makers portray the cancer stricken daughter as an eight year old trapped in a 20 year old body. I was so convinced the girl was 11 or 12 I was shocked when they flashback to her having sex with her boyfriend.

Observe and Report: This started out fine with the typical Seth Rogan wise ass, vulgar schtick before crumbling into dark territory. Not nearly as bad as I heard (hilarious drug scenes with his partner, Anna Faris is always great, and his mother is classic) and way better than ‘Mall Cop’ (although so is static), but when the lesson seems to be bipolar people should go off their meds and all will be well, I’m alarmed. At one point a character says to his friend ‘I thought this was going to be funny, but really….it’s just sad’. Exactly!


Today’s distraction: Check out these two talented – and insane – guys. There must be a movie to make with them involved. Maybe they stumble across a murder scene and they’re chased through the city? How do they practice?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vacation Matchup

LOCATIONS

Grand Cayman: Approximately 400 miles south of Florida

Wells, Maine: Approximately 80 miles north of Boston


TIME SPENT

Grand Cayman: 7 days, 6 nights, June 27th through July 4th

Wells, ME: 7 days, 6 nights, August 7th through August 14th


TRAVEL TIME

Grand Cayman: 6 hours by plane

Wells, ME: 80 minutes by car


TOTAL COST

Grand Cayman: Shade over six grand

Wells, ME: Shade over two grand



AVERAGE WATER TEMPERATURE

Grand Cayman: 80 degrees

Wells, ME: 60 degrees…on a good day.


NUMBER OF DAYS WEARING ANYTHING BUT SHORTS AND TSHIRT

Grand Cayman: Zero

Wells, ME: Zero


BOOKS READ

Grand Cayman: ‘Storm Prey’ by John Sandford. Kick ass return of Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport. One of the best of the series.

Wells, ME: ‘The Angel’s Game’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Haunting story of a man’s descent into madness that leaves you puzzling out reality from what a damaged mind has conjured up.

Both books highly recommended.


NUMBER OF DAYS SPENT AT BEACH

Grand Cayman: Seven

Wells, ME: Five, mainly because we were so scorched a break was needed.


NUMBER OF BROKEN TOES

Grand Cayman: One. Received while exploring nearby reef.

Wells, ME: Two. Received while fooling around with eldest son in the indoor pool under the sign the specifically says ‘No horseplay’.


NUMBER OF BEERS CONSUMED

Grand Cayman: Lost count by day three.

Wells, ME: Lost count by hour three.


NUMBER OF CIGARS SMOKED

Grand Cayman: Three. All Cuban.

Wells, ME: Five. None Cuban but all just as good.

Quick sidenote: It’s become something of a revelation that the ‘Cuban’ cigar status has taken a bit of a hit lately (for me, anyway). One of the Cubans in GC wasn’t really that good and the Arturo Fuente I had up in Maine (which I think was Dominican) rivals anything from Castro’s island. Just saying that perhaps Cuba is riding more on its reputation that reality.


BEST MEAL

Grand Cayman: Surf and turf: grilled sirloin with full lobster tail and shrimp.

Wells, ME: Lobster dinner with corn on the cob, roasted red potatoes and clam chowder as appetizer. Pardon my drool. Would also recommend the lobster stew from ‘Fisherman’s Catch’.


DAYS OF RECOVERY NEEDED

Grand Cayman: Three

Wells, ME: To be determined


MOST INTERESTING SUBPLOT

Grand Cayman: The destruction still evident from Hurricane Ivan. Houses simply missing, reefs destroyed and stories of the island being submerged for nearly three days.

Wells, ME: The lack of fish. My brother in law is an avid fisherman who could probably turn pro if he wanted. He’s one of these guys that knows any fish by sight, which bait or lures will catch which kind of fish, how big each fish should be to be a ‘keeper’ and can debone any in approximately 30 seconds. He fished every day and didn’t catch anything. Charter fishing boats were coming in empty handed. Other’s fishing the beach and harbor weren’t even getting bites. Not sure if the area is just over fished or they are somewhere else, but I’ve decided to blame BP.


TELEVISION WATCHED

Grand Cayman: A Spanish language version of ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ that was oddly mesmerizing.

Wells, ME: My very first ‘Jersey Shore’ experience which was actually filmed in Miami and included one of my favorite moments of television: One of the Jersey chicks was arguing with another Jersey chick in a moving cab and suggested ‘You want to step outside and settle this?’ The guys are idiots, the girls are idiots and I’m fairly certain everyone involved in this show is borderline retarded. Needless to say I loved it and had my 15 year old niece get me up to speed on who was who and what phrases like ‘grenade’ and ‘landmine’ meant.


MUSIC CRANKED

Grand Cayman: Whatever the outside bar was playing which was usually Lady Gaga or one of the other nameless female singers who all sound suspiciously alike.

Wells, ME: We had AC/DC night, The National, Menomena, The Flatliners, The Menzingers, Far, Male Bonding, Jawbox were all on constant rotation. But the highlight was introducing my nephews to the bone crushing joys of Mastodon and Baroness. My ten year old nephew, who sports hair longer than all the women in our family, was instantly converted and wanted to listen every time he stopped by for a visit. Hey, if I can help one child learn the wonders of heavy metal I’ll have made the world a better place. He and the boys also enjoyed the new one from LostProphets, but I had to skip over a few songs for F-Bomb related reasons.


FUNNIEST MOMENT

Grand Cayman: Youngest doing a dance that looked suspiciously like a male stripper routine while we were eating in the lobby restaurant. We even managed to video tape it for posterity. Any future girlfriends will be sure to see this by date number four.

Wells, ME: My brother in law, still recovering from a bout of ‘hug-the-toilet-itis’ from the night before, getting a whiff of the shots of Parrot Bay coconut rum that were being passed around and instantly turning gray.

His explanation: ‘That was the last drink I had before passing out last night’.

Other brother in law who was serving the drinks: ‘NOOO, the last drink we had was the shot of limoncello

First BIL, after a long pause: ‘We had limoncello last night?’


WINNER: Me. That's all that matters.


Today’s distraction: 15 things you didn’t know about Sesame Street. I had always wondered why the adults were suddenly seeing Snuffleupagus when I saw it after a 20 year absence. Now I know. Sexual abuse. Go figure.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Notes On A Massacre

According to this sketch of a report, a driver for a beer distributor near the Hartford area had been called into the warehouse for a disciplinary hearing. Rumors were that they were going to ask him to resign. The driver must have heard the rumors beforehand since he instead came in and started shooting the shit out of everything.

The count so far stands at eight dead, unknown numbers injured and one (assumed) suicide of said gunman.

A few thoughts:

1: Why do these things keep happening? What triggers a seemingly well adjusted person to dive head first into the deep end of the crazy pool? Is any job that great that losing it will prompt mass murder?

Granted, delivering beer is about as close to a dream job as I could hope for, but I wouldn’t kill anyone over it. You want to fire me? Fine, I’ll take some time off and get another job. Even if it’s part time at Starbucks I’ll find something. And free coffee is always a plus!

2: If you are feeling down about losing your job, why must you kill other people first? Just shoot yourself and leave everyone else alone, you fucker! Every time I hear about one of these nut jobs they always end up shooting themselves to end things. The Virginia Tech asshole was so calculating he remembered to save a bullet for himself. Well, then just kill yourself FIRST and cut out all that middle bullshit.

3: Why haven’t we figured out an escape scenario for this situation? We train twice a year for disasters like terrorist attacks, have fire drills and even ‘go bags’ that have bottled water, power bars and flashlights for the worse case scenarios. But there are still no corporate courses on how to spot and report a potential gunman working with you. Maybe it’s simply impossible to separate the possible mass murderers from the harmless, odd duck everyone avoids, but there must be some common warning signs. Anyone?

4: Maybe I’m thinking too logically about this (in which case, yay for me!), but how does gunning down innocent people solve anything? In what thought process does a person conclude ‘You know, maybe if I kill a few people they’ll have to keep me. I mean, they’ll be shorthanded and I already know the paperwork.’

Or more likely ‘They think they can fire me, well I’ll show them!’ before giving them an even better reason to fire him. What is it, exactly, are they trying to say with random, meaningless killing? That they deserved that job? That the company was wrong in firing them?

Well, hate to tell you, but you just proved not only why they should have fired you but that they should never have hired you in the first place. In fact, you just proved that everything they thought about you was right on!

Well done, you stupid fuck.

6: Enough of hiding behind the 2nd Amendment (which was written during a little period of time called The Revolutionary War), we need much stricter gun control. It’s frighteningly easy for these psychos to get their hands on guns. Making it more difficult would – at the very least – give everyone more time to heed warning signs or give a potential gunman time to think ‘Hmmm, is this really the best course of action?’

And, yes, I know there are always illegal weapons out there, but drastically curbing the sale of guns can’t hurt.

7: The governor of Connecticut offered condolences to the victim’s families which got me wondering what else could they possibly say? ‘Yeah, well, they should have known what they were in for working at a beer plant and all!’ Of course they’re sorry shit went down. And do those phony condolences mean anything at all to the families? ‘Oh, look, the Governor is sorry for us. That means so much.’

I know, I know, it’s just standard operating procedure and maybe it does serve as some sort of comfort. Still, seems a bit superfluous (Looky! Big word!). Like a President having to verbally condemn the genocide in another country.

8: I’ve noticed that politicians and police spokespersons will say ‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims.’ But what if the person is an atheist or not practicing any religion? Is that where the ‘thoughts’ part of that statement comes into play? As in ‘my thoughts and their prayers’?

Just wondering.

9: In the good news department, I heard all the beer is just fine.


Today’s distraction: A perfect illustration for the creative process.