Packers at Seahawks – 9/24/12

The last 24 hours have been strange.

It’s one thing when your team is in the Superbowl and the entire world is watching your team on the biggest stage. Win or lose, you expect the water-cooler conversation to revolve around the game the next day. You know there will be an unreadable amount of articles devoted to the outcome and that the media will pay an obscene amount of attention to it. I know this, because I’m a fan of the Green Bay Packers and not the Minnesota Vikings.

But when something happens during a regular season game in September that lights a country on fire it’s a little fascinating.

I don’t know how you make it through your day and not know all the details about what went down in Lambeau Field on Monday, the 24th of September. It was a terribly butchered game by the now infamous replacement officials and it culminated in an incorrect call that cost the Packers a game. When it was over, the Internet lit. the. fuck. up.

Buzzfeed estimates it generated well over a million tweets last night. TJ Lang, guard for the Packers, has what will eventually be the most RT’d tweet ever with over 70k in 24 hours. President Obama and those hacks running against him both weighed in with the election two months away. Gawker, a gossip site, even published a guide for those who don’t care about sports but would rather not feel on the outside.

I hadn’t heard from my mom by noon today so I shot her an email, hoping she was still alive (I’m not even kidding). She said she couldn’t sleep last night because of it. I told her she clearly hadn’t drank as much as I had.

I got Packer related forwards from coworkers that never send me anything. People whose names I don’t know stopped by my office and asked where I was during ‘the call’. I would walk down the hall and there was this universal understanding that we got collectively screwed the night before. I read a lot of names for what we saw, from the Fail Mary to The Seattle Screw. Head to the homepage of any news organization in the English speaking world and it was there.

This was for a regular season game in week 3 of the NFL season.

Look, last night I was despondent for a bit. I didn’t understand how a human being could make these mistakes that cost my team so much, particularly when it seemed pretty obvious what should have been called. I got upset. I was got drunk. I went online and took screen grabs of my Facebook timeline and various sites because I’d never seen a reaction like this before.

But eventually I accepted that what we’re watching this season wasn’t real and I came to a bit of a peace. Over the first three weeks of this NFL season what we’ve watched isn’t the same product that’s become the biggest thing in the country. We’re watching a farce, a joke, the equivalent of some bullshit Monday Night Raw wrestling crap that people still somehow care about. It isn’t just the blatant blown calls the likes of which we saw last night. It’s the fighting, the shoving, the mugging, the arguing and intimidating we see from teams every week to get their way.

This isn’t the NFL I respect and have grown to love like millions of others. This is a work of fiction, and I don’t know that it can be fixed this season. As we’ve already seen, serious harm has been done.

It’s that realization that made last night’s debacle somehow easier to take. I hate what has happened as much as anyone. But if you accept that what’s happening every Sunday (and Monday and Thursday…thanks Roger, you fuck) is total shit to begin with it’s not difficult to lose your interest in the bullshit product it is.

Probably the best thing I’ve ever read, and I’ve read fuck-tons.

The end of the second semester of my Super Senior year was a scary point in my life. I knew I wasn’t going to graduate because I fucked up a particular class. Not only that, but the class wasn’t going to be offered that summer or the following fall. I was terrified of what my parents were going to think when they’d find out.

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know something bad is going to happen? Or maybe you feel guilt? That feeling moved from the pit of my stomach to my chest, right where my heart is. I started having panic attacks. They were debilitating and frequent. I’d wake up in the middle of the night in serious pain from these attacks.

I remember one in particular. I was in my shitty bedroom, standing at the foot of my bed when an attack hit and it brought me too my knees. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth as I waited for it to pass. I decided that was it, I had to go see a doctor.

I drove to the ER and described my pain to the nurse and she got a doctor to talk to me. He said there were some depression symptoms and gave me a prescription for Prozac. I didn’t tell my parents, I just started taking happy pills and the panic attacks stopped.

I only stayed on the medication for about three months, just enough to get through the summer. I would end up leaving school three credits shy of graduating. I didn’t go back. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I got a really great job offer and the chance to start a career with a great company was too much to pass up. One day, hopefully soon, I’ll finish getting my degree, if for no other reason that it would make my mom proud.

But I still think about those three months every once in a while. My takeaway from that time was learning how to manage my tensions, worries, guilt and sadness. I don’t get attacks anymore or get depressed the way was back then in 2005. I try to keep everything in perspective. Writing helps.

I bring this up because I just finished reading one the best, most inspiring things I believe ever written. Take a few minutes. I think you’ll agree with me.

Hey, a new 10 things

1 – If you’ve read my blog for a while you may remember when I used to crank out a couple really large 3000-4000 word entries a week. During the course of the day, if I thought about something that might make for good writing I’d make a quick note of it in an email and at the end of the work day I’d send it to myself. At night I’d do some writing on the laptop while the Bucks or Brewers were on in the background. 

Obviously, I don’t do that anymore. I wish I did. Looking back I think it’s easy to trace why that stopped: Twitter.  

If you’re like me and on it every waking hour of the day (seriously) it’s tough to stay focussed on any one thing. Part of writing means caring enough to do so, and all it takes is one tweet to fly across your screen to disrupt the process.* It was one thing when Twitter was in its infancy and the only thing I used it for was breaking news and seeing where friends were, but soon sites got so good at driving traffic it’s to the point where you could spend all goddamn day just clicking from one blog or article or Tumblr to the next. And the GIFs. Oh my god, the gifs.

*I stopped in the middle of writing that sentence because I wanted to learn Five Ways to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal. See what I mean?

Most of the people I know aren’t like this. Maybe most of my friends and acquaintances are on it by now, but unless they’re like me and forced to be in front of a computer for eight hours a day Twitter doesn’t have this kind of affect. I on the other-hand can’t really remember what life was like prior to Twitter. How did I find out what was going on in the world? Did I just visit CNN.com? Was I completely reliant on email or TV or friends?

Like I said, most people aren’t the kind that expects things instantly. My main dude is probably the only other person I know. We follow a lot of the same people so when something shows up we don’t even have to say, “Did you see that [tweet] [link] [pic]?” It’s just a quick IM over G-Chat with a comment like, “That’s hilarious” and we’ll both know what we’re talking about; we both just saw the same thing, after all.

1b – I remember when I was in college and liked collecting music videos (I don’t know why either) from my favorite artists. I used to have to hop on IRC and download the video if I wanted to watch. Then Youtube came along and no more downloading. Instant gratification.

But everything is like that now. You can get anything almost instantly. A couple weeks ago a bunch of us were having drinks and dinner at my place before going out. My brother wanted to watch Fringe (INSTANT PARTY STARTER) so I hopped behind my VPN, started uTorrent and fifteen minutes later I had the entire season one. Get that? Seven years ago it was 40 minutes for a 40 mb file of The Ataris – Boys of Summer (or Michelle Branch’s All You Wanted. Just bein’ honest). Now it’s 15 minutes for 2.2 GB of TV.

1c – Side note about Twitter. I don’t have many followers because I’m not funny on it, not famous and I’m not a cute girl. I’ve totally come to grips with this. But every once in a while one of my few will RT something I’ve said and the first thing I’ll think is HOW HAVE THEY NOT UNFOLLOWED ME BY NOW.

I swear all the time. A large percentage of my tweets are in caps. I post the dumbest shit. I occasionally venture into the political. A fair amount of it is food and drink photos. If I still used Facebook and did so the way I do Twitter, 95% of the people I know would have unfriended me.

2 – Hey, look at that! I got through one. I’m shooting for ten. THIS TOTALLY COUNTS.

3 – Remember how in the late 90s and early 00s Napster was the biggest thing online and the recording industry was ruined because of it? Except it wasn’t. Companies didn’t see a dive when Napster came around; no, what killed the RIAA was the iPod and iTunes store. All of the sudden you didn’t need to enter a record store and buy an album for $15 when you could choose what you wanted å la carte online. It took years for the industry to figure out that it wasn’t a question of cost, but of convenience.

Sure, millions of broke college kids downloaded thousands of mp3s for free and I’m sure many still do. But more are listening to their music legally because it’s so easy to get what you want (again) instantly.

I pay something like $10 a month to use Rdio. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s like Spotify. If you don’t know what Spotify is, you’re my mom. HI MOM I PROMISE I’LL TRY TO USE FEWER ‘FUCKS’ AND ‘SHITS’ IN MY WRITING! For that much money I have access to virtually every song I want, can make and share playlists and store the tunes offline. I could also just listen for free and hear an occasional ad. If I didn’t want to pay for a monthly service, owning a song I like for 99 cents is obviously reasonable. Millions of people seem to think so; Apple’s iTunes store is the #1 way people acquire music these days.

What got me thinking about this is a post I read last week on UPROXX.

The worst kept secret on the web over the last two years is that Apple wants to do for TV what it did for music (more or less). This means some sort of device, whether it’s a TV or set-top device, will offer full on-demand TV and movies, bypassing the need for a cable or satellite subscription. Want to watch tonight’s episode of Homeland? No problem. That one episode of The OC where Cohen is dangling in the rain and Summer lays one on him, Spiderman style? GO FOR IT, FELLOW DEVOTED FAN OF THE OC.

Studios that get their revenue from cable company viewing rights are understandably adverse to the idea. Cable companies are downright scared and want nothing more than to hold onto the current model.

But does anyone really believe it isn’t going to happen at some point? People can spend over $100 a month a TV subscription and only watch a few channels. When people realize that there are cheaper alternatives, they’ll cancel.

Think of what you pay for cable. Now ask yourself how many cable (non ABC, CBS [ewe], NBC [derp] and Fox) shows you watch. I’m a big fan of FX programming; I love Archer, The League, Sons of Anarchy, Justified and American Horror Story. Other shows include Showtime’s Homeland and Starz’s Spartacus. 

That’s basically it. I’m not into Louie, Mad Men, Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead but those are the other big names. 

To watch each show I could spend $30 for each season pass on iTunes. Add a new $30 antenna to pick up the Networks over air and a $99 Apple TV to stream the shows to your HDTV.

Total cost: $340

That’s not even four months of programming for a lot of satellite and cable users. 

3b – I’m canceling my Charter service tomorrow.

3c – There are two problems with my plan: sports and HBO. First, the latter. 

HBO is notoriously dickish when it comes to their programming. If you want to watch their stuff, you need to have an HBO subscription (meaning cable/sat provider), wait a year for the DVDs, or illegally download it. They don’t put their shows on Netflix or Hulu. You can’t purchase their shows on iTunes. This is an issue for you fellow Game of Thrones nuts, and likely why that show was the most torrented in history this past season. 

The Oatmeal summed it up in the best possible way. *adds CuntHammer to daily lexicon*

The 2nd issue of sports is more complicated and difficult to overcome. 

For those unfamiliar, sports like MLB and the NBA have their own regional sports networks. If I want to watch the Bucks or Brewers you need Fox Sports Wisconsin, and that’s only available with a cable/satellite package. You can buy their season package and watch online or on a Apple TV type device but if you live in their market you’ll be blacked out. That’s not their local Milwaukee market, either. That’s FIVE FUCKING STATES.

I’m a nerd an know how to fake it so those leagues think I’m located in goddamn Zimbabwe and thus not in my local market. But 99% of the people who would watch online won’t.

It also mesa no ESPN. I haven’t found a decent way around it. My mom and dad were over last month and I showed them by streaming setup. It has a ton of shit on demand, including every MLB game. My dad wanted to use it as evidence for why he and my mom should ditch their $200 a month DirectTV bill. 

“Would you get ESPN and the NFL Network with your setup?” my mom asks.

“No.” 

“Sorry,” she says to my dad. “We’re keeping DirectTV.”

3d – Look, I’ll pay for the content I want. Like I said, I get my music from a pay service. I get both Netflix and Amazon Prime. I bought the MLB package and will probably buy the NBA in the winter to watch the dogshit Milwaukee Bucks. I (currently) have cable. I’ll do this even if pirating virtually anything digital comes as naturally to me as breathing. 

When I was researching ways around the MLB blackout restrictions this spring all I could think was I WANT TO GIVE YOU ASSHOLES MY MONEY WHY WON’T YOU LET ME. Had I not figured out a VPN workaround or spoofed my iPad, MLB would be out my $150. 

Because they’re fucking morons.

4 – So today was the 11th anniversary of 9/11, and I watched and read a lot of tributes to that day and the heroes that died because of it.

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I was a sophomore in college and arrived home from an early morning class. Flipped on the TV and the WTC was on fire. A lot of people at that point hadn’t really yet grasped what had happened but I woke my roommate (we lived in the dorms) and he and I watched the horrific events unfold.

I remember watching the towers come down and I didn’t understand what was going on. Why were the towers falling. Was this a controlled explosion as a result of the accident? It wasn’t until about 30 seconds after it happened that my brain finally caught up to what my eyes were witnessing. I couldn’t say anything. I thought of the thousands that must have just died before my eyes and my stomach was sick.

4b – One thing that I don’t remember vividly is the night Bin Laden was killed. I vaguely remember being on Twitter and seeing the news, and that the President was going to be making a statement that night, but I didn’t watch. 

I just didn’t have the effect on me that it did so many others. To be honest, I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to feel. For one, I’ve never been a proponent for the death   penalty. In my opinion the celebration of murdering others leaves me cold and a little embarrassed for us as humanity. There’s also the major issue that too many innocent people have been wrong killed, but truthfully there’s another reason why I oppose it.

To me, death is too good for the people who commit the worst crimes. I wouldn’t want Jerry Sandusky to die a quick death. I didn’t want Bin Laden to be sleeping in his bed, only to be woken by gun fire and put down with a double tap to the head.

I think millions were cheated out of the chance to have him truly suffer for what he did. In my ideal world Bin Laden would have been captured, brought back to the US to stand trial in a New York city court, and sentenced to the harshest prison this country knows. He’s live the rest of his natural life among a lot of people who didn’t appreciate what he orchestrated.

So while others were celebrating that night, I felt a little more empty for a lot of reasons that still make me wonder to this day.

4c – Aaron Sorkin has twice wrote TV episodes that dealt with the 9/11 and the aftermath, including Bin Laden’s death. The second time was an episode of The Newsroom and I don’t know if it was handled all that well.

However, the first time for the West Wing, he completely knocked it out of the fucking park. 

Isaac and Ishmael was an episode that had absolutely nothing to do with the West Wing story. It was a standalone response to what the US went through in the aftermath of 9/11. 

Here are three clips. Can’t express strongly enough how much you should watch them. The West Wing had serious heart and intelligence and it comes through here:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSAMKvADVhg&w=560&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21eaubatLGc&w=420&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDsY8qCxLHQ&w=420&h=315]

Now go and watch the rest of the series. It’s on Amazon Prime right now. I’ve already got my fried Eliza on it. She texts me frequently to let me know when the show makes her cry. 

*This thing got lengthy. Still gonna write about liking what you like and being proud, terrible kids, the blogging community, my favorite new purchase and a girl who told me she wasn’t wearing any underwear. More to come tomorrow.*