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10 Things

Yea, so it’s back.

The last incarnation of the 10 things blog was a fun (at least for me), sort of interesting look into the head of a dude. Sports, politics, current events, food, dating, times with friends, whatever…I wrote about everything. If it was going through my head it inevitably found it’s way into the blog. My first entry was on May 1st, 2006. The last was on September 14th, 2008. In between there were hundreds of entries, the total amount of pages adding up to the size of your typical Tom Clancy novel. Sometimes I wrote daily and the stuff came out easily; other times I knew I hadn’t written in a week and I had to force myself to write. It wasn’t for public viewing. I mostly wrote it so days, months and years later I could look back at things I’d written and smile when remembering how I felt about something on that particular day. Sometimes people would find out I was writing a blog and if they wanted access I usually gave it to them. By the end of its run the 10 things had around six thousand total views not counting my own. So I was sort of proud that not only would someone care to read what I’d written, but that they would return for subsequent entries.

But anyway, it’s been exactly a year since I’ve done this. Seems like as good a time as any to get back up off the mat.

1) Social media will get me fired one day.

Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, message boards, instant messaging…if you’re someone with a number of interests, wired-in friends and access to the internet at your job, it’s damn near fucking impossible to stay focussed. Hell, in-between the first paragraph and #1 on this list I had to take a break to check the usual sites for updates on anything I may have missed in the last twenty minutes (Brian Urlacher is out of the season, by the way). Every once in a while I step back and marvel at the absurdity of it all.

Last night I was watching the Packers take on the Bears. I didn’t know, nor did I care, that the MTV VMAs were on. But on a site I frequent a new thread with the topic, “Kanye does it again…” had started. Thirty seconds later Neder IM’s me with the details. That same moment Twitter is blowing up with the incident. Ten minutes later there’s video on Perez Hilton’s site. Five minutes later it’s tweeted that Swift and her mom were seen crying hysterically backstage. Minutes later there’s a tweet that Kanye was kicked out of the show. Liza asks if I want to kick Kanye’s ass. My brother comes home from his classroom and the first thing out of his mouth and it isn’t about the game, it’s, “Can you believe what Kanye did?”.

This is all in a span of about thirty minutes. I never once flipped over to MTV. I didn’t even care to know about what happened. But just from having a computer, the internet and a phone I couldn’t avoid knowing.

Now, this is all happening on a Sunday night. It would be great if the world stopped Monday through Friday, 8:00-5:00 pm, but it doesn’t. So when I don’t have something pressing to do at work, my day is usually spent in a constant search for up to the minute information. It’s scary but my system is that I can go from one bookmarked site to the next, and by the time I’m finished with my last site I know there’s probably updates on the first. Rince, wash, repeat. Always repeat. Unless I’ve got a project desperately needing my attention, I can spend all day just combing 12 websites.

I’m not saying this is awesome. I’m saying it’s an addiction. I don’t know when it happened, but information (even the most mundane) became a drug. I’m not the only one hooked, either. I have pals that are the exact same way. We send each other updates on AIM or our phones. If something is even fifteen minutes late, you get ripped for being behind or slow. What scares me, though, is where does this take a turn? What happens when one of us gets a job that actually requires eight hours of attention? What will the withdrawal process be like?

I’m nervous.

1b. Classic example. My favorite place to get lunch is a spot called Cicione’s. I love it because I can call for takeout, it’s only a couple blocks away, I’m in and out in a minute and I can eat in my car once I’m back at work. That way I keep the AM radio on, listen in on the conversations and not miss anything if something breaks.

1c. Ironically, on the way to Cicione’s, a radio host was talking about this very topic. He was describing the new Red Zone channel on DirecTV. It’s on Sunday afternoons and the host brings you to live NFL games when a team is in the red-zone (inside the 20 yard line). No commercials, there’s always action, it’s fantastic.

The radio host described the reason it was so outstanding. He doesn’t want commercials, or recaps, or having to wait.

“In today’s caffeinated society, I want more, quicker.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Work is pressing. Nine more later.

*****

3) I don’t get someone like Kanye West.

OK, the VMAs are probably complete bullshit. That seems to be what I’m hearing from people that want to defend Kanye.

“He was making a statement! The VMAs are a joke and he was simply pointing it out. This has nothing to do with Taylor Swift.” I’ve heard that a couple times.

I don’t watch the VMAs. I couldn’t name a song from 90% of those in attendance. But the fact that it’s full of crappy artists that make crappy music isn’t the point. It obviously meant a whole lot to Taylor Swift, who as we know was crying her ass off afterwords. So all he accomplished was making himself look like an ass and hurting a young teenage girl.

Prick.

3a) OK, then they defend his status. He’s amazing and has earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants. Today I read someone say he’s the closest thing to Michael Jackson since Michael Jackson. My response was if he fell off the face of the planet right now, how many people would even give two shits? Michael Jackson died and the world stopped for almost a week. Everyone talked about him. News coverage 24/7. CNN basically blew up. It was the first time in years you could play your favorite MJ tune and get universal thumbs up.

On the other hand, I guarantee there were thousands of middle age white people that turned to CNN today and saw the headline about Swift and Kanye and wondered, “Who the hell is this guy?”

3b)Alright, then it’s his artistic ability. Nobody puts together better rhymes. I swear to god, I read this today:

“The final verse in Gone is one of the best damn set of lyrics ever written. If you don’t honestly believe that, I seriously question your tastes in music.”

Wait, you mean this?

Uh-uh-uh uh uh onnn, uh uh-uh onnn
Uh-uh onnn, uh uh-uh I’mmmm
Ah-head of my time, sometimes years out
So the powers that be won’t let me get my ideas out
And that make me wanna get my advance out
And move to Oklahoma and just live at my Aunt’s house
Yeah, I romance the thought of leavin it all behind
Kanye step away from the lime-
-light, like, when I was on the grind
In the “One, Nine, Nine, Nine”
Before, model chicks was bendin over or
Dealerships asked me Benz or Rover, man
If I could just get one beat on Hova
We could get up off this cheap-ass sofa
What the summer of the Chi got to offer an 18-year-old
Sell drugs or get a job, you gotta play gyro
My dawg worked at Taco Bell, hooked us up plural
Fired a week later the manager count the churros
Sometimes I can’t believe it when I look up in the mirrow
How we out in Europe, spendin Euros
They claim you never know what you got ’til it’s GONE
I know I got it, I don’t know what y’all on
I’ma open up a store for aspiring MC’s
Won’t sell ’em no dream, but the inspiration is free
But if they ever flip sides like Anakin
You’ll sell everything includin the mannequin
They got a new bitch now you Jennifer Aniston
Hold on I’ll handle it, don’t start panickin, stay calm
Shorty’s at the door cause they need more
Inspiration for they life, they souls, and they songs
They said sorry Mr. West is gone!

Yea….I can totally see the sick lyricism. I was totally feeling the part about the churros. Fucking amazing.

I hate people.

4) Hollywood has become one, big, steaming pile of dogshit. TV on the otherhand…

For years I slammed TV. It wasn’t exactly a leap to say that the little box was churning out a mind-numbing amount of crap. Reality shows, TMZ, MTV, Charlie Sheen…there was an absurd amount of crap. It didn’t help that even the most critically acclaimed shows were pretty damn boring. The Wire and Six Feet Under were coma inducing and only cool if you wanted to up your hipness for being in on how underrated they were. The Sopranos was up and down. House is the same episode every damn week. There are about two million CSIs. Even shows that once had promise like Heroes quickly took a dive.

But recently? There’s actually a decent amount to like.

Start on Bravo and Top Chef. It’s reality TV for people with a brain. No sordid affairs and fighting. It’s cooking from start to end and seeing some of the amazing creations these cats come up with is enough to make your jaw drop.

Next head on over to the Food Network. I could list a couple shows, but honestly, everything on this network is gold. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is a reason to stay home on a Friday night.

One of the best shows in recent memory just ended…

Battlestar Gallactica

Battlestar Galactica was simply amazing. I didn’t come aboard until Season 4, the last, but rolling through the DVDs was worth it. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. They never watch. One, it has a stupid name (not the current show’s fault. It’s actually a remake of a campy 70s show). Second, it’s on the Sci-Fi Network, and no dude that ever wants to get laid again will admit to watching that channel.

BUT! Here’s a transcript of a chat I recently had with one of my main dudes.

Mike: I had a buddy try and get me to watch BSG

Me: I take it you didn’t dig it

Mike: i didnt watch yet

Me: Give it an honest chance. Sit through the three hour mini-series and try and watch the first few episodes

I honestly don’t know how anyone could watch the series and not think it’s one of the top two or three shows of the 00’s

Mike: My buddy has great taste so I will take his word and check it out

Me: I have great taste motherfucker and I’ve been saying it for a year!

Mike: He put it up there with the Wire in terms of depth, accuracy, acting´┐╝

and no you dont

Me: lol

Mike: you told me your favorite show was Everybody Loves Raymond

Me: Oh shut the fuck up

Mike: remember, you were trying to decide if that was your #1 or King of Queen

Me: Dude.

Mike: im fucking with you

Me: Dick

The other two shows in the last couple years I won’t stop recommending are Psych and Supernatural. Both are hour long dramadies.

Psych:

Supernatural:

Do yourself a favor and tune in.

5) I’ve been mildly depressed about the knee lately. I demolished it back in January, tore the ACL, MCL and lateral meniscus. I had my surgery back in late Febrary. I still have pain and discomfort every day even though I don’t really walk with a limp anymore. But the normal everyday pain I can live with. It sucks that it’s eight months and I’m still no where near 100%, but that’s not what gets me.

After my surgery my doc told me that the meniscus was much worse than the MRI revealed. He said it looked like a shark went in and took a bite out of it and that it was essentially gone from my knee and was beyond repair. This was disheartening for the following reason…

Without the meniscus present, the weight of your body would be unevenly applied to the bones in your legs (the femur and tibia). This uneven weight distribution would cause excessive forces in specific areas of bone leading to early arthritis of knee joint. Therefore, the function of the meniscus is critical to the health of your knee.

He told me that high impact sports, even jogging or running, would be a no-no for the rest of my life. Forget baseball, basketball, football, etc. I’ve tried jogging lately. I can go for about 20 seconds before the searing pain in my left knee is too much.

My health right now isn’t a huge concern. There are bikes, swimming, ellipticals, etc. What fucking kills ms is that I probably won’t be able playing a lot of one on one with my kid someday. I grew up playing sports with and against my dad. It’s sort of heartbreaking knowing that I’m not gonna be able to do that.

6) On a lighter note, my bro is now interested in cooking. Saturday I made my crowd pleasing chicken and chorizo soup. Just like the last time, it didn’t last long. I got TWO BOWLS out of a massive kettle. Ben wolfed down the rest for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But it did get him thinking about what he might be able to make. At first he suggested I make another soup. He was thinking potato. I told him I’d be happy to tomorrow. Apparently, tomorrow was too late. He called my mom for some pointers, drove to the store to get ingredients and he’s in the kitchen right now concocting his first homemade dish.

But anyway, here’s my ridiculously quick and easy recipe.

Chicken & Chorizo Soup

Chicken & Chorizo Soup

* 2 pounds chicken breasts
* 1 pound chorizo sausage, in packaged meats case near kielbasa
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 red bell pepper, chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 cans of corn, drained
* 6 small red potatoes, diced
* 1 15-ounce can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
* 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained
* 2 teaspoons Frank’s hot sauce
* white and black ground pepper to taste
* 1 tablespoon ground peppercorns
* 1 tablespoon Italian spice
* 1/2 tablespoon chopped red pepper
* 42 oz chicken stock
* 1 bag tortilla chips
* shredded mexican blend cheese
* sour cream

Bake the chicken breasts, covered in tin-foil, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cook the chorizo in a small skillet.

In the meantime chop, cook and simmer the potatoes, onion, pepper in a large dutch oven. Stir regularly to avoid burning.

Remove the chicken and chop into small bite-sized pieces. Drain the chorizo and add all the meat to the dutch oven. Stir in the drained corn and beans. Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook covered for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chicken stock, oil and spices. Stir and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Serve and top with cheese, dollop of sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

7) Patrick Swayze passing on is a fucking downer. Ben and I must have watched Point Break twenty times, many in the last year. Every once in a while I’d get a “Nah, you pull it!” on my Facebook wall. Ben would get a “Vaya con Dios” on his.

Cancer is a bitch.

8) It’s not often that I laugh so hard my face hurts.

But tonight…

Mr. Pearlman is one of my idols. I love his writing, I absolutely love his blog. He’s been published and is a regular on the NY Times best seller list. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated but has never failed to write back when I drop him a line.

That said, I just came upon this tonight when he shared that vid with his audience.

Jeff Pearlman, thank you.

9) I used to say, in a smug sort of way, that I didn’t care about any music (outside of Hendrix) made before I was born. Not sure why I did that. I think it was because of the Beatles and disco. Hate ’em both.

I think I’ve seen the light if my iTunes is any indication.

The Police
Boston
Foreigner
The Doors
Bob Seger
The Rolling Stones
Meatloaf
AC/DC
Genesis

All regulars.

10) Obligatory girl thoughts

I am, and maybe forever will be, the go-to guy when my lady-friends have guy issues. It was that way in college, and it seems to have followed me from Marshfield to Wisconsin Rapids to Wausau to Mankato to Eau Claire. I really don’t know how or why it happened, but the list of girls that have come to me for dude-advice is now probably somewhere in the 20s. It’s at times maddening and frustrating and flattering.

I still remember house parties in college and a female friend of mine would grab and pull me into my room, close the door, sit me down on my bed and then ask why her boyfriend is acting the way he does.

:/

OK, maybe a little emasculating. Sure.

Over the years there’s been a common theme. Girls dating douchebags. Most of the time, it’s not tough to spot the douchebag.

Unfortunately for women the d-bag detector often malfunctions as the smooth lines hit their ears. Reasonably intelligent, self-confident women turn into “Was it something I said?” and “But he told me he cared” puddles of shit. I used to empower them. Maybe my responses made them feel better and allowed them to rationalize anything that may be wrong in their relationships. Not sure I can do that any longer.

Ladies, I implore you. Pull your heads out of your asses.

Stop rationalizing. Stop with the cop-outs that all guys are assholes. Stop asking questions you already know the answers to.

Whether I tell you or not, I’m offended when I hear how awful men are and how there’s no one for you.

Sure, there are some bad guys out there. There are guys that will only look for a hookup and forget about you. These dicks aren’t representative of men, they’re representative of the people you hang out with. Find some better company.

Every time I hear a sob story I think of my pals. Guys with personality and stable careers and pets and treat women like their life-long friends and soul mates. These guys that wouldn’t dare do a woman wrong or lie.

Good guys are out there. Trust me.

If you really wanna hear about it

1) Quick question: you had it to do all over again, what profession would you get into?

a) Politician – I never would have picked this five years ago. But after five years of getting everything I want via my powers of persuasion and charm and speech, I think I could have done some serious good. No joke, I could talk a dog off a meat truck.

b) Sportswriter – My family thinks I was made for it. I probably was. I follow sports like it’s my job, I can write and I’ve got alcohol issues. If I could be the next Dan Jenkins I would die a happy man.

c) General Manager – I used to think that being a GM was something way above my level of sports expertise. Not any more. I’m totally convinced I could do John Hammond’s job. Or Zeke’s. Or whoever the hell is doing the job in Memphis.

d) Web developer – My current job.

Honestly, I like my current career. I don’t arrive home stressed. I’m good at my job. I’ve got responsibilities and a say in what we develop. I’m about to be on the street but that’s not an indictment on my abilities. I could have another job in two weeks if I wanted one.

***

***

4 – Six months ago Ben swiped and broke my $170 Bose headphones. I MacGyver’d this shit outta ’em and now they’re working. But for the time in between I was listening to earbuds and generic headphones and I got used to the sound quality. I forgot how amazing a great set of headphones could sound.

I implore you: buy a top-notch set of headphones. Not Skull Candy shit or Sony or Phillips…go top shelf.

Normally I’m not a Bose guy. I love the highs but they lack the depth and base in their home audio. But their headphones are sick.

Reviews are up and down, but if i was ever gonna recommend a set it’d be these:

http://www.amazon.com/around-ear-headphones-personal-portable-listening/dp/B000MMWT9Q/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1256281424&sr=8-4

No lie, $140 is a steal.

***

6 – Gonna share the recipe for a perfect steak.

Marinade:

1 1/2 tbs butter per 12 oz steak
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs onion power
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. steak sauce

Bring that shit to a mild boil in a small pot and immediately remove it from heat. Stir.

Place the steak on a broiler pan and baste the top and sides in the marinade. I recommend a NY strip, but any reasonably thick cut of meat should be great.

Give it a liberal coat of pepper. Apply a thin layer of regular salt and Lowery’s seasoning salt.

Start the oven broiler on high heat and put the steak in the oven 4-6 inches from the broiler. Leave in the oven for five minutes.

Take it out and flip the steak. Repeat the baste, salt, pepper steps.

Place back in the oven for three minutes.

Take it out and let it sit for four minutes. The steak will continue cooking and end medium.

Top with a dollop of garlic butter and enjoy.

7 – Is it a fundamental thing with women that they believe that they can change or mold men into being the person that they want to marry? I only ask because lately women have bugged the shit outta me. Guys don’t change.

8 – Ti’ll tomorrow.