All posts by ReasonablySober

Keep your feet on the ground while your head’s in the clouds

#fuckingWIN

1a – This has been one hell of a weekend. I have to think it’s rare to experience the range of emotion I went through in a span of 48 hours, the highs and lows, the inspiring and the debilitating, and come out of it all feeling like you got yourself a fucking win. I did.

This last week(s) has been dominated by thoughts of a pretty young lady I’ve recently been demolished by. There will probably be a blog about her at some point, I’m just not ready to write one up yet. Wounds are pretty fresh.

But whatever, forget the girl, this entry is about a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.

Anyone who golfs often has played out in their head the scenario that unfolded tonight. I’ve done it countless number of times. The situation is this:

You hit a beautiful drive on a par three or a par four. You know that you hit it well, and you know it was heading for the pin. Unfortunately you couldn’t quite see the landing zone so you have about a minute or two in-between the drive and when you make it to the green where you can imagine what would happen if the ball actually made it into the pin. You approach the green, you look around, you don’t see the ball and all of the sudden you stop and think,

“Check the cup”.

You slowly move toward the pin, look down and there it is. That little dimpled ball that you know you’ll have for the rest of your life.

Well, it happened tonight.

I had been driving the ball well. On number one I nearly drove the green on a par four despite missing most of the ball. On number three, a par five, I crushed the drive and had nothing but a seven iron to make it home in two.

Then came number four. What makes this situation special, besides the outcome, is that the shot was blind. I couldn’t see the green because there’s a bunker 50 yards in front, blocking the view. If you’re a big hitter you can carry the bunker, or you can pull an iron and hit your shot to the left and chip on. It’s not a long par four by any means, and there’s times I’ll pull the four iron and lay-up, leaving an easy pitch to the green. But I’d been hitting the ball well tonight so I grabbed the lumber and hit my drive.

Unlike my previous few drives, this one was more of a liner. Also unusual, I actually watched this drive through; when I hit a good drive I typically watch it for a second, turn and grab my clubs and start walking before the ball has even stopped. With this drive I watched it land, presumably on or just short of the green, take one bounce and disappear.

Now, here’s where the above scenario in your head plays out. I actually started thinking how amazing it would be if the shot actually went in. Walking up the fairway I made note of what song was playing in my ear-buds (Motley Crew – Home Sweet Home), what time it was (6:21 pm) and thought to myself how I didn’t see a second bounce. It was heading straight for the pin, bounced once and I didn’t see the ball again. So for those 60 seconds or so I allowed myself the fantasy that I might have just hit my first hole in one (on a par four none the less!).

Still, I never really believed it went in. It’s like any other fantasy; fun to think about, never actually anticipated.

When I got to the bunker and looked at the green, I didn’t see the ball. This wasn’t much of a big deal; I figured it bounced on the green and hopped somewhere off, maybe under a tree behind the green or in the rough.

I put my clubs down and walked over the green, trying to spy my ball. No dice. I gave a quick glance under a couple of pines, but they didn’t line up to where I thought my shot landed. I checked the nearby rough and didn’t see anything.

Then the thought hit me: “Check the cup”.

Like I had envisioned so many times in the past, I slowly approached the hole, still not really letting the thought of a hole in one enter my head.

Then I saw it, that little white Top Flight 3, and the air left the building (course).

You know how when you watch Wimbledon and the winner yells and drops to their knees? It isn’t a show. Their knees literally give out. I know this now. I let out a yell and was on my knees in less than a second.

I just stared at it for a couple moments. At first I was in shock. Then disbelief. I quickly questioned whether or not that could really be my ball. The notion was in and out of my head in a heartbeat.

That motherfucker was mine.

I didn’t dare touch it. My pulse was going a mile a minute and I was excited like I’d won the lottery, but my first thought was to take a picture. I fumbled for the iPhone and snapped one.

Next thought was to call my dad. I dialed home and my sister picked up. I could barely breathe the words, “Get dad”. She did, and I told him the story. He was excited and asked if anyone besides me saw it.

There’s the rub, folks.

I already talked about how much I love golfing alone in the evenings. Music playing, alone with my thoughts, working out any frustrations I’d have. Unfortunately you don’t consider the issue of hitting the best shot of your life, a shot so few experience in the entire world, and then not having anyone to witness it.

I didn’t care. I already knew the answer to his question. There were only a half dozen other golfers at Mill Run this evening, at least as far as I could see. The sun was on its way down, it was a holiday, there was a little chill in the air. I did a quick survey of the land but it was pointless: no one saw this shot but me.

I told the old man I didn’t give a shit, that I’d know and that’s all I cared about. He laughed, agreed, told me congratulations and I hung up.

Next call was to my brother and I got a similar reaction. He was golfing with me earlier in the day at a different course and judging how I’d played those nine holes at Princeton I’m sure he was more shocked than I was.

When I hung up I finally reached in to grab the ball. I put it in a pocket in the bag where it wouldn’t get mixed up with another and continued my round.

2 – The circumstances regarding this shot may not be of interest to most, but I had to consider them.

I’d already played two other rounds of golf this weekend, once in Neilsville yesterday and another time today, the aforementioned round with Ben at Princeton. Both times Ben and I were behind incredibly slow players that wouldn’t let us play though.

Ben doesn’t let that bother him; it pisses the motherfuck out of me.

I’m the guy who’ll get road-rage and tailgate or flip off old people who suck at driving. I’ll frustratingly drop four letter words in the middle of a meeting or in a silent Production area while people are working. I used to give up home runs and if I thought the batter was taking too much time jogging his ass around the bases I’d plunk the next batter in the back, on the rare occasion in the helmet.

When it comes to golf, I wear my emotions on my sleeve and nothing infuriates me more than when a group of fucksticks let their pride get in the way of golf etiquette. Both yesterday and today Ben and I were behind absolutely awful players. But while he’d play at a nice, easy pace and sit and wait while the people in front of us dribbled their way up the course, I stayed on their asses.

I’d meet up with their groups on the tee-box, stand fifteen feet from the box with my arms folded over my chest and stare. When these packs of fucking elephants hit their shots and drove away without offering to let us play through I’d sit on the front of the box, on the ground, and watch every one of their shots, knowing damn well it’s making their group uncomfortable. When they got a good 350 yards out I’d hit my drive as far and as hard as I could and watch with a combination of rage, arrogance and glee as it rolled up to their group.

Shove it up their asses, Ben and I’d say.

Unfortunately, it also kills my round. I’m not good when I’m pissed off. This afternoon I was feeling dejected, wanted to go alone but Ben tagged along. I didn’t even finish the round at Princeton. I was too pissed off and I waited while Ben completed his nine.

But golfing alone is different. I’m out there simply to be out there. Typically I’ll run into groups that let me play through when needed, but whether my round takes one our or three I don’t care. I like the idea of playing with a goal and some focus, but not for the sake of competing against anyone or anything. I just play to play and spend time out-doors.

3 – I almost didn’t go tonight. Like I said, I’d already played nine with Ben this afternoon and stunk up the course.

But I’d come back to my place, watched some BSG and the choice became:

a: waste an evening in-doors
b: go back out and work out the emotional shit bugging me

and I chose b.

4 – Megan is back and working another summer at WR/ML.

Dope.

5 – When I finished the nine holes I stopped in the clubhouse and bought the bar a round. The patrons were almost as happy as I was.

6 – The ball is sitting on a shelf in my room, I’ll figure out what to do with it later.

7 – It feels a little weird. Again, if you don’t do a lot of golfing you might not give it a lot of thought. But courses here have been open for two weeks and I’ve already been out golfing a dozen times. It’s my single favorite thing to do, and has been for as long as I can remember. Hitting a hole in one has always been my big goal. I didn’t imagine it happening on a par four, but it did and now it’s like a big check has been marked off on the bucket list or something.

A woman can have the same effect

My first round of golf yesterday started the same way it ended five months ago. With a mammoth drive and some guy behind me saying, “Holy shit…”.

I was playing alone so the twosome on the first tee-box let me start ahead of them. I hadn’t taken a swing since October. When I stepped up to hit I had to give the obligatory warning that the the drive could be pretty brutal.

“Hey man, we’re all in the same boat today,” one of them said. “It just means we get to laugh at you first”. Har-har-har…

After I hit a piss-rocket that sailed over the green on the 292 yard par four, they stood there, mouth agape, while I said, “Thanks fellas, have a good round”. Moments like that are just one of the many reasons I love playing the game.

There aren’t a lot of guys out there who can consistently hit the ball like I can. I’ve only played with two, my dad and my brother. Like most kids, I mimicked what my dad did when I was little. Well, my dad has one of the sweetest golf swings this side of the PGA. When he put clubs in my hand when I was three years old, his was the swing I copied and it’s largely remained unchanged since then. Combine 25 years of repetition and muscle-memory and you get a golfer who can hit the ball further than almost anyone else who steps on the course.

It’s such a mental game, maybe more so for me. I don’t focus on my shots. I don’t line up yardage or take wind into account. When I’m golfing I’m not focusing on golf. I’m thinking about everything peripheral. Like I described much earlier in the blog, I’m susceptible to some really shitty golf. If I’m in a crap mood or I’m stressed or I’ve been destroyed by my job it’s going to manifest itself into some abysmal shots. Physically everything looks the same with my swing; the ball just doesn’t obey. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Yesterday could have gone either way. For one, it was the first round of the year and not a lot is going to go right after a five month layoff. The second thing was my recent romantic interest. It had been the very definition of an up and down weekend with her and while if ended great, you never know the effect a woman is going to have on your golf swing. She’d been on my mind for days and it’s not like I can turn that off when I step up to hit a shot.

Hell, I wouldn’t want to.

Golfing alone, iPod playing tunes in my earbuds, walking eighteen holes might be my favorite thing in the world to do. It’s two and a half hours of just being alone with my thoughts, enjoying great weather outside, nothing else to worry about in the world. It works wonders if I want to blow off steam or get away from whatever’s burdening my mind. Pissed off at my job? Golf 18. By the fourth hole my game will be so shitty I’m no longer thinking about asshole clients or frustrating code. Instead I’m dwelling on how I could have possibly hit two straight in the pond and missed an easy four footer.

But like I said, a woman on your mind can be a positive or a negative. No way to predict it until you take that first swing with an iron.

I stuck it. Par three, 160 yards, I pulled the nine and dropped one six yards from the pin. My game didn’t let up the rest of the evening. I went par, par, birdie, par, par, birdie over the next six holes. I’m lucky to have a run like that in the middle of the summer on my 40th round of the year. What I did yesterday was Brandon Jennings going off for 55. When I got home in two on a long par five (with a six iron none the less) I giggled. Some of my shots yesterday were just stupid.

It’s a nice feeling when your mind is 100 miles away and you’re still able to roll a shitty course on your first round of the year.

It’s gotta be the woman.

Mill Run

Olympics, Trade Deadline, Asshole Clients and Emma Anzai

1 – There are a few days every year that I absolutely love, none of which include national holidays or birthdays. Nope, they are (in order):

• Day one of the NFL Draft
• NBA trade deadline
• The NBA Draft

That’s it. Those are the three days. You can have your Christmas, New Years and birthdays. I’ll take the chaos and coverage of the above.

Last Thursday happened to be one of those days, and it didn’t disappoint. The NBA trade deadline came and went at 3:00 pm that afternoon, and the event wound up being a fascinating example of how social media and the internet have changed sports.

You had:

• Blogs being updated by the minute
• NBA boards getting so many views that servers were crashing
• Twitter absolutely blowing the fuck up

Apologies to my company, but this was my day

– a Firefox window with about four tabs open: Twitter, RealGM, ESPN, SI. Read one site, click to the next and hit refresh, read updates, move to the next tab. When there was a new Tweet (averaged about four new a minute) click back to read the updates. When there was a new rumor or information it was back to RealGM to read or post. Thousands or people took place today.

Quick example: That morning I created a new thread on RealGM regarding a rumor between the Bucks and Sixers. Inside of three minutes it had 55 views and a dozen responses. In nine minutes there was 260 views. As of 7:00 pm that night there were a staggering 403 responses and 5703 views.

This was a typical NBA deadline day. But what upped the ante this year was Twitter.

I went to lunch with friends that afternoon. I kept up with Twitter on my phone. At one point my entire home page were tweets made in the last two minutes. All were trade rumors and updates.

Every writer, especially those from ESPN, wants to get credit for breaking even the most benign news. So instead of insiders and writers getting a report and publishing the information in an article or a blog, you had them updating Twitter seconds after hearing the information.

For information junkies like myself and those on RealGM, this stuff is our crack. Get an update, share the info on the board, read reactions and comment. Wash, rinse, repeat all day. Around 11:05 that morning RealgM servers crashed. This happens every year on the draft and deadline days. But the fact that it’s expected doesn’t make it any less excruciating. Around the time that it went down today coincided with the rumor that the Bucks were sending our a draft pick in a trade. It was awful news and it had to be discussed, only our outlet was down. The next twenty minutes were absolutely horrendous. I felt like a junkie desperate for a fix I couldn’t get. When the servers went back online, within a minute there were hundreds of new posts. Just like myself, you had people hitting refresh every thirty seconds hoping the servers were working again.

One of my first entries in this blog dealt with information addiction. Today was Exhibit A.

2 – Speaking of information addiction and social media, someone alert NBC that it’s no longer 1990.

The Olympics have been bashed so much in the last two weeks I won’t bother kicking this long-dead dog. Much.

The Olympics are about stories, not sports. Nobody cares about curling or ice dancing or snowboarding or skiing. In three weeks they could show Bode Miller in some competition in California and no one would turn in.

But in the Olympics, people will tune in for the story. If you know who he is, you know that four years ago he was shut-out from any medals and left Italy an embarrassment. The story this year was one of redemption. People wanted to see how he would bounce back. Key word there is “see”.

Unfortunately, NBC didn’t televise a single run of his live. Every one was tape-delayed into prime-time. Same with Lindsay Vonn, the sweetheart of this year’s Olympics. Or Lindsey Jacobellis, the snowboarder also looking for redemption. I left work a half hour early last week because I figured that while they probably wouldn’t show her run on NBC, surely they would have it live on CNBC or MSNBC. Nope. I got Curling and hockey.

NBC paid a lot of money for these games. They’ve lost cash by the boatload, even with huge ratings. If they feel like they have to put the marquee day events in prime-time, fine. Whatever. But at least give the public an avenue to watch live if they wish. Why can’t they broadcast over the internet? They’ll show cross country skiing on their website but not the Women’s Super-G?

I’m on the internet all day. I read blogs, I’m on Twitter, on Facebook. So are millions. It’s virtually impossible to shut yourself out of the coverage. When I know how Vonn and Miller and Jacobellis did hours before their events are televised, it removes any reason for me to tune in that night.

2b – This was a well thought out blog on the subject, I thought.

3 – Sunday night represented just another massive fuck-up by NBC. The USA vs Canada hockey match is one of, if not the major event of the games. It wound up being as exhilarating a sporting event as you’ll find anywhere. The last five minutes my pulse was going a mile a minute and it wasn’t like I was one of the few. Twitter and the boards were going bat-shit crazy too. It brought cynical “I’ve seen it all” sports writers to the point of using shitty punctuation – I’m guessing they were excited.

Where was it being broadcast? MSNBC, in standard definition for 80% of the viewing public. What was on NBC? Fucking ice dancing. The performances weren’t even for a medal, either.

Nice work, NBC. The best US hockey moment since Miracle on Ice and you put it on Rachel Madow’s network.

4 – Not a lot of websites surprise me anymore.

This, however, was one of ’em.

I clicked on Wisconsin, then 2000, then UW vs LSU. Two seconds later I’m looking at a commercial free stream of the Badgers vs Tigers 2000 NCAA tournament game. Mike Kelly, Andy Kowskie, Mark Vershaw.

Jaw on the ground I let out a mind-blown, “Ho-ly-shit…”. think I had a tear in my eye. I’m not even kidding.

Hundreds of full NCAA games over the last ten years. Recaps, results, highlights. It’s a college basketball fan’s dream.

5 – Roger Goodell: Get bent.

NFL: Fuck you, you pricks.

Above I mentioned my favorite three days of the year. My #1 is easily the first day of the NFL draft. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman anticipating her wedding, but I have to think how I feel about that late Saturday every April is roughly the same. Each year is roughly the same. Wake up, make a trip to the gas station for a frozen pizza and a sixer, grab the local paper and settle in for roughly seven hours of NFL coverage. Follow along online, on ESPN, on Sirius and the NFL Network. I absorb it all.

In the past day one of the draft started 11:00 am central and went three rounds. This was perfect.

Last season, Roger Goodell decided to tinker with it a bit.

*pause…breathe…*

They moved it back three hours and pushed round three back to the second day. This wasn’t a good move. Nobody liked it. Roger Goodell, in his first NFL draft, was fucking with something holy to a shit-ton of NFL fans.

But we got over it.

However, what we won’t get over is this fucking travesty that Goodell set up this year. This April, the draft will no longer be on a Saturday. Instead, the draft’s first round is to be held in primetime on a Thursday. Rounds two and three will be on Friday night. The remaining four rounds will be held on Saturday. There won’t be any Sunday coverage.

It pisses me off just thinking about it.

Think I’m overreacting, check out just one website when the news was released. 341 comments, the overwhelming negative.

“way to destroy something that was perfect the way it was.”

“The weekend draft has been a tradition in my household. We spent the weekend cooking (making spaghetti sauce,etc) and watching. With it in the evening we will probably record it and flip through. Not interested in the new time.”

“i liked waking up on saturday jacked and weatching the countdown waiting for the draft to begin it was alota fun that weekend, and now the best rounds are on thursday and friday nites, wow, the NFL is all about the ratings and money Goodell doesnt care about the fans”

“This is stupid. All year long I can’t wait for the NFL draft. It has Been a weekend tradition.”

“I have not heard a fan say a good thing about this. It’s just a money grab by the NFL. The suits decided they don’t care what the fans want.”

Ugh.

6 – I originally wanted to get this post up in the middle of the last week. One reason why is Epic Beard Man.

If you’re not a frequent crawler of blogs and Twitter, you can be forgiven for missing this last Tuesday or Wednesday. But you owe it to yourself to check out the following:

Epic Beard Man Beats up Kid

Epic Beard Man – Part II

Absolutely remarkable. I mean, the old guy is built like a brick shit-house. He’s wearing a shirt that says ” I am a Motherfucker”. And some kid is talking smack to him?

I loved the Mortal Kombat remix seen at the bottom of the second link. I crack up every time I hear, “Bring Amber Lamps”.

6b – Speaking of Deadspin, they’re now doing a Balls Deep Mailbag every Tuesday AND Thursday.

*single tear*

Last week I timed it. I started a mailbag around 4:00. By the time I was done reading it and the comments it was 5:00. There were a few moments spent checking another site and a few more minutes getting up to get a soda, but in the end that’s one hour of my day spent reading letters to the editor like…

Q: Why don’t they make Bailey’s Irish Cream without alcohol, so I can enjoy it in the morning without having to go to work drunk? It’s simply better than anything else you can put in coffee.
A: Why is the alcohol a problem? The real question you should be asking is why they don’t make regular cream WITH alcohol.

I’m of the mind that, unless you like White Russians and Black Russians, no one over the age of 25 ever needs to drink Bailey’s or Kahlua. That’s the shit you drink when you’re 14 and you’re too much of a pussy to have acquired a taste for scotch.

or….

Q: I am a first time father and my son is 11 months old. His favorite show is Jacks Big Music show on Nick Jr. It is fucking brutal. God I hate children’s television. Anyways, on one particular episode Lisa Loeb does a little music video. I found myself thinking that she looked pretty damned cute. I think it’s something about the glasses. Am I a horrible person for wanting to fire off some knuckle children to a children’s show? Will I now be on some sort of government list for even asking the question?

A; No, it’s okay. You are an adult, and that means you are allowed to enjoy children’s shows on an adult level, even if that includes picturing Lisa Loeb as a very sexy librarian who is about to throw back her hair and ride you like a carousel. YOU SAY…

Enjoy.

7 – I can’t vouch for the following two sites unless you own a Mac and have AdBlock plus. They might be shady on a PC. I don’t know.

But NinjaVideo.net and GotMovies.net are freaking fantastic. I’ve already mentioned NinjaVideo. Great for all the new movies and TV shows. They’ve got a good amount of old TV too.

That said, GotMovies blows them out of the water in terms of content. I’ve been using the site for a week and I’ve yet to not find a TV episode or movie I searched for.

In the last three days Ben and I have watched old school MacGyver episodes and these three obscure flicks from our youth that we just randomly wanted to check out.

Men at Work

If Looks Could Kill

Mr. Destiny

OK, our choice in movies as kids were basically shit. We get that now.

But the point is that those are three flicks our local Blockbuster doesn’t carry and we were able to get them in 20 minutes online. For free. In DVD quality.

I love technology.

8 – The only reason I found the above site is my obsession with all things Olivia Wilde reminded me of how awesome The OC was. I lost my DVDs years ago so I ran a search for episodes online and found GotMovies.

The OC was awesome. One of my friends left season one at my place when I was a senior in college. One weekend I started watching and didn’t stop for three days. Eventually my other pals were hooked too. We never missed an episode.

One reason for this is obvious. The eye candy was ridiculous. Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, Olivia Wilde, Autumn Reeser…yea.

But that gets old. The reason the OC was so awesome was the writing. It was legitimately laugh out loud funny. It was trashy and sordid. It was the very definition of a guilty pleasure and usually you got it all in every scene.

Watch it. Start from episode one. You’ll be hooked. Fictional TV isn’t supposed to enlighten or make you a better person. In the end it’s just entertainment and I guarantee you The OC will deliver that.

9 – Might be moving on from here relatively soon.

My original plan was to stick it out in EC through the spring, see how things were looking and make a decision around May. But Friday may have been a tipping point.

We have had a good number of awful clients, for a lot of different reasons. This client (I can’t say who), however, is made up of purely awful individuals. We’ve bent over backwards for them time and time again. We acquiesce to their every demand. In the end, nothing is good enough. We build something one way and they hate it, despite it being exactly what they wanted. We design something and they sign off. A month later when it’s ready to go they change their minds. We have meetings where things are specifically hammered out and a week later it’s like they remember nothing.

Everyone has been hit by ’em. Our content specialist, designer, even our company owner. On Friday it was my turn.

I won’t get into specifics, but I was destroyed. I actually left early that day. I took my beat-down over something that was their fault, and just went home. For almost that entire night I couldn’t think of anything else. Just how these people, these fucking assholes, could be so terrible to others and irrational when it comes to working with an agency.

I was worried it would ruin my weekend. But then Friday night happened and I had a new reason to be pissed off on Saturday.

9b – This weekend mostly sucked.

10 – Three hours on the road, feeling demolished both ways did leave me in a beaten down state of mind to the point where all I wanted to do was listen to some heavy, angry, soul crushing tunes. Thankfully I had no shortage of that.

I give you the best of what I heard this weekend.

Thrice – Under Par
Papa Roach – She Loves Me Not
DMX – How’s it Goin Down
SocialBurn – Ride
Three Days Grace – Someone Who Cares
Glassjaw – When One Eight Becomes Two Zeroes
From Autumn to Ashes – Short Stories With Tragic Endings
Taproot – Poem
Puddle of Mudd – Away from me
The Ataris – The last song I will ever write about a girl
No Use for a Name – On the outside
Primer 55 – My Girl
Cold – Stupid Girl
Strung out – Razorblade
Sick Puppies – My World
Bullet for my Valentine – The End
Smile Empty Soul – Bottom of a Bottle
Apocalyptica – I Don’t Care
The Offspring – Dirty Magic
Chevelle – Comfortable Liar

Linky link.

10b – The Sick Puppies do give me an excuse to introduce you to the prettiest bass player around, the lovely miss Emma Anzai.

Emma Anzai

Summers as a kid, cartoons, vodka and Lindsey Vonn

1 – It occurred to me a while back that my generation, the 24-31 year olds, may have been the last to know what it was like to spend their summers outdoors when they were kids.

When we grew up we didn’t have computer games. We didn’t have cell phones. We didn’t have the internet.

Did we have the Nintendo or Genesis or SNES? Sure. But games were different back then. Now days the games you play are these monsters that take weeks to complete, and that’s if you’re ready to spend two to three hours a day with a controller in your hand. There was certainly no online multi-player and hundreds of thousands of kids around the globe playing the same game at all times of the day. No, the games we grew up on (Mario, Street Fighter, NBA Jam) could be completed in a under an hour. I loved my videogames as a kid, but even I couldn’t or wouldn’t sit in front of a TV playing a game for more than 45 minutes, and that was once the sun went down.

I used to love my summers as a kid. I remember taking a canoe down the river, docking it at the golf-course and playing 27 holes a day when I was 11 years old. I remember biking around Rice Lake and hitting up the old-school candy and ice cream shop or going to the pool when I was 9 and 10. Home run derbies and driveway basketball every day when was an early teen. Of course there was the little league games every summer and then Prep 13 and Junior Legion and then Legion. Eventually you get a license but that was even more a reason to get out and do things. Camping, renting wave-runners, playing frisbee golf, hitting up Snaps in Appleto….wait, nevermind.

There just wasn’t a reason to stay in-doors when it was 70 degrees and sunny.

But technology has changed that. You can get hundreds of channels on cable and DirecTV. No one uses dial-up anymore so you don’t have mom’s bitching when their kids are tying up the phone line. High speed internet is in every household so kids can hop online and play games or check out Facebook. No kid has to get on a bike to go to a friend’s place anymore if he wants to hang out; online gaming and headsets alleviate that issue. And the games these days…my god. People can start playing and not leave a room for 20 hours. It’s like a completely different world to get wrapped up in.

To say I’m concerned is an understatement. I’m the oldest on both sides of my family; all my siblings and cousins are younger. I’ve got family in that 7-15 age range and I’m worried. Some are as sedimentary and socially awkward as any kid I’ve seen. They have parents who buy them computers and TVs and gaming systems and cell phones and they’re as fucking wide as they are tall.

Yea, I’m worried. I talked with a co-worker this week, the one who recommended I check out the documentary that inspired my first thought in #1. He’s probably 20 years older than I am but our summers were the same. You didn’t spend them indoors, your mom kicked you outside and you played with your pals. Doing so you were interacting with others. Being physically active. Building a base upon which to grow as a person. You didn’t understand that when you were 9 or 11 or 13, but when you look back at your childhood and realize all that you did in your free time I think you can appreciate how it helped turn you into the person you are now.

As a 28 year old without kids of my own it’s easy to sit here and say that I’m going to be different. That I’m going to raise my kids the way my mom and dad raised me. Spend the nights playing baseball and having a catch and showing them how to garden and hunt and fish and swim. Keep them out of the living room and off the TV and computer. I hope I can do that. But I’m sure it won’t be easy when you’re competing with the rest of the world for their attention.

2 – Speaking of kids, and this is going to sound bad after the previous entry, but I did get my share of cartoons growing up. If you’re my age there’s a solid chance you spent your 4:00-6:00 after school watching Duck Tails, Rescue Rangers, Tail Spin and Darkwing Duck. Or when you were just starting to watch TV you caught Fraggel Rock and Care Bears. Animaniacs and Ninja Turtles when you were a little older.

Those shows were the balls.

Well, recently I heard from a married guy with kids who told me how excruciating it was to have to sit with his kid and watch some of the shit on TV now ‘days aimed towards children.

Apparently it’s brutal so I’ve come up with a solution. I’m going to get every fucking season of those shows above, the ones I grew up on, and I’ll be damned if that’s what my kids aren’t watching one day. I figure I’ll be geeking by seeing shows I loved 30 years ago while knowing they’re seeing the same stuff that molded me into the nice, semi-well-adjusted guy I am today (STFU).

Come on. Duck Tales is timeless. Tell me you wouldn’t stop and watch ol’ Scrooge and the Boys if you happened to catch them on TV right now. Or the original Turtles. The Chipmunk Adventure or an American Tail.

When my kids are four years old they won’t know that there’s a Disney Channel or the Internet. Plop in a disk of Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers and I’ll sit and watch with them as long as they like.

🙂

3 – Alright, enough of the kids and cartoons.

Let’s talk vodka.

The impetus for the following was something I saw on TV. I’m a Food Network junkie. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I love me some Triple D and Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Then you have Giada and Iron Chef even Rachel Ray and there’s a couple hours a week right there.

Alton Brown, however, sort of sucks.

He’s the host of Good Eats, a forgettable and outdated show that FN has kept around despite sucking for years. He’s also the host of Iron Chef and he mostly annoys.

But a couple weeks ago I was flipping channels and noticed an episode of Good Eats tackling a concoction near and dear to my heart: the Bloody Mary.

I love Bloody Mary’s. I love the Bloody Caesar. I even love the Michelada (Mexican version where you substitute vodka for beer).

I was interested to see how this food snob could claim that the current version of the Bloody Mary was a bastardized version and so much worse than the original that came about 70 years ago.

He claimed to have the perfect recipe. I watched him make it. It looks interesting and I’ll be giving it a shot in the near future. Credit Alton.

But what really got the wheels spinning was his attack on vodka. Good Eats breaks down food on a scientific level. They explain how food and drink are made and in this case I thought there was some legit application. After-all, vodka has quite the price range.

Brown described the process of making vodka. Where it comes from, how it’s made, differences in the methods. He talked distilling. He even talked about the idea that with a water filter and some cheap vodka you could turn your Phillips into Goose.

In the end, though, one message was rather blunt: go cheap. Once it’s distilled, it’s distilled. Buy the cheap stuff and feel good about it.

But how could this be, I thought. Vodka has been my drink for a decade. Cheap shit, expensive stuff, screwdriver, white russian, bloody, bulldog, gimlet, martini…you name it, I’ve probably drank it. I’ve drank vodka mixed with shit you probably wouldn’t feed someone you hate.

But never, since I’ve been drinking, have I been a snob about it. When I was in college I was broke so I bought the cheap stuff. When I got some money or I wanted to impress a girl I went top shelf. Sometime after college (namely when I discovered sports gambling) I decided that I could stand and appreciate straight booze so I started drinking Ketel and Stoli on rocks. And Johnny and J&B…

But one thought never crossed my mind with regards to vodka: how about a taste test?

Vodka is supposed to be a tasteless alcohol. It’s distilled to remove impurities but who the hell knows what difference it makes if it’s distilled once or four times? In the end it’s 80 proof and it gets you drunk.

SO! After seeing Alton Brown’s description of vodka I grabbed a friend, bought some small bottles and did what I should have done a decade ago: we conducted a taste-test.

Our samples (and prices for a 1.75):

Karkov – $10-$11
Fleischmann’s – $10-$12
Svedka – $19-$24
Stolichnaya – $39-$46
Ketel One – $38-$47

Basically we got two rail, one medium and two top shelf bottles to test. Tasting went like this:

1 – About half a shot of chilled vodka in a glass
2 – Take the drink, give it a swish and swallow
3 – Judge taste, spit effect, need for water, impact on stomach

That’s it. We did two rounds.

Round one was staggered based upon preconceived notions on what the vodka would taste like. We divided it up and went from med-low-high quality and back again.

Notes were taken, but I’m only using my observations:

Svedka – Strong. Definitely tastes like a harsh vodka. Moderate spit reflex. Not one I would start with if I were drinking rocks, though it would be possible to down a glass.

Fleischmann’s – Subtle for an instant, maybe because of the cold. Then an immediate strong and unpleasant taste. I had to go for the water or something might have come back up.

Solichnaya – Not as strong as the first two. Definitely smoother. There’s absolutely a bite, but barely any spit reflex. This one was a belly fire inducer. Not a strong aftertaste but there’s a numbing/tingling effect on your mouth. It’s close to a potent mouth wash with no taste. I could probably drink a small glass fairly easily.

Karkov – Not as bad as I thought it would be after drinking the Fleischmann’s. Slight spits, but not terrible. This one seemed to have a slightly different flavor than the others. Certainly tolerable. Again, like a bitter, flavorless mouthwash. I didn’t need to go for the water.

Ketel One – Very slight spits, but nothing to worry about. Not as much belly fire as the Stoli. Able to swish and hold it in the mouth for a few moments to get the taste. Again, like a tasteless, somewhat bitter mouthwash.

First round winner: Ketel One
First round loser: Fleishmann’s
Time Elapsed: 25 minutes

Round 2 order was based on how terrible the first round went.

43 minutes in:

Fleischmann’s – Not nearly as bad when it was quickly swilled from the mini-bottle. There were some spit I had to swallow, but it wasn’t terrible. The belly fire and the aftertaste wasn’t here in this shot. There also wasn’t strong aftertaste. Surprising.

Svedka – Didn’t the get the spit like I did with the Fleischmann’s. A little, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from drinking straight vodka. This one has got more bite than some of the others. That said, no water chaser needed. I could swill it. Honestly, it was similar to the first round of Stoli and Ketel.

Karkov – Again, the first thing I noticed was a different flavor than the rest. Very tasteless. Little aftertaste. Not much belly fire. I didn’t get much of a sensation in my mouth after swilling and downing it. Overall, this vodka has had the least impact.

Stolichnaya – Definitely had an impact. Slight spit. Some belly fire. I absolutely got the impact on my mouth, with it immediately tingling anywhere the vodka hit when I swished it it around. It didn’t taste bad, but you could certainly tell you’re drinking straight booze.

Ketel One – Slight belly fire. Minimal spit. Smooth as hell. Tingling a bit. This was the last drink of the night, and not surprisingly, it was the easiest.

Overall the amount of booze drank wasn’t a lot, maybe four shots over the course of two hours. But the findings of this little taste test revealed one thing:

Go cheap.

Honestly, buy the cheapest vodka you can every time you’re looking for a bottle. I went in thinking I was going to be gagging with a swill of the cheap stuff I drank back in college. In reality, it’s all pretty close in taste. Is that first drink important? Maybe.

But after that the only reason to go top shelf is to impress a lady-friend. Otherwise, just consider the difference in price.

Even if you think the above is total crap or you’re a vodka snob, please, don’t waste expensive stuff in a mixer. If you do you’re an asshole.

In case you’re wondering, the winner of the test was the brand I didn’t expect: Karkov.

Seriously.

It’s a little subtle. It doesn’t have a bite in the mouth and the belly fire isn’t really anything noticeable. It’s really not a bad tasting vodka (I thought it was comparable to the top shelf versions) and it’s a 3rd of the price.

4 – This does, though, lead into an observation I’m sure you’ve had if you’re 25+.

Getting shitty is a bitch.

Two weeks ago we had a happy hour with some coworkers and I ordered a Johnny Walker Black on rocks. Having spent the past two months in The Cities I expected one shot in a small glass with a $9 tag. It ended up being about five shots in a mug and it ran me $3.50.

First thought is how awesome pubs in Wisconsin are. Second thought is, “OH SWEET MOTHER OF FUCK THIS NIGHT WON’T END WELL”.

And it didn’t. In college, that’s a Thursday. You go out, stay up until god knows when, go to class the next day and do it all over again the following two nights.

But the Saturday after the JW Black experience a couple weeks ago? I was wrecked. I didn’t leave my apartment or change clothes all weekend. I moved from the bed to the couch to the bed in some sick, horrific cycle. I treated bright lights and solid food like I was a damn vampire. I just wanted to sleep, pound the pain-killers and skim milk.

Last week I was went to the Cities and had a chat with a friend of mine, Nichole. And we talked about it. College. Going out. How different it is only a few short years later. It’s easy to tie one on when you’re 22. If you want to do the same when you’re 28 you can forget that shit.

One bad night and you’re ruined.

5 – A friend of mine with an iPhone alerted me to a website and an app called alice.com. It’s awesome.

The concept is simple. You log on and select all the products you use at home. Cleaners, detergent, paper towels, candles, coffee, razors, shampoo, softsoap, etc. Alice keeps track of what you have and don’t have and lets you know when you’re running low. It also lets you know when there’s coupons available on already low prices. When you want to re-stock you click a button or two, and with free shipping they send what you want to your door.

Very convenient. With the free iPhone app it’s even easier. I’ve already made one order.

Check it out.

6 – OGTs

Lindsey Vonn

Yesterday I was talking with a friend about Lindsey Vonn and I said I thought she was gorgeous. ‘Liza said she was cute, not gorgeous. I said Vonn gets a bump because she’s a world class athlete. Athletic ability, sense of humor, knowledge of sports. Total weaknesses for me.

Take Jessica Chobot. Great looking girl, no Miranda Kerr. But she’s funny, sort of outrageous and a total geek. Gives her a huge bump in hotness.

7 – Google Buzz came out this week. I’ve used it a couple times. I just installed it on the iPhone. Seems cool. My one concern is privacy. I don’t know yet how to control who’s seeing what.

I’ll give a full review in a couple days.

I try to talk to you, but words all come out wrong

1 – I don’t have many rules of life but the ones I do live by I consider important: always say “thank you” whenever you can, always over-tip, forget top-shelf booze unless it’s for a martini, (real, not that fruity shit), gimlet or you’re drinking it on the rocks, never leave empty ice-cube trays in the freezer, if you kill the pot of coffee make another.

Pretty basic.

But there’s another that I want to share that some may not have considered: the more the more hungover you may be when you go to work, the better you had fucking look when you get there.

Unless you have to interact with others, it may be possible to make it through the morning without others realizing you tied one on the night before. But for fuck’s sake man, if you smell like a mix of gin and shame then don’t be wearing old jeans and t-shirt! Hell, you’re probably not even safe wearing khakis and a polo.

Suit-up my friend. Remember to shave. Keep the eye-drops at arm’s length at all times. It doesn’t hurt to use a little aftershave. Mouth wash is an obvious necessity.

To be honest, it’s probably a solid idea to keep the above items in a drawer at your desk in case of emergencies.

Don’t worry about going to the coffee maker too many times if it means risking having to interact with someone. The coffee is worth the risk. But plop the headphones on at your desk and close the door or put a chair in front of your cube. Look busy, even if you’re just keeping your head down while you curse the girl who made you do shots the night before. That crazy bitch.

But again, the wardrobe is the key. You gotta go GQ. It’s a rule.

1b – If you think you can get away with it, a bloody mary over lunch isn’t the worst idea in the world.

2 – Last week Lane Kiffin left his job as head football coach at the University of Tennessee to take over as head coach at USC. It was a good move professionally. HC at USC is one of the top positions in college sports, and might be the best in college football.

What made this an eyebrow raiser was that Kiffin had only been at Tennessee for a year and him leaving at such a crucial time left many pissed. In the South and in the SEC conference they take their football seriously. The most important thing to a lot of people is their faith, family and football, and not necessarily in that order.

So the reaction to Kiffin leaving hasn’t been incredibly surprising. He’s received threats, he needed a police escort out of town, they’re trying to rename a sewage plant after him in Knoxville. The media is absolutely killing the guy. On Youtube there’s footage of the press-room at Tennessee ten minutes before Kiffin was set to announce his resignation (something that had been leaked hours earlier). The media in the room, reporters, TV news directors, radio personalities…they all detested Kiffin and all looked really fucking mad. These are adults, here. Professionals. And here they’re caught on tape calling Kiffin a snake. It’s a must watch.

But, and I think this is what’s important to remember here: every single one of them, you and I would have done the same thing if you were in Kiffin’s position.

He’s from southern California. USC was his dream job. He had already been an assistant there. They were also offering more money, obviously.

At the end of the day you have look out for #1 and your family. After all, and this is important, if you start to think there’s loyalty in the real world of business – forget it. Give up that notion. If it ever makes financial sense to your employer to let you go, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. If they can find someone to do your job cheaper, your gone. If they come upon a better, more qualified person, you’re gone. Had Pete Carroll or Urban Meyer expressed interest in Tennessee while Kiffin was still around, he would have been fired on the spot.

So when you get an opportunity to work for a better company in a better situation, don’t hesitate to make a change. Your boss, if they’re reasonable, will understand. They may not be thrilled but they can understand when someone has to move on because of an offer that couldn’t be turned down.

Reasonable people can take a step back and realize that what Kiffin did was the right thing. But then again, there aren’t a lot of rational and reasonable people in the South when it comes to football.

Or anything, really.

3 – I haven’t been doing a lot of blogging lately. For a while there I was cranking a new one out every three days or so. But since the year rolled over it’s not that I haven’t had things to say, it’s more that I just didn’t have a lot of time or energy. My workload has picked up significantly and when I get home I really don’t have a lot of interest in sitting in front of a computer.

But I consider writing important. I’ve explained why on here before. So in the future I’m going to try and avoid hiatuses like the last three weeks. Even if the blog is only a couple paragraphs, I’m going to try and get back to writing often.

4 – Speaking of resolutions, here was mine for the New Year: spend less, save more.

The differences between my brother and I are many, but this is one where I wish I was more like him. He doesn’t blow money on shit. He doesn’t own a ton, but he’s always going to have money in the bank. Myself? I can’t keep the check card out of my pocket.

I’m a single guy with disposable income. Typically, if I like something I’m going to buy it. My kitchen is decked out to the nine’s. When I cook I like to make nice meals. I love my home theatre set-up (though I could stand to have a bigger TV now). I own three computers. I think I have a pretty decent wardrobe. My golf clubs are awesome.

So yea, I have my toys. I like living well, I like the finer things in life. I like being able to golf six days a week if I want to, and last summer I basically did. And it was awesome.

But my savings account fucking hates me. Hates me.

So that’s what my hope is for ’10. Watch the spending. Don’t go out as much. Don’t buy New York strips when I’m in the mood for a great meal. Stop with the Johnny Walker Black and Bombay Sapphire. I don’t watch enough TV to make DirecTV worth it and Netflix has gone unused.

I don’t think I can give up the golf though. No sir.

4b – The new year hasn’t started off well in this regard. Two road trips to the Cities, another to Wausau. Tomorrow night I’ve got center court-side seats to see the Timberwolves play Chris Paul and the Hornets.

I can’t get out of my own way.

5 – Speaking of golf, another activity best done by yourself is one I would love to try again: surfing.

I love surf documentaries. If you want a good one, start with Of Wind & Waves – The Life and Times of Woody Brown. It’ll inspire you. Seriously.

But I watched another one a couple nights ago and it immediately goes up there on my list of favorite films of any genre. It’s called Riding Giants, and it’s awesome, especially on Blu-Ray.

Riding Giants

I don’t know if it’s on Netflix or at your local rental place, but it could be. It came out in 2006 and was fairly popular.

Here’s a jaw-dropping clip for you:

Surfing and the ocean are the reasons why I feel like I’m wasting my life up here for six months out of the year. It’s why, while I loved Stout and the people I met there, I regret not going to school on the West Coast. I wish I could go back in time and tell the 18 year old me, “Hey asshole. Would you rather walk to the bars in -20 degree temperatures or spend your evenings in the Pacific?”.

5b – I think this is where my uncles failed me. Or why I missed out on having an older brother or cousin. I think I should have been sat down and told that there isn’t some rule stating that I have to go to school in Wisconsin or Minnesota or Illinois.

I wouldn’t expect my parents to do this, but I think someone else of their age could have clued me in.

So add that to the resolutions list. I’ve got a shit-ton of little cousins and this year I’m giving college advice their parents will hate.

6 – As is probably evident, I go through spells where I listen to a select group of tunes until I’m basically sick of ’em. One playlist or album can last me a while, though.

This last week it’s been the [b]Monster Ballads – Ultimate Edition[/b] and I’m hear to tell ya…it’s so……fucking…………..awesome.

I challenge anyone listening at their desk to not bust out an air-mic when Sebastian Bach belts out “I LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEEE YOOOOOUUUUUU!!!!” or Kip Winger let’s it rip on Miles Away.

6b – On a related note, the 80s gets a bad rap for their music. I love the hair-metal that ceased to exist once Grunge came around. You had the best real punk music. Industrial metal was created. New Wave sort of sucked but it certainly influenced a lot of great music today. Then you had the pop stars like MJ and Madonna.

If you’ve made it this far I’ll give you credit and some tunes. I did a (very) quick browse of my iTunes collection and grabbed 17 good 80s tunes. These probably aren’t my favorites, but there’s variety.

http://www.mediafire.com/?jzzjjtijujl

Don’t say I never gave you anything. Enjoy.

7 – OGT’s

I could go in a number of directions. There are really two big ones on my mind. I might go with both or just one. I don’t know it’s starting to get late.

Alright, the first…

It absolutely blows my mind when I consider the difference in the sexes when it comes to judging a friend’s romantic interest. It doesn’t matter how they’re connected, either. We could be talking someone’s spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, casual hookup, someone they’re seeing or even just a crush.

When a guy lets one of his boys in on who he’s interested in or who he’s seeing or who his girlfriend is, I’ll tell you the one thought that doesn’t enter their head: “What the fuck? What does he see in her?”.

No. It doesn’t. Why? Because we as men assume that there’s something about that girl that makes our buddy happy. It’s usually not even related to looks, though yea, it doesn’t hurt if she’s hot. No, we know there could be any number of reasons why our boy is into a girl. Just a few:

• maybe she’s into sports
• or she’s got a great sense of humor
• or she’s got an incredible personality
• or she’s just really fun to be around
• she’s sweet
• she’s independent
• she’s ridiculous in bed
• she’s funny

Who the hell knows. Maybe she’s none of those things, maybe she’s all of them. But we as guys understand that no matter what it is, there’s something and it was important enough to make our boy fall for her.

I’ve had friends in the past that have dated girls that, on the outside looking in, seem to be a little off, a little wrong. It’s something I might talk about with my other friends. But the conversation inevitably comes around to, “Yea, but [insert name here] is all about her so there’s got to be something great about her, and you know, whatever makes him happy”.

That’s why, when we find out that he’s interested in this girl or he’s going to move in with her or he’s gonna ask her to marry him, there’s only one response we can reasonably give: “Hey man, that’s awesome”.

You know what? It’s not even restricted to our boys. All of us have girls for friends and there’s a good chance they’ve dated or married guys that makes us a little confused. But, it doesn’t matter. Unless they’re an abusive fuck, there’s really not much reason for us to speak up. Again, we automatically assume there’s something about the guy that our girls find attractive. Maybe he’s stable, handsome, intelligent, thoughtful, caring or hung like a horse. We assume there’s something or she wouldn’t be interested.

Woman, on the other-hand, are complete opposites. If one of their girlfriends is into a guy there’s a great chance they won’t understand what’s so great about him and won’t understand what their friend could possibly see in him. It doesn’t matter if they can even spot a quality or two that makes him datable. There’s always a “but”. “But he stocks shelves at Wal-Mart”, “But he wears a gold necklace”, “But he’s got no hair”.

It’s bad enough between girlfriends. Where it’s ridiculously evident, though, is when a girl has a guy as a friend. Heaven-forbid he’s into someone, the opinions start flying.

“I don’t like her”
“I don’t know what you see in her”
“She’s so not pretty”
“She’s a complete headcase”
“You could easily do better”
“She’ll cheat on you, you know that right?”
“She’s only dating you because she’s a greedy bitch”
“She’s not a real blond, I just wanted to tell you”

Guys have heard it all, and it always comes from our female friends. I asked a couple friends about it recently. They’ll never hear the end of it when they’re into someone and their girl friends don’t approve. I talked about it with my brother last night. He’s been dating a girl for a while and he’s got a female friend who won’t shut the fuck up about how terrible she is.

You know what? Incredibly, we don’t like hearing that shit. Amazing, I know.

Women don’t seem to understand what guys learned long ago. There’s a “but” for us too. “But she makes me happy”. Fucking deal with it.

8 – OGT’s (the deuce)

Alright, I’ll go into the 2nd, and it’ll be a helluva lot shorter. Just more of a personal observation and I don’t know if it carries over with other guys.

Find me a random girl, or someone I just met that night, and flirting is a breeze. It doesn’t take any effort, at all. A few questions, a little conversation, a joke or two, some chiding, some eye contact. Mix with alcohol and dancing and it’s on. No sweat.

Now, if we’re talking someone I know? Had conversations and have hung out with before? If it’s someone I’ve got a legit thing for? I’m a goddamn train-wreck. Forget flirting. That shit is virtually impossible. By the time I’ve gotten to know her that well I’ve all but dismissed the possibility that she could be into me and making a move would be an awkward waste of time. Even if she’s holding up a sign that says, “YES, I ACTUALLY LIKE YOU JACKASS”, I’ll assume a misprint. Just the idea of nutting up and making a move is such a ridiculously foreign concept that it barely deserves consideration.

In theory it’s so backwards-ass that I don’t even know how I got here. I just know the way it is.

So. Where does that leave a pussy like myself? I wait to get hit in the head.

At this point in my life I’ve got enough experiences to look back on and see the parallels. When it comes to the good girls, the really down chicks that I’m glad to have known and been apart of their lives, it started with initiative on their end and disbelief on mine. I can look back and see signs that I should have made moves long before things got started between us, and when it finally happened it was more because of something they did as opposed to something I did.

That doesn’t exactly leave me with a feeling of optimism given recent events.

8b – Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

8c – New years resolution #3: Nut the fuck up.

9 – Alright, enough with the obligatory girl thoughts. Let’s move onto subjects more near and dear to the heart of the blokes that are probably reading this: shitting, jerking off and sports.

My friends, I have your holy grail: the Deadspin weekly mailbag.

A few years ago, at Footlocker.com, my dude-bros and I would anxiously await Bill Simmons’ weekly column, usually on a Friday, and if we were lucky it’d be a massive mailbag. He’d take questions about sports and pop culture and give answers. Most of them were pretty damn funny. The best part was they were usually long and a great way to waste 45 minutes of Footlocker’s cash.

Guys, I’m telling you he was AAA.

I won’t say much but read Deadspin’s mailbags. They speak for themselves. I’ll even throw you a bone with a handful of links:

http://deadspin.com/5406771/nicotine-valium-vicodin-marijuana-ectasy-and-alcohol–c+c+c+c+cocaine
http://deadspin.com/5416365/mailbag-taco-night
http://deadspin.com/5421803/the-biggest-dirtiest-poopiest-mailbag-yet
http://deadspin.com/5427253/mailbag-getting-old-blows
http://deadspin.com/5436578/the-mailbag-demands-you-name-the-brewer-baby
http://deadspin.com/5446600/go-for-the-thighs–your-open-mailbag-tuesday

Yesterday I spent a good half-hour reading about the different ways to, uh, proofread your work. After a while I was attempting to suppress so many tear inducing laughs I almost passed out. I’m dead serious.

10 – Hey, you made it. Your reward is Miranda Kerr.

I like to think I was out in front on this one. She’s been the #1 goddess in my eyes for a good long while. People have been going nuts for Marrissa Miller or Adriana Lima or that other Brazilian chick for years, but I’ve known what’s up.

Askmen.com released their Top 100 Women of 2010, and look who’s #10.

But that’s not why she’s getting a mention here.

Guys……my god.

After all this time I’m coming home to you

Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan

I started writing a lead-in to the death of Jimmy Sullivan. I wanted to tie it into celebrities that have passed away recently. How their deaths fascinate and captivate us. How you hear the news and for the rest of your life you remember where you were when you heard.

It sucked. It didn’t sound or read right. It was totally superficial and disingenuous.

I’ll just say that I really fucking loved Jimmy Sullivan on the drums. I’ve been legitimately saddened since I heard he passed away. Afterlife has been going through my head almost non-stop.

There aren’t a lot of musicians that can have this effect on me. Two of them were in Avenged Sevenfold and one of them is no longer with us.

I still remember the first time I saw Ax7 live.

It was years ago at Warped. Everyone else was playing 2:00 minute, typical punk tunes. Avenged Sevenfold comes onto a small side-stage and their entire set-list was four songs. It lasted thirty minutes.

They played the best show of the day. Synyster Gates and The Rev blew me away. Zachy and Shadows were incredible.

I think I’ve seen almost 80 bands in the last ten years and Avenged Sevenfold has consistently put on the best show, never disappointing in any of the three times I’ve seen ’em. They went from side-stage to main stage to headlining their own tour. But it’s not going to be the same without Jimmy.

RIP Rev.

I’ve got a sickness, it feels like love

1 – Like millions of others out there, I’m wondering whatever happened to the idea of a holiday break.

The days went by too quickly, not a lot was accomplished, not a lot of time was spent doing something I enjoyed, too much time was spent on the road, I endured too many screaming little kids and dogs that made my eyes ache, the weather was total and complete bullshit, etc.

The problem is without a wife and kids of my own, I’m generally without an excuse when I’m asked to travel to see family. It’s not that I don’t want to see my folks and do the traditional Christmas thing, but one night to me is perfect. Five nights of not sleeping in your own bed, however, is excessive and dangerous.

2 – Packers in the playoffs!

I really wanted it this season, certainly more-so than others. To not make it with 10 wins in a season where Rodgers has done so well, Woodson has been a defensive MVP and Matthews emerged as a super-stud would have been a real let-down.

It looks like we’ll see the Cardinals in the playoffs, and I’m totally good with that. Nothing about them scares me. I know they can look really good at times, but they’re also prone to putting up a lousy showing.

The Wild Card weekend can’t get here quick enough.

3 – Last night was a shit-show and probably the highlight of the break. Ben, Bobby, my aunt, uncle and I went out to celebrate my little sister’s 21st. Not gonna lie, she impressed me. That little girl was downing shots and Malibu like it was her job. She almost made it the entire night, too. Then we got home and her big brother had to hold her hair while she yacked into a toilet.

4 – I’ve been looking at a lot of “Best of the Decade” lists. Movies, athletes, games, etc. Last week I was asked to come up with my top ten favorite albums of the decade.

It’s not going to be easy. I started looking tonight but I won’t be able to come up with a list until tomorrow.

So far my only locks are Saturate, Breakaway, and God Loves Ugly.

4b – Shut the fuck up on Kelly Clarkson. Breakaway was a pop masterpiece.

🙂

4c – God Loves Ugly will be #1 on the list.

Slug of Atmosphere

It’s probably only 2nd to More Betterness! on my list of favorite albums of all-time.

5 – Another one bites the dust.

One of the few competent senior staff members left at SP has decided to take a job in the cities, he told me tonight. The announcement goes out tomorrow.

My hope is this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and management realizes that serious changes need to be made in their business model.

Realistically, I doubt anything comes about and SP will fall further into obscurity.

5b – I’m happy for Chris; I know this is what he’s wanted for a while. But he’s a good dude and a golfing buddy and one less awesome person I’ll know here in town.

5c – I need out.

6 – I LOVE Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

The Tudors and The Wire and Weeds and Californication get the pub, but this is the reason to get premium channels (unless, you know, you can get the show without the need to have Cable or DirectTV…just sayin’).

If you haven’t seen the show, you’re missing out. The two Las Vegas magicians pick a topic and call, well, bullshit on it. I’ll let Wikipedia take it from here:

Many episodes aim to debunk pseudoscientific ideas, supernatural beliefs, popular fads and misconceptions, and often from a libertarian point of view, the political philosophy espoused by both Penn and Teller. The show criticizes proponents of what they perceive as nonsense and dishonesty — bullshit — often citing ulterior political or financial motives. The stated aim of the show is to apply critical thinking to misconceptions.

Hilarity ensues.

Some of the episodes are a little touching, many are startling, all are great for a good chuckle.

Seriously, get it to the top of your Netflix que.

7 – New Years plans fell through. It’s never been one of my really big holidays but I was looking forward to Chicago until I decided I simply couldn’t take Thursday off. Now I’m open to other ideas. The Cities? Wausau? A good time in EC?

Let me know if you’ve got anything.

Clay Matthews III makes me giggle like a little girl

I wasn’t a fan when the Packers moved up to get an overachieving DE/LB with average stats and great bloodlines last April. I would have gone elsewhere. I thought Matthews would be great on special teams and average (AJ Hawk-like) on defense.

I’m glad to be wrong. The guy is the 2nd most untouchable player on the Packers and front-runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year. His motor is other-worldly. He’s got stupid closing speed. He’s strong as fuck.

Do I have a serious man-crush? Yes. Yes I do.

Alright, I’m glad I got that out of the way.

We now bring you back to your regularly scheduled heterosexual activities.

Sanity’s just another dream away

Alright, a quick hitter.

1- Well today was Exhibit A on why living in Wisconsin blows four months of the year.

Three weeks ago I was golfing.

This morning I got stuck in an intersection outside my place because I was going slightly up hill in eight inches of unplowed snow. My little Toyota didn’t stand a chance. I had to put the car in reverse, find the first driveway I could roll up, put the car in drive and slingshot my way through what I hoped would be an open intersection.

A block later I skidded my way halfway into a major intersection and was nearly killed by a jeep going 45 mph.

Then I broke two traffic laws when I went through a red light and made an illegal turn because at the moment no one was coming and I had enough momentum to move.

So then I finally get to work and notice a distinct lack of vehicles in the parking lot. I tried to slow down and make the turn (I was again driving on an unplowed road) and I couldn’t. No way could I have gone in reverse so I just kept on driving and hoped to do better the second time around.

When I finally made it in, there were five of the 25 SP employees around. Apparently some of us got calls that there wasn’t any school today. A simple email to the staff wouldn’t have sufficed?

Meh. Whatever.

Like I said, the weather in this state blows.

2 – You reap what you sow. As much as I hate referring to anything biblical, I think it holds true. Treat people with kindness and respect and good things will come about. Treat people carelessly and it’s going to come back to bite you in the ass.

When it does, don’t expect a motherfucking pity-party from me.

3 – Monday night made me a believer in the Packers D. Clay Matthews Jr is a freaking stud. Raji had his best game as a pro. Brad Jones looked like a potential impact player. Three stud starters in the front seven from one draft alone? Possible.

4 – I’d love for someone to give me a reason why people can’t be open and honest in a relationship. Whether it’s 17 years of marriage, four months of dating or someone you’ve only been seeing casually, recent evidence suggests that people would rather be shut-off or lie than just say what’s on their minds.

It wasn’t a good weekend for a few of the King boys in this regard.

5 – I should be in danger of getting burned out on Orianthi, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Suffocated is probably the best song I’ve heard this year.

I love it. Lyrics, riffs, vocals. Yea it’s straight forward but what it does it does well.

Second favorite tune on the album is Drive Away. It’s got some blues guitar going on and it’s a mellow change up from some of her other good tunes.

Here’s an acoustic version I’m digging:

There are two or three songs I’m not in love with, but top to bottom this is the best thing I’ve heard all year. If you pick it up and want to go straight to the goods, here’s how I’m ranking the songs.

1 – Suffocated

2 – Drive Away
3 – Bad News
4 – According to You

5 – Feels like Home
6 – Think like a Man

7 – Highly Strung

8 – God Only Knows
9 – Untogether
10 – Believe

11 – What’s it gonna be

The top four are basically awesome, with Suffocated a strong candidate to make my all-time list. Five, six and seven are definitely solid. Highly Strung is a good instrumental. After that the album falls off a cliff but only What’s it Gonna Be is unlistenable.

6 – Am I the only person who didn’t find Arrested Development to be remotely entertaining?

I ask because I recently read a list of the top 20 shows of the decade and I hated the top two, The Wire and AD. The Wire is coma inducing and Arrested Development was the equivalent of watching three retarded chimps picking feces out of each other’s hair.

But if you say you didn’t enjoy AD it’s like you insulted someone’s mother. I’ve never seen a group get so defensive as I have when said I didn’t think it was a funny show.

7 – Another reason my stay in Wausau was dope: my power bill in the winter. I lived in an upper, a nice one, when I was over there. I didn’t turn the heat on once that winter. My power bill was around $24 every month. They actually credited me because I used such little electricity.

Over here my bill is five times as much. What the fuck is going on?

8 – Last weekend was absolutely awful. Maybe one of the worst I’d had in years. On Sunday I was looking forward to getting back to work.

This weekend is gonna be different. No traveling, no hosting guests. Doing nothing will never seem so relaxing.

9 – Your word of the day is ‘somnambulant’. My text editor doesn’t like it but Merriam’s does. So does Strung Out when they wrote a song I love.

10 – 2:40 in the morning. G’night folks.

Better late than never

When I was about five or six years old my uncles gave me a CD. Heart’s Bad Animals was one of the first albums I owned and I loved it. Shortly thereafter I watched a music video for Alone and immediately knew, “Yup, I’m into girls. Girls are what’s for me”.

It was Nancy Wilson. I considered her the sexiest thing alive before I even knew what that meant and ever since I’ve had an affinity for chick rock. The Go-Gos, Belinda Carlisle, Bonnie Raitt, Tsunami Bomb, Avril, Michelle Branch, Jessica Harp, Kelly Clarkson, Evanescence. You name it…

Twenty-plus years later we finally have someone to take the mantle away from Nancy, though.

Orianthi fucking rocks. I’ve been listening to her album Believe all afternoon and, to put it simply, I’m blown away. She can sing her ass off, she’s shreds on guitar and, yea, she’s hot.

Best of all, though, her tunes are actually good.

I was digging her first track “According to you” fairly quickly. It’s her first single. Youtube it. Then I heard “Suffocated” and my eyebrows raised. By “Bad News” I was hooked and the album just stayed consistently solid throughout.

Guitar fans, give “Highly Strung” a listen. It’ll rocks your balls off.