Archive for April 2008

Concluding Thoughts On The NFL Draft

April 27, 2008

Well as it stands, I didn’t even get to finish the first round last night before having to leave for work.  I’ve got some spare thoughts about the last few picks of the first round and the second round in general that are bouncing around in my head, so why not spend my Sunday morning sharing those thoughts with you?

-Let’s start with my Titans.  Honestly, I am disappointed.  Their first round pick is somewhat of a reach.  Not only had they drafted a running back each of the last two years before yesterday, but those running backs aren’t half bad and still show a lot of promise, especially in a “thunder & lightning” type of a combo.  On the other end of the spectrum, the Titans badly need a receiver, and didn’t bother taking one with their second round pick either.  Instead they took a defensive end that is also somewhat unproven and probably won’t see the field due to Tennessee’s current depth at end.  They re-signed DE Jevon Kearse, they still have Kyle Vanden Bosch, and they have a couple more young guys from the last few years’ drafts that are still up and coming.  Meanwhile, Vince Young still doesn’t have anyone to throw to.  If I have to watch another season in which he can’t even hit double digits in touchdown passes, I might puke.  I hope the front office knows what they’re doing.  Hammen, as a fellow Titans fan, I want your thoughts on this.

-About 25 picks into the first round, B-Weezy arose from his girlfriend-induced sleep coma and joined me in watching something other than the inside of his eyelids for a change.  We got to talking and I brought up the fact that this might be the first year in about a decade in which no Miami (FL) player was taken in the first round.  But hold on.  Almost as if to spite me, the Giants took Miami safety Kenny Phillips with the final pick in the first round.

Into the second round, I just have a handful of assorted thoughts from each corner of the league …

-Devin Thomas was taken with the 34th overall pick by Washington.  JK thinks he is overrated but we’ll see.  Kiper seems to think he has great upside.  Upside? I don’t know if I am familiar with the term, (please note the sarcasm).

-Green Bay wins the award for head-scratcher of the day by taking receiver Jordy Nelson with their first pick (36th overall).  They had arguably the best receiving corp in the league last year and led all teams in the YAC (yards after catch) category.  They could have perhaps traded down if they didn’t see anything else they wanted, as they do need a tight end this year after the release of Bubba Franks.  Then 20 picks later at #56, they were able to score Louisville QB Brian Brohm.  Honestly, I’m a little bit surprised he fell this far, but not too surprised.  He has had a few nagging injuries over the past few years that have each required surgery of some sort.  But, he’s a smart kid, and if he works on his mobility he has a good shot at being successful in the league.  Plus, it’s always a decent idea to have a back up plan when Aaron Rodgers is your starter.

-Since the majority of my friends are Vikings fans, I will address their pick.  Since they gave up a lot in the Jared Allen trade, they were without a first round pick and had to wait until the 43rd overall pick to get in on the action.  They took a safety.  Really?  A safety?  They have Darren Sharper and Medieu Williams already, as well as a couple of young cats from the past two years’ drafts that are developing.  This one stumps me, especially since they are in need of another receiver.  They picked up Bernard Berrian in free agency, but unless Sidney Rice or Robert Ferguson can turn it around this year, B-squared might spend most of the season getting locked down and the Vikes will again have to rely on the run to get them in the end zone.  We saw where that got them after people realized that Adrian Peterson is a freak and started putting nine guys in the box.  Look at the receivers that were still available at the time, and please reference this list in three to five years when at least a couple of these guys are having 1,000 yard seasons: DeSean Jackson, Limas Sweed, Malcom Kelly, Jerome Simpson.  That is some serious talent and all of them were taken within the next ten picks.  The Vikes could have had their pick at any one of them, but rather they continued their string of recent draft blunders (with exception of course to Peterson last year).  Aside from needing a receiver, the Vikes don’t have a lot of issues to address.  Their big one, defensive end, was taken care of with the Allen trade.  They don’t have another pick now until round five, and I really thought they would either take a receiver or an offensive lineman, or maybe even a quarterback … I’m sorry but Tavaris Jackson sucks.

-The rest of the second round featured a group of guys who most people have never heard about, and that’s pretty standard.  That being said, I am not going to go into much more about the picks taken in the second half of the day because chances are, you won’t give a crap.

-The best draft class of the first two rounds has got to be the Chiefs, who have thus far taken DT Glenn Dorsey, G Branden Albert, CB Brandon Flowers, RB Jamaal Charles, and TE Brad Cottam.  They needed the help, and there’s no reason they can’t be a .500 ball club this year, especially in the AFC West, which was very sub-par last season.

-Roger Goodell came through on his promise to make day one run a little smoother than in the past.  Last year’s first round was over six hours, and yesterday’s first two rounds together took less than that.  Kudos on that, because as much as I LOVE the draft, nine hours in front of the TV is enough to make anyone numb.

-Mel Kiper, Jr. might be the hardest working man in the world from July to May.  Every year, 224 players are chosen in the primary NFL Draft, and Kiper knows more about them that their own mothers do.  That takes an enormous amount of work, and thinking about it makes me shudder a little bit.

-I love the draft, seriously. It is easily in my top three sporting events of the year.

I’m eager to get some feedback on these two draft-related posts, so feel free to share whatever thoughts you have with me.  In the meantime, I am going to sit on my ass, enjoy the third round festivities, and avoid going outside at all costs.  We’re three days away from May and it is currently 34 degrees outside and it snowed all morning yesterday.  Enjoy your Sunday everyone.

One love,

10

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Running Diary of the NFL Draft

April 26, 2008

Good afternoon and welcome to the 2008 NFL Draft! I’ll be your captain on this venture through the first day of picks. Just to make this clear, here’s what you can expect throughout this post: I plan on tossing in my two cents about various items throughout the day. I have absolutely zero intention of breaking down every pick because if you’re watching the draft, you will have gotten plenty of that already. I am more apt to comment briefly on some of the picks and then spend the majority of my time making fun of anything and everything. As I said yesterday, my buddy JK will be joining me via MSN Messenger, and we plan to get our hate on here and there.

Before we get started though, let’s tackle a few of the over/under bets I am making with myself.

  • Number of times we hear the word “upside” throughout the day: 33 – I’ll take the over on this one. The draft lingo is peppered with buzz words and upside is always the one I hear the most.
  • Number of awkward camera shots of Matt Ryan and family as he slides down to Baltimore with the eighth pick: 8 – If Atlanta doesn’t take him with the third pick, he will slide down a little bit. A handful of picks and $20 million of guaranteed money later, Mister Two First Names can wipe the beading sweat off his forehead and hug his mother. Even though they’ll probably show him at least once between every pick, I’ll be risky and take the under here.
  • Number of times JK tells me about how good the Vikings are going to be this season: 106 – Trust me on this one, I gotta take the over.
  • Number of times we have to endure that commercial in which singer Meatloaf and his son are lip-syncing about an AT&T prepaid cell phone: 6 – Maybe if he had eaten fewer cupcakes while he still had money, Meatloaf could afford to get his son an actual cell phone. I’ll take the under though, no way AT&T ponied up the dough to run that commercial all day.
  • Number of times a pick is delayed and we have to sit through 20+ seconds of awkward silence and cheesey smiles from Chris Berman and the gang until they finally load a highlight clip or conduct an impromptu interview with the first person they see: 4 – Every. Single. Year. “Let’s go down to the podium for the next pick.” (45 seconds of stunned silence) “Alright well I guess the pick isn’t ready, so here’s an interview with Suzy Kolber who found a random guy in the crowd to talk about the Jets’ first pick.”
  • Number of players’ names Commissioner Roger Goodell mispronounces in the first two rounds alone: 5 – Last year’s draft was no disappointment in this category and looking at this year’s projected top picks, we could be in for another zinger. I’m taking the over on this one.

Well we’re mere moments away from the start of the festivities and my heart is racing. I got my roommate B-Weezy by my side and my right hand man JK with me on MSN, not to mention a ridiculous amount of food in the kitchen, so things are good. Just when I thought nothing could go wrong, I realized that I was scheduled for a split shift today and I have to go back to work at 6:00. Worry not, I’ll have plenty of time to get through round one. With that bullet dodged, let’s begin. All of the following times are Central.

1:59 pm – A mere 20 hours after B-Weezy and I agreed to watch the draft together, his girlfriend shows up to spoil any chance of him watching anything with me. Seriously, if there is a more pitifully whipped person on this planet, I’d like to meet the poor bastard.

2:02 pm – The Dolphins take Michigan OT Jake Long, which we have known about for three days already. Yawn. Goodell says this year’s format is more streamlined than before, we’ll see about that.

2:11 pm – Jordan tells me, “I bought a 25 foot network cable so I can sit on the futon while I talk to you.” These are the kinds of sacrifices that true friends make to watch the draft together even when they’re 350 miles apart.

2:16 pm – The Falcons need a QB really bad and Matt Ryan is on the phone right now. Apparently we aren’t going to get any of those awkward shots of him squirming in his seat. That’s okay, though, we filled three years of that quota last year with Brady Quinn.

2:21 pm – How long do we have to wait before someone imitates Joe Namath during their interview with Suzy Kolber? Seriously, someone put in a call to Vernon Gholston to see if he’ll act drunk and tell Suzy he wants to kiss her during his interview. Let’s see if she can keep it together during that.

2:25 pm – The Raiders could go either way with the fourth pick. They’re in love with Darren McFadden but Glenn Dorsey is still on the board and they need defense like none other. Plus McFadden has big time drama and baggage coming with him. Then again, I am beginning to think that Al Davis respects that kind of stuff. And almost on cue, the Raiders take Mickey-Fad. What? The guy needs a nickname. You’re more comfortable with Mc-Fizzle?

2:33 pm – UnderArmour gets the award for gayest commercial of the day, and we’re only a half hour into this. That’s just how gay it is. Seriously, Freddie Mercury gay.

2:35 pm – Glenn Dorsey is selected by Kansas City and becomes the first player of the day to cry. This is always an inevitability, so it’s just a matter of who will be the big enough man to let the water works flow first.

2:41pm – My sister is trying to talk to me on MSN, but I am committed to the draft so I do the noble thing: I completely ignore her.

2:42 pm – Just had this exchange with JK:

JK: “Did you see that (Michigan WR) Mario Manningham got a 6 on the Wonderlic test?”
Me: “Hahahaha no way. Pretty sure a half blind giraffe can get better than a 6.”
JK: “Tell that to your boy Vince Young.”

Well played, sir.

2:48 pm – Mark my words, I will be going to see the movie Iron Man the first chance I get.

2:51 pm – We have a trade! This is always exciting to me, and the fact that it’s the Patriots trading intrigues me extra because say what you will about them, they’re some smart bastards in that front office. JK called this trade about a minute before it happened and then exclaimed, “If I had Mel’s hair, I could take his spot.”

3:07 pm – The Bengals take LB Keith Rivers, and a camera scan of the Bengals’ draft party in Cincinnati showed 40-some people sitting there with a “Who-the-hell-is-that?” look on their faces. Don’t worry Bengals fans, he’s good.

3:09 pm – Keyshawn Johnson wins the award for the ugliest shirt and tie combo of the day. Usually he’s really well dressed, so I don’t know what happened here. I’m all about the pink tie, but his shirt looks like it’s from the clearance rack at the Birmingham K-Mart.

3:14 pm – My swami-like self predicted the Patriots taking Tennessee LB Jerod Mayo, which makes me happy because I was sick of looking at his name on the board. I hate Mayonnaise.

3:22 pm – Food break #1 is upon me and I decided to go with some pizza rolls. I smother them in Frank’s Red Hot sauce, devour them, and then immediately question life before I found Frank’s. Never tried it? Go spend $2 on a bottle and tell me it doesn’t change your life.

3:24 pm – Denver takes OL Ryan Clady, which leads JK to immediately say,” Solid pick, but their D is still shitty.” Yes, yes it is.

3:30 pm – “We are UnderArmour! THE FUTURE IS OURRRRRRRRSSSSSSS!” Seriously, gayest commercial ever.

3:38 pm – The Bears draft an offensive lineman and all Berman and the boys can talk about is Brian Urlacher’s contract? How about they talk about how the Bears are a joke on offense. Rex Grossman is terrible, Cedric Benson averaged just over three yards a carry, and Bernard Berrian is now gone. They might score 10 points a game, if that. On a side note, I love ripping on Rex Grossman because B-Weezy always defends him for some reason, despite being a die hard Vikings fan. Grossman blows, end of story.

3:44 pm – We had our first minute-long debacle in which Berman & the gang had to stall while the pick came in late. Seriously, I want Berman hooked up to a heart monitor so we can watch his pulse spike during times like this. I bet his chair is just soaked with sweat when he gets up for commercial breaks. You would think five guys could find something to talk about for 60 seconds while these delays happen. Come on boys, that’s only 12 seconds of talking each!

3:48 pm – That UnderArmour commercial ran for the 173rd time in just under two hours.

3:54 pm – Do you go to a Division I-AA school but still wanna get drafted? Follow in the path of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Completely dominate all year long, change your last name to reflect the fact that you’re related to a stud NFL player (as DRC is to Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie), and run a 4.33 at the combine. Then you’re in.

4:01 pm – Todd McShay, you’re good, but Mel Kiper, Jr. will live forever, so don’t think you’re taking over his job anytime soon.

4:03 pm – Delaware QB Joe Flacco is on the phone with Baltimore, who needs a QB more than Chris Berman needs his ass powdered during the commercial breaks. I thought Brian Brohm would have gone first, and JK just said, “Wow Baltimore takes an unproven QB with a huge arm, sounds kind of familiar.” I agree, and the name Tavaris Jackson comes to mind, but I guess we’ll see what happens.

4:07 pm – All of the following things are on TV right now: The NFL Draft, NBA Playoffs, and the PGA. Despite this fact, B-Weezy has his face buried in a pillow and is fast asleep with his girlfriend. That’s a true sports fan there, folks.

4:18 pm – Tampa Bay needs a receiver, and Devin Thomas is on the phone. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson is sitting in the crowd and we see him incessantly checking his phone like he’s waiting for a text regarding the pregnancy test his mistress took.

4:21 pm – Tampa takes Kansas CB Aqib Talib, which makes me wonder if Devin Thomas was trying to pull a Willis McGahee and pretended to be on the phone getting offers to provoke the Bucs to take him.

4:27 pm – The Redskins are a mess. Jason Campbell is awful, Clinton Portis isn’t getting any younger, and their defense has more holes than an old pair of socks. On the bright side, Joe Gibbs is gone, so perhaps they can start building up again. As fate would have it, they have the 21st pick and the late Sean Taylor, who was murdered last season, wore #21, so maybe some good can come of this pick …

4:28 pm – … Or they could trade it to Atlanta.

4:32 pm – Say what you want, judge me as you please, but I find Rachel Nichols attractive. Seriously, I would wreck that chick.

4:35 pm – My Titans’ pick is just around the corner. Please, God, don’t let them screw this one up. It’s bad enough they are in a division with the Colts and the Jags. They need help. I’m not worried too much though, actually I’m optimistic. They only have a couple guys on the roster who have more than five years of experience in the league. They might be the youngest team in all the land, and they still went 10-6 last year. So if they continue to develop, I look for them to be tough in the coming years.

4:39 pm – The Cowboys take RB Felix Jones from Arkansas while a higher-rated Rashard Mendenhall is still on the board. When a second string back from the SEC gets drafted ahead of the Big 10’s leading rusher, this just proves how much the Big 10 sucked last year and everyone knows it.

4:45 pm – The Titans are on the clock and all of a sudden I need my ass powdered. I want either Devin Thomas or DeSean Jackson in a Titans uniform by the end of the day, but I don’t know if I am gonna get it. Maybe I’ll get really lucky and they’ll take Brian Brohm so we can get rid of Vince Young. Sorry, Hammen, but you know he sucks. They added Alge Crumpler this year, so maybe that will help him throw more than 9 f*cking touchdown passes.

4:48 pm – JK: “What the fuck is Keyshawn wearing?” It took him long enough, but I knew he would catch it. “That shirt looks like those wax paper things you put in the bottom of baskets you get when you get a hot dog at some restaurant.” Well said. I was thinking it looked more like a table cloth at an Italian restaurant, but either answer is acceptable.

4:51 pm – The Titans take East Carolina RB Chris Johnson, who ran a 4.24 at the combine, but I am still not sure about him. Plus, our recent RB acquisitions (LenDale White and Chris Henry) are still young and developing. Sigh, I knew it was too good to be true that there were still two solid receivers and a good quarterback on the board at this point.

4:57 pm – I break the news to JK about having to go back to work for a couple hours, to which he replies, “What the fuck am I gonna do? What about the blog?” I know, you’re lost without me Jordan. As for the blog, I’ll post what I have at the time and finish up tonight or tomorrow morning. You’ll get your fill.

5:10 pm – Brian Brohm is slipping, falling, he can’t get up. So is Devin Thomas. These two, along with DeSean Jackson are going to be steals in the second round. I’m big on Brohm; I was always impressed with what I saw out of him.

5:13 pm – I have to start getting ready for work and it might make me cry. I hate missing the draft. I’ll be done by about 8:00, but I’ll come back and feel like I missed too much to catch up. I enjoy watching most of the second round, but I’m not really into the third through seventh rounds so you can expect exactly zero coverage of that tomorrow. I’ve got bigger fish to fry. As for this, I had a lot of fun doing it, so I hope you enjoyed reading it. I’ll probably come back tonight and top it off with some final thoughts on the day, not like that matters because hardly anyone reads my stuff over the weekend. Tuesday is usually my day with the most traffic, so if I feel like procrastinating, damn it I will.

But for now, I must separate myself from the TV or I’ll end up calling in sick to work. Have a good night peoples, I’ll be back soon.

One love,

10

How To Make People Like You

April 25, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before in a handful of posts, I love my job.  Well, today marks the one month anniversary of my start date, and things have fallen into place exactly as I’ve planned and hoped for.  What do I mean?  I’ll tell you what I mean.

I’m a people person through and through.  I generally get along well with 98% of the population, and I usually don’t have trouble making new friends if the scenario calls for it.  That being said, starting a new job can be difficult for some, and the stress of getting your new co-workers to like you can only add to that difficulty.  Over the years, I’ve come up with a sort of system I use when I start a new job that helps me get on the good sides of the people around me.  It’s been 100% effective so far.  I was thinking about it last night, and I thought it would make for decent convo today.

My system can be broken down into week-long intervals, during which a new hire must adapt in different ways in order to effectively settle in with the rest of the staff.  These are easier said than done for some, and I know first hand.  When I was hired at my new job, I was brought in with three other new hires, and we all went through training together.  As it stands now, two of the four of us are (as far as we know) fairly well liked, while the other two have been less fortunate, and by that I mean, everyone f*cking hates them.

But as best I can tell, people seem to have warmed up to me, so I figured I would share with you my tried and true methods.

Week One: Be friendly, introduce yourself to your co-workers as you run into them.  Briefly tell people that you’re new and still learning, so if you make a mistake you welcome criticism to assist you in being a better worker.  Give off the attitude that you’re pleased to be there (if you’re not genuinely pleased to be there, why the hell are you there? It’s your first week, you can still GET OUT!) Alright, with the general stuff taken care of, you should now know this: It is better to be seen and not heard for about the first week on the job.  Now when I say this, I don’t mean that you should ignore everyone and not speak altogether, but rather, let your work do the speaking for you.  People won’t like you and they certainly won’t respect you if they don’t think you do a good job at work.  One very important thing to remember, though, is to always ask if you’re not sure.  People would rather take a minute to explain something to you as opposed to taking 20 minutes to fix something you screwed up.  It’s tough to dig yourself out of that kind of hole.  Work hard and keep your opinions to yourself for now.  A couple of the guys that were hired with me made the mistake of doing what I call “convo jumping,” in which they will jump into any conversation that they feel suits them and blab nonsensically while everyone else stares at them wondering who the hell they are.  Smile, get to know people’s names, faces, and personalities, and keep your thoughts to yourself for now.  And above all else, try to avoid talking about your previous job unless you’re asked about it by others.  Generally, no one gives a crap about where you used to work, and talking too much about it could lead people to believe you liked it more than your current job, so do yourself a favor and save your stories for your grandkids.

Week Two: Hopefully by now you’re starting to feel more comfortable with the work you’re doing and the people around you.  This is a great time to get on peoples’ good sides by taking the time to do a little extra than is required of you.  Come in early, stay late, pick up an extra shift or two.  Believe me, these things don’t go unnoticed.  For now, stay in the “Do-basically-anything-to-please-anyone” mode.  If someone asks you to do something, just do it.  Not only are you showing that you aren’t a jackass who can’t get along with anyone, but you’re also showing your willingness to work.  This can lead to things like getting a raise, getting overtime, or even getting promoted.  Bosses notice things like that, and if you become the type of person who won’t do something just because it isn’t your job, then you will find yourself at that job forever while everyone else around you moves up the ladder.   Also by now, you have hopefully made a friend or two whom you can trust enough to help you with the things you’re still learning, and teach you about the subtle ins and outs of your new job.  If you would rather go it alone, that’s fine, but remember that befriending people can only help you down the road.

Week Three: If all has gone to plan, you should have everyone else at work loving you by now.  Well, not everyone.  There are always going to be people who don’t like you, and that is just something you’re going to have to deal with.  Not everyone gets along with everyone else, so avoid confrontation with anyone who isn’t fond of you, and you’re golden.  Now you can relax, engage yourself in conversation with others about last week’s episode of The Hills, and take everything from here one step at a time.  With any luck, your supervisor/boss has also taken a liking to you, and you’re starting to get noticed more and more for your hard work.  Don’t sluff now, you gotta keep on track for at least a couple months before you can start outsourcing your work and leaving early to go golfing.  If you work in a place with a lot of people, it’s important for you to make sure you sure your boss remembers you and can actually pick you out of a lineup.  Do what I did after a couple weeks:  I went into my boss’ office after a shift, put on my best brown nose, and told him that I was really enjoying my work and if he ever needed me to stick around late or come in for an extra shift, I would be more than happy to do so.  Make yourself stand out from the others, but don’t brag about it.  No one else wants to hear about how much the boss likes you, so keep that to yourself.

Week Four: Well, if you’ve made it this far without urine in your coffee cup, chances are you’ve made it through the most difficult phase of the job.  The most important thing to remember is to continue working hard and don’t lose sight of what got you to where you are.  Now feel free to invite some of your co-workers out for a frosty beverage to watch a ball game, during which you can make fun of everyone else you work with.

Life is too short to be stuck in a job you hate.  There are thousands of jobs out there, so why be miserable?  Stop making excuses and just go for it.  Change is good, and there is no substitute for happiness.  I wish you all a marvelous weekend, and if you have no intention of watching the NFL draft tomorrow, you needn’t read the next paragraph.

For those of you who will be tuned in to the draft, I will be watching and blogging simultaneously.  I know, impressive right?  What can I say?  I’m a multi-tasker.  I’m going to keep a sort of running diary for at least the entire first round, and perhaps the second round, depending on how I feel.  I have plenty of food, a comfy chair, and my homboy and fellow sports enthusiast JK is going to be joining me from his home live via MSN Messenger to share his thoughts throughout the day.  You had better believe there will be some mildly funny conversation had between the two of us.  I’m not going to post until I’m all done, because no person in their right mind would sit here in front of their screen hitting refresh every five minutes on my blog.  Let’s face it, I am not eBay and that is not necessary.  By late afternoon, however, I will more than likely be finished, at which time I will proof it to make sure I didn’t type anything ridiculous and send it out into cyberspace.  See you tomorrow!

One love,

10

Perhaps A New Venue In Our Future?

April 22, 2008

The roomy (B-Weezy) and I got a letter in the mail yesterday from the property management company we rent from.  First, let me start by saying that I like our apartment.  It’s in a good location relative to campus and my job, the utilities are paid by the owner (minus cable and electricity) and the price isn’t terrible.  When we decided to move in here, we took into account the fact that heat and water are paid for, which is a big thing because heating bills can get outrageous during winter when it’s 20-below zero for two or three straight months.

Well, apparently there are going to be some changes beginning on July 1st.

Firstly, starting in July, renter’s insurance will be mandatory. Alright, I’ve made my peace with that.  I was actually thinking about getting it since B-Weezy got his golf clubs stolen a couple weeks ago.  It’s fairly inexpensive, so that’s not my beef.

Also effective July 1st, tenants will be responsible to pay for their own water, sewage, and garbage utility bills. This is where I start getting the moans and groans.  I’ve been out in the world for about five years now, and of every apartment I’ve ever seen in my entire life, not a single one required the tenant to pick up the tab for sewage and garbage.  Also, I would say that with 90% of apartments in town, water is on the house.  I don’t know about you, but I average two showers a day, and this (presumably) could get expensive if I am the one paying for my own water bill.  Well, whatever. That still isn’t the one that pisses me off.

Beginning on October 1st, tenants will be responsible for their own heating bill. Alright, now I’m upset.  When we moved in, all of these aforementioned costs were “fixed into the price of the rent” as the rental manager put it.  I know costs for everything are rising, but this gets under my skin.  Winters can get brutal up here, and heating bills can get really expensive for a couple of twenty-somethings working part time.  How expensive?  I’ve talked to friends who have had a $300 heat bill in a 3-bedroom apartment before.  Add that to the fact that the above utilities and insurance are going to bring with them costs of at least $30-40 a month total and we’re talking about a 10-15% increase in the cost of living.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I did some laundry yesterday, and the price of the washer and dryer went up from $1.00 each to $1.50 each!! … Okay, so that’s nothing I am going to complain about, but it just made me laugh because everything else is increasing in price around here and this petty increase just screams “penny pinching.”

Upon talking with B-Weezy, we decided perhaps we venture out into the city and seek out a new abode.  We signed a one year lease back in September, so we’ve got ample time to find a new place, give the appropriate notice to vacate, and enjoy a smooth, worry-free transition from one apartment to another.  OR DO WE?!?!

Since all these changes are happening in July, the management included in the letter that on July 1st, we will need to decide whether to renew our lease for another year or not.  Wait, we signed a one year lease in September that now expires in July?  (Doing math in head, gears turning, hamster running on wheel, carry the two, divide by the negative common denominator).  That doesn’t add up!

A second option is presented, however.  If we choose not to renew our lease for another twelve month period, we may renew on a month-to-month basis.  Oh, whew.  It’s all good right?  Wrong.  With this option, our rent would be increased $50 (about 8%).  This does not seem fair to me at all.  So, for us to stay from July through September, like our original lease states we are entitled to, we would have to shell out an extra $50 a month for three months.  Not sure about you, but my last name isn’t Rockefeller, and $150 is nothing to sneeze at.

I am incredibly frustrated with this whole ordeal, and I will be speaking to the ladies in the rental office about it by the end of the day.  I feel like I am being taken advantage of, and so does the roomy.  Is this even allowable?  I know they are within their rights to impose upon us the costs of the previously mentioned utilities, and whether or not they can force us to buy renter’s insurance is unclear to me, but I am almost certain they can’t raise our rent while we are in the middle of our lease.

We honor our part of the lease agreement by handing over hundreds of dollars on time every month, shouldn’t they be under obligation to uphold their end of the deal by allowing us to stay until the 12 month period is up without an increase in rent?

But, just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any more ridiculous, I read through the lease about the vacating procedures.  Within it, it states that tenants must give 60 days notice if they wish to vacate.  Two months is by no means an unacceptable amount of time to ask, I’m not upset about that.  However, let’s do some more math, shall we?  If we want to be out by July 1st, that means we have to give notice by (doing math in head, gears grinding together, hamster slowing down, carry the six) May 1st.  Today is April 22nd, which means that we have exactly (doing math in head, light bulb flickering, gears jammed, hamster dead on wheel, carry the four, head throbbing) nine days in which to find a new place and give notice to get the hell out of this one.  Absolutely unacceptable.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Mike, why not just give notice to vacate now and spend the next 6-8 weeks looking for an apartment?”  Good idea, slappy.  Alas, that is what I got myself into a few years ago.  I had a month to find a place, it didn’t happen, and I ended up living with my parents again for two months.  I love my parents to death, but it will be a frosty day in hell before I move my belongings back in there … again.  Not to mention that this is a college town, and there will be a lot of openings around July and into August since that is when most people moved into their current domiciles for the school year.  Ergo, all the good places are still taken.

I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one, and I really need to rely on my sweet talking to get the lady in the rental office to make some kind of an exception for us.  If I can’t do it with words, I’m sending B-Weezy in armed with the power of lust.  That’ll teach her.

Seriously, the thought of looking for a new apartment makes me want to puke.  Don’t get me wrong, I love new surroundings, but making a gillion phone calls, seeing a ton of places, talking to a bunch of people, keeping notes on how much everything costs, and then actually moving … BLAH.  I just wish I could find the perfect place on the first try.  A nice, quiet, fairly inexpensive apartment with a dishwasher and the utilities paid.  I’m not holding my breath, though. This town is chock full of overpriced, rundown, lackluster apartments, so it’s more about finding the lesser of many evils.  It’s especially hard for B-Weezy and I, because we make too much money to qualify for housing assistance, but we don’t make quite enough money to ensure that we don’t have to eat Pop Tarts for dinner four times a week.  Kidding, we’re not that poor.

Anyway, I’ll keep you abreast of this situation because I am sure you give a good God damn.  Truth be told, I just didn’t have anything else to talk about today, so this is what you were given.

One love,

10

The Weekend In Review

April 20, 2008

Ahhhh how I love spring time.  Birds are chirping, the sun is out, and it’s finally nice enough to open some windows and put away the winter clothes.  While I golf my fair share, I am looking to branch out this summer and take on another outdoor activity to stay active and try to get healthy again.  I really enjoy bikeriding, but decent bikes are so damn expensive, and the roommate whose bike I used to use moved out last year, so I’m shit out of luck in the mooching department.

I see a lot of people rollerblading, but it’s never really been my thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself athletic enough to pull it off, and I used to do it in high school, but my back tends to get sore from it.  On that note, one of the things that absolutely cracks me up is when I see someone rollerblading who isn’t really any good at it.  You know what it looks like, they are hunched over at a 45-degree angle and taking short, choppy steps instead of long, smooth strides.  Those boots have wheels for a reason people, use ’em!

Walking is good for you, but it’s just too boring for me.  Running, no thanks.  It’s good for the heart, but I’ve never been much of a distance running type, and anyone who knows me can personally vouch for that.  Also, in the way of losing weight, it’s a fairly well known fact that running doesn’t burn many more calories per hour than walking.

So maybe I’ll pony up and buy a bike, who knows?  Either that or I could walk when I go golfing instead of taking a cart … HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No.

Spinning off topic, this is another one of my favorite times of the year sports-wise.  The NBA playoffs are getting underway and there is no shortage of games on TV over the next 6 weeks.  Golf is in full swing (no pun intended) and even though we’re over a month away from the next major, there are plenty of good tournaments to hold us over until then.  The NFL draft is just around the corner.  It’s so close I can taste it.  It’s been an idea of mine since day one of this blog to do a running diary type thing during the draft, much like Bill Simmons does for major sporting events.  I’ve always enjoyed reading his, and I think I would have fun writing my own, so keep your eyes peeled for that next weekend and shortly thereafter.

Oh, I almost forgot.  Possibly the best part of the last week for me was inspired by you.  Yes, you.  After my post about my top ten favorite TV shows of all time, I got an overwhelming response that was absolutely shocked that I hadn’t seen Arrested Development. Well, I am always looking for my new television fix, so I went out to Best Buy and scooped up season one.  Four days later, I finished it.  One word can describe it: hi-freakin-larious.  I’ll probably end up buying the other seasons over the next month or so, and after I get completely caught up, I’ll write up a review and amend my list to reflect the addition of my new favorite comedy.

Second place in the running for highlights of the last week occurred last night.  My buddy Eric and I had a bartending gig for a sorority/fraternity formal and while it was fun in and of itself, the most interesting part of the night were the three separate fights we had to break up, two of which happened basically simultaneously.  Apparently a bunch of fraternity douchebags + alcohol + girls = a hostile environment.  I would say Eric and I rose to the occasion to do work, though.  He had a guy in a full nelson and was pulling him out the door while I was throwing people around and saying curse words at will.  It was an adrenaline rush for me, and after the first two happened, I told Eric that I wanted to do that again some time.  Well as fate would have it, the douche-baggery continued and not less than 45 minutes later, another fight broke out.

Aside from those little hiccups, the night went well and I enjoyed myself.  Even though I worked a butt load, I enjoyed my weekend.  I hope yours was good as well.

If you plan on calling me or contacting me in the near future, please ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does it involve golfing with me?
  2. Does it involve the NBA playoffs?
  3. Does it involve the NFL draft?
  4. Does it involve Arrested Development?

If none of these criteria are met, please think twice about contacting me in the next few weeks.  This is not to say I will totally disregard your attempt, but you can certainly score some points with me if one of the aforementioned topics is included.

One love,

10

Viewer’s Choice #5: Superheroes That Never Made It

April 18, 2008

I’m going to be really honest right now. This post is a good idea in theory, but was very difficult for me to write because I wanted it to be up to my standards, (yes, I have standards). I put a lot of thought into this in the past week, and I just hope it doesn’t bomb out. Frankly, by the time you’re reading this, I will have already felt a thousand times better because this post has been haunting me for a while now.

The background of this idea is pretty silly, but just remember, I’m still a young boy at heart. Me and my buddy Dale shoot pool a lot together, and he is constantly getting incredible luck when he plays. This is not to say he isn’t a good shot, but it’s more of a case of that whole “the harder I practice the luckier I get” bullcrap. So anyway, I started calling him ‘Golden Boy’ because of his occasional stints of complete untouchableness. Is “untouchableness” even a word? The red squiggly line came up when I typed it, but you know what, screw the red squiggly line.

Anyway, when I would call him ‘Golden Boy’ I would say it with a loud, deep voice as if I were introducing a superhero, and then I would say some kind of lame tag line like “Armed with the ability to get luckier than any human possible.” This idea must have intrigued him, because he then prompted me to come up with a list of fake superheroes that never quite made it into the inner circle of respected superheroes and have mediocre powers at best.

Well like I said, this was challenging for me because if I was going to undertake such a task (and I said I would write about anything for these viewer’s choice posts, so I had to) I wanted it to be at least somewhat good. So, that being said, if this ends up completely sucking, please don’t tell me because chances are, I’ll already know.

Well, without any further rambling, here we go …

Captain Obvious
The most famous of all the fake superheroes, Captain Obvious was blessed with the innate ability to say the things that everyone already knows. We’ve all assumed the role of the Cap’n at one time or another with classics like “It’s hot out” when it’s 103 degrees or “This ice cream is cold,” to which people usually reply, “Thank you, Captain Obvious.” Sadly, Captain Obvious had no calling among the world of the elite superheroes. As it turns out, they’re rather perceptive themselves and so they found him to be more of a dead weight issue than anything else. Plus, he kept following Wonder Woman around and exclaiming, “You have boobies!” and that got under everyone’s skin.

Super Long Tongue Man
A tragic tale, Super Long Tongue Man was attacked by a gila monster as a young child during a trip to the Grand Canyon. After a short while, he began to turn a tint of brownish, he grew a tongue that would put Gene Simmons to shame, and he acquired an insatiable craving for rabbits and other small game. Also, he was able to withstand very high temperatures and arid climates with a minimal amount of water. After being rejected numerous times from the Allegiance of Superheroes due to his inability to do anything cool, Super Long Tongue Man accepted his fate, changed his name to Omar, and took a job as an overnight cashier at the Tuscon Wal Mart.

Memory Boy
Everyone told Brenda not to do a mixture of crystal meth and Robitussin while she was pregnant, but she didn’t listen. The result? A boy was born with a superhuman ability to store, retain, and retrieve information in his brain. After getting straight A’s all through school, Memory Boy decided to drop out of college his freshman year to put his powers to work in society. The going was tough at first, and Memory Boy held a couple of part time jobs; one helping people study for the SAT test, and another in which he followed senior citizens to the grocery store to remind them of everything they needed to buy as well as assist them in finding their car after shopping. But MB’s proudest moment came when he applied to be a part of the Superheroes’ Union. After being vehemently denied and laughed out of town, Memory Boy found his comfort in a big bag of marijuana. Ironically, he became addicted and lost 97% of his mental capacity in the subsequent years. He now works at Starbucks on Bleecker Street in Manhattan, but rumor has it that he is close to getting fired since he can never remember which pot is decaf.

Super Sense of Smell Man
Born with a nose capable of covering Shea Stadium when it rains, Super Sense of Smell Man can smell what’s on a pizza from around the corner, tell you if your cooking needs salt, and identify who farted before anyone even has the chance to blame it on someone else. He was rejected from the Superheroes’ Union for “being too creepy.” In a recent interview, Cat Woman said she constantly caught him sniffing her dirty lingerie. Wonder Woman verified this claim, stating: “He’s lucky I don’t tell Iron Man about this, he wouldn’t stand for that shit. Iron Man knows how to treat a lady.” Despite this setback, Super Sense of Smell Man found his niche as a member of the bomb squad for the Miami Police Department. Sadly, when sniffing a suspicious package, he was killed in an explosion. As it turns out, the terrorist who planted the package filled it with pancakes and dirty underwear to throw off the scent of the explosives. No one attended his funeral.

The Incredible Sulk
The Incredible Hulk’s degenerate cousin was always living in his shadow. After a messy divorce, Gerald Phillips contracted a severe form of depression and was soon thereafter given the nickname “The Incredible Sulk.” After seven years of crying, moping, wallowing, and sleeping all day, he was rejuvenated at a weekend retreat to the Black Hills in South Dakota. He now claims to have a superhuman sense of caring and compassion, but really he’s just a giant douche. He implored Hulk to try to get him into the superhero world so he could act like somewhat of a counselor to the heroes. “Everyone has feelings,” he insists, “and if they had an effective outlet for their feelings, they can avoid ever being like I was.” The Incredible Sulk was recently found dead in his Utah studio apartment and the cause of death was determined to be an overdose on Prozac.

Science Boy
Born to a pair of Nobel prize-winning parents, Science Boy has a self-proclaimed superhuman thirst for knowledge. Not only could Science Boy power a light bulb using nothing but a potato and aluminum foil, but he could also mix baking soda and vinegar to make your homemade volcano a hit with all the local kids. After college, Science Boy sought out a life in the world of superheroes and truly believed he could make a difference. In true nerd fashion, he made a PowerPoint presentation for the Superhero Inductee Committee in which his tag line was: “If knowledge is power, then I am one of the most powerful people on the planet!” After being rejected, Science Boy continued in his search for knowledge, until one day he crossed the wrong man at the wrong time. Science Boy was approached by Captain Obvious, who simply said to him, “Science sucks.” An argument ensued and Science Boy was beaten to death by the Captain, who reportedly yelled “I’m beating the shit out of you right now!” the entire time.

Alright, that’s it. That’s all I got. I hope you liked it. I hope it doesn’t suck too bad. It’s Friday. I hope you all have a great weekend. To all of my Jewish viewers, happy Passover this weekend. To all of my non-Jewish viewers, the only reason I know it’s Passover this weekend is because my calendar says so.

The weekend weather outlook is quite favorable towards golf, so I can’t make any promises about writing anything new until at least Monday. In the meantime, get outside and enjoy yourself. I know I will, this is maybe my favorite time of the year.

One love,

10

$42.95 Can Buy You What?!

April 15, 2008

So at work, we constantly see packages being shipped from The Cheesecake Factory website, and the other day a co-worker and I were casually talking about it. He said he had tried it before, and it was bar none the best cheesecake he’d ever had in his entire life. Being a cheesecake lover myself, I went on the website today to check it out, ya know, see what’s poppin. Let me tell you, they have some delicious looking creations, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t immediately craving a little slice.

Well as it turns out, I will never be ordering from this website seeing as how one plain cheesecake costs $42.95 plus shipping. Yes, you read that correctly, $42.95.

What the hell are these people thinking? Did you know you can buy three pairs of jeans from Old Navy for that much? THREE PAIRS OF JEANS. You can be clothed for a year or bloated for a week, all for the same price … your choice I guess.

We had our end of the year pool league banquet last night, which was fun. The meal was catered, and delicious, but since the banquet was being held in a pool hall where smoking is permitted, my meal was pretty much ruined thanks to the beefy lady sitting behind me who didn’t seem to care that she was smoking while everyone else in the room was eating. Aside from the fact that I find smoking to be the most disgusting thing on the planet, I also find it incredibly rude when people can’t seem to differentiate between acceptable smoking times and non-acceptable smoking times.

Everyone that was sitting at her table was kind of mock coughing and waving their hands in front of their faces as if to hint to this walrus that she was being a huge whore. Alas, it was no help.

In light of all this, I began thinking, and for you smokers out there, I’m going to do you a solid. Here are is a brief list of places or times when you might want to think twice about lighting up (aside from the obvious ones).

  • When someone near you is eating.
  • In someone else’s car, unless you have permission.
  • In someone else’s home, unless you have permission.
  • Around children, especially ones that aren’t your own. It’s your own business if you want your own child to die at age 44 of second hand smoke lung cancer, but spare other peoples’ kids.
  • Immediately outside a doorway. You might think you’re being polite by stepping outside, but you’re doing no one any good if you stand 6 inches away from the door. Not only does everything get blown back inside when the door opens anyway, but when people who walk by you going in or out, they have to walk through the zone of death to get there. Which leads me to the next one …
  • Outside the hospital. Really? Really? You can’t wait until you leave? You can’t spare the sick and dying and their families? Seriously, if you need one that bad, go to your car. Every time I go to the hospital for any reason, there is always at least one jackass standing outside the door puffing away. Meanwhile some 90 year old man with an artificial heart is struggling just to walk through the revolving door … as if he doesn’t have enough problems in his life, now he’s gotta breathe in your poison.
  • Anywhere near where food is handled. And if you work with food and you smoke, do us all a favor and wash your hands before returning to work.

These are just a few that I could think of in a matter of a couple of minutes. Maybe I’m over the line on this one, but keep in mind that I am on the polar opposite end of the spectrum as smokers. If I had my way, smoking would be illegal.

I live on the Minnesota/North Dakota border, and Minnesota has recently put in place a smoking ban in all bars state wide, which is glorious. The only downfall is, in my location, the majority of the good drinking establishments are on the North Dakota side, so I can either be smoke free and bored or have fun and spend the night with a headache coughing up a lung. Nine out of ten times, I opt for boredom.

Hope everyone has a good Tuesday. Don’t forget, your taxes are due tonight at 11:59! If you haven’t filed yet, don’t fret. Here’s an article that tells you how to get an extra six months of breathing room to get your shit together and pay up.

One love,

10