Archive for July 2009

Highs And Lows

July 27, 2009

I’ve had a lot going on in the past week, so I’ve got a lot to cover.  I’ve got a few high notes, and a couple things I’d like to gripe about, so I’m not going to bore you with any fluff today.  I’m getting right into it.

— Last Monday, I was in a golf tournament with Jess’ dad and his two friends.  Their fourth team member bailed and I was a last minute addition.  Aside from having a great time, we managed to card a 10-under 62 to win the tournament and I have a shiny new trophy in my living room to show for it.  The highlight of the day for me was driving the green on a 315 yard par 4 and sinking the 12 foot putt for an eagle.  That kinda stuff doesn’t happen everyday for a guy, and if Hammen is going to tell us about his eagles and aces, damn it, I am too.  All-in-all I played pretty well throughout the day minus four or five holes during which I couldn’t distinguish the difference between my ass and a hole in the ground, so I was pleased with that as well.

— Wednesday I made my fourth trip to Minneapolis in 6 weeks for the John Legend concert, for which Jess bought us front row tickets for my birthday.  The seats were fantastic, and by that I mean if John Legend had sneezed, we would have felt the mist.  I consider that to be a positive thing.  The show was incredible, as I expected it would be, and I now have a firm understanding of why Jess has seen him in concert three times.  I’ll go again if he comes back to the area fo’ sho’.

— When I got back to town on Thursday, I spent the rest of the week working.  Between my vacation a few weeks ago, the week I spent in Minneapolis for training (which is barely considered work at all), and the two days I had off for the concert, I  haven’t exactly been working my ass off lately, so it was tough getting back into the swing of things.  I like my job, don’t get me wrong, but I’d be a liar to say that I prefer it over sitting around all day, playing golf, and taking frequent cat naps.

— Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday, (and for those of you without a calendar, it was my golden birthday, so I expect gifts from all of you).  There’s something about turning 26, and I haven’t put my finger on it yet, but think it’s that I am suddenly very aware that I am closing in on being 30 years old.  I’m not ready to be 30 years old.  Hell, some would argue that I’m not ready to be 20 years old according to the way I act and think sometimes.  Nevertheless, I’m growing up.  I spent most of the day with my family, pretty low key stuff, and I rounded out the night hanging out with Jess and her fam, which was a blast.  This is the polar opposite of the way I spent my birthday a few years ago.  There was a lot more family and a lot less throwing up in my food at the restaurant after the bar, so that was nice.

Now that I’ve covered the pleasantries from the past week, onto the things that are currently grinding my gears.

— I’ve resisted the urge to write about Brett Favre for this long, but I can’t take it any longer.  Being from Minnesota, all I have heard about lately is the possibility of him coming to play for the Vikings.  (Reminder for those who forgot, I am NOT a Vikings fan).  For what seems like months, Favre has toyed with the idea of un-retiring and possibly suiting up for the Vikes.  Aside from the fact that I don’t think he’ll be very good, I am sick and tired of him being a douche about it.  He keeps saying, through his agent of course, that he’ll have a decision by such a date, and then on that day, he says – once again, through his agent – that he’s hopelessly torn and indecisive about making a return to pro football.

Listen up, Brett.  Either you want to play football next year, or you don’t. The fact that this decision wasn’t made eight weeks ago tells me that you probably don’t and you’re just having a hard time grasping the fact that you’re going to be 40 years old this fall and you literally have nothing to do for the next 40 years of your life.  Last week was supposed to be it, the last thoughts would be considered and you were going to have a decision by Thursday.  Then on Thursday you said you needed until the 30th.  Put us out of our misery for the love of God.  Just stay retired because frankly, I don’t think I can handle much more of you.  I was always impartial about you during your career.  I didn’t like or dislike you, but I respected your ability.  Now, you are tainting everything people were going to remember you for by dragging your feet in this decision.  You need to let sleeping dogs lie, Brett.  Sure, I can understand it’s going to be hard to walk away from the game you’ve spent your life with, the game you love.  But what’s the alternative?  Playing mediocre-at-best football in a city that once hated everything about you?  And besides that, who the hell are you going to throw to?  Bernard Berrian?  He has openly declared that he wants you to “shit or get off the pot.”  Yeah, he’s already sick of your shit, Brett.  Do you really think you’re going to be satisfied throwing 16 touchdowns and 24 interceptions this season and possibly re-injuring your shoulder?  You’re old, Brett, and your body just doesn’t heal the way it used to.  And since you probably don’t want to battle another addiction to pain medication, you may want to seriously consider just taking a step back.  Do it for all of us, Brett.

— And then we come to the Erin Andrews debacle.  I have been sitting on this post for over a week now, and I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  I’m torn about the whole thing, really.  Let me preface this rant by pointing out that I have professed my love for Ms. Andrews on this very blog no less than a dozen times over the course of the past year and a half.  Those of you who have been reading for a while know that Erin is my number one celeb crush, so when I heard that there was a video floating around the internet in which she was naked, my first instinct was to hit Google and find it, pronto.  I didn’t know of the circumstances surrounding the video yet, and frankly, even if I had been told about them, the only words I would have deciphered would have been “Erin Andrews” and “naked.”  I searched high and low, but alas, found nothing.  I went on a tirade of texting and Hammen and I discussed it at length.  We talked about how you can’t even open an internet window without being offered a free download of the Paris Hilton video.  I thought about how we’re living in a country in which if you typed “Lindsay Lohan” into the Google Image search, you can undoubtedly see pictures of her boobs and vagina that were taken by various paparazzi while she was probably on her way to rehab for the third time.  A country in which Pam and Tommy Lee can make a sex tape on their honeymoon, have it stolen from their home, and it can be sold in stores.  With all that in mind, I was flabbergasted that footage of a nude Erin Andrews was completely pulled off the internet within hours of it leaking.  So, needless to say, I was bummed.  Until I heard that the video in question was taken via disgusting, perverse means.  Then, I was slightly upset.  Now, I am really hoping that the person responsible for that tape is found and prosecuted.  There is a world of difference between a person consenting to being taped during sex and a person whose hotel room was unknowingly bugged with hidden cameras, and I’m actually glad ESPN’s team of lawyers acted as quickly and efficient as they did to get this tape and all of its remnants pulled off the internet.  I was appalled that the New York Post printed pictures from the video on the front cover of their paper, even though they were censored.  That’s just tasteless.  Like I said, I can only hope that the person(s) responsible for this are punished because this  was a truly sick display of someone’s desperation to make themselves a buck at the expense of someone else’s privacy.

I planned to tackle the Michael Vick situation in this post, but it got a little longer than I expected (that’s what she said) so I think I’ll wait until next time.  Until then, I’ll be awaiting your belated birthday gifts.

One love,

10

The Road To Frustration

July 21, 2009

Well I’m back from hiatus after another full week of not blogging.  I spent last week in Minneapolis for work and to be quite honest, my days went by so fast I hardly remember it.  I had training from 8:30 to 4:30 or so everyday, and by the time I got back to the hotel, showered, and went out for dinner, it was almost time for bed.  The training was pretty much as useless as I expected it to be, but like I said before, I’m not complaining.  I basically had a week off from work and all I had to do was go through the motions at training, and once I finished up I was able to almost completely dismiss everything I learned.

But it’s not the training week I’m going to write about, but rather the precursor to it.

My week got off to a hell of a rocky start last Sunday when I was driving.  Before we get into details, it’s worth mentioning that the drive is always a personal challenge for me.  It’s 325 miles from Grand Forks to Minneapolis and it gets pretty boring, especially driving alone, so my aim is to be in the car for as little time as possible.  When I left, I did everything I was taught to do as a kid before a road trip.  I checked my suitcase to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, I packed a snack for the road, and I went to the little boys’ room to go potty.  I was gunning for a record time on this trip and I didn’t want anything to hamper my pursuit of the perfect road trip.  My target time from my parking lot to the hotel parking lot was four hours and40 minutes, aggressive, but not unattainable.

Chasing the perfect road trip means a lot of things have to go right.  I didn’t think traffic would be bad since I was leaving in the morning, I wouldn’t have to stop and eat, and I was only planning on one stop to get gas and use the bathroom.  Nothing could stop me.  Well, almost nothing.

Turns out, I was taking my victory lap a little too early.  About two hours into my trip I got word that traffic was at a dead stop about 20 miles north of Minneapolis.  At first I didn’t know what had happened, but I heard that I-94 was a parking lot and people were being rerouted slowly but surely because of an accident.

At the time I was first hearing of this stuff, I was still almost two hours away from where the backup was, so I didn’t pay it much mind.  I was getting updates from my buddy Tanner, who was also on the road at the time and was roughly 40 miles ahead of me, and I decided to play it by ear.  I didn’t want to get all worked up about something I figured wouldn’t even be there by the time I got there, so I pressed on.

After another hour, the news was still the same.  Now I was getting irritated.  This traffic mess was on the verge of impeding my quest for road trip perfection.  As I grew closer to the debacle, I called Jess and asked her to hit Google Maps for me and start looking at alternate routes.  Since I was going to stop in Clearwater, that was where I got off the interstate.  For those who aren’t familiar with the area, instead of driving in a straight line on I-94 right to my hotel, I was going to have to make a giant horseshoe-shaped detour just to avoid the impending doom ahead of me.

So I exit, fill up with gas, use the boys’ room, and start my trek.  Once I get onto the first part of the detour I encounter the thing I dreaded seeing, but figured was coming: gridlock.  I spent the next 45 minutes driving 10-20 mph – when I wasn’t at a dead stop – until I finally got back on the interstate.  Turns out I wasn’t the only person driving to Minneapolis that day, because there were only cars as far as the eyes could see in both directions.

It was a good thing I didn’t have any strict time constraints because my target time got destroyed.  Instead of getting there in less than five hours, I was on the road for almost seven.  When I got to the hotel, I was exhausted.  Turns out sitting on my ass for seven hours was akin to running half a marathon.  Who knew?

As it turns out, the reason the entire interstate was closed for a stretch of five or six miles was due to an elderly couple (who I affectionately referred to as “those old fuckers”) who missed their exit near Albertville, MN, and instead of driving one more mile down the road and taking the next exit, they slammed on the brakes in an effort to make an illegal u-turn.  This caused a tanker truck driver to slam on his brakes, jackknife, and subsequently roll over, spilling 8,000 gallons of fuel onto the interstate.  Well done, old fuckers.

Incredibly and thankfully, no one was seriously hurt, but according to the Monday night news, approximately ten thousand drivers were affected by the accident on Sunday. The busiest interstate in Minnesota was closed for nearly nine hours while the spill was cleaned up.  There were dozens of stories of people who missed flights home or weren’t able to pick up their kids from daycare, or the romantic tale of a wife who wasn’t able to visit her husband on their 25th anniversary because the visiting hours at the jail were over by the time she got there.  No, I’m not making that up.

In any case, that was without question the most interesting thing that happened to me last week, and all because a couple of senior citizens missed their exit to the outlet stores in Albertville and just couldn’t wait one more minute to buy knee socks and bingo dabbers at reduced prices.

Moving onto more pleasant thoughts, I go back to work today, and that’s followed by two days off Wednesday and Thursday for me to head back to … wait for it … Minneapolis, for the John Legend concert.  Jess scored us front row tickets for my birthday (which is Sunday; send gifts) so big ups to her for that.  I’ll report back later in the week because I’ve got a couple things stuck in my craw that I imagine I’ll need to vent about before I snap and swing a cat by its tail into a brick wall.

One love,

10

On The Road Again

July 9, 2009

I consider myself one of the lucky ones when it comes to work.  I am in the minority of people who actually like going to work and like what they do.  My job is one that is constantly changing, which is good since I am pretty sure I have the attention span of a four year old with ADHD.

In any case, my job requires me to go through what seems like endless amounts of training for new things as they come up.  Case in point, I leave Sunday for Minneapolis for a week of training on a work-related computer program that I’ll almost certainly never have to use in the depth that the training will cover.  Hey, no argument here.  If they want to pay me to drive there, pay for my hotel, pay for all my meals, pay me to sit in a classroom and daydream up a plot to get Erin Andrews to marry me, and pay me to drive back, then I am down.  I am totally down.  Mark me down.

Erin AndrewsDon’t you worry, Erin.  I’m brewing up a plan to get us together.

With the coming week included, I will have spent almost as much time out of town as I have in town over the past two months.  After being gone all next week, I’ll be back to town for a couple days and then I’ll turn right back around and head back to Minneapolis on the 22nd for the John Legend concert, for which I will be front row.  Also in the works is a trip westward with Eric, B-Weezy, and Cristin for a golf weekend extravaganza.  The dates aren’t set for sure on that one, but we’re shooing for the first week of August.

What does all of this mean?  Well, it means that for the first time in years, I’ve had a summer that hasn’t been riddled with work, and I’ve actually been able to enjoy it.  I’m the first to admit that I never used to get out as much as I’d liked because I was always stuck working at the dead-end jobs I kept.  Now that I’ve got a job that gives me a set schedule, a decent wage, and of course, paid vacation, I find myself eager to take advantage of opportunities to actually do something other than finding different ways to beat Super Mario World.

I haven’t had the best track record with wireless internet at the last couple hotels I’ve been to, but I’ll be bringing my laptop in hopes that I can bang out a post or two while I’m in Minneapolis next week.  Until then, I bid you a good weekend, and if you see Erin Andrews, please tell her I’m looking for her.

One love,

10

The Week Of Mike

July 6, 2009

Welcome back people.  Since it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I took the week off, I should at least justify it for the six or seven people who still actually read this.  I was on a wonderful thing called paid vacation last week, so I decided I should take advantage. I declared it The Week of Mike, and I set out to make sure it was a good one.

Sunday morning, Jess and I headed down to the twin cities for a few days.  The purpose of this trip was strictly to … well, actually, there was no purpose.  We just wanted to get out of town, we both like the Minneapolis – St. Paul area, and neither of us had anything else going on.  So it was a fit.  We stayed in a nice hotel in downtown St. Paul, hung out with a few friends, and just relaxed for four glorious days.  Jess made some amazing friends in her years of living in the twin cities, so it was fun to get together with them and shoot the breeze over some food and drinks in various places.

I always like going to new places when I’m down there, but I have always seemed to stay in Minneapolis in recent visits.  This time around, it was a “discover St. Paul” kind of trip, and I liked it.  We found a great place for sushi, which I only recently discovered that I love, had some drinks at a swanky tequila bar, saw a horrendous attempt at a Michael Jackson tribute in a park (more on that in a minute), and discovered a total dive bar with fantastic burgers.  Good times. If I could find a way to live in the twin cities without all that pesky driving, I’d do it.  I just hate driving down there.  More than likely it stems from my growing up driving in a city of 50,000 people, but everyone is in way too much of a damn hurry and I can’t stand it.

So, the MJ tribute story.  As we’re walking to meet a friend, we see something strange in the park.  Is it?  Could it be?  Why yes, it is indeed a black man dressed in full Michael Jackson garb, with his face painted white, doing dance routines to MJ’s hits.  We stop to investigate, and it’s a guy in his mid-20s dancing around like a fool, lip syncing, and choreographing the two 12 year olds he had with him, who, for some reason, were wearing Halloween masks of monsters.  Sure, the masks were definitely relevant during their rendition of “Thriller,” but how does it apply when they’re doing “The Way You Make Me Feel?”  The best part was that instead of maybe making a mix CD and bringing a stereo, homie brought his computer and hooked it up to some speakers.  And when I say “his computer,” I don’t mean he brought a laptop.  Nope, that would be too easy.  Instead, he brought his full desktop setup, ran extension cords all over hell and back, and kept having to go back and forth between Dj’ing and making a mockery of all of the hits from the King of Pop.  Good for you, sir.

When I got back to town on Wednesday, I had one thing on my mind: golf.  I spent a few days hanging out with the boys, playing multiple rounds of golf in the beautiful weather, and continuing my week of absolutely ZERO stress.  I mean it, the biggest decision I made all week was whether I should get four chili cheese burritos from Taco Bell or five.  I think you know which I chose.

The weekend came together quite hastily, but worked out better than I could have expected.  As of Thursday, I had absolutely no plans whatsoever, but by Friday afternoon I was booked solid.  Saturday morning, I was up with the sunrise and I hit the road with B-Weezy and our buddy Jon for an all-day, out of town, golf extravaganza.  We started out at Oak Knoll in Red Lake Falls.  It’s a cleverly-placed nine hole course that was surprisingly nice.  It was in good shape, well maintained, and a challenging layout.  It’s always nice to branch out and golf in different places, and I’m lucky enough to live in an area with a good amount of small towns who maintain decent courses.

After our 18 at Oak Knoll, we hit the road for Bemidji to play at Castle Highlands.  We met up with our friend Lon for this round, which was good because we were exhausted and he rejuvenated us with new life.  He’s possibly one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, so we all had a blast on the course.  It made being in the sun for seven hours that day completely worthwhile.

After my day of golf with the boys, I met up with Jess and spent the rest of the weekend at her aunt and uncle’s lake cabin on Cass Lake.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  The weather couldn’t have been better, we spent all afternoon Sunday hanging out on the lake with Jess’ cousins, and it was just an overall relaxing weekend.  I really couldn’t have asked for anything more.   I’ve never met a more hospitable family than the one I spent the weekend with.  It was like staying in a bed & breakfast, only better.

The only negative thing that came out of all of this was the regret that I can’t live my entire life like I did the past nine days.  It’s too bad I’ve gotta wrap myself up with this thing people call “work.”  Oh well, I’ve got another week of vacation coming up in a few months. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

One love,

10