Archive for September 2010

Book ‘Em

September 21, 2010

Something has happened to me recently.  I started reading again.  Equally shocking, I started liking reading again.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve enjoyed myself some quality time with a book, but it would appear that my disdain for reading (which likely arose due to the gross overexposure to a listless amount of yawn-inducing snoozers I endured in college) has lifted.

Apparently, the non-stop assault of abhorrently thick novels, biographies, and information-laden books which I was dealt in all of those history classes led to what I considered to be a bit of an aversion to reading.   Forcing yourself through a stack of History and Social Science-related books large enough to choke a Filipino donkey will do that to you.  Seriously, I may as well have been given an elephant tranquilizer instead of reading some of the crap I had to force upon myself.  Thankfully, all it took was time for me to get back on the proverbial horse. (This is me, fully aware that there are way too many wild animal references happening right now).

Over the past couple of months, I’ve read a few books, but nothing super fantastic.  I read a couple of books about pool (billiards is a hobby of mine) and a book about Zen, which I found quite interesting.  Currently, I’m completely hooked on “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Don’t laugh and call me a sissy, she’s a fantastic writer.  Plus, I’m comfortable enough with my own sexuality to read a book that some might consider to be a bit on the feminine side.  Regardless, I estimate I’ll be done with this book in a week or two if I keep my current pace (which is slow, but it’s all my schedule allows currently).  Then, I’ll be looking for more.

That’s where you all come in.  I’ve been trolling through Amazon recently and found a handful of books that I estimate would keep me busy for a while.  However, I stumbled on these books mostly by pure happenstance, and I am only assuming they’re worth it.  With that said, I figured I’d open up my ears to those of you who weren’t on a two year hiatus from any and all reading materials to ask the age old question …

Read any good books lately?

Before you hit me with your recommendations, I’d like to set a few ground rules, if I may.

1) No politics.  I don’t know politics, I don’t follow politics, and I don’t care about them.  Call me irresponsible for being 27 and taking no interest in politics, but I don’t care.  The realm of politics bores me, and everything is completely subjective within it.

2) No biographies (unless the person has been one hell of a human being).

3) I’m open to both fiction and nonfiction, just nothing TOO far out there.

4) If you even mumble the word Twilight, I will hurt you. The same goes for all other Tween crap.  No Harry Potter either, I’ve seen all the movies, and that’s good enough for me.  Speaking of which …

5) Tread carefully with books that were made into movies.  If I’ve seen the movie, my interest level for the corresponding book will plummet only due to the fact that I already know the ending.

Other than that, I’m open to just about anything.  The wish list I compiled on is a pretty random collection of works.  From “The Inner Game of Tennis,” which is all about the mental side of sports, to “The Divine Comedy,” a 900 page Italian masterpiece about Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory that was originally written in the 1300s.

To go along with all this new found pleasure reading I’m getting into, if anyone is looking for a slam dunk of a present for me this Christmas, you can find it in the form of a Kindle.  And when I say “Kindle” I do not mean “iPad.”  The Kindle is a fourth of the price, half the size, and does everything I’m looking for (download and display books, magazines, and newspapers).  If I had an iPad, I’d never bring it out of the house.  It’s too bulky to be portable in my humble opinion.  And since I’d never bring it out of the house, and I have a computer in the house, it stands to reason that I would have spent $500 on a paperweight.

Plus, Amazon nailed it with their most recent commercial:

At the very least, the girl repping the Kindle is way better looking than the people Apple has representing their products in all of their commercials.

One love,


27 Is The New Bitter

September 15, 2010

A couple of months ago, I turned 27.  To anyone younger than me, I am getting old.  To those older than me, I’m not even close to old.  I’ve always subscribed to the adage that you’re only as old as you feel.  I don’t feel like I’m getting old, however I am starting to notice a change in my thought process towards a few things.

As I approach 30, I am becoming very aware that some of the things I used to be exposed to, and hell, some things I used to participate in, are now the bane of my existence.  I’ll try to elaborate.

When I was in college, I found teenagers to be just plain annoying.  In a few different ways, I’d look at someone in high school and think, “Man, I hope I wasn’t a giant douche like that when I was in high school.” Chances are, I was.  But once I entered my 20s, I found that typical teenage behavior bothered me to no end.

Now that I’m removed from college, it’s no longer just the teens that annoy me, it’s college students too.  That’s when I knew I was getting old.  I find myself annoyed with people in their early 20s, and what’s more, I find myself acting like a pseudo-parent to teens (in my own head, not in an outward fashion).  For example, if I encounter a group of teens, and it’s a bunch of boys with their pants falling off their asses, their Hollister shirts two sizes too small, and their Hurley hats perched sideways atop their overgrown mess of a mop they call hair, I’m instantly annoyed.  In my head I’m saying, “Get a haircut, pull your pants up, put your hat on like it’s supposed to be worn, and wear clothes that fit.”

If it were a group of girls, chances are they’d all be wearing shorts that barely cover their ass cheeks, shirts that are way too low cut, and way too much makeup.  And meanwhile, all I can think is that I want to call their parents and ask if they know how their daughters are dressed in public (even though, ten years ago, that same scene would have caused me to follow them for an hour and shamelessly hit on them).  My how time changes things.

And I chalk it up to the fact that I am getting older.  Yet another example: If you offered me $100 per hour to listen to the top 40 station on the radio, I don’t think I could do it.  I cannot stand anything they play.  If I’m running through the dial, and I come across one of those stations, it seriously just sounds like noise to me.  Now I know how my Dad felt when he heard me listening to Ice Cube all those years.  I can’t turn it fast enough. I think I’d rather listen to a recording of a person swinging a bag full of cats against a brick wall for two hours.

Facebook is another one.  I have been a Facebook user since 2005, so I’ve been around long enough to remember the old school Facebook.  Now, I’ll admit that it is an excellent way to keep in touch with people, and communicate with others, but for me, it has lost 99% of its appeal.

I really attribute most of that to the fact that it became a zoo.  When it started, Facebook was only for people with a valid college e-mail address.  There were no games, there were no applications, no events, no causes.  Now I can’t even log in without having a half dozen invites to stupid events, requests to “Like” stuff that I don’t even like, and people wanting me to join groups for asinine causes.

Here’s the deal, folks.  I don’t want to join your group, I don’t want to water your fake flowers or feed your fake animals, I don’t want to “Like” what you “Like,” and if you have to invite me on Facebook, I am not coming to your event.  I don’t want to be a zombie, I don’t want to be in the mob, I don’t want to be a pirate, I don’t want to be  a farmer (let alone a super farmer).  You get the point.  Like I said, Facebook can be a wonderful tool for staying in touch with family and friends, and it can serve as a valuable resource for getting in touch with people you couldn’t otherwise find.  However, it’s just not doing it for me anymore.  I think the only reason I haven’t deleted my account is because that requires more work than just leaving it and letting the invites and friend requests pile up.

Another thing I have found that I can’t stand: fantasy sports.  This one has nothing to do with age, but I figure since I’m pissing and moaning about everything else, why not throw it in?  Since I know fantasy sports have a huge following, and no less than half of you reading this probably partake in them, allow me to explain my reasons.  Remember, this is only my opinion.

To me, fantasy sports are, among other things:

1) Incredibly boring and pointless.  It’s a group of men ranging in age from teenager to middle-aged who spend countless hours on the computer looking up stats, reading injury reports, revising their rosters, and subsequently sucking all the fun out of sports. Gosh, forgive me for not sprinting to the front of the line one that one.  People get so wrapped up in it, that they forget that sports are supposed to be for entertainment.  If you can’t enjoy watching sports without playing fantasy sports, you’re not a real fan, and that is the dead truth.  I, for example, don’t give two craps about any baseball team other than the Twins.  I don’t care how many times Paul Konerko has struck out with runners in scoring position.  I don’t care what Trevor Hoffman’s ERA is with the bases loaded.  I don’t want to know.  All I want to do is watch my team.  Everything else is completely inconsequential to me.

2)All based entirely on luck.  Seriously, you can say you’re the best fantasy football “player” in the world,  but if a handful of your players get hurt, or they are in a slump, or they are suspended six games for allegedly raping a girl in Tahoe, then you’re toast.  You could draft the freaking all-star team for your roster, but you have NO control over how they’ll play.  You’re just picking people and hoping. Conversely, you could throw darts at team pictures from across the room to choose your players and wind up winning it all.  There’s no skill involved.  It’s all based entirely on what other people do, and over that, you have no control as a fantasy player.

3) Just another way for us as Americans to turn everything into a competition.  Reality check:  sports are already competitions.  Now you want to compete over who can blindly predict a group of players who will have productive weeks and seasons?   If you want to try and predict sports outcomes, call your bookie and lay down some cash the old fashioned way.  Don’t pussyfoot around with this fantasy crap, gamble like a real man would.

4) There is nothing more annoying/boring than those people who talk non-stop about their fantasy team (as if I could even pretend to care).  “Well, I was thinking about benching Wes Welker for the week, but then I heard that TJ Houshmandzadeh’s dog had a sinus infection so I didn’t think he would be very effective.  Bottom line, all I need is for Matt Ryan to throw a couple of TD’s and for Stephen Jackson not to rush for more than 127 yards and/or two touchdowns and I’ll win by 0.114 points.” Seriously, please go swallow a knife, I hate you.  No one else cares either.  Not even people who play fantasy sports.  No one wants to hear about anyone’s team but their own, which is even more reason that fantasy sports are the devil.  Furthermore, the next time I hear someone complain that they have to root against their favorite team in order for their fantasy team to win that week, I might choke someone.  Another reality check:  Which is more important to you – your actual favorite team winning, or your pretend fantasy team (which isn’t even really a team outside of your mind) winning?  If you said your fantasy team, then you are not a fan of that actual team.

There, I feel better.

However, there’s a plus to being 27.  I found out that if there were a military draft, I am no longer eligible to be drafted.  So I have that going for me, which is nice.

One love,


Say Uncle, Say Uncle!

September 9, 2010

While I was away on my blog-less hiatus, something completely awesome happened.  I became an Uncle.  Wifey’s sister and her husband had their first child a couple of months ago, and luckily for Wifey and I, we were there visiting them when baby came.  That being said, it was then that I had my first real interactions with a baby.

I mean sure, I’ve “seen” babies, and I’ve “been exposed” to babies, and I am “aware of their existence” and all, but I’ve never been around a baby for an extended period of time.  I’m the oldest of two siblings, and no one in my immediate family has had a baby in a good 13-14 years, so this all came very new to me.  I’ll say this: it’s a funny feeling when you’re holding another human in your arms and simultaneously wondering how long it will be before they pee/poop/vomit on you.  Not that I would have cared, because that’s what Uncles are for.  But one thing kept running through my mind over and over again …  “There is a very real chance that this person will poop on me while I hold her.” It’s a precarious thought to have.

After baby was born, I was only able to stay around for a couple of days before I had to come home and go back to work, but Wifey’s sister and her husband recently came to visit for a couple of weeks, and as fate would have it, they brought the baby with them.  Turns out they didn’t feel comfortable leaving her 2,000 miles away by herself for two weeks.  They called it “good parenting” I guess.

Anyway, since baby was here for two solid weeks, I encountered a lot of firsts.  Prior to their visit, I had never really held a baby for longer than a few minutes.  After I did, I had a new respect for parents.

Everyone always says, “Hold a baby like you would hold a football.”  Bullsh*t.  It’s nothing like that.  Footballs don’t move or fart, or need their neck and head supported constantly.  Footballs require slightly less attention than a 9 week old child who is trying to kick her way out of your grasp while simultaneously sticking her fingers up your nose and crying because you dropped her pacifier.  And besides, if holding a child was like holding a football, Adrian Peterson would NOT be allowed to have a child of his own, (which he does).

Before feeding my niece, I had never fed a baby before either.  There’s a subtle art to it.  As there is to burping.  Both have a lot of ins and outs, but the burping department was where I fell well short of my goal.  I imagined it would be easy, but when I was chartered to burp the baby after lunch, I held her gently, and softly patted her back.  And nothing came out.

It was like I was afraid I was going to break her.  I honestly acted like I was trying to burp a $2 million crystal vase.  Wifey watched as I droned on with my pitiful attempts at burping the baby, until finally grabbing her from me.  As she held her on her lap, she propped her head up, delivered a few precisely directed pats, and evoked what will go down as one of the greatest burps I’ve ever heard come out of something that small. Lesson learned.

And I am going on record to say that changing a diaper can either be the easiest or the most difficult thing in the world.  It’s all up to the kid.  I changed baby’s diaper a handful of times while she was here, and a couple of times it was a breeze.  She laid still, didn’t fuss, and the whole process took a couple of minutes from start to finish.  However, there were a few times when my work was met with resistance.

I’m fairly certain she was doing it just to give me a hard time, too.  Occasionally she would lock her legs straight out, making it nearly impossible to get a diaper on or off.  She also had a knack for peeing in the midst of a diaper change, thus resulting in the need for yet another diaper, as the clean one I had put on her 10 seconds prior became instantly sullied.  The whole time, she had this look on her face as if to say, “What?  Seriously, what are you going to do about it?  I’m going to wait for you to take this wet diaper off of me, and then as soon as the new one is on, I’m going to unleash on that, and you’re going to love me regardless.”  It’s true, I do.

How could I not love a face like this?

In addition to being Uncle Mike, I was also appointed another very important position.  I’ll give you a hint.

Okay, that pretty much gives it away.  Wifey and I were honored to be chosen as Godparents, and I had fun telling the baby to “Never go against the family” in my mobster voice when no one else was around.

All told, it was a very fun experience to be around the baby for two weeks.  I got a glimpse into what life is like for new parents, and from the outside looking in, it looks like it can be tough at times, but rewarding always.  It’s tough for me to make a fair assessment though, since I was basically on a regimen of 100% fun, and 0% work and responsibility.  Hey, that’s what Uncles are for.

One love,


What? I’ve Been Busy

September 2, 2010

Really, I have been busy this summer.  “Doing what?” you ask?  Interesting question.  I have no idea.  It’s tough to explain, but I’ll try.  I at least owe you all that much.

So the last time I wrote was well over two months ago, just before I left for vacation with Wifey.  Beginning that week, and over the next four to six weeks, I was in all of the following places at some point in time, for some reason or another:

-Minneapolis, MN (four times)
-Spokane, WA (twice)
-Wenatchee, WA
-Leavenworth, WA
-Salt Lake City, UT
-Bemidji, MN (twice)
-Fargo, ND

See, I was really doing stuff for a while.  Did you really have visions of me camped out on the couch with a bag of Chili Cheese Fritos all summer?

Since my travels have ended, I have been working steady, and therein lies my problem.  My work schedule is not exactly conducive to allowing one’s productivity to be at its highest.  Allow myself to explain … myself.  Here’s a glimpse into an average day for me:

-I get up by around 9:30 (I know this is a late start by comparison, but more on that in a minute).

-I spend most of the morning/early afternoon doing all the random, mindless tasks that need to get done, but are barely worth mentioning.   By the end of the day, I look back and wonder what the hell I did the entire time.  Then I realize I didn’t do anything Earth-shattering, just a collection of 10-15 things that each take 5-15 minutes to do.  Before I know it, I blink and it’s 12:30.

-Around 12:30 I start my pre-work routine.  I eat some lunch, and put together a meal for my dinner that I will eat at work.  By 1:00 it’s time for me to shower and get dressed.  At 1:30 I’m out the door and on the way to work.

-I work until roughly 10:30 most nights, and I’m usually home by 10:45 or so.  When I get home, I kiss Wifey good night, as she is usually in bed when I arrive, then I do one of two things.  I either get cleaned up and go straight to bed, or I sit on my ass staring at either the TV or the computer for a couple of hours.  If I go straight to bed, it is inevitable that I will toss and turn, and sniffle and squirm for close to two hours.  It never fails.  It’s partially because I just got home from work 20 minutes ago and I haven’t had a chance to wind down, and it’s partially because for as long as I can remember, I’ve had what I like to refer to as low grade insomnia.  If I decide to try and wind down a little before hitting the sack, I usually try to do things that make my eyes tired.  Like I mentioned before, TV helps, as does the computer. Whatever I’m doing, I try to keep myself very lowly stimulated so I can try to get tired.  If I go on the computer, I’ll read newspaper articles, look at houses for sale, look at random things on eBay, yadda yadda yadda.  The whole idea is to make my eyes tired without keeping my brain too active.  When I write, I’m wide awake.

-I’m asleep by midnight on a good day, 1:30 on an average day.  Thus the reason I tend to sleep until 9:30.  The next morning, I wake up and do it all over again. So by starting my day at 9:30, and having to fall into my work routine by about 12:30, I am only allowed three hours per day to get everything done that I need to do.  Like I said, it’s usually nothing important.  Laundry, errands, chores around the house, feeding myself.  Mundane stuff.

In this sad, pathetic excuse for a schedule, I see Wifey a grand total of about 10 minutes a day.  We live in the same house and sleep in the same bed, and I feel lucky if I get more than 10 minutes of face time with her during the week.  I work different hours on Saturdays, (hours that are even worse than my 2-10:30 schedule. Basically, I’m unavailable from 4:15 am to 9:00 pm.  If you need anything from me between those hours, too bad, it has to wait).

So, taking into consideration that Wifey works a much more normal schedule, when it’s all said and done, the only day we have to spend together is Sunday.  We get up early together, and try to take advantage as much as possible.  We generally spend the entire day together, but the trouble is that since Sunday is a prime day for me, it’s also the day everyone else wants to see me.  My mom wants to see me, my dad wants me to come over, my grandma is cooking dinner and wants me to stop by, Wifey’s grandparents want to see us, we have errands to run … It gets exhausting trying to fit everyone and everything in. Especially when some days, all I want to do is put on pajama bottoms and an old t-shirt, and sit on a comfy chair watching the entire Back to the Future trilogy with my better half.

Not that I don’t enjoy seeing and spending time with family, it’s just difficult trying to cram it all into one day like I do.  Not to mention, this creates even less time that I have alone with Wifey.  All told, we probably spend about 12 hours a week together.  Sad huh?

All the little things you 9-to-5’ers take for granted are all the things I’d kill for.  I want to take my wife to dinner.  I want to go to the movies.  I want to sit at and watch the game on TV.  I want to see my family. I want to meet up with the guys for a beer and a game of pool.  I want to spend time with my friends.  Most of all, I want to spend time with my wife.

So, I’m sorry that I haven’t written anything since mid June.  I really wish I had more time for it.  I’ve had no less than a dozen posts that have practically written themselves in my head since the last time I posted, but when it comes down to making a decision between sitting on my computer and spending time with my wife, the computer is going to lose every single time.

For a while, I received a lot of text messages, Facebook messages, emails, phone calls, and even had a couple face-to-face encounters regarding my writing “habits.”  Mostly, it was people wondering when I was going to write again and why I hadn’t been writing at all.  Occasionally, it was a threat of physical harm, usually accompanied by an ultimatum; “Write something soon, or I am going to punch you in the face.”  That stuff is flattering.  So thank you all for continuing to read my stuff for the past two and a half years. I’m in a phase in life in which a lot of things are happening and changing, and it’s fun to be able to share it with my friends and family, and the random lurkers and creepers who leave anonymous comments, somehow find me on Facebook, and try to add me as a friend.  (You know who you are, don’t think I’ve forgotten).

I’m going to leave you with something I’ve said plenty of times before, and although it doesn’t necessarily guarantee results, I’ve meant it every time.  I really am going to try to find more time to write more often.  There are way too many things going on in this world that I have missed lately because of my time away from this blog.  For crying out loud, Lindsay Lohan got sentenced to jail time and I didn’t even get to publicly make fun of her for it.  That’s just not cool.

Anyway, come back occasionally to check on me.  Don’t come back everyday and then text me because I’m slacking, I know when I’m slacking.  My own wife tells me when I’m slacking.  Yeah, she’s on your side on this one.  She wishes I would write more, too.

Check in once a week or so, and if I really start slipping, feel free to call me out on it.  You at least owe me that much.

One love,