Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Confessions: Hooters...

Okay, I’ve got to be honest here. This is a secret I’ve long hidden. It’s something that I’ve been quasi-ashamed to admit, because of the stigma that surrounds any guy who admits this, but here goes…

…Hooters sucks.

That’s right, I hate Hooters. Their food blows. Their service—although aesthetically pleasing—tends to be very subpar. Their prices are ridiculous. I mean seriously, for that much cash I’d be better off going to a strip club to get the real deal.

Now I realize that this may seem like blasphemy to anyone who has ever been to a Hooters with me. This is because I’ve been witnessed eating the lion’s share of a 100 wing platter, hitting on ditzy waitresses and even purchasing one of their t-shirts.

Now I realize all of these actions are tantamount to a Hooters-fan, but I’ve been living a lie and it’s time I came clean.

Sure I enjoy boobs. I also enjoy lovely young women in spandex short-shorts. I enjoy a fun environment.

The problem is I also enjoy good food. I also enjoy competent service. I also enjoy paying reasonable prices for my food.

That’s why I love Buffalo Wild Wings.

That’s right, not only do I not like Hooters…I don’t even rank it the top place to acquire the glorious amalgamation of wings, beers and sports. In my nearly twenty-five years on this planet I have had one—count ‘em one—bad experience at a B-Dubbs and I’ve had one—count ‘em one—GOOD experience at a Hooters.

Wow. I feel so much better. It’s like a weight has been lifted. I’m glad that I no longer have to live a lie. Now, I hope others will follow my lead…to any dude (or dudette) out there who thinks Hooters sucks donkey balls—hook me up with a hallelujah—you’re among friends!!

Paleontology 101: Slap Bracelets

As far back as I can remember there has always been some sort of “wrist-fad.”

Lance Armstrong brought the LiveStrong craze upon us like a plague. Nerds brought those crazy calculator watch-things. And a slew of old ladies besieged a generation of young women with the albatross that is the charm bracelet.

All of these ‘flavor of the month’ wrist-fads pale in comparison to the shockwave that slap bracelets sent through the world in the early ‘90s. I remember how excited I was when I got my first one. It seemed like everyone in my class already had two or three and I was still without a single one of these marvels of modern fashion, when my grandma showed up one Sunday afternoon baring gifts.

To my older brother she gave a VHS-cassette tape featuring the Ultimate Warrior in all his face-painted, feathered-hair glory. To my younger brother she gave a package with three new Hot Wheels race cars. Then, she turned to me and handed me my first slap bracelet!! Unfortunately, my moment of glee was somewhat thwarted by the fact that my grandma had picked out—just for me—a neon-pink slap bracelet.

Now, I realize that dudes can wear pink nowadays and it’s all hunky-dory, but in northwest Iowa, in the early ‘90s…the last thing you wanted to be sporting was a pink bracelet. A fact I discovered in very short order the very next day on the bus in what would become my first near-death experience. Okay, perhaps that’s a little drastic, but whatevs…it’s my blog.

Anywho, so I hopped on the bus, all-kinds of stoked about finally getting a slap bracelet, despite its fairly chickish hue. I figured the fact that it was “neon” pink and not “please beat the crap out of me” pink would bode well for me. Not so much. I had no more than settled into my seat on the bus and waved to Mama through the window when one of the junior high kids sat down next to me. Three or four others gathered up around my seat and I knew that I was in for some serious shit.

I could draw this out and make a big spiel about how it went down, but I’m already 350-plus words into this thing so I’ll make it short and sweet. The d-bag who sat down next to me promptly started picking on me about my pink bracelet. Being the mouthy ‘lil punk that I was (am?!); I cleverly retorted that it was, in fact, NEON pink and he should shut up and leave me alone. Needless to say he was not receptive to this suggestion and decided he’d rather rip it off my wrist, tear off the pink fabric and then—while one of the other assholes was holding my arm—smack me with the sumbitch about a hundred thousand times.

For those of you who don’t remember; slap bracelets got banned in a ton of schools after they found out people were getting sliced open by the metal strip inside. Apparently the brain-trust who created these things didn’t have the foresight to think that the cloth could ever break or be removed. Honestly, I can’t even imagine the pitch meeting for these things.

BOSS: “So Fred, rumor has it you’ve cooked up a new idea, huh?!”
FRED: “Yes, sir. It’s a slap bracelet.”
BOSS: “A slap bracelet you say?!”
FRED: “Yes…you take a piece of sharp metal, cover it with some thin, bright-colored fabric and you thwack it on your wrist so that it curls around!”
BOSS: “You slap yourself with a piece of metal?!”
FRED: “Exactly!!”
BOSS: “And the metal is sharp?!”
FRED: “Yes...but it’s covered by this thin, cheap piece of fabric!”
BOSS: “GENIUS!! Let’s start producing these things immediately!!”

Anywho, as you can probably guess by this rambling mid-story interlude…I got cut open. I bled quite a bit. In my defense, I didn’t cry…mostly because I’m a robot who rarely cries…but also because I wanted to show that prick I wasn’t going to take his shit. It seemingly worked as he and the rest of his future-parole-seeking friends wandered back to their seats blatantly disappointed they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to make a child cry.

By the time I showed up at school, my wrist had pretty much stopped bleeding so I went to the restroom, cleaned myself up and went about my day with my sweet-ass METAL slap bracelet. Tons of people thought it was bad-ass and I sure as hell wasn’t going to argue with them…or tell them that it was actually a deadly weapon that had lead to my near-death (come on…I was like eight-years old).

It wasn’t long after that that the crackdown on slap bracelets began and/or like most early-to-mid ‘90s fashions the slap bracelets just disappeared from hipness when people like me started to wear them, who knows?! All I remember is that I had one for like a month before no one was interested in them anymore.

The slap bracelet did make a mini-comeback in the early 2000s, but not to nearly the same mass appeal. Although to ensure I’ll never be the last guy to jump on that trend again; I’ve got two ‘second-era’ slap bracelets (zebra print and leopard print) sitting at my house in Iowa, just waiting for a third revival of the slap bracelet craze!!

It’s gotta happen, right?!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Friday Morning

I’m not exactly a morning person.

I’m not saying that I can’t be quite energetic and very personable in the A.M. What I am saying is that I have a tendency to be a little slow in the “waking up” and “being productive” departments.

So I was quite shocked when I jumped out of bed Friday morning full of piss and vinegar. Okay…really it was just one of them…and after I peed, none of them. However, I was all kinds of amped to start my day. I was ready to barrel out of the apartment full throttle and be a real rockstar at work.

Instead I got hit by a car.

Well, not hit so much as bumped, but either way it was very unpleasant. Let me paint the scene for all ya’ll.

I’ve left the apartment by roughly 8:30; I’m totally going to be on time and productive. I’m walking down the street on a gorgeous morning with the sounds of Miley Cyrus Motley Crue blasting in my iPod. I see a little old lady sitting with the front of her car nudged into traffic waiting to pull out and a car behind her in the driveway. I start to saunter on by in between the two cars when the little old hits the gas and rams into my right leg with her bumper. She then hits the breaks—thankfully—and proceeds to spin her torso around and scream at me, flailing her tiny arms like some sort of coked-out T-Rex. Then without warning, she gives me the finger, spins around and hauls ass out into traffic and disappears.

It’s at this moment that I think to myself “whatthefuck?!”

It’s not everyday that I nearly get run over by a geriatric and then promptly get chewed out for it. I look over my shoulder at the dude who was walking behind me and he has the same befuddled “whatthefuck?!” look that I do. He checks to see if I’m alright and I assure him that I am. The driver of the car that was waiting for the psychotic Masshole to pull into traffic gets out and asks if I’m okay…also whilst sporting the suddenly very en vogue “whatthefuck?!” look. I again assure that I am fine and everyone carries on with their morning.

I get no more than another block into my journey when I see a man pointing at me from across the street and carrying what appears to be a map. I know that no good can come from this, but I keep walking. He again points at me and then begins waving his arms, so I pause whatever assuredly manly hard rock song is playing and pluck out my earbuds. He then asks me—in a very thick, hard to understand Russian accent—“how do I get to the mall?!”

Apparently he has printed off a small map from Google and is pointing to where he needs to go. Logic would say—follow the map. I, however, spend ten full minutes explaining to him where he needs to go to catch the shuttle bus. Finally after repeating it roughly sixteen times, he is able to repeat it back to me and I assume I can leave.

“What…do….about….my…truck?!” he stammers as I’m preparing to leave.

He then informs me that he is driving the gigantic delivery truck that is poorly parked about a half-block away. So then I spend another seven minutes trying to give him driving instructions and showing him which streets he should take on the map…again I feel we’ve reached a point where I’m a free man, albeit a free man who is now going to be late for work.

I attempt to leave and he then asks me where the loading docks are located and I just tell him that I don’t know and he’ll have to check with someone when he gets there. He nods as though he totally understands and is prepared to finish his sojourn and carry on to the mall. Except that he doesn’t. No, instead he flags down the next guy who walks by and starts asking him about the mall. Apparently my instructions were not significant and he’d like an opinion from someone else.

Roughly five minutes later I finally made my way into the library. At this point, however, my productivity mojo was completely depleted and I was more in the mood to spend my morning sucking down energy drinks and using my technological savvy to create propaganda for the yet-to-be written Ghostbusters III.

The morale of this story is simple, my friends. If you’re not a morning person—but you suddenly get the urge to be one—fight it! Fight it at all costs. There is a reason you’re not a morning person. For some it’s simply that they function better later in the day. For others it’s because they don’t get enough sleep. For me it’s because old ladies and crazy Russians are out to make sure that I won’t get to work on time and when I finally do get there I’ll be so off my game that I struggle to properly check out books.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Me

As it turns out, yesterday (Oct 22nd) was the three year anniversary of my foray into the world of blogging. Ironically enough I spent most of yesterday reading over three years worth of my lovely friend Dana’s blog and then promptly re-read all three years of my blog.

This proves two things…

1) I was REALLY freakin’ bored yesterday.
2) Clearly I’ve got to get better at this blogging thing.

I’m looking at my blog and there are only like 50 posts (at least on my non-sports blog—there’s another 30 or so on my sports-only blog). Now if I’ve only posted 50 blogs in three years that’s pretty paltry stuff right there. Granted, there have been multiple stretches of longer than six months with zero posts. That type of inaction will definitely hinder any chance at impressive blogging numbers.

I’m also noticing a serious trend in my blogging based on the archived numbers:

• October 2008 (4)
• September 2008 (1)
• December 2007 (6)
• November 2007 (2)
• October 2007 (5)
• June 2007 (1)
• May 2007 (1)
• January 2007 (2)
• December 2006 (6)
• May 2006 (1)
• March 2006 (1)
• February 2006 (2)
• January 2006 (2)
• December 2005 (4)
• November 2005 (7)
• October 2005 (5)

It appears that most of my blogging is done at the end of the year when fall sets in. December is by far my most productive blogging month, but October through December is responsible for 39 of 50 blogs. Wowza. Clearly I’ve found better things to do in the warmer months.

Well now that I’m at the three year mark, I’m going to try and do a better job of blogging from here forward, both on my sports blog and my generic blog.

Graves Out.


My Generic Blog Can Be Found At…

My Sports Blog Can Be Found At…

A Combination of Both Can Be Found At…

Facebook and MySpace

Monday, October 20, 2008

Red Bull Revamped

Little known fact: I am an energy drink fiend.

Okay, scratch that, that’s not by any means a little known fact. Just about everyone in my life from my grandma to my co-workers to my mailman has seen me chugging an energy drink at some point in the last few years.

In my defense, I only got addicted to these bad-boys in the name of journalism. Back in the day when I was a bright-eyed student on the campus of grand ole Minnesota State University and I thought that I wanted to embark on a career in the news field it seemed like a great idea to write a riveting article on the then-relatively-new fad of energy drinks. Granted, this came before I decided to derail any chance of writing professional for a career as an unpaid on-again, off-again blogger whilst moonlighting in a library at America’s finest technical institute. However, that’s neither here nor there, what really matters is that when I got hooked on the sweet-sweet menace that is energy drinks, it was all for a good cause.

The article came out during finals week and was a big ole multi-page story with a bad-ass graphic layout and detailed energy drinks to the fullest. The risks, the effects, the tastes, which ones provided the most bang for the buck and of course…the potential for energy drink addiction. Well that’s been about three years ago now and I’m still sucking these multi-dollar cans of highly-caffeinated chemicals down at an alarming rate, so needless to say the potential for energy drink addiction is pretty high…even if you’ve never had them before and you just have a one month ‘research period’ that involves you spending close to $100 to ingest every energy drink attainable in the great-Mankato, Minnesota, metro area..

Anywho, now that I’ve gone through that incredible long-winded introduction we can get to the meat and potatoes…or the caffeine and taurine if you will…of this lil’ bloggity-blog here.

Yesterday I ran to the store to get some Coke, vanilla extract and eggs. What I came back with was the following: Coke, vanilla extract, eggs, a tub of Cool Whip (shout-out to Taylor Swift), a pumpkin pie, Axe Body Spray, Axe Deodorant (yeah, I smell like a d-bag), a box of corn dogs and two cans of something I’d never seen before…Red Bull Cola!!

That’s right folks, in addition to being a horrendous impulse shopper, I’m also one of the first people in the United States to embark on the voyage of discovery that is…Red Bull Cola. Thus far Red Bull Cola was released largely overseas in places like Spain, Italy and Germany. In June it was only available in the United States at select hot spots in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Recently, however, Red Bull has begun sending out their freaky Mini Coopers in Boston, San Francisco and—of all places—Williamsburg, VA, to distribute the new beverage.

Given my horrendous addiction, I figured there’s no way I can’t try this stuff…especially if I’m one of the few people in America who can get his grubby lil’ mitts on it right now. What I’m finding amusing (whilst sniffing the first can) is that it smells sorta like diet Coke or diet Pepsi, but with a very distinct scent. It smells sort of metallic, but we’ll see what effect that has on the actual taste. I mean most energy drinks smell like death and only about three-quarters of them actually taste like it.

Whoa…okay, it tastes like a regular cola until the aftertaste sets in. It’s that quasi-metallic taste, but I think it’s got more to do with the ingredients. This stuff is claiming to be 100% natural, so let’s throw down the list of ingredients and see if we can figure out the origin of this aftertaste.

-Carbon dioxide
-Caramel sugar syrup
-Natural flavors from plant extracts: galangal, vanilla, mustard seed, lime, kola nut, cacao, licorice, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, coca leaf, orange, corn mint, pine, cardamom, mace, clove
-Caffeine from coffee beans and natural lemon juice concentrate.

Hmmmmmmm….let’s see I’m going to assume the taste is coming from one of these natural flavors. It’s got a bit of a cinnamon tinge to it. Although, let’s be honest…I don’t know what the hell cardamom or mace taste like and to be quite frank, I thought galangal was part of the female anatomy. I guess I’m just going to put the flavor on the combo of natural flavors. I mean come on who puts mustard seed, lime and vanilla together?! You’ve gotta be expecting some sort of weird flavor from that combination.

Okay, so let’s hit the important thing…the kick. We know that Red Bull gives you wings, but what does Red Bull Cola give you?! Well that’s a tough call thus far. I’ve had two cans and I’m only noticing a bit of a buzz. I guess I’d say that it gives me roller blades or maybe a pair of slightly used Chuck Taylors…but definitely not wings. Although I will say, it’s definitely got more zip than regular sodas. The makers are pimping Red Bull Cola as "strong and natural” and calling attention to the lack of phosphoric acid, preservatives, artificial colorings, and artificial flavors which many similar drinks contain.

All-in-all, not too shabby. At less than a buck-fifty a can it’s a pretty solid deal for what equates to a tasty, albeit watered down, version of Red Bull…but I think I’m going to stick to the real-deal. Like all good addicts, I need the good stuff floatin’ in these veins.

Paleontology 101: An Introduction…

So I randomly had a dream the other night that I’d stumbled upon a time machine, or did I steal it…or maybe I’d built it or something?! I guess I don’t really remember, I was also 8 feet tall and wearing the Philly Phanatic costume through the entire dream, so facts aren’t exactly paramount to the point I’m getting to here.

The important thing is that while in control of the time machine I didn’t do anything cool like go back and tell myself to invest in Google, hook up with a pre-fame Britney Spears, abort Carrot Top or invent Guitar Hero. Instead what I did was go back and buy—yes buy, not even steal—many of the artifacts of my youth.

I loaded up on Crystal Pepsi, slap bracelets, Zubaz pants and Burger King Burger Buddies. When I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t help but think about all these seemingly buried fossils from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

As such, I’ve decided that I’ll occasionally get my blog-on in nifty lil series I’m referring to as “Paleontology 101: Digging up Artifacts of my Youth.”

So what the hell, let’s go ahead and kick things off with a shout-out to the first thing on my list of must-haves from my past…Crystal Pepsi…

Paleontology 101: Crystal Pepsi

Ah Crystal Clear Pepsi, a fine institution of my youth. This stuff came out in roughly 1992 and was pimped as tasting like regular Pepsi but without the annoyance of opacity. Granted, I don’t remember being uneasy with beverages I couldn’t see through, but that could just be my memory failing me again. Given my love for this stuff, I must have been all-kinds of scared shitless by dark colas in the early ‘90s. Perhaps my parents used one of those ‘Men in Black’ memory-erasers on me or something. Who knows…moving on.

The jury is still out as to whether or not it actually tasted like Pepsi. I vaguely remember it tasting like Pepsi, but the reviews on various internet message boards are pretty varied. Some people refer to it as tasting like “liquid death,” “a combo of Alka Seltzer and Pixie Stix,” and “flat, gross 7-Up.” Whether my memory serves me correctly or if it’s just the sugary-coating of nostalgia, I don’t really know.

What I do know is that for the year or so this stuff was on the market it was pretty much the only soda-pop I was willing to drink. Luckily, most stores had realized that Crystal Pepsi was a big flop about two months in and began slashing prices just to get it off the shelves. Ironically enough that worked out well for me, because my Mama loaded up on the stuff and I spent the entire summer slurping down liter-after-liter and can-after-can of this colorless wonder.

When it finally disappeared altogether (and/or following the aforementioned ‘Men in Black’ mind-erasing) I seemingly moved on—rather flawlessly—to Wild Cherry Pepsi and eventually good ole Coca-Cola which remains my sweet-sweet ambrosia to this day.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was able to easily transition to life post-Crystal Pepsi; to this day the folks at Pepsi pretend that Crystal Pepsi never happened. This delicious concoction doesn’t appear in the company’s ‘Pepsi Legacy’ which chronicles the 100 years of Pepsi and it is also nowhere to be found on Pepsi’s corporate page that details all of the company’s major promotions on a year-by-year basis.

Long story short, Crystal Pepsi was awesome…at least in the nine-year old version of my memory. And although my life didn’t end along with the production of Crystal Pepsi, I can only assume that deep down some part of my soul is still deeply in mourning…I mean seriously, it’s not like people just dream about things at random. Right?!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My New, Old Pumas…

So today I wore my new, old Pumas for the first time. I received compliments not only from Mlady, but from numerous patrons at the library as well. Apparently red shoes are the official shiznit.

The best part about these bad-boys…I snagged them for absolutely nothing. There was a “swap-meet” of sorts on campus where people could bring in stuff they weren’t using and randomly take things that others weren’t using. Well, I snagged these bad-ass Pumas which--in addition to being all-kinds of sexy amongst the MIT/Cambridge public--are super-f’n-comfy to boot!!

Pumas rule!

Short. Sweet.

The End.

Worst Post-Breakup Breakdown Ever!!

So I was listening to the radio in the shower this morning and they mentioned that the lovely Taylor Swift has broken up with one of the Jonas Brothers (read: Hanson v2.0) and was pretty down in the dumps about the whole thing.

Now, I’m not sure which brother she was dating and—to be perfectly honest—I don’t know their names or what they look like. I am, however, just imagining Hanson, but with more trendy clothes and haircuts and I feel that will suffice.

Anywho…to see just how beaten up she is over the whole thing, here’s a lil’ ditty from her MySpace page…

In other news, I just got back from a 5 show run on the road. Now I'm sitting in my kitchen..on the counter. Eating cool whip. And trying to think of things to do with my free time. Other than talking to my cat and making playlists of sad songs.

Now, call me crazy here, but isn’t Taylor Swift a young starlet with money and minimal parental guidance?! She’s going to be turning 19 in just a few short months and she’s yet to get into any sort of crazy booze-fueled rage on the road or some sort of cocaine-aided assault on a wardrobe assistant.

Honestly, I’m a little disappointed to hear that she’s handling this break-up like an adult. I really thought this would be the impetus that sent her on some sort of Lohan-esque tailspin. But no, it seems she’d rather sit at home with her cats and eat a tub of imitation whipped cream.

Can’t she get all crazy?! You know, like wander out to a club, start get wasted and hook up with random schmucks who become tabloid fodder for all of two days before she moves onto a new random d-bag who gets to be crowned ‘luckiest-dude-ever’ for a few days?!

Then she can get do the whole ‘breakdown’ thing where she feuds with the paparazzi, gets various driving infractions, spends some time behind bars, parties some more and eventually does the whole rehab thing followed immediately by a round of talk-show and magazine interviews that spark her eventual comeback. Honestly, is that too much to ask?!

I mean seriously, Taylor…a big ole chunk of the male population has been waiting years for this, you don’t want to disappoint your fans do you?!