Monday, January 25, 2010

Attack of the Internet Meme

Boredom struck today and it struck hard.

I suppose that's what I get for waking up early on a Monday.

In my defense, I woke up with intentions of having a very productive day.

I was going to go do laundry, go to the gym, buy some groceries and do some blogging.

Well, when I pulled myself out of bed it was raining and blowing and overall just a crappy day, which is unfortunate, because it’s like 50+ degrees out there, but the rain and wind made it pretty much unbearable.

As such, I stayed inside and did some work-outish stuff. I did some pushups and situps and all that jazz.

I blogged a whole big bunch.

Then I was without stuff to do and hit a mini-wall in my blogging.

Thus, I resorted to a great time waster/boredom killer…an internet meme.

Today’s meme of choice is one that was introduced to me by the incomparable Ryan Gray months ago.

Here’s the gist:


Here's my Fake Band, Fake Album (and the rules for making your own)

1. Go to - The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Click - The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. Visit - The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to craft a cover, and post the result. And then ask someone else to play.

…and there you have it.

So without any further ado, here are some of the bands and albums I’ve created today (and one from last December).

Now I’m off to try and do something at least moderately productive with the remainder of my day...

Band Name: Rannstedt
Album Name: ...wanting what you have
Type of Music: I get the vibe that these kids are signing some sort of alternative rock. With the frozen lake view, they're clearly all sad about a break-up and/or impending break-up. Expect sad songs and top 40 hits galore.

Band Name: Galton Junction
Album Name: -the person you are
Type of Music: Everything about this album cover reeks of a pop group. I've got this odd feeling it'll be a very happy group of Miley Cyrus clones singing songs about how they can do anything they set their mind to and how they don't need a man to be happy.

Band Name: JustSystems
Album Name: (to lose everything else)
Type of Music: I envision a lot of angry, scream-filled rock here. I'm getting a very serious Nickelback vibe. Odds are you'll hate every song this cats put out, but they'll be all over the radio and odds are pretty good this guys will end up playing at halftime of the Super Bowl some day.

Band Name: interleaving
Album Name: mediocrity thrust upon them
Type of Music: Coldplay?! Yeah, Coldplay.

Band Name: 3Kingdoms
Album Name: we have been sick
Type of Music: The album cover gives off a very distinct country music vibe. The name of the album and the band, however, do not. I guess these kids could call in the "alternative rock" crowd. They're full of pent-up teen angst and you're gonna listen to it, dammit!

Band Name: Colorado Confidential
Album Name: for a happy tune
Type of Music: I don't know exactly what this fits. I could see a lot of genres pulling off this name and cover. In the end, I'll assume it's awesome and would probably infiltrate my iPod with little effort required.

Cheeseburger Chronicles #012

 As y’all may or may not have picked up on at this point, I’m a big proponent of Fresco’s.

Fresco’s is essentially just a little cafĂ© on the corner here on MIT’s campus

Despite its unassuming presence, Fresco’s is pretty popular on campus and generally draws a pretty big crowd at breakfast and lunch.

The place also plays host to two of the nicest gals in the world. They are always smiling, always friendly, and have some sort of mystical chick power that makes the food taste better than it actually is—smiles are a powerful thing, you know!

Anyway, I wandered into Fresco’s for lunch before my Saturday shift, as is becoming my weekly tradition, and found that neither of the ladies was there. I didn’t think much of it and assumed the food and service would still rock, despite the large, rather creepy man behind the counter.

Additionally, I decided that I’d take this chance to try something different off of the menu.

Here’s how all that went…

Cheeseburger #012

What: Cheeseburger Sub

Where: Fresco’s…again.

When: January 23, 2010

How (was it): Meh.

Now that I’ve ordered one and learned “what” it is, I can safely say that I think the idea of a “cheeseburger sub” is a little, um, ridiculous.

Essentially it’s a double-cheeseburger, but you cut both patties in half and jam it all in a sub roll. That’s it.

Well, instead of the lovely gal who is usually working on Saturdays, I got what I’m pretty sure is her less-than-friendly husband who overcooked and underseasoned the burger.

It would have been bad enough as a single, hockey puck-like burger, but as a double cheeseburger jammed in a sub roll it was rough to chew my way through the entire thing.

Needless to say, in the future I’ll be going back to the good ole fashioned bacon cheeseburgers at Fresco’s.

A Moment with Grace

Grace is an interesting gal.

That may be the largest understatement of all-time, but it works.

For the select few of y’all out there who have had the opportunity to live with Grace at some point, you’re probably acutely aware of her OCD-like qualities.

Living in Southie, I fondly recall many instances where Jackie and I would sit back and watch Grace quadruple-check all of the knobs on the oven before leaving the apartment.

In addition to the oven knobs—which she’ll check even if no one has used the oven in days—she’s adamant about the toaster (and all other kitchen appliances) being unplugged when not in use, and that the doors must be locked at pretty much all times.

When we lived with Mike and Alicia back in Mankato they never, EVER locked the doors. Granted, it was Mankato, Minnesota; potentially one of the safest places on the planet, but it drove Grace crazy!

Anyway, you’ve got the back-story. Grace and her lil OCDisms are pretty well-known amongst all former roomies.

As such, I found it particularly amusing when I got home the other day and she proudly proclaimed:

“I left the toaster plugged in all-day!! Like I left the house and it was still plugged in!!”

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her so happy and proud of herself.

It was terribly entertaining.

It also leaves me wondering what she’ll be like when she’s old and senile?!

Well, at least she’ll be good for blog-fodder for years to come…

Cheeseburger Chronicles #011

So this one is a wee-bit delayed, but I’ve been busy and/or lazy.

Last, last Sunday Grace and I went for a walk and ended up in Harvard Square.

As I’m wont to do, I pushed for us to stop somewhere and get a bite to eat.

Luckily, Grace is just as big-a-fan of Charlie’s Kitchen as I am and we went in and got burgers whilst watching the first half of Brett Favre’s trouncing of the Dallas Cowboys.

Cheeseburgers. Brett Favre. Does it get better than that?!

Cheeseburger #011

What: Cheeseburger

Where: Charlie’s Kitchen in Harvard Square

When: January 17, 2010

How (was it): As is almost always the case with burgers at Charlie’s, it was pretty freakin’ good.

It helps that I was super hungry, which is why I was like halfway through my burger and fries before I even remembered to take the picture.

The burger had some good flavor to it and was juicy and delicious. I’ve heard from some people who have had many-a-dry, overcooked burger at Charlie’s, but they’ve always hooked me up with good, juicy patties, so I’ve got no complaints.

Good stuff and probably some of the most reasonably priced burgers in the city.

Fat Pants

I got new jeans the other day.

I’ve been in dire, dire need of new jeans for a while now.

Most of my jeans are torn or very close to ripping.

And we’re not talking about ripping in the cool “check out the holes in that guy’s jeans” kinda way…but more in the “holy crap I can see that dude’s junk” kinda way.

Anyway, Grace has been pushing for me to get new jeans for some time as well.

Grace thinks I look like a “flag pole” in my jeans. Apparently my sad chicken legs and very baggy jeans don’t mix, especially on windy days.

I had the day off on Friday and went to the mall in hopes of finally purchasing “(500) Days of Summer” and a new Beefy Five-Layer Burrito from Taco Bell. Before I got around to purchasing either of my original targets, I noticed that Old Navy was having a monster sell.

As they’re wont to do, Old Navy was selling everything off at roughly 60-90% off the original price to clear out space for all of the spring/summer stuff that’s coming in. I browsed for a bit and ended up finding some t-shirts, a sweet-ass green hoodie, and these new jeans.

They were originally like $40 jeans or something and I got ‘em for like $8, it was pretty freakin’ sweet.

Well I wore ‘em into work on Saturday and my stalker—who was bringing me an undoubtedly ill-begotten sammitch—found it necessary to comment.

Stalker: “Ohhhhh are those jeans new?!”
Stalkee: “Yep. Just bought ‘em yesterday.”
Stalker: “They make you look so skinny…”
Stalkee: “Um…thanks.”
Stalker: “Ohhhhh yeah, very skinny.”

**Awkward Pause Whilst She Continues Staring at My Pants**

Stalkee: “…are you saying my other pants made me look fat?”
Stalker: “Ohhhhh yes.”

**A Second Awkward Pause and More Staring at My Pants**

Stalker: “You looked really fat.”
Stalkee: “Hmmmmm…”
Stalker: “Okaaaaaaay, enjoy your tuna fish.”

…and that’s pretty much how that went.

Is there a point to this post?! Probably not.

I just figure I’m better off if more people are aware of my stalker on the off-chance that I go missing. Odds are pretty good I’m chained to a radiator in her basement, being force-fed all-kinds of pilfered foods.

So again, if you go days without seeing or hearing from me, please alert the proper authorities.

Thank you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ready to Get My Vote On

I’m a poor voter.

There’s a pretty significant election in Massachusetts tomorrow and—as is often the case—I’ve paid pretty much zero attention to it.

In fact, to be 100% honest, I didn’t even know there was an election until every commercial break for the past week and a half turned into a succession of back-to-back-to-back-to-back political advertisements.

As such, here is how I’d rank the competitors based entirely on what I’ve seen in the commercials.

Scott Brown – Republican

-The dude drives a pickup truck. I like pickups, so this is a huge bonus for him!

-He makes commercials in front of my old apartment in Southie and more specifically on the doorstep of McGoo’s, the finest pizza place in all the land.

-He had people like Curt Schilling and Doug Flutie showing up to back him at events.

-His daughter, Ayla, is not only an alumni of American Idol, but a hottie as well.

Martha Coakley – Democrat

-She talks funny. Seriously, it sounds like she’s doing her damndest to cover up a New England accent which seems downright ridiculous being that she’s campaigning, you know, in Massachusetts.

-She hangs out with people like Barack Obama, perhaps you’ve heard of him?!

-She hangs out on dark, shadowy streets at night. According to the context of the commercial she’s taking money from lobbyists or something. I don’t even know what the hell a lobbyist, so I’m just going to give her street cred for kicking it with shady dudes.

Joe Kennedy – Irrelevant

-Apparently, this dude is in the race. Granted, I haven’t seen any commercials pimping his candidacy and the only time he’s mentioned is when some news channel wants to make mention of the fact that he’s not related to THE Kennedys.

-Three minutes of less-than-strenuous YouTubing provided only one video. Basically it is the same quality that all y’all could put together if given half-an-hour and Apple’s iMovie software package.

Obviously, if I were basing my vote on commercials alone, Brown has my vote.

Granted, it turns out that there are some “issues” involved with each candidate too, not just commercials.

That having been said, this figures to be a pretty historic election.

If Brown wins, he’d give the Republicans the ability to block Obama’s initiatives with a 41st filibuster-sustaining GOP vote.

If Coakley wins, Obama should, in theory, have a guaranteed vote his way for the foreseeable future.

If Kennedy wins, well, all hell has probably frozen over.

So basically, one year removed from Obama’s inauguration, this special election could decide whether or not Obama’s hands are tied for the next three years based or if he’ll be given a real chance to make strides for change.

Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked to vote tomorrow.

I’ve already taken part in what was undoubtedly the most historic election in this country’s history and now I get to take part in what could be the biggest election during Obama’s reign as Commander and Chief.

I may not follow politics, but damned if they aren’t exciting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cheeseburger Chronicles #010

Well folks, we’ve officially hit double-digits.

If I keep up my current pace—which has slowed slightly in the past week due to concerns from Grace that I’ll die before June—I’d finish the year having eaten a total of roughly 228 cheeseburgers.

Perhaps Grace’s fears aren’t completely unfounded.

Cheeseburger #010

What: Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: Fresco’s

When: January 16, 2010

How (was it): This Fresco’s burger was way better than the one I had last week, which is saying something, because last week’s was pretty solid.

I asked the lovely gal behind the counter to go a little crazy with some salt and pepper while the burger was cooking and it really gave things a little more flavor and kick.

Additionally, the aforementioned lovely gal started dressing the bun incorrectly—they usually just do veggies on one bun—and ended up putting them on the bottom bun before realizing the mistake. I told her just to throw some more mayo, pickles (mmmmmmm) and lettuce on the top bun and it’d be fine.

It was AMAZING. Having the veggies distributed on both sides of the burger is bad-ass. It makes for a great crunch the whole way through and really balances out the flavors. I may never load up just one half of a burger again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ten Random Thoughts Whilst Watching TV on a Friday Night

01) I’m not really paying any attention to the whole Conan vs Leno thing and I can’t remember the last time I actually watched a late night show, but either way I’m going with Conan O’Brien.

Us pale folks gotta stick together.

02) Based on the trailer for "Edge of Darkness" it appears as though the only movies Mel Gibson stars in anymore involve something killing/kidnapping a family member and him searching for revenge.

03) Kristen Wiig is undoubtedly the hottest cast-member in the history of Saturday Night Live. I’m a huge fan of gals who rock the sexy and funny combination and she pulls it off better than anyone in the history of SNL.

Second-place is the best any other cast-member can hope for, my apologies to Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Silverman.

04) If Morgan Freeman ain’t narrating it. I ain’t watchin’ it. Period.

05) I don’t remember the last time I actually took a bath. Anyone out there remember baths? They’re like showers, except that you just sorta sit in a pool of your filth.

06) Iowa Lakes Community College was just featured on a national Duracell commercial. The windmill thingity-mer-bobbers they showed can be seen from my parents’ place.

I am going to assume that the lovely Miss Tricia Morfitt was in charge of hooking ILCC up with a major marketing campaign. Go Northwest Iowa.

07) I’m intrigued by Ellen Page.

She’s cute. She’s funny. She’s a pretty solid actress.

So why the Cisco commercials?!

Additionally, why the completely pointless, incredibly unfunny Cisco commercials?!

08) That really annoying guy who promises he can get you free money, you know the one, the dude with the question mark clothes (no, not The Riddler).

Well, he looks a whole-big-lot like one of my co-workers. So much so that I may demand my to-remain-unnamed coworker dress up in a question mark suit of his own for Halloween…or staff meetings.

You know, whenevs, there is certainly no wrong time for a suit of that caliber.

09) I am—at bare minimum—like 87% sure that Sandra Bullock doesn’t actually age. I find this both impressive and somewhat scary. I am worried she’s been eating babies for years to maintain her youthful hottieness.

10) If there was a way to punch commercials in the stones, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

A Moment with Grace

One of my favorite things about Grace is that she always finds it necessary to clarify things that don’t require clarification, often times resulting in an unintentional insult of sorts.

For Example:

Grace: “G’morning, Graves…your hair looks great today.”
Me: “Thanks…”
Grace: “Not that it doesn’t always look good, but it looks really good today; definitely better than yesterday.”

You see how that devolved there folks?!

A simple comment that required no further clarification turns into an odd little shot at my hair the previous day.

Today’s moment with Grace is another fine example of such activity.

Grace and I were on the bus the other day, on our way back from an altogether uninspiring lunch at Flat Patties.

The bus, as is the unfortunate norm, was full of crazies, smelly people and annoying Harvard kids and there was some limited space.

Grace settled into a seat by a creepy dude with some dry-cleaning and I stood near here, swinging to and fro from the handle thingys like a monkey.

As the bus started to fill up and it became evident I may have to give up my enviable perch Grace says to me:

“If you move back, I’ll just follow you.”

To which I reply:

“Okay, cool…”

She then stopped and got silent for a second and then looked back up at me to clarify:

“…to the back of the bus. Not Iowa. I will NOT move back to Iowa.”

She then resumed gleefully staring out the window.

She’s one of a kind folks.

One of a kind, indeed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cheeseburger Chronicles #008 & #009

Anyone who has been paying attention to my ass-rambling on Twitter in the past week or so is well aware that I’ve had a vicious hankering for some Flat Patties.

You may recall that Flat Patties was one of my stops during my meat-binge following my quasi-successful “No Meat Week” back in April/May of last year.

Well, it was pretty solid then and was very…um…unsolid the second time I went.

Despite the night and day experiences, I’ve been reading many an article about the Boston burger scene lately and Flat Patties keeps popping up. That fact, coupled with outstanding ratings on Yelp, convinced me to give it yet another go’round.

Without any further ado, the results of my third go’round with Flat Patties…

Cheeseburger #008

What: Cheeseburger

Where: Flat Patties, Harvard Square

When: January 13, 2010

How (was it): Meh. After all the buildup in my head and after reading a gajillion awesome reviews of the place in the past week, I’d gotten really stoked to give Flat Patties another go and it failed me once again.

The burger was good, but very, very boring. It’s just soggy leaf lettuce, a hunk of tomato and a tiny dollop of special sauce. The sauce itself was good, but there’s just not enough of it.

The burger itself was very boring. It needs seasoning or something to kick it up a little bit. More special sauce would have been ideal. I ended up covering the burger in pickles and relish to try and compensate for the blandness of it all.


Cheeseburger #009

What: Cheeseburger

Where: Flat Patties, Harvard Square

When: January 13, 2010

How (was it): See previous.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cheeseburger Chronicles #007

Unlike my previous burger at Fresco’s, this one was totally planned.

I woke up today, totally jonesin’ for a burger and knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’d be ingesting some dead cow before the day was over.

Grace and I also made plans to hit up a movie, so when she suggested going out for lunch pre-movie, it all came to fruition better than I could have ever expected.

For anyone interested, we saw “Up in the Air” and it was freakin’ awesome.

Now onto what you’re really interested in, my burger experience…

Cheeseburger #007

What: Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square

When: January 11, 2010

How (was it): This was a pretty solid burger. It was juicy and cooked perfectly, but it lacked a little pizzazz. Much like the aforementioned Fresco’s, Friendly Toast could stand to put a little more effort into seasoning the burger.

The toppings were a bit lackluster as well, just lettuce and tomato. I like a burger to have plenty of pickles and onion as well.

The best part of this entire endeavor, however, was the sweet potato fries. These things were freakin’ amazing. I thought I’d found the best sweet potato fries of all time, roughly a month ago at Zoe’s. Friendly Toast blew those out of the water and rocked my face clean off.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Diary of a Demented Snow Shoveler

Most of the time, I hate emails forwards.

Like hate them with a fiery passion. The whole “read this rambling 5,000 word document full of crappy .gif images and then forward to 438 people or you’ll get herpes in a car accident with Paris Hilton” thing was never really up my alley so to speak.

This one, however—after spending the majority of my Christmas break shoveling snow—makes me laugh something fierce.

The email doesn’t really come with any “back story” to set up the tale, but we’ll just say that the basic premise is that these folks move to what I’m going to refer to as Iowa from somewhere with drastically more mild winters, let say, oh I don’t know, Boston. Yeah, that’ll work.

…and ACTION.

December 8
It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9
We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I’ve ever had!

Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life!

December 12
The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment! My neighbor tells me not to worry- we’ll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I’ll never want to see snow again. I don’t think that’s possible. Bob is such a nice man, I’m glad he’s our neighbor.

December 14
Snow, lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn’t realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I’ll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn’t huff and puff so much.

December 15
Twenty inches forecast. Sold my Bentley and bought a 4×4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife’s car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that’s silly. We aren’t in Alaska , after all.

December 16
Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17
Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should’ve bought a wood stove, but won’t admit it to her. God I hate it when she’s right. I can’t believe I’m freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20
Electricity is back on, but had another 14 inches of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling! Took all day. The damn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they’re too busy playing hockey. I think they’re lying.

Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they’re out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they’re lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he’s lying.

December 22
Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it’s so cold, it probably won’t melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter, but he says he’s too busy. I think the asshole is lying.

December 23
Only 2 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?!! Why didn’t she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she’s lying.

December 24
Six inches – Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snow plow, I’ll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I’ve just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the damn snowplow.

December 25
Merry F'n Christmas! Twenty more inches of the damn slop tonight. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God, I hate the snow!

Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she’s a fricking idiot. If I have to watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ one more time, I’m going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26
Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea.

She’s really getting on my nerves.

December 27
Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze; plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28
Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. The BITCH is driving me crazy!!!

December 29
10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30
Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver, and now he is suing me for a million dollars, not only for the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass. The wife went home to her mother.

Nine more inches predicted.

December 31
I set fire to what’s left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8
Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

Cheeseburger Chronicles #006

I want to go ahead and preempt this entry by making it very clear that I had no intentions of getting another cheeseburger today.

In fact, realizing that I’ve had four meaty discs in less than 24 hours is a little jarring. Today’s dead cow intake, however, was more of necessity than anything else.

Last night I went out with some peeps of mine and had a real swell time.

My swell time involved a plethora of pink clothes, regrettable remarks toward a cat, the ill-effects of a certain awesome photographer’s questionable shot-making/taking skills, nail polish (hard to remove nail polish, mind you), missing the subway, far too much conversation revolving around the 1989 comedy “Look Who’s Talking,” one of Boston’s rarities: a cab driver who doesn’t want to talk and plenty of pink rage!!

Obviously the night contained all the trappings of a glorious evening on the town.

The evening ended, however, with my falling asleep on my couch watching Family Guy re-runs at 1:30 in the morning. As a result, I woke up late and had to scramble to get showered and out of the house in time to open the library.

With no time to make lunch/breakfast, I swung by Fresco’s—home of the rage-reducing burger—and snagged some lunch to shove in my face whilst opening the library.

Good times. Good times, indeed.

Cheeseburger #006

What: Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: Fresco’s, near MIT

When: January 9, 2010

How (was it): As always, Fresco’s hooked me up with a pretty solid burger.

The patty itself doesn’t have a lot of pizzazz. It could use some seasoning, or at the least a healthy dose of salt and pepper, but it is always cooked to perfection (read. melty, gooey white American cheese and fresh-cooked, crispy bacon).

Additionally, they rock the toppings really well. It’s like a mini-salad atop my burger and the bun-to-burger-to-veggie ratio is about as perfect as it gets.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cheeseburger Chronicles #003, #004 & #005

I’m just chugging right along here folks, just eight days into the new year and my burger count is steadily on the rise.

Last night I went out for “one beer” and, as one might expect, found myself coaxed, swindled, bamboozled into having an extra beverage or two. As such, today was most definitely a cheeseburger kind of day.

I intended to go to Four Burgers to get my greasy, melty goodness but the line was huge and there was nowhere to sit.

Unfortunately, my desire for a burger and lack of time combined in the cataclysmic decision to meander into Wendy’s in Central Square.

Now, for those not “in the know” the Wendy’s in Central Square is awful. Abso-f’n-lutely awful. Historically awful. The type of awful that prompts the creation of silent indie films.

Seriously, folks, we’re talking absolutely abysmal in every single way possible.

It did, however, have one thing going for it today at lunch.

It was there.

So I went inside and ordered some burgers that have been deemed—by the incomparable Ryan Gray—as “shame-broiled.”

Without any further ado, the three newest additions to the Cheeseburger Chronicles…

Cheeseburger #003

What: Junior Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: Ghetto Wendy’s in Cambridge

When: January 8, 2010

How (was it): This one, in all reality, was not too bad—or at least as “not too bad” as anything at Wendy’s can be—and it really hit the spot. The bacon was crispy, the burger was hot, the cheese was all melty and the bun was soft.


Cheeseburger #004

What: Junior Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: Ghetto Wendy’s in Cambridge

When: January 8, 2010

How (was it): As if often the case at Wendy’s thing can go downhill quickly and that’s exactly what happened with my second-installment of JBC action. The cheese wasn’t melted, the lettuce looked like death and it was all slathered in mayo like they’d bathed it in the stuff. Gross.


Cheeseburger #005

What: Junior Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: Ghetto Wendy’s in Cambridge

When: January 8, 2010

How (was it): This one was just f’n ridiculous. The bun was hard and crunchy. I ended up throwing away the bottom of the bun because it was so gross. The cheese wasn’t even remotely melted and the entire burger was cold. On the bright-side, it was greasy than the other two burger combined?! Double gross.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Holy Crap

Every once in a while, I have a moment where I’m walking home or on the subway or at Fenway or something and it just hits me…I live in Boston.

At no point growing up did I ever think I’d land in Boston.

There was, admittedly, a brief and fleeting infatuation with the city when I was old enough to learn that Peter Gammons didn’t actually live at ESPN, but rather within the cozy confines of Beantown.

However, I didn’t really think I’d ever live here, I had visions of living elsewhere on the east coast.

With moderate levels of remorse, I must admit that I grew up as a huge fan of New York.

I was a Yankees fan. I was a Mets fan. I was a Giants, Jets, Rangers, Knicks and—yes—even a Liberty fan.

In my defense, this was all my Pappy’s fault. To this day, he is a diehard fan of all of New York’s teams, except for the Islanders. In fact, he may actually hate the Islanders.

I think his infatuation with New York was, much like mine, influenced by the mere fact that New York is considered THE city in the United States.

Anyone who comes from the middle of nowhere (read: Hartley, Iowa) has a desire, no matter how deep down it’s buried, to get out and try their hand in a place like New York.

I was so enthralled with NYC that I applied to NYU my senior year of high school. I had every intention of leaving Hartley, moving across the country and becoming some sort of small-town success story.

Needless to say, that isn’t exactly how things panned out.

It was a complicated application, because after they’d received the generic application, they replied and asked for more.

They wanted me to hook ‘em up with some references, write a personal essay and create a video documenting my everyday life.

I thought it was a little weird, but it was NYU.

I wrote a pretty solid personal essay. I had some bad-ass references, including an amazing little ditty written by the then-Ms. Gregg, my favorite teacher of all-time. I made a video that showed how…um…unique, yeah, unique…life in northwest Iowa can be and I sent it all in.

…and I waited.

And I waited and waited and waited for weeks and then months.

I finally got a reply back from NYU about six months later telling me that I hadn’t met some criteria along the way and I wouldn’t be accepted for admittance. It was a little bit of a kick in the stones, but didn’t exactly come as a shock.

By the end of 2002, I’d forgotten all about NYU and New York in general.

I was having a blast at Minnesota State and had come to the realization that I wanted to be a writer.

I’d officially converted to a full-fledged Minnesota Twins fan after spending years slowly transitioning.

And—most importantly—I’d fallen madly in love with a lovely gal named Grace.

Seven years later, New York is long-since forgotten.

I’m incredibly happy in Boston. I’m still with the aforementioned lovely gal, and have her to thank for helping get me out of the Midwest to make my attempt at becoming a small-town success story.

Anyway, long-winded—moderately intoxicated—rambling notwithstanding the whole point of this bad-boy is that every now and then I can’t help but look around and just think “HOLY CRAP.”

…and I f’n love that and never want to lose that feeling.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

People I May Heinously Murder: Taco John's

Taco John’s, you know I love you, but you’ve wronged me and I’m pretty sure I’m pissed off here.

For nineteen long days—nearly three full weeks—I was in the Midwest. I was right there, resting in the sweet, sweet bosom that is Taco John’s territory.

In that time I went to Taco John’s a half-a-dozen times.

I devoured my fair share of Mexi Rolls, Potato Oles, Apple Grandes, Churros, Taco Burgers and Meat-n-Potato Burritos. I did my part as a loyal consumer.

I’ve ingested more nacho “cheese” than one man should be able to safely consume.

I’ve eaten enough of those crispy lil bites of heaven, lovingly known as Potato Oles, to kill a caribou. Like a large, healthy caribou!

I spent more money on burritos than I did on any of the Christmas presents I got for my family.

So how do the fine folks at Taco John’s repay me?!

They introduce the amazing looking Chili Fritos Burrito and they have the gall to introduce it just mere days after I’ve flown just about as far away from a Taco John’s as you can get in the lower 48 states!!

The nearest Taco John’s is exactly 611.44 miles away in freakin’ Athens, Ohio!!

Just days ago I was in the heart of Taco John’s country and the only thing y’all were pimping was the played out Nachos Navidad. They’re just regular nachos with colored chips!! Don’t you dare try to dupe me into believing they’re something special!!

I see right through your colored chips, Taco John’s!!

I can’t believe y’all had this amazing looking burrito just lurking, laying in wait for my departure.

I’ve already missed out on many of the other delicious “limited time only” burritos you cats have churned out in recent years and now, y’all have gone and done it again. Only this time the knife digs a little deeper, because I was JUST FREAKIN’ THERE...

Color me pissed off, Taco John’s!!

PS: I still love you.

PPS: I’m sorry I got so huffy.

2010: The Year of Stuff Actually Happening (Hopefully)

I’ve never been big on the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing.

Granted, that’s because I’ve also never been any good at sticking with any spur of the moment ideas that suddenly seem so important in the waning days of December.

For instance, say I decide on December 30th that I’m looking a lil chunky and could afford to shed a few pounds. Why the heck should I be any more motivated come January 1st than I should be at any other time?!

January for me, generally is a month where I’m doing nothing but thinking about how close Spring Training is, beginning preparations in earnest for another season of fantasy baseball and lamenting about how much I miss everyone back home after a lengthy Christmas break has ended.

As such, I’m not in the mood to spend the entire month trying to accomplish life-changing resolutions that became a good idea in mid-to-late December.

That is why New Year’s resolutions aren’t my thing. Instead I make goals.

Goals are w-a-y better than resolutions.

I don’t necessarily have to start them at the tick of midnight when I’m all-kinds of full-up on cheap champagne and holiday cheer. I don’t feel any sort of guilt or remorse if/when I eventually stumble and fall in pursuit of goals.

Resolution just sounds so rigid and built for failure. Goal just sounds like something you’re going to take some swings at and if you strike out, big deal, it was just a goal after all.

I’ve mentioned some of these random goals once or twice already in the fading days of 2009 and I’ve got a pre-existing list of goals, some of which I’m well on my way toward accomplishing.

I’m sure I’ll drop a few more goals on y’all at some point as the year progresses, but for today, you’ll just get a short list.

I like lists and I like being able to check things off lists. Often times that’s why the first thing I put on every list is “finish this list” that way I can go ahead and start things off with an accomplishment.

It is quite the little motivational tool, really it is.

Anyway, without any further ado, here is my short list of new goals for 2010:

Finish This List

-Um, finish this list, duh.

Win Something

-I have a tendency to never really win anything that allows me some serious bragging rights.

In my fantasy baseball league with my friends, I’ve dominated the regular season nearly every year only to fall to a team on a hot streak in the playoffs. After 10 seasons, that’s gotten frustrating.

Additionally, the mighty Bibliotechs reached the rarified air of the championship game late last summer only to fall in a loss that was, frankly, a little embarrassing.

As such, I am making it a goal to actually win something this year.

Eat (a little) Better

-I’m not going to get all asinine here and assume that I can become some sort of healthy eater, that’s just ridiculous and ain’t happening.

Instead—largely at the request of Ms. Mlady—I’m going to try and make a few smarter choices here and there.

I made my first big step (and yes, this qualifies as a big step for me) the other day when I ordered steamed broccoli with my burger instead of fries. Granted it was a bacon cheeseburger with barbecue sauce and onion rings on it, so the broccoli addition was akin to spitting in the ocean and assuming it has an impact on the overall depth.

Whatevs, baby steps, right?!

Take More Pictures

-Grace and I have a pretty bitchin’ lil camera. It fits in my pocket or her tiny purse. It is super speedy and holds like eighty-gajillion photos.

Despite all that, we often leave it sitting at home or in the aforementioned pocket and tiny purse.

I want to take a whole bunch more photos in 2010, if for no better reason that to return to my old habit of switching up my Facebook profile picture like 150 times a year.

Sack Lunch Style

-This is a goal I’ve created and failed at (usually quite miserably) many times in the past, but I figure I might as well throw it out there again.

I’d say on a good week, I only go out to eat twice for lunch. Granted, I’ll often convince Grace into going out to eat at least one night of the week for supper. On a bad week, I’ll go out for lunch like five times and out for supper like three times.

On a real bad week, I’ll eat out for lunch six times and not eat the rest of the week.

So my goal is to try my damndest to bring lunch to work.

So. Much. Energy.

-I’ve tried quitting energy drinks before. I’ve failed and I’ve succeeded, but the fact that I’m still sucking them down at a rate that can only be described as “what the hell is that dude’s problem” proves that I’ve never really succeeded in quitting.

I usually can get off the sugary cans of deliciousness for a month or two before I find myself craving on some idle Thursday morning. Then I’m hooked again.

As such, I’m planning to wean myself off of the sugary stuff with a goal of going the entire period of MIT’s GetFit without sucking down any of these delicious concoctions.

Here’s hoping it’s possible.

Make Some Money

-All of my friends back home are making drastically more money than me and this sorta pisses me off. Not because I don’t want them to be successful or anything, but because there is absolutely no good reason for me to be bringing up the rear on the monetary train.

Maybe I’ll find someone willing to pay me to write about baseball. Maybe I’ll get a second, part-time job. Maybe I’ll start manufacturing and selling meth to unsuspecting school children. Maybe I’ll just robbing 7-11s with my new pellet gun. Maybe I’ll win a ton of money in the NFBC this year. Maybe I’ll demand a sizeable raise, whilst wearing a vest made of dynamite.

Whatever the case may be, I want to make some money this year.

There we have it, my Faithful Readers, the first short list of new goals for 2010.

I have no idea how long any of these goals will last, but I’m hoping I can at least put up a decent fight on some/any/all of them.

If any of all y’all have some other goals you think I should strive for this year, please lemme know and I’ll see what I can do about ‘em.

Happy New Year, y’all…

My Job is Hard to Explain

My job is hard to explain.

This is something that I’ve run into on numerous occasions, but it is especially common during the holidays.

Every year for Christmas we go to my Grandma’s house and I make awkward small talk, pretend I know who the small children actually are, and eat some pie. It’s generally a pretty good time.

The worst part of this whole scenario, however, is always the awkward small talk.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not real close with my extended family. I’m very close with my immediate family, but I’ve never really clicked with anyone beyond the peeps who lived in my house growing up.

As such, every year I have to go through what is essentially the exact same conversation about fifteen times (and I’ll have the same conversation every year for all of eternity).

It goes a little something like this:

Random Relative: “So…um…you still out east.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Yep, still out there. Moved to Cambridge though.”
Random Relative: “Cambridge, huh?! Had to move out to the suburbs, huh?! Couldn’t hack it in the city with all the gangs and stuff, I suppose.”
Cap’n Charisma: *sigh* “Um, not exactly. Cambridge is just across the river. It is basically Boston, not a suburb.”
Random Relative: “Oh. Less gangs?!”
Cap’n Charisma: “Sure.”
Random Relative: “So…you still with…”
Cap’n Charisma: “…Grace. Yeah, we’re still together.”
Random Relative: “How about that…you two gettin’ married yet?! You’ve been together for like two or three years already, right?!”
Cap’n Charisma: “Um…a little more than seven years actually and no we’re not getting married yet. Don’t wanna rush things…” *Pause for Laughter*
Random Relative: *Laughter*

[Insert Awkward Pause in Conversation and Obligatory Glance at the TV]

Random Relative: “So, uh, Grace…she still going to school out there?”
Cap’n Charisma: “No, no…she graduated back in ’08.”
Random Relative: “…and you two haven’t moved back yet?!”
Cap’n Charisma: *sigh* “No, no. Can’t really think of a good reason to move back. We’ve both got pretty good jobs and we’re having a lot of fun out there.”
Random Relative: “Where’s Grace working?”
Cap’n Charisma: “She’s working at UMass, where she graduated from…”
Random Relative: “UMass?!”
Cap’n Charisma: “…University of Massachusetts, Boston.”
Random Relative: “Ahhhhhh…what’s she doing there?”
Cap’n Charisma: “She’s a professor, a pretty good one at that, teaching freshman English.”
Random Relative: “Oh okay and you’re still working at…”
Cap’n Charisma: “…MIT in the library, yeah.”
Random Relative: “So what do you do there, just read all day and check out books?!”
Cap’n Charisma: “I wish that’s all we did.”
Random Relative: “Okay, so what do you do?!”

This is generally where the conversation turns into my ill-fated attempt to list off things I do, only to realize that people who have never worked in a library generally don’t understand a word I’m saying to them.

I’d tell them I did “claiming” and they assumed that it meant one of two things.

Either I’m wandering around the library urinating on things—as to mark my territory—and/or it means that I’m gallivanting about in my finest Christopher Columbus outfit sticking mini-Iowan flags all about the library grounds to claim a copy of “Heat and Mass Transfer Engineering” in the name of my homeland.

This is not what claiming is, not even a little bit.

Granted, it would make claiming way more exciting, although a hovering scent of urine in the libraries would probably put a damper on our attendance figures.

I tell them that I run reports and clean up records in libraries’ automated system, they translate that to “I spend all day messing around on the computer.”

I tell them that I’m in charge of signage.

They generally just stare at me. The word “signage” does not exist in the typical Iowan lexicon.

I translate it to “I make signs for around the library.” This is then promptly re-translated to mean that I spend my day drawing signs, most likely with crayons and construction paper.

Needless to say, when talking to people who have never worked in a library—or sometimes never even been in a library—it’s really hard to ever actually describe what library peeps do.

In the end, most of these conversations further devolve into people telling me that Grace can teach anywhere—because since she’s teaching right now that’s obviously what she wants to do forever—and they tell me I could work for my dad—yeah, because I’d have gone to college if I wanted to do construction work when it’s 30 below zero—and they tell me that houses are dirty-dirt cheap back in Northwest Iowa.

Somewhere in there I usually get mocked for going to college for four years and not using my journalism degree for anything. I get asked why I didn’t just get a library sciences degree—although it’s usually referred to as a “library diploma”—and I get referred to essentially as “library bitch” since I’m not really a librarian and I don’t have any sort of “real” explanation for my job, or at least not an explanation that seems sufficient enough for anyone.

Anyway, yeah, long-story-short, my job is hard to explain.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Sweet Dreams are NOT Made of This

So I had a pretty f’d up dream last night and—because it’s my blog and I feel moderately desperate for something to write about—I thought all y’all would just LOVE to hear about it!!

Anyway, it starts off with Taylor Swift showing up at me and Grace’s apartment, only it wasn’t really our apartment it was like a 7-11, but with couches all over the place.

So Taylor has shown up because she’s all-kinds of madly in love with me (all-kinds, I say!) and wants us to start knocking booties, country music style. Whatever the heck that means.

I tell her that despite the fact that she’s on “my list,” I’ll be passing on the opportunity because I’m about to propose to Grace and I figure that hooking up with a hottie country star would probably put a damper on the festivities.

So I go to propose to Grace, but she’s chit-chatting it up on one of our many couches with Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp who currently holds the top spot on Grace’s list and figures to hold down that spot for the foreseeable future.

Seeing trouble, I run up to Grace and propose to her right there in front of Johnny Depp.

Clearly proving he’s a punk.

She tells me she needs some time to think about it…and goes off to hook up with Depp.

Whilst grieving, I hit on my wonderful co-worker Roshni’s non-existent little sister during a “bring your non-existent younger sibling” to work day at the library.

As a result, I got fired.

In order to earn some cash—and obviously in an ill-fated attempt to win Grace back—I became a professional wrestler. I teamed up with The Peter Norman and we both got matching Coca-Cola tattoos.

Why Coca-Cola tattoos?! Who knows, but they looked bad ass.

We won the World Tag Team titles over the Legion of Doom, which was odd since Hawk—half of LOD—has been dead for roughly a decade. However, Animal and Zombie Hawk were no match for me and TPN or our matching Coke tattoos.

After the match, TPN cracked me in the head with the title belt, teaming up with LOD and I woke up in a hospital.

The hospital was run by pigs, vengeful pigs.

The pigs ate me.

That was the end.

I woke up, totally freaked out and decided to share it with the world.

You’re welcome.

Cheeseburger Chronicles #001 and #002

Well folks, as I rambled about in the introduction to the Cheeseburger Chronicles, here is a rundown of the first two burgers of the year.

As I promised you’ll get the important information you undoubtedly NEED to know about my burger experiences.

To get you that information we’ll be using the good ole fashioned newspaper method of answering the big questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How (was it).

Granted, y’all already know the who—this guy—and you already know the why—because I’m a burger fiend—so I guess we’ll leave those two out since they're gimmies.

Anyway, without any further ado, let’s get this thing started.

Cheeseburger #001

What: 2/3lb Monster Thickburger

Where: Hardees in Sioux Falls

When: January 1, 2010

How (was it): Bad. Like really, really bad. Like Carrot Top in “Chairman of the Board” bad. Yeah. Hardees ensured that I’ll never be required to establish a Hardees’ Embargo. Gross.


Cheeseburger #002

What: Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: Four Burgers in Cambridge

When: January 4, 2010

How (was it): Very, very good as is often the case at Four Burgers. I didn’t snag a picture of this one, however, because I didn’t come up with the plan for the Cheeseburger Chronicles until later that night. As such, enjoy the generic photo. :-)

Cheeseburger Chronicles 2010 - Introduction

I’ve been asked many, many times how many cheeseburgers I eat in a year.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to provide a substantial answer. As such, I usually reply with a simple, and perhaps understated, “a lot.”

I know that in Southie—pre-Burger King Embargo—I was eating hamburgers at bare minimum twice a week, just from BK. I’ve also been known to snag a burger on campus during lunch and meander to other popular burger joints.

As such, it’s entirely possible that I plowed through well over 100-150 burgers during 2007 in Southie.

In early(ish) 2008, I enacted the BK Embargo and haven’t eaten there since (hip-hip-hooray!) and made big strides in cutting down my burger consumption.

Then we moved to Cambridge.

In Cambridge we live a veritable stone’s throw (albeit a pretty solid throw) from a McDonald’s. It wasn’t too big of an issue when we first moved here, as I was on the high from the BK Embargo and felt I didn’t need to succumb to Mickey D’s.

That all lasted about three months; then I went nuts and was eating at McDonald’s two times a week or worse. As such, I enacted the McDonald’s Embargo and cut those bad-boys outta my diet as well.

As such, I’ve taken to gobbling up most of my cheeseburgers on campus, at Four Burgers, at other restaurants, and/or eating shame burgers at Wendy’s.

Anyway, as is often the case, I’ve gotten off-track here.

The main point of this whole rambling spiel was to let y’all know that I’m planning to track my burger intake this year so that come January 1, 2011, I’ll finally have an acceptable answer whenever someone asks me how many burgers I eat in a year.

My game plan is to chronicle the type of burger, where I ate it, when I ate it, whether or not it was any good, and—if I remember each time—a photo of the burger.

Let the games begin.