Thursday, April 30, 2009

Greazy vs Inky: It’s on in a Similar Fashion to Donkey Kong

One of the many tragedies of the American Civil War was that it often pitted brother against brother, as the issues that divided our Union also split many a home asunder. Now some 144 years after the events at Appomattox began to re heal the nation a new rift has formed. This time rather than slavery (or "state's rights" if you still own a Dixie flag) it is footy that is pulling a household apart.

Inky and I are playing in the same DreamTeam league this year, which is a lot like fantasy football in the US. The Aussie version is run more like the stock market than a sports franchise, however, with each owner being able to pick from a full list of players. Rather than a whole league picking players one by one, each team can assemble any roster they like, as long as they keep their total salary below the cap. Then, as the season progresses, the players value fluctuate in accordance with their production on the field. If they have a great game their value ticks upwards. If they stumble than so too does their price, meaning you get less for them if you drop them for another player.

Now that you have the basics of the game you can understand why this weekends battle is so important. My squad, Footy Pajamas, will take to the virtual field against Inky's team "Ranga Management" starting at about 5 AM tomorrow morning. Since Inky and I have followed footy together since our first trip to Oz in '05 we generally speaking know the same thigs about it. So as it turned out, we made a lot of the same choices when it came to picking our teams. Out of a roster of 30 players, Inky and I have 11 in common, many of which we will select for our starting 22 for this weekend.

That means that no matter how well Gary Ablett Jr does, he will be benefiting us both and there will be no impact. As it turns out, he is the #1 scoring player in the league this year, and just so happens to be a Geelong Cat too. This game will be won or lost by players like Brownlow winners Jimmy Bartel and Chris Judd who Inky and I field respectively. And what a battle it will be, even though Inky will try to tell you I have a leg up.

Sure, I am in 3rd place while Inky is in 5th, but we are both 2-0. I have 3618 points to Inky's 3580 for a difference of just 38 overall. That adds up to 19 handballs, 38 Hitouts or 6 goals and 3 behinds. Or, in other words, not much at all. It's a fair and level fight and the winner will remain unbeaten for one more week. Or who knows, maybe with all those players in common, we'll tie!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There's Nothing Common About Sense These Days

The once mighty pamphlet sure has tumbled a long way since the heady days of Thomas Paine or Martin Luther. What was once used to persuade the colonists to shake off the chains of Monarchy or dispute the Pope's right to sell indulgences is now nothing more than the off-line version of spam. Do you want to learn jujitsu or buy a used amp? Then turn to a posting wall where the 21st century pamphlet hangs. There you'll also find textbooks for sale, rooms for rent and the surprisingly un-coy "special message" adds. You may even find some kind of 9/11 conspiracy scrawl or a ultra-left/ultra-right manifesto (depending on where you are) but it's all just garbage. None of it rises to the level of Paine or Luther, but then again, not much does these days.

Take the pamphlet I came across today, for example. I walked into the bathroom at work and found the walls littered with 8.5X11 sheets of paper all warning of the dangers of swine flu. They laid out the correct way to wash your hands, and gave basic information about the symptoms of swine flu. Oddly enough, most of the symptoms of the piggie flue are the same as the regular flu, so these pamphlets are going to achieve on thing: the stoking of hypochondria.

But that's not my beef with these warnings that sprung up in my lav today. Neither is the fact that they says at the bottom: "for more information about hand washing, please call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, division of Epidemiology and Immunization at 617.983.6800 or visit the MDPH website at" even though I was clearly in Pennsylvania. Is Massachusetts the only state that knows how to wash hands? Has Pennsylvania just given up hope on this front and deiced to focus on other projects, because I know it's not the roads. But I digress.

No. None of those points are what got my attention. Rather, it was the very fact that people still need to be told how germs work and that hand washing is good. It's 2009 people! We've got half the population who sterilize themselves into oblivion and, apparently, another portion who still don't know they should wash up with soap and hot water after they do a poop. Sweet break-dancing Christ!

Well I think if you don't know to wash your hands then you deserve to get swine flu, bird flu, hoof and mouth, mad cow, mad dog 20/20 or any other blight on society. I know that's a tough stand, but there it is. There are some out there that want you to believe that Mexico now poses the biggest pig-based threat to humans since the uprising at Manor Farm. And if this were true (which it isn't by the way) then shouldn't it be self-evident that you should be a bit more vigilant about germs?

I now have to add "lack of awareness" to my top 5 list of reasons we don't deserve to call ourselves evolved as a species. The new list now looks like this:

5. Lack of fundamental awareness

4. Proliferation of the use of the term "socialism" by people who not only don't really understand what it means, but who would be eminently better off it they were part of one.

3. The very existence of Paris Hilton, Caitlin Upton, Carrie Prejean and every one on "The Hills."

2. Global Warming.

1. Racism, Sexism and the systematic castigation of anyone who is different.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Break the Tape, and Keep on Running

Some might have expected me to take a bit of a sabbatical from the speed solitaire world after I hit my goal of a 90 second game last week. Those people don't know how seriously I take my ridiculous flights of fancy. Just hours after telling you all about my 90 second game, I was right back in our home office furiously clicking the mouse like Micheal Jackson on the OshKosh B'Gosh website.

Later in the week I was winding down a day of work with an hour or so of solitaire and that's when it happened. I scored 8999 points in 84 seconds. That's a minute and 24 seconds people! To put that game in perspective, it lasted about as long as Micheal Jackson would last on the OshKosh B'Gosh website. (Oh, yeah, I went back to the well. You hookers can't tell me what to do!)

I was so excited about my new PB time that I did a fancy little spin in my chair right after finishing. This proved to be a miscalculation on my part, since I don't have a ton of room behind my desk and I whacked my knee against my filing cabinet. The cascade of cards had run out by the time I finished going "ahh... ohhhh..... ahh" so could only screen cap the "deal again" screen, but the score and time are still there.

So now my three best times are all in the double digits, and I continue to reign supreme in the world of computerized speed solitaire. Sadly, it doesn't pay too much and I'm going to be in need of a job in 9 weeks. Hmm?


Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Miss The Time When Fuckin' Around Doubled as Work

Every year around this time I begin thinking back to the salad days of my life. You know, the days when a "full time" week was 15 hours. Of course, I'm talking about college. Since I have worked on a college campus for the last 3 years, I've had a first hand look at the lives of college students from the outside looking in. Plus, Inky has gone undercover over the last few months; actually studying amongst them. All this observation has allowed us to once again prove the theory that youth is indeed waisted on the young. They all think they have it so tough, and they're all so sure there is nothing left for them to learn.

I'd be lying if I said we weren't like that a bit when we were in school, but only a bit. For some reason our little group seemed to have a solid grasp on what it meant to be in college. Add to that the fact that we were in a major where a "big project" consisted of acting like an ass, just so long as it was on camera. As Mass Communications students we had classes like Radio Production I & II, News Writing, Media Management, Video Production I & II and many more like them. Some of these assignments were "hard" in that we had to take time out of our busy drinking and Sega playing schedule to go down to Camden Yards to do a news package. What they weren't, however, were 30 page papers with footnotes.

The weather this weekend got me thinking about a when XL and I put together one of these projects. It was the late spring of 1995 and we were doing our final project for Video Production. The assignment was a 5 minute plus video that employed all the skills we had learned to that point. Video, audio, editing, focus, white balancing, lighting and tilts and pans coming to fruition, that sort of thing. Rather than do a quick 5 minute piece with a few dozen edits like some of our classmates chose to do (*cough* Inky *cough*) XL and I bit off a bit more.

Our project was called The College Gourmet which was a cooking of college students, by college students and for college students. Much to Inky's, and the other student's dismay the video was 20 plus minutes. Twenty brilliant, insightful and hilarious minutes. It's really a gift to the rest of the world, but, to this point it has gone unseen by all but about 12 people. The smart thing for me to do would be to post the video on YouTube and then link it or embed it to this post, but I'm far too old school for that. So, in classic old school fashion here is "The Cooking Show" in screen-cap and recap format:

I had responsibility for the first menu item in the show, which was a huge cheese steak. I chopped the onions and peppers and fried them up along with the steaks... I was tossing the steak and veggies in our retardedly small frying pan, I somehow managed to produce a flame from the electric range. We were always nearly burning that place down, which may explain why we were asked to leave the next year.

While I took care of the main course, XL handled double duty. Here he shows off the completely thawed bag of 87 cent french fries that served as our side dish...

...and here XL peals open ..."peeeeals open" the top of one of the four puddin' cups that made up our dessert. It fed four, by the way...

While throwing away some trash, XL hits a piece of our recording equipment. It's laughable now to think that he was worried about damaging it, since it was held together with bubble gum and scotch tape...

XL gets a bit crazy when applying the whipped cream to the dessert and shoots it right into, and then out of, his mouth. Notice the "XL's mouth sized" ball of dairy topping that is falling into the bowl here...

... I would have loved to have known that part of what was in that bowl was in XL's mouth, because I put my face in it.

When all was said and done, we had a nice looking plate to present to the camera...

...and to our roommate Wayne and his girlfriend.

Since we were 19 and lived on a dry campus, we made sure to serve the meal with this special "not-beer" rather than the real thing.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Some Things Should Stay Classified

The other day Inky was featured on Pop Candy, which is a pop culture blog that only features tremendously cool people. Aside from being really cool for Inky, and driving some traffic over to her site, it inadvertently gave me something great to post about. In the thousand plus comments on the post someone linked to this screen cap of an old Craig's List posting. If you can't read it, I'll transcribe it because, I'm cool like that, and I've got spare time:

To the Woman That Crapped in My Car (NE Portland)

We met on Craigslist so I am hoping this post finds you. I know that it could quite possibly be the most humiliating fist date that you have ever been on, but I am willing to look past that.

I thought we had chemistry sitting at McMenamins sharing that basket of Cajun Tots while drinking the Terminator Stout. I really felt like there was a connection there. I found you to be intelligent and witty and looked forward to further conversations with you.

At some point in life, everyone has gambled on a fart and lost. It just happened to be on a first date in the passenger seat of my car. Please don't feel bad. The package I sent you with Pepto the next day and the note that said 'first dates are always a crap shoot, call me' was meant to be funny, not offensive.

I have gambled on a fart and lost on multiple occasions. The fist time I did it was very memorable. It happened when I was five and sitting on my uncle's lap. I am lactose intolerant, but love cheese. I probably win 95% of the time, but I don't think anyone wins 100% of the time. That's why they call it "gambling". I'm the last person to judge you for crapping your pants. In fact, I am impressed by your boldness. The timing on the other hand, could have been a tad bit better... like when you're not sitting on a heated leather seat...

What I am trying to say is that if you want to go out again, I would be more than happy to take you someplace where we can get a meal that is high in fiber and less taxing on the digestive tract.

I await your call,

P.S. - If you shat on yourself on purpose to end the evening early... Touche'...

Who says chivalry is dead? Now, I'm sure you're thinking the same thing I did when I first read this, that is, after I picked myself up off the floor. You're probably thinking: there's no way this is real. And my gut tells me that it isn't either, but these days you never know. I checked Craig's List and the post is no longer up, but that doesn't mean it wasn't at one point. Of course, just being posted on the web doesn't make this story true, it could be some person with a strange sense of humor and an odd way of expressing it.

I have my doubts about it's validity because, lets face it, you'd have to be putting a lot of faith in the unknown to believe some of the facts contained in this posting. First: this guy says he "wins 95% of the time" when gambling on a fart. Let's do the math shall we. Assuming you take, oh I don't know... 400 dumps a year that would add up to losing, i.e. crapping yourself, 20 times each and every year. Staggering, and yet perhaps a reason why this guy is in the dating pool to begin with.

My second piece evidence that this is fake is the fact that he's looking for her in the first place. He says that he sent her the Pepto the next day, so he obviously knows how to reach her in some way. A-ha! Caught you on a technicality right there! But my third, and perhaps most ironclad piece of evidence is that no girl would ever fart in a car with a guy, although it could explain why she is still in the dating pool. The need to fart is cleverly set up by the previous mention of Cajun Tots, but there isn't a girl on the planet who wouldn't rush through the goodnight to get out of the car and then fart all the way up her front walk. That is, unless dating has changed a whole hell of a lot since I last did it in the 90's.

The lynch pin for me with this thing is the P.S. where Tad says "If you shat on yourself on purpose to end the evening early... Touche'...". I mean, come on, that's comedy gold. I won't even attempt to make a joke about that because you can't make a masterpiece better.

As my own post script, however, I will give you a few links to other listings I found on the Portland Craig's List page while looking for Tad. First is "Young Man Seeks Sugar Mama" which is pretty self explanatory except for the fact that the poster is 29 and he's looking for someone 20 and over. The second is titled "I Have Herpes...How 'bout You?" wherein the writer says that he is looking for someone with the Herp so he doesn't have to stress about giving it to someone he loves... like he does now with his girlfriend! Wow!

God bless the internets.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quality Time with the Captain

There was nothing better about being 20 than the ability to function on 4 hours of sleep. I did it quite a bit back then, in fact, I used to hate sleeping. I looked at it as if sleep was the time where I wasn't getting anything done. When I lived with XL in college we would stay up till all hours of the night playing video games, watching movies, drinking ourselves stupid or just bullshitting. We'd go to sleep at 4 and then wake up at 7:55 to rush to start our radio show at 8. And it was brilliant.

After college, I had a variety of jobs that all carried strange hours. When you're working on the 10 o'clock news there is no need to get up at 7. Like wise, when you are working for a baseball team, sleep goes out the window. By the time I made it into a grown up job I spent 75% of my time there working "non-traditional schedules" so I was always up late then too. So I never got in touch with a "normal" bed time, which I guess is about 10:30 or so.

Most nights, I don't even head for the Captain until well after 11:30. When I do, I always get sidetracked by web surfing, solitaire playing or just shooting the shit with Inky. By the time the lights go out it is usually well past midnight. Then the alarm rings out at 7:10 and I begin yet another day with less than 7 hours of sleep. Not surprisingly, I am sluggish and bitchy just about every day.

Last night was totally different though. After late nights on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I didn't have much of a choice in the matter when it came to Wednesday night's events. After making some fucking amazing spiedie pork chops and watching a little TV I made my way upstairs at 10 and I was out by 20 after. I think the last time I went to bed that early I had just finished watching Alf and asked my mom if I could stay up a bit longer to watch Night Rider.

It was everything a person can want from a night of sleep too. It was rejuvenating and invigorating and when I woke up I felt like I could run a marathon. I can't, of course, but I felt like it at least. But, the funny thing about all this is that I won't learn my lesson. Tonight I'll stay up till past midnight once again, mostly because I still can't admit to myself that I am a person who should be going to bed at 10:30. I'll sleep when I'm dead.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Summit, Peak, Pinnacle, Apex or Zenith. Call it What You Will: I'm There.

I was unaware that I was starting a journey as I sat in the Nashville airport on November 22nd 2008. I was waiting for a connecting flight from Baltimore to Seattle and I had time to kill. I ate, I talked to Inky on the phone and I watched "The Notorious Bettie Page" on my laptop, but I still had more time to kill. Not wanting to start another movie, I clicked open the solitaire game and set to work. I played a few games and then I got into a rhythm. Then it happened: I finished a game in what seemed like an impossibly fast time. The score was 4454 in 184 seconds. 'That's almost less than 3 minutes!' I thought to myself, and so I jotted the score and time down. Shortly there after I set a goal for myself of finishing a game in half that time: 90 Seconds.

Late last night it finally happened. I was getting ready to watch a Hamish and Andy clip on YouTube, but I wanted to let it download a bit before I started it. So, I popped a playlist on iTunes and opened solitaire. I won the first game in 133 seconds, which would have seemed amazing to me in November, but I had bigger fish to fry. As I listened to "The River" by Missy Higgins I played the game of my life, or at least of the last 5 months of my life. Everything fell into place so quickly that I even snuck a look at the timer at one point and saw it was on 57 seconds. I knew I was close and after a few more clicks I had met my ultimate goal.

A minute and a half. 90 seconds. That was all, and the game was over. I had hit my self imposed goal of a 90 second game right on the nose, also posting a new high score of 8442 points. Now, my three best scores are all 100 seconds or less, and don't get me wrong, that's great, but what do I do now? Should I hang a banner in my office that says mission accomplished or should I set my sights on an even more ambitious goal? An 80 second game, or maybe a cool one minute?

I think I'll take a little time off to contemplate my success and then make my mind up after that. Plus, I don't know if I'm going to have a lot of time to play while I make the rounds of the Talk Show circuit. It may be best to wait till I can focus on the task 100%. Yeah, that sounds good.

Anatomy of a record, the time line of my achievement:

11/22/08: I post my first "fastest game" with a score of 4454 in 184 seconds. The Quest begins.

1/27/09: After a few weeks shaving chunks off my P.B. I finally play a sub 2 minute game, posting a score of 6576 in 119 seconds. My previous best was 6081/129. There is much rejoicing.

2/15/09: I begin to think I'll never be able to finish faster than 2 minutes as I rack up yet another 119 second win, this time yielding 6538 points.

2/28/09: Now fully in the solitaire doldrums, the best I have done is to shave 2 more seconds off my P.B. as I hit 6633/117. Just for a second, I allow myself to think it can't be done.

3/15/09: Out of nowhere I post my first game over 7k points and under 110 seconds with a 7175/107. Some are shocked after I shed 10 full seconds from by previous best, but I never had any doubts.

3/29/09: 7 more seconds fall by the wayside, and my P.B. now stands at an even 100 seconds, with a score of 7660. I've made 10 second jumps before and I know I am on the verge. I am starting to become pretty full of myself around the house.

4/5/09: I am so focused on the task at hand that I begin to think of myself as a kind of solitaire ninja. I play my first double digit game, racking up a score of 8092 in 94 seconds. Inky is now getting pretty sick of hearing about my quest and I realize I have to finish this up before she shivs me in the shower.

4/19/09: Like all great achievements I didn't even see it coming, but I get my just desserts. 8442 points in 90 seconds and I now a solitaire god. Not the God, but a god. Feel free to worship me.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

"People should know when they are conquered"

In the the shockingly YouTube-clipless movie "Brewster's Millions" the character of Monty Brewster says he can beet any team, even the New York Yankees, for 3 innings. So he spends part of his initial inheritance of 30 million dollars to set up a game with the Yankees in Hackensack New Jersey. All this is so he can win the larger inheritance of 300 million which, in 1985, was supposed to be an amount so large that it was unfathomable. Now, 300 million is about what the Yankee payroll is. Not that all that money helped them today mind you, but I'm getting off track.

I mention Monty Brewster's dream of playing the big boys as a way of setting the scene for what went down in my town today. A group of local boys who played ball in high school, college and even a few in the pros banded together to take on the York Revolution. Ok, so it's not the Hackensack Bulls v the New York Yankees, but to some of the people in my town, it was bigger.

See, the York team is a professional team, but they are not affiliated with Major League Baseball, so many around here see them as worthless. Adding to that perception is the fact that before the Revolution came to York in 2006 we already had two leagues that were big time around here. At least in the minds of the locals. The Central and Susquehanna Leagues are filled with guys who were always the best player on their team, until they weren't anymore.

Some were big time in high school and then didn't make it in college. Others were good enough to be big time in college but never went pro. Those who did go pro, either out of high school or college, didn't make it to the show. So they came home and got regular jobs like the rest of us, but still had to scratch that baseball itch each spring. So they play in the Central and the Susquehanna. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as you keep it in perspective.

Perspective is not something that people around these parts seem to be too good at, however. Since the Rev's began playing in '06 I have had countless discussions with people who wanted to tell me that the quality of ball being played by the Rev's wasn't any better than that being played in the Central or Susquehanna. In some cases, people even told me it was worse. No matter how I tried to explain it, these people couldn't be told that their local boys weren't as good as these out of towners who came to play in York each summer.

For me, that was the point of today's Brewster's type game. For the naysayers to see first hand what would happen when a team of has-beens takes on a team of never-will-bes, even if they are local never-will-bes. The-beens used 6 runs in the 4th and 9 in the 8th to earn a convincing 18-1 victory. Well, convincing to some of us. I overheard some of the more ardent townball supporters bitching at the end of the game. They said that it would have been different if they had left Shawn Hedrick in for the whole game. The Red Lion star pitched two hitless innings, striking out 4* and walking one. No matter how good he was for two innings, he wasn't going to no-hit a pro team for 9 and he wasn't going to hold them to a run or less.

I honestly didn't think the local boys would even score one run. Chalk that up to apathy on the Rev's side. I also heard one local boy tell his friends as he warmed up in the bullpen that "They let us know that they really didn't want to play this game." Yeah, no shit. And now, I bet all those Yorkers who touted the supremacy of townball over the Revs wish they hadn't played either. Sometimes it's better to not know, ya know?

*In other news related to today's game, York Leadoff hitter Dave Flood struck out in his first AB. Why is that significant? Well Flood has the all time smallest strike zone in baseball history. At three foot two, Flood is the Rev's version of Bill Veeck's experiment with Eddie Gaedel who was a little person who drew a walk with the Indians in '51. How Flood didn't do the same today is still a mystery to me as Hedrick struck him out on a 3-2 pitch to start the game. I have no doubt that all 6 pitches were balls and the umpire was just fed up with the charade.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Love My Wife This Much

Last night as Inky was tucking me in I told her that I love her with all my heart and soul. Sadly that was a lie. It's not that I don't love her, because my world would be darkness without her. I love her enough to storm a Somali pirate ship for her, but heart and soul doesn't apply. Why? Well I'm a guy who once aspired to the priesthood who now thinks of organized religion as the cause of pretty much every problem in the history of mankind. So, its safe to say my soul isn't worth a whole lot. Likewise, my heart would be rejected by dog food manufactures, coming as I do from a long line of men who had catastrophic cardiac arrest before the age of 60.

So you see, telling Inky that I love her with all my heart and soul would be like Chris Brown telling Rihana he loves her with all his respect for women. Or like Glen Beck saying "I love you with all my rationality and sanity." It rings hallow. The saying should incorporate things that are important to you, or at least things you have in abundance. For instance, I may tell Inky that I love her with all my body hair and tattoos. One of them is a thing I have a lot of and the other is a thing I love, so there.

Heidi, I love you with all my body hair and tattoos. You and me forever baby!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GreTo to Headline Writers: Enough Already

I'm not sure when and where it all started, but I've had just about enough of these celebrity nicknames that combine first and last names. It all seems to have begun with FloJo back in the 80's but it was born anew with ARod and J-Lo about a decade ago. Commentators took Alex RODriguez and Jennifer LOpez and turned them into easily marketable products, highly identifiable by their brand. From there it has only gotten worse in both the sports world, and in Hollywood. ARod begot HRod, KRod and even Orioles second baseman BRob: Brian Roberts. Its all stupid, but at least they were common names that were morphed into easily identifiable monikers for the sake brevity.

In Hollywood that's not the case. With the exception of Jennifer Lopez, who had to separate herself from all the other famous Jennifer's most of the people with these shortened nicknames don't need them. Take for example Lindsay Lohan. If you are a person who is inclined to read gossip sites do you really need differentiation between her and say... Lindsay Graham? If a headline says "Lindsay's coke fueled bender" are you really stopping to wonder: Do they mean Lindsay Lohan? No. So why would they dub her LiLo? That is so fucking stupid!

An even more egregious example floated in front of my eyes when I logged on to check my email this morning. The headline read: "ScarJo Chews Up Media Over Superhero Diet". ScarJo. Seriously? Is that where we are now? This woman is one of the most famous actors in the world, and it's not like she is named Jane Smith or anything. You would think that she would fall into the Angelina & Madonna school of reference, where only a first name is needed. Again, if you are a person who is inclined to follow pop culture happenings who else would occupy the number one spot on your Scarlett Quick Reference Guide? Let's take a look at other possible candidates. Top 8 answers on the board, name a famous Scarlett/Scarlet:

Scarlett O'Hara: On the Family Feud big board she'd probably be second to Ms. Johansson in popularity, but she is A) Fictional and B) Would be dead today if she was real.

Will Scarlet: I don't know if he'd even make most people's Family Feud board anymore, because god knows people don't read anymore, but he's the third person I thought of. Again he both fictional and long dead.

Scarlet Fever: In a "Scarlet/Scarlett based word associate game this one is bound to come up. However, since it is a disease it really wouldn't need differentiation from a hot young actress. On the other hand, the story was about weight loss and having scarlet fever would cause you to lose weight.

Miss Scarlet: In my household this would be higher on the list than in most, because of Inky's great love of the movie Clue, but once again this person is fictional, and in some outcomes: a murderer.

Matthew Scarlett: He is another one who would be high on the list in my house, due to his status as one of the all time best fullbacks in the history of Aussie Rules Footy. Also for the fact he plays for our beloved Cats. I think it is a safe bet to say that he wouldn't be in danger of being confused with Ms. Johansson in the US anytime soon.

The Scarlet Pimpernel: Yet another literary reference and another fictional and long dead character. Despite his status as the O.G. masked crime fighter and progenitor of Batman and his ilk, I would guess that maybe 1 in 100 people under 25 would know who or what he is. As an upside, he would have pretty much the most badass "J-Lo" type nickname of all time: ScarPimp... I'm feeling a comeback. 50 Cent can star in it.

Scarlett the Cat. No, not Matt Scarlett the Geelong Cat, this is Scarlett the actual feline who was badly burned in a crackhouse fire in the mid 90's. If you didn't live in the greater New York area you may not have heard this story, and as it turns out, she died a few months ago so she too wouldn't be in danger of being confused with Ms. Johansson.

So there we have it. An exhaustive and ridiculous list of just about every other thing that might pop into your mind if you were to see Scarlett/Scarlet in a headline. I hope this proves that there is no reason to ever use ScarJo when referring to Scarlett Johansson. But, more than that, I hope we can all agree to get rid of this phenomenon all together. GreTo has spoken.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Solitaire 101

As I mentioned in my vitriol filled anti-Easter rant on Saturday night, I had a hard go of it last week. The thought of spending hours on and flipping through the classifieds is enough to make me sick, but that's where I find myself. I will be out of a job in 78 days, so on the one hand, at least I'll have time to find another gig, but on the other, I'm a lame duck. In the end, that should mean more time to play solitaire, but it may also necessitate the need to donate bodily fluids for cash, so it's a mixed bag.

Amid all that chaos last week, I did manage to post a real good score. I played a game in 101 seconds which is good for third best on my list. I still have the mythical and elusive 90 second game in my sights and I'm not going to quit any time soon. Solitaire may choose to let me go at the end of the fiscal year, but.... well that's another story.

#1: 8092/94
#2: 7660/100
#3: 7588/101


Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Swift Kick in the Eggs

It's Easter Huh? I guess I must have missed all the build up to it. To say that I've fallen out of touch with my Christian upbringing would be huge understatement. Over the last few years the most Easterie thing I've done is eat some ham with a peep chaser. And that was at the peak of my enthusiasm. This year I actually found myself wondering if I would go straight to hell if I went to a tittie bar on Easter Sunday. That gives whole new meaning to "behold, he is risen." Yup, those hell fires are stoked for me.

Maybe it's just that I've become gradually more jaded; or maybe it's because I don't have kids to pass the pomp and circumstance of these holidays on to, but I'm just not buying. Literally. The two biggest holidays of the Christian calender are supposed to be about celebrating Jesus' birth and remembering the sacrifice made for all mankind in his death. That's what they are supposed to be. That's not what they are, at least for all but the most ardent followers. No, Christmas and Easter are all about commerce, and I suppose in this economy that's a good thing. If we don't buy chocolate bunnies and guitar hero than the terrorists win.

Some say that the material aspect of the big holidays is secondary to the real reason they enjoy it, namely, a reason to gather with the family. Again, I may be jaded, but I say if you need a special reason to go see your family, you probably didn't want to see them all that much to begin with. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to around the holidays who bemoan the fact that they have to go to Grandma's house when all they really want to do is take the long weekend to relax after a hard week in the salt mines. It's all just institutionalized spending and interaction, and it is all bullshit.

I had a pretty tough week, and all I wanted to do was mope around the house muttering to myself while playing PlayStation and watching the O's. So that's what I did, but I think I earned it. I started the week by finding out that I'll be getting laid off on June 30th. I spent the rest of the week trying to figure out what my next step will be. To top it all off, I still haven't posted a new solitaire high score yet, and believe me, I've tried. Sure there were bright spots. The O's are playing well, the Cats won and Inky and are getting more than a grand back from the feds. But when things are really dark you need a lot more bright spots than this to light things up.

So I'll spend the rest of my "holiday" quietly in the house. I'll watch the Masters, the O's and some Footy while eating crap that's no good for me. And, I will like it. The high point of my day will be when I pop "Hank and Mike" into my DVD player. I think it will be a very fitting way to tie my Easter together, don't you:

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Song Spotlight: "Escaping" by Blues Traveler

One of the most amazing things about music is its ability to mold and shape to your life. No mater what they say in Rolling Stone interviews, we'll never really fully know what an artist was thinking when they wrote a song, but that doesn't matter. In the end its just about what the song means to you. For instance, it may be a song about lost love, but if you have love you might see it as lost opportunity, etc. This morning I was sitting at my desk listening to a 90's music play list on my iPod and this song came on. I've always loved this song, but today it had particular resonance for me.

Come with me and take my hand
Don't look back just let it end
Walk with me for one more mile
And think this over for awhile
And decide
I've been thinking for some time
Of escaping
More than once it's really crossed my mind

There's a little bit further left to go
We're not too fast and we're not too slow
The deadline's ours, we're doing fine
I'm not yours and you're not mine
Please decide

Come see what the madman sees
In escaping
The endless possibilities
Of escaping...I'm escaping

When you try to look around but the walls are closing in
And you've got just enough strength to think of starting again
But you don't have the time you cannot think or hesitate
Because the bus just left and you're seven hours late
And all you can see is the sun going down
In some far away land in some far away town
And all of a sudden you find you just don't care
And you'd give everything you have if you could be over there
And even though you don't know how
But you think you know why
You could be full of shit
But you could give it a real good try
Try...try...please try...try

I see the decision in your eyes
No, it's OK, and I'm not surprised
See just like you, I'm not afraid
Of being scared of the choice you made
So did I
You see nobody said that your life is fair
So you turn around now you know your home's back there
I've got to find out what I can see
I love you and remember me
Please don't cry...Don't cry
Oh say good-bye my friend
I'm escaping
I guess all I can do is recommend

Try escaping
Try escaping
Try escaping
Try escaping...


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dream Jobs

Some people have different definitions of certain words and phrases. Dream job, for instance means different things to different people. A few months back I was thinking about the dream job being offered by the State of Queensland office of tourism, but that was not to be. In my mind there are two types of dream jobs: attainable and not attainable. I know what you’re thinking like Kevin Garnett says, “anything is possible” but it really isn’t. For instance, the 5 jobs that I would call my “dream job” are not really attainable, either due to issues with access or apathy. They are, in no specific order:

Play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles. This job would combine two of my favorite things: The Orioles and Talking. I did quite a bit of baseball announcing in college and I always really enjoyed it.

Travel Writer. To be paid to travel is my ultimate dream, and to write about it would make it twice as cool.

Stand Up Comic: In the end, all I’ve ever wanted from life was for people to think I’m funny. I tried stand up once, and it didn’t go well. Ask Inky or XL about it.

Quality Control Technician at a blow job factory. This is a job I invented a few years ago when I was trying to make the point to Inky that a job is a job and will always kind of suck (no pun intended) no matter how good it seems. Still, I’d be willing to give it a shot.

Cooking Show Host. Yet another gig that I took a trial run at in college, and while it was fun, Food Network wasn’t knocking down my door. But, it’s their loss because put simply, I’d make Emerill, Rach, Bobby and Giada my bitches.

Those are the jobs that I would pick if a Genie offered me the chance to wish for any job. Not surprisingly, if Genie offered me any wish, jobs wouldn’t be part of the equation. Sufficed to say, I’m not the type of person who would still work if I ever won the Power Ball. As for jobs I would want to do, that may also be attainable, that’s a different story all together. Sadly, simply being attainable is not enough, there are other factors. Since money factors into any choice an everyman like me makes, I have to think about sustaining the lifestyle to which Inky and I have become accustomed. Hence naming these jobs is somewhat of an exercise in futility, but I’ll do it anyway. Here, in order from last to first, are my five “attainable dream jobs”:

#5: Indie Radio Host: I loved my time on the radio in college, but the beauty of college radio is its freedom of format. We learned pretty quickly that once you graduated radio became a grind just like any other job. You had to do an airshift where you played a bunch of crap you hated and then you had to go do appearances at the local tire-mart opening. But a handful of stations, like WXPN in Philly, WRNR in Annapolis or Indie 103 in LA, are free form and allow the Jock to play the music they are interested in. These jobs are as rare as a non media-whore Kardashian sister, but I would love a shot. If in the states, I would host a show called “Daytime at Night” from 11PM to 2AM eastern where I would play all Aussie music, since it would be the afternoon in Oz.

#4: Fulltime Blogger: Jobs as a fulltime blogger are as rare as a really beautiful person who is still completely down to earth and fun to be around. It is also just as hard to understand how these jobs exist as it is to believe in such a person. Would that I could, I would while away the days blogging my thoughts on all manner of subjects, like I do on TGWOOfY, but I’d get paid for it.

#3: Distant Scientific Outpost Monitoring Guy. I’d like to think that there is some job out there where I could just take readings off of a meter and then jot it down on a clipboard and forward the results to the NGS or NOAA or something. It would be the kind of gig that Inky and I would do in tandem, and allow her the time to write and me my precious Play Station time. All I would need is high speed internet and this would be a total go for me. While the isolation would be tough on some people, the lack of interaction with complete and total douche-nozzles would make it a dream. Possible locations for this job would be: the South Pole, The Australian Outback, A remote unpopulated island in the Pacific or the rim of some long dormant volcano.

#2: Any job in Australia: I may be foolish when I say this, but I think I would do just about any job if I could live in Oz. The thought actually living in Melbourne, Sydney or Geelong would offset the normal suckitude of working a menial job. I’d gladly do 8 hours at Foot Locker or at some poorly lit call center if I could wander through Fitzroy Gardens on my way home. And I’d put up with a whole lot of boss related bull shit if I could punch the time clock and meet Inky at Skilled to watch the Cats play. Obviously, the daily double would be doing any of the other 4 jobs on the list while in Oz, especially the next one:

#1: Strip Club DJ: Try as you may, you can’t change who you are fundamentally. I am a guy who loves strip clubs, and has since the first time I set foot in one back in the early 90’s. I have also longed to say “Alllllright fellas, put those hands together as we welcome the lovely Mercedes to the main stage” as “Girls Girls Girls” by Motley Crue blares over the speakers.

Part of this dream job, aside from the obvious, would be the ability to get more information for a book XL, Inky and I have long talked about writing: “The Gentleman’s Guide to Gentleman’s Clubs,” This soon to be classic tome would teach both the veteran and rookie strip club goer everything the need to know to have an amazing time. It seems anathema to all logic, but some people need to be taught how to maximize their enjoyment while in a room where hot women are taking their clothes off and gyrating on their laps.

Well, there it is my list of dream jobs both attainable and unattainable. If you happen to see any of these advertised on Monster or anything be sure to let me know.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Double Figures Bitches!

I used to wonder what Roald Amundsen, Edmund Hillary and Neal Armstrong felt in the moment just before they achieved their amazing firsts. Now, I don't have to wonder any longer, I know. I know the pride that must have been swelling in Amundsen's chest as he took the last few steps toward the South Pole. I know the amazing sense of achievement that must have begun to set in as Hillary and Norgay made their way to the top of Everest. And I know the feeling of getting away with something that Armstrong must have had as he hopped around that TV studio in Dallas in July of '69.

I know all of this because I am on the precipice of greatness myself. This week, I posted a solitaire score in the double figures for the first time ever. I played a near flawless game that concluded with a score of 8092 in 94 seconds. That shaves 6 seconds off my previous best time while adding 432 points to my PB score. My personal summit is just 4 seconds away and I can practical feel my own pole in my fingers... er... you know what I mean. I'm almost there.

With a four day work week upon me, I think I'll have a lot more free time to pursue the record. I've done my best work on weekends of late, but his particular PB happened late one night, long past my bedtime, as I listened to Green Day's "American Idiot." Who knows when the moment will arrive when I play a 90 second, or lower, game.

Now, all my best times are 107 seconds or better and all my best scores are above 7k. In short, I am a solitaire force to be reckoned with and I will have my own special on Discovery Channel one day.

#1: 8092/94
#2: 7660/100
#3: 7175/107


Friday, April 03, 2009

Congratulations Parents: You've Turned Your Kids into Pornographers!

As Young Hollywood goes, so goes Small Town America... eventually. About a year and a half ago I did a post about all the hubbub surrounding the news that nude photos of High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens had hit the web. In classic yet ridiculous 21st century fashion, this phenomenon now has a name: sexting. I'm a big fan of the Rick Vaughn school of thought that says "if you get a piece of it, you can name it" which would mean that rather than sexting, we should be calling it Hiltoning, but that's just me.

No matter what you call it, it is here to stay. Some fads are born in Hollywood and die there; only ever mentioned again on a VH1 special years later. However, once they become prevalent in sleepy little place like Spring Grove PA, they are here forever. Two freshman girls at Spring Grove Area High School are at the center of a storm that hit when they sent out nude photos of themselves to classmates. Freshman! As in 14 or 15 years old. Born in 1994 or 1995! The school has sent a letter to parents to address the topic, but the genie is out of the bottle. Not even the threat of a felony conviction on child pornography charges will stop some of these kids from circulating their nude pics. That is because, for many of them, it just doesn't seem like a big deal to lay yourself bare on the web, figuratively or literally.

Back in '07 when I blogged about the Hudgens story I wondered what would make a young person expose this type of image to the world. I'm a strong believer that the youth of today will go out of their way to do online what would normally be done IRL. Whereas sports begot Wii, and talking gave way to texting now even awkward teen sexuality has gone digital. Gone are the days where you reluctantly let a member of the opposite sex see you nude for the first time in your parents basement or the backseat of your car. Now, that awkward moment lasts a lifetime, and is easily mass distributed to everyone in third period French.

Or, put more succinctly: If the movie 16 Candles were to be remade today, and give it time, it probably will, the big embarrassing scene would be very different. Rather than being humiliated because she "gave her panties to a geek", Molly Ringwald's character would be shamed because she hadn't waxed before sending out that picture to the whole sophomore class. Parents do a lot of worrying about sexual predators out there, but what they should be looking out for is who their own kids think is cool. And the stakes are higher than ever, because in our world today, your mistakes will live on in a string of zeros and ones for ever.