Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Blog: One Teddy Bear's Story

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit reluctant to accept Greazy's invitation to start blogging here at TGWOOfY. You see, I'm a second class citizen in this world. I can't vote, I can't own property and I sure as hell don't get heard. The effectiveness of me and my kind usually ends about the time the kid we grow up with turns 13 or 14. Then they slough us off for their teen years.

Not that I blame the little fuckers for doing it. Just consider how much we'd love to start thinking if the cute girl in class is going to dance with us at the big dance. We have none of that to look forward to. No. Instead we sit on a shelf if we're lucky until the kid goes off to college. The unlucky ones get tossed aside and are only appreciated by the parents, and even then it's only as a prism through witch to see how much the little monster has grown up.

All of that said, I have been very lucky. I've said it before but it bears repeating. I am one of the extremely lucky ones who has had a life long friendship with my kid. He grew up and always took me along with him. Then I got even more lucky that he found a wife who doesn't see the fact that he keeps me around as a sign of a lack of manliness or complex emotional problems.

So when he came to me and said he was thinking about starting his blog up again, but that he needed a little help writing it, I had just one choice. I would write for him and try to turn my quite literal unblinking eyes toward the world around us. Our world is complex and scary and sometimes it is best framed by the good, honest and adorable. And let's face it, I'm fucking cute as all shit. So I'll let you know what I think about issues both big and small.

I take it as an honor and a privilege that Greazy would be willing to give me this opportunity and there is no way I could raise my paw in protest.
____________________________

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Quick Trip to the Big Apple

Inky and I made our way into the city that never sleeps yesterday to see a live taping of The Daily Show. I was on FaceBook one day when they posted that there were tickets available and I jumped on it right away. It's a good thing I did too, because about ten minutes later they were all gone.

We've both always wanted to see a taping of either Jon or Stephen Colbert's show and my career interregnum provided the best opportunity to do it, albeit on the cheep. To that end, we started the trip off with a classic NYC dirt cheep lunch. After parking in Hoboken and taking the PATH over to 9th St. in the West Village we stopped into the Grey's Papaya location at 6th and 8th for the Recession Special. For $4.45 you get two dogs anyway and a drink the perfect NYC lunch, done fast, cheep and standing up. Since we paid so little for lunch and since we had tons of time to kill before the show started we made our way down to the Lower East Side to have a little desert.

We went to The Doughnut Plant so I could satiated my long held desire for one of their peanut butter and jelly doughnuts. It is a square blackberry-filled doughnut that is covered in peanut butter glaze and sprinkled with roasted peanuts. Or more succinctly: it is fifteen bites of heaven. Once I had fully recovered from the religious experience that was the PB&J doughnut we hopped a subway ride up town to Central Park for a bit of a walk about. Sadly, while the sun was quite warm the air temp never popped above the 50 degree mark so it wasn't ideal for a more complete probe of the park. So, after stopping of at The very posh "Shops at Columbus Circle" to use their positively un-posh restrooms we headed west.

We thought we would buzz by the Daily Show studios to see if anyone was crazy enough to get in line two full hours before they said you needed to be. Sadly, more than a hundred and fifty people were just that crazy and that meant that we had to cut our wandering short and join them in the line. We met a trio of very nice city folk who had cut their work day short to see the show and the conversation passed a bit of the time. After tackling the President's Libya speech in the first two blocks of the show Jon welcomed his guest Dr. Miguel Nicolelis who is doing some amazing work. The Duke University prof is working on decoding the electrical impulses of the brain with a goal of outfitting quadriplegics with a suit that will respond to their thoughts and enable them to walk again. It makes me happy to know that there are people like Dr. Nicolelis in the world.

Following the show we headed back to Hoboken where we had dinner at one of my old man's favorite places: Arthur's Tavern. When I was just a lil greazy I used to marvel at the huge steaks they sold there, and when I got older I even downed one of their gargantuan 49 oz "Double" steaks a few times. Those days are long past me, and so Inky and I just got burgers which are always amazing there. All in all it was a great way to spent a Tuesday. I hate that I have all this free time during the week in the place of a job. I guess as long as I do I may as well have a day like this from time to time to keep me sane. _______________________________

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where Do I See Myself in Five Years? That's Simple:

I have yet another job interview later today and I'm sure it will be full of all of the same questions: "What is your greatest strength?" "What is your greatest weakness" and the ever popular "Where do you see yourself in five years?" I have stock answers for each of those questions, none of which are the real answers. The real ones go some thing like this "I can talk to anyone anywhere about anything" "I would always rather enjoy my life my way rather than work" and "Geelong".

The fetching photo you see above is of Corio Bay which laps lightly at the shores of Geelong, Victoria in beautiful Australia. That is where I see myself in 5 years, and it has been since Inky and I first drove through there more than 6 years ago. I know the interview question is supposed to suss out how much drive you have in propelling yourself down your career path, but for me the career is secondary to the location. I'd happily do just about any job that would keep the bills paid, food in the cupboard and perhaps leave a few extra bucks for Cats games at Skilled Stadium every now and again.

I know that the way I feel is quite un-American, and maybe that's why my dream doesn't really involve the US. I've been sick of the very idea of the rat race for a long time, let along the practice of it. I don't want to ladder climb, social climb or listen to Miley Cyrus sing "The Climb" which are all shitty options in their own way. No, what I want is to have my little task to do every day and to do it to the very best of my ability. It's not that I'm lazy. Far from it. I love working hard at a specified task and I love excelling at it even more so. If that task makes someone else's life a little better than that's just a great cherry on top. What I don't want from a job is to have to play politics or try and make someone, be it client or coworker, do something they don't want/need to do.

I don't know if such a job exists any longer.

So perhaps I have to change the question to: "Where don't you see yourself in five years?" to which I have some more specific answers. I don't want to be living in this house, or any house for that matter. I'll be quite happy to just call the super when something goes wrong from now on thank you very much. I don't want to be living to work, which is sadly the pass time of far too many an American. I don't want to be pulling the wool over a customer's eyes in order to make the company/boss richer. I don't want to be a few months away from my 40th birthday, but there's nothing I can do about that one. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I don't want to be anywhere unless Inky is there with me.

I don't think this is too much to ask. We'll see.
_____________________________

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Double Figures Bitches!

When I hit 100 seconds last week I was pretty sure a double digit game was right around the corner. I was sure I'd post a 95 or a cheeky 90 before too long, but I didn't really think I'd shave 16 seconds off my best time! After that 100 second game I picked out another Kelly Brook picture (if it ain't broke don't fix it am I right) and prepared for a new week of mine-sweeping. I had a few more games in the low 100's as the week went on and then boom: 84.

I was playing the new Adele record, which is f'ing fantastic by the way, and I got into a great rhythm. Despite my previous advice to not play the corners I started the game by clicking the upper right corner and that opened up a nice swath of the playing board. From there it was a blur of clicks and darting eyes and a minute and 24 seconds later I had a new fastest time. The best I ever did in solitaire was 82 seconds, and so that has become my new goal.

I think it should be easy enough to drop two more seconds, especially with Kelly's help. I will have one little challenge, however, as Inky and I are taking to the road this week to see a live taping of The Daily Show in NYC. So I'll be away from the office for a day or two, but I love a challenge.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Geelong Football: Into a New Era

While the NFL players and owners squabble over a few billion dollars there are still some guys out there playing football. This morning the Geelong Cats of the Australian Football League started off their season against one of their most hated rivals the St. Kilda Saints. The game (which can be seen on ESPN3 for the next week)was vastly different for us Cats fans, and that was even before the game started.

The Cats have been the dominating team in their sport for the past 4 years, winning two titles in that time and making deep runs in the finals all 4 years. But, during this past off season they lost their coach and best player in the course of a week. They enter this season under new leadership on the field and in the coaches box and most of us fans didn't know what to expect.

I'm happy to say that the Cats won their opening game against the Saints, but sad on few different fronts. Firstly, the Cats lost one of the best players in the league to a terrible concussion. Joel Selwood is the guy who us Cats fans were hoping would step us another level from his already lofty perch that he demonstrated in his first 4 seasons to fill the void left by Gary Ablett Jr's defection. And it looked like he was doing just that early on, but then he went low to pick up a loose ball and took a hip to the head and shoulders that resulted in him being taken off the field in a neck brace and on a backboard. So that was the first thing that made me sad.

The second was the fact that the Cats winning score was 6.12 (48) to 6.11 (47) which is a pittance compared to the scoring we've come to expect from their offence. Six goals is about what the Cats would put on the board in a quarter during their run as the elite team in the league. In response to their unbeatable style of play the rest of the league in general and St. Kilda and Collingwood in particular changed their style to try and slow the Cats rampaging style.

In the end, the Cats won and any win over St. Kilda is worth a lot, so I can't complain too much. But, I really hope that we'll see some more free flowing footy in the months to come as the Cats begin to get comfortable with their new coach, Chris Scott.
______________________________________

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Day The Cuteness Died

As I'm sure you're all aware the bear community lost a rock star this week. Knut the polar bear died at the age of 4 in a German zoo. In the bear world there are a lot of stars, but most of them are older like Teddy Ruxpin, Smokey or that bitch Pooh. There are some younger stars like Rupert from Family guy but no one burst on to the cuteness scene like Knut. He captivated the public with his antics like... well, don't know what the fuck he did. I'm guessing he ate a lot and occasionally took a huge dump in the water, which you humans find totally engrossing as opposed to just gross.

But, as is so often the case these days, Knut couldn't handle the pressure of being famous. Add him to the list that includes Cobain, Hendrix, Joplin and Jim Morrison. You see polar bear years are about 6.75 to every one human year which at four would make Knut 27 in human years, the same age as all of those other stars who burned out too soon. They all became victims of their own success and in the end they couldn't handle it. It's sad really, but we will go on now as we've done before. I heard that there's a really cute new panda at the zoo in Atlanta.

Just sayin'...
_________________________

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adventures in Unemployment: The Job Fair

Looking for work is just about the worst thing in the world. And that's when you already have a job. It's about a million times worse when staring down the barrel of the gun that is the end of your UC benefits. I often equate the process with dating, even though I have more experience interview for jobs then dating since I started dating my wife when I was 20. But when you look at a first interview being more like a first date and the worry of coming off too desperate to the other party you can see how the two are alike.

If that is the case then I partook in the job search version of speed dating today: the job fair. This particular carnival of potential employment took place at my alma mater. It was advertised as being for both alumni and current students but I found myself to be a man among bros. Most of the employers on hand had a lot of entry level jobs and internships to offer, which should have been a bad thing considering I've been out of school for 13 years. However, when your career interregnum has lasted as long as mine has you start looking for any opportunity to just get a pay check.

So, I found myself talking to employers about jobs that would pay me closer to what I made when I was 25 rather than what I would have expected to make at 35. Que sera sera, you know? It is rather daunting to be on diametrically opposed sides to the college job fair experience. Back in 1998 I went to one of these things when I was 21 and a few months away from graduation. At that time I found that I was constantly worried that they wouldn't take me when they could have a person with actual experience under their belt, even if it meant that they would make a few more bucks than I would get.

Now, I find myself applying for jobs knowing that the 21 year old bros and hoes (most of whom couldn't even bother to put on business dress for the event) will be able to take less than me and as such will be considered before me. I'm trying to keep positive through this whole thing, and I know all I need is a bit of luck or to be in the right place at the right time. In the meantime I've been practicing saying "would you like fries with that" just to be safe.

We shall see.
___________________________

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Well I'll Be Damned

This may come as a staggering shock to anyone who reads my blog, but I have quite robust collection of porn. I'd like to think of myself as a porn aficionado, but I'd also like to think of myself as employed while I'm at it and thinking hasn't got my anywhere in either case. At any rate, I've got heaps and heaps of porn, some of it that is now old enough to actually BE IN porn. My oldest one is from 1990, which is either impressive, sad or a combination of both.

So I was flipping through one of my older vintages, a High Society from mid '01, when I came across the "Amateur Auditions section". That's when I saw... what? No! Not literally came across. Sicko. Where was I? Oh yeah, Amateur Auditions. The first woman featured in the "send us your photos and we'll send you cash" section was 19 year old Katie (see we ll edited photo above) from Phoenix Arizona. As it turns out, she is Katie Morgan, who after going into and retiring from a porn career has moved on to hosting shows on HBO doing a radio program and large role in Kevin Smith's movie "Zach and Miri Make a Porno".

I'm not surprised that just before she embarked on a career that involved taking her clothes off on camera that she sent in naked pictures to High Society. What does surprise me is what this revelation, now ten years later, tells me about some of my guesses about this very common section of many skin mags. Like, for instance, that either the publishers or the submitter herself change the ages downward. Katie is listed at 19 years old in '01, but she was born in '80 so she was either 20 or 21 when the pictures were taken.

That confirms one thing I always thought, but I do have to admit that I was surprised that she was listed with the name Katie. I always thought that along with their ages the names, and occupations were changed too. In fact I was sure of it, and now, along comes this example to prove to me that I was mistaken.

It just goes to show you that there is much to be learned from porn.
________________________________

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chipping Away

Sometimes in the quest for solitaire/minesweeper fame the strides are great. Sometimes, they are small, but no matter the size, they are all steps forward. In the end, that is all that really matters. Would I have liked to make it into double figures this week? Sure I would have, but if the last 18 months have taught me anything it's that we don't always get what we want. And that you can be both over and under qualified for various aspects of a job, but that's not germane to the topic of high speed minesweeper.

You may be asking yourself: "Greazy, how do you do it?" if you're not asking that I'll ask you to play along while I give you an answer. I have a few simple rules for my time trials. #1) A good iTunes play list is a must. There's nothing worse than being in the middle of a fast game only to be distracted by a song that you don't dig or the end of a play list. That only serves to ruin your time. Rule #2 is all about the back drop. I have chosen to go with an all Kelly Brook collection for my speed solitaire/minesweeper endeavors and they've served me well thus far.

Lastly, rule #3 is forget about the corners. Some people start with a corner but you know the people who program the game know that and so you almost never get a game with all four corners clear. The truth is that the first square you click on will never have a mine under it so I go for center mass and try to open up as big a clearing as possible.

Now you know, and as an old friend of mine named Joe used to tell me daily, that is half the battle. So download some Kelly Brook pics, pop on a good play list enjoy your mine sweeping

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 100 Songs of '10: 10-1

10) The Verses (Featuring Dan Sultan) - Running Away



9) Angus & Julia Stone - Big Jet Plane


(the actual video can not be imbedded but is very good, find it here)

8) Stars - Fixed


(offical video link)

7) The Pretty Reckless - Goin' Down



6) Adele - Rolling in the Deep



5) Bettie Serveert - Love Lee



4) Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Bottled in Cork



3) Arcade Fire - Rococo



2) Washington - Sunday Best



1) Cee Lo Green - Fuck You

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Top 100 Songs of '10: 55-11

Now it's time for the next group of 45 songs on my Top 100 of 2010. Even though I wasn't blogging throughout 2010 I was still buying music when I could and since I was buying music, I felt the need to make a list. It's what I do. I've tried twelve step programs but I find that to be counterproductive since it is by very definition just a list of twelve things to do and as such seems to exacerbates my issue.

Back to the music.

Even though I had made a list and tinkered with it to come up with an order I liked late in the year it is not 100% the same as the one I'm posting now. In the intervening months I've come to appreciate some songs a bit more than I had when they came out in, lets say late November, for arguments sake. So something that might have been at #88 if I had posted in December might now be in the top 25. Likewise, something I might have been very keen on then might have fallen down, or off the list now. What can I say, list making is a fickle bitch goddess. Here's the next 45:

55) Crowded House – Amsterdam
54) Jill King – I’ll Keep Loving You
53) Angus & Julia Stone – Black Crow
52) Superchunk – Digging for Something
51) Washington – Underground

50) Meg Hutchinson – Hard to Change
49) Teenage Fanclub – Sometimes I Don’t Need to Believe in Anything
48) The Vaselines – I Hate the 80’s
47) Amy Regan – Gonna Get Better
46) The Walkmen – Blue as Your Blood
45) The Watson Twins – Modern Man
44) Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Belinda
43) Melissa Endean – I’ll Remember You
42) Stars – Dead Hearts
41) New London Fire – Waterpark

40) The Like – Walk of Shame
39) Wild Nothing – Chinatown
38) The Watson Twins – U-N-Me
37) Washington – Rich Kids
36) The Cat Empire – Reasonably Fine
35) Islands – Ethics + Molars
34) Amy Fairchild – Ok, Alright
33) Sheryl Crow – Long Road Home
32) Laura Veirs – July Flame
31) Vampire Weekend – Holiday

30) Angie Mattson – Thank You
29) She & Him – Thieves
28) Sia – You’ve Changed
27) The New Pornographers – Crash Years
26) Lanie Lane – What Do I Do
25) Liz Phair – My My
24) The Jezabels – Easy to Love
23) Jules Larson – I Feel Alive
22) Backyard Tire Fire – Food For Thought
21) The Thermals – Now We Can See

20) Brooke Fraser – Something in the Water
19) Frightened Rabbit – Nothing Like You
18) Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
17) Annie Clark & Record Club – Never Tear Us Apart
16) Alyson Greenfield - Chiapas
15) Jenny and Johnny – Scissor Runner
14) Colbie Caillat – Maria
13) Sara Bareilles – King of Anything
12) Best Coast – Boyfriend
11) Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Levi Johnston’s Blues
__________________________

Friday, March 18, 2011

Top 100 Songs of '10: 100-56

After posting my favorite records of 2010 a few weeks ago, I'm back for the next three days with my Top 100 songs list. Not to beet a dead horse, but to reiterate what I've said a few times over the past 18 months: I haven't been able to buy as much music as I once did. So this list doesn't feature as many acts as some of my older lists may have. In fact, just a few years ago I would have had as many as 90 to 95 acts represented on the Top 100, but my purchasing power is somewhat limited during my career interregnum, so there are fewer this year. Today I'll feature the first 45 songs on the list, and then tomorrow will be the next 45 leaving Sunday to showcase the Top 10.

100) Supwitchugirl – I Love My Ducks (Return of the Quack)
99) Jill King – We Rise Above the Shadows
98) The Rescues – Break Me Out
97) 22-20s – Latest Heartbreak
96) Crowded House – Twice if You’re Lucky
95) The Secret Sisters – My Heart Skips a Beat
94) School of Seven Bells – Windstorm
93) Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – One Polaroid A Day
92) Stars – I Died So I Could Haunt You
91) The Cat Empire – Falling

90) Superchunk – My Gap Feels Weird
89) Bettie Serveert – Semaphore 88) Frightened Rabbit – Things
87) Liz Phair – Bang! Bang!
86) Melee – The Ballad of You and I
85) The Walkmen – Angela Surf City
84) Ben + Vesper – LuvInIdleness
83) Cage the Elephant – Around My Head
82) Sick Puppies – Maybe
81) Jill Andrews – A Way Out

80) Jenny and Johnny – My Pet Snakes
79) Amy Regan – Keep You Warm
78) Belle and Sebastian – I Want the World to Stop
77) Arcade Fire – City With No Children
76) She & Him – Lingering Still
75) Sara Bareilles – Basket Case
74) The Jezabels – Disco Biscuit Love
73) The Like – Narcissus in a Red Dress
72) Beach House – Norway
71) Vedera – Satisfy

70) Kat Edmonson – Lucky
69) Katie Meula – Twisted
68) The Walkmen – All my Great Designs
67) MGMT – Flash Delirium
66) Sheryl Crow – Summer Day
65) Sia – Clap Your Hands
64) Jules Larson – My Own Drum
63) Stacy Clark – White Lies
62) Frightened Rabbit – FootShooter
61) Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Mighty Sparrow

60) Bettie Serveert – The Pharmacy
59) Abandon Kansas – Close Your Eyes
58) Eric Clapton – Run Back to Your Side
57) Jenny and Johnny – Just Like Zeus
56) Look Mexico – I’m Not Guilty But I’m Used to It
________________________________

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Need to Get Some Work Done

First and foremost, don't be scared. Your boy Teddy is doing just fine right now. This picture is from a few months ago when I broke my arm. I've had the cast taken off and I'm fully functional (especially for you ladies out there). This post is all about cosmetic surgery and my need for a lift/tuck and re-stuff.

I'm coming up on my 34th birthday which is stupid-old for a teddy bear. And we're not talking a cushy, easy 34 years either. Tony got me for his first Easter and for those first couple of years I just sat on a shelf overlooking his crib. Then when he was a toddler he started sleeping with me (in a totally Innocent way... don't be a sicko). It went on like that for years. Each night when lil Greazy turned in he would hold me in the crook of his arm the whole night till he awoke.

What finally ended this sleeping arrangement was when he went off to the seminary. He took me along, but I spent my nights (and days for that matter) in his closet, and believe you me, I wasn't the only secret hidden in a closet at that place. After two years in the seminary he returned to a regular high school but by then he had moved on to a blanket to clutch while sleeping. So I sat dutifully on the table next to his bed ever since. High school, college, marriage and homonership have all come along and I'm still here with him.

An enduring friendship to say the least.

But all that time has ravaged the Tedster. When we were little Greazy didn't exactly treat me like a treasured friend. He cut all the hair off the top of my head thinking it would grow back. As adorable as that youthful naivete was, it meant I have been bald up there for the better part of three decades. He also sliced my tail open and removed all the stuffing there within. He was really kind of a bastard when he got a hold of some scissors.

In the end, however, most of the damage was just common wear and tear caused by a boy clutching his teddy. Luckily his mom was and expert with a needle so while my arms and legs are held on literally by a thread, at least I still have them. Which is more than I can say for my nose, which his evil brother Junior cut off and threw down into the basement. Which was twice as evil because he knew quite well that the basement scared the shit out of lil Greazy. So, my nose was never retrieved.

I think you'll agree I've led a hard life. I'm like the teddy bear version of Charlie Sheen or Mick Jagger... body wise. So, I think the time has come for me to get some work done. I've found a few places on the web that specialize in teddy bear surgery and one that's not too far from where we live. So, I'm hoping that when Tony gets his broke ass back to work he'll send me for the whole work up. Ideally, I'd like to be re-stuffed and re-sewn. Also, I'd like to get my eyes replaced because both of mine are chipped. I know there's nothing they can do to replace my missing fur, since those bastards in Big Pharma aren't working to come up with a teddy bear Rogaine. I guess all that would be left after that would be to get my tail sewn up and to get a good thorough cleaning.

A bear can dream can't he?
_________________________________________

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Song Spotlight: "Teddy's Jam" by Guy



There are two types of people in this world: those who love BLACKstreet's 1996 smash hit "No Diggity" and pathetic liars. One of the first gifts Inky bought me when we started dating was a cassette single of No Diggity when she took a trip with her sister to the Mall of America. That's when I knew were were forever. You see, my love affair with Teddy Riley didn't start with that fantastic track, but instead it began 8 years before when my cousin introduced me to the New Jack Swing stylings of Guy. Their 1988 debut record featured many a great track including "Groove Me" "Round and Round" and "Piece of my Love" but the best of the best was "Teddy's Jam" by far.

So if you love "No Diggity" as much as I do; do yourself a favor and take a little listen to this golden oldie. I dare you to listen and see if you don't find yourself saying "Jam. Oh jam. Teddy jam for me." It can't be done.
_________________________

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Old Jerseys

As the temperature begins to slowly go up my mind turns to one thing: Baseball. Sure I love March Madness as much as any red blooded American, but for me baseball is forever linked to my childhood. In just under three weeks XL and I are going to be going to Orioles Opening Day at Camden Yards. For me, a trip to the ball park is not complete without one of my many jerseys.

I wish I could say that I've been wearing the same one to every game since I was a in high school, or even college, but that's not the case. I bought my first O's jersey in April of 1992 (pictured above on the left) along with a "new style" O's hat that I wore for many years. The jersey was just as plain as you could get. No number, no player name, just the then-new, now-old Orioles script on the chest. I meant to get my name and my favorite number on it for years but I never got around to it.

Then, in 1998 my mom and dad got me a grey road jersey with my name and number on it as a graduation present. It's the one above on the right. I opted for the road jersey, in part, because of how easy it was to stain the home one, but also because I've always liked the look of the grey, which is one of my favorite colors. In the six years since I got my first one they had knocked the tail off the "O" and changed the piping on the sleeve but not much had changed. For the Orioles.

For me one big thing had changed. At the time I got the white jersey I was wearing a size 48, which fit me well when I first got it and then after a few years was loose thanks to some late teens weight loss. By the time I graduated from college I had to get a bigger size. I didn't get the freshman fifteen, but I did get the Sophomore through Senior 40ish. I went from my size 48 to a 52 when I got the grey jersey in 1998.

Over the intervening years that 52 got tight on me and then was down right unwearable. I got another jersey a few years later that was a 56, which was too big, but it at least allowed me to feel like I could breathe. Every time I would look at those old jerseys in my closet I would be angry at myself for not being able to fit in to them any longer.

Well, now that's not a problem any longer. I've busted my hump at the gym during my career interregnum and now I can easily fit into the grey jersey with room to spare. I've made it my goal to wear the white one to opening day with XL in three weeks, but that's a bit presumptive on my part. At the very least I'll be sporing my #5 jersey to a game for the first time in about a decade, and that's no small thing.
________________________________

Monday, March 14, 2011

Double Digits Here I Come

When I started my quest for solitaire greatness it took me a while to get my time down into the double digits, but I don't think the same will be true in my new quest. I've already managed to whittle my minesweeper time down to 106 seconds so just like was true in 1989: the 90's are right around the corner.

I never like minesweeper before my career interregnum. My mom plays it a lot, or at least she used to before she had some problems with her eyes. Getting older sucks, especially when there's so much good stuff on TV, in books and on the computer. I've taken to minesweeper to the point where I hardly ever play solitaire any longer. I'll pop a playlist on iTunes and warm up with a beginner game and then go after the intermediate level till I hit a new best time. Once that's in the bag, I move on to expert and try to do the same there. I think it's a process some might call "workmanlike" but I just call it being me with a whole lot of time on my hands.

A special thanks to the muse of my wallpaper Ms. Kelly Brook for providing a splendid backdrop to my game playing endeavors.

Friday, March 11, 2011

TGWOOfY's Aussie Music Playlist

A few days back I made mention of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's trip to Washington to meet with President Obama. On the trip she introduced him to Aussie rules football but she also gave him an iPod filled with some "quintessential Aussie" tunes. I am not Australian no matter how much I want to live there, but I am a bit of an Oz music fan. I've introduced friends and family (and blog readers by the tonka truck full) to some of my favorite acts from down under. So this recent PM to POTUS gift got me thinking of what my list would look like. Then I thought: Hey Greazy, you need a blog for Friday why not do this. So I did.

I've compiled a list of 145 songs by 53 different Australian Acts that I would want to give to any head of state. They run the gambit from the 60's to last month and from Rock to pop and anywhere in between which are listed below iTunes alphabetically:

Angus and Julia Stone: Black Crow, Yellow Brick Road

Architure in Helsinki: Debbie, Hold Music

The Audreys: Lay Me Down, Chelsea Blues

Augie March: One Crowded Hour, Victoria’s Secrets, Pennywhistle

Ben Lee: I Love Pop Music, Ripe, Gamble Everything For Love

Boom Crash Opera: Hands Up in the Air

Butterfingers: Yo Mama, I Love Work, F.I.G.J.A.M., Get Up Outta the Dirt

Butterfly Boucher: Another White Dash

The Cat Empire: Two Shoes, So Many Nights

The Church: Under the Milky Way, She’ll Come Back for You Tomorrow

Clare Bowditch: Divorcee by 23, You Looked So Good

Cold Chisel: Choir Girl, Bow River, My Baby Khe Sanh

Colin Hay: The End of Wilhemina, Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

Crowded House: Four Seasons in One Day, Weather With You, Something so Strong, She Called Up, Don’t Dream it’s Over

Diana Anaid: Dumb Opinion

The Divinyls: Pleasure & Pain, I Touch My Self

The Easybeats: Friday On My Mind

Flying Foxes: Lost in a Low Cloud

Grinspoon: Hard Act to Follow

The Herd: I Was Only 19, The King is Dead, Comrade Jesus Christ

Hoodoo Gurus: What’s My Scene, Come Anytime, I Want You Back

Hunters & Collectors: Holy Grail

Icehouse: Great Southern Land

INXS: Suicide Blonde, Listen Like Thieves, Don’t Change, Never Tear Us Apart

The Jezabels: Disco Biscuit Love, Easy To Love

Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Man

John Butler Trio: Used to Get High, Better Than, Thou Shalt Not Steal

John Farnham: You’re The Voice

Kasey Chambers: Pony, Captain, Not Pretty Enough

Kate Miller-Heidke: Delay, I Got the Way

Kev Carmody: I’ve Been Moved, From Little Things Big Things Grow

Killing Heidi: Mascara, Kettle, Undertow, To Fly, Black Sheep, Weir

Kylie Minogue: Love at First Sight, Can’t Get You out of My Head

Lenka: The Show, Knock Knock

Little Birdy: Beautiful to Me, Come On Come On, Summarize

The Living End: Roll On, Long Live the Weekend, Raise the Alarm

Men At Work: Who Can it Be Now, Overkill, Upstairs in my House, Dow Under

Midnight Oil: Beds are Burning, US Forces, Power and the Passion, Harrisburg

Missy Higgins: Going North, Ten Days, Scar, Steer, Where I Stood, Warm Whispers, Dusty Road, Sugarcane, The Wrong Girl

New Buffalo: Cheer Me Up Thank You

Paul Kelly: From St. Kilda to Kings Cross, Everythings Turning to White, Deeper Water, Anastasia Changes Her Mind, They Thought I Was Asleep, Meet Me In the Middle of the Air, Roll On Summer, Every Fucking City, You’re 39 You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine

Sarah McGregor: More to Life

Sia: Breathe Me, Broken Biscuit, Little Black Sandals, You’ve Changed

The Spazzys: Paco Doesn’t Love Me Anymore

Split Enz: Stuff and Nonsense, I See Red

The Temper Trap: Love Lost, Soldier On, Science of Fear, Sweet Disposition

The Verses: Running Away, Forever More

The Waifs: Bridal Train, Lies, The Waitress, Gillian, Since I’ve Been Around, The Haircut

Washington: Navy Blues, I Believe You Liar, Rich Kids, I Still Call Australia Home, Underground, Sunday Best

The Whitlams: 400 Miles From Darwin, Gough, Melbourne, God Drinks at the Sando

Youth Group: All This Will Pass, What is a Life, Daisy Chains, Start Today Tomorrow, Forever Young
_____________________________________

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Single Black/White Teddy ISO Love, Lust or Whatever Comes First

I am just a few short weeks away from turning 34 years old. That is decrepit for a Teddy Bear and it can be hard out there for us older bears. Sure, I count myself lucky that Tony has kept me around all this time since some teddy bears aren't that lucky. The boy grows up and tires of his constant companion and then it's off to the dump. It's all very Toy Story 3. So I know I'm lucky to even be here, but is it a crime to want more, like someone to share my life with or at the very least to rub fur with?

I've had a few flings over the years but never anything verging on serious. Recently I asked Greazy and Inky to take me to the local Build-A-Bear workshop so I could find love mail-order style. Sadly, they said that's not in the cards right now, so I'm stuck all alone. I think L.L. Cool J said it best when he said "When I'm alone in my room, and I stare at the wall, from the back of my mind I hear my conscience call. Telling me I need a girl who's as sweet as a dove. For the first time in my life, I see I need love." Yeah. That dude was a total poet and he doesn't get enough recognition for it.

It's totally what I'm feeling right now though. So if you know a cute little teddy who's looking for a connection, let a brother know. When I was a cub I was really picky about only getting with pandas, but now I'd just settle for four legs, fur and a chick that doesn't mind a missing nose or a cut tail. I can dream can't I?
_________________________________

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Footy is Coming, The Footy is Coming!


Mom always said don't play ball in the White House. This photo is President Obama kicking an Australian rules football with Aussie PM Julia Gillard during her visit to Washington the other day. For all the wonderful things Australia has given us, I enjoy footy the most. I really believe that with the right exposure it could become pretty popular in the US, especially with the sect of the population who watch other world sports like soccer.

Unlike soccer, it is eminently watchable with fast paced action, lots of scoring and hard hits. It's like the best parts of basketball, hockey and football rolled into one game. Sadly, ESPN bought the US TV rights so they could get their hands on the English Premier League and then promptly burred footy on their on-line only network. So, Inky and I are forced to sit in front of our computers to see our Cats try and rebuild from losing their best player, perhaps ever, and their coach during the past off season. Just two weeks till they play their first game and I'll be there, by which I mean right here in front of the computer.
____________________________________

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Song Spotlight: Bettie Serveert - "Hell = Other People"



While Jean-Paul Sartre may not have originally ment it the way we, or more specificly Bettie Serveert and I, take it today, could there be a better phrase to think about after you spend any amount of time with the unwashed masses? And you have to remember, I live in York Pennsylvania where the masses tend to be considerably more unwashed than I'd like. When I get particularly annoyed with jack-holes at the gym or some fuckwit in traffic the chorus of this song always tends to waft into my brain. While it might seem counterintuitive, it is more poignant to have it hit me in Carol van Dyk's sooting voice as opposed to oh I don't know, lets say Zack de la Rocha.

Now, for your enjoyment: "Hell = Other People"

You say your life is a total waste
You told me on the fire escape
Just before you bummed a cigarette
Well, you’ve always been a high live-wire
Never straight, but so inspired
It kills me when I see you so upset

You’re telling everyone
That I’m the stubborn one
But guess who broke the spell
Hell is other people
To Hell with other people

Not a word from you in days
I guess it’s just your faucet ways
Running hot and cold and back again
But it’s hard to keep an open mind
When you keep changing all the time
Suddenly receiving, not to send

It’s always live & learn
But I’m the one who’s turned
Now guess who broke the spell
Hell is other people
To Hell with other people

You’re a five on Saffir-Simpson’s scale
Sharper than a broken nail
I’m glad I’m still alive to tell the tale
Hell is other people
To Hell with other people
___________________________________

Monday, March 07, 2011

Greazy's Got a New Bag

In the old incarnation of TGWOOfY I blogged quite a bit about my quest for solitaire domination. I achieved all I could have ever hoped for in that realm as I posted three scores below 90 seconds, which had been my goal time all along. Then, due to some strange right elbow issues, I began using the mouse left handed toward the end of '09. I'm now basically a 100% left hand mouse operator. I have posted some double digit scores on solitaire as a southpaw but I'm on to a new game now.

I tired of solitaire so I've moved on to minesweeper as you see above. I posted this 110 second time this evening with Emmy Rossum in the background and as I listened to the first Arctic Monkeys record. I've also posted some fine scores on the beginner and expert levels as well, but this one seems to be the one most comparable to my solitaire times, so it's the one I'm going to go after the most. I'm already under 25 seconds on the beginner level so I don't even know how much better I can get on that. As for the expert, the best I've done to this point is 404 seconds and I know I can get better there, so... game on!
_____________________________

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Greazy's Kitchen: Dad's Bolognese

One of the absolute worst things about my career interregnum is that Inky and I have had to cut back on some of the things we like most. One of those things is food; be it at home or dining out. We used to go out to eat at least twice every week and when we did eat at home we ate what ever caught our fancy at the time. Now, almost never go out and when we eat at home we scale back on the cost of everything we eat. The result is a somewhat simple diet. It was with this as a backdrop that I busted out my family cookbook and looked for something different to make that would also be kind of cheep. And so here is my dad's bolognese sauce which (depending on how many of the basics you already have in your pantry) should only set you back about $10-$15. Here's the list of what you'll need:

1 lb of pasta (preferably rigatoni),
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 lb ground meat (can us pork, beef or any combination)
1/4 lb bacon, finely chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp light cream.

Directions:

Heat the butter and oil in a deep frying pan.

Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and bacon and fry over a low heat until the vegetables soften and they begin to change color.

Add the ground meat and fry gently until it begins to brown, crumbling with a fork.

Moisten with the wine and cook until it evaporates and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dilute the tomato paste with some of the chicken stock then stir the mixture into the sauce.

Cover and cook slowly, stirring from time to time.

Gradually add the rest of the stock throughout the remainder of the cooking time.

After the sauce has been cooking for 90 minutes, stir in the cream and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced.

Plate, serve and sit back and wait for the congratulations to flood in.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fresh Ink: Finishing My Sleeve


(Click on above for larger view)

I got my fist tattoo the year after my father died. It was a compass rose that I wanted to remind myself to constantly be searching for the right direction in life. It's now 8 years later and while I can't say I have found any particular direction I have gone under the needle plenty of times since then. After the compass on my left arm came a pinup on my right and then it was back to the left. First I added the scroll that reads "Vita nostra brevis est, Venit mors velociter" or "Our lives are short, death comes quickly" which is also meant to remind me to treat life as precious. After that I got the makings of my current sleeve traced including the HMAV Bounty, the rope and anchor, the sea serpent, the moon, sun and stars.

But that wasn't enough for me. Back in September I went to the Baltimore Tattoo Convention and had my fantastic tattoo artist ink me with a sextant. Then, just about 3 weeks ago I wrapped it all up with my new lovely lady Cordelia the mermaid, who you can see has quite a chest. I picked the name because it means daughter of the sea, which seemed fitting for mermaid.

I don't know what, if anything, will be next. There is one little spot behind Cordilla's back that I think would be the perfect place for the little cherub's face blowing the west wind like on an old time map, but who knows. For now, I'm just pleased with what I have so far.
____________________________

Thursday, March 03, 2011

OpinionaTed: Paris 'n Pooh

Well hello there. I'm Teddy and I've recently joined the procedings here at TGWOOfY. I've been with Greazy along time; so long in fact that I knew him before he was Greazy Tony. We've spent a lot of time together over the last 34 years and so we have a lot of the same opinions, but not all of them are exactly the same. And that's where my guest spot on his blog comes in. I'm going to bring my decidedly unique experiance as a stuffed-American to bear on the blog once a week. (See what I did there? Not bad huh?)

My blog will be called OpinionaTed and it will cover all matter of topics. Not all of them will be specific to the Stuffed world, or to Teddy/human relations and very few, if any, will be about the odd confluance of our worlds that is plushies and furries. I hope to make you laugh, cry, think and maybe if we're all lucky I'll entertain you too. Now, on to my first topic:


Paris Hilton is the Winnie the Pooh of the human world. Notice I didn't say "Pooh is the Paris of the stuffed world" because we have to remember who came first here. Long before Paris was famous for... what ever the fuck she's famous for, Pooh was here annoying the shit out of Teddy Bears with his simpelton bullshit. You think Paris is innane? Listen to Pooh some time with his hunny this and hunny that. What a one trick pony. He brings nothing of substance to the table but he gets to be famous because that sick little fucker Christopher Robin used him like gym sock... if you know what I mean.

It's not just the fact that he's a one track minded simpleton that bothers me. Like Paris with her little dog in the purse Pooh started a trend where everyone expected us Teddys to hang out with tiny little studdering pigs, and I was having none of that. Back in the 80's I palled around with a pretty boss raccoon and he and I had some pretty epic days while Tony was off at school, believe you me. Lets just say that there's a reason I don't have a nose any longer and I'll also add that cocaine is a hell of a drug.

I guess the point of this diatribe is that I don't want all of you good people out there thinking that we're all simple brainless tarts like Pooh. I don't assume that you are all like your most visable examples like Paris, so why do you guys do that to us? There are millions of us out there, and for the most part we are not famous like Smokey, The Berenstain's or Rupert from Family Guy. We are just regular hard working Teddys who aim to make life better for the kid we decied to spend life with. To illustrate what is special about the best of our kind I leave you with this quote from blogger Ted Menten:

"An experienced Teddy Bear brings with him a lifetime of knowledge and experience; the wisdom of silence and the stillness in moments of great turmoil. The long-suffering patience that is learned when belonging to a child who is coming of age, and coping with the bewilderment that this period of time can bring, is what he does best. The experienced bear has seen life through the heart and eyes of a child grown to adulthood and perhaps even accompanied that adult all the way to the end of the road."


So true. I'll see you next Thursday!
______________________________________________

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

TGWOOfY Best Records of 2010

Normally I do my music countdowns at the end of the year, but of course, I wasn't blogging then so here we are. I know what you're thinking, couldn't I just let 2010 go by without doing a list? Obviously the answer is no. It's not as if I didn't do this list already when I wasn't blogging. Just because you don't see an alcoholic drinking doesn't mean he or she isn't in fact drinking. I may say that I can quit list making any time I want but the reality is, I haven't yet.

As with 2009, last year was a bit of a lite year for me on the music buying front. Certain economic factors meant that I wasn't able to buy as many records as I would have liked. In fact I bought fewer than 25 full records in 2010 and many of them were from eMusic so I only paid a few dollars for each. I did buy a fair amount of singles from iTunes and eMusic and so I will be able to field a more complete list of the TGWOOfY Top Songs of '10. I know that sets your mind at ease. Now here's the list.

#10) The Walkmen - Lisbon. It's amazing that it's taken a decade and 6 records for this D.C. rooted band to start to make big waves. I know some people don't like Hamilton Leithauser's vocals but I think they are missing out. This is a powerful group who make some really unique and amazing music and I wish even more people would notice.

#9) Jenny & Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now. I love Jenny Watson music be it with Rilo Kiley, The Watson Twins or all on her own. And now she's teamed up with her boyfriend and former producer Johnathan Rice for more great music. I always liked the songs Jenny did with Blake Sennett in Rilo Kiley and I think the male/female duo suits her well, like her cover of "Handle With Care" from her first Solo record where she teamed up with Ben Gibbard and Conor Oberst. So it was nice to have a few tracks like that on this newest project.

#8) She & Him - Volume 2. Sometimes you get a sophomore record and hope for a departure from the first one. Sometimes you want more of the same and that is just what Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward brought to the table in there aptly titled successor to Volume 1. The songs are well crafted, and to those of us who love Zooey's voice, beautifully sung.

#7) Angus & Julia Stone - Down the Way. I really wanted to put this disc by the Aussie brother and sister team higher, but I couldn't. If it was Angus Stone - "Down the Way" I might have because as much as I love all 13 songs on this record, I'm not a huge fan of Julia's vocals. I don't hate them, mind you, I just like the songs Angus sings WAY better, which would come as a surprise to most people who know my strong affinity for female singers. In the end, the record is still amazing and Angus and Julia deserve more fame in America then they have up to this point.

#6) Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks. As much as I liked "Living With The Living" I think this record is the peak of Ted Leo's powers. A friend of mine and I recently saw the U2 Live in 3D show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and he said to me that there were no bands like U2 any more. He meant it more from a stagecraft point of view, but I told him about Ted Leo and told him to sit down and take a listen. The result? One more mind blown.

#5) Bettie Serveert - Pharmacy of Love. Inky first turned me on to Bettie Serveert back in College and they are just as good today as they were in the mid 90's. Pharmacy is the Dutch groups 9th record but one of the nicest things I can think to say about it is that it would sound just as good on the College Radio airwaves of the 90's as it does wafting out of my iPod now. Greatness is great for ever and BS show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Thankfully!

#4) Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks. When I first heard the single "Swim Until You Can't See Land" (#98 TGWOOfY 100 '09) I knew I liked what I heard from these Scots. That is still a great song, but with the addition of other great tracks like "FootShooter" and "Fun Stuff" you end up with a really great listen all the way through.

#3) Arcade Fire - The Suburbs. I may be one of the few people who did a year end countdown that includes Arcade Fire but doesn't have them at number 1. It was funny to watch the response from the "main stream" and Twitterverse after their performance at the Grammys and realize just how segmented the music world has become. I think The Suburbs was amazing and a worthy successor to Neon Bible. I just wish more people knew who they were and less knew who Justin Bieber is.

#2) Stars - The Five Ghosts. I really enjoyed Stars' last offering and I also love Amy Millan's solo work too, so It's no surprise that they find there way to number 2 on this year's list. This is another great record that flows really well both sonically and thematically from track to track. While Arcade Fire garner much more attention as a great art-band from Canada I think Stars are every bit their equal if not their superior.


#1) Washington - I Believe You Liar. I stumbled upon Megan Washington in November of '09 thanks to the genius that is the web. She has an amazing voice and is a fantastic song writer, which as anyone who knows me will tell you: I am a sucker for. I love her playful turns of phrases like in the song "Sunday Best" where she sings "I want you to make a mess of me and my Sunday best..." but what really gets me is her more serious lyrics. The song "Underground" is like a last will and testament in song and is really poignant. She is already working on the songs for her next record and I, for one, can't wait.
_______________________________________

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Time For a Totally New Top 5

One my absolute favorite things to do on TGWOOfY is to make lists. Because it's been a while since I last blogged, it has likewise been a while since I updated my music lists and my Top 5 people I'm allowed to cheat on Inky with list. The last list I posted featured 5 incredible ladies who are all just as talented as they are beautiful, but I've decided to say good bye to all of them and set up a new group of five. Gone are Allison Munn, Emily Scott, Anne Hathaway, Kelly Brook and Zooey Deschanel. But, as the old saying goes, when one door of hotness closes someone opens a window for the next 5 ladies. Wait, that doesn't sound quite right. No matter. On with the list.

#5) Emma Stone, 22. You may know Ms. Stone from all the movies she's been popping up in these days. Her next big turn is playing Gwen in the new Spiderman flick. She was great in Easy A, Zombieland and The Rocker and should have a lot of great roles in her future.



#4) Kirsten Gillibrand, 44. The right honorable Mrs. Gillibrand is the junior Senator from the great state of New York. In addition to being beautiful, powerful and charismatic she is also fantastically smart. She has the ability to really change the world, which I for one find very sexy. She went to Dartmouth and UCLA and worked as an attorney before being elected to the House of Representatives in '06. After winning reelection in '08 she was then selected to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, which she later won election to in a 2010 special election.



#3) Clare Bowditch, 36. Clare is a fantastic singer/songwriter from Melbourne who has a new record out in Oz right now that is teasing me with it's unavailability in the US. I love her voice and her words and it's killing me to not be able to get a hold of the new disc, I guess she's playing hard to get.



#2) Scarlett Johansson, 26. Guess who's single! Scarlett has been on my list before and, frankly, I don't quite know how or why I ever took her off. She is quite possibly one of the best looking women in the world and she was married to one of the best looking men and somehow they couldn't make it work. Who knew?



#1) Olivia Wilde, 26. If I had kept blogging since the end of 2009 then Olivia would have made the list sooner. I'm sure that keeps her up at night and all, but the wrong has been righted and now she hits the charts at #1. Hollywood has now got a hold of her and I don't know if she'll ever come back to House where most of us first saw her. She had been married to an Italian prince so maybe she'd like an Italian-American pauper? It could happen.