Friday, September 30, 2011

Who I should cheer for in the MLB playoffs:

Indulge me as I work this out here.

-They can obviously take down the Yankees, as they did it last year.
-Not a terribly high payroll.
-No one on the team has rubbed me the wrong way, and their manager seems congenial enough.
-They, to my knowledge, have never won a World Series.

-I have never willingly cheered for any Texas team to win anything (well, except for a brief period in the 90's where the Spurs were one of my favorites, but that was because my neighbor liked them). It's always a lesser of two evils option.

-Knocked out the Red Sox.
-Have never won a World Series (although this doesn't really count since they've only been around for about 13 or so years)
-Extremely low payroll.
-Scrappy underdogs!

-Except they're not really underdogs anymore... they've made the playoffs the last 3 seasons.
-I also have kind of a bias against Florida teams. Maybe this is stupid, but I usually cheer against warm weather teams, as I figure that since the weather is always warm, they don't deserve other nice things, such as winning sports teams. (Part of this is due to the inferiority complex that growing up a Minnesota sports fan taught me.)
-Their fans aren't very good.

-They're going up against the Yankees. They need all the positive vibes they can get.
-They haven't won anything in about 600 years (since 1984, but... there was a lot of bad years in between that).
-Detroit has nothing else to look forward to other than sporting events.

-I mean, they're kind of our rivals... so I feel somewhat obligated to cheer against them.
-Why the hell would I cheer for Delmon Young to win a World Series ring?

-So all goodwill I have for MLB is completely crushed.

-Cause if they lose, I'll feel compelled to actually watch the games.

-They're OK. Nice baseball town.

-Oh, whatever.

-Cause they might have the best shot of besting the Yankees?

-2nd highest payroll in the league.

-Low payroll.
-I don't know who any of these guys are.

-I don't know who any of these guys are.
-They won the World Series 10 years ago. And as a warmer weather city, I'd say that's about enough. (And I like Phoenix teams for the most part... at least the Suns.)

-Somewhat low payroll.
-Haven't won a World Series since 1982. Haven't won a series period since 1982, most likely. I don't know if those dates are actually accurate. I like to rely on memory for most of my information.

-They're from Wisconsin, home of the Green Bay Packers.
-(Note: I don't *actually* have anything against the state of Wisconsin. But they usually match up against Minnesota teams regularly (or, at least in football and collegiate sports) and I'm accustomed to cheering against them. Also, Minnesota is better.)
-Prince Fielder just sort of came out and said he was leaving the Brewers at the end of the season for no particular reason. I guess this doesn't really make me want to root against the Brewers, but... it makes me want to see him fail pretty badly.


I still don't really know who I'd want to win it all this year.

Not that it matters, really. Just someone beat the Yankees. And then I can watch.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Phone: 2009?-2011

It was my phone.

It was my handy companion, helping me whenever I was in a tough spot.

It was my calculator.

It was my alarm clock.

It was everything and more.


It was dropped into a bowl of ramen as I went to go put something away before I enjoyed my meal. I did not enjoy my meal. I tried saving the phone, but unfortunately I had no rice to save it with.


I'm sorry phone. For killing you and not treating you with more care.

I'm sorry that I picked up the $3 yesterday, which undoubtedly meant that karma swung the other way today. So I am $3 richer, but one phone poorer.


It's been a weird couple weeks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I went to Best Buy today, and on my way out of the store I spotted a wad of dollar bills in the parking lot. It was about $3, so not that much. Usually I would just leave it there and allow its rightful owner to pick it up (or... let someone else stumble upon a couple of free bucks). But today, I just instinctively grabbed it.

After I grabbed it, I rationalized it was $3, so it was really no big deal... and then started my car, and drove off.

Halfway home I was wracked with guilt. Damnit.

To give you an idea of how my brain works, these were the scenarios that I thought could have played out.

1) Some 6 year old had his birthday today, and got enough money that he was able to go to the store to buy the game he's been wanting forever. He knew that he needed extra money due to cash, so he was sure to stuff a couple extra ones in his little pocket. Then as he's walking into the store, those ones fall out. He can't find them, he can't buy his game. I have just ruined his birthday.

2) A homeless man is given a couple dollars. He is tired and hungry, and spots the nearby Best Buy as a place where he can get something to eat (there's no other store around the store that would sell cheap food, so go with this). Because luck obviously hasn't screwed him enough, he drops said money as he's ambling towards the store, and is too tired to notice it falling out. Dude walks into the store, only to discover that he has no way of paying for the Cheetos. Best Buy kicks him out because he smells. Homeless man is still hungry.

3) Some hidden camera show decides that a great idea for an episode is to place $3 in the parking lot. Hidden camera show films me picking up said $3, then portrays me as a greedy bastard. People then recognize me as that greedy bastard, then disown me. I try giving the money back to charity, but they won't accept it. Because they hate me.

4) A powerful mob boss is driving to Best Buy to get some extravagant TV in an attempt to display his power through wealth. He drops $3 as he's walking in. And once in the store, he realizes this. He's rich and crap, but he doesn't like losing his money, so he heads out to pick the money back up. He spots me picking it up and taking off. And because he's a mob boss and thus very short tempered, he orders a hit on me. A couple of big Italian guys follow me home, and wait for the next moment in which I leave my house. Which hasn't happened yet... but it will.

I'm somewhat convinced that one of those scenarios played out today. Or at least something similar.

I thought about giving it back, but I didn't know how. Do I put it back onto the street? Do I explain to the Best Buy customer service desk that someone lost $3, only to laugh it off and tell me to keep it because they don't know how important $3 can be?

So I just kept it. It's in my pocket right now.

Despite the fact that some 6-year old could be searching high and low for it as we speak...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm driving up to Duluth tomorrow, and most likely won't have internet access until Monday night/Tuesday. So let me preemptively write my thoughts about the Vikings game that'll take place tomorrow.


What the hell? Again?

We were up at halftime? Again? Except this time 28-3?

Only to lose 52-49 on a last second 40 yard bomb to Megatron?

I'm somewhat surprised we even put up 21 points in the 2nd half (what, with Donovan McNabb going something like 1 for 17 for negative 12 yards). But I guess the 2 kickoff returns for TD and the fumble return for a touchdown WASN'T ENOUGH. Since Megatron decided to break every single game receiving stat there is.

But it's OK. 0-3 isn't the worst start in the world. Well, after 3 weeks it is... but we still have time to win a game! Surely, one game... we'll have the halftime lead, and only choke 99% of the lead away!

And we play the Chiefs next week! They're terrible! So we'll probably be up by 38 by halftime, and then--fingers crossed--hopefully we'll hang onto the lead from there!


All that said... I still think the Vikings have pretty good chance of stealing this game.

Weird things happen when we play the Lions. (Orlovsky runs out of the end zone for the winning safety, Lions botching a game-tying extra point with seconds left.) Granted, most of those have occurred when we were decent and they were terrible, but still.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today was not a good day, but it was a... better than yesterday day. Which is enough sometimes.

Not that much happened. Except for the fact that I learned that a root canal is much less expensive than I originally anticipated. And that my dentist seems to be jumping through a lot of hoops for me, which is... good. People don't usually jump through hoops for you.

Also... I watched the season premieres of Community/Parks & Rec. Which was quite a delight.

It might be kind of sad that I got cheered up by a couple of TV shows, but... although I was aware that they were returning yesterday, I couldn't watch them because of a lack of antenna last night. Then I had to go to work. And upon returning home, I had forgotten about the shows and that they were available for viewing on the contraption called Hulu. And I was assuming it would be all work/no play type of afternoon.

BUT THEN I REMEMBERED. And I watched both immediately, and they were both good! (Parks & Rec moreso than Community, although that's because I strongly prefer it at this point... Community had a promising return, though. It seemed to indicate that they weren't doing "concept" episodes every week (which annoyed me) in favor of a return to just normal hijinx on a dysfunctional community college. Also John Goodman.) So it was essentially an unexpected treat... even though it was something I was expecting to do 24 hours ago.

But still! My bad memory benefits me for a change. This is worth noting.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I've been trying to get work done around here all day, and it's been intermittently successful. But I was hoping that today could be devoted to a solid day's work... which obviously hasn't happened.

I decided to take a walk earlier this morning, because I needed to clear my mind and sort things out. It worked temporarily. The problem was that I wasn't particularly walking in any sort of direction, so I wound up walking towards the library--which took about 2 hours. That part was nice. Then I had to walk back--and all the progress I'd made was pretty much undone, probably because of my legs being overworked. Maybe I should exercise more.

I probably had a nicer stroll on the way to the library also because I had my iPod on, and did not on the way home. It sort of feels like it should be the other way around. I know that plugging in the iPod pretty much shuts you away from society and creates your own little bubble (which means that I can't hear joggers approaching behind me, which means I come close to smacking them whenever I decide to stretch my arms a bit), which... I guess defeats the purpose of going outside. But... I turned on Sigur Ros' Agaetis Byrjun, and things seemed OK.

One of my ideas that I had a while back was that I'd revamp my favorite albums of all time list I thought I had perfected 4 years ago. The reasons being that I like screwing around with lists, and I wanted to approach it with a different perspective--you know, to see what 4 years of hard living does to man's tastes. Or something like that. Then I came to the realization that the list would be pretty much the same. And Agaetis Byrjun and Brian Eno's Another Green World would still be at the top of the list.

And I don't know if those two albums would be at the top of my list were I to work at it objectively. But at this point they're comfort albums. I turn them on when I feel like I need it, and usually it does the trick. So really, there's no reason to really replace them. I forgot why I am writing this all down.


I'm going through some fun times right now. I don't want to get into specifics, but I went to a dentist recently after a long time of putting it off (because I was broke), and it was recommended that I have about $8000 in dental work done. Which is still out of my price range.

I ended up going to the school of dentistry at the U to see if they could do the operations cheaper, and the estimate ended up being somewhat in my price range. The problem is that the figure was just an estimate, and I was told in no uncertain terms that there was no guarantees any additional costs would not arise.

I'm going in once a week at this rate, and every time I'm heading in I leave in a lot of pain. (Well, I leave doped up on novacaine, but then once that wears off...) So basically, I have this one day of dread every single week--where I'm certain that I'll be in pain at the end of it, and at risk of having my wallet become significantly smaller--and I think it's about to take its toll on me. I go in twice this week.

Another thing I worry about is my job, for no particular reason at all--I mean, I like it. But I always have the nagging feeling that I'm doing something wrong, and eventually my bosses are going to find out and kick me to the curb. Once again, this is pretty much irrational, but... I don't know. It's weird. I pretty much never really interact with my bosses, and there seems to be little oversight on their part, so I have really no clue if I'm doing a good job or not. I *think* I am, but...


Facebook changed their chat layout recently. I think it used to be a small box near the bottom right which just displayed who was available. Now it's a bar encompassing the entire right side, listing friends who are online along with a couple people who aren't. I think the "couple people" are those who I've interacted with most or most recently. But not all the time. Sometimes it's just random people. A lot of the time it's my dead aunt.

I don't really have a point to this (or anything on here, really). I just felt the need to write it down.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Here's my theory as to why the Vikings have become masters at blowing 10+ point leads in the 2nd half....

They're trying to win the first pick in the NFL draft.

But their strategy is to play as if they're actually trying to win for a while, and then just let the game choke away if they're in the lead. The only problem with this strategy is that they're actually really good, and capable of blowing out teams like the Chargers and the Bucs. So you'd think that they'd just abandon the 1st pick strategy and just try to win the Super Bowl.

But they committed to the strategy, dammit, and they're going to see it through to the very end.

So the Vikings' problem isn't that they fail to make halftime adjustments, or that they decide to leave their defense on the field the entire 2nd half. It's just that they're too stubborn.

I don't know if that makes it better or worse, but... at least it means they're not terribly incompetent!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Songs in my head:

Saw these guys yesterday. T'was a good show. At least in my opinion (Sara was not as enthused with them as I was.) I mean, they gave it their best effort--it was a band trying to replicate a lot of complex arrangements perfected in the studio in a live setting, which means that there's going to be a couple hiccups. But they provided a nice, loud, and fuzzy blur that at least I found pleasant. The above weren't really set highlights, but rather what got stuck in my head along the way home. (The first one I was kind of upset that they didn't play, but then I remembered that they did, and it was just really early... my mind = slowly eroding.)

There's a song that is currently in rotation on The Current that I hear every single time I turn on the station. Fitz and the Tantrums is the band name, I believe. They're a not-great retro soul band. Anyway, the song that they keep playing has a bridge that's pretty much directly lifted from Rubberband Man. I'm not usually against lifting as long as it's done in moderation, but this particular lifting both a) makes me think about punching the singer in the face, and b) makes me want to watch the video I posted above. Because I'd have to assume their dance moves are perhaps among the top 10 best dance moves in music history. I mean, it's a choreographed giant rubberband-specific dance. How can anyone not love that?

Been listening to a lot of Ween recently. Brilliant. Awesome. One of my favorites. All that stuff. But I've just recently dived into their 12 Golden Country Greats album, which I've only casually listened to before (on account of-not really being into country.) But of course, it's about as good as the rest of their stuff, so I've been intentionally depriving myself for years. Oops. Dig the just about perfect harmonies in the chorus of this one.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I don't know why I'm writing this while Breaking Bad is on. Especially since the opening seemed particularly ominous. But oh well.

-The Vikings played today. They lost. It was to be expected. At least it was an entertaining game.

-I usually try to stay away from the pointless "________ needs to be benched! ___________ is a much better player!" crap, especially after one game, but... can we get rid of Donovan McNabb and just see where we're at with our rookie? It's clear he's not going to pull a Favre and put up ridiculous numbers in the first season with the team. And he's old.

-Am I a bad person for not really caring at all about the 9/11 memorials? 1) it all reeks of marketing, and 2) no one's really cared the past couple years. I mean, it's an important event and the people who perished should be remembered, but... everything now is at the point where it's exploited to death to the point where the memory makes you feel nothing.

-Also, there was a commercial featuring kids singing the Jay Z New York song to firefighters. Why? I don't know. 9/11. It still felt manipulative.

Everyone else loves it, though, which confuses me. Maybe I just don't like children's choirs. Or children...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Before the game starts up in a bit, I would just like to say that my Super Bowl prediction is the Saints over the Browns.

I'm taking the Saints over the Packers (not in *tonight's* game, mind you) even though part of me expects the Packers to win again, mainly just because it's hard to repeat and I feel as if the team as a whole the past couple years has been too injury prone to really bank on too much success. But I'll probably be wrong, knowing me.

I had the Patriots coming out of the AFC in my pick originally, but that sounded too boring. The Browns seemed like the best "not-boring" choice that also could possibly perhaps make it to the Super Bowl. The Chargers and the Texans also could have worked, but their coaches suck. Also, I have an awesome Browns shirt that is becoming one of my favorites, so I guess I'm giving myself reason to cheer for them by making them my Super Bowl pick. Which isn't going to happen, of course. But if it does... it might be the greatest thing I've ever done.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I've been meaning to do a list of favorite albums so far from 2011, but I haven't really been feeling it (and I've listened to maybe 6 albums... as most of my current music listening has been restricted to The Current... which, you know, oh well), so I've kept putting it off and off.

So let's just do a list of songs I like, because I actually feel motivated to do that:

In alphabetical order:

Antlers: I Don't Want Love

I really liked their last release, Hospice. Well, no. I REALLY liked about three songs, and my love of those three songs made me forgive the fact that the rest of the album was pretty forgettable. Their newest release--Burst Apart--seems to be the opposite: consistent throughout, but not a whole lot of highlights. I think I lean more towards Hospice. So I guess I lean towards this song the most since it reminds me the most of Hospice. Yep.

Battles: Ice Cream

This is one song that I've heard a lot on The Current which I haven't automatically hated because I heard it all the time on The Current, so it has that going for it. I've heard the band's stuff briefly before, and wasn't too keen, but this is I suppose weird/accessible enough for my tastes, even if the best part comes in the first minute. Too bad I'm going to hate it when 30 different car companies decide to use it to play over their ads millions of times.

The Decemberists: Don't Carry It All

I think I prefer the Decemberists when they are more bombastic/pretentious/ridiculous, so I wasn't *too* huge on their "return to roots" album. But this song sounds as if they've been casually writing great country songs for their entire career. It's quite clearly (to me) the highlight of the album, which makes it confusing when any praise is reserved for the other songs in the batch. Man, screw everyone else....

The National: Think You Can Wait

It's not even that this song is really that great, really. But I would have to say that since they're probably my favorite band currently operating in their prime, I feel compelled to put something on this list anyway. And this is much better than that damn song from the Portal soundtrack that they had. So there.

Okkervil River: Your Past Life As A Blast

I'm not really sure exactly how to describe this song other than it's quite different than their usual output, as this sounds less indie-folkish and more Arcade Fire aping. But it works nonetheless, even if it's not going to really ascend to "biggest song in the world" status that Arcade Fire's best stuff sometimes reaches towards. Then again, it's not trying to reach for that at all...

Radiohead: Little By Little

OK. So... The King Of Limbs kind of sucked. But as I mentioned when it came out, I'm OK with that. They're in their 40's, and a decrease in quality to be expected at that point (example: just about every 60's artist putting out crappy release after crappy release in the 80's.) But this is good... if not great Radiohead. It probably would not sound out of place on Hail To The Thief, and if it were... it'd probably be something like by 5th favorite on the album. And that, my friends, is all it takes to get on my list of favorite music of 2011 so far...

Raphael Saadiq: Go To Hell

I had the album recommended to me by someone/something during a phase in which I was going through a lot of Motown. I only listened to it once, but I wasn't too high on it, as it seemed to be trying to ape a lot of different 60's/70's soul sounds without actually sounding cohesive. But this stuck out as a nice throwback... although the man sounds pretty much exactly like Stevie Wonder, which is good but kind of creepy.

Tom Waits: Bad As Me

I don't have a video here. But just imagine it being great, because it's Tom Waits.

There are a couple bands with releases that I could have included here, but I couldn't be bothered to try to go with the effort.

You can tell I am committed, folks.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I just finished watching the USC/Minnesota game in which the Gophers came up a field goal short of pulling off the upset. (And by "just finished, I mean it ended an hour ago and decided to take a shower before writing this. And by "watching", I mean that it was on one of my browser tabs, since none of the antennas I buy work on my TV, thus not allowing me to legally watch the game.)

I'm assuming that this will be counted as a moral victory to most, since the team did so poorly last year. And I'm assuming now the expectations are higher for the season/future, and most people are expecting big things from the new head football coach Jerry Kill. But I'm still not on the bandwagon. And it's not because of anything on-field related, but rather for completely objective/reliant-solely-on-hindsight reasons.

But, they are reasons that I'm about 98% sure will prevent Jerry Kill from being an effective coach for our team.

To be a good coach (or, basically, to be successful in anything), you need to have a good name and a good look. Jerry Kill has none of those things. I am going to break it down for you right here.

When you think about the best coaches in football history, they all had pretty great names. Joe Paterno. Vince Lombardi. Paul Bear Bryant. Bill Belichick. Knute Rockne. Of course, most of these guys have been successful for additional reasons other than their name.... but it's the name that is the primary reason they're considered the best of the best. It instills fear. It demands respect. It makes players want to play for them. It's pretty much a fact of life, too--you need a great name in order to be successful. (I, on the other hand, have an absolutely great name, and yet I've been wildly unsuccessful in my life. But there's still hope... thanks to my name.)

Jerry Kill has a very conflicting name. His last name is absolutely great, perfect for such a brutal sport like football. If I were a college recruit looking at potential schools, and I had a little pamphlet of all the schools to choose from, and on that pamphlet it listed just the last name of all the school's coaches, you could rest assured I'd be choosing Minnesota in a heartbeat.

But the name Jerry ruins all of that. It, to put it simply, is not a football name. Jerry is not a football coach you want to play for. Jerry is the uncle you have that has two children and works as a plumber. Jerry is the guy that you know does something in your office but you can't quite place what exactly he does. Jerry is the overly friendly middle aged cashier at the supermarket. I mean, if those types of things are what you're aspiring for, Jerry's a great name. But how is a guy named Jerry supposed to convince teenagers to play for Minnesota? It just isn't happening.


Again, let's look at the names I listed above of some of the greatest football coaches. Paul Bear Bryant--the fedora. Joe Paterno and Vince Lombardi--classy looking motherf*****s. Bill Belichick--well, he dresses like a hobo. But he looks like a brilliant, bitter, and grumpy math genius, so it doesn't matter how he dresses. Knute Rockne--I don't know what he looks like, but it's probably "great football coach" like. All of these guys look the part in their own way, which thus obviously has a subconscious effect on how they coach.

Jerry Kill looks like this:

OK. We have already discovered that the bald + mustache combination is not an effective strategy when we had Brad Childress coaching the Vikings, whose bad mustache affected his coaching ability and turned him into a moron. (He flirted with a full beard for a while, and thus looked a lot better... but the mustache had already done its dirty work.) In essence, the mustache makes Coach Kill look stupid and will probably make him coach stupid.

Now, don't get me wrong, a mustache does not always make you look bad. Couple of examples:

But in order to pull it off--like Ron Swanson and the Iron Sheik do--you have to be pretty much a mountain of a man. (Which Ron Swanson and the Iron Sheik both are.) Jerry Kill is not that type. Jerry Kill looks like the short, fat and inept beat cop in a bad 50's Abbott & Costello movie. So the mustache has got to go, for sure.

But even then, I don't know if that would help. He still has that stocky look to him that would not inspire me to view him as a brilliant football mind. So again, if I were a football recruit, I would probably pass on the Gophers in order to go play for Penn St and Joe Paterno, who still has that great football coach even if he looks like he's on the precipice of death everytime he's on screen.


But of course, I don't want to completely write off the guy simply because he doesn't fit my foolproof criteria. So he deserves a chance to improve his coaching skills--and he does that by altering his name and his appearance.

To fix his name, he obviously needs to drop the Jerry portion of it. What I would probably do is insist to the media that no one is allowed to refer to him as "Jerry", and instead insist on being referred to as "Coach Kill" at all times. Maybe even going so far as to make Coach the legal first name. That, or simply go by just the last name. Kill. Wait, no. He has to capitalize the letters too, in order to make him sound like secret evil organization hellbent on ruling the world. The man, the coach--KILL. The coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I like it.

As far as changing his appearance... well, there's a little bit more work to be done. You can't simply shave the mustache, so what I would do is make a claim that the coach has been in a horrible accident, one that required facial reconstruction to be done--which was subsequently botched, leaving Coach Kill a disfigured mess. Thus, wherever he goes, he must wear a black mask to indicate the parts of his face that were badly disfigured--maybe a mask that covers everything except the right eye area. I think that'd look good. He'd have to ditch the glasses in that case, I presume.

He also needs to dress in a sharp, all-black suit in order to get people to look past the stockiness. And a nice, black fedora... not necessarily ripping off the Bear Bryant look, but I guess updating it for the 21st century. Also, I think he needs a cape. No football coach has ever had a cape before.

If Jerry Kill does all of those things, then I'm pretty sure he'll go down as one of the most successful college coaches of all time. If he doesn't... well, then he'll probably have the team going 7-5 a couple years down the road. And basically, no one cares about 7-5 teams...

But I'd watch every game if I had a Phantom of the Opera hybrid coach named KILL coaching my team. That'd be awesome.

And then maybe after we've won multiple titles and KILL's career is winding down, you could have a rival coach rip off the mask, revealing that KILL's face is actually not disfigured. And that it was all psychological as the coach merely thought his face was horribly damaged... and then we'd blow a three touchdown lead in the national championship game.

Why hasn't this not happened already?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

State Fair

By far the best about this was getting there around 9 AM, and entering through the amusement park section, where just about everything was deserted, and only a couple souls wandering around.

It's pretty much the closest I'll get to a post-apocalyptic wasteland feeling (unless, you know... I survive an apocalypse). And of course, hours later, the place was jam packed with multitudes getting suckered in by carnies for games rigged to take their money. So I guess it was more of a reverse-apocalypse than anything...

But anyway. I would wholeheartedly recommend entering through the Midway if you for some reason get there extremely early. It is at the same time calm and incredibly eerie.