Sunday, December 06, 2009

Umbrella's guide to holiday viewing

I'm a little late with this, but in case you've never seen the holiday programming, may I suggest you get a TV? For you frekas, here's a guide to decide what to watch this year. The scale is from one to five egg nogs, with 5 being the best.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946) - The movie that spawned so many imitations. Yeah, it's kind of hokey, but I love this flick. Jimmy Stewart rules, and that is not open for debate. Mary is pretty hot for a 1940's chick. It was the inspiration behind Ernie and Bert. And as a bonus, you get to see the dude who was Alfalfa in this movie (he's the guy that opens the pool so everyone falls in at the dance). Still, I have to dock it some points because it's a proven fact that every kid in old movies has to be annoying as fuck. 4.5/5 egg nogs.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - Not bad, but I have some problems with the movie. First of all, does anybody really believe that was Santa? I think if a parent let some crazy old dude take care of their kid these days, CPS would get called. Then, the lawyer gets "Santa" off on a technicality, creating more distrust of laywers. Plus, I just can't get over the feeling that this was an early infomercial for Macy's. 2/5 egg nogs.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964) - This one is considered the Rankin/Bass classic, but it's never sat real well with me. First off, Rudolph's parents are assholes for mocking his birth defect. Can you imagine if Corky's parents teased him on "Life Goes On"? People would be losing their minds. Yet with Rudolph, it's OK. I don't get it. And I hate that fucking elf who wants to be a dentist. What a little bitch that guy is. Who wants to go from making kids happy to inflicting pain? Yukon Cornelius is a badass though, and I will give bonus points to the squirt gun that shoots grape jelly. That thing rocks. I wish I had one of those. 2.5/5 egg nogs.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) - Another classic. However, I think this one misses the mark a little bit. Why would Charlie Brown get all discouraged about Snoopy's awesome light display on his doghouse? I mean, which would you rather see, a tricked out doghouse, or an anemic little Christmas tree that dies when you put an ornament on it. No contest. Also, Linus gets a little too preachy for me. Hey Linus, maybe we would pay a little more attention to you if you didn't completely ruin your credibility a couple of months earlier with all that Great Pumpkin nonsense. 1.5/5 egg nogs.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) - OK, the Grinch is pretty awesome. Boris Karloff does his voice, and narrates, which automatically gets bonus points. Plus, whoever that dude who sings about Grinch has the coolest deep voice. Eat your heart out Barry White. And for anyone who thinks cats are cooler than dogs, the dog in Grinch will end that argument. Loyal, hard working, and can see no fault in the Grinch? Yep, sounds like every dog I know. I can't give it 5 egg nogs for two reasons. One, the people in Whoville are a little on the Stepford side for me. Second, it spawned a terrible Jim Carrey flick. 4/5 egg nogs.

A Christmas Story (1983) - Now we're talking. A gun is the focal point in the story. The queen mother of all curse words. A double dog dare. Chinese turkey. Major awards. I OWN this movie, and it is the only must watch on my list every year. Jean Shepard is a terrific writer, and the film is a great adaptation of his work. My lady friend doesn't like this movie. That's because she is a freak. Plus, this movie has life lessons in it. For example, when Ralphie gets busted for cursing, he immediately blames Schwartz. The lesson in this? Blame the Jews. 5/5 egg nogs.

Football (every year) - I realize some of you would argue that this isn't holiday programming. To you people, I say "Move back to France!" It's on in December. Bowl games are on Christmas day. And on the rare occasions when Christmas is on Sunday, it is like the birth of Jesus is being witness by our generation. Plus, December football is either bowl games (college) or playoff pushes (NFL). 5/5 beers (only a pussy drinks egg nog while watching football).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Back out of my cave, with a shameless plug.

So between my illness, the band, and a freaking month long business trip, I've been too tired to post. Mostly because I've been using my creative juices to make mashups. My daughter has been trying to get me to try and make one, so I decided what would be the most ridiculous pair of artists to try and mash. Mission accomplished.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Where have all the bass players gone?

It lives. Yes, I'm still around. I've been concentrating on getting healthy, my paying job, and my low paying job (the band). That sucks all of my energy I have.

The new band is kicking ass. We've played a few gigs, and are starting to build a little following. Unfortunately, we are doing it without a bassist. I have never been in a band having this much trouble getting a bass player to stick. It's pissing me off. They are like the drummers in Spinal Tap.

So if you're a bass player in the Tucson area, and want to play in a kickass punk/jazz/hardcore hybrid that is made for moshing, let me know.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Kickass toys, and how poor kids played back in the 70's

As part of my ongoing childhood memories tour, here is a list of toys from my youth. Some of these I owned, some of them I didn't. But just because we were poor, didn't mean we couldn't have fun. Here is a list of shit we used to do.

1. Caps - I never owned a cap gun. However, we could go down to TG&Y's and get a giant roll of caps for about a dime. Who needed a cap gun when you had a rock? We would sit and bash the pockets of gunpowder all day. Yeah, the sidewalk would be covered with scorch marks, but who cares? Cheap explosives rule!

2. Evil Knievil motorcycle - To a boy in the 70's, Evil Knievil was the baddest man on the planet. For you whippersnappers out there, it might be hard to believe that some dude jumping over shit on a motorcycle was prime time TV, but his stunts were a ratings bonanza. I never got to own this toy, but one of my friends did. We would jump over everything with it. We tried to jump his dog (eww, that sounds gross) but the damn mutt would never stay still (and that sounds even grosser). To this day, this is still the toy I'm bitter about never owning.

3. Stretch Armstrong - I got this for Christmas one year. We need to start a poll. How long did you own this toy before you cut it open to see what was inside? I think I made it about a month. As an added bonus, this toy made a great weapon. I knocked my brother into near unconsciousness by hitting him in the head with it.

4. Slime - What the hell was this stuff? According to wiki, it's made of guar gum. I still don't know what it is. All I know is that it was pretty cool for a little while. Then eventually you would forget to put the lid on tight, and it would dry out and be useless. Everyone I know pretended it was snot to gross out our moms.

5. Army Men - Another TG&Y classic. You could get a giant bag of these dudes for about a buck. The dude with the bazooka was badass. My brother would get pissed at me because I would always give him the pussy that was talking on the radio. We would set up these big elaborate battles, and then throw rocks at them to try and "kill" them by knocking them over. I never really liked the guy who was lying down with his gun. You couldn't knock him over. In the provided link, it looks like he's standing up. I think that is photography magic. One time a buddy of mine came back from Mexico with a bunch of bottle rockets, so we shot a bunch of them into space. The other thing we used to do is throw them in a fire, and pretend they were torched by a flamethrower.

6. Slip N Slide - Do they still make these? I never owned one proper, but never underestimate the ingenuity of a poor kid. One time we were wandering around the back of some industrial complex, and came across a roll of thick plastic. Being the little shitheads we were, we made off with the roll. Add garden hose, and presto, instant Slip N Slide. We would play pickle with it, where we would have spectacular slides to avoid the tags. One of the worst times I got in trouble as a young kid was because of this. We set it up at my buddy's house, and played for about 8 hours. The hose was running the whole time, turning his front yard into a marsh. Plus, with all the sliding and everything, we tore up most of the grass as well. When his folks got home, they lost their minds. They ended up having to tear out and redo the entire yard.

7. Star Trek gun - I didn't watch Star Trek, but I liked guns. This was another cheap TG&Y toy you could get for a couple of bucks. They shot these little plastic discs that kinda hurt when you got hit with them. However, you would lose the discs pretty quickly as you can imagine. We discovered they shoot pennies pretty well, and the ammo packed more of a wallop.

8. Big Wheel - Best. Gift. Ever. I finally got one for Christmas one year, which probably extended my belief in Santa for another good three years. Fuck I loved that thing. We would go around trying to see who could do the baddest skids. The problem is, I was growing so fast at that time that I couldn't fit in it anymore. Yeah, it had an adjustable seat, but that would only get you so far. However, I was a problem solver. Just grab onto the handle bars, put one foot in the seat, and treat it like a scooter. No wonder I have back problems now. Unfortunately, that method would usually result in cracking the middle of it, rendering it useless. That is, if the plastic tires weren't flat already. I'm pretty sure I cried when my mom finally got rid of its broken, faded shell.

9. Tennis Ball - Probably the most versatile toy on this list. You could find one of those lying around by the high school most of the time. I can't even begin to count the number of games that we could play with a tennis ball. See #6, the pickle was done with a tennis ball. Probably our favorite game to play was "Butt's Up". All you need is a tennis ball, a wall, and some kids. The linked version I've listed is actually pretty close to how we would play, except we would try to hit the runner instead of the wall. We'd play for hours. Heck, I'd still play that today if I could find any takers.

10. Water Rocket - This thing was pretty cool. You'd fill it full of water, and then pump it with air pressure to get it to launch. The trick was to see how much pressure you could get. Since we were kids, we weren't that strong, so we would all gang up to get that thing pumped up. Eventually, we broke the pump. Apparently, it's all educational as well. Whatever, we just wanted to see how high we could get that fucker to go. Surprisingly, we never actually shot it at each other. Even with our violent tendencies, we knew that would probably fuck someone up pretty bad.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A somewhat serious post

I'm sure all 6 of my loyal readers have been noticing the severe lack of posts lately. I somewhat addressed it in my last post, but I guess I should come clean. I have been diagnosed with cancer.

I have debated back and forth whether I should mention it on my blog. Hell, I debated whether or not to keep it from my friends and family. However, the chemotherapy is kinda kicking my ass, so I figured I better tell people since they would notice I wasn't myself. Plus, if someone I cared about kept it secret from me, I'd be pretty pissed off about it.

However, on a blog, you can't see me or my actions, so I could have kept it a secret. What I don't want is for this to become a mopey, woe-is-me type of thing. Life can be shitty enough without another depressing blog out there. Plus, my chances for a full recovery are good, so this isn't going to get all morbid or anything like that.

So why come clean? Well, if you haven't noticed by now, a lot of my posts are me ranting about things that piss me off. And this definitely pisses me off. So I may decide to rant about it in the future. I really want to keep a sense of humor about all of this, so I may look at this from a different angle.

Plus, I am being forced to face issues that most of us don't like to think about. I'm sure this is leading to some of my reminiscing posts. Those posts are kind of fun to do anyways, so chances are good that I'll keep doing those.

And finally, my energy is absolutely shit these days. By the time I get home from work, I just want to sleep. This means I don't feel like posting, for all of you mensas out there.

So there it is. Don't feel sorry for me, because that will just piss me off. I like challenges, so this is how I'm approaching things. And because I'm me, we started a pool at work for what date I will shave my head when I start losing my hair. I don't know the dates anyone picked, and the only way we decided I could be eligible for the pool was for me to pick that I won't lose my hair at all. Nothing like gambling on your own body.

OK, enough of that crap. Your regularly scheduled immature posts will return shortly.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Celebrity death match

No, the Feds didn't get me. Life gets complicated, and then I don't blog. Simple as that.

But of course, while I was in hiatus, famous people started dieing left and right. First, we had Ed McMahon. Most people remember him as Johnny's sidekick, but I remember him as a man ahead of his time. Remember Star Search? That's America's Got Talent, but 20 years earlier. Dude was a visionary, and nowhere near as annoying as David Hasselhoff.

Then Farrah. Yeah, I knew she was really sick, but she was my first pinup, so I was bummed out. You know the poster. I won it at the state fair by popping balloons. I think I was 10. My mom wasn't too thrilled, but I was. Several years later, I was working graveyard shifts at a 7-11. I was working there when she appeared in Playboy. That's when I discovered the truth behind the most famous part of the poster.

And then Michael Jackson. I was in high school when he became really big. Let's face it, he made MTV what it is today. Well, aside from the fact that they don't show music videos anymore. I wasn't the biggest fan, but I respect his talent, at least before he went completely insane. So I'm not really that emotionally involved with his death like a lot of people are.

At least I wasn't, until I heard his dad talk. For those that don't know, Joe Jackson is a piece of shit who did God knows what to his kids. It's no coincidence that every one of those kids is fucked up. So what does he do when addressing the public after Michael's death? He pimps out his new business ventures. I don't know why this pissed me off so bad, but it did. I just can't imagine losing one of your kids, and taking the opportunity to promote yourself. I just don't see how someone could put their own financial gain over the well being of their kids.

It's like the whole John and Kate fiasco, but at least those kids aren't dead yet. Although with Kate parading those kids around at every opportunity, I'm predicting that one of the girls will end up in porn. You heard it here first. It will be called John and Kate Plus Eight Dicks in Her Mouth, or something clever like that. End the fucking show, and take care of your kids. I've been through a divorce, and had young kids when it happened. It's a messed up situation, and I don't need a camera in my face while it's happening. Those kids don't either.

Sheez, with all the celebrity talk, this is turning into a gossip blog. I think I'm about two posts away from drawing dicks on celebrity pictures in Paint.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Feds will be coming any day now

I've talked in the past about my superhuman powers to affect things outside my influence. Usually it only affects me, or it affects sports. No big deal, right? However, for the first time, my powers have hurt someone else. I think I killed David Carradine.

I was driving with my daughters the other day, and there was some old lady walking along the side of the road. Well actually, she was more IN the road than on the side of it. I told my daughter in the passenger seat to get the door ready, and take her out. When she didn't, I told her, "Man, that was a lot of points you just gave up." She looked at me like I was an idiot. I said, "C'mon, Death Race 2000". She still didn't know what I was talking about.

I have a little pride in the fact that I am doing a good job of raising my daughters. However, the fact that neither of them knew about Death Race 2000, perhaps the greatest B movie ever made, showed me I was an utter failure as a father. [Note: while getting the IMDB link for Death Race 2000, it claims that the movie's popularity is up 264% this week. Why must we have tragedy to appreciate things we already have?] I started explaining to them the concept of the movie. Since they are smart, they realized that this movie sounded awesome. My youngest daughter told me that it was probably on YouTube. Yeah right. There is no way that A) an entire movie would be on YouTube, and B) even if it was, someone wouldn't have taken it down, claiming copyright laws or some such bullshit.

We got home, and I was going to try and find some clips of the movie to show them. However, the youngest was right! The ENTIRE movie, cut in bits, was on YouTube. I was amazed. [Another note: the movie has since been removed. Fucking lawyers.] We ended up watching the movie, and they thought it was awesome, in spite of the very dated 70's attire. They also thought it was pretty funny that this movie was supposed to take place in 2000.

This happened on June 2. David Carradine died the next day. I haven't even thought about this movie in years. Coincidence? I think not. So I give my sincerest apology to the Carradine family and all of his fans. Just because I have these powers, doesn't mean I know how to harness them properly.

And if any lawyers are out there (just kidding about the "fucking lawyers" bit, heh), when the Feds come to take me away, do you think I can plea down to manslaughter? It was completely unintentional.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blasts from the Past (AKA midlife crisis post)

I still haven't gotten over the fact that my daughter is now a high school graduate. Combine this with the fact that I was thinking about old TV shows during the live blog, and receiving a "You know you were a child of [insert era here]" email, and I've been spending some time thinking about my youth. So in this post , I'm going to remember things as a kid growing up in the Phoenix area. I realize that this won't resonate with 99.999% of you out there. Good way to keep an audience.

1. Wallace and Ladmo. If you were a kid living in the Phoenix area before about 1990, you know and love this show. I've heard it was the longest running kids show in US history. To a kid, this show kicked ass. Ladmo was hilarious, they showed cartoons, and they gave away stuff. They had these skits in between cartoons which was when I would get ready for school. As I got older, I decided it wasn't very cool to watch a kiddie show like this. However, in high school, I rediscovered the show. The skits, which I always thought were lame, turned out to be the best part of the show. These weren't meant for the kids. They were adult humor that went right over the kids' heads. No wonder it lasted over 35 years. Now I understood why my mom would laugh at this show as well. When Ladmo died, the entire state mourned. And of course, to answer the question that ALWAYS gets asked when talking about the show: No, I never got a Ladmo bag.

2. Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour. Hands down, the best place ever for a birthday party. This place served ice cream, ice cream, and more ice cream. I can't remember if they served anything else. If they did, it wasn't ever ordered. The place had an old-timey feel. All of the employees looked straight out of a barbershop quartet. For parties, they had the Farrell's Zoo, which was a GIANT tub of ice cream, with little animals camped out all over it. When one was delivered, they would bang a big drum, and bells and sirens would wail as the waiters ran around the restaurant with the Zoo on a stretcher. Absolute chaos, and I loved it! After you would gorge yourself on ice cream, the only way out of the restaurant was through the best candy store I've ever seen. You name it, they carried it, along with a bunch of other stuff I never saw anywhere else. A dentist's nightmare, but a kid's dream.

3. Big Surf. Apparently, Big Surf is still around, although under different ownership. This place was pretty awesome as well. It had a wave pool that you could actually surf on. As far as I know, it is proprietary, and nobody has been able to replicate it. They would have concerts at night. I remember as little asshole kids, we would try and snatch the girls' bikini tops off as they went by on the rafts in the wave pool. Fun fact: Remember that movie Just One of the Guys? The "famous" prom scene at the beach were the chick reveals she's really a chick by showing her boobs was filmed at Big Surf. Plus, I knew some of the extras in that movie. And as an added bonus, there was a drive-in theatre across the street. In high school, this was a good capper to a summer day. Speaking of high school...

4. Valley Art Theatre. This was an old theatre in downtown Tempe, on Mill Avenue, before they cleaned up the area and turned it into a franchisee's wet dream. I personally prefer the old Mill Avenue. It had one screen, and a balcony. The theatre would show the indie type films, cult films, and midnight movies. I'm pretty sure nobody in there was ever sober. I know I wasn't. The first time I ever did shrooms, we went there and watched Alice in Wonderland. Plus, they had all you could eat popcorn. When you were high, this was a godsend. The place would get shut down from time to time for showing porn. I don't know if it is still there or not.

5. Happy Trails/Trails. This was a head shop on old Mill Avenue. It was originally called Happy Trails, but I think Roy Rogers filed a lawsuit, so they just changed their name to Trails. A cool place to burn away a few hours. The Mill Avenue cleanup got rid of this place.

6. Pete's Fish and Chips. Man, this place was a dive. We used to joke that the place was awesome as long as you didn't watch them prepare your food. Greasiest place I've ever been to, and that's saying something. The main draw was the price. You could get a Monster Burger (1/3 pound burger with the works, including Tabasco sauce), large fries, and a tub of soda for a couple of bucks. This place was always packed with broke college students and high school kids. Strangely enough, I don't know anyone who has ever had the fish there. We always ordered burgers. Another casualty of the Mill Avenue cleanup. Can you figure out where I used to hang out yet?

7. Elroy "Buzz" Towers. I think this dude started as a fake helicopter traffic reporter, but I'm including him on this list for his TV show. They used to show these awful B movies, and he was the host. Think of Elvira, without the wig and boobs. My brother and I would watch these terrible movies, and make fun of them. All of our friends loved our bits. Little did we know there would be a market for people doing that. We were seriously bummed out we realized it. Plus, it was on his showed that I discovered the cinematic masterpiece which was Basket Case, AKA The Most Underrated Movie of All Time. Seriously, a movie about a Siamese twin which was some kind of mutant, removed at birth but lives, and then goes on to rape his brother's girlfriend? Oops, I should have made a spoiler warning. How did this not win an Oscar?

8. Hand printed driver's licenses. Back in the day, in Arizona, when you went to get your driver's license, you would fill out the information on the application. And then they would use that information directly on your actual license! In your own handwriting! A direct copy! I love exclamation points! It took us all of about 3 seconds to realize what this meant. We could write our birth dates in such a way that we could alter it immediately when we got our license. 1967's became 1961's, 1968's became 1963's, and so on. Which made the drinking age go from 19 to 16 in a hurry.

9. The Cine Capri. Simply put, the baddest ass movie theatre I've ever been to. You can click the link for all the history and stuff, but my memory of it was going to see Star Wars there. My grandmother took us to see it. It was the first theatre I remember that had Dolby surround sound, and grandma thought it was way too loud. So she decided to stuff Kleenex in her ears. My brother and I didn't think too much of it, as Star Wars at the Cine Capri was like a cinematic orgasm to a kid. But as we were leaving, we realized she still had Kleenex hanging out of her ears. As mentioned before, we were little assholes, so we never told her. We just giggled about it all the way home.

10. Bill Johnson's Big Apple. One of the few places on this list still going strong. I remember thinking how cool it was that sawdust covered the floor. My mom told me they used it to soak up the spit in the old cowboy days. Big mistake, as I spent the rest of the time spitting on the floor every time we went. It's known for it's BBQ, and don't get me wrong, the BBQ is very good. But my memories are of the breakfasts. They were huge southern style breakfasts, and they were delicious. My lady friend and I were back in the Phoenix area not too long ago, and looking for a breakfast spot when we went past one. Of course I had to check it out. It was as good as I remembered. What I didn't remember was how cheap it was. We got more food than we could eat for under $20, after tip. We were so full, we didn't eat lunch, and even had a light dinner.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Live blog, interleague style

Or is it intraleague? I can never remember. Let's go to the game. As an aside, I'm also keeping track of the UCLA-Missouri softball game, as the winner of this series will face the Devils in the Women's College World Series.

Top of 1st: Lopez was hurt in last night's game, so Augie gets the start at 2B. Ryan Roberts gets a rare start at 3B, and leads off with a long fly ball. Parra batting 2nd, and I am loving this guy. He just got called up from the minors a few games ago, and has been just tearing it up. Some dude named Outman (good pitchers name) is pitching for the A's, and his socks are ridiculous. Old school, 70's style socks. Parra continues to be awesome, and draws a walk. Upton is the DH today, batting 3rd. Outman struggling with his control early, and gives up a hard line drive on 3-1 count. Upton with the double, runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Stephen Drew, hitting under .200, batting cleanup. Hinch is a genius. Oops, my bad, he's hitting .203 after a good game last night. He hits a dribbler to short, but it's enough to score the run. Special K is up, and he's been pretty good this year. He hits a grounder to end the inning, but the D-Backs are up 1-0.

Bottom of 1st: UCLA up 1-0 after 2 innings. Hey, it's Mr. Agility pitching today. He's been OK this season. His ERA isn't so hot, but for whatever reason, the team seems to hit for him. Drew throws Cabrera out on a nice play. Kennedy hits a little blooper in the Bermuda triangle to get to first. Byrnes the Clown is playing left, and bobbles a routine fly ball, but holds on for the second out. Did you see that play the other day when he "tossed" the throw into the left field bullpen. Awesome. That guy is a disaster in the field. The phone rang and I missed the third out.

Top of 2nd: Snyder leads off with a high fly ball to left. Byrnes the Clown hits a little broken bat blooper to left, and hustles to get to 2nd. I have to give props, that was good hustle. Hey, it's Augie!! RBI opportunity here, but he's been a little cold of late. Augie crushes one, but it's hit right at the CF. 2 outs. Young continues to struggle with a fly out to Buck (former Devil) in right.

Bottom of 2nd: UCLA still up 1-0. Maybe my timing is bad, but there's been a serious lack of hotness in that game. I expect more from UCLA. Giambi up, and I haven't noticed how gray his beard is. Is that a side effect of steroids? He grounds out to first. Speaking of gray beards, now they're showing Tony Clark in the dugout. Actually, it's more of a gray Fu Manchu. I sense a theme. I have a gray beard too. Well, I did, but I shaved it. And now I'm boring myself. Back to the game. Sweeney just about takes Mr. Agility's head off with a line drive up the middle. Buck bunts, and almost beats the throw, but Mr. Agility lives up to his nickname and makes a nice play. Leave it to the Sun Devil to put his team ahead of his stats. Crosby draws a walk. Man, I need one of those voice recognition things so I can just say my thoughts and it types them for me. This is a lot of work. Powell, hitting under .200, draws a walk to load the bases for Cabrera. This is trouble. Yikes, he drives Byrnes the Clown to the track, but it stays in the park. I think I'm going to shorten Byrnes the Clown to BTC. My goal is the have a nickname for every player on the team before the season is over.

Top of 3rd: I think everyone on this team is trying to hit a home run. Roberts hits yet another fly ball to start the inning. Parra hits one as well. Can Upton complete the trifecta? Nope, infield single. Upton has been playing well. How will Drew disappoint me today? Routine grounder to 2nd. Darin Sutton is already getting on my nerves. I see a MUTE button in the near future.

Bottom of 3rd: Mr. Agility strikes out Kennedy to start the inning. I'm having some difficulties, as I am typing with one hand right now. No, I'm not jerking off. I'm lying on the ground, leaning on my other arm. Both are poor excuses. Hmm, should I be lazy, or a pervert? I could be both, but that wouldn't leave me any free hands to type. Cust hits a high fly ball, and BTC makes it adventure, but gets the 2nd out. Holliday gets a single. This guy kills us. I'm glad he's out of the NL West. Holy crap, they have an amazing shift on for Giambi. Why don't these guys ever bunt? If it stays fair on the third base line, he's safe easily, even as slow as he is. It doesn't matter, as Giambi draws a walk. Christ, this game is BORING. I'm doing more surfing than watching right now. My ESPN streak is now a 3 game losing streak, which is the longest I've ever had. I think I'll pick a NASCAR event. That should keep the losing streak going. I don't know shit about NASCAR. My mom is a redneck NASCAR fan. D-Backs record third out. And fuck, what the hell is this? D-Back to basics? Imagine unfunny dudes trying to be funny while teaching baseball tips. Awesome. It's like a poor man's Baseball Bunch. Hold these thoughts, the inning has changed.

Top of 4th: Crap, my NASCAR pick didn't take. I guess the race started. I guess I'll pick Cleveland to beat Orlando. Special K draws a walk. I didn't know the Baseball Bunch was filmed in Tucson. Man, I used to watch that show religiously when I was a kid. The kids on the show were annoying as fuck, but Johnny Bench was my favorite player, so I was a regular viewer. Plus, it had the San Diego Chicken, before he became just the Chicken. And for your pleasure, check this out...

Is Tug McGraw high in this? Probably. It doesn't matter, I loved that show. Back to the boringness of the D-Backs game. Another walk. BTC does his speciality, and pops up. And Augie hits into a double play. Dammit Augie, if you don't quit sucking, I'm going to change my loyalties to Parra.

Bottom of 4th: Buck pops up. This game is two fucking hours old, and we are only in the 4th inning? In a 1-0 game? What the fuck is taking so long? Crosby grounds out. Wait, Mr. Agility has a little circle band aid on the back of his neck. What's that about? Did he get nicked getting a hair cut? Powell grounds out. I picked a real doozy to live blog.

Top of 5th: UCLA up 4-0. Looks like they will go to a deciding third game in that series. D-Backs are going to sit on a 1 run lead. Bad idea. Young leads off with a pop up. This offense is horrible. They just said that Young is twice the league average on pop ups. I wonder what BTC's average is. Roberts grounds out to the pitcher. I think I'm going to surf youtube for more blasts from my childhood. But wait, Parra is up. Not for long, as he grounds out.

Bottom of 5th: I always thought Electric Company kicked Seseme Street's ass. Two quick ground outs. I've officially lost interest in this game. BTC makes a diving catch, and the ball pops out when he hits the ground. He didn't need to dive, watching the replay. The ball hit the heel of his glove. THAT'S the BTC we've come to grow sick of. By the way, that was Cust. If they didn't have that ridiculous shift, Drew could have gotten to that pop up. Cust gets a double out of that. Holliday draws a walk. Back to Electric Company. I knew Irene Cara was one of the kids on that show, but here's something I didn't know. She was replaced by the actress who played Violet in the Willie Wonka movie that didn't suck. She was kind of a cute kid. I wonder if she's hot now. This will be my mission, since the game sucks. Giambi flies out.

Top of 6th: The actress' name is Denise Nickerson. According to IMDB, she played Lolita in a Broadway musical. I told you she was a cute kid. I feel like I need to put a disclaimer on this conversation, or else Chris Hansen is going to show up. Upton fouls out, and Drew walks. Special K hits into a double play. Sigh.

Bottom of 6th: I think this is a picture of modern day Violet. She's kinda old, but then I remember that the movie is probably close to 40 years old, so she's probably in her 50's. Sweeney leads off with a single. Here's another pic. Is she rocking the femullet? So I guess the verdict is - NOT HOT. But to be fair, I didn't realize how old she was. Well, that killed some time. I love the internet. Buck pops up. Crosby hits a single to right, and Parra almost gunned down Sweeney at third. Holy crap, that was a throw! A's got something going here. And fuck, wild pitch ties the game. Zavada, our newest minor league call up, is warming in the pen. Powell just blasted a 2 run homer to give the A's a 3-1 lead. Damn. Zavada has the coolest moustache in baseball right now. It looks like one of those old timey Civil War moustaches. Cabrera pops out, and Parra makes a diving catch to end the inning. Hey BTC, that's how you make a diving catch.

Top of 7th: That was Powell's first career home run. Great. UCLA up 5-0. Snyder leads off with a walk. BTC promptly hits into a double play. This offense sucks so bad, I can't think of a word stronger than suck. Augie tries a drag bunt, and barely gets out. We have 3 hits in 7 innings.

Bottom of 7th: Missouri trying to make a comeback in the last inning, as it's now a 5-2 game. Oh boy, here's Slaten. He just got called back up too. Cust strikes out, and Holliday grounds out. And because it's absolutely impossible for Slaten to get through an inning without giving up a run, Giambi hits a bomb. Sweeney pops up to end the inning. 4-1 A's. How many pop ups is that?

Top of 8th: Young actually gets a single. Who will hit into the double play this time? Roberts tried to, but it got by Cabrera. E6, Young to third. Parra comes up as the tying run. Oh, there's the double play. At least the runner on third scored. I guess it's back to thinking about childhood shows, and which girls grew up hot. Remember Little House on the Prarie? Laura was pretty fugly, but I always thought Mary was pretty cute. Yes, she's probably in her 50's too, but I've got to do something to pass the time during this snoozer of a game. That didn't take long. Yep, she still looks pretty good, although a lot of freckles. Man, I'm such a pig. One of the great things about being a guy. Upton strikes out.

Bottom of 8th: Slaten still pitching. Buck flies out to BTC, and that's it for Slaten. Vasquez in to face Crosby. He flies out. Powell draws a walk, and then Cabrera singles. And another wild pitch puts runners on 2nd and 3rd. Kennedy singles, driving the runners in, but gets thrown out at 2nd. 6-2 A's.

Top of 9th: Ziegler in to pitch. Drew grounds out. Special K with one last chance to keep his hitting streak alive. No such luck, as he lives up to his nickname. Tracy hits for Snyder, and gets an infield single to prolong my misery. Montera pinch hitting for BTC. Montero gets a single as well. Augie is up, and let's see if he can keep this going. He pops up to end this game fittingly. Good, this was a long game that was boring as well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A graduation letter to my daughter

My oldest daughter is graduating high school next week. I'm a guy who keeps his feelings pretty close to his vest, so I wanted to let her know how I really feel. I'm planning on giving her this letter on graduation day.

It’s hard for me to believe that you are actually graduating high school. Wait, that sounds bad. I don’t mean I’m surprised you can do it, I mean it doesn’t seem possible that it has happened so soon.

I remember when I got the telegram on the boat that I had a baby girl. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I got the telegram in the middle of a drill, and was getting scolded for not taking the drill seriously, but I didn’t care. I was on cloud nine the entire rest of the patrol, and couldn’t get home soon enough. And when I finally got home, I remember thinking you were one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I still feel the same way eighteen years later.

I remember holding your hand with you as we walked to school on your first day of kindergarten. I was wondering if you would be one of those kids that would cry and carry on. Nope, you couldn’t run into the classroom quick enough. I guess I should have realized even back then that it was a sign of your maturity and independence. I still see a lot of that in you today.

I remember when your mom and I split up. [Your sister] was always crying and upset, but you never let on with how you felt. I know it hurt. I could tell by how you always wanted to wear black, and with your poems. I wish I could have done a better job of comforting you two, but I was going through my own hurt as well. I know it was a horrible time for all of us, but I learned something about you during that time. You showed considerable poise and grace during a difficult time.

But I want you to know, you don’t have to be that way with me. You will always be able to tell me anything, and I promise I won’t judge you. I can’t promise I won’t get upset, but I can promise I won’t judge, and will do my best to help out however I can. Besides, there’s only room for one person in this family who hides their emotions, and I was here first.

And that’s why I’m giving you this letter. I wish I had the courage to be able to say these things to your face. But that’s not me. I’m not a lovey-dovey kind of guy. I’m sure you figured this out by now. I never had a role model on how dads were supposed to act. With you, it was definitely on-the-job training. I’ve joked about how with you, I did all my screw ups, so with [your sister] my parenting will be better. I think even though it’s a joke, there’s a little truth to it. I’ve learned a lot with you.

When I got mad and took away your bedroom door, deep down I was wondering if I had gone too far. When I give you crap about your hair, I wonder if I’m going about it the right way. When I argue with you about the clothes you wear, and make you change into something different…well in this case I KNOW I’m right, so I don’t wonder about it at all. ;)

I guess this is just a long way of getting to a point I’m trying to make with you. Everything I’ve ever done, whether it was good or bad, whether it worked or not, was because I wanted to make sure my kids turned out better than me. It was because I wanted to make sure neither of you girls got hurt. And it was because when this day came, I wanted to make sure you were ready for it.

And you are ready for it. Whenever I sit and wonder if I’ve done a good job of raising you, all I have to do is look at the lady you’ve become. If I had screwed up too badly, there is no way you would be as intelligent, thoughtful, creative, funny, and loving as you are.

I don’t tell you this anywhere near enough, but I am really proud of you. I absolutely adore the woman you have grown into. I love you so very much, and that is why today is one of the best days of my life, and also one of the toughest. It’s one of the best, because you are now ready to get out there and take on the world, and I know you can do it. But it’s one of the toughest because I am going to miss you terribly when you go away to college.

So make sure you do great in college. I’d hate after writing all this sentimental stuff to have to go up there and kick your butt.

I love you.

So is this a bad idea? It is so out of character for me, but I want to make sure I give her something to remember on her grad night. Those of you who are daughters, any thoughts?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More proof I'm easily amused

OK, since my last post was so bitchy, let's lighten things up. I have a confession. I'm a youtube junkie. I'm always looking for stupid shit, and this gave me endless amusement for some reason. I'm not ashamed to admit I watched this about 30 times. First, I'm actually going to enter the 20th century by embedding a video. Yay technology! Take a look, and then I'll dissect it like the Zapruder film. Should I say "Spoilers below"?

OK, this was pretty funny on first glance, especially since I'm a sadist. But on further reviews, this thing got better and better. First of all, I've seen this contest done quite a few times at minor league games, but never with a pitcher warming up. When I saw the title of the video, and the pitcher throwing, I was expecting big trouble. Kids running into each other = funny. Kid getting skulled by a pitcher = not funny.

Even on first viewing, I laughed at the guy saying "That happened yesterday too" right after the collision. Really? And nobody got sued? Maybe there's some hope for this country after all. And like I said, I've seen this done numerous times, and usually one kid smokes the other one. To have back-to-back collisions? That rules.

The next thing I noticed on the next viewing was the catcher. Check him out a few seconds before the collision. He's looking at both of the runners, and you know he's thinking "Oh shit, this is going to end badly." Damn that was awesome.

Another funny thing is the crowd reaction. You can hear them getting excited as the kids approach the plate, and then a big "Oooooooh" after the crash. Even better is the PA announcer in his super happy voice yelling "It's a tie!" Yeah, I'm sure that made the kids feel better.

At the very end, check out the dude in the black shirt and jean shorts. You know he's praying nobody is bleeding. And then, once he realizes everyone is OK, he starts waving his arms to pump up the crowd. Classic.

Finally, let's give some serious love to those kids. THAT is some competitive spirit there. Fuck letting up, I'm going hard all the way to the plate.

Life as an AZ sports fan

Hey all. It's been a while. Let's catch up real quick, then on to my point. Work still sucks, I've got a new gig in a old school punk band, and my daughter turned 18/went to prom/graduating high school all in a 10 day span. Things are pretty crazy in umbrella land.

However, I'm here to talk sports. I'm watching the NBA playoffs, yet the Suns aren't involved. Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver have ruined this team. Now Alvin Gentry is the new coach. Next year will suck too.

The Coyotes look like they're leaving town. They've pretty much sucked as long as they've been in Phoenix. I'd like to be more upset about this, but it's hard to get irate when the team you stole from another city leaves. It's like getting upset when your wife cheats on you, but forgetting that you started fucking her when she was still married to her first husband.

But the real pain for me is the Diamondbacks. The 13-22 Diamondbacks. Let's have a contest in the comments section to come up with the best two word phrase to describe this team. Unmitigated disaster. Underachieving mess. Giant clusterfuck. All of these work.

We've had injuries. Brandon Webb, Stephen Drew, Tony Clark, and Connor Jackson have all been on the DL this season. But that's no excuse. The real culprit is the offense. It's horrible. It's so bad, that from now on, I'm calling them the Diamndbacks. No O, get it? Thank you, don't forget to tip your waitresses.

Let's take a look at the numbers. Out of the 30 teams in baseball, here's where they rank. Batting average, 30th. Runs scored, 29th (San Diego has one less run). Hits, 28th. On base percentage, 30th. Slugging percentage, 24th (this surprised me). Average with runners in scoring position, 30th. Scoring position with two outs, 30th. And my personal favorite: six of the position players who started opening day are batting .215 or less. SIX!!

As awesome as Augie is (hitting .310 in limited playing time), he can't do it all himself. The manager, Bob Melvin, was justifiably fired. However, they hired some front office puppet who has NEVER managed a game at any level in his life. Genius.

Esteemed leader, or chess team star?

I'm so disgusted, I can't even do any live blogs. This team has openly quit on its manager, and the fans are letting them know. I went to Monday's game against the Reds, and I have never seen a crowd that small. And everyone there was in a foul mood. I didn't know such a tiny crowd could boo so loud. Worse thing is, it's only May.

You know it's a cold day in Hell when the Cardinals are the best franchise in town.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shit sandwich

Instead of turning this blog into one of those whiny emo discussions I hate, I'm taking the approach that when life shits on you, make a shit sandwich. The fact it reminds me of Spinal Tap doesn't hurt either.

I've had to travel a lot for work, and my project I spent the last couple of months on was cancelled. But hey, I got paid for all that meaningless work. Mmmm, shit sandwich.

The fact that I'm bandless means I've been searching around on Craigslist trying to get a new gig. But I get to meet all kinds of interesting people this way. Kinda like going to the fair. The shit sandwich is so moist.

Plus, I've been fighting a stomach problem the last few days. I guess this is a literal version of the shit sandwich.

Seriously, I've been getting kicked around a little these days, so I'm not feeling real humorous right now. I'm sure I'll be back to my infantile style of humor in a few days. Until then, enjoy this picture of a cool explosion.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The day the music died

After much soul searching, I decided to leave my band. It's one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. I just have a different vision of what I want than the rest of the band.

Unfortunately, when I told them Thursday that I was done, all hell broke loose. They were pretty upset with me. They didn't want me to leave, then they didn't care if they ever saw me again, and pretty much everything in between. I guess you could say it got pretty emotional.

So it's over, and it was my decision, and yet I feel horrible about it. I've joked that a band is like a marriage, except with more people, and this feels like a divorce lite. I know I made the right decision, but I'm still pretty bummed out. I've put so much time and energy over the last three years into this group. It's really hard to walk away.

The thing that has me pretty pissed off though, is that all the problems I was complaining about, they are addressing with their "new" group. I'm thinking, "If you guys would have done these things earlier, I wouldn't have left." So I'm kinda upset about that, but oh well.

I'm hoping to hook up with some new people and get a new band going. I'll definitely make sure we are all on the same page before we begin. Maybe some new blood will get my mojo going again.

I know, I'm sounding like a whiny gash, and not being very humorous. Sue me. This has really gotten me down right now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A blog that actually made me think

A commenter who has some insight on our last Golden Umbrella winner has told me that he probably won't accept the award. If that is the case, this will be a first. Honestly, I'm surprised how good of sports everyone up to this point has been so far. This whole thing started as a way to give some recognition to blogs out there that I think have been more entertaining than 99.9999% of the blogs out there.

And Midtown Miscreant didn't fit the profile of any of the other winners. Most of the winners were silly blogs, and very humor oriented. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I like humor. His, while it had some gallows humor in it, was of a more serious tone. But it struck a nerve with me. And the reason it did was because I realized while reading it (and I damn near read every post), under slightly different circumstances, this could have been written by me.

I've made a couple of references to my "wild past", but never in any detail, and always in passing. I was not a good kid, and I certainly didn't grow up in any idyllic TV sitcom type situation. I was shuttled around between family members (a clue to why my grandmother was so important to me). I've had immediate family members in jail. I've been surrounded by addiction and violence since I was a baby.

I was also a really bright kid, which got me into even more trouble. I found that I had an ability to get others to do things that I wanted to do, even if it wasn't in their best interests. A lot of times, these things were not legal. When I was about 14 or 15, I had a scam going which was ripping off some small time businesses. I was pulling in about $1K a week, which is pretty good money to a kid. One night, one of the guys doing the grunt work for me got caught. I was scared shitless. The gig was up, and I knew it was a matter of time until the cops showed up for me. However, he was very loyal to me, and kept his mouth shut. He got sent to juvie for his efforts. Nothing happened to me. And when I was reading the second half of this post, it really hit home, except I was the one on the other side of the story. The guy who got caught has been in and out of trouble his whole life, and I'm the one doing well.

Most of the money I was making back then was going towards drugs. We all know that drugs are a one way street towards trouble. Even while I was involved, I knew that, but I didn't know how to get out of there. Rehab was for the wealthy. I was stuck.

And then, I came to a crossroads. When I was 17, I got myself involved in a situation that I realized was WAAAY over my head. I knew that was the point in which there was no turning back. And for whatever reason, I had a moment of clarity and realized I didn't want to live this way. So I joined the military, and got as far away from the situation as I could. To this day, I believe this was the smartest thing I've ever done. I never went back.

Every once in a while, I come across a name from my old crowd. It's never good news. They've been arrested, or they have died. I've attended three funerals in the last three years of guys who I used to hang with. I go to them, but not to show respect. These guys were not good people, and even though they were my friends, I don't really respect them. I go to constantly remind myself of what my alternatives could have been.

I used to think that the reason I never got caught was because I was smarter than the average thug. It's probably debatable whether or not I was smarter, but it isn't the reason I never got caught. The reason I never got caught is because I was lucky. I don't care how good you are, you will get caught eventually. And I wasn't anywhere near as good as I thought I was.

MM had another post that also made my think. I'd link to it, but I can't seem to find it now. He was talking about how with the current economic situation, how easy it would be to go back to some old habits. His argument is that once you cross that line, it is really easy to cross it again. This is one that he and I differ on. I understand where he is coming from. The first time you do something, whether it is shoplifting, or getting high, or whatever, there is some nervousness. However, it gets easier and easier, and the stakes gradually get higher and higher. I knew what I was doing was wrong, I just didn't care. That being said, I don't think I will ever cross that line again. And the biggest reason is my kids. I don't think he has any, so that is where we differ. I don't want my daughters to ever go through those things. And I want to show them a good role model. My dad was a violent addict who has been in and out of trouble forever. I don't want to be that guy.

All of these old memories came back while reading his blog. Most of the people I hang with these days have no idea about my past, which is fine by me. I don't advertise it. But while I'm not necessarily proud of my past, as weird as it may sound, I don't regret it either. Everything that happened has made me into the person that I am today. And while I'm pretty rough around the edges, I think I turned out OK. I'm a good dad, and I feel like my kids are going to turn out better than I am. That's all I can ask for.

I guess the whole point of this long winded ramble is this. MM, if you even read this, and you want the award, great. If you don't want it, no sweat off of my back. But I just wanted to let you know that there is one guy out there in this wide wide world of webs who was really moved by your blog. And I just wanted to let you know that. We all like to be recognized for our efforts, and this award, while it may be silly, is my way of saying "Well Done".

Friday, April 10, 2009

BEAT LA! BEAT LA! (another D-Backs live blog)

Coming to you live from my living room, and missing the top of the first inning. We pick up action with Lopez leading off bottom of the 1st.

Bottom of 1st: Um, didn't I just say that? Still no start for Augie. I think he might be the only guy on the roster without a start this season. James McDonald pitching for LA. And a strikeout to start the game. Fucking Lopez. Byrnes bats 2nd. Yes, the 4th different lineup in 4 games. Melvin's a genius. Weak groundout for the 2nd out. Drew, one of the only guys hitting well right now, grounds out. BTW, this is McDonald's first career start. If we can't hit him, it's going to be a long season.

Top of 2nd: Garland, the D-Back's newest acquisition, is pitching tonight. He got through the first inning walking Manny, and then a botched pickoff, but that was it. Back in real time, Drew makes a fantastic diving stop, but Tracy can't pick the bounced throw. Kemp hits a ground ball to Lopez, but they can only get the out at 2nd. Again, where's Augie? He would have turned two. Kemp steals second, and Lopez can't make the tag in time, although it looked like they got him to me. And the replay shows the ump blew this call. Even they hate Lopez. On a side note, Matt Williams is doing the color for this game. This guy has as much personality as a soap dish. I think it's time to start drinking. Garland walks Blake to give runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. Ausmas finds a hole between Lopez and Tracy, and Kemp scores. 1-0 Dodgers, and the fans start to boo already. However, this whiskey sour I made is freaking AWESOME. See, I can be positive. Now the pitcher is up, trying to bunt, and Garland can't throw a fucking strike. It's only the fourth game, and this team is killing me already. However, with a 3-1 count, the pitcher swings (?) and hits into a double play. I'm chanting "ROOKIE" while my daughter looks at me like I'm an idiot.

Bottom of 2nd: The announcers are just as confused as I am on that last play. They are showing Joe Torre, and for some reason I am immensely amused by the fact that his bald spot is peeking out below his cap. Connor flies out to start the inning. Tracy grounds out, and now Reynolds is up. His nickname is The Sheriff. After last season, I call him Special K. Guess what he did? 6 up, 6 down, to a guy making his first career start. Fuck me.

Top of 3rd: I love ESPN's streak for the cash. I have my best streak ever going right now at 8. I picked the Suns to beat Memphis. I can't believe this is going to end my streak. Phoenix sports is absolute shit right now. The Cardinals are the best team. Unbelievable. I missed the first out during this. FSN is smart, and is talking about Pat Tillman right now. Even they know this game sucks. Orlando Hudson, a guy who should have been replaced by Augie, draws a walk. Is it time for Manny to get us? No, he hits a grounder to Reynolds. However, he bobbles it and can only get the out at first. Not an error, but another miscue for Reynolds. Let's see, he set a record for strikeouts, led the league in errors. Yep, that's our guy. For those that don't know, he came straight from AA to the majors. He started out pretty well, but makes way too many mistakes. That's what happens when you skip AAA. Ethier grounds out to end the inning. Good, that guy always kills us. He's a Sun Devil, of course he's clutch. 1-0 Dodgers.

Bottom of 3rd: It's a final, Grizzlies 106, Suns 89. Way to compete. Sad thing is, I was second guessing this pick, thinking the Suns might not have much intensity after being eliminated from the playoffs. But then I remembered the Grizzlies are horrible. Way to be professional, Suns. I blame Steve Kerr. Chris Young just blasted one over the left field wall to tie it up. Atta boy Chris, THAT'S how you welcome someone to the big leagues. Snyder flies out. I think Manny Ramirez should just go all out and have a dread beard as well. Wow, they just showed some chick in the crowd practically dry humping the guy next to her. Yeah, she was holding a beer. Dude thinks he's getting lucky tonight, but it's only the third inning. She doesn't know how to pace herself. I hope he likes puke. Garland just walked. OK Lopez, get a hit here, and I will not give you any crap for the rest of the game. Matt Williams just gave us some awesome insight by saying "I'd bet the farm a changeup is coming here." Fastball. The worst part about Matt Williams is that I have a man-crush on Mark Grace, so this is adding insult to injury listening to him instead. Lopez walks. Not a hit, so let the crap continue. Byrnes gets hit with the first pitch he sees, and now the bases are loaded with Drew coming up. They just showed a stat saying Drew hits .182 with the bases loaded in his career. Yikes. McDonald definitely showing some nerves here as the count goes to 3-1. Drew fouls off the next pitch, and the first BEAT LA chant starts. Ball four, walked in a run. Four straight batters reach without a hit. McDonald throws a 55 foot curveball, which prompts a visit to the mound. He's definitely rattled. Jackson needs to make him pay. Action in the bullpen as the count goes to 3-1. Jackson pokes a shot into right which scores two runs. 4-1 D-Backs. That's it for McDonald. And a perfect time for me to piss. Trancoso in relief. Tracy hits a deep fly ball out to center to score Drew from 3rd. Reynolds up, and I'm predicting his 2nd K to end the inning. Jackson steals 2nd, which will make the impending strikeout a little more painful. I was wrong about the strikeout, weak dribbler to the pitcher instead. Good inning though. 5-1 D-Backs.

Top of 4th: FSN is showing commercials for Digger merchandise, that fucking rodent that they use as a mascot for NASCAR. Seriously? Do people really buy that shit? I know a few people that watch NASCAR, and they all think he's annoying as fuck. Is there even such a thing as a casual NASCAR fan? Some questions may never be answered. Loney grounds out. OK, time for a rant. They have the AFLAC trivia question, and then the announcers answer it before the viewers can guess. This drives my batty. Give me a fucking chance, OK? Rant over. Kemp hits it pretty hard, but right at Chris Young. Blake flies out to Byrnes, who manages to stay on his feet for the catch.

Bottom of 4th: I picked out a great femullet in the last crowd shot. It's a gift of mine. Rain Man can count shit, I can find mullets in a crowd. Someday I'll figure out how to profit off of that. Chris Young leads off with a double. Looks like he's breaking out of his slump. Snyder pops up, and now it's time to see what they do with Garland. I'm not sure how many at bats he got in the AL. He's swinging. I think this is the right decision, even though it probably won't be pretty. Matt Williams is killing me. He's claiming since Garland is tall, he's probably played some basketball, so he has agility. Uh, Matt? Gheorghe Muresan was tall. You're an idiot. Garland grounds out advancing the runner to third. Lopez gets a hit to drive Young home. Byrnes drives one off of the pitchers mound, causing a weird bounce away from the second baseman. Lopez advances to third. I may have to start pushing for Augie to play third if Lopez keeps playing well. Drew grounds out to end the inning. 6-1 D-Backs.

Top of 5th: Hey look, it's Gretzky. I forgot to mention the Coyotes when talking about how much Phoenix sports suck. Ausmas grounds out, and then Trancoso strikes out. Furcal hits a weak grounder by the pitcher to first, and Tracy throws it about 7 feet in the air. Good thing Garland is 6'6" tall. He snares it with a nice reach. What agility. Or is it height?

Bottom of 5th: I had some Vietnamese vodka with dinner tonight. Not bad. However, the combination of the vodka and whiskey has given me a nice buzz. My focus will not be as good, so deal with it. Jackson grounds out. Shot of the folks at the pool. No, that's not a euphemism. Why is it that whenever anyone is at the pool, they have to act like total douchebags? Tracy flies out. Special K comes up and gets a single up the middle. Hmm, he hasn't struck out since I gave him a derisive nickname. Coincedence? Chris Young is up, let's see if he can keep his good night going. He scorches one down the line, but the third baseman makes a great stop. Not so great was the throw, which went into the dugout. Score it a hit and an error. Runners on second and third. Make that bases loaded as Snyder draws an intentional walk. OK, here comes Mr. Agility. You know, I have to admit, his swing is pretty nice. He doesn't swing like a pitcher. However, he hits like one, as he strikes out on a couple of nasty curveballs. 6-1 D-Backs.

Top of 6th: I think Stuart Appleby should beat Ryuji Imada in the Masters tomorrow, don't you? Time to start a new streak. Hudson grounds out. Not his best return so far. Manny hits one past a diving Drew. Ethier hits into a double play to end the inning.

Bottom of 6th: Lopez grounds out. The crowd is doing the stupid dance I hate. I don't know if it has a name or not, but it looks like they are jerking off a couple of horses. Sexy. Byrnes and Drew fly out to end the inning. Still 6-1. Time for more whiskey.

Top of 7th: Loney flies out as I enjoy my next whiskey sour. I hate places that use Minute Maid to make whiskey sours. Does that make me a snob that I have to ask if that's what they're going to do when I order one? Kemp laces a double to left. Mr. Agility has been pitching well today, hopefully this isn't a sign that he's tiring. Question answered as Blake blasts one over the left field wall. And now, the bullpen is active. Byrnes tracks down a deep shot by Ausmus. That almost sounds dirty. I think for the bottom of the 7th, I am only going to speak in sentences that sound dirty. A little exercise to increase my writing creativity. Hopefully it's a quick inning. Pinch hitter with a Polish name that I'm not even going to try and spell in my current state. Mr. Agility gets the pinch hitter to fly out to end the inning. 6-3 D-Backs.

Bottom of 7th (the innuendo inning): Mota coming for Trancoso. Connor takes a couple of balls before grounding out. Tracy sends a screamer to Ethier. Blake gobbles up Special K's ball to end the inning.

Top of 8th: That was difficult. I'd like to say because I have problems resorting to toilet humor, but that's just not the case. Pena comes in for Mr. Agility. Nice debut for the D-Backs against a tough lineup. Hey look, Augie's at third! MVP! MVP! Is Bob Melvin reading my blog too? He's being pretty discreet about it. Furcal leads off with a double. We might have Meatball Tony today. Hudson hits a high chopper that Drew makes a nice play on. Furcal to third. C'mon Augie, distract him and then get the pickoff. You can do it! Manny hits one up the middle to make it a 6-4 game, and now Ethier is up. The D-Back killer at the plate as the tying run. Fuck. That's it for Pena, definitely Meatball Tony today. Oh goodie, Schoenweis is in. He gets Ethier to ground to first, Manny advancing to second. Loney to the plate. If Schoenweis gives up the hit here, he is officially the Jewish Mike Myers. Myers was our last lefty specialist, and the only thing he specialized in was giving up hits to lefties. It got so bad he would get booed when he was warming up. Loney works a full count. Maybe Manny will space out and leave on the pitch. Nope, a hard ground out to second. I'll have to come up with a new nickname for Schoenweis.

Bottom of 8th: Another reason Augie should be starting in front of Lopez is that Augie doesn't have a ridiculous chinstrap. I hate those things. Chris Young up, and needs a triple for the cycle. I'm not holding my breath. Mota walks him. Snyder is bunting. Makes sense, I assume with the double switch that Augie is on deck. Get that runner in scoring position. Snyder gets the bunt down successfully, and it's AUGIE TIME!! And of course, he drills it to right, scoring Young. MVP! MVP! Why isn't he starting? Unfortunately, that single knocks his slugging percentage to 1.500. But like the team player he is, he doesn't worry about stats, he just needed to get that extra run home. And the crowd is changing BEAT LA again. Augie's drawing throws to first. Smart move by Mota. Can't forget about Augie. He can beat you in so many ways. Lopez sees that his starting job is in jeopardy and hits a deep double. Augie flies around the bases, scoring another run. Lopez spent too much time admiring his shot, and should have ended up on third. And this time I'm not being snide, he really thought it was gone and was jogging. Byrnes draws a walk, and I can't believe Mota is still in there. I spoke too soon, here comes Torre. Ohman comes in to pitch, and almost picks Lopez off of second. Drew pops up for the second out. Jackson is now up. I like Connor, even though he looks a little retarded. Not as bad as Tyler Hansborough, but still. Jackson comes through with an RBI single. Tracy grounds out to end the inning. 9-4 D-Backs.

Top of 9th: Qualls, the closer, comes in. He spent a LONG time warming up in the bullpen last inning. Hopefully it doesn't affect him. He strikes out Kemp to start the inning. Blake takes a called third strike for the second out as the BEAT LA chants are getting louder. Ausmas fights off a pitch and gets a seeing eye single to right. Loretta coming in to pinch hit. He grounds out to Drew to end the game.

Season stats for Augie: AVG 1.000, SLG 1.500, OBP 1.000, OPS 2.500, 1 RBI, 1 R. More importantly, the record when Augie plays is 2-0. When he doesn't, 0-2. I think that should tell you something.

Golden Umbrella winner, accidental find style

Based on my posts, I'm sure most of you think I'm some sort of neanderthal idiot. While that may be true, I like to think of myself as all intellectual and shit. Which is why I have a weakness for nonfiction.

Right now, I am reading The Gulag Archipelago. It was written by some Russian dude who spent quite a bit of time in the gulag, or Russian prison system. It's a pretty interesting read.

Part of my job at work involves running parts through a machine and taking a shitload of data. It's simple work. Mostly babysitting a machine, and changing parts every five minutes or so. It takes anywhere from 8-16 hours to complete. It's easily the most mind numbing portion of my job. However, it makes for some good internet surfing.

So in light of my reading, I was surfing around and learning about Russian prison tattoos. Very fascinating stuff to me. Well, as surfing tends to do, one link led to another, and I ended up reading a blog series called Prison for Dummies. It was really interesting, and it was part of a blog called Midtown Miscreant. Yes, we finally have a new Golden Umbrella winner.

Midtown Miscreant is written by Midtown Miscreant. Kind of like that song Talk Talk by the band Talk Talk, except the blog doesn't suck. MM is a dude who spent his early years running on the wrong side of the law, got caught, and did some time. Most of his blog is his takes on crime, and related topics. Believe me, it is way different than you expect. He's got the unique insight from his time on the inside, and it makes for some really interesting thoughts. I've spent a good chunk of my afternoon reading it. I can't give a bigger endorsement than that.

All right MM, here comes the rules. In order to be added to my esteemed 'Winners of "Umbrella's Blogs That Don't Suck" award (AKA the Golden Umbrella)' list, you must make an acceptance speech in the comments section. You can also post the picture on your website to let anyone who might stumble on to your site immediately know you are awesome.

A nice addition for your new digs.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Little league mentality in the majors

Augie Ojeda's MVP quest is not going so well. His numbers are phenomenal, he just isn't getting any playing time. However, Bob Melvin can't ignore him forever.

What I have a problem with is Melvin's lineups. Three games, three different lineups. I don't get it. He got the nickname "The Mad Scientist" after his first season. He juggled his lineups constantly, and seemed to do well. However, last season, he did the same thing, and the offense was horrific.

Fast forward to this season. Game one, nine runs scored. Hey, let's mix things up. Games two and three, two runs total scored. Note that Augie didn't play in either of those games. I don't think this is a coincidence.

I just don't know why he feels the need to play so many players. This isn't little league. Everyone doesn't have to play. Why not stick with the hot hitters until they cool off? He's got to know that our bullpen is horrible, and we are going to need to score runs to account for that. Our starting outfield yesterday is hitting a combined 1 for 24. Yuck.

Here's my idea of the best lineup, at this point.

C - Snyder
1B - Clark
2B - Ojeda (obviously)
SS - Drew
3B - Tracy
LF - Jackson
CF - Young (He's slumping, but his defense keeps him in)
RF - ???

Upton and Byrnes have both been struggling. Unfortunately, the D-Backs only have four outfielders on their roster right now. There was talk that Upton would begin the season in AAA after a poor spring. Maybe that's not a bad idea. Of course, now that the AAA team is gone from Tucson, I haven't been able to see them in person like I usually do.

And yes, I realize the season is only 3 games old. However, I've seen this drill all last season, and my patience is thin.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Drunken bracket, the epilogue (AKA how to turn a negative into a postive, degenerate gambler style)

I had to work a bit late last night, so by the time I got to see the game, it was already into blowout mode. Fitting. Since Michigan St. didn't win, my drunken bracket finished 8th. My sober bracket finished 10th. Middle of the pack for both. My conclusion, it doesn't make any difference if I'm drunk or sober, I'm still mediocre when picking brackets.

However, I'm not mediocre when it comes to gambling. I had two entries in our pool, at $5 a pop. There were 20 people, and it was winner take all. So if Michigan St. won, my $10 would have turned into $200. Not bad.

But deep down, I just didn't see Michigan St. winning that game. So I hedged my bets, to make sure no matter what, I was going to win a little bit of cash. And this is how I introduce my new class, Sports Gambling 101.

There were only two possibilities for this game. Either North Carolina would win, or Michigan St. would win. As I mentioned above, if Michigan St. wins, I win $200. But if North Carolina wins, I lose $10.

So I covered my bets by making a bet on North Carolina. If you ever go into a sports book in Vegas, you will see all sorts of funny symbols. It can be confusing. But that is why you are here, to learn how to read these things. In basketball and football, you will see something that looks like this...

Michigan St North Carolina
+7(-110) -7(-110) 153

The first number is the point spread. This means that the folks in Vegas expect North Carolina to win by 7 points. If you take Michigan St., you get to add 7 points to their score, and if you take North Carolina, you subtract 7 points from your score. This bet pays even money, which means if you bet $20 and win, you win $20. This is probably the most popular of the bets. But betting North Carolina on this bet wasn't the smartest move for my situation. If North Carolina wins by 3 points, I lose my bet, as well as losing my pool. Bad move.

The next number is for a straight up win. -110 means that I have to bet $110 to win $100. Now we're talking. If this were legal (ahem), I would have called my bookie and bet $110 on North Carolina to win. Let's see the possible scenarios:

Michigan St. wins - I win $200 in my pool, I lose $110 on my bet, for a net profit of $90.
North Carolina wins - I lose $10 in my pool, I win $100 on my bet, for a net profit of $90.

The last number is the over/under. This is the combined total points in the game. For the game last night, the final score was 89-72, for a total of 161 point. Since 161 is over 153, the over bet wins.

So by making that alleged bet, I win $90 no matter what happens in the game. Yeah, it isn't big money, but in case you haven't heard, the economy sucks right now, and I'll take what I can get.

I think someone else is reading my blog

During yesterdays live blog of the D-Backs game, I mentioned how my boss talks like a fucking baby whenever he is talking to his wife. I've been bitching about this forever. Last night, my lady friend tells me about a SNL skit that mirrored my frustration. Take a look.

I live this every damn day. Well, at least the beginning part. Apparently a SNL writer is checking out my blog as well.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Augie for MVP (and opening day live blog)

Today begins Augie Ojeda's quest for MVP. Yes, the fellow on my avatar will rise up and shock the world this year. I thought it would be fun to track his progress as the season goes along. Unfortunately, when I talk about Augie, the most common response is, "Who?" This is un-fucking-acceptable. I will use my blogging powers to educate the world of his greatness. This will be awesome! And as an added bonus, I will be live blogging opening day for you. I tune in to opening day on the radio when I hear...

"Batting first, at 2nd base, Felipe Lopez."

Wait a minute, where's Augie? WTF? This is bullshit! I'm now pissed off, and we haven't even thrown a single pitch in the season. How can I blog the awesomeness of Augie if he isn't even playing? Lopez better fucking bring it.

Bottom of 1st: Lopez leads off the game with a home run. Bah, it was a bad pitch. Augie would have hit it further.

Top of 2nd: I didn't think it was possible, but I hate Bud Selig more than ever. I have to work from my desk for the rest of the afternoon, so I can't listen to the radio in the lab today. However, I can listen online. I find the station, and it tells me that due to MLB rules, they can't do streaming of the D-Back games. So I check out, and they want to charge me to listen to the game. Fuck you Bud! Gametracker is now on.

Bottom of 2nd: Check out this article. Hopefully MLB won't charge you to read it. Looks like I'm not the only one unhappy with the starting lineup. Still don't know why they didn't mention Augie. Also, Chris Snyder just doubled home Connor Jackson to make it a 2-0 game. He crushed that ball. Actually, I don't think crushed balls and Chris Snyder should be mentioned together. And Lopez leaves Snyder stuck on second to end the inning. Choker.

End of 2nd: D-Backs lead the Rockies 2-0. Why aren't the Rockies considered our big rival? It makes sense. Both of us are young teams. We're in the same division. And all the California teams all hate each other more than either of us. Seriously, this could be a big rivalry. I could learn to hate Denver. They've had two of the biggest whiny bitch QB's in Elway and Cutler.

Top of 3rd: Lopez's choke is apparently affecting Brandon Webb. Runners and 2nd and 3rd, one out. Groundout to 2nd, runner scores. Augie would have used his big guns to get the out at home. This second choke job of the game has Webb really rattled, as he's walked the bases loaded with Hawpe coming up. And Hawpe just cleared the bases with a double. It says he advanced to third on the throw. I bet Lopez missed the cutoff. Webb gets the third out, but the damage is done. Rockies lead 4-2.

Bottom of 3rd: My boss' cubicle is right next to mine. He is talking to his wife on the phone. Whenever he talks to her, he uses baby talk. It's disgusting. He uses this sing-song voice, makes his R's sound like W's, and his S's sound like SH's. So when he says "I'm really sorry", it sounds like "I'm weally shorry" in a stupid voice. I have to listen to this crap, but I can't listen to the radio. Sigh. D-backs making some noise, runners on 1st and 2nd, nobody out, Chad Tracy up. I like Chad. He was really cool when I met him in AAA ball here in Tucson. I can't wait to go to another game. Oh wait, we don't have a fucking team anymore. And Big Red comes through with a single, scoring our Chris Young. 4-3, runners on 1st and 3rd, and Eric Byrnes coming up. This is the perfect spot for him to hit a pop up to third. I'm wrong, as he hits a fly ball to center, scoring Drew. Tie game. No pitching today. Tony Clark hits a two run bomb, making it 6-4, and making my lady friend very happy. Clark is her favorite player. And that was the last straw, as the Rockies make a pitching change. Sorry Rockies, we just shelled your ace. Rusch comes in as relief and ends the inning.

Top of 4th: For fuck's sake, what is going on? Tulowitzki leads off with a homer. Did they shorten the fences? And then Iannetta follows with another shot. Tie game. Webb is sucking today. I think they need to pinch hit Augie for him. Webb finally settles down and retires the side.

Bottom of 4th: Lopez leads off with his 2nd homer of the game. He must have realized Augie is lurking right behind him on the depth chart. The rest of the side goes down in order. 7-6 D-Backs.

Top of 5th: Oh God, Slaten relieved Webb. I hope my lady friend isn't watching. Every time he pitches while she is watching, he gets shelled. It's gotten so bad that as soon as he comes in the game, she leaves the room. I think my superstitions are rubbing off on her. Maybe she doesn't realize it's a day game. Hawpe has been nails today as he drills a two out double. He's 3-3 with 3 RBI's. Nice start to the season. Crap, she must be watching. A two out rally scores a run, tying the game. And that's it for Slater. Nice to see he's picked up where he left off last season. Billy Buckner comes in, and I'm realizing we are in huge trouble if our starters don't pitch complete games. This bullpen is bad. And right on cue, Buckner throws two wild pitches to advance the runner to third. Right as this is going on, my phone rings. It's my lady friend. Her words? "Why do they keep bringing Slaten into close games?" I knew she was watching. Buckner manages to keep the runner on third by striking out Tulowitzki. 7-7 game.

Bottom of 5th: Byrnes strikes out swinging for the second time. He's in mid-season form. Clark hits his 2nd bomb of the game. When it comes to my lady friend, he is the anti-Slaten. Congrats Tony, you've just chased the second pitcher of the game. The rest of the inning is uneventful.

Top of 6th: I think I've figured it out. They should bring Augie in to pitch. He can't do any worse than anyone else right now. Unfortunately, Buckner is back out there. He promptly confirms my fears by walking the first batter. BREAKING NEWS: CBS is claiming that Memphis announces Josh Pastner as their new basketball coach. The reaction from Umbrella? BWAHAHAHA. OK, back to the game. My gametracker has been stuck on a 1-1 count for several minutes now. This is not good. It just unfroze in time to see that the inning is over. Way to go Billy.

Bottom of 6th: I just looked up to see when Billy Buckner was born. It was before the Red Sox-Mets World Series. Damn, I can't blame his parents for the name. Do you think that is why he goes by Billy, instead of Bill? I personally would stick with William. Ryan Roberts (who?) pinch hitting for Buckner. Where the fuck is Augie in this situation? It's only a one run game, let's get the future MVP in there. I had to look Ryan Roberts up. This is his second career at bat. However, he makes the most of it with a leadoff single. Augie would have stretched that into a double. Lopez is up to bat, and he caused my gametracker to freeze again. I'll bet he started a brawl. And now, we've reverted back to the top of the 6th, where it was frozen before. This sucks. Gametracker is fucking up now. I think Lopez is on first, with Roberts on 2nd, but I'm not sure. Young lines out to third, and Roberts gets doubled off of 2nd. THAT'S why you don't throw guys with one career at bat into close games. Augie would still be on 2nd base. Embree comes in as the new reliever, and gametracker shows him wearing an A's cap. I blame Bud Selig for this. Lopez gets thrown out at 2nd to end the inning. First inning the D-Backs haven't scored this game. This inning also showed how important Augie is to this team. Bob Melvin better figure this out quick.

Top of 7th: Gametracker is showing an ad for MLB.TV during the break. I am continuing to get pissed off over this. Some dude named Schoeneweis is now pitching for the D-Backs. I've never heard of him. Gametracker doesn't even have a picture for him. Before I can look him up, he promptly gives up a lead off home run. This is followed by a single. According to the wiki, he's been around a bit. Why doesn't gametracker have a photo for him? Also, he has only given up one career home run to a lefty. In one at bat with the D-Backs, he's doubled that. Perfect. He was also named in the Mitchell report. Looks like I have another reliever to hate. He gets a couple of outs, and is relieved by Tony Pena. Which Pena are we going to get today, Nasty Tony, or Meatball Tony? Pena gets a K to end the inning.

Bottom of 7th: For the 7th inning stretch, I decided to take a shit and missed the bottom of the 7th. It looks like Chad Tracy hit a home run, and nothing else happened. 9-8 D-Backs.

Top of 8th: Tracy's home run was the fifth D-Backs homer in the game. I looked up what the team record is, and that one tied the record. I can't find what the combined team record for the D-Backs is, but we're currently sitting at 8. Pena retires the first two batters. Hoping I don't jinx him, it looks like we've got Nasty Tony today. He strikes out Barnes to end the inning.

Bottom of 8th: I'm really hoping for some insurance runs here. I haven't seen any spring training games, so I'm not sure who the closer is, but I'm assuming it's Qualls. I don't have a ton of confidence in a one run game. Pitcher's spot is due up 2nd this inning, so here's hoping for an Augie at bat. Snyder flies out, and coming up to bat is...AUGIE!!! Hell yeah! And what do you know, he doubles to left. MVP! MVP! As long as Lopez doesn't choke, and puts the ball in play, Augie will probably score that much needed insurance run. Lopez grounded out, but Augie still hustled his way to third. This guy can do it all. Unfortunately, Young strikes out to end the inning. Augie's teammates let him down again. Let's hope they do the double switch and leave him in the game at 2nd.

Top of 9th: Gametracker still showing MLB.TV ads. Just rub our noses in it. This is like giving out Ding Dongs at a weight watchers meeting. Top of the order coming up for the Rockies, and it is indeed Qualls as the closer. And hey, Augie stays in at third base. He's so versatile, he can play any position, including pitcher and catcher. Qualls retires the first batter. The second batter grounds out, and it is up to Helton. He grounds out to end the game. D-Backs win a 9-8 slugfest.

Season stats for Augie: AVG 1.000, SLG 2.000, OBP 1.000, OPS 3.000. Hall of fame numbers.

Apparently, I have a famous reader

Not long after my last post, sources reported that Sean Miller changed his mind, and will accept the job. I apologize to my fellow Devils fans for convincing him to come to Tucson. I have to remember that I have no idea who my readers are.

Arizona's coaching search

As an ASU fan, I am thoroughly enjoying this debacle known as the Arizona basketball coaching search. We are rapidly heading towards them having more rejections than wins this year. However, I have some compassion. So with all due respect to David Letterman, here is Umbrella's top ten list on why coaches should take the Arizona coaching job.

10. Winning the press conference guarantees at least one win.

9. They will have better hair than Herb Sendek. (This excludes Seth Greenberg).

8. If they put "coaching the Wildcats" on their resume, maybe people will assume they were at Kentucky.

7. Two words, David Hasselhoff.

6. When they get booed, they can convince themselves the fans are chanting "Luuuute"!

5. They won't be as hated as John Mackovic.

4. They will never have to pay for a meal due to the loyalty of the fans, as long as they show up at Furr's Cafeteria on Senior discount night to cash in.

3. Josh Pastner won't be around to hog all the camera time.

2. The new ad campaign: "At least we didn't hire Reggie Theus".

And the number one reason why they should take the Arizona basketball job...

1. If they aren't successful, Steve Kerr will hire them for the Suns job.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Drunken bracket is still alive

Miracle of miracles. I have a chance to win my pool with my drunken bracket. I was the only one to pick Michigan St. to win it all. However, sober Umbrella doesn't see it happening.

That being said, GO SPARTANS!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to tell if a city sucks, in under 5 minutes

I travel quite a bit. For work, I'm travelling often, and in my free time, I enjoy going to new places. And I've discovered something. You can determine what a city is like solely by its airport.

It's true. Fly into JFK, and you'll see it's dirty and crowded. Tucson's airport is small, and has a distinctive Mexican flavor. San Jose is clean, crowded, and full of cool tech stuff. Sky Harbor in Phoenix is big, crowded, and full of chain restaurants, just like Phoenix.

I always test this theory when flying to a place for the first time. This last week, I flew to Little Rock. The airport was pretty small, very clean, closed early, and had very friendly employees. Little Rock was pretty small, very clean, closed early, and had friendly people. The theory works again!

Try this out for yourself and let me know if it's true for you as well. Oh, and if you get mugged at the airport, get your ass back on the plane and get the hell out of there. The city will be much worse.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

drunkent bracket, what remains after the first weekend

Sorry for the slow updates. My travels through the south have slowed my blogging down to a crawl. So here is the update after the first weekend.

Drunken bracket - 49 points. A terrific second round after a horrible first round. This is good enough for 7th place.

Sober bracket - 46 points. 10th place.

So what is this telling me? I don't know yet. The real problem with my drunken bracket is my final four. No #1 seeds are there. This will be a problem, I think.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Drunken bracket, heartbroken edition

Damn. Syracuse is an absolute nightmare matchup for the Devils. The better team won this morning.

That being said, here is the drunken bracket update, from SEC country, with the remainder of the early games in progress.

37 points (1 point for first round, 2 points for second round). 8th place in my 20 person pool. Not bad.

My real bracket? 38 points. Good for 7th place.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Drunken bracket update #2

5 of 8 correct. Tied for next to last in my group. Sad thing is, I'm tied with my sober picks.

Drunken bracket update #1

After the first games, the drunken bracket has one correct pick. However, I compared my drunken bracket with my "real" bracket, and the picks are the same for the first seven games today. This means there are two early possible conclusions to this experiment...

1) Alcohol doesn't affect my thought process at all when it comes to picking teams.
2) I'm as stupid as a drunk when it comes to picking teams.

More to come.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Retarded experiments, March Madness style

As I stated earlier, I am on vacation for a bit. Since I don't have to work tomorrow, I am getting drunk tonight. And now, in the never ending quest for drunken knowledge, I am trying something new.

I decided to fill out a bracket completely hammered. I already filled one out while sober, so this will be interesting to see what happens. Can a drunk Umbrella pick as well as a sober one? I'll post my findings later, once games have actually happened.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Even in good times, I find a way to screw up

My Sun Devils are in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003, and only the third time since 1981. I am a HUGE college hoops fan, so this thrills me to no end. Well, the sucking doesn't thrill me, the fact we're actually in thrills me. Which is why this post is so painful.

In the winter, my lady friend and I decided to make a trip to go see her son. He is a pitcher playing for a college team in the south. She's not wealthy, so she doesn't get to see him play very often. I've watched him grow up, so I wanted to go as well. We made our plans, and she's real excited.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize the weekend we were going was the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Fuck me. Well, it's not the end of the world. As long as ASU plays Thursday, I'll get to see the game. And if it's the evening games on Friday, I'll still be able to see it.

Friday morning, 11:45 Arizona time. Shit!

I checked my itinerary. OK, all is not lost. I have a layover in St. Louis. Maybe I can catch the end of the game at the bar in the airport. Hopefully no Big-12 teams will be playing at the same time.

Missouri-Cornell, noon Arizona time. Shit! Shit!

OK, don't panic. CBS claims they will offer free live streaming of all tournament games. I'll just bring my laptop, and when we land, I can watch it online. Surely, they have Wi-Fi at an airport as big as St. Louis, right?

They do. Yay! $7.95/hr. Shit! Shit! Shit!

This is bullshit. According to this site, it is the second most expensive hourly airport Wi-Fi in the country, behind only University Park State College, wherever the fuck that is. Seriously, eight bucks an hour? That's almost an airport beer!!

And to top everything off, it looks like it is going to rain this weekend, which means he might not even have any games. This is turning out to be a giant Hungarian clusterfuck.

Fuck You, I'm Irish

OK, I'm not really Irish. But my "Fuck You" to St. Patty's day still stands.

I have quite a few problems with St. Patrick's Day. Yeah, there's at least one redeeming quality: an excuse for heavy drinking on a weeknight. But the negatives outweigh the positives.

First, this whole "You have to wear green" bullshit. Green is a shitty color for clothes. That's why I don't own anything green. Yet all day today, people are giving me shit for not wearing green. What is this, first grade? These are the same people that wear costumes to work on Halloween. I wonder, can I bust the next asshole who pinches me because I'm not wearing green for sexual harassment? And for those of you who either forgot to wear green, or don't really care enough to go out of your way to wear green, don't puss out by trying to find one small speck of green in your underwear's elastic band. If somebody is giving you crap for not wearing green, tell them you have some on your back pocket. When they're down there looking for it, fart in their face.

Second, I love how all of a sudden, everyone becomes Irish. Look, if your grandparents were born here, you're American. This is not open for debate. Just because my ancestors came over here on a boat from Scotland in the 1600's, and my last name begins with Mc, doesn't mean I'm Scottish. Seriously, these peeholes walking around with gay ass Lucky Charms hats, and "Kiss me, I'm Irish" pins, who couldn't name ONE FUCKING CITY in Ireland (I know this is true, I'm the type of dick who asks questions like that) can kiss my ass.

I wasn't always this jaded towards St. Patrick. Back in my younger days, I decided to celebrate this holiday like any good American, by drinking green beer. However, I was underage, so I had to make my own. I "acquired" some beer, bought some green food coloring, and I was well on my way. However, I was also a moron. I poured all the beer into a big pitcher, and added a few drops of coloring. No change. A few more drops. No change. What the hell? I said "Fuck it all" and dumped the whole bottle of coloring in the beer.

The beer changed from its normal brown to black. Oh shit, I think I overreacted. It looked like soy sauce. It still tasted like beer, so we dove in. Our lips, tongues, and lower mustaches (for those who had them) were a very dark shade of green. Then, to complete the night's festivities, one of the guys at our party decided to OD. Here we are, drunk, under aged, and literally green, and this asshole is convulsing unconsciously on the floor. We were afraid to call 911 because we knew we would be busted, so we decided to drink and drive his ass to the hospital instead. Like I said, I was a moron.

His girlfriend stayed there with him at the hospital while the rest of us bailed before we got in trouble. Not a good night at all. And to top it all off, I shit bright green for two days. That is a bit disconcerting.