Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks


Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and it's given me a chance to reflect on all the things I'm thankful for this year.
  • For a car that is mostly problem free, except for occasionally overheating in the summer.
  • A well paying job that "lets" me write this blog.
  • A nice place to live (with a soon to be even nicer place to live).
  • Great friends that I can easily play video games with or discuss the finer points of the economy.
  • A wonderful girlfriend, who might just be dorkier than I am.
  • Continued good health; I can't remember the last time I was majorly sick.
  • Loving family that tends to talk my ear off when I get them on the phone.
  • Leinkugel's Fireside Nut Brown. Man that stuff is good.
  • Last, but certainly not least, my wonderful readers. Your comments keep me laughing and thinking, and without you guys I would have ran out of things to write about a long time ago.

So what are you thankful for this year?

Things I Love #7: Cheese


One third of the Holy Trinity of Wisconsin (the other parts being Beer and Brats, naturally), Cheese is straight up one of my favorite things on this planet. My favorite food for years was Macaroni and Cheese. I have some version of cheese with every meal, and whenever I go out to eat there's always a little empty spot in my heart when they don't come out with a plate of freshly sliced cheese to set off a delicious steak, or some tasty string cheese with my plate of pancakes. Growing up we had cheese with darn near every meal. Colby was our weapon of choice, though cheese curds and slices of Cheddar were also prevalent.
I look at cheese the same way Bubba from Forrest Gump looked at shrimp: it's the fruit of the, err....sea? You can have broccoli and cheese soup, cheese curds (deep fried or normal), cheese dip for chips, grilled cheese, cheese and crackers, cheese crackers and sausage, shredded cheese to put on tacos, omelets, or chili, string cheese, cheese spread, or something I discovered at State Fair this summer, hot cheese on a stick. Cheese comes in so many forms and varieties that there's something for everyone. I've got a half chunk of Colby waiting for me at home, plus individual slices of Provolone, Pepper Jack, and Cheddar for my sammichs waiting for me at home.


Viva la queso!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Name Game


As I sat in my hunting hut this weekend munching away on my candy bar I thought to myself, "Good lord, what a fraking weird ass name." Seriously, Butterfinger? Butterfinger is slang for someone who's clumsy, what the f does that have to do with a chocolate covered orange-crunched candy bar? And then I thought about all the names for candy bars. Not a single one makes a lick of sense.
  • Snickers - according to the Oracle, "In 1930, the Mars family introduced its second product, Snickers, named after one of their favorite horses." Oh, well that.....makes....sense? Next time you're mowwing down on a Snickers bar just think of the tiny bits of horse meat that are, no doubt, the main ingredient of "nougat."
  • Baby Ruth - made from the remains of the famed Yankees slugger, no doubt.
  • Kit Kat - Again from the Oracle, "Each bar consists of fingers composed of three layers of crème-filled wafer, covered in an outer layer of chocolate. Each finger can be snapped from the bar one at a time." Snapping fingers? Jesus, might as well just rename it "Torture Techniques of Cannibals Candy Bar."
  • Pay Day - This must stem back to the days when people were actually paid with peanuts?
  • Almond Joy - Ah, ok. This one actually makes some sense. But it's also a bold-faced lie. No one likes these things, thus they do not give joy. Unless given out to unsuspecting trick or treaters. Only one bite and they'll realize they've been had. Trick indeed, young ones!
  • 3 Musketeers - Ok, this one makes sense too. Originally they came in packages with Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla. Why no one thought to name them Neapolitan, I'll never know. However, since 1945 they've only had one flavor, Chocolate! So it really should be 1 Musketeers. Which causes grammar aficionados to shudder.

And here is the lady who named all of the candy bars and what she thinks of us for second-guessing her choices.


Thanks Mrs. Nesbitt!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Milkman Cometh


I doubt my sanity every morning when I wake up. Every night is filled with a buffet of dreams that are so weird and off the wall that most times, instead of wondering "what do they mean?" I wonder "should I be committed??" Take last night for example:

I'm driving in a '60s muscle car through somewhere in the Southwestern US. I pull off the dirt road onto a rundown wayside, with nothing but a few picnic tables and some sunburnt shrubs. An ancient robot comes over to me, asking what I'm doing there, but before I can respond I see a nurse walking towards me. She looks like Catalina from My Name is Earl. She asks me if I want to have milk delivered to my house every morning, and I instantly say yes. She opens up her nurse bag (and suddenly is in a tanktop and short-shorts), and pulls out all the necessary items to test my blood. I don't think this is odd, for some reason. She gives me the little medicated swab to clean my finger, and then she asks if I've given blood recently. I said yes, just a few weeks ago. She looks at me for a second, and then begins packing up. I ask her what's wrong and she responds, "That's far too recent, we can't do this." I won't get milk delivered to my house every morning?!?!! Nooooooooooo!

Yep, like I said, insane. Why would she need to test my blood in order to have milk delivered?? DOES NOT COMPUTE!

Good news is that my other dreams were more normal, in that one of them I was Ghost Rider, jumping from roof to roof while ninjas chase after me. And in the other one I punched a bunch of people in the face, and they dropped big stacks of money, GTA-style, so Charlie and I sat down to count it.

Bad news is that I'm almost out of milk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

AAARRGGGHH


Some days I listen to my Zen with ear buds in. Some days I do not. This is one of the days that I do not. And I regret it. Because some one's phone alarm has been going off for the past 30 minutes now, and it's driving me fucking batty. It's the same exact alarm as Ric, and thus I'm used to it awakening me from my slumber. Plus the fact that it's barely perceptible, just slightly over the sound of silence, that's getting to me. "Just put in your earbuds," you tell me. And to that I say "get your fucking logic out of my face." Ric said,
"jajaja. Maybe you're just dreaming, and you need to wake up.

Wouldn't that be crazy."

God, that would be insane.

Anyways, I just heard it get a little bit louder! Oh wait, now someone turned it off. Celebrations are in order. Now I get to hear boring business people blather on about things that I don't really care about, while important work gets sidetracked for politics. Hooray cubicle work!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Odd Jobs #2: Volleyball Referee


After going home for the football game on Friday evening, my brother Kevin asked if I wanted to head to Brian's IDK for a few beers. I didn't have anything going on, so I said sure. Brian's IDK ("the place to go when you just don't know") is a bar that hosts outdoor sand volleyball leagues in the summer, and during my second summer of working construction I helped my brother ref games two nights a week. I'm not sure how I got roped into actually doing it. I had played volleyball in gym class before, but I was far from an expert on the sport. However, he said all I'd need to do was blow the whistle, keep track of the score, and judge if the ball goes in or out. Easy enough.

So every Wednesday and Thursday after work I would rush home to shower, put on my usual khaki and shorts and a t-shirt (somethings never change) and we'd ride out to Brian's for ref three games. The leagues were made up of mostly younger people, some fresh out of college, so it was a fun distraction from the usual week night. One of the teams was really good and had been playing together for a few years now, but if they had the 8:00 pm game they were usually too hammered to play very well (which sounds a lot like my summer softball team, now that I think about it). I was only 19 at the time, and I wasn't allowed to drink, so I was almost always the DD for my brother, and invariably dragged him home as early as I could. I first sang karaoke while reffing, including a terribly off-key version of "Guerilla Radio," and it was also the first time I had asked a girl out on a real date. On of the players, Lindsay, was my age, and after getting badgered by Kevin and the other guys on the "young person" team for a few weeks I stumbled over asking her out.

Anyways, it wasn't the most exciting job in the world, but it paid pretty well, let me sit out in the sun and watch people make a fool of themselves, and helped me enjoy sand volleyball all the more.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Randomings Vol. 2

*Shuffle*

This site cracks me up. Maybe it's just because I was playing the Left 4 Dead demo last night, but zombies make me laugh. Best tagline is "Sometimes when there aren't enough people, I eat dogs! LOL" Zombies using LOL makes me happy. (Hap tip to Ric for the link).

*Shuffle*

So I woke up this morning to the usual sounds of Kramp and Addler. I laid there for a bit, then sat up and rubbed my eyes, like I usually do. Pulled the covers off of me, then looked to my right and noticed that my unused pillow didn't have the pillow case on it. I had torn the cover off the pillow in my sleep and then gently laid it right next to the pillow. WHAT? I've been known to talk in my sleep, mostly incoherent babble (last year sometime I talked about economics and money, apparently), but this is a new low. So a word of warning to whoever sleeps by me next: I'm liable to grab your pillow and tear the case off it. Or tear your face off.

*Shuffle*

Prepare to have your mind blown at the most difficult game conceived by sadistic humans. I've managed to make it 1.5 metres, but keep in mind I've only been trying FOR THE LAST HOUR.
(Hat tip to MightyGodKing for the link. The comments are rather good)
EDIT: 2.9 metres! A new record!

*Shuffle*

Quantum of Solace opens today across the US. I have a confession to make: The only bond movie I really enjoy is Casino Royale. Blasphemy, I know. Maybe it's because they've been parodied so well, or that the plots are mostly fucking absurd. Seriously, let me give you the plot synopsis for Die Another Day:
Bond’s search leads him to a mysterious billionaire, who’s involvement in diamond trading provides him with the means to build a diamond-encrusted satellite, a ’solar mirror,’ with the power to harness and concentrate the energy of the sun, creating a massive laser cannon powerful enough to destroy anything on earth in its path.

WHAT? Now you may say, "Bond has always been about over the top villains and plot devices." Look fella, it's 2008. That goofy shit doesn't fly anymore. If you want to be over the top with your movie then knowingly do it, like Shoot 'Em Up. I'll stick with plots about financing terrorize and the like. As such, Daniel Craig is the only Bond for me. Mostly because I could get lost in his eyes for days.....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's in a Name


By request I will now tell you the tale of how we decided to give the name Pickles to my friend Andy. I'm not sure how the discussion began, but I mentioned to Blaze one day that every group of friends needs a guy with the nickname of Pickles. He laughed and said he actually had a Pickles in his group of friends back during Cross Country. Anyways, I took inventory of our friends and determined that Pickles would be a splendid nickname for Andy, and went about informing everyone else that we should call him so. We unleashed the name upon him at lunch one day, to his confusion. We even changed his name on our IM client at work to Pickles, to facilitate the transition. After a short period of revolt he embraced the name, even to the point of making it his gamer tag for Xbox Live. Mission Accomplished, I'd say.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oscar Mike


Well, it's that time of year again when we'll be on the move. This is will be the 10th time I've moved since 2003, and every time it freaking sucks. Nothing makes you realize just how much crap you've got like packing it all up into boxes and shoving it into the nearest vehicle. Perhaps the only good thing about moving is that it makes me realize all the crap I have, and gives me some incentive to get rid of it. Unfortunately, I too have inherited the curse of pack rat from my parents. My dad keeps magazines for years and years after reading them, has more bowling balls than any man could possibly need, and never saw a piece of lumber he couldn't fit in our garage. However, I am determined to not go down that dark path. We'll be moving in early to mid-December, so I'm taking the next few trips back to my parents house to deposit some of my stuff up there. My mom is planning a garage sale for next summer, and that will give me a good reason to sell off a lot of my clothes that no longer fit/I don't wear at all. Anything that can't be sold will be given to Goodwill or another similar organization. I read an article when I was over at Erica's place about the 100 Thing Challenge, where a guy tries to live a full year with only 100 "things." While I think it's a good exercise in anti-consumerism it might be a bit much for a 23 year old guy trying to keep his sanity. There's a lot of stuff I really don't need to own, like all those DVDs I've collected over the years (how often do I actually watch any of them) or my 40 t-shirts (which are now only worn when I go out at night). Lots of things to think about getting rid of before I'm forced to box them up and move them....again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Pigskin


My older Brother Kevin and I will both be heading home to our parent's house this weekend to prepare for Deer Hunting next weekend. He left me a voicemail asking me if I wanted to go see our hometown team in the Football semi-finals on Friday night. Both him, my other older brother Bryan, and myself played high school ball, and I haven't been back to see a game in a few years now, so I was definitely in (though I'm going to miss most of the first half, unless I take off early).

While Texas is notorious for being crazy about high school football, certain parts of Wisconsin could give them a run for their money on a Friday night. Turnout at Edgar home games typically reaches over 1,000 people (there's only 1,400 people in the town), and it becomes the focal point of conversation no matter what the time of year is. As a little kid two-hand touch football gives way to two-hand shove, and eventually tackle (if the recess monitors weren't looking). Once we hit middle school flag football began, and with that came pick-up games on the practice field while the real teams battled it out in the stadium.

Finally, freshmen year. I get to be part of the proud Wildcat tradition. I was a scrawny 14 year old, not exactly a hard nosed tough guy on the field, but I loved playing. That first year almost every guy in our class was on the team (Edgar is so small we don't have tryouts). I was one of two wide recievers, and one of a handful of defensive backs. I quietly played my part on the team, and first got noticed when I had a big downfield block that sprung our running back Jeremiah for a long touchdown. Coach Nowak told Jeremiah in front of everyone after we won that "you should be buying that guy a steak tonight, he gave you that touchdown." I don't think I stopped smiling for 3 days.

A few weeks later I had my best moment. We were up by a few touchdowns, so in order to give the starters a break I was put in at cornerback. Sure, I could slack off once in a while on offense, but a guy had to be ever vigilant on defense. It was 3rd and 6, and the opposing team was on our 45 yard line. The ball was snapped, I dropped back into coverage, and watched as the receiver I was covering broke into a slant in front of me. The quarterback's helmet turned to the receiver and I knew what was coming next. I quickly changed directions and sprinted in front of the receiver just when the ball was about to get to him. Interception!! I took off towards their endzone going as fast as I could, nothing in the way for a touchdown....and then I got winded. I made it to about the 20 yard line before that same receiver caught up to me and I was tackled. But what a rush! I jogged over to the sideline to hear my teammates cheering and was greeted with lots of pushing and slapping. Just thinking about it gives me the chills. Our varsity team made it to state that year and won, and I remember thinking that I'd have a chance to be riding a victory float in a few years.

During the rest of the school year our Head Coach wanted us to be in basketball or wrestling, and then track in the spring, in order to stay in shape. But during the summer, when we were supposed to be working out and running and prepping for August, well......I slacked off. Sure, I'd go into the weight room three times a week, but most of the time I slacked off and shot the shit with whoever else was in there. That Sophomore year we were allowed to suit up for every game, and even got in for a few plays. We made it to state that year again, but lost. But for an impressionable 15 year old there's nothing in this world like running out into Camp Randall from the tunnel. I smile just thinking about it. Anyways, I remembered seeing the seniors crying after the game was done, and I couldn't help but feel for them. Going 14-1 isn't easy.

Sophomore year turned into Junior, and without Junior Varsity games to play during the week I was beginning to waste away. The group of senior receivers ahead of me was numerous, and my playing time was extremely limited Still, I was loving the camaraderie and brotherhood of sharing the field with my best friends. We made it to state yet again that year (despite losing twice that regular season), and we were victorious in a hard fought battle, 8-0 final score.

And so my Senior year dawned. Our original group of 20 freshmen had whittled down to only 10 seniors, but the 10 of us had been together through thick and thin. We had 5 starters returning, plus a talented Junior class behind us to fill the ranks. And yet...I didn't push myself nearly hard enough that summer. I was basically the same size and strength as I was Junior year. Thinking back I'm not really sure why I didn't try harder. I think the thought of my last free summer before high school was over sub-consciencelessly pushed me to camp more, drink more, and relax more than was smart. Come football season we were feeling pretty good about ourselves, teamwise. Our new shift formation would take advantage of having 3 powerful running backs, and would also open up our passing attack. And then disaster struck in our first game. While doing pre-game warm-ups our running back Jeremiah (yep, same guy) tore his ACL. This left a huge hole in both our offensive and defensive plans. Still we trucked on, winning most of our games. However our passing game was practically nil. Our quarterback had a hard time seeing over our big offensive line, and I wasn't exactly burning anybody with my speed (not to mention I was pretty scrawny at 6'1" 160 lbs). Passes were almost all directed at the slot or tight-ends. Still, I blocked my heart out, helped out the younger guys when they needed it and played my part. We made it to the semi-finals, but injuries and a thin roster had taken it's toll on the team. It didn't help that we were going up against St. Mary Springs, a private school that was a known recruiter (which is illegal in Wisconsin High School sports). We tried our best, but it wasn't enough. I made it into the locker room before breaking down crying.

Now, I'm not normally one of those guys that waxes poetically about his high school years in most cases. They were fine and all, but they were far from the best years of my life. However, the times I played football are remembered fondly, and there's always the fire that burns inside me to strap on the shoulder pads and helmet and run some patterns again.

A Bold Statement

While driving back from looking at a house last night, Weeks essentially said this:

I would rather eat leftovers than come over and play Rock Band with you guys

So for the record, he would rather do this...

Than do this


Shame.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lynx

Because I've literally had a little boy blue's worth of people ask me about the websites I visit at work (in-between chronicling my bathroom adventures, shuffling stacks of paper, and whittling pencils into flutes) I shall now post them for you, organized by type. Enjoy!

Brewers and Packers

News and Opinions

Milwaukee

Comics

Movies and TV

Tech and Video Games

Randoms

Now keep in mind: these are only the sites that I check every day at work. I go to a ton of other sites once a week or so, plus some I check only at home (I'm not sure what a co-worker would say if they saw me on GorillaMask.net). Man, that's a lot of links.....I think I'm gonna try and find some work to do now...

Tomorrow Will be a Good Day

And this is why.



Out tomorrow for Rock Band is the full Foo Fighters album "The Colour and the Shape." As I have mentioned before, I love the Foo Fighters. Originally it was announced that their latest album, "Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace" was going to be available, but it was changed to "The Colour and the Shape" a while back. CatS was the second Foo Fighters album, and set the tone of the band for the past 11 years. I mean, just look at that track list! My Hero is probably my second favorite Foo song, Monkeywrench is a guitar assault, February Stars slowly builds to a phenomenal crescendo, and Hey, Johnny Park! is probably their most underrated song. I'm not sure if I'll get the whole track pack yet (despite what Guitar Hero would have you believe, some songs just don't translate well for the whole band), but I'd say we'll probably get at least 8 of them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Everyone is a Nerd


Typically the term "dork" or "nerd" is applied to someone that is interested in traditionally obscure interests that are not deemed age-appropriate. Years ago I would agree with this statement, but as time has grown I've realized that everyone is a dork about something. Because we all take an interest in something beyond the usual level of curiosity into something more. Me? Well I'm very broad in my dorkitude. I like movies and comics and fantasy and useless trivia and WWII and the Brewers and action figures and video games and camping. My roommates are all dorks, whether it's about WoW or poker, or even teaching. And then it branches out from there. I know people that are super dorks about sports: they have multiple fantasy teams, constantly watch Sportscenter, wear team apparel every day they can, and never miss a game. Other people are dorks about fashion: going to the mall every week, always on the cutting edge of what's considered "stylish," watching celebrities for the next big trend. I guarantee you know someone like the last two (they're probably dating each other, actually).

Everyone is a nerd, and that's excellent. Don't hide your dorkiness, my brethren, because everyone is dorky about something.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Pronounced "Ant"


I must have realized it before last year, but it was really pointed out to me in the summer of 2007 that I pronounce words slightly different than most people. I think the biggest offender is the word "aunt." Me and everyone in my family pronounce it "awwnt," like it rhymes with "taunt." Why? I have no idea. However, I am not alone in this "mis-pronunciation", as Addler from Kramp & Addler pronounced it the same way. After poking around on the Internet for a bit I found out that saying it different ways is a country-wide phenonomon. Different places pronounce it different ways. Is this similar to how the same game has different names? (beirut/beer pong, cornhole/bags/baggo). Back to pronunciations, I remember correcting a friend last year who was pronouncing the word "gyro" as it's spelled instead of the preferred way as "yee-row" (we were talking about the delicious Greek food). I was trying to stop him from sounding like an idiot, but his response was "That's how I've always heard it, and how my family says it. So fuck off." People don't like being corrected. In hindsight perhaps it's better to just let people pronounce things the way they want to rather than trying to correct them. But if I pronounce something wrong please let me know, I don't like looking like an ignorant fool. I now know that the word "chutzpah" is pronounced "hutzpah." And knowing is half the battle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Pooper's Dilemma


Allow me to set the stage for you. It's 1:13 pm, and my daily "after lunch bathroom break" is knocking at my back door. I make my way to the potty, and my superhuman enhanced senses hear the sound of a toilet flushing a few steps before I enter the bathroom. I continue on in to find a lone man washing his hands at the sink. Mid-step my peripheral vision informs me that there is no one at the 2 urinals. This esteemed gentlemen definitely came from one of the toilet stalls...but which one? The first two stalls are normal-sized, while the third is a handicapped extra large one. This is my preferred home port, because I like to stretch my legs out while I drop trou. Plus I tend to bang my elbows in normal stalls. Because I am a giant freak. Anyways, it's decision time. Which stall do I go in? I have a 1 in 3 chance of sitting down on the same toilet this dude just got up from. This thought does not gruntle me. I decide to go big and head for the handicapped stall. I go in and glance at the toilet and realize the error of my ways. The water is still flowing in the toilet. Oh dear...I've gone too far to come out of the stall and find another one. But...but...that seat is guaranteed to still be warm! I gingerly unbuckle and sit down. Yep, still warm. I quickly mark my territory with a low, long fart, and all is well. Though I believe that next time I will just call an audible and book it out of there instead of putting my buttocks in such a risky situation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why We Blog


Hard to believe that this is my 100th blog post. 5 months ago Chad and I decided to start blogging to give us something to do during work. Soon more and more people started joining us on this little circle of blogs, and I sincerely hope more people begin doing the same.I don't see a lot of my friends much anymore, but being able to keep people posted on what's going on in my life, even the mundane, is very cathartic. For some of us blogging is a way to spend time, to stay in touch with friends, to get things out of our head, or perhaps to let others know what we want for Christmas. Maybe we just want to rant about something, or perhaps to tell a story about ourselves that wouldn't ordinarily come up in conversation. But subconsciously I think we all blog because we want some proof that we existed, that we lived and breathed on this earth, that just because there are 106 billion other people that have been alive at one point doesn't mean that we're not individuals. That we made an impact on humanity, in some imperceptible way. We may never be a Nobel winning physicist, or a homicidal dictator, but we are the in-betweeners. Those that go to their "normal" job, live their "normal" life, yet this world would be a worse off place without them. That in 3,000 years when aliens come to Earth to find only a wasteland, one of their explorers will unearth a server and discover the writings of an earthling known as Gregor, who talked about something called the Brewers, the jobs he's had, and the things he loved in his lifetime.


And bathrooms.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Traffic Question

So here's something that's been bugging me for a while. When I leave work this traffic situation comes up every day. Let me break it down for you, and please refer to the picture. This is a typical stop-lighted intersection, and the vehicles traveling up and down have a normal green light, no arrows. Now, because Blue car is making a left turn, while Purple car is making a right turn, shouldn't Blue have to yield to Purple? Because if Purple was going straight then Blue most definitely would yield. And yet everyday I see Purple being all timid waiting for all the Blues to go first. I'm always Blue, so I stop and let Purple go, but I feel people behind me giving me the death stare. So am I crazy? Should Blue be yielding to Purple?

(Oh, and I won't be talking about what was brought up here, mainly because thinking about the world if I had died is super depressing. And Monday is depressing enough without that. Cheers.)