Dec 11 2010

the great purge

For the longest time, CarrieNation thought I was a neat freak.  This came out after I’d known her for maybe two years.  What happened was: the first time she was ever in my apartment was the first time I met her, which was also right after I’d done a fairly major cleaning.  My place was…. well, not spotless, but as close as it’s been to spotless in the past decade.  And then we always hung out somewhere else after that.  So naturally she just assumed I was always so fastidious.  She’s under no such illusions any more.

It has recently come to my attention that I’m not a hoarder.  It’s not like this was a huge concern, but I’ll admit I had my doubts.  But a friend of my friend Cait’s father is the world’s leading expert on hoarding – he wrote the book on it, literally – and I don’t exhibit any of the big warning signs.  It hasn’t been impossible for me to move around my house; I can distinguish between throwing away an object and throwing away a memory or a person or place.  It turns out I’m just lazy.  And disorganized.  That’s why this stupid task is going to take all goddamn weekend.


10-ish PM — I started with the bookshelves, which maybe was a bad idea.  There are more tough decisions to be made there than probably anywhere else.  It took about an hour, but I think I made decent progress.In the foreground is my first of many bags of trash.  I’ve obviously ignored the pressing problem of compact discs for now, but I identified more books than I expected to get rid of.


10:16 AM — After a visit to Alexandria’s finest (and only) breakfast joint, I write my introduction to the live-blog and mentally prepare to tackle the closet in the bedroom.  Clothes should be easy, because if they don’t fit or if I haven’t worn them in over a year, they’re going.  I give that plan about half an hour before I revise my criteria.

11:40 AM — The Leaning Tower of Pasta clanked against the floor as I carried the trash outside.  I’m up to two full bags, and removing them from my apartment was a good excuse to head over to Misha’s for a cup of coffee.  I also have three bags of clothes to donate.  The less fortunate of Northern Virginia will soon be sporting the fresh styles of 2002.  I’ve reached the back of my closet in my bedroom.  The excavation has just reached a box of crap from my office two jobs ago and my old cassette tapes.  This journey just got interesting.

1:32 PM — If one is inclined to believe – as I am – that an undertaking such as this is a exercise of self-discovery, then the overwhelming revelation this morning is that I really like to swipe pens from the office.  I’ve found some in every box, bag, and parcel I’ve sorted through.  And of course they’ve all been tested, because I’d hate to throw out perfectly good pens.  Trash bags number three, four, and five have been carted downstairs and I’m officially done with all of my clothes and the closet in my bedroom.  Going through my tapes was surprisingly anti-climactic because (except for the Mighty Roy’s account of his move across the country) they all got tossed.  I have nowhere to listen to them and they have no resale value.  The only mild amusement was the occasional reminder that U2 wasn’t always on the spite list.3:14 PM — There is no more appropriate label for the boxes in my apartment than “Misc. Shit”.4:29 PM — The trash bag count stands at seven, not including assorted items that are too large to go in the cans.  And these are lawn and leaf bags, mind you – not the wimpy kitchen variety.  I just wanted to be clear on that.  It’s been over an h0ur now since I’ve touched any of the dozen remaining boxes in my “Misc. Shit” closet, and though I’ve eaten lunch and done some laundry in that time I now need to power through the rest in order to wrap that up before a holiday party this evening.  It’s like a game.  Can I throw out all my crap before time runs out?  We shall see.

7:14 PM — Ten bags.  And I didn’t quite make it.  I have five boxes left.  I’ll have to get to them later.


2:42 PM — Um, okay…  This break wasn’t supposed to be so long.  But I was wiped out after last night’s holiday party and then had brunch plans with Cait and Daby and CarrieNation.  After taking my beater bike in to the shop for a tune-up, I’m finding my motivation at a low point.  I’ve already started bargaining: if I get through the middle closet and the coat closet, I can save my storage unit in the basement for another day.  I guess I need to get to it.  I sure wish the Steeler game was on to distract me.

3:50 PM — Two and a half more bags of trash later and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

4:30 PM — I came across a box of stuff that obviously ended up with me because my mom insisted that I clean out my old bedroom when they moved out of the house I lived in during high school.  I know this because I threw out four broken Walkmen.  I also found this gem, which makes me think of M-Dashes and is appropriate right now.5:20 PM — Screw it.  I’m going to the movies.

8:59 PM — Fair Game wasn’t bad.  I’m up to fourteen bags of trash.  I’m racing the clock again, because I want to get the coat closet done before I hit the sack.  And I’m ready to go to bed now.

9:24 PM — The weekend’s biggest mystery: Why do I own a metal detector and where did it come from?

11:15 PM — I just limped across the finish line – utterly defeated.  The final count was sixteen bags of trash, and I’m a little surprised that it wasn’t more.  All I can say is that those are some big bags.  I have more thoughts, I think, but those will have to wait for another day.  6:00 AM comes around awful early.  At the risk of sounding like every other asshole who goes to an office, I need a weekend after my weekend.

Aug 18 2010

we’ll take potpourri for $100, alex

Days like today are difficult for us.  We see at least three blog-worthy items in the news, but there’s no way we’re going to get to them all while they’re still timely.  We could not mention any of them (and let’s face it – that’s our default response in these instances), or we could lump them all together into one half-assed post.  If you guessed half-assed, you’d be right.  We’re feeling especially uncreative, so we’ll even bullet point this shit.

  • The Wrens released a new – though unfinished – song today.  We’re more than a little shocked.  We see on their Facebook feed that they’ve been working on new material, but they’ve been saying that for the past seven years.  This is supposed to appear on their next album, but those of us who don’t want to wait until we’re fifty to hear it can pick up a copy of the upcoming Dear New Orleans benefit disc.  Or listen here.
  • The role of Elizabeth Salamander has been filled in David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Meet Rooney Mara.  She has kind of an unusual name – until you realize that her great-grandfather is NFL legend and beloved owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers: Art Rooney.  I’m sure that’s why she got the gig.  Everybody loves the Steelers.  I guess she’s also related to some other NFL owner.  Some team in New York?  That’d be the Bills, huh?
  • A recent Zagat survey has rated local-chain-made-good Five Guys as the best fast food burger in America.  (This is actually yesterday’s news, but we weren’t about to bump Rushmore down the page on her birthday.)  The In-N-Out people are not pleased, but if they don’t like it they should make a better burger.  We remember when there were just three Five Guys stores – one of which was half a block from our house.  Also, we used to serve the guys their coffee.  They’re really nice people and we congratulate them.  They deserve it.
  • And this last item is really old news, but in keeping with the title of this post, here’s that video of drunk and swearing Alex Trebek.  Frankly, we’re starting to get annoyed with this asshole for not yet returning our call.  It’s been eight months. What’s the goddamn holdup?

Aug 8 2010

coach dad

Unlike baseball, football players don’t go into the Hall of Fame associated with a particular team.  That’s why I can extend hearty congratulations to both Russ Grimm and Dick LeBeau for extending the Steeler legacy in Canton.  Both men represented other teams in their playing careers, but were instrumental coaches on the Rooney family’s payroll as the Pittsburgh Steelers steamrolled their way to “Team of the ’00’s” glory.  Grimm has since moved on to sandier pastures in Arizona, but Coach LeBeau – known to his players as “Coach Dad” – is still the proud Defensive Coordinator of the Steelers.  And he spent most of the allotted time for his speech yesterday acknowledging that fact.  He may have played like a Lion, but he bleeds freakin’ steel and gold.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I would have preferred to embed Coach LeBeau’s entire speech – it was that inspirational.  But I couldn’t find the proper code.  My favorite part is when the 71-year-old – and still active – coach describes himself as an “experienced liver.”  (It’s a testament to his youthful vitality that his players don’t call him “Coach Grandpa.”)  I figure making it to seventy-one years is cause enough for celebration.  Hoping to be as tough as Coach LeBeau seems like too much even to wish for.

Dec 10 2009

my thursday evening

I learned this evening that the Miami Redhawks basketball game against the nineteenth-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats is being broadcast on ESPN2.  I’ve never seen Miami play basketball on television outside of March (and those March games are rare), so it would just figure they’d be on at the same time as the Steelers.

At halftime, Miami is down by only one point.  The Steelers are losing and Ben Roethlisberger was just sacked for the fifth time.  They look fucking terrible, and they’re playing the goddamn Cleveland Browns.  So I think I’m gonna switch over to the basketball game.  I’m sure Ben will understand.

Dec 6 2009

my sunday afternoon

Fuck the Raiders.  Fuck the ***skins.  Fuck Dan Snyder.  Fuck the Just Us League.  Fuck Dabysan.  And fuck Cap’n fucking Crunch.  I hate football and I got a lotta anger to spread around.

[UPDATE: Okay, so the Saints held on and managed to keep my Monday from being utterly miserable.  But you know what?  Fuck the ***skins anyway.]

Nov 15 2009

carson palmer is due for another knee injury

I had been kicking myself for not trying to extend my stay in the Emerald City through the weekend, but I guess things have a way of working out for the best whether we realize it or not.  M—–l headed west the day after I came home, and he and Homebody spent the morning watching my team play his team.  I could have been there watching with them.  It’s best that I wasn’t.  There are worse fan bases in sports, but no fans are worse than Bengal fans when it comes to keeping a little bit of success in proper perspective.  I still remember vividly the bitching and moaning on the part of Bengal fans when the Steelers shredded them (and Carson Palmer’s knee) on the way to Super Bowl XL.
You’d have thought the league promised them a championship or something, the way they cried about “being robbed.”  And I have no doubt that everyone in southwest Ohio believes after today that they are owed a Super Bowl victory.  After two flukey losses, I kind of hope we face the Bungles a third time in the playoffs.  I look forward to seeing them (and, hopefully, Carson Palmer’s knee) shredded by the Steelers once again on their – the Steelers’ – way to a seventh Lombardi Trophy.

Who dey?  Dey ain’t nuthin’, that’s who dey.

Oct 26 2009

my new favorite team

Nine times out of ten, my motivation for doing anything is: spite.  There’s no better way to illustrate this than to describe how the Boston Red Sox became my least favorite sports team of all time.

I’m not really a baseball fan.  I enjoy baseball, I guess, in the same way that I enjoy the Olympics; I like the concept in general and I enjoy watching every once in a while, but I’m glad it doesn’t occupy too much of my time.  I pay just enough attention to know basically what’s going on because it feels like at least that much is required of a “sports fan.”

I am, however, an avid football fan.  Earlier this decade, the New England Patriots cheated their way to a couple of Super Bowl victories and a whole crowd of douchey Massholes crawled out from under the rocks they’d been using for shelter.  They started talking about the Patriots as a “dynasty” despite that the team had only – at the time – two good seasons.  A few of them even went so far, in 2004 mind you, to label the Patriots the “team of the decade.”  We all know that’s ridiculous.  Everybody knows the Pittsburgh Steelers, who just so happen to be the team I root for, are the team of the decade.  Somehow, the mouth-breathing neanderthals in Massachussets gruntedly loudly enough that the national sports media noticed their bullshit claim and began lavishing undue attention on the Patriots.  They – the Pats – began turning up on those nationally televised late Sunday and prime-time games, taking some of the exposure which the Steelers so richly deserved.  So I got to watch my team less, and what coverage I did get fawned over a lesser team.  This situation affected me personally; the Patriots actually made my life worse.  So, naturally, I fucking loathe the New England Patriots.

This is where it starts to get a little complicated.  Because I hate the Patriots so much, I am obligated by spite to hate the Red Sox even more.  I know that every single Patriot fan would happily watch the Patriots go winless for the rest of time if that resulted in a World Series victory for the Red Sox.  I have to hate the Red Sox more than the Patriots because all the Pats fans love the Red Sox more.  So the Red Sox are my least favorite sports team of all time.  It makes perfect sense.

But I’ve noticed something a little strange happening over the past few years.  I despise the Red Sox so much that subconsciously, I’ve wanted the New York Yankees to do well.  You see, Red Sox fans hate the Yankees.  They chant “Yankees suck!” at the NFL Draft.  (This is more evidence, by the way, that Sawx fans are retarded and that I am right to hate them more.)  Every Yankee victory hurts a Red Sox fan deep in the most primative quadrants of his unenlightened simian brain (even though he will never know why), and that gives me great pleasure.  Lately I have told a few people that “I hate the Red Sox so much that I am practically a Yankee fan.”  It was only last week that I realized that statement was actually true.

So consider this my official coming out as a fan of the New York Yankees.  I didn’t have an axe to grind in the MLB anyway, so why not the Yankees?  They fit all my criteria.  They have a long and storied history of winning a lot.  Rooting against their chief rival is easy.  Jerry Hairston, Jr. is on their roster.  But perhaps best of all, my very first act as an official Yankee fan is that I get to root for them to reduce Cap’n Crunch to a whimpering and pathetic heap.  Yes, I would enjoy Cappy’s devastation very much.  That, there, is just the kind of personal connection that makes sports so much fun.

Oct 19 2009

i didn’t even know he had a new book out

I think a lot about why I like football so much.  Seriously, I do.  On the surface it doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  None of anything that happens in the NFL on any given Sunday has any bearing on my day-to-day life.  And yet, I was just a little bit happier yesterday because my Steelers won and their division rival Bengals and Ravens both lost.  I was pleased that the Saints won and the ***skins lost, even though neither game directly affected my specific rooting interest.  (Unless, of course, you count “spite” among my rooting interests. That had a little to do with my reveling in that Skins loss.  And, oh yeah – ask me how the Toledo Maroons fared.)  There’s really no way to rationally explain why watching my team win the Super Bowl – at the Super Bowl – will always rank among the very best moments of my life.  Or so I thought.

I’m not going to say Chuck Klosterman’s explanation is perfect, but it’s the best one I have ever read.  And whatever is second isn’t close.  If only everything ever written about football could be this good, all the time, always….  Including my lame-ass blog post.

Oct 11 2009

this guy tried to swagger jack me

The joke's on him, though.  He got a jersey for the wrong team.

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Oct 11 2009

feast and famine

The main reason for my trip to the flyovers on this particular weekend
is to go to the Steelers game.  They're playing the Lions in Detroit,
and my brother-in-law (poor guy) is a lifelong Lions fan.  One of us – the one who roots for the team who has won the most Super Bowls and has been enormously successful over the past forty years – is
going to be pretty pleased at four o'clock this afternoon.  At least my brother-in-law is accustomed to
disappointment.  He is, after all, a lifelong Lions fan.

It's the least I can do to post a Rocktober
song just for him, though.  We used to work together at the service
station during the summers when I was in college, and there were several songs with which we always sang along whenever they came on the
radio.  We sounded good.  You never would have guessed – way back then – that I would one day be an award-winning bad singer.  Our tickets for the game are in the all-you-can-eats-seats, which makes today's song a little ironic.

Fun fact: though widely considered by most (including me until just
now) to be a crass cross-promotional attempt by Soundgarden and Pearl
Jam to capitalize on the success of Badmotorfinger and Ten,
this song – and the record on which it appears – predates those albums
by six and four months, respectively.  It was only after both of those
records broke big that this one was reissued and crassly
cross-promoted.  Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

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