Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Victory is Mine!

Ahh, the Christmas season is upon us. And as much as I love the stress of it all, there are some things I don't really look forward to. One of those things is my wife's office party. Sometimes it's bad enough going to my own. Most of the time they're just so awkward. You hang around with people you work with and try to make small talk. It's still a work function, so you can't really relax. You put in your hour or so and then get out of there. With my wife's, you get the added bonus of not really knowing anybody. Getting reintroduced to people you somewhat recognize, having to listen to a little small talk, trying to be on your best behavior so not everybody will know Katie's husband is a complete idiot. Like I said, just not my idea of a good time.

This year was different, though. They scheduled a bunch of activities; one of which was a poker tournament. Realizing I could save myself lots of small talk and awkwardness, I signed up for the poker tournament. So we show up and after some walking around to tour the place the party was at, we get in line to get some food. Pleasantries, introductions, and other mind numbing social niceties went on until the poker tournament started. And then it was all down to business.
There were only 16 of us, including an 11 year old kid and one guy who was asking a lot of questions about how to play and what hands beat what. All in all, I liked my chances. Up for grabs were prizes for the top 3. 3rd place was a $25 American Express gift card, 2nd place was a nice hoodie with the logo of the company, and 1st place was a portable fire pit. As we got started, there were 2 tables of 8. Each table was to play down to 4 and then combine. From there, we'd play until there was a winner.

For the first 30 or so hands, I didn't see a single playable hand. In fact, I think I saw one face card and one ace. I thought about playing the ace-five offsuit because I was so desperate to see some action. With a raise and a re-raise to me, though, I thought better of it and let the hand go. A few hands later I picked up pocket queens in early position. I threw a raise out, and despite not having played a single hand up to this point, I got 3 callers. The flop came down Q-x-x rainbow. I had top set. A powerful hand. I bet a smallish amount and got 2 callers to the turn. My bet on the turn saw everyone fold. My first pot! And it was my last for a while. Slowly people started being eliminated and my chip stack was average at best. When we combined tables, I was below average. I was going to need to make a move fast if I was to survive. When I looked down at AK suited, I knew it was my time. I threw a normal preflop raise out and got two callers. One was the 11 year old. The flop came down and was a queen high rainbow - no help. I figured there was enough in the pot, that I would just as soon take it down. So I pushed all in and prayed. The first guy to act after me had a few less chips than me, but he wasted no time in calling. The ll year old though for a second and called me as well. I knew I was dead. The first guy turned up ... A-6 ? No pair, ace high. I actually had this guy beat. The 11 year old turned up his Q-9, though, so I had two chances to catch a king, an ace, or running straight cards. The turn was a blank, so I had 1 more chance to catch any of the 2 remaining aces or three remaining kings. For you math whizzes out there, I was about a 8.4-1 underdog. Lo and behold, though, the river came the beautiful king of hearts and I was back in it.

From there, I started getting cards all over the place. I started being able to afford to see cheap flops with no real hand. Out of the big blind, I looked down at 6-8 offsuit. There were 2 callers and I checked my option. The flop came down j - 8 -6. The first guy checked, the 11 year old pushed all in, and I somewhat apologetically called his bet. The first guy got out of the way and 11 year old showed j - 7. The turn and river were no help and he was out in 5th. When the short stack finally made a stand, his small pocket pair came up short and we were down to 3. I had made the money (so to speak). Here is a picture of the final 3 and the dealer. Notice everybody is watching the guys hands to see how much he is going to bet. I'm watching his eyes to see what he was thinking.
Eventually the lady to my right and I got heads up. She was the reigning CompHealth poker champion, having won the 40 person United Way tournament they had earlier this year. She played really well, and I was nervous. She had mentioned wanting the second place prize, so I made a deal with her. We would agree that I would take the fire pit and she would take the hoodie. We could still play it out for the winner, but at least we'd each get the prize we wanted. She agreed. I played really aggressively heads up and had taken a slight chip lead when I looked down at A-K of spades. I was first to act, and I decided to just call the big blind. I was going to be sneaky. She raised the pot a really small amount. It seemed like a pretty weak bet to me, so I raised her about 3 times the size of her bet. She pushed all in on me, and I figured she had a hand like A-Q or maybe pocket tens. I called her bet and she turned up pocket queens. I was in trouble. The flop was no help. The turn was a blank, and once again I found myself looking for one of 6 cards. (about an 8-1 underdog). When a king fell on the river, I let out an involuntary cheer. Even though my win included knocking an 11 year old out of the tournament and I had to suck out to get there, it still felt good!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Life in a band

Last night was the gig. When I say gig, you may be imaging people selling tickets, people dancing, people standing around, etc. However, you would be wrong. Our gig last night was to a bunch of people busy playing blackjack, craps, and poker for pretend money. A song would end and our wives (husband for Jody) and girlfriends would clap. It kind of made me laugh. Every gig I've ever played but one has been to an audience of crickets. (not that I've played a lot or anything, but I'll bet I've played a dozen or so in different bands) It was perfect.

It always happens like this: you finally get a bunch of people showing up (somewhat) regularly to practice and get some songs down. 1 person in the band brings up an opportunity to do a show. You agree on it, because it's usually a ways off and you figure you can work out any kinks between now and then. You're usually practicing an hour or two a week for a couple of months. Then, about 2 weeks before the show you start gearing up. Your practices are between 2 and 3 hours and twice as often. Maybe the night before you do one final practice to go through your set. Then comes the day of the show. You get off work early and meet up at the drummers house (your equipment is almost always at the drummers house: his equipment is a lot more difficult to move). You spend a half an hour loading heavy awkward equipment into vehicles. Then you head over to the show. You get there hours early. You take another half an hour to drag the equipment out of the car and put it on stage. Then you take the next 45 minutes setting the equipment up and trying to get the volumes right on everything. Maybe you go through a song or two to test the levels and warm up. And then you wait. Slowly people start filing in and eventually it's your time to go on. You get up there, a ball of nerves, but once that first note hits you go into a zone. And before you know it, the show is over. People file out. Then you spend the next 45 minutes taking your equipment down and putting back in the vehicles. Then it's back over to the drummers to put all the equipment back.

For your hour long show (if you're lucky), you have probably spent 40 hours getting everything prepared. And if by chance you are in competition with roulette for play money, then God help you! :) You may be reading this wondering 'What a pain in the ass! Why bother?' Myself, I'm in it for the chicks...not. Think about it, though: How much do you have to LOVE something to go to these lengths and keep doing it? It's one of the most rewarding things in my life. I've spent thousands of hours playing music in my life. It's part of my self image. I'm a musician.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Patterns - A novel

As an alcoholic I do things over and over again by definition. Taking a drink and waking up in a different state... causing dumb arguments with my wife and others.... I could increase the list ad infinitum. There are 2 things going on in my life today that are glaring examples of this. The first is something that has been happening in one form or another in my life for as far back as I can remember. I don't get along well with others. That's not to say that I don't get along with ANYONE. It's usually just 1 person. And it's usually a person I work with. At different times in my life since I started working at 15, there is usually 1 person that I seem incapable of getting along peacefully with. It's usually a person that I may be able to be friends with in different circumstances.

Right now, I'm causing myself a lot of grief because I can't seem to let go of resentment towards a person I work with. Or to put it another way, I'd love about 15 minutes alone in a room with this person with impunity. This is a person that manages to come in 30 minutes late, take an hour and 15 minute lunch, and can still manage to throw in 3 or 4 20 minute breaks in one 8 hour period. So when this person today interrupted my work to add a few hours worth of work for me that they didn't want to do I lost my cool. The underlying character defect that jumps out at me is this: I don't deal with frustration straight away. When something is bothering me I just sort of ignore it. Until, that is, I snap. When that happens I've been known to put my job and safety in jeopardy. As a consequence I'm known as a very angry person. Probably because I have years of this behavior stored up. If the average person is at a 1 or a 2 on the frustration chart at any given time, I'm at a 7 or 8. It takes very little to put me up over the 10 mark. And then I blow up. And although this causes a lot of confrontations, I am not a confrontational person at my core. I am a fearful person. I avoid confrontation. The funny thing is that if I was more assertive, I could avoid 90% of the confrontations I get into. It's my very cowardice that causes me to get into situations I fear. What do I fear? Uncomfortable situations in general. That you won't like me. Again, though, I could avoid most of these if I was more assertive.

So anyways, the other situation is one that goes back a few years. I think I've written about how I caught my mom cheating on my step-dad. It was really traumatic and the decisions I made in the aftermath have caused my life to go in a completely different direction than it might have. About 4 years ago my mom and dad started dating again. (note: when I say dating, I mean sleeping together and practically living together. This is the definition of 'dating' in my family) It was really weird. I know most other people are used to seeing both of their parents living under one roof, but I definitely wasn't. When that relationship sort of fizzled again, I was almost relieved. When my mom mentioned that she was seeing the guy that she cheated on my step dad with, though, it wasn't just weird. This is the same guy that helped to create so much pain in my family 10 years ago. To say nothing of the pain that it caused his family; because he was (and is still) married with children too. When my mom told me she was seeing this guy again, she told me he was married still. I think she told me as a way to prove that nothing serious was going on between them. It did just the opposite. I was thinking 'Mom, what the hell? Did you not learn 10 years ago?' She even arranged for this guy to show up when my mom and I were out doing some Christmas shopping. I could ignore it until this guy was shaking my hand, a sheepish look on his face.

So where am I going with all this? I'm talking about patterns here. And to be more specific MY patterns. I'm tired of getting into the same fight over and over with people. To stop doing that, I need to change my pattern of not dealing with things. That is going to mean that I will be uncomfortable a lot. I think I am willing to accept that if it means I will avoid these dumb situations. I came to this conclusion while talking to my mom on the phone today. I decided to ask my mom about this guy she is seeing. I told her how it is bringing back a lot of painful memories and feelings for me. I also told her that if she planned on continuing to see this guy and ultimately wanted acceptance from my sister and I, she was facing an uphill battle. When the conversation ended, I felt strangely exhilarated. Like I was in uncharted territory. I hope this place is somewhere I get to know very well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's in a name?

I was driving on a 2 lane road the other day when I got stuck behind one of these. Being as how I had to slow down 20 miles an hour, I thought it slightly ironic.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Katie and I are going on another cruise in January. Even in the doldrums I've been in lately I still look forward to vacationing. I've been thinking about our cruise experiences in the past and thought I'd share a story with you. It's a story with a moral.

On the cruise line we've been on in the past, they have a set time for dinner. You are assigned a table which usually has 10 place settings. This means that you end up sitting with people you don't know. Because dinner can take well over an hour on a cruise, you're a little bit nervous about getting stuck with someone that you don't hit it off with. If you were to ask most males who their ideal table mates would be, you'd probably hear 'scantily clad large breasted women'.

So anyways, when we showed first to the table on the first night of our last cruise we waited anxiously to see who we might be subjected to sitting with. When a party of 4 came up to our table and started seated themselves I quickly realized that one man's heaven is another man's hell. Of the 4 people, there were 3 girls wearing low cut dresses. They all had huge boobs. It turns out the three were a mother and her two daughters. The gentleman was the father of the girls and husband of the mother (and by the way turned out to be a hell of a nice guy). The girls sat right next to me. I can count on one hand the times in my life I've been more uncomfortable. I've got my wife on my right side, 3 beautiful ladies falling out of their dresses on my left side and their father/husband across the table looking at me. I think I kept my eyes on the ceiling for an hour to avoid getting busted sneaking a quick peak at an illicit rack. When we met up with another couple in recovery the next day, I was grateful to switch tables to some people I felt more comfortable around. The moral of the story is: what's the point of all that eye candy if you can't even take advantage of it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Telling on myself

So I've been struggling for the last couple of weeks. The color has gone out of the world for me. I find it hard to get excited about anything. Katie and I put an offer in on a house. That should be exciting for me, but I feel nonplussed about the whole deal. If we get it, okay. If we don't, okay.

When I was younger and still drinking and doing coke I felt terrific highs and catastrophic lows. Often in the same day. Right after I finally stopped doing all of that, the mood swings were tough to deal with without the aid of alcohol and drugs. I went on antidepressants for a few years to level out the swings and repair the damage that the years of drinking and smoking crack did to the dopamine centers in my brain. Of course I was drinking and using here and there while I was taking those antidepressants so they weren't as effective as they could have been. I eventually got off the meds and learned to deal with the ups and downs. And those ups and downs leveled off in time.

Lately, though, I feel as though I've flatlined. No ups, no downs. So the good news is that my mood has been stable. The bad news is that I'm sick of feeling this way. An alcoholic who wants to feel differently is in a dangerous spot. Because I know EXACTLY how to feel differently. Feeling differently isn't worth losing a marriage to me, though. And that's what would happen. So I'm telling on myself. My thinking is suspect the last couple of weeks. I've thought about drinking more than I have in the nearly 16 months of sobriety. I'm going to meetings and meeting with my sponsees. I'm talking to my sponsor, and all the while I'm thinking about drinking.

I understand that even thinking about drinking is a form of insanity. Why would someone who has been through what I have ever even consider drinking again? There are a lot of answers to that question. One is that I am nuts. I'm okay with being nuts. It doesn't bother me. The more practical answer is that I've got complacent. I've allowed myself to slip back into doing the things that keep me sober just so I can put a mental check next to my mental list. Meetings. Check. Talk to sponsor. Check. I have failed to enlarge my spiritual life as they say in the rooms. And I'm paying the price.

So what am I going to do about it? After talking to my sponsor about it, it's pretty clear what I have to do. Keep working on making my amends. Keep going to meetings. Don't panic and don't run. And remember that to a large extent my feelings are unimportant. You guys don't judge me by my thoughts or my feelings. You judge me by my actions. That last one is really tough sometimes because feelings and emotions can be really overwhelming at times. They always pass, though. Good or bad. And this too shall pass...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I think my phone is an optimist. It doesn't have the words crap or bureaucracy in it's text dictionary. Of course it doesn't have Katie's name in it either, so maybe optimist isn't the right word. Romantic, perhaps.... Kidding, I'm only kidding...

Why do they call the people that prepare sushi for you 'sushi chefs' ? Don't chefs have to go to school and learn more than how to properly cook rice and tempura? When some wise ass calls himself a 'Doctor of Love' we all laugh, but we go along when someone calls himself a sushi chef? What gives? Do we feel we know more about what a real doctor does than a real chef to call out the love doctor but not the sushi chef? The Krebs cycle, well that's easy. Making a fine beef wellington, now THAT'S a mystery!

When I drove by my credit union on the way to work today I noticed it said it was 17 degrees outside. Not 5 days ago I was complaining that the air conditioning in my car didn't work well enough and now it's 17 degrees. Welcome to Utah...

So our band has a gig in December. We're playing my company's 'Year End Festival', which I believe is the PC version of the company Christmas party. There won't be too many people there, maybe 80 or 100. Still, I'm kind of nervous. These aren't random yahoos that I never see. These are yahoos I see every day. 2 other people that work here are in the band, so at least I will sink or swim with company. Stay tuned....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vegas Baby!

Katie and I just got back from Vegas; we were celebrating our 3rd anniversary. Throughout the weekend, we had a good time. I lost a little money playing blackjack, but won it all back and then some playing poker at the Hooters Casino. Katie was not so fortunate. We were at the Bellagio (Sunday) last night when I noticed that a World Poker Tour event was starting today (Monday, October 20th). I've wanted to hang out for the beginning of a major poker tournament for a long time. The last time I was in Vegas, I left about 5 days before the WSOP (World Series Of Poker) started. So Katie agreed to come along with me to watch the beginning of the tournament. We were walking into the Bellagio when I looked up and who did I see walking at me? It was the 'Orient Express' Johnny Chan!!!
(Note: For those who don't know me, know that I am a huge poker fan. I generally spend at least 2 hours a week watching it on TV. I've read about a dozen books on or about poker, and know scores of top notch poker pros on sight. If you haven't seen the movie Rounders or don't know who Johnny Chan is, I apologize for the gratuitous name dropping I am about to do)

Johnny Chan

As we made eye contact, my eyes bugged out of my head and I said to Katie 'Holy Sh*t, that's Johnny Chan'. Before I could make a scene, Johnny averted his eyes and picked up his pace. Snubbing aside, I was ecstatic! As we hung out, I was thinking about whether or not I should have said hi (I'm thinking probably not). I decided that if I happened to see anyone else, I wouldn't be shy. After all, how often to you get to meet some of your idols? The answer for me today was 'quite often'. The next half hour before the tournament saw me hanging out near and sometimes talking to a bunch of my poker heroes. I saw Erick Lindgren and Gavin Smith hanging out with Bill Edler.

Erick Lindgren / Gavin Smith
Bill Edler /
I decided I would go say hi. I walked up expecting to be denied. They were extremely polite and even agreed to a picture with me until security stopped us. Erick said 'I think there's a robbery over there' in an effort to get the security guy to let this one go, but it wasn't to be. I shook their hands and thanked them for their time. Bill Edler said some really nice things about how lucky I was to be with Katie. Besides these 3, I also managed to shake hands with and say hello to Hoyt Corkins. Minutes later I saw the only person to win both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship : Carlos Mortensen and said hi to him. After shaking his hand, I introduced him to Katie and wished him luck. He wished me luck back. Just then I turned and saw the number one person on my 'List' - Jennifer Harman. I was going to say hi to her, but I saw her husband Marco Traniello and chickened out. A girl next to me called her over, and there I was: within an arms' length of a girl my wife would let me sleep with and have it be okay. Afterwards I joked with Katie that I had come closer to sleeping with anyone on my list than she has with anyone on hers. Before we left I saw Phil Ivey, Chau Giang, and a few others.

Carlos Mortensen / Hoyt Corkins
Chau Giang

Jennifer Harman / Marco Traniello
Phil Ivey

While this was going on, Katie patiently let me be starstruck. Some people get really excited over celebrities or musicians. I think I've said before how I don't get too worked up over those types. I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for top notch poker players, though. Their ability to handle swings in the game just astounds me. This trip in general and today in particular was great. I think I'll remember it forever. How many days in your life do you get to fraternize with people you look up to so much? I wish I could have taken a picture or two, but I will settle for my memories.
Here's a useless bit of information for you: I mentioned 10 names in this post. Those 10 names in total have accumulated about 50 million dollars in tournament victories throughout their careers. And most of them only play tournaments for fun!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Things I'm Glad I Did

On May 16, about 5 weeks before his sudden passing, I got a chance to see George Carlin at Abravanel Hall. I managed to get seats in the second row for a buddy and me. I didn't know that until I showed up, but when we got there and sat down I was stoked!
I had first experienced George Carlin like a lot of people from my generation: from watching Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Reading his books and listening to his records through the years, I knew that I had to see George soon. When my friend Dan mentioned he was in town, I jumped at the chance. I have to thank Dan for my renewed interest in Mr. Carlin. If ever there was a guy that knew more about pop culture than me, it would be Dan. His attention to the finer things in life gave me the opportunity to see a legend.. weeks before his death.

In November of 2005 I had been married for about a month. In the midst of the wedding festivities, my soon to be father-in-law mentioned to me that the Rolling Stones were going to be in town. He asked me if I was interested in going. Was I ever! Our threesome included Katie and we had a blast! I think my life since I met Katie could be set to a Rolling Stones soundtrack. When we first met, I gave Katie a copy of Beggar's Banquet. She fell in love that album even quicker than she fell in love with me. When we started dating I was drinking and that was our 'Some Girls' phase. We listened to that album over and over hanging out. Right before we were married, the Stones came out with their 'Bigger Bang' album. That was the album they were supporting on tour. There were 2 or 3 of those songs we heard quite often. My father in law, Terry, was fond of the funky 'Rain Fall Down'. That album stayed front and center until 5 months later when Terry got sick and died after a brief illness. At that point, the song was 'It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)'. Terry loved that song and it's still tough to hear it without thinking about him doing his shoulder dance while listening to it. Earlier this year, Marty Scorcese came out with a documentary film called 'Shine A Light'. We had been waiting for it anxiously and it didn't disappoint. That soundtrack and a song from a different era called 'Cherry Oh Baby' are 2008 for me. I know that as we stay married a different album or song by the Stones will continue to capture that time. I'm glad I got to see the Stones with Terry. I didn't get long enough with the guy, but at least I got the Stones with him.

Friday, October 3, 2008

You Know What Would Be Uncomfortable?

You know what seems like it would be kind of awkward to me? Introducing your wife to a girl from your past that you've fooled around with. You're having a conversation with your wife at a party when you see a ghost walking at you from across the room. You pause mid sentence. Your wife notices your sudden silence and the pale hue your skin has suddenly taken. Your mind races as you try to figure out how you're going to handle this train wreck waiting to happen. Do you pretend you don't know this girl? Do you acknowledge you know her and try to beam eye rays of 'Don't say anything about us' to the fling from your past coming towards you? When she finally walks up to you, you stand there like a wet end. Your wife is clearly wondering what she missed. (Of course, 98% of women will have already picked up on the weirdness and know EXACTLY what is going on) You mumble a 'Hey, how ya doing? Long time no see' as you say a silent prayer longing to be somewhere else at this exact moment. Anywhere else. And God forbid you forget your flings' name. Both women staring at you waiting for introductions as you feel the heat rise to your head. Can you imagine how uncomfortable that would be? Yeah, me neither, I was just asking....

You know what I think would be more awkward than that, though? Your wife introducing YOU to a girl from your past that you've fooled around with. "Troy, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. Her name is ....' Man that would suck. I hope that never happens to me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crash! or LT contemplates a new career

No, I'm not talking about the movie. Or the video game character. I'm talking about one car running into another. It happened to me a couple of days ago. There I was, driving down the road minding my own business when a lady tried to nose out into traffic to turn left. I honked my horn and had 2 options that I saw: 1 was to go into oncoming traffic or the traffic sign at the beginning of the island in front of me. The other option was to pray to the brake gods that mine were good. I went with the second option and found that, while my brakes were good, they in fact were not good enough. Bummer.

All in all, it seemed to be not that big of a deal. There was no broken glass or headlights; no fluids leaking. I was upset that the cop didn't ticket the lady for her obvious infraction, but after I started raising my voice to the cop I quickly remembered an incident earlier in my life. An incident where I got vocal with a cop. That cop in turn got violent with me. Rage in check, I opted for the more traditional 'work it out with her insurance' route. I filed a claim with her insurance company, hoping that my insurance would never hear about my little fender bender. About 10 minutes later I received notification that she had filed a claim with my insurance. I was pretty upset for a minute. After I spoke to her insurance to give a statement, I was genuinely concerned. They seemed rather combative. Within a day, though, they called back to tell me they were accepting liability. So the Road Warrior (the name bestowed upon my 2002 Mazda Protoge) is in the car hospital getting fixed up. With so little damage, I was surprised to learn that despite the lack of broken glass or leaking fluids my car had nearly $3,800 in damage. Yikes! All over a little bit of plastic. That's about half the value of my entire car. All in the bumper. I would have thought the engine might be worth that much. Or perhaps the transmission. Nope. Just the bumper.

That got me thinking. I'm in the wrong industry. I need to be making plastic bumpers for cars.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Caribbean Dreams... and other random thoughts

Lately I've been having these daydreams where I imagine selling everything I own and moving to the Caribbean to be a beach bum. While I'm thinking about this, I'll put some steel drum music on, throw my feet up and just imagine that the office sounds I hear around me aren't existing; that it's just me, the sand, the ocean, and the sun. Having only worked at my new job for 2 weeks, my new coworkers are probably wondering 'What's with the new guy?'. Oh well. It's nothing personal against them. I'm just longing for a lack of responsibility. And a suntan.

My wife is in Seattle right now. I've been joking around with her and some of the people around me that because she is in a different area code, I'm a single man. Last night I was in with group of friends after a meeting. One girl didn't know me very well, so when I was asking everybody around me if they knew anyone I could hook up with for the weekend while my wife was out of town she got this incredulous look on her face. I had to pull her aside and tell her that the joke was in the fact that I love my wife a lot and she 'owns my soul' so I would never consider stepping out on her. Hearing that, she decided we could be friends after all. Thinking back on it, I'm pretty sure this is how rumors get started. Mental Note To Self: Not everybody enjoys a good joke about cheating on your wife....

So I have this embarrassing habit... I wake up in the middle of the night to eat sweet things like chocolate or Little Debbie's snack cakes. Sometimes I take these treats back to bed with me. I wake up the next morning with chocolate all over me and little recollection of what happened. It's awful. I'm a grown person and I wake up with a handful of mush and dirty sheets. I guess I should be glad I don't wet the bed anymore. When I woke up this morning, I was in rare form. Chocolate was everywhere and I don't remember getting up at all. Needless to say, I'll be doing laundry in the immediate future....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Things That Are Awesome! (part 2)

In this second round of all things Awesome!, I will discuss some things near and dear to my heart. Things like hard rock, raw food, and things I like to do in my spare time.

AC-DC is Awesome! There is something that is Awesome in a very literal way about a 5 foot tall guitarist wearing a school boy uniform still rocking over 30 years later. I just think 'Wow' when I think about it. My mind can barely wrap itself around the idea of so much cool in such a small package. How cool is AC-DC? For my 16th birthday, my mom put me on a plane to visit an aunt and uncle in California. The reason for the visit? AC-DC was going to be in town on my 16th birthday. I went to the show and it is safe to say it changed my life. I came home, dragged an old guitar out of the attic, restrung it and have spent the last 12 and a half years trying to be half as cool as Angus. If I ever even attained that, I would die a happy man. Here's to you, AC-DC!

Sushi is Awesome! The only thing I don't like about sushi, is the fact that I didn't get to try it until my early 20's. I can remember being skeptical about raw food. I can also remember being skeptical about girls, so I can safely say that I had no idea what was going on at times in my life. The first birthday I celebrated with my now wife Katie, we went to eat sushi.

Ramen Noodles are Awesome! I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to the various makers of ramen noodles. What college student or culinary impaired adult would be alive if not for this staple of the less refined palates of the world? Certainly not me. I once lived for a month on a diet nearly entirely composed of Top Ramen and multivitamins. Granted I lost 15 pounds and nearly died, but I think that may have been due to my extracurricular activities around this time more than anything else. Also - I didn't ACTUALLY die, so it can't be that bad, right?

Naps are Awesome! Anybody who knows me knows that I am a small child stuck in a slightly larger child's body. I love naps. Naps are a blessing from the Good Lord. I try not to ever go more than a week without at least 1 nap. I've been warned that kids can ruin naps. This is one reason why I am trying to hold Katie off on the whole kids thing for as long as possible.

My Wife is Awesome! Just like every mother thinks their kid is the cutest thing ever, I think my wife is the Awesome! -est ever. Need proof? How about this: we're still married. She should be canonized for that. She has seen me through 2 different rehab's. Although at times she has been frustrated, she never gave up on me. She has a sense of humor and is one of the most selfless people I've ever known. On top of that is that she is hot (see picture below).

So that does it for this installment of Things That Are Awesome!. Stay tuned for more examples of why God loves us.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ode to Football

Ahh. The end of summer. The kids are back in school. The temperature is no longer so hot you get burned walking to the mailbox. More than this, though, is the start of football season. Manly american football to be more precise. The cacophony of crowds cheering, plays being called, and men crashing into one another is music to my ears. Each year from September until the beginning of February, I have an excuse every Sunday to go hang out with my brothers while watching our favorite pasttime. It matters little to us that our team probably won't break .500 this year. What does matter is that once a week we get together to watch hours of beer, car, and movie commercials with a little football thrown in.

It's Thursdays at the beginning of the season and on Thanksgiving. It's Sundays through January. Mondays through December. And when that sad day comes in February when football season ends, we go back into hibernation. We spend 6 months making up with our families for having ignored them 1 day a week for the last 5 months. Inside, though, we're waiting. We're keeping posted on the draft and on training camp. We're doing research for our fantasy football teams. We're secretly hoping Tom Brady decides to give ballet a try, lest he destroy our team again this year.

Football is about coming together and enjoying the time we have. It's about teamwork and camaraderie, not taunting and childishness. It's about tradition, not holding out for more money. Don't cry to me because someone is being mean to your quarterback. If you're going to cash your paycheck, then shut up and act like a man.

Football is tailgating and barbecues. It's brats, steak, and beer (if you're so inclined); not quiche or salad. Football is machismo. It is manliness personified. Feminists beware. Don't be confused, though. Football is not exclusive. Anyone is invited. All you need is a TV. And some brothers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Any Ideas?

Whoever invented bringing flowers home to your wife is a wise man. Anybody that remembers to do it when they're not in the doghouse is a genius. Add me to that list. Last night I brought the wife some flowers and a couple of games for her game boy out of the blue. She probably told me 10 times how happy she was. She also said something slightly disturbing to me. She said 'You haven't brought me flowers since we were dating'. We're not an old married couple or anything, but we're not exactly newlyweds either. God willing, we'll celebrate 3 years next month. What she was saying to me is that I haven't brought flowers to her in 3 years. YEARS!

That got me thinking (yeah, I know: bad idea); I'm either doing something right by bringing flowers so infrequently or I've got to step it up in the old romance department. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about all of the stuff that seemed fun when we first started dating. Stuff that seems like a waste of time now. Stuff like going for walks out of the blue or ...actually, I can't really think of a lot of things that would apply now. Her visiting me in rehab doesn't go over as smoothly as it used to. What do people do that is romantic that doesn't involve detoxing from alcohol? If any of you have any ideas, please let me know. If my wife is that happy over a bunch of flowers and some games, I've got to be doing something wrong. I'm clueless. In fact I'm starting to wonder what it was that I did or said that tricked the wife into marrying me in the first place. Did I used to be more spontaneous and it went away? My idea of a good time now is to sit at home on the couch watching a movie or tv show with the wife and cats. That couldn't be what charmed the pants off of Katie, could it? (if you're reading this Mom, pay no attention to the wording of that last sentence - it's just a saying) So anyways, if anybody has any ideas on how to charm the pants off of my wife once again please let me know.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Things That are Awesome! (part1)

I'd like to start an ongoing thread. I'll call it Things That are Awesome! Like the title hints at, I will list things I find Awesome! . Sometimes I feel like there is a shortage of Awesome! in the world. These posts will serve as reminders that there aren't enough pairs of Crocs in the entire universe to take away all of the Awesome! in it.

Steak is Awesome! My apologies to any of my vegetarian or vegan friends, but few things in life give me the pleasure of gnawing on a hunk of cow. Mmmm cow.... I'm tired of being made to feel badly for enjoying meat. As a poet once said 'I didn't climb to the top of the food chain to eat a salad.' Amen to that.

Scantily Clad Women are Awesome! Here's another thing I won't apologize for: I like nearly naked women. Despite my earlier assertions, I'm not a chauvinist. I'm an admirer of God's handiwork. God may have made man in his image, but he perfected his work with women.

Not Waking Up Confused in a Different State is Awesome! Ever since I quit drinking, I don't have this problem anymore. Other things that are Awesome now that I don't drink: Not Peeing in Garbage Cans in the Middle of the Night is Awesome!, Not Leaving My Credit Card at the Bar is Awesome!, and Not Getting Thrown out of the House by my Wife Because I got Drunk Again is Awesome!

Guitar Solos are Awesome! Now that grunge has gone out of vogue, it is acceptable once again to throw a wicked solo into a song. Although the solos are awesome, I'm still on the fence with the long hair and tight leather pants.

Gangster Movies are Awesome! Marty Scorcese should be knighted or made a saint or something. His contributions to pop culture bring a tear of joy to my eye. A manly 'I enjoy violent gangster films' tear of joy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

28! or Things I Know

The other day I woke up and realized that I'm 28. It scared me. When my mom was my age, she was getting married for the 2nd time. She had a 7 year old kid. Lots of people I know that are my age are college educated with good jobs and families and houses. I still think of myself as a kid in my own head. It helps that I look like a kid and hang out with old guys all the time, but holy crap I'm an adult and I just realized it!!! I feel like I've been in a coma and just woke up. When I was a kid, 28 year old's were Big People. They were responsible and took care of business. Now that I'm a 28 year old, I realize that the 28 year old's of 20 years ago were clueless. They didn't know what was going to happen. I know this because I'm 28 now and I don't know what's going to happen. I think I knew more stuff when I was 19 than I know now. The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Here is a list of things I know:

* The government is always going to take their share from my paycheck. If I get a $2,000 a year raise, I know that I will really only get a $1,500 raise.

* I can't drink alcohol normally. I've been in an ambulance so many times, they should give me a punch card so I can get my next ride free.

* Change is the only constant. I believe it was a wise prophet who once said 'The more things change, the more they stay the same'. ( A wise prophet, or the singer of the band Cinderella. I forget which one)

* It is virtually impossible to shout something in public and sound intelligent. If you doubt this, I challenge you to go into a mall and shout something you feel sounds smart. 'A squared plus B squared equals C squared' sounds no more intelligent than 'Hey everybody, check out the rack on that Betty over there!' when spoken at top volume. Trust me on this.

* There are certain things you never bring up around other people unless you want a fight. Here are a few: religion, politics, and the size of someone's butt and how it may or may not look in a pair of jeans (note: this mainly applies when speaking to women).

I think that's pretty much it. On a parallel note, here are things I know about women:

* _

Now that I think about it, though, maybe that's why girls like guys that are self confident. Girls don't have any more idea what's going to happen than I do. They want someone that seems to know what's going to happen. Nobody really knows, though. That's one thing that I do know.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The List

My wife Katie and I have a running joke going. From what I understand, the joke we have ongoing is a fairly common thing. The joke is an agreement of sorts. A list. Our joke is this: If you could have a get out of jail free card to sleep with 10 people, who would be on your list? For this little game, we have some unspoken ground rules.

1) We both understand this game is a joke. We don't really get to sleep with anybody and have it be okay. Neither of us are Andre Kirilenko. While we are both okay joking about it, I'm pretty sure even if Brad Pitt seduced my wife it would be a deal breaker for me (as I say it, though, I just think to myself 'Man if you're in that spot, Katie, just go for it. I'll get over it in time....')

2) The people on the list have to be people that we don't know. If I put Katie's best friend on my list, I somehow think the joke would be over. And after all, the point of this exercise is to laugh. (I also think you can learn a lot about a person by the type of person they are interested in).

So, without further adieu and in no particular order, here is my list:

1) Jennifer Harman

Who, you ask, is Jennifer Harman? She is arguably the best female poker player on the planet. Some guys go for a big rack, other guys are ass men. I’ll take a girl that shares my interests any day of the week. Just look at her sitting there with all those chips in front of her. Just thinking about her check raising me in a pot makes me want to reconsider how much of a joke this list is.

2) Alison Krauss

Back to the category of attractive women with serious talent, Alison qualifies. She can rock the fiddle as well as belt out a tune. Plus, I may be wrong, but I get the impression that this girl could just as easily cook me a nice dinner at home on a Saturday night. Don’t judge me. It’s my list. If I want a girl to cook for me in my fantasies, let me be. Which brings me to #3:

3) Rachel Ray

Yum-O. I’m not quite sure where to start. Okay, yes I am. This chick is HOT! She’s talented, she’s rich, and if I’m hungry she can feed me in a half an hour. Mmmm…. Food……

4) Jenna Fischer (Pam from the Office)

Okay, so I met my wife at work. I have experience with the office hottie. Pam, er I mean Jenna, qualifies. She’s funny and can relate to me at the end of the day. Awesome. Which brings us to number 5:

5) Jennifer Connelly

Ms. Connelly qualifies for a number of reasons. She’s an Academy Award winning actress. From what I’ve read about her, she seems to be pretty thinky. I likes me some thinky women. You all can take your Pamela Anderson’s and other Playboy centerfolds. I’ll take me a girl I can have a conversation with. Some of the things we could talk about? What it was like being handpicked by famed director Sergio Leone at the age of 13 to be in his gangster epic ‘Once Upon A Time In America’ starring Robert Deniro, James Woods, and Joe Pesci. Or maybe we can talk about her portrayal of an addict slipping into oblivion in the indie film ‘Requiem For A Dream’. The same movie I shamelessly stole the title from for my first 20 or so posts….

6) Ellen Page

Continuing the trend of intelligent women (or at least women who can ACT intelligent), number 6 is Ellen Page. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. This quote of hers sums it up for me “Anyone who gets me is really lucky because I'm not really crazy about jewelry or flowers

." A low maintenance hottie. Enough said.

7) Halle Berry

I know very little about Halle. I know she’s a great actress that has won an Academy Award and I know she’s hot. That’s enough for her to make my list, though.

8) Norah Jones

Norah, Norah, Norah. From her angelic voice to her fantastic ability to finger the ivories, it’s easy to overlook the fact that she is gorgeous. Surely Katie couldn’t fault me for this pick. I’m not so sure that Norah wouldn’t be on Katie’s list…

9) Jamie Lynn Sigler

Meadow Soprano. When hot girls and gangster flicks come together, Jamie Lynn is the result. God bless America and our obsession with the counter culture.

10) Jessica Alba

Let me think. Jessica Alba seduces me. Can I think of any scenario where I can say no?…. …. ….. Nope, I guess not. For that reason, she makes the list.

So that’s my list. It’s always changing as I get new hobbies and find new hot chicks that share those hobbies. I was thinking the last couple of days about adding Belinda Carlise, but I couldn't decide who had to go. So, sorry Belinda. Maybe you'll make the next list. Does anybody else out there have a list? Anybody who thinks Katie should kick me to the curb? Feel free to comment.