Monday, August 30, 2010

Beach Thoughts and Football

Ever read a column by a writer and you can just tell he (or she) didn't put any effort into it? I mean the piece just seethes with gimmicky ploy and abused reputation. As a reader it can be very frustrating when professionals phone it in.

The good news is I'm not a professional writer. In most cases, I'm probably just someone you went to college with or knew from high school. Less likely, you haphazardly navigated to this page by clicking as many links on Facebook as possible. And in one case, you're that creepy guy who keeps sending me pictures of phallic object. Please stop Jimmy. Please stop.

Anywho, this just means that I can't be accused of phoning anything in because no one is paying me to do this...............yet....hopefully. Doubtfully ever. Maybe. But probably not.

I returned from my mini-vacation to Ocean City, MD yesterday. We went with three other couples for four days and had a blast. In between the times when I was laying on the beach, strolling on the boardwalk, or mercilessly being made fun of for tweeting all my thoughts I was...well...tweeting all my thoughts.

Apparently some people find this incredibly lame. I refer to them as "uneducated Neanderthals", they refer to me as "the moron no one is paying attention to."

If you don't know anything about Twitter (and you probably don't because honestly, who does?) I'll briefly explain it and recap some of my thoughts from the beach.

Twitter is a forum where you can post thoughts under 140 characters for you "followers" to read. That's the easy part.

Here's the confusing part. You may have seen people on Facebook who write an @ then someone's name or a # then a word and I presume its left you confused.

Ex. "I went to the beach with @wesbunting and I saw his #buttcheeks" (all of which is true by the way).

The @ sign, similar to Facebook, will tag another Twitter user and post it to the Twitter equivalent of their Facebook news feed. The # sign, called a hash tag, will tag the word and will link to anyone else who hash-tagged that same word. Apparently #justinbieber is a popular one to tag. I wouldn't know the first thing about it.

The below are my tweets from this beach weekend, hash-tagged #beachthoughts as they are my thoughts....from the beach. Any added context is in italics.

From @Quickdraw33 - (you can visit without a twitter account):

- "been at ocean city for 30 min and ive already seen a 65 yr old man getting arrested. will b a good weekend #beachthoughts" (I had never been to Ocean City before, and my wife warned me in advance that there were a lot of unscrupulous people there. I thought she meant they lost their scruples. Turns out thats not a real thing.)

- "boardwalks are a breeding ground for creepers #beachthoughts" (See above. You'll notice this is a bit of a recurring theme.)

- "open container laws are put on hold at the beach...but only if youre wearing a sleeveless shirt and backwards hat #beachthoughts"

- "sand is the herpes of the beach, once you get it on youre stuck for life #beachthoughts" (Probably not the most original thought, but still very true.)

- "nothing says "im cool" like sagging ur bathing suit and carrying a red solo cup. fist pumps aplenty....#beachthoughts"

- "if you are a russian immigrant working a fry stand you should not wear a confederate flag bikini. actually, no one should. #beachthoughts" (Where's a camera when you need it?)

- "seagulls are the homeless people of the ocean. dont drop your french fries. #beachthoughts"

- "this is how a man grills #beachthoughts" (More accurately, 'This is what a man grills')

- "telling an unfunny story at dinner is always very awkward #beachthoughts" (I was trying to recant my Russian immigrant story but a combination of the "you had to be there" effect plus my stutter impeded the story telling and resulted in distracted looks and only one guy laughing. Me.)

- "i have sand in uncomfortable places #beachthoughts" (Of course I did, I was at the beach.)

- "golf at the beach is 100,000 times better than regular golf #beachthoughts" (Start of a great day.)

- "shot a 94 personal best #beachthoughts" (End of a great day. Mind you, I fell apart on the last two holes, had 7's on both. I was playing for! #tootingmyhorn)

- "no trip is complete without a trip to Phillips seafood #beachthoughts" (Start of a bad night.)

- "i dont care what they say, you definitely can eat too much crab meat #beachthoughts" (End of a bad night. Lets just say our bathrooms were well used.)

- "if everyone else at the beach is a scumbag, am i a scumbag by default? #beachthoughts" (Again, my recurring theme. I can't overstate enough how weird people at the beach are. There is no semblance of normal people anywhere.)

- "street performers do not belong at the beach, they belong in the shattered dreams of high school drop outs #beachthoughts" (Its just a fact.)

- "no mater who you are or what youve done, your buttcrack should never be outside your swim suit #beachthoughts"

- "tide changes can be dangerous...especially for keeping bathing suits on #beachthoughts" (This explains all the buttcracks.)

- "truck with 2 kayaks, 2 canoes, 2 bikes and 1 guy with a beard and no shirt driving #beachthoughts" (This was on the way home, and you know exactly what kind of guy I'm talking about.)

So remember to follow me on Twitter my handle is @JustinTimeforBieber. I mean...@Quickdraw33....

Now for a few football thoughts.

Football- Preseason Game 3 Redskins v. Jets

- Shonn Greene is a Coke machine. At least thats how @WesBunting described him. And he would know, he writes professionally for the National Football Post. Now, if we can just figure out a way for me to take his job...

- Trent Williams, rookie left tackle for the Skins, looks fat. Like, borderline nonathletic fat. He's been playing pretty well for a rookie so far and I've been pleased with most of what I've seen...but he's giving Haynesworth a run for his money size wise.

- Not literally of course, Haynesworth has more money that Mr. Monopoly.

- Speaking of Big Al, it was good to see him with the first team getting some action that didn't involve a fist full of cheeseburgers to his face. I'm glad Shanny caved a little and played Al early, putting a stop (for now) to this distracting melodrama. It appears they have buried the hatchet and can move on with the season.

- A season that will involve a hurt Donovan McNabb. Prior to the start of the preseason I asked what the over/under was on a Redskins defensive lineman getting hurt. It was a bit of a reverse jinx in the hopes that none actually would (so far so good). However, I didn't realize the ramifications my pondering would have on McNabb. Here's hoping his ankle heals in time for him to throw 3 interceptions against Dallas in week 1.

- Lets all not forget the Jets were without their best player (Revis) and their defensive scheme was what we like to call "vanilla". So don't get all excited.

- Also, the Jets will not be great this year. Sanchez is a mess.

The moron no one is paying attention to, out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Brief Respite

Yes, much like you I too had to look up the definition of "respite" to make sure my context was correct. It was.

I usually try to distract you all with two blogs per week, hopefully you've been finding them amusing and enjoyable. I know my mom has. At least thats what she tells me. Unfortunately (for you) I'm taking the rest of the week off to head to the beach. So your distractions will be limited.

However, there are a few things to look forward to in the coming weeks. Upon my return there will be stories to tell about the trip and hopefully at least one of them will be entertaining. Later, I'm sure to bore you with another long, drawn out football post which my Redskins fan will enjoy. So there's that.

Remember that post a few weeks ago where I talked about how this blog will soon contain the miraculous tales of my fantasy football league, of which you will all be entertained and engaged? No? Here it is.

Anyway, I figured some context for those posts would be helpful so I'm planning to introduce you to the league in an upcoming post (Our fantasy draft is Sept 4th, get excited!). This is going to be done completely independently and without the compliance or approval of any of the members in the league. In layman's terms, there will be insults aplenty. So you have that to look forward too!

Enjoy the rest of your week and remember, its no longer cool to say "holla", "shizzle", or "Limp Bizkit is my favorite band!".

See you all next week.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Redskins v. Ravens, Preseason Game 2

OK, before we start I'm going to need everyone to settle down. Have a glass of water, take a few deep breathes, zip your pants back up. The world is not coming to an end....yet.

I've learned that Washington fans have an incredible amount of resiliency and fortitude. I'm sorry, I mis-wrote that. Washington fans have the innate ability to flip from supremely confident world-conquerers, to terror-stricken self-loathers at the snap of a football. As the most capable fan around, I find this frustrating.

I'm not going to recap this game saying "It's only preseason, it doesn't even count!" or "All hell has broken loose! Women and children to the life boats! Abandon ship! The Redskins are terrible once again! This season is finished!" Thats what the guy in your office who is a Level 8 fan did (See this for reference).

What we're going to do is look at the things you're supposed to look at during a preseason game, and throw in a few pop-culture references to keep the casual reader entertained.

How does the offensive line look? How's the defense look? What young wide receivers are making an impact? What are areas of improvement? How does Mike Shanahan get his skin to look so leathery?

Unlike Sport's Junkie Eric Bickel, from 106.7 The Fan, I'll actually answer these questions instead of writing a blog simply posing them, seen here. That was the least effort put into a blog since Jason "Lurch" Bishop, of The Fan, wrote this.

Here we go.

Offensive Line Play- Painful. It was like watching a TBS marathon of J-Lo movies. The Skins made marked improvement along the offensive line in the offseason, but there are still some holes as the new group of "Hogs" learn to play together. I don't blame the line that much, the Ravens have a stellar group of linebackers and Terrell Suggs continuously beat rookie left tackle Trent Williams off the ball. I do blame Larry Johnson, however. He was as useful as a dead fish blocking in the backfield. Pathetic. In true Washingtonian fashion, I'll overreact and say, "CUT THAT GUY!"

Let's also not forget the impressive defensive line the Ravens have in Haloti Ngata and Big Boy Terence Cody. That's like trying to stop a pack of hippos with a feather duster and beef jerky.

Boring Stat- The Redskins had 25 yards rushing in this game. Larry Johnson averaged .5 yards per carry on 8 attempts. HALF A YARD!? On 8 attempts!?! Cut that guy.

Defensive Team Play- I liked what I saw from the defense this game. We're still having trouble stopping the run, but that will work itself out as we get more familiar with the 3-4 defense. It was good to see LaRon Landry making a few plays now that he's playing Strong Safety instead of whatever that knucklehead Jim Zorn was doing with him. Everyone copy this paragraph and save it to your computers. This is the first (and likely last) good thing I've said about LaRon Landry.

Also of note, London Fletcher is as impressive as ever. He's the Bruce Willis of this team. You figure, "Hey, he's about a hundred years old. He's probably lost a step. No big deal if he bombs this week." Then, BAM! You remember why he's one of the greatest at what he does.

I'm just saying, you throw a hair piece on Bruce Willis and I'm convinced he can beat Zeus in an arm wrestling contest.

Boring Stat- Landry led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo) this week. And Al Haynesworth, when not busy standing up after the snap and watching the action from the middle of the field, accounted for 1 tackle, which was a sack. See! If you only applied yourself Albert...

Young Talent- If you have watched one second of Redskins preseason (which I know is asking a lot from some of you), you know Anthony Armstrong's name. He had a touchdown last week, and was the most reliable wide receiver this week accounting 4 catches for 89 yards. He gets me excited at the possibility of not seeing Malcolm Kelly's name on the roster this year.

We didn't get to see much of Ryan Torrain this week (1 carry, 2 yards), but Keiland Williams continued to look good in his limited action, at least while catching passes out of the backfield (3 catches for 39 yards).

Boring Stat- I gave you enough stats in that paragraph, so instead: The odds you'll die from your underwear catching on fire is 1 in 30,589,556. So, you know, thats one less thing to worry about.

Area of Improvement- We MUST keep Donovan McNabb clean. He's gotta be protected because we all saw how inaccurate he was throwing under slight pressure. He was hit a few times and was icing his ankle after the game. Not great signs. We gotta take care of him.

Boring Stat- The Ravens hit the quarterback 7 times, resulting in 4 sacks.

Ultimately, this is what I think happened in the game. We failed to score on our first drive, even after converting three 3rd downs and hitting Fred Davis in the hands in the endzone. Then the momentum shifted when the Ravens earned 51 yards on a fake punted putting them on the 1 yard line. They scored shortly after.

Football is a game of momentum, and one huge shift in it gets the Redskins playing from behind and making mistakes. McNabb and the starters only had two more drives to rectify the situation, which was insufficient and with the final score it looks like the Ravens whooped us.

You give Fred Davis some hands, and let Gano hit the FG he missed and the first half ends 13-13 instead of 13-3.

Just some thoughts. Let's not overreact next time, ok?

Oh, and if you're looking for an opinion on the latest Haynesworth/Shanahan drama I'll let Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post do the talking.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Fans are what make sports work. In the same way that grocery stores can't operate without high school students, professional sports don't exist without fans.

Think about it, you have egotistical (and often illiterate) athletes, money crazed owners, power crazed coaches and money-power crazed advertisers who feed off the hopes and dreams of our youth. None of that can work without die-hard, scream-til-you're-blue-in-the-face, throw-the-remote-at-the-TV, fans who hang on every moment, every move, and every decision the front office of their favorite franchise makes. Fans make sports go. If the fans leave, the team leaves (see Expos, Montreal or Super Sonics, Seattle).

Fans are the heart and soul of professional sports and rightfully so. We're accustomed to paying inordinate amounts of cash monies to see them, spending ungodly amounts of time researching player injuries, and sacrificing our bodies for our team.

Not in the "I'd run a marathon or dive in front of a bullet for you" kind of way, but more in a "I'll gorge myself on fried food and paint my beer-gut for you" kind of way.

Fans can be everything that is right with sports. A dad taking his son to his first baseball football game, a kid getting an autograph from his favorite player, or a child reaching out for a high five as players walk off the field.

Pretty much anything to do with children. Because adult fans end up ruining everything.

In honor of you, the fan, I'm presenting a list of the 8 worst types of fans (I chose eight instead of ten because you'll stop reading after four and writing six extra ones seemed excessive). Here we go!

1) Fans of great teams- There's nothing worse than a friend who is a fan of a great team. They just don't get it. You have to put up with them saying things like, "I wonder if Tom Brady will resign for $50 million or $150 million." or "Man, Kobe really is working hard in the gym. I hope he doesn't hurt his finger." They don't have real worries. I worry about whether or not my team will have a running back who is conscious for a whole season, or how long it will take the Wizards to hurt John Wall, or when Ovechkin will decide if he teams up with Sidney Crosby they could be the Heat of the NHL! I worry about when Strasburg's "shoulder inflamation" is going to turn into an elbow injury, which will turn into Tommy John Surgery, and then into the IR, then the DL (no, I don't know the difference between the IR and DL in baseball and no, I don't care), then the minors, then bald and fatness. I wish I had the chance to worry about whether Peyton Manning is doing too many commercials or way too many commercials, instead of worrying "Will my quarterback sign a contract that extends past this season?"

2) Fans of terrible teams- On the flip side of fans of great teams, are these worthless bottom feeders. Here's my thing, I love to discuss sports. I'll argue the value of Frank Gore in fantasy terms with the addition of Brian Westbrook and the loss of Glenn Coffee all day long. I love the discussion, the disagreement, the favoritism. It's all good. As long as its semi-rational. I don't even need a coherent, congruent thought process. I just need semi-logical. But I cannot discuss things with you when you get irrational, and fans of terrible sports teams are the most illogical folk around.
- "We'll be good next year, we're just too young." No. Your team has been terrible for 15 years, its not changing unless your owner dies and I buy the team.
- "The Yankees time is ending, the Orioles are going to run the division soon." False. The Yankees have dominated you for as long as existence has existed.
- "The Cowboys will win the Super Bowl this year." Just like they won that 1 playoff game this decade? One less playoff game than the Redskins have won this decade? (I'm grasping, but whatever. Its true.)

Just don't make stupid arguments. Anyone can get drunk and say things like, "Your mom is a free agent!" That doesn't make you right. Or smart. Or someone I'm not punching.

3) Non-oscillating fans- Why would you make a fan that doesn't rotate? That's not efficient.

4) Fans who care about their fantasy team over their regular team- I love fantasy football. Love it. I'm all in, 100%. However, I live by a few rules in fantasy football. Don't draft Cowboys players, don't draft Redskins players, and don't draft anyone from the Browns. Granted the last two are because there's no one worthwhile on those teams, but the first rule is in place so I'll never have to root for the Cowboys or any of their players. Nothing worse than being in the room with a guy who is rooting for Miles Austin to score, but the Redskins to win.

5) Fans of Self-Glorifying Athletes- Look, if LeBron is your favorite basketball player, Adrian Peterson is your favorite footballer and Alex Rodriguez is your man in baseball there is a problem. Everyone can see that. But if you're a Vikings fan and you're following Brett Favre's every move you have a bigger problem. I've never seen a group of grown men grovel at the feet of a man, begging him to return to them who wasn't named Jesus. It's pathetic. If you're coach didn't look like the least popular guy at a orthodontist convention maybe you would have went after a quarterback who wasn't alive and fighting during the War of 1812. Donovan McNabb was available. I just can't get over how low this franchise will stoop to worship the ground beneath their "football savior". When your team is stockpiling the likes of Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfelds red flags should be flying. You don't start to worry when the only guy who commits less than the Bachelor can decide if he's returning or not. Vikings fans let him make it all about himself and will spend the rest of the year defending him. I'm over that franchise and their fans. They are the lowest of the low. Except for my wife's parents. They're awesome.

Ok, off my high-horse tangent and back to the list.

6) Ceiling Fans Directly Above the Bed- These have to be offset. Otherwise your lips get all chapped and your eyes get dried out. Its less than ideal.

7) Out of Touch Fans- You know these people. They love their team because of its storied history. They remember the glory days of the past. They want to relive the winning and believe championships are right around the corner. Delusional. Idiotic. Redskins Fans. We can't help it. When its good, its real good. We know it will happen again, we just believe it will always be this season. These are the fans who also ask you how player X is doing this year, even though you know that player X was going to be released because he violated the morality clause in his contract, but instead they got rid of him in a Sign-and-Trade with Portland to minimize loss. You know this because you have him on your fantasy team and you're hoping he scores 30 points against your team this weekend. You know, as long as they win.

And finally,

8) The Know-Nothing Fans- They make similar claims as the Fans of Terrible Teams, and are often confused with Out of Touch Fans, but this group is a special breed. They rant and rave about the team they love, but don't have time to follow closely. They listen to sound bites from local sports radio and recite facts back to you without context. They often impress the common person who doesn't care enough to know where Kevin Durant is from or where he went to high school. Yet, when they run into an educated fan (read, me) they are often put off. They'll say, "Did you hear the Redskins released Willie Parker and are going to try to trade for Steven Jackson?". When in fact, Willie Parker was moved up the depth chart to 3rd string, and many hope that the Redskins will pursue Vincent Jackson as a viable starting wide receiver, instead of the midget Santana Moss or the clutz Devin Thomas. These fans are like Jon Gosselin at a parenting conference.

So here's hoping you never become one of these fans. And for those of you who already are, there's a turd sandwich I'd like to serve you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Redskins v. Bills, Preseason Game 1

We're back folks! The time has come for me to bore you endlessly with acute observations about teams you probably don't care about and stats you DEFINITELY won't care about. I'll do my best to keep it as interesting as possible, and if you're a Redskins fan there's an outside chance you'll enjoy it. If you're a Cowboys fan you'll laugh at it. But you can go fall in a hole. So who cares.

Now lets look at the stat breakdown for McNabb in this year's 1st pre-season game as compared to his last 10 first pre-season games and get a linear regression going to project his productivity for this season. Ready?

No, I wouldn't do that you. Not until the regular season starts.

So here's the deal- the mighty, mighty Redskins faced off against the Buffalo Bills last Friday and it set the D.C. area on fire. We're all pumped up for this season, hoping to not be let down...again. As usual Redskins fans are over confident and already predicting a Super Bowl appearance.

We may not be the smartest fans...but we're loyal. We'd be Ron Weasly if this were a Harry Potter book.

Yes, I know it was a pre-season game which means its worth less than a mud pie in Georgia, and yes, I know it was against the Bills so we might as well have been playing St. Augustine's School for Blind Girls, but its not the final score that's important here (42-17 by the way). So here are a few observations I furiously jotted down in order to make your Monday afternoon a little more tolerable.

It starts at the top. Everything stands and falls on leadership. You could visibly see the difference between having McNabb under center versus having Jason Campbell. Its the difference between putting Mario Andretti behind the wheel of a car and putting my 4 year old nephew behind the wheel of a car....while blindfolded...with a sandwich in his hand.

Donovan converted 3rd downs, established steady rhythm with Chris Cooley (who will have a great fantasy year, btw), and commanded the offense with confidence. He has nothing to prove now. The opposite of Campbell's situation in D.C.

You see this in football but its largely underrated. When the quarterback is in control the rest of the team follows his lead. You have to have a guy under center who is in control.

Everything stands and falls on leadership. Guys were playing committed. Rookie left tackle Trent Williams played great, despite his nerves. London Fletcher hasn't lost a step and he tracked down and caught a guy from behind on the sideline. Clinton Portis carried the ball 6 times in a pre-season game. A pre-season game! Clinton Portis carried the ball 6 times last year. Even Big Al Haynesworth got in there and mixed things up, played with dominance and created opportunities for the rest of the team.

I'm telling you, everything stands and falls on leadership. The night before the Redskins game I was watching the Ravens take on the Panthers, for the sole reason of checking on my fantasy RB Ray Rice (He had 0 carries for 0 yards. Should be a great season for me). Prior to the start of the game, while the broadcasters are babbling on about this and that trying to create story lines for the pre-season action, I had a moment that made me laugh out loud. The cameras were scanning the players, fans, cheerleaders, and coaches. It paused on the only face on the field that could stir up such a dichotomy of emotions in me. Ravens newly acquired QB coach, and former Redskins head coach, Jim Zorn.

If you missed it you'll be glad to know he had the same dumbfounded, glazed over look on his face that he had all last season. I like the guy, but good riddance.

Mike Shanahan hasn't been in D.C. very long but there's is a colossal change afoot. You think Zorn was going to make Haynesworth sit out of practice until he passed some ridiculous (and unnecessary for a D-lineman) conditioning test? No chance. But Shanny is in charge now. He's makes the decisions.

He got Haynesworth to go back on his claim that he doesn't fit in a 3-4 defense saying, "They allow me to pass rush and everything like that, which is really important to me." Shanny has tamed the beast! Everything stands and falls on leadership.

What starts at the top trickles down. Shanahan enforces policy, McNabb leads the players, Haynesworth crumbles, and the fans respond.

Let's not forget this is a pre-season game. Yet in D.C. at FedEx field, the greatest fans in the world were so loud I heard them through my TV. They forced the Bills to use a timeout because they couldn't get the play a PRE-SEASON GAME. That just doesn't happen.

As a Redskins fan you're fired up to see McNabb scramble for a first down, to see Devin Thomas catch a 44 yard bomb from Rex Grossman, to see DeAngelo Hall adjust on the spot and intercept a pass.

But if you're a D.C. sports fan, you're REALLY excited to see Brandon Banks run a punt back for a score and go straight into the John Wall dance. My only hope now is to get Strasburg to do that after he pitches his first no-hitter, and Ovie to make that his goal celebration.

Change is here in D.C. Just not the kind Obama promised.

Then was the Bills.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Worst Thing Ever

Every so often you have a conversation with a person that changes everything. It could be a meeting with a college advisor who helps you pick your major, or an interaction with a co-worker that decides your career path, or even a drunk, tranquilizer induced conversation with your Russian girlfriend about a jacuzzi. Mel....

The conversation Michele and I had on the way to Target the other night was one of those conversations. While driving North on Route 28, Michele commented on the incredible amount of traffic headed in the opposite direction. I lamented, "That's gotta be the worst thing ever."

This set us down a interesting road. Michele replied, "Wouldn't the worst thing ever be a Holocaust in America?"

She's much too smart for me. So, I came back in the only way I knew how: nonsense.

What ensued was a list of what we consider to be some of...

The Worst Things Ever:

A - Being forced to listen to an entire Rhianna album

M - Anything that has anything to ever do in anyway with Lady Gaga

A - Your Dr. saying "Ut-oh" during a physical while examining your reproductive parts

M - Farting audibly in a job interview

A - Having no fingers

M - Sending an embarrassing email about your bathroom habits to the wrong person (or, in my opinion, ANY person)

A -Getting a hangnail on all 10 fingers and all 10 toes

M- Staying in a dirty hotel

A-Pooping in your pants so bad it comes up your back (I've seen it my nephew. Who is two.)

A - Having Albert Haynesworth on your football team

M - Having dish soap poured on your head

A - Watching the Cowboys win a Super Bowl (This might actually be the winner)

A - Realizing you have no syrup after making waffles/pancakes. (Or, pouring a bowl of cereal and then finding out you have no milk)

M-Having to pee in the car. Like...into a cup. Or...bowl....

A - Opening the internet on your phone instead of opening the notepad so you can document a comical conversation.

Then things got real. As we pulled into our apartment complex after the long drive home, I noticed the trees and said, "The worst thing ever would be to sit in a tree with no pants on."

Without missing a beat, Michele retorted, "Or sitting in a car with AJ when he has gas."

She wins.

I quietly rolled the windows down and aired the car out.

But I still got a picture of her doing this! So you tell me who the real winner is.

What else is the worst ever? Comment below...and you're not allowed to say "This Blog."

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Dream (My Mind is Weird)

When your alarm is set for 5:10am, there are few moments you look forward to more than bedtime. There just isn't anything like laying in a big comfy bed and erasing your mind of all thoughts as you gradually slide into your dream world. And I put a lot of effort into my dreams. I try each night to fall asleep thinking about something impractical and amazing. Most nights its what I'd do if there was a zombie outbreak and I led a group of survivors as we fight for freedom.

Whatever, I'm cool.

However, for the first time since I was 5 and was dreaming of an evil Yosemite Sam chasing me through the desert around a Merry-Go-Round, my dream world has backfired severely. So buckle up for the latest installment of AJ's Bizzaro Dream World.

As you know, most good dreams start in the middle of the story. They don't adhere to a time line, there is no character development, and you're usually in the dream just during the rising action and climax. Which is where we start our story:

I was back at my alma mater, Christopher Newport University. Me and a group of RAs had just discovered a very valuable top secret "material" on campus. We weren't sure what it was, or what it was for. But we knew if it fell into the wrong hands the consequences would be dire (Ooh, its getting good already!).

Naturally, we telephoned the government to come inspect this "material" and secure it if necessary (by the way, that number is 1-800-GOV-MINT. I use it often). After a short conversation a Special Ops team of Marines (or Navy Seals if your partial to them, its a dream), was dispatched to CNU to recover the "materials" and extract them from the location (This dream is shaping up to be a thriller!).

The team of Marines arrived and they escorted about 15 RAs (myself included) down to the marsh behind the University. If you went to CNU and just said, "I know where he's talking about!" you are a dirty rotten liar. There is no marsh. Its a dream. I made it up. Stop trying to change my story.

Obviously the Marines needed all 15 RAs to come with them. I'm sure its standard operating procedure. Due to the severity of the situation, they saw fit to arm us with weapons. Don't worry though, they didn't give us the good weapons, just replica World War II rifles and rusty Nazi machine guns. An MP40 to be exact (I know because I played a lot of Call of Duty in college).

So we're standing around this marsh, armed with rusty old rifles, and waiting for the helicopter to airlift the "materials" and Special Ops team out. The water we're standing in has begun to rise rapidly and as I hold my rifle close, I have an uneasy feeling that there may be a group of banditos lurking in the brush around us. And because this is my dream, and whatever you think in a dream happens, we start to hear movement around us.

The water is now waist high (oddly, this is the same time I pee the bed in real life), and I see our villains reveal themselves. We are surrounded. There is no hope. The Marines lay down their weapons.

Its my dream though, and I've been watching a lot of Top Shot, so I figured I could take them all. I take aim My trigger doesn't work.

Stupid World War II rifles. Stupid dream. This would never happen in Call of Duty.

Seeing we were defeated, the head bad guy (we'll call him Hugo. You know, the bad guy from 3 Ninjas), takes the suitcase of "material" and handcuffs our Marine friends. His team then begins to disarm the RAs. And by "disarm", I mean take our wallets and cellphones. C'mon...we're responsible college kids. We don't handle guns. The closest we've come to danger was the drunk freshman who barely made it to the sink in our room in time to hurl (true story).

Well, this is my dream and I'm no fool. There was no way I was going to surrender my cell phone. As the "disarmed" RAs glumly walked by me to return to campus, I blended in acting as though I had my cellular device and leather money carrier taken from me. I figured I could get to campus, call in the authorities and be the hero.

Unfortunately, Hugo is a crafty one. He had counted the number of RAs, and counted the number of cellphones and realized this number did not match up. One was missing. Mine.

His team followed us back to the school and I saw his second in command getting into a car. Weirdly, she looked like that one chick from Austin Powers 2 that tries to kill Austin the club. I tried to snap a photo...I missed (I thought this was relevant and that you would want to know).

Time jump--My team of RAs were back in their dorms, and were discussing what just happened. For whatever reason, I was in an ornately decorated, very fancy and incredibly spacious public restroom (literally a recurring theme in my dreams) with Nathan Gewecke, a friend and Fraternity brother in real life. I showed him my cell phone and told him what I did, then went to call the government. I had dialed 1-800-GOV-- when my phone rang.

I knew in an instant what this was. Hugo was calling my cell phone so he could figure out who deceived him and come and kill me mercilessly. I did not answer. I'm much too smart for that. I let it go to voice mail.

I knew, however, his team was searching the campus and would discover me sooner or later. I had no plan. I was in this absurd bathroom, with no way out. It was a matter of moments before our banditos burst through the door and captured me.

Then my cat jump on the bed, attacked my foot and leapt directly onto my "special place". I awoke with a start. A painful one at that.

My first thought, "Ouch." My second thought, "Phew. That was a dream. Wait....was it a dream? I can't remember." I reach over and check my phone. No missed calls. Phew. Wait...of course there are no missed calls! I ignored the last one from Hugo! Did this actually happen?

Its 4:15am. I awoke in the middle of a very specific and very intense dream. I have no idea which one is reality and which one isn't. I strongly consider the possibility that I'm in the movie Inception. I wonder if this event actually happened in real life, but I had forgotten about it so they planted this dream in my head to remind me of what I did. For a few moments between 4:20am and 4:27am, I am convinced that is what happened.

Mind you, I haven't even seen Inception. So, of course, this only reinforces the idea that this is really happening. I'm so confused.

So now, a few hours later, I'm at work and I'm still not convinced my dream wasn't just a little bit real. I'm slightly paranoid.

If you need me today I'm under my desk in the fetal position staring at my phone. Which is turned off.

Also, tell Leo to stay out of my head.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Snip, Snip

I think its the simple pleasures in life that we should enjoy the most. Sure, I may sound like Hitch or a Hallmark Card, but its true. Otherwise it wouldn't be a cliche. Enjoy the small things. You know, fresh cut grass, sleeping in, meeting someone new...having a Vietnamese man massage your face.

Soak it all in.

What? Fine. I'll explain.

I hate going to the barber. Hate it. I'm one of those people you can always tell just got a haircut. I let it grow out until I'm sick of it, then I have them cut it short. You know, so I won't have to go back for another 6 months.

I dunno, I'm just not that concerned about how my hair looks. I could be like my brother and try to pull off a Euro, half mo-hawk, Justin Timberlake, type do. Or, I could sleep in for 10 more minutes. Its a toss-up.

Here's the thing about barbers, as a guy you get the luxury of choosing between two awful options: The local cheap-o place like your local barbershop (or God forbid, a Super Cuts) or an expensive, "designer" hair engineer.

So I can pay for a $12 haircut where they aimlessly throw scissors and clippers at your hair until they get bored, or $40 to have them scoff at the style you want and say it's "last season" and that you really need to buy their hair "product" if you don't want to look like an alligator has been gnawing on your head all morning.

First of all, if you can't name something based on what it is you shouldn't sell it. Hair "product"? Right...I'm buying that about as much as I'm buying food "product" at my local grocery store.

Recently, however, I've discovered a barber shop I don't totally despise going to. It's called "BARBER" and its run by a group of very pleasant Vietnamese folks. Yes, I have a terribly difficult time trying to communicate the style I want because to me, you should just look at my hair and think, "He wants his hair to be less long than it is at this moment". And yes, they either try to talk to me during my hair cut, or talk to each other in Vietnamese. And yes, every time I go I have to have them fix what they did after they finish. However, at the far side of the barber shop is this little box, about the size of a microwave, that holds the secret to them keeping my business.

As you know, any good "BARBER" should straight razor your sideburns and neck, its standard these days and it used to be my favorite part. Now I anticipate what comes next. My barber finishes up, walks down to this box, and pulls out a white cylinder. I close my eyes now because I love the surprise.

I hear a spray bottle spray twice. Then footsteps approaching my chair. I relax my shoulders as a warm washcloth unfolds before my face. My nostrils are filled with a magical scent that eases my senses and relaxes every muscle I have (read: both my muscles). Then "BARBER" begins to massage my face.

It might be the best thing ever.

Granted, the scent is probably some sort of stimulant that makes it dangerous to drive just after inhaling, but for whatever reason, I find myself forgetting all about the numerous corrections and the difficulty explaining what kind of cut I wanted in the first place. I end up tipping the guy an undeserved amount as I stumble out to my car, half-asleep.

Its only later, when I awake from my coma, that I realized what happened. I have a haircut I don't love, a wallet that is much lighter (due to that stupid tip), and I feel a little cheap because I let a stranger rub my eyeballs.

All things considered, for 2 minutes of intoxicating euphoria I'll take it.

And the bowl cut it comes with.