Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Costco & Christmas: A Recipe for Disaster



The Holidays are my absolute favorite time of the year.  It’s almost as though there’s this sort of palpable magic in the air.  Everyone puts aside their differences, temporarily forgets about their problems, and comes together in the name of Christmas spirit.  You can’t help but smile as you pass by even total strangers on the street.  But then you go to Costco 2 days before Christmas and your faith in humanity is abruptly lost once again…

I’ve got no one to blame but myself.  My wife asked me to go to Costco several days ago but I, being a typical man, procrastinated until December 23rd.  When I woke up she told me I better get their before they open because the store would be a complete mess.  I arrived in the parking lot at 9:30 am (30 minutes before they open) to a sea of shoppers waiting to bum rush the entrance.  When they finally opened the doors at exactly 9:50 am chaos ensued.  Parents screamed at their children to pay attention, wives screamed at their husbands to hurry up, and an old lady screamed at another old lady after she was rammed in the back of the legs by her shopping cart.  At first I quickly made my way through the store checking items off my list (and picking up a few things not on the list) as I meandered from aisle to aisle.  But when I reached the produce section it was like a traffic jam on the 405 freeway during rush hour.  People grunted and scowled at one another as they maneuvered their way through the crowd filling up their carts (presumably) with items for Christmas dinner.  The meat section was even worse as I witnessed 2 women literally fighting over an orphaned ham (apparently they were unaware that there was a whole section of them just 2 aisles over). 

I could feel my temperature rise as the crowd swelled up around me.  There were still a couple of unchecked items on my list but I wasn’t sure I could go on.  I texted my wife to inquire about the criticality of the missing items and alluded to the dumpster fire I had become part of.  Her text back said, “Stay focused and you will get out ahead of the crowd.”  Her words of encouragement urged me onward.  I finally checked the last item off the list and then cautiously made my way to the front of the store dodging strayed shopping carts and oblivious children along the way. 

The checkout lines weren’t as bad as I had anticipated but I have an uncanny knack for always choosing the wrong line and today would be no different.  The old lady 3 carts in front of me couldn’t figure out how to use the pin pad and here’s the kicker, all she was buying was a single package of butter.  As time slipped helplessly away and I stood there shaking my head an internal dialogue began to brew in my brain, “Um, hello.  You do realize they sell butter at the regular grocery store, right?  Yet you decided it would be a good idea to brave the Costco crowds 2 days before Christmas to save what, 50 cents?  On top of that you’re really f*cking old which means you don’t have much time left.  So why the hell would you waste your final, fleeting moments here?  Man, I don’t get people.”  After what seemed like an eternity she finally just paid cash and left the store with a sour look on her face.

After I finally paid and made my way to the receipt checker (why is Costco the only store that needs a receipt checker anyway?) I could feel my Christmas spirit starting to come back as I saw a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of daylight.  But then on my way to the car some jackass in a pickup truck almost mowed me down as he raced towards an open parking spot.  I found myself right back at the boiling point of frustration as I said in a not very nice tone, “Slow down, dude”.  To which he responded, “Fuck you!”  To which I responded without hesitation, “No, FUCK YOU!”  And just like that the little girl getting out of the car next to me learned a new word for the Holidays. 


Merry f*cking Christmas and God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Letter To The Chargers On Their Impending Move to LA


I can still remember when we first got together.  The year was 1979.  There was so much passion and excitement, just like at the start of any new relationship.  I would gaze at you in amazement each week completely mesmerized by your tenacity and your raw beauty.  You were the first thing I thought of when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I thought of when I fell asleep at night.  It was a love I’d never felt before, and man did I fall hard.  But I was just a boy at the time and as such very na├»ve.  Little did I know that those early days together would be the best days we’d ever have.  In 1981 we hit an early high point in our relationship when we experienced one of the greatest moments of my youth (divisional playoff win at Miami), only to be left out in the cold a week later (conference playoff loss at Cincinnati).  That loss unfortunately set the tone for rest of the decade which was in a word disappointing.  My shiny new toy had suddenly lost its luster.  You let yourself go and we experienced somewhat of a 7 year itch in our relationship.  I no longer enjoyed our time together and I’m not going to lie, I contemplated leaving you for greener pastures.  But I’m a very loyal person so I decided to stay by your side hopeful that we could eventually recapture past glory.  The early 90’s saw a resurgence of our love affair.  You finally started trying again and I so appreciated the effort.  In 1994 we hit another high point when we finally made it to the big dance.  Granted you still weren’t back to the top of your game yet, so expectations were somewhat tempered.  Honestly I was just so happy to finally be at the dance that the outcome was of little consequence to me (how could I have possibly known at the time that we might never make it back?).  Unfortunately the glory was short lived.  You packed on a ton of weight and really let yourself go for the next decade or so.  The low point came in the year 2000 with an all-time mark for futility (1-15 record).  You had become grotesque and I could hardly look at you anymore.  But then I remembered our early days together and why I fell in love with you in the first place.  I once again stayed faithful and looked toward a brighter future together.  That future arrived in 2004 when you did an about face and quickly got into the best shape of your life.  For the next 6 years you were one of the hottest chicks around (5 division titles in a 6 year span).  You hit a high water mark in 2006 (14-2 record) and I was sure we were going back to the dance, but alas it wasn’t meant to be (I hate you Marlon McCree).  I had high hopes for dancing again in 2009 (13-3 record), but once more you ripped out my heart and stomped all over it (f*cking tackle, Antonio Cromartie).  Since that season I would categorize our relationship as boringly mediocre.  You’ve become the fat chick with the pretty face.  Never at the bottom but always finishing short of the top.  But I’m not complaining, I know I could do much worse (Raider fan).  It’s almost as though I’ve become numb to the disappointment.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that for better or worse I’m stuck with you.  And if we ever do make it back to the dance and somehow achieve the outcome I’ve been seeking for the past 4 decades, how sweet it will be.  But let’s not get ahead of myself.  History has taught me that you are nothing more than a miserable tease.  And I’m okay with that because you’re my miserable tease and nobody forced me to be with you in the first place.  Add it up and I’ve now given you 37 of the best years of my life.  In return you’ve given me essentially nothing.  Yet I’ve stayed faithful to you for 37 gut-wrenching years.  And now inexplicably, you have the audacity to leave me (filing for relocation to Los Angeles in January)?  F*ck you, Chargers.  I hate you.  No, I still love you.  God, I’m so confused…  Why couldn’t I have just grown up in Boston or Green Bay? J                 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On Marriage and Divorce



An inordinate number of friends and colleagues have been going through divorces lately.  I’m not sure if it’s the stage of life I’m in or simply a coincidence, but I have to admit it’s a little unsettling.  I get it – marriage isn’t easy – but it’s still unsettling.  I’ve always believed in the philosophy that life is short and everyone deserves to be happy (except that d-bag who bought the rights to the AIDS drug and raised the price like 5000%).  If you find yourself in an unhappy marriage with irreconcilable differences divorce is probably your best option.  But divorce is also messy and the emotional, financial, and logistical ramifications create unavoidable collateral damage for all involved (especially if you have kids).  So what’s the best way to avoid divorce (short of never getting married in the first place)?  Making a concerted effort to be a more supportive spouse?  Being a better listener and keeping open lines of communication?  Attending marriage counseling?  Medicating yourself with copious amounts of alcohol?  All of those things could certainly help, but what about simply marrying the right person in the first place?  Easier said than done, but I tend to think I know a thing or two about picking the right spouse.  Don’t get me wrong, my marriage is far from perfect (just ask my wife).  But there’s no doubt in my mind I married the perfect person for me.  Here’s 6 reasons why it’s worked out:

1)      I married someone completely different than me

She’s got a dominant personality.  I’m more laid back.  If I had the same personality as her we probably would’ve killed each other a long time ago.  If she had the same personality as me we’d never get anything done and our kids would be completely out of control.  She’s got a big heart, always puts others first, and genuinely cares about her fellow man.  I’m somewhat of a selfish wretch.  She makes me a better person and I give her something to fix - everyone wins J.  In stressful situations she always keeps a level head.  In stressful situations I freak out like a lunatic.  Put em together and you have a reasonably normal response.  Marriages are like the government.  They require a system of “checks and balances” to maintain order.  Because my wife and I are so different we balance each other out perfectly.

2)      But we share a common set of core beliefs

As different as we are in personality, our core beliefs are very much the same.  We both wanted to have children.  We’re both very traditional in that we wanted my wife to stay home and raise the kids while I went to work.  We’re both fiscally conservative but socially liberal.  And perhaps most importantly I agreed to raise our kids Catholic if she agreed to become a Charger fan (the second part was non-negotiable).  Net net you absolutely need to be on the same page for the big stuff.

3)      Our chemistry was evident from the start

From the very first time we met the spark of attraction between us was palpable.  Passion may fade as life gets in the way but if it’s not there at the start, there’ll be nothing to look back on in hard times and remember why you fell in love in the first place.  That’s why I’m always leery of friendships that turn into romances.  When you know, you know.  And passion is not something that develops over time.

4)      We lived together before we got married

Being a good Catholic girl, my wife’s parents were not happy when we moved in together (her dad literally refused to come inside our apartment until after we got married).  But until you’ve lived with someone and experienced firsthand all of their quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, and idiosyncrasies you really don’t know if you’ll be able to tolerate them for the rest of your life.  It would be like buying a car without a test drive.  And then having to drive that car for the next 50-60 years.  It may be against your religion, but I would never get married without first living in sin.

5)      I sincerely enjoy spending time with her

Twenty years later and my wife and I still genuinely enjoy each other’s company.  The best part of my day is when we’re together.  That being said raising kids has created more disagreements, arguments, and conflicts than I ever imagined possible.  If you want to be able to weather that storm, you better still like each other at the end of the day when there’s nobody else around.

6)      We got married for the right reasons

When my wife and I met we were young, poor, and didn’t know any better.  We fell in love and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.  Getting married was the only logical conclusion.  We didn’t know it at the time but we got married for all the right reasons.  Marrying someone for anything other than love: money, convenience, an unexpected pregnancy, fear of being alone, or simply because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do is not a recipe for long term bliss.

Maybe this is a good blueprint for you too.  Maybe it’s not.  Maybe it’s too late.  I’m still figuring out plenty of shit in my life too.  But what I do know is this: A marriage is like a marathon.  The passion and excitement you feel at the start of any new relationship simply cannot last.  You’ll experience hard times when you think you can’t go on.  You’ll second guess every decision you’ve ever made including getting married in the first place.  You’ll scratch your head and wonder when things went so terribly wrong.  But then you’ll spontaneously make eye contact with your spouse.  You’ll see that same spark that led you together in the first place.  You’ll remember how warm and amazing you felt when you first met.  All of the special times you’ve shared and memories you’ve created together will come rushing back and you’ll fill up like a balloon.  She’ll touch your arm, give you that subtle smile letting you know that everything will be okay, and the world will stop in its tracks for just a moment.  Marriage isn’t easy.  But if you pick the right partner who you truly love and respect, you’ll have a fighting chance of making it to the finish line together.  Choose wisely my friends. 

And for those who’ve been divorced or are currently going through a divorce, please don’t take this post the wrong way.  Shit happens.  Sometimes you can marry the perfect person for all the right reasons, but then unforeseen circumstances occur that cause them or you to change.  Getting a divorce doesn’t mean you failed.  It just means you have a second chance at finding happiness.  Honestly some of the happiest couples I know are on second (or even third) marriages.  Just look at Kimye J. 


On that note this post is over.        

Friday, September 18, 2015

What the Hell is Going On?



I’ve been so distracted with work (and playing DraftKings) that I really haven’t been following the news lately.  It’s actually a little embarrassing how ill-informed I am on most of the major events trending around the world.  I got on the wrong treadmill at the gym yesterday and was forced to watch CNN for a half hour (instead of my normal SportsCenter).  Now I have some questions:

·     Who is this Kim Davis lady and why is she all over the news?  From the clips I viewed on CNN I gathered that she’s the county clerk in Kentucky and is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.  Something about acting “under God’s authority” because God didn’t intend for same sex couples to get married?  Well, I’m pretty sure God also didn’t intend for anyone to turn out as hideous looking as Kim Davis, but shit happens right?  Get over it Kim – you’re disgusting and gay people deserve the same rights as everyone else.

·     I noticed that Ben Carson’s name has really been shooting up in the presidential polls lately. Am I the only one uneasy about the fact that he’s black AND Republican?  Either one on its own is perfectly fine.  But put them together and something just doesn’t add up.  Being a black Republican is kind of like being a white cornerback in the NFL (I wonder what Jason Sehorn’s up to these days?).  I know absolutely nothing about Ben Carson, but I don’t trust him. 

·     Did school officials in Texas REALLY arrest a 14-year old Muslim boy for bringing a homemade clock to school?  And then instead of apologizing to him for their egregious error in judgment, did they REALLY suspend him from school for 3 days for violating the “Student Code of Conduct”?  Can you say racial profiling?  What the fuck is wrong with you, Texas?

·     For all you Bernie Sanders fans out there, you do realize that the guy’s a self-declared socialist, right?  And you also know that socialism is essentially just a watered down form of communism?  If you truly feel that this country would be better off with a pseudo-commie president, please do the rest of us a favor and move to China (and take Hillary with you).

·     Speaking of China, how do you think Donald Trump really feels about China?  Wow – he’s like a political version of the “Torpedo of Truth” himself, Charlie Sheen.  I honestly cannot recall a political candidate as utterly fascinating and baffling as Donald Trump.  He says whatever the fuck he wants, whenever the fuck he wants to, and completely gets away with it.  It’s almost as though the political correctness rules other candidates are bound by don’t even apply to him.  He’s racist, sexist, elitist, most of the time completely-off-the-rails out there, and yet he continues to climb in the polls.  Could this lunatic actually become our next president?  I’m still undecided if I love him or hate him, but I do know that I can’t wait to hear what comes out of his mouth next.  #winning           

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fight the Fuck On



There’s been a lot of depressing shit in the news lately.  A disgruntled reporter killing his former co-workers on live television.  The stock market (and my 401k) taking a meteoric plunge.  Our next choice for president coming down to Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump (queue “Send in the Clowns”).  It’s literally enough to make you want to turn off your television.  But then I see a story like this and my faith in humanity is instantly restored.

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian Pulled Off Stage In The Middle Of Booster Event Speech For Being Drunk On Fireball Shots, Dropping F Bombs and Saying Oregon, Arizona State, and Notre Dame Suck!

The story first broke when tidbits of his antics were posted on Twitter:

 
 
 


No way.  Are we really supposed to believe that the HEAD football coach of a high profile university got bombed out of his skull and went on a profanity laced tirade in front of a room full of his players, staff, and alumni?  At first I thought this must be some sort of elaborate Twitter prank.  But then Sarkisian came out with a public apology and the legend was confirmed.  There’s some nice videos of the speech floating around the web if you’re interested.

"I was not right, and I think the moral of the story is this: When you mix meds with alcohol, sometimes you say things and/or do things that you regret, and I regret it," Sarkisian said. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of our fans and donors and all the people that were in attendance, but I'm going to move forward, and we're going to be great. I can't wait to start coaching again today." Sarkisian declined to specify what medication he is taking, but said he was impaired after combining it with "not a lot" of alcohol.   

You accidentally mixed your meds with “not a lot” of alcohol?  That’s the story you’re going with?  Come on man.  That’s like the lady who’s always drunk at parties saying, “I’ve only had two drinks but I forgot to eat today”.  If you’re going to do something insanely stupid at least be a man about it and own your shit, Sark.  Admit that more than anything else in life you love to booze and that sometimes you’re just a rotten drunk.  That’d be a lot more respectable than lying and saying you mixed your meds with “not a lot” of alcohol. 

The coach hasn't been suspended or publicly disciplined by USC athletic director Pat Haden beyond a scolding in a brief public statement.  Sarkisian doesn't believe he has substance abuse issues that would require him to step away from the Trojans, who open the season Sept. 5, at the Coliseum against Arkansas State.  "I don't know if I even need rehab," Sarkisian said. "That's part of the process, and I credit Pat Haden for this, that he has put things in place for me to have meetings to figure that out, and I'll address them as they come. I've got a great staff that can support me along the way, and we'll see what comes out of it."

Translation: Yes, I’m an alcoholic but please don’t fire me boss.  If you need me to jerk off in rehab for a week or two to salvage the reputation of this university and keep my high-paying job, I’m all in.

The program is banning alcohol from campus and the Coliseum for the coaching staff.  "There won't be alcohol in our building ever again," Sarkisian said.  Sarkisian also said he was personally done drinking for the season.

Yeah right, Sark, and I’m sure there’s not a huge flask of Fireball in your desk drawer right now.  Look man, USC football hasn’t been relevant since Pete Carroll skipped town 6 ½ years ago (and left the program a complete mess).  Last year you actually won 9 games playing in the PAC 12.  That’s not easy.  This year you’re ranked number 8 in the pre-season AP poll and your roster is stacked with All-Americans.  If I were you I wouldn’t change a damn thing.   Keep ripping those Fireball shots, slurring your words, dropping F bombs, and having to be removed from the stage by your boss at school-sponsored events.  As the saying goes, “If it ain’t sober, why fix it?”

Although you may want to consider laying off the Oregon and Arizona State suck banter.  In case you’d forgotten (I get it - alcohol wreaks havoc on your memory) your combined career record against those schools is 0-9.  Just sayin…

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Letter To My Teenage Children



I was a teenager myself not too long ago, or at least it feels that way.  Now (gulp) I have two of my own.  I don’t think you can ever truly be prepared to raise teenagers.  They’re consistently moody, unexpectedly irrational, often times contentious for the sake of being contentious, and oh yeah, they know EVERYTHING.  You’d think being on the verge of adulthood would make them more relatable than when they were infants.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  They’re not just in a different stage of life, it’s like they’re an entirely different species.
Don’t get me wrong, they can also be quite wonderful.  I’ve begun to see shades of the people they’re ultimately going to become.  They make me laugh and amuse me on a daily basis.  I find myself surprised and impressed by the things they’ve already figured out on their own.  I can definitely see the two new best friends I’m sure to have in a decade or so.  But until we get to there, we’re stuck here.  And most days that translates to: If I didn’t already love them so much I’d try to give them back.

Don’t take that the wrong way kids.  I know being a teenager isn’t easy.  You’re under a lot of pressure and it’s coming from all different directions.  Pressure from Mom and Dad to succeed in school, pressure from your coaches to succeed in sports, pressure from your peers to fit in, pressure from your friends to try to new things, and all the while dealing with your own self-inflicted insecurities.  On top of all that you’ve got this newly created social media pseudo-reality that’s impossible to live up to.  It’s no wonder half the time I feel like I’m living with a couple of schizophrenic sociopaths.  And, I know, you probably feel like you’re living with the Gestapo. 
But there’s a good reason we’ve firmly entrenched ourselves in every aspect of your teenage lives.  To you it seems like nagging and an unjust violation of your privacy.  But to us it’s an absolute necessity.  I don’t possibly expect you to understand this now but…  We only do the things we do because we’ve already learned so many things the hard way and we’re trying to make it easier for you.  We only do the things we do because we don’t have much time left to teach you how to be good people before we send you out into the world, and that scares the hell out of us.  We only do the things we do because we’ve invested the last 15+ years of our lives loving you and taking care of you, and if anything bad ever happened to you it would literally break our hearts.  We only do the things we do because you’re our second chance at fixing all the mistakes we made the first time around.  We only do the things we do because you are literally a part of us and it’s really hard to let go.  

So please be patient with us and we’ll try to be patient with you.  Please keep yourselves out of harm’s way and try to make good decisions.  Please protect your bodies.  Please understand that even though you may feel like it, you are not invincible.  Please make us proud to be your parents, not by your accomplishments in the classroom or on the football or soccer fields, but by being a good person.  Please respect your teachers and coaches, and always try your hardest.  Please be a good friend and try to give a little more than you take.  If you simply do each of these things (even though you always seem to save your worst for us) we will know we have succeeded as your parents.  And the hell you put us through as teenagers will have been all worthwhile.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#hashtageducation

 

What a hashtags is:

A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social networking services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash character # (or number sign) in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hashtag will then present each message that has been tagged with it.  To put it simply, a hash tag is an easy way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic or to begin a conversation on a new topic.

Hashtag origin (allegedly):

Hashtags are believed to have originated on Twitter but, interestingly enough, were not an intended function of Twitter.  Some believe they began when a damaged US Airways plane was famously landed in the Hudson River in early 2009.  An unknown Twitter user wrote a post and added #flight1549 to their tweet.  Somebody else read it and when they posted about the incident also added #flight1549 to their tweet.  Tweets began to fly around fast and furiously with thousands of people adding #flight1549 to their tweets, and soon the hashtag went viral.  If anyone wanted information on the situation all they had to do was search for #flight1549.  And so was born the most annoying trend in the history of social media.

What a hashtag is NOT:

A hashtag is NOT a clever way to summarize your status updates: We just found out that Suzy got early acceptance to Stanford and Timmy made the all-star team. #mydnaissuperiortoyours

A hashtag is NOT a period at the end of your posts: Finally got that promotion I’ve been waiting for.  No more french fry station for this guy.  Anything is possible with hard work and #perseverance

A hashtag is NOT a literary form of Tourette’s syndrome: Check out my summer vacation pics. #summer #summervacation #vacation #vacay #hawaii #hawaiinstyle #bigisland #island #islandfever #getmypointyet

A hashtag is NOT a way to express your emotions: Came home to catch my wife cheating with the neighbor again. #frustrated #slappedthatho #nowIfeelbetter

A hashtag is NOT an answer to your own rhetorical questions: Guess who’s spending the next 2 weeks in paradise?  #thisguy

A hashtag is NOT an out of control stream of consciousness: I had an epiphany during hot yoga today. #glutenispoison #essentialoilscureeverything #thegovernmentiswatchingme #sellingallmyshitandmovingtothewoods

And finally a hashtag is NOT a fashion statement: #baller (saw a dude in this shirt at the mall last week – fashion fail bro – more like #dipshit).

Really unless you’re a celebrity with millions of followers you shouldn’t use hashtags at all.  Got it?

Note: Spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them. 

In conclusion #lovewins #marriageequality

You see what I did there? J