Monday, June 30, 2008

A Long Weekend Makes for a Long Monday

RECOVERING: From a weekend in Miami with an old friend. It started on Friday at lunchtime shortly after my plane touched down and then for 22 of the next 48-hours, I had a drink in my hand. This might've been manageable a decade ago, but I'm suffering for it, today. I should also mention I only slept a total of 10-hours, partly because I'm old and programmed to rise early, partly because ...well ...I think that's it. I'm old. Miami does this crazy thing - they keep the bars open until 4 a.m. Then Miami also decorates itself like a resort town so you always feel like you're on vacation and all you want to do is party. The sound of a cover band, bongos, or salsa music is ever present.

Miami is a beautiful place full of beautiful people. Except for the few ugly people and all the tourists - namely the 'cruisers' who are either about to set sail on a cruise or are docked in Miami as one of their stops. Half the people on my plane from Detroit to Miami had brochures for Norwegian or Royal Caribbean, half were traveling in large groups, and all of them were pouring over info on which excursions they would take. I was charmed because I have to imagine this is what my parents looked like before the dozen or so cruises they sailed on.

Miami is hot and humid. It's 90+ during the day with 90percent humidity, and 80-degrees at nighttime and the humidity stays around.

Miami bar goin' dudes wear one of only 3 things. 1. A graphic Tshirt. 2. A dress shirt with a pattern on it and pearl buttons (sleeves can be rolled up or down). 3. Something beadazzled. I'm sure the designer who made the shirts and then tricked them into paying $50 for the beadazzled t-shirt calls it something else ("bling", perhaps), but its beadazzled. Local shops also sell beadazzled jeans and hats. I wanted to wear a paper grocery bag as a shirt just so I look unique.

I wore graphic Ts.

I have receipts for 9 bars in my pocket. 9! I went to nine bars. I remember my favorite was called Automatic Slims. I rapped the entire "Paul Revere" tune with my buddy. I admired the bar for providing a brass pole for the women to utilize throughout the night. I admired the women who danced on said brass pole. There was this other bar I really liked, except that the bartender called me a "fucker" for not tipping. I fully intended on tipping for the next round, but because he bullied me, I did not tip.

I saw paparazzi hiding and waiting for someone to step out of a BMW X5 and then when the X5 took off, they chased it.

Miami has its share of pan handlers like any big city, but Miami's pan handlers are pretty creative. They carry snakes or lizards around hoping you'll give them money to hold it and take a picture with it. The 'cruisers' must be easy targets for this. We were not. In fact, my friend almost lost an ear. A pan handler came into a bar where we were drinking carrying a Monitor, which is in the Kimono Dragon family. It looked mean, felt weird, and the guy holding it didn't treat it very well. We mostly ignored his hasty Monitor history lesson, so to get our attention (and our money) he said "wanna take your picture with it" and placed said lizard on my friend's shoulder. Only 30-seconds before this moment he emphasized there were 3 rats in his backpack that the Monitor would eat, he mentioned it ate 3 birds the day before, and a newborn child the day before that. So when the monitor was placed on my friend's shoulder, it freaked and nearly bit off his ear. We told him - the Monitor and the pushy panhandler - to get the hell away. He still had the nerve to ask for a donation to save endangered species and if "Nick's Ear" was an endangered specie, I might've given. Mostly, I just wanted to keep all my digits.

Miami has wealthy people. Their 38-foot, 50-foot, and 80-foot yachts actually laugh at you when you walk by.

I think I like downtown Ft. Lauderdale over South Beach. But maybe because it felt more like Royal Oak (a suburb full of bars where I live).

My host family was great and I had a great time. I will go back ... and I'll take my paper bag wearables, too.

SLEEPING: What I'd like to be doing. I thought I had outwitted a massive hangover and I felt great last night. Today is a different story. If you need me, I'll be napping 'neath my desk.

UPDATING: Project Washboard. I did not achieve washboard abs in time for my Miami trip, but I did lose a good amount of weight and I still think I can have washboard abs by the end of this month and my big summer vacation in northern Michigan. Keep my abs in your thoughts and prayers.

I want a greasy cheeseburger and fries. But I will resist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh, I Forgot ...I Also Golfed

While I was boring you (and myself), yesterday, I forgot to mention that I golfed Monday for the first time this season.

RECAPPING: The Bachelorette, like I do every Wednesday over at spunkybean. Check it out.

GOLFING: Me. And this report is mostly for the one guy who's completely impressed with me. Yes, it was a corporate outing. Yes, yes, yes. I wore some light weight, pastel based, plaid chinos, a pink shirt, and a pastel green golfers cap. Everyone in my foursome had shiny, flashy, expensive silver watches on their arms and we bragged about our portfolios and the wise, shrewd moves we made recently, all but thwarting the current recession because of our insider knowledge of all the things one might read in Forbe's, Kiplinger's, and Fortune. We laughed at the guy that didn't unload his Boeing shares and we shared with him our 'insider' knowledge that Goldman Sachs was about to 'drop the hammer' on Boeing. He could barely hold back his tears and he frantically started dialing his mobile phone demanding his broker 'sell, sell, sell!' I talked alot about the private golf lesson I took a few weeks earlier and explained how the new Nike Sumo 460 2-series has straightened out my drives. I think my caddy was named 'Timmy' or 'Tommy' or 'Toby' ...but I called him 'Sport.' I gave him an extra $50 to use his 'foot wedge' generously and let's just say I shot an 83 ...give or take 20 shots. Ahem. At one point I was up about $400 from all the side bets, but in the end only went home with about $150 - still not bad. All in all, not a bad 'day at the office', if you ask me. Hold on ...I gotta take this call ...yyyyellow?

LOVING: The newest Daily Show correspondent. His name is Wyatt Cenac and he's hilarious. He was hilarious immediately, which is tough to do. Usually the new correspondents need to find their 'voice' and their angle. I hated John Oliver, at first, and I didn't think Rob Riggle would end up being as funny as he is, but each of them were an acquired taste. Well, that and each had to evolve into being Daily Show ready. John Oliver has morphed into a slapstick, do-anything-for-a-laugh, utility guy who is also brilliant with satire and sarcasm. He has become one of my very favorites and I laugh whenever he hits the screen. Riggle pulled back on the silliness and went more with his frat-guy, man's-man approach to stories. It fits him. Well, Wyatt seems to have gotten it right immediately. He seems to be adopting a sarcastic, elite-sounding, satrical voice. He's not necessarily doing an impersonation of anyone, but a silly version of an elite newsperson that plays well in the current environment. Yet he mixes in a disinterested-youth tonality. I'm completely over thinking this. But judge for yourself.

THANKING: A real person (two actually) who audibly told me they enjoy my blog. My blog is about nothing. And what I do write is mostly about me. And most of the "people" I "claim" are "reading" and "enjoying" my blog aren't much more than characters I've created in my head in my alternate, imaginary reality. So, its nice when real, live people give me a real, live compliment. It's good for my ego and, well, isn't that what this whole blog is really all about.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Guess What I Did?

Go ahead. Guess. No. Guess, again. Not even close. One more guess. What? Why would you guess that? Yer a freak. No, actually, its not even something I'm embarrassed to talk about.

RUNNING (that's me in the water, wearing a black Under Armor shirt, behind the guy in the white shirt, brand unknown): A Bump n' Run. "Run" for the 5K part (that's 3 miles for morons like me who can't do the math). "Bump" for the hill climbing, river jumping, trail running, push-ups, squat-thrusts, dips, and crunches that all accompany said 5K. The only way it could be more difficult would be if someone was shooting at us. Next up, a 4-mile Bump n Run. I'm proud to say I finished 19th out of 79 racers. Though winning and losing isn't really the point. 'Surviving' and 'not puking' is really the main goal, as I see it. My wife also finished and this was her third 5K in the past 5 weeks. Though gushing over my wife (that's her in the 2nd photo, in pink) and how much I love her is usually reserved for my other blog or other locales (if you know what I mean ...wink, wink), I'm going to say it right here, right now ...she's awesome. The woman I married 11-years ago would not be getting up at 5am every day to attend a 5:30a-6:30a bootcamp and sure as heck wouldn't be jumping in rivers, running through 2 feet worth of muck and mud, and eating grubs from under rocks - not sure why she ate those, that wasn't required - and I'm totally impressed by her. All the pictures of us are here.

PROMOTING: Myself and my spunkybean columns. I wrote a review for The Disney Channel's Camp Rock and then tomorrow, don't forget, I'll tell you all about what's happening on The Bachelorette.

Gosh. This blog entry sucks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blowing, blowing, blown!

BLOWING: My mind. As loyal readers might have noted, I've been touting this reality show concept I have and have written and am pitching. Through a fellow spunkybean writer and some articles we wrote, we got hooked up with Mel Robbins and because of the focus of her message and the inspiration behind my show, I jumped at the opportunity to pitch my bit of brilliance to her Producer. My biggest fear is not knowing what I don't know, and the 1/2-hour he spent on the phone with me told me there's a poop-load I don't know. It was so eye-opening and such a shock to my system (a system that told me, constantly, 'your idea is brilliant, Don, and only stupid people have told you 'no') that I was depressed for 20-minutes. And then I remembered how horrible stand-up comedy was the first, oh, 7 or 8 times I tried and then slowly it got a little better, and a little better. Time will tell if I benefit from this guy's frank, blunt advice, but I vow that it will.

BLOWING 2: My mind, again. After Mel Robbins's producer crushed my spirit, he began the process of building it back up when he asked me and my spunkybean staff to dream up ways in which we can be a part of the show, via on-air, on-line, or whatever other cool ideas we can dream up. At least I think I'm understanding him right. More info to follow in that front.

BLOWN: OK, so this isn't exactly Earth shattering, but there was this funny sketch on SNL a few weeks ago where Andy Samberg played Jack Johnson and hosted 'The Mellow Show' and his guests were Dave Matthews and John Mayer. So, I created Mellow Show Radio on Pandora and you should be able to see it and then listen to it here. Sit back, relax, and be mellow. I built the station at 8:20pm and over an hour later I haven't 'thumbs downed' a single song.

Normally I don't like those guys, but when Sis in-law K.B. shared this follow-up clip with me, I was like, "wow ...these guys really are cool." Props to cool dudes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Moving, Meeting, Makeover, Mooching, Miniaturizing, Mentioning, and Meating

Wow, what a fantastic few days I've had. Let's get right to it...

MOVING: A friend asked me to help him move, and so I did. Two of us unloaded a truck by ourselves. What a workout! Though I've been actively pursuing Project Washboard for about 2-months, all the jogging and suburban bootcamps are no replacement for good, ol' fashioned lifting and working. From now on, every two weeks I'm going to move all my furniture from the inside of my house to the outside, and back again. Quite a workout.

MEETING: With the guy whom I'll write my screenplay with (or multiple screenplays). This'll kick ass. I have no doubt the story is solid and interesting. I need only write a credible screen play and show it to the right agent who I'll have to hope shows it to the right studio or producer and then ...bam! I'll be rich. Step 1 ...write the screen play. See you in December.

MAKEOVER: My garage. Finally I did what I've been meaning to do for 3 years ...emptied my garage entirely and started over. Built an 8-foot by 3-foot shelf about 'yay high' and got organized. My 5-yr-old daughter was a huge help, even if the extent of her help was dancing and singing along to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus while I toiled. Somehow, just having her around to hit me with the "Daddy-Did-you-know...?" endless barrage of fun-facts was enough to make me forget the pain when I banged my fingers with the hammer or stripped a screw head. I'm also happy that all the chemicals and sharp tools that were easily within reach of my toddlers are now safely out of the way. Parent of the Year Award, here I come. Pay no attention to the fact I kept a gasoline tank on the ground right by the bikes for 5 years.

MOOCHING: Pea gravel. I happened over to a friend's house and he had about a 1/2-yard worth of pea gravel he didn't need and I took it. Wow, that's boring. But my landscaping isn't and my garden path is well defined my pectorals and my abs ...oh ...I hadn't told you?

MINIATURIZING: Myself. That's right, Project Washboard is going full blast! I'm down two belt sizes, I might officially be a 32 inch waist, and I've broken the 170-pound mark. Hell ...freakin' ...yes! My wife ran her second 5k this past Saturday (I know she reads and I just wanted to mention how proud I am of her) and this weekend we're running an Adventure Race together ... that's a 3K with boxing, challenges, and possibly a chest-deep river crossing. Who knows! But I can't wait. Wanna adopt the lifestyle? Go here and sign up. Jeff Watters will kick your butt and you'll pay him for it, but you'll thank him when all is said and done. See you at a Bump n Run, Flirt with Dirt, 5K, 10K, or an Adventure Race, soon.

MENTIONING: The best CD I heard last week ...Gavid DeGraw's Gavin DeGraw. Is he big among teenage and college girls? I don't know ...but his CD is bluesy, the guitar is grinding, and his lyrics and vocals are passionate. Very, very good. The best DVD I watched last week ...Moonlighting Season 1 & 2. I'll recap it on spunkybean this week. It was a really fun walk down memory lane. The best movie I saw? The best book I read? No time. Maybe I'll get to reading a book this week. Maybe.

MEATING: As in, eating meat. It was Father's Day and as a father, I ate a big steak. Yum.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let There Be Rain

Hi, loyal readers. I honestly and for truly want you to read my highly entertaining innermost thoughts every day, so I apologize for Monday's lack of an entry. Here we go ...

VIEWING & REVIEWING: This past weekend was like an old fashioned movie marathon as I watched The Bourne Ultimatum, Michael Clayton, and even took in an in-theater, opening-weekend showing of Don't Mess with the Zohan. Just call me the 'Bourne Negativity' because I wasn't overwhelmed or overly entertained by any of them. My Zohan review is on spunkybean, here, and I'll quickly tell you what I didn't like about Michael Clayton - I've already seen this movie and it was called The Insider and Erin Brokovich.

ANTICIPATING: Camp Rock. This Disney Channel original premiers June 20th, and I'm actually looking forward to it. Mostly because I've heard all the songs from High School Musical 1 & 2 and Hannah Montana to the point I can sing them all by heart, so I'm hoping this song can expand my children's musical library just a bit more and my dreams won't be haunted by "You Are the Music in Me" (both versions) and my subconscious will sing some new tunes. My review will be on ...and you'll read it.

SHAVING: The mustache. It's gone. All five days worth of growth. I felt odd and made me look weird.

RECAPPING: The Bachelorette. Every Wednesday morning. Check it out, tomorrow. I'll remind you, don't worry.

WORKING: Sorry. Duty calls. Gotta run. 'til tomorrow, I bid you farewell.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Growing, Growling, and Grinding

GROWING: A mustache. I really think so. And not some cheesy mustache ... a real one just like Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood. I think it'll be cool, and I'll seem less crazy when I fill my conversations with the two quotes, "I'm an oil man" and "I drink your milkshake." I can't shake that movie from my brain.

QUOTING: Don Draper, a character from AMC's Mad Men...

‘A man is whatever room he is in.’
-Don Draper, Mad Men (AMC)

I'm very excited about the Season 1 DVD collection coming out on June 2nd and I think I'm going to actually purchase it. It will be only the 4th TV show I own on DVD, but since I only pick the truly great ones and not every dang show like some people, this is a big step for me. I'm banking on the fact that Season 2 (which premieres July 27th) won't suck, won't collapse under its own hype, that the actors will still be able to stay in-character, and the writers won't pull some crazy stunts that would be inconsistent with the advertising industry, Manhattan, or the mid-60s. With all the hype around this show, the pressure for it to be just as great as it was in Season 1 must be crushing. Don't suck, is what I'm saying. I'll be so pissed if I have to (a) defend the show even though I'm fully aware it sucks compared to Season 1 and (b) sell the Season 1 DVDs on ebay by Christmastime because I'm so disgusted with what the show's become.

Boy, do I love that show.

WATCHING: This George Costanza montage. Every day. Because it makes me laugh. George was the best character on that show as he embodies Larry David in real life and it's why Curb Your Enthusiasm is, for me, the best part of Seinfeld and its like Seinfeld never went off the air.

CREDITING: Loverboy. Loverboy doesn't get enough credit. Its like one person said they sucked and everyone else just fell in line. My favorite on-line streaming station, Slippery When Wet, just played three Loverboy songs in a rowand my volume was up high. Discuss. Let the record show: Don gives Loverboy credit and they wrote some rockin' songs.

REVIEWING: My week. Best CD I heard ...Weezer's Red Album. I was going to review it for spunkybean, but I used the words 'awesome' and 'brilliant' in every sentence and it just didn't sound much like a 'review' as much as a 'celebration' and a note from a stalker, so I passed. I think I've listened to it 57 times. Best show I watched ...Greek on ABC Family. It ain't just another show about fraternities, sororities, and college kids - this thing looks and acts real. Like the writers were on campus with me in the mid-90s. Best food I ate ...12-ouce bone-in filet at the new Ocean Prime in Troy. But maybe it was their signature Baked Alaska I had for dessert. I dunno. Either way, it was spectacular and worthy of a blog entry. Also worthy of a blog entry, Jeff Watter's Motor City Boot Camp. If you have the means and are anywhere near Birmingham, MI, you ought to pay him to kick your ass. He runs boot camp 5 days a week from 5:30a-6:30a and then all 5 days in the evening. Thanks to his 'killing me' ...I've lost 10 pounds and my thighs and calf muscles are so sore today, I can hardly hold myself up. If you wanna look good in a bathing suit me. Jeff Watters.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Filling the Internet with Thousands of Words

Guess who's back and filling the Internet weekly with thousands upon thousands of words? That's right! Me!!!

Hundreds of you (well, just under a hundred) enjoyed my weekly recaps of American Idol all season long and now you can enjoy my hilarious recaps of The Bachelorette. That's right. I didn't want to do it after being burned by 10 previous bachelors and 3 previous bachelorettes, but how can I stay mad at The Bachelorette and poor, heart broken DeAnna? And, what's that you say? You don't watch the show, you don't think I'm funny, and you don't like reading? Fair enough. But unlike the hundreds of other recap options you have, mine come complete with lessons on love and dating? At the very least, read for those gems.

You know the drill ...go to spunkybean, click my article, give me page-hits and then if you feel compelled, you could even actually read what I've written.

Want to read other stuff I've written? How about an article I contributed to detailing the original summer programming you could enjoy? I recommend Mad Men. I don't recommend going outdoors or being active.

Or how about a letter to my younger self which, along with my fellow spunkybean writers, received national recognition and even landed spunkybean writer, Nic Dressel, a guest appearance on Mel Robbins radio show, yesterday?

Then, of course, each week on spunkybean, EJ starts your week off with a look at the week's TV schedule and your watching options, and then our entire spunkybean staff recaps the week in pop-culture every Friday afternoon with our What a Week It's Bean feature. This is a must-read for anyone who plans on attending a BBQ party or a family reunion on the weekend. Someone will bring this stuff up and its best if you can add commentary - that's where spunkybean comes in.

And, as always, there's my blog. Read that, too.

Thanks for keeping your laughter at my expense to a minimum. Write at you again soon.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I Miss Talking about Me

It's been a while since I talked about myself, and its really bringing me down. I have this backlog of important stuff in my life I want to say and report, and by golly, I keep forgetting.

UPDATING: Project Washboard (my mission to have washboard abs by my June 27 trip to Miami) is really going well. I'm down 10 pounds from when I started, I've taken a whole 2 inches off my equator, and Sunday night I ran 5 miles, outside, without stopping. Plus, I'm going to start attending a suburbanite boot camp 1 evening and 1 morning each week. I've even stopped gorging on fast food at lunchtime. Things are happening, baby!

DRAGGING: Today. The Red Wings v. Penguins Stanley Cup Game 5 went into three overtimes and I stayed up like a total fool and watched it all, and my Red Wings ended up losing. To keep my awake, I turned to pretzels and Double Stuff Oreos and any dietitian will tell you that 7 cookies with 2percent milk after midnight it not the best way to lose the extra "L Bs".

WISHING: A happy birthday to blog-friend, EJ, who writes with me on and also on his own blog, A Nickel for the Swear Jar.

There's so much more to tell, I could write all day long. But instead I'll make you wait 'til tomorrow. Here a clue: it'll be something Don-related.