Monday, September 29, 2008

I Just Might Have a Few More Readers

MARKETING: Myself. I've mentioned my marketing approach for Donniego, spunkybean, and for my writing, right? First, I don't tell anyone. Second, I hope it comes up in conversation in front of someone who doesn't know I have a blog (or two). Third, I act sheepish and modest. Fourth, I tell them my blog is all about myself and completely self-bloviating. Fifth, I tell 'em I'll email them next time I send out one of my annoying email-the-world, look-at-me emails. Sixth, I email them along with a couple hundred or so people. Seventh, I hope they are not so turned off by my arrogant tone that they bookmark me and check back from time to time.

If Coca Cola had used my tried and true marketing method, they'd have exactly 815 Coke drinkers to their credit.

I hope someone caught my numerical reference ...high five!

BRISTLING: At our government. I've come to accept the petty bickering that plagues modern day politics. But now, in this dire economical moment, Congress needs to stop its bickering and get something-the-hell done. As I understand it, our politicians are 'acting worried' about our economy, but what they really care about is getting back to their home towns and states to campaign. And when the Bailout Bill was offered up to vote, many of them voted only on what would secure them the most votes back at home, ignoring what might work or not work. Congress is a buncha cowards. And guess what else? While you and I toil away, some of us with second jobs, and as we turn off lights, cut expenses, and cling to every extra penny we can ...Congress? Exhausted from late night sesssions ...took a vacation, today!?!?!?!?!?!

And, what's worse, I don't ever think I'm getting a straight story. Today I'll be listening to NPR (liberal hippies), Limbaugh and Hannity (pompous blowhards), Air America (namby pamby whiners), and read some Newsweek and Drudgereport to make my own sense of this all. Why? Well ...check out these headlines. "House Republicans Blame Pelosi's Speech" for the Bill's failure. Seems pretty cut and dri- ...oh, wait. Someone else is blaming someone. It was the Republicans, I guess. No, wait. It was ALL OF THEM. Here's the only quote you need ...and remember ...these Washington folks are not on your side, or my side ...they are on their side.
Most of us say, 'I want this thing to pass, but I want you to vote for it - not me.' -Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis
BORING: The last two paragraphs. Sorry about that.

ANTICIPATING: The inaugural viewing of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. My son turned four. This movie came out in 1977, when I was four. So, I think it's time. It was difficult deciding which version of this movie to actually get for this Friday's movie night - there's the "Original Theatrical Version", a re-release Lucasfilms Enhanced version, and another one recreated completely from Legos. You have no idea how difficult it was to not go with the Lego version. Welp ...because I have so much money invested in a big LCD TV and overpriced speakers and stereo equipment, I'm going with the recently remastered Enhanced version.

I'd like to also point out, this was not my idea. George Lucas and his Star Wars franchise continue to market themselves, and when my 4-yr-old is watching Boomerang, Noggin', Nickelodeon, and even Disney Channel, he's bombarded with Star Wars ads schlepping toys, movies, and new animated cartoon series. Yes, my 4-yr-old has been asking for months about seeing this movie, and is especially curious because his cousins have all the toys. As I mentioned, I was four when the original was released, so I think he's ready (I'll just fast forward past the scene featuring charred remains of Uncle Owen).

PONDERING: What next? Do I make him wait the full three years, as I had to wait, before showing him Empire Strikes Back? Then another 3 years before seeing Return of the Jedi. One thing I'm sure of, though ...I'm going to make him wait 20 years before seeing Episodes 1 thru 3 so that he's equally disappointed in them as I was when he finally gets to watch 'em.

I don't want better for my children.

That is all. Big things a'brewin' on the home movie front. And although I mostly use TV as a 'babysitter', I really want movie nights and major movie events like this to be special. Friday we'll watch Star Wars. Saturday, I'll be light saber fighting like its 1978 all over, again.

Hard to believe this trailer started it all.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Celebrating Things

SWIMMING: 60 lengths. That's 1500 meters to you and me, Russ. That's just under 1-mile. Ya know, I read recently in a triathlon training book about reaching "aerobic maintenance" and the book claimed that once you reach this level and can keep a relatively good pace, and your heart rate stays about 140-160 beats-per-minute, you can likely do said activity for as long as you want. I thought that was b.s., but I gotta say's totally right. I stopped at 60 lengths because my lunch-hour was over, but I really could've kept going. I wasn't tired, wasn't slowing down, wasn't cramping, and sharks were leaving me alone.

RECORDING: With a Tivo, next year. I've mentioned it before, and I'll say it again ...I hate my DVR. I've had Tivo for years and the box finally died, and DirecTV can only offer their own version. It sucks. I'm sure some people like it, but it sucks. I get mad when using it. But, earlier this month, Tivo and DirecTV renewed their relationship and an HD Tivo and Tivo service will be back in my home the minute it becomes available.

WRITING: Recaps. When the teacher asked, "who wants to recap Survivor and The Amazing Race, I raised my hand high in the air and yelped like Welcome Back Kotter's Horshack. Tonight, we'll all enjoy the two-hour season premiere of Survivor: Gabon and, hopefully, tomorrow you'll enjoy my recapping of the nonsense therein. Do I love Survivor? Yes, yes I do. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the first reward challenge will involve swimming and untying of things. Worried you'll forget about my recaps? Worry not. I'll remind you. Look for spam in your inbox, tomorrow.

FIRING: Matt Millen. Though the Detroit Lions and the Michigan State Spartans bring me great joy, heartache, and entertainment, and I'm a huge fan, most times they aren't blog worthy ...well ...because they don't lend themselves to talking about myself. Well ...because the Lions fired General Manager, Matt Millen, I'm kinda excited about the Lions, again.

FANNING: The flame of Javon Ringer's Heisman campaign. He's a little-known running back from a fairly mediocre football school, but Javon Ringer's dominant performances of the past 3 weeks are getting him some attention. I think the notariety, size, and reach of my blog should put his name firmly into the Heisman Trophy conversations. He's awessssssssome.

MISSING: My family. When you have an awesome, glamorous job like I have, sometimes you are forced to dine out and socialize, and typically, toddlers and families are not invited. Tonight, I'm looking forward to a night like I imagine the "common man" enjoys. I might even have a beer and "chat up" my neighbor.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Reader at a Time

MARKETING: Myself. Here's how I typically pick up new blog readers. First, I don't tell them I blog alot about nothing much in particular except myself. Then, I hope someone else brings it up. Then, I kinda deny it, acting sheepish and embarassed (a very difficult thing for me to do). Then I say, "Yes. I have a blog where I write all about myself." Then, I spend the rest of the conversation convincing them I'm worth their reading time. Anyway, yesterday at lunch, I think I may have picked up another reader through this tried and true method.

SPUNKYBEANING: You know I'm always plugging the pop-culture web-site I founded with a friend, right? No doubt, you've checked it out. Well, if you haven't, lately, now's the time. The fall television season is back and we're some mad writing fools ...because we love TV.

TRIATHLONING: Less than three weeks until the big day. Something incredible has happened. Where once I hated the swimming, now I look forward to it. Being in the water is quiet and peaceful and I can be alone with my thoughts. Be happy I don't have a laptop with me during those moments and that I'm not blogging those thoughts. They'd be very "TV theme song" and "shark" heavy.

REMEMBERING: To tell you about my hair. Hard to believe, but it's better than ever. My stylist (whom I need to see, soon, btw) gave me a little tip on styling this coif. "Smoosh it forward," he said. "Then over," he said. Bam. The hardest part about swimming is that my hair must become mussed. But afterwards, in the lockerroom, I get a chance to style my hair for a second time on "swim days" and it makes it all worth it. When people say "hi" to me or smile at me in the mall, I like to think they're really saying "hi" and smiling at my hair.

INCHING: Ever closer to going on The Amazing Race. I begin recapping The 'Race for spunkybean beginning next Monday (the show's season premier is Sunday night, fyi). Well, we (fellow spunkybean writers and I) Facebook "frieneded" a racer from the upcoming season and, through CBS, he's agreed to let us interview him for the site. Soooooo the course of questioning, I ask him to evaluate mine and my partner's premise of going on the show as "complete strangers who've never met." And ...I have a CBS Executive (probably only an intern) who will also see the concept and maybe we can bypass that pesky interview and audition tape stuff, as well as being bound and gagged while at the auditions in order to avoid any contact with my would-be partner on The 'Race. In my brain, this'll work.

BREWING: Biggby's Coffee home. Costco sells giant bags of the stuff (was the use of the quantifier 'giant' really necessary when talking about Costco). And so, if you'll excuse me ...I'm off to brew some joe and start the day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

People are Noticing Me

Good news (for me). I'm gaining readership like crazy. And I've had to threaten very few people to do so. A post like this one won't attract many new readers, but life is crazy and sometimes I can't spew brilliance and high comedy.

SWIMMING: 1200 meters. I know. I couldn't believe it either. Who knew? However, my attempts to summon dolphins using mental telepathy and then to ride them around the pool weren't as successful as the swimming. Thank goodness I'm not training for a Superhero Triathlon. See? That joked sucked. And for that, I apologize.

AMAZING: This little experiment. Enjoy. Scratch your head and ponder.

Remember, there's always something to read at spunkybean. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cool Stuff

CALLING: A spade a spade, they say. I don't know why they say it. Personally, I call a spade a shovel. Hmmm. Spade? Shovel? Two different names for the same thing. Like radio stations. Specifically, two radio stations in Washington D.C. For the moment, WTNT will be known as "McCain 570", and will feature right-wing talking heads. Sister station, WWRC, will be called "Obama 1260", and likewise will feature left-wing, pro-Obama pundits. I agree with the new Program Director ...don't hide behind a "fair and balanced" slogan a Republican spade a Republican spade. And call a Democratic shovel a Democratic shovel.

I wonder if there's any room for a Libertarian hoe and Ron Paul. I'm sure if they had a third radio station, they'd totally give 'em a host of shows. I'm sure of it.

BALANCING: Both sides of the argument. Nowadays, you can form your opinion and then stick entirely with whatever news source you prefer that does nothing but reinforce your opinion. I encourage all of you to listen to both sides and refuse to let the media - be it the 'right' or the 'left' - to tell you which issues are important to you and which of them should sway your vote. With banks failing, soldiers dying, jobs disappearing, police forces shrinking, goverment integrity disappearing, homes foreclosing, and our reputation and our dollar-value falling world wide, don't let anyone frame the debate as being all about gay marriage, sexism, or choice v. life, drilling for oil, or a definition of 'qualified' or 'ready'. Turn over the money counting tables in the Temple. Listen. Talk. Hear. Educate yourself. Then vote. And then, whoever we vote for, we must hold them to each and every one of the promises they made while campaigning.

My head hurts from being 'serious.' Sorry about that.

BLOGGING: Not just here ...but at spunkybean. Well, there, I'm more of a 'columnist' and I'm especially proud of my recently posted recap of Mad Men ...the coolest, smartest show on television.

REMINDING: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia begins its new season in two days. Thursday ...September 18th ...10pm. Guess what I'll be doing when I get home from bowling? Oh, yes ...laughing. And yoga.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Triathlon Training and Tivo

So much happening ...

TRAINING: My triathlon training has started in earnest. 4-weeks until the tri'. Today, I fake-joined a gym. You see ...I need a pool in which to train. So, I'm using a 1-week trial at LA Fitness for a week (free), then I'm going to pretend to be auditioning Bally's for 2-weeks (not my fault they'll actually let you use their facility for 2 weeks), and finally I'll buy a cheap pass for the local h.s. pool to train any additional days. Problem is ...after 1 day at LA Fitness and how nice that place is ...I wanna join. Hmmm. I guess that is why they give away free weeks. If you care to donate to my personal fitness, I would appreciate it. I'll write your name, or the name of your business, on my legs and arms while I compete in the October 12th Collegiate Triathlon.

REDIRECTING: Once again, I wrote a great article for AsktheCommish. Read it here. I expect Dr. Scholls will be contacting me soon and paying me for that comfort insoles script. And ...sahweet! I'll use that money for my gym membership.

MOURNING: The death of my Tivo. I love Tivo. Tivo is created by TV-nerds for TV-nerds. My Tivo 'got' me. It has 2 tuners easily jumped between, Tivo suggested shows I might like and got it totally right, and was so easy andhad such a fun noise it made when pressing buttons and fast-forwarding and stuff. Well ...last week ...Thursday ...a day I'll never, never forget died. So, I had no choice but to call and get DirecTV's far inferior DVR. It arrived Saturday. I've used it quite a bit since then. But's ...oh, man ...I said I wasn't going to cry's ...not ...the ...same. Pray for me in this difficult time.

CELEBRATING: That DirecTV will renew its relationship with Tivo next year and I will be able to smash my stupid DVR on the curb and get Tivo once again. Oh, what a happy day that will be. I wish I knew the exact date ...I'd circle it on my calendar and prepare for its arrival. "Hi, Tivo. How've you been? It's been a tough year. I'm glad you're here." I wish I could blip-blip-blip my life forward to that moment.

RAINING: All weekend. More rain than I've ever seen at one time. It rained non-stop (and I'm not exaggerating) from Thursday until late in the afternoon on Sunday. My yard typically gets some water pooling up in the middle of the yard during heavy rains. No biggie ...usually. But as the monsoon-type rains kept driving and sheeting, the "pooling" became a lake and was not more than 6 feet from my house. My neighbor was dealing with the same fear and, together, we decided to dig a trench on our property line and try and make the water move from the backyard out into the front yard and then into the street. It ain't the best trench you'll ever see, but damn worked. I now count Civil Engineering among my many amazing skills.

DIGGING: A trench. I know. I mentioned that already. I was wearing a wind breaker and now, in hindsight, I wish I would've boken out my trench coat. I paid good money for that thing ...seems like I should have finally used it for its intended purpose.

WRITING: Lots of stuff. I'll be recapping Survivor and Amazing Race this fall, I'll have my part of the Mad Men piece on spunkybean tomorrow, and a few other things. I know ...I impress even myself.

Until tomorrow ...stay dry.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Now That's What I'm Talking About

Alternate sites, other articles, stuff to watch, politics, and a better Old Fashioned.
My friend wants me to set her up with one my buddies. I told her that I won’t do it unless she joins Facebook. What does she want me to do? Type an email about her and attach some pictures? What is this, the f*ing Middle Ages?
- Aaron Karo, author of Ruminations on College Life
ENJOYING: A SoCo Old Fashioned. Some may recall my quest to be just-like-Don-Draper, and with it my quest to learn to drink Old Fashioneds. All the sugar cubes and orange wedges in the world couldn't make that drink enjoyable. But, as soon as the man behind the counter at the liquor store suggested Southern Comfort in place of actual whiskey, I knew I'd be "an Old Fashioned man" in an instant. Two sugar cubes, splash of water, splash of bitters, and an orange slice muddled in the bottom of my Old Fashioned glasses, then filled with Southern Comfort and two ice cubes ...vioala! I'm an Old Fashioned man. SoCo Old Fashioned ...just like my SoCo Manhattans. I've successfully muddled myself into a renaissance man.

BLOGGING: Elsewhere. Namely, at I'd prefer to call it a "column" and refer to myself as a "columnist", over there. Here, I'm a blogger. There (at AsktheCommish), I'm a columnist. At spunkybean, I'm an editor and Creative Director, and "contributer." Basically, I want you to be clear on how to refer to me when you're talking about me at parties or family gatherings. Oh, heck ...just call me a "writer" or an "author."

SPEAKING: Of spunkybean. Make sure you check it early and often, this week. I think Big Brother must be nearing its finale. Dear Casey writes about her misguided love affairs. Each Monday we tell you what to watch during the week, then on Friday, tell you what you should've watched all week. And I "contribute" to the weekly Mad Men Roundtable (posts every Tuesday morning). But most exciting is our All-Pilot Project where we (mostly EJ) tell you all about the new shows and whether you should watch them or not. First up was 90210.

REVIEWING: Read my "column" at AsktheCommish. Read this blog, every day. Read spunkybean. There ...that should keep you busy.

BY-THE-WAYING: I'm going to run a tri-athlon. Don't think for a second I'm going to keep that to myself.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I Just Realized How Long and Boring Summertime is

TV is back! Football is on. New TV shows premier. Old favorites return. And my blog, in turn, should get better.

Some things are perfectly fine and good over at spunkybean Mad Men. While other things are fairly simple and don't need in-depth analysis Greek ...or The Backyardigans.

DARLING: My daughter. Today was her fourth day of Kindergarten, and she's still cute as the dickens. I'd post a picture, but ...well know how that goes? Posting a picture of a five-year-old in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform isn't responsible. I predict the words themselves will land me some increased traffic from pervs out surfing the web, actually. No such thing as bad press, they say. Anyway ...she's still adorable and seeing her growing up before my eyes is awesome.

LOVING: Greek. I mentioned it above, but this little bit of televised cotton-candy never fails to amuse me. Casey, the main character is unlucky in love. Cappy is her true love. Rusty is a socially inept nerd trying to function in the highly social-slash-superficial fraternity-sorority world, while maintaining his high intellectual standards. Then there's a buncha supporting characters and back-stories that color Greek up like a real college campus. Friendships are pitted against romances, sexual orientation is contrasted with devout Christianity, and much, much more. Unlike many shows of Greek's ilk, it doesn't try too hard and it doesn't lose focus of the fun aspect of college. I've said it before, but it seems as if the shows writers actually went to college and were in the Greek system, where as similar shows only write the stereotypes.

This brief review probably hasn't sold you, but watch it, and you'll be hooked.

: This blog ...and possibly spunkybean. I have a horse in this Presidential race, sure, but it ain't like I have a horse that, if both its legs broke, that I'd shed even a single tear for upon its euthanasia. Mainly, I'm a fan of "the theater." I've taken lots of notes, listened to crap I don't really enjoy listening to, and changed my mind, daily. "He makes a good point," I say. And then I say, "Oh, but he's really enlightened on that, too." "Oh," I then say, "well, I hadn't thought about that." And, "is that really true," I ask? I like to think there are very few people like me who slog through the shit on both sides. Stay tuned. I'm going to try and be insightful, very soon.

ORGANIZING: Myself. I got all these 'big ideas.' Write some television scripts. Work on my screenplay. Write a short story for a contest. Write articles for spunkybean. Write a novel. Blog. Submit my writing to places. Oh, and run a website ...kinda. I used to get up early and write, write, write ...for a solid 1 1/2 hours. Now, I've found myself a bit distracted. That's it. Summer's over and I'm gonna get back at it. Big time!

BOWLING: Tomorrow. The way-too-long season begins tomorrow, and I'm super excited. Golf sucks. No, actually, golf is fun, but I suck at it. Bowling ...I'm good. So I love it. I'll update you on my scores and my current average throughout the season.

WATCHING: NFL football, staring tomorrow night. I'm joyous. Overwhelmingly, joyous.

LAUGHING: At Patton Oswalt's commencement speech from his old h.s. Brilliant.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Day Off

Defining "geeky" is a tough thing. While watching TV endlessly and then writing about it might be geeky to one person, something else might be even geekier than that to someone else. Like, say, printing movie scenes onto iron-on paper and ironing them onto t-shirts. I mean, isn't that geeky? Heck, some might even say writing a blog is totally geeky. But what happens when that person who called blogging "geeky" suddenly gets a blog of his very own? Is it, then, not-geeky by virtue of his participation? Or is it not-geeky because of the content therein? Or is it still totally geeky?

Well, I'm here to tell you blogging is totally cool. Iron on t-shirts are, still, horrendously geeky.

REDIRECTING: To Trent's Twisted Thoughts (on football, mostly). Now is the time of year where young men and women turn their thoughts to football, and some of them even join Fantasy Football leagues. Don't know what that is? Well, read his blog and the site he writes for ...Ask the Commish. With the onset of autumn, you might enjoy picking apples, raking leaves into piles and jumping into said piles, and you might even enjoy a Fantasy Football league. And if I catch any of you loyal readers using any site but Ask the Commish, I'll put you in timeout.

Ya know what else is cool? Grammar and spelling. Most times.

GRILLING: Something. Probably a hot dog. Maybe a burger. It is Labor Day, after all.

And, as always, tune in tomorrow and, very likely, I'll have a new post.