Saturday, February 27, 2010


I was watching the women's curling Gold Medal Game live. Canada was up two in the final end and they had all the rocks in the house. This was over. They had time to give us all the backstory about Olympic trials, and how this particular Canadian team had a reputation of never being able to win the big game. And how great it was that they were finally going to win Olympic gold.

And the person who's been making all the clutch shots, the skip Cheryl Bernard was just two throws away from winning it all. And then she blew it. I mean she CHOKED like nothing I'd ever seen before.

Not only did she miss hitting the Sweden rock she was aiming for, but she knocked her own out, setting up Sweden for an incredibly easy final shot to score the two they needed.

I tried to think of a bigger choke.

All I could think of was Brett Favre in this year's NFC Championship game. But let's make this a football analogy to see how terrible this was.

First off, it's the Super Bowl. Canada is up 7. There's 35 seconds left and the play clock is on 5. Sweden is out of timeouts. Canada has the ball inside Sweden's 10. They don't need to score, just run the clock out. And they hand it off, and and FUMBLE. Sweden picks it up and is going the other way and Sweden is pushed out on the 1-inch line with 5 seconds to go in the game. All they have to do is do a sneak to send the game to overtime.


(For this analogy we have to imagine the NFL using the current college football overtime rules)

In overtime, Sweden scored a field goal on their possession. But Canada will get the ball back. They've got the hammer and on their final play, interception, game over.

Just the worst choke ever.

- - -

Also, I don't want Brett Favre or the Vikings to be off the hook here. When I see him all I think of is he how's a selfish prick and how he continually blows games. When you choke for a decade I can't remember anything else.

And the Vikings...who still want him to come back.

It's like you're entering an auto race with no pit stops. The race is 100 miles long. You're looking at a car that only has 97 miles worth of gas in it's tank. But it is pretty fast.

The other cars that you have aren't nearly as fast. But you don't know the size of their gas tank, and there might be ways to make them faster.

Or you could try and buy a new car, or even build one from scratch.

But no because the care you have is pretty fast, you want to stick with it, even though it doesn't have enough gas to cross the finish line. At least you'll be "in the race" for almost the whole way.

Friday, February 26, 2010

a special announcement

I'm proud to announce my new novel.

Autopilot 2: Electric Boogaloo
(The Curse of Black Mamba)
a.k.a Goldsifter's Revenge OR The Great Time Machine Hope

James Delmar is back! Except this time, he's Jake Dingus, world-renowned treasure hunter with washboard abs. He's traveling around the world, casting magic spells! But nothing will prepare you for the shocking truth! (He's a vampire!) Look for it tomorrow wherever shitty books are sold.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympic Finals Fever

All of a sudden we're down to the nitty gritty in the Olympics. (all times CST)

Today, Thursday

Women's Curling:
11am Semifinals, CHN v SWE
11am Semifinals, CAN v SUI

Men's Curling:
4pm Semifinals, NOR v SUI
4pm Semifinals, CAN v SWE

Women's Ice Hockey
5:30pm Gold Medal Game, CAN v USA


Men's Ice Hockey
2pm Semifinals, USA v FIN
8:30pm Semifinals, CAN v SVK

Women's Curling
5pm Gold Medal Game, TBA v TBA

Short Track
9:20pm Men's 500m Final
10:03pm Men's 5,000m Relay Final


Men's Curling
5pm Gold Medal Game, TBA v TBA


Men's Ice Hockey
2:15pm Gold Medal Game, TBA v TBA

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

great moments in virtual curling

It's always nice to score four when you only have four stones.

This time I scored four and didn't even leave any red in the house.

And just for the hell of it, I took a dive and wanted to see if the red team could score four if I didn't try. They scored three, knocking one of their own out the back of the house.

Monday, February 22, 2010

early contender for 2010 tweet of the year

Clearly when you think of someone who's attracted to thought-provoking conversation, you think of Skinny Nigga Doe, a.k.a. iamklassy.

inside the business

Friday, February 19, 2010

february hamper dump

It's February.

I've been busy at work. It's been continually cold (though not as cold as it was last year). And I barely have enough time to work on my novel for my 8-week workshop that's half over. And I've been caught up in the Olympics.

- - -

This week was so bad at work that I didn't even remember that it was a 4-day week. I think I worked 40 hours in 4 days, and it was solid wall-to-wall work. Today was so bad that I came home and had a couple whisky sours and then (for fun) made some homemade chicken salad.

- - -

Anyways, this past week, perhaps because I have been so busy, that I've been watching as much Olympics as I can. This is the most I've ever gotten into the Olympics. While the Summer Games might attract larger audiences, I think it's clear that the Winter Games have a better entertaining ratio per event. The Summer games are filled with duds that never get televised, but every time I turn on the TV, there's something good on.

Coming into the Games, I thought the only things I would be into would be hockey and curling. But I've enjoyed the alpine skiing, speed skating (especially the short track races), snowboarding, even the figure skating and biathlon were entertaining.

I always thought that biathlon was the stupidest sport. What does shooting have to do with skiing? But when I actually watched it, I realized it was more about having control over one's body to be able to shoot straight after skiing as fast as you can and having your heart beat as much as possible. So I think it's kinda cool now.

About the only curling I've seen was the U.S. choke away a game they easily should have won against the Swiss. I mean this Skip had multiple chances to win on makeable shots and he CHOKED. The only redeeming part of watching the Americans BLOW THE GAME was that they revealed that all 4 members of the team were Vikings fans and watched the NFC Championship together. Perfectly fitting considering how their performance was completely Farve-esque. (Breaking News: The U.S. have just benched the Skip after his fourth straight loss. Perhaps the Vikings could learn something.)

And I doubt I'll watch much hockey until the semifinals. Compared to watching a 2 or 3 hour hockey/curling match, it's a lot more fun to watch skiing or snowboarding or speedskating where it's a shorter commitment, and you get to see a lot more people and have more medal drama.

So yeah, I like the Olympics. Especially the Winter ones and especially when the host location is in a convenient time zone for my tv watching. Anywho.

- - -

Oh yeah, and thanks for that jerk who left the comment about the safety razor who gave an contradictory answer without referencing any of the math that I listed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

the art and algebra of shaving

I switched back from mp3s to CDs.
I discovered eating foods from the earth, before the age of modern convenience.
And just now, I've given up my electric razor to switch back to a semi-traditional wet shave.

- - -

I've picked up an affordable badger-hair shaving brush and a glycerin-based shaving soap. I'm interested in possibly getting a classic safety razor with razor blades. For now, I'm using a Schick Titanium, based on cost. The Schick is $2 compared to the $40 Merkur safety razor.

But what about over the long term?

A box of 100 razor blades is $15. It seems that a blade is good for 2 weeks, and I'm assuming I can use both edges, so it actually lasts a month. That's 100 months for $15 or 15 cents every month.

I think that the Schick should last about a month, so that's 2 bucks a month.

Factoring in the initial $40 investment for the razor blades...

After 21 months, the Schicks will cost $42. The traditional will have cost 3.15 in blades and 40 in razor.

So I guess 22 months is the break even point. But since the box of 100 razor blades is $15, it would actually take 28 months for you to outspend the traditional by using the Schick Quattro.

That said, since it's quite a monthly difference, the savings would really add up in the long term. Of course, if you don't like how it feels, you just spend $55 on blades and a razor that you're not happy with.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2009 nfl gambling recap

Even though I didn't post it, my XLIV picks were Saints +5, but Colts for the straight up win.

2009-10 Playoffs
Straight Up: 4-7
With Spread: 5-6

- - -

My December futures bet netted me 8 dollars.

Invested: $200
Currently: $290

I won $50 betting on Illinois +21, and then lost $20 on Stevo +17.5. My futures bets for the Saints netted me $8.

So I ended up
Invested: $200
Ended: $328

Profit of $128.

- - -

And back in Februrary you could have had the Saints Super Bowl odds at 20/1.

After they won 13 in a row, they were down to 3/1.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

XLIV: Part Two

It's funny how this sporting event has come to mean so much.

This is the 44th NFL season that has ended in a Super Bowl. Yet this was the conclusion of the 90th NFL season. Somehow those first 46 don't seem to matter much anymore.

A quick timeline.

- - -

The 1966 NFL season was the 47th season. With the addition of the Atlanta Falcons, there were now 15 teams, split into two conferences. (Eastern and Western). In the NFL Championship, Green Bay beat Dallas by 7. And two weeks later, beat the AFL Champs, the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 1967 NFL season introduced the New Orleans Saints.

1968 concluded with the AFL's Jets beating the NFL's Colts. Tickets for this game were still printed with the AFL-NFL World Championship name. However, as evidenced by this article, Lamar Hunt's name of the Super Bowl had caught on.

Following the 1969 season, the Chiefs won the first game officially titled the Super Bowl. This was the 50th season of the NFL. Though the Chiefs weren't one of the 16 teams in the NFL.

The 1970 season brought the AFL-NFL merger. 10 AFL teams were added to the existing 16 NFL. The Colts, Browns and Steelers were the 3 NFL teams that were placed in the newly formed AFC. Super Bowl V was the first year that the Super Bowl and the NFL Championship were the same game. A common NFL draft was created, ending the bidding war on college players between the leagues.

- - -

I think all of this is terribly interesting. For 50 years the NFL never had more had than 20 teams, and then all of a sudden went from 16 to 26. Not that far from the 32 we have 40 years later. It's funny that the Chiefs can lay claim to a modern-NFL championship, despite not being in the NFL that year.

And the fact that the Super Bowl has been played for 44 years and the Saints have played 43 seasons.

- - -

I think it's worth noting that, with the exception of Lombardi's Packers, pre-1966 championships are essentially forgotten. No one on the Detroit Lions cares about the 4 NFL titles they won, even as recently as 1957, just because it wasn't a Super Bowl. (That one was against the Browns anyways, so it at least looks like a NFC-AFC matchup today). And the Bills certainly aren't taking any solace in their AFL titles.

- - -

So now that we've established that the Super Bowl is the most important thing in the history of the world, and that finally a Super Bowl beat out M*A*S*H as the most watched TV program, let's talk about XLIV. Or as I call it, "X-live!" (Don't call it that.)

First, to get our bearings, I'll provide a brief list of how each possession ended, color-coded.

38-yard field goal
Garcon TD
46-yard field goal
Turnover on downs
44-yard field goal
- - - Halftime
Thomas TD
Addai TD
47-yard field goal
Missed 51-yard field goal
Shockey TD (Moore 2pt)
Pick Six
Turnover on downs
Victory Formation

That's it. The Colts had 4 first half possessions, one was a three and out from starting on their own 1. By the time they got to their 7th possession, they were down 7 with 5 minutes to go in the game.

The pick-six was the play that sealed the Saints' victory. So let's start by looking at everything up until that drive, so we can see how we got there.

Of those first six drives: three were scores--two touchdowns and a field goal. One was a missed field goal. One was a punt after a Garcon drop. And one was a punt after taking over on their 1.

It really doesn't sound that bad.

A lot has been made of the Garcon drop on the Colt's third drive. At this point the Colts are up 10-3, 8 to go in the 2nd quarter, and the Saints have the ball on their own 28.

Yes it's a drop that hurts the Colts, but they still had the upper hand. Sure it's possible the Colts could have keep driving and scored a field goal or a touchdown. And yes, a touchdown on this drive puts the Colts up 17-3 in the first half. But the Saints had drops on their first two drives and got down 10-0. The Garcon drop was not the deciding play of the game.

Saints ball, 4th and 1, 1:55 remaining, down 10-3. Payton says go for it. Conventional wisdom would say kick for it in the first half. "Take the points." Announcers are quick to blame a coach for a decision like this that doesn't succeed. And it doesn't. The Saints have a 6-minute, 70 yard drive that results in nothing, and it seems as though Indy has all the momentum.

But up 7 and pinned on their own 1, the Colts don't execute a two-minute offense. They play conservative and try to run out the clock. Indy even runs on 3rd and 1, when the Saints were overplaying the run. The Saints call two timeouts while the Colts have the ball and end up getting it back at midfield with 35 seconds to go.

But against prevent defense, it's easy for Brees to get into field goal range and they get 3 points at the end of the half. Saints down 4.

Now think about if the Saints kick a field goal on 4th down. It's 10-6, but now Peyton gets the ball (probably around the 20) and they likely go into a two-minute offense only up 4. The way the Colts had been moving the ball, 3 or 7 points is likely. Could have been 17-6 if the Saints kick on 4th down.

But what if the Saints had scored a touchdown? They would have tied it at 10. Now it's impossible to say the result of the next Colts drive with 1:55 remaining. But they had scored on 2 of 3 drives so far, it's not a stretch to think that Peyton gets a touchdown there, making it 17-10.

What actually happened, pinning the Colts on their own 1, and scoring on the last possession of the first half, may actually have been a better result than scoring a touchdown. Counter-intuitive, sure, but the Saints effectively took away a Colts drive, keeping their score at 10. This gutsy call worked even when they got stuffed.

- - -

Speaking of taking away a Colts drive, the Saints opened the 2nd half in the riskiest way possible. Now there have been knee-jerk reactions that it wasn't risky because they practiced it and Payton was quoted as saying "we felt 60-70% confident we could get it." Modern sportswriters love to poke holes in conventional wisdom. (I am no different). In this instance, I'm calling bullshit. It was risky. And despite was Simmons tells you, it did fool the Colts. Baskett was lined up all the way on the left on the Saints 45 before the kick. By the time the ball is headed toward him, he's retreated to the 50. He has to turn and run back to the 45 and that's where it bounces off of him. (I'm not blaming him per se. The special teams coach, in the two weeks before playing Payton's Saints, should have been prepared for some sort of fake punt, field goal or onside kick.)

Once the Saints score on that drive, they've had 6 possessions, scoring on three of them. The Colts have had 4, but effectively 3 if you discount how they started on their own 1. The Colts were more efficient, but had 2/3 less possessions.

Case in point, even after the Saints scored, the Colts came back and retook the lead 17-13. The Colts defense held them to a field goal, and Indy had the lead at the start of the fourth 17-16, despite the difference in possessions.

With 12 minutes to go, Indy had the ball on the Saints' 32 up by one. Addai for 2. Screen to Collie for -3. Now it's 3rd and 11 from the 33. You have to be thinking about 4th down. Are you in 4th down territory? Can you kick a field goal from here? Is it better to get some yards to get up your kicker/4th down attempt?

Whoever calls the plays went for the first down, incomplete deep pass. And now you're left with a 4th and 11 or a 51-yard field goal. Neither one is a great option. They choose the field goal.

As I see this, I open my mouth, "They're going to kick a 51-yard field goal, on grass, with a 42-year old kicker? No way! He's going to shank this left! He'll shank it left."

Stover kicks it and it has the distance, and it looks good, but at the last second it shanks left.

Quick aside: If you've ever watched a football game with me, you know that anytime the team I'm rooting for is defending a field goal, I shout that kicker will shank it. Sometimes I've switched it up and said he'll push it to the right, but for 10 years I've been yelling SHANK at the tv. I think this is the first time it's ever actually happened. But my wife and her parents were pretty impressed that I called it exactly right.

The missed kick sets up the Saints on their own 41. The ensuing drive included six straight pass attempts by Brees and six straight completions. The longest was 9 yards. That's remarkable. And then Brees gets it to Shockey on the goal line and Lance Moore for two. In slow-motion it looks like an absolute conversion, in real-time it looks like an incomplete pass. Call could have gone either way and I was actually surprised that they overturned it, just because I thought you'd have to stick with the call on the field.

And than there's the pick six. Porter made a break on the ball and I suppose Wayne could have been there better, it's Manning who has to not throw it there. Could have been a big play if Peyton fakes it to that spot and hits Wayne over the top. As for the clipping, the Saints would have still had the ball at midfield with 3 minutes left. There would have been more drama, but the damage was done.

Actually, let's look at what Manning sees.

There are 4 Colt receivers and 5 Saint defenders in coverage. There are 6 Colt blockers and 6 Saints blitzing. The Colts picked it up well and gave Peyton enough time to get it off, although he's aware of the blitz and knows he has to throw it quickly. This is the moment that Peyton has his arm back to throw.

His receiver on the right seems open in man coverage. Clark has his man beat over the middle but there is one safety. His slot left receiver is open for short yardage, but it's 3rd and 5 and he's not deep enough yet. And there's Wayne on the left who's just put on the brakes, with his back still to Manning. If they had a stop and go called Wayne could have gotten by him for a big play. But Porter is in good position and sees Manning throwing right in front of him.

So my conclusion is that the Garcon drop hurt a little, the Manning interception was the killer, but what really determined this game was Sean Payton's calls to go for the fourth down and do the onside kick.

Oh and the Colts are 2-0 in Super Bowls wearing white, and now 0-2 when they wear blue. So that hurt.

- - -

Despite the Colts seeming to be more efficient up until the pick-six, I am not saying the Colts were the better team. The better team won. The Saints had better coaching and came up with the big plays when they needed them.

- - -

For a while, I've had this worry, that "what happens when your team wins it all?" Then what? Is it really worth all the blood and tears (mostly tears) I put into watching the Chiefs?

Back when the White Sox were in the Series and I had just moved to Chicago, I rooted for them to win it all. Mostly for Matt's sake. But when it happened, I didn't feel anything inside. I didn't care at all.

As I previously covered, I married into having a second NFL team. So there I was on Sunday, rooting for the Saints. And when they won and I saw the silver trophy being touched by all the players, I felt a glimpse of what that might feel like as a fan. And it was good.

It's something that can never be taken away from the Saints. And even though I can't buy a t-shirt or brag about it, it was a nice thing to feel. Even once removed.

- - -

One last story from Super Sunday. Brit's dad, Joe, came to watch the game wearing 4 layers of Saints t-shirts and a hoodie, plus a hat. And when they were down 10-0, he said it was time to make a strategic clothing change.

Some of the Saints shirts were recent Christmas presents from Brittany and I. But he was also wearing one shirt and hat that dating way back, to the era when they couldn't win a game and when fans wore paper bags on their heads. When they were called the Aints.

He took off the old hat and old shirt and said they were just remnants from an era of losing. And of course, as soon as he did, the Saints outscored the Colts 31-7 and won their first Super Bowl.

The Aints are just history now. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

earth foods update: post-challenge

I made it. (Mostly.) 28 days eating only foods from the earth.

In the last week or so, I was more lax about mayonnaise, and little things like that. I had two cans of Fresca. And on the 28th night I had a piece of crab rangoon.

I went most of the time without having any bread, before finding a loaf of Pepperidge Farm that satisfied my time. I still haven't had any sort of pasta in over a month. For the Super Bowl, we ordered deep dish pizza from Edwardo's. It was good. But one thing that's surprising, despite how many "foods" became off limits, is that it wasn't that hard to start, and it wasn't that shocking to eat pizza again.

Perhaps, because it was only 28 days, and I knew when it was ending that it wasn't as big of a deal as I expected.

- - -

One side effect that I expected, but wasn't the reason I started, was weight loss. It's true I did lose weight. But not at rates that I would have guessed.

The first week I lost 4.5 pounds.
The second week I lost 2 pounds.
The third week I lost 1 pound.
The fourth week I gained 1 pound.

All told, I lost 6.5 pounds in four weeks. But really it was in the first two weeks, and again really just the first week.

The explanation for the fourth week, is that I really didn't care about portions or limiting calories. I ended up going kind of nuts for roasted plantain chips and sweet/spicy sesame nuts.

The explanation for the first week, is I think mostly my body was burning calories at a high rate from the holiday-eatfest, so it was ready to shed pounds. Plus, I was eating more fruit and less nuts that week, and watching portions more closely.

So losing weight isn't as simple as just eating foods from the earth. You can't forget everything else you know about nutrition. But it is an interesting way to kick start. It could be the motivation you need for cutting out your specific vice whether it's cookies or chips or cheese.

- - -

So what does this mean moving forward?

Well even before I started I knew I wasn't going to quit eating burgers/sandwiches. Or say that I'll never eat another pizza or even candy.

But I have discovered some new foods and plan on making some lasting changes.

  • I've converted from eating a processed protein bar to eating natural oatmeal for breakfast, for the same amount of calories.
  • I think that I'll continue to use romaine leaves in place of bread when I can.
  • I like buying fresh burgers and fresh chicken drumsticks
  • Hummus on chicken and burgers, as well as oven fries should be regular items
  • And I discovered that making my own squash soup is fantastic, especially paired with some roasted chicken.
  • And in the snack department, why not reach for dried mango and plantain chips?

Monday, February 08, 2010

fantasy playoffs

This analysis should be pretty easy. There are three separate time periods that are selected independently of each other. So I'll look at the best and worst lineups that we had.

Wild Card

Best: Dave 146

Rodgers 39
Romo 17
Rice 27
Grant 7
Fitz 20
Austin 14
Heap 0
Crosby 9
Jets D 13

Worst: Mark 98

Rodgers 39
Romo 17
Barber 0
Grant 7
Moss 4
Driver 4
Celek 5
Crosby 9
Jets D 13


Best: Niraj 99

Rivers 21
Manning 17
Rice 12
Tomlinson 2
Austin 3
Rice 32
Clark 5
Suisham 3
Chargers D 4

Worst: Stevo 74

Rivers 21
Romo 7
Peterson 7
Wells 6
Fitz 7
Austin 3
Witten 9
Longwell 10
Chargers D 4

Conference/Super Bowl

Best: Mark 228

Brees 40
Manning 44
Thomas 35
Addai 27
Garcon 33
Colston 10
Clark 17
Stover 17
Colts D 5

Worst: Dave 150

Brees 40
Manning 44
Bush 14
Greene 4
Wayne 9
Colston 10
Shockey 7
Stover 17
Colts D 5


Mark only lost by 18. If he picks Ray Rice over Marion Barber in week 1, that's 27 points right there.

Mark outscored me by 78 in the final round. But we had 5 of the same players.

He had Thomas, Addai, Garcon, and Clark.
I had Bush, Greene, Wayne and Shockey.

So I lost by 46.

Thomas over Greene is 31. Garcon over Wayne is 24. That's 55 points riding on two choices, and the difference between first and fifth.

XLIV Commercials Recap

If you click on over to the USA Today Ad Meter site, you can watch all of the Super Bowl commercials, plus see how a panel of idiots viewers rated the ads.

- - -

At this point it's nothing but cliche to say that the Super Bowl commercials were dissapointing. Year after year we expect to see interesting funny bits in between the game, and year after year we are treated to a bunch of lame jokes and faux controversry.

One theme this year was hyper-machoness (which is not as good as hyper-nachoness). It's understandable given the audience, and it's a cumulative effect, but it's tiresome when Jim Nantz of all people is telling me to take off a skirt and buy a portable tv.

The other theme was underwear, and it didn't help that the Dockers "men without pants" spot ran directly after a spot with people in their underwear. But more on that later.

- - -

First up, the highest rated ad was the Snickers/Betty White. Betty's line was kind of funny, but I think it's uncreative to use "borrowed interest" like that. However the idea that a snickers will help you playing football sucks, and they didn't even pay it off--the guy who ate the snickers isn't the guy that sacks Abe Vigoda. The whole thing was pretty unmemorable for me and I was surprised that it was the highest rated one.

The most pervasive spots were Bud Light and Doritos. The Bud Light spots were consistent! They were terrible and uninspired all night, all revolving around a worthless new tagline. Even reading their captions "man joins book club for beer" and "scientists react to asteroid" bore me. The only way the Bud Light campaign was a good idea was if the CEO is in a Brewster's Millions situation. I give Doritos credit for being different but they should have stopped with the kid (#11) and the dog (#2) and scrapped the casket (#14) and wrestling (#17).

The Coke ones were almost good. E-trade gets a mild laugh, but it's old hat by now. The Bridgestone bachelor party and Audi weren't bad either. The Budweiser fences would have been better without the dialog that dumbed it down.

- - -

Now for my favorite ads. Even though the is a spot in an existing campaign, and it's not all that different from the fantastic Dos Equis campaign, this spot was the first one of the night that I was satisfied with. (#12)

I thought the Career Builder "casual friday" one was simple, hilarious, and had a nice tone. And the laughs were actually tied to the product in a memorable way. And yet it was #51 and the stupid ad with the beaver that made no sense was #10. I think it was hurt by the Dockers commercial that followed.

I loved the 5 second letterman spot with Leno in it. Hilarious.

And I also liked the Hyundai 2020 Favre MVP ad. They took a topical joke and turned it into something actually tied to the product in a memorable way. Of course it was rated #49.

- - -

I also liked the Google ad but thought it was stupid for them to do a Super Bowl Ad. They already own 80% of search and this didn't show why their search is any better. But it was well done.

Not only does no one care about GoDaddy but no one is actually outraged, so their whole campaign is a waste.

- - -

I got an work email about the San Francisco office's Docker spot. I actually saw a "wear the pants" poster series and loved it. Here's the tone of those posters:

Yes, it's hyper-macho, but I love it. It at least fits the brand (where as that stupid portable tv is more likely to be used by kids than spineless men).

So why didn't the tv work? (#59)

These guys are upbeat, singing proud to be pantsless. They look confident and sort of cool in that anti-cool, hipstery sort of way. If anything, this commercial seemed to be a commercial for "not pants." How much better would a voiceover of the above image had been? A lot.

Also, if your commercial is relying on the shock value of men in underpants, make sure it's not following a commercial full of men in underpants. Hurt the impact of both.

super bowl xliv picks recap

I wasn't at the official Chicagoland party, but here were the abbreviated results reported via Burnsy:

Stevo's Girlfriend 18 (party winner)
Mac 17
Niraj 14

- - -

That's great and all, but what about the rest of us?

Here are all the results that I know of:

Kirat 24
Brit's Dad 21 (off by 12)
Missy 21 (off by 20)
Laura 20
Brit 19
Stevo's Girlfriend 18
Dave 17 (off by 12)
Mac 17 (tiebreaker unknown)
Mark 16
Niraj 14

Considering that the best possible score is 28, Kirat did unbelievably well. Perhaps some of the questions went as you might expect (Saints going on 4th down, first td was passing) but most of these they could have gone either way, and picking Brees for MVP, when the Saints were 5 point underdogs? Wow.

The only questions he missed: he thought ad at 6pm, he thought there would be a score in the first 7 minutes, he thought Saints would score first, and he thought there would not be a defensive score. That's it.


Historical Winners:
XLIV Winner: Kirat
XLIII Winner: Niraj
XLII Winner: Kirat
XLI Winner: Brittany
XL Winner: Niraj

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

favorite cds from favorite bands

Since it would be too hard to try to pick my ten favorite albums, I thought it might be interesting to pick my favorite album by each of my ten favorite bands.

I'll arrange them chronologically.

Sublime: 40 oz. to Freedom (1992)

311: Grassroots (1994)

Weezer: Pinkerton (1996)

Alkaline Trio: Goddamnit (1998)

Dashboard Confessional: The Swiss Army Romance (2000)

Brand New: Deja Entendu (2003)

Motion City Soundtrack: Commit This to Memory (2005)

The Hold Steady: Boys and Girls in America (2006)

Ozma: Pasadena (2007)

Panic at the Disco: Pretty. Odd. (2008)

2010 census: favorite music

After reflecting on how much I love Ozma's Pasadena album, I realized that they have made it into the upper echelon of my favorite bands. Which got me thinking, what are my current favorite bands?

I started making a list and this is what it looked like (alphabetized, not a ranking order):

Alkaline Trio
Brand New
Dashboard Confessional
The Hold Steady
Motion City Soundtrack
Panic at the Disco

That seemed about right. And then I counted and saw that the list was 9. Which lead to me think, I'm only one away from having a top ten. So after a mild internal debate, I picked Sublime.

The next ten would look something like:

Vampire Weekend
The Get Up Kids
The Strokes
The Stereo
The Impossibles
The Anniversary
Forever the Sickest Kids
The Juliana Theory
Jimmy Eat World
Flickerstick or Cartel

(I haven't heard Vampire Weekend's new album yet and couldn't put them in the top ten based on just one cd. But almost did.)

Because I'm terribly, terribly nerdy, the next thing I thought of was to map where these bands were from, to see if there was any thing interesting.

- - -

Her are my current top ten:

And here's what happens when you expand the map to include the top 20:

- - -

A couple thoughts. So of the top 20, 4 in the New York area, and three are in the LA area. The band that Ozma is always compared to is Weezer, so it's interesting to see they are from the same place.

The Hold Steady while "from Brooklyn" have connections/lyrics about Minneapolis, where MCS and The Stereo are from. Also The Stereo has connections to Tempe, Arizona, the area of JimmyEatWorld.

Odd that the Kansas City/Lawrence area has produced more bands that I like than Chicago. Also, who actually lives in Las Vegas? That's pretty odd.

(Get it?)

Also, not pictured, but there are other Florida bands that I listen to besides DC. New Found Glory. But no one else will ever be from Omaha. Also, Juliana Theory from outside Pittsburgh? I would have guessed New England based on their lyrics, but steel country?

- - -

When it came time to title this post, I thought this would be a nice "state of the union" - time capsule sort of post. Something I could look back on later and know exactly what I was feeling at the time. So I've tagged it as the 2010 census and there might be more of these posts to come this year.

Monday, February 01, 2010

can't get enough ozma

Ozma split up in 2004, a few years after making an excellent record that I listed to throughout college.

They got back in 2007 to make Pasadena. And I can't stop listening to it. Selected highlights:

And just because it's so are some from their 2001 album:

HOW TO: make a spicy-sweet chicken panini

I've alluded to this before, but love this sandwich recipe I've created so much, that I thought it deserved this post.

This sandwich was inspired by cuban sandwiches, that are made with pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, and then pressed flat.

I've kicked it up a notch. (Incidentally, this was the first bread that I had in three weeks. I discovered that Pepperridge Farm makes a whole wheat bread without any non-earth ingredients.)

1. Lay two pieces of bread open. Spread one side with garlic mayo (easily made by stirring a significant amount of garlic powder in with mayonnaise) and "bread & butter sweet pickles."

2. Spread the other side with your favorite mustard (I like French's Honey) and sliced jalepenos.

3. Pile a layer of heated, roasted chicken (or roasted pork would work just as well) in the middle and assemble your two sides.

4. Time to press! You can go straight on to a panini press/George Foreman. But I know that my Foreman is "seasoned" with bits of crusted meat, salt, and pepper. Which is fine for grilling the chicken, but if I were to put this sandwich on my grill, the bread would absorb some blackened bits and not be good eats. So, in a flash of brilliance, I covered the sandwich in aluminum foil and grilled it for a few minutes.

If you don't have a machine and want to cook it in a skillet, you could, using some cooking spray. But you really need to press it down to get the full "cuban" effect of melding the ingredients into one cohesive taste.

The result is a sandwich that got the outside of the bread crispy, the inside soft (something a toaster couldn't do) and all the flavors combine into a delicious mix of sweet and spicy.

Plus, it's from the earth.