Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Ohhhh snap. It's N.C. State football game week!

Man, I really cannot wait. I'm so pumped for this season. In spite of all the drama surrounding the heart-breaking departure of Russell Wilson, I think this could be a solid season. I really do.

And here's the thing about Russell Wilson. I love him. I hope he wins the Heisman, and I'll be a Wisconsin Badgers fan all season because of him. But it was a lose-lose situation.

Tom O'Brien is trying to manage a program for the present and the future. Wilson was drafted in the fourth round of the MLB draft and was given a nice signing bonus -- $250,000, I believe. He was undecided about continuing to play football.

His backup last season, Mike Glennon, was the no. 3-rated quarterback coming out of high school a few years ago. If Wilson came back, Glennon might have transferred elsewhere since he only has two more years of eligibility.

So O'Brien was faced with a scenario where Wilson is the assumed starter, leading to Glennon transferring, and Wilson still could have chosen to play baseball. O'Brien didn't know Wilson definitely was playing football this season, and he wouldn't have known the answer before it was too late. He could have been without a quarterback this season or next season. How many years would that have set back N.C. State?

Rather than risk that scenario, O'Brien decided two years of Glennon was a safer bet than possibly one year of Wilson and who knows what next year. Obviously, now that we know Wilson is playing football this year, this all looks very silly. But remember, we didn't know that then.

Anyway, Wisconsin is on ESPN tomorrow night to open the season. I will gladly watch and cheer for Wilson. If I had a Russell Wilson jersey, I'd most definitely wear it. Let's go Russell!

All that said, it's hard not to be excited about Glennon's potential. For now, I'm choosing to trust in O'Brien and his ability to develop offensive linemen and quarterbacks. No reason not to at the moment.

Now the schedule for this season sets up very nicely early in the season for breaking in a new starting quarterback.

09/03/11 vs. Liberty
09/10/11 at Wake Forest
09/17/11 vs. South Alabama
09/22/11 at Cincinnati
10/01/11 vs. Georgia Tech
10/08/11 vs. Central Michigan
10/22/11 at Virginia
10/29/11 at Florida State
11/05/11 vs. North Carolina
11/12/11 at Boston College
11/19/11 vs. Clemson
11/26/11 vs. Maryland

Looking at the schedule, my most pessimistic prediction is 5-7, and my most optimistic prediction is either 9-3 or 10-2. Nothing between those two extremes would surprise me. I won't bother picking individual games, but looking at the first seven games -- I'm not saying we'll win them all, but that's as manageable a start to the season as you're going to get.

The defense is going to miss Nate Irving something serious. That was one bad, bad man. But I feel good about the potential of Terrell Manning and Audie Cole to fill in for Irving in terms of being the soul of the defense.

I just really can't wait to get back to Raleigh for a few home games and some LEGIT tailgating. I've seen some games at a few places around the ACC, and I have to say, there is absolutely nothing like game day at Carter-Finley. The tailgating, the energy flowing through the crowd, the electricity in the stadium, the team entrance -- dammit I'm getting fired up.

I will leave you with two N.C. State football videos that will undoubtedly fire you up as well. The first is the "Three-Levels Deep" video that's been circulating Facebook and the message boards for a few weeks.

The second is maybe my favorite entrance video we've ever had. Yes, I know "Boom" is not a great song, but it definitely works in this video.

Maaan. If you're not fired up for some State football right now, you have no soul.

Go. State.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Accountability and Affirmation, Baby Part 4

I mentioned this briefly last week, but it warrants repeating: 2011 has been one of the most challenging years I have ever faced.

Almost everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and in spectacular fashion. For the first few months of the year, I let it all get to me. It was awful. I felt awful. I didn't want to do anything. I didn't do anything. Again, awful.

Since then, however! World of difference! The way I have lived since mid-April is the reason I can't really say this is the worst year. It hasn't been THAT bad, really, aside from, you know, one glaring thing. And the job situation.

In the end, I have my health. That's more than a lot of people can say. Not only do I have my health, but I'm healthier and in better shape than at almost any other point in my life. And oh boy have I been working on my health.

So! This morning, after walking Allie but before running my four miles I weighed in at 190. AFTER the run, I weighed in at 188, but running four miles will lead to some water weight loss and not actual weight loss. Still, it's pretty fucking amazing to be within shouting distance of the 180s, which I have not seen in at least five years. Especially considering I was within shouting distance of the 230s just a scant four months ago. *Shudders*

Anyway, I will say I'm officially 190 now. Incredible. I'm only 10 pounds away from the goal I set for myself. I've lost 37 pounds! That's ridiculous!

When I really started to get going with this, my friend Mike told me I'd get down to my goal weight and then not want to stop. He went through a similar weight-loss at one point, and he said he ended up losing another 20 or so pounds after reaching his "goal."

Well, I have to agree. Don't get me wrong: I am super pumped about everything -- the way I feel, the way I look, how great I've been at watching what I eat, how I've been able to keep up with my gym routine. Great success. But I still have eyes. And I can look down and see what's still remaining. I've still got 10 pounds to go before the goal weight, but I might want to go another 10 or 15 below that. We'll see!

So here's my belt. Four months ago (and for a couple months before that), I was regularly using the second-to-last hole on the right (i.e. from needing a bigger fucking belt). Now? I'm on the last hole on the left (i.e. from needing a smaller belt)!!

And I'm going to need a new belt soon! This one is still OK for now, but there's room to spare when it pull it all the way to the last hole. Maybe I'll make my own hole there before I buy a new one. But you know. BOOM. Feels good, man.

You know what else is awesome? I'll tell you. Do you know what an Adonis belt is? Well, you know the muscle lines that begin right at the hips and slant down and inward? I HAS THEM. Well, I have the beginnings of them haha. In my life, I've never seen these on myself before, so this is pretty huge breaking news.

It's when you see visual evidence like that that reminds you why you're doing this -- nothing better. I've talked about it before, but it feels like a shot of adrenaline. It is AFFIRMATION, BABY. You know you're doing something right, and it's worth all the work and discipline. My God is it ever worth it.

One of the regrets I had was I never knew what my body fat percentage was. Well, this weekend I finally bought a scale that also calculates body fat percentage. AND I found a formula online that calculates body fat percentage based on your body mass index (BMI). Well, the website where I track everything,, has a handy tool where you enter your height and weight, and it tells you your BMI.

So using the formula, I figured out I had a body fat percentage of approximately 30 percent when I was 227 pounds. Now, I have no way of knowing how accurate that is, but as a ballpark starting point, it'll do. What that means is 30 percent of my body weight was fat. Gross. Man.

After I ran today, I stepped on my scale. Body fat percentage today? 22.5 percent. I've cut 7.5 points off my body fat percentage in four months. The American Council on Exercise has a guide for what a person's body fat percentage should be. For guys, obese is 25 percent and up. Average is 18 to 24 percent. Fitness is 14 to 17 percent.

Obviously, when I started, I was firmly in the obese category. I mean. Yikes, you know? I've moved myself down into the average category now, so that's awesome. Ideally, I'd like to get to 15 or 16 percent. After the past four months, I think I could get down to the athlete category (6 to 13 percent), but that just doesn't seem like much fun. I'm Italian, man. I gotta eat some fun food every now and then.

If I can get to the fitness category, I think that'll do just fine for me. But we'll have to see how it goes, of course. If I get down to 175, 170 or 165, and I'm happy with how I look and feel, then that's cool, too.

So yeah, it gives me another metric to use to track my progress, and I'm thoroughly excited about that.

Also, I've taken to running outside again. I've been sticking to the treadmill for a variety of reasons. But Saturday, when we were getting the outskirts of Hurricane Irene, it was so pleasant outside. A cool breeze and a cool, light rain. It felt so good. It was ideal for running in the rain, which is something I've found I quite enjoy, unless the temperatures are in the mid-50s like for my half-marathon.

And I did. I ran four miles on Saturday evening, and it was the single most enjoyable run I've had in a long time. It just felt so damn good. Also, last year, I ran a 5K in my neighborhood. Like, I could walk to it. Well turns out, that 5K is this coming Saturday. My friend Laura was talking to me about wanting to run in a 5K in her hometown, and it reminded me of this one. So I registered for it!

Now, since I've been running on a treadmill for a few months, I figured I should run outside for a little while just to make sure it's not a shock. I ran four miles on Saturday and four miles today, and I'll run another four miles on Wednesday. Then I'll take a break and just wait for the Saturday-morning race. CAN'T WAIT.

A couple other things:
  • I spent much of Sunday downtown with Matty P. We went to lunch at Chipotle and then saw Harry Potter 7-2. Loved the movie, but I'm a big HP fan. At Chipotle, for the first time ever, I could not finish my burrito. I ate two-thirds of it, and I just couldn't do any more. My stomach is shrinking I guess, right? Hell, I'll take it. I do find I just don't feel the need to eat anywhere close to as much as I used to. Who loves it? THIS GUY.
  • Sadly, what was once my favorite T-shirt for just hanging around the apartment or running errands has now become rather billowy on me. I'm shrinking, and the shirt is too big now. I'm running into this problem a lot more often lately. #humblebrag
  • Tattoo update: If you've stopped by my Facebook wall, you've seen a multitude of friends expressing support for getting the Italian translation of "Let's go!" (Andiamo!) as my next tattoo. I spoke to my friend who is fluent in Italian, and she said the Google Translate version of "Keep calm, and carry on" is technically correct, but because of the phrasing, there's really no way to capture the meaning exactly. See? This is why I asked someone who knows the language. And you know what? I don't hate "Andiamo." My Raleigh friends and I say "let's go" all. the. time. It's an expression of excitement, optimism, glee and just generally feeling really fucking good. And honestly, it's much more my personality than "keep calm, and carry on." Like I said last week, nothing is imminent. Just thinking things through.
That's all I've got for now! As always, check back on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for new posts. I've done a pretty solid job of keeping to that schedule for a while now, and I don't anticipate stopping.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who stops by and takes the time to read, send me messages or post comments. I love each and every one of you for it.


Friday, August 26, 2011

I Want Another Tattoo

That headline is not a surprise at all if you've known me for any significant amount of time. For those of you who do not know, yes, I do have a tattoo, as seen on the left. Even Blade thinks it's a pretty cool tattoo, as he's checking it out over my shoulder.

It's a Star of David with a cross in the middle. I have a necklace I've worn since I was very, very young that has that as the charm. Once I turned 20, I'd toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo, but I never really thought too much about it. Well, I began to realize the necklace would actually make a pretty good one because of how much it means to me. One day my sister and I decided it was time to get tattoos. My parents were totally on board. They took us to the place, paid for them and watched intently the entire time.

It was actually almost exactly eight years ago. We went sometime in August 2003.

And, yes, OK. I did pass out while I was getting mine done. IN MY DEFENSE, though, I hadn't had anything to eat that day, and it was really hot in the tattoo shop. And, oh by the way, shit hurts, man. They say it doesn't hurt anymore than a cat scratch. And, while that may be true, most cat scratches don't last for an hour. So you know, an hour. Anyway, I had a Coke, and they gave me a fan, and I was good to go the rest of the time.

While I was sitting down, the guy said, you're going to get addicted to this, and you'll want more, guaranteed. I called bullshit afterward. No way I'd voluntarily go through that again.


Just a few days later, I'd forgotten what it felt like, and I started kind of thinking about maybe getting another one. But my whole thing with tattoos is I always want it to be something that means something to me. The Star of David/cross has a lot of meaning to me. I'll never get tired of it, no matter how old I am.

I've never been able to think of something that would be equally special to me, so eight years later, I haven't gotten another tattoo.

When my grandmother died seven years ago, I thought I'd get something in remembrance of her. She was Italian, and her name was Rose. So I thought, why not the Italian word for rose? Well it turns out the Italian word for rose is "rosa."

And that means I would have had some random woman's name tattooed on me. That would have been fun to explain to anyone who saw it (especially girls). Because the only real way to explain that one is to tell the story of my grandmother's death and talk about a Debbie Downer.

So that was out.

Other than that, I haven't had any good ideas in the seven years since. But I've still wanted to get a second tattoo.

Now. It is NO secret that 2011 has been one of the more...challenging years I've ever had. It's been one kick in the nuts after another for the better part of eight months. Started in January, and it's hardly slowed down since.

Given all that, I am extremely proud of the way I've held on, made innumerable changes to myself for the better and even thrived in so many ways. In the face of some of the most difficult challenges I've ever had to face, I stood up, fought back and thrived.

The phrase "keep calm, and carry on" has gotten me through a lot. I've been saying it to myself a hell of a lot lately, and it keeps me focused and keeps me centered.

So, remembering the idea for the Italian translation of rose, I looked up the Italian translation of keep calm, and carry on. According to Google Translate, it's "mantenere la calma e continuare." And you know, the more I think about it, the more I like this idea.

Not everyone will agree, I'm sure. I already had a nice little disagreement with Katie on gchat about this haha. She's steadfastly against too many tattoos. Whereas my friend Laura is more of a fan of the idea.

I have a few thoughts here. I'm not a huge fan of cheesy, highly visible tattoos. To each their own, of course. If your tattoos are visible, and they mean something to you, that's awesome. I would prefer any tattoos I have to be easily covered for work purposes. And since this phrase means a great deal to me now, I feel like it would be appropriate, similar to the one I already have.

As for where it goes, I'm thinking either on the back of my left shoulder to balance the other one, or perhaps on my left bicep. That way, I could still very easily cover it for work, and I could still see it as well. I figure it would go lengthwise, going in the direction of my elbow to my shoulder. Not necessarily starting AT my elbow, of course, just that direction.

Thankfully, one of my sister's best friends is fluent in Italian. While I'm sure Google Translate does a good job, if there's any chance this might be inked into my skin, I'd like a second opinion from someone who, you know, speaks the language.

I feel like I should add I have no intention of getting more after this one (if I even get this one). Just one more, and I think I'll be good. Hell, it's taken me eight years to come up with an idea for a second. I don't have the energy to try for more.

So that's what I'm thinking right now. It's obviously not going to happen immediately or anything. But the more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. Good idea for a tattoo? Bad idea? Good location ideas? Let me know!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

MTV Challenge: Rivals

On Tuesday, I was in the process of contemplating what I was going to write for Wednesday's post, and for a variety of reasons, I just wasn't feeling it.

Then, my friend Mike (of the blog, PPD, Rain) gchats me that he has a pretty solid idea for a blog entry. He wanted to do a running diary of the finale for the Rivals Challenge on MTV. "Do you want to do a joint post about it?"

Do I?!

Now, this show is most definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, so I knew this was a brilliant idea. We immediately agreed no one else would care about this but us, but they're our blogs, so screw it.

Funny story about Mike and me. We started out as just mutual acquaintances who played in the same fantasy baseball league. Then, we realized we're probably two of the biggest baseball fans we each know, so we started talking on gchat pretty much every day. We've gotten to be pretty good friends now, and we've only met in person, like, two or three times total. Lulz.

Anyway, we hopped on gchat last night for the 10 p.m. finale and talked about it for a good hour and 15 minutes or so. Below is the chat transcript, which starts at 9:55 p.m. and goes through around 11:10 p.m. or so.

The only editing I did was to remove unnecessary spaces and very light grammar corrections just to make sure it was, you know, readable.

So read up below, and be sure to check out Mike's blog, PPD, Rain, for his super excellent stories.

Brian: So we've got about five minutes before what I can only imagine will be the incredible finale to Challenge: Rivals. Gotta say, I'm not that happy about catching the last five minutes of Teen Mom.

Mike: Just let me know when I should turn...they are still talking about the "fatigue" game on ESPNU about the U. I think Mike Irvin just robbed someone.

Brian: I hated changing the channel off of that, they were just talking about when Irvin was challenging some hitmen to a gunfight. Interesting decisions and the people who make them.

Mike: OK off to MTV!

Brian: so any preliminary thoughts?

Mike: OK I think we should give odds. So the players are..Mike and Leroy, Kenny and Wes, Johnny and Tyler.

Brian: I think it's Johnny and Tyler's to lose. The previews last week made it seem like Wes hurts himself in this one, which, by the way, I'm all for. NOT a Wes fan.

Mike: well he was a pansy in a previous elimination challenge.

Brian: yeah see I hate that I've only seen the past two challenges. But here's the thing for me, I'm a HUGE fan of CT, and that's hard for me to say given his Boston connection. But he was just such a badass, I couldn't help myself

Mike: true. OK so I think Johnny and Tyler are the favorites

Brian: Agreed, but I'll be rooting hardcore for Mike/Leroy

Mike: yeah me too. I love Mike. he is the everyman. he hasn't done steroids, or at least he hides it really well.

Brian: plus, he's not in the ridiculous alliance. and here's another strike for Wes in my book. I may or may not be (but definitely am) in love with Cara Maria. I can't explain it, but there it is, and Wes gave her WAY too hard of a time for no reason

Mike: she looks like she hasn't showered in weeks. OK here we go!

Brian: heck yes. LET'S GO

Mike: so how about in the girls? you're obviously pulling for Cara Maria and Laurel

Brian: yes definitely, but it's hard to see how Evelyn/Paula aren't the favorites

Mike: yeah I hate Paula. I think I'm pulling for Jenn and Mandi

Brian: yeah I'm indifferent on Paula, but I also have a crush on Evelyn, who I'm told is a lesbian

Mike: yea it seems like I remember that, but I could have made it up. OK Johnny and Tyler look great in the kayak

Brian: ever been kayaking? kayaking is tough man. what a workout

Mike: yeah we just signed up for an adventure race that we have to kayak 11 miles

Brian: whew that's no joke

Mike: yeah we'll see

Brian: and now they have to carry boulders around. I would LOVE to be in the MTV meetings when they're coming up with this stuff

Mike: I would like to see how much roids these guys take to be able to run and lift a ton of things

Mike: I hate the memory challenges. I would be AWFUL

Brian: yeah that's ridiculous and then to have to run and do all that nonsense. I have absolutely no confidence in my ability to memorize the physical location of all those items in the campsite

Brian: look at Mike using his brain! breaking the rock to spread the weight around

Mike: yeah I’m liking their chances here. the memorization seems like it SHOULD be a strength of his

Brian: at some point, we have to consider this is just plain cruel, right? I mean, shoveling dirt into a wheel barrow

Mike: it's America’s 5th major sport!

Brian: haha and then Wes accidentally breaks the rock. what an ape

Mike: WOW building a tent

Brian: oh man. I don't believe I've ever successfully built a tent

Mike: me either. I've never been camping

Brian: WOW they have to go all the way back if they don't get the campsite exactly identical

Mike: and I'm completely okay with that

Brian: and commercial. thoughts so far?

Mike: OK at the first break I think this is not as crazy as ones I’ve seen in the past, but I like where it's heading. I think the memory challenge could be the difference maker

Brian: oh yeah

Mike: if Mike and Leroy get it...they will win

Brian: well we just saw the most physically intimidating female team (Evelyn and Paula) has to go all the way back and restudy the campsite

Brian: if Cara Maria can get over Laurel whispering in her ear how this is the most important thing in her life...geez, and you're totally right about Mike and Leroy. Mike knows he's not as athletic as the other guys, but he's got the brain challenges for sure.

Mike: yep

Brian: and you know Wes is going to screw up the campsite memory game. and we're back! here we go.

Brian: ah poor Cara Maria and Laurel going back

Mike: and Jenn is crying

Brian: Wes. my god. on what planet is walking around with broken pieces of rocks in your SOCKS a good idea?

Mike: I do love those rocks in his socks, and where are Mike and Leroy??

Brian: OK, I would be remiss if I did not express great joy at the uniforms the females have to wear

Mike: "who the f*** goes camping" love that

Brian: haha YES. let's go Mike and Leroy! Wow Jenn and Mandy's tent wasn't even standing completely

Mike: "everything wrong"

Brian: LET'S GO CARA MARIA AND LAUREL! oh man I am PUMPED. I love you Cara. and Wes and Kenny and Johnny and Tyler are getting sent back again. C'moooon Mike and Leroy

Mike: this is huge for them

Brian: there you go boys. next commercial break and Jenn is having a breakdown

Mike: yep. she's been breaking down for awhile. they are done

Brian: yup

Mike: 0 dollars

Brian: I mean, food poisoning. I can't believe she and Tyler are this far

Brian: now that last segment, the way it was edited – did Leroy and Mike have to go back at all?

Mike: I don't think so, but the other two did right?

Brian: yeah at least twice each I think, but it seemed like Mike and Leroy STILL got out in third with the editing on that

Mike: at least twice?

Brian: well, not MORE than twice. twice each

Mike: but maybe thrice?

Brian: can't rule it out

Mike: should we rewind and see?

Brian: nah, not THAT important

Mike: agreed.

Brian: I have to say, I like having the commercials to kind of reflect on what has happened so far, which is surprising. I expected to be annoyed #firstworldproblems

Mike: ok we're back!

Brian: oh my GOD. an eating challenge

Mike: I bet they have to eat it all. yep!

Brian: WOW

Mike: this is not going to end well

Brian: no way

Mike: food poisoning too

Brian: Cara speaking of "getting it and getting it and getting it and getting it.” THAT IS WHAT SHE SAID

Mike: hahaha

Mike: this is some heavy food too

Brian: I'm with Kenny there. I’m an Italian from NJ. I could totally do this if it were just isolated, but with the physical stuff afterward, no way.

Mike: as a 2-time Krispy Kreme challenge completer, it's tough

Brian: oh wow. Krispy Kreme challenge is LEGIT

Mike: Leroy and Mike still aren’t there yet

Brian: just showing up. I can't believe they were so far behind

Mike: yeah me either

Brian: I'm having some gagging issues over here


Brian: I have not vomited in nearly 20 years. it's kind of a phobia for me now, but if I see it, hear it or smell it, I start gagging

Mike: I actually don't even mind it too much. I would rather do it then feel terrible.

Mike: oh gross. I liked TV better when they couldn't show this stuff

Brian: aaand I'm back. covered my eyes and ears for a bit

Mike: and Wes is down!

Brian: oh WOW that is seriously bizarre

Mike: oh my gosh

Brian: what in the WORLD is going on with Wes' knee?

Mike: I have no idea what that was, but he should be drinking some gatorade or something

Mike: GIVE THE MAN A GEL -- side note...those things are amazing and have gotten me through several races

Brian: I don't feel as good about Mike/Leroy anymore

Brian: and Kenny is carrying Wes. well then

Mike: I’m still putting Mike and Leroy in 2nd. Wes is such a pansy

Brian: I hate Wes. I like Kenny though

Mike: yeah me too

Brian: I had no idea what their beef was, but my sister filled me in. apparently Wes had a fiance and was a total DICK to her. and then Kenny slept with her or something. ON A CHALLENGE SHOW

Brian: hey oh

Mike: haha yeah I had forgotten that

Brian: that's a LEGIT rival thing. these others are all like, "so and so talked shit behind my back"

Mike: Ev and Paula look good so far

Brian: yeah man, they're setting the female pace, it seems. oh WOW. spending the night!

Mike: IN THE MORNING. let's go!

Brian: twist!

Mike: I’m really surprised they didn't make this last another week

Brian: I know! it seems like there is so much they could have shown. and let's be serious, I totally would have watched

Mike: of course. we would have done this 2 straight weeks

Brian: haha YES

Mike: and we probably would have half the readers next week. what's half of 1?

Brian: I feel like it's appropriate to point out right now that we understand we're the only ones who care about this at all. but when you suggested doing this, I was blown away by the brilliance of the idea

Mike: yeah people definitely aren't reading this anymore

Brian: yeah can you believe Nick is such an idiot

Mike: Does nick even read our blogs?

Brian: Doubt it!

Mike: not a chance


Mike: he's a top 10 friend for letting you down

Brian: then again, he can't be bothered to hop on gchat more than once every two weeks

Mike: yep

Brian: and we're back!

Mike: yes! sleep or stand. so they are pretty much making everything even. so what are the rules here?

Brian: WOW. sounds like they switch every hour. one person standing on the rock, one person "sleeping"

Mike: oh wow

Brian: wow...DQed. Jenn and Mandi. DONE

Mike: and DONE. Jenn has to be 35

Brian: when they have to stop a team because it would be too dangerous to continue...whew. hey this means Cara Maria and Laurel are getting some money! let's go!

Mike: so who are you betting on now?

Brian: man I don't know...this is a hell of a twist. completely resets the race

Mike: yep

Brian: oh my god. that's not a very big rock to stand on

Mike: nope. this is going to get interesting

Brian: ohhh I see. they switch when someone falls off the rock

Mike: oh ok

Brian: HECK YES Cara Maria. that's right, be satisfied because Wes sucks

Mike: Kenny is a bad partner by berating Wes

Brian: right. Wes is the worst. Wes wouldn't have even gotten that far if Kenny didn't LITERALLY carry his lame ass

Brian: I'm liking Wes less and less the more I watch. he can dish it out, but as soon as someone turns the spotlight on him. can't hang

Mike: his best moment was when it was him and a girl in a challenge....they went to the elimination every single week and dominated

Brian: gah I'm so upset it took me so long to get into this show. it's on the DVR schedule from now on though

Mike: haha

Brian: I have to say, I can't help but wonder how much more awesome this would be if CT were still going

Mike: I think Adam would have folded by now

Brian: probably so

Mike: CT would have carried him though

Brian: no doubt. dude is a serious monster. big fan of his

Mike: Leroy is a champ

Brian: I can't believe Leroy is thinking of food after that eating challenge. yeah Leroy will be LEGIT going forward

Mike: he's definitely earned some respect

Brian: that's a HUGE mountain. wow racing to the top

Mike: oh wow and only a 2-minute head start after winning the day before

Brian: after everything they did the previous day, and it only gives you 2 minutes? geez

Brian: C'MON MIKE, don't quit

Mike: Mike and Leroy are done

Brian: yeah I can't imagine them finishing in the money, but don't quit. TJ doesn't like quitters.


Mike: haha I’m indifferent in the girls

Brian: how long before Wes breaks down? soon, right? haha

Mike: you'd think so. wow Mike and Leroy are quitting!

Brian: damn but you know when TJ even admits it's OK to quit, it's going to be terrible

Mike: Mike was a beast this challenge

Brian: this mountain is ridiculous. I can't even imagine climbing this thing for a several hours

Mike: wasn't it like 4 hours?

Brian: YES

Mike: jeez

Brian: ridiculous. so here's what I'm thinking so far. I hate Wes, but I like Kenny a lot, so they cancel each other out. and I don't have any strong feelings toward Johnny or Tyler

Mike: yeah I hated Johnny in previous challenges. he and Kenny were together. they both put Wes in the elimination round every time

Brian: now with the girls. obviously Evelyn and Paula are a stronger team. they're built for success for the duration of a long challenge

Mike: I think it's a no brainer that they win but Paula has never won anything, so there’s that.

Brian: well and with the way this race keeps resetting and eliminating advantages, and with how strong a player Laurel is...she could absolutely pick Cara up for a short-term burst

Mike: haha I don't think they'll do that

Brian: haha I don't mean LITERALLY pick her up, but you know

Mike: WOW Johnny and Tyler

Brian: wow Johnny and Tyler find their key and start racing to the box at the top of the mountain

Mike: oh this is close

Brian: Coming down to the wire

Mike: this is definitely the closest I’ve seen

Brian: Johnny and Tyler take the win! I'm happy with that result

Mike: it's funny how they get so excited about 100k, 50k a piece. It’s a lot of money, but I mean that's not a great year haha

Brian: haha yeah not for what they have to go through. damn Paula and Evelyn take it for the girls

Mike: I mean it's worth 50k. I’d do that for 50k

Brian: yeah well I have a heights thing. I don't know if I could do it

Mike: for 50k? you would do it.

Mike: Ev and Paula are still hugging. kind of awkward

Brian: hey my girl Cara got second place. that's not bad at all. I'll take that

Mike: yep. you got to watch her for 2 months

Brian: exactly right!

Mike: here is the question...will you watch the reunion show next week?

Brian: YES. of course I will

Mike: I HATE the reunion shows. well mainly I hate the hosts

Brian: yeah that's hard to argue with. so any final thoughts on this season?

Mike: well I enjoyed it

Brian: absolutely

Mike: I loved the dynamic between the rivals but I felt like you said was all very petty. no one really HATED each other. other than Kenny and Wes

Brian: maybe CT and Adam

Mike: yeah

Brian: they had some legit fights

Mike: CT tried to make up with him though. and Adam blew that last challenge

Brian: haha yes "are we friends yet?"

Mike: I don't know why CT didn't try and tackle Tyler

Brian: I know right. see my only CT experience was last year when they brought him in as a ringer for one of the Gulag elimination games. and he DESTROYED Johnny and Tyler

Mike: oh that was crazy

Brian: yeah so I really enjoyed this season. there wasn't nearly as much drama as I thought there'd be

Mike: yeah definitely

Brian: but when you are forced to work with people you supposedly hate and the prize is a shit-ton of money. it's going to heal some wounds

Mike: haha. this is true

Brian: well since only you and I will be reading this post down this far, we might as well wrap it up. this was excellent idea

Mike: I agree

Brian: maybe next time we'll pick something even FEWER people are interested in

Mike: we should never do it again haha

Mike: So before we go... how many clicks will we get and what is the average time people will view it total?

Brian: haha...well I think we'll get a normal amount of clicks because there are people who regularly read, and we might get a few cross-over clicks

Mike: I love those

Brian: I wish there was a way to track how many people read all the way to the bottom haha. no way it's more than 5 TOTAL across both blogs

Mike: yeah I’d maybe say less than that

Brian: WORTH IT.

Mike: YES

And there you have it. If you've made it down this far, wow. You are truly dedicated. You should leave a comment or something just so I know who actually read the whole thing haha. Congrats to you, and thank you, thank you for reading as always.

Back tomorrow!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Seeking a Band

Marginally talented drummer seeks similarly semi-serious band for jamming and live shows

6/8 time signatures
Triplet-note drum solos/fills
China crash cymbals
Splash cymbals
Off-beat hi-hat ska beats
Fun music that gets people dancing
Drum intro from "That Thing You Do"

Not being able to use my double-bass pedal properly (read: at all)
Slow, super-serious, not fun music
Taking oneself too seriously

I spent Saturday night at a bar in Bethesda, watching a band that featured a coworker of my friend Katie. They were pretty good, and live music is always fun. Plus, I met a bunch more local N.C. State people who I'll undoubtedly be hanging out with a lot more often once flag football season gets started in a few weeks.

It was, predictably, beyond ridiculous, which is sort of becoming a theme when I go out with my friends now. I'll take it. Anyway, I had a really, really great time.

These guys were playing music. Just for fun. Just hanging out, playing a few songs in a bar with people watching and dancing and having a good time. So as I was watching this band play, it struck me. They're not doing anything I can't do.

Hell, I have done it. Not in a bar or anything, but I've played in a band. I've written and co-written songs. I've played in front of people. And the thing is, I'm better now than I was then, you know?

Here's my set. It's a great five-piece Pearl kit with some roto-toms (which, truthfully, I hardly ever use) that came with it when I bought it used from the music store where I used to work.

I've got 14" hi-hats, two 16" crash cymbals and a 20" ride. My wishlist includes a 10" splash cymbal and an 18" China crash, but those have been on my wishlist for going on a decade haha.

I've had it for probably eight or nine years now, and I absolutely love it. It sounds great for what I want to do, and it didn't break the bank to acquire it.

I know my skill level on the drums. I understand my limits. People who have heard me tend to tell me I'm pretty good, I guess. But, you know, what else are they going to tell me? I am less confident than they are, but I appreciate the kind words.

But I know what I can and cannot do behind a kit. I play to my strengths, and I don't try to do too much. I stick to what I know. And that's really the key. Don't overreach, do what you do and do it well. I feel like I can do that.

So what do I really want?

I just want to play some music, man. I want to find a band that plays a few gigs a month around the DC-area and mixes awesome covers with a few original songs. I want to find some people who are in it to have a good time and just play.

Because here's the thing: it was the most fun I've ever had, so why not? What on earth is stopping me? I mean, other than talent, drive and determination, of course. I kid, I kid. But seriously. What's stopping me? There isn't anything stopping me other than I simply haven't ever thought to try before.

Can you even imagine? Going to band practices and jamming with other people again. Playing live shows in front of actual audiences. Writing music again. I'm getting the chills just thinking about it.

A while back, I asked for feedback on what kinds of posts people would want to read, and Erik's dad suggested a post about something I've always wanted to do, but haven't and why. While I still plan on writing that post, playing music in a real band again would be A-No. 1 on that list. Why haven't I? No real good reason.

So there you go. I'm going to start looking around Craigslist for a fun situation, and I'll start contacting people as soon as this job thing is settled. Maybe I'll even post an ad using the description up at the top. I bet that would get a few hits.

To all my DC-area friends: do you know of a fun band looking for a drummer? Let me know! I'm totally in.


Friday, August 19, 2011


Funny thing about me: I'm very rarely speechless. Verbose may be the best descriptor ever used to describe me. Ask my friend Clark about the time I submitted a 1,200-word column on a football game I covered. It should have been in the 500-600 word range. Whoops.

I usually don't have a very hard time coming up with things to say or to write, and I have opinions about almost everything (even if I don't necessarily articulate them at every moment of the day [restraint, my friends -- a valuable skill]). Those are several reasons why I've always enjoyed being a "writer."

It's a wonderful outlet for when I have things to say (which is often), even if the number of people who care about those things can be counted on one hand (which is also often).

Imagine my surprise when I sat down to write for the blog today, and I had nothing. I don't have anything particularly funny or interesting to say (not that anything I ever say is particularly funny or interesting, mind you), which is both pretty funny and interesting to me, anyway. I have a list of 20 or so ideas for posts sketched out, but none of them really excited me today.

I'm honestly pretty shocked I've been able to keep up with the three-times-a-week writing schedule, with only a couple slips, for almost three full months now. Anyway.

So there you go. This post is about to get a little stream-of-consciousnessy. Continue at your own risk.

I was so blown away by the response to my story about The Cycle. Google Analytics tells me the blog received the second-most traffic yesterday behind only my (500) Days of Summer break-up post. That's so awesome. I loved writing that story yesterday. I seriously loved playing in a band, even if it was only for a brief time.

You know, maybe I should hop on Craigslist and see if there are any fun bands around here looking for a drummer. I'm not trying to join a super-serious, pretentious band or anything. I seriously doubt I'm good enough to play in a band like that. I just want to play some fun music that gets people dancing. I'm going to have to think about this one. Not a bad idea.

I just saw a new show on BBC America called "The Hour." Let me tell you this. I think it's going to be awesome. The pilot just aired a day or two ago. But it's set in 1950s England at the BBC as the network tries to launch a new news program.

Because of the time period in which it's set, it kind of has a Mad Men-esque vibe going on, which I'm obviously a fan of because I love Mad Men. McNulty from The Wire stars in the "Don Draper" role. My only gripe is BBC America is not available in HD (I know, #firstworldproblems). It's just really distracting on a 55-inch HDTV (#humblebrag, to continue the out-of-place hash tag trend). Oh well. DVR is set. I'll have to deal.

So last night, my friends and I went to Front Page for happy hour because they've got some pretty good specials there on Thursday nights ($2 Miller Lites, Corona and Corona Lights, as well as free tacos). I didn't get any tacos though. They ran out. I love when I can go out and have a really good time for like $16. And I like it even MORE when it doesn't lead to any weight gain the next day.

Yes, I weighed in for the third consecutive day at 193 for a loss of 34 pounds. I'll take it! I really wish my ribs would stop hurting so I can get back to running and lifting the way I want to. I'm just too scared to try anything in the gym with my ribs hurting the way they are.

I'm definitely taking it easy tonight because TOMORROW one of the Katies has a friend in a band, and that band is playing somewhere in Bethesda! It almost doesn't matter what kind of music it is. I just like to go listen to live music. It'll be a good time, for SHO. And then we'll likely go out somewhere after that. I most definitely cannot go out three nights in a row. So tonight is a TV/reading/walking the dog kind of night.

For privacy reasons, I have my Twitter settings such that you have to request to follow me (which you should totally do, by the way). In the past 24 hours I have received no fewer than SEVEN requests from obvious porn spam accounts. What in the world. So very strange.

Still no word on the job front, but my confidence is renewed! Google's Revenge will not allow me to speak about these things publicly, but feel free to gchat me/text me or something. I am hopeful and optimistic as ever.

Oh, my dog Allie walked into a tree today. So that happened. She gets in the habit of not looking where she's going when she sees other dogs across the street. She follows them intently with her whole head and pays no attention to what's in front of her.

Well on our walk this morning, there was a big German shepherd on the other side of the street, and Allie was, predictably, pumped about it. Well I'm so used to her going nuts for other dogs, I didn't notice she stopped looking forward. Then I heard a yelp and saw her snorting and making funny faces. Yup. She walked into a tree. Once she and I determined she was not hurt, it was actually quite funny.

I felt so bad for her. I think she was embarrassed. She didn't want to walk for a few minutes and just buried her head in my legs. Poor thing. She's fine, of course, and we were able to complete the walk successfully without another tree-crashing incident. Oh dogs. You never cease to amaze me.

Wow, look at that. I started writing this thinking I had no idea what I was going to write, and I've turned in more than 1,000 words anyway.

As always, thank you so, so much for reading and for the feedback you give me. People telling me they're reading, laughing and enjoying the blog is seriously amazing, and it always makes my day. I'll try to come up with something thoroughly entertaining by Monday. Until then!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Behind the Music: The Cycle

I was a band geek in high school. I have no problem admitting that. I'm not entirely sure I'm not still a band geek. C'est la vie.

HOWEVAH! In addition to being a band geek in high school, I was also in an actual band. Believe me when I tell you this: it was awesome. Ready for the story? Good.

When I was in fifth grade, I knew I wanted to be in the school band. I'm not entirely sure why. I just knew it was something I wanted to do. Naturally, as I'm sure every boy wants, I wanted to play percussion. My parents were...less than enthused about the prospect of me banging on drums all day.

So I picked the clarinet. Pardon me while I adjust the tape on my glasses. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed playing clarinet and do not regret the choice, and by the time I graduated high school I was actually pretty good at it. But you know. There it is.

I always wanted to play drums in a band. When I was a freshman in high school, I made extremely loose plans with some friends from my neighborhood to create a band where I'd play the drums. Needless to say, it did not happen. For as long as I could remember, I'd air drum. I'd use pencils on notebooks. But the fact remained: I'd never played a real drum set.

Fast forward to my junior year of high school. I'm still playing clarinet. It was just after the marching band season, and we were at our end-of-year band banquet. My best friend Jon came up to me and asked, "Hey do you want to be in a band?" Yes I do, I told him. But I don't believe there's a place in a real band for a clarinet.

"No, you'll play the drums."
"Jon, I've never even been in the same room as a real drum set. I don't know how to play."
"That's OK. I'm going to play guitar, and I don't know how to play that."

Well then. We were off. We recruited a bass player (Jay, who actually played trumpet), a keyboard player (Lindsay, who actually played flute), a trumpet player (Andrew, who, in addition to playing trumpet, owned a drum set and actually played very well) and a trombone player (Chris, who actually did play trombone).

And yes, I do still have those red drumsticks in the picture.

So we became a band. Andrew was kind enough to bring his drums (at which he was, to reiterate the point, quite good) for me to use, since I didn't have any. The first time I ever sat behind a real kit was our very first band practice. And trust me when I tell you this: it most definitely sounded like it. Look, there's a 0 percent chance we were any good when we first started, but we had something going for us. All six of us had been in band forever, so we were all extremely musically inclined. We picked up our parts fast. Well, as fast as 16-year-olds are going to pick them up.

We were trying to come up with a name, and we joked we should call ourselves Wash Cycle. Our first album would be "Rinse," naturally, and our second would be "Tumble Dry." Our greatest hits collection would be called "Suds." It was hilarious at the time.

And then I stopped and said, "well, what about just The Cycle? Why couldn't that work?" And just like that, it stuck. We were The Cycle.

We practiced every week. We all found we loved just jamming and playing together. Eventually (finally), I convinced my parents to buy me a drum set. Another guy from marching band was selling his old kit, and I was able to get a decent CB set for like $200. It wasn't going to win any awards, but it had all the pieces. At that point, I just needed to play.

It was so much fun. You don't even know. I got some excellent noise-canceling headphones and started playing along to my favorite songs at the time (a LOT of Reel Big Fish [not much has changed], Blink 182 and Boston, if I remember correctly) just to get a feel for playing. I never had any lessons, so I was just figuring it out as I went along.

The band party took place in December 1998, and we continued to play throughout the winter and spring. For St. Patrick's Day that year, our marching band was invited to play in the St. Patrick's Day parade in DUBLIN. Yes, really. In my life, I cannot imagine seeing more people than I saw lining the streets of Dublin as we marched through. Once in a lifetime, man. Unreal.

While we were in Ireland, the band decided we needed to have our own "Abbey Road" photo. Like you do. However, we found the whole "taking a picture while we're walking across the street" thing to be prohibitively difficult in downtown Dublin. So we improvised by standing in front of a ridiculous church, still in Dublin. Sadly, I do not recall what church this is any longer.

A few things about the photo. We were exhausted because we'd just marched in the several-mile parade. Also, I don't know why Lindsay isn't there, nor do I know what Chris, Jon or I are looking at. And I can only assume Andrew just sneezed. Give us a break. We were 16 years old.

We recorded a handful of songs and played exactly three "gigs" in our brief career. The first was in Jon's backyard not long after we formed, with all of our way-too-excited parents in attendance. Awesome. And yes, there is video evidence of this, and I do believe I have the VHS of it somewhere around here. Actually, I believe I have video evidence of all three of our gigs somewhere. I'll have to find them.

Anyway, the second was over the summer of 1999. There was a contest/showcase in Concord, N.C., for bands involved with one of the guitar teachers at the music store where Jon and I worked. He heard we had a band and invited us to play. We played four songs, and I thought we really killed it that day (as T.J. Lavin would say [GUILTY PLEASURE ALERT!]). That was a fun day, even if we got lost on the way there.

The last gig was at the band party where we formed a year earlier. We took this one probably less seriously than we should have haha. I don't remember us being bad, by any means. We had actually gotten pretty decent playing together, considering almost none of us knew how to play our instruments when we formed. But you know, we were goofing around and just having fun.

I have to brag for a second. We did write one song, called "Let Me Know," that I love to listen to still today. It's on my iPod. I burned it to CDs when it was still cool to burn CDs for the car (it's not anymore, right?). And, considering we were 16 years old when we wrote it, I think we did a pretty damn good job. It's still the first song I play on my drums when I get a chance to play.

The great irony in all of this is 13 years later, Jon and I are actually pretty decent at our instruments now, and we haven't played together in years. Sigh.

Little did we know, The Cycle was the first of many things Jon and I would do together that would have been seriously awesome if we truly dedicated ourselves to them haha. More on those in future posts though.

In the meantime, we're always in the mood for a reunion. Nothing big. A few new songs. Mostly old stuff. So please don't hesitate to contact me for booking information.

Seriously though. There is nothing like the experience of playing music on stage (no matter the audience). It's an unrivaled adrenaline rush. Utterly exhilarating. If you can do it, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I'm out. Back on Friday!


Monday, August 15, 2011


I wrote entirely too much last week. I wouldn't be surprised if most people didn't even bother to read it all. So let's just update a few ongoing things, shall we? We shall.

Ribs Update

Shit hurts, man. It's improving daily, but you know. I'm over it. I sneezed twice this weekend (BREAKING NEWS!), and the good news there is they didn't make me almost pass out. It's the little things, folks.

I definitely can't run. I tried. Bad decision. I'm hoping another week of rest, ice packs and painkillers will make it so I can get back to the gym next week. It's kind of driving me crazy that I can't work out.

For now, I'm limited to walking Allie four miles a day. In the meantime, there will be a lot of couch time with an ice pack planted on my ribs. Stretching it out seems to help, so there you go.

So interesting, I know.

Weight-Loss Update

For, like, a month there, it seemed like we were playing softball at least twice a week. You may be thinking, "oh hey! Lots of exercise! Nice!" And yes, that's true. But it also meant more beer and bar food than I'm usually accustomed to consuming. Aaaand it sort of led to a little more cheat meals than I'd like. But it's OK.

It was exactly as awesome as it sounds.

Thankfully, I'm holding steady at 194-195 pounds for now, which is a loss of 32-33 pounds since mid-April. I'll take it, man. I'll take it.

Today is all about rededicating to cutting out the nonsense food again, and as soon as I can get back in the gym, you better believe I'll be hitting it hard six days a week. For now, I'll just have to be satisfied with walking Allie four miles a day. It doesn't seem smart to try to work out with any kind of intensity with this rib stuff going on. Oh well. Soon!

The excellent news is I'm still on track to reach my goal of 180 pounds in the timetable I originally set back in April. The first couple of months went so well, so quickly, there was room for a bit of a plateau, even if it was more than a little self-induced. Just keep on, keepin' on, man. I'll get there. I know it.

Weekend Update

So I knew I liked Bottom Line, a bar downtown near Farragut Square. We'd gone there a few times during softball season, and it was my kind of place. I liked it immediately, in fact.

On Friday night, I met a bunch of friends there and discovered Bottom Line's ridiculous happy hour specials.

From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., they have $1 Miller Light bottles. The price goes up to $2 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and to $2.50 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Pretty sure they go back to $1 at 11 p.m., too. That's incredible!

Got there a little before 6, so we got to take full advantage of the special price. It's just such a great place to waste some time. And, in case you missed it, $1 beers! From there, we headed to a place called Local 16, which is actually pretty close to my old Columbia Heights stomping grounds. Local 16 was all right and all, but two drinks there cost twice as much as the five I had at Bottom Line.

I know they were regularly priced for bars downtown, but I did not appreciate the juxtaposition haha. But there was a LOT more dancing at Local 16, and we all know how I feel about dancing. We left that place around 2 or so. By the time I got to sleep, it was nearing 5 a.m. Hey oh.

I went to sleep on Saturday morning the same time I woke up the Saturday morning before.

All of that goes to say most of Saturday was spent asleep. I walked the dog, ran a few errands and fell asleep. And it was magnificent. All in all, Friday was well worth it. Let's go.

Job Update

Still waiting to hear. As far as I know, I'm a finalist for the position I mentioned briefly over the past few weeks. I feel good, and I'm optimistic.

I think I may be hearing something in the next few days. C'moooon good news. I'm ready.

Football Update

Yes. So college football season is almost upon us, and a bunch of friends are planning a road trip to Boston for the N.C. State-Boston College game on Nov. 12. We first started discussing it during the ridiculous CAN softball tournament, and it seemed like such a great idea, so why not?

I've never been to Boston. Truthfully, I never imagined I'd ever go, nor did I particularly want to go, really. But whatevs. I've heard good things. I have a friend and a cousin who live there, and I have no doubt it will be awesome. I'm looking forward to it.

Plus, N.C. STATE FOOTBALL! Man, let's go.

Well that's still a pretty long post, but it's reasonable for me, I suppose. Until next time!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Not Illegal, but Frowned Upon Part 3

Welcome to what I intend to be the exciting conclusion of the CAN Softball Tournament Saga. Did you miss parts 1 and 2? Check 'em out!

Part 1
Part 2

So my ribs. It is now Friday afternoon, and they have progressed from agonizingly painful to only sort of painful. Great success! Still hurts, but it doesn't make me want to lay down and go to sleep anymore.

Except for an incident Wednesday night. I'd discovered if I lay on the couch on my right side with my left arm extended over/resting on my head, I could breathe mostly pain-free. I was feeling better, and I got a little cocky. I felt a sneeze coming on, and instead of holding it in as I had been since Sunday, I let it come out.

Oh. My. God. It was so painful I actually got dizzy from it and had to lie down to keep from passing out. Incredible. So that happened. I'd never experienced the whole "seeing stars" phenomenon before. Yikes. Still improving though. We're getting there.

So we lost to Cornell, eliminating us from the tournament. Howevah! My goal going into the tournament was to win at least one game since there were going to be PLENTY of teams who couldn't say they won a game. I thought that would be a solid accomplishment, and we did it. Great success.

Our game was done by 1:30, and there were a ton of games still going on, so we moved our tent back from the dugout to the chairs we'd set up and commenced the drinking-and-relaxing portion of the tournament.

We saw some pretty exciting games that day, but really the best part was our tent was squarely in the shade with a clear view of the field. So we didn't need to move at all to watch games. It was fantastic. The beer was flowing, and the weather was excellent at the moment. Our tent was close to Central Florida's tent, and they had a cornhole set.

Lindsey had the brilliant idea to ask them if we could play. Cornhole for the WIN. It started off with Lindsey and Carnell against Brent and me.

Here's the thing about Lindsey and cornhole: she's a machine. She lands three bags on the board every round. It was incredible.

She was clearly the best player of the four of us who were playing at any give time.

I'm a much streakier player. I'll get one or two on the board each round. I very rarely miss the board entirely. But then I'll throw three cornholes in a row in the same round and make up for my streaky play. I just wish I could harness that power more often. Alas, I probably won't.

I did that in two separate games Sunday. Let's go. The first picture in this post seems to be my "IT'S IN THE HOLE" celebration. If you notice, Lindsey appears to be looking for something with which to hit me. Please, just not in the ribs.

But that could be in retaliation because Brent did throw a beanbag at her. And he missed and struck some kind Indiana folks under the tent behind us. Our bad! We brought them beer to make it up to them.

Lindsey and Carnell won the first game, and I mixed and matched partners for the rest of the afternoon. I believe it ended up with a 2-2 split between them and me and whoever was my partner at the time.

I love this picture because you can see my toss in mid-air. Excellent timing by Amy with the camera. This is probably very soon after Brent tried to peg Lindsey with the beanbag. Hey oh.

Sunday was just a really good day. I was feeling much more like myself (aside from the whole rib thing).

Hard to go wrong with the beer truck, hot dog/hamburger buffet, great softball games and cornhole. We were FAR from the only cornhole group going. There was a whole section of grass that sort of became the cornhole playing field (pictured below).

So! While we were playing cornhole, discussion turned to next season. We want to get jerseys for next season -- or at least T-shirts with some kind of printing on it. They don't have to be legit baseball/softball jerseys. That might get too hot anyway. We want numbers and nicknames on the back.

Lindsey and Brent started coming up with nicknames for people based on things from the season. Previously, I only wanted "BG" on my jersey because that's what most of my friends call me anyway, and I rather like it.

Then, Lindsey (maybe Brent? I don't know. Fuzzy memory) said she could see my nickname being "Late Night." Well that's a pretty kick ass nickname. It has to do with a few things -- two things specifically, I believe.

First, one night during the season at the Exchange, I lost track of time playing flip-cup and ended up missing the last red line train. It ended up costing me $60 to take a cab to my car from downtown. Second, obviously, going to sleep on Friday night at 2:30 a.m. with the 4:30 a.m. wake-up call the next day. I like it.

Other team nicknames and their reasons if I can remember them:

  • Evan: The Ripper because he totally clotheslined a girl while tagging her out at home on Sunday.
  • Brent: Right Eye because he needed stitches after getting hit in the face with a ground ball. Yikes.
  • Marty: Mimosa Marty because he promised to bring mimosas for us on Sunday and then did not. Fail, Marty. Fail.
  • Sean: Iceman. This one I'm not sure about. Thoughts?
  • Matt: Ghostface Killah because he is Irish haha.
  • Lindsey: Hoover because she is pretty damn solid at second base. But you know. There was drinking, and this one turned quickly. Yeah. Lindsey, if I'm in charge of the jerseys, we can probably work on a different name for you if you want haha.
  • Carnell: No-Show! Haha because he overslept on Saturday (though truthfully, I thought for sure it would be me oversleeping) and because he showed up for the last inning of our game on Sunday. Better late than never!
I think that's all the nicknames I heard. There may have been others, but I don't recall. Let me know though!

That's pretty much how it all went down. Carnell, Dale, Caitlin, Lindsey and I were the last ones remaining. We decided to go watch the intense Michigan/Penn State game going on. We played and lost to both of these teams this season. They were both really good teams, so this figured to be an awesome game. We actually sort of became friends with Penn State after we played them.

They have a girl on their team named Missy, and every time Missy saw us, she'd run up, make the wolfie hand sign and say how much she loved N.C. State. So we went down to support Penn State. Then the sky opened up. Thankfully, Georgia Tech was set up at the field with a tent, and we were able to get some shelter there.

It was a crazy rain storm, and it ended up leading to the cancellation of games for the weekend. They moved the rest of the game to this coming weekend. We don't need to go back out there though.

So, as you know, I was a huge nerd and kept track of my stats all season. Here's my final tally: 26-for-42 for a .619 batting average, 10 RBI, 7 runs scored and a slugging percentage of .857 and OBP of .613 for an OPS of 1.470. And I ended the season on a 10-game hitting streak, although there were only two of the 15 games I played in where I didn't get a hit. I'll take it!

Now I was just going on memory from each game, and in the time between the game and when I got home to record the stats, there was often heavy drinking. Those numbers represent my best recollection though. I promise.

We'll hopefully have plenty of opportunities to practice since many of the people on the team are looking into playing Fall softball in DC. That would be awesome. Don't get me wrong: I enjoy flag football very much, and I'm sure we'll all have a great time playing, but softball is my jam. I don't want to have to wait eight months or however long before the next season starts.

Now that the softball season is over, I'll be back next week with weight-loss updates. Briefly, all the softball that happened over the past few weeks led to more drinking and junk food than usual. I haven't gained any weight at all, which is awesome. But I'm still treading water at 194-195. And I'm hoping this rib thing will go away soon so I can get back in the gym and crank that up again. I might need to give it another week just to be sure though. We'll have to see how it goes.

Anyway, I'm out. Thanks so, so much, as always, for reading! Heading downtown to the Bottom Line tonight! LET'S GO!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not Illegal, but Frowned Upon Part 2

Miss part 1 of the CAN Softball Tournament Extravaganza? Read all about it right here!

I feel like I should explain why the title of these posts is "Not Illegal but Frowned Upon." This is a story that will probably only be funny to the 12 or 13 of us who were there this weekend, but when has limited appeal ever stopped me before? That's right; it hasn't.

So Dale (the coach) emailed the team to say that bringing our own alcohol to the tournament was at least discouraged if not forbidden. That turned into Evan saying, "I didn't know bringing our own alcohol was FROWNED UPON IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT."

So I was standing with Evan, Sean, Marty, Lindsey and Keith watching a game, and the pitcher threw an illegal pitch (meaning it was either too high or too low, etc.). The ump yelled out, "Illegal pitch!"

Someone in our group then quipped, "Well that's not really illegal, it's just frowned upon. Thanks a lot, bin Laden." Which you might recognize from this scene in The Hangover.

And I proceeded to giggle like a little girl for the rest of the day at the thought of the scene. And anytime anything happened, I proceeded to say "Thanks a lot, bin Laden," at every turn. I usually like to take jokes and run them into the ground as quickly as possible. I think the team will agree when I say: mission accomplished.

Also, I giggled like a little girl just writing out the story. Easily entertained? Easily entertained.

So there you go. Thanks a lot, bin Laden.

Now, the Michigan game! Yes, we lost. Michigan went 13-1 this season. Only 14-0 James Madison had a better year, so we knew it was going to be a tough game.

As I mentioned on Monday, we really did hold our own, including drawing four or five walks in a row in one inning, causing the only pitching change to take place in the middle of an inning I saw all season in any game. I think their pitcher walked in two runs, and the coach jumped out there quick and yanked him.

The rest of day 1 was spent lounging under our tent (as seen in the picture at the left, which was actually taken on day 2) and watching other games going on around the grounds.

With 69 teams in the tournament and only five fields, there was always another game to watch, which was fantastic. Not to mention the beer truck! Five taps on the side of a keg-filled truck. See the photo below. Pretty awesome.

The whole scene was just incredible -- like a giant multi-college tailgate where everyone was having a great time.

It was ridiculous, and the team already has a list of things we need to do for next year now that we've seen how things go.

Among the things we need: inflatable couch, baby pool, slip-n-slides, pitchers for beer so we don't have to keep getting up, some kind of stereo to play ridiculous music, our own cornhole boards, etc.

I have to confess: due to my staying out too late on Friday night and only have that brief two-hour nap before the 4:30 a.m. wake-up on Saturday, I was, shall we say, "out of it" for most of Saturday. I had three drinks MAX all day. I just couldn't.

Quite a few teammates commented how they've never seen me so subdued. I almost fell asleep several times Saturday. Some people were even talking about going out Saturday night. I couldn't imagine. It's astonishing I didn't fall asleep on the drive home Saturday.

I got home, took the dog out, showered and hit the couch. I was passed out by 9:30 p.m. Thankfully, I set my alarm before I passed out. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. right on the couch. I felt pretty damn good on Sunday morning, especially comparatively.

Sunday was a different story. Because of some rain Saturday evening, game times were pushed back. We were originally scheduled to play Cornell at 9:30 a.m., but it was pushed back to 12:30 p.m. Since we were there and ready for an early start, we just started drinking.

Dale planned ahead and brought a cooler of beer since the beer truck (shown on the left) didn't open until 10 a.m. At around 11:30 we got word from tournament officials that our game was finally scheduled to start soon.

I was already four drinks in, so I ran up and ate a quick hot dog and hamburger combo, and then Matt came through for me in the clutch with some Gatorade. We were ready for the game.

We'd already played and lost to Cornell once earlier in the season, but we felt like we could hang with them. Honestly, we played some decent defense during this game; it was our offense that stunk it up. We didn't get our bats going until the third or fourth inning, and by then, Cornell already had a lead on us. It was too little, too late.

Before the game, Sean, Evan, Keith, Marty, Lindsey and I were watching Villanova play and giving their second baseman props because she was diving all over the place for balls (that's what she said). We talked about how it's been so long since any of us had done it, and we're not sure we'd really like to lay out for a ball anymore.


It's the second-to-last inning. I'm playing right field, Dale is playing left-center and Jen is playing right-center. Normally, since most balls are not hit to right field, we liked to play the right-center fielder shallow to cut off some of the balls hit up the middle. That meant the right fielder (me in this case) had to cover a bit more ground. No problem. I was an outfielder growing up. I know how to get around and judge fly balls out there. I rather enjoy it a lot, actually.

Sure enough. Jen was playing shallow, and a ball is hit over her head. I saw it, and I thought I could get to it. So I took off. I was tracking it, and I could tell it was not going to be easy to get there.

The ball was coming down, and I knew I had to dive for it. I was running from right field back and toward center field, so as I dive for the ball, I'm kind of jumping into the air backward with my left arm extended. I felt the ball hit the tip of my glove and bounce away, and I landed hard on my left side.

I hopped up to make sure someone was getting the ball (Dale did), but I quickly doubled over because it occurred to me I couldn't breathe. And there was a ridiculous amount of pain coming from the ribs on my left side. Thankfully, there were no other balls hit my way during that inning, and I didn't need to take the field in the bottom of the seventh because Cornell won.

I won't say I've lost a step or two in my increasing age because that implies I had the steps to lose in the first place. Speed was never my game. But if I'd been even one step closer to where the ball landed when I started running, I believe I would have caught it. I might not have held onto it when I landed, but it would have been in my glove in the air haha.

I spent much of the rest of Sunday icing my ribs and in moderate-to-relatively-severe pain.

It is now Wednesday afternoon, and this is the most pain I've ever experienced. But! It only hurts when I move, speak, cough, laugh or breathe. So as long as I don't do any of those things, it isn't so bad. I recognize now how exceptionally lucky I've been. I've never broken a bone, never gotten stitches, never needed to go to the doctor for an injury, which is remarkable considering how active I was and how many sports I played growing up.

This is ridiculous though. There aren't enough painkillers in the world right now. If this isn't a cracked rib, I don't even want to think about how much that hurts. It's not necessarily excruciating, but this is still pretty terrible, which leads me to believe it's probably a really bad bruise (best-case scenario) or a possible cracked rib (worst-case scenario).

So, yeah. Great haha. Second-to-last inning of the last game of the season, and that's when I hurt myself. Figures. Almost made it the whole season. *sigh.

Anyway, this got a bit longer than I intended. I know; I wrote something and got a little verbose. Who knew?!

I'll pick it up with the conclusion in part 3 on Friday, which will cover our cornhole adventures and our team nicknames! As well as any other randomness that comes to mind while I'm writing, which always happens.