That Moment When You Realize Your Parents Have Lost Their Minds

Every child worries about the moment when it becomes crystal clear that his parents are senile.  When that moment comes, you realize your parents probably shouldn’t be doing much of anything on their own anymore…shouldn’t be traveling on their own (especially driving a car), shouldn’t be left alone with their grandkids, and shouldn’t even be allowed to make their own decisions on major purchases—TVs, phones, furniture.

Just to be clear, I’m using the word “senile” in a generic sense to represent any incident where you would naturally mutter under your breath, “Jesus, Mom is losing her friggen mind.”

For instance, my parents probably first said those words about my grandmother 16 years ago when they got home from a vacation and I told them that while watching me and my brothers: A) Grandma tried to give me a sponge bath in our sink…I was 14 years old, and B) Grandma backed her gigantic white Lincoln town car into the side of the garage.  It was her last time she was ever allowed to be alone with her grandkids.

Another example is when my grandfather tried to plow our driveway after a snow storm, only he plowed our front lawn instead of the driveway. After that incident, my Dad bought a few extra shovels and we cleared the driveway off as a family after each storm.

It might seem a bit early to be calling my parents senile, but today I discovered two pieces of damning evidence to support that theory:

1). My mom apparently showed up to Logan Airport for her flight to San Francisco about 14 hours early, having forgotten to check the AM/PM designation next to the flight time.

2). I found this at my Dad’s house:

It’s roughly the size of the first computer ever invented, it’s heavier than my 17-inch laptop, and I’m pretty sure a blind person could see those numbers.  What causes someone to need a calculator that requires him to use an entire fist to punch in each number?

Maybe these incidents aren’t as outrageous as grandma almost driving her car through the garage or grandpa plowing an entire front lawn, but it feels like we’re heading down that path.  And I don’t think me or my brothers are ready to move back to Fitchburg and be full-time caretakers.

Advertisements

Scamming Restaurants by Eating Off the Bereavement Menu

So I’m heading to dinner tonight in Leominster with some relatives and we’re going to some place called The Luxury Box.  Don’t know much about it except that it meets my “20 Flatscreen TVs minimum” requirement.  As is my habit, I was looking around on their website for a menu so I can decide on my meal now.  That way I can ignore everything going on at the table and just watch TV.

I find the menu link and what do I stumble upon?  A bereavement menu:

Bereavement menu?  Has anyone ever seen anything like this?  Is this the most random thing?  I’m wondering if maybe this restaurant is located next to a church and cemetery and happens to be the only dining spot in the area.  Why else would they expect to have such a large number of grievers visiting their establishment?

“We here at The Luxury Box would like to express our deepest sympathy in your time of sorrow.  We would like to help ease the burden…”

Listen up, Dad, Uncle Steve, Grandma and Grandpa.  Here’s the plan for tonight: We just got done burying a loved one and we’d like to eat off the bereavement menu (we’ll take menu option #3, thank you).  We’re very sad, regardless of how much we’re cheering for the Celtics during our dinner.  When the check comes at the end of the meal, we act even more sorrowful and quietly explain to the manager that we just spent all of our money on the funeral and can’t afford to pay.  Let’s see The Luxury Box put their money where their mouth is…if you really have sympathy for our situation and wanna ease our burden, you’ll go ahead and take care of that check for us.  Thanks.

If this works, I’m only eating at restaurants with bereavement menus from now on.

The Best Sightseeing Fitchburg has to Offer (aka Allow Me to Demonstrate How Bored I Am)

Every time I’m back in Fitchburg visiting my family, I tend to fall into the same routine: catch up with people over dinner and drinks every night, but during the day when they’re at work, sit on a couch and be BORED OUT OF MY GODDAMNED MIND.

Want some proof?  I just got excited because on the Today Show they had a larger-than-normal rabbit on the set…and he was eating a piece of the carpet!  And yesterday afternoon, I watched three episodes of Sex and the City, bringing my lifetime total of episodes watched to three (fine, I’m lying it was five episodes yesterday.  And by the way, no one ever told me that show was essentially softcore porn, right down to the cheesy porn music that gets played throughout entire episodes).  I also read a People magazine cover to cover for the first time.

What always happens is my days in the ‘Burg end up totally revolving around food.  Even though my parents always stock the fridge plenty for my arrival, I still get take-out several times a day because driving somewhere to get food will at least waste an extra 15 minutes.

So I started thinking…what would a tourist do with his time in Fitchburg? Trick question, I know.  A tourist would never come to Fitchburg unless he was in Boston or Worcester and needed to score some “suburban heroin.”  I actually googled “Fitchburg tourist attractions” earlier today, and one of the top results was the local Dairy Queen…

But as it turns out, when I was leaving Massachusetts seven years ago to move to San Francisco, a friend gave me a Fitchburg T-shirt as a going away gift.  This particular shirt had seven Fitchburg landmarks on it, apparently representing the main tourist attractions of this great city.  So what I thought I’d do today is try to go see these landmarks…assuming, of course, that the lines to see them aren’t super long.  Could I waste a few hours today sightseeing in Fitchburg?  Let’s see.

Curious what the T-shirt looks like and what the landmarks are?  Here you go:

OK, I just returned from seeing almost all those landmarks on the shirt. And even after trying to spend as much time at each place as possible, I was away from my house for exactly 17 minutes.  It’s overcast and threatening rain today so maybe that’s what’s keeping all the tourists away from these amazing sights.

I know the different things on that shirt are a bit unclear, so let me explain.  Of course there are the typical landmarks that any city would put on their t-shirts: City Hall, the Public Library, a monument honoring local people who died in wars.  But here are some pictures of the more obscure landmarks:

1). A statue of two naked boys in the middle of a fountain:

There was no explanation for the significance of this fountain, no plaque, nothing.  All I can tell you is that a very crazy man named “Mickey” used to spend a lot of time near this fountain screaming at these two boys.  He was always wearing a ton of sunscreen on his nose, and rumor has it he used to be a millionaire, lost all his money, and then went nuts.  He may even be Fitchburg’s most famous resident.

2). A church:

I actually don’t know for sure that the church on the t-shirt is this exact church, but either way, there is no historical significance to any of the churches nearby that I can figure out.  I think they just needed to fill out the shirt with more items.

3). A bank:

The bank is my favorite part.  On the shirt, it’s a picture of Fitchburg Savings Bank…because banks are always on the top of the list for city landmarks and tourist attractions.  Except now, in 2012, Fitchburg Savings Bank is gone and this new bank, RBT, has replaced it.  How could they do that to such a meaningful landmark?  Was there a heated City Council meeting where the Historical Society argued that they can’t replace Fitchburg Savings due to its historical significance?  What will they do with the new Fitchburg t-shirts?  Pretend FSB is still there?  Replace the picture of the bank with a picture of one of the many broken-down bridges in this town?  If I knew where my friend got the original Fitchburg shirt, you can bet your ass I’d be there right now seeing if there is an updated Fitchburg shirt (at least that would help waste another 10 minutes of my day).

If you don’t think I’m coming back later today or early tomorrow with another Fitchburg post, then you really don’t understand just how bored I am.

My Counterpoint to “Pale is the New Tan”: Hot People are Hot, Ugly People are Ugly

Before reading this post, go ahead and take a look at this article from a website called BuzzFeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/amyodell/pale-is-the-new-tan

The article is titled “Pale is The New Tan.”  The argument they are trying to make is that women shouldn’t feel like only extremely tanned people can be beautiful, and that naturally pale women can be more beautiful than overly tanned women.

I don’t know who BuzzFeed is, or what they’re trying to accomplish as a blog, and I don’t care…This is irresponsible journalism at its worst. First of all, I’m not sure there’s even an argument to be had here: of course there are plenty of pale women who are hotter than tan women. Only a buffoon would be simple-minded enough to think tan = hot and pale = ugly.

But where I really take offense to this article is the supporting evidence they use to prove “pale is the new tan.”

So Scarlett Johansson, possibly the hottest woman on the planet regardless of skin tone, is compared to Snooki, maybe the biggest abomination on the planet?

And Amy Adams is compared to Hulk Hogan’s daughter, who looks strikingly like Hulk Hogan?

And let’s not forget about Nicole Kidman, who isn’t even that attractive, being compared to that man-woman-beast Donatella Versace…

I’m only exaggerating a little here when I say this article basically took the 14 most attractive light-skinned celebrities and put them up against 14 of the least attractive celebrities (regardless of skin color) and said, “Here you go, point proven: pale is hotter than tan.”

Two more notes on this article:

-Tilda Swinton shouldn’t be on the side of any argument that is supporting beauty.

-The author of this article should have gotten a man’s perspective first because he would have told her to scrap the Emma Stone vs Kim Kardashian comparison.  In that picture, Kim looks damn good and the perfect amount of tan so that one isn’t going to help your argument.

My final concern is that this article might convince some people to stop going for extra tan and actually start going for extra pale.  And we all know how this ends, don’t we, Sammy Sosa:

Adventures in Relocating: Losing My Mind over Home Entertainment Choices

I worry that I’ll come home one day to find Julie trapped inside my wire jungle

I have already lost two full days trying to solve this riddle, and there’s no end in sight.

In my current apartment, we have DirecTV, a DVR for recording shows, and a Blu-Ray player.  Our DirecTV package has most of the regular cable channels as well as HBO & Cinemax.  We have typically bought the NFL Ticket and MLB Extra Innings packages to watch football and baseball when they’re in season.  Our Blu-Ray player can stream Netflix Instant content.  Those are all of the options we have available at this time. While Netflix Instant is affordable at $8 per month, DirecTV rapes us to the tune of $124 per month.

With the move to the new place in LA only two weeks away, I thought this would be the right time to do a reset of my home entertainment packages to see if I can A) leverage different services and devices to have a broader choice in TV shows and movies, and B) cut out some significant costs from my current situation.

As I started researching this topic via the web and chatting with friends, I came across an endless amount of options: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO, Roku, AppleTV, iTunes, DirecTV, Comcast, On Demand, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, illegal downloading…

Don’t worry, this can go even one layer deeper in complexity when you start to consider the following: Netflix has its instant service and its regular/ship you dvd’s service; HBO GO only works if you have an active HBO subscription through a participating cable or dish provider, Hulu has free and plus services, Roku has four different devices with options on picture quality as well as having ports for your USB cable.  Not a single service seems to have “everything.”  For instance, Netflix Instant has almost every well-known TV show, but lags in making the newest seasons of shows available to you.  Hulu Plus’s claim to fame is that the newest episodes of currently airing TV shows are available the day after they air.  But their problem is they don’t have deals with all the major network and cable channels so some shows are missing.  Amazon looks awful for current TV shows but awesome for movies.

It also seems like if you were to create a spreadsheet that matched up all content providers (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) with all the physical devices that the content can be streamed through (i.e. PS3, Xbox, Roku), your computer would probably explode.  Just like my head was about to do when I started to consider all these options.

Maybe the first thing I should figure out is what I really want access to. Ideally I want to be able to watch any new/currently airing TV shows close to the date that the new episodes actually air.  I also want to catch up on old seasons of still-airing shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and 30 Rock.  I need the ability to watch the playoffs of all major sports.  But I also need access to every Red Sox and Patriots game. Movies don’t matter as much: I just want the option to see most new movies that are coming out on DVD.

I know some people who have gotten rid of cable/satellite service all together and get their content exclusively from the Netflix and Hulu’s of the world.  This is the dream scenario, and I eventually want to get there. But here are three reasons why I’m reluctant to get rid of DirecTV/cable: playoff sports still have a lot of games on channels like ESPN, TBS, TNT; without cable I feel like I might miss out on something (there’s no logic to this feeling, it’s just an emotional reaction); and Julie will go ApeShit on me because all of the ridiculous shows she watches are on Food Network, MTV, E!, and TLC, and I don’t think she could get access to all of that content from another service.

I guess I’m leaning towards keeping DirecTV (but going back to the most basic package possible), and then buying a Roku to stream Netflix Instant and the MLB.tv package on my TV.  This will probably satisfy me for three months, at which time I will buy AppleTV, subscribe to Hulu Plus, buy a PlayStation 3, add HBO to my DirecTV package again so I can access HBO GO, and of course activate the NFL Ticket just in time for football season.

I’m exhausted from this talk we just had…any better suggestions for me?

My Genius Creativity on Display through Custom Cookies

See, this is why I know I’ll be ridiculously successful in the entertainment industry.  For the going away party we had last week, Julie had her typical dorky idea—let’s custom order cookies, put a picture of us on them, and hand them out to our guests. If it was up to her, it probably would have been a picture of us kissing on a cliff overlooking the ocean while a sunset turns the sky a beautiful pink color.  That’s how you make people uncomfortable.  So I stepped in and decided we should go for funny over uncomfortable.  Boom, picture of me biting her face off.  Then she said she wanted to put some words on it.  Within seconds, boom again, I came up with, “Moving away from you bites!”

I probably don’t have to tell you how big of a hit these things were at our party.  Most people couldn’t even bring themselves to eat the cookie because they were so amazed by the creativity I put into it.

We have just a couple of these cookies leftover.  I was thinking about giving them away to a few friends who couldn’t make it to our party, but instead I think I’ll put them up for sale on Ebay and watch a bidding war ensue.

Adventures in Relocating: Dividing Our Possessions…Signed Balls and Erect Penises

This week’s agenda for me is simple: Pack up my entire life in as few boxes as possible, and clean the apartment to the best of my abilities so I can get my security deposit back.  If I lived by myself, this might be easier as I could make all decisions without consulting anyone else.  But I live with other people, and specifically my brother and I share a decent amount of the items in this apartment.  He’s at work all day so it’s tough to know what shared things he wants and what shared things I should have.  Clearly I’m going to take whatever I want and pack it up before he can object, but before I do that, I thought it would be fun to share these items with my readers in case anyone wants to make an argument for why I should or shouldn’t take some of these things.

First, of course, let’s discuss sports-related items:

My Dad got both of the following Boston sports-related memorabilia for all three of us brothers for Christmas gifts a while back:

A couple notes: Yes, the football is technically an Indianapolis Colts football.  But what’s important is that it’s signed by Adam Vinatieri.  I wish it was a Patriots football, of course.  But Vinatieri is a four-time Super Bowl Champ and future Hall of Famer.  While I don’t believe in curses, I do think the poster is pretty cool mainly because of the picture of Jason Varitek dry humping Keith Foulke when the Sox cliched in ’04. But if I’m allowed to choose between the two, I’m taking the football.  It’s probably worth some money compared to the poster, and as an unemployed sack of shit, I might need that money sooner than expected. You might be wondering, “what about the third brother?  Why doesn’t he get one of these treasures?”  Because he has the third thing that my Dad sent us…a Tom Brady autographed, practice-worn helmet….inside a plexiglass case!  Yes, this is clearly the best of the three gifts.  No, there’s not a legitimate reason why he gets the helmet instead of me or the other brother.

It’s times like these that I’m jealous of guys who live in apartments or houses that are larger than one bedroom and can have a room dedicated to all things sports.  I’m already battling with the girlfriend to allow some other Boston sports paraphernalia in the new apartment as well as my two favorite posters: a Jack Daniel’s one and a picture from the movie Blow.  I think I can get away with something that fits on a shelf or in a bookcase, but not another poster.  My plan is to steal the Brady helmet, but when that ultimately fails, I’ll graciously welcome the Vinatieri ball into my new home.

 

Next up is something my Mom got me and my brother for Christmas this past year.  Sure, it’s not as sexy of a gift as sports items signed by Boston legends, but look how practical this thing is for everyday use:

An air flosser!  Believe it or not, neither my brother nor I have been to a dentist in the nearly seven years we’ve been living in San Francisco. Relax, it’s not as gross as you think.  Whenever we go back to Boston, my Mom gets us into her dental office for a cleaning.  Besides the dental hygienist saying I have the world’s most beautiful teeth, she also frequently comments on my lack of flossing.  I guess when the hygienist starts flossing for you and your mouth looks like you just finished the 11th round of a boxing match, it’s pretty obvious that flossing doesn’t happen on the regular.  Mom tried to take the hard work out of flossing by getting this air flosser for us six months ago.  Sure, the box hasn’t been opened yet, but now that I can’t even pretend to get a dentist in LA (dental insurance is not in my budget), maybe it’s time to start using it.  I don’t think there will be any objection from my brother if I want to keep this item when we move.

 

I realize DVDs are almost completely obsolete at this point.  Or maybe more correctly I should say owning DVDs is obsolete.  With Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu+, illegal downloads, and other services I’m probably not familiar with, there’s really no point in buying a physical CD with a movie on it ever again.  But should we be keeping the DVDs we already own?

Our current collection has roughly 90 movies or TV shows in it, and I’d guess I don’t even watch one movie from those every two months.  So are these artifacts just going to take up space and collect dust?  Do we keep some of our favorites?  I guess we can easily separate out whose is whose, but what about the ones that seem to have snuck into our apartment and have no owner?  Specifically these gems that I found in our DVD case…

How these two atrocious movies got into our collection, I have no idea. But I’m going to be the nice guy and not fight my brother on it if he wants to keep them.  I’ll get over it.

 

Finally, no conversation around dividing our possessions would be complete without the most controversial item in our apartment:

Just the Egyptian fertility god Min hanging out with his erection on our mantel.  No big deal.

Wikipedia tells me that Min is the god of male sexual potency and orgiastic rites.  And believe it or not, this is another gift from Dad…this time a souvenir from his trip to Egypt.  Is it weird that my Dad would want to make sure we were having plenty of orgies in our apartment by giving us this statue?  Who cares?  What’s important is that it worked!

Since my brother is moving into an apartment that is far more likely to have orgies going on anyway, I think I’ll take my buddy Min down to LA with me.

Adventures in Relocating: Apartment Hunting, “Move-in Ready” Cleaning and Sexual Offenders

So the clock is ticking on the month of May as I have only eight more free days before June 1st to get my life from a state of chaos to a state of organized chaos.  While it seems ridiculous to be wasting this precious time blogging, maybe recapping the progress I’ve made so far will lower my stress level.

Here’s where things stand with the relocation efforts as of Friday morning, May 11th:

Apartment Hunting

-It was official yesterday: We have an apartment in Culver City locked up with a lease starting on June 1st.  It’s funny how location, a fancy-looking complex and an amazing sales guy can make you forget about your ideal budget for an apartment (but I swear I’ll use the pool and the gym all the time!)

-I almost panicked when one of the first people I mentioned the signed lease to said, “Culver City?  Why would you want to live in that shitty area?”  He’s someone who is supposedly very knowledgeable about LA, but then he said Culver City is in the “valley,” and I realized he’s actually just a fucking moron.  So I think I’m still happy with our location.

-No, I won’t include a link to the building we’re going to live in because it never seems like a good idea to put your exact address on the web.  You can email me and ask nicely if you really want to see.

-It took us two-and-a-half trips to LA to find the right apartment.  I consider my roundtrip to LA and back this past Tuesday a half trip because I was there for less than four hours (but was in the car driving down and back for over 11 hours).

-In total, we made 17 appointments to see apartments over the course of those LA visits.  I believe we only went into nine of them because the other eight ended up being “drive-bys.”  Drive-bys happened when we felt like either the apartment was too far removed from civilization or when we feared for our lives because the neighborhood it was located in probably experienced a lot of actual drive-by shootings.  Of the nine places we really looked at, three would only show us “model units” instead of the actual units we’d be living in.  Sorry, but you can’t convince me to sign a lease based on the theory of “your apartment could potentially be similar to this, but we’re not sure until you put a deposit down.”  If they had allowed us to live in a model unit Arrested Development style, that would be a different story.  A few other places just weren’t a good fit for whatever reason.  There was the in-law apartment where the owner who lived in the main house was about 92 years old.  I’m not living in a place where there’s a 95% chance that my landlord would die only a few feet away from me within the first month. There was the lovely homeowner who when I asked her how maintenance gets done in the apartment said, “Oh, that’s easy.  I’ll send you a YouTube video on how to fix things when they break.”  And finally, there was the leasing agent who told us he wouldn’t live in the area we were looking if he was us…as he’s showing us an apartment he theoretically should be trying to sell us on.  It’s a good thing the place we locked down worked out because it really doesn’t feel like we found too many other options.

-If there’s one thing I’m most excited about with a new apartment, it’s picking a junk drawer.  I’m actually bringing a box down to LA that’s filled with take-out menu’s, rubber bands, Sharpie’s missing their caps, some old Christmas cards that should have been thrown away five months ago, a stapler, a mouse trap and a deck of cards.  I cannot wait to fill up my new junk drawer.

Moving Logistics

I’ve secured a moving truck for us to drive down to LA on June 1st with all of our possessions.  I don’t have a lot of experience with this so I wasn’t sure what size truck to get.  I went with a 16-footer.  Since Julie isn’t yet an expert on driving a manual transmission, which my car has, she’ll be the one driving the semi down to LA.  My hope is that I’m not updating the blog on June 2nd with a picture like this:

Cleaning

-Unfortunately before I can pick my new junk drawer, there are things to do at the old apartment in San Francisco.  It would be nice to leave this apartment the same way my roommates and I left our college apartment at the end of senior year…basically without cleaning the place at all and then simply telling the landlord to use our security deposit as our final month’s rent.  I don’t know how we got away with that without a lawsuit, but I have a feeling my current landlord wouldn’t really be on board.

-Not only is our landlord expecting us to clean, but she told us it needs to be “move-in ready” in order for us to get our full security deposit back. To me that’s a very subjective measuring stick.  What’s move-in ready to me may not be move-in ready to her.  For instance, I have no problem moving into a place that has a giant circle of dried paint embedded into the carpet, and even better, the dried paint has a large piece of broken glass stuck inside it:

You may not be able to see this clearly, but it’s paint that’s been there for over six years with a large piece of glass trapped in it

-She may not think of that as “move-in ready,” but if I cover the entire carpet in white paint and then stick random pieces of glass in the paint, will she maybe think that’s the type of flooring she originally put into this apartment?  Luckily if she does tell us she needs to replace the whole carpet and that it’s coming out of our deposit, my Uncle Steve owns a furniture and carpet business in Massachusetts, and I’m sure he will gladly ship a nice carpet out here free of charge to help the cause.

Sexual Offenders in Your Area

-As I was reading through my new lease yesterday, I noticed a section about sexual offenders.  I didn’t really pay attention to what that section was telling me because I got distracted by this link they included: http://meganslaw.ca.gov/disclaimer.aspx

-The next thing I know it’s three hours later, and I’m still screwing around on that MegansLaw website.  Go ahead and give it a try, but just make sure you have some time on your hands.  I was searching for sexual offenders in my new LA neighborhood, my current SF neighborhood, and even the neighborhoods of some of my friends.  Once you’ve done the same, you’ll naturally start drilling into the individual offenders to see what they look like, what their crimes are and what documented scars and tattoos they have.  If you’re like me, your imagination will run wild when you read the crimes because the descriptions are vague.  For example several of the offenses I saw were tagged as: “LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS ACTS WITH A CHILD UNDER 14 YEARS OF AGE.”  I’d like to know what these acts were specifically and how much “under 14 years of age” were the children.

-For those of you worried about me and Julie, relax.  The closest sexual offender to our new apartment probably isn’t doing much offending these days:

That’s everything for now.  Time for me to re-read the manual for my new vacuum to see what setting will suck up a “dried paint and glass” combo.

Watching Sports on Tape Delay: a Stressful and Chaotic Practice

Being able to listen to the Red Sox radio broadcast on WEEI through my iPhone is one of my favorite things about modern technology.  With the MLB.tv subscription, I can actually watch the Red Sox games on any of my devices, or if I happen to be in a situation where I can’t look at a screen, like when I’m driving, I can still listen to the game live.  So even though I was faced with the daunting task of driving the six hours back to San Francisco from LA by myself on Tuesday afternoon, I was excited that three of those hours would be spent listening to the Sox/Royals game. With the converter I use that plays audio from my iPhone over the car’s speakers, I was set.  A 16oz Red Bull, some beef jerky, a full sleeve of Sour Cream -n- Onion Pringles and the Red Sox game on my car radio… where’s the downside?

The downside was that I basically had to keep my hand on the radio’s volume knob for three hours in case WEEI wanted to interrupt the broadcast to update its listeners on the Celtics playoff game.  Over the course of the baseball game, I think WEEI did this four times.  Luckily I was ready each time and avoided hearing the score of the Celtics by immediately turning the volume down.  Other than almost hearing the score accidentally a few times, the other problem was that I had to dedicate one of my hands to the volume the whole time.  I was already one hand short because I kept getting my entire right arm stuck inside the Pringles container.  So I was basically driving up the 101 at 80 miles per hour steering with my knee.

The reason I had to censor the score updates is because I had the Celtics game taping on my DVR back at home.  Knowing I’d be in the car at the same time the C’s were trying to close out Atlanta, I wanted to avoid any exposure to the score so I could watch it later Tuesday night.  On top of the radio situation, I also had to avoid all text messages, phone calls and the urge to scroll through Twitter while driving.

While this was far from my first time doing the tape delay of a live sporting event, it really got me thinking.  Is it worth it to temporarily cut yourself off from the entire outside world because you want to watch a previously-played game as if it’s happening live?  Are some games acceptable to do this for while others are not?  Are you allowed to strangle someone if they happen to mention the score of the exact game you’re trying to avoid hearing about?  It’s a dangerous game we play when we try to create an alternate reality where a sporting event is “live” only when we’re ready for it to be live.

Like I said, I’ve been dealing with this conundrum for years.  Living in California makes it even more relevant because during the week, most games played by my Boston teams begin by 4 or 4:30, and unfortunately getting out of work early isn’t always an option.  So you do the whole song and dance of taping the game and telling all your coworkers that if they check on the score and happen to mention it to you, they’ll never see their families again.  And generally that works because people don’t want their loved ones to die, and because it’s just one hour or so that you have to avoid all spoilers for.

But what about those weekend days when a game starts at 1pm, but there’s just no way you can watch it until 7 or 8 that night?  How hard is it to avoid a spoiler in that situation?  On that kind of day, it’s not like you can sit in a dark cave shut off from the rest of the world until you’re ready to watch the game.  If that was the case, you’d be watching the game live.  No, on that weekend day you’re inevitably in a situation where you have to go for a hike with your girlfriend; or go apartment hunting because you decided on a whim to move 400 miles away.  So you’re out in the real world where all sorts of idiots can screw up the game for you. You somehow have to avoid the game being ruined by people who are around you as well as accidentally seeing the score on TV or hearing it on the radio.  It’s stressful to the point where you’re not even remotely enjoying whatever that other activity is that you got sucked into.  And then the person that made you participate in it gets pissed off because you’re ruining everyone’s day…and suddenly she wishes you had just stayed home and watched the game live.  (Hint: ruin enough of her Sunday hikes and brunches and she’ll never ask you to miss a game again)

There’s one other problem with this practice of taping the games.  This past Tuesday night I was taping the Celtics game to watch it by myself when I got home, but many times a group of us will decide to avoid seeing the score of a game, and we’ll all get together later in the night and watch the taped version.  So in theory you have three or four people who are all on the same page, having shut themselves off from all communication about the result of this game.  But then you start watching, and suddenly one of the guys is on his iPad screwing around. You warn him that if he sees the final score online, he better not say anything.  He doesn’t say anything, but the next thing you know the Celtics are down by seven points with three minutes left, and this guy is putting his shoes on and getting ready to leave.  Gee, I wonder if maybe you already know the Celtics’ comeback fell short if you’re walking out the door in silence as the game is still happening on my TV?  If you have that friend who really can’t commit to avoiding the result, just stop inviting him over for these delayed viewings because his body language will ruin the outcome for you every time.  It’s similar to when you tell your friend not to mention the score because you have it taped at home, and then he says, “ahh, I’ll save you some time, they got crushed tonight.”  He thinks he’s doing you a favor, but what he doesn’t know is that now you’re planning to get back at him by ruining something he really cares about, like his upcoming wedding.

My final take is that you cannot do the tape delay thing for the biggest games…The Super Bowl, The NCAA football and basketball championships, any championship games really.  These games are important enough that you should be watching live.  And you can’t do it everyday for regular season baseball, basketball or hockey games.  That’s just obnoxious to be avoiding the outcome of a game every single day. And you can’t do it for football on Sundays because then you miss the RedZone Channel and following your fantasy team live as the games are happening.  So really, the only appropriate time to watch games on tape delay is for early-round playoff games in all of the major sports.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go setup Game 6 of the Celtics/Hawks series to tape later tonight.

Creepy Recruiting Emails: Why Wasn’t I Wooed Like This Before my Retirement?

Might be a light beginning of the week in terms of blog posts due to playing 36 holes of golf on Monday and taking a quick trip to LA on Tuesday to hopefully lock up an apartment.  But there was one thing I wanted to pass along before the mini-hiatus.

Even though I’ve retired from the “sales game,” I’m constantly getting emails and LinkedIn messages from recruiters…an obnoxious amount, actually.  Generally it’s the typical email that states my credentials on LinkedIn make me look suited for a position at a “rapidly growing pre-IPO technology company.”  Generic “let us know if you’re interested or you think anyone in your network would be interested” type emails.  I ignore them all.  That is, I ignored them all until a recruiter went rogue and sent an email that seemed more like he was propositioning me for a midday sexcapade than trying to convince me to work for his company.

This guy actually sent two emails.  The first one said, “Blah Blah Blah, you’d be great for this position, and I’m jealous you went to BU.  I LOVVEEEEEEE BOSTON.”  I ignored it.

Then two days later I got an email where the subject said “Mulesoft positions…” and the body of the email was simply, “you would be great for a few, so call me, maybe?”  And at the bottom of this email was an embedded YouTube Video: it was the video to the song “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.

At first I actually started laughing at this guy for sending me a clip of such an obscure song, but then I did some investigating and it turns out this song is quite popular (50 million youtube views, who knew?).  I was impressed because this email actually got me to pay attention, which is obviously the guy’s goal, even if it was in a creepy way.  And now I’m wondering if I should play along for a bit and see how much he’s willing to woo me.  Will he take me to dinner?  Hire a mariachi band to serenade us while he pushes the meatball to my side of the plate with his nose? Buy me flowers?  Call me a cab after I spend the night at his house?  Just wondering how far this courting process might go if he’s already sending me love songs via email.

Anyone else ever gotten similarly disturbing recruiting emails?

Adventures in Relocating: Why? Why Now? and other FAQ’s

I’ll try to tackle just a few of the basic questions you might have about my plan to relocate to LA.  For this specific post, let’s just address the broad questions that everyone seems to have.  Some of you have probably already heard a bunch of these answers, but keep reading anyway.  It’s not like you have something better to do with your time.

1). Why LA?

Whenever I get this question, it’s accompanied by a disgusted look on the asker’s face.  What that person is really asking is, “Why would you move to a city that’s best known for its traffic problems and the fake, superficial, self-centered bastards who live there?”  Good question.  And those who know me well could also add in, “Why are you moving to a city you’ve never even been to?”  Again, great question.  The answer is because I want to be a writer in the entertainment industry.  Look, if my passion in life was to be a woodworker in Santa’s workshop, I’d be moving to the North Pole.  And if my passion was taffy-making, I’d be on my way to York Beach, Maine.  If those are your passions, you need to be in the places where you’ll have the best chance to get your foot in the door (as a side note, being a woodworker for Santa and being a taffy maker were my 2 passions up until the age of 16).  With entertainment, LA is where I need to be.

2). What makes you think you can succeed in the entertainment industry?

Well, you’re reading this blog right now, aren’t you?  Also, I think I’m a natural born storyteller.  I remember being picked for the role of “narrator” when my fifth grade class performed Aladdin…though in hindsight that might have been because when I tried out for the role of Aladdin, I kept getting a boner every time Princess Jasmine talked to me. And I also remember a priest at Church telling me I should be a lector (I think that means someone who reads the Bible stories during Mass) because I had storytelling talent…thinking back to that now, there’s a 100% chance he was just saying that so I’d let him take a closer look at what Princess Jasmine did not want to look at.

(Side Note: Have you seen the shit that gets made into TV shows or movies these days?  C’mon, this is gonna be a piece of cake.)

3). What specifically do you want to do in entertainment?

Writing scripts for porn seems to be my calling, but I’m wide open to any type of writing that’s considered entertainment.  No, really it’s all about comedy writing for me.  Right now that makes me think script writing for TV or movies, as well as sketch comedy…think SNL, the late night talk shows, Daily Show, etc.  But if someone wanted to pay me to write quasi-funny blog posts, that would be cool too.

4). OK, script writing.  Do you have any experience whatsoever doing that?

Depends on your definition of the word “experience.”  If experience to you means writing a couple of TV scripts more than two years ago, and then doing nothing more since, then yes, I have a TON of experience.  I also took an online class two years ago through the Gotham Writers’ Workshop that tried to teach me how to write a funny TV script.  I even got a group of friends together to do a table reading of my script.  I realized the script was no good when my drunk buddy drawing fake abs on himself with a marker got bigger laughs than any part of my story.  So no, I don’t have a ton of experience writing and completing scripts, but man, if you could only see my Google Docs account with all of my brilliant ideas…

5). Why not continue writing in your free time in San Francisco so you can keep a full time job?

That would make sense, wouldn’t it?  Rather than go to LA with no job and no experience, maybe I should have waited until I could complete a few more scripts in my free time.  The problem is I’m just not wired that way.  I can’t stare at a computer screen for 45-50 hours a week at my job and then come home and write until I go to bed.  The reason I was able to complete two scripts in 2010 is because I was unemployed during that time.  In the two years since then while having a full time job, I’ve written no scripts.  I’ve launched three different blogs with varying degrees of failure, but I really haven’t put enough time into writing.  I actually just counted the number of books on my bookshelf where screenwriting is the primary topic…I have 18 of them.  It’s time to stop reading books, stop writing down the next great idea, and just write.  Write until enough people tell me I’m horrible or until I’m on the verge of homelessness.

6). When did you know you were going to make this move?

I think it all began when I was about 12 years old and tried to watch the movie Fantasia.  I thought, “You gotta be fucking kidding me…a whole movie with Mickey Mouse and no sound?  This isn’t entertainment.  I need to fix this industry.”

More recently I’m pretty sure I knew during those unemployed days of 2010 that I eventually had to give this a try.  I would have done it right then, but I was out of money after screwing around for four months in Europe and Australia.  But if you’re asking when did I specifically know that I would be making this move in June 2012, then I’d have to say it came on November 3rd, 2011.  I know it was that date because it says so in my diary.  And that was the day I had jury duty.  I remember sitting in that courtroom praying that I’d get picked to be on the jury for a six-day trial so I wouldn’t have to go to work.  That’s when it all came together. Why would I stay at a job that makes me want to be at jury duty instead of working?  After that it was simply a matter of calculating how many more months I’d need to work to save up the right amount of money for my journey.

7). Is there anything you wouldn’t do to break into the industry?

Blowjobs.  Handjobs, yes; blowjobs, no.

Well that’s all the time we have today.  I hope you all learned something, and I’ll be back with more next week.

Adventures in Relocating: How Adults Do It

This is exactly how I plan to move my things on June 1st

When I relocated from Boston to San Francisco with my brother in October 2005, I didn’t blog much about the moving preparations.  As a matter of fact, I wrote only one blog post about the move before the move actually happened.  Somehow it reveals absolutely nothing about the route we were taking, the transportation to get to the new destination, packing up all my belongings, saying bye to friends and family, tying up random loose ends, or what my plan was once I arrived in SF.

This is probably because I was five months removed from college graduation with no possessions, no money and no plan.  Back then it was basically one brief conversation between my brother and I where we decided we were moving, followed by putting all of my clothes into a large duffel bag the night before we left.  If I had been a committed blogger back then, I would have written about the amazing going away pub crawl my friends in Boston threw for me…a night that must have been good since it ended with me puking in the urinal of the White Horse Tavern and trying to escape the wrath of the bouncers.  I would have mentioned how one day before we were set to leave, my brother tried to fix something in the car we were driving out to California only to inadvertently short out the radio.  And when we told my Dad we might have to delay the trip by a few days to get the radio fixed, he basically threw his car keys at us and insisted we drive his car out West. In retrospect, what should I make of the fact that my Dad wanted us gone so badly that he literally gave away his car to ensure we wouldn’t linger? I also would have written that my brother’s friends threw him a great going away party in Fitchburg, but the only problem is that it occurred the night before we were leaving…and he got HAMMERED.  This led to a great moment where I had to wake him up at 9am the next day to tell him we had to get going, only to have him look at me like he was hearing of this “moving west” plan for the first time.  To say he was hungover and unprepared would be insulting to hungover and unprepared people.  He woke up, found a duffel bag and started shoveling clothes into it.  That’s the full story of him packing to move his entire life 3,000 miles away.  I would have finished my blog post back then with a note on how I had to smoke a five-pack of Phillies Blunt cigars to stay awake at times when I was driving (did I mention I had no money? Five cigars for $2.50 was me splurging at the time).

But even if I had been writing all that down while we were moving, I still wouldn’t have had much to say about the preparations.  For example, I never thought twice about mail that would keep getting sent to my old addresses in Boston and Fitchburg back then because there wasn’t any.  I didn’t really care to have the bank’s letters that said “stop trying to withdraw money, you have none,” forwarded to my new address in San Francisco.  Actually, I didn’t even have a new address in SF.  I was sleeping on my oldest brother’s couch until further notice.  That’s another thing I didn’t have to do in 2005…look for a place to live prior to moving.

So here’s my goal over the next few weeks: to unleash a new series of blog posts that will educate you on the successes and failures of my move to LA.  The title of each of these posts will begin with “adventures in relocating” so if you really don’t want to read these, you’ll know which ones to ignore right away.  And for those of you saying, “LA?  What the fuck is he doing moving to LA?” Well, I’ll have a post coming up soon with answers to all the questions you could ever ask.

For anyone who has relocated as an adult, you probably realize that things were a little more difficult than my experience seven years ago. You deal with tying up loose ends in one place while establishing yourself in another place.  And my move to LA is coinciding with me being jobless, which means I’m not going to spend money on having professional movers pack up my shit and deliver it to my new apartment. And I’m not going to pay for the cleaners to come to my current apartment to help me get my security deposit back.  There’s a lot more “do it yourselfness” going on here.

But I expected a lot of work, and that’s why my last day at my job was April 27th.  I’m moving on June 1st so I wanted the entire month of May to take care of all these things; big things like finding an apartment in LA and renting the right Uhaul truck, and little things like using leftover gift cards to places that only exist in San Francisco before I leave.

But then I went and booked a trip back to Boston from May 21st through May 30th.  Why did I plan a trip that takes me away from everything I have to do for the final 10 days leading up to the move?  I can justify a piece of the trip because I’m going to a wedding in Boston over Memorial Day weekend, but the extended 10-day trip?  That was probably dumb of me.  Soon I’ll be panicking because there’s less than three weeks before I have to be 100% ready for this move.  There are also a couple days where I know I won’t be productive: May 7th when me & the brothers have a final golf outing together, May 12th when we celebrate the going away of me and Julie in Golden Gate Park, and May 20th when we party one more time in a way that’s only possible in San Francisco….Bay2Breakers.

It’s May 3rd.  I have 15 open days to find an apartment, pack up everything and move.  Something tells me I can’t get away with shoving all my belongings in a duffel bag and sleeping on someone’s couch this time around.