Stanley Cup Conference Finals Preview via Guest Blogger (Who’s Getting Quite Arrogant At This Point)

[Editor’s Note: Guest-blogging extraordinaire Nkilla is back with his preview of the Conference Finals. That’s right. We’re finally halfway through the Stanley Cup Playoffs. One month down, one to go.]

Well, well, well… look who pulled off a sweep in the second round of the NHL playoffs. That’s right, I did, your favorite guest blogger. I predicted the winner of all four second round series correctly. Before I basically give you free money by picking the semi-final winners, let’s quickly recap what happened in round two.

[Editor’s Note: Classic douchey sports prognosticator move by Nkilla here. Highlight the fact that you got the winner of each series right, but ignore the fact that you didn’t correctly pick the right amount of games for any of those series. It’s like anyone who picked the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl before last football season by saying they would be the #1 seed in the AFC and go on to win their second Championship. Yeah, buddy, you knew exactly how things were going to play out.]

Pittsburgh eliminated Ottawa 4-1. This series was never really close. In fact, if the five players on the ice for Pittsburgh in the last minute of game three do not collectively stop playing defense for eight seconds Pittsburgh probably sweeps Ottawa. After fending off a feisty Islanders team in round one, Pittsburgh apparently decided to take the playoffs seriously in round two and just go out and dominate their opponent. Ottawa may have fooled us a bit by how easily they eliminated Montreal in round one, but Montreal was probably more inured than they let on, and they let on that they were very injured.

Boston eliminated New York 4-1. This series was never really close either. In fact, if Tuukka Rask does not forget how to play goalie in game four Boston probably sweeps New York. After the Toronto “almost a fiasco but really one of the great Boston sports moments of the last thirty years”, the Bruins, much like Pittsburgh, decided to get serious and end their second round series quickly. A couple of things factored into this being a quick series: just because one sucky team (New York) beat another sucky team (Washington), the winner does not all of a sudden become good; the Bruins three rookie defensemen added some much needed life into the Bruins and helped them dominate the series; and most of all, the growing legend of Krug.

Los Angeles eliminated San Jose 4-3. The home team won all seven games in this series. It was a very well-played series with five of the seven games being decided by one goal. Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick is starting to look as unbeatable as he was during last year’s Stanley Cup run, and he really carried the Kings through this series. San Jose probably lost this series when they gave up the game-tying and game-winning goal twenty-two seconds apart with less than two minutes to play in game two.

Chicago eliminated Detroit 4-3. Best series of the second round between two long-time division rivals that will not even be in the same conference anymore as of next year. Chicago dominated game one, and then Detroit came out and cruised through the next three games to take a 3-1 series lead over the West’s top seed. At this point Chicago came to life offensively and dominated game five at home, came from behind to win game six on Michael Frolik’s sick penalty shot, and then won game seven twice, once with one minute left in regulation that was overturned on a horrendous penalty call, and then a second time in overtime.

 

So, that leaves us with a great final four. If you look at the sixteen teams that started the playoffs, it is tough to come up with a better final four option than how it actually played out. All four of these teams are worthy of winning The Cup, which isn’t always the case once you get to the final four in any sport. These are also your last four Stanley Cup champions. Let’s break the two series down and reveal the winner of each:

Chicago v Los AngelesChicago wins if: They score on the power play and Corey Crawford does not give any games away. The power play is going to be particularly important for Chicago because Jonathan Quick is playing so well right now. I think goals are going to be hard to come by in this series. Also, if Chicago gets two or three goals past Quick in a particular game, Crawford cannot have a shaky game and give up five goals.

LA wins if: Jonathan Quick keeps playing like he did during last year’s championship run. Listen, LA’s offense has by no means been lighting up the scoreboard this postseason, but with the way Quick is playing two goals is going to be enough most nights.

And the winner is…: Chicago was the best team in the regular season and dominated their first round matchup against Minnesota, but showed some weakness in the Detroit series. Quick seems to be getting better as the playoffs go on. If LA was scoring goals at even an average rate during these playoffs, I could see LA winning a short series. The Sharks won three games against the Kings by a score of 2-1 in the last round. I see no reason why Chicago can’t grind out a couple wins like that in this series. I think this goes seven, and I want the better goalie in game seven. LA in 7.

Pittsburgh v BostonPittsburgh wins if: They continue to play outstanding special teams and their offense continues to run amok. Pittsburgh has the number one power play in the playoffs and the number three penalty kill. Most of the time their power play looks surgical. When their five-on-five offense is clicking, they can make it look like they are on the power play even when they are not. They have three of the top four goal scorers and point leaders so far in the playoffs.

Boston wins if: They continue to play the best two-way hockey in the playoffs and the rookie defensemen continue to play like veterans. The Bruins have the top four plus/minus players in the playoffs so far, and that is because when the Bruins are playing well the forwards are forechecking and helping on defense. Based on what I just taught you about Pittsburgh’s offensive proficiency, the Bruins young defensemen need to not only provide the youthful energy they brought against New York, but they have to play solid defense.

And the winner is…: On paper Pittsburgh is slightly more talented and their offense really started to click against Ottawa. As good as the Pittsburgh offense is, their defense is a little soft. A couple of these games may end up being of the 6-4 variety, and I prefer Rask over Vokoun easily in those games. If you watched the Pittsburgh/Ottawa series, by game four it seemed like Ottawa was afraid of Pittsburgh. The one thing the Bruins will not be at any point is scared of this Pittsburgh team. In fact, I think the personality of this Bruins team is one that wants to go through Pittsburgh to get to the finals. I think there is a small part of Pittsburgh that wishes someone else took care of Boston for them. Boston in 6.

[Editor’s Note: I love that Nkilla picked a Stanley Cup Finals between my hometown team (Boston) and my new hometown team (Los Angeles). Really, there’s no wrong answer for the NHL when it comes to the possible Finals matchups. It’s either Pittsburgh vs Chicago (the two most-talented teams and the top two teams from the regular season), Pittsburgh vs LA (the best offensive team against the best goalie/last year’s champs), Boston vs Chicago (two original-six teams, great hockey cities) or Boston vs LA (the last two Cup winners, the two most physical teams, and my overall preference). This is going to be a fun four weeks.]

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Public Service Announcement: Rooting For the “Hangover” Characters To Die In A Nuclear Blast

It’s easy to tell when I’m no longer entertained by a TV show or movie. Anyone who’s been around me enough knows that when I’m sick of something that we’re watching, I start rooting for all the main characters to suffer horrible deaths. It’s especially telling when I’m watching a comedy—a genre where there is typically no violence or serious plot lines like death—and I start hoping that one character’s going to pull a gun on another and shoot him in the head. It’s my way of saying “Can this please end as quickly as possible?”

The following is more of a Public Service Announcement than an actual blog post.

While watching The Hangover Part III last weekend, I wasn’t just rooting for all the characters to shoot each other. I was rooting for a random nuclear bomb to fall from the sky and land in Ed Helms’ skull. It was THE WORST COMEDY I’VE EVER SEEN. And I’ve seen Little Nicky, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Evan Almighty, Caddyshack II, The Cat In The Hat (Mike Myers version) and even The Hangover Part II.

My apologies to Ed Helms because his character wasn’t the only insufferable one in this movie. Bradley Cooper and Ken Jeong’s characters were also pathetic and uninspiring. Ed Helms just happens to be who I pictured when I decided I wanted a bomb to come crashing down and split one of the characters’ skulls open (right before detonating and wiping out the rest of the characters obviously).

What set it apart from all the other gigantic comedic failures I mentioned above? The fact that it wasn’t even a comedy. It didn’t even try to be a comedy. It tried to be an action/adventure movie with Zach Galifianakis wandering through each scene trying to say or do something inappropriate. Not one other character in the movie said or did a funny thing the entire time. I realize the first Hangover installment was such a hit partly because of the unexpected genius of Galifianakis, but you can’t just recycle the same setups and punchlines that surprised us in the original.

And if you’ve decided to screw us by becoming an action movie, then we’re going to pay more attention to the plot and the realness of the whole thing. For instance, it’s tough for me to buy that this group of adults is trapped inside the basement of a house with no way out when one of them is holding a giant sledge hammer and all that stands in his way is a standard wooden door. Interestingly enough, these same characters think up and execute a crazy scheme later in the movie when they tie a bunch of bed sheets together and repel down the side of the Caesar’s Palace Hotel in Las Vegas…but they can’t figure out that the sledge hammer lying right next to them might be able to bust through a door?

If this was a comedy, we would ignore that type of ridiculousness. But since the creators of this movie decided to jump into a whole new genre, we can’t help but pay attention to the details.

How many more ways can I say this movie was horrific?

The actors weren’t terrible; the material they had to work with was terrible.

There were a couple funny parts, but they were all delivered to us in the trailers and previews. Galifianakis driving around with a pet giraffe and later singing with the “voice of an angel” at his dad’s funeral could have been a couple very funny, unexpected moments in the movie. But we already saw those clips over and over during the months leading up to the movie’s release.

I saw this movie for $5.50 (apparently the going rate for a matinee movie in Fitchburg, Massachusetts), and I still felt ripped off at the end.

Do yourself a favor: Save your money now and spend it on a comedy that might actually make you laugh later on in the summer, like Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups 2. I guarantee Sandler’s awful comedies will at least be comedies.

My Dog Made It Through Her First Year Without Me Killing Her, In Words and Pictures

Despite my best efforts, my dog Molly has made it through one year of life relatively unharmed. When I started writing this blog on her actual birthday, May 20th, I was going to say that the first six months were extremely eventful and chaotic, and the most recent six months were relatively unexciting. But as you’ll see below, excitement and chaos often pops up unexpectedly when it comes to dealing with a puppy.

Per my usual dog-blogging format, here’s one year of Molly’s life by the numbers:

1: Years old in regular time

7: Years old she’s supposed to be in dog years

67: Years old she acts most of the time…You try to walk her for longer than 10 minutes on a day where the temperature is above 65 degrees and she will fall to the ground and turn into dead weight, absolutely refusing to go any further. You then have two choices: carry a 96lb dog a half-mile back to the apartment, or pull on her leash so hard that the pain from more walking is far less severe than the pain from strangulation. Also, even though she is about six feet tall and extremely muscular, she gets on and off our couch as if she is the oldest, brittlest  dog on the planet.

96: Pounds. Yes, as far back as six weeks ago we started telling people that Molly was done growing. She really hadn’t gained any weight at that point after hitting the 90lb mark. After weighing her earlier this week, it appears we aren’t that lucky. The race to 100lbs is officially back on!

There was a time when Julie could easily hold Molly like this:

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And now you can see the back-breaking effort (literally) it takes to pick her up:

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9: Months we owned Molly before Julie finally came over to my side in the “should our human-sized dog be allowed to sleep in the bed with us” argument. Once upon a time before we got the dog, Julie and I agreed that it wouldn’t be sleeping in our bed ever, and then Julie immediately changed her tune after we got her. When I call her out on this, Julie’s response is always, “Yeah, but I didn’t know back then that I was gonna love her so much.” Pathetic. But finally a couple weeks ago Molly’s constant moving around and seizuring during her puppy dreams kept Julie up for just enough of the night that she decided it was time to recapture our bed from the dog version of Andre the Giant.

1: Number of times we rushed the dog to the Emergency Room in an absolute panic because she might have eaten some grapes. Listen, you can laugh all you want at taking our dog to the ER for grapes, but ever since we got her (the first dog either of us has ever owned, by the way), we’ve been repeatedly told by the Vet, other dog owners and people who can’t mind their own business that there are two human foods besides chocolate that are absolutely deadly to dogs: onions and grapes. So on that fateful Sunday night when we saw Molly standing over a pile of grapes that was magically sitting on the floor, how were we supposed to know whether she had actually eaten any or not? And even if she had just one, we were told by the ER staff to bring her in. Two very long hours later, we at least had an answer as to how valuable our dog’s life was to us…

350: The value, in dollars, that we put on Molly’s life during the Great Grape Debacle of 2013. The doctor told us there were two options: they could give her some medication that would try to block any toxins that were entering her bloodstream from the grapes, which would cost $350 and we’d be taking her home that night, or we could keep her at the ER for 72 hours while they constantly pumped her with IVs to combat those same toxins, which would cost a minimum of $2,500 but would provide a near certainty of her not getting kidney failure. We felt good about spending the $350 for the take-home medicine…because we knew she was a strong dog that wouldn’t get taken down by a measly little grape. Not at all because that additional $2,000 was needed for our vacation fund.

1: Additional times Molly has visited the ER since I initially wrote the above two paragraphs a week ago. I guess her health was going too smoothly (two months without a vet visit!)…in the mystery of mysteries, Molly developed a bunch of red bumps all over her back one day while she was home alone. When one of them started bleeding, it was time for another ER trip. But at least this time we got a deal, only $270 for the visit and a bunch of meds! But seriously, absolute mystery to the doctors…could have been bitten by something, could have had an allergic reaction to something, could have been just because she was missing me while I was away so much that she figured the only thing to get me home was to put herself in the emergency room. Well it didn’t get me to end my trip any sooner, and now she has a temporary deformity from her fur being shaved:

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100: Percent of the time that Molly consumes mass quantities of ocean water when we take her to the beach.

100: Percent of the time that Molly has the equivalent of a fire hose spraying brown water out of her ass after she consumes said ocean water.

1: Number of household items Molly has partially destroyed since I last wrote a blog about her New Year’s Eve destruction. Unfortunately it was the only piece of furniture we’ve purchased since moving to LA. Poor papasan chair:

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3: Days each week that Molly refuses to eat her breakfast. This one still confuses me, but I refuse to spend any more time or mental energy trying to understand her quirks. I read a comment on some random website that said dogs aren’t genetically programmed to eat on a schedule multiple times a day like humans are. They’re programmed to be able to go long periods of times without food because their ancestors in the wild would only eat when they found available prey. Right or wrong, this explanation is good enough for me.

2: Hard metal objects that she’s walked into face-first in the past 10 days. She’s definitely become a better walker over time, but she still has to look at every interesting thing during a walk around the neighborhood. And when that interesting thing is another dog, she will watch it for as long as she can, even as we make her continue walking. So it wasn’t totally surprising that she walked head first into a metal street light pole the other day when I was with her. And it turns out just a couple days later, Julie was crossing the street with Molly and she decided to pay attention to another dog rather than where she was walking…which ended up with her smacking her face against the side of a car that was waiting at the stop light. I know this dog isn’t actually my child so we don’t share any DNA, but I did once run face-first into a parked car outside of church while playing tag with my friends. So I guess it runs in the family?

Areas where we’ve seen significant improvement since we adopted her last summer:

Acceptance of being in water: Every time we’ve taken her to the beach over the past year, she’s gotten more and more daring with the ocean. When we took her a few days ago, she finally started chasing other dogs all the way into the water until she couldn’t stand anymore. She’s becoming obsessed with it, which I discovered can be a bad thing when I took her for a walk next to a sewage run-off a few months ago and she decided to jump in. Also, her second favorite thing to do at the beach besides go in the water at this point is to freak out on the sand as if she’s never felt such an amazing substance before. Check out this short video to see what I’m talking about:

Freaking out when she sees another dog: She’ll still let us know with firm pulls on the leash that she wants to go play with the dog she sees across the street, but at least she doesn’t go into full freak-out tantrum mode any more.

Acknowledging that her owners exist while at the dog park: This is an important one. I won’t say she’s the perfectly obedient dog when she’s playing with her friends, but at least now if we call her, there’s a 50/50 chance she’ll listen and come to us. This is especially important when a dog fight breaks out and Julie or I are sitting 50 yards away from it (as for the amount of dog fights I’ve seen, I’d guess it’s about 10 in eight months of going to the dog park. Probably four or five have ended in bloodshed for a dog or a human, but never Molly or us).

Treating her crate like a bed instead of a prison: Finally, finally! She voluntarily lays down in her crate when she’s tired. No longer does she treat it like a prison. No longer do we have to literally shove her into it when it’s time to lock her up. It just goes to show you that if you make the rest of your apartment scary and uninviting enough to a dog, they will in fact seek shelter in their crate.

Areas of no improvement or where she’s gotten worse:

About that water thing: The one exception is taking a bath. We try to bathe her once a month before we apply her flea treatment, and she’s as terrified of it today as she was at three months old. As soon as we get her in the bathroom, she turns into dead weight, forcing us to lift her into the tub and hold her there while she slowly tries to lean her way out of it. Not sure what it is about the tub, but it’s another one of those things that we’ve given up on trying to figure out.

Car entry and car rides: I’m not sure which one I would classify as worse, the fact that she won’t jump into the car on her own (never, not once in 10 months of having her), or that when she’s finally in the car, she will stay sitting up and rapidly panting the entire time she’s in there (even if it’s a six-hour ride to San Francisco). She hates everything about the car, which is weird because most of the time we put her in the car, we’re taking her somewhere fun. We’ve tried roughly 300 different arrangements to make her feel comfortable (putting a bed in the backseat for her, putting her favorite toys or stuffed animals in there, putting her in a harness that attaches to the seatbelt, and most recently, buying a dog hammock for her to lay in). None of it works. Tough to be a dog in LA and not enjoy car rides.

Separation anxiety: When we first got her, Molly hated being away from us, even if we were just in another room of the apartment. Then she seemingly matured and didn’t mind when we left her in the living room alone. And now she’s back to screaming bloody murder any time we force her to be more than five feet away from us. I’d like to think this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m always home with her so she hasn’t had to deal with being alone in the apartment all day, but let’s be honest, that setup probably hasn’t taught her to be independent.

So there you have it. Molly is good at some stuff, terrible at other stuff, but always entertaining. We’re thinking about getting four or five more puppies next month just to spice things up around the house (and to provide me with more dog-blogging material). Stay tuned.

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Travel Days Always Cause Me To Eat Like a 300lb Man, And I Couldn’t Be Happier About It

I’m a fat, junk food-eating kid at heart. If there were no repercussions, I would probably consume somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 calories each day. I’m talking a gigantic breakfast burrito in the morning, pizza & soda for lunch, burger & fries from Five Guys for dinner, and most likely some snacks in between. Oh, and the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection from Cold Stone Creamery would be a nightly post-dinner occurrence.

You can have your grilled tilapia over quinoa and cranberry & walnut salad. I’ll take the junk food.

Unfortunately my life expectancy would probably plummet from its current range of 52-55 years old to the “dead at 35” range if I ate like this every day.

As a matter of fact, I eat this type of junk food almost none of the time anymore. Something about being 30 years old means there’s a 93% chance that every time I eat like this I feel like shit the next day. The number of Tums I consume to combat heartburn has gone from “never took a single Tums in my life up until age 28” to “if I’m eating a heavy meal I might as well just mix a handful of Tums into the main course and get a jump on that awful feeling.” It also seems like my girlfriend wants me to live long enough for us to own an entire herd of gigantic dogs…so she’s pretty motivated to help me eat healthy.

And this is exactly why I now look forward to “travel days” more than anything else in my life. It’s the only time I feel completely justified eating garbage. I’ve convinced myself that a day in which I travel far (longer than a two-hour drive or any length of plane ride) provides enough inconveniences to my normal routine that eating junk food is the only option I have.

And before you say “Yeah, but there are so many ways to avoid this behavior…you can pack a healthy lunch for a car ride or even a flight…or you can be selective and eat the healthiest options on the airport restaurant menus”…save it. The point isn’t that I act this way out of necessity. It’s that I want to have a built-in situation where I allow myself to binge on my favorite greasy and/or sugary foods.

OK, confession time. It’s not just on the days that I’m actually traveling. If I travel to San Francisco or Boston, which happens often, I eat every day I’m there like saturated fats and high fructose corn syrup are going away for good. Since I’ve lived in these two cities and have tried most of the good restaurants, I don’t feel compelled to seek out high-quality healthy meals from new places. So I eat bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s, steak & cheese subs from D’Angelo’s, carnitas burritos from Anna’s Taqueria, and just about anything else that makes a paper bag see-through if you rub that food on it for five seconds.

It’s a pretty amazing cycle actually. I spend every day at home eating healthy and exercising. So when I travel, I feel that it’s fine to have a few days of bad eating because I’ve earned it. And then when I get home from the vacation, I feel terrible about myself and work my ass off for a few days trying to lose the 13lbs I gained over that weekend. The net result will probably leave me at a soft, doughy 190lbs for the rest of my life, and that’s fine…because the fast food is just so damn good.

Now just so you know, I’m not completely disgusting. If I’m doing a long drive late at night (after dinner), I’m not going to be stopping five times for burgers & fries. In those situations I ease off the heavy meats and go for a lighter mix like this:

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That picture’s from a road trip to San Francisco from January. And that haul of snacks didn’t even get me through the first 150 miles.

So this week I head back to Boston for six days. I already have lunch plans on Thursday with a friend to devour a burrito (at least a burrito, perhaps a quesadilla as a second course) from Anna’s. I know I’ll have Wendy’s at least once and D’Angelo’s at least twice back in Fitchburg. On Thursday night I’m sure I’ll have a burger and several appetizers of the fried food variety at whatever bar I end up at while watching the Bruins game.

Since this is shaping up to be a particularly unhealthy trip, I actually made a grilled chicken sandwich to take to the airport with me in the morning. Maybe eating it on the plane can be my only meal while I travel on Wednesday. But knowing me, I’ll eat the chicken sandwich at 6AM on the way to the airport, grab a croissan’wich & hash browns from Burger King while I wait for my flight, and then get a giant bag of Peanut M&M’s for the plane. I also hear it’s supposed to be 80 degrees in Boston when I land…perfect chocolate milkshake weather.

And let’s be honest…am I really going to wait for my friend to get to Boston on Thursday for my first Anna’s Burrito? No, I’ll be going directly from Logan Airport to their closest location for that sweet, sweet carnitas.

And when I return to LA next week, I’ll feel terrible. I’ll be lethargic for a few days, and I’ll spend extra time in the bathroom. I’ll try to go for a simple two-mile run and wonder why it seems like I’m running with lead shoes on. I’ll be miserable.

But then I’ll cheer up when I realize I’m only two weeks away from my next road trip.

Guest Blogger Predicting Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs (He Promises To Get More Than 1 Series Right This Time)

[Editor’s Note: Nkilla is back with his 2nd round predictions. I can’t even get away with watching two hockey games a night before my girlfriend is questioning how invested I am in our relationship. This friggen guy somehow has a wife, a kid and even a full-time job, yet somehow he’s allowed to watch every game?? Makes no sense, but glad to have him on board predicting (mostly incorrectly) all the results of the games.]

Round One of the Stanley Cup playoffs is in the books. Glad you all made it through with all your teeth still in place. Before we dive into the round two series rankings, let’s recap what happened in round one where my predictions went right and completely ignore any predictions I got wrong.

Chicago v Minnesota – As predicted this was a fairly uneventful series. The teams split two overtime games, and Chicago won the other three games easily. The most exciting thing that happened in this series is that Minnesota’s starting goalie got injured during pregame warmups for game one, so they had to go to their second-stringer at the last second. For those of you that do not follow the NHL very closely, players prepare for the goalie they are about to face similarly to the ways a batter prepares for a pitcher in the old man’s game (baseball): studying tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. So anyone that got excited because Minnesota forced OT in game one and thought the Wild might make a series out of it was ignoring the fact that Chicago would study up on the new goalie and make the appropriate adjustments.

Pittsburgh v Brooklyn – I was completely off on this series. This turned into one of the better series in the first round. The crowds for the games on Long Island were fantastic, which always helps elevate a series. I also did not see the Vancouver-esque goalie drama that was coming Pittsburgh’s way. Not that I thought their first-stringer, Marc-Andre Fleury was great, but I thought Pittsburgh would score six goals a game so the fact that he was giving up four a game wouldn’t matter. After Brooklyn had huge comeback wins in games two and four, Pittsburgh had to make a goalie change. The backup pitched a shutout in game five (see the pitcher analogy above) but started to let in goals in game six. It will be interesting to see how this plays out going forward. Pittsburgh won the two overtime games in this series which was probably the biggest reason they advanced with a 4-2 series win.

St. Louis v Los Angeles – Here is what I wrote about this series in the round one preview: “In the last month or so the Kings have been getting back to form. I think this is one of those series that goes five or six games but seems like it was a sweep.” Nailed it. After losing the first two games, the Kings won the next four (which is essentially a sweep, right?) to take the series. All six games were decided by one goal, but other than a few late-game goals it was not all that exciting.

Anaheim v Detroit – Not to keep bragging, but nailed it again. Here is what I wrote about this series before round one: “This series may very well go all seven games and we will probably get a couple of OT games as well. The reason this series is not higher on the list is that there is almost no history between the two teams and not a lot of household names on either team.” This was a fantastic series that nobody noticed. Anaheim erased a three goal deficit with 12 minutes left in game two only to lose in OT. Detroit came from behind and won in OT in game four to stay in the series, only to have the Ducks return the favor in game five. Anaheim scored two goals in the final three minutes of game six, only to lose in OT capping off three consecutive OT games. Again, great series, just too bad almost nobody was talking about it.

Washington v New York – I stand by my statement that both of these teams are bad. What I did not calculate was that when two bad teams play each other they can cancel each other out and you might get an entertaining seven game series. As expected you have a ton of built-up hatred because it is two close proximity east coast teams. There were plenty of entertaining skirmishes and an extremely entertaining 5-on-5 brawl after the final whistle of game six.  What ends up diminishing the enjoyment of this series a bit was that game seven was a giant dud.

Boston v Toronto – Let’s just go with my tweet immediately after game seven since I still can’t believe how things unfolded in this series, especially the last ten minutes of this series, and I certainly cannot coherently sum it up yet: “Well then, that was something.”

Vancouver v San Jose – Well, at least I predicted that San Jose would win this series. And Vancouver was nice enough to switch up goalies at least once, but this was not a very entertaining series. Vancouver never had a chance, which I understand for most NHL fans is nice to see since I think most non-Vancouvans are sick of this team by now. But in terms of playoff hockey value it was not a great series. And my advice to the Canucks – blow it up. You have taken a step back every year since losing in the Cup finals. It is time for a fresh approach.

Montreal v Ottawa – So close yet so far away. For three games I was looking like a genius. Everything I wrote in the round one preview about how great this series could be was coming true. After three games Ottawa was up 2-1 in the series, there had been what I can only describe as a small lake of blood on the ice at one point during game one, and this happened in the middle of game three:

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how much you despise the Canadiens) Montreal blew a two goal lead with nine minutes to play in game four, eventually lost the game in OT, suffered some season-ending injuries to several players including their goalie, and Ottawa won the series in five games.

 

So now onto the second round. There are four series in this round, enough to rank them from worst to best in terms of predicted entertainment value:

4. Chicago v Detroit – It is not that I think this is going to be a bad series, I just think the other three series will be better. Two of the original Six teams meeting in the playoffs. Both these teams have great fan bases and long histories. Detroit was unable to beat Chicago in four regular season meetings, but based on what we just saw in the Anaheim series and their history you never count Detroit out in the playoffs. I suspect the intensity of this series to grow with each game.

The Pick: Chicago in 6.

3. Los Angeles v San Jose – Southern California vs Northern California, Dodgers vs Giants On-Ice, Snoop Dogg vs MC Hammer, I could go on for days. These two teams played four very even games in the regular season. As mentioned in the round one preview, the Kings seem to be rounding into title defense form very nicely. The Sharks are coming off of the only round one sweep. The Sharks have a nice little story going. This is their least hyped team in years and they just completed the franchise’s first playoff sweep. LA is not going to be caught off guard like the Canucks were though.

The Pick: LA in 6.

2. Pittsburgh v Ottawa – On paper, Pittsburgh should be able to handle Ottawa in five games. That is what I thought about the Islanders too. Ottawa may not have the explosive offense that the Islanders had to keep pace with Pittsburgh, but they are a much more physical team than Brooklyn. And the crowd for every game in Ottawa should be going bonkers. And what happens if the wheels come off with the Thomas Vokoun experiment? Let’s not completely rule out Ottawa and their zany coach.

The Pick: Pittsburgh in 7.

1. Boston v New York – All bets are off in this series. You’ve got a Boston team vs a New York team. I know most of North America is sick of that story line, but it is always a story line. Both these teams just survived seven-game series against lesser opponents. Somehow this is the first playoff series between these two teams in forty years. The Bruins had a better season and are probably a better team on paper, but, well, nobody is sure this Bruins team wants to try until their backs are against the wall. And New York has a very deep team that has played better the second half of the year. These teams played three very evenly-matched games during the regular season, and you know both fan bases are going to bring it. Let’s just fast-forward to the inevitable OT of game seven and see how it plays out.

The Pick: Boston in 7.

The Boston Comeback That Made Almost All Of Us Look Like Fools (With a Big Assist From Twitter)

I’m sure guest-blogging extraordinaire Nkilla will be along later today with his Round 2 preview of the NHL playoffs, but it would be irresponsible of me not to post some disjointed, incoherent thoughts about what went down in Boston last night.

-I don’t care how spoiled Boston fans have been since the Patriots’ 2001 run. We were all thinking the exact same thing as last night’s 3rd period creeped closer and closer to the 10-minute mark: “Son of a bitch, we’ve been tricked again. This team is no different than last year’s gigantic disappointment. Only 115 days til football starts, thank the Lord.”

-God damn Twitter and Facebook. In the old days, I would have just told the person I was watching the game with that the Bruins were frauds, had no heart, should fire their coach before the final whistle…and then I could have denied it all after the comeback. Now my naysaying is all over the friggen web for eternity.

-Just imagine if Twitter was around during the 2004 ALCS. I can’t even fathom the type of hate I would have been spewing at the Red Sox after that 19-8 game 3 debacle against the Yankees in Fenway.

-Or even worse, imagine if they had liquor as tasty as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey back in 2004. Dangerous.

-Here’s a sampling of some of my Tweets and Facebook posts that historians 100 years from now will be laughing at as they put together a complete history of my life:

  • “1 of 2 things happens in this game: Bruins lead by multiple goals the whole way, or I chug Jack Daniel’s Honey for the next 3 hrs” (No exaggeration whatsoever. I severely underestimated how much I’d need so during the first intermission I sprinted to the store to re-load on the Honey. Best move I made all night.)
  • “I would tell Lucic to take the sweater off and exit the building right now if I were Julien. Awful, Nice season B’s” (In my defense, this was written the moment after Toronto scored their third goal, a goal that only happened because Lucic, having beaten Phil Kessel to the puck in the corner of the Bruins defensive zone, decided he wanted to make contact with Kessel more than grabbing the puck and clearing it out. It was an inexcusable play in my mind. As for the “Nice season B’s” comment, remember that they were now down two goals with 18 minutes to go and had scored all of three goals in the previous 162 minutes dating back to the start of game 5. I don’t think it was so wrong to write them off here.)
  • “Choking away a 3-1 series lead when 2 of final 3 games were at home is greater than or equal to a baseball team losing 9.5 game lead in Sept” (Fine, this one was a major exaggeration. Of course losing a lead like that in baseball when all you have to do is win 8 out of your final 27 games is worse than losing three straight hockey games.)
  • “I’d bet on Titus Young Sr getting signed by Patriots over Bruins coming back in this game” (And I’d still make that bet if the situation came up again. Remember, three total goals in 162 minutes and they needed three in less than 15 minutes!)
  • “I refuse to stop tweeting about the Bruins demise…It might just be the thing keeping them alive” (Rule #1 of debilitating superstitions: If good things start to happen while you’re behaving a certain way, don’t you dare change that behavior. My negativity just might be the thing that saved Boston’s season. I accept thank you’s in the form of paid writing jobs or straight up donations to the “Keep Ross Unemployed Fund.”)
  • “The Bruins treat playoff series like I treated college papers” (Pretty self-explanatory. Slack off until it’s so close to the deadline that you have a stress-related ulcer and then do just enough to not get kicked out of school/the playoffs.)
  • “So, New York, we meet again” (I don’t know this Rangers team, but I don’t care. They’re from New York. That’s all that matters.)

-I want to talk to someone who left the Garden when the Bruins were down 4-1 or 4-2. Not to make fun of them (Lord knows I was thisclose to changing the channel to watch the other game 7 going on at the same time), but to hear them express their feelings as they were driving out of Boston and realizing what was happening. Must have felt like a kick squarely to the testicles.

-Logic says the Bruins don’t get out of the 2nd round. Not only did they get outplayed in 4.5 of 7 games against the Maple Leafs, but they continued to lose key guys throughout the process…Andrew Ference, Wade Redden, Dennis Seidenberg. Good thing they have a guy who annually ranks as the best defensive-minded forward in Patrice Bergeron because they might just have to ask him to line up on the blue line if things keep going this way.

-You can never feel confident when two of your defensemen are a 19-year-old rookie (Dougie Hamilton) and a guy with nine total games of NHL experience (Matt Bartkowski).

-But there’s apparently no place for logic when it comes to the Boston Bruins and playoff hockey in general (as evidenced by the fact that the number 2, 3 and 4 seeds in the West bowed out in Round 1, along with the number 2 and 3 seeds in the East).

-As far as I’m concerned, Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien should grab a couple scrubs from Providence and sub them in for Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin for the rest of this playoff run. They are invisible. Marchand has all of three total points (all assists), ranking him 99th out of all players in the playoffs. But hey, he looks like Gretzky compared to Seguin….one point, an assist. There’s literally no one Julien can put in for them that will hurt the team more than they’re already hurting it.

-Bruins went 1-2 against the Rangers this year, but the two losses were as close as can be…one in OT and the other in a shootout. So there’s hope, I guess.

-Not that I would ever root for a triple-heart attack game again, but this just might have been the thing that gets my girlfriend legitimately interested in the NHL Playoffs for the rest of her life. I’ve been trying to tell her for the past week how amazing game 7’s can be, mostly because I wanted her to be OK with me hogging the TV for every possible hockey game, but now she’s going to think every game 7 is as crazy as last night’s. If that’s what it took, then I guess I’m glad it happened (Maybe her interest will stay with only the Bruins…she didn’t seem too thrilled this morning when I told her round 2 starts up immediately with two games tonight).

-I haven’t heard every sound byte from last night yet, but the leader in the clubhouse is Tuukka Rask saying “You’re either a hero or an asshole.” The Bruins seem to have a handful of both.

-Going forward I’ll make a deal with the Bruins. You play 60 minutes a game as if you actually care about winning in the playoffs, and I’ll stay away from prematurely writing your obituary on Twitter.

Expanding the “3 Strikes & You’re Out” Law to Include People Who Can’t Help But Go To Jail 3 Times In A Week

This may seem drastic, but I’m calling for life in prison for a guy who hasn’t killed, raped or kidnapped anybody. He’s not a terrorist of any kind. He’s never even caused significant property damage as far as I can tell.

But former NFL player Titus Young deserves life in prison just like any other criminal who demonstrates that they have absolutely no self-control.

For those of you unfamiliar with the wonder that is Titus Young, he’s a 23-year-old former first round pick of the Detroit Lions who’s played two years in the league and has shown at times that he could at least be a serviceable wide receiver and make a modest career out of it.

Detroit Lions Training Camp

But if you just became aware of this person in the last 10 days, then all you know is that he’s been arrested three times in the past week. Three times in a week! I usually get arrested less than three times a year!

It gets even better. On May 5th, he was arrested twice in the same day! First, he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, and then 14 hours later he was arrested for trying to steal his car out of the impound lot, where it was being kept because, you know, the guy was in jail earlier that day for drunk driving. Seems like the guy’s got a combination of balls and stupidity not seen around these parts since Johnny Knoxville and his “Jackass” cohorts were in their heyday.

And the icing on this ridiculous cake is Young getting arrested on May 10th for attempted burglary, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

I know the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law in California is aimed at people who commit felonies, and more specifically, violent crimes, but I’m proposing expanding it to any crimes, especially if all three crimes happen in the same goddamn week.

Criminals should feel lucky that they even get second chances. I think it’s absurd that some of them get third chances. But fourth chances? No way. I don’t care if a six-year-old was caught committing three crimes in a week (let’s say stealing a candy bar, exposing himself to his little girlfriend and punching a kid in class). I think I’d want that kid locked up for life.

But we’re talking about an adult who presumably has a fully formed brain. Why would he ever get the benefit of the doubt from society that he can be free and not keep fucking up? The dude lives in SoCal. I don’t want this fucker on the loose. He’s as dangerous as a serial killer at this point.

Even though these are technically his only three crimes, I’d like to add two more reasons this jerk should be locked up for life:

  1. Disrespecting the game of football (aka The Greatest Sport on Earth) – In his two-year NFL career, he sucker-punched a teammate for no reason, lined up in the wrong place on the field repeatedly to sabotage his team, and added “Sr” to the back of his jersey as in “Young Sr.” Apparently just to be a wiseass and mock people who have “Jr” at the end of their name or something.
  2. Ruining What Could Have Been An Easy Life – Titus Young was never going to be a Pro Bowl wide receiver, but in the NFL, you can make a good living as long as you keep playing. It looks like Young made about $900K last year. Even if he never got a raise, he could have carved out a six-year career and made in the range of $5-6Million minimum. That’s not “buy three beach houses and never lift a finger again” money, but it’s a damn good start to your life, especially when we’re talking about a person in his early 20s. But instead he’ll probably never make another dime playing football. But I’m sure he’ll turn to legitimate means to get by…

The moral of this story is that sometimes the combination of criminal activity and mind-boggling stupidity should warrant a person being removed from our society for good.

I think Titus Young Sr. getting life in prison would serve as a great example for all the future criminals who are thinking about getting arrested three times in a week.

Part 2 of the “50 Things Men Should Be Able To Do By Age 50” Blog: I’m in the 80th Percentile

In case you missed yesterday’s Part One of the “50 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do By 50” blog, you can find it HERE.

Out of those first 25 things I’m supposed to be able to do by age 50, I honestly think I can do 21 of them. The four that I struggle with are: Making myself vulnerable, Changing a tire, Sewing a button, and Breaking up a fight.

Let’s see what the final 25 on the Huffington Posts’s incredibly disappointing list produces:

26. Change a diaper – Not yet, but something tells me I will soon. I owe my brother one full day of babysitting my 10-month-old nephew because of a football bet gone wrong. One of three things is going to happen: I’m going to suck it up and change the diaper, I’m going to avoid changing the diaper and tell my brother that the kid didn’t pee or shit the entire day, or I’m going to delay paying off this bet until the kid is potty-trained.

27. Babysit – I’ll have you know that when I was 12 years old, my mother forced me to take a babysitting class at Leominster Hospital where I was the only boy out of about 25 students. So it seems parents can make gigantic mistakes and still have their kids turn out OK.

28. Perform CPR – I don’t know how to do it properly. The other day my dog was so hot & tired after the park that she decided to play dead on the sidewalk near a busy street. I started giving her fake CPR just for the hell of it…just waving to horrified people driving by in their cars as I pounded on her chest. So I think in a pinch I could figure it out.

29. Avoid a hangover – Finally, in my 15th year of consuming alcohol, I’ve learned that if I just drink beer, and only beer, I won’t be hungover the next day. Strangely enough I know a guy in his 30s who suddenly became unable to get a hangover, no matter how hard he tries. He is the envy of everyone I know.

30. Have a long-term retirement plan – I don’t even have a short term “how I’m going to pay next month’s rent” plan.

31. Show affection towards a male friend – If you mean “show affection towards a football team with a male friend,” then yes, I can do this.

32. Be faithful to their partner – Yeah, because an unemployed 30-year-old with a gray afro has a lot of opportunities to be unfaithful.

33. Recommend restaurants – This one’s even more ridiculous than “be able to make a dinner reservation.” Do I have the ability to recommend a restaurant? This is when you start to think that the writer could only come up with like 46 legit items and had to put in some stretches to make it an even 50.

34. Have a platonic female friend – I wouldn’t go out of my way to make a platonic female friend because they don’t have much to offer me, but they exist in my world because they are my friend’s girlfriends or my girlfriend’s best friends…but the idea of being more than platonic friends is always circulating in my head.

35. Stand up for themselves in a respectful way – Sure I can, but for the right amount of money I’m willing to never stand up for anything I believe in again.

36. Make a signature meal that’s more complicated than Easy Mac – Julie says my grilled chicken is to die for. I’m more partial to my peanut butter & banana sandwiches. There’s an art to the width of the banana slices and the amount of banana on each sandwich.

37. Give themselves a clean, good shave – Once again it would be strange to meet a 50-year-old guy who didn’t have the slightest clue about how to shave. And yes, once a week I shave the peach fuzz off my face.

38. Keep their ear and nose hair in check – If I was single, I’d probably pay attention to my nose hairs more, and if I ever find hair growing out of my ears I’ll probably just stick a gun in my mouth and end the whole damn thing.

39. Wash the dishes – One of the many househusband chores I do each day. Being one of the top dishwashers in the world as a white person is probably as rare as a black NHL star, but I totally knock down the artificial color barriers in the kitchen.

40. Spot when a woman is interested or just being polite – I’ve only had one woman be interested in me in the last 10 years so I’m probably pretty rusty with this.

41. Give to a charitable cause – Of course. I give free laughter to people in need every day probably.

42. Invest wisely – I barely know how to invest stupidly, but at least I have 20 more years until I really need to master everything on this list, right?

43. Cry without embarrassment – I can do this. I’ve never thought crying was embarrassing, just unnecessary.

44. Drive a stick shift – Drive one, teach someone how to drive one, put an ugly metal skull on the top of the stick and pretend to be a badass. I’ve done it all.

45. Comfort someone – There there, Huffington Post. It’s not your fault that this list is terrible. Here, have a tissue.

46. Buy a great present – Being able to buy a great present depends entirely on the person you’re buying for. Some people are just so obvious in what they want and need, or their personality just lends itself to coming up with fun ideas for gifts. And some people basically get the same gift card from me year after year.

47. Choose scotch/whiskey – I choose Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey over any other liquor in the world. It didn’t say anything about choosing a good scotch or whiskey.

48. Erect a tent – Went camping a few weeks ago and actually had a guy tell me I was the best Tent Erector he had ever seen (once again, cue up the penis jokes, the gay camping jokes and anything else you can think of that involves erections, pitching a tent, etc).

49. Dance, at least a little – Julie and I rate each wedding we attend purely on the amount of dancing. We suck at dancing, but at a wedding it feels like our duty.

50. Impress their partner’s parents – I think I’ve made an impression on them. Is that what this means? Not only is their daughter shacking up with an unemployed guy with a pipe dream of a career, but Julie’s mom, who’s a nurse, gets a call from her about once every four months asking how we should handle a freak injury that I brought upon myself. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re “impressed.”

It appears I’m currently unable to do five items on this half of the list: numbers 26, 28, 30, 40 and 42. That means I only have nine total things to work on over the next 20 years to be able to say yes to this list before my 50th birthday. I guess this means I’m 82% of a man?

I know, I know, this list was a bit disappointing. I guess what they say is true…If you want to follow a set list to live your life, you have to make the list yourself. Maybe we’ll do that as a separate blog post some time in the future.

“50 Things A Man Should Know How To Do By 50″…If I Can Do Them All By 30, Do I Get Bonus Points?

You may remember a blog I posted about a month ago making fun of my girlfriend’s delusional claim that she could hit 70% of her free throws from official foul line distance. I get the sense that Julie says she can do this because she thinks the average person should be able to hit most of their shots from the foul line. After all, she keeps reminding me, it’s not that far away from the basket.

But this constant smoke she’s blowing up my ass about her basketball abilities got me thinking about other things the average person should be able to do (hitting 70% from the foul line isn’t one of them). That led to some Google searches, which led to a bunch of websites with lists titled “50 things everyone should know how to do”.

After reviewing all my options, I decided a Huffington Post article from April titled “50 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do By 50” was the right list for me to fully investigate.  After all, I could realize I don’t know how to do any of these things and still feel good about having 20 more years to master them.

I’ve taken the time to seriously consider each item on this list and come up with a legitimate answer on whether I can currently do that thing or not. Men, you should read this blog carefully and think about where you’re at with these things in your life. Women, you should read this blog carefully because you’re half the population and therefore half my page views.

Let’s split this up into two and tackle items 1-25 today. Check back later in the week for items 26-50.

  1. Please a woman – BOOM! What a way to start. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this HuffPost article was written by a woman. Anyway, this first item is open to a lot of interpretation. But if I’m interpreting it right, then yes, yes I can please a woman.
  2. Clean up after themselves – Yes, plus I sometimes have to clean up after my dog and my co-habitant who I affectionately refer to as “Hurricane Julie” (seems a hurricane hits our apartment every time a wardrobe decision needs to be made).
  3. Make small talk – It really isn’t that difficult and unless you’re an absolute hermit you’ll probably have to make small talk every day for the rest of your life. I have friends who despise small talk, chit chat, exchanging pleasantries…you name it. But the alternative is to ride up 20 floors in an elevator with your boss and stand in silence. Awkward.
  4. Take care of their health and go to the doctor regularly – This is an oxymoron, right? If I’m taking care of my health then why would I have to go to the doctor so often?
  5. Say “I’m sorry” and mean it – I try to only say it when I mean it, but sometimes my girlfriend will say, “What are you apologizing for” and I’ll say, “Because I’m sorry you’re obviously upset about something.” Apparently the fact that I don’t know what that something is means I’m not being genuine.
  6. Do laundry – I’ve been doing my own laundry for about 12 years, but just the other day I said to Julie in all seriousness: “Wait, so if I were to separate my clothes and only wash my white stuff, could I put bleach in there and it would help my socks stay whiter?” She looked at me like I had asked her “Will I be less tired in the morning if I go to sleep at night?”
  7. Listen wholeheartedly – Sometimes I get lectured by my girlfriend for not making eye contact while she’s telling me a story. Because she’s a speech therapist with training in behaviorism, she’s constantly pushing crazy theories on me like “70% of listening is done through the eyes.” My response is that I’m trained in the art of efficiency so if I can listen to your entire story while watching TV or giving my dog a belly rub, why wouldn’t I multi-task?
  8. Be nurturing to their mate – Uh oh, the woman who wrote this list is starting to lose credibility. She better start coming up with actual things men should know how to do. The definition of nurturing is “to care for and encourage the growth or development of.” Yes, I care for my “mate.” Why did you have to say that in such a complicated way?
  9. Make themselves vulnerable – OK, third item in a row that makes it obvious a woman with an agenda created this list. Let’s go back to the definition strategy. Vulnerable means “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” So why the fuck would someone want to make themselves vulnerable. Ugh. If “work yourself into an unnecessary rage” is an item on this list, I can certainly check it off.
  10. Dress themselves well – Three things working against me here: 1). I don’t have a job or a daily hobby that forces me to go out in public and interact with people. 2). I’m trying to save money for necessary items at this time. 3). You know how you’re never surprised when new parents walk around with ratty clothes covered in spit-up and green diarrhea? Well owning a dog isn’t entirely different…so much hair, drool and treat crumbs get on my clothes each day that I’ve given up and now I wear the same pair of cargo shorts and a shitty t-shirt 5 days a week.
  11. Change a tire – Haven’t done it on my own. Always seemed like one of those “easy to figure out the moment you’re thrust into that situation” kind of things.
  12. Unhook a bra – Hands, teeth or feet? Pretty sure I can do it in under 10 seconds in each scenario.
  13. Say “I love you” and mean it – While saying “I love you” and not meaning it gave me a lot of positive results in college, I now only say it when I mean it…which is probably why no one’s heard me say it since college.
  14. Properly put on a tie – Yes, thank you, Catholic School…unless we’re talking about a bow tie, in which case I have a story about 12 guys panicking before a wedding because the bride & groom decided we needed to tie our own bow ties. One person had done it before. He ended up doing it 12 more times that day.
  15. Sew a button – Would rather throw out the shirt or pants in question and buy a new one than learn how to sew.
  16. Iron clothing – Learned out of necessity when I got my first sales job in San Francisco and spent all my money on new fancy shirts. Couldn’t afford dry cleaning so I taught myself how to iron. My two older brothers, to this day, think that ironing the shirt while you’re wearing it is the proper technique.
  17. Shop for clothing – Easy. Walk into Old Navy and buy one of everything that doesn’t look douchey.
  18. Make restaurant reservations – Look up the restaurant on Yelp, click the “find a table” button, reserve table through the Opentable functionality. Easy peasy. Wait, can you imagine someone not knowing how to do this after 50 years on the planet? Is there a more self-explanatory thing than making a reservation?
  19. Approach a woman – I do this the only way I know how…dress in a dark hoodie with the hood up over my head, sunglasses on even if I’m indoors, keep a very serious straight face, and put one hand in my pocket as if I’m holding something, and then whisper to her “I think you better come with me right now.” Works 0% of the time.
  20. Make a bed – Wait, does this one mean construct an actual bed out of raw materials or is it talking about the useless act of covering the mattress with sheets and a comforter every morning? One of them I can’t do, and the other I’m unwilling to do.
  21. Ask for help – I’d rather die. No, joking. Yeah I ask for help all the time, probably too much. I have no shame in getting someone to do something for me that I could have done myself.
  22. Break up a fight – Oh, no no no…you see, I’m the ultimate instigator. I hate fighting myself, but I love seeing my friends stick up for me and fight the person I’m antagonizing. It’s seriously my patented move.
  23. Lose an argument – I know how to, but I don’t like to. I’m a “get the last word in” kind of guy. So even if I’ve lost the argument, I’ll go down throwing out every theory possible until you get sick of hearing me talk.
  24. Set the table – Some of these items should be on a list titled “50 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do The Moment He Emerges From The Womb”.
  25. Firmly shake hands – I never pay attention to how firmly or limply I’m shaking someone’s hand because in that moment I’m always trying to either remember his name or think of something funny to say. I bet I’m average on the limp-firm scale (insert penis joke here, ha ha).

I hope this list was both insightful and a waste of time for everybody who read it. I’ll be back tomorrow with the second half.

Follow My Lead This Weekend and You’re Sure To See Plenty of Sports and Be A Lot More Single By Monday

In case anyone needs help deciding whether this Saturday is a good day to do family stuff or chores around the house, let me show you what my day is going to look like:

9:30AM: New York Rangers/Washington Capitals Game 2 – Try to watch this game while I pretend to enjoy family breakfast with my girlfriend and dog.

2:30PM: Show up at my favorite sports bar because things are about to get crazy.

3:00PM: The 139th Kentucky Derby – I’ll be making a small bet on a random horse with longshot odds just to have something to root for during this event.

4:00PM: Toronto Maple Leafs/Boston Bruins Game 2 – Hockey is the greatest playoff sport there is. If you try to argue against this fact, you are an idiot and I don’t want to talk to you.

4:30PM: Anaheim Ducks/Detroit Red Wings Game 3

5:00PM: Chicago Bulls/Brooklyn Nets Game 7 – Basketball is the worst playoff sport there is, but even I can get semi-interested in a game 7.

5:00PM: Boston Red Sox/Texas Rangers – Best team in baseball is must-watch TV.

6:00PM: San Francisco Giants/Los Angeles Dodgers – Probably only relevant in my neck of the woods.

7:00PM: St. Louis Blues/LA Kings Game 3

7:30PM: Floyd Mayweather/Robert Guerrero fight – I don’t even like boxing but might as well cap the day off with one final event.

And don’t forget Cinco de Mayo is Sunday, but plenty of people are sure to be celebrating on Saturday.

Speaking of Sunday, don’t assume you can follow my lead on Saturday and save all your chores for Sunday because we might be dealing with four game 7’s in the NBA playoffs and 13 hours of playoff hockey on Sunday.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you’re stuck in the checkout line at Ikea desperately trying to get updates on all these games via Twitter.

New Plan to Get Some Monthly Income That I Totally Deserve: Dog Walking

epic_dog_walking_fail

This is bound to piss some people off, but this thought randomly jumped into my head today when I was trying to ignore my dog while she whimpered by the door: Would it be wrong of me to start charging my girlfriend half the cost of a dog walker every day?

Hear me out on this…If you think about it, me being at home saves us from having to get a dog walker that would cost $25 a day. We’d be splitting that cost, $12.50 each. By going to work and leaving me to tend to the house, Julie is not only saving herself the cost of a movie ticket each day, but also never has to take time away from her work to deal with the dog. On the flip side, I have to interrupt my day for a 40-minute walk and I don’t make a dime doing it. Is this fair?

I feel like I should be compensated for this, and because I’m dealing with someone I know, I’ll give her a deal. $10 per day to continue walking our dog and keeping the apartment piss-free. This would give me an extra $200 a month in income, which would increase my monthly income by about 400%.

I know what you’re saying…she’s the working person in the relationship and I’m the househusband. The exchange is her bringing in the money and me doing the chores/house management. I’d be fine with that, except I gotta tell you guys, she doesn’t give me any of that friggen money. If anything, she holds it over me that she has income and I don’t.

And don’t even get me started about what I should be charging for doing the dishes each morning, getting the mail and having a hot meal on the table every time she gets home.

Am I stumbling on a deeper conversation about proper compensation for housewives? Have I finally made the transition to overworked, oppressed stay-at-home Dad? Is there a snowball’s chance in Hell that Julie agrees to pay me to continue taking care of our dog?

These are just some of the questions I ask myself while providing free dog-walking services every day.

Walking-dog-fail

 

Kriss Kross, In Memoriam (Regardless of How Badly My Brothers Laugh At Me)

Over the years many people have assumed that me and my brothers fought a lot while growing up. Three boys in the family separated by only five years in age, I totally understand the thinking. But the truth is there weren’t many physical altercations between us because none of us were that aggressive (Neil’s probably shaking his head as he reads this, the same head that was on the receiving end of an Aaron tennis racket toss once upon a time).

Rather than beat up their little brother, my brothers simply used their slight intellectual advantage to wage psychological warfare against me whenever they got a chance.

The reason I bring this up is because the sad news of half of Kriss Kross dying yesterday brought back one such torturous memory from my childhood.

Based on Kris Kross’s mega-hit “Jump” being released in 1992, I’d have to guess I was nine years old when it happened. As we were about to leave our house for a party at my grandparents’, my a-hole brothers went to work convincing me to put my jeans on backwards because that was the new cool fashion trend that Kris Kross had started.

As you can imagine, a nine-year-old trying to fit in with his teenage brothers doesn’t need much prodding to do something incredibly stupid. Fast forward 20 minutes and I walk in the front door of my grandparents’ house and get laughed at by my Aunt immediately. I wish I could say I stood up for my wardrobe choice that day, but no, I sheepishly ran to the bathroom and turned my jeans around like every other boring kid.

I’ll always think that day marked the beginning and the end of me being a fashion early-adopter.

But as mean as my brothers were on that day, at least they only made fun of my backwards jeans for the next decade or so.

Now that I’m older and have no shame, I don’t mind doing something that might get laughed at. Especially if it’s to honor one of the great singer-songwriters of our time. So Chris Kelly, today’s outfit is for you:

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