Best Of The Blog: Remembering 6 Years of College Reunions

[Editor’s Note: I’m hopping on a plane in less than three hours to meet up with the 10 people from college who were most responsible for my Dad once telling me “it’s time to look for another college if you’re gonna be getting grades like that.” I have no time for a new post so instead I’m running back the blog I posted before last year’s BU Reunion. Two reasons for this: 1). It might entertain you, and 2). I want people to know who I’m with this weekend in case I’m never seen alive again (I hear there’s going to be alcohol and an axe on this trip). I’ll be in Portland, Oregon, and if something happens to me, most likely a guy named Brad did it. Enjoy.]

From August 2, 2012:

In three hours I’ll be boarding a plane for a four-day vacation in New Braunfels, a city that’s best known for operating the oldest dance hall in Texas. It has a population of 55,000, is expected to be over 100 degrees everyday I’m there, and there is literally only one recreational activity available…sitting in the Guadalupe River while trying not to melt.

So why am I so excited to be heading deep into the belly of Texas to spend my vacation in such an uninspiring place?

Because it just so happens to be the seventh consecutive year that a small group of us from college is getting together in a random location for a weekend of reminiscing and reliving all of our most memorable college moments. It’s a weekend where 10 of us booze heavily, sleep in a cramped house that wasn’t meant for 10 people, and play any and every kind of drinking game you can imagine. We basically turn back the clock and act like we’re in college again.

Notice that I didn’t say the weekend included “catching up with each other.” That was on purpose. I’m pretty sure out of the 10 people that usually join me on this trip, I only know what three of them actually do for a living. This is because we don’t waste time on inconsequential details like “what do you do for a job these days?” or “are you still married?”

When we all get together, we immediately fall back into our college lives, spending every minute talking about the most ridiculous shit that went on in our time at BU. And now that we’ve been doing the reunion for seven years, there are plenty of stories from those trips to relive as well.

Vacations are always fun no matter who joins you, and everyone has plenty of groups of friends with plenty of memories among those groups. But the reason this vacation with this group seems so unique should be obvious to anyone who went to college. College breeds such a tight-knit group of friends that can only come from living with those people in such close proximity for those four years. During that first year of college, everyone’s in the same unprecedented position—being truly on your own and living without your family and the friends you’ve grown up with for 18 years. Once you experience the euphoria of living near only people your age, you want to keep it going, and whether you stay in dorms for the next three years or you eventually move into an off-campus apartment, you stay unhealthily close to your friends.

And sure, most of the people in our group have moved on to adulthood—some of them are married, others bought houses, and maybe a few understand what a 401(k) is—but I’m pretty sure at times we all ache to be back in that college lifestyle, if only for a weekend.

That’s what makes this seven-year run so impressive. Sure, every group of college friends would like to get together once a year for a mini-vacation, but the fact that we’ve been able to pull it off is pretty surprising.

Maybe this blog is irrelevant to anyone who’s not part of the group, but maybe going over the highlights from the first six years will help demonstrate why we keep coming back for more:

Year 1 Boston

1). All I can remember is being psyched to return to Boston for a Sox vs Yankees “five games in four days” showdown, and then spending the entire weekend trying to drown out the memories of each mounting loss for the Red Sox. It was a five-game sweep for New York.

It’s not like there isn’t more memories from this trip, but the reunion as it stands today really hadn’t come together yet—not all of the current participants were there, we couldn’t all stay in the same house on this trip, etc.

Year 2 San Francisco

1). Renting a 14-person van for a trip to Napa, “hiring” my brother to drive (hiring in quotes because we didn’t actually pay him), 12 people finishing 12 bottles of champagne at our fourth tasting of the day and still thinking we needed to bring two more bottles of champagne into the van for the ride home…which turned into the most awful-sounding hour of karaoke in history.

2). Almost letting the group talk me into driving that same van down this the next day:

It would have guaranteed me a spot on that evening’s news.

Year 3 Florida

1). One of the group members who claims he hadn’t drank alcohol in almost a year decides to indulge on night one…promptly tries to walk by himself to the beach at 3am, stumbles through a neighbor’s yard while screaming at the top of his lungs on his way to essentially walking through a jungle and getting 2,000 gashes on his legs, then puking on the house porch and sleeping right next to that puke spot.

2). On night two, a couple of us take this same guy to a bar for shots instead of getting the groceries we were sent out for. This guy falls asleep at 7pm with french fries in his mouth.

3). One more from this same guy…watching him the morning after the puking incident lather up his entire body in sunscreen only to alternate between dry heaving in the bathroom and laying on the couch the entire day, never once stepping foot outside.

4). The strange girl in our group sleepwalking on the final night of the trip, ending up outside in the front yard by herself, coming back inside where we were all playing cards and ominously telling us, “I was outside talking to himHe was out there.” Except there was no one outside.

Year 4 Arkansas

1). A canoeing trip down a very calm river ends when the two douchebags who were talking up how good of canoers they are and arrogantly high-fiving every time they did something right somehow flip their canoe, losing the cooler of beer, most of their personal possessions and one of their oars. I’m proud to say I was one of those douchebags.

2). Remember the guy from Florida that caused all the problems? In Arkansas he somehow caused the entire group to fall out of their chairs laughing when he farted so loud in his sleep that it shook the house. And of course it didn’t even wake him up (you need an offensive farter in your college reunion group…it’s an incomplete group without him).

3). The slowest-moving person in the group decides three minutes before we’re all trying to leave to go boating that he needs to take a shower. He spent the entire morning watching TV and playing on his phone, but as soon as we’re ready to walk out the door, he feels the urgent need to get clean.

4). One of the guys decides to sleep in his car on night one even though there was plenty of room in the house. He says there was no room, but really he was just pissed off at a new nickname the group had given him earlier that night. Strangely the nickname was a compliment given by one of the girls about how skinny he looked.

5). The group kidnaps a dog for 18 hours. This is no joke. On our final night of the trip, coming back from the lake, part of the group stopped at a store to get some supplies and they spotted a dog sitting in the road. Now, there are dog lovers in this world, and then there are some of the people in our group that have a flat out obsession with them. So rather than think logically about the dog in the road, the group decided it was a stray dog who looked sick so they brought it back to the house. For the next 12 hours, we fed the dog, played with it, gave it a name…pretty much adopted it. The next morning one of the guys in our group finally called the owner to tell him we “saved” his dog (don’t ask me why we didn’t call him the night before when we first captured the dog; this detail is escaping me at the moment), and the owner was beyond confused, saying that his dog wasn’t missing and that he always hangs out on that road where our group found him. He asked that we drop the dog off where we found him the night before. So in my opinion, we did indeed kidnap an animal.

6). Of course, the Sox get swept by the Yankees in four games while we’re all together, strengthening a creepy trend of the Red Sox always having a terrible weekend against New York when the BU group reunites.

Year 5 Rhode Island

1). Playing flip cup isn’t enough of a drinking game. We add a new rule that says the losing team of each round has to vote for its worst player to take a shot. Of course one team dominates while the other blacks out.

2). The guy who is obviously becoming the star of most of my previous memories tries to cook 30 hotdogs on the grill at one time, but forgets to remove a bathing suit that was drying on top of the grill, leading to a melted bathing suit and a ruined grill, and burning about 23 hotdogs.

2). Almost no one in the group wants to visit Foxwoods, but when we all convince each other to go just for a quick visit, the group loses a collective $1,200 in 30 minutes.

3). One of the girls shows up with an “adult pinata” in the shape of a former BU friend (once considered part of the group) who turned out to be a wacko. We get absolutely no pleasure from beating the pinata until we see that it’s filled with more alcohol.

3). Leaving the owner of the house (who was the younger brother of one of the group members) a pile of cash and leftover booze with a note that said, “Sorry for ruining your grill and kitchen table. Hope this helps.”

Year 6 Boulder

1). Rafting Boulder Creek and almost winding up with no survivors. I don’t know how to explain this better, but we thought we were going on a lazy rafting adventure where we could relax on inner tubes and do some boozing, and we winded up fighting just to survive. There was a nearly broken tailbone, a narrow miss of a broken hip, and we actually almost lost three people.

2). The invention of the “drawing a name out of a hat to see which sucker has to be designated driver” game. It was the most stressful 40 seconds of my life. This year there will probably be a new game invented called “I’m gonna get so drunk before we do the ‘name out of the hat game’ that even if my name gets picked no one will want me driving.”

3). Deciding we needed to tailgate/pre-game with Miller Lites while in the Coors Brewery parking lot waiting to go on a tour.

4). Noticing a disturbing trend that the person in our group who seems to still party the hardest always is the first in bed on these trips. Discussing whether we should still invite her.

5). The introduction of arguably the greatest drinking game ever invented, “Slapping Cups.” (also possibly the worst name for a drinking game ever). If you don’t know it, I promise it’ll be the best game you ever play. And it’s simple, which I learned the morning after the group sent me to bed because I couldn’t figure out the two rules that make up the game. Here it is:

6). Playing a three-hour trivia game where we had to answer questions about our own college memories. Even with over 100 questions involved, the game naturally ended in controversy with no clear winner when the creators of the questions couldn’t even decide on the correct answer to the tiebreaking question.

Every Year

1). Ten college-educated adults can’t figure out how to properly divide up all the expenses from the weekend so we all crowd around a computer and watch in awe as the one person who knows what he’s doing crunches the numbers. I blame it on the astounding amount of brain cells lost over the previous four days.

2). Underestimating the amount of alcohol we need when we make our first grocery run of the trip. When we inevitably run out on day two, we go back to the store and severely overestimate how much more alcohol we need for the rest of the trip…leading to that final night where everyone is overtired, but feels like they have to stay awake and try to drink their share just so we’re not left with so much extra.

3). The guys in the group wanting to play poker, and the girls acting like this is a mortal sin, like they didn’t watch us waste five nights a week in college playing poker and ignoring them.

4). There’s one person in the group who tends to have the least flexibility with his time off and work schedule, causing him to arrive late and leave early on every trip. It wasn’t until year 6 that we realized he was doing this on purpose so he would avoid having to be part of the chaotic grocery store trip in the beginning and the house cleaning at the end. Now that we know, we’ll be subtly punishing him for this…like when he left his sandals at the house last year and we decided to throw them away instead of sending them back to him.

Although it seems like these reunion trips are all sunshine & candy corns, there’s a bit of a cloud hanging over them…the knowledge that someday we won’t be able to do this anymore. The cloud gets bigger with each passing year, and it’s starting to be impossible to get full attendance. Everyone seems to think it’ll come to a screeching halt when the first person in the group has a kid. I disagree. I think it ends when our drunken antics turn from cute to calamity (i.e. instead of setting just hotdogs and a bathing suit on fire, we burn down the entire house).

Advertisements

Remembering 6 Years of College Reunions Before My Brain Turns To Mush at Reunion 7

[Editor’s Note: This is the first time I’m posting a blog that I honestly feel might only be relevant to about 10-15 people. I’ve tried to make it as readable as possible to the people not involved in these stories, but if I failed at that, so be it. This post will also help explain why you probably won’t see another blog post for the next five days.]

In three hours I’ll be boarding a plane for a four-day vacation in New Braunfels, a city that’s best known for operating the oldest dance hall in Texas. It has a population of 55,000, is expected to be over 100 degrees everyday I’m there, and there is literally only one recreational activity available…sitting in the Guadalupe River while trying not to melt.

So why am I so excited to be heading deep into the belly of Texas to spend my vacation in such an uninspiring place?

Because it just so happens to be the seventh consecutive year that a small group of us from college is getting together in a random location for a weekend of reminiscing and reliving all of our most memorable college moments. It’s a weekend where 10 of us booze heavily, sleep in a cramped house that wasn’t meant for 10 people, and play any and every kind of drinking game you can imagine. We basically turn back the clock and act like we’re in college again.

Notice that I didn’t say the weekend included “catching up with each other.” That was on purpose. I’m pretty sure out of the 10 people that usually join me on this trip, I only know what three of them actually do for a living. This is because we don’t waste time on inconsequential details like “what do you do for a job these days?” or “are you still married?”

When we all get together, we immediately fall back into our college lives, spending every minute talking about the most ridiculous shit that went on in our time at BU. And now that we’ve been doing the reunion for seven years, there are plenty of stories from those trips to relive as well.

Vacations are always fun no matter who joins you, and everyone has plenty of groups of friends with plenty of memories among those groups. But the reason this vacation with this group seems so unique should be obvious to anyone who went to college. College breeds such a tight-knit group of friends that can only come from living with those people in such close proximity for those four years. During that first year of college, everyone’s in the same unprecedented position—being truly on your own and living without your family and the friends you’ve grown up with for 18 years. Once you experience the euphoria of living near only people your age, you want to keep it going, and whether you stay in dorms for the next three years or you eventually move into an off-campus apartment, you stay unhealthily close to your friends.

And sure, most of the people in our group have moved on to adulthood—some of them are married, others bought houses, and maybe a few understand what a 401(k) is—but I’m pretty sure at times we all ache to be back in that college lifestyle, if only for a weekend.

That’s what makes this seven-year run so impressive. Sure, every group of college friends would like to get together once a year for a mini-vacation, but the fact that we’ve been able to pull it off is pretty surprising.

Maybe this blog is irrelevant to anyone who’s not part of the group, but maybe going over the highlights from the first six years will help demonstrate why we keep coming back for more:

Year 1 Boston

1). All I can remember is being psyched to return to Boston for a Sox vs Yankees “five games in four days” showdown, and then spending the entire weekend trying to drown out the memories of each mounting loss for the Red Sox. It was a five-game sweep for New York.

It’s not like there isn’t more memories from this trip, but the reunion as it stands today really hadn’t come together yet—not all of the current participants were there, we couldn’t all stay in the same house on this trip, etc.

Year 2 San Francisco

1). Renting a 14-person van for a trip to Napa, “hiring” my brother to drive (hiring in quotes because we didn’t actually pay him), 12 people finishing 12 bottles of champagne at our fourth tasting of the day and still thinking we needed to bring two more bottles of champagne into the van for the ride home…which turned into the most awful-sounding hour of karaoke in history.

2). Almost letting the group talk me into driving that same van down this the next day:

It would have guaranteed me a spot on that evening’s news.

Year 3 Florida

1). One of the group members who claims he hadn’t drank alcohol in almost a year decides to indulge on night one…promptly tries to walk by himself to the beach at 3am, stumbles through a neighbor’s yard while screaming at the top of his lungs on his way to essentially walking through a jungle and getting 2,000 gashes on his legs, then puking on the house porch and sleeping right next to that puke spot.

2). On night two, a couple of us take this same guy to a bar for shots instead of getting the groceries we were sent out for. This guy falls asleep at 7pm with french fries in his mouth.

3). One more from this same guy…watching him the morning after the puking incident lather up his entire body in sunscreen only to alternate between dry heaving in the bathroom and laying on the couch the entire day, never once stepping foot outside.

4). The strange girl in our group sleepwalking on the final night of the trip, ending up outside in the front yard by herself, coming back inside where we were all playing cards and ominously telling us, “I was outside talking to him. He was out there.” Except there was no one outside.

Year 4 Arkansas

1). A canoeing trip down a very calm river ends when the two douchebags who were talking up how good of canoers they are and arrogantly high-fiving every time they did something right somehow flip their canoe, losing the cooler of beer, most of their personal possessions and one of their oars. I’m proud to say I was one of those douchebags.

2). Remember the guy from Florida that caused all the problems? In Arkansas he somehow caused the entire group to fall out of their chairs laughing when he farted so loud in his sleep that it shook the house. And of course it didn’t even wake him up (you need an offensive farter in your college reunion group…it’s an incomplete group without him).

3). The slowest-moving person in the group decides three minutes before we’re all trying to leave to go boating that he needs to take a shower. He spent the entire morning watching TV and playing on his phone, but as soon as we’re ready to walk out the door, he feels the urgent need to get clean.

4). One of the guys decides to sleep in his car on night one even though there was plenty of room in the house. He says there was no room, but really he was just pissed off at a new nickname the group had given him earlier that night. Strangely the nickname was a compliment given by one of the girls about how skinny he looked.

5). The group kidnaps a dog for 18 hours. This is no joke. On our final night of the trip, coming back from the lake, part of the group stopped at a store to get some supplies and they spotted a dog sitting in the road. Now, there are dog lovers in this world, and then there are some of the people in our group that have a flat out obsession with them. So rather than think logically about the dog in the road, the group decided it was a stray dog who looked sick so they brought it back to the house. For the next 12 hours, we fed the dog, played with it, gave it a name…pretty much adopted it. The next morning one of the guys in our group finally called the owner to tell him we “saved” his dog (don’t ask me why we didn’t call him the night before when we first captured the dog; this detail is escaping me at the moment), and the owner was beyond confused, saying that his dog wasn’t missing and that he always hangs out on that road where our group found him. He asked that we drop the dog off where we found him the night before. So in my opinion, we did indeed kidnap an animal.

6). Of course, the Sox get swept by the Yankees in four games while we’re all together, strengthening a creepy trend of the Red Sox always having a terrible weekend against New York when the BU group reunites.

Year 5 Rhode Island

1). Playing flip cup isn’t enough of a drinking game. We add a new rule that says the losing team of each round has to vote for its worst player to take a shot. Of course one team dominates while the other blacks out.

2). The guy who is obviously becoming the star of most of my previous memories tries to cook 30 hotdogs on the grill at one time, but forgets to remove a bathing suit that was drying on top of the grill, leading to a melted bathing suit and a ruined grill, and burning about 23 hotdogs.

2). Almost no one in the group wants to visit Foxwoods, but when we all convince each other to go just for a quick visit, the group loses a collective $1,200 in 30 minutes.

3). One of the girls shows up with an “adult pinata” in the shape of a former BU friend (once considered part of the group) who turned out to be a wacko. We get absolutely no pleasure from beating the pinata until we see that it’s filled with more alcohol.

3). Leaving the owner of the house (who was the younger brother of one of the group members) a pile of cash and leftover booze with a note that said, “Sorry for ruining your grill and kitchen table. Hope this helps.”

Year 6 Boulder

1). Rafting Boulder Creek and almost winding up with no survivors. I don’t know how to explain this better, but we thought we were going on a lazy rafting adventure where we could relax on inner tubes and do some boozing, and we winded up fighting just to survive. There was a nearly broken tailbone, a narrow miss of a broken hip, and we actually almost lost three people.

2). The invention of the “drawing a name out of a hat to see which sucker has to be designated driver” game. It was the most stressful 40 seconds of my life. This year there will probably be a new game invented called “I’m gonna get so drunk before we do the ‘name out of the hat game’ that even if my name gets picked no one will want me driving.”

3). Deciding we needed to tailgate/pre-game with Miller Lites while in the Coors Brewery parking lot waiting to go on a tour.

4). Noticing a disturbing trend that the person in our group who seems to still party the hardest always is the first in bed on these trips. Discussing whether we should still invite her.

5). The introduction of arguably the greatest drinking game ever invented, “Slapping Cups.” (also possibly the worst name for a drinking game ever). If you don’t know it, I promise it’ll be the best game you ever play. And it’s simple, which I learned the morning after the group sent me to bed because I couldn’t figure out the two rules that make up the game. Here it is:

6). Playing a three-hour trivia game where we had to answer questions about our own college memories. Even with over 100 questions involved, the game naturally ended in controversy with no clear winner when the creators of the questions couldn’t even decide on the correct answer to the tiebreaking question.

Every Year

1). Ten college-educated adults can’t figure out how to properly divide up all the expenses from the weekend so we all crowd around a computer and watch in awe as the one person who knows what he’s doing crunches the numbers. I blame it on the astounding amount of brain cells lost over the previous four days.

2). Underestimating the amount of alcohol we need when we make our first grocery run of the trip. When we inevitably run out on day two, we go back to the store and severely overestimate how much more alcohol we need for the rest of the trip…leading to that final night where everyone is overtired, but feels like they have to stay awake and try to drink their share just so we’re not left with so much extra.

3). The guys in the group wanting to play poker, and the girls acting like this is a mortal sin, like they didn’t watch us waste five nights a week in college playing poker and ignoring them.

4). There’s one person in the group who tends to have the least flexibility with his time off and work schedule, causing him to arrive late and leave early on every trip. It wasn’t until year 6 that we realized he was doing this on purpose so he would avoid having to be part of the chaotic grocery store trip in the beginning and the house cleaning at the end. Now that we know, we’ll be subtly punishing him for this…like when he left his sandals at the house last year and we decided to throw them away instead of sending them back to him.

Although it seems like these reunion trips are all sunshine & candy corns, there’s a bit of a cloud hanging over them…the knowledge that someday we won’t be able to do this anymore. The cloud gets bigger with each passing year, and it’s starting to be impossible to get full attendance. Everyone seems to think it’ll come to a screeching halt when the first person in the group has a kid. I disagree. I think it ends when our drunken antics turn from cute to calamity (i.e. instead of setting just hotdogs and a bathing suit on fire, we burn down the entire house).

Back to School: My First Relevant Learning Experience Since Diagramming Sentences 20 Years Ago

Have you ever seen someone so ready to rock their UCLA Extension writing class? Me neither. So what if the class was from 7-10pm…nothing was going to stop me from bringing my brown bagged lunch on day one (If you’re curious, the bag contained m&m’s, grapes and a lollipop. If only I would have stopped at Starbuck’s on my way to class to grab a hot chocolate, then my classmates would have really known they were dealing with a mature adult).

Since it was my first time in a classroom in more than seven years, I decided to actually pay attention and observe my surroundings. Here’s what I learned in week one:

-It was a strange sensation to sit in a three-hour class and not have my mind wandering to every topic besides what was being taught. Out of 32 undergrad classes at BU, I can’t recall more than four or five where I was actually paying attention to the content being discussed. That gives me hope that I’m finally enrolled in the right class.

-When I was last in school, Smartphones didn’t exist. Waiting for class to begin back in the old days of 2005, your only option for entertainment was to actually talk to people. Scary stuff. I feel bad for teachers mostly because it’s gotta be nearly impossible to hold 20 students’ attention for even an hour when every one of them has their iphone right next to their notebooks. Or it could be even worse, like the girl next to me who was using her laptop to “take notes,” but really was just doing silent video conferencing with her husband the whole time.

-But I did discover one huge benefit to having an iphone in this setting. Halfway through class, the teacher asked us to go around the room and introduce ourselves, including where we were from, what writing experience we have, what our favorite TV shows are, and why we decided to take the class. Of course you all know that in a group of 20, there’s going to be a couple people who decide to hijack the conversation, stretching their time to speak from two minutes to 10 minutes, deciding instead of answering the teacher’s questions to focus on their whole life story (if you don’t think you’ve been in a group of people where someone is doing this—whether it be school or work—then I’m happy to tell you that you are that person, and you should shut the fuck up sometimes). Anyway, to show these people that I was just about done with their story, I combined a shameless “whip out my iphone and pretend to be playing games” move with a loud throat clear, ensuring even the dumbest person understood the social cue.

-After hearing all these boring stories from my classmates, I was a little shocked to learn I was the only one who purposely quit his job, became unemployed and expected to make it as a writer before money runs out. Most people in the class think they’re going to have to work hard for years just to get noticed in the entertainment industry. Boy, are they clueless…

-The three-hour night class felt a little strange in that I was sober and it was a real class. The only night class I ever had at BU was called “Sports Management” where the most difficult task over an entire semester was creating a practice schedule for the fictitious sports team I was pretending to manage. And we usually went to the BU Pub and pounded beers before class. Now I show up sober with grapes and a canteen of water. So sad.

-The teacher totally validated himself in week one by showing us a New Girl episode at the end of class and then promptly tearing it to pieces. That’s how you get on my good side, which I’m sure was his goal all along.

-I hate to predict failure for any of my classmates, but I wonder if the woman who doesn’t own a TV, hasn’t watched a TV show in over 10 years, and claims not to have any time to practice writing is going to do well in a Television Writing course?

-If karma has a sense of humor, my teacher will pair me up with that woman for some kind of important project.

-Oh, and just for a comparison so everyone knows I haven’t changed a bit since the last picture of me going to school was taken, here you go:

God. Damn. I want that square knit tie back.

Securing My Legacy as the Ultimate Good Luck Charm for Every Long-Suffering Sports Team

Many people think of me as a sports jinx.  It’s basically an annual tradition for me to tell my friends which new Red Sox player’s jersey I bought so they can groan about how that player is about to either be traded or severely injured.

But facts are facts.  All it took for the Boston sports teams to go on a never-seen-before championship run was me moving to Boston in September of 2001.  Only five months later, the Patriots kicked off the Decade of Dominance with their first Super Bowl.  Over those four years at Boston University, the Patriots won three Super Bowls, the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, and the Terriers took home the Beanpot Championship three times.

Coincidence?  Maybe.  But then I move out to San Francisco and only five short years later, the Giants are celebrating their first World Series Championship in like 50 years.

And if we wanna go even farther back in my lifetime, didn’t St. Bernard’s High School make magical championship runs in Football (division six, but still) and Basketball once I enrolled?

So when the LA Kings win their first Stanley Cup Championship in the team’s 45-year history tonight, just remember that I moved to LA six days ago.  I’m the exact opposite of a sports jinx.

I’m open to relocating to any city as a good luck charm as long as all my living expenses are covered by that city’s taxpayers.  Who wants me?

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?

Biggest Dilemma of 2012: Should I pay to see the Red Sox or not?

I’m facing a big dilemma with the Red Sox this year.  I’ll be back in Boston at the end of May, right in time for their home stand against the Rays and the Tigers.  And the tough decision I have to make is whether to buy a ticket to see them or not.  As soon as I write those words, I want to chop off my fingers because this is absolute blasphemy.  How could I possibly be in Boston for nine days and NOT go to Fenway at least once?  If this was any other year, I’d be getting tickets for two or three games, with the distinct possibility that I’d get kicked out of at least one of them.

And I’ve got a pretty nice streak going where I’ve been to Fenway at least once a year since 1998.  Why would I want to screw that up?  Well, I don’t.  And I probably won’t end the streak, but for the first time in many years I’m not saying to myself, “I’m going to Fenway this year no matter what it costs.”

I’m the same guy that went to 25 games a year in college, spending all of my money (at least the portion that wasn’t going to alcohol and Slim Jims) on tickets.  The day I moved into the BU dorm freshman year, I shooed my parents off before my mom could even get her third tear out because I needed to go scalp a ticket to Pedro vs the Yankees that afternoon.  I’ve slept on a sidewalk outside Fenway for a chance to get tickets to a Sox/Yankees game.  I’d categorize myself as a devoted fan.

The problem is that the Red Sox are off to a “blazing” 1-5 start, and they have another 39 games to play before I’m in Boston.  Do I want to buy tickets now to see a team that might be 5-40 by that time?  Can anyone promise me that injuries won’t ravage the starting rotation and I won’t be forced to watch Kyle Weiland implode in a four-inning spot start?  (Oh, Weiland isn’t on the Sox anymore?  Bummer, really gonna miss that “I just shat myself” look he has whenever he pitches to major league hitters)

At this point in my life, no magical comeback in sports could surprise me, not in a single game and not over the course of the season.  So even if the Sox started 1-20 in a typical season, I wouldn’t panic or count them out.  But this isn’t a typical season because of last year.  Even though it’s only 1-5, it is not out of line for Sox fans to be panicking a little.  If any team needed to get off to a fast start in 2012, it was these guys.

It’s not that I question the team’s talent or personnel.  And it’s not that  injuries are already a problem (which they are).  It’s that I can’t trust this team because all the key players were involved in last year’s mess.  And anyone not involved in the 2011 meltdown is new to the team, and it’ll take a while to see if we can trust them. Two guys who we always knew were giving 100% effort are gone in Varitek and Wakefield.  We have no clue on a yearly basis what Beckett, the shortstop position or the entire outfield (healthy and unhealthy guys) will bring to the table.  The entire team keeps calling the bullpen a “work in progress,” and they’re trotting guys out of the pen nightly who I’ve never heard of….Justin Thomas?  And we are all extremely uneasy with the manager situation.  I also don’t know anything about the General Manager, and I no longer feel like I know the owners.  It’s like the entire team/fan relationship is starting from scratch.

This is our first impression of the newly non-reliable Red Sox.  And as soon as we shook their hand, they shoved us to the ground and ripped a nasty fart all over us.  It’s not irreparable, but it stinks.

Am I going to shell out the $30 for a crappy bleacher seat and another $60 for eight beers during the game?  Of course I am.  I might even talk myself into seeing two games.  But if the Bruins or Celtics have a playoff game on that same day, I might gladly hand over my Red Sox tickets and watch the two teams that I know and trust.