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).

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Six Days of Boston: Next Time I’m Bringing a Defibrillator and a Spare Liver

My visits home to Massachusetts always seem to unfold the same way: Spend the first few nights partying in Boston, reluctantly drag myself to the sprawling metropolis known as Central Mass (not reluctant because I don’t want to see my family, but because it’s just not Boston), continue the partying at family gatherings for a couple more nights (where “night” = “start boozing by 3PM every day”), walk around like a zombie for the final day or two in Fitchburg, realize how F-ing boring it is once I’m stuck there by myself on a weekday where everyone I know is working, hightail it back to Boston.

Basically if you’re in Massachusetts and want to hang out with the fun version of me, you’ll want to find me in Boston or during the first two days of my return to Fitchburg. For the people who had to see me in my final two days of this most recent trip, I’m sorry.

This was a Memorial Day trip, but I’m just now getting around to posting because there’s always a one-week adjustment period when I get back to the real world. The alcohol and junk food withdrawals tend to mess with my sleeping patterns and therefore my productivity level.

If you’re thinking, “Ross, why the hell would I wanna hear about your trip back to Massachusetts? Do you really think you’re that interesting?” …I hear ya, but all I can do is promise that you’ll laugh at least once during the next several hundred words. As a matter of fact, to laugh immediately just scroll down to the bottom where I unveil the ridiculousness that was my diet for six days.

I have no way to organize the following thoughts because they are all jumbled together in my head. Let’s just go with whatever pops into my memory first:

  • With some time to spare on the afternoon I landed in Boston before meeting up with a college friend, I decided walking through the Copley/Boylston Street area where the Marathon bombs went off was the best course of action. I honestly had no idea if there was a memorial of any kind out there on the streets to all the victims of Marathon Monday, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to check it out. After a quick Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger at the Boylston St. Wendy’s, I was off to pay my respects. Below are a few of the pictures I took when I made my way over to the makeshift memorial across the street from the Boston Public Library. But as for the atmosphere, I can only describe it as hushed, calm, respectful, and of course a little eery. Not something you’d expect from one of the busier streets in the city.

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  • For those of us that were born and/or raised in Massachusetts and had been lucky enough to never experience any major tragedies that hit close to home, this Marathon terrorist attack ended that streak almost certainly. It feels like everyone knows someone who was injured, or knows someone who knows someone who was injured. It’s one thing to hear the crazy stories from secondary sources, but it’s something entirely different when a person who was hurt during the bombings is recapping the experience as you look on from three feet away. Hearing a dad say he was pretty certain his son, who had just crossed the finish line before the first bomb went off, was dead, and then hearing him say that his son thought he was dead when the second bomb went off…just a different level of a major tragedy sticking with you.
  • The details still need to be figured out, but I’m confident that we’re getting a group of people from Fitchburg together to run next year’s Boston Marathon, with the goal being to raise money for all those affected this past year, and to specifically honor the family we all grew up with who was hurt on that Monday in April (though none of them critically injured, thank god).
  • OK, enough with the grimness, right? Right. Well, if you happen to be in your thirties and feel like you’re lacking a bit in maturity, just know that there are people in your age range who still need their mother to write their names in marker on their toothbrushes or else they’ll forget whose is whose and accidentally share the same one. I know because I live with these people whenever I go home.
  • And in possibly the greatest example of someone simply not giving a fuck about his appearance in public, I went to the movie theater with a guy in Fitchburg who strolled in wearing a fancy dress shirt on top and sweatpants on the bottom. So if you’re 35 years old and can dress yourself and remember what color your toothbrush is, you’re doing better than at least one person your age.
  • Speaking of acting their age, good to see my grandparents finally acting more like the 80-year-olds that they are. My grandfather has a history of saying borderline inappropriate things to women that dates back to the FDR administration. But it’s always been contained to good-natured joking, and only when the woman he’s talking about is present. But on his way out of my Dad’s house over Memorial Day weekend, he looked me in the eyes, made sure I was paying attention, and said, “Tell Julie I said hi and that I’ve been thinking about her.” Julie, of course, is my girlfriend who was 3,000 miles away at the time, and was presumably NOT thinking about my grandfather. Though I’m kind of afraid to ask…maybe they have some strange connection that I didn’t pick up on the last time they were in the same room together.
  • And this trip home marked the moment my grandmother gave up even trying to half-remember things I told her during my last visit. First she asked me how my book was coming along. I told her I was never writing a book, and she basically got mad at me for lying. I told her I’ve been working on TV and film the entire time. But I’m sure she’s telling people right now that my book-writing is going OK. Then she asked me if I’m still finishing up school in September, which I’ve never told her because I’ve been randomly signing up for classes whenever something looks good. So why would I tell people I had a target end date to my school work? Then she asked me if I ever write about my dog with my comedy stories. I told her the dog doesn’t play into my writing very often. So about five minutes later in front of a group of eight other people, she announced that my sex life was suffering because my dog is always in the bed with me and my girlfriend. I had no conversations with her in between the things I just told you above, but she somehow created this sexless narrative based on the few things I told her about writing, comedy and my dog. At least now we can all re-calibrate our opinion of her. Because after my grandparents left the house on Saturday night, at least two people said, “Oh, your grandmother is so sharp for her age.” Really? Did we switch the meaning of sharp recently and no one told me?
  • Not to be outdone, my other grandmother asked me one day later if I remember playing with my Mom’s dog, Bruno, who died when my Mom was like 12 or something. I need to learn to just say “yes” to any question or assumption my grandparents make at this point. It will save me hours of miscommunications.
  • But the socially-inept people that I hang out with apparently aren’t limited to my grandparents. At one BBQ I attended, I felt like I had to make small talk with a guy that was sitting next to me on the couch, so I said, “Oh, congrats. I heard you guys have a little one on the way soon.” His response was a 15-minute rant about his wife’s period, or lack thereof. I promise there are plenty of acceptable ways to discuss your wife’s pregnancy, but going into elaborate details about the tardiness of her period is not one of them. Whatever, the party had good hotdogs at least.
  • So the real reason I was home for this particular weekend was to attend a benefit event for a high school buddy who passed away last November. His family organized a great event with a ton of raffle prizes and a live auction (where I proceeded to field remote bids from my brother on items such as a signed Tom Brady jersey, a chainsaw and a cord of wood. We were outbid on every one of those items).

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  • But I don’t know if that’s the right setting for grown adults to be running around giving each other ball taps and hitting on the grieving friends of the guy who died. I haven’t been to a lot of benefit dinners though, so maybe I’m the one who doesn’t fully understand the etiquette?
  • Everyone that I saw over my six days home complimented my afro (aka “gray bush”). People just going out of their way to say they like when I have long hair, which I’m growing for good luck for the Bruins by the way. It’s like my version of the lucky playoff beard since I still can’t grow dark facial hair. Anyway, I can’t figure out for the life of me if these people really do like my hair in its afro state, or if they all got together before my visit and came up with this big practical joke to pay me back for everything bad I’ve ever done to them. If that’s the case, I’d just have to say well played, everybody. Well played.
  • Serious question: If a person talks throughout an entire movie at the theater—I’m talking repeats every line of the movie out loud to his significant other—is it OK to hit him? I bet you said yes. What if instead of a man it was a woman? Would you still say yes? I still say yes. Lucky for me she only ruined the worst comedy movie ever made.
  • Here’s why true Red Sox fans shouldn’t be upset at all with the drop in attendance at Fenway Park this year: Tickets were so hard to come by when I was in college that I was one of those people who slept on the sidewalk overnight while waiting in line for Red Sox-Yankees tickets. For the game I went to on Memorial Day against Philly, a group of four of us strolled up to the day-of-game ticket window one hour before the game and bought four seats at face value. And in theory, we could have picked any section of the ballpark to sit in. If that’s what the end of the sellout streak means, then I officially hope the teams I root for can never fill their stadiums again.
  • But here’s the moment where I almost decided not to be a Red Sox fan anymore. The ticket window that’s specifically for day-of-game sales has moved, and now it’s kind of inside one of the entrances. And there’s a Red Sox employee that tells people who enter that area that they’ll have to go directly into the ballpark once they purchase their tickets, even if it’s 5:15PM and the game doesn’t begin until 7:10PM. But then you ask the person at the ticket window about leaving that area with your tickets, and he says it’s perfectly fine. So you buy the tickets and then that first person who said you’d be stuck inside the park really tries to make it happen. But then you realize he has absolutely no authority, maybe even less authority than you have at that very moment, and you simply move a barrier and exit the park. After discussing this whole  scenario that played out when we bought the tickets with my group, we realized the Red Sox wanted to make it seem to people as if they had to enter the park right away so that most people would do so and obviously spend a bunch of extra money during the time leading up to the game, but they have absolutely no lawful way to enforce this. It just feels so unnecessarily sketchy to me. I know these owners want to squeeze every penny out of their fans, but come on. I can’t think of any other reason they would have this soft enforcer trying to persuade people to go immediately to their seats two hours before the game.
  • Final sports note: If there’s one thing I miss about Boston, it’s the palpable buzz that energizes all parts of the city when one of our teams has a big game on the horizon. We got a large group together for the Bruins-Rangers game 4, and walking around the city all day leading up to that game, you could feel the excitement. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in the other two major cities I’ve lived in. I need to return for more big playoff moments.

And now, the moment you’ve probably all been waiting for. I mentioned just before my trip back East how bad my eating habits are when I’m traveling or away from home for an extended period of time. I just want to show you all how bad this sickness gets for me. And there’s really no reason for me to embellish this list, so I promise I won’t:

Wednesday

  • Bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich at airport in LA
  • Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, fries, Diet Coke at Wendy’s on Boylston St.
  • A home-cooked meal of oven-roasted chicken and sweet potatoes, made by my Wednesday night hosts (and easily the only thing I ate all weekend that could be described as “reasonably healthy”)

Thursday

  • Carnitas Super Burrito, Diet Coke from Anna’s Taqueria
  • Turkey club sandwich, several rounds of fries from the bar where we watched the Bruins

Friday

  • Two eggs, two sausage links, two strips of bacon, two pancakes, two pieces of toast at breakfast in Boston
  • Peanut butter cup ice cream for lunch in Fitchburg
  • 8-10 slices of pizza at the benefit event
  • Peanut butter cup ice cream on top of a brownie as a late-night snack

Saturday

  • Omelet for breakfast in Fitchburg
  • Popcorn, Peanut M&M’s at movie theater
  • Cheeseburger, hot dog at a BBQ
  • Peanut butter cup ice cream on top of a brownie as a late-night snack

Sunday

  • Brownie, pasta salad for breakfast
  • 2 hot dogs, two peanut butter cookies, slice of strawberry cheesecake at BBQ
  • Steak & Cheese grinder from D’Angelo’s

Monday

  • Bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich from Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Cheeseburger, hot dog, Diet Coke for lunch
  • Nachos and boneless buffalo wings at Game On before the Red Sox game

Tuesday

  • 2 breakfast burritos, hash brown, Diet Coke from McDonald’s at Logan Airport
  • Pulled BBQ pork, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, texas toast, Dr. Pepper (no Diet Coke available) from restaurant at airport in Dallas

No presence of vegetables or fruit in that entire six-day run. And keep in mind that my liquids for six days were a revolving door of soda, beer and Jack Daniel’s.

How much salad do you think I need to eat over the next month to offset the damage that was done in Massachusetts?

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.

If This Blog Distracts Even One Person From The Horrible Boston Marathon Explosions, Then I’ve Done My Job

Here are three universally understood events: a marathon, a baseball game, a holiday. But non-New Englanders could probably use some educating on the annual phenomenon known as Marathon Monday.

I wrote those two sentences on Sunday night when I was preparing a Boston Marathon blog. Sadly that last sentence could now read “But non-New Englanders just got educated on the annual phenomenon known as Marathon Monday…”

Imagine an entire city throwing a gigantic block party that doubles as your own secret little holiday that no one else in the world gets to enjoy. The weather’s almost always great, bars open by 7am, the Red Sox game starts at 11am, and we all show our blind love of camaraderie and sporting events by rooting for thousands of strangers to run faster. Call it a cosmic peace offering for Bostonians having to deal with the yearly misery known as Winter. It’s a day that promotes so much optimism: “The weather’s turning…finally Spring is here!” “The Red Sox are 8-4…this is their year!” “If these 23,000 people can run a marathon, why can’t I?…screw it, I’m getting in shape and running it next year!”

As with most people who grew up in Massachusetts, I have plenty of Marathon Monday memories. Here’s the simplest way I can describe my personal Boston Marathon history:

  • Childhood: Went to a family friend’s BBQ ever year in the suburbs to watch the runners go by. Back then us kids probably just viewed it as another day to run around and play outside with our friends, with the bonus of getting to hand cups of water to these seemingly-important athletes (something that the public’s not allowed to do anymore, probably partially because of me and my brilliant idea as a kid to put pebbles in the cups of water for the runners).
  • Advanced Childhood (aka College Years): Typically cracked my first beer at about 7:30am at my apartment, walked down to Kenmore Square while discreetly drinking beer out of a 7/11 Big Gulp cup, went to a house party (the years before I turned 21) or a bar (once I was of legal age), and then stood on the sidewalk screaming for people I’ve never met before to keep running.
  • Adulthood Part 1: Spent my second Marathon Monday in California trying to replicate the festivities as best as possible. Got to my brother’s apartment at 7am, cracked a beer immediately, started watching the Red Sox game at 8am, and then went out on his front porch and cheered for runners going by his apartment…extremely confused runners who were out for a San Francisco morning jog. It wasn’t as good as the really thing, but probably the best Marathon Monday celebration in all of California.
  • Adulthood Part 2: Ran the marathon in 2011, finished in 4 hours and 46 minutes, had an incredibly supportive group of family members and friends cheering me on from those same sidewalks I frequented during my college years.

Each of those versions of me deserved a carefree, relaxing and happy day. The eight-year-old Ross should be allowed to fill cups with rocks until his heart’s content; the 20-year-old Ross should have only one concern on his mind: not getting arrested; and the 28-year-old Ross should be smiling as he approaches the home stretch of a huge accomplishment, regardless of the size of the blisters on his feet.

I feel terribly for all the people who were trying to do these same mostly-innocent things in Boston today and now have a horror show to remember instead of the good times that Patriots Day promises. The little kid who was just getting the hang of yelling out the correct cheers for the runners only to be pulled away from the course by parents who feared more explosions were coming. The college student who went from the euphoric haze of partying hard on a Monday afternoon to the sobering reality of a day gone terribly wrong just a couple miles away. The first-time marathoner who didn’t get to run down Boylston Street, the proverbial exclamation point to the world’s most famous marathon. (Needless to say I feel the worst for the people who were either directly injured or had loved ones injured in the explosions.)

Everywhere you look around the web or on TV, there are people better than me at putting this stuff into words. So I’ll let them do their jobs. I’ll just leave you with a couple pictures. If these pictures distract even one person from the events of today and put a smile on his or her face, then I’ve done my job:

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After all, if a dog wearing human clothes and a baby wearing sunglasses can’t cheer you up, what can?

Stay Strong, Boston.

Five Little Christmas Stories: Women’s Troubles, Family Problems, Yankee Flop, Jaywalking and Diet Coke

While I patiently wait for my Mac to get fixed (estimated by the Apple repair people to take “best case a couple days, could be up to a week, worst case a lot longer than that”…coulda just said “two days to infinity”), let’s empty out the notebook with some short stories that are vaguely relevant to my trip back to Boston and Fitchburg over Christmas. There actually is no notebook to empty because all my brilliant blog ideas get stored on a file on my computer, which you might have heard is in the shop. So these are all based on my fuzzy memory.

1). The Moment I Decided It’s OK to Stereotype Women

Poor Julie deals with a lot of shit from me, never more so than when I’m bugging her about how she’s making us late for something. I hate to throw her under the bus in such a public forum, but there’s some kind of built-in trigger inside her that will never allow her to be on time for anything. Sometimes it’s because of the 123 wardrobe changes moments before it’s time to leave. More often it’s not being able to find a crucial item as we’re about to walk out the door (wallet, ID, phone, sunglasses…by the way, you know how you avoid this problem? You simply put your belongings in the same place every time. I guarantee most men have their wallets, cell phone and keys either in the pocket of the pants they’re currently wearing or on their bureau…most likely on the same damn spot of the bureau every time). Anyway, where was I? Oh right. So I’ve been trying to give women the benefit of the doubt, because why should Julie ruin it for everyone else. But then there was the day I was leaving Fitchburg to go back into Boston last week. My sister (sorry, but the internet doesn’t have the capacity needed for me to describe how I have a sister, you’ll just have to trust me)…my sister decided to get a ride into Boston with me, and I told her we needed to leave the house at 1:30. After all, I had a set time to meet Julie and her Dad, and like me he’s a man who enjoys being punctual. It was 11am when I told her our departure time. Her response? “No problem, I can be ready in 30 seconds.” Really? Because I know you still have two loads of laundry to do and the casualness with which you’re sitting on the couch watching TV right now is making me very nervous. Fast forward to 1pm and she’s yelling down the stairs to me, “Ross, you said we’re leaving around two, right?” Long story short, if it wasn’t for her mother literally packing her suitcase for her, we’d still be in Fitchburg right now. So she gets her shit together by 1:30, oozing with pride at being on time. We jump in the car and she tells me, “OK I just need to stop by the bank and then get an iced coffee and we can get the hell outta here.”

Which brings me to my next point: You’re not allowed to say you’re ready and then spring last-second to-do’s on me as if they don’t count towards us being late. Another great example: Just last night Julie and I were getting ready to go see a movie. We both decided we should leave by 7:10. At that exact time, she says she’s ready. But then she craves a hot tea to bring to the movie so we just have to brew that bad boy up real quick. And do I happen to know where she can find our straws for the tea? No problem, we can just search the kitchen for a few minutes.

Here’s my final point on this topic. I get so stressed out from trying to plan to be on time for things that I’m worried it’s going to lead to my eventual death. So my one resolution for New Year’s is to not stress or make a fuss when we’re inevitably late for everything. I’ll just hope that the women in my life eventually figure out that being on time can be beneficial. Until then, I just want you all to know that it’s not my fault I was late to your wedding, our double date, your funeral. I was ready in plenty of time.

And now for some much shorter stories…

2). Where I Sound Like An Inconsiderate Prick But I’m Really Not

I love my family. I love my friends. I love my family’s friends. But when my Dad said he was having some people over last Sunday to see my new nephew and lay gifts at his feet, I couldn’t help but be worried (I don’t think my Dad technically called it a “viewing of the Messiah” on the invite, but I imagine the three kings’ visit to Jesus’ manger was a lot like what went down at this party, only this time there were about 75 more people and 40 more empty bottles of liquor). I was worried because you may have heard that Sunday is when a lot of awesome football is on TV. And when friends and family you haven’t seen in years are around, it looks really douchey to stare right through them at the TV while they’re trying to tell you how awesome their grandkids are. Of course chances are you won’t miss anything that amazing by taking your eyes off the TV and then just check in every now and then on the score. But my brothers and I thought that on December 20, 2003, when another family gathering was happening on a football Sunday. And you know what we missed because we couldn’t stare at the TV or hear the sound of it? We missed the Joe Namath “I wanna kiss you” moment. To this day I resent my family just a little bit for making me miss that. So I’ll reiterate that I love my family and friends, and I’m so happy they all wanna get together when I’m home. But can we please schedule these things on a Saturday next time? I don’t wanna have to pretend to have explosive diarrhea just so I can take my computer into the bathroom and pull up the Red Zone Channel while I sit on the toilet not actually diarrheaing.

3). The Worst Yankee Swap Of All Time

So my brother sent out an email on December 8th to the side of the family we were opening gifts with on Christmas morning to see if everyone wanted to do a Yankee Swap. All six of us immediately replied yes, and we set a $20 suggested limit on the gifts. Everyone involved is an adult with the ability to go to a store and make a purchase or go online and order an item. But when the dust settled on the worst Yankee Swap Ever, here’s what we had:

  • An electronic key finder that the buyer admitted was meant for only one specific person in the swap—always a good idea to buy a gift specific to a person when the game is literally a random drawing.
  • The first season of Homeland on DVD. Not actually a bad gift at all in theory, but we quickly discovered that almost all the potential recipients had either already seen it or had just gotten the DVD as a gift from someone else.
  • Two $10 scratch tickets that were purchased at about 5pm on December 24th when the buyer realized he had forgotten about the Swap entirely.
  • Two more $10 scratch tickets that were purchsed 30 minutes before the Swap was set to go down, not because this buyer forgot about it, but because he was literally holding out hope til the last minute that we’d change our minds about doing it (rumor has it he went into the gas station, bought the tickets, got back into his car, decided one of the tickets he was holding was lucky and didn’t want someone else to win a bunch of money, so he scratched it, won nothing and had to run back into the store to buy the 2nd half of the “gift” again).
  • A bottle of special hot sauce that at first seemed like a thoughtful gift, but later we discovered that this person found a random case of abandoned hot sauce so she decided to give a bottle as gifts to the whole family.
  • And then two actual useful gifts.

I dare you to find a less successful Yankee Swap.

4). The Strangest Monologue I Heard All Week

While waiting to cross the street in downtown Boston last Saturday, I heard a guy behind me say, “That’s the only thing I liked about California when I visited. They actually give tickets for jaywalking. Seriously, I got a ticket for that when I was out there. And I was happy about it…It’s the only thing about California that made any sense to me.”

5). Finally Taking Credit For Starting The Coolest Trend in Soda History

I’m beaming with pride as I write this: I was the first person who ever drank Diet Coke purely for the taste. Many people drank it before me because they were on a diet, or because they were diabetic, or maybe even because their mom was on a diet and it’s the only soda she’d allow in the house. But no one before me ever tasted Diet Coke and thought “Mmm, even if given a choice between regular and diet, I’d go with the diet.” I estimate I started this trend in the summer of 1989. After doing some research, I learned that Diet Coke came out in August of 1982. That’s a seven-year gap where someone could have presumably beat me to the punch. But no way. Because you know people probably resisted it over the first few years. People were used to that super-sweet taste of regular Coke and when they took a sip of this new diet concoction, they all probably said, “Ew gross, why couldn’t they make this taste more like the regular stuff?” But not me. A little six-year-old boy was running around his country club in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, in 1989 saying, “This Diet Coke stuff is the shit…I wanna drink at least one a day.” Now you can’t go anywhere in public without someone gushing about how much they crave Diet Coke. A little credit would be nice. You know what else I could take credit for? Being the first person to decide fountain soda wasn’t just marginally better than canned or bottled soda, but infinitely better. Give me a good fountain Diet Coke and then shoot me in the face. I’ll go happily.

Final note on this: If you’re a Diet Coke connoseuir like myself, you definitely have a hierarchy of which fast food places have the best fountain soda. Burger King for sure has the worst. McDonald’s is OK, and Wendy’s is pretty good. But give me a choice and I’m going with the fountain D.C. from Five Guys or In-n-Out.

Oh and the best part about all this is that I actually got someone to admit last Friday night that I did start the “Diet Coke for pure taste” trend. Slowly but surely this thing is gonna pick up steam.

6). One Final Bonus Story Just Because I’m Feeling Guilty

I broke someone’s Yo-Yo at my Dad’s house on Christmas night. I have no idea whose it was or what kind of sentimental value it might have had. And I didn’t tell anyone. I just watched it break and then put it down on the coffee table like it was a working Yo-Yo that I was done playing with. So to whoever’s toy that was, I’m not sorry…it was a cheap Yo-Yo. But I guess I owe you like a buck twenty-six or something. Let me know who to make the check out to.

Reader Trivia Answers: We have a Winner! (And Many Losers)

I promised answers to all the trivia I unleashed on my readers earlier this week, and I never break a promise.

Let’s begin with the three poll questions I posed in this post.

First, the answer to which country (not counting the US, UK, Australia and Canada) has read my blog the most. Germany was the runaway winner according to my readers’ votes with 42% of the total vote, followed by Japan and Singapore, each with 21% of the vote. But none of those answers was correct. The right answer is Egypt, which got only one vote. Congrats to whoever said Egypt!

Next, there was the question of which blog post was the least read of all time. According to the voters, this was an obvious answer. A whopping 63% of the responders said “Euro Update: Are We Supposed to be Excited about 1-1 Draws” was the least read blog of all time. I get the reasoning behind this…no one likes soccer. But the soccer blog was not actually the least read. The post titled “March Madness: More Than Just Basketball to Help End Relationships” is actually the least clicked on blog so far. Once again, only one person voted for this option…congrats once again to that person (and if the same person got the Egypt answer correct, wow).

The final poll question in this article asked the readers to vote on which blog was the most read of all time. For those of you who voted for the Bieber Blog, the Bachelor Parties Blog, the Opening the Kimono on Work Jargon Blog or the Scamming Restaurants with the Bereavement Menu blog, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. None of those blogs even cracked the top 15 for most overall views. So it’s down to either “A Thorough Examination of Bird Poop Being Good Luck” or “Perfectly Good Excuses For Leaving Work Early.”

Those two posts are actually the top two most read on my blog, but in what order?

Almost 60% of the voters picked the Leaving Work Early post as the winner. And not a single person voted for the Bird Poop post. The readers missed badly here…the Bird Poop post is the most-read blog of all time!! And the Leaving Work Early post is a DISTANT second…over 100 less views than the Bird Poop.

Why is the Bird Poop article so popular? No idea, but it’s amazing that when I look at my stats every few days, the Bird Poop post has increased by another 5-10 views. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for the WBFF blog.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…did anyone guess all 12 pictures correctly in the Around the Clock Trivia from Monday?

Out of all the responses, this picture seemed to trip people up the most:

That is a picture of a lake in Wakefield, Massachusetts…Julie’s hometown.

Out of hundreds of guesses, there were three people worth highlighting. Two of them (Mike “The Dream”, and Aaron “Pueto”) only got one picture wrong: Mike, guessing Wakefield was actually the Ozarks, and Aaron guessing “somewhere in Europe” for picture #3, which was Barcelona (Aaron was technically right, but the judges were looking for something more specific).

And finally, we had one winner: Neil “Nkilla” Gariepy. Here was Neil’s guesses:

1. LA
2. Boston
3. Barcelona
4. Fitchburg
5. San Francisco
6. Heavenly/South Lake
7. York Beach
8. Yosemite/Vernal Falls
9. Monterey
10. Napa/Sonoma
11. Wakefield/Lake Quannapowitt
12. La Jolla/San Diego

So, Neil, what will it be? A free In-n-Out/Five Guys meal on your first trip down to LA? Or an autographed photo of two of LA’s most famous people? You do not get any bonus prize for being extra specific with your answers.

If I do future contests, I will probably put in fine print that “immediate family members of WBFF blog employees are ineligible” so that other people besides Neil have a chance to win something.

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).

Adventures in Relocating: Fallout from the Move

Eleven days of silence from the WBFF blog probably has people worried sick.  Am I alive?  Stuck under a pile of moving boxes?  Busy selling movie scripts all over LA?  Auditioning for my first (porn) acting gig?

Actually, in those 11 days, I spent five of them on a bender in Boston—Red Sox game, Celtics game, Wedding, Memorial Day BBQ, and a Wake (yes, my family typically serves alcohol at wakes…you know it’s a great idea)—I spent two of them packing four peoples’ lives into a moving truck, and I’ve spent the past four days unpacking in LA.

There might have been a post over the weekend if the company that was supposed to setup my internet and DirecTV service hadn’t completely boned me.  The reason I pushed to leave San Francisco at 4AM on Friday morning was to make sure we had enough time to get to LA, unpack everything from the truck and have the TV setup so these guys could do their job when they showed up at 4PM that day.  Only they didn’t show up and wouldn’t be able to until Monday.  I put together a sob story for the sales rep, saying that they were hurting my ability to work from home without the internet, and that I had plans to have friends over on Sunday night for dinner and watching the Celtics game.  He must have known that I have no job and no friends because he didn’t really compensate me much for this inconvenience.  The company’s name is Bel-Air Internet, and they are on my shit list.

But I digress.

My favorite thing about moving out of an apartment is the discoveries you make in random places you haven’t checked in years.  For instance, when we moved out of our college apartment, I’m pretty sure we found a mouse trap behind the mini-fridge that had a dead mouse on it…and that dead mouse had apparently died while trying to eat a smaller dead mouse.  At the apartment in San Francisco, my favorite discovery was this jar of mayo in the cupboard.  Expiration date: September ’08.  I tried to take a picture of it next to something white so you could see the color discrepancy:

Pretty gross, but I ate the whole jar.

Up until a week ago, I had never been to a self-storage facility.  I’m now convinced I’ll never go back to one.  In my head, storing possessions at one of these places is as simple as driving your truck right up next to your unit and unloading.  Kind of like this:

But reality is slightly different.  Reality is parking your truck in a tiny, crowded garage where there is only one elevator that everyone fights over to get your stuff up to your storage unit.  Reality is trying to navigate the world’s narrowest hallways with a dolly full of your possessions, while ducking under low-hanging pipes and lights.  And unfortunately, reality means realizing your storage unit is elevated about 10 feet above you, and good luck carrying those 70lb boxes up the librarian’s staircase without killing yourself.

This picture doesn’t do it justice. But picture those top units being 10 feet above ground and having a wobbly staircase as the only method to haul your shit up to them

After living in my new apartment for three days, here are the additional positives I’ve found that weren’t obvious when we toured the place in May: the flushing power of the toilet, the perfect temperature in the apartment by keeping the porch door open at all times (no need to use the central air so far), and the amount of power outlets throughout the place.

And here is the one negative I’ve found: lack of lighting even though there is an endless amount of light switches on the walls.  Seriously, there’s no overhead light in the living room, the bedroom or any of the closets.  And yet, there are at least seven light switches that do nothing, like they want to be used for overhead lights.  Even the kitchen is too dark in certain corners when the lights are on.  How many lamps will I have to buy to properly light this apartment?  It feels like more than five.

When Julie and I were moving in over the weekend, I was looking for one thing early on that I could start a huge all-out war over with her.  I picked the way she puts the toilet paper on the toilet paper dispenser.  I walked out of the bathroom on Saturday and said, “This just isn’t gonna work. You always put the toilet paper on upside down and I can’t live with that.”  I expected a fight, but instead she told me she didn’t even notice how she puts it on, it’s not even worth thinking about, and she’ll do it the way I want.  How dare she be so dismissive about something so important to me?

Speaking of the lady of the house…I folded a load of her laundry yesterday, and I never want to attempt it again.  My clothes have basically two shapes: regular-looking pants and regular-looking t-shirts.  My clothes are also made of only two possible materials: cotton and denim.  I know how to properly fold these shapes and materials.  Apparently a woman’s wardrobe consists of more variety: tank tops, strapless shirts, dresses with one sleeve, strapless dresses, skirts, shirts with a deep V-neck, normal length pants, three-quarter length pants, sweatshirts that look like shirts, shirts that look like sweatshirts, three different thicknesses of sweaters, belts that apparently go in the wash…and of course there are different materials that don’t want to fold like my cotton shirts.  Even though by living together we’re merging a lot of possessions, I’m pretty sure we’ll continue to do our laundry separately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2). A church:

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

3). A bank:

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

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

Watching Sports on Tape Delay: a Stressful and Chaotic Practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone else ever gotten similarly disturbing recruiting emails?

Adventures in Relocating: How Adults Do It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.