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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Coping With the Latest Boston Sports Loss By Reminiscing About Past Disappointments, and Looking for Silver Linings!

As experienced as Boston fans are at celebrating our teams’ big wins, we’ve also become equally adept at dealing with their catastrophic losses. That gives you an indication of how successful Boston sports have been over the past 12 years. On one side we have three Patriots Super Bowl Titles, two Red Sox World Series Championships, a 17th banner for the Celtics and most recently a Stanley Cup for the Bruins. But on the other side there are two Patriots Super Bowl losses (one while chasing a perfect season), two Patriots AFC Championship Game losses (with the Pats leading both those games at halftime), two Red Sox ALCS losses in seven games (including the 2003 Grady Little/Pedro game), a Celtics NBA Title loss in seven games (after being up in the series three games to two), and a Celtics Conference Championship loss in seven games (ditto).

Side Note: Holy Shit. Can’t we ever just lose a playoff series in five games? Maybe get swept in four games? Why do all our losses come in the most dramatic fashion?

Anyway, the first side of that coin makes it impossible for anyone to empathize with us on the second side of the coin. And that’s fair. But it doesn’t mean that these playoff losses hurt us any less than they hurt fans of other teams.

I don’t have a recap of Sunday’s games for obvious reasons (A full bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey + a mind-boggling Patriots loss). But what I do have is a smorgasbord of disjointed thoughts on coping with tough sports losses.

Until just a couple years ago, I always took my teams’ losses extremely tough. And I always thought it was my god-given right to react as poorly to these losses as I wanted. When I say “extremely tough” I’m talking about drowning my sorrows in whatever cheap booze I could find, holing up in my bedroom for days, refusing to talk to people, and even crying. Yes, crying!

Here’s an incomplete list of some of those poor reactions I’m talking about:

  • After the Red Sox lost to the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS, I walked into my kitchen, lined up four shot glasses and took down half a bottle of shitty Vodka in about three minutes. I proceeded to walk the streets of Boston by myself for hours that night, alternating between looking for a Yankees fan to punch in the face and crying into the sleeve of my sweatshirt.
  • Also after that ’03 disaster, I wouldn’t talk to my oldest brother (one of the bigger Boston sports influences in my life) for three weeks. He didn’t wanna talk to me either. It would just be too painful to have to rehash the details…actually I think we would have set the world record for longest phone call without any words spoken. So for 20 days my poor Mom had to act as a go-between for us whenever we wanted to tell each other something.
  • When the Patriots lost to the Giants in February 2008, me and my other brother had to walk home from my oldest brother’s apartment. On the way (keep in mind it was a one-mile walk), we split eight beers and a bottle of champagne. Apparently this loss was too painful to simply drown our sorrows in alcohol. For this loss, we needed to be destructive. So we went out into the street, threw my Patriots hat on the ground, doused it in lighter fluid and set that thing on fire. Thinking we had proved our point, I turned away from the flames to walk back inside. When I turned around one more time to say “see you in hell” to the hat, I found my brother pissing on the burning hat. It was a perfect exclamation point.
  • After that same Patriots loss, I strolled into work at 11am the next morning with a pounding headache. This awful co-worker (a pompous, conniving, little shit) was waiting at my desk just so he could be the first person to scream “18-1” in my face. Ever since that day, I’ve always hoped he would contract a deadly disease. After Richard Sherman and Terrell Suggs, I think he’s the person I’d most likely kill if I was guaranteed to get away with it (If I knew back then that I didn’t want a career in software sales, I probably would have thrown him out of our office’s third story window).
  • And after last year’s Super Bowl loss I simply walked through the Mission District in San Francisco looking to talk trash to, and possibly get in a fight with. anyone wearing New York Giants gear.

So after the latest edition of “Patriots choke in the playoffs” on Sunday, how did I react? By taking my dog for a long walk with my girlfriend and then drowning my sorrows in chocolate. I’ll admit I had one moment on that walk where I started stomping my feet and whining that “it isn’t fair, why can’t they just win one more Super Bowl while Brady’s around…”

Is my lack of a childish reaction to this latest loss a sign that I’m growing up? Actually, I think it’s just more of a realization I had over the past couple years when it comes to sports: Let’s say you have a favorite team in each of the four major sports. Most people are lucky if they get to see two or three championships among their four teams in a lifetime. Let’s say you live to be 85 years old and the first 10 years of your life don’t count because you were too young to be affected by your teams’ wins and losses. That means 75 years of actually caring about sports, multiplied by four teams per year. You have 300 different sports seasons that have to come to an end at some point. Even the luckiest among us are going to see 290 of those seasons end in bitter disappointment.

That’s where my realization comes in. Can I really spend a lifetime having meltdown after meltdown whenever my teams lose? Because they’re going to lose a lot. And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t care. I’m just saying we have no choice but to put it behind us and move on with life. Much like a football team does after a regular season win when they say they’re going to celebrate for one night and then move on to the next opponent, it’s OK to spend one night being miserable after a playoff loss, but then the sun comes up the next day and it’s time to get over it.

My advice is to wait two days before reading your local newspapers, watching sports programming on TV or listening to any sort of sports talk radio. Two days is enough time for you to cool off and go to your happy place. And for the people living in Boston, you should feel lucky. You get to go to work this week surrounded by mostly fellow miserable Boston sports fans. There are Boston fans all over the country who had to walk into work yesterday morning and deal with fans of other cities who couldn’t wait to rub this loss in their faces. Trust me, it’s as helpless of a feeling as you can have.

In the spirit of getting over this latest setback, here are some silver linings for New England fans:

  • Having Wes Welker back next year would be huge, of course, but let’s not forget that the chances of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez missing time with injuries in 2013 are very slim.
  • The running backs will only get better. Stevan Ridley is their best pure runner, but Shane Vereen was the surprise in the playoffs, establishing himself as a capable runner and receiver.
  • The offense is as good as it’s ever been, and there’s no reason to think it’ll slow down anytime soon.
  • There’s absolutely no indication that Tom Brady is slowing down. He was still a top-10 quarterback in every important category this year. If you think the Championship window is only open as long as Brady is playing at an elite level, I’d say we have at least three more seasons of opportunity.
  • There’s also no indication that Bill Belichick is regressing as a coach or losing his desire to run the Patriots (if you mention the two times Brady/Belichick screwed up clock management at the end of a half this year, I will stab you. Name a coach or QB who hasn’t made those one or two gaffes this year).
  • The defense improved this year, and it’s young enough that you can expect more improvement next year. They were a top-10 defense in points allowed per game this season, they increased their takeaway-to-giveaway differential from +17 in 2011 to +25 in 2012, and they’re heading in the right direction in terms of yards allowed per game (from 31st-ranked in 2011 to 25th in 2012).
  • Remember how the Patriots thrived as a “no one believes in us” team 10 years ago? Maybe now that they’ve choked away playoff games four years in a row, when next January rolls around, they can play the “no one believes in us in a big game” card.
  • It could be worse, we could be sports fans who have to pretend to enjoy rooting for Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs.

When you finally emerge from the dark hole you crawled into after Sunday night’s game, you may be wondering who you should root for in the Super Bowl. That’s the biggest no-brainer in the history of this blog. You root for the 49ers, hard. You do not root for the team that doesn’t know how to be a gracious, respectful winner (Suggs and other Ravens just couldn’t contain themselves after the game. They just had to take more satisfaction in the Patriots losing than in their own team winning). You don’t root for the team that has one of the biggest headhunters in the game (Bernard Pollard). You don’t root for the team who, if they win the Super Bowl, would probably say something like “This one title means more than the Patriots’ three titles because of SpyGate.” That’s not a team that deserves to win anything. But if the Ravens do win, I won’t freak out and throw a tantrum. I’ll just look forward to the regular season meeting between them and the Patriots in 2013.

NFL Round 2 Recap: Saying Goodbye to 4 More Unworthy Teams, Kicking Myself Out of the Bar and Much More

Good lord. Am I tired. The football players have it easy. They only had to live through one game this week. We had to deal with the emotional swings and constant anxiety of four games in two days. It really does feel like I just played in four football games. After the Wildcard Round’s “as much fun as a funeral” theme, the NFL sorta owed us this kind of weekend.

And after the football gods continued to punish me for some unknown reason with week-after-week of sub-.500 picks against the spread records, I finally bounced back in a big way. Let’s review my personal glory first:

  • 4-0 against the spread in my picks.
  • Made my biggest bet of the season on the Patriots to cover. I always stay away from betting the Pats, but this weekend felt like a can’t miss opportunity (the bet was basically six times my normal-sized bet, that’s all I’m willing to say).
  • 2-2 in the four prop bets I listed in Friday’s blog (not counting the bets that don’t pay off until next season). The nice thing about 2-2 is that the biggest long shot was on the winning side for me. Russell Wilson to have the most passing yards this weekend (15/1 odds). I really hope at least a couple people took that bet on my advice because the Atlanta-Seattle game went exactly as I expected and Wilson’s 385 passing yards easily beat the competition.

But the silly part about life as a football prognosticator is that you can put up a great record with picks in a given weekend but still be wrong with all the reasons you decided on those picks. Here are four things I got wrong in a big way this weekend:

  1. “Knowshon Moreno will have the most rushing yards of any running back” – It’s hard to lead all players in rushing yards when you don’t even lead your own team in that category. Moreno had 32 yards on the ground Saturday, which was only 51 yards less than his teammate Ronnie Hillman. Upon further review, it looks like Moreno had the 13th-most rushing yards of all players this weekend. Just barely missed that prediction.
  2. On my reasoning for taking the Ravens to cover against Denver: “And what if the Ravens’ far superior special teams puts up a touchdown? That’ll be a huge swing.” There were some special teams touchdowns that were big swings in this game, but both times it was Denver scoring on returns. I also still picked Denver to win by seven and “perhaps take their foot off the gas and allow for the Baltimore backdoor cover.” Wrong and wrong.
  3. On why the 49ers would handle Green Bay: “Mike McCarthy really is a bad coach and that’ll rear its ugly head sometime soon…Mason Crosby has been an unmitigated disaster and that’ll rear its ugly head sometime soon…As good as Rodgers is, his offensive line has been Pittsburgh Steeler-esque all year, and a team like San Francisco might really make them pay.” Of course McCarthy didn’t make any major blunders, Crosby made his one field goal attempt and nailed all four of his extra points, and the Packer O-line only gave up one sack. This game was entirely on the Green Bay defense.
  4. “You cannot overlook the fact that the Pats dropped 42 on the Texans without the services of Gronk. That’s the biggest X factor of this game in my opinion: New England is probably the healthiest team out of the eight remaining playoff contenders.” An X factor is defined as “A variable in a situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome.” Not only did my “Patriots are the healthiest team” mantra become immediately wrong when Gronk, Danny Woodhead and Chandler Jones all went down in the first half, but the health of New England wasn’t anything close to an X factor (and of course I’m very happy to be wrong about this one).

Just like I did during the Wildcard round, I spent most of Saturday at Rocco’s Tavern in Culver City watching the games, and then planted myself on my couch for the Sunday schedule (but rather than let Julie talk me into a healthy meal for Sunday, we decided to do a practice run of our chili before next Sunday’s chili cook-off that we’re winning attending). If you thought last week’s recap was disjointed and random, you’re really going to hate this week’s. Saturday was spent trying and failing to pace myself at the bar (evidenced by the fact that I had to kick myself out of the bar with seven minutes left in the 2nd quarter of the San Francisco-Green Bay game), and Sunday was spent breathing heavily into a brown paper bag because of the anxiety that comes from having to wait until the last game of the weekend to see your team play. The rest of this blog isn’t so much a recap of the games as it is a smattering of random thoughts from the weekend:

-I was so worried that everyone was as amped up about football this weekend as I was that I showed up to the bar Saturday afternoon 40 minutes before kickoff. I told Julie that’s the only way we’d get a seat at the bar. Luckily we were able to choose among the 24 empty barstools when we got there. But more importantly, one of the only people who beat us to the bar was this older gentleman wearing a Peyton Manning Colts jersey. As the game got underway, he cheered his poor lonely heart out for the Broncos. It got me thinking about the proper protocol and etiquette when an iconic player on your favorite team goes to play for a different team. I couldn’t really draw from any personal experience because in my lifetime a player as adored as Manning was in Indy hasn’t left a Boston team and gone on to have success with another team. I decided to email the one Indianapolis fan that I know and ask his opinion. Here’s his response:

  • I have hated the Broncos and Elway since he (the overrated horse-toothed piece of garbage…) dissed the Colts when he came into the draft.  Unfortunately, this year I was cheering for them. The Bronco loss bothered me more than the Colts loss. I’m still a Colts fan, but I’m still a Manning fan. I’ve discussed this with hardcore Packer fans who went through a similar experience with Favre.  There is no good solution. It’s not as bad as the Sandusky situation at Penn State, so there are worse things in sports, but it really sucks.”

-Even though he was a little vague with his answer, I loved the unprovoked shot he took at Elway and the probably-unnecessary comparison to the Sandusky-Penn State thing. I’m stunned that he says the Denver loss bothered him more than the Colts’ loss. That seems backwards to me. If Tom Brady is playing for the Los Angeles Superficials four years from now, I highly doubt I’ll care even one-tenth as much about that team’s playoff run as I will about that year’s Patriots.

-Final thought on this: If Brady was in the exact same situation as Manning is currently in, I think I’d still root for him to do well, and watch his games with more than a casual fan’s interest. But his jersey would be hanging somewhere on my wall. I wouldn’t be wearing it out in public, and I certainly wouldn’t be cheering on his team with the same intensity as I cheer for the Patriots. I pray that I never have to deal with this stuff when it comes to Brady.

-Before kickoff of Denver-Baltimore I was actually torn on who I wanted the Patriots facing in the AFC Championship (I was that confident in a Pats win on Sunday). On the one hand, a Ravens win meant home field advantage for New England and in my opinion the lesser of the two possible opponents (I’m on record as tweeting 10 days ago “Baltimore has no shot against Denver”). On the other hand, wouldn’t an epic, turn-back-the-clock Brady vs Manning showdown for a spot in the Super Bowl be an amazing game? There aren’t too many more chances left of seeing something like that.  I know this is a lame way to think about things, but I also considered the fact that losing to Manning and the Broncos would be an easier pill to swallow because unlike the shit-talking, never-won-anything-important Ravens, the Broncos probably wouldn’t rub it in our face as much. Say what you want about Peyton Manning, but his teams have traditionally been humble in victory.

-All those thoughts rattled around in my head until the moment Manning ran out of the tunnel in Denver and the bar I was at erupted with cheers. Then I remembered how fun it’s been to root against Manning in the playoffs, and how every Manning playoff loss only widens the gap between him and Brady in terms of the best QB of this generation (and possibly of all time). So it was decided, go Baltimore.

-If you remember last week’s recap blog post, when I was drunk during the Wildcard round at this same bar, I spent about 15 minutes writing this blog’s URL on every coaster I could get my hands on. I checked all of them at the bar on Saturday and didn’t find any of my customized coasters. Either the bartenders threw them out immediately, or the bar’s customers saw the website and wanted to be sure to remember it and took the coasters home with them.

-I was so certain that the cold weather and the two-week layoff for Denver would make this a slow-starting game that I bet the under of 44. With four minutes left in the 1st quarter, there were already 28 total points.

-Obviously I don’t need to recap all the big plays that happened in this game…there were many and you’ve all seen them by now. But how about Champ Bailey getting repeatedly torched? The consensus I heard from talking to other fans and scanning twitter is that people have been giving respect to Champ for years by not throwing in his direction, so no one could have guessed that he was old and slow because he’s never tested. Is he really that bad all of the sudden, or is Torrey Smith just that fast? And how delusional am I for convincing myself that Aqib Talib and the Patriots defensive scheme are better equipped to defend the Flacco-Smith combo than Denver was?

-I found out what makes Julie nearly crap herself from laughter…when two players from the same team collide with each other and one of them falls to the ground with a thud. This happened in the 2nd quarter when Tandon Doss of Baltimore was returning a punt and got crushed by a teammate. Julie almost fell off her barstool, and she was only two drinks deep.

-Speaking of Julie, I finally found the perfect combination to get her to pay attention to an entire game:

  1. Let her make a bet on the game (I always let her make an 8-team parlay where a $1 bet wins like $250). This way she’ll have a specific team to root for.
  2. Take her to a bar. Not being at our apartment means she can’t spend the game cleaning, cooking, napping in the other room or playing with the dog.
  3. Get her to the bar 40 minutes before kickoff so she can consume all the latest info on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest before the game. Then and only then will she put her phone away and stare at the TV with me.

-As a time-waster during commercials on Saturday, I sent texts to all my friends whose teams were in the playoffs wishing them luck and what not (except you, Brad. You root for Seattle so I refuse to wish you good luck). My college friend who’s a big 49ers fan texted me back and said him and his fiancee had tickets to Book of Mormon on Saturday night so he was DVRing the game and hoping to watch it in its entirety when he got home. This brought up my third internal struggle of the day (the others being the “iconic player who leaves your team” conundrum, and the “should I root for Denver or Baltimore” dilemma)…when is it appropriate to DVR a game? Turns out, I’ve already hashed out this conflict in a past blog post, so really there’s no struggle. In my Pulitzer Prize-nominated blog post titled “Watching Sports on Tape Delay: A Stressful and Chaotic Practice,” after much debating and analysis, I ultimately said, “…the only appropriate time to watch games on tape delay is for early-round playoff games in all of the major sports.”

-This means my friend was not in the wrong for trying to make the DVR thing happen on Saturday night. Maybe the more important issue is why his soon-to-be father-in-law didn’t know to look ahead to all possible dates for 49er playoff games before selfishly buying him tickets to Book of Mormon for Christmas. The nerve of some people.

-Over the six hours at the bar on Saturday, I probably went to the bathroom 13 times (my bladder turns into an 86-year-old man when I drink). Most of those visits to the potty were uneventful. Here was the most eventful one: I walk into the two-urinal, one-sitdown toilet bathroom and grab the one open urinal. I hear a guy coughing a totally normal cough in the stall. The man standing next to me at the other urinal says, “Sounds like a crying dog in the desert…I hate that sound.” For those of you who know me and my non-confrontational approach to life, you know I just gave an awkward laugh and continued with my business. But then the awkward silence really got to me so I said, “Oh, have you heard a lof of dogs in the desert crying?” He responded, “Three tours in Afghanistan…you tend to hear lots of dogs in the desert crying out there. And then they shoot them and eat them.” Another awkward laugh/acknowledgment from me. And then he walked out of the bathroom. And, guys, get this…he didn’t wash his hands.

-Out of the 100+ texts I exchanged with people during the Saturday games (almost all of them football-related), my favorite one was from my brother who simply wrote, “BTW…mini eggs now in stores.” We weren’t in the middle of a text conversation about anything related to that. He just knows me and knows how to make my day. Cadbury mini-eggs are simply the greatest candy ever invented. That’s not up for debate.

-So the Ravens kicked that field goal in the 2nd OT around 5:35pm PT, and the NFC game was already under way. I can tell you that I threw myself out of the bar around 6:15pm. I think I can best convey to you why I took no notes on the Packers-49ers game and why I had to go home to finish watching through the following pictures:

I tried to tell myself I’d only drink beer so that I could make it through two games at the bar, but then as soon as I show up at 12:50pm, this is staring me down:

IMG_1982

No, not the Red Stag. The Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey (aka my kryptonite). And then 3pm rolls around and it’s two-for-one happy hour on all drinks, so this happens:

IMG_1985

And then when I try to be a good sports writer and continue to take notes, this happens:

IMG_1991

That is literally the only “note” I took on the second game. If you’re having trouble navigating my writing, the top says “sober” and the bottom says “drunk.” I hate when I make graphs that have unclear values for the X and Y axes.

Let’s move on to Sunday’s games. Sober and at home means a lot more football notes and a lot less random stories:

-God damn Seattle. I started writing their eulogy about six different times during their game on Sunday morning. And since they were looking like a no-show for the first three quarters, my eulogy focused on how their 10-6 record (if you don’t count their fake week 3 win) was tied for the 8th best record in the league, and how the only playoff game they won was against a team literally playing offense without a quarterback. It was some of the happiest writing I’ve ever done. And then of course Seattle stormed back in the 4th quarter, even got what looked to be a game-winning touchdown with 31 seconds left, before Pete Carroll iced himself with a last-second timeout.

-So instead of that scathing burial for the Seahawks, I gotta give them credit. Two road playoff games in a row where they looked done after one quarter, and instead they fight until the very end. They were probably a little bit overrated by the time the playoffs started, but they’re going to be a playoff-caliber team for the next few years at least.

-Fine, a little bit of schadenfreude. It was awesome to see Richard Sherman get beat badly on one of the Atlanta long touchdowns, and then to see him continually go offsides on the extra point attempt until he got his team a penalty for doing it. That’s the kind of selfish asshole I knew he was all along.

-What a crazy final minute in this game. The craziest part, for me, was when color commentator Brian Billick suggested that the Seahawks kick a field goal and then try to get an onsides kick. They were down 27-21 with 44 seconds left when he said that.

-Glad to see Atlanta finally win one, but based on their near-meltdown in the 4th quarter, I think it’s perfectly appropriate that the 49ers are favored on the road.

-I’ll keep my thoughts on the Patriots-Texans game short because I was more than a little vocal during the game on Twitter. But the referees…I mean, c’mon. If that game is called down the middle, the Patriots win by at least 24. Every time the refs made an incorrect call against New England, I wrote “DICKING US OVER” in big letters in my diary. I’m counting four of those right now.

-It was a game where every big call went against the Patriots, and I’m not even saying that all those calls were wrong. Even the calls that could best be described as a coin flip went against them. Don’t think I won’t factor all of this in when I pick Patriots or Ravens later in the week.

-I would say there were two really outrageous calls from the officials. First was the unsportsmanlike penalty on Brandon Lloyd in the 2nd quarter when he threw the ball directly to the referee at the end of a play…you know, like the players are supposed to do. The ref wasn’t looking, it hit him in the arms and bounced away, and he was clearly embarrassed. That directly took four points off the board for the Patriots as they were forced to kick a field goal because of the 15-yard backup. The second, possibly more outrageous call, was with 10:20 to go in the 3rd quarter when Owen Daniels fumbled the ball after a -1 yard pass. The Patriots recovered on Houston’s 25 yard line. Game over. But then the refs decided Daniels’ forward progress had been stopped. Not even the biggest Texan defenders or Patriot haters can agree with that call. The refs cost New England either three or seven points with that call.

-The CBS broadcast pointed out how Belichick didn’t even react to Shane Vereen’s 33-yard touchdown catch in the 4th quarter that put the Patriots up 38-13. He looked over to see that it was a touchdown, and then turned back to his defense to continue strategizing. A lot of jokes were made about his lack of reaction, but my favorite was a tweet from David Portnoy, the guy who runs barstoolsports.com: “Pete Carroll would have been doing the lambada…Belichick is coaching.” It’s just a great joke that reminds us of the difference between a perceived “great coach” and a real great coach. And you can totally picture Carroll with an over-the-top celebration after that play like the cheerleader he is.

-So with 30 seconds left in the game and Houston down by 13, Phil Simms says the Texans should go for a long field goal and then recover and onsides kick to get a shot at the end zone. That makes two color commentators on Sunday who didn’t have a clue as to what the score was in the final minute of the game. Way to bring your C+ game to the greatest sports weekend of the year, boys.

I leave you with two more pictures that I enjoyed from the weekend…

What the hell is wrong with Sterling Sharpe?

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I’m talking mostly about the eyebrow…Did he get it shaved in the shape of the Minnesota Vikings’ helmet symbol on purpose?

And what species is this, exactly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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