Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Baggage Game - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

As with past editions, the episode can be viewed at the bottom, unless Game Show Network has taken down the link. You can checkout the excess baggage here.

Three in one week??? Some people would say, "Why?", but I say, "Why not? You know, besides the fact that this will get effed out." But hey, y'all had to do without for several weeks, so I consider this as a bit of catch-up. Tonight's dater is Matt, who's some goon that looks like Craig James from King of Queens. He's an "entrepeneur" from Cleveland, Ohio. (This is a frequently used description on the show, and it's usually code for some ridiculous profession.)

The first candidate is Emma, a stylist from Washington D.C. who has stripper tats all along her arms. (Stripper tats meaning those big stars that every stripper / porn star seems to have in a trail along a body part.) She loves nature, gardening, traveling around the world and guys with imagination. Next is Shanta, a cashier from San Diego who likes walks on the beach. She looks a little old to be working as a cashier, though - like early 30s. Finally, there is Vita, a teacher from Olympia, Washington. She's definitely the cutest of the three, as she looks like a mature version of Kristin Stewart. She loves dancing to 80s music and singing karaoke. On to the game!

First Round

Emma: I practice witchcraft.
Shanta: I shave my mustache every day.
Vita: I'm attracted to men who look like my dad.

Holy heck, Shanta's baggage would bug me. Because if you need to shave your mustache every day, it means you have stubble by the next morning. Yikes. Matt politely says that the witchcraft thing is "interesting." Emma says she has been doing a "nature-based, nice" form of witchcraft for 15 years. Vita's baggage doesn't make me pause at all, since it's pretty common and normal.

Second Round

Vita: I refuse to perform oral sex. (Jerry says, "It's amazing that in today's economy, people are still turning down jobs.")
Emma: I use baby wipes instead of bathing.
Shanta: I want my men to dress as Pooh Bear in bed. (Jerry says, "At my age, I don't want Pooh in bed.")

Wow - The baby wipes thing is an easy winner to me, although the Pooh Bear thing is just as weird. Where DO they find these people? The Pooh Bear thing, I could deal with that from time-to-time, provided I liked the person enough. And the oral sex thing... I actually don't view it as the end-all, be-all, so I'd be OK with that.

Matt eliminates the Pooh Bear girl though, which I can understand. It is pretty outlandish. This turns out to be mustache-girl, so he probably eliminated the overall-worst so far. Meanwhile, I swoon just a bit more for Vita - Hopefully Matt rejects her for some trivial reason, so that I can swoop in. Emma, your canvas-like arms and baby wiping just make you undateable in my eyes. You also attack my future wife Vita, how DARE you.

Hot spot time! Emma once lied to her mother about shoplifting a marble (???), she nicknamed an ex pencildick, she collects animal skulls (!), her sexiest body part is her neck, and the best decision she'll make is finding out Matt's baggage and accepting it anyway. (Emma is earning major slut points today.) Vita advises men to treat their women like partners and not new mothers / maids, she's made love in the faculty lounge, she made a documentary about battered women in prison who had killed their husbands, she checks out a guy's eyes first, and she only "fakes it" when she has to be somewhere.

Final Elimination Round

Emma: I had a two-year affair with a married man.
Vita: I left my husband for a cult leader.
Shanta (eliminated): I won't have sex until marriage.

Emma's baggage, meh. She said she did it when she was young and dumb, so I can understand it. But wow, Vita's baggage comes out of left field! She says she got married too young, and fell in love with a man who said he was a Messenger of God. She seems pretty put-together now though, so I'd chose her. Meanwhile, in her plea to Matt, Emma immediately goes to giving him a blow-job, so she's obviously all-class. And Vita strikes back and says that at least she broke up with her hubby before, and she doesn't collect animal skulls.

Thankfully for me, Matt eliminates Vita. Woohoo, time for me to give her a call! Sure, it's a bit of a commute from Rhode Island to Washington, but hey, I'm progressive. (Note to authorities: I don't actually plan on stalking her, please don't arrest me.) Anyway, Matt's baggage is one of the three:

- I've been married six times.
- I'm a bankrupt circus performer.
- I've been arrested for public indecency.

My money is on the public indecency thing, just because Matt doesn't seem outgoing and charming enough to have been married six times, or to be a circus performer. Despite her claim earlier in the show that she would accept his baggage no matter what, Emma says the biggest issue would be the marriage thing. I agree with her - SIX times suggests a pathological sort of problem.

Matt reveals that he's actually a bankrupt circus performer though! How bizarre. He reveals that he is a base, i.e. a support for pyramids and other things. He said he invested poorly in the real estate market, and as a result, went $250,000 in the hole. (She's also about six inches taller than him.) She does the fake out, saying that she's sorry... but she can accept his baggage. Well, good for him!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Baggage Game - Monday, August 30, 2010

Note: This episode is available to watch at the bottom of this entry. To see Erika's excess baggage, click here.

Ah, welcome to another edition of The Baggage Game! I actually have a bunch of episodes to get through, so expect to see quite a few editions this week. Today, we have Erika, a fitness model from New York. She wants to meet a guy who is handsome and funny, and she is about to say more, but there is a very, very rough and abrupt edit back to Jerry talking instead. Well, nevermind then. As you would expect for a model, Erika is incredibly attractive, even if she is wearing what appears to be a maroon smock. I'm not a fan of this sort of outfit, since it essentially looks like a cloth garbage bag on a woman's body. However, she's kind of like a slimmer, taller, less busty Alyssa Milano.

The first dude vying for her heart is Jason, a salesman from Augusta, Maine. He looks kind of like the temp from The Office. Next is Adi, a law student from Potomac, Maryland. He, uh, also looks like Ryan from The Office, since he has a rectangular hair cut, a vest, a dress shirt and a tie. (Maybe there was a sale at The Gap and the wardrobe department stocked up.) And finally, there is David, an entrepreneur from San Fransisco. He looks like Ted Allen from Queer Eye For The Straight Guy and Chopped, but with an earring. (Note: Erika is WAY out of the league of all three of them, physically.)

First Round

Jason: I saw a UFO.
Adi: I end relationships via e-mail.
David: I'm a diehard trekkie.

Jason's baggage, without any additional info, isn't that concerning to me. He just ventured into his backyard and saw something floating in the air; he isn't claiming to be abducted or anything. The e-mail thing seems to really bug Erika, who says, "I don't know if you're a wuss, or if you're selfish and don't really care but anyone's feelings but your own." He tries to explain himself, at which point I note that he has a funny accent. Meanwhile, David kind of looks like a member of Star Trek with his yellow shirt.

Second Round

Adi: I frequent gay bars.
Jason: I'm a member of a sugar mama website.
David: I pick up hitchhikers.

I would run as fast as I could from the guy who frequents gay bars. Simply put, I don't know any straight guys who do this. Been to one or two? Sure. (I haven't, for the record.) But frequenting them often, ick. Erika is with me on the sugar mama website, thinking this is more silly than anything else. The hitchhiker thing, meh, it seems like no big deal depending on the circumstances.

Erika eliminates the gay bar dude, which is what I would have done as well. Luckily, it's Adi who's eliminated, since he came off as a freak anyway in his interviews. And he says that he goes to gay bar to pick up on the women who have gone there and let their guard down, which makes him sound like a sleazy mofo.

On to the hot spot! Jason got annoyed when his ex broke up with him, uses "how you doin'" as a pick-up line, he's all about PDAs and considers Disney a romantic place to take a woman. (Erika is impressed by this last answer, since she loves Disney and theme parks.) David has never been dumped, he can do magic tricks, he would be a paramedic if they roleplayed and his mother's best advice was for him to be himself. (This is a pretty tame episode of Baggage so far, by the way.) Erika likes that David hasn't dated a ton yet.

Final Elimination Round

Jason: I still sleep with five of my ex'es.
David: I'm an award-winning porn star.
Adi (eliminated): I dated a girl to get to her mother.

If you needed any more confirmation that Adi is a sleaze, well, take a look at that. Good times, good times. But he's not as bad off as Jason, who immediately gets a retching motion from Erika. And she just shakes her head at David's baggage. Earlier, Jerry joked that David was probably a virgin because of the Trekkie thing, which David rubs in his face now. Erika looks like she wants to wants to shoot herself in her face.

However, she does have to chose someone, so she eliminates Jason. Womp womp womp. Anyway, her baggage is one of these three:

- I had affairs with both of my psychiatrists.
- I was a groupie for Marilyn Manson.
- I make my man pay for everything.

My money is on the psychiatrist thing, although I'm not really sure why. David would most have an issue with the "make my man pay for everything" drama... and that's what it is! She takes some joy in this, which makes me think that she's trying to get herself eliminated right now. She also expects to be taken to nice places all the time, and to be given new things. David doesn't take long to reject her, and she actually does seem a bit sad and gives him a hug before leaving the stage.

After the show, David shows a lot more personality than while it was on - He admits that he's surrounded by hot girls all day at work, and wanted someone with a bit more depth than Erika. Wow! Talk about a 180 from how the episode first appeared. Well, good for you, David the Porn Star. If you really want to check out some of his work, click here for his Wikipedia page, which can link you from there. Apparently, he just broke up with his porn star girlfriend, who is here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Baggage Game - Sunday, August 29, 2010

Note: Video link embed at the bottom of this entry, if you'd like to watch along.

Today's dater is Ashley, who is a cute blonde. She looks kind of like... Well, I can't think of a really good comparison right now. A little chubbier Christina Ricci with blonde hair? Melissa Joan Hart but not as pretty? She's the director of a non-profit from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I hate her voice, and her shoes are horrible too.

The first dude is Jax, a bartender from Shelby Township, Michigan. He is a beautiful bastard, which you could probably determine once I wrote that he was a bartender. Second up in a security guard from Long Beach, California, Mazi. He looks like Webster all-grown-up. Finally, there is Jason, a personal trainer from Standish, Michigan. (Apparently, Jax and Jason carpooled together or something.) Jason has really stupid hair. He looks like he should be in the Val Kilmer role of Top Gun. Anyway, on to the game!

First Round

Jax: I live in my friend's dining room.
Mazi: I dated a meth dealer.
Jason: I'd rather be at the gym than with a girlfriend.

Holy smokes, Mazi! Well, he does live in Long Beach, and he seems like a decent guy. Jason is quite eager to show off his six-pack after the urging from Jerry, and he notes that he is a personal trainer, so that's where he makes his living. Jax is a beautiful, pretty man, so he could live in a cardboard box, and it wouldn't matter. He's quite non-chalant about the fact that he lives in his friend's dining room, saying they just put a sheet up. Classy, classy guy.

Second Round

Mazi: I was a gigolo for obese women.
Jax: I lost my virginity to a friend's mom.
Jason: I have over 300 Star Wars figurines in my bedroom. (Well, we know this isn't Jax.)

Ashley says she's never even watched a Star Wars movie, and drawls, "I've got better things to do." Please, wtf. She's coming off as a major meh to me. For me, the gigolo thing would be the dealbreaker, and Ashley shows some common sense by agreeing with me.

Surprisingly, somewhat-frumpy Mazi is the one eliminated, since this elimination had "Jason the Personal Trainer" written all over it. Jason defends his Star Wars collection, noting that everyone has a collection of some sort, whether it's shoes with women or baseball cards or what not.

Hot spot time! Jax's guilty pleasure is sex, he loves feet (ew!), he regrets sleeping with a married woman, his last relationship was two years and he would take Ashley to Auckland, New Zealand. Jason's best feature is his abs, he lost his virginity when he was 16, his ex stalked him when they broke up, he gets in the mood when his girlfriend strokes her hand across his chest, and he's most proud of losing more than 100 pounds.

Final Elimination Round

Jax: I've slept with 312 women.
Jason: I talk all my first dates to my astrologer.
Mazi (eliminated): I'm unemployed and live with my mother.

Jax's number is really high, but not surprising to me. He works as a bartender and he's gorgeous. (Bastard.) Meanwhile, Jason's baggage makes Ashley swooooon, as she says she's into spiritual healing and what not. He says he only dates certain signs, one of which is Aries, and which she's into as well. (The writing is on the wall for Jax being eliminated, since Ashley really disliked his baggage.) And although Mazi is eliminated, his baggage is pretty severe as well.

Anyway, Ashley chooses to eliminate... Jason! Shocker! I guess she's really into the bad boys more than she is into guys who are decent human beings. Ashley's baggage is one of these three:

- I have two restraining orders against me.
- My shopping habit put me $50,000 in debt.
- I bit off a man's finger.

My money is on the debt thing, although it seems like the tamest of the three. The restraining order and finger thing... Too violent. And indeed, her baggage is the shopping habit. She said she has EIGHT credit cards, and she likes designer things and likes to shop. (This is hard to tell from her outfit, which isn't that great.) Jax accepts her baggage, because he's shooting for #313.

For Ashley's excess baggage video, click here. For the full episode, look below.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Excuse me while I be a boy - Fantasy football draft

Soooo. I like a lot of unmanly stuff, like Glee and Dirty Dancing, so I sometimes feel the need to "man it up" a bit, for lack of a better term. In that spirit, here are the results of my fantasy football draft. (And if you'd like to purchase that awesome shirt, you can do so here.)

Last year, my buddy and I did OK, making the playoffs as the fifth or sixth-best team in a 12-team league. You can see my picks from last year right here. Surprisingly, Brady turned out to be an OK pick at #2, although I would have been better off going with Drew Brees. Moreno was frustrating with his inability to stay healthy, but good as a fourth-round pick, and Mendenhall was a steal in the eighth round.

My strategy last year was to stock up on running backs and receivers throughout, since the quarterback pool is pretty deep. For the most part, I think I succeeded in this, and I managed to talk my co-owner out of some of his sillier ideas, saving the "Patriots homer" picks for the 11th round and later. But enough stalling - Let's get to the picks. We picked fifth, 16 picks overall, with a "snake" drafting pattern.

1) Rashard Mendenhall, running back, Steelers. This drew some puzzled looks and catcalls from the room, until I reminded them that Rothesl-rapist is out for the first four to six weeks of the season. Without him, the Steelers are going to be running a lot, Willie Parker is no longer on the team, and Mendenhall had a good year last year as is.

2) Steven Jackson, running back, Rams. This is higher than I would have liked to take him, but the other elite running backs were gone. I don't think the Rams will be that good, but with Bradford back at QB, Jackson will probably get a ton of carries, meaning I can pencil him in for the starting spot each week.

3) Steve Smith, wide receiver, Giants. This pick also got a bit of a response, but hey, I needed a receiver and he was the best one available. Moss and Reggie Wayne were gone, and unfortunately, Larry Fitzgerald went ONE pick before this - ugh. The remaining running backs were mostly of the type that would be the better back in a job-share, so I figured they would be available on the way back around, and thus...

4) Ricky Williams, running back, Dolphins. ... Ricky Williams fell into my lap. Ronnie Brown was also still available, but his injury woes worried me. Williams seems to hold up better, with a lesser peak, so I was willing to settle a bit.

5) Matt Ryan, quarterback, Falcons. He was the best of the lot still available, and the elite tight end - Gates - had already went. The other quarterbacks available had injury or "new team" issues, but Ryan is in a stable situation, and hey, he's a local guy.

6) Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver, Chiefs. I wasn't really in love with this pick, but my co-owner was a fan. "Didn't we like him when he was on our team last year?" Well, kind of - I played him all the time and you kept trying to convince me to bench him :/ But hey, I think he has a decent chance to stick in our roster from week-to-week, although our roster is pretty deep at WR.

7) Hines Ward, wide receiver, Steelers. We can start two WR and three RB, or three WR and two RB, so it's probably going to come down to Ward vs. Bowe most weeks in terms of the final roster spot. However, at this point in the draft, he was clearly the best available player left, as some guys were trying to round out their roster with (inferior) running backs.

8) Donovan McNabb, quarterback, Redskins. I thought he was a decent choice as a back-up, although his fragile health, and the fragile health of the rest of his team, and the strength of his division, gave me pause. However, I thought he was a good value at this point, since the remaining QBs were iffy starters (David Gerrard, the bane of our team each year) and rookies.

9) Donald Brown, running back, Colts. I'm not really sure how he dropped this far. The Colts pass a bunch, but someone will get some goal line carries from time to time, so I thought he was a great pick as our fourth running back. I think he may have slipped through the cracks, since some teams were picking back-up RBs at this point.

10) Steve Breaston, wide receiver, Cardinals. Yup, another freakin' receiver. Again though, too talented to pass up at this point in the draft.

11) Gronkowski, tight end, Patriots. My co-owner kept bugging me to pick him as early as the fourth round, but I kept telling to wait for it. If you're unfamiliar with him, he's a rookie tight end who has been excelling in garbage time in the preseason for the Patriots. I have no idea if he's even going to start for them, but pretty much every other tight end of significance had been drafted by this point, as had most of the quality players outside of WRs.

12) Ravens defense. Our defense pick. Strangely, they were easily the top-rated defense on my board, yet in the teens on some others. *shrugs* There's no accounting for taste sometimes.

13) David Akers, kicker, Eagles. Just rounding out the roster at this point. I had a feeling that the guys we wanted as sleepers would last until the end anyway.

14) Julian Edelman, wide receiver, Patriots. Our fifth receiver pick, and a hedge against Wes Welker being injured. If Welker is hurt, then Edelman immediately becomes a very valuable player. If not, then he's a decent third WR who probably gets cut when we need to make a roster move. He's like a "prospect" for us.

15) Devery Henderson, wide receiver, Saints. He's older, and the Saints are loaded at receiver. But each guy always seems to have at least one monstrous game, so why not grab a lottery ticket?

16) Jarious Norwood, running back, Falcons. And finally... I picked him last year because I thought Turner would break down at some point. Maybe a year later, he finally will.

Note: I made no attempt to spell check most of the names, because really, names in the NFL are silly.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Baggage Game - Friday, August 27, 2010

Today, we have an episode that I've seen before, but it's new to you! We have Nikki, a charming blonde business owner from Burbank, California. (Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew always call Burbank "Rapebank" because they're notorious for raping you with parking tickets.) She's wearing this shiny red dress top with short sleeves, which isn't really flattering, but she has a good body; like an attractive Reese Witherspoon. Nikki wants someone who's funny and clever and smart, which she calls the perfect characteristics. Jerry wisecracks, "I'm sorry, I thought you were looking for a man." Zing! On fire right out of the gate.

First dude is Correy, an animator from San Diego who creates his own comic strips. He also has a stupid hat. Next up is Alistair, who is a hunky "web developer" from Los Alamos, California. He looks like the preppiest mofo alive, since he's wearing a pink-ish dress shirt covered by a wool lavender sweater. And finally, there is Dan, an advertising executive from Detroit, who is a former marine, but kind of short.

First Round

Correy: I wear cheetah print underwear.
Alistair: I have 250 unicorn figurines in my room.
Dan: I'm a terrible dancer.

Nikki doesn't mind the cheetah print underwear, which Correy explains it part of an obsession. Well, he doesn't use that word, but he beyond the underwear, he has a bag, bedsheets, stuffed animals and a tattoo. (Jerry: You know if you pick him, you've picked a cheetah. HI-OH!) Alistair's baggage is weird for a heterosexual man, but kind of endearing. As far as Dan, how does that even count? You're a dude! If I go on the show, does that mean I can use "I don't like the color pink." as baggage?

Second Round

Correy: I dump girlfriends via text message.
Alistair: I take women to fast food restaurants.
Dan: I bring my flask on dates.

Nikki has the biggest problem with the text message thing, which is about as equally bad as the fast food restaurant thing to me. Stopping there for a bite to eat is fine, but bringing someone there specifically for a date? Now that be weird. The text message thing, meh - I would just plan on not being dumped. And like I've said, I don't really think there is a "good" way to break something off, so I'm OK with any way that it happens to me. I actually find the flask thing to be the most inappropriate. Seriously, you can't go without booze for just a couple hours? Or you're too cheap to buy a drink for someone?

Final Elimination Round

Alistair: I've dumped over 200 women.
Dan: I live out of my car.

If I told you just that about Alistair, you could probably guess that he is a beautiful bastard. Nikki isn't nearly concerned enough about this, which makes me convinced that she is #201. He especially seems to stoke her interest by saying, "I just haven't found a woman who can keep up with me." Slick. Then again, Dan lives out of his effing car, so he doesn't have any chance anyway. Goodness. Dan explains that he's subletting his house to help pay for some family health issues, and he's recently moved back from there to his current area, and he's staying in his car temporarily.

Unsurprisingly, Nikki picks Alistair the Womanizer. Nikki's baggage is one of the three...

- My dad is a woman.
- I'm a webcam stripper.
- I faked a serious illness to get cash from my ex.

For Alistair, the biggest worry would be the cash from the ex thing. I can understand that, but I'd go with the webcam stripper thing. I wouldn't really be comfortable with random strangers leering at my girlfriend on the Internetz, ick. The woman to man thing, meh. It's not like I'm going to be best friends forever with her parents.

Anyway, Nikki reveals that her dad is indeed a woman. (Jerry sure does seem to attract the transgenders, regardless of what show he's on, it seems.) Nikki says that she and "Alexis" are best friends and talk on the phone everyday. I find this weird even if her dad wasn't a woman, by the way, since I find it odd when people are best friends with their parents and not in a funny, situation comedy, like The Golden Girls.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Selling and shipping things, with friends and without

First things first: My friend and frequent blog contributor Danielle is selling some of her photography on Esty. You can access her store thingy here. You might know her Tag Team columns with me on nannying or Glee or our shared mutual love of South Park. Anyway, if you can, please support her.

Secondly, I have a bunch of my own stuff up for sale on eBay and Half.com right now. You can check out my crappy auctions for comics on eBay here and here. My Half.com site, which is no doubt more interesting to all of you out there, is accessible here. Bask in my combination of cheesy wrestling books and books from my childhood that I no longer read!

And finally, at least two readers glancing at this are going to be happy, because they have a little something-something coming to them in the mail:

Oh, la and LA! If you also have a site you sell things on, let me know, and I'll edit it into this entry. You can find Alison's blog, wherein she talks about young adult literature and how badly she needs a tan (but mostly the literature thing), here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Traveling in Boston and apologies

My glorious beds. They were awesome.

Anyway, so the last bit about my travels. I mean, besides complaining about psychos on the train.

I got done with my job training around 5:30 on Monday. And, this is boring considering that we were in New York City, but we just went to TGIF, haha. We had to catch the train at 7 at Penn Station, so we couldn't haul ass around the entire city looking for somewhere to eat. After going up and dear the places near Madison Square Garden, we mostly saw fast food (White Castle, Burger King) or small delis. As weird as it seemed to me, TGIF was one of the few restaurants that actually had a big place to dine-in and sit down.

So, I had the Jack Daniels burger, and it was delicious. I will say that New York's idea of putting the calorie counts on menus is wickedly effective. I turned away from also getting an appetizer when I noticed that my burger alone had about 1,600 calories. Yikes!

Anyway, the train was a few minutes late, but nothing major. The back portions were completely full, so myself and two co-workers used the quiet car instead. This made for a pretty unremarkable voyage, so I apologize for not having any stunning, blow-by-blow commentary, like I did the other day.

I got into Boston at about 10. Despite the fact that I've been to Boston before, I of course got lost trying to get to my hotel, which was only two-tenths of a mile away from South Station. Luckily, it wasn't raining. Unluckily, the area around South Station isn't exactly the nicest, and I got accosted by 1) aggressive taxi drivers and 2) two kids who claimed they were stranded in Boston because they couldn't afford bus fare back to New Hampshire. I didn't really believe this though, since they looked like they were on something, and because they asked for way too little (like $8.50).

However, like my stay in New York, the Boston hotel was ridiculously nice. It was the Langham Hotel, and while there weren't any art books in my room this time, there was a leather-bound book explaining all about the hotel's history. (The short version: It's old and famous and awesome.)

The bathroom was a bit smaller and more conventional than the Cooper Square Hotel, but the room itself was MUCH bigger. There was a little hallway that ran into my room, which was connected to the hallway. There were two big beds, giving me ample room to put my clothes out to draw from the soggy walk on Sunday, and the one I actually slept on was soft as shit, to quote Danny DeVito (Frank Reynolds) from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Here are the sights from my room:

The little hallway I was talking about. The end table was nice, since it allowed me to put my crap out.

Just a plain ole tub. The water temperature was very nice though, and they did include three towels with the room, which is always appreciated.

Just a sink. Sorry, not much to see here. That's my contact solution and holder on the right, and an ice bucket on the left. I'm still a big kid, so I abuse the ice machine at every hotel I'm in, just because I like using the ice machine.

And finally, some chairs. I didn't use them at all though. Sorry, Langham staff.

Because I got into Boston so late - it was 11 by the time I got to my hotel room - I didn't really have any time to do anything. I just slept, got a sandwich in the morning from Au Bon Pain, did my training, and then got another sandwich from Au Bon Pain in South Station. (What can I say? I was a fan of their roast beef.) Maybe next time, I'll have some actual fun. And hey, with the new job, I finally get vacation time, and enough salary to actually take a real vacation.

Finally - I apologize for being a bit absent lately from the blogosphere. I've essentially missed an entire week of posts! :/ If you wrote anything recently that you'd really like some feedback on, or that you'd really think I'd enjoy, please point it out to me. I'm going to try to review a bit of what's been posted the past week, and to just pick up from today forward, but I'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ugh, stupid annoying people (with cameos by the train and the weather)

I was going to take the hour I had on the train now to type about my journey from New York City to Boston. But, I just had to get soaked on the 0.2 mile walk to the train station, so I'm not exactly in the mood to format all the pictures from my hotel room and what not. (For what it's worth, this room was even nicer than the last one - Smaller bathroom, but a HUGE room and two beds, so I could spread all my clothes out to drop properly.)

To make matters worse, I have more annoying people on the train with me. There is nobody trying to make babies at least, but behind me there is a very angry lesbian. I say "very angry lesbian" because she is talking about how she thinks her girlfriend is making a mistake by looking at Harvard instead of a smaller school, oh and also, she runs some sort of car rental company (???) and she has met several people from the United Nations.

If she wasn't so shrill and COMPLETELY uncaring of the people around her, I might care a bit more and listen a bit more closely. I understand I'm not on the quiet car, but wow. I have my headphones on ("C.R.E.A.M." by The Wu-Tang Clan, thank you for asking!), yet I can still hear her yammering about politics and sexual identity in some pretentious novels. Good times, GOOD TIMES.

Anyway. I'll be back in Kingston by 8ish, so I'm going to wrap this up for now. The post with pictures from the hotel room will probably be up tomorrow or later tonight; I'm not sure yet. Lates!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Steve and the City (Get it? It's like that show!) and Food Porn

I'm not a very cultured person. For example, I didn't own a tie until I went to a homecoming dance in the 10th grade, and to this day, I still only own one. (It's not the same one - This one has kangaroos on it, and I inadvertently stole it from my buddy Mike Smith. Sorry Mike!) I own about three dress shirts, and two pairs of dress pants.

Thankfully, my new job doesn't require me to dress up. It does require me to travel to New York City though on the train, which I always find to be an odd experience.

Generally, I'm more used to taking the train up to Boston, or the subway while in Boston. So the mass of humanity milling about, on their way to Connecticut or New York or Washington D.C., is fascinating to me. I managed to avoid having a seat-mate until the New Haven stop, about 90 minutes out from the city. (Unfortunately, unlike every movie I've ever seen about train or plane travel, a foxy Natalie Portman-like lady is not sitting next to me. This woman looks like Medea.)

Anyway, for the first couple stops out of Kingston, the people across from me were, to put it politely, trying to make a baby. Like, they were draped across their two seats, entangled and kissing. It was kind of... really gross. I hope they had a good reason for it.

Also on the early trip were a pair of young girls, who apparently were allowed to travel by themselves. By "young" I mean 10 to 12, which seemed REALLY young to me. They had to call and check in with their mom after each stop, which led to a somewhat comical 2-minute phone conversation each time, since the reception isn't really that great.

Girl: MOM! I'm in Westerly now. West-ter-ly. It's like in Rhode Island or something. I think New Haven is next. New HAVEN!

This repeated itself about five times, since she was wrong each time about New Haven being the next stop. Good times, good times. The Lovers didn't really think much of The Young Travelers, even though they were seemingly doing their best to create future Young Travelers.

My only companion during this long journey is my trusty MacBook. However, in the "Rhode Island Is Too Small" category, I did bump into a girl from college at the train station. I don't remember her name though, and she wasn't traveling alone, so again, I avoided the Portman scenario outlined above. (I wouldn't have minded this necessarily, although I'm not sure how well the "I don't remember your name" thing would have gone over.)

I will note that the MacBook has a ridiculously good battery. It looks like it's going to survive just about the entire four-hour trip. (4:17 p.m. to 7:40ish p.m.) I'm watching Criminal Intent, or at least, I'm trying to. I have the first five seasons, but the first season was skipping way too much, and so far, I've already seen the first 14 episodes of season two. (It is weird to see Holly from The Office and Beadie Russell from The Wire in "Suit Sorrow" though, now that I know who she is. And Daniels from The Wire in "Probability", which ironically cribs from the plot of the fifth season of The Wire.)

Anyway. I finally get off the train, grabbing a slice from one of those pizza places they have in the terminal at Penn Station. By now, it's about 8, and since it's overcast but not horrible out, I decide to hoof it the two miles to my hotel.

After about a tenth of the mile, it starts POURING. I get effing drenched, from head to toe. According to the news broadcast I saw, the city got about two inches of rain in a couple hours. Wonderfully, I waded through it, since I had no idea how much a taxi cost. (Looking it up after the fact, it probably would have been about $5 to $10, a price I would have gladly paid.)

Also, I may have inadvertently freaked a girl out. Apparently, she decided to walk from Penn Station to Broadway (where my hotel is roughly) as well, and I trailed behind her the entire time. This was mostly because I had two bags to carry, and couldn't really work up a good pace, since it was raining and all that.

However, once I finally made it to my hotel, the night got radically better. My room is ridiculously nice, and the only downside is that I just get one night in it. Womp womp womp. It was completely dark by the time I got here, so you might not get any pictures of the skyline from the windows. The room is very, very nice and spacious:

My bath tub and shower. I used this almost immediately, since I was trying to thaw out from getting soaked in the rain. As I was waiting in the lobby to be taken to my room, some people saw me and said, "Oh wow I'm glad we decided not to go out!" Yeah, well, I guess that was smart on your part.

A nice flat screen.

A ridiculously plump and cushy bed. I'm practically nodding off laying on it right now.

However, bookshelves continue to taunt me. My room has one, and it is full of classy books on art and conventional fare. Unfortunately, I don't really have time to read, otherwise I'd probably poke around a bit.

Considering my night though, I didn't feel bad about splurging on room service, the first and (probably) only time I will do this. Here is some of that delectable goodness:

Described as having taleggio cheese, caramelized onions, pickled mustard seeds and herbed fries. Whatever was on it, it was delicious, although not as good as...

Holy smokes these things are like a DRUG. I devoured them, along with the green herb stuff that accompanied them.

I also got some stromboli. It was fancy stromboli though, and it was delicious.

And last but not least, they have their own fancy, delicious mustard:

Anyway, as you read this, I'm on a train from New York City (7 p.m. Monday) to Boston (10:30 p.m. Monday) for the second day of training on Tuesday. I'll probably have an entry about that whole experience as I go through it ready for Tuesday night's post. I'm finally back in Rhode Island on Tuesday night, and probably sleeping off most of my travel on Wednesday morning. I'll be back to regular posting at that point.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inexplicable TV Review: The genius of Robot Chicken

Hey, did you realize that Robot Chicken is now in its fifth season? I didn't either really, until I was poking around for information about a specific skit on the Internetz.

I'm talking about "Table Be Round", a song that features a Sir Mix-A-Lot clone Sir Mix-A-Lot rapping about the reasons why King Arthur needed to switch from a conventional, rectangular table to a round table. In many ways, the song is an example of Robot Chicken at its best - A flippant merging of nerdy current junk pop culture (Sir Mix-A-Lot) and something "classic" nerdy pop culture (Sir Arthur).

Robot Chicken is pretty undecipherable unless you know something about 1970s to 2000s pop culture. Heck, they have two extra-long episodes devoted to just Star Wars, which makes the nerd in me rejoice. (My favorite part from those episodes? George Lucas trying to escape from ravenous fans.) Pretty much any significant comic or cartoon character from the 1980s and 1990s - Skeletor, Cobra Commander, the Smurfs, Thundercats, He-Man, Aquaman - has been on the show.

Also wonderful is the fact that Seth Green is the guy behind it all. Between his role as Chris on Family Guy and his heavy involvement in Robot Chicken, I guess he has quite the interest in animation. He obviously remains a popular guy with his former co-stars, since the voice talent they've used on the show is a vertifable who's who of 1990s stars - Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Rachel Leigh Cook and even stars with just two names have been on the show frequently. (My favorite from this category? Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper, of course.)

Note: My plan to queue up some Baggage posts ran into some unfortunate problems, so I'm doing this on the fly instead. Sorry! I'm actually typing this during the train ride to New York City, which is a pretty sweet usage of technology, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Getting a new job

So, as I was saying about my new job...

Oh wait, that's right, I haven't written about it at all. I've never had to leave one job for another in the past, so I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is for it. (Hopefully, Miss Manners or Dear Prudence is reading this and will chime on.) I've known that the job is mine since two weeks ago, but because I was still employed by The Westerly Sun, I've been holding off on announcing it.

Since I'm no longer The Sun's employee, I suppose there is no harm in saying that I've been hired by Patch.com to be a local editor for Narragansett, Rhode Island. It's a small, coastal and college community in Eastern Rhode Island, and I've lived there twice in the past. I'm about 15 minutes away. Although my site isn't up yet and won't be for a bit, the Newport and Portsmouth and Middletown sites are, and they look pretty nifty. There might also be one in your area already, depending on where you're reading this from; you can see the full list here.

It's Internet journalism, but I'll essentially be a conventional editor slash reporter. I'll be writing a lot myself, but I'll also have a freelance budget and (hopefully) be able to hire interns. It is a lot more work and responsibility, which I'm not exactly shy of at this point in my career as a 26-year-old in a new apartment.

The financial commitment that AOL is putting out there also makes me confident that they think this can work. They also sent me a Macbook, a Sony Cybershot, a Blackberry and a police scanner, all of which is sparkly and new and wonderful. (What can I say? Much like Kaylee from Firefly and Serenity, I like shiny new things. Although, I feel like I'm about 60 because I'm having trouble using the Blackberry like a human being.)

Also, as part of the whole hiring process, I get to travel a bit. Sunday afternoon, I'm taking the train from rustic Kingston, Rhode Island to New York City. I'm staying in (I've been told) a swanky hotel for a night, getting training Monday morning, and then taking another train to Boston for another hotel Monday night. After another training session Tuesday morning, I'm back to Rhode Island on Tuesday night.

The timing is actually ridiculously convenient. My car's inspection sticker expires on the last day of August, and I've also been putting off several other needed repairs - the check engine light is on, it's about 3,000 miles overdue for an oil change, the brakes / rotors make a grinding noise under 30 m.p.h., and the front driver's side headlight and a back brake light are both in need of repair. And oh, as I actually write this post at 8 a.m. Saturday, I'm sitting in the lobby of Safelite as they replace my windshield, which had a deep gash across the entire surface of the glass, like I was in some god damn horror movie.

Sooooo. It's probably for the best that I'm off the roads until at least Wednesday morning, since it will probably take them a couple days to completely repair my car anyway. (Another plus of the job? I can work from home most days, meaning I can actually plan reasonable times for car repairs now.)

Anyway, if you have any questions about my new gig, feel free to ask. As of now, I don't think it will affect my output here, except for the immediate future. Because I probably won't have time to write on Monday and Tuesday, and possibly Sunday, I'll be cuing up some Baggage reviews for those days. I trust this won't be that distressing to most of you reading this, since they tend to be fairly popular in terms of page views.

Note: On the rare chance that one of you out there does want to, like, meet me in NYC, and you're not a weirdo, I am game for going out for a quick drink Saturday night. Same goes for Boston on Monday, assuming I don't have some work-related schmoozing to do. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if that's the case - sgre6768@gmail.com.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Baggage Game: Friday, August 20, 2010

Welcome to The Baggage Game! It's an exciting day, as we're into the second season episodes, at least here and there. Helen is today's contestant, and she's a tour guide "at a major theme park" in L.A. She looks Asian, and she is wearing a tight pink dress. And indeed, she says that she is a tour guide fluent in Chinese and Mandarin.

Eric is an industrial salesman from L.A. He sounds like an Adam Sandler character. John is a restaurant manager from Huntington Beach, California. He's got a lot of facial hair but a receding hairline. And finally, there is Shane, a construction superintendent from Ohio who feels the need to not button his top button.

First Round

Eric: I have 24 snakes in my home.
John: I have disgusting size-15 feet.
Shane: I wear my girlfriend's make-up and jewelry.

I hate snakes, so that would be a huge deal to me. Eric says the fastest way to a girl's heart is with a snake. Jerry says, "But what if you keep your pants on?" Hi-oh! John's baggage is kind of "meh" to me; so what, he has big feet. Shane's baggage is weird, but it fits with his metro image. (As I was typing that, Jerry brought it up. Oh, you're so sly!)

Second Round

John: I use online classifieds to get laid.
Eric: I used my girlfriend's toothbrush to clean the toilet.
Shane: I'm a bedwetter.

Hands down, the toothbrush thing is the worst to me. Bedwetter... Gosh. That's horrible too, but I imagine they could get it under control with medication. And, at least it's not a malicious thing like the toothbrush thing. As far as the online classifieds, that could be understandable to me, considering the circumstances.

But wow, Helen eliminates the classifieds guy instead! This ends up being John with the giant feet. And he clarifies that he just uses it to find dates... and then says that he doesn't like flat-chested girls anyway. Meanwhile, Eric is a huge goon, and says that he is happy that he used the toothbrush, because the girl cheated on him. Shane explains that the bed-wetting only happens when he's been drinking a lot.

In a new development, Jerry now peppers them with questions between rounds. Eric has to watch football all-day on Sundays, has had sex on top of an ambulance, would like to have sex with Charlize Theron and wrote a girl's name in the sky from an airplane. Shane describes his sex life as fast, he'd trade places with Johnny Depp, grades himself an 11 as a lover, can't live without beer and wishes he was a little bit taller.

Final Elimination Round

Shane: I live with my ex in her one-bedroom apartment.
Eric: I will sleep with ANY woman.
John (eliminated): I abandoned my date in the desert.

Note: In a departure from the first run of episodes, the baggage for all three contestants is being revealed, even if one has been eliminated.

Eric says that he has never cheated on an ex, and Shane says he would definitely move out if he got a new girlfriend. Both are kind of skeevy and gross to me. Eric gives his final pitch and comes off like a goon once again, whereas Shane just seems like a lame stoner. Helen goes with... Eric! Although, in a game like this, there are only losers. Eric gives her a huge, sweeping hug. Helen's baggage is one of these three:

- I take six anti-depressants a day.
- I was born a boy. (Both guys freak the eff out at this possibility.)
- I spent 18 months in a Bangkok prison.

Oh boy. Well, the "born a guy" thing is definitely the most concerning. If they still have a schlong, or can't have kids naturally, then both are a no-go for me. If it was one of those REALLY young sex changes, which they sometimes have to do, then I might be more receptive. But most likely, I wouldn't be into it. The prison thing sounds bad, except that I have a feeling you can get thrown in the clink pretty easy in Bangkok. The anti-depressant issue would make me pause, but I think I'd give it a shot at least.

The boy thing freaks out Eric as well, and Helen reveals... that she is a boy! And she still has a wang! Oh boy. While the crowd claps, Eric looks like he is going to throw up. While he's nice in letting her down, he does reject her baggage. (Noting that "the surgeon did a hell of a job.")

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Steve 1, Bookcase 1

The other day, I was having a horrible time constructing this cheap, $25 five-shelf bookcase that I got from Walmart. For an example of this wonderful product, you can check it out here, since I'm sure you're so psyched to get one after hearing my description. When I got it home, I noted that some of the wood was a bit split, but it still seemed sturdy enough to construct.

Two days and about three hours later, I have finally triumphed. Ugh. When it comes to construction, I have two right thumbs. (I say right instead of left because I'm left-handed.) You can now see the glorious product as it sits in my room:

I'm doing my best to slowly fill it with stuff, making sure to put the heaviest stuff on the bottom to serve as an anchor of sorts.

The tippy-top just has a Red Sox World Series hat, followed by empty N64 boxes on the top shelf, Playstation 2 and Jaguar and NES cases on the second shelf, miscellaneous crap on the middle one, and books on the fourth and base shelves. I still have about half a dozen boxes to go through, at which point the whole case will probably be full. I still haven't really touched my movie DVDs, which are going on a separate three-shelf case in the living room. However, it feels good to be productive and to unpack all of my stuff, finally, after three weeks of living in this apartment.

(Note: This is only for me to be leaving for business on Sunday night, but that post will have to wait until Saturday afternoon, officially. CLIFFHANGER!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Baggage Game: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Welcome to another installment of The Baggage Game! Tonight's dater is Jonathan, a travel writer from Peoria, Illinois. (Hey, I'd travel too if I was from Peoria, OH!) He wants an exciting, outgoing woman.

Holly is a sales rep from Vista, California. She's blonde and tan, and generally easy on the eyes. Kara is dubiously billed as a "business owner" from Vegas, which makes me think her "business" could be part of her baggage. She is tall, skinny and brunette - Kind of like a young version of that former model from Just Shoot Me and Hot In Cleveland. Finally, there is Angela [right], a musician from Houston, Texas. She is wearing an incredibly short aqua dress, and she's ginger, giving her a bit of an advantage on the other two. (Well, at least to me.)

First Round

Holly: My birth name is Holly Wood.
Kara: I spent a night in the slammer.
Angela: I take my pink poodle everywhere. (Jerry says, "You've got Holly Wood and Legally Blonde.)

Holly's baggage shouldn't even count; seriously, that's it? Kara says she got a DWI when she was 19 and in Santa Barbara, and it sounds like she regrets it, so meh. Meanwhile, Angela brings her dog out, and it looks like the spawn of Satan. It's not even pink; it's like red. Jerry wants Jonathan to prove that he's manly enough to handle the pink poodle, and even makes a fake walking motion. Reason #8,010,672 that he is perfect for this show. For what it's worth, Angela insane dog is definitely my pick.

Second Round

Angela: I work 80 hours a week.
Holly: I party at clubs every night.
Kara: I broke up a marriage.

The weird thing is that the marriage one bothers me the least. That could just be a momentarily lapse in judgment. However, it's Jonathan's biggest piece of baggage. (Seriously though dude, you'd rather have the girl who is STILL clubbing or working 80 hours a week?) And right on cue, Kara is eliminated, and she says it was a one-time fling, and that she didn't know the guy was married. So, nice pick, Jonathan.

Holly says she is a beer rep, so she likes to go out and have fun and network. She says he is always welcome to come, and to have some free beers. Meanwhile, Angela says she is married to her work, and she has toured with Willie Nelson and others. (This is also why the poodle comes with her.) She also immediately calls Holly an alcoholic, which makes me laugh.

And in the "Internet is a small place!" category, using my impeccable reporting skills, I've found Angela. If you'd like to take a peek, you can find her Twitter here, and her website with a music sample here.

Final Elimination Round

Holly: I spy on my boyfriends.
Angela: I want to be pregnant with twins - immediately. (Jerry says, "We have at least another 10 minutes to go.")

Holly basically admits to doing a stakeout on her boyfriend... but she actually caught him in the act. Meanwhile, Angela's desire sounds completely nuts. But she is very sweet about it, at least.

Jonathan decides to "go with his gut feeling" and sends Holly home. He says he's past the party stage of his life, so I suppose it's good that he sends Holly home. She reacts bitterly. Angela comes over and gives Anthony a hug, and for the first time, I realize she is either REALLY short, or he is really tall. (I'm guessing she's short, since Springer isn't that much shorter than Anthony.) Jonathan's baggage is one of these three:

- I scammed people in a pyramid scheme.
- I have a furry fetish.
- I broke up with my ex during her grandmother's funeral.

The only one that is vaguely acceptable to me is the funeral thing. It's only understandable in the context that maybe the whole thing was overwhelming to him, and made him realize he didn't want to be with the person. However, personally, I would probably wait until the funeral was over. The pyramid scheme thing is just a sign of disturbing morals, and the furry fetish? Good lord.

Angela admits that the furry thing would be the worst to her, since she has a furry pink poodle. However, Jonathan's actual baggage is the pyramid scheme, booooo! He said he was in Asia and met some charismatic people, and he in turn recruited some people for it. He then realized it was a scam, and he got out of it. Angela says sorry... but she can accept his baggage. Booyah, fakeout!

Note: The videos page is down right now. I'll try to add in a link later if I can.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stats, stats and stats - August 17, 2010

Although most of my readers are women, page views spike when I include pictures of women. I have no idea why this is the case, but please enjoy Marla Sokoloff, Anna Kendrick and Alison Brie.

Back when I started this blog, I would originally see how my hits changed from month-to-month, and then post about this and my AdSense stats. However, this didn't really make for that scintillating of a post. (If you're curious anyway, you can check out those posts by checking out this tag.)

However, it has been about 10 months since I last did one, so I figured it might be a bit more interesting now. Also, I've seen other bloggers talk about their most-searched keywords, like here. I thought to myself, "Hey, maybe people have found my site looking for interesting things as well!" Well, the results are a bit disappointing, but hey... It's my blog, so I guess you'll have to read them anyway. (mwhahaha! ... wait, wait, don't go!) Ranked in terms of popularity...

1) Annie's boobs. This is a reference to the NBC show Community, which I like quite a bit. In an episode parodying Goodfellas, one of the characters gets a monkey and decides to name it Annie's Boobs. Annie is another character on the show, played by the lovely Alison Brie. (By "lovely" I mean that she is really hot and was a complete slut in college, which is luridly interesting.) If you Google Image for "Annie's Boobs", my blog is the first one to come up, although I personally like the picture to the right that includes the monkey. (Click for the full-size version of it.) It's from this awesome picture capture site. Annie's Boobs (the monkey, not the actual anatomy, unfortunately) also has a Twitter account, which you can find here.

2) Dash Worthington. Similar to the above-entry, my picture is the first that pops up when you search for the term. Dash is The Daily Show's senior correspondent, and by that I mean he's about 65 years old. I wrote an entry about him here.

3) My friend Kate. The actual search term used is her first and last name, which I don't really want to use in this entry. I have no idea why people are Googling her, after all, and I only make one reference to her on my blog, a throwaway comment about how the song "Kate" by Ben Folds Five always makes me think of her.

4) Abigail Spencer twix. Much like Katie White from The Ting Tings, Abigail is someone I find so drop dead gorgeous that I hope we will be married at some point in the future. (I'm not sure if she will be before or after Katie, or if I'm just going to go old school Mormon.) But anyway, Abigail isn't a really well-known actress, so my blog entry on her was one of the few floating around on the web about her for a while. Also, because I'm mentioning her now, it gives me an excuse to re-run her photo:

5) site:stephenonstuff.blogspot.com giants over cowboys. I have no clue why this is a popular search term, actually. My friends Bob and Kristin pick football games with me during the football season, but if anyone is seriously using the picks for gambling advice out there, they're really in trouble. This also reminds me, sadly, that I never revealed who won last year... Or sent the winner their prize...

Uh, let's just move on! Anyway, those are the most popular search terms. I don't really have any weird search terms, unless you consider "Rihanna sucks" or "Molly Culver naked" to be odd statements. (Both are understandable to me.) And now to close out the entry, some conventional stats:

Lifetime Blog Stats
Range: March 6, 2009 to August 17, 2010

Total number of visits – 10,868
Total number of pageviews – 17,767
Average time on site – 1:37
Percentage of new visitors – 57.19%
Most popular day – July 27, 2010 (92 visits)
Least popular day – October 7, 2009 (4 visits)
Browsers used - Firefox (54.69%), IE (18.47%), Safari (14.72%), Chrome (9.86%) and Mozilla Compatible Agent (0.86%)
Top Ten popular states – Rhode Island (1,919), Massachusetts (1,342), California (839), New York (711), Virginia (640), Texas (266), Mississippi (214), Illinois (214), Minnesota (212) and Connecticut (192)
Top Ten unpopular states – Delaware, Montana and South Dakota (3), Wyoming (4), Alaska (7), Idaho (13), Nebraska (15), West Virginia and New Mexico (19), and Iowa (20)
Top Ten cities, excluding Rhode Island – Ft. Myer, VA (441); New York, NY (400); Medfield, MA (271); Cambridge, MA (263); Providence, RI (188); Minneapolis, MN (162); Brighton, MA (155); Washington D.C. (154); Somerville, MA (151) and Biloxi, MS (138)
Ad revenue – $13.46

That's right, I'm rich! RICH.

The Anna Kendrick picture at the top is from here. Alison Brie's image is from here, and Marla Sokoloff's is from a spam site I'm not going to link to.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Baggage Game: Monday, August 16, 2010

As a programming note, new episodes of Baggage return today - They're on weeknights at 6:30 EST, with a replay at 9:30. However, because I don't want to undercut Game Show Network, I'm going to finish with the first season of episodes before moving on to the new ones. From this entry on, all episodes will be embedded at the bottom of the entry, but as a warning they do go down frequently, and sometimes don't work for overseas viewers.

Anyway, on to today's game! The dater is, uh... some older lady. Actually, the recording was a bit buggered up today, and it started right as they were going to the first commercial break. So, I didn't get to hear the hometowns or explanations for the daters, who are Richard, Paul and Andre. And, it comes out that her name is Maggie, which is always a solid name, and she's a teacher, which is normally good.

First Round

Richard: I constantly have my hand down my pants.
Paul: I've had cosmetic surgery.
Andre: I only have sex with the lights on.

Of these, Richard and Andre's baggage would freak me out the most because of the severity. You *constantly* have your hand down your pants? You never have sex with the lights off? C'mon, how about some romance, old dudes? No wonder you're single. At least Paul is trying to better himself, and it's working a bit, since he looks like a thinner George Clooney.

Second Round

Paul: I must have my nipples bitten during sex.
Andre: I live with two tigers and TEN pitbulls.
Richard: I'm 54 and I live with my parents.

Maggie looks really pissed about the nipples thing. Holy hell, that is some weird baggage. She shakes her head about the tiger and pitbull. And she openly gapes her mouth at the parents thing. All three are really pathetic to me, and I'd want to eliminate all of them. The parents thing could be the most understandable, but ONLY if the person was taking care of them because they were so elderly. This is indeed why Richard is doing it, and now, Maggie feels bad. Womp womp womppppp.

Springer laughs about the remaining guys, saying that unfortunately, Maggie can only chose one of them. mwhahaha. Again, he's the perfect host for this madness. Anyway, Paul described his nipple fetish, which sounds freaky. Andre leers at Springer and Maggie as they talk about his animals. (Note: Andre is not Mike Tyson.) However, he explains that he works in animal rescue and rehab, so awwwww. The two dudes spar verbally, and Paul says, "I might not be able to cook beef wellington, but I can heat up a pot pie in the microwave!" I have no effing clue why he thought this was a selling point for himself. (If any ladies are reading this though, lemme just say that I can cook up some mean Easy Mac.)

Final Elimination Round

Andre: I've built a bomb shelter for the Apocalypse.
Paul: I want to get married and have children now.

Paul is an older dude, so it kind of makes sense. Maggie and Springer seem a little freaked out by him though. Springer quips, "Not until after the show." But, then Andre reveals his baggage, and he sounds like an absolute friggin' nut with his explanation, which relies on him referencing how he travels and knows the "government situation" abroad. He seems like a character Nic Cage would play in a movie.

Anyway, Maggie goes for Andre the Survivalist and Animal Lover. To be honest, both of them seem pretty shifty and weird, and I wouldn't be surprised if Maggie wanted to reject both. (She even remarks, "Both of them are pretty weird.") Her baggage is revealed to be one of the three:

- I slept with my therapist.
- I stole a handicapped placard to get VIP parking.
- I wear adult diapers.

Ick. The diapers would definitely be the dealbreaker for me, seeing as how I'm 26 and not 66. (Andre is also scared by the diapers, and I have no idea how she could be a schoolteacher and be wearing diapers.) The placard thing would bug me as well, unless there is a good, funny story attached, whereas the therapist thing reflects more poorly on the therapist than Maggie.

Of course, that is TOTALLY her baggage, and in her baggage briefcase is a pair of the diapers. ICK. She remarks, "If I start laughing, or I'm just nervous or something, I pee in my pants." She is very non-chalant about this, which is doubly concerning. Despite this though, Andre accepts her! This makes me wonder if he just wants the free dinner.

The John McCain image is from this blog entry.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Steve Greenwell vs. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

A three word review of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - Go see it.

A more expanded, one-sentence review: While the end is a bit uneven, and the movie is definitely gunning for the geek / video game / Michael Cera audience, some neat film-making makes it a movie that is at least worth checking out for all audiences.

Most people out there are either going to love or hate Scott Pilgrim. Seeing as I'm a 26-year-old guy who plays video games, likes music and likes women, I fall exactly into the film's target demographic. Predictably, I loved the film, and I think there is enough in it to make it worth seeing for all audiences. Some ideas I had while watching it...

NOTE: Spoilers now follow. So, if you want to see the movie before reading a somewhat in-depth analysis of it, I recommend you just stop reading right here. (Although, if you're a dude, you might want to look at the picture of Anna Kendrick.)

- As in a typical Michael Cera movie, he plays a dude who is kind of whiny and allegedly unlucky with love... yet he is surrounded by hot women. The movie starts out with him dating a 17-year-old Chinese schoolgirl, as the trailers have pointed out. (Note to Internet perverts reading this: She is of an undetermined age according to IMDB, but the message board there says that she said she was actually 17 "way back when" in a random interview.) Wong has a surprisingly meaty and good performance as Knives Chau, which is the perfect name for this type of movie.

Scott's actual interest for most of the movie is the also-appropriately-named Ramona Flowers, given the constantly changing nature of her hair. The trailers make the 25-year-old Mary Elizabeth Winstead look a bit frumpy, and her haircut really does suck, but she has a really good body. (Example: See the picture from her Maxim shoot to the right. The trailers do a good job of hiding the fact that she is ridiculously hot.) I know this because there are several fight scenes with her kicking ass throughout the movie. Her acting isn't quite as sharp; she mostly plays the mopey female counterpart to Cera's mopey male. But she doesn't torpedo the movie.

- The real stars of the movie in terms of acting are the supporting players. As I mentioned, Cera and Winstead just turn in average performances. They're the "straight men" of the movie, and their whiny, stereotypical relationship is the rock from which all of the humor is derived.

All of Ramona's ex-es get hilarious lines, with the best being Chris Evans as Lucas Lee, a ridiculously stereotypical action star. However, Kieran Culkin also steals scenes as the gay guy that Scott Pilgrim shares a one-bedroom apartment with, and Scott's band (the Super Mario Brothers referencing Sex Bob-omb) has a wonderfully aloof lead singer and an aggressive drummer that used to date Scott. Hell, everyone in this movie besides Scott and Ramona are interesting, even small roles like ridiculously, illegally attractive Anna Kendrick (right) as his nosy, judgmental and yet supportive sister, and Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation as a snotty and foul-mouthed worker at seemingly every place in town, and Brie Larson as Scott's ex-Envy, and Mae "Anne from Arrested Development" Whitman in a surprising role.

- The music and special effects rely heavily on video game culture, which is sure to turn some people off. I'm a whiz at my friend Nippy the Penguin's video game theme music trivia, but most of the clips in the movie are too fast to catch well. I'm pretty sure there is some of the original Zelda, but beyond that, it wouldn't surprise me if most was specifically created mocks for the movie.

The effects come into play via pop-up dialogue boxes and graphical display. For example, when Scott fights one of Ramona's evil ex'es, there is typically a "Versus" screen and a face-off, similar to Street Fighter 2. At times, it feels like a spastic version of Kill Bill, with less of a spaghetti western feel to it.

- The video game influence is present throughout the movie. This is partly what makes it so interesting to me. Reviewers on the Internetz are struggling to compare this film to something, but for me it has two clear influences: Shaolin Soccer and Kung-Fu Hustle. Scott Pilgrim is essentially the kung-fu video game version of these films. The trailers make it seem more like a romantic comedy or date movie, but trust me, it has much more in common with an action movie than a date movie.

Part of this means that there are surprisingly long and well-choreographed fight scenes. I'm positive that Michael Cera and others aren't doing most of their own moves, but hey, it looks exaggerated and cool anyway, which fits the tone of the movie.

- If the movie had a weakness to me, it was the ending portions. The last 15 minutes and final confrontation, while ultimately satisfying, sure did feel not as tight as the first 100. You're kind of left floundering as to the ultimate resolution of the movie's love angle, until one of the characters sort of take the decision out of Scott's hands anyway.

However, the movie is surprising poignant when Scott does walk off into the end of the movie with his choice. The other great "tough" moment comes when he decides to dump Knives. It is wonderfully shot, with the lights and background fading out, and a slight echo to Cera's and Wong's voices. It's a dramatic and great way to portray a breakup, and it was the best critical moment of the film to me.

The Scott Pilgrim picture at the top comes from this blog full of ads that asks if the movie has any black people in it. (Answer: Nope, not a one.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Today, on Martha Stewart Living - Capturing giant spiders.

I live out in the country. If you want a nice aerial view of my house, you can type in the address - 657 Dry Bridge Road, 02852. See the stuff to the North, and the Northwest? Those are giant farms, and to the South, you can see forest. We've been advised by the neighbors to NEVER let the cats out of the house, since they've been domesticated now, and there are all sort of creatures - coyotes, foxes, skunks, deer, even bears - lurking out there.

For the most part, living out here is really nice. There is a pleasant breeze off the fields, and the critters stay hidden during the day, which is the only time I could see them. However, all the animals and plants do attract something else:

I found this little bastard scurrying across the floor this morning, after I awoke from an impromptu nap. Sure, I've seen bigger at my old house, but that was DEEP in the woods. And this wasn't the first one I've seen - There were about five just hanging out in the kitchen when we moved in, plus one or two in each of the four closets, plus a couple in each of the two bathrooms. And you don't even want to venture into the basement, which was destroyed by the last tenants, and is full of cobwebs and holes and a musty smell.

Sooo, anyway. That little guy? I trapped him under a pint glass as he scurried across the floor. I'm undecided if I'm going to kill him, or let one of the cats. Cleo, who is the older, better behaved cat that I don't photograph as much because she is older and better behaved, has had her eye on it the entire day. I think I will indulge her and let her do the deed, and then toss the spider in the trash.

The Baggage Game: Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ah, the long lost return of The Baggage Game! For some past editions of the game, check out here. Today's contestant is Jet, a sports fan who's job is listed as "musical theater" in San Angelo, Texas. He's a dude with shady facial hair - a mustache and a five o'clock shadow. He wants someone who "likes to stay in shape" which is code for "hot." Jet himself is easy on the eyes, it seems. (EDIT: Episodes are back to being streamed online! I'll probably make a proper link-up of the episodes I've review with streams at some point, but for now, you can watch this full episode embedded at the bottom.)

His potential dates are: Tricia, a writer from Howell, Michigan, who is in a ruffled red dress and looks very, very slightly like Alison Brie from Community and Mad Men. (She's a dead ringer for my actress friend Kristen Casey too, except that no one reading this knows who she is.) Next is Maija (pronounced Mya, ugh), who is not black, but a tall, blonde journalist from New York. She looks like she is six inches taller than him. Finally, there is Susan, another blonde and a sports fan and masseuse from Northport, N.Y., but she is in this hideous blue dress. It looks like a cloth bag and ends mid-thigh; I'm a big hater of that style. booooo. Susan herself is good-looking, like a pretty Caroline Rhea. Tricia is definitely the most attractive, but she also seems like the youngest by a good five years.

Jet says he's excited to see "what's inside those bags," which sounds worse than it is.

First Round

Tricia: I refuse to ride escalators.
Maija: I'm a big pot smoker.
Susan: I'm an obnoxious backseat driver.

Tricia has obviously seen Mallrats. Jet quips, "I guess she's afraid of standing." Jet proves he's down with the herb, as he asks of Maija, "Is that really baggage?" This would be the biggest baggage with me though. She said she just smokes because she has a prescription, but then goes on a big pro-pot rant. Susan, meh. I'd just let her drive everywhere.

Second Round

Tricia: I stuff my bra. (As Jerry reads it, he quips, "I don't, but the person who this belongs to does.")
Maija: I sleep with my seven dogs.
Susan: I practice witchcraft.

Okay... The dogs thing is concerning, but the witchcraft thing, that's definitely screwed up. I'm pretty much Squares McSquaresville, so that's definitely the dealbreaker for me. Jet is actually a funny dude, at least so far, and he agrees with me. Susan is the one eliminated, and hopefully, she doesn't hex me for reading this.

The bra-stuffing isn't really that concerning to me, you know, as long as I get to touch them eventually. Tricia seems like a sweet person - She has worked five years as a Disney princess, she speaks French fluently and she sponsors some kids in Guatemala. Maija says that she is a big, big cuddler, and basically goes Full Slut (like Robert Downey Jr. goes Full Retard in Tropic Thunder) to attract him. She adds that she is working on a book right now. (Note: Despite her weird name, and the fact that she claims to be a journalist, I can't find any record of her on Google, which strikes me as odd, and makes me think she is BS'ing her job and background.)

Final Elimination Round

Tricia: I won't have sex until marriage.
Maija: I've been on 300 first dates in the past three years.

And, well, there goes Tricia's chances. Jet says he loves sex. I'm not sure how I'd handle that, and luckily, I don't have to chose :D Meanwhile, Maija, holy smokes. Jet jokes, "How'd you have the time to make it here?" Jerry notes that there seems to be a difference in their approaches. Maija says that she began Internet dating, and 98 percent of them were the wrong guy. (I've done Internet dating too, and gotten like... a date a month. I guess having large breasts would have helped me more.) She says this while sounding like the biggest hesher ever, so I'd definitely skew more toward Tricia.

Jet takes a dramatic step toward the stage, eyes them both for a couple seconds, and then... closes Maija's briefcase. Womp womp wompppp. Tricia seems happy to win, and has an awkward hug with Jet. His baggage is one of these three things:

- I slept with my ex-girlfriend's mother.
- I have a room just for my snakes.
- I sleep on my brother's couch, and I have no job and no car.

Ick. Of these, #3 would be the most concerning now, while #1 and #2 would just make me question his judgment in general. (Jerry jokes that she doesn't care so much about #2, because she won't be handling snakes until she marries him. ZING! He's on fire this episode.) Tricia agrees with me, and of course, Jet reveals that this is indeed his baggage. Jet spins some BS, about how he travels a lot between New York and L.A., and he's trying to establish a business with his brother. Shockingly though, she accepts his baggage anyway, and they exchange a little kiss. (Note: Jet is a beautiful bastard.)

After the episode, Jet says he was apprehensive about Tricia at first, because of the no sex thing. She then zings him and says, "Well you don't have a bed anyway." mwhahahaha. She is way too good for him. (p.s. Tricia call me!)

The Alison Brie photo is from here. And here is an embedding of the full episode, with the warning that the availability fluctuates from time to time:


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