Monday, July 26, 2010

Up North

Good evening, I just wanted to let you know that I'm up on beautiful Lake Walloon until Saturday in the late afternoon. I'd love to have more time to write, but I'd love more to not and enjoy the week with my family mostly away from work and other responsibilities. In the meantime, I hope you spend the week generally agreeing with me that Mad Men super sucks. Have a great week!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mad Men is the Most Overrated TV Show Ever

By "ratings", of course, I don't refer to the number of people who watch the show, because by that measure, the show is very poorly rated. Despite the massive amount of critical acclaim and regular people declaring that "Mad Men is UhhhMAAAAZZZING", very few people actually watch Mad Men on AMC. I understand why this is, and it is because for a show that is so very critically lauded, it is the most boring 60 minutes on television. UhhhMAAAAZZZING-ly boring. I've watched Season 1 and Season 2 (not yet Season 3 but I probably will watch it as I continue to try to figure out why people love the show), and by the end of every almost episode I find myself wondering "when does this show stop being so incomprehensibly boring?"

Is it the "pitch-perfect" nostalgia of a bygone era? Because that bygone era totally sucked - No technology, smoking jerks everywhere, and women (who from my experience seem to be more inclined toward liking the show than men) are consistently treated like total pieces of crap.

Is it the "mystery" of Don Draper? We know exactly what his deal is, and there is more per minute mystery in an episode of Blue's Clues than Mad Men.

Nothing ever happens, and when things do happen, I care so little about the nonredeemable characters that I don't care about the outcome one bit. No way, Don Draper moved to California! I don't care! Everything seemed to function just fine back at his home and at his office, he just hung around with a bunch of weirdos in California. On Battlestar Galactica the entire human race was wiped out in the first hour of the show. The level of conflict and my interest in the conflict is incomparable. On Lost a whole bunch of people inexplicably disappeared farther away than California for the entire run of the series. Aside from people dressing in out-of-date clothing and misogyny, I can't think of a single thing that this show does better than any other show currently on television.

I don't necessarily need explosions and murders and aliens and comedy to enjoy a television program, but Mad Men not only lacks all of these things, but it also lacks anything that captures my interest, my sense of nostalgia and whimsy, my excitement, intrigue, funny bone, or slightest sense of care or respect. Every person on the show is terrible (even Peggy who denies her own baby and is insanely selfish), the conflict is boring, I hear January Jones may be the dumbest person on plant earth, and yet, despite all this, critics still love the show.

I challenge anyone to convince me I'm wrong. Mad Men sucks. Season 4 premieres on Sunday - perfect for an early bedtime assist in preparation for the coming work week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beer, The Cause of, and Solution to...

This Saturday, I will be spending the early part of the day celebrating my friend Brad's bachelor party. Party organizer, Nick, cleverly came up with the name "Bradchelor." Truthfully, I'm a little jealous that I did not come up with that myself. Not by coincidence, Brad is marrying the sister of my wife. I'm looking forward to a good time before I head up north for next week, but I am a little bit intrigued by the daytime events of the party.

This weekend in Ypsilanti, the Michigan Beer Fest is taking place. The festival runs from Friday to Saturday as direct competition to the Ann Arbor Art Festival, because the same kind of people who would go to the art festival would definitely be Beer Fest attendees. I'm very happy to be going to celebrate Brad, but I've never attended a beer fest and I'm not quite sure what to expect. It is $35-$40 for a ticket, and with that price, the fest-goer gets 15 3 oz. samples of beers from many of Michigan's fine independent brewers. That's the approximate equivalent of a $10 beer, so I'm intrigued by what else is going to be going on at the festival. Have any of my extremely faithful readers attended a similar event in Michigan? I'm generally not even that big a fan of beer, but I am going to do my finest to appreciate each of my 45 ounces of Michigan beer on Saturday. I do wonder, though, where does the rest of the ticket cost go? I'm happy to support Michigan businesses, but I do wish it was a little more transparent how the cost of the ticket gets distributed to these businesses, because I'm pretty sure it exceeds the cost of materials and logistics for the beer distributors.

Anyway, my comments have dropped to negative (the blogger service is so disappointed by the lack of commenting they've started penalizing me by removing old comments) so I expect little from all your jerks, but I'm looking for recommendations for beers to try, what else I should expect from the event, and if there is some sort of beer festival song I should learn prior to my attendance. No matter what, I'm pretty sure Maureen is going to be driving us up north on Saturday night. Party on, Bradchelor.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Parents are Like Angels

I'm sitting here in the family room with my beautiful wife on the couch in our wonderful home in which we've lived for almost exactly one week. This has been the culmination of 6 months of almost non-stop work for Maureen and me and a fleet of support staff, and this is my opportunity to call out a couple of members of the support staff without whom, literally, our home would not be anywhere near where it is today - my parents Karen and Bob.

Since February, they have contributed probably hundreds and hundreds of hours only for the good of their son and daughter-in-law. Why? I really have no idea. They must love us, but any reasonable person would have exhausted the supply of love energy months ago, particularly because I'm kind of a jerk. My parents aren't people who don't have enough to do. They both work demanding full time jobs, with additional familial obligations, pets, and numerous other requirements of their time. They've painted, sanded, patched, repaired, built, tore down, wired, and plumbed every surface in the entire house alongside Maureen and me. It is impossible to overstate their contributions - just as a frame of reference, when this remodeling par-tay got rocking months ago, my home improvement skills were entirely limited to explaining to people how little capability I actually had. On top of this, they brought pizza, sub sandwiches, and bagels for our working sessions, purchased us tools that we did not have, and provided recommendations when we requested them. After work until 9 or 10 pm, on the weekends from sunup to sundown, my mom would be patching a hole in the ceiling or my dad would be beautifying the insides of our closets in new white paint. It's not quite possible to express my complete gratitude for these contributions, but that is too limited a view of things.

For example, why were Maureen and I able to afford a house? We've certainly worked for a living whenever possible so we could eventually buy a house, but a big part of the reason is that our parents have supported us through college, provided us with vehicular transportation and gas money in our early years, and I lived rent free at home with my folks for about 4 years after college. We're not a wealthy family, but they regularly did without so that their children did not have to experience being without. A parent has an obligation to provide reasonable support to their children when possible, but the support they've provided is on a level bordering kind of nuts.

I can go on and on in this vein, but maybe the best way to wrap up this thought is this pontification on life. Now that I'm some sort of adult, married, and have a child on the way, thoughts about the meaning of life have started to make their way into my mind. Fortunately for me and you, I've already figured out the meaning and it's not all that original - family and friends. I'm not exactly sure what about family and friends is the meaning of life, but it has something to do with spending happy times with them, sad times with them, and then figuring out how to make these people feel better about their existence. We're here to provide meaning for others, and that is kind of cool. By this measure, I hope my parents know that they've succeeded in life, and they've set off a chain of family togetherness that will likely carry forth in perpetuity. It must feel kind of nice to still be relatively young and have all your children feel that you're a success in life.

The only thing I don't like about this feelgoodness is that as a near future parent and selfish individual, I fear that I will not be able to live up to the standard of selflessness as practiced by my parents. Hopefully this is a skill that quickly develops prior to and shortly after the birth of a child, otherwise I'm in trouble. I'll always be kind of a jerk, but hopefully this characteristic and good parenting aren't mutually exclusive. It's a tough standard to live up to, but perhaps the best challenge worth facing in all of life.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What Doesn't Happen in Vegas Should Stay Out of Vegas

By which, of course, I mean professional basketball. This well-versed thought comes out of reports/rumors that Las Vegas has rights to any moving basketball team, and that this mystery basketball team may well be the Detroit Pistons. There are a few less-loved teams also in the discussion, so at the moment it doesn't seem entirely likely that the Pistons will be pulling up stakes and moving to the crappy desert. I don't really need another reason to hate Las Vegas, and this would be Vegas well into the "I hate you as much as LA" zone. That is a dangerous zone in which to be - just look at the years of distress in which LA remains mired because of my distaste for the city. Could things be any worse for a city than my good friend Brian moving there? Definitely not, unless he was moving back to Michigan and then it would be a good omen for that city.

Just the thought of losing one of our four awesome professional sports teams is distressing, and I kind of figured if we were to lose one of them, it would almost definitely be the crappiest of the crappy Detroit Lions. Even that would be a bummer, but it would be a bearable pain because it would not remove any sense of victory from our collective Michigan consciousness. The Pistons have a nationally respected basketball heritage that is loved locally, and hated but respected in other states. Karen Davidson, current owner of the Pistons because of the unfortunate death of her husband Bill, shouldn't and can't tear another part of the heart out of this place. Bill should have been forward thinking and put in his will "if Karen sells the Pistons in such a way that they move out of Detroit she loses every penny that I give her." That would be a harsh, but fair, punishment.

As if I needed more reason to not watch the NBA than Bosh, Wade, and James all hanging around South Beach together trying to get cameos on Burn Notice. If this happens, I'm going to reunite the Bad Boys and we're going to head to Vegas, throw some elbows, shoot some awkward white guy 3-pointers, make up some poor nicknames, and bring the Pistons home. My suggested name for the team if they leave: The Las Vegas Sucks

Monday, July 12, 2010

Things I Learned Today #9 - Northville

Greetings from the friendly confines of Northville. Over the past three days, our non-existent downstairs neighbor has not come to tell us that we're too loud, the fire and police departments have not dispatched from a mile down the road and driven by our front window, every time we walk in the house we don't have to walk up flights of stairs right off the bat, and LandArc hasn't removed our steps without any sort of heads up. Overall, things are going pretty well in the new location and eventually we'll finish unpacking some of the boxes that still remain full of clothes and other miscellaneous goods. Maureen and I have even successfully wall-mounted our television without a single threat of divorce or karate chop.

With all of these generally positive things, I thought I would dispense to the internet a little knowledge that I've gained over the past three days. First, as I walked out to my car on Saturday morning - the first night I parked my car at the house - I was a little bemused to find a ticket on my windshield. I read through the ticket, and I now owe $5 for parking my car on the street (in our little tiny out of the way cul de sac) between 3am and 6am. If I pay the ticket after 7 days it's $15. I searched all over our neighborhood and no where between any main street and our house is there a sign that reads "No parking between 3am and 6am". Today on a run about a mile from our house, I did see a sign that laid down the parking rules, but how the hell was I supposed to know about this if I did not drive by this sign in the past (which, of course, I never had)? It's only $5, but was I supposed to read all city ordinances prior to moving into the home? For this, I say Boo Northville. If you ever crash at our house, park on the street overnight at your own peril.

Second, and this is the kind of thing you don't really think about when looking for a first home, take into account the elevation of your home if you are a runner. As it turns out, our new home is pretty much at the highest point in the entire city. The first half of the run is fantastically fun, but the second half of the run makes you want to go into the past 6 months, risk a time paradox, and just warn the house-hunting version of you that Michigan is way less flat than you thought, especially in Northville. This isn't a deal breaker, but definitely something to keep in mind when house hunting.

Those are the only two things I've learned over the past week. Well, those and that I am officially giving up on being a fan of professional basketball.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Seacrest, Out

Happy 3rd of July + 30 minutes = 4th of July!

This is just a quick note to inform that I am in Minnesota visiting my sister and her family. Minnesota is kind of like Michigan except west and Joe Mauer lives there. Joe Mauer!

Maureen and I are charging toward a move date of Friday the 9th so I may have minimal time to focus on you, uninterested and non-adulating universe of blog readers until the move is largely complete. It's exciting, and hopefully my last move for quite some time.

As a quick funny note about a reminder of how much I hate LandArc (the property management company of the condo we rent), they decided late last week (without informing us, they may have told our landlady but she did not tell us) to replace the bottom stair of our stoop. Right now it is an empty area boxed in by 2x4's and caution tape around it, rendering our staircase - and primary means of escaping LandArc - at least temporarily useless. I have no confidence that this will be fixed before our move date on Friday, making that day just a little more fun for all. I have now entered the contact number for LandArc into my phone as "LandArc - the worst people in the world". It makes me smile a little bit when I pull it up to view it in the contacts list.