Articles Archive for Year 2011
And remember, you can get any of 19 other great Harper Perennial titles for 99¢ each, but the sale ends at the end of this month.
Thanks in advance and be sure tell your e-reader havin’ friends, please!
I won’t get (too) into my feelings about fantasy football, but those who have read me know that it’s probably my least favorite fantasy sport, if only because it’s the most “lucky” of them all. This is due to the small sample size (only 16 games!), lack of (relatively) easy to figure out nerds (xFIP, LOB%, BABIP, etc), and, I might argue, strategy in team creation (e.g., in basketball, target PGs who steal, big men who block, never draft Dwight Howard, and target 1-1-1 guys [guys who average 1 three, 1 steal and 1 block per game, or in that neighborhood]).
But at the same time, football is fun precisely because it’s such a crapshoot. Who the fuck knows what’s going on! Last year, Randy Moss was a slam dunk first round pick, and he stunk! Arian Foster was a sleeper, and he was awesome! Shit’s crazy.
The league for which I recently drafted was a 10 team league, but with 20 roster spots, broken down as below:
Bench (x 6)
So we’re talking some depth here.
Our budget was $250 per team, but there was a strange catch wherein each team had one keeper which was named one week after our draft LAST season, plus $10. Last year, I drafted Jonathan Stewart for $11, and before last season even started, I agreed to keep him for the 2012 season for $21. My logic was that Stewart was only 23 and DeAngelo Williams would be a free agent after the 2011 season, meaning Stewart could be the man in Carolina in 2012.
Welp, though it was a calculated risk, it didn’t quite work out as planned. So going into the auction, I had one spot taken (RB) and my $250 was down to $229 for 19 players. At least we got rid of the keeper rule this year and will not have them going forward.
Get two stud QBs (budget: $90): If you are in a league in which you start two QBs, YOU ARE AT A SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE IF YOU HAVE TWO STUD QBs. I can’t stress this enough, and I don’t why people in two QB leagues think they can get by with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tavaris Jackson-like guys. Not only do QBs score the most points in fantasy leagues, but they are also the most stable. Think about it: haven’t Brady, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, Rivers – and to a lesser extent, Romo, Roethlisberger and Schaub – been producing for the past few years now? Throw in Vick, and we’re talking about nine producing QBs. At the very least, you must one of these guys in a two QB league. Must, must, must.
But for this league, I went one better than that: my #1 priority was to walk out of this draft with two of the studliest QBs – Rodgers, Vick, Brady, Brees, Rivers and Manning – and so I budgeted $90 for this purpose. I don’t have a ton of numbers to back this up, but from my years of doing fantasy, if you score 100 points of week you have, let’s say, an 80% chance of winning. Having two of these guys means there will be weeks when you’ll get 40, 50 or even 60 points from your two QBs alone. That’s a huge advantage that I wanted a piece of, baby.
One stud WR (budget: $30): This league is PPR, but it’s only .33 points per reception. For no other reason than I wanted to feel ok, I aimed for a good but not great WR. I knew I wouldn’t be able to come near the Andre Johnson-Roddy White-Calvin Johnson crew, going in the $40 range, but I was ok with that. I was looking for someone just in that next tier, and would play it by ear during the course of the auction, because I wasn’t particularly in love with anyone.
One stud RB (budget: $50): I was looking to pair a fairly studly RB with Stewart (who, by the way, I think will have a fine year, something like 1000 yards/8 TDs).
I thought that I might find value in RBs who do NOT catch passes. See, when people hear “points per reception,” they start to lose their minds, especially when it comes to RBs. It’s all about “OMG, I HAVE TO DRAFT A RUNNING BACK WHO CATCHES PASSES!” But if you look at the numbers, does that .33 ppr really make a difference? For example, LeSean McCoy led all RBs with 81 receptions last year. 81 times .33 = 27 points. 27 points divided over a 16 game season equals an extra 1.7 points per week.
Am I oversimplifying? Of course. There are collateral numbers here, meaning I’m not taking into accounts receiving yards or receiving TDs. But this is an auction league, and auctions are based on perceived value. I assumed that people might bid the shit out of McCoy, Foster, Rice, Johnson, MJD, Forte – and to a lesser extent, Sproles or Reggie Bush or LaDainian Tomlinson – while being less like to go crazy and star bidding wars over guys like Rashard Mendenhall, Michael Turner, LeGarrette Blount, Cedric Benson, etc. So I was targeting either of the first of those two, ideally.
Play TE by ear and either draft Gates (budget $25) or both of the NE TEs (budget $8): I know Gates is often banged up, but my god, he’s beastly when he plays. It goes back to what I was mentioning with the QBs – if you have two stud QBs and Gates when he’s healthy, those three can put up 60 to even 80 points alone on a very good to great week. If your 11 other starters come somehow add even just 40 points, you put yourself in a prime position to win.
Should Gates not work out, my plan was to grab the two NE TEs (Gronkowski and Hernandez) and start them both. Check out their numbers from last year:
Gronkowski: 48 receptions, 576 yards, 6 TDs
Hernandez: 42 receptions, 525 yards, 5 TDs,
Combined: 90 receptions, 1101 yards, 11 TDs
I’m not saying that they’d repeat those numbers. But what you can say with confidence is that Tom Brady threw to his TEs last season and both these guys could be had in the $5 to $8 range. I would take something like those numbers in that range.
Spend no more that $3 total for starting K, DEF, DEF, and each bench spot should be in the $1 to $5 range. I’m not big on studying defenses (I’d rather play match-ups) and the rest I don’t have to explain.
Here’s how it all turned out:
QB Vick ($43)
QB Rodgers ($42)
WR Colston ($21)
WR S. Smith (Car) ($8)
WR S. Moss ($8)
WR Lance Moore ($5)
RB S. Jackson ($27)
RB J. Stewart ($21)
RB F. Jackson ($8)
TE Gates ($25)
TE Davis ($15)
K Bironas ($1)
DEF Minnesota ($2)
DEF Seattle ($1)
BN Torain ($5)
BN M. Williams (Sea) ($2)
BN D. Branch ($1)
BN P. Thomas ($1)
BN Rashad Jennings ($2)
BN Alex Smith ($1)
Total Spent: $239
- I’m really, really pumped to have grabbed Vick and Rodgers. Those were my top two QBs based on the fact that they run – in addition to very sexy passing numbers, you could tack on another 1000 rushing yards and 9-10 rushing TDs, which is like getting an RB2-RB3 for free.
Much like Matthew Berry, I’m all in on Vick this year. I know he’s going to miss games, but as long as he’s healthy for the playoffs, that’s all that matters. Simply put, it’s just too great a reward not to take that risk. (Anyone remember that game against the Redskins last year? 333 yards passing, 4 TDs, 80 yards rushing, 2 TDs?) Fantasy football is a crapshoot, and Michael Vick can take the biggest crap of all. Add in that I’m a Philly fan so this will give me something extra to root for, and it was a no-brainer.
And not only did they come in $5 under my budget, but by getting both within the first 14 nominations, I set the market early. Rivers went for $40, Brees and Brady $39, Manning and Romo (???) for $37, and Matt Ryan for $32. Would you rather than Romo or Ryan for those prices or spend a few extra buck to get Rodgers or Vick?
QB grade: A+++
- I did not realize how banged up Colston was, but I’m still ok with $21 for him – especially since I added Lance Moore, who will be the #1 in NO should Colston not be able to go, for only $5. I don’t expect too much out of Steve Smith and Santana Moss, but I think they will produce more than their $8 price tags. I budgeted $30 for a second-tier WR alone, but instead got four WRs that will start on most standard leagues for only $42.
WR grade: B
- My plan to target RBs who do not catch hit a snag. See, when you do an auction draft, the site (in our case, Yahoo) will give you two auction values: what the player is usually going for, and what the site thinks they’ll go for. Because we were using the .33 PPR, I assumed this would be a consideration in the auction value. It was not, as Yahoo used their default, no PPR values. Therefore, the fourth highest priced RB? Michael Turner.
(Knowing this, it would have been better to target those backs who do catch passes, since Yahoo suggested values for them as though they did not.)
Anyway, I wasn’t particularly in love with Steven Jackson, but I though $27 was a fair price (Ray Rice went for $43, Peterson and Jamaal Charles for $41, etc). There is nothing sexy at all about Fred Jackson, except that he could have 1000 yards and 9 TD’s – which, for a measly $8, I’m ok with.
RB grade: B/B+
- Like Colston, I was not aware of the extent of Gates’ injury. That said, while $25 is a lot of money, that is exactly what I budgeted. And what happened during the course of the auction, when WRs were going like hot cakes, caused me to change my strategy and instead target a second stud-ish TE, so I liked getting Davis for a reasonable $15.
TE grade: B+ (potentially higher, depending on Gates’ health)
- I’m fine with Bironas, Minnesota and Seattle. I think Minne at $2 was a bit of a steal, and my reasoning for Seattle is a) at least they have a good home-field advantage and b) at least they play in the NFC West. I really like Torain, Rashad Jennings and Pierre Thomas for a combined $8. Who knows what’ll shake out in Washington and New Orleans, but those two are gonna get looks. I was shocked that MJD is only 26, but he’s still 5’7” and has gotten a lot of touches over the years, so Jennings was the back-up I was targeting more than anyone else. As far as Mike Williams, Deion Branch and Alex Smith…meh.
K/DEF/BN grade: B
Overall, I’m happy with the team. No one in the league comes close to the Vick-Rodgers one-two punch; again, having those two as your QBs more or less give you an extra RB because of their running numbers. I have three starting RBs who should rush for more than 1000 yards each. My WRs are a bit of a crapshoot, but if I get 13 games out of Gates, my TEs should more than make up for it.
But hey, it’s all luck anyway. Happy drafting!
I hope you are enjoying your summer! I personally hate summer – I prefer the long, cold, dark, lonely nights of winter, when it’s perfectly acceptable to sit inside a poorly-lit basement bar, drinking pint after pint of cheap draft beer, cursing yourself and the difference between the potential you once had and the person you have become – but hey, maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, I wanted to drop and note to say hi and tell you about some shit I’ve got going on that you may also interest you, my friends.
I’m on Spotify. And so are a number of my playlists and 7,000 of my songs.
I gotta be honest: I’m not totally sure how Spotify works. I find the interface awkward and the whole thing a bit clunky. I easily put my music on there, but I have no idea how to update the playlists or find other users unless they subscribe to one of my playlists and find me first. I’ve been able to post playlists on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, which is nice, but that’s about it.
But having said that, boy, this mother fucker has potential. If you’re not familiar with Spotify, think of it like one large iTunes that we can all share with each other. You can search the entire database of users (supposedly) and find almost any song you want (this I’ve done successfully). And, as mentioned above, you can subscribe to other user’s playlists.
All my playlists I’ve talked about over the years – Let’s Make Out or Something, Sad as Fuck, The Best (five star songs), Seriously Good Shit (four star-plus songs), Good Shit (three star-plus songs), etc – are on there. So sign up and have a listen. Once I figure out how to work it better, I’ll continue to add new playlists and songs. If you click on this link, it should get you to Good Shit, and from there you should be able access my profile and other songs. Happy listening!
(And once you’re on there, send me some of your favorite music, please.)
99¢!!! For a whole book that took me months to write and has a bunch of funny pictures! And that people said good stuff about! Like:
- Booklist (“[Mulgrew] clearly subscribes to the Sedaris school of memoir writing”);
- John Hodgman (“Few essayists are as bravely–and hilariously–self-revealing and self-abusing”); and
- Rob McElhenney, star, creator, and producer of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (“People who grow up like this tend to become agoraphobics, serial killers, or really funny writers. Mulgrew, I think— hope?—is the last of these three things. His stories of childhood made me laugh out loud. Jason: I did your quote; please don’t murder me.”).
So now is a great time to pick up my book and load up your Kindle or Nook or whatever else you got with a number of funny/hip/cool titles. You can get months worth of reading materials for about the cost of a burger and beer!
And of course, please feel free to spread the word and alert any and all of your e-reader friends. This is only for the month of August. 99¢! What is this world coming to?
Thank you in advance. I can promise you that my book is definitely worth 99¢ – it’s at least in the $1.15-$1.20 range, so you’re getting some serious bang for your buck.
(And if you’re like me and haven’t made the switch to digital, you can get yourself a hard copy for under $6. I mean, c’mon already.)
Here are the e-reader links:
And FYI, book two is coming along rather nicely and is roughly scheduled to be released just around this time next year. It’s about high school. And it’s got some pictures. And writing it has been an emotional roller coaster (in a good way) (mostly). I’ll let you know more in the next few weeks and months, but if you liked the first one? This one’s going to blow your doors off. Promise.
Finally, I got engaged. To be married. To a woman. Who has an IQ above 70*. Who speaks English as her first language and whose American citizenship was not a condition of our engagement. Who has no obvious physical, mental, psychological or emotional defects. Who is (probably) therefore (way) too good for me.
(* I never thought I’d be googling “maximum IQ for retardation” when explaining/writing about my engagement. I am certain that my fiancée has an IQ well above 70, but in case you were wondering, an IQ of 70 is the cut-off for retardation.)
(“I am certain that my fiancée has an IQ well above 70.” And who says romance is dead?)
No, we do not have a date set, and we have only the vague idea that whatever we do, it will not be traditional. Yes, I proposed in the kitchen of our apartment. No, I did not use the Engagement Ring Dossier (I know, I know – it’s still genius, but she was simple: I knew she preferred one big round stone, and I knew her ring size from a previous ring I’d gotten her). Yes, our family and friends are happy and are asking these and a million other questions on a daily basis. Which is fine.
I don’t have any major regrets about leaving the single life. I had a good run – way, way better than I should have – so I’m alright with that. I do have some minor regrets, like never having slept with a black chick (dammit) or never having had a threesome (not gonna happen now) or never having paid two junkie runaways to come back to my place and let me watch them have sex (this one still has a chance). But there are only a few men that can go through life and check off every box on their sexual wish list. These are the DiCaprios and the Clooneys and the Timberlakes of the world. They are not the overweight bearded guy who works in law firm marketing and wrote a moderately well-selling memoir and enjoys masturbating on the roof of his apartment building because he finds the fresh air and the danger sexually invigorating. So I’m ok with no longer being single.
I’m also ok with the commitment. Now that I’m engaged, I don’t have any greater wisdom, nor do I have any grand proclamations about the nature of love. Except this: Love you read about in poems or see in movies is horseshit. Real, actual, non-fantasy love comes down to three things:
1) Do I like to kiss this person?
2) Do I like to hang out with this person?
3) Does this person make me laugh (but is not funnier than me) (which is very important in my case)?
If you can find someone who makes you answer each of these questions with a resounding, 100%, no-doubt-about-it yes, then you gotta lock that shit down. So I did.
It doesn’t have to be much harder than this.
99¢!!! For a whole book that took me months to write and has a bunch of funny pictures! And that people said good stuff about! Like:
- Booklist (“[Mulgrew] clearly subscribes to the Sedaris school of memoir writing”);
- John Hodgman (“Few essayists are as bravely-and hilariously-self-revealing and self-abusing”); and
- Rob McElhenney, star, creator, and producer of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (“People who grow up like this tend to become agoraphobics, serial killers, or really funny writers. Mulgrew, I think- hope?-is the last of these three things. His stories of childhood made me laugh out loud. Jason: I did your quote; please don’t murder me.”).
So now is a great time to pick up my book and load up your Kindle or Nook or whatever else you got with a number of funny/hip/cool titles. You can get months worth of reading materials for about the cost of a burger and beer!
And of course, please feel free to spread the word and alert any and all of your e-reader friends. This is only for the month of August. 99¢! What is this world coming to?
Thank you in advance. I can promise you that my book is definitely worth 99¢ – it’s at least in the $1.15-$1.20 range, so you’re getting some serious bang for your buck.
(And if you’re like me and haven’t made the switch to digital, you can get yourself a hard copy for under $6. I mean, c’mon already.)
Here are the e-reader links:
I think these sort of speak for themselves, no?
(And yes, that is a perfectly curved turd with a mushroom cloud above it. It’s the crapture, baby.)
Come join us for the 14th Annual “Drink Until You Shit!” tour on Saturday, August 13 in North Wildwood, NJ. As always, we’re starting at 4pm at Casey’s at 3rd and New York Avenues. Get there.
(Also seeing “32nd birthday” in print kinda scared the shit out of me. When my dad was 32, I was nine – and he had two other kids, aged five and two. However, I have two large TVs and have slept with a ginormous number of people, so it’s cool.)
(And by “people” I mean girls/women and whatever the hell went down after that Wilco show in 2003.)
But, alas, it hasn’t work out that way.
But the good news: now you’re getting a double dose of Six Songs with 12 (yes, 12!) tracks in total. This should help you kill a good chunk of the afternoon, I think.
Six Songs (times two)
“Loving You’s the Dumbest [Fucking] Thing I’ve Ever Done” Reckless Kelly
“Astral Weeks” Van Morrison
“Mambo Sun” T-Rex
“Valentine’s Day Is Over” Billy Bragg
“Reach Up for the Sunrise” Duran Duran
“Gila” Beach House
“From Head to Toe” Elvis Costello
“Anything You Want” Spoon
“The Battle of Evermore” Led Zeppelin
“Gentle On My Mind” Glen Campbell
“Bungle In The Jungle” Jethro Tull
Once again, I’d like to reiterate how much I love being able to post songs directly onto Tumblr – after years of writing about them, this is an effing revelation. The only problem (of course there’s a problem) is that you can only post mp3 files, so I’m working from a limited set of songs here (as many, and possibly most, of my music is in mp4 format) (whatever the hell the difference is).
Here’s hoping I can stick to six going forward.
And of all the bars I’ve been to over all the years I’ve lived in NYC, I think I’d pick Kabin Lounge on 2nd Ave in the East Village for my special day. Tremendous dive, and I never know if I feel totally safe and at home or if I should prepare to fight each time I walk out of the bathroom. My kinda place.
(And yes, I’m here now. But just for one drink. Swear.)
Also, didn’t this movie just come out, like, three months ago and star Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman?
You’re awesome, Hollywood.
Things I’ve accomplished so far since arriving yesterday (in order):
- I got creamed chipped beef and tater tots for breakfast.
- I read on the deck.
- I got a cheesesteak for dinner.
- I stayed up until 5:30am and drank almost a half a case of Guinness.
- I had a sex dream in which Sarah Palin and I were at a Carvel or Baskin Robbins getting ice cream. I told her that she looked very sexy in her little skirt and that I wanted to lift it up and eff her right there, over the ice cream case. She started crying, saying that she hasn’t been talked to like that ever, and boy, when we got home, she was going to show me sumpin’ sumpin’.
(Sadly, the dream ended there. However, it’s probably for the best, as if it were to follow my non-dream life, I would have gotten a ginormous ice cream and eaten the shit out of it, then Sarah would have tried to initiate sex and I would have said I was too tired and full, then we would have gotten in a fight because I’m “constantly” tired or full or have some other lame excuse and I would say “you don’t know my life!” and then would have fallen asleep, and then, two days later, properly recovered, I would try to initiate sex with her, but she’d have none of it, so I’d just bring my laptop into the bathroom to beat off to something from the “amateur” or “teen” category on Pornhub.)
- I woke up at noon.
- I got creamed chipped beef and tater tots for breakfast.
- I napped from 2pm to 5:45pm.
- I read on the deck.
- I got a cheesesteak for dinner.
- I’ve written a total of 238 words. The goal for the long weekend is 10,000.
The worst part of being a writer? Writing.
The 14th Annual “Drink Until You Shit!” pub crawl will take place in North Wildwood, NJ on Saturday, August 13. I’m assuming that we will start once again at 3pm at Casey’s on 3rd and New York Avenues, but that’s not 100% (but let’s put it at about 95%, ok?).
If you’re in the area with nothing to do, come on out! This will be the first pub crawl for my nephew Liam, so that’s pretty exciting. And as always, there will be a lot of boozing, along with the shenanigans, over-eating and make-outs that go hand in hand with and all-day pub crawl that features 100+ people.
(And I don’t want to tease you, but the shirts may be the best ever. Once they’ve been ordered, I’ll put up a design. Wowza.)
Anyway, hope you all can make it. Yes, all of you.
In addition to horsey porn, we cover music, women, drinking, and more music. Also, there’s a mention of the Million Dollar Man (of course).
(And don’t worry – it’s safe for work. But if you’re on this site, you’re probably not concerned with “safe for work.”)
After I wrote the post, I got an email from someone at Pandora, thanking me for spreading the word and asking me for my mailing address. A few days later, a Pandora t-shirt and hand-written note from Tim Westergen, co-creator of the site, arrived in my mailbox. I was touched by the gesture, and sent a note of thanks and “continued best of luck” back.
I probably should have sent more than a thank you note back. Crap.
[Author’s note: I looked for the email that I got from the Pandora person, but - and this should give you an idea of how long ago this was - the email I was using for the blog at the time was a LYCOS ACCOUNT, which has since been deleted due to inactivity. Man. Long, long time ago.]
[But great for them, of course.]
On Friday evening, some friends and I gathered on the rooftop of an apartment in the West Village to have drinks and luxuriate. The apartment belongs to my friend Nicole’s aunt and uncle, who every year go out of town, leaving the place to Nicole. And so every year, we go over there and have some drinks on the roof, like fancy New Yorkers.
But this time, there was a tinge of sadness to our little rooftop party. Nicole’s aunt and uncle are selling the place, and so this would be our last year on the roof. Bummer.
(One of my biggest regrets is that after living in NYC for almost ten years, I don’t know anyone with a fancy apartment and roof. Well, let’s scratch that – I don’t know anyone with a fancy apartment and roof that would let my friends and I on their roof/in their nice apartment to get bombed. I’m seriously bummed about this.)
It was a lovely night. But it was not very low-key. I figured we’d hang out, have some drinks, then wind the evening down when the sun set. Um, no. We left at 3am – that’s when we ran out of alcohol and when it started raining like mad. At about 3:30am, my girlfriend and I were running through the streets of Brooklyn from the bagel store (where we had the cab drop us off) back to our apartment with bagels in our hands as I screamed, “HURRY! THE BAGEL IS GETTING WET! MY GOD, HURRY!”
The next day, I woke up at noon, had a ton of pancakes for breakfast, and napped from 2pm to 6pm. Not my best day.
Great night, though – and a fitting send-off to my favorite roof in Manhattan.
1) I am no stranger to caffeine (see: tea every morning, my ritual diet Pepsi around 3:30pm, two vodka red bulls to pre-game with on Friday nights), but the charge that gave me was closer to “cocaine” than “caffeine”
2) I had to poop before I even finished the coffee
3) My pee smells really weird
That is all.
(And yes, I am actually paid to tell stories.)
(Though not very much, so I guess it works out.)
I’m headed to London tonight (and yes, I’m hard). On my two previous jaunts to Europe in November (London) and February (Amsterdam), AT&T was my cell phone carrier, so all I had to do was give them a heads up and boom – I could bring my iPhone to Europe, no problem.
While that part of AT&T was terrific, every single other part was terrible. So in March or April, I switched to Verizon. I don’t want to sound too dramatic here, but it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. After years of AT&T and Sprint before that, I had forgotten what it’s like to have a cell phone that you can depend on and, you know, make calls with. So no complaints there.
But one thing Verizon does not have is an easy way to use your phone internationally. I was told by other Verizon customers that this was a pain: that they send you a replacement phone which you have to send back and blah blah blah. Being lazy, this turned me off immediately. But on the most recent trip to Amsterdam, which was a 12-man bachelor party, those with phones were kings, and those without phones were left in the dark, sometimes forced to hang around the spots we frequented, waiting for the rest of the group to show up, as there was no way to get in touch with the others. (But hey, at least there were whores and pot to occupy your time if you lost the rest of the group.)
So even though I’m in London this weekend for only 73 hours, I knew I wanted a phone. And to my surprise (and delight), getting the loaner from Verizon was really, really easy – the shipped it, it arrived overnight, and I activated it. When I’m done, I’ll reactivate my old phone and ship the loaner back in the same box it arrived in. (And the loaner phone is my regular NYC number!) Bless you, Verizon.
But the catch – and it’s not really a catch, per se – is that my loaner phone is not only purple (which I can deal with), but it’s a flip-type phone. And it is not only a flip-type phone, it is an old flip-type phone. While the above photo is not my actual phone, it’s close to it, sans the purple.
I tested the phone by sending two text messages, one to my lady and one to a buddy in England. The former consisted of only “testing,” while the second was “Simon, it’s Jason. Testing the new phone.” But because I haven’t had a flip phone since 2005 (I had a Treo before an iPhone), the first text message took about two minutes to type, while the second took about as long as a quarter of football and because I couldn’t find puncutation, read “simon its jason testing the new phone.”
To be sure, by the end of this trip, I’m sure my old dexterity will come back and hitting the number 7 four times for an “s” will seem as normal as updating my Facebook status from my iPhone while in the shower. But until then, I feel like my dad using a cell phone – totally and completely befuddled by this strange, new (but old) technology.
Elvis Costello and The Imposters, with big-ass song wheel, at Beacon Theatre, NYC.
God, I love him.
At one point, he did “Alison” into Jimi Hendrix’s “Wind Cries Mary” and, somewhere in a parallel universe, my 14 year old self came and then exploded. Hearing one high school idol cover another…it’s just too much.
(Elvis is still an idol, and while I will always appreciate Jimi, the allure of the whole sexy/exotic-guitar-god-who-died-young-and-fucked-up thing wears off as one grows older.)
Otherwise, the show was very good, but the wheel was sort of a double-edged sword. For those who don’t know, Elvis last travelled with this wheel, a spinning song book of hits, covers, and lesser known cuts, in the 80’s (or maybe it was ’90 or so when he retired it).
Anyway, it was cool that people were plucked from the audience to spin the wheel (and really, who doesn’t love a good wheel-spinning?), but the show was less of a concert and more of a, well, show. There was a lot of talking and EC playing to the crowd and interacting with audience members brought on stage to spin, and this interrupted the flow of the concert – both because of the breaks between songs but also because someone might hit on a faster tempo song, then the next person might hit on a slower tempo song, etc. Whenever he broke from playing to get another person to spin or to talk to the crowd, I found myself wishing he’d just keep on rocking out already. My personal highlight was “Black and White World,” which I had never heard in the dozen-plus times I’ve seen him. And of course, Alison -> Wind Cries Mary which then ended in Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Shitballs.
Still, since it was an Elvis Costello show, I’d give it a 40 out of 10. He’s the best.
My all-time favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger moment, and possibly my all-time favorite moment, period.
There are so many great parts to choose from in this video, but the carrot (or celery) fellatio around the 4:30 mark takes the cake for me. I promise you the whole thing is worth five minutes of your time.
I don’t know what’s more surprising: that this guy married a Kennedy and cheated on her by fucking the gross maid or that he was in charge of the world’s eighth largest economy for EIGHT YEARS.
God bless America, man.
(And I have no idea why this video doesn’t have 20,000,000+ views. Really.)
I’m calling this one “Humble Brag Fail.”
HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT PAUL SANG “LET IT BE”? It’s one of the most famous Paul songs ever (and one of the most famous songs ever, period) and he wrote it about his mother’s death from cancer (“Mother Mary comes to me…”).
Not only that, how can you listen to it and think that’s John singing? I mean, have you heard a Beatles song before? Any of them? I could see not being sure who sings, for example, “Lady Madonna,” when Paul gets into that deep, from-the-diaphram voice. But “Let It Be” is distinctly, completely, obviously Paul – it’s like saying Paul sang “Imagine.”
(I know that’s not a Beatles song, obviously, but you know what I mean.)
But anyway, so awesome you’re meeting John Lennon’s family!!! OMG!!!
Lesson: If you’re going to brag all over the internet, people, at least get it right.
(Also, I couldn’t figure out how to crop the bottom two status updates out, but I think they work pretty well [all three are from different people].)
“One never knows when the homosexual is about.”
(Seriously, that’s all I can muster right now – and perhaps ever.)
Can’t get here soon enough.
(Editor’s Note: I’m actually not going to the soccer match, but I’ll be in/around city for it. It’s complicated.)
Enough with the politics: let’s talk muzak.
It’s just about five months until my book is due (Oct 1 – yikes!), so that means one thing: I am going to procrastinate the shit out of the next few months.
Now, usually “procrastination” means “masturbation,” but that can only last so long, especially considering I’m 98% sure I either have the diabetes (pronounced di-uh-BEET-uhs) or am on the doorstep of the diabetes, so my sex drive is quite close to nil.
(I mean, do you see my knee in the lower right hand corner? If that isn’t the knee of a diabetic, I don’t know what is.)
And so, I turn to my other love: playing instruments poorly.
As you can see, after over three years apart (courtesy of my move to LA, and then my move back to NYC into a 400 sq ft apartment, before finally moving to my large Brooklyn apartment), we’ve got the whole gang back together. Here’s a quick history:
Bass – I played bass in a band in college. Neither I nor the band were very good, but I did get a blowjob in a the woods of Vermont after playing a show at Middlebury. So that was nice.
Banjo – bought on a whim a few years back, I tried to learn it the “right way” (i.e., fingerpicking), but almost immediately quit.
Mandolin – I’ve talked enough about this lately. I love it, and am taking to it pretty well.
Acoustic – bought as a gift for myself when I finished book #1. If you’ve read the book, you can see how it’s debatable or not whether I earned it.
Electric – bought when I was 13, when I was at the height of my Jimi-Hendrix-at-Woodstock phase. It’s a Japanese “70’s style” strat with a really nice reverby tone.
Ukulele – gifted to me by an ex. Very easy and fun to play at parties and while nude (a six foot tall, 200+ pound hairy guy with a beard playing a ukulele nude = INSTANT SEX)
For book #1, I procrastinated by “learning” the piano. Mostly this meant getting drunk at the computer and composing some original pieces (limited to five notes), but I did learn passable versions of Regina Spektor’s “Us” and the “Layla” outro, which is much, much easier than I thought.
For book #2, I think I’m going to follow the lead of the mandolin and go back to the banjo. Not only is it a very hot instrument right now, but it was such a spectacular failure of an experiment the first time around that I can’t possibly get any worse. If I manage even a few shitty songs, it will give me a self-esteem boost and thus help me write the greatest book ever.
And if the banjo experiment fails, I can always go back to the masturbation. October 1 will be here before you know it.
America. Fuck yeah.
Godspeed, gentlemen of London.
I know you could probably care less about this sort of “behind the scenes” blogging (and you’ve probably stopped reading altogether – not that I blame you), but I wanted to offer you at least a little explanation. After years and years of doing this, I’ve learned that blogging is like being in a fight or in an orgy – you can’t think, you just have to act. Just get in there, put your head down, let your basic human instincts take over, and try to make it through it as quickly and as safely as possible. If you approach it any other way, you’ll fail.
So here we are. Fuck the long posts, let’s just talk.
Two of the more interesting (to me) things that I wanted to catch us all up on so that we can move forward.
I saw the shit out of Elvis Costello. When I heard that Elvis was playing a small, April Fool’s Day 11pm show at the Gramercy Theater (with a seating capacity of about 500), I got all sorts of lusty. But then I got all sorts of sad, because there was no way I’d be able to get tickets – not just because it’s small place, but also because I’m lazy and would forget when the tickets went on sale and yada yada yada.
Well, fortunately, I have a friend who works at Live Nation who gave me and the lady the hook-up. And when I say “hook up,” I mean “front row seats with waitress service – and by the way, the waitress looked like a more Hispanic Jessica Alba.” Um, yes, please.
The show was terrific (OF COURSE). My girlfriend is not so familiar with Elvis Costello, whereas I am squarely in the “Super Fan” spectrum. As such, her biggest takeaways from the evening were a) he puts on a good show and b) there were a lot of guys in their late 40’s totally flipping the fuck out.
But my biggest takeaway from the evening was how incredibly old I’ve gotten, apparently incredibly quickly. Back when I was younger, seeing an Elvis Costello concert at 11pm on a Friday would involve binge drinking from 5pm until the start of the concert, having terrible (cheap) seats at the show, and then standing outside the concert hall for as long as it takes to meet Elvis, who usually signs autographs after his shows. Then, I’d go get more fucked up and text an ex-girlfriend before passing out on my couch at 4:12am with a slice of pizza and/or my dick in my hand. For this particular EC show, “pre-gaming” was dinner at CraftBar, not drinking beer (instead, whiskey) because I was worried about having to get up and pee during the show, taking a Pepto on the way to the theater because I felt poo pains coming on, seeing the show and acting like a maniac (which remains the same) from a distance so close I could have hit Elvis with a ping pong ball (which is different), and then going home and passing out immediately after the show’s ending – no waiting for Elvis, no nightcap, no pizza, no nothing.
I try not to dwell on how different my life has become in the last few years, because sometimes it makes me sad.
Boy, did I beat the IRS. As usual, I waited until the last minute to get my taxes done. As usual, it was a nightmare. There are two complicating factors when it comes to my taxes.
1) When you get paid a book advance, you receive the advance without any taxes having been taken out. So for example, if someone says that they got a $1,000,000 book advance, they got a check from the publisher for $850,000 (less the 15% agent fee).
(Well, that’s not true, as you either get book advances in thirds – when you sign, when the publisher accepts the manuscript, and when the publisher prints the manuscript – or in halves – when you sign and when they accept.)
(Also, just for the record, I did not get a $1,000,000 advance. If I did, we wouldn’t be talking right now, as I’d be way too cool for you. And also I would have died, like, months ago, probably only hours after receiving the $850K check.)
Because advances are untaxed, it is the author’s responsibility to save or put away a portion of the untaxed advance to pay off the taxes later. If by “put away” we mean “put away up my nose in the form of something that makes me feel indestructible and great but makes me sad the next day,” then yes, I put away a lot of the portion of the untaxed book advance I got in 2010. But if we mean “put away” in the save-some-for-taxes sense, well, whoops.
2) Though I may not be considered so by you, by most of my family and friends, and certainly by book reviewers, according to the government, I am a writer. Yes, I have my 9-to-5 gig, but because I make income from writing, I gots me two jobs, so says the IRS.
The good thing about this is that I can write shit off like a mother fucker. I’m not going to get too into here (because doing so would surely get me audited), but any research or promotion related to the book can be thusly written off on my taxes. And because in 2010 I did a lot of promotions (e.g., various book tours and travels that were paid by me and not the publisher), I had my work cut out for me.
So last week, after downloading a year’s worth of bank and credit card statements, I spent hours and hours of my down time going through the statements, line by line, trying to determine what I could and could not write off (which also helps to explain the lack of posts). This is a long and laborious and terrifying process, particularly because it’s downright alarming to see where a year’s worth of money goes (I don’t know who owns Dempsey’s, but, before moving out of the LES, I was apparently putting their children through college; likewise with Amazon, as the “Prime” shipping was both the best and worst thing to happen to my financials in 2010).
BUT, things somehow worked out. I went to my main Armand at H&R Block and though I was expecting to break even, I’m actually getting money back. So when you’re making up a list of things that are wrong with America today, please add this to that list.
But hey, at least I’m putting that money to good use – I’m about 90% sure I’m headed to London the last weekend of May for the Champions League Final. More details to come, but I can’t think of a better way to thank Uncle Sam than by taking my money out of the country and spending it on shrimp-flavored potato chips.
(Please don’t audit me.)
My sister recently got professional pictures taken of my nephew, Liam. This is one of them. As you may notice, in this picture, he is wearing Daisy Dukes.
Now, my sister denies that these are Daisy Dukes (do I capitalize this?), saying that it is a “jean diaper.” But the exposure of the thighs, the fringe cut, the close fit around the crotchal area – these are clearly Daisy Dukes.
Perhaps my sister is setting Liam on the path of his uncle, who has made an actual career out of embarrassing pictures of himself as a child. If so, good start, Liam. Good start, indeed.
You guys – all the porn is saved. Ben called me via FaceTime (“FaceTimed me?”) and walked me through it. I went from 4.19 GB free to 12.82 GB free and didn’t have to delete a single video of people fucking each other.
But I’ll tell you, technology’s something. I just had a video conference call on my cell phone from NYC with my buddy in Seattle who showed me how to move hours of porn to an external hard drive in about five minutes. When I was in college, as recently as 2001, my porn collection consisted of six VHS tapes (that I watched on, you know, a VCR) and I didn’t even own a cell phone, and knew maybe a half-dozen people who did.
God *damn* the USA is the greatest.
Is there a way I can delete my porn from my hard drive (or whatever) but still have it all saved in the Time Machine? I only have 4.2 MB of available space on the computer, and it’s been acting wonky lately.
I mean, if I have to delete the porn, I will – RedTube and PornHub have made a private collection near obsolete. But to delete it would break my heart. It would break my heart.
— Me, in an email sent to my buddy (and Mac genius) Ben about 20 minutes ago. As you can see, there may be some emotional days ahead. Please keep me (and my collection) in your thoughts. Thank you.
— This is a quote from a commenter on Philly.com in response to an article about Phillies’ slugger (and ginormous black dude) Ryan Howard getting engaged to Eagles’ cheerleader (and smoking hot white chick) Krsystle Campbell.
When I read something like this, I can see God, with His big white beard and in His big white robe, sitting at the computer in the rec room of His cloud house up in heaven, browsing Philly.com, reading this article and happening upon this comment. And then after doing so, He puts down His coffee, shakes His head in sadness, and then perhaps He quotes another of my gods (lowercase) and mutters to himself, “That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all.” And then He lets out a heavy sigh and His whole day is ruined. Look at the poor guy – He can’t even finish His coffee.
I’m not gonna get into some religiousy debate here, but, my friends, here’s all you need to get by: BE NICE TO PEOPLE. Do this, and when the chips fall where they may, you should be in good shape. It really doesn’t have to be any harder than this.
I was listening to “Escapade” by Janet Jackson.
I’ve been asked, “Hey, shithead, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever inscribed in a book?”
This is probably #2.
(I’ll tell you #1 another time.)
[Editor’s Note: Photo courtesy of Kerstyne’s Facebook page. She tagged me in the photo, so I figure I can use it.]
[And while Joleen didn’t pay me directly to write that, she bought the book and asked me to write those words. So, there.]
This is also a good opportunity to remind you that I’m posting pretty much every day over at Tumblr, as it’s micro-blogging (short posts or pics or even easy to upload songs) and I can do it from my phone in a snap. So if you’re ever bored or wondering where I am, head over there. Otherwise, you’ll still get the goods here, too (sorry, “goods”).
(And if you can’t remember “jasonmulgrew.tumblr.com,” Site Guy Brendan has inserted a “Tumblr” tab above, between “Choice Cuts” and “Archives.” That’ll take you there.)
- Arrived in Philly at 8:30pm on Friday night and, as per usual, went straight from 30th Street Station to Tony Luke’s. Now, of course, Philly is known for their sandwiches (or, sanwidges), but as someone who grew up there, I can tell you five local cheesesteak places that are just as good as some of the big names. (For example, little known fact: Pat’s and Geno’s are actually quite terrible and are only good because they’re open 24 hours and taste decent when you’re bombed. Otherwise, they’re for tourists and people who enjoy subpar cheesesteaks.)
But Tony Luke’s is a bit different because though being “famous,” boy, they make good sandwiches. I’ll usually go with the chicken cutlet supreme or even the chicken cheesesteak, because I can get decent cheesesteaks in NYC; Carl’s is probably the gold standard here, but I’ll be damned if Philly’s Cheesesteaks at Houston and Orchard isn’t effing delicious. However, I had a hankering for some meat and went whiz wit’ and was not disappointed (although I have to remember to order extra whiz, since they tend to skimp out on the cheese) (sorry, “cheese”). Mad props to my sister for only eating about 63% of her cheesesteak and leaving me the rest. Good start to the weekend.
- Had brunch on Saturday morning at The Irish Times. Love this place and usually hit it up every time I’m in Philly, often as part of my Artful Dodger – Irish Times one-two combo (the two bars are close to each other). But though I drink more at the Artful Dodger, they don’t have breakfast. I got the full Irish breakfast at the Irish Times and god DAMN it was huge (I forgot to take a picture of it, as I dove right in). Great space, great Guinness, great food. I would have sat there drinking for hours, but I had to run because I…
- Attended a beer pong tournament that featured a mechanical bull. No, really:
As predicted, this turned into a shitshow. As for the tourney, it was double elimination, and my buddy Steve and I lost our first match, won our second, and lost our third. As for the bull, I didn’t ride it (I’m sure you’re surprised by this), but that didn’t stop many, many others from riding. The only sort-of bummer was that the tourney started at 2pm and, geez, I probably left the place at 11pm or midnight (not bad for $40), whereas the bull was only there from 2pm to 6pm. So just as people were getting really drunk and adventurous, the bull had to leave. Alas. Next year, the hosts know better and will get the bull for a later four hour period.
But why, exactly, was it a shitshow for me? Well, I…
- Did not stay in the hotel room that I raved about getting on Priceline for cheap, for one. There are two possible excuses why. The first is that I drank too much and was not able to even get up the gumption/wherewithal to hail a cab. This is probably true, as I had a lot, lot, lot to drink during the course of the day. But the other excuse for this is that for the first time in a very long time, I went a full day without caffeine. Now, I’m not, like, addicted to caffeine, but I do start every day with a 24 oz D&D tea, and then have a diet Pepsi sometime around 3:30pm-ish to help me make it through the remainder of the workday. When drinking, two vodka red bulls are enough to turbo-charge me from 8pm until 4am. So a little bit goes a long way for me, and apparently none goes, well, nowhere. After leaving Froggy Carr (where the tourney was held), my friends and I went to the diner and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. When I got to my dad’s, he was already in bed, and I fell asleep sitting on the couch with the dog at my feet before retiring to the bedroom with a bottle of water and two Bayer. So, good thing I got that hotel room cheap!
- Got a ride back to NYC on Sunday from my dad, and he, m’lady and my temporary roommate Brian got $70 worth of Polish take-out. But before heading back to NYC and while back at my dad’s place in Philly, I came into the kitchen, reached into the cupboard for a mug for some water, and found this:
C’mon, dad. You gotta find a better hiding place than that.
The tourney starts at 2pm on Saturday and features unlimited food and drink (and a t-shirt!). By my calculation, my night should be over around 9:30pm (when I go out with my buddies in Philly, the shots come out early and often). Ending my night at 9:30pm is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it can make things awkward when I get home.
You see, when I go to Philly, I usually stay at my dad’s house. He has a spare bedroom that’s always freezing and causes me to sleep like the dead, which I enjoy. Also, I do like hanging out with him. But from about 8pm until 1am every night, my dad sits in his chair and watches TV and smokes cigarettes. This is absolutely, 100% non-negotiable. If there were a fire in the kitchen, he would probably wait until whatever nature show he’s watching was over before doing anything about it. 8pm to 1am is dad-in-chair time.
So it might be a little awkward when this Saturday night I nearly fall through the door at 9:30pm, slur my speech, and then commence eating a Wawa hoagie with such voracity that I quite look like the wolverine he’s currently watching on NatGeo. And then I follow this display by taking four Bayer (forgetting that I had already taken two), asking him if it’s ok that I took four Bayer and getting upset about potentially having poisoned myself, and then spend the next two hours sitting in the only shower in the house, simultaneously trying to sober up and falling in and out of consciousness and attempting, in vain, to masturbate. Don’t get me wrong – my dad knows that I drink, and he certainly has had his fair share of drunken mishaps (and you know this because you’ve all read my book, right?). But it’s one thing to know your son hits the booze pretty hard and another to see him in the kitchen struggling in vain to open a jar of mayonnaise before putting the jar down on the counter and lying down on the kitchen floor to “regain some strength” before trying again. At 9:30pm.
[Did I mention that this beer pong tournament has a twist this year, which is a mechanical bull? Hours of hanging out with my Philly buddies, drinking unlimited draft beer, playing in (and winning) what is sure to be a competitive beer pong tourney, and then riding (or, more realistically, watching people ride) a mechanical bull? Good god – I don’t think I should plan anything for Sunday outside of napping, eating or pooping.]
I really didn’t know what to do about this. I definitely, definitely wanted to take part in the tournament, having missed it previous years, as it usually coincides with my annual man weekend/fantasy baseball draft. For about ten seconds, I contemplated trying to take it easy, but realized that that just wasn’t going to happen. So I was stressed about this. I can’t go and take it easy. Should I not go? No, I really want to go. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
But then I got an idea.
Yes, Priceline. I’ve named my own price for hotels all across the country, and it’s rarely let me down. Priceline would allow me to get a hotel room for cheap, so I could get as bombed as I like and not have to worry about acting the fool in front of my dad. I could eat, shower, cry and, potentially, order a prostitute, all alone in the privacy of my little hotel room, somewhere in downtown Philadelphia. Excellent.
But ay, there’s a rub. When you name your own price on Priceline, you pick three variables: the price of the bid (duh), the minimum star rating for the hotel, the general location of the hotel. It’s this last one that gave me trouble. According to Priceline, “downtown Philadelphia” is everything from a stone’s throw from my neighborhood to a $30+ cab ride away. What I was looking for here was a cheap room – again, I just want somewhere to eat a hoagie and be drunk and take a long shower in peace, so spending $70 or $80 on the room plus taking a $30 cab is not what I’m looking for.
However, with no other recourse, I decided I would roll the dice. But I would intentionally low ball my offer, so that if I ended up with a hotel on the outer fringes of “downtown” Philadelphia, I could deal with a potentially more expensive cab ride. So I bid only $40.
And it hit.
And it hit on a hotel about a $12 cab ride away from the neighborhood.
And it hit on a hotel about a $12 cab ride away from the neighborhood that has a much higher star rating than what I was shooting for (I was aiming for “you probably won’t be murdered in this room, but only because you’re big – smaller people have definitely been murdered here,” but ended up with “oh, dude, the only way you’re getting murdered here is if it’s a freako high-class hooker that kills you.”)
And now, it is on. I get to spend all day getting bombed with some of my best buds, eat and drink and watch people get thrown off a mechanical bull, and then at the end of the evening, retire to a (moderately) swanky hotel room just a quick cab ride away from the ‘hood. Charity beer pong tourney, look the fuck out.
[By the way, just before press time I confirmed that this is an open event and all are welcome. So if you’re in Philly and looking to get hammered on Saturday afternoon, come to the Froggy Carr Club at 1429 S. Second Street (Phila. Pa 19148). As mentioned, it starts at 2pm and $40 includes (presumably draft) beer, food and t-shirt. You can find me, or ask for Floody.]
[Oh, and if you do decide to come, prepare to lose – I’m taking home the trophy for this one.]
The other day, I came home and found a package in my entryway. I opened it up, and found this:
This is a stuffed animal. Of me.
It took me a minute to figure it out, but then I realized: I had just gotten the best Christmas gift ever: me. Stuffed and little. Perfect.
Sure, my hairline is not quite so receding (thanks for that, guys who created this!), but otherwise the resemblance is uncanny. To wit:
I’m guessing this was a possible model for the, well, model, a picture from our annual “Drink Until You Shit” (DUYS) pub crawl in North Wildwood, NJ in July. The only difference is the t-shirts on the pub crawl says “Drink Until You Shit” on the back of them, whereas this has it on the front.
But not only that, if you turn the stuffed me around, look what he has in his hands!
In his left hand is my much-beloved Bud bomber, my drink of choice when it comes to pre-gaming (sometimes alone) for three-six hours while watching VH1 Classic (“Rock Fest” and “Metal Mania,” preferably). And in his right hand is a box of (certainly) my favorite breakfast food and (arguably) my favorite whenever food, creamed chipped beef. Sure, it’s the Stouffer’s variety, but when I’m not in the greater Philadelphia area, that’s what I roll with.
Let’s just say that I’m not even going to try to top this when buying gifts for Dennis and Megan in the future, because they win. Hands down.
[Better yet, I’m getting pretty into (read: haven’t yet started) writing my second book, and now I have this mini-me to put on my desk and watch over me and keep me in line when I want to take one of my patented quick jerk-off breaks that turn into five weeks because I put my laptop somewhere and lost it.]
But I’m glad I waited on that cool gift, even if I didn’t have a choice. And I know what I’m getting my friends and other family members come this holiday season!
(Stuffed animals of me, of course.)
Anyway, if you are interested, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(For further reading, please go here.)
So, yeah. It’s pretty hard to fuck that up and not to have a good time. Still, this was an especially good one.
On Friday, I took a half day, and me and my buddies (Site Guy) Brendan, John and Bill went to my place in Brooklyn to begin the festivities. But before I got back to my apartment, I stopped a picked up a little sumpin’ sumpin’:
What you’re looking at, ladies and gentlemen, is our standard order for the Friday portion of our annual man weekend. But because it was just the four of us, we halved the order (usually we have about 6-10 on this day, but it was a light year). All told, we got:
- half pound of prosciutto
- half pound of genoa salami
- half pound of hot soppressata
- half pound of sweet soppressata
- half pound of hot capicola
- half pound of pepperoni
- one pound of provolone cheese
- two pounds of fresh mozzarella cheese
- two pounds of roasted red peppers
- two pounds of macaroni salad
- three large rolls
So there’s that. What you see above is what we did on Friday, from 2pm until 1am. To be honest, I don’t recall much from that day, thanks to a nitrate-induced haze, as well as all the Bud Light and constant flipping from game to game to game to game. It was like a time warp.
What I do remember is waking up on Saturday with not even a hint of a hangover (thank you, constant lunchmeat grazing over the course of eleven hours). So at 11am on Saturday morning the four of us went to the LongBow, a lovely Welsh pub on my block, for some breakfast and to watch the Arsenal match and BC basketball game.
The bad news was that BC lost (which I didn’t really care about, as it was the first BC basketball game I watched all year). The bad/ok news was that Arsenal went down 2-0 to a team that might not even be in the Premier League next year, before coming back and playing to a 2-2 draw. The good was this:
That is the LongBow’s bacon egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. The two twists that make the sammy special are that the cheese is melted over the Irish bacon, with two eggs then added on top, and that the bread is this thick “country” white bread that is to die for. A terrific way to start the day.
When the games were over, it was into Manhattan to get ready for the Iron Sheik XXXI draft. For the second year in a row, we met at Foley’s, a baseball-themed bar near Penn Station. And there, from 2pm until 9pm, we drank a lot and ate a lot and watched a lot of basketball (are you noticing a theme here?) and, oh yeah, drafted our teams.
As for my team…we’ll see. The team is listed below, and the numbers in parentheses indicate the rounds in which I drafted that player. Each team had to keep four players, so when I write “(3)”, that means that player was drafted in the third round after keepers, which would be the seventh round overall. Because of in-season trades last year, I had extra picks in the first, second and sixth rounds.
C Víctor Martínez (1b)
1B Luke Scott (14)
2B Chase Utley (K)
SS Hanley Ramírez (K)
3B Evan Longoria (K)
OF Shin-Soo Choo (1a)
OF Jayson Werth (2b)
OF Chris Young (3)
Util Colby Rasmus (5)
Util David Ortiz (11)
Bench Kelly Johnson (9)
Bench Matt Wieters (10)
Bench Chone Figgins (12)
Bench Adam Lind (16)
SP1 David Price (K)
SP2 Cole Hamels (2a)
SP3 Brandon Morrow (4)
SP4 Ted Lilly (6a)
SP5 Josh Beckett (8)
SP6 Jhoulys Chacin (15)
RP1 Neftali Feliz (6b)
RP2 Chris Pérez (7)
RP3 Joel Hanrahan (13)
This is a very, very different team for me. Usually, it’s two starters and one solid closer within the first ten rounds, then the rest of my staff in the later picks. Instead, this year, I drafted only two pitchers after the 8th round: Hanrahan in the 13th and Chacin in the 15th. As such, I’m not sure how to feel.
The good: In an OBP league (we count OBP instead of AVG and TB instead of HR), I’ll take Choo and Werth in those spots any day. I also like that I didn’t have to draft any one-dimensional speed guys, because I’ll be getting some here and there from my regular starters at SS, 3B, and all of my OF; if Utley were healthy, it’s wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that I have EIGHT guys (Utley, Hanley, Longoria, Choo, Werth, Young, Rasmus, and Johnson) capable of 20-20-ish seasons. Figgins that late was great, because he still walked a bunch last year, will pick up 3B eligibility, and had a decent second half, which should translate into better overall numbers. My last pick, Adam Lind, hit 46 doubles and 35 homers in 2009, so that’s worth a flier.
The bad: I reached for Morrow at the start of the 4th. But he wasn’t making it all the way back to me, and I remember watching his 17 K, two walk, one hit shutout against Tampa Bay last summer, and I fell instantly in love. So it was a reach, but one that I’d probably do again. As for the Wieters pick…this is sort of a running joke in our league, as I’ve been touting Wieters since even before he became the supposed second coming of Christ, but with a better home plate to second base time. Even after getting V-Mart, I took the flier. Meh.
The ugly: Chase Utley’s fucking killing me. When I announced him as a keeper, I had no idea anything was wrong with him. But with no news but bad news, I had to take Kelly Johnson in the 9th, and still wanted to draft Figgins as extra protection. Honestly, I went into this draft with the mindset that I’d get nothing from Utley all year, and drafted accordingly. I mean, fuck.
After the draft ended at 9pm, five of us, including our new buddy, Mike, who answered the bell and joined us for the draft, went back to Bay Ridge and one of my local bars, where we played darts until 3am. It was there that I played darts for the first time, and also learned for the first time that I AM ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST DART PLAYERS. Because apparently all you need to become one of the world’s greatest dart players is to have never played darts before and then had 15+ alcoholic drinks over ten hours. After 31 years, I think I’ve found my sport.
And so it was one of my favorite weekends of 2011 so far. But having said that, I’m glad the next one is 51 weeks away. Because I think it’ll take about that long for me to recover.
Eff St. Patrick’s Day – guess what’s two weeks away?
Actually, baseball is the reason for me being (relatively) MIA lately. As I announced last week, I started work on my annual fantasy baseball spreadsheet. And shit got wild.
Without getting too into it, last year, I ranked 233 hitters (broken down into 34 total tiers) and 134 pitchers (broken down into 14 total tiers). That’s 367 players total, 48 total tiers.
This year, I ranked 298 hitters, and breaking those down into 48 tiers. As for pitchers, I ranked 186 of them, broken into 18 total tiers. That’s 484 players, 66 total tiers. I actually provided statistics, thought about, and categorized 484 major league baseball players. Jesus Christ.
[This is where I’m supposed to say, “And surprisingly, I’m single.” But I’m not! Sure, I’m still a compulsive masturbator, but I have someone (theoretically) willing to have sex with me, without a substantial amount of money required to change hands. Amazing. Life is just really, really amazing.]
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last week, and, though I might update it a little, my fantasy baseball draft prep is finished. And now, we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming. Thank you for your patience.
(Oh, and information on how to get your hands on the sheet is in my previous post.)
But first, if you live in the NYC area, are serious about fantasy baseball, and are free on the afternoon of Saturday, March 19, I might have a fun opportunity for you.
On that afternoon, my longstanding fantasy baseball league (Iron Sheik) will hold our annual in-person draft at a bar in Manhattan (likely in midtown). Because of an impending birth, a bachelor party, and having to cover the University of Texas basketball team, three guys in the league can’t make the draft. And so we need three people to act as their proxies and draft their teams for them.
What do you get out of it? Well, we get bombed all afternoon, watch college basketball, eat horrendously unhealthy foods, and draft our fantasy baseball teams, all the while shit-talking. This is, hands down, one of my favorite days of the year.
What is required of you, commitment-wise? Well, first I’ll put you in touch with one of the three guys who can’t make it. You two will email, and the absent manager will likely provide either a rough framework for his team in the form of a list or just generally tell you what players he likes or doesn’t like. Then, it’s up to you. (Note that you will not be required to manage or pay any attention to the team during the season – we’d just need you to help draft it on that Saturday afternoon.)
Because of the level of autonomy – and I have to make this very, very clear – you must know your fantasy baseball. Sure, there are more intense leagues than Iron Sheik, but we are no slouches. So while you don’t have to know, for example, the 1 through 5 SPs for the Diamondbacks, you should be able to name three of their starters (or at least two of them – god, that rotation is terrible). So please don’t express interest in this if you’re only somewhat knowledgeable about fantasy baseball or baseball in general – if you draft Russell Martin in the sixth round, we will stone you to death.
(But please, know your shit.)
Here are the specs of the league: mixed-league, ten teams, each team comes into the draft with four keepers, which have already been decided. Draft is 19 rounds, with 23 players per team, or 230 players total. Positions are C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, Util, Util for hitters and SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, P for pitchers, along with five bench spots and two DL spots. Rotisserie league with standard five pitching categories (W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP) and R, RBI, SB, Total Bases (instead of HR) and OBP (instead of AVG) for hitters. I think this about covers it.
If you’re interested, please email me. I promise you that, if nothing else, it will be a fun afternoon.
And now, the 2011 Fantasy Baseball Super Sheet. This is almost done, and I plan to have it available by Monday. Before I give you the background on the sheet (which many of you already know), I’ll first cover how you can get it: you gotta prove to me that you’ve bought my book.
That’s it. Yes, in previous years, including even last year, we’ve offered the sheet for sale for $10. But no longer. I just want you to buy my book and prove it to me, and then I’ll send you the sheet. You can prove to me that you’ve bought the book by forwarding me a receipt from Amazon, Borders, B&N or wherever, or, if you’ve already purchased it, by sending me a pic of you with the book (nudity is not required, but it is encouraged) (just kidding) (that is, just kidding assuming you’re a dude) or a pic of the receipt. You must send the proof to my alternate email address, email@example.com. Like I said, the sheet won’t be available until Monday, but you can send the email now if you like and I’ll send it when it’s ready. And then you’ll a fun(-ish) book and a fantasy baseball sheet! Talk about a terrific one-two punch.
As for the sheet itself, I’ve been preparing a master Excel spreadsheet of fantasy baseball statistics for many, many years now, and I probably spend about 100 hours total on this thing. The sheet has four tabs (hitters, pitchers, NL and AL team depths charts), and last year I ranked 231 hitters and 134 pitchers, though there are stats in the sheet for a few hundred more players. Again, using last year as an example because this year’s is still being refined, there were 41 columns/statistical metrics for pitchers and 26 for hitters (hitters are easier and require less work), including notes about how is in a walk year and who qualifies at multiple positions. In short, it’s badass, and you can’t get this much fantasy baseball information at your fingertips anywhere else on the web.
And as I said, it’s not just statistics: you’re getting my ranks. I break (and for years have broken) the rankings into tiers (SS 1, SS 2, etc), but there is special column for guys I “like,” which is to say that I believe these players will perform better than their draft position indicates. This is where I make my money, y’all. In last year’s sheet, for the 2010 season I liked:
Hitters: Adrian Beltre, Rajai Davis, David Ortiz, Juan Pierre, Geo Soto, Vlad, to name a few. Oh, and three outfielders who turned out pretty good: Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, and Chris Young.
Pitchers: Clay Buchholz, Cole Hamels, Ubaldo Jimenez, Clayton Kershaw, Mat Latos, Francisco Liriano, David Price, Max Scherzer. If you had drafted any four of those eight, let’s just say your staff would have been in pretty, pretty good shape.
Of course, I’m cherry-picking here (some of my hitters recs – Justin Upton, Kendry Morales, Nelson Cruz, Justin Morneau and, gulp, Grady Sizemore, among them – were really battered or hampered by injuries), but for those of you who got the sheet last year, go ahead and look it over. You’ll see that, well, I really know my shit, and why one month’s rent per year is paid by my fantasy baseball winnings. Fucking love this shit.
So there you have it. If you’re in NYC, love fantasy baseball and are free on Saturday afternoon, March 19, let’s draft together. Otherwise, if you just want the sheet, send me proof that you bought my little book to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll start sending out copies of the sheet on Monday.
Cheap bars and pubs? Oh, yeah. There’s the charming JJ Bubbles, which has cheap (and I mean, cheap) drinks and the most hipster décor (brass instruments and 70’s beer paraphernalia hanging everywhere) but doesn’t even know it; the LongBow, a Welsh pub on my very street at which I eat at least twice a week, including on the weekends to enjoy the full English breakfast or arguably the best bacon-egg-cheese sandwich I’ve ever had, and which also has terrific beer list (and growlers to go!); and just up the road there are Kitty Kiernan’s and Pipin’s, two places in which I’m pretty sure I could live forever.
The food is terrific. Gino’s pizza (and Italian food) is practically a landmark. Each time I eat the vodka sauce (usually with gnocchi) or the square slices at Vesuvio’s, I am convinced that Jesus Christ Himself had a hand in making them. Though I’m still searching for a delicious but divey Mexican place (in the “so awesome that it makes the anal aneurysm that you have immediately after finishing the meal worth it” sense), Mezcal’s is a very good, slightly classy Mexican joint that hits the spot. Hot Wok is the best Chinese food I’ve ever had, the cheesesteak at Pepino’s is an eight on a good day, and the Burger Bistro has done to the burger what the Meatball Shop did to the meatball (and it has ice cream sandwiches, too!). There are three diners within a ten minute walk of my apartment, and Bagel Boy, just up the street, not only has great breakfast sammies but is open 24 hours on the weekends (not listed on the menu is the unfortunately named “Big Blue” sandwich – breaded chicken cutlet, swiss, Russian dressing, lettuce, tomato, onion). Finally, though I think it’s mandatory that you get punched in the face by one of Bay Ridge’s finest surly 20-something ginzo residents immediately upon entering the bar on the weekends, there is no denying the wings at Kettle Black are huge and delicious (love the big bear sauce).
And perhaps most importantly for me, sweets. There are three Carvels within a short walk, one of which is a Carvel/Cinnabon (yes, you read that right). There is a Haagen Dazs. There is a Cold Stone. And there is the Little Cupcake Bakeshop. I can’t think about this place without trembling in ecstasy, thus making it difficult for me to type, so I’ll just leave it at that.
(I’m tempted to make the joke that the banana pudding at Little Cupcake is actually the Ejaculate of God, but I won’t. Not because it’s gross, but because I already made a religious reference when I said Jesus works at Vesuvio’s. Gotta spread the joke subject matter around, people.)
Why am I telling you all of this? For one, I’m a fattie. For two (?), last night my lady and I went out to a place we hadn’t yet tried, and this happened:
This is our meal from Schnitzel Haus. And, my friends, things will never be the same.
For all the things the Germans may have screwed up in the past, one thing that they have totally right is eating and drinking. Beef, pork, veal, sausage, potatoes, pretzels, (big) beers – check, check, check, check, check, check and…check. To be honest, we’ve known of this place’s existence since we moved in, and I’m surprised it’s taken us so long to get there.
But none of that matters now. We didn’t bother with apps, and got right into it. Despite my pleas for her to get something more adventurous, my girlfriend wanted something “safe” and ordered the boring Haehnchenschnitzel, a boneless, breaded chicken cutlet that came with a salad and fries. I went the opposite direction and decided to let my (apparently phallic-loving) freak out, and ordered the Wurstteller mit allem Drum and Dran, a sample platter of five sausages – smoked bratwurst on the bottom; bratwurst, knackwurst and veal weisswurst in the middle; and Bauernwurstteller (“Farmers sausage”) on top – served with mashed potatoes, red cabbage, sauerkraut and two mustards.
Let’s start with her Haehnchenschnitzel: amazing. I know that it’s hard to go wrong with (more or less) fried chicken, but the breading was so light and the chicken so tender and juicy I wanted to put the two (giant) slabs of chicken on my face so we could just…be…together. The curly fries were a nice touch (who doesn’t love curly fries?).
As for the sausages, holy shitballs. If I had to rank them in order, it would probably go bratwurst, smoked bratwurst (close one-two), Bauernwurstteller, knackwurst (close three-four), weisswurst (still really, really good, but my girlfriend kept remarking on its pale gray color so much that it guaranteed the poor sausage fifth place). I don’t know what else to say other than man is seldom closer to God than when he takes a slice of sausage, covers it in red cabbage and sauerkraut and mustard, and then dips it into a pile of mashed potatoes before sending it on that magical journey from his mouth to his belly. Amen.
(And have I mentioned the beer? Two half-liters of a German beer that’s not on their online menu and whose name escapes me and a Kronenbourg, which I enjoy if for no other reason than it’s the beer I lived off of while studying abroad in London (because it was cheap). I was in heaven.)
Without being overly dramatic, here’s how moved I was by this meal: I CAME BACK TO MY PLACE AND STARTING LOOKING AT APARTMENTS FOR SALE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. And I don’t think this is a passing phase – that food was so good that it may have just tipped the scale in favor of Bay Ridge and I settling down and getting serious. Rare is the man who will purchase a home based on his experience with a sausage, but, ladies and gentlemen, I may just be that man.
So I guess what I’m trying to say that if you’re looking for some great German food and you find yourself in south Brooklyn – or if you’re looking to make a night out of eating sausages and drinking liters – you should probably go to Schnitzel Haus. If you are not a total fucking retard, you will really, really love it.
(Oh, you’ve grown up so much, you have!)
In lieu of buying me gifts or shots or cupcakes, a few things you can do to help celebrate this Momentous Occasion of My Authorship Et Cetera:
1a) Buy a copy (duh).
1b) Buy a personalized, signed copy (makes great gift!).
2) Write a (positive, please) review of the book (if you fancy yourself the critic-type and are super bored at work).
3) Recommend it once today. Just once. Maybe to a co-worker you know who likes reading (or just looking at pictures), or by tweeting or mentioning it on your own blog, or pimping it on your Facebook/MySpace/Friendster/Ashley Madison page(s). Just one recommendation is all.
But most importantly, thank you for the support over the past year, and thanks to all those who bought the book or read the book or didn’t totally hate the book or came to one of my events around the country (or in London). I love you. I really do, and I’m looking forward to writing you a terrific (new) book in the next few months.
[My comments are in brackets.]
- big cock grew.com [My nickname in high school. IN MY DREAMS!]
- cinnamon flavored condom [A little tangential, but, I mean, no one but prostitutes put condoms in their mouths, right?]
- how can i get a handjob from a stripper [If you have to go to google to find an answer for this, I wouldn’t hold your breath for that stripper handjob.]
- how gay is paul Stanley [Tell me about it!]
- huge boobs earphones [What is, “Things My Father Got Me For Christmas in 1997?”]
- is billy joel uncircumcised [No idea, but I really, really want to find the answer. And also meet the person who’s googling this.]
- jason milgrew girlfriend [Close.]
- jayson mulgrew [Also close.]
- jenny lewis boobs [Actually, I think I did this search.]
- “making love and pancakes” [God, I hope this is the name of a song.]
- my mom likes to watch me masturbate [God, I hope this is the name of a film.]
- “pissed the bed” Oktoberfest [Guilty.]
- psychology of sopranos blowjobs [I’m so perplexed by this one that I can’t even make a joke. But I’m going to guess the person who googled this has had sex with less than three people.]
- should i end my engagement [If you’re looking for that answer on my site, yes. 100% yes.]
- turd “to admire my” flushed [Wait, I think I did this one, too.]
- washing sexy baby [Perv.]
So instead of doing a traditional “Six Songs,” I figured I’d link back to the Tumblr blog to all the songs I’ve posted so far this year (and the things I’ve written about them). Some of these I’ve written about on here before, but you can now actually take a listen, if you so desire.
“The Ghost of Genova Heights” Stars
“Sweet Lady” What Made Milwaukee Famous
“Because It’s Not Love” The Pipettes
“Spit On A Stranger” Pavement
“I Throw My Toys Around” No Doubt and Elvis Costello
“We’ve Never Met” Neko Case with Ron Sexsmith
“Texaco” Blitzen Trapper
“In the Midnight Hour” Wilson Pickett
I think that, going forward, this is how we’ll approach Six Songs – once I’ve posted six over on Tumblr, I’ll post something like this on here so that you can go on over there and take a listen. Sound good?
(And yes, I know there are eight songs listed above. Just deal with it.)
And just a general reminder that I do post (almost) every day on Tumblr, even if it’s just a little somethin’ somethin’.
I want to thank everyone who’s recently signed up for the mailing list, having been prompted by my pleas (read: begging). Of course, I want you to come here every day, several times a day, and read over the entire blog at least once a month. But entering your email on the mailing list means you’ll be getting some funny at least every once in a while, and you’ll also have book (and new book! coming in 2012!)-related news and news about appearances/readings/drinking events in your area delivered right to your inbox. So for those who have signed up, thank you. For those who haven’t, c’mon already.
(By the way, I plan on getting a car soon, which will lead to road trips, which I will then spin as book promotions, which I will then write off come tax time. So, in short, there will hopefully be some fun readings and drink-ups in bars within, say, 700 miles of the NYC area in the next few months.)
I’m going to try to get something longer up here, but a crazy, shitty week just keeps rolling on. If I don’t post something, have a lovely, lovely weekend.
I spent most of my weekend hanging out with these two, my dad and my nephew, Liam.
(My dad is on the right, and Liam is on the left.)
Needless to say, a very good weekend back in Philly. In addition to hanging out with the fam, I:
- Ate creamed chipped beef twice.
- Ate cheesesteaks twice.
- Drank for five-plus hours at my favorite bar in Philly (the Artful Dodger).
- Was recognized at the bar by a reader, the lovely Paula, who sent my lady and I over some drinks. At this time, I would like to apologize to Paula: I was buzzing pretty hard and was completely thrown off when she grabbed me, especially since I was about to head into the bathroom and had to pee soooooooooooo bad. But fortunately, I got less awkward as the night went on. Thank you again for the drinks, Paula.
- Had arguably the worst hangover I’ve ever had based on level of drunkness/hangover ratio. Don’t get me wrong, as I mention above, I had a bunch of beers on Saturday night. But – and I don’t throw this around lightly – I’d say that I had a Top Ten Worst Hangover on Sunday morning. It was unbelievable, especially since m’lady and I ate dinner, and didn’t have any drinks at least an hour before going to bed. That pretty much ruined Sunday. Getting old sucks.
- Made it back to NYC on a train that got into Penn Station at 11pm – and promptly hit the in-station Taco Bell. If you think you know desperation, I invite you to check out/patronize the Taco Bell at Penn Station at 11pm on a Sunday night. Not my finest hour.
- Had the most low-key yet productive day off in ages on Monday: out for breakfast, shopping, helped make dinner, deleted a number of porn clips made redundant/unnecessary by Redtube and Pornhub, and walked to the Little Cupcake Bakeshop for some dynamite sweets.
It was, all in all, a very nice, tame weekend (aside from the hangover), which should be quite a contrast from this weekend, when we will celebrate my buddy Brian’s “official” return to NYC by pretending that we’re 24 again (split a liter of export strength vodka and cranberry juice while pregaming? yes, please!). The weekend can’t come fast enough.
(Odds I’m back at Taco Bell, post-11pm, at some point this weekend: 5/2)
Last night, I came home from work to find the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in my mailbox. The cover girl is Irina Shayk. In case you need more evidence than the photo above, she is stunning (all as safe for work as the photo above is). But while my first thoughts upon looking at the cover were sex-related, ranging from “Oh, the things I would do to her” to “But seriously, how long before I’d ejaculate?” (would it be when we were in the same room? when she took off her top? when I touched a boob? or would I make it all the way to actual penetration?), my next line of thinking was, “Geez, what in the hell would I talk to her about?”
For whatever reason, this is a question that always comes up for me when fantasizing about completely unattainable women. Don’t get me wrong, I am a red-blooded American male (potentially with diabetes) and speaking to a girl of Irina’s caliber would not be the first thing on my mind (see above). But my thought process in these fantasies always goes “Sex with her” -> “Make her my girlfriend so as to continue sex” -> “What do we do when not having sex?” In this example, I assumed – correctly so – that Irina was from some sort of small town in either Russia or Eastern Europe (she’s Russian). So what does a guy from South Philly talk about with a girl from Yemanzhelinsk – aside from “Have you ever had a cheesesteak?” and “Russia, huh? Pretty cold there, I hear” and “Do you normally have orgasms or is it, like, difficult for you?”
Make no mistake – I’m not trying to score points with the female readership here (“OMG! He cares about what a girl thinks and says!”). To be very, very clear, if someone like, say, Brooklyn Decker (who I’ve been on to for years, well before she blew up) walked into my office today and said, “I think you should break up with your girlfriend and go out with me,” my immediate response would be, “Do you have any preference as to how I dispose of her body?” So that’s not it.
Instead, I think the answer is pretty obvious: I am xenophobic when it comes to fantasies. When it comes to women I would really like to sleep with but would never in a million years sleep with me, I prefer American girls to foreigners, because my fantasy extends beyond sex and into relationships and thus I would like to talk about American stuff like football or Nascar, The Cosby Show or The Bachelor (not that I watch that), or mac & cheese and hot dogs with my wannabe lady when we have these conversations in my head.
Is it wrong to be so discriminatory? Perhaps. But hey, it’s my fantasy – I don’t tell you how to imagine yours.
(And Irina, if you’re reading this, this doesn’t mean we can’t hang out. I like vodka, and we can take it from there. Hit me up.)
This book presents the results of a years-long research project, conducted by the FBI, in which thirty-six murderers, most of whose crimes were sexually motivated, were interviewed, studied and classified.
(Is that right? “Most of whose crimes were sexually motivated”? That doesn’t feel right. Whatever.)
That’s pretty much about it. You either like this stuff, or you don’t. And it can be pretty graphic. Case in point:
“One murderer, after performing poorly in the service and being intimidated by his sergeant, went AWOL on a drinking binge. While out on the street, he beat a drunk to death after the man grabbed him. The murderer felt justified in his actions and was unaware of the intensity of his rage or the impact of his blows. He then beat to death a second man. Finally, he abducted a female acquaintance. When he awoke the next morning, her dead body was beside him with a broomstick thrust into her vagina with such force that it had penetrated her lungs. Although he believes he killed her, he claims no recollection of the incident.”
You know, I’ve had my fair share of bad nights after some heavy drinking, but THAT, my friends, is a bender. Can you imagine being this guy’s buddy?
INT. DECREPIT TRAILER IN TRAILER PARK – EVENING
BUDDY and MURDERER are sitting on beat up couch and arm chair, respectively, listening to .38 Special, drinking beer, and passing bong back and forth. It is a warm mid-summer night.
Buddy: “So what’d you do last night?
Murderer: “Man, you won’t believe it.”
Buddy: “C’mon – try me.”
Murderer: “So my sergeant really pissed me off, so I thought, ‘Fuck this – I’m going to get drunk.’ So I head over to O’Malley’s, and really, really tie one on.”
Murderer: “Yeah, no kidding, I really needed to get drunk. You know what I mean?”
Buddy: “I hear you, brother!”
[Buddy and Murderer high-five. Buddy hands Murderer bong.]
Murderer: “So anyway, I leave O’Malley’s around 6pm or so, thinking of heading over to Burger King to get a Whopper, when this drunk guy grabs me and starts fucking with me!”
Buddy: “No shit!”
Murderer: “Yeah, he’s all like grabbing me and speaking gibberish and shit!”
Buddy: “Fuck that! What’d you do?”
Murderer: “I beat the shit out of him!”
[Buddy and Murderer high-five]
Murderer: “No kidding, I think I killed him!”
Buddy: “Nice, man, nice!”
[Murderer hits bong]
Buddy: “Wait, you mean, like, really killed him? Or just fucked him up good?”
Murderer: “No, man! I’m 99% sure the mother fucker’s dead!”
[Murderer hits bong again]
Murderer: “I fucking love this song!”
[Murderer turns up stereo. “Hold On Loosely” gets louder. Murderer hands Buddy bong, then plays air guitar.]
Murderer: “So anyway, I eat the Whopper – they still have that two for one special going on, by the way – and I’m headed back to O’Malley’s and, I shit you not, the same thing happens again!”
Buddy: “What? You mean you get hassled by another drunk?”
[Buddy hits bong]
Murderer: “Yeah! It was like ‘National Drunk Dudes Fuck With Me Day’ or some shit!”
Buddy: “So what happened?”
Murderer: “Pretty sure I beat that dude to death, too!”
Buddy: “…Oh. Really?”
Murderer: “Yeah, man! He was all on the ground like, ‘Stop! You’re killing me! It hurts!” and I was all like, “Fuck that and fuck you! It’s on!’ and like kicking him and shit!”
Buddy: “Well, that’s uh…that’s really something.”
Murderer: “Wait, it gets better.”
Murderer: “So now I’m all worked up – having killed those two drunks and all – and I’m getting sober, so I head back to O’Malley’s for a few.” [motioning to bong] “You gonna pass that shit or what?”
[Buddy passes Murderer bong]
Murderer: “You know that girl Cheryl?
Buddy: “I don’t think so.”
Murderer: “Yeah, you do. She’s that fine piece of ass that’s always hanging around O’Malley’s? That redheaded broad with the serpent tattoo on her titty?”
Buddy: “Oh, yeah! That bitch is fine!”
[Murderer takes bong hit]
Murderer: “Well, guess who woke up in my bed this morning?”
Buddy: “Get the fuck out of here!”
Murderer: “WITH A BROOMSTICK IN HER COOCH!”
Buddy: “Wait, what?”
Murderer: “Yeah, man. Shit musta got wild, because when I woke up, there she next to me, broomstick in the cooter, dead as shit. I mean, I guess I did it – I think it was too far up there for her to have done it herself – but I don’t really remember nothing. Musta been a wild night!”
[Murderer puts down bong, raises hand for high-five, which Buddy reluctantly and fearfully reciprocates.]
Murderer: “So anyway, I’m thinking we should not hit O’Malley’s tonight. I should probably keep away from that place for a few days or something.”
SEXUAL HOMICIDE: PATTERNS AND MOTIVES by John E. Douglas, Ann W. Burgess, and Robert K. Ressler
This is the best way to get info on book-related news, including signings and drink-ups in your area (yes, your area!), as well as some funny. I promise to not over-email you (I have to bother Site Guy Brendan each time I send one of these, because I don’t know how to do it, and he’s usually hungover and surly, so I’ve sent five in the past year), and I promise not to sell your email address (not that I have anything against this, but I just don’t know how to do it).
Also, I would consider your signing up a huge personal favor to me, because the size of one’s email list is about as important as the size of one’s bird. I can’t brag about the latter, so help me brag about the former.
Thank you. You are the best.
This is an email from a female friend, using me as the male sounding-board/gay best friend. This is a role that I have played for this particular friend for years, and I’m aware that not all of her questions relate to herself – in many cases, she’s asking for friends (and I know this one is not about her, because she’s with someone). Which is fine. I’m the HMIC (Head Male In Charge) and I know all about this shit.
The answer is no. Not because I have a competitive relationship with my brother (he wins: fitness, brains, and, eventually, wealth; I win: funny, hairyness, and, um, other things that I can’t think of right now), but because there are a lot of ladies in the world, and I don’t want one that’s been all flirty-flirty with my brother. Shit’s gross.
(But I might be a little extreme here, because I won’t go after a chick that’s been with a buddy or one that a buddy has expressed serious interest in, both out of respect for that buddy, but even more so because, again, shit’s gross (if there was any sexytime involved, that is). I know the kind of weird sexual shit I’m into, and if any of my buddies are anywhere close to my level of sexual creepiness, I mean, no thanks.)
But the answer is no, female friend, I would personally not be interested in this lady. Of course, there are exceptions: if I truly felt that I loved her, or if she was Brooklyn Decker, I could probably make it work. But I’m guessing that’s not the case here.
(Also, I would need a little more clarity on “nothing really happened.” What the fuck does that mean? “Well, they didn’t fuck in a bed, but they fucked in a kitchen. During a party. While high-fiving party guests. I don’t even think they kissed, so it’s not like it was, like, intimate or anything.”)
Back in the old days, when I was blogging regularly,
So here’s the story.
If you’ve been reading here for a while, it had probably become apparent to you that I could no longer continuing blogging the way I had in the past. The demands of my 9 to 5 job, as well as the commitment required to write (and later promote) a book, left little time or energy for 10,000 words a month about poop/my bird/being fat/drinking a lot. Throw in the complete lack of inspiration I had in Los Angeles (since I went out about fifteen times while living there for eighteen months) and boom – we were in a bad spot here at jm.com.
This bummed me out, but there wasn’t much I could do about it, I thought. I never wanted to stop doing the blog, but after six years and 1.7 million words (!!!), I wasn’t sure what the next step was. So recently, a friend suggested a start a Tumblr blog.
If you are not familiar with Tumblr, it is a microblogging platform that allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio (description swiped from their Wiki page). What appealed to me most was that it was quick and easy, and allowed for both short-form posts – a picture with a caption, for example, or something like a glorified Facebook or Twitter update – as well as longer stuff about, well, poop/my bird/being fat/drinking a lot.
So just after the new year, without telling anyone (secrets!!!), I started the Tumblr blog with one goal: to determine if I still had any semblance of my fastball, to see if I could still blog again. Not like the old way, mind you, but in a new, fun way, one that both I enjoyed doing and that I thought you guys would enjoy reading.
And after a month of secretly doing the Tumblr blog, I thought it was going pretty well. I was inspired by the usability of Tumblr, where I’ve been able to easily post pics, like of my nephew Liam and the most bonerizing moment of my 2010 (safe for work), as well whole (Six) songs on there, like purdy ones by Neko Case and Ron Sexsmith or songs that you should listen to while high by Blitzen Trapper. Feeling good, I went ahead and posted some of the Tumblr stuff from January on jm.com (backdating the posts), and for the past two weeks or so I’ve been updating both in real time. Thus, I’m back (relatively-speaking).
Going forward, I will continue to post regularly (and in real time) to both jm.com and the Tumblr blog. Some posts will appear on both blogs. Some of the shorter stuff will appear only on the Tumblr blog. Some of the longer stuff will appear only on jm.com. You can check one blog or both – but not neither, thankyouverymuch.
And as corny as it sounds, I do feel reinvigorated. The ship has sailed on multiple 3,000 word posts a month, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help you kill some time at work by taking a picture of my bird in the shower and riffing on that for a good bit. (I’m kidding! Fortunately, it hasn’t come to that yet. Check back in April.)
In the meantime, you keep reading and I’ll keep writing. We’ve got a pretty good thing going.
I could go a lot of places, but let’s just say, boy, I did not see that coming waaaaaay back when.
Thank you for all the support over the years.
This week, I eased into the diet, following three principles:
- Eat more sensibly. Examples: oatmeal for breakfast, “salads” for lunch (in quotes because these salads contain meat, cheese and croutons), and dinners like chicken apple sausages with a small side of pasta.
- Instead of peeing or pooping on the bathroom on my floor at work, walk up at least two flights (sometimes more) and use a bathroom on a higher floor. This adds up, and on Tuesday, for example, I walked up a combined 21 flights of stairs (I drink a lot of water).
- Do not, under any circumstances, go to the gym. Again, easing into it.
So all in all, not a lot of changes. But I got on this scale today and boom – I’ve lost 5.5 pounds since Monday morning.
You know what I attribute this to? Being a dude. Women, god bless you, have to actually work at losing weight. A guy can fart and lose a pound. But don’t hate the player, hate the game.
And now, the weekend – let’s go about gaining this weight back in the form of Guinness and pizza. Happy Friday!
I never thought I’d ever be able to say something like this, especially as someone whose celebrity doppelganger is this guy, but if you’re not into the Jersey Shore/Ginzo-type, my girlfriend and I may just be the most attractive people in all of Brooklyn south of the 9th Street subway stop. I dare me to prove me wrong, and I kind of hope you can.
(PS – Good band name: “Me and the Mongrels”. It’s no Muslim Ron and the Juggernauts, but it’ll do.)
(And I know I’ve mentioned this before, but anytime you’re bored at work and feel like helping a brother out, positive reviews are always welcome, if only so I can forward them to ex-girlfriends and to all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothing and to all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustlin’ in front of that called the police on me when I was just tryin’ to make some money to feed my daughters. It’s all good, baby-baby.)
This is a comment made by minneapolismichael in response to a post on my Tumblr blog which touched upon all the cities I’ve visited in support of the book.
(And yes, I have a tumblr blog at jasonmulgrew.tumblr.com. I’ll explain more later. In the meantime, follow me if you have one over there.)
Now, you’re probably thinking that I’m sharing this with you just because I want to both build up my self-esteem and brag to you all that other people love me (or at least, Michael does). Not so. Well, not entirely so.
It’s probably pretty obvious that I’m rededicating myself to blogging. We’ll get into the how and why of this at a later time, but one of the things involved with this rededication is checking out all sorts of new site traffic information, courtesy of Site Guy Brendan. Now, I’ve had access to this information for, well, forever, but hadn’t looked at it until just recently. And let’s just say that these traffic, um, trackers (?) have come a long way since I started blogging in 2004 and would spend my evenings masturbating to all those gorgeous hit count numbers on my SiteMeter.
What I found most interesting was the geographic stuff – how many people were visiting the site from certain cities and countries across the world. And let’s just say, Minneapolis, you surprised me.
According to my site traffic, Minneapolis is ranked ninth on the list of cities from which this site gotten the most hits. (And yes, I intentionally was trying to phrase that as awkwardly as possible.) With all due respect to that fair city, I had no idea! If I had known this, I likely would have hit up Minneapolis during the book tour, but, well, whoops. You guys need to email me more, as that was pretty much the basis for where I’d do the book tour. So get with it.
Anyway, there were some surprises in the top ten, but I could have guessed most of them:
1) NYC – Duh.
2) Philly – Duh.
3) Chicago – Not surprising, given the terrific turnout at the reading/event there (and the copious amounts of free drinks, of course).
4) Boston – This makes the fact that this reading was my worst even more painful. Fucking massholes. Can’t take them anywhere, or trust them to show up at your book event.
5) DC – Not totally surprising. What a boozy time we had there.
6) San Fran – I didn’t do San Fran on the reading tour because I personally don’t know anyone who lives there and I think I’ve gotten two emails from San Franciscans in the past three years. Again, whoops.
7) London – This one was kind of a shocker. But while we’re here, can I crash with one of you guys for a week? And by that I mean one week a month?
8) Los Angeles – Duh. If anything, a little low, but most of my friends in LA were not into blog reading. (“What is that? Like, a diary? Dude, you’re gay.”)
9) Minneapolis – See above.
10) Seattle – Not surprising, as I have a good group of friends there.
Other interesting tidbits:
- Outside of London, the largest non-U.S. readership comes from Toronto, which is 15th on the list.
- Austin (16), Dallas (18) and Houston (19) are all representing Texas and very close to each other, numbers-wise.
- Hello, Sydney! Largest traffic city in the southern hemisphere, at 26 overall.
- Highest traffic from a non-English speaking nation? Germany, at 6th overall, after the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and Ireland.
Anyway, there you have it. Sorry if this post is a little self-indulgent (a little???), but two things that I love are stats and maps. So I just couldn’t help myself.
Shortly after moving me into college my freshman year, my dad and I were having dinner at some crap restaurant in Boston, discussing my new dorm room and dorm room-needs, as well as some of my new floormates and their parents. When discussing one of the dads in particular, a rather, um, out-spoken and eccentric guy (read: kind of an obnoxious dick), my father, a longshoreman since he was 17 and more of a soft-spoken guy, said, “That’s the kinda guy who gets his ass kicked down the waterfront.”
As portrayed in this book, Hunter Thompson is the kinda guy who’d get his ass kicked down the waterfront.* I say “as portrayed in this book” because this is an oral biography, one of my favorite genres, a style which is a collection of snippets of interviews with those who knew the subject best. But when reading it, you have to be a little bit cynical about the direction the editor(s) has decided to take, because, well, they’re writing without input from the subject and can focus on whatever the eff they want.
That being said, if this book teaches us anything, it’s that being a genius and being an asshole are not mutally exclusive. Like, not even close. Out-spoken, eccentric, and an obnoxious dick, Hunter is portrayed as someone who i) is a monster pain in the ass to everyone around him, who recklessly disregards their safety, sanity and/or happiness; ii) carefully cultivated his persona and desparately loved and desired fame; and iii) despite treating his friends and those “beneath” him terribly, would pander to famous people, whose admiration and company he so desperately sought. One of my main take-aways from this book is, “Man, this guy needs to get over himself and/or someone needs to beat his ass.”
THAT being said, helluva read. I’ve only read one of Hunter’s books (“Campaign Trail”), and that was about fifteen years ago, and though I enjoyed it, it obviously did not inspire me to read any more of his stuff. But there’s no arguing that the guy was fucking lunatic and weird-o whose life, even if he was not a famous writer but rather some crazy mother fucker who lived up the block, is perfect for this sort of biography. If you’re looking for a wild and fast-paced but somewhat substantial (512 pages) read to take with you a trip (say, for example, to Amsterdam), I’d recommend this one.
(*I am aware that Hunter got his ass-kicked by a group of Hell’s Angels, something I knew before reading this book. Based on how he acted throughout his life, I don’t blame them.)
GONZO: THE LIFE OF HUNTER S. THOMPSON by Corey Seymour and Jann Wenner
You can thank me later.
[Author's Note: You’re welcome. I like Maker’s Mark, by the way. (Congrats to Green Bay, etc!)]
Real Talk: UFC Edition.
Apparently, there was a UFC fight last night. I’m not totally sure, because I have an IQ above 83, and thus don’t pay attention to such things. Not that I was much interested in it in the first place, but living for eighteen months in Southern California put me off from UFC forever, and I learned that when someone says “I am a big fan of UFC,” what they really mean is either “I don’t make a lot of money” or “I have been arrested” or “I try to stick as many fingers as possible – as well as, if available, any foreign objects – into a woman while fingering her.” Terrific “sport.”
Today, I had to say goodbye to my old-ass blackberry.
My blackberry had become a running joke at work, because every other employee seemingly had a new fancy pants model, whereas I, the goddamned Assistant (to the Regional) Manager, had the same one I was first issued in 2006.
(Note: It’s not the same exact one. I lost my original blackberry a few months back, and I thought that at that time I’d finally get upgraded. Instead, I got the same old model, and this one even had a crack in the screen. This should tell you about where and how I fit in with my company.)
(Note, Part Two: The picture above is not a photo of my actual old blackberry, but it so happens to be the same model and level of beat up-ness as mine.)
As you can imagine, for someone as superficial and shallow as yours truly, getting a shiny new toy is something that brings me great joy (internal rhyme intentional). So this is not some eulogy to my old blackberry. No, sir.
I was contacted by a guy in our IT department, a guy I’ve known for years and have always been friendly with. He asked me to swing by his office with my old blackberry so he could give me the new one, and when I arrived, he asked for my password so that he could make the transition.
My password for the blackberry, and nearly everything else, is a curse word. More than that, it’s a curse word buried in gibberish. Sometimes, the curse word is the middle of the password, with letters and numbers around it. Sometimes it’s at the end, with the gibberish letters and numbers before it. You get it. But the point is, the only recognizable part of the password is this curse word. And though I obviously won’t tell you what curse word it is, it’s not exactly a normal one. Or a nice one. So…there’s that.
Now, when the IT guy asked me for my password, I stumbled, reddened, and said, “Well, let me just enter it – it’s a curse word.” He smiled and replied, “I have to enter it a few times and this will take a few minutes, so why don’t you just write it down?” It was his knowing smile and casual confidence, combined with the fact that I have always been friendly and talked sports with this guy, that lead me to say, “Sure, I’ll write it down.”
After I wrote the password down, he took the post-it note from my hand with an expression of eagerness on his face, as he seemed excited in a child-like way about the prospect of a funny/naughty/cursey password. But when he read the password, his expression changed. While it was once bemused, a pall of concern stretched over his face, and he looked up at me, and back at the password, and up at me again. I didn’t know what to say and wanted to comfort him, so I blurted out, “Yeah, it’s kind of a long story.” He looked back to the post-it note in his hand, back to me, back to the post-it note in his hand. “Well, uh, I’ll give you a buzz in a little bit, then.”
I should probably give the new blackberry a different password.
I just returned from a five-night bachelor party in Amsterdam with eleven buddies from Philly. While no one was arrested or died, it was pretty intense (but in a good way, like when a girl keeps blowing you after you’ve finished and you have to tell her to stop because it went from awesome to really awesome to “ok, you can stop” to “no, really – it’s almost starting to hurt”).
In Amsterdam, I:
Did all of the things that one does in Amsterdam. You can probably take it from here, right? I don’t want to say that I could live without a Heineken or pot for the rest of my life, but it sure feels like that right now.
(Although it was quite fun at about 10am today when I had been awake for just over two hours and felt a sudden urge to get high. I believe this is called “wake-and-bake withdrawal”.)
(Except visit a prostitute.) So, here’s the deal: we hit it hard over there. I sort of knew this was going to be a trip that involved seriously getting fucked up, but I was stunned – we got serious, serious effed up. So that’s one thing.
The second thing is that I would say that, because of my high blood pressure, fatness/out-of-shape-ness and the fact that I have a live-in girlfriend, I probably ejaculate only 40-50% of the time I have sex – and I might be being generous here. (The decline of my ejaculatability over the past few years is really an untalkabouted tragedy, but we’ll delve into this at a later point.) While in Amsterdam, there was really not even one hour that I was not drunk or hungover, high or having to shit (since we basically ate like homeless people there, eating whatever was cheap, quick and available). So if I barely get off during sex anyway and on this trip I was destroying my body to the extent that I was lowering the powers of genitals to historically low levels, why would I pay 100 Euro to some chick from Latvia so that I can not ejaculate, make myself tired, and then feel bad that I just wasted $137? So this is why I didn’t visit a pro in Amsterdam.
(Oh, and also because I have a girlfriend. Of course.)
(By the way, “lowering the powers of genitals to historically low levels” is really the best I can do right now. I can’t tell you what kind of struggles today has brought in terms of being able to think and express thoughts coherently. So you should stop reading now if you’re looking for Hemingway. I’m wording this post with the best words that I can.)
Ate Wok To Walk every single day. On the first day, Eddie, my buddy and roommate for the trip, told me that we had to swing by this place. It’s a noodle shop that makes it nice and easy for stoners: pick one of six noodle types listed in one column, then pick your additives (meats, veggies, etc) from a dozen or so selections listed in another column, then pick one of six sauces listed in a third column. It is also open really late, and possibly even 24 hours (I never saw it closed).
Why this is a perfect food joint for the stoner who’s visiting town for only a few days is because my friends and I became obsessed with different combinations. Sitting in a coffeeshop all day smoking pot really gets the appetite going, and if you were to eavesdrop on our conversations, you’d hear a lot of:
“Dude, I think I’m going go one, four-six, three.”
“Dude, that would be awesome. Did I tell you what I got last night?”
“I went four, two-three-nine, two.”
“Are you shitting me?”
“I GOT THE SAME THING YESTERDAY!”
[fifteen minutes of high-fiving and hysterical laughter, then six hours of re-telling the story to others in the group]
So if you live in a high-stoner area and are looking for a business opportunity, I’d advise you to check out Wok To Walk.
Nearly got hit by numerous bicycles, cars and trams. When you think about it, Amsterdam has to be one of the worst places in the world to stumble around high. First, there are hundreds (not an exaggeration) of bicyclists zipping around the streets. Then you have these above-ground trams that run right on the street level, as opposed to elevated platforms. And then there are a shit-ton of cars, most of them little, zooming around. Finally, THERE ARE MILES AND MILES OF CANALS. It’s not so much a city but an obstacle course.
(Also, I probably saw two thousand different people on cycles or Vespas over the course of the trip, and not a single helmet. Not a one. Get with it, Amsterdam.)
Had an incredible time. I don’t know many people who can do mushrooms with a group that includes nine guys they’ve known since they were six years old (and two new buddies) and laugh so hard and for so long that they throw up (the mushrooms might have had something to do with that) (just guessing, that is, since this is all hypothetical, of course). Two weeks ago I was partying in a suite in Vegas with some of my best buddies from college and high school, and two days ago I was partying in goddamned Amsterdam with the same guys I went to first grade with. I am a lucky sumbitch.
(By the way, the picture above is the best picture I took in Amsterdam. Out of 70 pictures, this one is the best. Get me stoned and give me a camera and I will make the magic happen.)
See y’all when I get back. And yes, I’ll smoke a lil’ for you.
At 1pm on Thursday (January 6), my world was right: the day was half over, and my plan after work was to get a haircut, pick some some of my favorite Thai food (Spice/Sea Thai in the East Village, which I hadn’t had since moving out of the LES a few weeks back), and then head back to my empty Brooklyn apartment and gloriously and repeatedly manipulate my genital to ejaculation while watching strangers have sex on my computer, as my girlfriend had left that very morning for a ten day work trip of the West Coast. Yes, some serious Uncle Jason time was in order.
Instead, by 3pm, I was in a car, headed home with no haircut and no Thai food, because I was feeling so ill that I had to leave work immediately.
Thus began a six-day saga that was the worst illness of my life. I’m not being dramatic here – I’m the nerd who had perfect attendance in grade school and still brings this up at parties (and, obviously, in blog posts). I never get sick. Well, not “never,” but when I get sick it’s usually because I’m hungover or because of a 24 hour bug or because I more or less treat my body, specifically my intestines and colon, like a Dumpster.
But this was none of those things. It started with a mild cough on Wednesday night that I thought nothing of, but it came on like a tsunami at work the following work – more coughing, chills, sweats, exhaustion, etc. I just had never felt so whupped before, and so suddenly.
I emailed my manager, telling him that I might have to leave and work from home, and he asked that I hold on, telling me he’d be back in the office shortly (he was at lunch). I waited and when he came back he explained that within ten minutes of my email, he got an email from my colleague who sits in the office next to mine saying the same exact thing. It was like mother fucking Outbreak in that building. (The next day, four of my colleagues, all of whom sit around my office, called out sick.)
And thus I was sick on Thursday. And Friday (which was worse, so bad I couldn’t even read, because I was unable to focus). And Saturday (when I made my first venture out of the apartment, to the grocery store two blocks away, where I had to take a break in the middle of shopping for chicken soup and Gatorade to lean on the ice cream case, because I felt like I was going to faint). And Sunday (when the Eagles loss was almost ok with me, because I was practically delirious). And Monday (when I called out sick but worked from home, because if I didn’t do something productive, I was going to lose my mind). I went back to work on Tuesday, but even then, I wasn’t feeling great. Still, I toughed it out, and by the time I left for Vegas the following Thursday night, a week after initially feeling sick, I was probably up to 90% better.
So the first test of 2011 was a monster illness, which, thankfully, I have survived. Here’s hoping for a little less sickness – and while we’re at it, a little less goddamned snow – for the rest of the year.
Yesterday, I saw that my book got a one star review (and a simple “not funny” comment) from someone who gave a four star review to Jodie Sweetin’s book (Jodie Sweetin is Stephanie Tanner, in case you don’t know).
Next week, I imagine the slutty coat check girl my local strip club will suddenly show up at my office and make a better presentation at the annual partners’ meeting than I will, and a homeless man will stop me on the street and tell me what a shitty business development manager I am – and that Boner Stabone could obviously do a much, much better job.
This is why writers drink a lot.
- Incredible fucking dip (if I could choose a place to die, it would be in a tub filled with the onion dip).
- Incredible fucking cupcakes (the salted caramel made me pee a little bit, but only it wasn’t pee but clear and more sticky and kinda smelled like bleach and felt like a sneeze).
- A number of people saying, “Wow, your apartment is gigantic.”
- Good friends and good company.
It did, however, have some lowlights:
- There was no bar crawl, because everyone left. (Well, that’s not true – me, the lady and a friend who lives in Bay Ridge went to two bars, but the remaining 15+ people came just for the brunch and left.)
- Three of the 25 people I invited came to brunch (I am not speaking to a number of “friends”).
- No one ate my eggs (not surprising – they were not very good, especially not compared to the other options).
So the takeaway is that the brunch portion was a lot of fun, and I’m glad people came out. But at the same time, I feel bad – why the heck would anyone come waaaay out to Bay Ridge (see previous post) for a two hour brunch? Even while the brunch was going on, I was expecting us to hit the road and tear up the bars of the ‘hood well into the evening hours. But then this one had to go, and this one had to leave, etc.
Alas. I was looking forward not so much to the brunch, but showing people all the cool (and cheap) dive bars of the neighborhood and getting proper bombed all day. Instead, I was home by 6pm and cleaning syrup off my kitchen counter.
At least there are still some of those cupcakes left (even after I had two for breakfast).
In part, I don’t blame them. When I lived in Manhattan, I viewed Brooklyn like all Manhattanites do: as a place for poors and hipsters. A buddy once said of Hoboken that being able to afford to live in Manhattan but choosing to live in Hoboken is like going to see Led Zeppelin in their prime and spending the whole concert listening from the bathroom. Something similar, I felt, could be said of Brooklyn, and so I was especially confused when I saw my friends moving there and paying gigantic prices to live in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill or even Park Slope. The point is that I’m not so far removed from being a Manhattan snob that I don’t understand where these reluctant friends are coming from when they express emotions ranging from indifference to disgust about coming to our little brunch/bar crawl waaaaaaaay out in Bay Ridge, which is really only about a 35-40 minute subway ride from almost anywhere in Manhattan.
But I will say this: I have a four bedroom, two bath apartment. That’s a master bedroom, a proper guest bedroom (with full-sized bed and closet), an office for me and a dressing room (with two closets) for the lady, in addition to his and her full baths. For all I know, my girlfriend could be keeping dead runaways in her dressing room and bathroom and I’d have no idea, because I never enter these rooms. We also have a real living room with gigantic windows from which I cannot touch the wall of the neighboring building, and a real kitchen with a six-feet long island (well, technically it’s a peninsula, but you get it).
There is a Welsh pub on my block and numerous Irish pubs ranging from “real dive” to “posh dive” within walking distance; a supermarket two blocks away and a bodega on nearly every corner; plenty of Laundromats and dry cleaning options; and terrific Italian, Chinese, Mexican and cheesesteak (!!!) places within a tennis ball’s throw of our place. If I wanted, I could own a car and either park on the street or pay a relative pittance to park in a nearby garage.
And now, the best part: We pay less than $2000 per month – I would even say “comfortably” less than $2000 per month. For non-New Yorkers, this still may sound like a lot money to pay for rent, but check out the prices for Manhattan one bedrooms on craigslist, and good luck finding even a one bedroom for less than $2000 (and again, we have four bedrooms) (and two bathrooms). At 31, I am paying the cheapest amount of rent I’ve paid since I was 24, and I am saving so much money that after my rent is deducted from my bank account, I do not know what to do with all the extra cash.
(Well, that’s not true – I’m doing pretty well spending it, mostly on trips and luxury items.)
So after seven years and most of my 20’s living in Manhattan, I am happy to have my little place in the relative hinterlands of NYC. I love my apartment and my neighborhood. And if you don’t, that’s fine. But please, don’t talk crap on my ‘hood, just because you’re bummed that every month you have to write a rent check that constitutes 64% of your monthly take-home pay.
And if you’re nice, next time we hang out maybe I’ll buy you a beer – Lord knows I need to find ways to spend all this extra cash!
[more laughing maniacally]
A picture from a New Year’s Eve party, at which my buddy Dave, the host, got a pig (in case you couldn’t tell from the picture).
In exactly one week, I leave for Amsterdam for Dave’s bachelor party with a number of guys in this picture. I’ve only been to Amsterdam once, in 2000, and for about fourteen hours, and in that time my buddy Conor and I almost got robbed by a dude with a knife. Next week, I’m headed there for five nights with twelve dudes from South Philly, the large majority of which have never travelled anywhere but the Jersey shore, Key West or Cancun. The motto for our trip is “Thirteen Dudes, Eight Criminal Records.”
God help that city.
Las Vegas at dusk. No kidding, it’s unlike any place else on earth. Not just because of the natural beauty of the colors exploding across the sky as the sun sets over the mountains, but because of the anticipation; if the best part of sex is the walk up the stairs, dusk in Vegas, with all its endless possibilities, soon to be unfurled, is the best part of visiting the city.
(Well, would you look at me! I’m a photographer and a poet, apparently.)
This is a picture of me, in our suite in Las Vegas, dancing around and pointing an (unloaded) gun that belongs to a buddy (who is a federal agent) at my genitals, pretending to shoot them off.
I think this just about sums up my four nights in Las Vegas, a trip we called WidowMaker II. But a couple of other thoughts:
Vegas = high school. Sexually-speaking, that is. You see, I did not get laid in high school, because I was not physically attractive. However, I started getting laid a little bit in college and got laid at a pretty good clip (for my weight class) after college because, even though I’m still not very good-looking, I’m kinda rich and funny. Things like these matters when girls get older (thank god!), but they don’t mean dog shit when you’re 16 and would literally give up two of your fingers to ejaculate inside or even in the presence of an actual, complicit living woman.
However, in Las Vegas, it’s right back to the high school model of sex: if you ain’t good looking, you ain’t getting laid. Sure, being rich will get you laid in Vegas, but you have to be rich rich and not just kinda rich. The only people picking up other people in Las Vegas and making love to them have muscles/good physiques and expensive haircuts, as well as wardrobes that do not consist entirely of clothes i) purchased off the sale rack at Banana Republic; ii) bought at thrift stores in the Hermosa Beach area; or iii) more than eight years old.
Girls, girls, girls. I and another buddy landed on Thursday night, and our four remaining friends showed up on Friday (one buddy lives out there). That’s seven guys in total. By late Sunday night, we had determined that not one of us had spoken to ONE, SINGLE WOMAN who was not under the employ of a business that we were patronizing (e.g., blackjack dealers, bartenders, strippers, etc). True story. Seven guys, and not one conversation with a girl in which money did not immediately change hands either just before or just after.
(This spell was broken on Sunday night, when we went to the Hofbrau Haus for dinner and spoke briefly to the girls sitting next to us before they left and went to a club, and at least two of us went back to the room to poop.)
Bets, bets, bets. I did ok over the weekend, winning on the Steelers and Bears, but losing on the Falcons (-1! at home! Matty Ice!) and Pats (like the rest of the universe). However, I picked a couple of futures that I would like to share, if you don’t mind:
To win the World Series: Brewers at 40/1, A’s at 30/1. These were the most appealing to me, by far. I like that Brewers staff, three strong with Greinke, Gallardo and Marcum, as well as their offense and an owner who’s obviously going all in this year; I would think that 25/1 might be more likely for the Brewers, so I was really happy with 40/1. I like the A’s a little less, but the Giants just proved that it’s possible to win with good pitching and a bunch of shitty bats putting it together, so with the Anderson-Cahill-Gonzalez-Braden top four and a good bullpen, even a modest offense can get them into the playoffs in a weak division, and then who knows what happens.
An aside: best bet to win the 2011 World Series? That would be the Philadelphia Phillies, at 8/5. Boy, despite all the success that the team has had recently, that still felt weird to see that.
To win the Champions League: Arsenal at 20/1. I know I basically gave away $20 on this one, since there’s no way that Arsenal’s going to win the Champions League, but why not?
To win the NBA title: Knicks at 25/1. Actually, I did not bet on this – I was going to, but got distracted and then forgot about it. But I’m kicking myself here, because i) if the Knicks get Carmelo, that would significantly increase their chances and thus lower these odds and ii) I’m a Sixers “fan,” but one of the things that I’ve also felt I’ve missed out on living for the past decade-ish in NYC is a good Knicks team. Their revival this year, though modest, has proven that this is a great basketball city, and it would be exciting to see them do well in the playoffs.
Next up, Omaha. My friends and seem to joke about this every time we go to Vegas, but, well, do we really need to go to Vegas, when we spend most of our time sitting around our really nice hotel room, crushing Buds and smoking cigarettes, and talking about good times we’ve had or girls we’ve effed? For a lot less cash (and a lot more convenience), we could just as easily fly to somewhere in the middle of the country and have 82% to 88% of the fun we had/have in Las Vegas – I’m certain we can find ourselves a really nice suite in Kansas City or Omaha or whatnot.
But alas, I’m just as certain that this time next year, we’ll be in Las Vegas once again. In the meantime, there is talk of a fall trip to one of my favorite cities, New Orleans, the only city outside of Nevada in which picking up a prostitute is slightly more difficult than picking up a pack of cigarettes. Looking forward to it!
Now, this doesn’t happen a lot. But over the course of my “illustrious” “career,” it definitely has happened more than it should have (let’s say more than thirty times but less than fifty times). And I’ve never known the appropriate way to respond.
That is, until it came to me in the Apple Store.
“Me? Yeah, I wish!” [a beat] “No, but seriously, I am Jason Mulgrew.”
I think this is what I’m going with from now on.
Real Talk: ManGroomer edition.
Because of this cold/flu/illness, I’ve left my apartment twice in five days. I’ve run out of things to read, watch, eat, clean and/or pretend I’m fucking.
Last resort? The grooming. I fear I may have gone a little crazy – I went from Uzbeki uncle to Greek kid who’s not quite hit puberty yet but is getting close – but hey, it always grows back.
Before we continue, you should know that I am a steak expert. Actually, I should clarify that: I am an expert on the steakhouses of Manhattan. Back in the halcyon days of (parts of) 2005, 2006 and 2007 when I was young, rich and single (thus the “rich” part), my friend Nicole and I would go to fancy dinners once a month and just blow it out. We’d alternate – she’d pick and I’d pay, then I’d pick and she’d pay – and we’d eat the shit out of some fine, fine foods. When I picked, I almost always chose steakhouses. So if you name a steakhouse in the city, I’ve been there.
[My favorite? Dylan Prime. A cool atmosphere that’s suitable for both dates and parents, a nice connecting lounge area for pre-dinner drinks, inventive dishes (pork belly tater tots and prosciutto bread pudding are two of my faves), a terrific Manhattan, and a steak that, coupled with the foie gras butter chapeaux, may bring you closer to heaven in life than you’ll ever get in death (in my case, at least).]
So I like going to steakhouses, and was looking forward to eating at one in my new ‘hood.
The decor of Embers was not so much old school, which implies charm and care, as it was dingy, which implies ”we decorated this place thirty years ago and pretty much left it at that.” However, I was not bothered – I typically don’t put much stock in ambiance (food is first and foremost and only) and my date this evening was my goddamned live-in girlfriend, who I more or less stopped trying to impress the minute she said, “So, I’m going on the pill.”
Adding to the decor was the clientele, which consisted of a group of 60-somethings at the bar by the entry who spent most of our dinner screaming at “Wheel of Fortune” and a 60-ish couple who sat nearby and argued the whole time, going from agitated to calm and back and forth and back and forth. Because there was no one in the restaurant, we could hear their whole argument, including when the woman said, “I fucking love the sex with you!” Which is exactly what you want to hear from a 60-something lady Brooklynite before you put 11 oz of meat into you(r belly).
(And I’m not joking here – she actually kinda screamed “I fucking love the sex with you!” in the middle of the restaurant. Was the place dilapidated? Sure. Mostly empty? Yep. But what compels you, as a 60-something woman, to almost scream “I fucking love the sex with you!” in a public place. Stay classy, Bay Ridge.)
I started with the caprese and m’lady got the salad, both of which were in the B/B+ range; the caprese big hunks of mozzarella and fresh tomatoes drizzled with Italian dressing and the salad crisp and fresh. We both got filet mignons, which came with the veggie of the day (broccoli) and about four choices of potato – both of us opted for the potato pie, which was written about positively in reviews. While not so innovative with the sides, I would agree that the potato pie was spectacular – a crusty lump of mashed potatoes, but very moist and with chunks of ham (!!!) in it – and the broccoli was, well, broccoli.
The steak was solid, but unspectacular, better than what I expected when I first walked into the place. Nothing to praise, nothing to complain about. Just steak. (I’m tempted to write that a steak is a like a blowjob – even the worst is pretty good. But I can’t, because there are some terrible, terrible blowjobbers out there, and so that comparison wouldn’t be fair to steaks everywhere, now would it?)
But the best part of the whole meal? Three drinks (total), two apps, two steaks and four sides = $100. The filets themselves were $27 and they included the two sides, whereas a filet at my favorite place (Dylan Prime) is $39, and each side is $9. So it was less than half the price of what I’m used to paying.
All in all, not a bad experience. I got a decent meal at a bargain price, was reminded of how much I hate Wheel of Fortune, and thought about what constitutes terrific sex for people in their 60’s. You don’t get shit like that in Manhattan.
I’m headed to Vegas in a few days and am practically shitting myself with excitement. My buddies and I are doing three nights at an incredibly sexual-awesome two bedroom/two bath suite at the Hard Rock that’s over 1400 square feet, has a wet bar, balcony, lounge, etc. Again, practically shitting myself with excitement.
However, I’m landing at 11:15pm on Thursday night, while the rest of my buddies are arriving on Friday. I figure I’ll just eat, gamble and go to bed, and thus I didn’t need anything fancy in terms of a hotel room for the one night I’m alone. But while looking on Vegas.com, I found the room above at the Hard Rock for Thursday night for $76. Yes, $76.
I’ll be alone, and I’m terrified of prostitutes, but I have to fuck myself about 15 times in this sexy room, don’t I? (Don’t answer that, because it’s going down either way.)
Intrigued, I was. I remember as a kid my dad saying that Herschel Walker, then a beast in the NFL, got so jacked and by doing only hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups every day, and he had never, ever entered a weight room. That’s cool, I thought. And then it ended there, as it certainly didn’t inspire me to start doing push-ups or sit-ups, but rather to have another TastyKake (I presume).
Anyway, I decided to give this challenge a go, and when I started, I did (I think) four push-ups. Just four. Yes, this is a distributingly low number for a 29 year old man who was not physically handicapped about the arms, chest and shoulders. But here’s the thing: I wanted to do them right. I know I could have done a lot more if I had cheated – if I had done them quickly, bending my elbows just a little bit, popping slightly down and popping quickly back up. But I did four, real, actual push-ups, taking it slow, getting down all the way, waiting a second or two, and then slowly rising back up. Four consecutive push-ups.
Six or seven weeks later, after sticking with the program and doing them the right way, I did 77 push-ups in a row.
So while I didn’t get to 100 straight (I sort of hit a wall around the 77, and never got higher, and eventually lost interest), it was a major, major help in raising my level of fitness/strength. I remember sitting at a bar with a buddy a few weeks into the program and crossing my arms and feeling something unusual on the back of my arm that had never been there before, this mass that caused me to question whether someone had secretly crazy-glued a smooth rock to my arm while I slept. Upon further inspection, I learned it was an actual tricep muscle, one that, for the first time, felt more like muscle than mashed potatoes. And around this time, a female friend, who didn’t know I was doing the program, saw me in a bar, regarded me, and said, “You look, like, bigger – but in a good way” and then she rubbed my chest, which was slowly transforming from simply being a home for my man boobs to a Physical Wonder To Marvel At While You Are Lying Below It, Being Penetrated And Having Multiple, Compound Orgasms.
The short of it is that while I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, I’m back in the saddle with the 100 Push-Up Challenge. I started two nights ago, and though I won’t tell you my initial number, it was certainly higher than four, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to hit that 100 straight in a few weeks.
And I suggest that you, dear readers, give it a try. (Note: I recommend this only for males, because chicks like guys with broad chests, and not for women, because someone once told me that excessive exercising of the chest muscles will shrink a woman’s boobies, and if I am for anything in this life, it is for the preservation, expansion and growth of all boobies everywhere.) It’s really easy to do, kinda fun, and, shit, you can’t start off much worse than I did. Happy push-uping.
One of my favorite pics not just from this New Year’s Day, but any New Year’s Day. This is me, feeding by buddy Eddie some of my sweet cherry (berry) wine, somewhere along Broad Street.
For those of you who have read my book, which I assume is all of you, Eddie is Screech or Eddie the Nugget, who appears several times throughout the book, most notably as the nephew of Uncle Petey, who made us eat the hot-ass peppers.
I went from wanting to jam-fuck this girl to kinda-getting-over-it-but-would-still-definitely-eff-her to wanting to do whatever’s in my power to destroy her career and possibly her home in the span of about six days. I mean, I’m sure she (and the hipster guy) in the awful fucking Hyundai commercials are lovely people. And I don’t fault them – it was probably a huge payday and no doubt an incredible amount of exposure. But if familiarity breeds contempt, seeing the same commercial (almost literally) during every, single commercial break during my weekend football watching breeds deep, relentless hatred that results in me taking the train into Williamsburg or Fort Greene and burning your goddamn little hipster loft to the ground.
Thank you, Bill Simmons. Even though I am very, very serious about fantasy sports, for years I’ve been unable to even read fantasy football analysis – even while pooping at work (which should really tell you something) – just by virtue of the fact that it’s the fantasy equivalent of simply rolling a fucking pair of dice. It’s almost completely impossible to predict, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
We’re talking here about 16 game sample sizes for players, a number so small that it lends itself to flukes. (And no, I have absolutely no background in statistics.) Further, football is a true “team” sport, in that the performance of each player is heavily affected by the players around him: if a QB’s o-line stinks, he doesn’t have time to throw the ball; if a team’s defense stinks and gives up a lot of points, they’re going to passing a lot to play catch up, thus raising a QB’s numbers and lowering an RB’s; a WR can have all the talent in the world, but if the QB blows, well, you get it.
(And I’m sure there are better ways to articulate these points, but give me a break – it’s 10am on a Monday morning.)
Baseball, on the other hand…oh, baseball. First, we’re talking 162 games (or 30+ starts or 200+ innings pitched or 600+ PAs), so there’s a strong sample size from which to base conclusions. Second, of course baseball is a team sport and an individual’s numbers rely on his teammates (a ground-ball pitcher playing in front of a terrible defensive infield would likely take a hit in the ERA dept, etc), but for the most part it’s pitcher vs. hitter. And third, unlike football, baseball has a GINORMOUS amount of nerd stats that, as I said, allow one to fairly accurately predict the performance of an individual player.
A few of my favorite nerd stats (and I don’t want to blow my load here, as we’ll revisit this in March when prepping for the season):
- BABIP (batting average on balls in play). League average in 2009 was about .316. Therefore, if a player hit higher than that in 2009, it’s likely his batting average would be lower in 2010. If his BABIP was lower than .316 in 2009, it is likely that he would raise his batting average in 2010, as this number tends to normalize.
Examples: In 2009, Hanley Ramirez hit .342, with a BABIP of .384. In 2010, he hit .300, because his BABIP returned to a more normal .327. Alternatively, Paul Konerko batted .277 in 2009 with a low BABIP of .282. In 2010, his BABIP rose to .326, and he batted .312, nearly 40 points higher. Konerko was targeted as a “like” in my fantasy baseball preview last year, and while no one is ever going to stay away from Hanley Ramirez, the high BABIP was noted.
- For pitching, I mostly focus on three stats: BABIP (in this case, BABIP against), LOB% (left on baseball percentage) and what I call E-F, which is ERA minus FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, a fancy way of assigning a number to what a pitcher’s ERA would be minus the effects of defense, ballpark, etc.
In 2009, average BABIP was .297, average and average LOB% was 73.86%. In 2009, Max Scherzer had a 4.12 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, because of his BABIP (.323) and LOB% (68.7%) were far from league averages. In 2010, his ERA and WHIP improved to 3.50 and 1.25, respectively, because his BABIP (.295) and LOB% (74.9%) normalized. I “liked” him in my 2010 preview.
As for E-F, let’s take the case of Cole Hamels. In 2009, Cole posted an ERA and 4.32 and WHIP of 1.29. His FIP was 3.72, meaning his E-F was 0.61. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a red flag that means that this pitcher is targeted for a rise the following year. And what happened in 2010? Hamels ERA was 3.06 and his WHIP 1.18. Once more, I ”liked” him in my 2010 preview.
The point? If you want to use actual science and make some money, stick to fantasy baseball (I’ve been making about one rent payment a year for the past five years with my winnings). And next time you’re tempted to read a 3,000 word article written by a fantasy football guru about who’s going to perform well in Week 14 match-ups or in the big Monday night game, instead put it down and ask the opinion of your favorite toddler – they’re guess is just about as good as any fantasy football “expert’s.”
Honestly, I’m pretty much exactly like Dexter. Save for all the hotness. And fitness. And I’m not sure whether or not Dexter prefers to masturbate with his thumb knuckle not quite in his ass but certainly around it. Otherwise, me and Dexter, we’re the same.