Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Whole Year

At some point last week, I heard OutKast's ♫ Hey Ya  on Pandora or Spotify or something. Like a hot tub time machine, I was transported back to dancing ridiculously to that song in my dorm room. Shaking it like a Polaroid picture. 10 years ago. I've never really been sentimental about anything. Or emotional, really. So, I was struck at how much I missed those college days. They were the best days of my life.

I came on here to tell y'all that. Then I was struck by an entirely different sentimentality.

It's been a whole year since I last blogged. Over a whole year. That feels crazy to me.
And now that I've returned to see how things are going (almost 55,000 page views), there's one obnoxious page sticking its tongue out at me. My 30 by 30.

Over this past weekend, I turned 30. It was a wonderful weekend planned by explannie. I've been having big issues with turning 30. It just feels like the best is behind me. Hell, I shouldn't even have that '20 something bloggers' button over there on the right side of the page any more->
I'm not going to get skinnier. I'm not going to get my PhD. I'm not going to start singing or playing piano. My 30 by 30 only makes that more devastating. I made that list when I was 26. I only did 8 of the 30.

Before clicking on the list, I started formulating my 40 by 40. I was sad to see that so many of them were left unaccomplished on my 30 by 30.

Regardless, I am the person I am today because of my 20s. It will be a decade with my greatest moments, and my lowest moments. Blogging effectively got me through a nervous breakdown (remember those days at the beginning?). I partied at Mary J. Blige's house, then went home and slept on the floor in my roach-infested room. I was in the middle of Michael Jackson's death, and I played my trumpet as late President Ford was unloaded from Air Force One in Grand Rapids. I was a Michigander, Jersey trash, a Californian, a Kentuckian, and a Washingtonian. I was depressed. I got engaged. I went into crazy credit card debt. I got an impressive job. I broke a bone and had major surgery. I ran a 10k. I learned how to cook. I learned how to live on my own. I started heart disease meds. I got comfortable with nudity. I started dancing for money. I got out of my comfort zone, and I dragged you all with me.

I'm still not 100% sold on this whole turning 30 thing, but I guess there's no turning back. This moment right now, it's as young as I'll ever be again. So here's to finishing that 30 by 40, and then some. I make absolutely no commitments to blogging again. I loved it, but now that I'm in a different place, it just doesn't have the same appeal. I don't feel like I'm nearly as interesting, but I'm also not nearly as bipolar.

Blogging helped me find my voice. I love telling stories. Now maybe I'll finally focus on writing short stories. That'd be awesome, but ain't nobody got time for that right now.

To 30!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jack Didley's VIP Ouroboros

Though a few people 'liked' my Facebook status that was akin to the title of this post, I fear that not many of you are familiar with the ouroboros. It's the ancient snake-eats-tail symbol that's been interpreted as everything from the Wheel of Time to the phoenix to the cyclic nature of existence. I became most familiar with it via the [Title of Show] show, or t[ToS]s. By the end of this post, you'll understand our current relationship with the great ouroboros.
The only "nightclub" that we've experienced since moving to Eastern Washington is a local gem known as Jack Didley's. While locals have a hard time NOT hearing about how cheap drinks are at JD's on the radio (seriously, most specials are $1), our very first experience at the club was when Annie insisted that we go enter their Halloween costume contest. I won the male division. Annie won the female division. For winning, each of us were given $25 cash and a certificate for a free VIP party for 18 people at JD's in the following 90 days. So, we had 2 VIP parties to use. Had it not been for them forcing us to come back with these VIP party passes, I'm not sure that we would have ever returned. We're just too old to club in a 'small city'...

Though it took a few weeks to actually contact them, I was able to snag the heavily sought-after Ultra VIP seating area for last Friday, the 13th, in order to celebrate Annie's upcoming First Annual 29th Birthday Party. Since we depart for Tahoe this Friday, this past weekend was our last weekend in WA in 2013. I made a Facebook event, invited everyone who's profile said they were near 'Richland, WA', and said that the first 16 people that RSVP would get wristbands, while the rest that want to come would have to hang out on the dance floor with the other peasants. (We ended up bringing everybody we knew in the VIP area, because nobody gives a fuck at JD's.)

The very-classy Ultra VIP lounge's center-piece was, fittingly, a stripper pole. Nothing like eating a fancy Frost Me 'fetti cupcake-cake off of a stripper pole (with Woodford Reserve horse racing napkins):
Merry Birthday, Annie!

Well, some time around 1am, the mic guy (he's not the DJ, he's really just worthless and walks around yelling inaudible things into the mic all night) cleared the dance floor (and the elevated levels of stripper poles) for a dance-off. As the current King of JD's, I felt obligated to participate. I climbed to the top, danced the shit out of that place, and was asked to come back for the Finals, an epic battle of the sexes.

Then, it was the ladies' turn. Let's be real, for a minute. This was the saddest group of dancing ladies I've ever seen collected on a small stage. They all looked either roofie'd or rolling on E, humping the stage or the mirrors or the poles like a pack of horny chihuahuas. A few looked like they had itchy butts and were trying to drag them across the stage in order to scratch themselves. I cheered loudly for a particularly rhythm-deficient chubby girl, knowing she would be easy pickin' when it came to the final. Through a sad chorus of cricket chirps, a female finalist was selected. (Seriously, if you're the guy that came with a lady dancing on stage, it's your responsibility to cheer for her. Don't leave her up there in shame at an awkward silence.)

Then, it was time for me to shine. Rob vs Didley's Skank. Though she tried to woo the audience with her stripper moves, she had no chance against my ability to gyrate and shimmy every part of my body. She even tried to get up on me (slapping me in the face with her desperate flailing), but she was no match. The crowd voted, and the noise level made the decision quite clear. The King shall remain in his throne. I've heard that I looked very similar to this:

Annie made sure to point out afterward that it was not just our VIP section going crazy, the whole club loved it. One of the girls in our party even commented, "Even our boyfriends are cheering for Rob." Never underestimate my ability to not care at all how I look in public.

And what did they have for the winner? A VIP party for 18 people at Jack Didley's! (Where was the $25 this time?)

So, every time I go to Jack Didley's now, it's for a VIP Party. Also, every time I go to Jack Didley's, I win a VIP Party.

...and the snake eats its tail,

P.S. The bartender at Didley's was the second person I've spoken to since meeting them as Miley Cyrus, and both people had no clue who I was, dressed in boy clothes and looking all normal...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

National Anthem

I love singers. That should be clear. However, I don't feel like the National Anthem is the time for a solo singer to shine. It should be a time for all of us to sing, in camaraderie. Much to Annie's chagrin, I (at least softly, or lip-sync) sing it every time we're at a sporting event.

Don't get me wrong, Mariah's Super Bowl Anthem was amazing:
"free" was so high that my TV didn't make a sound back then

And even that wasn't as good as Whitney's:
This was the first time that a recording of our Anthem made the Top 10 singles charts and went Platinum.
It's re-release in 2001 became Whitney's last Top 10 hit.

Regardless, I find this to be way more inspiring:

It should be about America. It should not be about riffs, runs, and jazz. Also, it's pregame. We want to give the Anthem a little fanfare, but we paid to watch the sport. An old Navy singer did the whole Anthem in under a minute before a volleyball game once. Now, that's an American!

On a side note, I have two extremely memorable SSB incidents. The first: I was conducted by John Williams as a member of the Michigan Marching Band when we performed his version of the Anthem at the 2004 Rose Bowl. The real cannons almost caused me to shit my pants. Secondly: upon walking into a Michigan soccer game, I immediately dodged into a port-a-potty to relieve myself. As I was in there, the Anthem started. In front of a growing group of people who were entering, who had all stopped to pay their respects, I had to step out of the john and stand in front of it in order to participate in the group's nationalism. Trust me, it was aw-w-w-wkward.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Hate Movember

I've always cracked jokes about Movember, but it's always been to hide my true feelings. I'm finally gonna come out and say it. I hate No Shave November. There's never a period that I feel more like a pre-pubescent child than when everybody's out wagging around the freshly-grown Chia pets above their lips.

Why does it get to me so much? Well, here's the best that I can do after a full month of growing the 'stache out:
Am I naked? Probably. 'stache is still grosser.
Annie was gone for almost the full month of March, so all I had to tend to were math and Zumba classes in KY. It was my first chance to actually give facial hair a shot (since she'll shave it in my sleep when it starts to look anything like this). As I look at this pic, I think, why didn't they fire me for being a dirty creeper? The truth:  it's so little facial hair that you can only see it when you're as close to me as this phone was. Close enough to see how buck my teeth are. Yet, you'll never, ever be that close to me. Ever. Unless I'm drunk. Then all bets are off.

That one pic not good enough for you? Check out all of this glory:

I shaved it all off in steps, so you could see me with just the creeper 'stache. However, I apparently grow a wiry goatee that couldn't actually be more goat-like. I'm very proud that my face is generally acne free. I have no complaints there, but trying to grow that bird's nest outta my face kept causing big breakouts. Keep in mind that there was NO SHAVING here. That's the splotchy hair problem that plagues my face (aside from it's lack of growth).

Want more info (but less pictures)? I don't really grow hair anywhere. I have armpit hair. I have... ummm... cabbage patch hair? More like kiwi patch. Amirite? Other than that, not much. I have literally 3 hairs on my chest, which make the vertices of an almost perfect right triangle. If I was positive that I was never going to grow any more chest hair, I'd probably get a tattoo connecting them. I have a little peach fuzz around my belly button, but my arms look shaved, and my legs have sporadic, short wiry hair in splotches, not unlike my face (especially my milky-white upper thighs). It also feels like I have three or four hairs sprouting from my butthole, but that's only been confirmed by touch.

Now that you've seen my personal reasons for hating the celebration of body hair this month, we can go on to the more universal problem. Why does facial (or body) hair have to be some sort of symbol for manliness? I can get you pregnant just as easily as some Billy Gibbons impersonator. I can lift things. I like meat.

I'd like to believe that it's just in the name of prostate cancer awareness. If that were the truth, then I'd be happy to confirm with everybody that I'll be getting my butthole diddled by a professional once I get into my upper-30s. However, if you think that everyone is growing it out just for awareness, then you are lying to yourself. That'd be like saying chicks only grow big ol' titties for breast cancer awareness. Nope. It's to show off. The next big 'stache you see this month, ask them how much money they raised for the PCF. If they say they did donate, ask them if it was just so they could wear their disgusting lip caterpillar to work.

The other option:  apparently it's cool to either draw a mustache on your finger and hold it up beneath your finger, get the previous drawing actually tattoo'd on your finger to be 'ironic', or to crochet some facial hair or create it out of some other crafty items. You're right, that'd totally make me feel like my pride is intact.

Can't we all just wear ribbons and jerseys for another month?

P.S. I do feel like my lack of facial hair is the reason I still get asked for my ID quite regularly. Even with my license, a bartender at a swim-up bar probably wouldn't serve me. Young looking. I'm ok with that.

P.S.S. I do grow an enormous amount of nose hair. I've talked about letting it go, and maybe having some kind of Movember comb-over starting from my nostrils. If I could do it without gagging just thinking about it, then I might attempt it just to prove a point.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Favorite Youtube Videos

Picture it: Sicily, 2013...
You're with a new group of friends. (I know, hard to imagine for those of you that don't move more often than seasons of Dancing With the Stars air, but work with me.) Anyway, you're with a bunch of people that don't know you very well, and therefore don't know your shameless plug of Youtube videos. I never know how it starts, but I do know that it regularly ends with the same streak of favorite Youtube videos being played on various devices (though most often a huge HD TV these days).

Since I keep a running list of them in my head, and since you only really read my blog to kill time, I figured I'd find a place like this to list them. Again, if you are an avid reader of my Facebook feed, none of these should surprise you. I'll even break them into categories, for your viewing pleasure.

Since meeting Annie, I"ve been turned into quite the soccer fan. High school me would call me 'gay', but high school me grew up a long time ago. I was just introduced (Saturday night during the Timbers win) to this NBC attempt at getting more 'mericans to watch soccer, and it is so on point!

Key & Peele is a sketch show. Sketch shows aren't typically good. In general, K&P is no exception. However, the East vs. West college bowl is hilarious from beginning to end (except for 3 players). Keep in mind that I collect names that I find absolutely ridiculous. The current list is topped by greats like: La-a ("Ladasha") & Abcde ("Absiddy").

I can't really remember how I came across this (my apologies for whomever originally introduced me), but the premise for this series of videos is great. A new father remakes random conversations that he has had with his daughter, but casts the role of his 2-yr-old to another full-grown man. This is my favorite episode that they've made so far.
"Because I am naked, I am the boss."

Bringing together my favorite 2 things:  ignorant religious fanatics and 90s pop culture.

Unfortunately, this went big when it was picked up by McDonald's. That fact frustrates me so much that I almost linked their version of Russian Unicorn instead, but I've learned through experience that you have to be familiar with Michael Buble's music and videos to really get the full enjoyment of its lip reading. So, here is A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL.

For Men Only
Girls can watch this, but they're not going to like it. They probably will not get it, either. Neither will boys. Men will.

OMG, how many times have I posted this?! This is still my favorite moment from any vocal reality show ever. 2-minute musical orgasm, commence.

Susan Boyle was a great moment in reality TV history. I'm a sap. What can I say? I fell in love with 11-yr-old Bianca Ryan on America's Got Talent. All that said, Jonathan from the Britain's Got Talent's 2012 audition is probably my favorite unsung hero of inspiring musical performances from reality shows. Look how much he's shaking! To top it off, the moment where he says he'd rather keep around that leach of a pop-soprano than to go on without her will put a ball in your throat. It helps that I like me some opera.
"We've come on here as a duo, we're going to stay..."

Les Mis is an epic musical/opera. If you only have one musical that you ever go see performed, it should be Les Mis. Fuck Phantom. Les Mis has lasted the test of time for a reason. Aside from that goddamn Jonas brother, I was extremely pleased with the most recent anniversary release of the concert version of the musical. The extras took it up a step, when cast originals showed up to sing songs with the current cast. Then Alfie Boe sang with 3 other Jean Valjeans, and my heart exploded. (This isn't the same version, since it was pulled from Youtube, but it's representative.)

I'm still hoping that Pentatonix gets big. I think everything that they do is really cool, and it'd be really hard for me to pick a single performance from their season of the Sing Off, but I'm going to have to. Just like you have to pick your favorite child sometimes. Here goes. Skip to 1:30.

Finally, Beauty and the Beast gets an urban remake.
LaWasha. LaDrya. Love.
Just Interesting
Do the Test. How many passes?

Sunday, November 3, 2013


"Why is sideboob so tastefully erotic, while sideball is horrifying?!" - Gypsy B (extremely paraphrased) regarding her first experience at a live drag race (the tranny kind in high heels, not the automotive kind).

Sideball (side Ewok?) became my secret nickname for my Halloween costume this year. I expected the costume to be the most popular costume of the year, so I didn't think it would turn out being very special. Over the years, I feel like we've done quite well for ourselves in our costume efforts, including a Fred Flintstone costume that sparks fear in all who experienced it in person. ;)

Thanks, Beekeeper.
I was going for shock value, and I didn't know how well our new group of friends would take it here in the Tri-Cities. However, when we woke up the morning after the party, our Facebook photo had blown up with over 200 Likes. We must have done something right.

I made our costumes. We found Annie's white suit at Goodwill, which I painted black with duct tape and 3 bottles of fabric spray paint. My top was found at Goodwill, but it was a tank, so I had to trim it. My bottoms are "undershapers" (spanks) from the maternity department at Walmart. Miss S, my friend and hairstylist, did the hair for me the first time. The hand, which was waiting for us in the car at the time of the photo shoot, was made from 3 pieces of construction paper and some cardboard reinforcement.

It barely survived 2 weekends of partying.
Considering the popularity of our costumes, and the most popular Facebook photo (almost 300 Likes now) either of us had ever had (which is saying something, because I'm, well.... popular), we decided to put it to the test and head to one of the two local clubs for their costume contest the following weekend. This time, Annie did my hair, but she did a fair enough job. Didn't matter, cuz we swept both the boys' and girls' costume divisions, getting us $25 cash and a VIP party for 18 for each of us. That'd be the 2nd time we've won a costume contest at a bar, though the last time we actually won 'worst costume' and only because we had a huge, loud group of people with us. The girl beside us in a homemade, shitty Narwal costume truly deserved to win the category.

It's always pleasantly surprising when your work turns out to be more epic than you could have ever expected. I feel like we've set the bar too high for next year among the villagers here, so we'll probably just have to move again.

Happy Belated Halloween,

P.S. I did clean up Cheetos stains off of my outfit before taking it out to the competition. They were on my underboobs.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Month of Something (Probably Failure)

I tend not to finish things. My PhD. My new year's resolutions. Folding the laundry.
Heck, I rarely follow through with anything. A full-time job... Weight lifting....

Two years ago, I attempted NaNoWriMo. So did Annie. I made it through half of the month on track to actually finish my novel by the end of November. About that same time, on a flight to Michigan, I allowed Annie to read what I had written so far. She wasn't blown away, so I used that as an excuse to stop. I didn't really know how I was going to continue, and quitting seemed easiest.

Well, Annie is going to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year. The premise for her story is the best that either of us have come up with since we started discussing writing stories. I didn't have any real inspiration to attempt the novel-writing business again, so I told her I would NaBloWriMo, just a month late. That's where you write a blog post every day for a month. I wasn't necessarily going to only write on this blog, but any blog that I write, as long as I did a post that day, I was going to count it toward my goal.

Then, out of nowhere , everybody hopped on the Facebook Plank Train in an attempt to build core muscle. There was a viral post that took you from a 20-second plank to a 4-minute plank in just 30 days. So I agreed to do that, too. RobPlankHoldMo?

She has nipples...

Then, last night, only 8 kids showed up to Trick-or-Treat, which resulted in me eating way too much candy. That, combined with the fact that my shift got cut at the winery today, led me to blowing off steam by toying around with C# / XNA, thanks to the current class that I'm taking on Coursera. I finally hit the sack around midnight, but I woke up with programming ideas floating around in my head like seasonally-early sugar plum fairies. So, I returned to the tinkering I had done the night before, and wound up with this:

That's right, RobProWriMo. A month of developing my own game, for the hell of it.

Overwhelmed yet? I am.

NaBloWriMo is probably the one that I'm least inspired by right now, but I think Annie will 'inspire' me (yell at me for being lame).

I can't wait to fail four more things,

P.S. I know y'all missed this blog!