Monday, October 31, 2011

"Where's the Schnapps?"

One reason that our recent Michigan trip was so long was because I was a groomsman in a wedding for 2 of my closest high school friends.  They started dating sporadically the summer after high school (I like to think I had a big part in them getting together), and now they're married!!  It was a fun wedding to return home for, and I thought I'd detail some of the more interesting points of the whole proceedings.

Angela Gerber Photography

It started 2 nights before the wedding, when I went with the groom and his family to pick up our tuxes.  At one point, the fine chap whose store we were renting tuxes from offered us beers while we were trying on the rentals.  The groom and I laughed it off, yelling outside that people should drink up.  It tuns out that the guy was politely standing outside of the dressing rooms speaking only to us, and nobody heard him offer beers.  So, we kind of unknowingly ignored him, which is way awkward retrospectively.  The groom's father also made some comment about how gay the guy was.  Well, at some point, guy had his hands all up in my slacks trying to fix the fitting, so that image entertained dad very much.

The next night was the rehearsal.  I'm pretty sure it's the smallest, country-est church Annie has ever seen, let alone been in.  The quote of that night was "the organist couldn't be here because he's pulling wheat."  Classic farmtown convo.  The Best Man is the groom's much younger brother, who was hidden from us for most of his childhood.  He really likes me, as the person that made it out of Monroe and all the way to L.A. He said he was freaking out about his speech, so I told him to send it to me, and I'd give him some feedback.

And the day of the wedding started quite usually.  We all met at the bride's grandfather's, since we'd be driving around in his classic cars to get to the ceremony and pictures.  It was in his driveway that a mosquito was caught sucking on my new tattoo.  It was also the first time that I got to go through their shed of classic/antique (mostly Nash) automobiles.  It was pretty cool.  Oh, and one of my best friends who missed the rehearsal and all of the plans due to another wedding showed up already in his tux.  We'll call him G-raffe.  The rest of us had our tuxes at the church, and we were planning on going out to breakfast in comfortable clothes.

So, we all sat at Bob Evans and had breakfast, alongside one of us in a full tux.

On the way to the church, we realized G-raffe had brought a flask, but didn't fill it yet.  So, in a line of classic cars, we had to try and figure a way to get to a liquor store without the rest of the procession following us.  We managed to pull off with only one person following (bride's father, whom we told that G-raffe had to pee really bad), but the place only sold wine and beer.  Not acceptable.  So, instead, we drove to the church, dropped off dad, accidentally missed the driveway, and drove to another nearby party store to fill the flask with rum.  We claimed we were just showing off the car.

Skip ahead 2 hours.  We're all tuxed up.  All of us, this time.  The groom's mother walks in with smelling salts.  She's really worried that the Best Man is going to drop in the middle of the ceremony.  So I stuck one in my inside pocket, in hopes of saving the day if Best Man goes down.  Then we're off taking a ton of photos, like this:

We finished and headed off in a shaded area with picnic tables, behind a big wall blocking us from the parking lot and church.  G-raffe pulls out the flask, swigs, passes it to me, I swig, and then nobody else would even touch it (don't even get me started on the utter lameness of half of these guys).  That was until the groom's dad came rolling around the corner.  "Where's the Schnapps?"  I'm pretty sure he didn't know that we were flasked up, but it was a classic line, well-deserving of some rum.  The bride's dad may or may not have partaken, also.  The groom's dad went on to tell us about how he got pulled over on the way there this morning.  The cop ended up following him all the way to the church to confirm that he wasn't lying, but it's really no surprise.  The groom is always late, and has a plethora of speeding tickets, so I could see it being a little genetic.

The wedding was great, but really hot up in that full tux.  It was so ridiculously hot in Monroe for the first weekend of October, and I was dripping mid-ceremony.  At the end, I poked G-raffe and asked him if I had white stuff around my lips.  It always happens when I get really dehydrated.  He just looked at my lips with 'what the fuck?' face, which meant I did, so I had to vigorously wipe them on my sleeve before walking down the aisle.  I also spent the first 2 minutes of the ceremony trying not to giggle.  Something about uber serious situations does that to me.  I picture the maid of honor letting off a little toot, or the flower girl falling over, and then it's 5 minutes of me trying to keep my shit together.  I also may or may not have grabbed G-raffe's ass a few times.  And 'swiped a credit card'.  ;)

Throughout the pictures afterward, we had to keep returning to my rental car to 'check on the baby'.  I had stolen a cooler from the ringbearer (they stuffed it with is lunch) and had filled it with pre-mixed Jack 'n Cokes.  We shoved G-raffe and the bride's cousin, we'll call her Lately, in the rental, and Annie drove our slowly-getting-intoxicated asses back to the bride's grandfolk's and then on to the reception.  Not before I peed in an ancient outhouse at the grandparent's.  (They have plumbing, but it's there as a shout out to old times.)

We showed up to the wedding in fine shape.  And here's where things got interesting.  Open bar?  Yes please.  We continued to drink.  At no point was I really drunk, or anywhere near black-out like I had been at the last wedding I was in.  (Sorry, B&G!)  The Best Man won the speech battle.  I really thought the maid of honor was going to pull out all the stops (since she's super smart and competitive), but with the help of my speech, he kicked her ass.  #winning

At some point, somebody handed G-raffe a microphone and asked him to say a few words.  He kind of freaked out, thinking it was to the whole audience.  So, he called over Lately and I.  What a trio we were.  I'm pretty sure I detailed some things on that video that should have never been spoken aloud.  (Sorry, B&T!)  Then, on the spot, Nate and I made up a song and sang it, straight outta 'Whose Line is it...'.  I can't wait to see that.  It's gotta be epic.

Then Lately went on to steal the blog-worthy show.  At one point she was retelling an incident between her and an aunt of hers, who asked about G-raffe.  Her response was, "Yeah, I blew him like 10 years ago, but there's nothing there now."  She didn't know, but the bride's mother was standing behind her.  And Lately is far from quiet.  The bride's mother escorted Lately out to the hallway for a little 'picture'.  Lately had another great moment later where she was detailing how the flower girl was all hyped up on sugar and going crazy while we were trying to eat... or something.  The flower girl's mom was within earshot, and dragged the flower girl over to Lately to apologize.  Which was all kinds of awkward.  Lately begged the flower girl's mom (by the way, the bride's new sister-in-law) not to force her daughter to apologize.  That it really was no big deal.  The mom skulked off, but she sat at the main table with pissed off face for a while.  Nice job, Lately.

G-raffe & Lately may or may not be shown here, in the bottom left.  I'm the top right.

Other notable moments from the night were my dancing.  This blog set me up for really high expectations on the dance floor.  I feel like I fulfilled them.  There was one moment where I was in the center of a big circle gettin' jiggy wit it.  And killing it, if I do say so myself.  But when I danced my way to the edge of the circle, in came a green man.  Straight out of 'It's Always Sunny...', totally stealing my thunder.  It was entertaining, but scorned I remain.  There was also a fun moment in the photo booth with G-raffe where I was pantsless in a half-assed attempt at reenacting the creepy, tucked, mirror scene from Silence of the Lambs.

I guess there is one other quote that's worth mentioning.  An old female rival (both voted Smartest in 8th grade), whom we'll call Moo Mist, made this comment about the Best Man, who as I've mentioned we were hidden from for so many years.  "I mean, him and the groom look nothing like each other.  I'd fuck Best Man.  I mean, not that the groom is ugly..."  Paraphrased, but pretty spot on.

And I think that's about all I'm allowed to publish about it online.  Anyone seen that video yet?

Congrats, again, B&T!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hella Occupy Herbstreit

First of all, I am pretty sure that most of my blog readers are not Californians.  So, I have to explain something. In northern California (the good part... sorry L.A. folks), if you want to emphasize a verb (or adverb), you don't just say "really, really".  Or "uber".  You say "hella".

"I hella love chocolate."

Yes, it sounds ridiculous.  No, I don't actually say it.  However, the FREE 'Hella Occupy Oakland' poster prints that they were distributing last night at Occupy Oakland were pretty awesome.  So I thought I'd give a shout out.

On another note, I've been reading tons of blogs since I started blogging.  The whole subculture of bloggers and blogs is pretty addicting once you find some really good ones and become one yourself.  (Not that I'm a really good one, but I enjoy my blog very much.  Or I wouldn't put so much time into it.)

These two topics are related, in that my current favorite blog (which Annie found) is Occupy Herbstreit.  I hella like it.  It's really just a tumblr site, but I'm pretty sure it counts.  Here are some of the gems from that blog:

Forgive student loans & B1G game performances.
This economy intentionally sucks so it can draft Luck.
Since Annie and I are simultaneously granola eatin' liberals and sports geeks, this was the first Occupy movement that inspired us to participate.  So, we braved the tear gas and police brutality.  We went out to Occupy Oakland to add our voices.
Corso needs the mascot's head of the next Great Depression!!
Oakland picks bad mayors as often as Dr. Lou picks Notre Dame
Annie Occupying Herbstreit
So, that's that.  When we grow up, we can proudly tell our children how we fought the good fight.  We smelled the Occupy movement, and it smelled like cigarettes and homeless people.  I'm not gonna lie, there were a significant number of skinny jeans there, too.

We sent our pics off to the Occupy Herbstreit blog.  Here's to hoping that they're included.  If not, we'll just consider them our first Halloween costumes of the weekend.  *Update: they were included!*

ESPN Gameday is ending as these last words are being written.  Michigan is about to steamroll the Boilermakers.  We were happy to be two more lost Gameday fans Occupying Oakland.  #StandWithOakland

Go Blue!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I hope this isn't just me.  I fear it may be.  I also fear it may help Annie prove that their is something wrong with me.  She claims I have Asberger's.  Or some other ailment that hasn't been diagnosed yet.  She calls one 'super focus'.

I see the number 215 everywhere.  Sometimes it's broken up like $2.15 or 2/15.  But it still follows me around.

2/15 is my birthday.  That's why I started to pay special attention to the numbers as a child.  Tons of things always seemed to be scheduled for that day.  A $1.99 thing at the store would come out to $2.15 with tax.  It'd be the number that my mom drew at the deli counter.  The address of the place we were going would be 2115.  Or 1215.  I'd be customer/receipt #215 at Taco Bell.

Granted, sometimes it's a stretch, but I'm going to start pointing it out to Annie now that she knows what I'm thinking.  We'll see if it's true, or if I'm really just crazy.

Does this happen to everyone?  Is this just a birthday thing?  Or is the number 215 actually everywhere?

Please, please, please tell me that it isn't just me,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oakland Under Fire

Not since Michael Jackson's death (a.k.a. the Craziest Day of My Life) have I heard so many helicopters.  Once again, it sounded like we were under attack.

At 4:30 am this morning, Oakland decided they were going to kick Occupy Oakland out of their downtown encampments.  No big deal to me.  I mean, I like the motion that Occupy Everything is creating (especially Occupy Herbstreit), but I'm not one to live like I'm homeless for a cause.  I don't even like living like I'm homeless for fun (you might call it camping).

Cops using gas on Occupy Oakland

The big thing is that Annie and I live about a mile away from downtown Oakland where all of this is happening. (Since you have to walk around a lake, it's about 1.8 miles away.)  And, as I said before, they used choppers to help their police.  So, yeah, it was loud and annoying at an awful hour this morning.  And it kept going on 'til about 8am.

We kept the news on, to find out when the streets were safe enough to take Annie to work.  You know, since Annie works a block away from where these protesters are standing off with the police.  The roads were closed, and BART closed the nearby station.  We finally took our chances and went in at about 8am, and made it through fine, but I'm interested to hear what happens.

The news is saying that now-awake protesters are starting to return and throw things at the cops.  The professional protesters from Berkeley and San Francisco (donned in ratty 'Save Darfur' and 'Impeach Bush' shirts) have shown up to help make a scene.  And they know what they're doing.  The word has gone out that Occupy Oakland will reconvene at the downtown library at 4pm today.  And that's where things get rough.

2 nights ago.  Tonight should be much more interesting.

Daytime Oakland protests and public gatherings are typically real protesters.  As soon as it starts to get dark, and if there's reasonable resistance to the cops already, the more news-worthy Oaklandites show up to riot for real.  Like, burning streets / looting rioting.  They don't need to be involved or even support the movement; they just want chaos and crime.

And that's what we're looking forward to tonight.  I really want to play volleyball, too, but it's also in the same block that will probably be called Ground Zero tomorrow.  Maybe I'm just pessimistic, or maybe Annie and I can just recognize patterns.

So, yeah, umm... Oakland RIOT!?!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Last Friday, I was driving a friend to the Oakland Airport in the morning.  I got off at Hegenberger (no clue, but I always pronounce it "HEY-zhen-burr-zhey" like it is some classy french word).  The friend that I was driving, who was in the back seat like Miss Daisy, pointed to the Wal*Mart in East Oakland and noted a marching band parading around in the parking lot.  There was a huge group of people congregating outside in front of the entrance.  It made me laugh, and I assured her that I would come back and check things out after I dropped her off.

And I did.  Turns out it was a Grand Re-Opening of this Wal*mart.  There were tons of great cartoon characters in real-life form.  A preacher was praying.  Some city council people were there talking about how Wal*Mart has done all these great things for East Oakland.  (East Oakland is the rough side of Oakland.)  And a marching band.  My life is so random and awesome.

Then, they cut the ribbon, and we all piled inside.  It was really awkward, since 75% of the people there were employees.  20% were official people in business formal.  4% were in costume.  And then there was me.  As the employees walked in, they lined both sides of the aisle, like cheerleaders greeting football players onto the field for homecoming.  I actually needed something from Walmart:  green makeup and brown tights for my Halloween costume, so I thought this would be a ridiculous atmosphere for doing some mundane shopping.

All throughout the store were these characters, and little booths that each one manned giving away freebies.  Dora the Explorer was cutting Grand Re-opening cake.  The Coca Cola polar bear was making root beer floats.  Cowboy Twinkie was continuing to add to the obesity of our children.  So on and so on...

It actually took me back a decade.  If you knew me in high school, you knew that I was a very dedicated Wal*Mart employee.  Back when Wal*Mart actually had a star in between 'Wal' and 'Mart'.

I primarily pushed carts.  I also carried out big items.  And I emptied the full can return machines.  I actually loved it.  It still remains one of my top jobs ever.  It kept me in good shape, I got great sun, and I got to enjoy the continuous circus that is Wal*Mart employees and clientele.  We had a Grand Re-opening when I worked at the Monroe Wal*Mart on Telegraph in Michigan.  (It's since moved across the street and turned into a Supercenter.  So jealous.)  The Grand Re-opening was planned for a day that you probably remember:

September 11th, 2001.

No joke.  We worked for weeks to prepare.  Everyone was staffed almost like it was Black Friday.  Carts were allowed (for the first time ever) to take over some close parking spots as a holding spot for the mad rush of craziness that we were expecting.  And nobody came.

You saw footage of long lines at gas stations where people were freaking and getting gouged.  But, apparently, nobody was that worried about stocking up for impending doom.  Just gas?  Really?  A few people came, but at no point was there more than 1% customers and 99% employees in our huge, sparkling store.  At one point, I think I fell asleep on top of a row of carts out in the parking lot.  It had been a rough day.  They even sent me home early to 'spend time with my family'.

So, aside from NYC, and the twin towers, and terrorism, and one of my best high school friend's 16th birthday, September 11th will always be the Grand Re-opening of the Monroe Walmart.  I'll take that with me forever, too.  Thanks, East Oakland Wal*Mart Grand Re-opening, for reminding me of that.

Once, just once, I had to clean up poop in a bathroom.  It was everywhere.  It was like explosive peas.  It was not awesome,

Friday, October 21, 2011


A few weeks ago, what must be the fattest mosquito in Northern California tormented me throughout the night. I could hear him buzzing around.  And he bit me.  I covered myself up to my chin (fat people can't cover their faces with blankets cuz they'll die of overheating).  Yet, it still wouldn't leave me alone.  I feel like I was up for hours, shaking the blankets near my face so that it would leave me alone.  So, I got up and stomped out of the room to go sleep in the drafty living room.  It woke Annie up, to which she just looked at me.  I responded to her odd look with, "fucking mosquito won't leave me alone!"  And I went and slept on our couch.

The next morning, Annie asked me what happened.  It turns out that my actions didn't seem as put together as I though they were.

I saw:  a frustrated ~RoB making a logical decision to move to a portion of the house where the breeze would keep the torturous mosquito away from me.

Annie saw:  a sleep-drunkened, senseless boy stammering off into the hallway mumbling something about mosquitoes?

She thought I dreamt the whole thing.  The mosquito didn't bother her at all.  They never do.  They're always more interested in the sweet nectar that is my blood.  They annoyed the hell out of me everywhere in Michigan. One even went so far as to suck on my fresh tattoo.  Little fuckers.

These weren't the only notable mosquito mishaps in recent memory.  One actually embarrassed Annie.

We're at the Michigan Men's Soccer game at their fancy, new stadium in south Ann Arbor.  We snuck in with ancient MCards, and we sat adjacent to the student section.  Within a few minutes, Annie's jaw dropped as Stu Douglass and Tim Hardaway, Jr and some other stars from the Michigan Men's Basketball team showed up and sat a section over from us.  We were trying to enjoy the game when a mosquito decided he wanted to play 'tough guy' and start annoying the hell out of me.  So I kept trying to kill it.

I saw:  an annoyed ~RoB slapping at an evil mosquito in an attempt to kill it before he bites me, makes me itchy, and forces me to scratch myself until I'm bleeding.

Annie saw:  a mentally underdeveloped boy celebrating his trip to the soccer match through slow, sporadic applause.

Actually, who knows what Annie saw.  It's possible she understood.  However, she could also see that the MBB team was sitting right beside us.  She grabbed my upper, right arm, looked into my eyes, and in all seriousness said, "Stop.  You look special."  It's very possible that, at that moment, I could have looked really special.  It made me laugh.  Hard.

So, yeah.  Mosquitoes can go to hell.

Apparently, it's bug week here at ~RoB-ing the Line,

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Last week, the How to Do Everything podcast (the one Annie was featured on back in the day alongside Lisa Lampanelli) announced a spider statistic that has been haunting me:  you're never more than 1 meter from a spider.  Or something like that.  1 meter is not very much.  It kind of freaks me out.

Spiders and I have a relationship based on their location in relationship to me:

In a corner or on the ceiling far away from me?  We're cool.
Within hands reach?  Dead.
On me?  Super dead.
Within Annie's peripheral vision?  Probably dead, depending if I'm home or not.

I'm just not a huge fan.  They're either hairy or look spiny.  They have saliva.  They move funny, and they bite.  Some can even kill you, or just cause your tissue to decay.  No biggie.  What scarred me initially?  Arachnophobia, the movie.  I've posted about it before, not sure if it was here or not, probably Facebook.  I've heard I should watch it again to see how ridiculous it is.  I can't bring myself to it, though.  Seriously, seriously psychologically scarred.

I still, more often than not, check around the toilet before I sit down for a little poo time.  Similarly if I'm about to stick my hand inside a lamp shade.
When Google Imaging 'spiders', add the word 'cartoon'.  Trust me.

Now, I'm going to tell you a story about how a spider wrecked my computer room, and almost killed me earlier this week.  I was sitting at my computer, minding my own business.  And by business, I probably mean porn, but maybe not.  I think I had something to do in a few minutes.  I think I have some sort of amnesia.

Anyway, out of nowhere, a very large spider comes out from behind my monitor and starts going straight up in midair on some magic floating device.  Yes, I know they have webs.  Calm down.  Due to the size, the fact that it freaked me out, and it was at hands reach just seconds ago, he fell into the dead category.  I went off to go find a flip flop.

(Side note:  my mom told Annie and I a story about how she killed this giant, hairy spider with a thong.  The mental image was crazy funny.  Her with a G-string, snapping it at this ferocious, hairy beast with pincers.  Turns out that my mom still calls flip flops thongs.)

I walked back into the room with an old flip flop.  By this time, the spider was near the ceiling, over my computer.  The step stool is all the way in the kitchen.  The dining chairs are closer, but still all the way in another room.  So I rolled my computer chair over.  I stood on it, and it didn't feel particularly stable as I was reaching for the spider.  Being the engineer that I am, I got off, shoved it against my computer desk for stability, and climbed back on.  I'm a dancer dammit, I can control my weight on a rolling chair just fine.  Whack!

My first swing was close, but not a direct hit.  The spider started to freak and drop and move its legs around.  I didn't have much time, so I took another swing at him.  Which led to the chair rolling out from under me and smashing against the wall behind me.  I fell down onto the computer desk, bounced off and belly flopped on the hardwood floors.  But not before shoving my hand under my falling (super expensive, HD) monitor.

I laid there, sore, and unsure rather my crushed hand actually saved my monitor or not.  (It did.)  The top of my computer desk was all fucked up, and all I could think was:  the spider's probably still alive and crawling on me somewhere.  I found it alive 2 days later under the top of my computer desk.  I don't think I've ever hit a spider that hard.  There's still a leg sitting there for other spiders to see.

Fucking spiders,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Best Thing Ever

Since I'm manning up and trying to find a reason not to work at the wind farm any more (by either finding another job, or convincing Annie to fully support me, or convincing her to move), I figured I'd do a few segments on the personalities I deal with here.  There are a few people here that make coming to work fun and worth it.  Those people don't need to be discussed in the blog.  They make me happy.  But there are those that make me wanna walk into traffic.  One in particular:  Best Thing Ever guy.

It usually starts like this:  we're sitting around at lunch.  We're discussing some random thing.  Best Thing Ever pulls out a "have you guys ever heard of X?"  None of us, ever, have ever heard of what he comes up with.  "Oh, it's just the best thing ever in regards to X."  Doesn't matter what.  Movies, Coffee, Dystopic Novels, Tequila, Video Games, Models, TV, Life.  He's just so happened to not only have heard of, but also experienced the best thing ever of whatever you're discussing.  Just thought that he'd slip that into the convo.

Or, somehow, the conversation will be slipped to a place where he can be Best Thing Ever guy.  "Animal Planet, eh?  You know what the best animal is?  Cows.  And cows make leather.  And leather makes shoes.  And I just so happened to have tried these pair of shoes from the West Indies that are the Best Thing Ever.  Seriously, you can look them up on Google."  How the fuck did we get to shoes, again?

He's also the geekiest name-dropper I've ever met.  "My old boss was a Fulbright, Rhodes, [everything else].... Scholar who blah blah blah".  I think he just reads things on reddit.  But no, he's 'met' these people.  "I talked to X, he's only like the most influential person in Y, and you haven't heard of him?"  Nope.  In my free time, I watch porn.

And he smells.  In his defense, it's gotten better since the first 2 weeks.  The first 2 weeks were brutal.  I almost quit, since I was forced to train him.  The whole building I work in smelled.  He made some jokes at lunch about how it was because he's playing StarCraft 2 so much.  No seriously, you smelled awful.  Clean your ears.

And now you are thoroughly familiar with Best Thing Ever guy.  Sad that these 4 small paragraphs so accurately describe him.  He kinda irks me if it's not obvious.

He tells me how to do my job, or how he knows something more than me one more time, and a baseball bat will 'magically' appear in my hands.  Needs more days off,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Awkward or Special?

You know those people.  Sometimes they're tall, and when they walk their shoulders have to jut forward to keep balance.  Like their shoulders are rotating on an entirely different body than their waists.  Or that they're pushing their shoulders through some sort of thick jelly, while they're waists are just trotting along.  There are also those average sized people that aren't ridiculously fat, but aren't particularly skinny either.  And there are those that just look lost... all the time.

I guess it would be more appropriate to say 'Awkward or Special or Foreign'.  Cuz when I'm interacting with somebody that doesn't speak great English, the first decision I have to make is rather they are foreign or special.


I play volleyball every Tuesday with the 'good people' at my sports club.  Apparently, Thursdays are for people wanting to play less pretty, back yard barbecue volleyball.  Every once in a while, we get someone who mistakenly shows up to play with the big dogs.  They usually pick up on the cues that they're just not as good as us, and they hop out after a game or two.

Then Tuesday happened.  This massive guy (tall more than wide) was hovering around the edge of the court for most of our first game.  We usually let people come and go in the middle of the game, but people also just like to watch us, so we don't really ask people to join.  They can if they want to.  He hopped in at the beginning of the 2nd game.

In just a few short minutes, it goes all daddy-hit-mommy silent and we are all giving each other the 'what the fuck can we do' face behind his back.  He's slow.  He didn't understand the concept of a setter position.  One time he took a swing, missed it, and the ball hit him in the head.  We've got real eastern Europeans here trying to draw blood, and there's just no room for somebody who doesn't help at all.

But nobody said anything.  And nobody confronted him.  I pray that we were all thinking the same thing.  We weren't sure if he was special or not.  At least that speaks to the kindness of strangers, that they'd be happy to let somebody ruin their extremely competitive game just to give somebody a chance to feel connected and to be a part of something.  But then I wonder, what if he wasn't special?  Is that even worse?

Not really related at all, just hilarious.

Watch me try to shoot a basketball, and you could write this whole post about me,

30 by 30 #1-25

I've heard of a few blogs posting lists like this, and I think it's a great idea.  Below I'll list (and check off) 30 things that I would like to do before I'm 30 years old (I'm 26 now).  I don't have great ideas for all 30 yet, so I'll be posting it in increments of 5 as I come up with them.  I'd be happy to hear what you think (you can add comments or Tweet me ideas @roberree #30by30)!

30 by 30
1. Travel outside of the U.S.
2. Read either Moby Dick or Anna Karaninarova??.
3. Take a singing lesson to find out if there's any hope.
4. Learn how to make crepes.
5. Weigh less than 200 lbs.
6. Get a tattoo.
7. Live in a house (as opposed to an apartment).
8. Clear all of my credit card debt.
9. Return to graduate school, for the last time, to finally get my PhD.
10. Take Annie to Disney World.
11. Go to a Chicago Bears football game at Soldier Field.
12. Eat at Chez Panisse.
13. Finish writing 5 short stories.
14. Learn how to make mole negro.
15. Attempt Fenton's Banana Split Challenge, if it still exists.
16. Go to a Tennis Major outside of the U.S. (there are 3 others).
17. Eat the spaghetti at Scarpetta (any location would count).
18. Purchase (and use) a road bicycle.
19. Start playing my trumpet again.
20. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes.
21. Try a yoga class.
22. Re-dye my favorite black dress shirt.  (If I still have it.)
23. Go to an away Michigan game where I have never been before.
24. Read Anthem.
25. Perform 5 chin-ups in a row.

I've added a whole new page on the blog for this topic, so that I can check them off one by one.  Find it here.

Here's to getting the things you always wanted,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Urban Ho Hoe Hoes

Let me start by continuing to influence the youth of our country.  The youth of our world.  Based on a fantastic article that I wrote a few months ago, yet another of my words was accepted into the Urban Dictionary:  Cheesist.

Thanks for your definition of Cheesist!
Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on
It should appear on this page in the next few days: Urban Dictionary
1. One who thinks they're too good for Kraft American Singles.
2. A person that is prejudice toward bright orange American cheese.
3. A person that will not eat cheese at all.
Those cheesist Californians think their palettes are too refined to enjoy the simple pleasures that are Kraft American Singles.
Your chubby friend that keeps unwrapping and eating cheese slices out of our fridge, he's definitely not cheesist.

While I'm influencing our vernacular, I need clarification on exactly how we're collectively spelling 'ho'/'hoe'.  Until the last year or so, a pimp always slapped his 'hoes'.  And your mom was a 'hoe'.  Yes, just like the garden tool.  But the more I'm online, the more I'm realizing that I may have mistakenly read into Santa's jolly cheer when he was really just laughing at his bitches.

1/3 of Santa's Hos, or Hugh Hefner in a Santa costume?
Definitely a hoe.
Definitely a Ho.
Unsure what these even mean now...

I distinctly remember thinking people were stupid if they forgot the 'e' in 'hoe'.  I feel like it was spray painted or carved everywhere in my town growing up.  I was just as frustrated with people who couldn't spell 'faggot' correctly.  I mean, I hate that word, but if you're gonna pull it out, don't weaken its power by making me laugh at your spelling.
Ho or Hoe?  Or Douche Nozzle?

Apparently it is indeed 'ho'.  Thanks for the clarification, Luda.
Now my childhood was wasted (except I still don't know how to spell the plural of ho),

Monday, October 10, 2011

My First Tattoo

I grew up in a family full of bikers.  No, not granola-eating road cyclists.  Real bikers.  My aunt could kick your dad's ass.  I've seen her kick many.  Hell, my cousin (a girl) could kick your dad's ass.  My grandma could drink you under the table (at least she could until recent medical complications).  Everyone had a 'get drunk and fight' attitude.  Everyone had tattoos.

I was always morally opposed to tattoos.  Somewhere in my childhood I decided I wanted to be nothing like my family (when I gave up drinking and smoking and turned toward the books).  But something strange happened a year or two ago.  I came across a symbol that so thoroughly described me that I suddenly had the urge to get a tattoo of it.  This was that symbol:

This was a symbol that was trademarked for Michigan's hosting of the annual American Nuclear Society Student Conference.  Everything about it appeals to me: the block M, the nuclear aspect, and Michigan being the center of the universe.

When I returned to L.A., I was still infatuated with it.  On June 22nd, 2010, I applied to be on L.A. Ink.  I wanted to get it done on a reality show.  I thought that the story of a thoroughly educated nuclear engineer getting his first tattoo was unique enough that they might be interested.  How many people have master's degrees in engineering and tattoos?  I had stolen the symbol from the conference website, and I had updated it to make it even cooler (to me).

I never got casted.  I never got it done.  It got put on the back burner, but I never completely disregarded it.  Something lately got me really interested in it again.  I made a new friend at a Michigan bar a few weeks ago, and she even recommended one of the tattoo parlours in Ann Arbor for getting my tattoo.  I think that was the last thing that set me.  I was heading to Michigan for over a week.  I would get my damn tattoo.

And I did.  On October 1st, 2011 by Finn at Lucky Monkey Tattoo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after we shut out Minnesota.

It wasn't too painful.  I guess I had planned for it to be bad.  I went in knowing that I'd sit through it regardless of how bad it was.  Don't get me wrong, there's a person carving into your leg.  However, your body gets used to it after a few minutes.  At no point was it completely painless (the bottom right corner of the tattoo was the worst part), but at no point was it painful enough that I was wincing or uncontrollably pulling away.  The sound of the needle got in my head more than the pain got to my nerves.  I found myself tilting my head to minimize the sound of the needle(s).

It was over really quickly, much faster than I expected.  And it looked awesome.  It cost me a little over $100, which is 1/3 of what I was expecting to pay (compared to L.A.).  I finally accomplished my first item on my 30 by 30 list.  I thought it would be bloody (I drank a fair bit that morning, and I have high blood pressure).  He kept dabbing it while he was drilling, and I assumed it was the blood, but that's apparently how they apply the ink.  Not bloody at all.  I feel like I want to watch how it is done now.  I took off the bandage after two hours, and it looked awesome for the first few days.

For the first couple of days, you're supposed to wash it with light soap and water 3 times a day.  That was easy.  It felt a little like road rash at the beginning, and it felt more like a bruise after a few days.  After that, you're supposed to put lotion on it 3 times a day.  By now the scab is forming, and the tattoo has a scaly texture.  I used some fancy fragrance free face lotion that Annie had, but ink started to come out of the tattoo after a few days.  It was turning everything down there blue, and I was worried that the maize lines around the M would never show up again.  I didn't know if this was strange or not.  I freaked out a little (or a lot), went and bought different hand lotion, and things seemed to have calmed down.

My family kept asking me why I wasn't using A&D ointment.  That's what they all used.  I told them that the artist/parlour said I didn't need to.  I was hell-bent on sticking to the directions given to me by one of the best tattoo parlours in Michigan, as opposed to advice from people who drunkenly got their tattoos in a kitchen from a high friend of theirs.

At one point a mosquito landed on my tattoo and started feasting.  I squashed it, and blood stained the upper left corner of the block M.  Much like the blue that's smeared everywhere, I expect it to disappear after a week or so, and I'll be left with a perfect design.  It's not really that itchy any more, so I'm guessing we're rounding the end of the whole healing stage.  Now, I just have to hope that the scabs don't fall off early and leave dull patches in the coloring.  By this weekend, I suspect it'll feel like the rest of my leg, and I'll be officially tattoo'd for the rest of my life.

Your turn to get some ink, Annie,