May Mets Update

It has been exactly a month since I last discussed the Mets. At that time, they were 8-10 and languishing at the bottom of the NL East. They are now 24-20 and are just a game out of first place. Overall, it's been a pretty good month, but because these are the Mets, there were, of course, some gloriously unspectacular episodes:

First, manager Jerry Manuel made one of the most bizarre coaching decisions ever seen. In the ninth inning of a game against the Marlins, with the game on the line, he decided to pinch hit for Raul Castro, the starting catcher. The decision to replace Castro with Omir Santos, the backup backup catcher, was a little strange because Castro's a pretty good hitter and he already had 3 hits on the day. There was simply no logical reason to hit Santos for Castro: Santos is having a good year (for him) and had hit a grand slam earlier in the week, but Castro is a much more accomplished and better hitter than Santos. But, fine, sometimes managers get hunches they want to play, and you have to have faith and give them the benefit of the doubt. Hunches aside, this is where it gets f-ing nuts: At the time Manuel decided to bring in Santos, he was nowhere to be seen. That's because was in the bullpen--on the opposite side of the stadium from home plate--in his full catcher's gear, warming up a pitcher. He was announced as the pinch hitter but first had to take off his gear and walk through the tunnels under the stadium (he couldn't run b/c he was wearing cleats and the tunnels are concrete) to get to the dugout, then grab a bat, then take some warm up swings and then step to the plate and hit against Florida's closer, who throws about 100 mph. That took about 10 minutes (Manuel would later be fined by MLB for delaying the game). Under those circumstances, I can't imagine someone more unprepared to come in and pinch hit than Santos was. That's what made this so crazy, and you knew there was no way he was going to get a hit in that situation. He didn't. The Mets lost.

A week later, the Mets played one of the sloppiest games you will ever see. They made 5 errors, had a runner miss third base and negate what would have been the winning run, then 2 outfielders almost crashed into each other and let a fly ball drop in for a hit in the 11th inning which led, naturally, to a game-ending error (committed by the backup centerfielder who was playing first base). Unbelievable.

And then, of course, there were the injuries: starting pitcher Oliver Perez was mercifully placed on the disabled list because he sucks with a knee problem; 2 relief pitchers got hurt (one with back spasms so bad that he collapsed in tears and had to go to the hospital); the starting first baseman and cleanup hitter injured his hip, is having surgery, and won't be back until August at the absolute earliest; the right fielder is out with a hamstring injury; the centerfielder is getting an MRI on his knee; the starting shortstop has been sidelined by leg injuries, the backup shortstop sprained his thumb, then the backup backup shortstop (who made 4 errors in his first 3 games) got hurt.

This past weekend, the Mets played the Red Sox at Fenway. Dr. Michelle and Chels were headed to Boston for the weekend and were going to a couple of games. They had an extra ticket and wanted me to come, but I couldn't make it. Fortunately, this was one of the few Mets games televised in Alaska and I was able to see them in their seats behind home plate every time a right-handed batter was up. There was some text messaging and they waved to me. They also sent me pictures of themselves eating hot dogs. They love tormenting me.

Why am I not married to at least one of these women?


Best. Compliment. Ever.

Sierra Club Emily (to me): "I feel like the way your mind works is like it's an episode of I Love the '90s. Like, I could just say a word, like Zima, and you'd be like, "Zima? Let me tell you what the deal is with that... And then you'd talk about Zima for 10 minutes."


Douching It Up

It's been over two months since we last checked in with KT and her douchebag collection. I've been meaning to write an update for a while, but the last three weeks have been filled with constant sun and warm(ish) weather, making it difficult to find time to sit down and write. But tonight I found inspiration in the form of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

I didn't watch any of the other Real Housewives seasons, but after hearing the tagline for the NJ episodes, I couldn't pass it up: "Big drama, bigger hair." And the few minutes I watched tonight did not disappoint. For instance, there was this exchange between one of the housewives' 20ish-year-old sons:

Son #1: You just buy books so you can keep them in your room and say you have books. I buy books to read.
Son #2: Yeah, but that makes you a douche and that makes me a baller.

Son #2 followed that up by saying that his "goal in life is to open up 'the face' of strip clubs and car washes." I'm as confused as you are (and I am so worried about the future of our country right now). What does he mean by "the face"? I'm going to venture a guess and speculate that he means something akin to the standard bearer for the industry, or the most recognizable chain. Laudable goals, no doubt. And I really like that he doesn't force himself to choose from his two passions and limit himself to either strip clubs or car washes. Rather, he wants to shoot for the stars and master both. Good for you, Son #2! But I think he should consider combining them: a strip club/car wash sounds kind of cool.[1]

[1] I have some strip club and car wash stories that I can't share anywhere else, so I'm going to write about them here. First, I'm not really a strip club guy. I don't enjoy the experience mainly because I don't want the strippers to think I'm the kind of guy who enjoys strip clubs (note to all of my strip-club loving friends: I respect and support your hobby. I just don't want to go with you.). I've only been to strip clubs on four occasions: The first was when my uncle took me to one to celebrate my getting into law school. We wound up leaving the establishment early because on that particular night the strippers were only allowed to remove their tops. No full nudity allowed on weeknights (NJ has some strange laws). The second time was when my uncle decided to create a family tradition by taking my brother out to a strip club to celebrate his getting into medical school. I was forced to go along and Andrew and I spent most of the night paying the ladies to go away. The third time was at Lobo's bachelor party in St. Maarten. That involved a rented bus that had a dance floor, disco ball, and a bar. We went to like 40 strip clubs that night, all over the island. Some were uber sketchy (like the one located down a path littered with broken glass adjeacent to a barbed-wire fence (we called that one "Beirut")), some were dangerous (like the one where the guy lifted his shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband and suggested we leave), some were super-depressing (like the one that was empty before we got there and where one of the strippers was offering sex for $25), and one had really good barbecued chicken (seriously). The fourth time was at the tail end of Howard's bachelor party in Boston about two years ago. This is what I wrote about that one:
  • Inevitably, one guy will say, in reference to a dancer, "Man, she was really into me," or "We had a really strong connection." He's an idiot and should be slapped immediately.
  • When a stripper sits on your lap and tells you that you are really cute and she "really needs to get some ass because it has been a while," that is code for "you can pay me for sex." An appropriate response (if you don't wan to fuck a prostitute): "Here's $20. Go dance for my friend over there, it's his bachelah pahty." However, if you do want to fuck her, it is best to ask how much it costs before you actually do it. Right, Ari? (Just kidding. Sort of.)
  • Something you should never say to your girlfriend's brother: "Your sister is really hot. You should see her in a thong." (I'm looking at you, Richards.)
  • A phrase you should never utter within earshot of your girlfriend's father: "My psycho girlfriend..." (Still you, Richards).
  • If your best friend's father, a man who has known you since you were 10 years old (and who once prevented your own father from killing you after you totaled your dad's car) turns to you and says, "I really have a thing for Asian women," the appropriate response is to buy him a dance from the nearest available Asian stripper. It's even better if you can get the drunk guy next to you to pay for it.
I almost went to a strip club another time when I lived in San Francisco. A woman I had somehow (she was way too hot for me) convinced to go out with me really wanted to go to the Hustler Club on our first date. I agreed but was very scared and nervous leading up to it. Turns out my roommates wound up planning a long-discussed sushi rolling party at our apartment for that same night. And a different girl that I had a thing for was going to be there. So I cancelled the Hustler Club date and had a great time making sushi with Anita instead. Hustler Club and I went on our date the following week. We went out for a drink and then dinner. She paid for everything, then we went back to my apartment and made out for a little while. Then she left and called me a week later to tell me she was getting back together with her girlfriend. Anita and I wound up hanging out for a couple of months. Things ended right around the time I told her I was moving to Alaska for a three-month job. She said she knew I was going to stay in Alaska and would never move back to SF. I said she was crazy.

Regarding car washes, at a Christmas party in NJ last December I had a conversation about the state of the economy with a friend's uncle. He explained that he wasn't experiencing any financial problems as he "still gets his car washed every week." I found this quite odd. Is this an economic indicator? Should it be? Do people in America wash their cars that often? I live in Alaska where no one cares what they or their cars look like. Plus, there is so much dust, mud, rock and volcanic ash flying around that it is impossible to keep your car clean for more than 20 minutes unless you never drive it. No one I know gets their car washed that frequently (or washes it themselves that often--we do things on our own up here). I usually clean it myself, but I take it in for a professional thorough machine washing twice a year. The last time I took it in I learned the hard way that my sunroof leaks. There is just a small break in the seal, but that small opening allowed gallons of soapy/dirty car wash water to pour in all over my head. That was fun.

That was a long footnote, huh? Back to the main issue: the Real Housewives of NJ left me strangely conflicted. On one hand, having grown up in NJ, I found myself nostalgic for the Garden State and it's many many malls. Yet, on the other, I was so glad that I don't have to deal with those lunatics on a day-to-day basis anymore. But I digress. Remembering that NJ has the highest douche density in the country, I decided that I could wait no longer to share and comment on KT's Early Summer 2009 douchebag collection:

Stay classy, Long Island.

Is the guy on the right touching himself?

Female Douchebags: Douchebagesses?

Or does Douchebaguettes work better?

I look at this guy and I immediately think "Don't leave your drink unattended."

See what I mean?

His arm is bigger than her waist!

"Smugness is not a good quality."

Is he in the Douchebag Boy Scouts?

Here's a closeup. Is that the Douche Scouts merit badge for "niceness?"

OMG--there's two of them!

Why would anyone buy that shirt? Also, this is a rare sighting of the elusive Laconic Douchebag.

Dear ET: I miss you. Love, Elliot.

Does that even count as wearing clothes?

Reason #1 why you should learn how to use Facebook's privacy settings.


Tuesday Night Random #5

In an effort to help stave off the post-election blues some of you may be experiencing, we provide another list of excellent procrastinatory material. Enjoy:
  • Melanie Griffith has lost her mind. Check out her official website.
  • I was recently called "boss," "slim," and "pampers" in the same day. By three different totally unrelated people.
  • What human being would really buy a jacket like this?
  • As McGeez explains, it's now cool to play Settlers of Catan. I no longer have to be ashamed of how I spent the majority of the summer and fall of 08, and the word catantrum will be officially enetered into the lexicon soon.
  • Speaking of games, though retired, Sandra Day is coming to a Wii near you.
  • Gmail just keeps getting better.
  • Fly to Mars with Google Earth.
  • Louis CK: Everything is amazing, no one is happy:
  • Podcasts: I was a little late to the podcast show. I didn't really start following any until last summer (right around the time I began my Catan addiction). Back then I was regularly listening to "Legal Lad's Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Lawful Life" (handy 5 minute summaries and explanations of legal concepts), This American Life, and NPR's Planet Money (a necessary tool if you want to understand derivatives, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, LIBOR, etc.). Recently I have added a few more to the rotation: The Savage Love Podcast (Dan Savage, 'nuff said); TED Talks (the Technology Entertainment and Design Conference hosts smart interesting people and they talk about smart and interesting things--both audio and video are available); and my two absolute favorites: The BS Report (Bill Simmons) and the Adam Carolla Podcast (all of these are available through iTunes). Simmons has been one of my favorite sports/pop culture writers for some time, but as Steve Silver explained, he has really found his niche with the podcast:
    Just when his writing schtick was starting to get a bit stale, Simmons has reinvented himself as a podcaster who has mastered the medium in a fairly short time. He has excellent guests- everyone from Chuck Klosterman to Seth Meyers to Mike "Ken Tremendous" Schnur- but his banter with his old, Yankee-loving buddy JackO is the best of all.
    As for Carolla, back in the day (circa Love Line and the Man Show) I thought he was trying too hard to appeal to the frat boy sect. He's still sort of a male chauvanist and sometimes puts forth very lowest-common-denominator positions on social issues, but he is also a down-to-earth guy who has very telling insight into just about every aspect of human interaction and behavior. And he is hilarious. Check it out. This is what Silver wrote:
    The ex-"Man Show" host has had an uneven career, but this podcast- already the world's most popular- is Adam in his element and at his best. And it's all because he got fired from his radio show a few weeks ago. The episode last week with Bill Simmons, in which Carolla went off on a 25-minute tangent about the Charles Manson murders and how he should have just hung out with the hippie chicks instead of carrying out the massacres, was the funniest thing I've heard in any medium in months.


Overheard, Said, Heard, Whatever.

  • "It's not screening if you're not willing to talk to anyone."
  • "Okay, so you're cuffed to the wall. Then what happened?"
  • Philosophy Professor (describing his colleague at a dinner party): "She teaches one philosophy class and all of a sudden she's Jean-Paul Sartre."
  • "It wasn't even an implication, it was fucking written right there."
  • Lawyer #1: "I want a job where I can be funny and creative all the time."
    Lawyer #2: "I don't think criminal law is for you, then."
  • "I've been working a terrible shift, midnight to 7 am. But it's really not that bad because the supercomputer isn't very busy during that time."
  • "I've been out of school so long I've actually paid off one of my student loans."
  • Guy in Coffee Shop: “I might be moving.”
    Girl in Coffee Shop: “Can I come with you?”
    Guy in Coffee Shop: “What about your boyfriend? I thought that was going really well?”
    Girl in coffee shop: "Doesn’t matter. Any relationship that involves me in a leading role is going to end badly."
  • "If you don't have a website, or if nothing comes up when I Google you, it's like you don't exist."
  • "I had good grades and people liked me, so everyone hated me."
  • "I'm glad I don't work in an industry where a leaked sex tape would help my career."


Our Own Swine Flu

Is Alaska the only place on Earth where you have to rake up leaves in the spring? I don't get it. Did no one rake in the fall? Why are there so many leaves on the ground now?

As you may recall, a volcano erupted about six weeks ago and Anchorage got lightly dusted. Thus there is a layer of eruption residue on all of the leaves that surfaced after the snow melted. And most people don't know that you need to wet the leaves down before raking them up, otherwise you will just kick up a lot of ash--ash that is very irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. And with all of that ash circulating in the air, there is a particular strain of the raking-leaves-volcanic-ash cough/sore throat going around. I know of at least six confirmed cases. And now I have it too, along with about a dozen mosquito bites, after raking up (part of) the yard this evening. And I was even wearing a mask that made me look like I was running from the Swine Flu. [1]

[1] I'm lying. I have a mask (part of my volcano preparedness kit), but I didn't wear it. I looked ridiculous.

Speaking of Swine Flu, I don't get it. It's just a bad flu, right? Is it only such a big deal because it has a funny name and it hit at a time decidedly outside of flu season? Do we have nothing else to talk about?

On a lighter note, I met Brendan for lunch downtown a few days ago. Looking at this picture, it's hard to believe we were in the same city, let alone the same climate zone: he's wearing a pastel-colored shirt, flip-flops and looks ready to hit the beach. I was wearing a fleece and a hat. Welcome to springtime in Anchorage.