American Idle

It's kinda like American Idol, but only if you sing my posts out loud.

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Location: Hamilton Square, New Jersey, United States

Tax guy, host & producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, former co-host of the Wall Street Journal E-Report

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The annual letdown

It's about this time every year where I start shaking off my winter doldrums and start feeling alive again. I start waking up to daylight again, the temperatures start reaching up into sixties and the smell of spring (aka pollen) is in the air.

But I always start feeling spring a little bit sooner than that. To me, spring is when the baseball magazines start coming out. From the team preview magazines to the fantasy baseball ones, just the mere thought of baseball refreshes my soul.

But the funny thing is that I can't figure out why. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with baseball. I follow the sport religiously, I play in way too many fantasy leagues but, for the love of God, I can't stand sitting through an entire game. No matter how much I try, I seem to lose interest by the 5th or 6th inning. And it's not just being a Royals fan either...although I'm sure no one would blame me for not being able to sit through one of their games. I have this problem with the playoffs and the World Series too.

I know baseball can be boring to a lot of people, but if you pay attention, it's really an exciting game. Each pitch is a move in a chess game, with the batter trying to guess the pitchers next attack while countering with one of his own. The casual viewer usually doesn't notice, but if you're really in tune with the game there's so many little nuances to be found that you can really get sucked in. It's like of those stereograms that were popular in the mid-nineties...once you see the hidden image it's hard to look away.

But It's like I can't stay focused recently. My mind drifts from pitch to pitch until I don't remember what happened to the last three batters. It's like I can't let myself relax during a game and I'm always thinking about something else. Part of that is probably the curse of being a Royals fan. The team hasn't been a true contender in over a decade, their roster has hardly even been worth getting excited about recently and they're usually mathematically eliminated by May.

Anyway, I'm going to try to change that this year. Since DirecTV usually offers the first week free of all of it's sports packages in order to attract potential buyers, I've taken off from work on Monday so that I can watch the first full slate of games across the country, and especially the first Royal game of the year. Hey, I usually only get to see the Royals when they play the Yankees, and even then only when it's over a weekend. So, what the hell, why not get one game out of the way now at the beginning of the year before they fall out of contention?

And I'll sit through at least one game, even if I need the help of Mister Sam Adams to do it.

Besides, spring is in the air...maybe I'll even put my TV out on the back patio and watch it there!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Overdue Matthew pics

It's been a while since I posted pics of Matt, so here's a couple to keep his fans happy.

In the first one, Matt shows his support for his favorite football team. As his father, I have the right to choose his favorite team for him, at least until he's old enough to understand that his "favorite" team...who hasn't won a Super Bowl in 23 years...currently sucks, and he decides on a more trendy team to follow instead (hey, I claimed the Raiders in the mid-seventies myself back when they were good).

The second picture is a far less flattering shot but I'm displaying this not because of Matt, but because of what's going on over to the left. To whoever doesn't believe me that my cat mooches food like a dog, here's my proof. The only thing is that he's not just an opportunist like a dog who'll wait for food to hit the ground. As you can see, Homer will create his own opportunities whenever possible.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

If it wasn't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments

I've been a bit lax with posting new material up here recently, but that's mostly because nothing's really been going on.

I just recently realized that what was once a mildly pathetic social life has blossomed into a completely pathetic social life. I've always been a stay-at-home kind of guy, preferring to surround myself with creature comforts instead of venturing out and...well...being social.

It's kind of hard to pinpoint the exact start of this, but I'd have to say my job has been mostly to blame. Back in my late teens and most of my twenties, I had a crappy job working at a supermarket. Since it took me forever to get through school, I was usually working nights. And even when I *did* finally graduate, I got me a job supporting a major newspaper, meaning that the crunch times were always late at night. The shift never really bothered me...not only have I become immune to working nights, but I think I actually prefer it. There's something to be said about not having to face a nightmarish commute every day, nor having to deal with crowds when you want to run errands. Frankly, part of me even enjoys *not* feeling obliged to eat lunch with coworkers during the day. The downside to all of this is that it's killed any weeknight activities that I might have otherwise enjoyed. I can't play softball with friends, or go out to a bar afterwards. I can't go to a hockey/baseball game at night, nor can I enjoy one on TV (if it wasn't for TiVo, I'd never get to watch regular TV, period). So any social life I might have had, never really gained any footing because I can't do anything on weeknights to reinforce relationships. Frankly, I can't believe I'm fucking married.

All that being said, having a baby has just about been the final nail in the coffin. Whatever free time I had is now being spent with family. That's definitely not a bad thing, but it does complicate things from a social perspective. Of course, the next logical step here is to start having family/friends outings where everyone and their kids do group events, or to use your children's relationships to meet new people, but that's another topic altogether.

I don't think I realized how bad it had gotten until a couple of Fridays ago. I have a group of friends I hang out with on a semi-annual basis. Although we're all over the place now (northern NJ, Pennsylvania, Trenton), we try to get together at least once or twice a year. We've religiously gone to Atlantic City every time, but the commute's become a pain especially for my friends who, after arriving back at my house at 3 AM, find themselves having to drive another 90 minutes just to get home. So we were going to have one of our old fashioned sit around and bullshit nights where we just play cards and watch TV.

I was all geared up for it. About a month ago I throw about a dozen different season passes on my TiVo. The Munsters. Good Times. Seinfeld. The Simpsons. South Park. The Three Stooges. Benny Hill. What's Happening. Monty Python. Fawlty Towers. Pretty much any classic sitcom/cartoon from the last thirty years was on there. Hell, I even went out and bought myself a poker set...officially making myself the last male in the U.S. to own a poker set. All that planning and what happens? One of my friends...who works the graveyard shift...backs out at the last minute because he forgot to take off from work. And when he backed out, it opened the door for another guy who was borderline backing out himself. The whole night went up in smoke in a matter of minutes. I was devastated. I mean, *utterly* devastated. I was all prepared to have a good time and wound up having it all blow up at the last second. Shit like that never bothered me before, but because these opportunities come around so infrequently anymore, I wound up in a foul mood all night.

Anyway, people suck. Now I remember why I bury myself in Madden football and fantasy sports leagues all the time.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I've got a fever...

...and the only prescription is more Cowbell Soundboard!

Note: for truly spaced out effects, repeatedly click the play button for "Don't Fear the Reaper".

Cock of the walk, baby!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Fantasy Baseball League

Well, I think we all know how this is going to end considering the sports acumen of my regular audience (hi mom!), but here goes anyway.


Let me take a brief moment to invite everyone to my Yahoo! fantasy baseball league being held 10 PM ET (7 PM PT) this Saturday night (3/11). It's a deep league (15 batters, 10 pitchers) so if you know your baseball, come on in! If anything, it's a good time to kill time until the football season starts.

Yahoo! league ID: 222846
Password: royals

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Woohoo! Free Porn Weekend!

Hosted by a church, nonetheless!

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