Sports! (and not involving Huey Lewis)…

“Damn it, Nason…I look forward to three things on Monday. One is your blog, the others are (I honestly forgot…).” – Big Papa, co-worker.

Yes, I didn’t do one last night. I got back late from Sin City (phenomenal), a impromptu bbq/street hockey game (I have a future in the NHL..I can feel it), and a late-night work session (what 8am meeting?) along with a viewing of The Contender. Estimated fall asleep time: 1:30 am. Wake up? 6:30 am. It’s amazing what a large DD coffee can take care of though.

So we’re here and I’m about to disappoint you if you don’t like sports. If you do, go grab a drink. If you don’t, let’s catch up next week, shall we? Same place? You pick the time and bring along your Young MC discs if you can. One note though: I finished Fargo Rock City: A Rock Odyssey in Rural North Dakota and thought it was outstanding. Basically, it’s a book on growing up in the 80’s and discovering bands like Motley Crue, Poison and the era of glam/heavy metal, all while in the rockin’ state of ND. For those of us that grew up in this era, I think it’s most enjoyable. No wonder it’s by Nason-fave author Chuck Klosterman. You can get this for like $5 used on Amazon and I highly recommend it.

Now to the BASEBALL.

–If you read ESPN.com’s page 2, you might have caught a column last week by David Schoenfield. If you need a good blood boil, read this:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=schoenfield/050412

Pissed yet? So was I. Apparently, enough other people thought so too and emailed him enough times to crash his Yahoo account. Too bad they took it off the site before I could get to him too.

I also am getting this same ‘Enough about the Red Sox’ attitude in the office as well. If you’ve read previous entries, you know about the mix of sports allegiances I have to work with. While interesting, it can also be annoying. The day after the Sox WS win (which I should have blown off) should have been a New England holiday, but was spent listening to people say, “They finally won, huh? Now you guys can stop bitching, right?” and “It’s not that big of a deal, is it?” If I had a pistol, I might be writing this from prison right now.

Part of really loving and following a sports team is the shared experiences you have with other fans like you. To say you get that following the Sox is an understatement. It’s almost like a birthright into a stressful but amazing existence. When I went to San Fran last summer to catch three Sox/Giants games, the amount of Sox fans out there was amazing to see. So to have metaphorical water dumped on your pizza the night after a World Series win or while watching The Ring Ceremony, it sucks. And since most workplaces frown on interoffice violence, I can’t really do anything about it. After reading this article, I really wanted to go off on this guy but he ran and hid before I could go to work.

Basically, if these fans, writers and media types don’t like the attention that the Sox are getting in the papers, don’t read them. If there’s another feature about the Sox breaking the curse on ESPN or NESN, change the channel. Simply don’t watch it or listen – it’s that easy. It’s a big friggin’ story that people are buying right now and will keep being pushed as long as registers are going off and ratings are going up. That’s what the media is all about, but yet the Sox fans are those feeling the brunt of fans who are left with a case of baseball blue balls because their team hasn’t won since the Yankees reawakened 20 years ago.

What non-Sox fans (and the new inherited ones that have jumped on since the WS win) don’t understand is that unless you’ve lived life as a Red Sox fan, YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. A cocky statement? Perhaps. But there is something about this team that’s very cultish and drives you to go great lengths to support it. One reader just traveled to spring training for a few games. Myself and five others are heading to Chicago for just one game in the historic Cubs/Sox series. There’s a damn message board that has a waiting list to get in. A waiting list!

My first Red Sox memory was back in 1988 when my dad took me to a game against the Kansas City Royals (I think). The first image I remember was seeing Wade Boggs take ground balls at third base. The color of green enveloped me as I was amazed at this sight I had only seen in pictures and on tv. I was hooked. After thousands of hours and dollars, shirts I can barely remember, grainy pictures brought to me by WSBK-38 via Sean McDonough and Bob Montgomery and every other great and awful memory, last October was the final payoff; a big fat check for all the taunts, tears and torment Red Sox fans have suffered. Shaking your head at the term ‘suffered’ when it comes to a baseball game? Proof-positive that you don’t get it and at this point, I wouldn’t bother trying. The T is full and is taking off for one of those stops that gets you near the street that connects to the avenue that brings you near Fenway Park.

And almost 17 years later from that glorious summer day in 1988, I, and tens of thousands of others, am finally enjoying the return of my investment and the fun tax collectors are trying to take it all away.

So to guys like Schoenfield, the Yankee fans who are beside themselves with jealousy as they flounder in last place and everyone else who is trying to belittle rather than enjoy, I have two simple primal words:

F**k you.

And also, don’t get blinded by the glare off the World Series rings.

And also also, we won!!! We really won!!!

—–

While biding my time until Schoenfield comes out of his internet hiding cell, I was forwarded another story to read. This one was about the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2005 schedule and how it was unfair that the Patriots got an ‘easier’ schedule even though they were both champions of their respective divisions. Hmmmm…first off, New England won the Super Bowl so point 1 was out the window already. Overall, the article from Philly.com didn’t make any sense so I took 10 minutes and researched both the Patriots and Eagles’ 2004 and 2005 schedules. Not surprisingly, I found that all his points was invalid in every possible sense. So I decided to write him a reponse and point out the errors. I got a shitty response apologizing for one of the points he made but not backing down from anything else he erroneously wrote. Unbelievable.

In case you want to read this crap, click below. I think you have to sign up for free, but it’s worth it:

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/11389652.htm

My email to him:

Rich – a friend of mine in the office forwarded me your Patriots/Eagles piece about the NFL schedule being unfair to the Eagles. After about 10 minutes of research, I can pretty much sum up that you did ZERO investigating into your column. I’m also sending this to Aaron Knox, the Philly.com sports editor so he’s aware of what’s runnign on his pages.

Here’s what you missed by simply not comparing the two schedules both from last season and this one upcoming.

1) The Pats played the day after X-Mas last season. The Eagles did not.

2) The Eagles played two of their first three at home last season. The Pats did not.

3) The Patriots played six 1 pm games last season. The Eagles have “just” 5 this year?

3) This year, the Eagles play two of their first three at home. The Pats do not including playing AT Carolina and AT Pittsburgh. The Eagles? Against the lowly 49ers and the same Raiders this writer complains about.

4) The Patriots play back-to-back home games once this season. The Eagles do twice, including three in a row.

5) Finally, the Patriots play against THREE teams who made the playoffs in 2004 in their first five weeks. The Eagles? One.

This article is fruitless and by the data above, makes NO sense whatsoever. Can you possibly refute this? What do you have to say about your column now? I haven’t written sports for a paper in years, but still know a thing or about research.

Again, this is like two days past the Sox column, so I was a bit on edge.

———-
For those of you that stuck around, it’s time for Random Thoughts!

–Is it just me or should the hip-hop industry be the next focus of Congressional hearings? Other than the Armed Forces, is there another business in the world where the workers are under constant fear of being killed or being put into hazardous situations? Just last week, my VH1 music news email featured the following headlines:

–“Benzino Slapped With Sexual Harassment Charges.” – He’s the former editor-in-chief of The Source, the industry’s biggest magazine. He had a running altercation with Eminem and also tried to be a rapper himself. Uh huh.

-“Foxy Brown Pleads Not Guilty To Nail-Salon Assault.” Didn’t Ill Na Na come out in 1997? What’s happened since then?

–“Michael Jackson’s Accuser’s Mother Takes Stand” –oops, we’re not talking about white guys. Sorry.

But you get the point. If you don’t hear about a murder or attempted murder within a day of following the hip-hop industry, then you’re listening to Will Smith.

–Self-checkout lines: How stupid are people, really? To watch people struggle with perhaps one of the greatest inventions in the last five years is mind-numbing to say the least. Designed to be the quick way out has now turned into the slowest possible way out thanks to old people and idiots. This should really be the role of supermarket cops – to police this areas and mace as needed.

–Finally, jokes submitted by a reader! Use at your local juice bar or church ice cream social!

1. I was so poor growing up .. if I wasn’t a boy … I’d have had nothing toplay with.

2. A girl phoned me the other day and said, “Come on over; nobody’s home. “I went over. Nobody was home.

3. During sex, my girlfriend always wants to talk to me. Just the other nightshe called me from a hotel.

4. One day I came home early from work I saw a guy jogging naked. I said to theguy, “Hey buddy, why are you doing that?” He said “Because you came home early.”

5. It’s been a rough day. I got up this morning put a shirt on and a button felloff. I picked up my briefcase, and the handle came off. I’m afraid to go to the bathroom.

6. I was such an ugly kid…When I played in the sandbox, the cat kept coveringme up.

7. I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and radio.

’til next week,
nason

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Cleanup on Aisle 7

No real central topic this week, but a clean-up of some outstanding material…

–I got a few comments on the Match.com column last week, most surrounding the ‘You know, I tried that once’ deals. But one friend did say that I might have offended any female readers on the list as he took it as I believed that all female Matchers should be hot and list full body shots, etc. Then again, he was really hungover when he dropped this knowledge, so who knows?

Obviously, I know places like Match and the dating scene in general is full of people of all shapes, sizes and personas. That’s what makes meeting people fun. And yes, I’m sure there are many deceptive guys on Match who aren’t exactly fitting the bill of what they list either. I’d actually like to read or hear from a girl that tried Match to see if they ran into some of the same issues. Do guys have as much to hide as girls do? Probably, but I’m very interested in seeing how. There is a marked difference for the most part in how guys and girls approach dating, so to hear a female Matcher’s thoughts would be sweet. If it happens, I’ll let you know.

So if I did offend you, sorry. However, I will caution everyone that this is unedited thought streaming for the first part and not meant to be politically correct by any stretch of the imagination. While I care about my friends deeply, this is meant to be my thoughts and holding anything back would make doing this pointless. If my thinking is seen as something that could be detracting to me, then let that be my choice. I can handle myself, yo.

–It looks like some changes in people’s lives that I know may make for some good upcoming blogs.

–I’ve been accused by most of not using proper cell phone etiquette as in not answering my phone at all. I have a love-hate relationship with cells as they provide a great service but also make you accessible pretty much anywhere in the world. What did the world do before cell phones? Has there been a more influential invention? Everyone has one and it’s spawned a new billion-dollar industry. It’s also provided us with more car accidents, annoyances and drunk dials then it was intended for as well.

Part of the cell revolution is the enhanced use of caller i.d. and saved numbers. Now, there’s mostly no mystery in who is calling you. I hate it because it gives me an excuse to screen calls when I don’t feel like talking to anyone which is pretty much all the time. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of answering the phone in general unless I’m ready to talk. IM’s or text messages? I’m down. A cell call? Ugh.

And yes, I fully expect to never get a call again.

–The Summer of Nase ’05 is starting to shape up with a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a trip to Chicago to see one of the Cubs/Red Sox games and a Sox/Yankees game in Fenway in July. All that and a possible return of THE GREATEST SUMMER PARTY OF ALL TIME and this could be a red-letter summer.

–Speaking of summer, we got the idea to barbeque today and found that not one but two grocery stores were out of burger buns. Apparently, everyone had the same idea today. Now if we all got the same motivation to end world hunger or homelessness as we do grilling burgers, a lot of issues would be solved.

–After watching the VH1 storyteller edition of Green Day performing their American Idiot rock opera, I’m convinced that the album is my favorite of all time. Period.

–Saturday night featured the end of a show I’ve touted for quite some time, The Ultimate Fighter. Originally just a few of us were to watch the live finale at a friend’s house but I’ll be damned if a few girls weren’t heavily into the action as well. A quote: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually thinking of buying that pay-per-view next week.” If Saturday’s awesome display on basic cable get the UFC a mainstream contract, then the next big sport is ready to take over. Not just a sport for the bloodthirsty, UFC features aspects of all types of martial arts, mixed with wrestling and boxing. For years, men have been supporting UFC on a grassroots level, but the all-important female demographic gets behind it, watch out.

–Saw ‘Flight of The Phoenix’ and thought it was really good, even though my roommate said it was a ‘chick flick.’ This confirms my previous thoughts that he doesn’t understand movies at all. ‘Sin City’ is next on the list for this week.

Until the guitar reverb ends,
nason

My Month On Match

Being a single guy in the ’05 can be tough enough. Being a single guy that finds it almost impossible to strike up conversation with random girls in ‘cold call’ situations (meaning there’s no formal intro…just you deciding to randomly talk to someone) can make it even more challenging. So guys like myself have to be a bit inventive. There’s where this week’s story begins.

Prologue: A few months ago, a friend of mine who is experienced in internet dating was once again recommending that I try it. I’ve always been hesistant because a) it seems weird and b) it seems weird. There’s a certain stigma attached to dating sites because of their magnet-like appeal for freaks, losers and the overall shunned and shrouded of society. At least, that’s what the assumptions are. I first looked into ‘net dating a few years ago when it was in its infancy and immediately got turned off. So after making the usual jokes, my buddy persisted and said to just log onto his account and just look around, convincing that within a few minutes, I’d be hooked.

Sifting through the first few pages was what I expected: a mix of the fat, blah and ugly.

Surprisingly though, I spotted one attractive girl. Then another. Then another. I began to realize that some of these girls were pretty hot, a marked change from my first go-around with the ‘net years prior. I begain wondering whether my misgivings about these site were out of whack. After finding one girl that I was definitely intrigued in (a female that works in TV, had a journalism degree and fronts a rock band), I threw caution to the wind and went for it. I decided that it’s 2005 and my friend seems relatively normal, so I might as well give it a shot. A credit card number and a few minutes later, I became the latest member of the Match.com community.

The first part was setting up my personal page, complete with pictures of myself that would act as a selling point of sorts. This was my first big roadblock in that I soon realized that I don’t have any good pics of myself. I’m not a big fan of pics taken of me anyway, so trying to find photos that basically advertised myself came to be extremely difficult. I finally found three pics (mostly from college…I told you I had nothing) that were passable, edited them down a bit and threw ’em up there. Next was the profile itself, possibly qualifying for the single best way to embarass yourself publicly. I decided to play up the funny “this is my first time’ angle while also avoiding the deep philsophical thoughts that permeate these things.

Seriously, there are three types of people that go on Match: a) the last resort bunch that put everything they have into this, which really is a last-ditch effort at grabbing anything that moves, b) those like myself who are just trying this out with the thought of maybe meeting someone or maybe not, and c) those trying to get quick, cheap ass. Why isn’t everyone just going for C? Because those looking to give it up are either crazy, less-than-attractive or a combo of both. From talking with others though, it’s fairly easy to get some action after a ‘net date. I heard of one normal guy today that blatantly sets up dates at non-dinner hours to avoid paying for dinner and still managed to get a blowjob out of the deal. You gotta love people. Got. To. Love. Them.

Anyhoo, I got the profile done, picked a username (a combo of my name and the team I work for) and was off and running. Let’s explain how this works: you can see profiles of girls via age range, location or pretty much any indicator you want. From there, you can view their full profile and either ‘wink’ at them (which sends an email with your profile saying you’re interested) or send a full-blown email in which you pick the copy. I soon found three girls I was interested in (including the rock girl that got me to sign up to begin with), but found myself up against the ‘wall’ of my own mind, not having the balls to actually write or hit send. What would I say? Would they see the profile and say, “Yeah right”? Would they send something back? The thought of what I was actually about to do set in, but I pushed it away and wrote three pretty decent emails to three different girls.

To date, I’ve heard from none of them.

So over the past month, I’ve played the game. I’ve kept looking and continued to ‘wink’ every once in a while. I still haven’t got any responses back, which has befuddled me. Is my profile that bad? Herein lies one of the issues with sites like Match. I have no idea if these girls even got the email and there’s no requirement for them to respond one way or another. It’s even strange when you look through profiles after you’ve sent an email and see the person that didn’t respond back. It’s like an ex-girlfriend who you want to talk to again but don’t out of pride and self-respect. Pretty f’n strange, if you ask me. However, I started to figure it out a bit as I began to get winked and emailed myself. The only issue was that I found none of the girls were really that interesting or attractive enough to make a move. The other factor was kids in which three of four of the women had, a big ‘no’ in my book at this stage of things. This was especially tough in that a few of the girls were kind of attractive, but I wouldn’t want to potentially mess up a child’s life on something that I knew had a less-than-50% chance of succeeding. So maybe the same stuff that was happening to me was also happening on the other end of the computer. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Five weeks later, my profile has been checked out 280 times, I’ve gotten 15 winks and two personal emails. I still haven’t been on a date through Match and don’t expect to until I get my sh*t straight with the right pics and the right attitude. I’m still not willing to just ask someone out just for the hell of it when I’m still hesistant in the first place about the whole process. My previous conceptions of it being just for losers has now gone out the window (it kinda had to, right? I’d be a loser if I didn’t say that. I think.) and been replaced with a new outlook on ‘net dating. If I was someone new to an area and had a tough time meeting people, I’d definitely try it. With time and a pretty good site, Match has evolved into a place that attracts normal people just looking to meet people. Yes, there are those that will be lucky to get a look but hey, everyone’s got to try.

Some other random notes from My Month On Match:

–Pictures: You’ve already read about my issues with pictures. But there are some other people that have A LOT worse issues than I do. The amount of webcam shots and phone pictures shots are plentiful as well as 75% of the pics being headshots and not full-body. It’s interesting to see the strategies others use in putting pics up as it’s basically the first chance people have to see who is interested in them. On one hand, it tells a lot. To put it kindly, there are some big ladies out there. Like Anna Nicole Smith pre-Trim Spa big. On the other hand, a picture doesn’t tell you everything either. One of the more frustrating yet tempting parts of Matching.

–Usernames: Let me give you a few gems of ladies out there and yes, these are real: rabbitbutt, fakegreenflame, beergirl19, jusbegood2me, intuitioniskey, pastrygirl25, etc., etc. My favorite thus far? PinkTanker. Who would ever consider someone that calls themself a tanker and a pink one at that??? Alas, I have yet to find any that say ‘ez2fuk’ or ‘bisx44dd’ yet. (Sorry, had to sneak those in.)

–Profiles: Again, putting the right stuff in your profile is key. The ‘I enjoy long walks on the beach’ days are pretty much over, but you do have options to list everything from salary to six different answers to if you want kids to what type of body type you have. Again, I can’t picture too many girls saying they have a few extra pounds so the most frequent answer is ‘about average’ or ‘curvy.’ Understandable, but also a potential bait and switch technique as well. Just another pitfall when deciding what to do with all this stuff. Another ‘comme se, comme sa’ aspect is the age range. There is no way some of the girls on here still fit in the 25-29 age range, no friggin’ way. Desperate people do desperate things sometimes.

There you have it. I am trying ‘net dating as an attempt to…well, I don’t know what I’m attempting to do. Something different, that’s all.

Now, what did you guys bring for show and tell?

Other Notes:
–Know that Gatorade commercial with the kids selling the Lemonade to the athletes? Favorite commercial out there, especially the NASCAR bit. Just hilarious.

–I found out first-hand last week that having kids adds people to a certain fraternity that only other parents understand. My boss became the umpteenth person in my office to become a parent within the last six months and when he returned to work briefly Saturday night, there was definitely a change about him. You could see other parents congratulate him and establish this connection with him. I’m proud of someone I call my friend, but I’m also a bit sad and happy to see him move on to this next stage of life. There’s no turning back now and as I’ve heard countless times, your life is never the same again. Feeling this in my professional life makes me wonder what it’s going to be like in my personal life when members of my crew start poppin’ them out.

–As I’m finishing this up, UNC and Illinois are tied at 70 with less than two minutes to go in the national title game. I want UNC to win as I’ve been a bandwagon fan for a while now, but also have $85 riding on an Illini victory. What do I do? Now, there’s a minute left and I expect 32 timeouts to be called. (Ed. note: I just went back to re-edit something and UNC won. Unsure how to feel as I love money.)

–Former Nason college nemesis Joanne Palombo-McCallie is coaching in the NCAA women’s title game. I think it’s time to send her an email…

Until next week,
nason

p.s. got others that might want to read this stuff? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Sucka!