Random! Free!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but in the soon-to-be established country of Nasonville (or something like that), I would make all females wear signs or stickers letting males know how old they are. My concern isn’t the older women, but the younger ones. I mean, you can’t tell anymore – you just can’t. Men have never been in a more challenging spot in our history than trying to tell how old certain girls are. And yes, this is why guys will get dragged to malls. It’s like a spectator sport or something.

Seriously, is this the result of years of flouride in water? Is it great genes (or jeans)? Is it simply the clothes of this generation? And why don’t women have the same problem with younger guys? On second thought, maybe it’s the Spider-Man and Spongebob shirts that give it away…

–I might be crazy, but I’m enthralled with the country music lifestyle. This revelation came to me while flipping around channels the other night, when I stopped on CMT and watched some video countdown for about 20 minutes or so. I realized that I’ve been watching random clumps of CMT for about two months and have been completely entertained everytime. It’s something about this ‘new country’ style (a dash of old school, a pinch of bad-ass, a tablespoon of modern popular dress, plenty of hot ladies both older and younger, etc.) that has got me thinking differently about what previously had been thought of as hickish. The only problem now is that I can barely listen to the music after a few songs, a definite issue when trying to get into a different genre of music. Maybe CMT muted?

–It’s time to get happy: Chappelle Show: Season 2 arrives in stores Tuesday, months after it was originally supposed to be released. Who knows what’s going on with the man that helped make ‘What?’ and “I’m Rick James, bitch’ part of American vernacular, but it’s safe to say Season 2 will be a bonafide big sella! Unless you’re lame, that is!!!!

Between that, The Contender finale, a 90-minute Shield episode, hockey and a free lunch, Tuesday might be THE BEST DAY EVER.

–Ever wonder why real estate agents have to put their faces on their ads and business cards? Does any other industry other than politics do this? I can see if they were truly attractive people that would draw business in because of their good looks, but all of what I’ve seen couldn’t be featured in a Wal-Mart flyer, much less a billboard or business card.

–I haven’t seen Star Wars 3 yet, but did catch Kingdom of Heaven which was pretty good if you can understand the story. Because of the movie, I am fully convinced there’s a new type of actor: epic actors. Need examples? How about Liam Neeson and Orlando Bloom? Bloom has recently starred in Lord of the Rings 1, 2, 3, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, Pirates of the Carribean and the its two upcoming sequels. Neeson has been in Star Wars 1, Kingdom of Heaven, Batman Begins and Gangs of New York (an underrated epic).

My movie buff friend Rathbun can probably tout off a few more, but it seems like there are actors that draw $15-20 million a pic like Adam Sandler but are never in a ‘big’ movie. But there are other well-known but less paid actors that act in ‘big’ movies like Neeson. Just something to think about next time you see someone in Jude Law and think…man, they’re in everything!

–I think Kendra from The Apprentice and SNL’ s Tina Fey have definitely moved up the list of my favorite celebrity women.

–Does this happen to you? You’re in a meeting and someone’s cell phone rings on vibrate. Instead of just turning it off, they let it go…and go…and go. This happens to me every Wednesday in our weekly director’s staff meeting and it drives me insane.

–Just so you know, ThunderCats: Season 1 comes out on dvd August 9th. Again, just so you know.

–The blog will be postponed next week in celebration of the holiday….viva la triangle!

Thanks for reading,

Sickness, the cage and lazy eyes

I hate being sick, especially when people are having a good time around you. That was the situation I found myself in a few weeks ago when enjoying my friend McKenna’s surprise 30th birthday party. Sick as the proverbial dog, I was loaded up on enough cold pills, Advil and nasal spray to medicate most of Western Canada, longing for the time when I would be back to 100%. I must have done something right as I won my first ever live poker tourney, setting the stage for my 2010 debut at the World Series of Poker.

Between that, and the recent influx of newborns for my work pals, got me to thinking about the idea of being at 100%. Realistically, is there anytime when our bodies are truly perfect and in full-functioning form? Birth? Six years old? 20? 60? I think our bodies are like a cell phone battery. At some point, they’re perfect and in full-functioning mode. Then with time, the capacity of which it can fully charge dwindles. You randomly charge it for a few minutes in the car or at home but might not fully finish the job because you’re rushing. Without notice one day, you notice that you’re not getting a lot of life out of what normally was the medicine for recharging it. Eventually, your battery dies, drained by years of use and, at times, neglect. To me, our bodies and overall well-being are often drained and then ‘recharged’ by a long weekend, a vacation or a good book. But we never get back to what the thought of 100 percent really is and I don’t think it’s even possible.

And that’s my dissertation on how we’re like cell phone batteries. I have little-to-no idea about what that has to do with being sick, but put that in the ‘stream of thought’ column. In looking over it, I guess that could be metaphorical for love as well. In any case, I think I might be the smartest guy in the world.

—-A BIG shoutout to my buddy Matt Paul who made an appearance this past week on ESPN’s game show, “Stump The Schwab.” “Stump” is a trivia show where three contestants match wits and knowledge with ESPN’s lead statistical researcher and uber nerd, Schwab. While knocked out in the 2nd round by a kid best described by Matt as needing “a pet or a hobby or something. Anything to keep him from being damned as the eternal virgin, I was still full of pride for my old workmate at the Maine Campus. Matt is one of those people who truly is loved by everyone and has one of the greatest personalities of anyone that I’ve ever known. I look back on our college years and wish I had taken the time to know him better, but hope that our friendship can be strengthened in upcoming years. You’re a hell of a guy, Matt Paul. (But you still should have known that Jerry West was already said.)

–Something I don’t miss about the hockey season: friends that call you while you’re working in a constant effort to remind of what a good time you’re missing. The world is lucky I’m such a nice guy and don’t have a gun permit.

–What’s the deal with lazy eyes anyway?

–I’ve taken to the hardwood, so to speak, joining a group of co-workers and their friends in Tuesday Night Hockey, a weekly roller-hockey league full of spills and thrills. I am one of two goalies (no skating required) and get fitted up in full pads for two hours. Absolutely exhausting but exhilarating at the same time. It’s pretty awesome to be complimented on something that you’ve never done before. Any interested agents can leave a message on my cell.

—-I don’t think there’s any worse feeling than being let down by one of your friends. Just a thought.

—-Finally, the Triangle of Fun reunites for the first time in months on Memorial Day weekend when my buds King, Clyde and I will meet up for a holiday weekend of debauchery. Viva la memories!

I think that’s about it…enjoy the 10 Wirt Street eulogy below!

be good or be good at it,

A goodbye to a good house…

How does one begin a eulogy of a house? (Well, I guess I just did, didn’t I?)

There are structures and then, there are buildings. There are houses and then, there are homes. There are places that people go and then, there are places people want to go to. That was, and always will be, 10 Wirt Street in Westbrook, ME, which officially closes its doors this week after approximately three years of ‘business.’

A linchpin for social activity in the greater Portland area, the Wirt Street residence was a vision by one man: Rob Akerley. Rob had an idea of getting a great house to rent in the area and having a diverse group of guys to live there with him, providing a dynamic that couldn’t be beat. Akerley brought together himself, Brian ‘Sluggo’ Jacobs and Zack ‘Jesus’ Longley for the first incantation of the Wirt, immediately lauching it into a place to be and a place to be seen; a nerve center of fun. Many a Sigma Chi, friend of a Sig or otherwise walked through the hallowed doorway and many of those same people ended up sleeping there as well, due to the unofficial fourth roommate: alcohol. Plenty of beers and mixed drinks were guzzled, many a joint smoked and many a laugh shared: the Wirt’s energy was undeniable and intoxicating in its own way.

(Side note: A fact mostly held for trivia buffs, Tom Houghton also signed up for temporary living duty at the Wirt, sharing the undesirable first-floor bedroom with swing doors that wouldn’t close all the way. Tom also ushered in the two-TV era, known as the Holy Shit months. While he may never be seen by critics as having large historical implications on the Wirt, it’s important to note his charter status and his crucial role in the building’s opening months.)

While the Wirt and its unique blue sectional couch monster were inviting, the property also had its share of controversy: the legendary Akerley/Nelson taxicab shouting affair, the McMann New Year’s Eve snowbank debacle, the random water drips, the 45-minute Chris Kelley showers, the Nason-Haney Black Tar Vomit bathroom incident. But it was all part of what I call The Wirt Experience. If you wanted to embrace this two-story structure for all of its glory, you also had to accept the warts. I think it was part of the car-crash appeal of staying there: you really had no idea what to expect.

Host to dozens of eventful parties, the Wirt saw perhaps its most lucrative and controversial era when Jacobs moved to Michigan and recent college grad Chris Kelley took his place. Between his Apprentice-like infatuation to learn the ways of Rob, his explosive demeanor and his revolving door of employers, CK brought a new era of entertainment to the Wirt. Eventually, Zack would leave as well, resulting in the final permanent tenant, Rick Haney, to stake a claim in Wirt history. But all through the ever-changing faces, one solid figure remained: Robert G. Akerley, the founder of what was known in most circles as ‘Akerley’s house.’

That is why it is a sad goodbye, but a happy beginning for all of the Wirt alumni as well. Rob bought his first house, CK moved to Concord, NH, and has a bright future at a big company, Zack continues to do well in the Portland environment, Rick has found a new love and Jacobs will tie the knot this September. Perhaps it was that group of people, perhaps it was the house’s proximity to the Old Port, perhaps it was that ragged blue couch, but something about that house made you feel good. Whether it was a simple game of horsehoes, an 80s party or watching Rob wash his car for the 800th time, the Wirt wasn’t just a place but a feeling.

Now, that feeling will have to live in all of us. Thank you to the residents in helping to create memories that will last forever…except for those of us who had them erased by illegal substances.

Ch-Ch-Changes: The Story of Five

So it’s been a few weeks since I’ve put thoughts to blog, but we’re here again and that’s a good thing…

A running in my life (and the lives of my ever-expanding rogue’s gallery) are changing non-stop. As has been a running theme since I started writing, I’m a big fan of change, especially in people that have fallen into large periods of stagnant living. What exactly that definition is can be different to everyone, but I think you get the flavor of the spice I’m putting in the sauce.

When I was thinking of what changes were happening with my friends, I was amazed at what’s happening to those around me. I have included five stories of people I consider good friends and how recent or upcoming changes in their lives have touched me in different ways. Maybe you’ll get something from this and maybe you won’t. But in any case, here’s where I say nice things about five friends…and some others too.

–Ben: When I first moved to New Hampshire, there were definite concerns about meeting new people as there is with anyone moving to a new area. However, Ben was one of those people that I connected with right away – probably because of our similar views on life and ability to see the ridiculousness in pretty much everything. I’m proud to say that he’s become one of my closest friends and someone that I’ve had many a great conversation about things like change. He’s seemingly taken that to heart and recently announced his intent to depart the team this summer and move onto whatever is next for him. Ben put it as succinctly as anyone I’ve known, basically saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he would never know what else he is capable of doing unless he stepped outside the ‘safe home’ that is the Monarchs.

One of the things I’ve always said about Ben is that only he can limit all that he’s about to become. He’s an amazingly talented person in like 1921 different types of things and so humble about it, that you just know he’s going to blow up if he lets himself really get out there. By taking this step, he’s going into a very scary but exciting trail that only he will truly direct as to where it goes. He’s also about to embark on a marriage here in October, which will also change his life (somewhat as he’s been living with his girlfriend since George Sr. was in office). He is going to do great things and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

–Clyde: One of the original Triangle of Party Fun along with The Man Known as King and myself, Clyde hasn’t seen a ton of change over the years. When the rest of us left the good college city of Orono, he remained behind and found a career with a social work firm and has turned something temporary into a solid future. So much so, that he will hopefully open a new branch in his company within the next six months or so. For someone that we routinely give shit too for not working a lot (seriously, the guy’s got an easier schedule than most infants and housecats), it takes a certain someone to be trusted enough to be considered for such an endeavor, not to even mention actually getting it.

Clearly, Clyde’s been doing something great up there and I’m proud of him for it. Very similar to Ben, I’ve always hoped that Clyde will push himself and really see what’s he capable of. Also, this whole career advancement will come in turn with him possibly taking the next step with his girlfriend (not an engagement…easy people), so that’s another interesting turn for him. Clyde, just not too many birthdays parties and ‘dog’ shows, eh?

–Page: No, not Blaine. Not Adam. It’s Page. Phewwww…with that out of the way, he’s due for a big change this summer as he travels to Hotlanta, GA, this week to begin a summer internship with a big law firm there. According to traditional law college rules, the internship you land in the summer between Year 2 and Year 3 will most like be with the company you’ll be hired by when you graduate. What most impresses me about Page landing this gig is that he got SCREWED over by another potential career move that was taking up most of the time that was supposed to be dedicated to this internship job search. Long story short, when he was let down by this supposedly well-run organization, he was left scrambling to find something left in the wreckage left behind. A trip to Florida for a conference and trees worth of rejection letters later, he got something in the mail that he assumed was yet another one.

It wasn’t and a few months later, Page is going somewhere where he never thought he’d been: the Dirrrrty South. (There is, however, no truth to the rumor he is joining TLC or Master P’s No Limit posse.) Having seen him suffer through this process was both frustrating and inspiring. Page is about embark on a crazy trip in the next week and I will be there along with in spirit.

–Rob: Someone that has emerged as one of my closest friends over the past few years, Rob is heading onto his own change taking on his very first house. I checked it out this weekend and just seeing the amount of time he’s put into it in the last few weeks is amazing. To see something come to life that has been talked about for years is a cool thing in its own right, especially when it’s something that’s such a potentially huge undertaking as a house. Partner this with the fact he’s living on his own for the first time in almost a decade and there are big changes ahead for him. While different than a career change, it’s also inspiring to see someone that you’ve known for so long take another step toward becoming a *gulp* adult. Robbie, I may not know much about painting, drywalling, nailing or pretty much anything involved in the construction of a house but I do make a pretty mean turkey sandwich if you ever need a lunch made for you and your crew.

–Berger: Only a certain type of guy could be nicknamed ‘Berger,’ have a big nose, have an addictive personality and still be a great person in the end. Berger is one of my work reps and has become a good friend, despite the fact I’ve had to come down on him from time to time because of work stuff. Jay has undergone possibly the greatest life change of them all with the birth of Connor, his and his wife’s first kid. To truly put this in context, there were seven front office workers that announced impending childbirths in 2004. Yes, you read that right. SEVEN. This is what hockey people do during the summer: bang and go on vacation and bang again. Except for myself, which is another story altogether.

Anyhoo, Jay is the last of these seven to experience parenthood and arguably could be the best of them all. An amazingly well-centered person, Jay will make a commitment and stick to it. He and his wife have made a commitment to raise a child and despite the intense Marinovich-like hockey training he is sure to get, this kid is going to turn out great. Despite what I’ve learned in my own upbringing, there is something to be said for having a strong family unit around to support you and there is something to be said for fully embracing that. Jay’s shown me that even if you are the hometown kid, change doesn’t just mean moving away.

Other inspiring changes I’ve noticed: CK, who hopefully and truly finds what he’s looking for with a new zip code and new company; Page’s sister Brianna who is heading north to the city by the sea for a new job; Amy who has embraced running over the past few years and has gone from phenom to supermodel as a result (McKenna, you a lucky old bastard); my blog psuedo-rival Rathbun who FINALLY GRADUATED AFTER LIKE 20 YEARS IN COLLEGE this past weekend. I truly hope you get a gig reviewing some sort of tv medium and finally hook up with the TV Gal….King who has stirred up enough thoughts in my mind to write countless blogs about….and countless others that I am definitely forgetting.

And what does this all mean for yours truly? Stay tuned, true believers…stay tuned.

This has probably been a bit for you to read, so you’ll get to enjoy some more later this week, including a eulogy to 10 Wirt Street in Portland, ME. Also, I’m looking to add more people onto the email list so let me know if you have someone that should be getting this. Spread the word and I’ll get noticed by the big time eventually!

Thanks for reading,