Judging cheerleaders, frozen floors and my new hero

I think it goes without saying that there are few worse ways to spend a Saturday than judge the local Arena Football squad’s yearly dance team tryouts. Yes, this is my life.

This past weekend, the Manchester Wolves did their first round of cuts for their dance squad and thanks to my involvement with the Monarchs, we were asked to send a person over to help out. Needless to say, I got the call from the bullpen and was ready to throw fastballs to strike out the side. Because when you think dancing and cheering, you think N-A-S-O-N…goooooooooooooo Nason! Right? Hello? Is this thing on?

I arrived on Saturday not knowing what to expect, getting the usual, “You can be like Simon Cowell” comments from a few friends that knew I was going. I can’t believe this guy who was a no-name five years ago is now synonymous with any form of judging, probably from now until eternity. Even worse, all of these new skating and dancing shows all have to have the ‘Simon,’ the annoying non-American jerk whose occassional praises mean someone must be really good. I must admit that I was a little intrigued about being that guy, at least to some extent. Having power like that is a sick thing, so I can’t imagine how much of a big head Cowell probably has now. Come to think of it, he probably has always been that much of a pompous ass.

But as thoughts of being a prickly Brit crossed through my head, I found it wasn’t going to be like that as there were five or six judges simply marking down notes and grading the 24 girls that were trying out. The first round was meant to pare down the group for a final round by more ‘celeb’ types in a week or so. After gathering in the ‘green room,’ the only issue was that I was the least qualified judge by far as almost everyone had some sort of dance training/Broadway experience. Even the only other guy on the panel – a general contractor – had 30 years of ballet dancing experience. A contractor! I almost wrote down that my formal dance training came at various Canadian clubs while under the influence of Alexander Keith’s and Player’s, but I thought it might go over people’s heads. Just think that Nextel commercial with the office guys dancing to 2 Unlimited: Ooooh bab-a baby…bab-a baby!

By the way, some of the various categories I had to grade: splits, high kicks, appearance and stage presence. I just went on instincts and wrote down a few notes. The woman next to me (who told me anywhere from six or 100 times that she was ‘unretiring’ to dance again) took pleasure in telling me how she was being so critical on her forms, even saying multiple times, “I’m like Simon Cowell!” Ooooooo-kay. In all, it was an interesting day that was pretty fun. Hopefully, some of my top choices make it. I’ll let you know as I assume you’ll be on the edge of your seat ’till then.


Up until last year, I wasn’t really much of a tv watcher in terms of shows. Games and occasional movies? Yes. But as far as ‘90210’ (affectionally called Nine-o by most that I know), Melrose Place or any other hot buzz show, I just didn’t really pay that much attention because of time and resources (HBO ain’t cheap for college kids). Sure, there was Seinfeld and random Simpsons but who wasn’t watching that? Then came ‘The Shield.” Then, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I got OnDemand and found a love for “The Sopranos” again. And then last Thursday, I popped in the first episode of a series I borrowed from my parents and watched all the episodes in a span of three days including an eight-hour binge session Sunday night. I am now addicted beyond my own belief and signed up for Netflix today so I can keep going. What is this show, you ask?


I had never seen one episode, despite the critical acclaim and the fact it’s been on for four seasons. I am now one of the converted. Jack Bauer forever! (Okay…kinda gay there. Sorry.) I can’t believe it took me this long to check this out. What else have I missed? Are there flying cars? Is there a woman president? Have the Red Sox won the World Series?’ From what I’ve been told, ‘Rescue Me’ will also become a must-watch for me soon. I might need an intervention here. I definitely don’t want to turn into a couch potato, but there’s a lot of good shit that I have apparently missed.


-So I bought my mom a TiVo for Christmas despite the fact that mine is still unoperational. I thought she’d like it, but attempting to explain what it ‘does’ makes me think that some sort of pot-holder/basket location might have been better.

-It’s always great to notice a leak in your car the night of a rainstorm and then the next morning, the weather suddenly goes sub-zero and your floor freezes. Just f’n awesome.

-Finally, could there be a better potential cult hero to replace Johnny Damon than a guy named after a breakfast cereal. I mean, Coco Crisp?!? I expect to buy this shirt very, very soon.

Battle of the Genders coming next week…


p.s. Pat Haney, I – and the rest of your friends – officially give up on contacting you. Are you on a CTU mission?

This and That

-So my computer is back with Dell Tech Support, now thanks to a faulty motherboard that won’t recognize my AC Adapter so my batteries will charge. Great stuff with Dell – GREAT STUFF. I think the three-year service contract was money well-spent in this case. Light a candle and say some Hail Marys for me as we all know what happened last time. When you look at the whole ‘pay more for extra coverage,’ it really makes you wonder how well the stuff you’re buying actually is. The best is when you buy a $100 dvd player at Best Buy and they try to sell you a plan that is more than the player itself. (Isn’t the glance back from the high-schooler manning the register priceless? It’s one of those ‘whatever old guy – I’m off in 30 minutes to huff paint and listen to My Chemical Romance’ type looks, right?) Long story kinda short, the male/female point-counterpoint I promised will run once my Dell gets back here in 2008.

-It was good to hear that my rogue’s gallery had a blast at the first-annual New Year’s Eve party in Portland, ME. The crew rented out a bar and had like 75 people there, one of which was not me as I working for my sixth-straight New Year’s Eve. Highlights (from what I heard) included bad karaoke, a popcorn machine getting broken, stripper dates and my friend King’s sweater. (Later, I was told that King ‘looked just like you’ which got me wondering exactly how I look. Jerks!) While I was disappointed at not being able to go, I did ring in the New Year with a few work friends, one of which is the guy who is now running our game-night operations and moved up here with his fiancee from Texas this past summer. You really gain perspective on how the South lives when he tells you he can remember the last year when he saw snow: 1988.

-After polishing off Season 2 of The Sopranos in one week, Season 3 gets loaded up on HBO On Demand this week. While I worked on some music editing Sunday, I left the tv on one of the Season 5 episodes and already felt a swell of disappointment for what’s to come. The Shield also kicks off this week and I used some X-Mas money to pick up season 7 of The Simpsons. The first disc had me in ripping in laughter. I mean, dying. Watching the bland newer episodes now make me wish they had pulled the plug somewhere in season 15 or so. I also finally picked up the Dane Cook ‘Retaliation’ double-cd, also a must-have for pure laughter. And yes, I might have a man-crush on him.

-Where did this new term ‘crushing’ come from? You know, “I am really crushing on this song right now” or something like that. I just know a certain 30-something-year-old that likes to act all Tiger Beat and he says it, so I’m trying to figure it out. I’m sure it has something to do with bad t.v. or the Lewiston-Auburn a/v club, but I don’t know. That’s how I roll.

-I would probably be excited about the Red Sox’ signing of J.T. Snow if I was still in seventh grade. I’m old enough to remember when he was just coming up and supposed to be really, really good. Now, he’s 38. Zoiks.

-Speaking of old men, I am now another year closer to Social Security as I quietly turned the big 28 this past Wednesday. I think I’ve written about this before, but my birthday hasn’t seemed like a big deal for years now. I’m not sure if it’s because a) I’m always working on or around it, b) the fact it falls right around the holidays and everyone’s tired or c) I’m unclear whether I should draw attention to it. I had a few people this week tell me, “Hey! Why didn’t you tell me it was your birthday? I would have taken you out for a drink.” But isn’t it a bit presumptious for me to call people, tell people it’s my b-day and then wait for them to do something? I need a ruling here OR an agent. I remember being younger and very jealous of the ‘summer birthday’ kids that got to actually do stuff like have parties when it was nice out and not 15 degrees.

Happy birthday King and congrats to someone reading this that has an announcement that might not be public yet! (This one will be HUGE, trust me.)