This weekend will mark my first trip back to my college hometown of Orono in almost two years. It’s for a good occasion as the cook at our old fraternity house and a few others, affectionately named Woody, is calling it a career after what seems like 100 years of serving meals to hungover frat boys, sorority girls and the people they woke up next to. Literally, this man has seen and done it all, one of those classic old-school Eastern Maine guys that knew one style of work: hard, honest and quality. With a sense of humor somewhere between the pages of Playboy and Cracked Magazine, Woody was an institution at UMaine for decades and will be sorely missed by those that know him. For those that never met him or interacted with him, it is truly their loss for five minutes with Ken Wood is like being in a dentist’s chair: unpredictable, sometimes uncomfortable but always involving him trying to put something in your mouth.
Ba-doom-ching! Still got it! Heyooooooooooooooo!!!!
In all seriousness, Woody helped teach us that life wasn’t all about being serious, but even in the later years of your life, it’s important to have fun. The stories of Woody are legendary: a brother on the run to work requesting a sandwich with no onions only to find a giant onion slice on his turkey and wheat an hour later, him quitting/retiring about 73 times in a five-year span, the lude comments to anyone within earshot, the paper routes, the love of making pasta and rolls, welcoming new brothers to the house in strange ways, etc. I hope this Saturday is a true testament to what he’s meant to us, but somehow I feel that anything short of a parade down College Ave. with Playboy bunnies won’t be able to hold up to the legend of….the Whoppa!
Now, back to our regularly somewhat scheduled programming.
With going back to college-land and seeing old faces, the feelings (good and bad) will undoubtedly return. The years of 1996-2000 were undoubtedly the best of my life thus far. While I have a great career and have some great friends, nothing has matched the time when a kid dressed in mostly black with oversized glasses found a little White Cross which changed everything. That’s the good. The bad isn’t really that bad, but more of that ‘I wish I was still here’ reflective emotion that comes with trips down memory lane. You couldn’t ask for a better situation: my best friends in the world all within five minutes and being able to party, hang out and live a full life for eight or nine months out of the year.
Part of that reflection is being faced with the current. I’m not married, not even close and honestly haven’t even tried to look. In less than a few days, I’ll be in a sea of boyfriends, husbands and lives that have advanced to a point of American Normalcy. Is that good or bad? Neither, but for someone still trying to figure it out, it can be intimidating. Keep that mind this Saturday if you see me downing Rum and Cokes at a championship pace while asking questions about the Oronoka and reminiscing about going to court over a criminal trespassing charge in 1996.
Anyway, how about some Red Sox?
Meatballs Mirabelli – Alright, I’m a Red Sox fan, but I’m having a tough time accepting Monday’s trade for Doug Mirabelli. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. So, they trade a light-hitting backup catcher for a second baseman a year removed from a .330 year in Mark Loretta. 10 times out of 10, you do that deal. However, after finding that backup Josh Bard couldn’t catch Tim Wakefield’s knuckleballs, they trade Bard, a young reliever in Cla Meredith AND a player to be named later or cash back to San Diego for Mirabelli.
There’s something about this that makes the Sox’s thought process seem retarded, but maybe it’s my overall feeling about this club right now that is clouding my judgment. Much like many other Sox fans, I’m growing weary of seeing a lineup of averages ranging from .200 to .260 (Mirabelli’s is .186 going into Monday night, by the way) and a bullpen that was so promising in February continue to disappoint. Maybe it’s just frustration setting in from the past two weeks of scuffling, realizing this current makeup is as about as exciting as vanilla ice cream with a side of white rice and also seeing that damn NESN commercial with Sox ‘fans’ giving testimonials about how excited they are about this current team giving us quotes like:
“And then there’s Manny being Manny.”
“Did you see that catch Coco made the other night?”
“Have you seen Gonzalez and Loretta turn that double play? Wow!”
On second thought, it’s definitely that commercial that’s putting me in a bad Sox mood.
Hot Girls! I saw a commercial featuring Kirstie Alley, 60 pounds lighter as part of her whole Jenny Craig weight loss thing. She’s actually pretty hot now, way better than any of her Cheers years. And to answer the question you’re thinking about right now, it’s definitely been a while.
Other underrated actresses who have made blips on my radar recently:
-Ginnifer Goodwin (the dark-haired slightly immature wife on HBO’s Big Love). This show makes me angry for some reason (perhaps because I haven’t chosen polygamy sooner), but I love me some Ginnifer Goodwin.
-Rachel Ray – A big favorite of one of my favourite Sigma Chis – Todd Dutt – as well as fellow chef Papa Greg, Ray was at some award show and looked really great: tan and all decked out. Of course, she was at the hip of some Victor LeDouche who seemed more appropriate for a darts game at Jillian’s. Good side note here…
Side Note!: I’ve had this conversation with other guy friends before, but now, I’m going to enlighten you with it. You are very lucky. So, all of us normal folk really, really deep down hate celebrities, right? I mean, they have it all: money, fame, great faces/bodies, everyone giving them free stuff for just being popular, paparazzi, etc. They can say, “I was a nerd in high school’ or fall from grace due to scandal or have a sex tape with a dog released all just to make them seem more ‘human,’ but until we become a celebrity, we are inclined to dislike them. Turn this hatebreed up a notch or 12 ESPECIALLY when two celebs date/marry ala Brad/Jennifer, Brad/Angelina, Vince/Jennifer, Michael/Bubbles, etc.
But then, you have the celeb like Rachel Ray that is with a normal person. It could be a high school sweetheart, someone they met on their way up the celeb ladder or just a nobody that’s in the business. Instead of endorsing this, the first instinct is to say, “Who’s that loser she’s with?” That doesn’t make any sense, right? Admit it though: you’ve said the same thing! I think we all believe that anyone we pine after should really be with us and only us and anyone else just isn’t right for said celeb. I call it the ‘Celebriplex Theory’ for no other reason than it sounds like a cool spaceship.
This theory rides co-pilot with the ‘Hot Chick – Average Dick Theory,’ of ClydeKingNason discussion fame. This is where a really hot girl is dating an average joe and instead of using that as inspiration or admiration, we shit on the guy for being a loser. (And you thought girls were catty.)
-Mary Louise-Parker: An older actress who was MILF-smokin’ in Saved!, an indie flick I saw a few weeks ago.
As ZF Longleystuff said once, “You definitely like women with jagged edges.”
In other news: Speaking of the ‘Hot Chick – Average Dick Theory,’ congrats to Josh Howes who married his fiancée, Leslie this past weekend! (Just kidding Howes…you’re hot too. In a Red, White and Reagan, BMW, gin and tonic kind of way, but still.)
If you caught “The Sopranos” from two weeks ago, you probably remember the gift basket bit where Chris and friend stole one from an actress following an award show. Later in the week, I was flipping through and caught a bit of VH1’s ‘Celeb Schwag,’ which described in gory detail just how ridiculously extravagant these baskets can be for presenters, award winners and even award losers. I sometimes wonder where reality ends and disillusionment begins. If a celeb crosses my path this week, I fear for their safety. Look out Joe Cupo!!!!
Pop Culture! – Finally, a lightning round of stuff I’ve seen and heard that you should know about. Go!
-Saved! – The afore-mentioned indie flick about a Baptist school socially run by a group of God-crazed teen girls. When one becomes disillusioned and pregnant in an effort to convert her gay boyfriend, she is ousted and befriends a Jewish renegade and her wheelchair-bound boyfriend, played by Macauley Caulkin. It was a pretty good movie with one of those social question endings that you would expect. Not a ‘must-see,’ but not a ‘must-avoid’ flick either.
-Coffee and Cigarettes – Another indie flick. This is shot in b/w and involves multiple 10-minute sketches involving two people drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes in diners and restaurants. An interesting concept, its pure focus was on the conversations they have. I definitely was craving a trip to the Red Arrow Diner after watching it, but it’s not for Joe Average Movie-Goer. The only concept is people talking. I know…high concept, right?
-Broken Flowers – In the same vein as ‘Lost in Translation,’ Bill Murray returns to the indie scene as a social player that gets sent a note saying he has a daughter. The only problem? He has no idea who it’s from. With the help of his Jamaican next door neighbor Winston (played hilariously by Jeffrey Wright), he compiles a list of his old loves and hits the road in an effort to find them. The ending leaves a bit to be desired, but it’s a great concept and Winston alone is worth the price of admission.
-National Treasure – Nic Cage and a DaVinci Code-like search for a treasure based on symbols left from the Freemasons. Good movie, even though it seemed a bit 2nd place behind the tremendous ‘Code.’
-Mr. and Mrs. Smith – Great premise that was ruined by the filmmakers. This should have been more ‘Natural Born Killers and less ‘True Lies.’
-Rescue Me: Great TV series. Just awesome. Season Three begins in June.
-‘Animal I Have Become’ by Three Days Grace. If you like hard rock, you will like this song. It’s on ITunes, Rhapsody and radio. I spun this like 15 times today and might do it again right now.
-Angels and Airwaves: The new project from former Blink-182’er Tom Delonge. He’s been making a lot of bold claims about this band basically being the next great thing in not just rock, but all of music. The first single, “The Adventure,” is pretty good though if you like Blink’s newer stuff. The album drops later this month.
-New discs from Tool and Pearl Jam also hit stores Tuesday. I’ve heard both already and while the Tool one is the usual combination of long and intricate songs, I’m not sure what to make of Pearl Jam. The Pearl Jam/Dave Matthews is best held over for another day, but that day might not be on a Tuesday (just to give you fair warning).
More on other stuff another day.
Thanks for reading,
your friend nason