Archive for January, 2010

Let’s Talk Roofs, Roof Guy!

January 23, 2010

My wife and I have to replace the roof on our home. Yes. It’s as fun as it sounds. If you ever find yourself on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Regis asks what the most boring/depressing way to spend $6,000 is, the answer will be, “C: Replacing a roof.” There. Now you don’t have to waste a lifeline. You’re welcome. Anyways, it sucks. Big Time. Like Denny’s®. We knew it would need to be done sometime within the first 3 to 5 years of ownership. As it turns out, it needs to be done immediately, as in now. Yesterday would be better. Being an adult is fun, kids!

shingleSo, I call 1-800 Roof Repair Dude. Mr. Roof comes over to give an estimate and brings enough literature on the subject to craft a paper Kazaam. Life size. (But, sadly, we don’t have any Elmer’s® glue at my home.) He also brings shingle samples. You know, so you can pick the type of shingle you want. That’s right. There are people in this universe we habitate that prefer certain types of roof shingles. Seriously? These people walk among us? When do you develop this preference? During childhood? High school? College? Apparently I was sick that day. Honestly, if you ever find yourself on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Regis asks what the least interesting thing is a person can have an opinion about, the answer will be, “D: Shingles.” (That’s two lifelines in your pocket, thanks to me.) Outside of cost, I could care less. I care more about the WNBA, than shingles. I want the most “roof-like” gray shingle available. Does it provide shelter from a storm? Prevents leaks? It does? SOLD. “Pleasure doing business with you, shingle seller! Say hello to the wife and kids.”

After you pick your shingle, you have to choose your ventilation. Oh, joy. If variety is the spice of life, vents are the rosemary of roofing. The catalogs are filled with all kinds of vents. Vast amounts of vents. A plethora, you might say. So, Randy Roof starts flipping through a catalog waiting for me to say something, I guess. As if one of the vents is going to catch my eye? Blow my mind, maybe? I really don’t know. The silence could have been cut with a knife, Crocodile Dundee style. Mate! Honestly, I have no idea what I chose. It seemed ventish enough for my taste.

We also discussed PVC pipe flashings, ice and water shields, interior staining and a bunch of other stuff that may as well be Klingon. Most of the conversation is a jumbled blur, consisting of me saying, “Uh huh,” and “Sure. Sure.” By the time it was all over, I felt dumber than Rosie Perez at a Phish concert.

Sometimes, I feel like I missed the day when all the guys get sat down and taught about car repair, plumbing, drywall, landscaping and roofing. It really must be an exhilarating experience, since most every guy I know maintains some sort of interest or knowledge in the subject to this day. Sadly, I must have been playing Paperboy™ or something.

Ribs

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10 Lessons on Weight Loss from NBC’s Hit TV Show The Biggest Loser, Every Tuesday at 7:00PM

January 19, 2010

According to NBC’s hit show, “The Biggest Loser”, all you have to do to shed your unwanted pounds (besides taking 3 months off of work, away from your home, friends, family and every other daily responsibility not focused on weight loss to work with top-of-the-line equipment and trainers) is:

1.) Ride your StreetRider BMX “The Biggest Loser” addition to Subway® and enjoy an item from their Fresh Fit™ menu every single meal. Don’t forget to substitute soda and less healthy sides with DASANI® water and Baked! Lay’s® or DANNON® yogurt.

2.) Chew Extra® gum in-between meals at Subway.

3.) Drink water from Brita® water bottles before, during and after every workout at your local 24 Hour Fitness®.

4.) Eat MultiGrain Cheerios®, if you don’t feel like Subway for breakfast.

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5.) Eat Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers®, if you don’t just want a handful of Subway lettuce for your vegetable.

6.) Store your leftover Green Giant Fresh Valley Steamers, Subway and MultiGrain Cheerios in Ziploc® Fresh Shield™ bags and containers.

7.) Use “The Biggest Loser” Designer WHEY® Protein Supplement after working up a sweat from “The Biggest Loser” Last Chance Workout DVD.

8.) Play the Nintendo® Wii™ “The Biggest Loser” video game. Not Jillian Michaels’  Fitness Ultimatum for the Nintendo Wii. Don’t do it!

9.) Listen to “The Biggest Loser” Workout Mix Vol.1 – Vol. 3 on CD while tracking your heart rate and calorie loss on “The Biggest Loser” bodybugg® heart monitor.

10.) Visit “The Biggest Loser Resort” at Fitness Ridge as seen on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” every Tuesday at 7:00 PM Central time.

I’m off to max out my credit card.

Thank you, “The Biggest Loser”!

Ribs

The Far Side: Yearbook Forecasts, Quiznos and High School Wisdom

January 18, 2010

2010 marks the 10-year anniversary of my high school graduation. I have drank a LOT of beer since then. Had a few laughs. Started a blog. And been punched in the jaw. Also, I graduated college, got married, bought a house and had a baby. In those regards, I would say I have done pretty well. My wife would probably call me the Peyton Manning of family men, if you asked her. Or you can just take my word for it. However, my professional life leaves a little to be desired. OK, a lot. Especially since my classmates voted me, “Most likely to be the next Gary Larson.”

Sadly, I am not the next Gary Larson, nor anywhere closer to becoming the next Gary Larson than I was 10 years ago. I’m not even close to becoming the next Brad Anderson. Get it? (He draws Marmaduke …. Marmaduke is really bad.) I’m pretty much your average non-comic-drawing dude. I work in an office, you know, like the TV show, Suddenly Susan. I put my pants on just the same as the rest of you. I eat at Quiznos®. I drive a Saturn®. At least I wasn’t voted, “Most likely to be the Prime Minister of Djibouti,” like another one of my classmates. I wonder where he’s at on that? I would assume one would have to live in Djibouti in order to pursue the position of Prime Minister, in which case, that’s just way too hot for me. No, thanks. Best of luck to you. Anyways ….

Marmaduke

I don’t envision any type of Gary Larson career path in my future. Sorry to disappoint, 2000 yearbook staff. However, life isn’t getting any cheaper and I’m not Benjamin Button. It’s time to step up my game, and make a name for myself, like Teen Wolf. So, I thought I would refer to my senior quotes for inspiration:

“I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” – John Lennon

All this does is make me want to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

“I wish I had a more comfortable chair.” – Anonymous

Now I’m just embarrassed.

“Let it be.” – John Lennon

OK. Either I was really digging John Lennon and The Fab Four when I was 18, or I was too lazy to inquire as to whether or not anyone else in the history of the English language ever said something memorable, provocative or inspirational.

But, now that I think about it, “Let it Be” might just work.

Whenever I have “Let it Be” in my life, good things have happened. I met my wife at such a time. My child was unexpected. Right now, at a time I have shed the stress of hating my job, I feel better than I have in ages. Just the other day, I got two packs of Twizzlers® from the vending machine at work for the price of one. Things are looking up. Perhaps I was smarter than my grade point suggested in high school?

“When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

Here’s to good things coming to those who wait!

Watch out Gary Larson! … No, not really.

Ribs

Ribs’ Reviews: Youth in Revolt

January 17, 2010

Once again, my wife and I were unable to see Sherlock Holmes (apparently it’s just not meant to be). This time due to  show times conflicting with our schedule, so, instead, we saw Youth in Revolt.

Michael CeraYouth in Revolt is your typical “Boy meets Girl” story. Nick Twisp, played by Michael Cera (Superbad), is a timid teenager who meets the love of his life, Sheeni Saunders, played by Portia Doubleday (umm …. Youth in Revolt), while on vacation with his mother and his mother’s boyfriend, played by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover). As the vacation comes to an end, Nick and Sheeni develop a plan to get Nick kicked out of his mother’s home so that he can move in with his father, played by Steve Buscemi (Airheads), who lives in a neighboring town. This requires Nick to develop an alternate “Bad Boy” personality know as Francois Dillinger (similar to Tyler Durden from Fight Club). Dillinger is a ladies man with a mustache, a filthy mouth and a cigarette always in hand. As Dillinger begins to take over, things start to spin out of control (similar to Fight Club) for the meek and meager Twisp.

Youth in Revolt is classic Michael Cera. Nick Twisp is essentially the exact same character Cera has been in every movie or TV appearance in his career, since the days of Arrested Development, yet, in my opinion he finds ways to keep things fresh and keep me laughing most every time I see him. There is no other comedian or actor that does exactly what he does. It’s a unique talent, that my wife and I really enjoy. Most of the other characters and actors disappoint.

Sadly, Zach Galifianakis, who stole the show as the “Lone Wolf” Alan in The Hangover, is barely in the movie, although he seems to be featured heavily in commercials for the film. Then, when he is on screen, he really isn’t very funny. Bummer! Fred Willard (Best in Show) and Justin “I’m a Mac” Long contribute a couple chuckle-inducing performances, but on paper, I would have expected a little more from the cast. In the end, Youth in Revolt is more a showcase of Michael Cera and his humor than a well-rounded film.

Side Note: The makeup artist for this movie went CRAZY! Ray Liotta has more makeup on in his scenes than Kim Kardashian wears in a year. He looks like a pissed off clown. SCARY!

My wife thinks I need a ranking system in my reviews. Stars, or thumbs up or something. So, I have created the “Gravy Boat” ranking system.

I award Youth in Revolt: 2.75 Gravy Boats out of 5

Overall, I would say if you like Michael Cera, you will like Youth in Revolt. If you don’t, you won’t.

Ribs

Rib Tips: Drink Tea

January 16, 2010

Do you have trouble getting noticed? Feel like another face in the crowd? Loathe yourself? Cry by yourself in the dark? Voted “Least Likely to Succeed” in high school? Are you seeking attention from the opposite sex? The same sex? Anyone? It’s OK. You aren’t alone. There are a lot of boring people in the world. But, today is your lucky day. I have the answer to all your problems:

Drink Tea

Why? Because people who drink tea fascinate Americans as much as celebrity plastic surgery. Or Tom Selleck’s mustache. In our chemical-dependant, Starbucks®-crazy, “I’d DIE without my morning coffee!” society, tea drinkers are as rare as street corners without a Walgreens®.

By simply drinking tea, you look at least 44% smarter (30% if you are wearing Crocs™). This is due to its synonymous relationship with England. All British people sound smart. Therefore, all British people are smart. All British people drink tea. Therefore, drinking tea makes you smart. It’s science.

Tom Selleck

With a cup of tea in your hand, people value your opinion and insight. Like Oprah or Tim Gunn. You can say whatever you want, and people will believe you. Your jokes will get more laughs. Every word of your musings and aphorisms will be met with a sense of childlike awe and wonder. Each cherished more than the last. Your dandruff, disregarded. Your flatulence, forgotten. The sky is the limit. The world, your oyster. (ALWAYS make sure the string is hanging off the side of the cup!  You do not want your tea to be confused with coffee or steaming Mountain Dew®.)

However, be prepared. Some coffee drinkers will become envious of your new stature. They may question the authenticity of your tea consumption. Not to worry. If this happens, there are a few terms you should know:

  • Bergamot
  • Earl Grey
  • Astringency
  • Oolong

After taking a sip of your Earl Grey tea, simply comment on its bergamot flavor or astringency and your accusers will quickly vanish. If some straggle, just shout, “Oolong!” Odds are that will get them running.

So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and drink tea. I look forward to hearing your success story!

Ribs

Pistols at Dawn: Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno and The Tonight Show Debacle.

January 15, 2010

Ali vs. Frazier, Coca-Cola® vs. Pepsi®, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Boston Celtics vs. LA Lakers, Freddy vs. Jason, The Union vs. The Confederates, Real World vs. Road Rules, Tyson vs. Holyfield, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Bush vs. Gore, L.C. vs. Heidi, Tupac vs. Biggie, I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!® vs. butter …..

Somehow, I don’t think this week’s highly publicized feud between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien (or COCO, as the cool kids are calling him) will stand the test of time as other duels have before, however, that didn’t keep the media from beating us over the skull with it. Repeatedly. Constantly. Over and Over. You get the point. Ouch! Sadly, as The Huffington Post is reporting, the clash of the late night Titans is about to come to an end. Finally, we can all get some rest. What a relief.

There will be no pistols at dawn. No knives at noon. No Celebrity Deathmatch. Apparently, O’Brien will be leaving NBC with a lump sum of money and no noncompete clause. Jay Leno will retain his duties as the host of The Tonight Show, and it will be like these past 7 months never existed. Like something from a J.J. Abrams production. Or a night of too many shots of Jameson®.

While many Conan O’Brien fans, as well as celebrities (Jimmy Kimmel, Rosie O’Donnell), have been up in arms this past week, creating campaign slogans, Facebook rallies (“I’m with COCO”) and tabloid headlines, few of them have considered the possibility that this may be a blessing in disguise for the red-haired dynamo.

Conan O'Brien

Me Too!

Personally, I don’t really watch Jay Leno or Conan O’Brien, but if asked whose type of humor I found more appealing, I would say O’Brien. After all, he wrote for SNL the years SNL was funny. He wrote for The Simpsons during the years The Simpsons was funny. I know, It’s hard to remember how hilarious The Simpsons used to be. But they were. Remember the one where Homer stops going to church? Or Mr. Plow? Anyways, he has the non-sequitur humor that made Family Guy a runaway success in recent years mixed with the timeless format of Johnny Carson. But, Family Guy, at first, was unable to survive on network television. It took a revival from The Cartoon Network® and DVD sales to make its way back to FOX. Personally, I think Conan O’Brien could follow that exact model.

Conan O’Brien would be perfect for Comedy Central® or HBO®. Characters like The Masturbating Bear, Robot on a Toilet, Bulletproof Legs Guy, Triumph the Insult Comic and many others would have free rein, with almost no censorship or corporate sponsorship to bow down to. Leave Leno and NBC for the Baby Boomers. Generation X is making its rise, and as the late night representative of the movement, there is no better place for O’Brien than cable, the home of The Daily Show, The Osbournes, The Tom Green Show, Entourage, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park and other Gen X entertainment staples. Look what cable did for Dave Chappelle and his show. When one door closes, another one opens. When life gives you lemons, make lemon gravy, and so on and so forth.

I think this is a chance for Conan O’Brien to really shine and even surpass his hero, Johnny Carson. Turn that frown upside down, Generation Xers, your time is on the horizon. Or, you could watch George Lopez? Eeeehhhh …….

Ribs

New Movies, Please!

January 14, 2010

Looking over this list of movies to be released in 2010, I counted over 20 remakes or TV adaptations (there may be more).

Remaking (“reimagining”) the films of the past (Halloween, King Kong, The Poseidon Adventure, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.) has sadly been the staple of Hollywood for many, many years now. Too many. If not classic films, then classic TV shows. If not Hulk, then The Incredible Hulk.  There are less original films each year (making movies like Inglourious Basterds even more appealing). Apparently, the mass public doesn’t care; since many of the remakes and adaptations make astounding profits for the studios. But now, Hollywood has reached a new low. The deep well of classics from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s has apparently run dry. So, where did the studios turn? To the ’90s? Nope. The early ’00s? Not even. Try 2007. You remember 2007, right? Probably. Because it was only three years ago!

That’s right. Later in 2010, Death at a Funeral, starring Chris Rock (Pootie Tang), Tracy Morgan (The Tracy Morgan Show) and Danny Glover (Predator 2), will be released in theaters across the US of A. In case you aren’t familiar, Death at a Funeral was a comedy made in London that debuted in the UK in 2007. It was released later that year in America on a limited basis, and would go on to enjoy measurable success on video and DVD.

Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage plays the role of Peter, played by Peter Dinklage in the 2007 version of the film.

I, as well as most people I know, have seen the original. It was funny. Funnier than most comedies, in fact. Funny enough that I remember it pretty well. After seeing the preview for the remake, I can tell you that the plot is identical. To a T. A family attends the funeral of its patriarch, wackiness ensues. Hardy Har, Har! Laughs abound. The jokes are the same. Everything is the same. Everything! Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral) even plays the exact same part he played in the original. Talk about easy money. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both used the same key grip.

In fairness, the new cast will likely attract a different demographic, but that doesn’t justify this. This is laughable . There is no way I would pay theater admission to see the exact same movie I saw two years ago when I could just go rent it for $3. No one should. But, sadly, people will.

I can see it now. Studio executives will pitch Avatar to be released again next year, but the Navi will be green instead of blue. Cha-Ching!

When will it end?

Dear Hollywood,

Please start making new movies again. Please!

Sincerely,

Ribs

Happy Wednesday!

January 13, 2010

Today, as is common on Wednesdays, coworkers wished myself and other drones a “Happy Hump Day!” Personally, I don’t recognize Hump Day, due to my beliefs, yet I cordially accepted their well wishes rather then make a scene in the name of political correctness. However, this made me wonder, why are Wednesdays so special in that they deserve their own nickname? What makes them better than Thursday? So, instead of doing my job, I created a nickname for every day of the week:

Monday: Lugubrious Day

Mondays are miserable. Filled with melancholy and mourning. The “Is it Monday Yet?” campaign is an utter lie. No one has ever said that. EVER. Don’t lie to me, ESPN. Since misery loves company, and also hates Mondays, a friendly, “Happy Lugubrious Day!” from a fellow drone may just do the body good.

Tuesday: Whiskey Day

In Ireland, they put whiskey in their coffee. Remember that next Tuesday morning … and afternoon. Cheers!

Wednesday: Hump Day

This aforementioned nickname celebrates the fact that you only have to stay at work for the rest of the day then return for the next two consecutive days (roughly 18+ hours) before enjoying two brief days off and doing it all over again.

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Thursday: Zombie Day

You no longer speak in full sentences. You appear disheveled. Distraught. Dismembered? Hair has either fallen or been pulled out. Bags billow around your eyes. Was there ever a time you weren’t at work? When was the last time you had an original thought? Why are you craving BRAINS? Are you alive? You check your pulse … no, you’re dead.

Friday: Denial Day

It’s not only a river in Egypt. Now it’s a day of the week. Often, on Fridays, the thought may cross your mind that work isn’t all that bad. Maybe you overreact? Exaggerate? Hyperbolize? Next week will be better. Filled with possibility. Days will be seized and what not. Don’t be fooled. That’s the high of the soon-to-be weekend soaking into your cerebellum. It really is that bad. Don’t forget it.

Happy Wednesday!

Ribs

Candy + Vodka = Crazy Delicious!

January 13, 2010

Like pizza and beer, some things are just meant to be together. (Peanut butter and beer. Macaroni and beer. Sunny and Cher … and beer, etc.) Destined upon their design to one day find each other. To unite and form a holy union. Last night, at a local tavern, I stumbled upon such a pair:

Candy & Vodka

Apparently, if you simply pour a handful of candy into a container filled with vodka, that candy will dissolve into the vodka and form one sweet, sinful concoction. It’s like Willy Wonka hosted a party in your mouth, and invited the cast of Jersey Shore. Who knew? Geniuses, that’s who. As far as I understand, this works for any form of fruit-flavored candy with a outer shell (Lemonhead®, Runts®, etc.)

For Skittles®, follow these instructions.

Enjoy, kids!

Ribs

Rib Tips: Learn the Guitar

January 12, 2010

Guitar Hero® is not fun (or Rock Band®). Let me tell you how I know this. I know this because I have played Guitar Hero. What I do not know is why other people (millions, maybe billions) who have played Guitar Hero disagree with me.

Part of the appeal to video games, in my opinion, is the escapism. Simply by turning on your TV, you are taken away to historical sites, war zones, alien lands and other fantastic environments. Unlike in movies, you actually experience this first hand (kind of). As a drone in the Midwest, I can say with confidence that I will never be a Space Marine. It is fair to assume I will never travel back in time to fight in WW2. Or transform into a hedgehog. Sonic or normal. Video games allow me that opportunity. To shut off my brain and escape. This is where Guitar Hero fails. In the game, your character is a guy, on a stage with a guitar. Go to any bar in any town on any Saturday night. Do you know what you will find? A guy, on a stage … with a guitar. This doesn’t interest me. But, if it interests you, may I recommend this:

  1. Sell Guitar Hero.
  2. Buy a guitar.
  3. Invest the time you would have played Guitar Hero on learning how to play the guitar.
  4. Go to a bar.
  5. Play guitar on stage.

There once was a time when I could play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on the guitar, so, as an expert string picker, I can tell you that the skills aren’t that different from Guitar Hero. It takes rhythm, timing, patience and practice. If you are good, the sky is the limit. Maybe you’ll be the next Sammy Hagar. If you’re bad, don’t worry. I haven’t got to the best part yet.

Guitar Hero

Chicks do not dig this.

Girls dig guys that play the guitar. It’s in their genetic code. They eat it up like Dannon® yogurt and gay vampires. If you are looking to ride the love train, learning the guitar is your ticket on board. Just ask Tom Petty. That dude is not a good looking man, but it hasn’t hurt him one bit. Simply bring your guitar everywhere you go. No matter how random the occasion. Pull that puppy out of your trunk, play 5 seconds of a Counting Crows song (literally, that’s it) and you are money.

As far as Guitar Hero players? It’s not like you can just pull that out in an Arby’s® parking lot. Plus, my wife says it’s not the same. And she’s a girl.

Ribs