Monday, January 31, 2011

Family Construction Projects

Having a baby involves much more construction than I would have expected.  After spending last weekend using several power tools, I again found myself opening up the toolbox and donning my protective safety goggles.  This time it was to assemble the baby furniture.

You can see the end product below:

I managed to put together a crib, changing table and a large dresser.  Fortunately, I had a little help this time.
Put the drawers here!
Ruthie was very helpful with identifying where the drawers needed to go.  She also helped clean up the little pieces of styrofoam by eating them and she aggressively attacked the vacuum cleaner so that it wouldn't clean more than it was supposed to.

Dee was also able to pitch in on this one.  The instructions for the crib weren't included in the box and customer support was closed on Sunday, so she went online -- with a little help from Ruthie -- and helped me find the instruction manual.

We are Internetting!
That's how the Ford Family puts together some baby furniture.  Teamwork!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Friday Roundup

Readers, I love the little game that’s being played over on Facebook based on yesterday’s post.  Feel free to add to it on Facebook or in the comments on that post.  It’s not like you’ve got anything else to do.  It’s Friday.

This Week in Mindsilt
Monday:
I wrote about the two very different days of my weekend

Tuesday:
I reviewed the fourth episode of The Bachelor, complete with Helicopter and adorable puppy. 

Thursday:
I gave the ladies my tips for the best time to get pregnant

Blog Post of the Week
Dude bashes Glee better than I ever could.  Perfectly sums up why that show is crap

Tweet of the Week
A “racist rapist” sounds worse than a regular rapist when u first hear it, but it’s actually better because less people get raped. #thoughts
See it here

From the Mindsilt Archive
A post from two years ago about how crappy the Super Bowl logos have become.  Plus, I provide a prediction that still holds true for this Super Bowl. 

Video of the Week
This is a video based on an actual Internet review of a video game.  It is performed with misspellings and all.  This pretty much sums up all Internet comments.


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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Best Time To Be Pregnant

Living with a pregnant wife for the last five months has taught me a few things.  For example, it’s taught me about the best possible time for a woman to be pregnant.  I’ve discovered that some times are better than others.   Ladies, if you’re looking to get pregnant, I’m here to give you a few tips on when to make it happen.

1) When you don’t think you’re peeing enough.
2) When naps become your highest priority.
3) When you’re ready for a completely new wardrobe that will be useless within three months.
4) When you need something heavy moved.
5) When you’d like to cry at every single commercial and TV drama ever.
6) When you’re tired of walking the dog.
7) When you want ice cream.
8) When you don’t ever need to remember anything — including things that happened three seconds ago.
9) When you’ve decided you’re done taking out the trash.
10) When you’d like vomiting to immediately follow smelling things.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Bachelor Episode #4 - A Review

Looks like I’ve been made to look the fool.  Last week I gave a rose to Dr. Phil/Dr. Drew for missing the opportunity to treat a D-lister.  Little did I know that this week, Brad and friends will be visiting Dr. Drew’s radio show.

Michelle wakes up with a black eye.  “Maybe it’s stress,” she says.  I checked WebMD.  Black eyes are definitely a symptom of stress.

First Date — Chantal
My true love has returned!
They have barely opened the first card before they cut to Michelle commenting about how it should have been her.

Wait.  What is this?  Helicopter, is that you?  Yes, yes it is!  Helicopter is back!  I missed you Helicopter.  Helicopter whisked Brad and Chantal off to go walk across the sea floor.  Of course, Chantal is terrified of water which suddenly makes this a bigger deal than it should be.  This will endear her to Brad and foster a stronger “connection.”  Guess what?  She did it and she loved it.  I’m sure there’s a life lesson in there somewhere, but I’m not here to give you life lessons.  I’m here to point out how this was all completely scripted.

Can we retire the phrase “best [insert anything here] ever”?  It’s never true.

Chantal apologizes to Brad for slapping him during their first meeting.  Because she should.  She had absolutely no reason to slap him.  I mean, except for the fact that she’s trying to become the next Bachelorette.

She gets the rose.

Group Date — A bunch of girls (but not Michelle)
After her name isn’t called, Michelle says, “There’s a really good chance that if I don’t get a one-on-one date this week, Brad might get his own black eye.”  Seriously.  It’s like the writers of Two and a Half Men wrote this episode.

Brad decides to take the girls to appear on Loveline.  You know, the radio show with Dr. Drew.  Brad thinks that this will create an environment where all the women will be ready to open up.  Being broadcast to all of America is a great way to make people comfortable.

The radio show is completely uneventful.  They don’t ask any questions that don’t already get asked during one-on-one time on this show.  The only slightly interesting moment is when Stacy admits that she has cheated on a boyfriend, but it was in college.  Isn’t that what college is for?  

Brad needs to stop asking for permission to speak.  This is his show.

Brad takes all of the girls back to his place for drinks.  Ashley H immediately starts to freak out for no reason.  The girls begin trying to get some one-on-one time with Brad which begins a sequence of girls stealing him away from another girl as soon as they sit down.  Do they instruct Brad to never tell these girls to back off when they come to steal time away from other girls?  Grow a spine, dude.

Ashley H has lost her tenuous grip on reality.  She is convinced that she is the only girl who struggles with this situation and that she is the only girl who has a connection with Brad.  She sneaks up on Brad while he is making out with Britt.  The look of shock and fear on Brad’s face isn’t enough to scare her away so she sits down and tells Brad that she’s “never experienced all of these emotions before.”  Really?  You’ve never been frustrated, angry or jealous?  Brad can’t resist a damsel in distress, so he talks her down and convinces himself that he needs to give her the rose.

When Brad approaches the girls in the hot tub so that he can give out the rose, Ashley H says, “Uggh, I hate this.”  Brad calls her out on it and she weasels out of answering the question.  He then says that he’s changing his plan and takes Britt away to give her a rose.  What’s this?  Is Brad growing a spine?  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Meanwhile Back at the House…
The final date card arrives.  Cut to Michelle saying, “I want this date so bad.”  No shit.  Chantal immediately jumps on the fact that Michelle’s date card simply says, “Let’s hang out together.”  All the rest have had some sort of bad “love” pun.  I like Chantal.  She knows how to push the right buttons.  Michelle goes into freak out mode but I’ll spare you the details.

Third Date — Michelle
Brad arrives to pick up Michelle but immediately grabs Ashley H for a quick chat.  This is it.  This is the moment we get to see Michelle’s head explode.  While Michelle seethes about Ashley H creating drama to gain time with Brad, Chantal calls her out for doing the exact same thing during the first episode.  Oh Chantal, don’t think we can’t see you gearing up for your second chance at love on The Bachelorette.

Brad basically begs Ashley H to hang around.  He does realize that he doesn’t have to save everyone, right?  

Michelle threatens to elbow Ashley H in the face if she doesn’t get a rose.  Like Brad would ever withhold a rose on a one-on-one.

Helicopter!  You’re back again!  Twice in one episode!  We’re making up for lost time.

They fly into downtown L.A. and land on the top of a skyscraper.  Brad then informs her that they have to repel down the side of a building to their dinner.  She’s afraid of heights.  Surprise, surprise.  Eventually she does it as the music swells in the background.  Who writes this shit?  More importantly, who falls for this shit?  Also, how many people were rooting for her to fall?

Brad, showing his ignorance, calls her “a mature woman.”  I can only assume that he means that she’s old.  

She gets the fucking rose.  Of course she does.  She told him exactly what she thinks he wants to hear and he’s exactly the kind of guy that falls for that shit.

Therapist Time
Crazy-sniffing dog
Brad’s therapist, Jamie, is back.  Jamie basically tells Brad that it’s okay to make out with all of the women.

There’s going to be an episode where the remaining girls have to meet Jamie, right?  At the very least Jaime should get to sick his crazy-sniffing dogs on them.  I can’t wait to see the look on Michelle’s face.

The Cocktail Party
Brad walks in fully armed with Jamie’s advice.  He’s wearing his make out holster.

Brad pulls Emily away and grabs a basket of pillows and wine so they can have a little picnic together.  Of course, this causes a bit of a stir with the other ladies, but Michelle handles it with grace and aplomb.  Brad justifies this little picnic by saying that he did it because she didn’t get a date this week.  Plus, he’s already picked her.

Here’s a summary of every conversation ever had on The Bachelor:
Girl: “It’s just so hard to see you with these other girls.”
Bachelor: “I know, but you can’t worry about them.”
Girl: “I know, it’s just that I never expected to feel this way.”
Bachelor: “Me neither, but I’m glad you do.”
Girl: “This scares me.”
Bachelor: “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Girl: “This has been the best conversation ever.”
Girl & Bachelor: (Make-out)

The Rose Ceremony
Chantal, Britt and Michelle take this opportunity to prance around the other girls with their roses.  Britt waves her’s around while making light saber noises.  Three girls go home tonight. 

Ashley S, Alli, Emily, Shawntel, Jackie and Ashley H all receive roses.  Lisa and Marissa also get roses even though they’ve yet to appear in any of the four episodes.

Meghan and Stacey pretty much take their ouster in stride, and all the girls who lied about cheating on Dr. Drew’s show breathe a sigh of relief.

Lindsay, the hot redhead, looks hurt and claims that her father is going to be so proud of her.  Wha?  For going on a dating show?  I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see her in a bathing suit.

My roses go to:
Helicopter — for coming back to me.  I knew you couldn’t stay way.  Nice new paint job, by the way.
Britt — for obviously having off the charts make out powers.
Emily — for locking this thing down by episode 4.
Stacey — for proving that honesty still doesn’t trump ugly.
Michelle — for auditioning for The Real Housewives…



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Monday, January 24, 2011

Two Weekends In One

It was a tale of two weekends for me.  On Saturday I spent my time doing unmanly things and then balanced it out by doing much more manly things on Sunday.  Below is a sampling of the things I did on each day.


Unmanly Saturday
  • Did the dishes.
  • Took my first ever Yoga class.
  • Went shopping for outerwear.
  • Spent several hours in the suburbs.
  • Let my wife drive.

Manly Sunday
  • Used power tools to repair broken doors in my condo.
  • Used more power tools to install transition strip in bathroom doorway.
  • Watched six hours of football.
  • Drank beer.
  • Ate cheese.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

The Friday Roundup

Instead of killing my wife for watching Jersey Shore, I’m sitting in a different room digging up the good stuff for another Friday Roundup.  Get your clicking fingers ready.

This Week In Mindsilt
Monday:
I wrote about how I feel about my daughter-to-be.

Tuesday:
My review of this week’s episode of The Bachelor

Thursday:
I thanked all the good people who commented on Monday’s post and I gave you my secret for working out and getting in shape. 

Tweet of the Week
You’d be surprised at what a girl will do if you call it an “art project”.
See it here

Blog Post of the Week
It’s not from this week, but Ricky Gervais is in the news right now so I thought I’d share this.  It’s just one more thing people can use to run him down for no good reason.  Not that he cares.  I love this man.

Ricky Gervais: Why I’m an Atheist from the Wall Street Journal. 

Video of the Week
Comic Bo Burnham sings a song about being an artist and how you feel dirty sometimes.



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Thursday, January 20, 2011

So You Want To Work Out?

A quick note before I get into the topic for today:
Thank you to everyone who commented on Monday’s post.  Some posted here, some posted on Facebook, some sent me email.  No matter how you sent me your comments, I appreciate them and they made me feel a little bit better about the whole situation.  You are all good people who deserve ice cream cones.  Unless you’re lactose intolerant, then sherbet.


So you want to work out?  You made a New Year’s resolution to get into better shape and now you want to follow through on it.  Join the club.  It’s the busiest time of the year for gyms.  You want to be a part of that, but you don’t know what to do.  Let me give you a hint.  There is one secret to making sure you get into better shape.  One little tip that I tell everyone that wants to start losing weight or getting stronger or whatever their fitness goal might be.

Show up.

That’s it.  Just show up.  Once you’re at the gym, you’re going to work out.  The trick is getting to the gym.  You have to make it a part of your routine.  Schedule it if you have to.  Put it in your calendar so that no one can schedule over it.  Make it a priority and show up every day.  Or every Monday, Wednesday and Friday or whatever schedule you choose.  Show up and do something.  Get on the treadmill or elliptical for 30 minutes.  You don’t have to kill yourself, just break a sweat.  If it hurts, stop doing it and switch to something else, but do something.  You can worry about fine tuning your routine once you’ve made it a habit.  In fact, once it becomes a habit you’ll be excited about fine tuning your routine.  Your goals will change, but most importantly your body will change and you will feel better.

Do it.  Show up.  Keep showing up.  If you miss a day, don’t worry about it and get right back on the horse.  Shit happens.  Missing one day isn’t going to kill you.  Missing every day will.  Just make a point to show up as much as possible and suddenly it will be June and you’ll have lost 20 pounds and you’ll feel awesome and you won’t even remember those days when it was so hard to just get there.

That’s my advice.  See you at the gym.

****

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bachelor Episode #3 - A Review

Hang on.  I’m beginning to wonder if Brad is really a changed man.  I need to be told at the beginning of the show every single week.  I’m afraid this is all going to fall apart.

Chris gathers the girls together and is all, “That was super crazy last night, right?  O. M. G.  Anyway, nothing changes.  Dates and dates.”

Not that you care, but I’m dropping the initials from the end of Shawntel and Chantal.  They need the initials on the show because they are homophones, but it’s not necessary for this blog since you can clearly see the different spellings. 

First Date — Ashley S.
Quick, name two of his songs.
She’s the one that got the First Impression Rose on the premiere.  Brad takes her to Capitol Records to record a song.  Guess which song?  That’s right, “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal.  Ashley seems to think that Brad, not the producers, chose the song.  Brad says, “I know that this is going to be absolute torture for Ashley.”  Great way to choose a date.  They are predictably awful.  Absolutely awful.  So awful that I feel dirty trying to make fun of them.

After their session, they go into a studio where Seal is “recording” that same song.  Again.  Because it’s his only song.

Are there enough scenic rooftops in L.A. for Brad to have every single dinner on a scenic rooftop?  He’s going to give it his best shot.  Ashley tells Brad the story of how her father loved “Kiss From A Rose.”  Her father is now dead because of that song or something.  I didn’t quite follow why it was so important to her.  My dad liked a lot of crappy songs.  I don’t get all weepy every time I hear them.  Most likely she made the whole thing up to try to create some kind of “connection” with Brad.

Also, chalk her up as the first to say, “I think I’m falling for him.”

Group Date — a bunch of girls, including Michelle
Michelle immediately starts crying because she is pissed about going on a group date with Brad.  Imagine what would happen if she wasn’t chosen for a date at all.  She’s “sick and tired of going on dates will all these women.”  First, these aren’t really dates.  Second, you knew the deal.  Third, this pouting is not putting you in a good place to be the next Bachelorette.  Less crying, more making America love you.

Brad is going to film an action movie with the ladies.  The idea is that the girls are to rescue the Bachelor.  Basically, all of the women get to take turns kicking ass.  It plays right into Michelle’s rage thing.

Shawntel switches into hard-core badass mode and makes everyone else look silly.  Then she aggressively makes out with a tied-up Brad.  

After the shoot, they head to a, wait for it, rooftop to get drunk and fight over Brad.  Chantal immediately starts crying about “how hard this is.”  Then she tells a story about how her dad passed away without her knowing.  Really?  Do any of these girls have a living father?  I mean, they obviously don’t have a strong male role model, but two dead dads in one episode?  Of course, Brad does the only thing he knows how to do when a girl cries — makes out with her.  

Is it just me or do all of these girls look exactly alike when they get their hair wet?

Michelle walks in on a private moment with Alli by lurking in the background and making the whole situation weird.  Then she cries about her daughter and makes out with Brad.  Is crying a turn-on for Brad?

Shawntel gets the rose.  Guess who thinks she deserved the rose?  I predict that Michelle will hospitalize someone before the end of this season.

Third Date — Emily
She’s terrified.  She plans to tell him about how her husband died in a plane crash and she then found out she was pregnant days later.  

Brad drives her to the airport and I hold my breath hoping for the return of Helicopter.  Instead, he piles her into a private jet.  You know, the kind of private jet her fiancé died in.  Brad is such a dick for making her fly.  Especially since she walked to L.A. from North Carolina.

Emily spends most of the date avoiding all of Brad’s questions because that’s probably the best way to get him to fall in love with her.  Guys love it when a girl is obviously holding something back so that every interaction is awkward.  Has she ever watched this show?  When has a girl bared her soul to a dude only to have it backfire on her?  Never.  Her story is no different and she is the first non-crying make out of the show.

She gets the rose.

By the way, this episode is sponsored by dead people.

Brad’s Therapist Moment
Brad’s therapist shows up to check on Brad and try to get his own TV show.  Brad tells him about his dates which is boring.  They should have watched the footage of the dates and done a telestrator-type breakdown of each of his moves.  Instead, the doctor simply says, “Make the girls feel comfortable” and Brad treats this like it’s some sort of amazing revelation.  

They threw this in there because there is clearly not enough interesting Cocktail Party footage to fill the rest of the show. 

The Cocktail Party
Everyone is on edge, you know, because they’re all crazy.  Though, Brad is on a mission to make everyone feel comfortable.  He even brought pillows.  Alli reveals the shocking detail that her father was a cheater and her parents are divorced.  Imagine, a girl on The Bachelor that came from a broken home.  Gasp!

Once Michelle gets Brad alone, she informs him that they are in a fight.  Why? Because he has kissed other girls.  I’m sure they’ve checked her for regular knives, but the real psychos use glass knives because they’re super sharp and hard to detect.  Have they checked her for glass knives?

Cut to a montage of Brad being interesting and charming with all of the girls.  He’s doing it!  He’s making them feel comfortable!  He’s a changed man!  He didn’t even need the extra pillows.

Then shit gets real.  Madison sits down with him an takes out her fangs.  Oh shit, they are going to con-ver-sate.  It’s like when your mom uses your middle name — you know it’s serious.  She basically tells him that she’s not into him and that she’s going home.  In an earlier conversation with Ashley S, she says, “I feel like there are girls who need this.  I don’t need this.”  I feel like that could be my review every week.

Ashley H whines about how hard it is and she wants Brad to guarantee that she’s not going to get hurt.  I think this girl just bought a one-way ticket to the Crazy Train.

The Rose Ceremony
Another boring Rose Ceremony.  The only possible drama is if Madison is going to accept a rose or not.  In fact, I’m pretty sure the producers added three girls just for the Rose Ceremony this week just so that Brad has someone to send home.  Shawntel, Emily and Ashley S all have roses and are standing smugly aside, as always.

Michelle gets the first rose because he knows she would poison anyone who got a rose before her.  He then chooses Chantal and soon after, Madison walks out.  Brad chases her down and tells her that he respects her decision to walk away.  He kinda has to, you know.

Kimberly and Sarah P are sent home.  Instead of showing actual emotion, Kimberly says, “Fuck Brad.  I can go out and date someone tomorrow and it will be fine.”  Shocking that she went home.  Sarah P completely breaks down in a she-needed-this-way-too-much-to-completely-fall-apart-in-the-third-episode kind of way.

My roses go to:
Marissa and Stacey — for not appearing in any of the three episodes to this point.
Helicopter — in the hopes that you make your return.  I miss you so.
Brad — for continuing to keep up the ruse that these dates are his idea.
Madison — for getting the fuck out.
Dr. Phil/Dr. Drew — for missing an opportunity to “treat” a D-list star.

****

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm Just Not Into It... Yet

My wife is pregnant.  In May we will have a daughter.  We are excited and we are scared.  It will be awesome.  Right now, it's weird.  I see Dee every day.  I see that her little belly is growing and I know there is a child inside, but I don't feel a connection yet.  I watch Dee.  Every night she comes home and sits in front of the computer reading about her pregnancy and doing research on high chairs and baby furniture and the kind of things we're supposed to do and the kind of things we're not supposed to do.  She has three or four different baby books spread out on the coffee table.  She's taking notes.  She's learning about the baby.  It’s like she’s trying to make up for going to a college where you don’t have to study.  

What am I doing?  Reading about the new Verizon iPhone.  Why?  Because I’m not into it.  I don't feel a strong connection yet.  Dee feels the baby moving and kicking inside of her.  I don't.  I know that eventually she'll be able to kick hard enough that I'll be able to feel it through her belly but she can't do that yet.  So I just sit there trying to imagine this thing that is still imaginary to me.  I feel like I should be more into it but I'm not and I feel terrible.  I try but it all comes out wrong.  Dee concerns herself with the types of diapers we need and what we can and can't feed her.  I say things like, "I'm not selling her Girl Scout Cookies for her.  She needs to learn to work for herself,” or, “I’ve got a great idea for a science fair project!”  That's the best I can do right now.  I don't know how else to think.  I love her — or I will love her.  I just don’t know how to connect to this daughter who is still imaginary to me.  In the meantime, I just take my guidance from Dee and help her try to solve the problems that she's worried about.  Girl Scouts aren't something we'll have to deal with for a while.  I don’t even know if science will still exist in ten years.  Someday I'm sure that I'll feel more connected.  It's just not today.  Until then all I can do is try to help Dee and file away my theory on allowances until it becomes relevant.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

The Friday Roundup

You probably shouldn’t watch so much TV.  In fact, I recommend spending that extra time reading the Friday Roundup.

This Week in Mindsilt
Tuesday:
My review of the second episode of The Bachelor

Thursday:
I wrote about why there won’t be as many people immediately jumping from AT&T to Verizon for the new iPhone


Tweet of the Week
From Jeff Ford (that’s right, I’m reposting my own tweet.  It’s my blog, people.) 
“What would happen to me if I ate a Luna bar? Will I grow boobs or no longer be registered for the draft? They look so delicious.”
See it here.  

Blog Post of the Week
It’s not hilarious, but it’s smart and important — and political.  So if you don’t like politics, don’t read this.  But you should anyway.

deFUDdle by Shafeen Charania at ~synthesis~ 

From the Mindsilt Archive
I didn’t write anything in this old post.  I just posted a super awesome video

Video of the Week
A really cool effect created by applying a mirror filter to some footage shot while driving though Chicago.



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Thursday, January 13, 2011

The New Verizon iPhone

The iPhone is finally coming to Verizon!  The world is saved!  AT&T will finally disappear from the face of the Earth and all will be well in cell phone land!

Not so fast.  This is definitely a big deal but I don’t think it’s as Earth-shattering as people think.  Everyone just assumes that all current iPhone owners will switch from AT&T to Verizon on February 10th and everything will be peachy.  Ain’t gonna happen.  I’ll tell you why.

1) There won’t be that many people whose AT&T contracts will have expired by February 10th and I have a feeling that paying a $300+ termination fee will make people wait.
2) Even if people do want to pay a $300+ termination fee, they’ll also have to pay another $200 for a new iPhone.  Your current AT&T iPhone won’t work on Verizon’s network.
3) A new iPhone will be coming out in June.  Most people will probably wait to upgrade and switch until then.
4) Not everyone uses their iPhone to make phone calls on a consistent basis.  I sure don’t.  Therefore, I don’t have many complaints about AT&T’s service.  In fact, I’ve noticed an improvement over the past couple years in my network coverage and speed.  
4a) AT&T’s network is faster than Verizon’s.  That matters to us data users.
4b) You can’t use voice and data simultaneously on Verizon’s network.  If you’re on a call, you can’t check your email.  If you’re checking your email, your calls will automatically go to voice mail.
5) It’s a pain in the ass to switch.  Some people won’t switch simply because they’re too lazy.

I’m not saying that there won’t be a ton of people that jump on the Verizon iPhone bandwagon, I’m just saying that I don’t think it will be the apocalypse that everyone seems to be predicting.  The reasons above are why I won’t be switching.  I think that this just might be the kick in the butt that AT&T needs to really make some improvements.  Now that they have competition from Verizon they’ll have to improve their network in order to get people to stay or switch back.   Plus, as people switch over to Verizon, the load on the AT&T network will decrease, making everything easier for those who stay.

I’m not saying I’ll never switch, but I’m certainly not switching anytime soon.

****

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Bachelor Episode #2 - A Review

It’s clear that they are going to continue to bash us over the head with this whole he couldn’t choose thing.  They open again with him trying to convince us all that he’s a “changed man” and that he’s ready for love.  We get it, he’s going to choose someone this time.

Do we still need him?
In a strange moment at the beginning of the show, Chris comes out and explains to the women how the show works.  Is Chris even necessary anymore?  Doesn’t this show run itself?

First Date — Ashley H.
Brad whisks her away in some kind of fancy convertible (I’m not a car guy) and he eventually turns off onto this creepy dirt road in the middle of nowhere and takes her for a walk.  Are we finally going to witness our first primetime murder?  No.  There is a carnival set up just for them.  You know, one of those scary carnivals where it looks like the rides could fall apart at any moment.  Maybe we will see our first primetime death after all.

After playing the test your strength game (you know, the one where you try to ring the bell by swinging a big hammer), they start making out like two people trying to convince themselves that they really want to be making out.

I may have misunderstood what she said because I was checking the score to the BCS Championship game, but I’m pretty sure she said her father is homeless, yet has no idea where he is.  How does she know that he’s homeless, then?  Does he text her?  Brad then talks about his absent father but no one can take this seriously while crazy clown heads loom in the background.  

Because Brad always takes the easy way out, she gets the rose.

Second Date — Fifteen Girls (I know, they freaked out, too.)
Michelle spends the entire pre-date time pouting about how she has to go on a date with fourteen other girls on her 30th birthday.  I get it.  She’s 30, this might be her last chance.  Especially if she keeps mentioning it, and she does.  Brad announces that the date will be spent making PSAs for the American Red Cross.  It’s the standard group date with scripts that are designed to make the other girls jealous.  But it’s for a good cause.  

Keltie is cast as a butch girl in two arm casts and a neck brace.  To top it off, they put her in flannel and a headscarf.  Instead of owning it and taking the opportunity to impress Brad, she whines about how unsexy it is.  Does no one do their homework before they come on the show?

The first PSA is a spoof of a bad Mexican soap opera where two of the girls fight over him by taking turns kissing him.  The rest of the girls are fine with this.  Not really, I was just seeing if you’re paying attention.  They are all appropriately disgusted and Melissa — who is not in the scene — barges in and kisses him.

Chantal O. And Britt play two drunk party girls who are to make out with Brad on a bed.  Britt takes this opportunity to go to town on Brad.  The correct choice would have been for her to go to town on Chantal O.  Michelle storms out and pouts like a twelve year old.  This is what happens when the hot girl doesn’t get what she wants for once — on her birthday.

After the shoot they have a rooftop party.  Brad says it’s “the perfect environment for a fun, lighthearted evening.“  This party has just been doomed to be neither fun nor lighthearted.  The girls take their turns pulling him away for one-on-one time.  Can we start calling Brad Lake Compliment?  Every time these girls fish for a compliment, he gives them exactly what they want. 

Raichel and Melissa get into some sort of drunken argument about nothing for no reason.  I can only hope it’s about the way Raichel spells her name.

Guess who gets the rose?  That’s right, Michelle.  Because it’s her birthday.  Another easy choice from the man with no spine.

Third Date — Jackie
Doormen?
Brad says, “This date is Jackie’s own Pretty Woman experience.”  Brad takes Jackie to a fancy hotel who proceeds to call the doormen “guards.”  This is just another example of the post-9/11 America we live in.  Brad ushers her into a room full of dresses and shoes for her to select from.  Of course, she chooses the worst dress possible.  To top it off, she gets jewelry.  It wouldn’t be a Pretty Woman experience without jewelry that she has to give back at the end of the date.

Once Jackie is all dolled up, they take a limo to the Hollywood Bowl.  During dinner she admits that she wasn’t popular and didn’t date much.  He gets very concerned that she’s only had two major relationships.  He sees a little of himself in her, ifyouknowwhatimean.  I mean sex.  After their deep and connection building conversation, they are serenaded by Train.  I’ve never seen him before, but the lead singer of Train is creepy looking.  He kinda looks like one of the cats from Cats.  Also, someone needs to tell him to stop writing songs about that same enigmatic girl.

Despite his concerns, she still gets the rose.  Because it’s the easy choice.

The Cocktail Party
Michelle pulls him away as soon as the cocktail party starts and asks him those inane questions that make you think that you’re getting to know someone but don’t tell you anything at all.  Like: Starbucks vs. Coffee Bean?  Why do I feel like she brought a cheat sheet to this show?  

He and Emily spend about five minutes trying to out-flatter each other.  It’s quite a battle.  Emily wins but only because Brad doesn’t want to offend her by out-complimenting her.

Raichel and Melissa take the first opportunity to start screaming at each other for no reason.  I feel like they’ve lost focus.  Aren’t they here to fall in love with whoever ABC selected for them?  I’m already looking forward to After the Rose with these two.  Raichel takes solace in the fact that “Jesus still loves me.”  I’m not a big Jesus guy, but doesn’t Jesus love everyone?

Melissa immediately breaks down in front of Brad and begins to explain her pointless argument with Raichel.  Then she breaks her crying spree to apologize for her onion breath.  This is the first moment in which we get to see Brad form an opinion all by himself, and he ain’t buying it.  He then goes to find Raichel and she does the same thing.

Chris suddenly shows up and informs the girls that Ali and Roberto (from last season) will be helping Brad hand out a rose.  I’m not sure how this raises the stakes or even changes anything but I’m sure it does somehow.  They interview each of the girls.  Meanwhile, the Raichel and Melissa drama continues.  They brief Brad afterwards but we’re not allowed to hear the conversation because they can’t tarnish their golden couple by letting us hear them talk trash about the girls.  He decides to give the rose to Emily.

The Rose Ceremony
Ashley H., Michelle, Jackie and Emily already have roses and they all stand smugly off to the side.  Once again, there are still too many girls for there to be any legitimate drama.  The only question is if Raichel or Melissa is going to get a rose.  Neither of them do and we’ve officially had our first “message” rose ceremony.  Create drama, go home.  You show ‘em, Brad.  Do you care who else got roses?  No, you don’t.

In her exit interview, Melissa blames everyone else.  I can only imagine that’s a theme in her life.  Raichel tries not to cry because that would be “letting Melissa win” but she still doesn’t apologize for the spelling of her name.

My roses go to:
Brad — for sending both Raichel and Melissa home.
The Producers — for letting every single girl overdo her makeup for the rose ceremony.
Keltie — for wearing a tiara and then being surprised she was sent home.  Also, for rapping.
Lindsay — for being caught with an angry, angry look during the rose ceremony.  Also, for being a hot redhead.
Ali — for extending her bad hair streak to a record three Bachelor/Bachleorette seasons.

****

Thursday, January 06, 2011

It's My Birthday

Yesterday was the last day I could honestly check the 18-34 box on those corporate surveys you fill out in hopes of getting a free iPad or something.

You know what that means, right?

Today is the day I’ve finally grown into my gray hair. When you go gray as early as I did, people have no idea how old you are. They either guess something ridiculously young in an attempt to flatter you or they say 35. Until today they’ve always been wrong.

How will I celebrate my birthday? By thinking about my mortality and frantically scheduling doctor’s appointments. Also, going to meetings, sitting at my desk and figuring out where I’m going to get the money to send my daughter to Notre Dame. Or Stanford. Or Duke. Or Harvard. But definitely not Arizona State. That’s where slutty girls go to school — so I’m told. My little girl is going to be a sweet, perfect genius. No pressure, little fetus.

Anyway, year 35 is going to be a big one for me. Let’s hope the past 34 years have given me what I need to make it through year 35 and whatever comes after.

Also, if you want to do something nice for me on my birthday, make a donation to my Dad’s scholarship fund. The scholarship goes to a promising young kid who has shown an interest in technology.

Check payable to:
Blackford County Community Foundation, Inc. Write “David C. Ford Scholarship” in the memo line.

Send to:
Benjamin E. Oswalt
121 North High Street
P.O. Box 327
Hartford City, IN 47348

Thanks and happy birthday.

****

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Bachelor Premiere -- A Review

Introducing the Bachelor
Let me get this straight.  The Bachelor has decided to bring back the most reviled bachelor in the show’s history to give him another shot at finding someone to propose to and break up with a few weeks later?  The Bachelor is now full-on making fun of its viewers.  The only way this would be more of a joke is if they brought back one of the bachelors that broke up with his chosen girl.

If you love this show you are an idiot.

Brad Womack is back after three years.  I guess that he decided not to choose a girl at the end of his original season and people hated him for it.  What?  You mean he was actually smart enough to realize that a TV show wasn’t the place to find a wife?  God forbid.  Despite the fact that he made the right decision three years ago, they beat us over the head with the fact that he’s spent the entire time in therapy so that we all know he’s a changed man.  Maybe this time he’ll be smart enough to send everyone home after three weeks.

They couldn’t resist bringing back the two girls he turned down on the last episode of his original season.  What about the other 23 girls he rejected on that show?  Why don’t they get their due?  They both attack him and tell him that the girls on the show won’t want to be with someone who hurt them like that.  Really?  Is there anyone on Earth that hasn’t hurt someone?  Is there an IQ test you have take and fail to be on this show?  Why do I continue to be surprised by people’s stupidity?

Introducing the Bachelorettes
With the exception of about two girls, all of the bachelorettes immediately know who he is.  The first girl out of the limo smacks him in the face “from every woman in America” and he thanks her for it.  Instead of having normal introductory conversations with these girls, he basically begs every last one of them to give him a chance.  It’s sad and pathetic.  A few highlights:

  • Chantal O. — The now famous face-smacker.  Women with daddy issues across the world have a new hero.
  • Ashley S. — The first girl to be nice to him.  She might actually have a brain.
  • Meghan — Wore ridiculous pink shoes because she wanted to be remembered as a 12-year old girl.
  • Lindsay — The hot redhead.  Send the rest of them home, she’s my winner.
  • Madison — Is a model from NYC who thinks she’s a vampire — she actually has fangs.
  • Sarah P. — Made him get down on one knee and propose to her.  He’s their monkey at this point.  He’ll do anything they ask to try to prove that he’s not some horrible beast. 
  • Lauren — A high school teacher who says, “Let’s hope history don’t repeat itself.”
  • Shawntel N. — A funeral director who’s not nearly as goth as I would have hoped.
  • Lisa M. — Wears ruby slippers because she’s from Kansas.  Brad needs this explained to him.
  • Keltie — Radio City Rockette with a made up name.  She kicks her leg up when she gets out of the car and exposes herself to the non-football watching world.
  • Emily — Typical southern bleach blonde who wears too much makeup but everyone thinks is drop dead gorgeous.  However, her fiancé was a race car driver who was killed in a plane crash and she discovered four days later that she was pregnant.  How’s that for a party pooper?
That’s just a sampling of the thirty women.  Sweet Christ, thirty!  This show is going to run through July.

The Cocktail Party
I guess three years of ridicule from dim-witted Bachelor fans completely melts your spine.  Before the cocktail party gets started, he tells all of the girls about his original season and asks anyone if they want to leave.  No one leaves.  This doesn’t stop them from spending the entire party voicing their concern about Brad’s inability to commit.  They all want to know that he will be able make a decision.  Guess what?  He did make a decision.

This dude needs to stop apologizing and just move the fuck on.

I can’t believe that Ashley S. is the only girl who is smart enough to forgive the guy and tell him that she just wants to move forward.  Actually, I can.  She’s a lock for the first impression rose because she’s the only one who’s been nice to him.

Renée gets a moment with Brad and uses it to tell him, “I have a great sense of humor.  See?  I’m not wearing any shoes!”  Another girl immediately steps in and saves Brad from this awkwardness which leads to a fun little exchange where Renée keeps trying to steal him back only to be trumped by someone else.  First of all, take a hint, sister.  Second, Brad needs to man up and tell the other girls to wait while he finished being bored to death by Renée.

Madison’s — the girl with fangs — mysterious and sexy thing seems like an act and when Brad calls her on it she pretty much drops it but we never figure out if the fangs are real or not.  They’ve got to save something for next week.

Eventually Chris Harrison brings out the first impression rose but Brad is not gutsy enough to make the joke that he just can’t decide who to give it to.  He gives it to Ashley S. as I predicted.

The Rose Ceremony
Brad has to hand out 19 more roses to a bunch of girls that we hardly know.  It’s always the least interesting rose ceremony of them all.  Everyone just wants it to be over.  I sure did.  I’m pretty sure he picked the girl with the fangs and the funeral director but he also may have sacked Tyrod Taylor in the Orange Bowl.  I wasn’t paying much attention at this point.

My roses go to:

  • Jackie — For singing to Brad despite the fact that it’s always the kiss of death on this show.
  • The Producers — For including zero black women.
  • Renée — For never reading “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
  • Michelle — For being the first to drop the “I’m not here to make friends” line.
  • Ashley S. — For being the tallest midget in the room.

****

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Brief Recap of My 2010

It’s already 2011.  I remember 1988 when Notre Dame still had a good football team and I was learning how to use my Social Studies textbook to cover my unexpected boners.  Back then I’d never thought it would be 2011 when my boner would stop getting me into trouble.  Little did I know.  Anyway, stuff happened to me in 2010.  Here’s a recap.

Travel
I don’t do a lot of traveling, but I managed to get to a few places in 2010.  Here’s a list of every city I’ve stayed in for at least one night and the reason why.

Chicago, IL — I live here and sleep here most nights.  It would make the list even if I never left my house.

Portage, WI — Dee and opened 2010 in Portage on a ski trip with some friends.  I didn’t actually go skiing because I’m terrible at it and I was way too hungover.

Palo Alto, CA — I went there for work to open a new office.  Twice.  Once in January and once in November.  It almost made me wish I had gone to Stanford.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic — Vacation, bitches.  Sunshine and tropical drinks.  Actually, it was mostly rainy and it got in all our tropical drinks and watered them down. 

South Beloit, IL — Dee and I went to visit some friends.  Secret friends.  I could tell you who they are but I would have to kill you.  You don’t want to make me do that, do you?

Michigan City, IN — Our annual Memorial Day weekend trip to this resort-ish town where we rent a house with friends and enjoy whatever weather Indiana decides to dish out.  This year it was better than the weather in Punta Cana.

Hartford City, IN — We made several trips to my hometown to visit my mom and attend funerals and celebrate Christmas.  We also like to make our way to Upland, IN to enjoy the delicious ice cream treats at Ivanhoe’s.

Cleveland, OH — This year my college buddies decided to visit Cleveland for our annual baseball game.  I’m pushing for Hiroshima in 2011.  Go Carp!

Sandusky, OH — Dee and I made time for a second vacation to Cedar Point and we scared ourselves silly on their roller coasters.  

Indianapolis, IN — Sometimes we visit my brother and his wife because they have a dog that Ruthie actually gets along with.  Kinda.

New York, NY — Another work trip.  Always happy to visit NYC for work or pleasure and sometimes both.

South Bend, IN — Technically, we stayed in Granger but we were there for the Notre Dame-Pitt game so I’ll count it as South Bend.

Events
Dee and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary (and fifth year together) in February.  Believe it or not, she still puts up with me and even encourages me from time to time.

pH won $20,000 in the Chase Giving event on Facebook.  I’m sure I probably asked for your vote several times and annoyed the shit out of you to get the votes we needed.  We got them, so thank you.  That $20,000 will go towards our new theater fund.

I started writing for Schadenfreude.net.  At first I was just posting random bits but I eventually began reviewing episodes of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Dancing With the Stars.

The week of Christmas, Dee and I found out that we are going to have a girl.  We got to see her for the first time during the sonogram and she would barely hold still for long enough for the tech to figure out if she was a boy or girl.  Eventually, she settled down and we’ll be welcoming a daughter in May.

****