Wednesday, June 29, 2005

And Its a Hot One

Let the record show that I did just quote Rob Thomas. The jury can now give me the full sentence of the crime.

So, how about all this hot weather we've been having. It's so hot that insert requisite cheesy joke here. Or at least here in Michigan. It's been consistently in the mid-upper 80s, even hitting 90 late last week. Now a lot of people like to complain about it. Yes, the weather makes us sweat, and sticky, and smell, but you know what? I frickin' love it man! I've been enjoying every minute of it. I'll take this over snow any day of the week. First of all, I can go out and run without a shirt and sweat a lot. Then I get to go in and take a nice cold showers. Cold showers in the summer and just fantastic. Then, since I have no roommate, I can lounge around in just my boxers (how about that picture ladies!). Some would say "why not just lounge around naked?" First of all to get good airflow in my room, I keep the door open. Second, I've tried that, and it just does not make me comfortable. I need some....barrier between the nether regions and everything else. Now there's an image NO ONE wants to see.

What else about the summer? Oh yeah the women! Women and what they wear. I love it! Perpetual eye candy all day long! Short shorts, skirts, tank tops...whatever it is, showing skin is a good thing! I really hate the winter. I mean snow just...its definitely my least favorite form of precipitation. Ideally, I'm going to end up living somewhere it never snows. But I did come to a sort of epiphinay, a realization. That is, as much as I dislike snow and winter maybe it serves a purpose. When spring arrives and the weather gets warmer, the female of the species, in an evolutionary and ritualistic manner, all shed their outter layers. They emerge from the darkness of winter and display their colours for the males to spar over. And the kicker is that this often happens at an earlier date and temperature then one would expect! It never fails.

Speaking of attractive women, what's with Lindsay's Lohan's new look? Now, I'm really indifferent when it comes to her. She falls into the "attractive young female semi-actress" category. As a purveyor of pop culture I do like to keep tabs on what's going on with whom. Well I caught Miss Lohan on Conan last week. I first noticed her new look around the beginning of May when she hosted SNL. She went from a curvaceous red-head to a streamlined skinny blonde. Now the blonde I don't mind, no complaints there. But now she's this thin waif. Lets try some links to some pictures: before, before, before & after. Ok, that's enough LL links (though some may argue there are never enough). I couldn't get a good "after" pic so that one will do. She's a stick now! There's no need for that! She was doing fine with what she had. This whole Hollywood/model/actress thinness is overplayed! When will young girls and women realize that, it's perfectly fine (and in my opinion better) not to be stick thin. There is nothing wrong with a little extra here and there ladies.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I've Got Your Letter

Today we take a break from our regularly scheduled blogging to respond to some reader feedback:

From: A Loving Family Member
Subject: Your Hair
Mark, are you ever going to cut your hair? Do you realize that you are making yourself even less attractive to women? Do you not want to get a date? Words can't even begin to describe the debacle that is your hair.

My poor family, worrying about the status of my hair. I'll let the record show that the last hair cut I did receive occured the first weekend of march, which was just about 4 months ago. The hair has surpassed the mullet-esque phase and now has moved onto the 70s cock-rock-star phase. I'm thinking of growing a porn-stace just to make it complete. That or a neck beard. And in terms of the ladies, if somehow I do manage to score one, all the more power to her. If she's into me when I'm not my most beautiful, then she'll be really into me when I finally decide to cut it.

From: Your Friends in Lakewood
Subject: Visiting
Dude, are you ever coming home? You spend like all your time up in Michigan and it sucks there. We need some Mark in our lives.

Its good to be loved, that's for sure. I'll be back to the 'Wood sooner then you think. God bless cheap beer.

From: Anonymous Friend
Subject: Stories
Maaaaaarrrrk!!! Wasssup? Love the blog man, but you gotta tell more stories. Like that time where text omitted to protect the innocent (or guilty) or when you got so drunk that text omitted. Man those were great times!

Ahh yes tales of debauchery and bacchanalia! But alas, this is not the intended purpose of this here blog. Occassionally, yes I will recount some tale of days of yore, but not on a regular basis. And since this is not an anonymous blog, I'd rather not deal with the repercussions of these stories.

From: SexxxySpartan2004
Subject: U R Soooo Cute!
i dont no u, but i c u all the time. do u have a g/f? cuz if not, id really really like 2 b yors. I want 2 run my fingers thru that long red hair of yors and
u seem so kewl...and HOT!!!!

Um....yeah, do you read this thing at all?

Well that is all for today folks. I appreciate the comments and feedback. Tomorrow I hope to have something up on this hot weather we've been having.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Happy Birthday to Greer

Greer Rocks! (to the left of me in this pic)

A special shout-out today to the one and only Erin Greer (or just Greer as we all know her as) as she is celebrating her golden birthday. Erin is a wonderful friend of mine. She's one of those people with whom I became friends with after we left high school. Kinda random, but a good kind of random. We always seem to have fun (sometimes too much) when we're together. And she's a saint as she deals with me when I'm drunk and trying to hook up with her. One of these days Greer, one of these days...
Anyway I hope you have a wonderful day. I'm glad you're in my life.

A brief P.S. from my past post on Cleveland suburbia. Thanks to Teets, who passed on this little nugget where the FreeTimes has deemed, once again, Lakewood to be the #1 neighborhood/place to live in Cleveland. Yes, we rock!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Our House in the Middle of the Street

Big Supreme Court decision just released.

The big court has now established that it is OK for governments to seize private property for tax revenue purposes. This was a serious issue in Lakewood (click here, here, or here for info) in 2003 as the mayor and council labeled a portion of the city as blighted. This enabled them (so they thought) to seize the property through eminent domain and use it for a retail and high-end housing development. Well of course this caused an uproar in both the neighborhood and the city. One of the designations that council came up with for "blight" was that the houses in the neighborhood in question did not have attached garages. Well, the majority of Lakewood homes do not have attached garages, so that was a stretch. 2003 was an election year as we were electing a new mayor and this issue was on the ballot. The then-mayor went on 60 Minutes to discuss the eminent domain issue and came across horribly. This ultimately led to her failure to get reelected and the defeat of the ballot issue in support of the new development.

is a classic inner-ring suburb (and a great city). It's packed full of homes and there is little, if any, open land for new developments. With new "lifestyle" centers such as Legacy Village and Crocker Park, Lakewood and other inner ring suburbs need new developments to fiscally compete with these other suburbs that do have the land to develop. When this issue came into light a few years ago, the debate focused on the fact that the city wanted to take homes away from their owners. The majority of homes in Lakewood are 70-100 years old. Yes people (including my parents) have spent their whole lives in these homes and feel a connection to them, but they're your average American home. Nothing special. Where the city went wrong was their whole approach in seizing the homes. They pretty much played the role of the bully and expected things to turn out the way they wanted. This was a mistake. If the city had approached the home owners on a civilized manner and negotiated with them, then maybe things would have turned out for the good. Or if the city had waited 2 years....

I love Lakewood. Aside from its insane amount of bars, its where I grew up and I ultimately call home. I realize that it has its problems but I'll take the good with the bad. Another issue that the distractors of the proposal pointed out was "well, what if the development doesn't work out." Well, I'd much rather have the city take a risk in a development rather then sit back and lose retail & tax money to other suburbs.

In news on other Cleveland 'burbs, Scene magazine has an intriguing article this week on another city in the area.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I Can't Believe the News Today

So apparently I do have readers. I'm appreciative of the comments you are leaving and perhaps at some point I will delve into all the ridiculousness that has been my life. But not today.

No, I'm going to take some time to focus on the how I view the news. First of all, like many 20-somethings, I'm a Jon Stewart devotee and try to the best of my abilities to watch The Daily Show on a, well, daily basis. He keeps me informed of the day's happenings in that oh-so-special humerous way of his. One thing that has struck me lately is his open-mindedness toward guests, specifically those on the right. We all know that Stewart is a Leftist, but its his ability to push that to the side when interviewing members from the Right. And I like that. It sure beats those pundits you see on FOXNews, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, etc. The past couple of weeks he's had on such guests as Newt Gingrich, Colin Powell, and a couple of authors who have written Right-leaning books on the Mid-East. Stewart is non-hostile and it such a joy to watch. The guests also seem to enjoy coming on a show where they know they can be a bit less serious and seem, God-forbid, human! I wish all shows could be like that and politicians could be more human.

Quick side note, I've had this mock-conversation going on in my head now for a couple of weeks. The scene: a nice summer day in the city where we have 3-4 20/30-something females sitting on a restaurant patio discussing their recent personal lives. These women are much in the Sex in the City vein. One woman is talking about this guy she's been dating. She likes him, they're having fun, but there is one thing that she can't get past. He's watches The Daily Show habitually. So much so that 1) nothing physical can happen until the show is over, and 2) when they are intimate right before the moment of climax he says "And now here it is, your moment of Zen." What this has to say about me, I haven't a clue. Feel free to leave me your thoughts.

Back to the topic of the news. Aside from The Daily Show, I really don't watch any other news program, per se. I haven't watched a network newscast in quite a long time. Lately though I have become a fan of Anderson Cooper and his show. It's an hour-long show, so he's able to tackle more topics, and be more in-depth. He's also comes across as more genuine. I mean, I grew up in the 3-network age. Aside from the fact that my parent's didn't get cable until, um, 2000(?), the Big-3 networks is where you got your TV-news from. We're now in the age of multiple 24-hour newschannels and are overwhelmed with the amount of talking heads, tickers, and graphics on the screen. For whatever reason, Cooper stands out. He's very down-to-earth and covers a lot of practical topics that are interesting.

Together, Stewart and Cooper and becons of light in the mess that is cable news.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I Ain't Got No Game I Just Hope and Wait

So I surfed upon Aaron Karo yesterday, and I just have to ask myself: how come I'm just finding out about this guy? I spent a good part of the afternoon yesterday reading all of his recent columns. He's kind of a mid-20s version of Seinfeld. Witty observations on everyday life that I certainly identify with. I'm thinking of purchasing his books. We're also members of the same fraternity, so I gotta support a fellow brother.

After reading his columns, I asked myself, "self, how come you don't write like this guy?" I mean, I've gone through a lot of the same things as him and could attempt to put a humorous spin on situations -- getting drunk, life changes that occur in the mid-20s, living with parents, break-ups, break-ins, hook-ups, engagements, weddings, growing older, etc.. Of course my sole focus would probably be my pining for a member of the opposite sex. And the outcome everytime would be something like this "our hero goes home alone and with no phone number." Cue self-deprecating music.

I joke about having no game, but really this is true. I have come to one conclusion, however. That is, any game I do have, is best used when alchohol (often in large amounts) is present. I'm pretty sure all but 2 of my hook-ups since college have been sans alcohol. Now, I'm no manwhore, that's for sure but this is telling me something. 1) Either I'm a complete sleaze and need to get girls drunk to make-out with me or 2) I'm such a pathetic representation of a human that only drunk girls will make-out with me. Unfortunately I hardly drink these days. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I've gone out about 10 times since I've been in grad school. I don't drink, so I rarely get drunk. Since my whole game is obviously based on drinking and I don't drink then I've got no game. The bottom line is then this: I need to go out and drink more so I can get drunk girls to make out with me in hopes that it leads to some sort of relationship. That, or I'll just live as a hermit for the rest of my life.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

It's Grady Sizemore's world, and we're just living in it.
The Tribe is the hottest team in baseball right now, riding an 8-game winning streak. If you missed it, Casey Blake had a hell of a catch last night as he climbed over the 3rd base tarp, reached into the stands as his foot slipped down the tarp and caught the ball. Quite spectacular. As I write this, they're up 3-2 in the top of the 8th. Quite a quick game, as its not even 3:00 yet. Their pitching is doing great. They lead the majors with a 3.52 team ERA. Add to that the bullpen, who is second in the majors in ERA and you've got one heck of a pitching staff. Their batting started off slow, but seems to be coming along. The unfortunate thing is that we're in the suddenly-competitive AL Central. Yes, it is only June 19th, but the Tribe is only 2 games out of the wild card race. If they keep playing like this, it could be a fun summer. Of course they did this to us last year too. They got hot in August, came within 1 game of Minnesota, and then collapsed. Hopefully the players learned from that and this year will be able to get over the hump. And we'll make that 9 games in a row as they've now swept the Diamondbacks.
Oh yeah, even though he hit a extra innings walk-off homer the other night, Aaron Boone still sucks.

Friday, June 17, 2005

I Remember Redwood Trees

I'm pretty sure that California is about to fall into the Pacific. 4 earthquakes in the past week. During this time the oh-s0-backwards California court system has found Michael Jackson innocent. Coincidence? Hmmmm....that's up for debate. Since we all know it'll happen eventually, when California does go floating off, does that make Las Vegas the new west coast?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It Is Time for Stormy Weather

My Grandma's House

My Grandmother's house fell victim to the recent bout of sporadic inclimate weather we've been having. This happened yesterday afternoon. Thankfully she was out of the house at the time. The other thing is that the tree got the corner of the house and didn't fall directly on top of it, which would have caused considerably more damage. The bottom line is that she's safe and that is all that really matters.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Birthday Parties Cheesecake

Happy Birthday Dad!

Its a week of birthdays. Yes, my dad (also known to certain members of my family as The Big Guy, the Old Man, and Gordon) is another year older. Aside from providing unwanted dating advice, he's a good guy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Words Are Coming Out All Weird

A perfect example of why NOT to have a blog

Ahh yes the whole internet revolution has been whith us for a good 10 years now. In my unofficial account of things, we'll trace it back to the release of good 'ol Windows 95. That really set forth for where we are today. The internet started out as this cool new-fangled way that was going to revolutionize the way we lived. In some regards that is true. I don't think any of us could imagine a life without the internet. On the otherhand, I'm convinced that at least 95% of the internet is useless information designed to make us a less-productive society. Ask any college kid with a high-speed internet connection. It comes time to study and its like "Oh man, I don't wanna do my work...lets check out the score of the game, or lets play another game of poker, or lets see who's on IM."

Ahh yes, IM, that wonderful tool of communication. Or is it? The internet, and IM particularly, has elicited a whole new way of speaking. Or writing. Whatever you want to call it. People (notably teenagers) use such appreviations as 2day for "today" and u for "you." And it just goes downhill from there folks. One abbreviation (if you even want to call it that) is kewl for "cool." It's the same number of keystrokes folks! It's not gonna save you anytime! This IMspeak is one of my biggest pet peeves. I find it disturbingly hard to read things where people write like this. Miss Anduthinkuhaveitbad's blog literally gave me a headache. I read only a few sentences before I wanted to take a gun and shoot the webpage.

One thing that I feel is overlooked in this whole IMspeak is the generation of kids who are growing up using improper English. I'm not a teacher and I'm by no means an expert in the English language. I'm willing to be t though, that there are kids out there who try to pass this so-called language off when they write papers and homework for class. It sets a bad precedence for these kids. I honestly worry about the future for these kids and our country if they don't learn the proper spelling & usage of our language.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

They Say Its Your Birthday, Part Deux

Here we are last august on John's wedding day.

Today is also my good friend John's birthday. You have now officially joined the ranks of the 26+ crowd and are now closer to 30 then 20. Hope you have a great day man.

They Say Its Your Birthday

My Big Sis & I

Happy birthday Emily! She turns 30 today. I just want to say that I've got two of the best sister's a guy could ask for. They truly rock. But today, Emily, you rock most hard. This picture was taken a couple weeks ago while we were on vacation. As she so astutely pointed out to her kids, but her and I have the same haircut. Can't argue with that.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt

Now Playing: Bob Dylan -- Blood on the Tracks.

As I do on a regular basis, I was checking myself out in the mirror yesterday. That should come as no surprise to those that know me. I will admit I can be a bit vain at times. So there I was primping & flexing my strapping bronzed body. Then I noticed something. Or really, it was the lack of something. My chest/pecs are nowhere to be found! It's been about a year since I was last weight training, but this is ridiculous. I mean, even when I have been lifting, I've never been that guy. You know the type. The no-neck meat-head who jumps at any opportunity to describe in full detail about their workouts and point out what you, Mr. Weakling, are doing wrong. I've always used weights to give a little more tone to my body. So I can fill out my clothes a bit better. Well that's gone too. Let's look at the polo issue. I've started to prefer the "fitted/stretch" polos versus the all-cotton pique polos. Last year I could fit into an Express fitted polo size large. The sleeves fitted nicely around my upper arms while giving some shape to my chest. Now these are not skin-tight like you see on a lot of guys, but for me, it's what I liked. Fast-forward a year later and here I am buying medium polos which fit loosely on me! For the sake of myself I'm not buying size small just so I can show-off my non-existant upper body.

So this has motivated me. I am now on a mission to regain my chest. Yes, it may take awhile, but gosh darn-it, I need it back. I'm not a total superficial guy. Looks are important when both looking at and attracting the opposite sex, but they are not the end-all of qualities I look for. But I'm no fool. I realize that looks get you somewhere and having any resemblance of tone in my upper body will help that. Due to my dire economic situation, I am unable to purchase a gym membership at one of the MSU facilities. So I started doing pushups. Wow, it's been awhile since I did those. I just did 3 sets of 15 today and that's probably about all I can do. I'll do that 3 times a week and then up the number next week. We'll try that out for the summer and see where I am come september. Hopefully by then I'll be able to pay for a membership and I'll be able to work on the arms and shoulders.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

On The Road Again

Well its been a whirlwind of the past 4 weeks or so. I put 3700 miles on my van the past 3 weekends. Two trips from Michigan to North Carolina and back will do that to you. It was fun, that's for sure. I'll try to keep this as brief as possible.

The first week was great. My sister graduated and we got what was probably one of the worst commencement speakers ever. It was some old lady who had had no speaking skills and spoke way too long. If she had kept it shorter or was able to captivate the audience then I would have appreciated it more. To boot, the woman didn't even graduate from college and was receiving an honorary diploma. Where is the justice in that? Anyway after that we went to Corolla for a week of R & R. I'd like to tell you that I did a lot of stuff, but no. It was a relaxing, lazy, easy week. The most fun was playing with my niece and nephew. They are just the greatest.

Last weekend I traveled down to Raleigh for the wedding of two college friends. My van (the immortal 1995 maroon Mercury Villager) was packed full of 7 people and luggage on the way down. It was a bit cramped, but I think we all had fun. Of course people had fun ripping on my van. Hey, it ain't perfect, but its got character folks. Here's a list of things wrong with it:

It takes multiple turns of ignition to get started
It needs a new muffler/exhaust system
There are 2 cracks in the windshield
The left blinker doesn't work
The CD player is very tempermental (Wilco anyone?)
The wiper fluid pump doesn't work
The rear wiper doesn't work
Above 75 mph the van starts shaking
The right passenger window is off its track
Going uphill in the mountains with a packed van is quite a chore

So yeah, you get the idea. Although in the past year the van has survived a trip to Bonnaroo, 4 weddings, a trip to DC and back in the middle of a snowstorm, and the aforementioned 3 weeks of action. So yeah, me and it has had fun and its been my baby.

Anyway the wedding was great. It was fantastic seeing all my Case Swimming Alums. Yes I did drink a bit much saturday night and was feeling the effects sunday morning/afternoon. Of course that didn't stop me from going on a run and playing ultimate frisbee prior to the wedding. Considering the shape I was in, I surprised myself that I was able to participate. I've been getting hungover a lot lately. I think its because I hardly drink anymore. When I do, however, I think I can drink as much as I could a year or two ago. This is not the case and I end up paying for it the next morning. The wedding was very well done. I wish Jon & Kelly the best. They have such different personalities, but for them it works. Its a great example of Yin and Yang. We all rocked the dance floor to a playlist that was dominanted by classic 80s tunes and songs that were prominant during our time on the swim team. And for the 2nd consecutive Case Swimming wedding, someone passed out on the pavement. Quite a good time.