Old Man Chispas

Posted by Brandon |

Today was a day that I felt old. Not just a little bit old either, fucking ancient is more like it.

Over the weekend we inherited some couches from a friend. They are really, really nice and we are so happy to have them. But one of the couches is an awfully heavy hide-a-bed from Ikea, and while moving it down the stairs from our friend's apartment, I messed up my back. I worked through the pain though and I think that I may have put it back into place when we carried the damn thing up the stairs to our apartment.

But last night at rugby, it tightened up and started hurting something fierce and all day today it was tight and sore and just a general pain in the ass...er, back. Of course I don't listen to my body and take it easy, I went and took some swings at the batting cage after work and gave myself a big old blister on my hand while aggravating my back. To top it off, I noticed while changing my socks that my feet were really dry and my heal was starting to look kind of nasty.

So I made a trip to Long's Drugs this evening and this is what I purchased...

Now that is some old man shit right there. Gold Bond Foot Cream, blister Band-Aids, icy-hot back pads and Coke Zero. And it could have been worse. They were out of moleskins to protect my hands from blisters in the future and I forgot to get AA batteries.

What the fuck? I'm only 30. It's not like I am, in actuality, ancient. I haven't even become a daddy and yet this is the shopping that I'm doing? Diet soda and Gold Bond?

I've been thinking that tomorrow night I'll go see The Format in concert in LA. Now I'm kind of concerned. One one hand, going to see a cool, young band might make me feel more young and hip. But on the other hand, while growing crankier and crankier with the inevitable wait between bands, I could have my back tighten up while standing in the middle of a bunch of annoying twenty something hipsters. That would make me feel even older than I do today.

Hell, just having that thought run through my head makes me feel old as the hills.

I guess that seals it. I'm Fucking ancient, dude. Fucking. Ancient.

In Other News - We are in need of one more Fantasy Football team. Dutchy hasn't responded (I know she's on vacation, but it didn't sound like she really wanted to play anyway) so her space is up for grabs. If you'd like to play, please leave me a comment or email me at downwithpants@gmail.com


Pho'd in the 'Nard

Posted by Brandon |

Pho Oxnard is really good, but there is one item on their menu that I don't think I'll be ordering anytime soon...

They've tried to marker it out, but we all know what it says.

By the way, that's my reflection in the first picture. They have these up in their window out front and I couldn't get a good picture without me in it. Oh well, you get the point.

Also, if anybody needs a couch, I know of one that could use a good home!


Itchy/Hillary '08

Posted by Brandon |

I have a confession to make and it's something that I'm a little afraid to say...

While bloggers around the world are going crazy over The Simpsons Movie that opened today, I have to admit, I thought it was just OK. Will my membership in the fan club be revoked?

I think I just expected a whole lot more. There were some funny moments, I did laugh quite a bit, but nothing really stood out and I don't remember many of the jokes.

When The Simpsons TV show was at it's best, it had some serious bite to it, the jokes were sharp and cutting and hit the spot right on. That bite is what makes the older episodes and selected newer ones worth watching over and over again. But quite often over the past few years it hasn't had that same bite. While these episodes are still funny, they don't hold up to multiple viewings. That's why I rarely watch the syndicated episodes on TV anymore, they show too many of the newer episodes that were funny only once.

The Simpons Movie, despite bringing back a lot of the old writers, unfortunately doesn't have that bite. It's funny, but a lot of the jokes just miss the mark and seem like missed opportunities in the long run, just like a lot of the newer episodes.

I'm also disappointed that they didn't use the other characters more. While I love Homer, the best part of The Simpsons is Krusty and Moe and The Comic Book Guy and Groundskeeper Willie and all of those other goofballs. They barely had any meaningful screen time and I think the movie suffered because of it. I can only take so much Lisa.

And if the amount of laughter in the theater was any indication, I wasn't the only one disappointed. Other than the mentally-handicapped teenager in front of me that was going crazy, singing along, yelling things at the screen and exclaiming "uh-oh" or "ohhhhh" over and over again, the response was fairly muted even with a lot of excited kids in the theater.

So, if you are a long-time Simpsons fan, you should definitely go see it, but don't get your hopes up too high. But if you're a retarded guy in a tie-dyed shirt, by all means, run out and see it. You'll be cackling and jumping around in your seat like there's no tomorrow.


My Headlines Suck

Posted by Brandon |

First of all, thank you so much for all of the congratulations on my previous post. We are both really happy and really excited. I'm scared to say this because I know that I'm going to cherish my few remaining months of not being responsible for anyone, but February can't come soon enough for me. I'm definitely ready to be a daddy.

Today I emailed myself four or five different articles that were going to make up a post that I was hoping to write tonight. But I cannot get comfortable at my desk chair tonight and I can't sit here any longer. It's just too warm, my back is too sore and my eyes are inexplicably bloodshot and heavy.

I am such a wuss. There is no way I could handle being pregnant.


My Major Announcement...

Posted by Brandon |


Whoa....That's Good Squishee!

Posted by Brandon |

I love me some Kwik-E-Mart. The Burbank location is very close to the airport so we hit it before we flew out on Friday. It's a wicked cool marketing ploy.

We just got back from our trip to rainy Olympia (see some pictures from our trip on Flickr). I've got some bad travel karma lately. We were supposed to get into Burbank at 9:15 AM but didn't even leave Seattle until almost noon. Almost all the delay was spent on the airplane while they made repairs. Alaskan Airlines did impress us with their customer service though, it was much better than in the past. They did just about everything in their power to keep us informed and make things right.

Coming up tomorrow night: A big honkin' Down With Pants! announcement.


Liking Evil

Posted by Brandon |

Dude, I'm loving my new Artificial Duck/Blogography t-shirt! I wore it to work yesterday but nobody said anything. I was a little disappointed. I don't have nearly enough conservatives working with me.

I'm in a pretty good mood tonight because my softball team broke a twelve game losing streak with a 14-13 victory that ended with the tying run being gunned down at the plate. It was an awesome way to win. I went 3-for-3 with three RBI and I think I'm leading the team in batting average. The winner of the batting crown gets a brand new bat and I could really use one.

Also I'm heading out for the weekend tomorrow afternoon so I won't be around to post, as if I do that a lot. But I have two little pieces of information I need to get out really quick before I go...

  1. We currently have ten players signed up for fantasy football. I am waiting to hear back from TheDutchFiles (I think she'll be back) and the navelgazing ramblers (I have my doubts). So I think I'm going to need one, maybe two more teams (sorry Jimbo, I'm sticking with bloggers for now). First come, first served. Leave me a comment or email me if you want to play.

  2. When I get back from my little trip north this weekend, I will have a very interesting post and announcement on either Monday or Tuesday that you might not want to miss.

Have a great weekend everybody!


Red Light Means Stop Creeping Me Out

Posted by Brandon |

Dude, lately I find that every time I start writing, my first word is "Dude", then I take it out. Maybe I should just leave it in and have that be my schtick. What do you think? Why am I such a tool?

Anyway...Dude, my buddy at work got a $381 ticket in the mail earlier this week for running a red light in Los Angeles on July 3rd. Turns out those cameras at intersections actually do something...

The problem is he donated this car to charity a couple months ago when it broke down and he couldn't afford and didn't want to get it fixed (don't ask, it was quite the fiasco). He no longer owns the car and definitely wasn't driving in LA that day.

He's also a little Asian guy. Needless to say, this isn't a little Asian guy...

Oh my god, is that not the the creepiest looking guy on the face of the earth? Is that a smile, a grimace, or a "Woo hoo I'm running a red light"? And nothing says Lexus more than a sweet wife-beater. Imagine my friend's shock when he opened up his mail to find this guy.

I often think about where my old cars are and how they are doing (kind of like old friends) but now I think I don't really want to know. I don't know if I can handle someone that creepy driving my old Toyota.

Yeah, I think it's a pretty good bet that my buddy isn't going to have to pay the fine.



Posted by Brandon |

It was an absolutely beautiful evening here in Ventura. We played beach volleyball tonight with a group of people from my wife's work. It's the first time that I have played since, probably, second year of college about ten years ago. We had a blast despite barely being able to string together more than three or four hits in a row. Nobody had played in a long, long time and I think there was only one rally where we managed to get it over the net three times, that was about as good as it got.

I forgot what a workout that game is. It is so hard to move, so hard to jump and so rough on your arms if you haven't played in a while. I played rugby last night so I was tired to begin with (rugby is crazy. I honestly think that I lost five pounds last night) and now I am beat. I love it.

When I lived in Seattle, I went nearly three years without purposely breaking a sweat other than a few times riding my bike and hiking. I wasn't playing any sports or working out at all until the last six months I lived there. Now I'm doing something five or six days out of the week and I couldn't be happier. I feel 100% better than I ever did before.

One bad thing though, since I wasn't able to get to the ball quickly, I dove around a lot and now I have sand in or on every single part of my body. I just rub my head a little bit and I've got enough sand on my shirt to build a castle. I keep finding more in my ears, behind my ears, on my elbows, between my toes, in between my wedding ring and my skin, in my bellybutton, on my unmentionables.

Now I know what you are saying, I should just take a shower. But I don't function properly if I don't get a morning shower and it's kind of ridiculous to take a shower just to go to bed, so I'm trying to live with it. Plus, I keep thinking that I've got it all off of me. But as soon as I let that thought creep into my mind, I find more. I just rubbed my forehead and found a little patch leftover from earlier.

And I don't really know if one shower would help anyway. I'm sure I'll be shedding sand until next week.


Moving On Up

Posted by Brandon |

Like I mentioned before, I just finished reading Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. It's an incredible book about how dangerous and misguided the religious in this country are becoming. Honestly, after seeing Sicko and reading this book, my faith in and my hope for the United States is seriously waning. It's becoming increasingly hard for me to figure out what it is that we are actually fighting for. What is the American way of life now anyway? As far as I can tell it's just corporations and Christianity. That's not my American dream.

One of the points that he makes against being a Christian nation is that throughout the world, countries that are the least religious are also the healthiest...

Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on earth...they are also the healthiest, as indicated by life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality.

And you can see this happening on a smaller scale here in the United States. I just saw Richard Florida on The Colbert Report and became interested in his research. It's a little more complex than this, but 247Gay.com sums it up pretty well by describing it as "where the gays go eventually so do higher property values, less crime, better schools, ethnic diversity and growth."

If atheists and, in this example gays, are so immoral, shouldn't the areas of the country that they inhabit be the absolute worst places in the entire country? Shouldn't these neighborhoods be horrible, scary places that nobody wants to live in or go to? Shouldn't the property values plummet when they start showing up?

Instead of being horrible places, these areas are turning into some of the most desirable places to live. The older gay enclaves became so desirable that the gays, artists and bohemians have been pushed out of them due to the rising housing prices and property values and new "gay ghettos" are springing up all over the place.

One of the most compelling places that is on this list of new gay friendly areas is Hilltop in Tacoma, Washington. Growing up, Hilltop was one of the absolute worst ghettos anywhere. It was a horrible, gang infested, crime-ridden, hell hole. But eventually the gangs left and the low cost of living there started to draw a much different crowd. Now Hilltop is booming and is becoming a very desirable place to live in T-Town.

If we don't decided to give up on America completely and move to Canada, I want to move into a neighborhood that has a large gay population. These values that seem to follow less religious people around internationally and in smaller sections of our own otherwise Christian nation, are the values that I want to surround myself and my family with. That's my American dream and those are my family values.


The Good: DWP! Fantasy Football

Posted by Brandon |

All I've been reading about in the news is the bullshit that the Bush regime is pulling, the grim reports on Iraq, the rebuilding of Al-Qaeda, tortoise mutilation, etc, etc. Combine that crap with the book that I'm reading, Letter to a Christian Nation, and some personal family things that have gone down that I won't get into, and it's been kind of a deflating, disillusioning, depressing week.

Or so it should be. Somewhere along the line, I became a happy person that doesn't get too down about anything. You can almost call me an optimist at this point. And while bad shit is going down all around me, there are too many good things happening that the bad can't knock me down off of this high that I've been on. It makes for bad art, this blog has definitely suffered over the past couple years because of my good mood, but that's a price I'm willing to pay.

One of the good things that is quickly approaching is football season. And it's time to put out the call for the second season of the DWP! Fantasy Football League. I haven't got anything setup yet, but I want to have a live draft this year so we better get this thing rolling. I'm going to take a look at the different sites to figure out what will work best for us, but we'll probably go with Yahoo again.

This year I really hope we can ramp up the fun. It's still going to be a free league unless people are willing to pay something to have a cash prize. But I'd prefer that everybody contribute something to a prize pool to be distributed to the league winner. I also would love to see side bets and trash talking and all that good stuff between the participants. I'm also thinking about setting up a group blog that we can all post on.

So if you are interested in playing, please leave me a comment and I will put you down for a team. First priority will be given to the teams from last season but if there is demand, we might be able to put together a second league as well. You don't have to have any experience, just about half the league last year didn't. So if you are new to fantasy football, this is probably a league for you. Like I said, leave me a comment if you are interested or email me at downwithpants@gmail.com.


Look at the Big Brain on Brandon

Posted by Brandon |

I waited all night to play the World Seris of Pop Culture's Trivia Dome after tonight's episode and the first question that was asked was something along the lines of "What buddy movie did Tom Hanks star in with a jowled canine?"

The answer is frigging Turner & Hooch, and I knew that. But in my haste to get my answer in quickly, I accidentally clicked on stupid Tango & Cash and I was eliminated immediately. I didn't spend more than ten seconds in the Trivia Dome.

Oh well, I guess there's always tomorrow night.



Posted by Brandon |

Dude. There is so much more to global warming than I ever could have imagined. From the article entitled "Cows that burp less seen helping in climate fight"...

LONDON (Reuters) - Manners aside, getting cows to burp less can help reduce global warming.

Using modern plant-breeding methods to find new diets for cows that make them belch less is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scientists said on Monday.

The key is developing new varieties of food that are easier for cattle to digest and also provide a proper balance of fiber, protein and sugar, said Michael Abberton, a scientist at the UK-based Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research.

This could open up plant-based solutions as alternatives to reducing stock as farmers look for ways to cut methane emissions amid warming climates, he told a briefing on farming and climate change at London's Science Media Centre.

He noted the average dairy cow belches out about 100 to 200 liters of methane each day, making diet changes a key potential factor in reducing this greenhouse gas.

Was this covered in An Inconvenient Truth? Did anybody sing a song about this at Live Earth this weekend?

If cows burping is this big of a problem, what the hell else is going on that we need to change? I've already heard about the bees and that's scary as shit.

Let's face it folks, we're fucked. Smoke 'em if you got 'em


The Post That Might Get Me In Trouble

Posted by Brandon |

Ventura County has it's fair share of gangs. Oxnard has been for years one of the most crime ridden cities in all of California with Mexican gangs making their way up from Los Angeles terrorizing the entire community to the point where people from Ventura, to this day, are scared to venture into what is now a fairly normal city with problems areas.

With Oxnard becoming more and more gentrified and safer (the Oxnard PD actually gives a shit now that there are white people in town), the new VC gang hotspot is Santa Paula, and it is getting to be a seriously dangerous place.

But for the most part, the City of Ventura, where I live, is a pretty safe place free from a lot of the problems that exist in Oxnard or Santa Paula or Piru. But last week it came to my attention that we have our own little "gang" problem - they are called the Hells Angels and they have a lot of pull and wield a very large stick in this town.

Last Friday there were a couple of suspected arsons set at two Main Street tattoo shops both of which are not connected to the Hells Angels, who just happen to have a tattoo shop of their own on Main Street. The speculation on the Ventura County Star's commenting board is that this is just another case of the Hells Angels trying to bully their competition out of town. There is no proof that either of these fires were set by their members and by the amateurish nature of both fires it sounds more like a wannabe than anything.

But given the speculation and the history of the Ventura Hells Angels, if I were an owner of one of those tattoo parlors, or any tattoo parlor in town, I would sit up and take notice of these events. From what I understand, there's a cost to doing business in this town (or at least there used to be) and if you are unwilling to pay that cost or run afoul of the rules, then, well...good luck.

And while I think that their claims of harassment by the anti-gang law enforcement are somewhat warranted, they're still a gang with a lot of power and the muscle to keep that power. It's hard not to consider them organized crime even though they tart themselves up as innocent hobbyists.

The funny thing is that they (along with the high price of housing) are one of the things that is keeping this town from becoming Oxnard or Santa Paula. That's the kind of respect and power that they have. But at what cost? And how long will it be until one of the Mexican gangs or someone else decides to challenge their authority?

It's crazy to think of all the under the radar shit that is going down around your sleepy little beach community.


Happy 8th of July!

Posted by Brandon |

Hey right-wing Christian psycho I saw on TBN the other night! Guess what? It's July 8th, meaning that your prediction that Armageddon will come on 7/7/07, because everything in the bible comes in sevens and so will Jesus' return, was dead wrong. God's men didn't take back the world yesterday. No surprise there seeing that our calendar is totally arbitrary. How many times have you predicted the end of the world now? Was that lucky number seven?

Maybe God's men will take back the world sometime in the future, but it didn't happen yesterday and when it does, I doubt you'll be one of the ones taking it back. Personally I think that God, if there is one, wouldn't claim your slimy, swindling ass as one of his own. Gold medallions? Seriously? It's 2007, Crockett. God's men should have better style than that.

Speaking of other nut-job douchebags who think they will be going to heaven...

Benny Hinn's autobiography is titled He Touched Me? That explains soooooo much.


Happy 5th of July!

Posted by Brandon |

I guess I just don't have any long form posts in me this week, so here's another list of the little things in my head...
  1. Did anybody download The Format's album Dog Problems like I recommended? Well if you did, isn't it an awesome album? I absolutely love it. If you didn't, see my previous sentence and give it a try. I doubt you'll be disappointed. Plus, it's free! Use one of your 100 Gmail invites if you don't want to give your own email address or let me know and I'll give you one of mine.

  2. We went to Santa Barbara for the 4th. Doesn't that sound like a really yuppie thing to say? Anyway, they had the US Air Force band playing music before the fireworks and they did a medley of showtunes complete with singing and everything. Don't you think it's a little dangerous for a military man to be singing showtunes in any context? Don't ask.

  3. I'm totally buying one of these...

    Great idea Foo Diddy! Get yours by clicking here.

  4. I think this could be the best television show EVER. E! or Discovery should feel free to steal my idea: The Simple Life: Deadliest Catch

  5. Here's another one. A guy competes for a harem. Get 20 porn stars and one guy and the guy must do a bunch of challenges. The best he can do if he completes all the challenges is get "serviced" by the 20 porn stars. But if he messes up the challenge, some porn stars must go. Imagine how, ummm, hard the guy would work to win on this show.

    UPDATE: After sleeping on this idea, I figured out how to really make it work. Have the poor porn-obsessed shlub sign a contract that says that at the end of the show he has to be serviced by his harem no matter what. Show the guy his harem of 20 smoking hot porn stars and then show him his harem in waiting....dudes, bearded ladies, grandmas, midgets, the super hardcore BDSM dominatrix, whatever. Make the guy do the challenges, but every time he messes up, instead of just eliminating a few porn stars, you substitute a 700 lb lady or some guy with a 15 inch penis into his harem. You can't tell me that that wouldn't make great television.

  6. Chik-Fil-A just opened in Oxnard and after my softball game tonight I finally had an opportunity to grab myself some. First of all, I picked up some trash in the parking lot and the manager saw me do it so he comped half of my meal. That was very cool. Secondly, holy shit. I forgot how good Chik-Fil-A is. They make a mean crispy spicy chicken sandwich AND they have waffle fries AND they have sweet tea. What more could you ask for?

  7. If you like my crappy Chik-Fil-A review, then why haven't you signed up to be my friend on Yelp yet? Seriously, I have been Yelping for the last month and I love it. I like writing about food and I like finding new places to eat, so it's been a valuable resources all around.

  8. Finally, I know you all love it when I post about sports, but I've just got to share this picture. I may complain about living down here a lot, but on Tuesday afternoon I went to a Santa Barbara Foresters ballgame that they played in Carpinteria as a benefit for the city's Little League and I was reminded just how incredibly gorgeous it is here...

  9. Wow! That, my friends, is what baseball looks like in paradise.


Ten Things That I Learned From My Bloglines

Posted by Brandon |

There was a ton of interesting stuff waiting for me in my Bloglines tonight, some good of it good news, some of it bad...
  1. I learned from LAist that the band The Format is offering their album Dog Problems for download for free in exchange for signing up for their mailing list. Fair enough, I'll bite. I'm listening to it right now and it's really very good. Check it out for sure.

  2. I knew about this earlier in the day, but LAist also has some great pictures of the Burbank 7-11 that's been converted to a Kwik-E-Mart to promote The Simpsons Movie. There are eleven more Kwik-E-Marts across the country including Seattle and most of the non-Kwik-E-Mart 7-11's are carrying Buzz Cola, Squishees and Krusty-O's. Tomorrow, I'm so there.

  3. Seattlest has the saddest news of the day that I didn't know about. Hansa, Woodland Park's six year old elephant, died early last month. Yes, I teared up when I heard that news...over an elephant. We went to her first birthday celebration when we were living in Seattle and saw her numerous times thereafter. Turns out that elephants can get deadly strains of herpes, of all things. What a bummer.

  4. Kapgar likes pedicures! What a fruit! Just kidding, I think I wouldn't mind one considering how much I hate cutting my own toenails. Then again, I'd be too embarrassed to show them my feet considering how much I hate to cut my own toenails.

  5. I learned that Rattling the Kettle plays hardball reminding me that I should too. Maybe I'll try to find an entry level team to play on here in Ventura. I know they have adult baseball in town. Add baseball to the list of sports I would play.

  6. Edward Fortyhands looks like the best drinking game EVER.

  7. I learned that Hilly hates the Fourth of July and loves the terrorists so much so that she'd love for one of them to give her a massage. How dare she question her Home Owner's Association.

  8. Tara reminded me that I forgot about sing-a-long Sound of Music at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night. I was willing to take the wife because I'm sure it's a blast. 17,000 women and gay men singing is always a treat. It wouldn't have worked out though since Death? was on call that night. Maybe next year.

  9. I learned from Deadspin that this is A-Rod's wife (ewwwww) and that she is one class act.

  10. Finally, I learned from I Guess I'm Floating that Tom Jones, of all people, covered the Arctic Monkey's "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" at this weekend's concert for Diana and they have it available to download. It's fucking awesome!