Sunday, February 24, 2008


There's a lot of craziness going on these days. LOTS of it. Where to start?

First, my car needs a new transmission, so I have to take out a loan to buy it. On the plus side, I think this will fix my car for good, hopefully for the full three years of the warranty I'm getting.

Second, I applied for a job sometime around November, and this week, the Bobs finally decided to get around to conducting their interviews. After waiting 4 months for an answer, during which I made several jokes that the job didn't really exist and was just an urban legend, I got less than 24 hours of advance notice for my interview.

So, let's go into my job interviewing philosophy. With a whole year's worth of experience in mental health care, I'm not exactly the most experienced candidate. My program-crafting experience is nil and my degree is in the wrong social science, so I'm not exactly the most qualified either. My best hope, as far as I can reckon, is to be the best looking candidate who also is competent. So, I had to dust off the best suit I had, and show up for the interview ready to impress. I suppose the strategy has worked, as both the RN and the Nursing Supervisor had to interrupt their own sentences to say, "Wow, Andy, you look really nice!" At that point, I figure all I have to do is show that I bring skills in addition to eye candy, which I did with some impressive and mind-bogglingly simple computer work.

So, that took up a day.

Third, and here's a blog-shaking announcement: I have a girlfriend now. Yes, it's a coworker. It's Kelli, who I've had a small crush on for quite some time.  That's all nice and fun except for the obligatory bits of neurosis I always get when I'm in a relationship. That's not so much fun. And even though I'm dating a coworker again, I'm pretty sure it'll turn out right this time.

Also, Kelli applied for that same job I did back in November, and used the same tactic as me. Since she's got a bit more experience, I think I have to concede her the edge. Most independent observers are guessing it's between the two of us.

Fourth: Kelli's lease on her house just expired, so she's moving in here. This was already in discussion before the whole dating thing started, and since we both could use the money, we're going to split some expenses on my already very affordable apartment. The downside is that I have to make room for her, which consists of getting rid of a lot of my junk.

Also, this is a big step for me. I didn't get to have my own room until I was 20, and since obtaining one, I've been fiercely territorial. My space is my space, and I prefer to keep it that way. Inviting someone to move in with me is a bit of a leap for me, but after 3 years of having no one over ever, I think maybe it's time for a change of pace. The way I see it, it'll either work, or it won't.

And through all of these fast-paced shenanigans, I haven't even had time to observe that it's February and I'm late for my annual depressive episode.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Solution

Blah blah blah haven't written in awhile blah blah blah keeping busy blah blah blah.

Ok, to the post.

This happens every year. It's February. We get down. The weather sucks. Christmas has been forgotten, the Super Bowl is just a memory, we're not baseball fans, and there's nothing slated until Easter rolls around.

We've had "Oh, let's just have a family reunion in the middle of February for timing reasons" before, but it never sticks. We need a premise, even if it's a premise as flimsy as "Labor Day." It's still a premise, and it's more than we have for Made-Up Holiday in February Reunion.

Well, I have a premise. And it's awesome. I think we need to have an inaugural Andy's Family February Backgammon Invitational in 2009. I'm conceding 2008, as there are only 11 days left in the month, but this we should get this started next year.

"But Andy," the whinier members of my family might say if there were any, "I don't know how to play Backgammon."

Well, the February Backgammon Invitational would give you the perfect opportunity to learn. I assure you it will be worth it. I have taught 3 girlfriends to play Backgammon now, and all of them loved it. For awhile, my long-distance relationship with AJ was held together with nothing but Internet Backgammon.

"But Andy," the more insecure members of my family might say if there were any, "didn't you win a Backgammon Tournament once in 1994? How ever will we avoid a merciless shellacking at your skilled hands?"

Why, yes, I did win the Backgammon tournament at the Big M Math Camp For Extremely Nerdy and Socially Awkward Tweeners in the summer of 1994, thanks for remembering. (It should be added that I was a legitimate qualifier for Big M Math Camp, and not a mere alternate who snuck in the backdoor, unlike certain older siblings who have secret blogs they never post on.) Bear in mind, however, that before Big M, I had never played a game of Backgammon in my life, and upset a lifelong player in the finals. There's a lot of strategy in Backgammon, but there's a lot of luck as well. The better player will usually, but not always win, and the underdog always has a puncher's chance.

Plus, all of you are either married or attached to someone long-term. You'll have plenty of time to practice your backgammon skills.

"But Andy," my more complaining family members could say, "why couldn't we play something we already play, like Euchre?"

Because we already play Euchre at Christmas. No one would drive up for a family reunion that's just a crappy sequel to Christmas without the pageantry. No, it has to be something special.

Plus, Backgammon is one-on-one, and nearly equal parts skill and luck. Plus, it's easy, so the kids can enter the tournament sooner rather than later. I'm already dreading drawing Phoebe in the first round of the 2012 tournament. Not only that, but backgammon is crazy-cheap (if you pay $5 for a backgammon set, it better be a super-deluxe one), and very fast to play. We could make the tournament a double-elimination and still get it over with in an hour and a half, which leaves plenty of time for drinking or sobering up. Hell, we throw in a traveling trophy, or better yet, some sweet WWE replica championship belts, and the whole thing will be irresistibly awesome. Seriously. Can you see yourself resisting the lure of Backgammon championship belts? I cannot.

But, mostly, I just love playing backgammon, and I hate the fact that most people just know it as that weird looking game on the back of the checkerboard.

So, anyone else up for this, or is my backgammevangelism falling on deaf ears?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

One Week Later...

...and Sam still hasn't gotten his damn sandwich.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Now you realize the power of the Dark Side*

I've learned something about myself this week. I enjoy hating things much more than I enjoy loving them.

I know this because I enjoyed this year's Super Bowl, when my least favorite sports team this side of the 2004 Lakers lost, much more than last year's Super Bowl, when my favorite team won the championship for the first time ever.

Now, there may be some extenuating circumstances. First, last year, the big game was the AFC championship against the Patriots, which I enjoyed more than either of the Super Bowls, obviously. The Super Bowl was sort of a let down after that.

Second, the Colts' Super Bowl opponent was the Chicago Bears. I have a small collection of friends who are Bears fans. They're nice and friendly. The Bears were a respectable enough team without any major personality flaws, and I sort of commisserated with the agony of following Rex Grossman every week. And they posed no threat to the Colts outside of Devin Hester, so the win was pretty much expected, unlike in the Pats game two weeks earlier that was totally in the air. That takes a lot out of the celebration.

This year, I had pretty much written the Giants off along with the rest of the world. There is no way possible they can stop the steady stream of 7 yard passes that the Pats would call and cover Randy Moss at the same time, I reasoned, so the Pats should win in a blowout, and I will hate the NFL just a little bit more. I did not foresee Tom Brady utterly sucking for four quarters, with Wes Welker being his first, second, and only option. The surprise factor added to my joy at seeing the Pats lose. Furthermore, the Giants were without their more toolish elements, Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber, and the thought of the Pats losing to a Manning two years straight made me happy.

But, in retrospect, the fact remains that I like watching teams I hate lose more than I like watching my team win. During my senior year at Wabash College, I got a column for the school paper. I covered DePauw University football for the Entertainment section. Since most of my knowlege of football comes from years of playing Tecmo Super Bowl, my column consisted of a third of a page making fun of them and laughing at their ineptitude, even though they were a legitimate team. And a lot of people complimented me on it, even to the point that people would complain when I would skip their away games because I didn't feel like driving to Hope, Michigan or suffering through their student-run webcast. It was simply more fun for me to hate DePauw than it was to cheer for Wabash more often than not.

That was 2004. I spent the NBA season inexplicably watching every Lakers game with Nando and making jokes about Kobe Bryant being a rapist, Karl Malone and Gary Payton being tools, and Shaq being an obnoxious jerk. I think they had a fifth starter that I also hated (Rick Fox, maybe?), but I can't remember what we said about him. Oh, we also made fun of the TV announcers that spent every second of every game, whether or not the Lakers were playing, talking about how the Lakers were one of the best teams of all time, even though the Minnesota Timberwolves sported a better record and the best player in the league. This was while the Pacers were still title contenders, but I was really looking forward to the Lakers losing more than anything else.

So, yes. I'm hate filled, as it turns out, which probably explains my recent obsession with the Judge Parker sandwich watch. In my defense, it's at least a very quiet hatred most of the time. Anyone surprised?

*and while I'm on Star Wars quotes, "Oh Ani, hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo," was chosen as one of the worst lines ever in a Yahoo! front page feature. I have a difficult time not clicking on those things, even when I'm not interested in the subject matter. Whoever designs them deserves a raise.

Monday, February 4, 2008