Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bowling Green & Mini-Mailbag

"WHOA HEY, why wasn't there a mailbag last week?"

VALID QUESTION. And since I don't embrace excuses, I'm going to work the solution. MINI MAILBAG before we get to Bowling Green. VAMOS

Marissa R:

How many spiders do you think there are in the world? 
Oh, fuck you. Do you REALLY want to know how many spiders there are in the world? Or do you just want to inject nightmare fuel into my brain by forcing me to google every inch of the interwebs? SPIDER PUN.

You know the first thing I learned?

I feel like Morpheus when Neo told him the prophecy was a lie. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT.

But I dug deeper. Deeper into the spiderhole. WORST HOLE EVER. According to some dude who loved spiders way too much back in 1973, there was an average of 130.8 spiders per square meter. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. There's also 148.94 million square kilometers of land on earth (we're ignoring the 70% of the earth covered in water since everyone knows that a spider in water is just an octopus). But wait, shouldn't we subtract out Antarctica and the North Pole since Penguins and Santa would never fuck with spiders? Oh, we can't do that because there are these alleged SEA SPIDER MONSTERS that live in those places.

I tried converting square meters to square kilometers, and that sucked. And then I tried going from 148.94 million square kilometers to square meters, and THAT sucked even more. Google's giving me numbers with an 'e' in it. Do you really think I remember how to use 'e's in numbers? I DO NOT.

CONCLUSION: At any given time, on any piece of land in this world, LOOK OUT THERE'S A SPIDER ON YOUR FOOT. THERE ARE ELEVENTY BILLION SPIDERS ON EARTH and 12 of them live in your apartment; I hope you can't sleep at night. You shouldn't eat after 8 PM, and that includes the 14 spiders you eat in your sleep every year.

PS - 'I don't get why people hate spiders; they eat other bugs!'

-The worst person in the conversation, every time

Danny G:
Situation: Your job gives you 1 year off work, with pay. The only stipulation is that you need to spend all 365 days living in Madison, WI. What do you do to take full advantage of this situation? I’m looking for where you choose to live, what your weekly agenda looks like, etc. FYI, you are the only one who gets this 1-year sabbatical, so you can’t just bring a bunch of your Chicago friends with you.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: I'm immediately getting season tickets to basketball, football, and hockey. Being in Madison for a year without my friends means I'm gonna need any and all forms of entertainment. Plus I could go to the football games early and try to give Stave advice on how to get rid of the shanks! 'QUIT THINKING ABOUT THE GIRL, JOEL. IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD'

As far as a living situation goes, I want to strike that balance of close to everything cool... but far enough away from students that I don't feel old as shit every day when I walk out my door. I wouldn't live down by the Capitol, since that's TOTES an old person move. And that's far as fuck away from Camp Randall. Maybe somewhere like Regent and Charter? That's in between the Kohl Center and Camp Randall, not on the main stretch of campus, and ROCKY'S. Rocky's proximity might trump everything else. That's clutch proximity.

The weekly agenda gets tough. I don't really have any friends when I start this sabbatical, so I think the first step is to join some clubs so I can meet some people in the 26-30 bucket. Is there like a beer drinking, sports watching, terrace sitting club? Adult Hoofers? Should I go to Epic and pretend to work there just to see where they all go? This is really the most important part: without some friends, shit would be boring. Don't get me wrong, AMAZING boring, but still boring. So that would be my top priority.

I can get cute and tell you that I would go to the arboretum or do other adulty nerdy things, but I'd probably just drink and eat my way into an early grave. A one year paid sabbatical in Madison is a DANGEROUS thing for a single guy with a big appetite.


Shirt tucked in or not?
I think the older you get, the more likely you are to tuck your shirt in. This is problematic, because the older you get, the fatter you get. And nothing makes you look fatter than tucking a shirt in. That's it. That's the #1 way to look fat. Forget all that nonsense about horizontal stripes. Unless you have a flat stomach (die), tucking in your shirt just screams out 'HEY LOOK AT MAH GUT'.

Obviously, you have to tuck your shirt in in SOME situations. These are mine:

  • Any shirt with dress pants, but NOT with khakis
  • Playing soccer or basketball, for the first 5 minutes until you realize you don't care because you're playing a sport
Wait I think those are literally the only times I ever tuck my shirt in. If it's a button down shirt with dress pants or during an organized sporting event. I never tuck my shirt into jeans. That's insane. I think if Obama came to my office on a day when I was wearing jeans and a button down, I would MAYBE think about tucking. But then Barack would know I was fat. CONUNDRUM.

SHOULD I have been tucking my polos in to my khakis all these years? Probably. But that shit's uncomfortable. It traps heat. It bunches. And you can't forget a belt and get away with it if you're a tucker. What happens that one random day you forget to wear a belt? You just go untucked? How do you explain that to people? Better to go untucked 365 days a year, so that on that fateful Tuesday in October that you leave your apartment beltless, NO ONE KNOWS.

Tim S:

You've had many chronicles of waking up terrified about the location of your phone.  Do those episodes still occur or are you CONFIDENT in its location each hungover weekend morning?
Oh, they still occur. Those don't stop until the partying stops. It's not an every weekend kind of thing, but once every couple of benders, I'll wake up in that panic. If my phone's not plugged in on the nightstand, something could be horribly, horribly wrong. 9 times out of 10, it's somewhere underneath me in my bed. I was probably listening to this before I passed out. Maybe I was trying to craft a witty text message at 4:17 AM. Who knows. No good happens at that hour.

But if I can't find it in my bed anywhere, that's when the fear shoves the hangover aside and grabs the controls of my brain. The next logical spot after the bed is in the front left pocket of the jeans I wore the night before*. This is usually the case when I see socks half sticking out of my shoes. That means I got to my room and disrobed and crashed HARD. I don't read texts for 24 hours after those nights.

Code Purple Threat Level Midnight comes into play if the front left pocket is empty. This is when you start using roommates' phones to call it and demand SILENCE to listen for the sound of it buzzing, since the ringer is never on. And usually it turns up somewhere stupid, like on the kitchen counter or buried between couch cushions.

I don't know what comes after Code Purple Threat Level Midnight. I hope to never find out.

*Is it time to retire these jeans?

That's what it looks like WITHOUT the phone in the pocket. I'm also a righty, so I never understood why I always went lefty for the phone.

Thoughts on Hodor not in season 5?
This is BULLSHIT. Sometimes I think I'm the ONLY person who enjoyed Bran's story arc in season 4. You all know what's gonna happen, right? We're going to do an entire season without Bran and Hodor, and then in season 6 they'll come swooping in to save Jon Snow or something. This is a LONG CON. I don't like being long conned, and I double don't like being long conned out of all the Hodor HODOR I can get my hands on. We have to wait until April 2016 at the EARLIEST for that gentle giant? DO NOT WANT

PS - I haven't read the books, and I steadfastly avoid spoilers. This is my own theory: at some point before the story is over, Bran will warg his way into one of Dany's dragons. This will be AWESOME. She will be so confused, just she like she is every single time something doesn't go EXACTLY as planned. I'm looking for a big season out of the Mother of Dragons. Her time is coming.

PPS - Basketball season starts in like 6 weeks, and basketball season ends right before Game of Thrones is back. So, we're basically like 6 weeks away from Game of Thrones. Can't wait.

Danny P:

Pro or anti ceiling fans?  I have to say I've always been a little skeptical, seems like they're going to be secret night killers.  But I have one in my apartment now and it's really changed my life for the better.  Until it changes my life for good.  
PRO PRO PRO. I had a ceiling fan in my bedroom for the last two years, and hoooo boy did I take it for granted. Now I'm on the top floor of my apartment without a ceiling fan and I am STRUGGALING. I've decided to let science take control of the fan's ability to detach itself and murder me in my sleep. I really can't spend my life fearing things falling and killing me. Some woman got killed in the Loop the other day when a GARGOYLE fell off a church and landed on her head. A FUCKING GARGOYLE. Murder ice, death gargoyles, ceiling fans... it's too much. These things are going to attack, and we cannot live our lives in fear.

The ONLY downside to ceiling fans is cleaning them. Cleaning a ceiling fan is AGONY. It's arguably worse than hanging a new shower curtain. I already respect the hell out of what the American Ninja Warrior freaks can do. I know that I'm ready to give up on life by the time I get to the 4th rung of a shower liner. Arms are not meant to be elevated and doing things for extended periods of times. Gravity does not approve of this behavior.

Plus, I don't think I'm alone in running my ceiling fan all the damn time... and, well, dust somehow accumulates on it despite it being in constant motion. Never understood that one. Since it's over your bed in most cases, you have to be REALLY careful while cleaning it so you don't accidentally swiffer a bunch of dust onto your bed. I hate cleaning.

Joe H:

If you haven’t watched an episode of the Simpsons marathon, you hand in your man card, correct?
I really don't care for the 'man card' concept. Maybe it's because I would have forfeited mine YEARS ago. I wrote the answer to the previous question while listening to a Broadway song. I cried when Michael Scott left The Office. I have owned and filled several punch cards from cupcake stores.

And you know what I didn't do? Watch an episode of the Simpsons marathon. I'm off the Simpsons. I've been off the Simpsons for a decade. I caught my roommates watching some random episodes (Homer and Marge 'going' to prom) and had little-to-no desire to keep watching. They simply don't do much for me anymore.

You may now acquire my man card.

Emily M-S:

If you had the opportunity to eat your way through any country which country would you choose? Caveat: the US is limited to American food (burgers and such).
It's important to clarify that Emily wrote this email from Italy, so if you ask me, this is one big fat HUMBLEBRAG of a question. I also won't pick Italy, since I'm worried I'd be terrified at ACTUAL Italian cuisine. Basically, this:

In fact, let's skip all the BS and realize that I'm the most American chewer out there. My knowledge of international cuisine is limited to a two-week trip in Spain, where I dropped to my knees in thanks at the sight of a place with a Margherita pizza. Most important pizza of my life.

Unless you're going to tell me that real Chinese food is EXACTLY like Asian Kitchen, and Italian food is all Pequod's and chicken parm, I have no choice but to stick with the good ol' U.S. of A.

Danya S:

Do you think Bielema yelled at Gaglianone for his little dance? I watched for it the entire time I was at the game last weekend, and saw only one tiiiny hip gyration. I was sad.
Part of me was all, "should I correct her and change that 'Bielema' to an 'Andersen' so she doesn't look bad?" But of course the other part of me laughed and didn't do anything about it.

I do NOT think Andersen yelled at Gaglianone. He did not dance for several reasons:

  • Bombing a 50+ yarder against LSU? Dance. Miss a 33 yarder against Western Illinois? NO DANCE
  • Dancing on extra points is STRICTLY prohibited.
  • If Gaglianone dances all the time, the hips will begin to lose their power. The Power Rangers couldn't spend ALL their time as Megazord. They had to reserve it for special situations, otherwise the enemy would adapt to Megazord.
  • Andersen is still kind of a bro.
Therefore, I have concluded that neither Bielema nor Andersen have told Golazo to stop dancing. The hips will continue to not lie.


What season will Bert Bielema join the Biggest Loser? (and you can ask that question in regards to both football and weight loss).
I don't know, I just wanted an excuse to use this:

Frosted or un-frosted Pop-Tarts?
What kind of heathen prefers unfrosted Pop Tarts? This question almost seemed a little TOO obvious. Let's get Google involved:

Okay, this all checks out. Pop Tarts ARE crazy good, and when you find something crazy good, you want to buy as many of them as possible for as little money as possible. Let's get weird, though:

Oh, now we're nutjob vegans worried about the sodium content in our unfrosted Pop Tart? WOOF. No thanks. Stick with the bliss of frosted Pop Tarts and stop pretending to be healthy by eating unfrosted Pop Tarts. There is a DIRECT correlation between purchasing unfrosted Pop Tarts and purchasing Lean Pockets. You people trying to take blatantly unhealthy things and make them healthy disgust me.

PS - Real talk, only Pop Tart I've ever eaten in my life:

I literally don't care if that makes me crazy or renders my opinion useless on the subject. S'Mores Pop Tarts were FIRE.

Paper, or plastic?
Here's how I look at it: bags have TWO purposes. Obviously they have to transport whatever it is you're carrying from point A to point B. But bags can have a SECOND LIFE once that initial job is done. Plastic bags can easily double for lunches, or more importantly, bathroom garbage bags. Paper bags do nothing but take up space. Every time I go to Trader Joe's, I fold up the bags and neatly stack them by the back door. THIS IS AS FAR AS THEY GO. They serve no other purpose. You can't use them to throw out garbage since any liquid in the bags will lead to a colossal disaster.

For this reason alone, I cherish plastic bags and despise paper bags. Also, you gotta ask yourself: do you really trust that dinky little handle on the paper bag?


Peeing in the shower. Yes or no.

Thomas L:
What are your Top 5 late night Madison go to meals?  I realize this could be the sole topic of a major blog, but it always merits a good discussion. Must be available after midnight in this ranking.
I feel like every time I get to Madison, one of my go-to late night staples is gone and some ORGANIC KALE WRAP SKINNYRITO factory has taken its place. Therefore, I'm going to make this list based on the food situation when I was a high flyin' college student, but with my current preferences. CONFUSION ABOUNDS

Honorable Mentions: Asian Kitchen (better for hungover Sundays), Taco Bell (respect), Falbo Brothers (, Silvermine (felt less guilty eating it sober compared to the rest of these spots)

5) Qdoba, queso burrito. Long line; don't care. Plowing through a burrito at bartime was never a BAD experience. Bonus points: Henry and his lush, flowing ponytail and happy acceptance of terrible, drunk Spanish made it all that much better.

4) Ian's Pizza, Smokey the Bandit and Chicken Penne Alfredo, double ranch all the way across the sky. I'm not sure how many times I've explained these slices and why they're superior. I think my point has been made.

3) Big Red's, buffalo chicken cheesesteak. I always KNEW in my heart that Big Red's wouldn't last. It was never that busy, and it had the feeling of a place that simply didn't make enough money to survive. But lord knows I loved every second of its existence. That buffalo chicken cheesesteak (NOTE: no actual steak involved) was a divine MESS. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

2) Pizza di Roma, pepperoni/sausage and chicken parm. Maybe I just crave it more because I haven't had it in years. Idk. But I LOVED di Roma. Was it an Italian pizza place run by Russian mobsters? UNCONFIRMED. But the pizza was spot on, and the line situation was never as bad as Ian's.

1) Jin's, CHICKEN ONLY, ONLY GROSS PEOPLE GOT FISH, plus no mayo because skinny. Never did it bother me that Cornelius was operating without a license. I was even willing to look past the fact that he probably washed his hands once a week. What I'm getting at is that I can look the other way on just about anything in the name of a sandwich that is basically a bucket of chicken tenders, doused in hot sauce, with some lettuce. Like I said, go no mayo and get extra lettuce to make sure that this is a healthy late night snack.

PS - The VIP line was a brilliant addition. My roommate once bought 3 sandwiches via the VIP window... for himself. If there's a better way to spend $30, I've never heard of it.

PPS - Any Jin's line with fewer than 3 fights was considered a dull affair. It was the Dothraki wedding of Madison.

CHICAGO BADGERS: Do I ever get to retire this section? Like, when can we just know that Will's is the place to be on a Fall Saturday in Chicago?




Honorable Mention: Donald Goerke

THE DADDY-O OF SPAGHETTIOS! That is the best nickname ever. I refuse to believe anything other than his business card simply saying "Daddy-O of SpaghettiO's". Fucking sweet title. How proud are you right now that you went to the same school as the guy who invented SpaghettiOs? My #BadgerPride is raging out of control, and I don't even LIKE SpaghettiOs. I've always believed there was nothing cooler than inventing something really stupid and making TRILLIONS of dollars as a result. Daddy-O's net worth is estimated to be 5 TRILLION DOLLARS (my estimate), and he deserves every penny of it.

What are some of the perks of being the Daddy-O of SpaghettiOs?
He appeared on the television program "What's My Line?" and "hobnobbed with celebrities" including President Ronald Reagan and Martha Stewart.
Idk, maybe some PRESIDENTIAL HOBNOBBING? I haven't hobnobbed in I don't even KNOW how long. That must change. Is hobnobbing reserved for old people? Just wearing slacks and tucking your shirt in and hobnobbing all day, erryday. Retiree heaven. Hobnob City.

PS - It's kinda sad that every citation from his Wikipedia page comes from an obituary. RIP, Daddy-O. Always and forever...

PPS - 

Not a doubt in mind this kind of tomfoolery doesn't happen with Daddy-O still on the prowl.

TriplePS - That cockeyed smile on Mr. O up there really nudged this tweet over the edge. Is his tongue out? Yikes.


Coming quick and hot this week.

1) Michigan State, 2-1 (0-0). They're still the best team in the conference.

2) Wisconsin, 1-1 (0-0). Student basketball tickets sold out in 4 MINUTES TODAY. I hit caps lock before the '4' because I wanted that 4 to be emphasized as well. One of these days I'm going to invent those capital numbers and be a freaking billionaire.

Oh yeah, this basketball team will be a machine and you better damn well know it.

3) Nebraska, 3-0 (0-0). 


4) Ohio State, 2-1 (0-0). 

To be honest, that bye really threw me off. I was not aware they had won a game since that Virginia Tech loss.

5) Penn State, 3-0 (1-0). I hope there's some person out there that is cousins with Ray Rice, grew up rooting for the Vikings, and went to Penn State. And that person wants the Paterno statue back. You know who that person is? The worst person in the world.

6) Maryland, 2-1 (0-0). Did Maryland go out and lose with the Star Spangled Banner on their uniforms? Way to let America down. It's not enough that the Big Ten is getting shit on by every person in college football. Now you have to go and stain our great country's name. F you, Maryland.

7) Iowa, 2-1 (0-0). Can we pretend 'mediocre' is spelled 'mediowcra' so I can say 'you can't spell mediowcra without IOWA'? Please let me just have this for a week.

8) Illinois, 2-1 (0-0). You know what happens when you're winning more than you're losing despite giving up more points than you're scoring? REGRESSION. Illinois is going to experience REGRESSION.

9) Minnesota, 2-1 (0-0). Wake me up in a hundred years when Minnesota is good at anything.

10) Indiana, 1-1 (0-0). This is a basketball court after the pipes burst:

SO COOL. I wanna... idk, ride a skateboard all over it? I wanna do SOMETHING on it. Like an OLLIE. I'm gonna do an OLLIE all over that court.

11) Rutgers, 2-1 (0-1).
Rutgers, mighty Rutgers,
We bleed scarlet and black for you,
Rutgers, mighty Rutgers,
I don't know your fight song and I don't really care and I wish you were in the Eastern Mid-Atlantic Conference

12) Michigan, 2-1 (0-0). Remember, we're pretending they got smokeponied by Notre Dame last week because football on a bye week doesn't actually count. How do you get scorched that badly by Notre Dame? It's not 19... whatever years they were good. Also, why do we never play Michigan when they're terrible? AKA, this century. I want bad Michigan to come to Madison and cry their way back to Ann Arbor.

13) Purdue, 1-2 (0-0). We're all in agreement that it's just been cold the last couple of summers, right? PROOF:

For the record, I am NOT complaining. Average highs in the mid-70's throughout the summer is HEAVEN.

14) Northwestern, 0-2 (0-0). When your coach is calling you soft and saying he's embarrassed to the media, things probably aren't going too well. Poor Chicago's Big Ten Team. :(


I am not a music festival kinda guy. I knew this before I bought a 3-day pass to Riot Fest. But Weezer. The Get Up Kids. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Metric. I simply could not pass up an opportunity to see these bands in person, in the same weekend, all just down the street from my hood. So a couple of months ago, I bought my pass and have been dorkily excited ever since.

Fast forward to last Frid
ay. None of the bands I really wanted to see were playing, but hey! It's my first music festival! I'm going no matter what! And then... the temperature dropped. And then... the rain started. By the time I got to Humboldt Park (not the easiest thing in the world), it was a goddamn mud party. I spent the entire day debating a poncho, when in the end, the worst thing I did was show up in shoes I cared about. After 45 minutes of trying to get from point A to point ANYWHERE, we decided to get the fuck out of dodge. Besides, we had tickets to see The Get Up Kids that night. That was more important.

I've been seeing The Get Up Kids live since I was a freshman in high school. Green Day was coming to Milwaukee, and I thought that was a perfect time to pop my concert cherry. My mom made me wear an Abercrombie sweater to see Green Day play at the Rave. That was a poor choice. But the moral of this story is that a little band I never heard of opened for Green Day... and I really liked them. I liked them a lot.

By the time I was a sophomore and capable of driving myself, we were loading up the mom minivans and cruising out to Madison and Chicago to catch their shows. Just a bunch of idiot teenagers singing their faces off at any opportunity to see one of their favorite bands. And we saw them many, many times. But as the years went on, they kinda stopped playing concerts. That's sad. The moment you realize you may never see your favorite band get together and put on a show together ever again is a dark moment for any fan of any band.

This, however, is not sad. Being way up at the front as your favorite band comes back to play virtually every song you'd want to hear is as good as it gets. Are they getting old and fat? Yup. Who isn't? But they still put on a hell of a show, and being able to see it with the friends you were road-tripping with 12 years ago makes it worth every penny. I AM GETTING UNNECESSARILY SAPPY. Let's move on.

Saturday at Riot Fest was much better. The sun was out, the rain was gone, the temps were holding strong in the 60s... and I had a bangbangbang afternoon of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Get Up Kids (yes, again), and Metric. That's a trifecta I can get behind.

Me First are hilarious. Get that out of the way up front. They're a punk cover band, and they EXCLUSIVELY do covers. Did that stop their front man from introducing every single song by saying it was a cover? Of course not. Most bands that do banter up there are just distracting you while they tune up or change out guitars. Me First are bonafide comedians on the mic.

Weezer played the entire Blue Album. Front to back. I knew they were going to - everyone did. This was officially announced. And yet, when Rivers strummed those first chords of Say It Ain't So, I could not stop smiling. Ultimate geek out. Couldn't handle it. My favorite song ever, by one of my favorite bands ever, right in front of my face. Perfect.

PS - More perfect, found this video of Hayley singing Say It Ain't So with Weezer and my heart can't handle this. She is perfect and you are not.


Bowling Green's Rapid Fire Offense vs. Wisconsin's New And Not That Improved But Really Not Any Worse Defense. Bowling Green is basically the Oregon of the MAC. They like to play fast fast FAST. I think they average a play ever 4 seconds. It's strange and kind of annoying. What this means for Wisconsin is that they will not be able to freely sub their guys on defense in and out at their leisure. What they'll probably have to do is grab the ball after the whistle, sit on top of it, and not move while the officials kinda look around and do nothing. While THAT'S going on, the rest of the players can sub out.

I still cannot believe that ASU bullshit a year ago.


Two weeks since football

Only reason I'm amped up

To play Bowling Green


Random guy takes random amateur YouTube musician clips and stitches them all together to create a song. This is cool.

Different random guy races a train from one stop to the next. Also, hey, CTA, you suck. Look how clean and awesome those stations and trains look. He didn't even have to check for homeless pee before collapsing on the ground.

I found this oddly enjoyable. Love that second he realizes he's wrong:


Corned beef hash from the Little Goat Diner. And without question, the best corned beef hash I've ever eaten. We were looking for somewhere good to eat and warm up after the debacle that was Friday night at Riot Fest, and Au Cheval had a 2+ hour wait. No. A quick jaunt over to Little Goat solved EVERYTHING. Perfectly crispy, great corned beef, delightful onions... this dish was exactly what I wanted. I'd rather eat at Little Goat 100 times than go to Girl and the Goat once. Simple man got simple tastes.


I forgot all about this picture until I started browsing through my phone looking for some new skyporn to feature here. Can you believe that sky is real and not a painting? It's absolutely incredible. The entire sky was engulfed in flames. I'm completely surprised that the world did not end immediately after this picture was taken.


You'll have to spend more time worrying about whether or not you're going to nap than whether or not we'll win.






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