Monday, August 29, 2011

The Penalty for Transgressions

I recently asked my dear readers to come up with blog ideas for me, because I'm tapped out. In return, you get no money and no reward of any kind. But you get your username printed here, and I'll link to your blog or website if you have one, and that's kind of cool in a no-money kind of way!

Here's a suggestion I got from user Midgetturtle:

Hey Bob, tell us about the special kind of torture your parents exacted when you came home inebriated. Then tell us how you plan to punish the transgressions of your little angels when they come in at 2:30 smelling like booze :D


First off Midgetturtle, thank you so much for your input! Second, I love your name. I love midget anything, especially midget mullets, but a miniature turtle sounds kind of cute, too. As long as it's not a miniature snapping turtle.

A miniature turtle with a mullet would rock, though. Think about it.

Anyway, onto the request. What did my parents do when I came home inebriated?

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Answer: Nothing.

OK, so "nothing" was the short answer. The long answer is that I didn't really go out a lot when I was in school, and if I did then I usually wasn't drinking. Between studying, soccer and dating, I didn't have a lot of time to do much else. The only extra-curricular activity I did outside of soccer was to join the debate club, and I had a great time yelling at people about nuclear proliferation, abortion and the single-child policy in China. (We lost most of our debates, by the way, but we had fun.) And friends don't let friends debate drunk.

Basically, I was a perfect angel.

Now, had I lived with my parents while I was in college... well, that's a different story. My parents might have disowned me! It wasn't that I was drunk all the time - I wasn't, as I've never been a big drinker. But we had some parties that just got totally out of control. And because we lived right off campus on W. Parker at the South Gates of LSU's campus, the LSU cops thought we were the Baton Rouge cops' problem and vice versa.

It was amazing. Man, I miss college.

So I never came home drunk, but there were definitely some nights when I did come home late, though. And I usually never called my parents every few hours to tell them where I was like they wanted, because I usually always stayed in the same place that I told them I was going in the first place. So that made my parents nervous. And when I did come home, my mom was always waiting up on the couch for me, and she was always pretty ticked off. Had I just called, everything would have been OK. They just wanted to know that I was safe.

As a kid, the first few times my mom got mad at me for being out late, I couldn't understand why she was angry. "I'm 16!" I thought to myself, even though I was probably 18. I always forget what age I am. "I should be able to stay out past curfew with no repercussions at all, dagnabbit!"

But, let me get serious for a second here.

One time I was severely annoyed at having been chewed out about being home late, and vented to one of my friends. My friend said, "My parents don't care if I stay out late. It's great. I can do what I want, when I want, with whoever I want, and they don't say a thing." My friend was living in a guest house outside his parents' house, was failing out of school, was getting addicted to drugs, was dating a disgustingly horrendous girl, and I had seen his father literally kick him in the ass in front of a group of people because my friend didn't want to play basketball with his dad. It was a downward spiral, and I could see it happening right in front of my face and couldn't do anything about it - except distance myself from him.

And that's when it hit me:

My parents stayed up late and chewed me out because they care. I had never realized it before, but I had friends whose parents didn't give a shit about them. That was a completely foreign concept to me. My parents were so loving, so encouraging, always there for me... just thinking about not having that support system really put things into perspective for me.

So, Midgetturtle, to answer the other half of your question: What will I do if my kids come home at 2:30 in the morning smelling like booze?

I'll chew them out. They'll be grounded. I'll make the next day miserable for them - I'll vacuum while they're recovering from their hangover, I'll make them eat disgusting food for breakfast so they puke, and I'll play loud music just to annoy them.

But I'll also give them a big hug and say a prayer to God that they made it home safely. And hope that they at least have the decency to call me if they're going to be home late next time, or to call me if they need a ride.

Not that any of that worked on me. But, you know, it's worth a shot.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Putting the Fantasy into Fantasy Football

Fantasy football is finally here! Last year I came in 15th out of 16th in my league, but I had so much fun that you would have swore that I was in the big winner. Except, you know, big winners don't cry after football games the way I did. Repeatedly.

Anyway, this time I'm broadening my horizons and not just drafting Saints players. In fact, I don't have a single Saints player on my team, much to my dismay. But I think I have a solid team. And in the spirit of fantasy football, I decided to put the "fantasy" into my fantasy football team.

Behold!

[Picture: My fantasy team]

Here's my team this year:

QB - Matt Schaub
WR - Greg Jennings
WR - Austin Collie
WR - Davone Bess
RB - Arian Foster
RB - BenJarvus Green-Ellis
TE - Marcedes Lewis
K - David Akers
D - Lawrence Timmons
DEF - Pittsburgh Defense

Bench:
QB - Matt Cassel (for my Bye week)
RB - Donald Brown (for when Addai goes down)
RB - Ryan Torain (he was sort of good last year, so...)
WR - Kevin Walter (I just learned who this guy is today)

The only players leftover from last year's team are David Akers (who I originally had on my bench last year for some reason), Lawrence Timmons (who I got after dropping Tracy Porter and then after Clay Matthews pulled a hammy) and Davone Bess, who came in handy until Chad Henne got hurt.

What I learned last year is that Fantasy Football is a crap shoot. Sure, there are great players who are going to play at a high level every week - unless they get hurt or get arrested. But the best way to ensure that you beat your fantasy football opponent is to literally beat your opponent, physically. Wait until your opponent drops a player in order to pick up another one, and before he can commit to starting the player from his bench, launch an all-out attack upon his person. That's my strategy this year at least.

It can't be any worse than last year.

For some extra fun, my cousins posted a video of them picking the draft order for this year's fantasy draft, so my dad and I posted a rebuttal. And yes, we are huge nerds, thanks for asking.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Claw

My daughter has a new fascination: Claw Crane Games. Those are the games where you pay a quarter for the chance to win a stuffed animal or some candy by navigating a metal claw, and always fail to grasp the object of your desire in the last half second.

I'm jaded, as you can tell. The Claw has defeated me one too many times.

But Anne loves them, so we play them. We went in the side door at the Prairieville Wal-Mart the other day and they had a claw game. My daughter wanted to play it, so we entered some quarters... and nothing happened. The game didn't appear to be unplugged, but the claw didn't move and we couldn't get our money back.

Maybe that's how Wal-Mart pays for all its price rollbacks... from the claw game.

Anyway, my daughter was pretty upset, and if there's one thing that her daddy doesn't like, it's to see her upset. So we did the only logical thing:

We created our own claw crane game at home, using her own toys.

[The Claw!]

It was actually a lot of fun! We piled a bunch of her stuffed animals into a box, then Betty called out "left, right, up, down" while I moved Anne around like she was the claw. Anne got to grab whatever toy she wanted - until all of the toys were gone. Then we'd put all the toys back and do it all again.

I must have played the Claw game 80 times that night. And I have to admit, I rocked at it. I think I'm the greatest human claw game EVER.

Next we're going to try creating our own take on fun family games at home. We could play Chutes and Ladders outside on the swing / slide set, or Pac-Man by letting the kids dress up as ghosts and chasing each other around while I eat my way throughout the house. Personally, I'm looking forward to playing Candy Land. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Out of Ideas

I'm completely out of ideas for the blog. Well, not completely, but all of my other blog ideas are just really lame.

For instance, I had an idea for a blog about writing poetry in SQL, which is a database programming language. A normal SQL statement might look something like this:

Select Field1, Count(1) as Total
From MyTable
Where MyCondition = True
and OtherCondition <> 'A'
Group By Field1
Having Field2 > 10

My poetry idea was to write something like:

Select all your thoughts
From your favorite memory
Where you are not at fault
And we're all in revelry
Group them by the date and time
And sort them last to first,
where we're
Having such a dandy time
That our hearts just might burst

Now aren't you thankful that I spared you from that? I could be writing nothing but that kind of garbage here. But instead, I ask you - no, I plead with you - to give me some ideas to write about. It could be anything. It could be something like:

"Hey Bob, write about your most embarrassing memory."

To which I would reply, "What, you aren't embarrassed for me yet?!? How long have you been a reader?! WHAT MORE DO I HAVE TO DO TO MAKE YOU LAUGH???"

Or you could say, "Hey Bob, remember that time when... {insert the remainder of your sentence here}" and I'll say, "Probably not. But let me make something up and write about it! By the way, in this story, you having a dream about being at lunch at school with no pants - believe me, you'll think it's funny after you read it. Are you OK with that?"

Or even, "How can I get some of those sexy purple and gold golf pants that you wear in your profile picture on the blog?" to which I'd have to tell you to go shopping on LSU's campus or search online. I mean, really, it's not hard to find that kind of stuff online nowadays.

You don't have to be a long time reader of the blog to post a suggestion. You can post anonymously. Or you can email me, snail me, call me, text me, sext me (it's worth a try, right?), Facebook me, Tweet me (although I never check that account), Google Plus me (although I never check that account), etc.

Thank you in advance for all of your wonderful blog ideas and/or text messages of your naked body parts.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Porcelain Chess Match

I was recently sick in a disgusting yet hilarious way and thought I'd share it with all of you. We're family now, right? I can tell you anything and you have to still love me. It's like the law or something.

So... Betty was sick a few weeks ago. Then my son got sick two days later, followed by my daughter a day after that. The good news was that it seemed to be a 24-hour virus. The even better news was that almost a week went by without me getting sick, so I thought I was in the clear.

Then it hit me. But that's not the bad news.

I was eating dinner at home when I suddenly felt very bad. I still remember what I was eating - we were having breakfast for dinner, and I had just taken a big bite of grits. I LOVE breakfast for dinner. I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day and even for snacks. But one bite of grits and I knew I was toast. (See what I did there?!?)

I still ate the rest of my dinner, knowing that it was free calories since I'd be puking it up later.

I went to go lay down on the couch. Betty said I looked paler than normal, but honestly, it's hard to tell with me. I'm a software developer and never see the light of day, so my skin is nearly translucent. I can literally blind people if I take my shirt off, which is quite often, which is also why people usually wear sunglasses around me. I sparkle when I'm in direct sunlight, like Edward Cullen in Twilight, so it's safer for everyone around me if I stay indoors, working on my computer with the lights off. But I digress.

Betty brought me a trash can with a plastic bag in it. It was my puke bucket. It was also my savior.

Okay, here's the bad news. Ready for this? Mom, mother-in-law, small children, Dixieland, look away. Look away.

It all of a sudden hit me. You know what "it" is. It's the feeling where you know you have to puke, but you also have to shoot your intestines out of your ass like a whale blowing water out of its blow hole. I sprang up from the couch, sprinted to the bathroom (hurdling my children while I did so), did a spin-move to close and lock the door while unbuckling my belt, and then stopped in my tracks.

I didn't know what to do! I had never had my sickness coming out of me from both ends before. How does this work? Should I puke first, then sit on the toilet after? Or vice versa? Should I flush in between? What if the toilet backs up?

It was my porcelain chess match. And my toilet was winning the mind game wars.

But sometimes you don't play the game. The game plays you. So I did the only natural thing, which was to sit on the toilet while puking into my puke bucket. I had it coming out of both ends at the same time. It was terrible and awful, but it was over with quickly.

Mom, I know you read this far down, and now I'm ashamed for the both of us. You should have listened to my advice and stopped reading earlier. You only have yourself to blame. (Well, you can also blame me for writing this, I guess.)

I'm happy to say that I recovered within 24 hours. But that was just the physical healing. The mental and emotional pain may never go away. And if there's one thing I've learned from this experience, it's that you should always have a trash can with a plastic bag inside of it in case of sickness emergencies. You've been warned.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Training Camp

The NFL season is back on thanks to a deal between the owners and the players association, and you know what that means:

Fantasy football is back on!

Last season I came in 15th out of 16th. That flat out sucks. But I did beat my brother, so what's more shameful: Coming in 15th out of 16th, or losing to the person who came in 15th out of 16th?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Since our preseason was cut short due to the lockout, I really have to work extra hard to get myself in shape. So this preseason I've been lifting weights, doing more push-ups and sit-ups, and have even taken part in several mock drafts on the Yahoo! Sports website. And as usual, I'm listening to Sirius-XM NFL Radio pretty much non-stop.

I've also been watching shows like The League to get me in the right frame of mind. If you don't know what The League is, it's a TV show about a group of friends who play fantasy football, and it's hilarious. Get it on Netflix Instant and watch it while your kids are not around. Your wife will probably want to be excused from watching it as well.

I also watched Slap Shot recently. It has nothing to do with football (it's a hockey movie) but it's great, and you should also rent it from Netflix Instant, and also watch it without your wife and kids.

Tune in later in the season as the official Tantrum Sports Commentator will give you the play-by-play analysis of me trying to trade players the week before I play my brother. We'll also have a live feed at my parents' house after the game the week I play my dad's team so you can hear my dad sob about how he won't make the playoffs after I cream him.

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Street Performer

Betty and I just finished watching the first season of Treme, the HBO drama about the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Parts of it are very depressing, as expected. But all the scenes with the great food, beautiful music and wonderful people make us want to go back.

Two of the characters in Treme are street performers. One guy plays his keyboard and sings while his girlfriend plays the violin. And that got me thinking...

Maybe I could make some money playing music on the streets of New Orleans!

There are only two problems with that thinking: 1) I can sort of play the guitar and am learning the keyboard, but I'm not good enough to play for money just yet; and 2) I don't want to have lug a heavy and expensive piece of equipment around with me.

So I came up with alternative:

Wait for it...

I'll play my Guitar Hero guitar!

[Picture: Rocking my pants off!]

Think about it! My Guitar Hero guitar is light, inexpensive, and I'm basically the equivalent of Slash on it. I could play it solo, or bring a small TV with a video of my actual playing of Guitar Hero. (I wouldn't bring an actual Wii - not because I think someone would steal it, but because it's too much work to unplug it from my TV at home.)

At a minimum, I would get a few laughs. At a maximum, I would get beaten up by other performers and/or beaten up and put in jail by the cops. At a medium, I would get flashed by several tourists.

Sounds like it's worth the risk.

If you have any songs that you'd like me to learn on my five-button guitar, please let me know and I will immediately start learning them. Please also include if you want me to learn them on Beginner, Medium, Hard or Expert levels of difficulty. And last, let me know if you want me to rock your socks off, your shirt off, or your pants off. I'll rock all your clothes off after the cops close the streets to cars, of course.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Go, Team!

I got a birthday blog request from my friend Gerardo. His theme request? "High School soccer and how team sports prepared you for 'real' life."

By 'real' life I assume he means life outside the Matrix.

Before I get into the thick of this, I'd first like to say happy birthday to Gerardo. Happy birthday! Second, I'd like to thank Gerardo for making me realize how fat and lazy I've become. Just thinking about playing soccer makes me winded.

It's a great theme, though, and I want to do it justice. I've thought long and hard about it, and although I could write about this topic for weeks, I've consolidated things down into one central theme:

Teamwork.

Here are my top five aspects of being a great team member.

1. Enjoy playing with your team

You will work with your team almost every day, whether it's your high school soccer team, your department at work, or your family. If you don't get along with your teammates then your time at school / work / home is going to suck, and you won't be very productive. When you enjoy being with your team, you want to show up early, stay late, and put in the extra effort. And all that extra time with your team makes you all better teammates. The teams that communicate the best are the teams that usually win, and you're not going to communicate well with someone you don't enjoy talking to.


2. Surround yourself with people who are equally as good or better than you are at what you do.

I was a captain of my state championship-winning high school soccer team. That's not to say that I was the best player on the team - far from it. I think most of the other players were better. But I looked best with the armband, so they picked me to be captain.

During my senior year, our school was nationally ranked 3rd in the country. That's pretty damn good! That wasn't just a ranking of our individual team - it was a ranking of our school's program throughout the years. In our eyes, we were standing on the shoulders of giants.

We won a ton of games, and I'm happy to say that I scored in many of them. But we didn't win because I scored. We won because the other team had to get past every other member of my team, and my teammates didn't take crap from anybody. They were individually great, but as a team, we were unstoppable. I wouldn't have wanted to play against them.


3. Diversify your talents!

If we had had a thousand Bobby Tanory's playing for my team, we would have lost. Sure, I had my good qualities: I was pretty fast at short sprints, and I've already mentioned that I could rock an armband. But I had no endurance. I couldn't sustain my speed for very long or over longer distances.

Now, imagine a team with a bunch of people who can sprint, but can't last the whole game. That's sort of the worst team you can possibly imagine for a soccer match.

I played my part for my team, and the other guys - those who could run farther distances, or shoot more accurately, or dribble the ball around our opponents - made up for my deficiencies.

Teamwork!

I'm a software developer, and at work we have guys who love to get into the gory details of the latest and greatest technology. They love to build new stuff, but hate to have to maintain it. That's where the maintenance guys come in. They succeed in tracing the system to find the smallest yet most annoying bugs, when sometimes it seems like there's no possible way to figure out what those damn Feature Developers were doing when they wrote the system. Without both types of people (plus the people who like to review code, compile it, deploy it, document it, etc), we wouldn't still be in business today.


4. Way to go!

I love to get positive reinforcement. It can be in the form of a "good job!" or a back slap, a bonus or a thank you letter. Doesn't matter. I just like to be recognized.

What, you didn't know I was an attention whore?

But I also love to give positive reinforcement. I especially love when someone that has a lot of heart does something amazing. Encouraging that person makes me want to try harder for myself. I become inspired by my teammates.

And last, but not least:

5. Celebrate Success

My dad coached my baseball teams most of the time, and one year he drafted two kids at the end of the draft: a boy named Adam who was deaf, and his brother, Matt. None of the other coaches wanted Adam. It didn't look like he had played baseball before, plus it was difficult to communicate with him.

Well, I stutter (in case you didn't know), so my dad had experience communicating with the communication-disabled. (I made that term up, unless it's already a real term.) My dad didn't care that this boy was deaf. He put him on the team and treated him as if he were an equal and an integral part of our team - because he was. He didn't play every inning of every game, but he got his fair share of playing time.

Adam had gone the whole season without a hit. I think he struck out every time he was up at bat, except once. On that one occasion, Adam swung with all his might and hit the ball right in between the second baseman and the shortstop. Our bench exploded! We all jumped up, started hollering with all our might and were shaking the dugout fence as Adam sprinted off to first base. The shortstop made a great play for the ball and threw it to first, but Adam beat the throw by a hair. We all started cheering, hugged each other, and stormed the field like we had just won the college world series. It was an amazing experience. I've never seen a kid smile that big before.

I don't remember what the final score of that game was. I don't remember who we were playing, if we won, or even how old I was when we were playing. But I remember being so incredibly happy for Adam, and I was proud of him for sticking through it even though I know it must have been hard for him to play a team sport when he had difficulties communicating with the team. I was also very proud of my dad for giving Adam a chance to play.

And I like to think that every other coach who passed on Adam missed out on their team having this very same experience. They may have had better records, but we have the better memories.

In conclusion, not every person that you'll work with will understand what it means to play on a team, will be personable, or will even like you. I work in the IT industry where a lot of people are introverts. It can be difficult to apply team concepts to people who have never been on a team or wanted to be on one. But when you find a group of people who are willing to work their butts off for a common goal, you will end up having more fun on the journey than reaching your destination.

Happy birthday, Gerardo! I hope you like your blog, and hope you are kicking ass in the "real world" just like you did on the soccer field.

There Can Be Only One!

I just watched Highlander on Netflix Instant. The special effects were cheesy, but I loved the story. To be fair, the special effects were probably great for their time. I've been going around in my kilt all day saying, "There can be only one!"

Yes, I own a kilt - well, a $12 Wal-Mart version of one. Don't ask.

I wasn't sure if I should ruin my incredible Highlander experience by watching the sequels, as I've heard they're all pretty terrible. The reviews are so terrible that the sequel to Highlander has a 0% rating at RottenTomatoes. Wowsers!

But I was still interested in reading the plot summaries of the sequels and TV series, and while looking at the list of sequels I discovered that they're about to remake Highlander. Not only that, but they're bringing in people who helped write some recently successful movies, such as Iron Man and Twilight.

Since they're still writing the script, I think it's early enough in the process for me to give them my two cents:

Use Toyota Highlanders in the remake!

Here's a regular Toyota Highlander:

[Picture: Unkilted Highlander]

And here's a Toyota Highlander in a kilt. It's ready for some action! And it might not be wearing underwear - nobody knows!

[Picture: Kilted Highlander!!!]

Here are some of my ideas in which a real Toyota Highlander would make a great replacement for a human Highlander:

1. The first scene of the original movie takes place in the parking garage for Madison Square Garden. Sounds like the perfect place for two Highlanders to duke it out! They could be fighting over the last parking space instead of fighting over who gets to be the last immortal.

2. The main character - Connor MacCleod - could be the name of the dealership that's glued to the back of the main Highlander.

3. The films have a term called the Quickening. This could be renamed to be the Accelerating. It would fit in nicely with Toyota's image lately.

4. "Highlander II: The Quickening" has some environmental messages in it. For example, there's a lot of talk about the ozone layer, how to fix it, etc. So the Highlanders used in the remake could be hybrids, since they would be more environmentally friendly (except for when they destroy each other and spread their enemy's metallic shards across the landscape, as I envision in the rewrite).

5. Instead of Connor being from Glencoe, Highland (in Scotland), the Connor MacCleod hybrid Highlander could instead be from an assembly line in Osaka, Japan. This could be where he gets his samurai sword.

I know what you're thinking: it's so brilliant, why hasn't it been done already? I don't know. But if you see any Toyota Highlanders in the remake, you'll know where that idea came from. And if you hate the movie because it uses actual Toyota Highlanders instead of human Highlanders, blame the people who made the movie for taking such terrible advice!