This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Blog Format For Ya

Blogging is by nature a fluid art form, owing much of its success to the fact that one can share any information one feels like instantly. This gives the blog an innate flexibility. I can see something ("Look! A Shiny Rock!"), go directly to my computer keyboard, and tell you all about it. ("I found a rock today. It was shiny.") All over the world, this process is repeated over and over again by millions of bloggers until all the shiny rocks in the world are catalogued and and recatalogued and nobody ever wants to hear about shiny rocks again. And by shiny rocks, I mean any topic or subject that comes up and spreads itself over our media like a fat kid spreading butter on cake. Terry Schaivo. Hurricane X. The NBA's New Dress Code. There are even new blog search engines like Icerocket and Google Blog Search that allow the reader to search the more important blogs for whatever bloggers are saying about these subjects. Blogging has become a form of American "point of view advocacy" then, no more or less insightful than CNN, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Air America, or my dog. Ok, some bloggers are less insightful, but you get the idea.

"The opinions expressed here are my own, and you should read them because I'm important."

Some blogs buck this trend by not being opinionated at all. Sites like myspace and others are used mainly for connection with people and informing them of one's daily activities and emotional state. I don't want to talk about those blogs, because connection is not my purpose here (although reading This is Epth Nation will tell you a lot about me).

Since I am special, and interesting, and always trying to a) make this thing entertaining, and b) get a writing job in the realosphere instead of no job in the blogosphere, I have come up with a weekly plan to "solidify" this blog so you people know what to expect and when. This is sort of like an artificial deadline for me. Here's how it's going to work:

On Mondays, I will review something -- a TV show, movie, book, plate of food, etc. Coming next Monday: a review of the first few episodes of this season of Alias, including my response to the legions of internet people (with blogs) who can't get over the death of Michael "Say My Name" Vaughn.

On Tuesdays, I will take the day off to promote my blog. I ask you to do this on Tuesdays as well, fully knowing that you probably won't.

On Wednesdays, I will take the day's news, funnel it through the woodchipper known as my brain, and spit out "woodchips" (insightful(?) commentary on whatever story I deem interesting).

On Thursdays, I will actually be flexible, and this is the day when I'm going to trot out new ideas and gimmicks. Coming next Thursday: My long-awaited NBA preview. I'm excited -- I kinda know something about that sport! I may not be totally off, like I am with the NFL!

On Fridays, I will write a serious* column, one that you might find in a newspaper, magazine, or a better blog. The subject will usually be decided upon sometime that week. For example, did you know that 90% of the unborn children diagnosed with down's syndrome are aborted in this country? Yeah, I got some thoughts about that. That will probably be next Friday unless a more happy subject tickles my fancy.

As always, thanks again for reading.

*by "serious" I don't necessarily mean "not funny," so quit freaking out.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Baseball on Double Secret Probation

So my wife says to me she says, "You gotta make up with baseball." Now she doesn't understand the depth of my beef with baseball or the pain that beef has caused me. But I see her point. The Astros won last night to make this a Fresh Blood World Series featuring two teams that never get there. The Sox last played there in 1919 and I don't need to tell you what happened that time. It was immortalized quite completely in Field of Dreams thank you very much. The Astros have been a franchise since 1961 and have never gotten there despite the best efforts of JR Richard, Nolan Ryan, and Craig Biggio. Plus they just got hit with a hurricane, with the gas shortage and the overreacting and the bus fire and the evacuees.

The most important thing about all this is that I married into a White Sox Family -- you see, my wife's dad is heavily invested in the White Sox and since he's been around a while he's been waiting over 70 years for a return on that investment. So my wife's understandably taken with the baseball this year, and I must admit that ever since the Yankees put down their gloves in shame after losing to the Halos (or is it the Halo 2's) and A-Rod and Giroidsy and That Guy were kept from getting their Blood Rings for one more year, I've been following out of the corner of my eye, not content to just mock baseball and point out the fact that even hockey now has fiscal sanity, leaving baseball as the only major American sport that still alows the Yankees to exist. I've really been following it. Baseball, I mean.

Which brings us back to the main point of this delicious post, which is my wife's legally binding request that I embrace baseball and at least put the many wrongs it has perpetrated against me personally on the back burner for a while, and see how it goes. I have decided to go along with my wife's request and put baseball on my list of things I follow, albeit on a probationary basis until I know this year wasn't just a Happy Abberation and we're completely out of the grip of the Finanacial Insanity and if the Yankees are going to win it's because of good pitching and solid hitting and not just because they bought some guy to shore up their problems. I'm looking at you, Johnny Damon. Don't do it.

So baseball is on Double Secret Probation until either the Yankees don't make the playoffs or the Brewers do, at which time its reinstatement in my sports landscape will be complete and I'll have a ceremony in my own head involving Cecil Cooper baseball cards and imitations of Glenn Braggs (above) getting ready to bat. That guy looked like he wanted to strangle that bat. Good day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

No News for Today

Thankfully, you guys will not get to hear the boring stuff I have to say about the NBA dress code, because the MAN is making me work like a dog today. Like a dog. Arf.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The 2nd Craziest Person I've Ever Worked With?

There was the old lady who insisted that cashews tore up her husband's stomach...
The old guy who believed that the Trilateralists were running things.
The guy who changed out the interior decoration on his house every 6th months, just for a change...
The girl who was on Jerry Springer...
Several people who outright stole things from the company...
That guy who was a postal worker, possibly disgruntled...
The pregnant girl with the banana-yellow camaro who got pregnant and had violent (and I do mean violent) mood swings...
The girl who likes only pineapples on her pizza...

But one towers above them all...

His name was Bruce. At least, that's what he told us his name was. He was working at a major steel fabrication outfit in Rockford, IL when I arrived there as a temp. He and I worked the night shift alone -- I would write an "e" on a yellow piece of paper all night, and he would check trucks in and scan blue pieces of paper into the computer. There would occasionally be another person with us, first Shannon, then Margie, then his dog. Mostly, though, it was just he and I and the huge office that was attached to the plant.

Bruce was a weird cat in those days. First of all, he was about the tannest person I had ever seen. He looked like he was covered in shoe polish. He also liked to listen to the syndicated radio program "Delilah" at night (which for those of you who don't know "Delilah" let's just say there's a lot of soft rock and warm fuzzies involved), and he claimed to have an ex-wife who was a champion body builder (why would you want people to think that?). He was romancing this girl from sales named Ann, and she would come up and talk to him often as I sorted the yellow pieces of paper that I had just drawn an "e" on. Occasionally, he would go off by himself, saying, "I don't feel very well. I'm going into the sales manager's office to take a nap." He was lying.

All this went on for a few months, but then one day everything changed. Bruce was gone, and I was told the standard thing companies tell their employees when someone is fired: "If you see him, don't let him in." Ok, I thought. What was this all about? Down the hall, I saw workmen building a security door between where the night office people were and the rest of the offices, the important offices. Could this all be related? Apparently (I heard through office gossip channels) the powers that be were very upset at young "Bruce." Stuff had been going missing. Hidden cameras had been planted in strategic spots. Bruce's goose was cooked and his fate was sealed the moment he took that final "nap in the sales manager's office" and instead carted out a TV or something. Thanks to Bruce, that accursed security door was built and I could no longer get to the break room in the office. I had to go outside to get my potato chips. Grr. Brr.

I thought that was the end of the story, but a couple of months after the firing, I got to work and Margie asked me if I had heard what happened to Bruce. I said no. She gets out a clipping from the Rockford newspaper and there's this big story about a guy named David who was on the run from the cops, and who was eventually cornered in a dumpy house on the dumpy Near East side of the city. After a 2-hour standoff, police determined that he was alone and decided to storm the house. Bruce/David was up in the attic. Rather than face the punishment for his life of lies, he shot himself dead as the cops prepared to enter the building. They heard a gunshot, and that was the end of that.

His name was not Bruce. It was David. David. I had heard the story of the suicide the day before, but had no idea it was actually somebody I knew up in that attic. He was the craziest person I've ever worked with, that I know of anyway. I mean, you never know, right?

With that in mind, I give you Ms. Rebecca Baca. She is claiming that she was abducted 3-5 times (depends on who you ask) by a dude in a beard who looks kinda like Osama bin Laden. The last time, she ended up in Missouri. Here are the relevant news articles:

The first one, when Police were still "not discounting" her story.

She doesn't want to talk to the Police.

"Ms. Baca could not be reached for comment."

This girl was a cashier here at the computer store for about a year, back when they made a habit of hiring insane big-boned people to handle our money. If you knew her like our cashiers do, you'd understand that she is most definitely lying about all this. She's apparently one of those people who tells "stories." But it is bizarre, isn't it -- repeatedly claiming these crimes are happening to you? Why would you do that? A desperate need for attention? Low blood sugar? Hatred of beards?

She may in fact pass "Bruce" when it's all said and done. We here at This is Epth Nation are keeping a close eye on this story, and will notify you of any further developments.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Review: This Weekend's Football

There I was, sitting on my modular couch, bemoaning the U. of Wisconsin's defense and their total lack of heart, when they actually stopped the maroon Gophers on third down, which set up a punting situation with 35 seconds left. They would have about 30 seconds to move the ball like 40 yards. It was not impossible, but with no time-outs and QB John Stocco liable to throw the ball to a Gopher in this situation, things looked pretty bleak.

But before the ball could be put into Stocco's hands, the Minnesota punter fumbled the ball...then tried to kick it after picking it up instead of taking a safety...then Wisconsin recovered in the end zone...TOUCHDOWN!! WE GET TO SWING THAT STUPID AXE AROUND!! OW MY EYE!!

Seriously, though, this is the type of game that could seal their season. They are assured of a bowl game, even if they lose the rest of their Big Ten games (and I'm not even sure it's possible they lose to Illinois -- yikes are they bad), because they have the sure-thing pineapple game with Hawaii at the end of the season. It's a good thing they're doing well this year, because after Alvarez leaves they very well could be back to the bottom half of the Big Ten again. The guy who's replacing him, whose name is something like "Brett Beelumah," is the current defensive coordinator. Why are they hiring him? Because last year, when the decision was made, the defense was awesome. This year, they gave up half-a-hundred to Northwestern. This does not bode well for the future of the program. He'll be gone in two years tops.

The Wisconsin job is actually one of the best in college football -- just ask B. Alvarez, who walks as a god among the sports fans of Wisconsin. There's no pressure to win a national championship, you can recruit good players, and if you go 10-2 once every 5 years or so they'll love you. The system is set up so that 8 out of the 11 Big Ten teams gets to go to a bowl, so you'll get a berth in postseason play every year unless you totally suck. Doesn't that sound like a nice relaxing job for a great football coach? Then why is Wisconsin set on "Brett Beelumah"?

And that Notre Dame -- USC game...whew. Matt Leinart may have dated Kristin from Laguna Beach, but he's still pretty good at football. She didn't totally curse him. Now Talan, that's a different story. But I get the feeling that Talan is kind of a tool anyway. You would have to be, to take Kristen to the prom. Is it Kristen or Kristin? Nobody knows.

As for the NFL, when the Packer's aren't playing the only team I care about is my fantasy team, which was the victim of yet another Daunte "The Butcher" Culpepper meltdown yesterday. Mark my words...if he doesn't totally stink it up next week against the Packers, I'm trading him from my fantasy team. He'd better throw some more interceptions. Or else.

One final note: When an NFL game winds up in a tie at the end of regulation, why even bother playing overtime? Just flip a coin. That's basically what they do anyway. Sudden Death O.T. is bizarre and cruel -- the team that wins the flip wins like 2/3 of the time, because it's unfair. I guess the lesson would be, "Don't go into overtime unless you're prepared to lose unfairly." But why do we tolerate this? We have instant replay and the 2-point conversion, why can't we have better overtime?