Friday, December 25, 2009

Going To The Movies On Christmas Day: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My family has exactly one family tradition: Every year, we go to the movies on Christmas. Since 1986, at least two members of the Barich family have sat in a dark theater on this holiday and watched a major blockbuster well as some random romantic comedy or some depressing bit of nonsense that I personally don't feel is ever a good choice when trying to have a Merry Christmas.

This is also a tradition for most Jewish families like mine. On Christmas Day, approximately 99.5% of the Jewish population can be found at the movie theaters.

As well as a Chinese restaurant. :-)

With the possible exception of Israel or a 2-for-1 sale at The Falafel Palace, you simply won't see a larger group of Jews in a single place at once than at the movie theater on Christmas Day. It's the one place on Dec. 25 where many of my people can feel a sense of belonging.

There's a few things you learn about Jewish people going to the movies on Christmas Day after you've been doing it for 23 consecutive years. In no particular order:

---The median age of your average Jew who goes to the movies on Christmas Day is 97. And every single one of them are shocked at how high movie prices are nowadays. You know how many times I heard "$10.50 for a movie ticket now? Well, personally I think that's a little high, if you want my opinion" on Christmas Day 2009? About 107 times. And every single time occurred when the person got to the front of the line. And not just the movie line. But the line to get concessions, the line to go to the bathroom, and the line to actually get into the theater. These people bitch and moan about the price from the second they get to the theater until mid-January.

---No one understands why the line for the movies is so long. "I can't believe how long this line is. I didn't think anyone would be here on Christmas Day" is something you hear over and over when you go to the movies on Jesus' birthday. The fact that the line is this long every Christmas is lost on these people. And my favorite is when a woman sends her husband to the front of the line to "find out why this line is so long." Why the hell do you think it's so long? You think they're giving away matzah to every paying customer? No. The line is long because the movie theater seconds as a Jewish social club on Christmas...just like every other Christmas in your life.

---A lot of Jews feel it's important to see a depressing movie on Christmas. This is a theory I personally don't subscribe to, but I have some thoughts as to why this is so: You see, lots of Jews secretly love Christmas. But to admit it publicly would, in their minds, be kind of a betrayal to their heritage. Thus, they aim to see a depressing tear-jerker on Christmas Day as a way of punishing themselves for having happy thoughts of Santa Claus and Christmas lights and egg nog.

Kind of like wacky religious people hitting themselves with whips after having sexual thoughts.

So now you know what it's like to go to the movies on Christmas Day. If you're a non-Jew and you one day decide to venture out to the cinema on Dec. 25...

...don't say you weren't warned as to what you'll find.


And now for this week's:


The trailer for the new Karate Kid movie just came out!!!

Jackie Chan plays Mr. Miyagi!!



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Being A Bad Jew: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm a bad Jew. Let's just get that right out in the open. Those who know me know that despite being Jewish, I am woefully ignorant when it comes to...well, Jewish things. Ask me a question, any question, Jewish-related --- when a certain holiday is, how to spell a Yiddish term, what some ritual represents --- and I'll stare at you vacantly until you walk away and let the message soak in your head that I'm the wrong person to ask such questions.

Tonight is the final night of Hanukkah...

Note two things:

1) I originally spelled it incorrectly, using only one K.

And 2) I think it's the final night of Hanukkah. Honestly, I don't have the first damn clue.

...and I feel compelled to talk about the fact that I'm probably not the best representative of my own religious heritage.

For example:

I'm not into potato latkes. First off, non-Jews have been told that potato latkes are like hash browns. This is a lie. Potato latkes are just weird-tasting. They're burnt, they're oily, and some of them have a pancake consistency that just doesn't work. Plus, there is no condiment -- sour cream, cheese, ketchup -- that really works well with them.

Then there's Manichevitz.

Note: I spelled that wrong. It's Manischewitz.

I hate that crap. Now I don't like alcohol much in general, so maybe I'm a bad example. But I'm the only Jew I know who hates Manischewitz, the alcoholic staple of every Jewish meal. On special occasions, Manischewitz gets drank in such abundance that I have another name for it:

Jewish White Lightning.

Other "Nev's a bad Jew" examples:

---I hate wearing yarmulkes.

---Until recently, I spelled "yarmulke" yamika.

---I don't keep kosher.

---I prefer Oscar Meyer to Hebrew National.

---Despite everything listed above (and below) I insist on my parents giving me Hanukah presents.

---I once again misspelled Hanukkah.

---I don't know when any of the holidays start and end.

---Every time we do the prayers at Jewish holiday dinners, I think to myself: "Can we speed this up so we can get to the food?"

---Matzah ball soup makes me nauseous.

---And I used my Bar Mitzvah to lobby my entire family to give me lots of money.

Now in my defense:

It is my opinion that most Jews are like me: Ignorant and yet excepting of gifts on behalf of their religion. I'm a "cultural" Jew, which means I know nothing and eat food. The difference between me and other cultural Jews is that I can admit who I am.

Also, I can name three non-Jewish friends off the top of my head who repeatedly remind me that they're "better Jews than you are, Nev" and the way I see it: They're combined knowledge of judaism balances out the fact that I know nothing.


So as we wind down Hanukkah 2009, I say to myself: Let sleeping dogs lie. I'm a bad Jew, I'll continue to be selfish, and my non-Jew friends will continue to be superior about how they know more about being Jewish than I do.

Everyone's happy and everyone wins.


And now for this week's:


McDonald's is coming out with the Big Mac Snack Wrap.

My guess is: It isn't kosher.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Going To The Gym: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I exercise regularly. Not everyone knows this about me, but up until the age of 15, I was fat, reaching the weight of 200 pounds. I was the chubby kid, being teased about my size and the like. But luckily, one day in the locker room in high school, I looked down at my legs, and saw that they looked like flabby tree trunks and basically ate up my underwear.

And it made me do two things:

1) Start exercising.

And 2) Switch to boxer shorts. :-)

Five months later, I had lost 60 pounds and kissed my fat days goodbye. And though I spent several years working out entirely at home, in my early 20s I started working out at the gym and today still go there three times a week to lift weights.

And in my eight years of attending a fitness gym, here is what I have discovered:

I'm like a lot of us. I go to the gym in a ratty T-shirt and sweats or shorts, do my workout and leave. Whether we're men or women, we go to the gym, do our thing, and get the hell out of there.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

But then you have these guys who spend hours in the gym showing off how strong they are to anyone who will watch. They grunt, they swear, they do that "I'm flexing but I'm trying to act like I'm not really flexing" thing. They want women to look at them and ask for their help in moving heavy weights. They want other guys to ask them how long it took them to lift so much, so they can explain their diet-and-training regimen and feel important.

If you're like me, you roll your eyes at such nonsense. Because I know, a life.

And then you have these women who wear these ridiculously skimpy sports bras as their workout top, but they don't want guys to talk to them. Rather, they just want guys to look at them, watch those guys squirm as they try desperately not to gawk, and laugh on the inside at the guys' pathetic attempts to try and find something -- anything -- to say to them that sounds like the reason for speaking to them has nothing to do with the skimpy sports bra.

Now as a fellow guy, I freely admit: I look at the skimpy sports bra girls. I mean...hey. :-) But I ask my female readers: Does this make sense to you? Do you think your fellow females are helping the women's movement any by going to the gym in ridiculously skimpy sports bras and playing the "look at me and just try not to gawk at me" game?

I'm thinking of you here, ladies.

And finally: You got this thing where guys put their gym towels on the workout machine and walk away for 20 minutes. The idea behind this is to have dibs on the machine so no one else uses it.

Personally, I ignore it. I don't have time for someone to do a set of chest press, put his towel on the machine, and walk away for 20 minutes pretending to flex and figuring out what to say to skimpy sports bra chick. So I take the towel down, do my 1-2 sets, and then put the towel back on.

And you wouldn't believe the arguments I've gotten from people. "Hey man, my towel was on that thing!!" Yeah, I know. But you're nowhere in sight. And there's only one ab crunch machine here and, last I checked, you and your towel don't own it!! You don't want me to use it so that I don't "interrupt your muscle-tuning flow?" (seriously, that's what one guy said to me) Then hang around the machine and use it.

You know?

Maybe if I wore a skimpy sports bra, the gym towel guy would spend so much time trying to figure out how to talk to me that I could do my workout and leave before he could think of something to say.

Just a thought.


And now for this week's:


I'm a big believer in selling out. Unlike a lot of people, I don't look down upon a big-time celebrity who hocks stupid items for money. Hell, I would if given the chance!! Money is money, I always say.

But even I was cringing when I saw Mr. T in a commercial for The World of Warcraft. Mr. T, no one loves you more than I do, particularly after your depiction of Clubber Lang in one of my all-time favorite movies Rocky III.

But the mohawk grenade?

C'mon now. Times aren't that tough.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Jew Who Loved Christmas: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Before I get into this week's blog, I wanted to say a few words about my friend Cindy's blog entitled Lab Rehab. The blog chronicles Cindy's joys and heartache (mostly joys) of fostering Labrador retrievers for Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue. The organization helps find temporary homes for Labs, particularly older Labs, until they can find a permanent home. Many of these poor doggies suffered from abuse from their former owners, and volunteers like Cindy provide loving temporary homes and help them get adopted.

Cindy has been a member for about six months now, has already helped two Labs find homes, and is currently sharing her home with a third one, Zoe. If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer in any way to the SCLRR, go here.

Now let's talk about Jews and Christmas. :-)

All Jews loves Christmas. That's a fact. If you've met a Jewish person who acts nonchalant about Christmas, believe me when I tell you: They're putting up a brave front.

I mean, what's not to love? Christmas lights are awesome. Christmas trees rock. Egg Nog is one of the greatest drinks known to man. Christmas cookies are yummy. Santa Claus brings you gifts. And everyone gets the day off work!!

But if you're Jewish like me, you've heard the following statement from people a million times in your life:

You like Christmas?'re Jewish!!

Now let's back up just a bit.

When was it decided that Jews weren't allowed to celebrate Christmas? Why am I not allowed to sit on Santa's lap? Why is Christmas for Christians, Catholics and Protestants only?

(I'm probably missing a whole slew of people with that last statement, but you get my point)

I love Christmas. I do Christmas shopping. I wear the red hat on Christmas day. I've taken a photo with Santa, both at age 4 and age 23. I listen to Christmas songs incessantly -- in fact, I had an argument the other day about whether Christmas Canon was really a Christmas song (it is, people). And every Christmas season, I take Egg Nog, pour in some chocolate syrup, add a touch of milk, stir, and create what I call:

Nev Nog.

That's right.

Nev Nog.

Created by a disciple of Abraham.

And I'm sick and tired of being looked upon like I'm a psycho because of my association with Moses!! Christmas is for everyone, damn it!!

Here's the deal:

Jews have always been secretly jealous of Christmas. Oh sure, we have Chanukah. But the facts are: Chanukah gelt (chocolate) sucks, dreidel gets old, and even though we get eight days of gifts, most of it is schlock.

(Note: "Schlock" is Jew for "crap")

Non-Jews, meanwhile, are secretly jealous of Chanukah, because they feel like it's an extra holiday that they simply don't get to celebrate. And they're mad that several Jews are getting double the celebration.

So here's my plan to bridge the gap:

Non-Jews: Feel free to partake in potato latkes every year. Add Chanukah to your holiday regimen. There's room at the table!! Join us. We'll eat gelt.

Jews, meanwhile, should feel free to celebrate Christmas without persecution.

Because I want to listen to These Christmas Shoes this holiday season, and do so in peace.


And now for this week's:


OK, Tiger Woods is the biggest dumb ass known to man. Besides the obvious that has been occurring this week, he cheated on this woman.

I mean, dude. Seriously. What the hell? When is enough enough?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Corn's Dramatic Comeback: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: Last year, I wrote about how corn had once again returned to my Thanksgiving meal after an absence of several years. I love corn, and never did understand why it was somehow eliminated from the Thanksgiving meal menu. Because I have so many new readers from last year, and because what I wrote was pretty damn funny in my opinion, I have opted to re-post my blog from last year about Thanksgiving corn's dramatic comeback. Enjoy!!)

Last night at my Thanksgiving table, I greeted an old friend. It had been years since I'd seen him. Years since he and I shared a turkey day together. It had been far too long, and seeing him yesterday truly warmed my heart.

I call this friend:



Ah, corn. Sweet, tender, buttery, delectable corn. The perfect side dish on my Thanksgiving plate.

Study your history. The Indians gave the pilgrims turkey, potatoes, gravy, yams, Ruffles, french onion dip, chocolate-covered cherries, diet pepsi and...

Corn. :-)

As a kid growing up, I spent several Thanksgiving getting acquainted with this wonderfully starchy vegetable. But something happened over the past several years:

Corn disappeared from Thanksgiving.

The turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy remained in abundance, but corn for some reason was no longer on the menu.


At first, I confess: I didn't think much of it. Perhaps someone had forgotten, focused on making more yams. But the following year, corn was again missing. The year after that, same thing. And the year after that, no corn.

So a few years back, I began my campaign to get corn back on the Thanksgiving menu. But a process I thought would take little time took six years. Unbeknownst to me, there's a lot of anti-corn sentiment in this world. 2003, 2004, 2005, 6 and 7: Each year, I argued for the return of corn on Thanksgiving and each year I was brutally rebuffed.

I heard every excuse in the world. It's too much trouble. No one eats it. It's boring. It's yellow. It's no good cold. Our old people can't eat it off the cob.

But I don't give up easily. I was determined to see corn and Thanksgiving united again. And so, I continued to fight the good fight, and in 2008 I went to my mom and asked her this:

Mom, I have wanted to see corn on the Thanksgiving table for so long. Would you be the one to stop the madness and unite corn with Thanksgiving once again?

And you know what she said?

Sure. I'll make a corn casserole.

NO!! Jesus, how complicated can this possibly be? I'm not asking for kobe beef or homemade cheese. It's corn!! Freakin' corn!! Go to the market, head to the frozen food section, and grab a bag of Jolly Green Giant.

Without putting it into a God damn casserole!!

Jews and their casseroles. A topic for another blog. :-)

And I know what some of you are thinking:

Nev, if you wanted corn so bad, why didn't you just make it yourself?

Because it defeats the entire purpose of the ideal male Thanksgiving!! If you're a guy, the best Thanksgiving food is the food you don't make yourself. It has to be made by someone else, preferably a woman (that's right, I said it), to bring out the ideal flavor. Otherwise, it's just not the same.

Men reading this blog know what I'm talking about.

But luckily, fate stepped in.

I got a call from my mom two weeks ago. She tried making the corn casserole. It didn't come out good (shock of shocks). So as a fallback, she was going to make corn.

The casserole taketh. And the casserole giveth.

So last night, corn returned to Thanksgiving.

And it was goooood.


And now for this week's:


Recently, a man married a video game.


A man married a video game.

In another sign that the world is about to collapse, a fan of the Nintendo DS dating sim Love Plus liked his virtual lady so much that he decided to marry her. For real.

I hope he didn't buy her a ring. That's all I got to say.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Being One Of The Last People On Earth To Own A Flip Phone: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I own a cell phone that flips.

Otherwise known as the flip phone.

You remember the flip phone, don't you? It's a cell phone where you flip open the front to reveal the number keypad.

Then you call someone.

The flip phone.

I own one. And it serves me well.

I don't own one of these fancy phones. I don't own an iPhone, where you can take pictures, check traffic, shoot video, instant message people, check the weather in Singapore, and simulate swinging a golf club for the latest game application you downloaded.

Conversely, I don't own a Blackberry, which simulates a mini keyboard like you would find on your computer and is meant to make it easier to text, but is in fact 100 times harder because -- if you're like me and your fingers are the size of, you know, a human -- you keep pressing five keys at once.

So instead, I stay with my flip phone. And it can perform the following functions:


You should see people's reaction when they see me whip out my flip phone. They look at me like I'm an Amish woman in a gay-and-lesbian bar...

(apologies to my Amish readers)

...and treat me like I churn my own butter.

Among the comments I receive:

You don't own an iPhone?

They still make those?

You text with a number pad?

Can that anything?

Can "that thing" do anything? Yeah, dumb ass, it can call a person!! And it wasn't long ago that that was all we needed a phone to do!!

Here's the problem with America today: We've become a society where your phone has to do everything for you. It's not a freakin' tool box, it's a phone. It should have one function. It should not act as your camera. It should not act as your music player. It should not act as your television.

And it sure as hell shouldn't act as your lighter!!

Have you seen this application on the iPhone? Apparently, you can download an app that simulates a cigarette lighter. So when you go to concerts, instead of taking out a regular lighter during the "take out your lighter and sway it around" moments, you instead can whip out your phone, turn on your lighter app, and move that back and forth.

I mean...c'mon.

All I'm saying is that I don't want "calling somebody" to be feature No. 26 on my phone. I want it to be its primary use. Because damn it, that's normal.

And I like normal.

The rest of you aren't normal.

I'm normal.

Unlike you.

One day, you're going to expect your phone to raise your kids.

And I'll tell you right now:

Your kids are going to grow up fat.


And now for this week's:


I now have 13 followers on Twitter!!!

And I only know six of them.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Obsession With Twitter: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Would someone explain to me this obsession with Twitter?

Here's how I understand it:

Someone signs up for a Twitter account and he or she does nothing but let you know what he or she is thinking or doing or seeing or eating or drinking at any point throughout the day.

And people can sign up and follow you on Twitter, so that you can know what someone other than yourself is thinking or doing or seeing or eating or drinking at any point throughout the day.

Sound about right?

My wife -- Daily News sports columnist Ramona Shelburne -- has a Twitter account and more than 1,200 followers. She's always asking me to follow her on Twitter and my answer is always the same:

Honey, we're married. I already know what you're thinking or doing or seeing or eating or drinking at any point throughout the day. Now you want me to follow that online?

When you said we needed to communicate more, I assumed you meant, you know, talking.

But apparently, I'm living in the past.

And beyond that, why is it so interesting to following the twits...

Is it twits or tweets? Is it tweets? It's tweets, isn't it? Jesus.

Why is it so interesting to follow the tweets of people you don't know? At least on Facebook, I know these people (or have at least met them). But I really don't care that Shaquille O'Neal has finished a burrito. Or that Jessica Simpson found great shoes. Or that Jennifer Aniston insists that she and John Meyer are still good friends.

I just don't care. And I don't know why others care when I don't care.

By the way, while writing this blog, Ramona walked into the house, found out I was writing about Twitter and told me that the reason I don't get Twitter is because I'm not following her on Twitter and maybe if I joined the 1,200-plus other morons who followed her on Twitter, I would become a moron who understood it too.

I'm paraphrasing a smidge. :-)

Listen, for those of you who tweet regularly, let me say this:

I know you have thoughts.

I know you have feelings.

I know you have a voice yearning to be heard.

But no one gives a damn.

I mean, I'm sorry, but you're just not interesting. You did the laundry? Good for you. You LOLed at the latest episode of Glee? Great. Got bad gas? Maybe you should keep that to yourself.

The world was less complicated when folks didn't share anything. Simple were the days when we kept everything inside.

One final note:

I have just joined Twitter.

Because I'm actually funny.


And now for this week's:


To be honest, this isn't a real SOTS, but I had to share: A few months ago for my birthday, Ramona got me tickets to the USC-Stanford football game today. I'm a longtime USC fan and she's a Stanford alum. USC lost 55-21, the most points they've ever given up.

Thanks for the tickets, babe.

But next year for my birthday gift, get me a colon cleansing. I think I'd enjoy that more.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Video Games Are Getting Too Complicated: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Have video games today gotten too complicated?

My oldest friend Josh and I had an in-depth conversation about this the other night outside of a Burger King in Northridge, where he was smoking a cigarette and I was nursing a diet coke. As we took to our respective vices, we reminisced on how there used to be a Malibu Grand Prix just down the road -- featuring a huge arcade center -- and it got us talking about the video games that kids today are growing up on and how there's a whole generation out there who have never heard of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Ah, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Now that was a system!! Lots of different games, lots of different premises, and most importantly: Simplistic. Consider the controller the Nintendo used. It consisted of:

---A directional pad, which had the following options:





---An "A" button.

---And a "B" button.

That was it. That was all we had growing up. And you know what? We were happy.

You ever see a video game controller today? It's insane!! There's this impossible-to-use joystick for you to do required diagonal, vertical, horizontal and circular maneuvers; there's an "A" button, "B" button, "C" button, four buttons at the top, a trigger on the back, and a tiny red button in the right corner that looks like it will give the order to launch nuclear weapons; in short, if you want to play a home video game today, you essentially need to be an octopus, there are so many things to press.

And then there's the video games themselves. To my older readers: Do you remember the game Double Dragon? Here was the premise: Guy's girlfriend gets captured by gang. Boyfriend goes after gang to rescue girlfriend.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

And forget fancy maneuvers or powers. All your moves consisted of punching or kicking. There were bats, weapons and knives. The only guy who had a gun was the final boss, and that's what made him so powerful.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

And your mission didn't change midway through. You don't find out in level 3 that your girlfriend isn't really your girlfriend, or that this is part of an international conspiracy, or that you were secretly given a drug beforehand and everything that's happening is really in your mind. No, your mission was always to save your girlfriend. In fact, when you got to the final boss, you saw her tied up on the left of your screen, just to reinforce the fact.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

Today's video game premises are insane. Plots and subplots and subtitles and choices and misdirections and chapters and unforeseen developments. Everyone is involved, everyone has a role, your mission changes 18 times in the first seven seconds of the game, and by the end you're so blown away by everything you've seen that you've forgotten one important part:

What the hell the game was about in the first place.

And finally, there are the graphics. Honestly, how real does a game have to look? You want reality? Go outside. Me? I'm happy with two dots on a screen and a couple of colors. I'm easy to please, and so should the rest of video game America.

My point is: I come from a time where I would get up on a Saturday, go to a buddy's house, and me and other buddies would play a game that required little thought, few graphics and a couple of buttons. And it was this generation that developed the Internet, made Texas Hold 'Em a household name, and introduced flat-screen TVs.

In short: We made the world a better place.

But today's generation, with their fancy Wiis, are threatening all that my generation stood for. Soon, everything that we created -- that I created!! -- will be destroyed, replaced by a sea of complicated plots, space-age like controllers, and graphics that don't allow you to separate fantasy from reality.

Today's video games are destroying the fabric of everyday life.

And they must be stopped.


And now for this week's:


L.A. Lakers star Lamar Odom wants to have a kid with new wife Khloe Kardashian soon.

And that's more ammo for those who think a license should be required for those wanting kids.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The 'Evolution' Of Halloween Candy: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Shopping for Halloween candy has taken on a life of its own.

Back in my day...

(note: "Back in my day" is probably like 1990)

...there were the following main Halloween candy options (and I'm not counting candy corn):


---Milky Way

---That Hersheys miniature pack that consisted of little Hersheys, Krackel and that yellow-wrapped candy with nuts that no one liked.

---Almond Joy and Mounds (which, to me, is the same damn thing).

---And Three Musketeers.

That was it. That was essentially the extent of Halloween candy.

And you know what? We were happy. We were content with the limited choices of Halloween candy we had. Because damn it, it was Halloween candy!! It's like Thanksgiving turkey. It's never bad no matter who actually makes it or how many times it falls on the floor. We were just happy to have it.

It was a simpler time, back when kids were easier to please.

Today, in the 21st century, kids are spoiled. My sister Blake (who, by the way, forbids me from mentioning her in my blog without her permission. I don't have permission here, so I have to hope she actually means it when she says "No, I don't read your stupid blog") is a high school teacher in south Boston and thus has first-hand knowledge of how selfish kids have become. Kids today, she says, have more choices of main Halloween candy. Snickers now comes in several varieties, including peanut butter. Hersheys chocolate can now be white. Three Musketeers now features mint.

Mint!! WTF?

And because these kids are now given so many choices, they're more likely to lift their noses high in the air when you offer them candy from their bowl than they are to say "thank you". What the hell am I supposed to think when some snot-nosed 3 year old named Gus gives me a "you cheap bastard" look when I offer him a small box of Milk Duds?

F*****n Gus.

I'm not in favor of beating up little kids, so I'm just gonna hope the minty Musketeers bars gives him diabetes.

That's OK, right?

So today, as an adult, I have one of two choices: 1) Continue to give kids who come to my door on Halloween the stuff I got as a kid. Or 2) Give in and give the Guses of the world the fancy stuff.

I'm gonna give these kids the fancy stuff.

Because the world changes. And I can no longer live in my comfort zone. I can't fight what the world of Halloween candy has become. And if kids demand better, then I will give better.

Right after I scare them senseless with my Grim Reaper costume when I open the door.

Complete with plastic sickle.

That's something...that's timeless.


And now for this week's:


Iceland has said goodbye to McDonald's.

There's actually a place in this world with no McDonald's.

If that ain't an SOTS, I don't know what is.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wishing I Was A Bad Person: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Sometimes, I wish I was an asshole.

OK, let me clarify: There are times where I definitely am an ass. Just yesterday, for example, I had a horrible day at work that was preceded by another crappy day at work, and I found myself moody, irritable and -- worst of all to the loved ones around me -- more or less refusing to be consoled. I just wanted to be moody and irritable, crawl into bed, hide under the covers and disappear.

But in general, I'm considered to be a good person. I treat my friends and loved ones well, I listen, I don't break the rules, I don't have a criminal record, and I feel I'm considered by my friends to be someone they can rely on.

In short: I have "nice guy syndrome." :-)

But here's the problem: Like all people, we do bad things. It's inevitable. We're humans and we're not perfect people. But when a nice person -- someone not considered to be an ass in general -- does something bad, it goes over far worse than when someone considered to be an ass does the exact same thing.

For example:

Let's create a person who is a general ass -- let's call him Steve -- and he and his friend Linda have made plans to go to the movies on Friday night. Friday comes and Linda can't get a hold of Steve. He's not returning calls, texts e-mails or smoke signals. By this time, Linda's other friends have already made plans and her Friday night is ruined, because Steve has suddenly fallen off the face of the Earth.

The next day, Linda comes to find out that Steve didn't fall off the face of the Earth. Rather, his buddies asked him if he wanted to hit the bars with them, and he agreed, conveniently blowing off Linda, forgetting all about their plans, and not realizing his phone was buzzing when Linda was calling because he was drunk off his ass drinking Patron.

Now what do you think is Linda's reaction in this scenario? Is it:

a) Anger, frustration and utter disappointment because Steve just totally blew her off and didn't consider her feelings. Or

b) Just kind of shrugging her shoulders and brushing it off because, hey, Steve is Steve and that's how Steve is. He's an ass and we just have to accept that.

If you answer is "a", you're an idealist like I used to be. :-)

Amazingly, most reactions to this scenario are in the "b" category. Because people generally considered to be assholes have basically been given a pass by a number of their friends to be assholes because...well, they're assholes and that's just what assholes do.

Now, take the same scenario from earlier and put another person in the situation -- let's call him Nevin -- a nice guy, reliable, keeps his plans, calls if he's going to be a few minutes late because he values your time, etc. Let's say I blow off Linda without explanation and it turns out that I went to the bar, got drunk, and pretended I didn't hear my phone. You think that Linda is going to give me any sort of "asshole" or "well, Nev in general has always been a good guy so I'm gonna let it slide this time" kind of pass? Hell no!! She's going to scream and shout and be hurt and offended, not speak to me for weeks, and be chilly toward me for several weeks after despite my repeated apologies, completely ignoring all the times I've been there for her!!

Now let me ask you: Why is that?

Why do assholes get forgiven more easily than non-assholes? Is it because we're holding non-assholes to a higher standard? Don't non-assholes have a right to be flawed too? Why are suddenly all the good deeds done by the non-assholes erased in one fell swoop because he -- or she -- had one minor asshole moment.

And then there are the times when the asshole does something nice. And it's not even a big deal. It's something like handing someone a bottle of ketchup for their fries. Then the asshole is the greatest person to ever walk the Earth. Because we expected him to hog all the ketchup like he always done, but today he had an epiphany that -- hey -- maybe you'd like some too!!

You know?

What I'm saying is: Sometimes I envy the bad people.

They have it easy.

They're not expected to answer their phone.


Before I get to this week's Sign of the Apocalypse, I want to give a shout-out to longtime reader anothersuburbanmom, who has a very entertaining blog called Check it out!!

And now for this week's:


Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt recently fired his estranged wife Jamie McCourt as CEO of the team.

Somehow, I don't see "makeup sex" in their future.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Changing The Design Of Olympic Medals: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Let me ask you a question:

Do you think the recipe for ketchup should be changed?

Ketchup. It's a condiment. Made from tomatoes. Used for fries and another fatty fried-potato concoctions.

Ketchup, according to my good friends at Wikipedia, can trace its roots back to 1801, when it was made from tomatoes, walnuts and mushrooms. The modern version you've come to know and love came about around 1913.

My point is: Ketchup as we know it has been around for 96 years. It hasn't been changed because it doesn't need to be changed. It's ketchup!! It's perfect in its current form. And if you don't like ketchup, there's still no point in changing it because whatever it was changed to, you wouldn't eat it anyway!!

Here are some other things that they got right the first time:



Paper clips.

And Olympic medals.

The last of these, unfortunately, are undergoing a dramatic transformation. Beginning with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Olympic medals are going to look badly formed radishes, with its curved shape and "I'm on acid"-like appearance.

The idea behind this, apparently, is to take into account the uniqueness of the Vancouver landscape, with its ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscape. Additionally, every medal will be unique. Everyone who wins a medal in 2010 will have something that's one of a kind.

So essentially:

After 114 years, it was decided that the current shape and size of an Olympic medal -- you know, round -- was no longer good enough for the Olympic community at large. So they decided to add some curves to it because...

...well, I guess it beats making them square.

But we can't stop there. Each of the medals has a unique hand-cropped section of the abstract art, making every medal one of a kind. Because apparently, just winning an Olympic medal -- which, last I checked, wasn't the easiest thing in the world to do -- no longer carried the same weight. Now it's not enough to win a medal in 2010. My medal has to look different from the dude who won in the same medal in the same event in 1976.

I mean: C'mon.

What I'm saying is: Olympic medals are one of the things they got right the first time. They don't have to change it. A tweak here and there? Fine. Make the paint with less lead. Make the medal strap a little firmer. All acceptable things. But don't change it completely!! What the hell is wrong with you?!? While we're at it, let's add green to the American flag. Let's make the steering wheels on cars octagons. Let's dye salt purple.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Another thing that shouldn't be changed.


And now for this week's:


NBA legend Kareen Abdul-Jabbar was recently on an episode of celebrity Jeopardy and he was asked a question about a line in a movie that he delivered.

And he got it wrong!!

It's OK, Kareem. As a lifelong Laker fan, I still love you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

People Who Have 'Decorative' Towels: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Before I begin this week's blog, I'd like to be serious for a minute and talk about an organization that is aiming to help the people of the Philippines who were devastated by the recent Typhoon Ondoy.

HOPE worldwide
is an international charity that aims to change lives by harnessing the compassion and commitment of dedicated staff and volunteers to deliver sustainable, high-impact, community-based services to the poor and needy. A good friend of mine who has volunteered all over the world for Hope worldwide helped to build and work in an facility called the Center of HOPE Worldwide Orphanage in Manila. It is a treatment center for abused children in the Philippines, specializing in child sexual and physical abuse cases primarily. The center offers short-term and long-term residential care, treatment and placement, meeting the holistic needs of each child. The center has been completely flooded and destroyed, and they are working to take care of the people who were displaced as a result.

Here is a link to how you can make a donation to helping the victims of this terrible disaster reclaim their lives.

On a personal note: Like many of us, when I initially heard about the typhoon, I admittedly thought little of it. Was it sad to hear? Yes. But was I greatly affected in any way by the news? No. To be frank, I was pretty disconnected from the whole thing. When tragic events like this happen, most of us don't stop to realize just how much people's lives have been affected by this, because simply put we're not the ones being affected.

But when my friend told me about the orphanage in Manila, and that she knows of several people who have perished or are declared missing as a result of the typhoon, I began seeing things in a different light. And I began to think that in these times, we have to look beyond our little bubble. We have to see the world around us and help out -- all of us -- when others are in need.

In addition, a small donation really goes on a long way. Living in America, we don't see how far a little money can go. But in an impoverished nation, a $25 donation -- one donation!! -- can help feed a family for months. All of this -- individually -- can make a big difference with just a small effort.

So please click on the link above and make a donation. You will be changing a life for the better.

And now for the blog. :-)

I was at a party recently and I asked my buddy where the bathroom was. As he pointed down the hallway, I started to walk toward the area when my buddy gave me the following warning:

Oh hey, don't use the pink towels. They're for show.

Don't use the pink towels. They're for show.

Here's the thing: I'm a traditionalist. I don't believe in having items that are meant for regular use but don't get used because they look pretty. It doesn't work for me. A towel is meant to dry things: Your hands, dishes, the occasional spill. It's not meant as a decoration. They're towels, people!!

My buddy, to his credit, looked embarrassed. And I know why: This was his girlfriend's doing. See, at the risk of sounding sexist, this idea -- of not allowing people to use items that are meant to be used regularly because they fit within your home's color scheme and you don't want to mess it up -- is a female thing.

That's right: I said it.

I have never known a guy who said to me: "No Nevin!! Don't use that towel!! It's a display towel!! It's for aesthetic appeal!! What the hell's wrong with you?!?!" But women will say that. Not only that, but when they say it, it sounds strangely natural. And what happens when you actually use that towel? You'd have thought you had killed one of their beloved pets. They yell at you, throw things at you, chase after you with knives. You're no longer allowed in their home, your male friend gets denied sex by her every time he hangs out with you or even speaks about you, and the woman always refers to you as:

That dumb ass who f******* up my nice towels.

Growing up, my mom took this concept one step further. In the living room, we had a couch that we had purchased for several hundred dollars that had a prominent space in our living room. And we were never able to sit on it. I mean never. Guests couldn't even sit on it. It's a couch. It's meant to put your butt on. But my mom had a dream as a little girl of a pretty little living room with a big nice white couch, and she would be damned if her family was going to crush that dream.

I have a place of my own now. And I'm happy to say that I have a wife who is OK with using all of our towels. Also, I've yet to hear her say something about purchasing a non-usable couch.

But am I in the clear?

"Now Nev, we got these really nice plates as a wedding gift," she said recently. "They're really, really good quality.

"Never use them."

Guess not.


And now for this week's:


My buddy, cousin-in-law and podcast partner Mike recently told me about an Applebees commercial that said the following:

"Great news! Applebees appetizer and two entree's menu now has real food!"

Sources tell me they were also going to include the words "as opposed to the crap we normally serve" but it got left on the cutting room floor.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Laundry Machines And The Quarters They Demand: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

One of the final things Ramona and I did before we got married was create a joint account, with the short-term intent of a) paying for some of the wedding stuff, and the long-term intent of b) saving up to buy a house one day. A place of our own is something we're really hoping for, so we can have a backyard, pets, more room, a place for our future kids to call "the house we grew up in"...

...and our very own washer and dryer.

Our very own washer and dryer. Admittedly, until I moved into my own place a while back, I didn't realize what a luxury that was. See, like most boys, my mommy did my laundry growing up. :-) I lived in a house during most of my formative years (with a washer and dryer in tow) and even when I lived with my mom in an apartment for a few years, she continued to do the laundry so I never struggled much with the concept of having to share a common laundry room.

And then I got my own apartment and the pain became my own.

Let's start with quarters. Every time you're ready to do the laundry, you realize that all the quarters have somehow mysteriously fallen off the face of the Earth because they are nowhere to be found. Prior to your search for these coins, you have an ambitious goal of doing two loads each of washing and drying.

The cost: 20 quarters.

But early in your search, you realize that finding 20 quarters may be problematic, so you say to yourself: "Well, I really can get away with one load of drying." So now you only have to find 15 quarters.

Midway through your search, when you've found only two quarters and are starting to look underneath cushions, you decide that one load of wash and drying will have to do because the search for money has really gotten annoying and you're now willing to take the risk of jamming every article of clothing into one machine and hoping it doesn't overflow.

So now you're down to having to find 10 quarters.

And then, after 90 minutes of futilely searching and coming to the conclusion that the quarters are probably hiding in a dark corner of the closet, mocking you for not being able to find them, you say to yourself: "Screw it, I'll do one load of wash, I'll dry the clothes out on my dust-infested patio (because I haven't swept in four years) and the rest of the clothes will remain in a dirty pile in the bedroom that I hope against hope will miraculously clean themselves."

Even then, you're sometimes short 1-2 quarters and you find yourself staring at the laundry machine longingly, wishing that it took dimes.

Ya know?

And then there's actually being able to use the machines. There's nothing like finding the quarters you need, packing up your dirty clothes and detergent, marching triumphantly down to the laundry room, only to find out that all the machines are in use.

It's a chess game, really, trying to figure out when the machines will be free. Sundays are definitely out; that's the universal laundry day. Saturdays are off-limits too, because that day gets a "Oh man I better do my laundry today because on Sunday it will be a madhouse" traffic. Mondays suck because it's the day that everyone who didn't do their laundry on Saturday or Sunday do their laundry. Fridays are bad because you find yourself being more willing to put a loaded pistol next to your head than to start the weekend doing laundry. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, all the good TV shows are on. And on Thursday, you're so excited that you only have one day left in the work week that you don't want to lose your euphoria by whipping out the Tide.

So if you're like me, you put off doing laundry until you find yourself completely out of socks, down to one pair of surfboard boxers, and are seriously pondering whether you can get away with wearing your high school gym shorts to work the next day because that's the only thing you have left that's clean.

And then, and only then, do you do the laundry.

At 3 a.m. on a random Tuesday.

Because that's the only time the machines are free.

So when Ramona and I eventually get a house, I plan to celebrate with a nice dinner, a bottle of chilled Diet Dr. Pepper, and a basket full of laundry that will keep me in bleach until the sun comes up.

I can't think of a more beautiful, happy image.


And now for this week's:


A friend of mine recently sent me this video link about a school answering machine in Australia. It's hysterical and, one way or another, will change the face of public education as we know it. :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Being Asked To Write Blogs About Random, Idiotic Topics: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Every once in a while, a friend of mine will ask me to write a blog on some random, idiotic topic. Now while I've created a entire blog universe writing about random, idiotic topics, what people don't often realize is that there's an art form to it. See, not every random, idiotic topic speaks to everybody. Some random, idiotic topics are narrower in scope than others, and it's my job to decipher which random, idiotic topics get written up, and which ones don't.

It's a thankless job. :-(

So when I get a request from a friend to write about attending a Catholic wedding or people who put their dogs in purses, I often politely decline. My latest request for a blog topic?


I get a message on Facebook from my friend Ian:

Ask me about my Slurpee adventure. Great blog stuff.


Though thoroughly unconvinced, I tried to keep an open idea as Ian and I got in contact and he began telling me about how the frozen beverage affected his day. Evidently, he went to his local 7-11 to buy a Slurpee and when he went to the counter to purchase it, he whipped out his debit card only to find out that the minimum charge for the debit card was $3 and his Slurpee only cost $1.79.

"So I didn't buy it and went to a second 7-11," he said. "But they had the same thing too with the debit card. So I went to a third one and they let me use my debit card. But they only had banana flavor and I hate banana, but by that point I was tired so I bought it."

The. End.

Now: I consider myself a fairly talented writer. But trying to make an entertaining blog out of that ridiculous story and parting seas are two things not in my skill set.

So after breaking the news that "No Ian, I'm not going to make this into a blog because...well, I'm just not" I nonetheless had the following questions:

Question 1:

Nev: Why didn't you just spend an extra $1.21 at the first 7-11 so you could use your card?

Ian: It was the principle of the matter!! Why should I be forced to buy something extra I don't need?

Nev: Ian, it was an extra $1.21.

Ian: Ian says no!!!


Question 2:

Nev: Did it ever occur to you that you were spending more than $1.21 in gas going to the other two 7-11s?

Ian: Maybe so, but I was making a statement.

Nev: Dude, it's a buck-twenty-one."

Ian: I'm a patriot!!

I'm. A. Patriot.

You can't make this stuff up.

Question 3:

Nev: So you ended getting a banana Slurpee, which you hated.

Ian: Right.

Nev: Just out of curiosity, at the first 7-11, did you make a Slurpee to your liking?

Ian: Yeah. Cherry and blueberry. My favorite.

Nev: So basically, you spent more money and wasted more time to buy a Slurpee you didn't want?


Ian: Maybe so. But I kept my dignity.


So anyways:

Ian: So are you gonna make this a blog or not?

Nev: Not.

Ian: Why?

Nev: Oh, I don't know. It's STUPID!?!?

Ian: Write about my suffering!!

Nev: What suffering? You refused to spend $1.21 and ended up spending more for something you didn't want!! That's not suffering, that's lunacy.

Ian: But I wanna be a part of your blog!!

Nev: I'm sorry, Ian. But some dreams go unfulfilled.


Ian: OK then, so what random, idiotic topic are you gonna write about this week?

Nev: Oh, you know me. I'll think of something.


And now for this week's:


I recently got in touch with a dude in New Zealand named Nevdog Williams!! Seriously, the guy is named Nevdog and he lives on the other side of the world. U.S. Nevdogg and Kiwi Nevdogg have been sending messages through Facebook. He has license plates that say "Nevdog" on them, and he said that if I'm ever in New Zealand, he'll take me pig farming!!!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Being A Crazy, Psycho Sports Fan: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Have you ever watched a sporting event -- whether it be baseball, basketball, football, boxing -- and you're right near an extremely psychotic fan who seems to live and die on every play? The type of fan who goes absolutely bonkers when his team does something good, and...well...absolutely bonkers when his team does bad? The type of fan who won't calm down for even a second unless his team is up 56-3?

That's me. I'm that psycho fan. :-)

We are currently in the midst of college football season. And for the last 23 years, I have been a fan of USC. And last week, my Trojans--ranked third in the nation -- traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to play the eighth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

And so it was last week that I went over to my Dad's -- a fellow USC fan, who sat me on his knee when I watched my first USC game on TV, in 1986 against Notre Dame -- to watch the game.

And with the game close throughout, psycho fan Nev took center stage.

Understand this: I'm considered a nice guy. Even sensitive. But when it comes to watching one of my favorite sports teams, psycho fan Nev will beat down anyone in his way to make sure victory is obtained.

And last week, that included my dad.

My poor Pops. With the USC game in doubt until the final seconds, he faced my full wrath throughout the game. Everything he said irritated me. Any mere mention of negativity was met with a slew of venom on my end. You see, to be honest, when one of my teams is in a close battle, I'm not a fun person to be around. When USC played its season opener on Sept. 5, for example, my wife Ramona was about to wander into the living room when she heard me screaming at the television that we were down 3-0.

She then decided it was better to go back to sleep.

It's nice when you have a wife who understands you. :-)

Anyways, back to my dad and my wrath. With USC trailing most of the game, here's some of the onslaught my dad had to deal with:

Dad: The problem is, USC is being outcoached.

Nev: Outcoached. That's all you ever say. Outcoached. Each year, every year, every game, you say we're being outcoached when we're losing. Well you know what? I'm tired of it!! You are forbidden to say "outcoached" for the rest of the year!! God damn it, get some new material already!!!!!

Dad: USC was favored by 6 1/2, and I never thought they'd cover.

Nev: You never said that!! You can't say that now!! You can't say you never thought they'd cover when they're losing!! You never said that beforehand!! Never never never!! You lie!!!!!

(note: Actually, my dad did say that before the game. Sorry Dad. That one's on me.)

And then there was:

Dad's girlfriend Vera (speaking to my dad): Why don't you sit on the couch next to your son?

Nev (speaking to my dad): Don't you dare even think about sitting next to me until you get your mind right!!!!!

And finally, my dad said a few mean things about the struggles of the NFL's Oakland Raiders, another one of my favorite teams.


Like I said: Psycho fan. :-)

And then, as I mentioned before, there's me yelling at the TV. Specifically, at the players on the screen. When the USC safety went out with an injury, I screamed at him to get a cortizone shot and suck it up. When the Ohio State quarterback scrambled for a first down, I demanded that the USC defenders take out his knees and "TEAR SOME LIGAMENTS!!!!!"

What can I say? I'm crazy.

But I noticed something last week that I've started noticing the past several months. These games -- these close games, this yelling and screaming and carrying on and living and dying on every play -- are taking their toll on me. I find myself taking longer to recover between games. In my younger days, I could yell at the top of my lungs and threaten everyone around me, and the next day I'm back out and ready to go. But after last week's game, I needed more time to mend. I was bruised, battered, exhausted. It wasn't until yesterday that I felt like my old self again.

It was yet another reminder that --at age 30 -- I wasn't quite as young as I used to be.

My father-in-law Jim warned me about this one time. Jim is a UCLA alum and, in his day, he lived and died with the Bruins on every play. But eventually, he told me, he just couldn't do it anymore. He couldn't bring the energy to every game like he used to. It was just too much, he said. He got older, had more responsibilities, and eventually he just got tired of the roller coaster ride.

He still watches UCLA games, still gets excited when they do well. But as far as being a crazy, psycho fan, those days -- he said -- are over.

And one day, they will be for me too.

There are fewer psycho fan Nev days ahead than there are behind. I realize that. I'm not sure when the end of the road is going to be. Maybe in two years, three years, four or even five. But I do know that I can't do this forever. I'm not a kid anymore, and eventually I'll have to step aside and let the new generation of psycho fans take over.

But for now: Psycho fan Nev remains. :-)

One last thing about watching last week's game with my dad:

Following USC's come-from-behind victory, the TV cameras panned to a shot of all the sad Ohio State players and coaches.

My dad and I pointed at them and laughed.

Then we hugged.

And all was forgiven.

A true father-son moment.


And now for this week's:


Have you ever wondered how many punches I threw at my wedding?

Now you can find out.


Check out this video of me and Ramona's grand entrance on the day we said "I do."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend: My Tennis Shoes: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Last weekend, I said goodbye to an old friend.

My friend and I had been through the wars together the past few years. We ate together, drank together, watched sports together, played video games together, laughed together, cried together, counseled friends together, traveled together...hell, I thought one day we were going to die together.

But sadly, my friend passed on before me.

My good friend...the tennis shoes.

My tennis shoes. For the past three years, they've seen me through thick and thin. See, women traditionally are the gender that buys tons of shoes, but men are the gender that really bond with theirs. Our tennis shoes are kind of like dogs. We appreciate them for their kindness, their warmth, their loyalty. We don't just wear them once and take them to the pound. We wear them constantly, every day, every hour, and see them through their final days until the sad day when we have to put them to sleep.

In my case, that sad day was last week. We were packing up to head back home from our honeymoon in Hawaii when my wife Ramona noticed a big tear in one of the shoes. We had done a rather brutal hike up a rocky trail the other day that no doubt proved to be too much for my old friend. So, seeing that they were literally falling apart at the seams, I agreed to leave them in the hotel trash can.

And a part of me was left in that trash can too. :-(

Men everywhere understand where I'm coming from.

Now: Women reading this may be asking how a man can wear a disgusting pair of tennis shoes day in and day out even as the wear and tear is apparent? Well let me ask you this: Do you put a dog down at the first sign of trouble? If a loved one is put on life support, is your first instinct to pull the plug and watch him or her die? If your star pitcher walks a couple of batters, do you automatically take him out of the game?


Men stick by their tennis shoes, like they stood by for us. Our tennis shoes loved us, and we our tennis shoes. Our tennis shoes never turned their back on us, so what right do I have to do so?

When the going gets tough, a man and his tennis shoes work through the rough times.

Ramona brought me a new pair of tennis shoes. My new tennis shoes are gray, my old tennis shoes were white. My new tennis shoes are Sketchers, my old tennis shoes were a no-name brand. My new tennis shoes retail for $80, my old tennis shoes served me faithfully for a mere $20.

I'm sure me and my new tennis shoes will get along. But still... will take time.

Right now, my old tennis shoes are on my mind.

Wherever they are, I hope their suffering has ended.

Farewell, old friend.



And now for this week's:


I was in 7-11 the other day getting a Big Gulp when I saw the guy ahead purchasing a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

A dude buying cereal.

At 7-11.

That's just odd.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yearning To Fly First Class: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

The first time I was ever on an airplane, I was 6 years old. I remember the seats being comfy, having plenty of leg room and even getting an in-flight meal of hot dogs and potato chips.

Plus, I was given heaping glasses of orange juice. :-)

And that was the first and only time I have ever flown first class.

First class. We all have to walk through it every time we shuffle down to coach. First class. With its comfy leather seats. First class. Where the patrons get complimentary glasses of orange juice and champagne prior to takeoff.

First class.

No charge for the in-flight movie here.

Last night my wife Ramona and I took a red eye from Maui to Los Angeles, heading home after our honeymoon. And as we walked through first class into our cramped seats in coach, I found myself thinking the same things I always think about when I go through first class.

I found myself thinking how spoiled the folks in first class must be. I found myself thinking how these people don't know what it's like to suffer through bad food (which you have to pay for) and TVs that don't work half of the time. I found myself thinking how much I hate these people for their obvious wealth.

Man, do I want to be one of them!!

Let's face it: We all yearn to be among the pompous first class elite. We want to be spoiled, pampered, drink orange juice in fancy glasses like there's no tomorrow. We don't think that flying coach shows us that we're real people. And even if we did, who the %$#%& wants to be real?!?! Real is cramped, with screaming babies and lavatories that you have to share with 150 people. Real sucks.

And so, one day I vow to be fake. One day I vow to return to the world of make-believe. One day I vow to sit in first class, drink my OJ, enjoy my leg room, use my lavatory that I only have to share with 20 people, get my free in-flight movie, and...


Insist on a special dietary meal of hot dogs and potato chips.

First class.

Where dreams happen.


And now for this week's:


What's the deal with college football having teams do a pregame handshake? Postgame is one thing: The game is over, the battle has been won or lost, there's little more to do than to say "good game." But before the game? Why don't you just have soldiers of war shake hands before they shoot each other?

Hey Iraqi soldier, I'm going to do my very best to blow your brains out. But before I do, let's shake hands.

It makes no sense.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

'That' Married Couple, Wedding Rings, And Changing Your Maiden Name: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

So I've been married for a week now and I've discovered the following three things:

1) Ramona and I are totally "that couple", that stereotypical couple that you see across the room being lovey dovey with each other. You know that couple you want to throw something at really hard (and preferably at their heads) because they're so lovey dovey that it makes you fully realize just how lonely you really are?

That's us. It's our heads you want to traumatize. :-)


Ramona: Hi husband!!

Me: Hi wife!!

Ramona: We're married!!

Me: I know!!

Ramona: You're my hubby!!

Nev: You're my wifey!!

Both: Tee hee hee!!

(palms flail away at each other)

Yep. We're like that.

2) Wearing a wedding ring actually isn't that bad. For someone who has never worn a ring in his life, I was admittedly a little concerned. But honestly, I hardly realize it's on.

And I like that it's shiny!! :-)

One thing, though:

How the hell do you get this thing off? The whole "twisty" thing don't work and I can't pull it off without soap and water. Is it naturally supposed to be welded onto your skin? Is that part of the deal?

And finally:

3) People who mistakenly say:

Hello Mr. and Mrs. Barich


Now before I go further, know this: Ramona has decided to keep her maiden name. And honestly, I'm totally cool with it. Women today shouldn't automatically be expected to change their last name upon marriage. And besides, my new wifey (tee hee hee!!) is becoming one of the premier sports columnists in the country and is known nationally by her maiden name.

Plus, she's letting our future kids have my last name. So why should I complain?

Nonetheless, I have to confess that it's kind of cool when I hear people call us "Mr. and Mrs. Barich". I get a big kick out of it, probably because I know it won't last very long. It makes me realize that I'm indeed married, and because Ramona remains in honeymoon mode, being called "Mrs. Barich" isn't pissing her off yet. Before it wears off, I aim to take advantage by having at least one person call her: "Mrs. B."

(Note: As I write this, I asked Ramona how she'd feel about being called "Mrs. B." She did not look pleased. Admittedly, hearing it reminds me of a 60-year-old librarian).

I know that eventually, people calling her Mrs. Barich will annoy her. And that's cool. Today during our helicopter tour in the Hawaiian island of Kauai, someone accidentally called me "Nevin Shelburne."

And to me, it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard.

Men changing their maiden name.

Can you say:



And now for this week's:


Although Ramona and I are having an amazing honeymoon so far, we have avoided the overpriced spa at the hotel. The spa offers such deals as:

Sunscreen application with foot reflexology massage.

A 20-minute service. Price: $50

In other words, $50 to have someone rub your feet with suntan lotion.

In a "reflexology" fashion.


Friday, August 21, 2009

The Hours Before My Wedding: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Let me tell you something I discovered this evening about wedding rehearsals and wedding rehearsal dinners: When they're for you, they're absolutely exhausting. :-) As I write this, my New York relatives who flew in for the wedding -- all of whom are at least twice my age -- are downstairs in the lobby at our hotel, chatting it up like they're 12-year-old girls at a sleepover, while I am alone in my room planning to hit the hay after I post this blog.

There's something wrong there. :-)

If this blog is all over the place, forgive me. For those of you new to this blog, I write this a mere 16 hours away from getting married to my fiancee Ramona, and my head's a little hazy. She and I have been together for more than eight years and have been engaged for nearly a year, so although I technically haven't felt like a single man since Enron was all the rage, tonight (cue dramatic music) is technically my last night of freedom.

And I'm sitting on a couch. Falling asleep. Blogging.

But despite my lack of living it up, I'm happy. Truly happy. I'm getting married tomorrow, I can honestly say I'm not freaked out, Ramona seems totally happy that she's marrying me (either that or her "tears of joy" was actually caused by her stepping on a rusty nail at the restaurant), and all my friends and family are here ready to celebrate with me.

Pretty cool, huh? :-)

Not that tonight wasn't without its craziness. When you factor in parents, ring bearers, flower girls and Ramona's Grandma Eve, there are over 20 people in the actual wedding, and the rehearsal today consisted of all the women trying to talk over each other while me and the men...more or less stayed silent.

In fact, one of my groomsmen Joe commented at one point:

Nev, I'm a little surprised at your lack of input.

For the record: At today's rehearsal I was asked one question, made a suggestion, and it was ignored.

Just following the wedding tradition of many men before me. :-)

But despite all of that, we got through the rehearsal, and quickly. People know when to line up, where to walk, what to do, what to wear, what to say, and me and my best man Kevin even threw in a fist bump for good measure.

Plus, the rehearsal isn't without its funny story. Midway through I got a text from my friend and former co-worker Frank:

What's up Nev? Got any plans today?

Uh, yeah bud. I'm getting married tomorrow. Other than that, not too much.

The rehearsal dinner was even louder and more crazy, which will happen when you have 60 people from both sides of the family who don't know each other yet like to talk. I found myself meeting people I'd never met before, seeing old friends, revisiting with family I hadn't seen in a long time, and at one point I even went over to a table and said:

I know I'm related to all of you, but I have no idea who you are.

It was an ice breaker. :-)

But it was fun, eventful, everyone got fed, and no blood was shed over the course of the evening (at least in the restaurant). More importantly, everyone was happy. My parents seemed thrilled, Ramona's parents were smiling, Ramona was glowing, friends and family were laughing together, and I had a plate of cheese enchiladas in front of me so I couldn't complain. :-)

So what's my point here? No point. It's just that it's hours from my wedding and I'm cool with not being a bachelor anymore. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to marry the love of my life, wear the ring, be called husband (that will take some getting used to) and live happily ever after.

I'm getting married.

And I'm feeling pretty good.


And now for this week's:


Again: I'm getting married in 16 hours.

Does that qualify? :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

All Right, I'll Do The Damn Project Runway Hater Blog Again: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

OK, so here's the deal. Last week, I had made the announcement that I wasn't going to continue with my Project Runway hater blog this season (which starts Aug. 20) because I'm getting married on Aug. 22 and will essentially be away for the first three episodes of the season.

Plus: I truly did hate watching the show. :-)

But because so many of you have asked me to continue doing the blog -- and because I didn't feel like doing another wedding-related blog post this week even though the big day has overtaken my life (BTW: watching people come up with seating charts has to be like watching army generals come up with a battle plan for Afghan strongholds. I mean, there must be similarities) -- I have decided to use this week's space to announce that I will in fact by doing the Project Runway Hater blog -- -- again this season.

Happy now? :-)

For those of you who don't know, last year my fiancee Ramona (who was my girlfriend at the time) was pushing me to do one of those fan blogs on a show, thinking that I would be good at it. I, however, hesitated. See, I'm not into fan blogs. I've always found them boring. What's the point of writing on a show you love? You'll either a) write about how much you love the show (which is like watching an action movie without a bad guy) or b) you'll rip the show but not really rip the show because you love it so (and if that sounds like it makes no sense, that's because it makes no sense).

But then I got an idea.

"What if I wrote about a show I hated?" I asked Ramona.

I mean, why not? I had never seen a hater blog before, and wouldn't it be funny to read someone's views on a show they absolutely hated? Ripping the show apart. Showing a lack of understanding. Telling fans of the show that they're moronic imbeciles for liking this idiotic piece of television.

Now that I could get into!!

So I started thinking about kind of show would be perfect for such a blog. Enter Project Runway. I hate clothes, I had watched approximately 13 minutes of one episode and wanted to throw myself off a cliff during every second of those minutes, and Ramona loved the show so I knew that our arguments over her love and my disdain would make for great copy.

And so it began. :-)

And the funny thing was: The blog was successful. Each week, I did a running commentary of the crap that was on screen (and no, my hatred of the show never wavered) and people came to read!! By season's end, more than 13,600 hits were registered on and I even got a small write-up in the Houston Chronicle.

So bucking under public pressure, I will indeed do the blog again. But please note: For the first three weeks of the season, my posts will be late. I'll do my best to squeeze in the Episode 1 recap before the wedding, but recaps of Episodes 2 and 3 will have to wait until I come back from my honeymoon in early September.

So my hate will just have to wait.


And now for this week's:


A friend of mine said the following to me yesterday:

Enjoy your last weekend as a bachelor.




Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Turning 30 With The Most Wonderful Woman In The World By My Side: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Usually when I write birthday blogs, I typically write about getting older while coming up with some funny little twist. And this year was going to be no exception. I am mere hours away from Thursday, Aug. 6, where I will turn the big 3-0. My 20s will be gone, I'll be starting on the path to middle age, and I even had the "funny twist" all set up:

"If the 30-year-old me ever went head-to-head with the 20-year-old me, 30-year-old Nev would kick 20-year-old Nev's ass!!"

But here's the thing: I honestly have barely thought about turning 30. I really haven't. My birthday really did sneak up on me this year. I know people make a big deal about turning 30, but as my 30th comes near, I have something much more important on my agenda:

Getting married to the most wonderful and beautiful woman in the world. :-)

For those new to my blog, on Aug. 22 I am getting married to my longtime girlfriend Ramona Shelburne. Ramona and I have been together for more than eight years, and it's her that I want to talk about this week.

Being with Ramona has taught me many things over the years. She taught me never to settle in my life. She taught me not to fear venturing out of my comfort zone. She taught me that it's OK to fail, and if I do, people won't think less of me and/or run away from me.

All of these lessons were huge and have helped me immensely throughout our relationship, but there was one lesson in particular that Ramona taught me that I value above everything else:

Unconditional love.

Unconditional love. It's different from falling in love. Falling in love, in many ways, is easy. You find someone that matches your physical, emotional and mental qualities, and you realize that it's easy to open up your heart to that person and let him or her in. You're seeing the best in that person and it makes you feel amazing.

That's falling in love.

But unconditional love is different. Unconditional love is when you continue to love that person no matter what. Unconditional love is when you love a person even after seeing some of their bad qualities, their flaws. Unconditional love is when you love someone even after seeing them at their worst, their lowest points.

Unconditional love is the love that matters most.

Ramona was the first woman I met with unconditional love in her heart. And I confess: It took me a long time to realize just how important and rare that really was. It was a lesson she and I have had to learn (and will continue to learn) more than once in our relationship, a lesson I nearly failed once or twice. But seeing her give me unconditional love during my low points in our relationship taught me the importance of doing the same for her. It's like a friend of mine once told me: "It's not about the good qualities in the person. It's about their bad qualities. Loving the good is easy. But if you can love the bad along with it, then you've got something."

That "something" is unconditional love. Ramona has always had it, and during our relationship, she taught it to me. :-)

Case in point: As I write this, I am currently holed up in my bedroom with bronchitis. I feel terrible, have to be waited on hand and foot, and look like one of the zombies in the movie "28 Days Later." The other night, I had a horrible coughing fit, so bad that I was nearly in tears as I feared something was seriously wrong. But Ramona was right there, calming me down, taking me to the emergency room, making sure I took my medicines and got plenty of rest. Her care has been awesome, but what's been even more awesome is knowing that even in this bad state, she still loves me regardless. I'm currently in one of those "at my worst" moments and yet I'm OK, because I don't have to question whether Ramona's love for me is any less. And during her "worst" moments, she knows that she also doesn't have to question my love for her.

That's unconditional love. :-)

Unconditional love is not easy. It's a two-way street -- both people in the relationship need to have it. So for those of you in relationships right now who have this type of love, I say never take it for granted. For everyone else, I say that falling in love is amazing. But unconditional love is truly the greatest love of all.

The love of my life taught me that. :-)

So how do I feel about turning 30?

Bring it on!! Because I got the greatest woman in the world by my side.

I love you, Ramona!! Thanks for saying yes!!


Before I get to this week's Sign Of The Apocalypse, a lot of you have been asking whether I'm going to continue my Project Runway Hater's blog for this upcoming season. The answer, unfortunately, is no. Despite hating watching the show all season, I genuinely loved that people got a kick out of the blog, and getting that mention in the Houston Chronicle was awesome. However, the season doesn't start until Aug. 20 and my wedding is Aug. 22. Factoring in final wedding preparations and the honeymoon, I'm already missing the first three weeks of the show. So it's with a bit of sadness that I say no to the Project Runway Hater blog this season.

And now for this week's:


Remember that dare I talked about during last week's blog entry?

Here's the video.


Friday, July 31, 2009

The Las Vegas Bachelor Party Recap: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Nevdogg Note: Last week, I wrote about my anticipation leading up to my bachelor party weekend in Las Vegas (for new readers of mine, I am getting married on Aug. 22). I was originally going to leave it at that and not talk about anything that happened during the bachelor party. After all:

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. :-)

But then the following three things happened:

1) The trip was funny as hell.

2) It was the most fun I had in a long, long time.

And 3) I managed not to break any of my fiancee Ramona's "if you do anything insanely stupid, like get a tattoo, sleep with another woman or marry someone else in a drunken haze, I'm gonna chop your balls off and watch you bleed to death" rules of conduct.

In short: What the hell is stopping me from writing about this? :-)

So without further adieu, here's a breakdown of my bachelor party. Other participants: Kevin (my best friend, my best man, married); Joe (groomsman, also married); Jeremy (bachelor party planner extraordinaire, also married); Carlos (Latin guy, don't call him Mexican because he's not, single); and Evan (lawyer by day, lady killer by night, single):


9:30 a.m., on the way to Vegas.

Kevin: Yeah, the Hoover Dam tour just isn't what it used to be.

The quote of the trip, by far.

10 a.m., on the way to Vegas. We stop to pick up Jeremy. We're packing everything in our rented SUV when Carlos picks up one of my bags.

Nev: Hey Carlos, be careful with that. That's my laptop bag.


Carlos: Why the hell are you bringing your laptop?

Nev: So I can check my e-mail and ESPN.

Carlos: Dude, this is your bachelor party in Vegas. You shouldn't be wasting your time on a laptop.

Nev: But what if I want to check my scores?

Carlos: Dude, live without sports for a couple of days.

Nev: That's crazy talk!!

Carlos: Nevin, this is your bachelor party. You should be able to do what you want.

Nev: Fine. I want to bring my laptop.

Carlos: No.

Nev: You just said I can do what I want.

Carlos: Except bring the laptop.

Nev: It's coming with us.

Carlos: It's not.

Nev: It's coming with us.

Carlos: It's not.

Nev: What if I let you borrow it for 10 minutes during the trip so you can watch porn?

Carlos: (sighs)

(the others come to the SUV)

Carlos: Guys, listen to this: Nevin is bringing his laptop. How lame is that?

Jeremy: I'm bringing my laptop.

Kevin: Me too.

Evan: I'm checking e-mails on my blackberry.


Carlos: You guys are stupid!!

Nev: Maybe so. But anything we don't know, we'll look up on the Internet.

11 a.m. Stop for a late breakfast in Irwindale. Evan and Carlos, the single guys, discuss to the rest of the group how talking to ladies is done in today's times:

Evan: Nev, what do you think a guy says when he's talking to a girl?

Nev: Um, I don't know. What do you do for a living?

Evan: No no no. It's about non-communication communication.

Carlos: Totally!! Non-communication communication.

(Nev and Kev look at each other, confused and unconvinced looks spreading across their faces)

Evan: It's about just looking at her. Not saying a word. Just looking at her. Catching her eye. Making it known that you see her, but don't need to rush it.

Carlos: Not rushing is key. Just maintain the eye contact and put out the vibe.

Evan: The vibe.

Carlos: The vibe.


Kevin: Um, when do you actually go and talk to her?

Evan: Her body will tell you when.

Carlos: Oh yeah. It totally will.

Nev: Her body will tell me when?

Evan: Trust me, Nev. This is how it works today.

Nev: But what do you say when you actually approach her?

Evan: You just go up to her and say:

"Hey, you seem like a really interesting person and I just wanted to come over and see what you're about."

(Evan and Carlos lean back and give each other a triumphant nod. Nev and Kev, meanwhile, give each other quizzical looks)

Kev: I think I speak for Nevin and I when I say: You two are imbeciles.

Nev: I'm sending you the "imbecile" vibe right now. Can you feel it?

Kev: I can feel it.

Nev: That's because my body is telling you when.

Noon. Quick piss stop in Hesperia when...


Everyone Else: WHERE?!? WHERE?!?

We proceed to follow the wienermobile to a shopping center parking lot where, along with a crowd of about 50 people, we take numerous photos with it from all different angles.

The trip is mere hours old and is already a success.

5:30 p.m. We get to Vegas -- we stayed at the Luxor -- and everyone convened in my room to discuss the plan for the evening. It should be noted that while I was not involved in my bachelor party planning -- Kevin and Jeremy handled that -- I did veto an early idea about going to see a Beatles show. I like the Beatles but am not crazy gaga about them like so many others. Nevertheless...

Carlos: So guys, Evan and I had an idea for tonight.

Evan: Yeah, we really need to go see the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show Love.

Carlos: It's awesome!!

Nev: Ah guys, I don't know. I'm not the biggest Beatles fan.

Evan: But Nevin, it's rad.

Carlos: You really have to see this.

Evan: Totally.

Nev: Uh, I'll be honest. I don't know if I'm feeling it.

Evan: Nev, let me just read you a description about the show.

(Evan grabs a hotel brochure off my desk)

Evan (reading): Born from a personal friendship and mutual admiration between the late George Harrison and Cirque founder Guy Laliberté, LOVE brings the magic of Cirque du Soleil together with the spirit and passion behind the most beloved rock group of all time to create a vivid, intimate and powerful entertainment experience.

Jeremy: Hey, let me see that brochure.

(Evan hands the brochure to Jeremy.)

Jeremy: Hey we can also see Fantasy at Luxor. Hot naked women...

Nev (interrupting): Sold!!

What can I say? Evan's a lawyer, but Jeremy made a more persuasive argument. :-)

7 p.m. We're eating dinner at Tacos and Tequila at the Luxor. Jeremy orders a shot of Patron Silver tequila for everyone. Now I hardly ever drink. Even in college, I was a light drinker. I had a kahlua and cream over 4th of July weekend that was my first drink in 18 months. So when the shots came, I had to ask Jeremy the following:

Nev: OK, so: What's the order?

Jeremy: You lick the salt off your hand, you down the tequila, and then you bite into the lime.

Nev: OK. Salt, tequila, lime. Salt, tequila, lime.

I take a breath, we hold our shot glasses, and the salt licking, tequila downing and lime biting commences.

(I cough 5-6 times.)

Jeremy: What do you think?

Nev: (coughs) Smooooootttthhhh. (coughs)

(Note: By the time the second shot came around, I was licking the salt, downin' the Patron and biting the lime quicker than anyone at the table. I'm a quick study. LOL)

8 p.m. We've been served all night by a cute little 22-year-old blond waitress named Molly. Near the end of dinner, we start chatting her up. Interestingly enough, it was the married and soon-to-be married guys at the table -- me, Kevin and Jeremy (Joe was meeting us in Vegas the following day) -- who were doing the talking while the vibe-sending single guys stayed quiet. Finally, Carlos spoke during the following exchange:

Nev: So you said you're a student?

Molly: Yeah. I go to UNLV.

Nev: What are you studying?

Molly: Ultrasounds.

Carlos: Oh really? And what are you planning to do with that degree?


Molly: Um...ultrasounds.

Jeremy: She's gonna fly jets, Carlos.

It's OK Carlos. Points for trying. :-)

10:30 p.m. -- 11:45 p.m. The Fantasy at Luxor. 75 minutes of nothing but hot naked women on stage

Nev to Carlos: And you wanted to see the Beatles.

Carlos didn't answer. He was in a bit of a daze. But I think my message came through. :-)


We all meet up for a late breakfast and then meet Joe in the Luxor sportsbook. Joe had come up to Vegas separately with his wife Kristy, who had already planned a trip to Vegas with her friends. All of us are milling around in the sportsbook chatting for a bit when a horrible sin -- a break of a bachelor party by-law -- is committed:

Kristy: Hi Nev. Just wanted to say hello real quick.

Kristy chats me up for a minute and leaves.


No no no no no. A wife or girlfriend never -- and I mean NEVER -- stops in to say hello during a guy's bachelor party. I!! It just can't be tolerated.

Nev to Joe: You know you're gonna get %$#@& for that by the guys later, right?

Joe: (sighs) I know, I know.

Suffice to say: The rest of the trip was a bit rough on Joe.

4:30 p.m. We all part ways for a few hours to do our own thing. After finishing second in a poker tournament, I head to my room to get ready for the evening when I get a text from my friend Tiffany. Tiffany's mom, apparently, has come up with a special "bachelor party dare" for me to do.

I accept the challenge.

More on this later. :-)

6:30 p.m. We're all eating dinner at the Rio Around The World Carnival Buffet (my favorite place to eat in Vegas) where, in quick succession, I am given both a double shot of Patron Silver (smoooooottthhhhh) and a Washington Apple, which consists of Canadian whiskey, sour apple schnapps and cranberry juice. As a result, I become a little...out of it. :-) Everything to me is now hysterical, I find myself juggling a Heinz ketchup bottle for my amusement, and in this intoxicated state I participate in the following exchange:

Joe: You know Carlos, you really should go after older white women.

Carlos: Really?

Joe: Definitely. They'll like you.

Nev: OH TOTALLY!!!! (I was a little loud. Remember: I'm a bit looped). Dude, chase after older white women. A lot of them are really hot, and they'll like you because they can fulfill their GARDENER FANTASY!!!!

(dead silence except for me pounding the table in hysterics. I look up at Carlos.)

Nev: See, you're the gardener and...

Carlos: Yeah Nev, I got it. I got it.

I have to sincerely thank Carlos for not kicking the crap out of me right then. That's a true friend. :-)

9:30 p.m. We stop at an Irish pub at New York New York for my traditional bachelor party roasting. Now at these things, you normally get a lot of gag gifts of a sexual nature that are meant to embarrass the hell out of the bachelor. In my was no different. :-) The "highlight" of my gag gifts, by far, was an inflatable sex toy lamb that I was ordered to walk around with in plain sight for the rest of the evening.

Now initially, I was horrified as hell. But I'll tell you something: Women all over the place were coming toward me, wanting to pet my lamb (which I named Molly). I mean, this thing was a conversation starter!! I offered it to the single boys Evan and Carlos for their use -- they declined -- and even whispered to Kevin at one point:

Why the hell didn't we think of this when we were single?

Observe the following exchanges:

Random Hot Blond Girl At The Irish Pub: Oh, I love your lamb!!

Nev: Her name is Molly.

Hot Blond Girl: Aww, that's so cute!! You named her?

Nev: Would you like to dance with us?

Hot Blond Girl: Sure!!

See? :-)

And later:

Another Random Hot Girl: Hey nice lamb.

Nev: Thanks!! We just met tonight.

Another Random Hot Girl: Yeah, I recently bought an inflatable beaver. Want to come up to my room later and see?

I politely declined -- I'm a one-woman guy -- but I'm telling you, my single guy readers:

Inflatable lamb.

It'll change your life.


10:30 p.m. - Midnight. My boys got me tickets to see Zumanity, the nude Cirque du Soleil show. Kevin, Jeremy and I had actually seen it before -- at Kevin's bachelor party in 2007 -- but since it involves hot naked girls bending in ways never before seen, I wasn't complaining. LOL Besides:

We had third-row seats!!

As a result, we had a bird's eye view (pun intended) of my favorite part of the show: Two hot Asian chicks frolicking in a large water bowl.

The women jump in the water.

Nev: They're bending.

The women jump out of the water.

Nev: They're bending.

The women go back in the water.

Nev: They're bending.

The women lift their legs high.

Nev: THEY'RE BENDING!!! (holds my lamb in triumph)

My bachelor party was better than Kevin's. I apologized to him. He accepted.

And finally:

12:15 a.m.

You remember that dare? :-)

Earlier in the night, I asked Kevin to be sure to bring his camera as it had a function to record videos. I call everyone in for a huddle in the middle of the New York New York slot machines:

Nev: OK listen up. I'm gonna start playing some slots. Kevin, you stay behind me and start filming. Everyone else, just stay back. Kev, no matter what happens, you keep filming!! And guys: If you see security coming, squawk like eagles.

Worry permeated on everyone's faces. Nonetheless, I had accepted the challenge.

I start playing the slots. A minute later:

Nev: Oh my God. Oh my God. OH MY GOD!!! I WON!!! I WON!!! I WON I WON I WON!!! OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!!! I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!! I HIT THE JACKPOT!!!!

(I high-five the old ladies to the right of me.)

(I give Evan a bear hug.)

(I high-five the blackjack players to the left of me.)

(I leap into Joe's arms and raise my arm like I just won the Super Bowl. That part looks especially good on video).

(I run back into the middle of the slots)

Random Casino Patron: How much did you win?


(people stop cheering)

Nev: A DOLLAR!!!

(cheering has not re-commenced)

Nev: And in today's economy, that means something!!

(dead silence)

Nev: Thank you, and I now return you to your regularly schedule gambling.

By this point, people were pissed. No matter. We got it on video, my boys thought it was hysterical, and besides:

It was a double dog dare.


We ended the night by heading to the coffee shop for a quick bite to eat. By 2 a.m., everyone else had gone to bed. Me? I stayed up to gamble for a while, winning $350 playing cash poker and 3-card poker before turning in at about 4:30 a.m., my head pounding, my throat dry and the biggest smile spreading over my face.

My bachelor party.

The most fun I had had in a long time.

Vegas baby.



And now for this week's:


Next Thursday, Aug. 6, I turn 30.

Any guess as to what next week's blog topic will be about? :-)