Friday, January 30, 2009

Revisiting The De-Evolution Of Super Bowl Parties: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Nevdogg Note: Last year, I wrote a blog talking about how Super Bowl parties had devolved into a mess of people who don't even like football getting together to eat healthy, organic food. A sickening trend indeed. Because the Super Bowl is this Sunday and because my opinion hasn't changed since last year, I decided to repost my 2008 blog on the subject. Enjoy, and please: If you're at a Super Bowl party and don't like football or potato chips, be silent. Because believe me, no one who is into the game wants to hear what you have to say. :-)

When I was growing up, we watched the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let me say that again.

When I was growing up, we watched the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday.

As in, we watched the game. We had a vested interest in the outcome. We knew what was going on. We knew which teams were actually playing.

Many of you (myself included) will be going to a Super Bowl party this Sunday. I was speaking to several of my co-workers recently, and here were some of their Super Bowl comments:

I don't even like football that much.

I'm just going for the commercials.

Who is playing again?

I'm making hummus!!

My point is: Somewhere along the line, the dynamics of Super Bowl parties changed. It no longer became about the game. It was about being trendy, with it, a part of the scene.

When you go to your event on Sunday, 90% of the people present will be there simply because "it's the thing to do." And the 10% who actually want to focus on the game will be forced to listen to things like, "Why are they wearing red uniforms? It clashes with their helmets."

And let me say something about the food.

When I was a kid, Super Bowl parties consisted of three things:




Simple. Direct. Manly.

With today's Super Bowl parties, it's like being on an episode of Iron Chef. Homemade brownies. Sweet and sour chicken. Chex.

(Freakin' Chex.)

And no more Pepsi, folks. Because God forbid we should have regular soda and all those empty calories. Diet Pepsi is now the beverage of choice.

And pizza?

"Oh God, that's so 1980s!!" I heard someone recently declare.

And then there's my personal favorite:

The veggie tray.

Because at one point, some patrons of these parties who had never seen a football in their lives were aghast that there were no healthy vegatables at these things and bitched and moaned until someone raced out to the market and got a veggie tray just to shut them up.

And because of that, veggie trays and the Super Bowl are now linked. For better or worse.

I was asked to bring a veggie tray this year.

The cost: $10.

$10 for a couple of carrots and a teensy bit of special "veggie dip" that'

Oh well.

At least veggie trays are American.

Unlike hummus.

And now for this week's:


I had the following conversation with someone the other day:

Person: I have a chia pet.

Nev: That's nice.

Person: Its name is Pickles.

Sometimes, I wonder about people...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dealing With E-Mail Spam: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Tell me if this is you.

You wake up in the morning and the first thing you do (after going to the bathroom and blurrily looking in the mirror to see how your hair looks after sleeping on it for the past 7-8 hours) is turn on your computer. After your computer loads, you check your e-mail and find messages with the following subject lines:

Save tons of money on car coverage.

Meet single women in your area.

This could be the beginning of the rest of your life.

Take a survey and win a trip to Fiji!

I never understood e-mail spam. I mean, it doesn't actually work, right? No one in their right mind clicks on these things, do they? Nothing against embracing my inner chi, finding a Persian wife or enlarging my penis with a non-surgical procedure, but when was the last time you met somebody who actually clicked on a piece of e-mail spam and had something positive come of it?

If you're the "e-mail spam" people, what is their mindset, do you think? "This is sure to work?" "Maybe I'll get lucky?" "I'm desperate enough to try anything to get someone to buy my product?" "I just want friends?"

I just don't get it.

As I write this, I have the "save tons on car coverage" spam e-mail open on another window. And I confess: I'm tempted to click on it just to see what will happen. But I'm scared of three things:

I'll get a computer virus.

It will lead to more spam (like the time I clicked on a "take a survey and get a $50 gift card to Chilis" pop-up ad. I never did get the gift card. FYI.)

And it will lead me to one of those religious cult sites and my name will be put on some FBI database under "One to watch."

So for now, I will delete this spam and all others that follow it.

And to those spam senders who read this blog, know this:

I will not fall victim to your fiendous plot. I will not click on one of your random ads, buy your stupid product, and be bombarded by more random ads. I am a stone. An oak. Mighty winds and thunder could not break me.

Unless you're offering naked pictures of Angelina Jolie.

Then viruses, ad bombardment and FBI probes be damned.


And now for this week's:


My fiancee Ramona came across the world's greatest invention ever the other day:


It's bacon.

And mayonaise.

Together at last.


Now we can all die happy.

And the world will never be the same.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Helping My Unemployed Readers Find A Job: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm very happy to say that right now, I am not adversely affected by this current horrific economy of ours. I currently work for a great company where the work is interesting, the pay is good, and the people are awesome. Plus, they give me free peanut butter cups. :-)

But I know that for many of you, that's not the case. Times are tough and every industry, it seems, has been hit hard. And about 14 months ago, I was in a similar boat. I was sending resumes out everywhere, even if I didn't really think I was qualified for the job. It even got to the point where I was researching job recruiters, in the hopes that they could help me land different employment.

And you know what I found? It wasn't easy finding a recruiter. Many of them are specialized and/or work for specific companies. Others sound like they would love nothing more than to help you, only to drop you if you don't nail the one and only interview they set you up on.

But given the current state of the economy and the number of people out of work, using a recruiter may be the best way to go. So for all my readers who are looking for work, here's a form letter I came up with during my own job-searching days that may help you find a recruiter to land you that dream job.

Dear Recruiters:

My name is XXXXX.

Find me a job.

Any job.

As you can see by the resume I attached, I can do XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, and so forth.

Here are some of the other things I'd be willing to do for pay:

---Scoop ice cream.

---Shovel elephant dung.

---Juggle knives.

---Deliver eviction notices to folks in the ghetto.

---Eat glass.

---Be a Wal Mart greeter.

---Shave the wool off of sheep.

---Milk cows.

---Shovel other types of dung.

---Be a guidance counselor for teenage girls in Orange County.

---Teach Latin to dogs.

And finally, worst case scenario:

---Work in food services.

Please get back to me with a list of employment opportunities at your earliest convenience.

a.k.a. Slave

This letter, you should note, is guaranteed to get recruiters talking about you.

One way or another.


And now for this week's:


I didn't find this out until recently: The rapper Diddy pays someone to hold his umbrella.

I will say no more.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dealing With Internet Tech Support: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Yesterday, I told the people at AT&T Internet Technical Support that I no longer needed a technician to come out to my home because my Internet was back up and running.

It was the 10th -- 10th -- conversation I'd had with AT&T in the past three days.

Something to know about me: I don't understand computers. I'm technologically inept, which is sad considering that my job and several of my hobbies on predicated on me being on the World Wide Web. Sure, I can operate an icon system and find my Web sites. But when my Internet connection actually breaks down, I'm completely lost.

And here's another problem: Internet Technical Supports across the globe have yet to dumb things down. When you use words like routers, modems, IP addresses, filters and ethernet cords, you might as well be speaking 18th century Portugese, because I'll understand that just as well. If you used words like black thing, yellow cord and shiny doohickey, then you'd be speaking my language.

Another issue: Dealing with Internet Tech Support isn't like dealing with a doctor. When you deal with a doctor, you deal with one person and one diagnosis. When you deal with Internet Tech Support, you never know who you're dealing with. And they all have different methods and different answers.

Joanne said the ethernet cable was wearing thin. Emily said it was an outside problem and a technician needed to be sent out. Randall was willing to bet money that my modem was busted, but he would be happy to overnight me a new one free of charge if I signed up for another year of service. Johnny said no, my modem was fine, but there was an outage in my area and once that was fixed, my problem would be solved. Jeff confirmed the outage. Evelyn saw no record of an outage and insisted my problem was resolved even though my Internet was still down. Tony said there was an outage but it was fixed, and if my Internet was still not working, then he was out of ideas. Matt had an idea: Schedule another technician visit; only this time, Matt said, they're booked up for the next four days. And Kim said: "That's right sir, four days."

It made you wonder whether they all got together at a bar at the end of the night and laughed about how they tormented me so.

Finally, my fiancee Ramona -- who knows what all these flashy lights and buttons do -- stepped in and bought us a new modem. And lo and behold: Internet in our home was restored.

I then called AT&T one last time -- the 10th time -- to cancel my technician's appointment.

"I'm sorry sir," said my new friend Andrew. "But you were never scheduled for a technician's appointment. Did you even had a problem? I have no record of a service problem here."

Of course not.

And now for this week's:


Want to learn how to use the force like your favorite Star Wars Jedi? Now you can. For the low, low price of $100, you can buy a ball, a tube and a headset that monitors your brainwaves and gives you the chance to use your mind to move the ball to the top of the tube, all while hearing Stars Wars audio clips.

Please don't ask whether you're stupid if you purchased, or are thinking of purchasing, this toy.

You won't like what the response will be.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Going On A Road Trip: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Recently, my buddy Joe and I went on a weekend road trip to Oakland and Reno, where we saw the Raider game and gambled in-between (OK, technically we used an airplane to get to Oakland, so it was a air-and-road trip). During such excursions, it's only natural that there be a handful of "did-this-just-happen-i-can't-believe-you-just-said-that-jesus-christ-i-can't-believe-we're-sitting-right-in-front-of-the-cheerleaders" moments that only a road trip can provide.



On the flight to Oakland

Joe: Nev, look at guy over there.

Nev looks at the row across from him.

Nev: What about him?

J: He's sleeping.

N: So?

J: He's using the whole row as a bed.

N: I've seen people do that before.

J: But we're about to land.

N: Well, I doubt they'll leave him on the plane.

J: Wake him up.

N: What?

J: Wake him up!!

N: No!!

J: Why not?

N: He's sleeping. Let the stewardess wake him.

J: You should do it. Be a friendly airplane neighbor.

N: How? By poking him with a stick?


J: I was gonna say throw a bag of peanuts at his head, but the stick idea works too.


Driving through Sacramento on our way to Reno

J: I lived in Sacramento during college.

N: That's your problem.


Still driving to Reno

J: We're entering Fairfield.

(two seconds later)

J: We're leaving Fairfield.

N: Lovely place.


Still driving to Reno

(Joe, a noted history buff, says the following:)

J: Did you know that Roman soldiers would have anal sex with the empire's best warriors because it was believed that doing so would transfer their warrior strength from one to the other.


N: Please stop talking.


(In one of the casinos in Reno. Joe and Nev are at the blackjack table, and another person at the table is furious at Nev for the way he cut the cards)

Random Bitter Person: Could you please cut the cards correctly next time?

N: And just how does one do it "correctly?"

RBP: The opposite of how you did it.

N: Why are you complaining? You just won a $50 hand.

RBP: And I just lost $5.

N: you're up $45.

RBP: You're missing the point.

N: What point? That winning $50 should overshadow the fact that you lost $5?


N: Am I confusing you?


(While walking to another casino in Reno)


N: I'll give you a dollar if you tell him you're also a free mason.

J: I'll give you two dollars if you ask him where we can find a good sushi restaurant.


N: Touche.


(at the Raider game)

J: I got us great seats.

N: They better be. We paid $110 apiece for them.

(Joe and Nev get to their seats)

J: Dude.

N: Dude.

J: We're right in front of the cheerleaders.

N: Wow.

(throughout the game, Joe and Nev watch the cheerleaders limber up, dance, smile, dance, get water out of their cooler, dance, shake certain parts of their body, and dance)

J: Dude.

N: Dude.


(at the Raider game)

Random Raider Fan: STEER QUEERS!!!


J: OK.


(later at the Raider game)

Random Raider Fan: STEER QUEERS!!!


N: Um...yeah.


(even later at the Raider game)

Random Raider Fan: STEER QUEERS!!!

J: What does that even mean?

N: I don't know. Don't hit homosexuals with your car when leaving the parking lot?

J: Oh, then we're clear. We walked.


(near the end of the Raider game)

N: Joe, look at the guy in front of us.

J: What about him?

N: He has five Raiderette cheerleaders.

J: Five?

N: Yeah. Look, you can see inside his bag.

(Joe and Nev count)

J: Wow, he does have five. And they're all the same.

N: Why would he buy five of the same calendar?

J: Maybe he has one for Monday-Friday?

N: So...then he would take weekends off?


J: Or he could have bought extras for friends.

N: That too.


(the end of the game. Raiders win)

J: WE WON!!!

N: WE WON!!!

J: RAI-DERS!!!!!

N: RAI-DERS!!!!!

Random Raider Fan: STEER QUEERS!!!

And now for this week's:


Me and the future wife were at the movies recently and I was waiting in line to get a $12 soda when I heard these two teenage girls yapping stupidly about boys. The father of one of the girls (who was in the next line over and evidently was paying for all their snacks) interupted the girls' conversation to ask what kind of snacks they wanted.

The girls, in a period of 23 seconds, accosted the guy for stopping their conversation, insisted on their own soda, criticized the jacket the guy was wearing, and loudly declared that he was to buy M&Ms (and not sour patches, like he wanted).

"Poor guy," I thought. "That's going to be me some day."

And that's when it hit me.

I was relating more to the portly 55-year-old guy who was buying everything for his bratty daughter and equally bratty friend, than I was to the teenage girls who were embarrassed to even be spoken to by a parental figure.

When did I become so old?