Friday, May 29, 2009

The Things We Keep In the Trunks Of Our Cars: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm not homeless. I live in a roomy one-bedroom apartment with my fiancee Ramona, complete with a kitchen, living room, running water, walls, shelves and central air. But if you looked at what I had in the trunk of my car, one might think that I spent my nights sleeping in my backseat, trying to huddle under wadded-up newspaper to keep warm.

At some point in our society, the trunks of our cars became more than just the place where we put our jumper cables and stored dead bodies (in certain circles). They also became an extension of our closets. Today's America has a need for more space and our homes, regardless of size, just aren't big enough to accommodate.

Enter the trunks of our cars. :-)

The trunks of our cars have become a place where we store our crap -- some of it needed, most of it useless -- when we've run out of space at home and we refuse to part with our possessions. So we put this stuff in our trunk and (literally) lug it around with us across our daily lives. Somewhere along the line, we became a pack of traveling herds, substituting camels for automobiles.

And again: Some of this stuff is needed. But most of it, quite frankly, should've been tossed long ago.

The useful stuff currently residing in my trunk:


Propel Fitness Water

Toilet Paper

Paper Towels

The useless crap currently residing in my trunk:

4 TV trays

2 lawn chairs

2 deflated basketballs

Baseball glove


Gift-wrapping paper (and I don't wrap)

Random plastic bags

A bucket (I have no idea where it came from)

A wide variety of broken pens

And an empty box that used to contain the laptop I purchased nearly four years ago

But even as I document the useless items in my trunk, am I going to get rid of this stuff? No. Know why? Because I'm just going to replace it with more useless items!! It will just be a vicious cycle that never, ever ends. So for me personally: I'm going to keep my deflated basketballs exactly where they are.

Because you never know.

I may drive by a park one day.

It may have a basketball court.

I may have the urge to stop and take out my ball.

Take a shot.

Watch the ball hit the ground and not move.

(Because it has no air in it).

Go back to my trunk.

Take out a lawn chair.


And ponder over what just occurred.


It could happen.


And now for this week's:


Have you ever watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee? That thing is seriously the most insane thing in this world. How do they spell these words? Laodicean? Antonomasia? Bouquiniste? It's crazy!! These kids either work their tails off for months practicing these words, or...

They're juicin'.

I vote for B.

Because no one can spell apodyterium or geusioleptic without synthetic means. I mean, it's just not possible.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Going Shopping For Suits: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I hate shopping for suits. I mean, I despise it. When I'm forced to shop for suits, I become 6 years old again. I pout, throw tantrums, stamp my feet (I'm serious). I hate shopping for clothes in general, so when I have to shop for clothes that are stuffy, include a jacket, and force me to button my shirt all the way to the top, I'm just a seriously unhappy person.

Now sadly, my upcoming wedding requires me to shop for dress clothes. So the other day, my fiancee Ramona and I trekked over to the Men's Warehouse to try and accomplish this task with little huss and fuss.

Let me preface our adventure by saying the following:

1) We failed miserably.

And 2) I lasted about 15 minutes before I stormed off. :-)

First, Ramona and I had to go to the negotiating table prior to our departure. She, like most women, enjoys treating her man like a Ken doll and having me try on everything under the sun, for however long it takes.

I wanted to be in and out in four minutes (including buying time).

So our compromise was: We wouldn't be there more than an hour, but if we didn't find something we could agree on, we'd have to go back.

A fair compromise. Except:

Ramona: OK Nev, it's time to go.

Me: Cool. Let me just set my watch alarm for 60 minutes.

Ramona: Well, you do realize that the clock doesn't start until we get there.


Me: No, it starts when we leave.

Ramona: No, it starts when we get there.

Me: Leave.

Ramona: Get there.

Me: Leave!!

Ramona: Get there!!


Me: This isn't fair!! (stamps my feet)

Ramona: Nev, will you just do this for me because you love me?


Me: Cheap trick.

Then there was actually finding the place.

See, I had thought I knew where Men's Warehouse was, but as it turns out I had overshot it by a couple of blocks because the business moved locations a while back.

At least, that's what Normal Nev would assume.

But in my 6-year-old mind:


(Seriously. This is what I said word for word).

And then, when we finally found the place, we had to deal with the pushy sales lady Jasmine, who for the remaining of this blog will be referred to as BFH (Bitch From Hell).

Here was BFH's main problem: She wasn't a man (that's right, I said it). See, when it comes to shopping for fancy clothes, only a man adequately understands another man's pain in this regard. He's comforting, soothing, instinctivly knows that I have no idea what I'm doing, and -- most importantly -- understands the 60-minute time limit.

But BFH had no such social intelligence. She starts by asking me a really stupid question:

What kind of suit do you want?

How the hell should I know? I don't even want to be here!! Why does she think Ramona's there? For show? Ask her what I'm supposed to wear. I just wear what I'm told.

But BFH foolishly directs the questions toward me. Do I want a two-button jacket or three-button jacket? Do I want pleats? What color vest do I prefer?

Honestly, she might as well have been asking me to give a lecture on quantum physics. I was completely lost. And when I answered her with a bunch of blank stares, get this: She gets mad at me!! Why, she wants to know, did I come there without having at least a vague idea of what I wanted?

Or, as she put it:

Didn't you do any research?

If a man asked that question, he'd be castrated. Rightfully so.

Now: If a man was helping me, the process would go someting like this:

Man: You lookin' for a suit?

Me: Yep.

Man: Rentin' or buyin'?

Me: Rentin'.

Man: Wedding?

Me: Yep.

Man: Yours?

Me: Yep.

Man: Dude, this (holds up a suit) would look good on you.

Me: You think?

Man: Yep.

Me: Cool.

Quick. Easy. Simple. Elasped time: 38 seconds.

But alas, BFH couldn't fathom this approach and ripped me for it. And once she did that, Ramona knew that nothing she would say was going to prevent me from leaving.

So we did.



And with me vowing to wear a hooded sweatshirt at the altar.


And now for this week's:


OK, this isn't really a SOTA, but I just love this commercial so. Nike recently came out with an ad campaign displaying Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as puppets. Check out their latest one here. It's hysterical!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Proper Way To Put Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

There is nothing on Earth like a chili cheese dog. Seriously, it's the world's most perfect food. You know the phrase, "You can't improve on nature?" What a crock of $#*&^$@. A chili cheese dog: Beautiful. Delicate. Processed. :-)

When I was a wee little Nevdogg of 7, my dad took me to our good friends at Hot Dog Factory in Northridge and showed me one of the rights of passage that every man should lead his son down: The proper way to put chili and cheese on a hot dog. He was patient with me, his larger hand guiding mine as we put the toppings on the right way, like his father did before him and like I'll do with my own son one day. Like religious tablets being passed down through the generations, so to is the teaching of putting chili and cheese on a hot dog.

So the other day, I visited Hot Dog Factory for the Nevdogg Special -- a jumbo chili cheese dog with onions and an order of chili cheese onion rings (that's good eatin' there, kids) -- when I was greeted by a junior college girl who was eager to do well at her job but, like most girls her age, still had much to learn about the ways of the world.

Case in point:

When she put my hotdog on the bun and proceeded to the toppings, she went to the cheese first....

"Whoa, little darlin'!!" I cried. "What are you doing?"

She looked at me, confused.

"I'm...uh...putting your toppings on, sir," she stammered.

"But you're putting the cheese on first."

She answered with a vacant stare, obviously lost.

"Let me show you the right way to do that, sweetheart," I said. "Come: Let us discover together."

And I proceeded to teach her the following steps of putting chili and cheese on a hot dog:

Step Of Putting Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog # 1: Put the chili on first. This step is crucial. If you don't follow this step, it's like making eggs without butter: You're finished before you started. Chili goes on the hot dog first. No exceptions. In order to achieve perfect chili-to-hot dog harmony, the chili must fully encompass said hot dog. And the only way to do that is to ensure that there are no toppings in-between the two.

Step Of Putting Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog # 2: Put the cheese on second. Now you would think that once you put the chili on first, most people would take the next logical step of putting the cheese on next. But surprisingly, some folks choose to put the onions on as topping No. 2. This is a grave mistake for two reasons: 1) You don't taste the onions. If you put the onions on top of the chili, the chili acts like quicksand, quickly sinking the onions into its depths. This takes away from the taste of the chili as well, so it's lose-lose for the eater. And 2) More importantly, the cheese doesn't properly melt. That's something tha you can only learn from real-world experience: Putting cheese on top of chili melts the cheese. Write that down. Those are words that will change your life.

Step Of Putting Chili And Cheese On A Hot Dog # 3: Put any additional toppings on last. And if you haven't figured that out by now, there's simply no hope for you. :-)

As I was leaving Hot Dog Factory, I glanced back and saw the junior college girl putting toppings on another customer's hot dog.

And you know what she did?

She put the chili on first.

I caught her eye.

And she smiled.

A teacher's greatest watching his student learn.


And now for this week's:


My mom doesn't like the Jack In The Box guy.

"There's something, you know, not quite right about him," she says.

"Mom," I replied, "it's not a real person."

"Yeah I know," she said. "But he has that pointy hat. And he sings with midgets. And I mean, how can you really trust someone like that?"

What the...

"Mom, he's not real!!" I said.

"But it doesn't mean he's not evil," she replied.


I swear, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Why Men Wear The Same Clothes For 100 Years (Give Or Take): A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Recently, I wore a pair of pants to the outside world that featured a deep worn crease on the left side and a slight hole in the crotch area. A female friend noticed this frayed piece of clothing and suggested, ever so kindly, that I retire these pair of pants to the back of the closet -- or the trash can.

But little does a woman understand the relationship between a man and his battered clothes.

You see: When I look at those pants, I don't see its flaws. As a man, I see something more. I see someone who has been through thick and thin with me. I see someone who has been with me through the ups and downs of my life, and never judged. I see a companion, a sympathetic ear, a friend.

Kind of like a dog. :-)

Simply put, these pants are comfortable. And not just comfortable in the comfortable sense. I know what to expect when I put them on. I know how they make me feel. I know how they make me act. I know how to handle them on my fit days. I know how to conquer them on my fat days. Simply put: I get them and they get me.

That's why there are holes in my socks and the soles of my shoes are worn to the bone.

And that makes me happy.

Men everywhere know what I'm talking about.

And like a good dog, when a piece of clothing is finally ready to move forward, it's done painfully, but with an equal sense of understanding on both sides. We look into each other's side for a deep moment, neither one of us needing to say a word...

...and toss the pants in the trash. :-)

Then we go to the clothing store, spend 90 seconds picking out a new pair of pants -- We don't have to try them. Men already know their size -- and the next 100 years begins.

And that's...the cycle of life.


And now for this week's:



I mean seriously: Did you honestly believe you were gonna get away with it? Major League Baseball is cracking down on steroid abuse, you moron. If they caught Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, they were sure as hell gonna catch you!!

I hate baseball.

I hate life.

I hate baseball players with dreadlocks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hooking Up A Video Game System: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Like a lot of men, I am not what you would call "handy." If you asked me to put together a table, hook up your stereo system or build you a fence, you might as well be asking me to construct a rocket ship. Simply put: When it comes to things that have a lot of wires or require, you know, tools, I'm lost.

But despite this lack of handyman understanding, there's one thing that guys like me can do. One skill that we're born with -- not taught -- that takes over when we meet face-to-face with this device.

Guys like me become handymen...

...when we're hooking up video game systems.

Recently, my fiancee Ramona -- God bless her -- bought me a Nintendo Wii, something I've wanted for a very long time but could never justify spending the money for in my own mind. Knowing that I would continue to sit on the decision for at least a few more months, Ramona took matters into her own hands, bought me the damn thing and made me blissfully happy.

Me: I love you.

Ramona: I know.

Me: I was talking to the Wii.


Knowing how bad I was when it came to being handy, she offered to hook up my Wii.

Little did she know that wouldn't be necessary.

From the second I opened the box, I became transformed. I was handy, coordinated, a man's man. You see, when it comes to video game systems, guys have a sixth sense of what goes where. Instructions aren't necessary (not that we'd read them anyway). I had no clue what all the wires and plugs were called or what purpose they served, but I knew exactly where they went. Why? Because it was a video game system!! I just knew. It was an instinct, like a female polar bear tending to her young.

My hands flew, random wires became vital clogs in the engine that was the Wii. And within minutes...

...I was playing Wii bowling. :-)

So while I can't build a shelf, fix a car or paint your house without leaving a bunch of streaks, I can get your video game system hooked up, providing you with countless hours of mindless entertainment that will make you neglect your job, friends and loved ones.

And that's something.


And now for this week's:


Shortly after getting the Wii, I visited my good friends at Gamestop in Chatsworth to buy some more accessories, where I was greeted by two of their workers that you can only find at a video game store.

These guys, simply put, were psychos. They were the epitome of "Hi, I'm 25 years old and I've yet to even kiss a girl" ness. One of the guys told me that he drew a map of the landscape of the original Legend of Zelda. The other guy kept saying that every game I was looking at was "THE SHYSER!!!!" We somehow got into a conversation about Mike Tyson's Punch Out and both burst into song of Don Flamenco's theme music (complete with the right arm raised and the little dance).

It was a good rendition. I'll give them that.