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.