Saturday, September 25, 2010

Babysitting My Two Little Girl Cousins (The New Adventures): A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Last July, I wrote about how I babysat my two little-girl cousins -- 9-year-old Cora and 4-year-old Aya -- the first time I was ever asked to babysit girls. All in all, despite a few hiccups, that adventure was a success. The kids were happy, there were no trips to the emergency room, and my house and its belongings more or less stayed in one piece.

So when the girls came to town again this week and their father Jesse asked me if I would mind donning the babysitting hat for his daughters once more, I quickly said yes. After all, I figured, I now had some girl-babysitting experience to call on. The first time it was the great unknown, but this time around I knew the lay of the land a little bit better.


Except there were a couple of new challenges this time around:

1) I would be babysitting the girls on not one, but two separate occasions -- on back-to-back days -- with one of those days being another sleepover at my house.

And 2) This time, I had to take the girls to public places -- e.g., restaurants. So if one of them threw a tantrum because their macaroni and cheese was too hot, or threw up on the floor, or starting knocking on the heads of the people in the booth next to us, then when the patrons in the restaurant started looking to see what kind of idiotic baboon of an adult would allow these children to behave in such barbaric fashion, they would be looking straight at me.

How'd it go? Take a walk with me. Each babysitting day had its own story...



That was the battle cry of Aya -- the 4-year-old -- when I came to get her and Cora on Thursday for babysitting duty No. 1. My first task was to take the girls out to eat, and both of them wanted to visit my good friends at the International House Of Pancakes. And it was while we were loading the kids into my car that their dad Jesse gave me the following parting words:

Nev, I told the girls they can order whatever they want.

OK, now clearly Jesse did not think this thing through. It's not the "the girl can order whatever they want" part that was necessarily idiotic. It was the fact that the adult who would be supervising them this afternoon -- me -- is the complete opposite of what one would call "health conscious." I love cold pizza for breakfast. Diet coke is my coffee. Extra cheese and mayo are common staples on my burgers.

He might as well have told a heroin addict that he was allowing his kids to "sample a little taste if they want to."

But luckily for me, Cora and Aya are surprisingly level-headed for their age. When we went to IHOP, they simply ordered pancakes -- blueberry for Cora, and one of those make-a-face ones for Aya. All was well...

...until each of them got the 5 types of syrup on our table, poured it all over their plates, and started licking the syrup with their tongues like dogs.

And it was here that I asked myself:

Am I setting a good example?

But then I looked around.

No dirty looks from restaurant patrons.

And happy faces on the girls.

No permanent damage done. :-)



It was during babysitting duty No. 2 on Friday that things got choppy. See, Aya loves The Lion King. She brought the book with her and I've literally read it to her six times in a four-hour span. And with the girls staying at my place for the night, Aya made me promise that we could watch the movie as well. "Fine with me," I thought. "It's a good movie and it will keep her relatively entertained for 90 minutes."

But then a problem occurred.

"I am not watching The Lion King again. End of discussion," Cora declared.

And I'm gonna tell you something: When Cora makes up her mind, she is a stone. Unflappable. The girl simply would not budge. I tried everything.

I offered to play games with her while the movie played simultaneously in the background.


I tried to bribe her with Baskin Robbins.


Even her mom got on the phone and tried to convince her daughter.


Nothing worked. And then, Cora made an offer unlike any other...

Hey Nev, do you have video games?

And a deal with the devil was suddenly on the table.

See, here's the thing. Cora has never played video games before. And I knew she wanted to play video games. And I knew her dad would kill me -- very very slowly -- if I allowed her to play video games.

But as I looked onto my other shoulder, onto evil-conscious Nev...

...putting Cora in front my Playstation 2 would solve this problem. Cora plays, me and Aya watch The Lion King, and everybody's happy.

I almost did it. So help me God, I was this close. This Lion King argument went on for three f*****king hours. I actually asked myself: "What's the worst that could happen if I let Cora play Grand Theft Auto? Sure, she may pick up some colorful new phrases like 'Move, bitch' and 'Cap in yo ass' but by the time her parents find out, they'll be several hundred miles away and the problems I've caused will be theirs."

A sweet sweet offer, but I ultimately said no.

"Sorry Cora, my Playstation 2 is busted," I replied.

She sighed. I sighed. Aya waved The Lion King DVD around us for all to see.

Eventually, after much deliberation, discussions, yelling, screaming, crying and fighting, we all ended up watching Bolt.

Aya was happy.

Cora rolled her eyes once or twice but said no more.

And I went on my laptop to research vasectomy procedures.


And now for this week's:


A Bill and Ted 3????



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Going To Bars And Not Drinking Alcohol: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Earlier this week, my oldest friend Josh -- whom I've known since I was 6 years old (25 years; wow) -- took me out for a belated birthday dinner at this Italian restaurant in Northridge not far from my house. We decided to sit at the bar so we could watch ESPN while we ate, and it was in this situation that I remembered the problem with me and bars.

See, here's the thing, which I've said many times on this blog: I rarely drink. I don't like beer, vodka, wine, hard liquor in general; I like girly drinks -- Kaluha and cream, mudslides, and so forth. So at the bar, I don't order booze. I usually order a Pepsi or a diet Coke.

And it's at that point that I might as well put on the "I'm Irrelevant. Don't Bother Acknowledging That I Exist" sign to the bartender.

I am the worst possible person a bartender wants to see at his or her bar. I won't order 5-6 beers in a 60-minute period. I won't rack up a huge tab. I won't be enamored with a female bartender chatting me up the entire time pretending to think I'm interesting, and then have that same female bartender find an excuse to jump up and down at some point during the night so I can see her boobs jiggle, enticing me to give her a big tip. Hell, I don't even earn "chatting up" status.

See, this is how the scenario goes:

Bartender (often female, often very cute, often smiling): What can I get you?

Me: Diet Coke.

Smile fades. Diet Coke given. No words for the rest of the night. I have to practically throw the empty glass at her head for a free refill, and when I get it, it's handed to me with disdain and disgust.

And honestly, I can't blame these people. I am a cancer when it comes to bars. You won't make money off of me. Why should I be spoken to? Why should I be treated as an equal? Why should these hard-working bartenders waste their time giving me my free refills?

When it comes to bars, they don't want me there. They should put up a "No Nev Allowed" sign up there. I'd understand.

Having said that, I have friends who drink -- like all of us do -- and when we go out, they should have the freedom to sit at the bar if they want. Why should I stand in their way? And if they get chatted up by the female bartender and they can find a way to use my lack of alcoholic drinking toward their goal of having sex with her, more power to them.

Female Bartender: So your friend doesn't drink?

Nev's Friend: Eh, no.

Female Bartender: Wow, what a loser.

Nev's Friend: Yeah, seriously.

Female Bartender: Cool people drink.

Nev's Friend: Yeah, like me.

Female Bartender: Yeah.

Nev's Friend: Yeah.


Nev's Friend: Wanna f**k?

Female Bartender: Sure!!

If a friend of mine can pull that off, knock yourself out.


And now for this week's:


In the world of drugs and celebrities:

Lindsay Lohan failed another drug test.

Paris Hilton was caught with cocaine and yet will walk away with a slap on the wrist.

And one of my favorite boxers to watch over the last 10 years, Ricky Hatton, was caught on video on a cocaine binge.

At the risk of sounding preachy and high-minded, WTF is the deal with celebrities and drugs? I mean honestly? I mean, it's not news that these drugs are not only illegal, but they're only going to hurt and destroy everything and everyone that matters to you (and that's not even going into the damage you're doing to yourself). How many times do we have to see people -- celebrities and non-celebrities -- throw their lives away over drugs before would-be druggies get the message?

I just don't get it. I really don't.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Texting: Shifting The Balance Of Power From Women To Men: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Earlier today, I was enjoying a lazy Saturday at Borders bookstore in Northridge, doing what I normally do there -- looking through the latest sports-related novels and trying to see if there are any new "Harry Potter-like" book series -- when I overheard two college girls having the following conversation:

Girl 1: So last night, I finally heard from him.

Girl 2: What, he called?

G1: No, he texted.

G2: Texted?

G1: Texted.

G2: Well, what did he text?

G1: Yo.

G2: Yo?

G1: Yo.

G2: Whoa.

G1: Yeah, that's all he wrote. I mean, what's that about?

G2: Did you write him back?

G1: Well, I waited two hours, but yeah I did. I wrote him back hello.

G2: And then what?

G1: He wrote back what's up.

G2: And what did you say?

G1: I said nothing. So then he asks me if I want to hang out.

G2: Oh my God!! Seriously?

G1: Seriously.

G2: That's so weird. You don't hear from him for all this time, and now all of a sudden he comes out of nowhere. So weird.

G1: So weird.

Not weird.

Understand something about texting: It was created by a guy. Texting, without question, is the best thing that could've happened to men on the dating scene, and the worst thing that could've happened to women. Texting singlehandedly changed the power structure of the whole dating dynamic. Before, women had the power. It was the guy who had to put himself out there: to make that phone call, to seem witty and charming and cool and manly, all while he's quietly freaking out inside that the girl is going to reject him.

But then texting came onto the scene and everything changed. Suddenly, guys didn't have to call. Hell, guys didn't even have to e-mail!! All they had to do was be given the ability to type words into a phone and press send, and suddenly they're in control.

I mean, take the following common scenario:

Guy goes out with girl, guy has sex with girl, guy doesn't call girl for days, guy decides he wants to have sex with girl again but in order to do he needs to make contact with the girl and risk facing her wrath.

What does guy do?

Well in the olden days -- aka the 1990s -- the guy would have to call the girl on the phone. And this gave the girl all sorts of power. And she knew it too. See when a guy calls, he needs to do something difficult for him:


This is difficult, particularly in the scenario previously mentioned above. See here, a guy needs to put himself out there. He needs to make himself vulnerable. He needs to think quickly on his feet. These are all things he's bad at, and women know this. They're the ones in control.

But when you involve texting, suddenly everything changes. The guy doesn't need to call. He doesn't need to talk. He doesn't need to put himself out there. He doesn't need to do anything!! Just text!! He doesn't have to worry about rejection or thinking on his feet. If the girl doesn't respond, no worries. If she does respond, then he's over the biggest hurdle. It's win-win for the guy.

And lose-lose for the woman. For now she's on the defensive. She's confused, unsure, no longer holding the cards. She's wondering what's going on in his head, not the other way around. And suddenly, the guy is now the one with the power.

So back to the bookstore. When I overheard this conversation between the two college girls, I went up to the first one -- the one who received the text -- and asked her if she wouldn't mind hearing a little perspective from a married guy (by the way: one thing I've discovered about being married is that it automatically gives you legitimacy with other women. If they see the ring on your finger, they trust you immediately because they figure you're mature enough to be with just one woman and they assume you're not trying to have sex with them, because if you were, you'd take the ring off before you talked to them).

I talk to this girl about her situation, explaining how the use of texting favors the guy. I broke down how this was putting her on the defensive and even gave her some insight as to what this guy may be thinking. I gave her some helpful hints on how she could combat this and assured her that there wasn't anything wrong with her and that true love and happiness with somebody did exist, whether it was with this particular guy or not.

You know what she said?

Well, the thing is that he's a Scorpio and I'm an Aquarius. And that's the worst possible match you can have. But the thing is, I have a Leo moon. So that changes things.


And with that, the shift in power from woman to man is complete.


And now for this week's:


This is either totally disturbing or totally brilliant, depending on your view.

The Olde Salty restaurant in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, is banning screaming babies from its facility.

“Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!” say placards posted at the restaurant. And while the signs may seem to be telling some parents their patronage is unwelcome, restaurant owner Brenda Armes said it’s actually been a business boon.

“It has been a good thing for us,” Armes told NBC affiliate WECT. “It has brought in more customers than it has ever kept away.”

Of course it has.

No publicity is bad publicity, after all.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How The Dodger Game-Going Experience Has Changed: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

As a lifelong L.A. Dodger fan, I've gone to dozens of Dodger games over the years. Ever since I first laid eyes on Dodger Stadium when I was 7 or 8 years old, I still think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. At night, when it's all lit up, there are few places in Southern California more breathtaking than Chavez Ravine.

But while the game still stays the same all these years later (baseball changes its rules as often as Al Bundy changes his underwear), the baseball-going experience has certainly changed, as I learned while attending last Friday's game.

Here are a few examples:

1) Think Dodger Stadium will ever have a "Nevin Barich Night"?

Neither do I. But it's more possible now than ever before. In the past, Dodger games had -- at most -- one special "night" per game (if that). These days, however, each game is full of special "nights." Last Friday, for example, was both "Pancreatic Cancer Night", "L.A. Police Valor Night" and "Recognize Our Team Photographer, Who Has Worked With Us For 25 Years Night."

Well why stop there? Let's also see "Breath, Blood Or Urine Testing Night." "Ode To Fat Women Who Eat 5-7 Dodger Dogs A Game Night." "Great Test Or Less Filling Night." "Broken Families Night." "Glee Night."

So why is a "Nevin Barich Night" so beyond the realm of the possible? It's not like anyone would care. Hell, it's not like anyone would notice!! What do you give a damn if I get to throw out the first pitch?

Oh yeah, that leads me to:

2) Remember where there was only one "first pitch"?

Major League Baseball games, for those of you who don't know, always have someone throw out the ceremonial first pitch before every game. It's a very cool honor, and several high-level folks -- from famous celebrities to Presidents of the United States -- have partaken in this tradition.

And it's still very cool...when there's one first pitch thrown.

But these days, Dodger games have three or four first pitches every game. Last Friday, for example, the cancer survivor threw a pitch, the police chief threw a pitch, and the team photographer threw not one but two pitches (because his first pitch sucked).

And you know what the best part is? They give the first pitches different names. "The honorary first pitch." "The ceremonial first pitch." "The warmup first pitch." "The first pitch you should actually give a damn about first pitch."

When did the first pitch need to be multiplied by 6? Whose dumb idea was this? At least change the name. Don't call it "first pitch." Call it "first throws" or "warmup tosses" or "waste of time" time.

Ya know?

And 3) Margaritas.

Check this out:

While waiting in line last Friday for some nachos (don't worry, I got some Dodger Dogs later on), I was right in front of a woman who had a drink in her hand and heard her tell her friend the following:

Oh my God, this margarita is terrible!! What the hell? Dodger Stadium makes the worst margaritas ever!!

OK, two things:

a) Why the hell is Dodger Stadium serving margaritas? I mean, isn't there a law against this or something? Shouldn't there be? Baseball games should only serve the following:

Hot dogs.





Cracker jacks.

Ice cream.

And cotton candy.

Everything else is nonsense.

And b) Of course it's the worst margarita ever!! It's Dodger $#@&%$# Stadium!! What the hell did you expect?!? You got people working behind the counter who give you a blank stare when you ask where the napkins are, and you expect these same people to make you a decent margarita? Have you forgotten where you are? Do you not realize you're at a ball game? Is beer suddenly not good enough for you even though it's been serving the rest of the baseball-watching population just fine for more than 100 years?!?

I'm just sayin'.

So overall: While the game stays the same, the experience -- for better or worse -- has certainly changed. But if there ever is a "Nevin Barich Night", fear not: I don't expect you to pay attention as I throw out the fifth "first pitch" of the night. Feel free to use it as an excuse to head out to the concession stands.

Margaritas are $8.


And now for this week's:


I got busted. :-)

In last week's blog about my first (and most likely last) wine tasting experience, I wrote about how my wife Ramona and I visited the Tolosa Winery in Edna, Calif. (population 1,600; located in San Luis Obispo's wine country). In the blog, I wrote the following:

The guy with the moccasins -- Greg -- explained each wine to me. And honestly, it was jibberish. He talked about sommeliers and tanins. He mentioned lighting rings and crystals. He talked about bonding with the wine and letting "your pallet engulf your spirit."

Well guess what? Greg got wind of the blog -- no doubt through the power of this connected, technological world we live in -- and actually responded:

Well I remember you and your wife, who did seem to enjoy her wine. You did go through the motions, swirling, dumping, but you made no faces or appearing to be drinking piss. I by the way do not have your culinary experience in that category. And for the rest of you out there there was do discussion of lighting rings or crystals, but what the heck he writes a clever line. Finally, "your pallet engulf your spirit." did not come out of my mouth.

I love it!! :-)

Now, in fairness to Greg, he's right: He did not say "your pallet engulf your spirit." That was my line. I take creative liberties sometimes. There, I admit it. And I'll say this also: The Tolosa Winery is a beautiful facility. Pretty views, it's nice inside, and for those of you who come there as part of a group and are tasked with being the designated driver, Tolosa's got some Martinelli's apple cider on tap. Plus, Greg is a cool dude. Nice guy, very mellow, the kind of person you'd hope to find working in a winery. Plus, he gave Ramona a good price on some wine she bought, which she very much appreciated.

But Greg: You did talk to me about lighting rings and crystals. That's something I couldn't make up if I tried.

Regardless, next time folks in So Cal have the hankering for wine tasting, visit Tolosa. Say hi to Greg. Tell him I sent you.

He'll love that.