Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carving My First Halloween Pumpkins: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Halloween is tomorrow, and to help us get into the spirit, earlier this week my wife Ramona brought us pumpkins for us to carve.

And another "first" in my life was about to begin.

I had never before carved a pumpkin. Not once. Why? To be honest, I couldn't really tell you. I didn't really grow up in a pumpkin-carving environment. It wasn't that we didn't celebrate Halloween. We did. We put up some decorations outside, we wore costumes, and we went trick-or-treating and so forth. But the celebration simply never extended to carving pumpkins.

Ramona, however, comes from a pumpkin-carving clan, and she felt that us carving pumpkins together would be a good husband-wife activity.

She was wrong.

I found out within about 15 seconds that pumpkin carving, to me, is one of the dumbest exercises in the history of mankind. It's not the carving part that's so bad. That's OK, I guess. But it's all the prep work.

First, you gotta cut the top off the pumpkin. That's annoying. Especially when there's one of those big green stems that blocks your cutting path. And one of the pumpkins that Ramona bought was about as soft as concrete. Even our good knives had trouble penetrating it.

Then there's the scooping of the pumpkin seeds. That's just ridiculous. I smells!! Plus, the inside of a pumpkin looks like the surface of some planet you'd find in the Star Wars Galaxy or an Aliens movie. It's just creepy. And why the hell do some of you save these seeds? What the hell's the matter with you? What good are pumpkin seeds for? They suck in pie, they don't taste good, and they're slimy with pumpkin guts.

And then there's the carving itself. Pardon me if my pumpkin eyes aren't complete symmetrical. I don't know what the hell I'm doing!! It's not like I took a class. Besides, how can I focus after scooping out the damn thing of its seeds? There must be seedless pumpkins out there. Or pumpkins you can buy that are ready to carve. Or maybe I could pay someone $5 to scoop out my pumpkins. Hell, I can find someone to rake my leaves for $5. How difficult can finding a pumpkin scooper be?

Oh, and there's the Pumpkin warts too. That's definitely on the "WTF" list.

In the end, we have two homemade carved pumpkins that we're displaying this All-Hallows Eve. But they weren't carved with love. They were carved reluctantly, with annoyance, and with disgust.

And for any of you who are rolling your eyes at me right now...

...I'm going to drive up to your house on Halloween...

...and throw pumpkin seeds at your windows.


And now for this week's:


A “Gentlemen’s hair salon” in Sydney, Australia is now offering topless haircuts from four confident female hairdressers.

Simply put:

Greatest. Idea. Ever.

And with the women having Aussie accents, it's even more great.

I simply don't see how this business venture will fail.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Being Nice To Solicitors: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

On the front door of my house, there's a sign on there that says "No Soliciting." We didn't put it on there; it was on the door when we bought the house. Not that it matters, because it's a sign that solicitors completely ignore. At least once a week, we get a loud knock on our door from someone selling security systems. Or pest control services. Or Jesus. The "No Soliciting" sign has no power, it seems.

So when one of these folks come knocking on my door, I'm admittedly not the nicest person in the world. I don't mean to be, but I just have no desire to hear what you're doing or selling. Honestly, I just want the salesman (or woman) to spontaneously combust, but to do so in a way that won't get any internal organs on my door, plants or lawn. S

Case in point: This morning, I got a knock on my door from this couple. Here was the conversation:

Couple: Hi, we're high school teachers and we're going door-to-door talking about your local representative who's running in your district.

Me: Uh-huh.

Couple: Are you a registered voter?

Me: Yep.

Couple: Do you vote?

Me: No.


Couple: Well, (so and so) candidate is an advocate for education.

Me: Uh-huh.

Couple: Do you have kids?

Me: No.


Couple: Well, we have this brochure...

Me: Great, thanks.

And I close the door.

So when my wife Ramona heard all of this, she chided me for being mean to these solicitors. But admittedly, it's a catch-22 situation. If you're nice to them, you encourage them to keep talking, which makes them stay longer. Which I don't want.

Nonetheless, what the wife says, husband does. So earlier this evening, another solicitor came knocking:

Solicitor: Oh man!! Is it cold out here? But don't worry, I'm not trying to sell you anything!! God bless you, and high five!!

(we exchange high fives).

(Note: This is not an exaggeration. This is literally, word for word, how this conversation began.)

Solicitor: I want to tell you about this product that gets our car scratches!! Works great on colors!! Look, I'm black and I spray it on my arm!!

(he sprays it on his arm)

Solicitor: HA HA!!! HIGH FIVE!!!

(we exchange high fives)

Solicitor: That your car in the driveway? How'd that white paint get on it? Let's use the spray!!

Me: Um...well...listen, I appreciate you stopping by...

Solicitor: You do? That's great!!! Because I don't want to be annoying!! Cuz I ain't sellin'. I just want to tell you about the spray!! Works great on colors!! Let's go to your car!!

Me: Well, it's not the best time...

Solicitor: I got the spray right here!! We'll get it done right now. High Five!!!

(another high five exchanged)

Me: Look, I'm really sorry, but we have company over right now. But I do appreciate your time. Do you have any information you can give me?

Solicitor: It just takes five minutes!!

Me: It's just not a good time.

Solicitor: We can fix your car!!

Me: I think the car's OK.

Solicitor: What about that white paint?

Me: I...I don't see any white paint.

Solicitor: You don't see any? Of course you see it!! It's right there!! C'mon, let's spray!!

(he sprays his arm again)

Me: Listen man, I'm sorry. I just can't do it right now.


Solicitor: Works great on colors!!

Me: I know, man. I know.

And finally, after 1 more "God Bless" and two more "High Fives!!!" I got the guy to leave.

Had I simply slammed the door in his face, as is my nature, this would've gone a lot quicker. But instead, I had to be nice. And he kept jabberin' on. And spraying his arm.

The solution, I think, is to split the difference.

I'll answer the door.

Give a big smile.

Slam the door in their face.

Then say:

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

That's nice, right?


And now for this week's:


Mel Gibson's cameo in next year's The Hangover 2 has been canned.

Apparently, some of the cast were discontent with working with Mel, who has a recent history of antisemitic remarks and physical and verbal abuse toward women.

All understandable. But still, this is the same cast that had no problem working with Mike Tyson in the first movie.

I mean, all Tyson did was get convicted of rape.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Preparing For My First Tailgate: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

First things first: I totally have to give a shout-out to Verizon Wireless Internet cards. As I write this, I'm in the backseat of my buddy Howie's car -- me, him and our friend Fawzi are meeting up with another friend of ours, Rachit, for the Raiders-49ers game in San Francisco tomorrow -- and I'm getting a wickedly good signal. Thank you, Verizon!! I can write my blog, check sports scores, and entertain everyone with sports factoids at the same time. :-)

And it's this trip to San Francisco that I want to write about, for it will bring about a "first" in my life. No, it's not my first Raider game (come on now). No, it's not my first trip to San Francisco (I've been there about a half-dozen times). And no, I'm not writing about my first visit to Candlestick Park (although I have never been there and am super excited).

This weekend, I'm tailgating for the very first time.

Allow me to explain.

It's not that I was ever against tailgating, or had some moral or ethical code against the idea of tailgating. Honestly, it always sounded really cool to me (despite the fact that I really don't drink, which any tailgater will tell you is a huge part of the tailgating experience). It's just that, quite honestly, I never had an opportunity to experience it. I didn't go to a ton of football games growing up -- I mainly attended Dodger games, where tailgating isn't allowed -- the college I went to, Cal State Northridge, didn't exactly have a football team seeped in tradition (and the school eventually axed football in 2001), and a lot of my close friends didn't put tailgating too high up on their to-do list.

So tailgating became one of those things where I would say to myself: "There's plenty of time for me to have a tailgating experience. I'm young. It will happen. I don't have to make it a priority right now."

And before you knew it, I was 31 years old, with a wife and a mortgage.

Where has the time gone?

So as I write this, I am mere hours away from popping my tailgating cherry. And I'm doing it right: I got a good group of guys -- one of whom, Howie, is a tailgating expert. This guy even has a tailgating BBQ travel kit!! -- we got the grill, the drinks, the food, the cooler, and we're doing it at a Raider game, where you're bound to find crazy drunks brawling across the parking lot.

Truly, I am jumping in the tailgating ocean with both feet.

As I progress through my 30s, I've come to realize that life is all about the experiences, the moments -- past, present, future -- that shape our lives. And this weekend, my first tailgating experience will truly shape me in ways I can't even fathom. Sitting in a parking lot, grilling hot dogs, bundling up against the cold, drinking beer (soda in my case), listening to football on the radio, talking to Raider fans, yelling at Niner fans and threatening to bludgeon them in the back of the head "if you don't get the f**** out of my face, you stupid motherf*****ker!! Yeah, I'm talking to you b****h!! Got a problem? Do you? Huh? Huh? HUH?!?!?!?"

My first tailgate.

I can't wait.


And now for this week's:


Kim Kardashian was recently spotted bowling in high heels.

Not that I should be surprised. But know?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Arguing With The Wife About Fruit-Flavored Tea: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Sometimes, a random conversation with my wife Ramona leads to a good blog. :-) Observe our conversation from today about fruit-flavored tea:

Ramona: Hey, you want me to buy you any of that fruit-flavored tea?

Nev: Nah, I don't like it.

R: Really? They have all different types of flavors.

N: Yeah, but it all tastes the same to me.

R: Nev, surely we can find you a flavor you like. There's blueberry. There's pomegranate...

N: OK, one day someone is going to have to explain to me what the hell a pomegranate is. I mean, I woke up one morning and all of a sudden pomegranate was in every single beverage in America.

R: Pomegranate is a fruit, Nev. It's been around forever.

N: Babe, I just don't understand this whole fruit-flavored tea thing.

R: This fruit-flavored tea thing?

N: Yeah. I mean, when did tea become fruit-flavored?

R: Um, like 300 years ago?

N: No it hasn't. Tea was never fruit-flavored. It was just tea. Simple, direct tea. Then one day someone put it in a fancy lookin' can, added some pome-whats-it, tripled the price, and now you think you're drinking something healthy.

R: Nevin, tea has been fruit-flavored for centuries. India, for example, has been flavoring their tea with fruit for years.

N: India? What the hell do they know about tea?

R: Nev, they were part of the huge spice trade.

N: Wasn't that about salt?

R: And when I went to Turkey a few years ago, I had apple-flavored tea. And it was great! It tasted like hot apple cider.

N: Well there you have it. You were drinking apple cider.

R: No, Nevin. I was drinking tea.

N: No, Ramona. You think you were drinking tea. But in actuality, the folks in Turkey don't know what tea is, so they call cider tea, and they made you think you were drinking tea when in fact you were drinking cider.

R: Nevin: Fruit-flavored tea is great.

N: You only think it's great. But in reality, you have been so bamboozled by fancy labeling and marketing and PC fanatics, that you no longer have any idea which way is up and what fruit is real!!

R: Nev, stop talking about things that you have no clue about.


N: But what fun would that be?


And now for this week's:


A devout Michigan State football fan called timeout before doctors could install a pacemaker in his chest Thursday, deferring the procedure until after the school's football game this weekend against rival Michigan.

Major Hester said he was willing to risk death so that he could watch Saturday's game in Ann Arbor on television. The Spartans are ranked 17th in the country and the Wolverines are ranked 18th.

The 69-year-old retired office supply clerk said he put off the procedure until next week because he can't risk something going wrong on the operating table that would prevent him from watching the game.

God forbid.

In case you were wondering: Hester's risk of life was not in vain. His beloved Spartans won 34-17.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Having A Teenager Stay In My House: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I currently have a brooding teenager sitting in my living room.

Actually, I don't know for sure that he's brooding. I'm assuming he's brooding. He's sitting on a sofa chair, staring at a TV that isn't on. He doesn't want anything to eat, doesn't want anything to drink, doesn't want to watch TV, and has said 5 words since he arrived 12 hours ago.

And when I say 5 words, I mean 5 words.

He has said the following:

"I got it."



That's it. That's been the extent of our verbal correspondence.

This weekend, my 15-year-old cousin Jack, along with his brothers 10-year-old Little T and 6-year-old Draven, are staying with me and my wife Ramona. The younger ones haven't stopped talking since they've arrived. We've talked about video games, computer games, Spongebob, cereal, The Godfather, and sweeping up the leaves in my backyard.

But Jack has been silent. Wordless. I mean, this kid barely blinks. It's weird. I know this is common in teenagers, but when me and my sister Blake were growing up, we didn't go through this stage as teenagers. Ramona didn't either. The three of us all spoke to adults at age 15. We didn't go through a brooding stage. So to be honest, it's hard for me to relate.

I'll tell you another thing: It wasn't too long ago that I was young enough that these brooding teenagers thought I was cool enough to talk to. When I was in my 20s, I wasn't considered anything close to being a parent. Thus, I was OK to converse with in the eyes of teenagers.

But then some things happened. I got married. I turned 31. I bought a house. All of these scream "adult" and thus make me uncool in the eyes of a teenager. These are some of the qualities that they see in their parents; thus, I'm a pariah. It doesn't matter that I can still talk to them about music, girls, video games, high school; nope, they don't care. I'm in my 30s. I'm a loser that they'll never, ever become.

And thus, the teenager broods.

As I end this blog, the teenager rises from his chair. He looks for, and finds, the cereal. He can't find a spoon.

"Hey Jack," I say, "look left." It's in that drawer.

He goes to the drawer. Finds a spoon.

He smiles.

Nonverbal communication.

I'll take what I can get.


And now for this week's:


Remember Back To The Future II?

Remember the power laces?

Now they're a reality.


Power laces? Far out!!