Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Vibrations Coming From Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson, or B-Weezy as he was mistakenly called by his own Comcast show last year, is the closer for the San Francisco Giants.  Based on last night's game, you might not realize that he is one of the best closers in the Major Leagues. 

In fact, I'm here to tell you all the Giants fans out there that you are lucky to have such a savage closer.  How quickly you can forget the train wreck that was Armando Benitez.  Hell, Tyler Walker was the closer just a few short years ago!  But as I saw many of my friends litter Facebook with hate messages to Brian Wilson, I thought to myself- how bad is Brian Wilson really?  Well...

This year his basic stat line looks like this:

3-2 with 36 Saves and a 2.01 ERA. 

But we can go deeper than that:

58.3 Innings pitched, 76 Strikeouts, and 22 Walks. 

That's pretty damn good.  Let's keep going:

4 Blown Saves in 55 Appearances.  Eh, not every closer can be Eric Gagne on steroids. 

But we are neglecting the most important stats of all- fantasy baseball stats.  I play in a head-to-head league that awards points in a similar fashion as fantasy football.  For example, 10 points for a win, 10 points for a save, -5 for a loss, -2 for a blown save, 2 points per innings pitched, 1 point per strikeout, -.5 per hit or walk, etc.  Currently the relief pitcher with the highest point total in my league is Heath Bell with 553.8 points (by far the most.)  Rafael Soriano is second with 519.7.  And guess who is third?  Brian Wilson with 513.7.  Had he converted the save last night (which he was brought in after Jonathan Sanchez walked the lead off batter) he would be in second right now. 

My point is that no matter which way you slice it, Giants fans are looking a gift horse in the mouth if they complain about Brian Wilson.  I understand that division and wild card races bring out unbridled (and many times stupid) passion that turns fans against even the best of players.  However, B-Weezy has been a fantastic closer for a few years now, and Giants fans should appreciate him.  Even Mariano Rivera has blown saves from time to time, and he's the best ever. 

One last thought- if the Giants' starters had not just gone into a tailspin recently (I'm looking at you Lincecum), Brian Wilson's blown save last night would not have been as big a deal.  Sure, it is huge on many levels, but because the Giants have dug themselves a hole recently, the margin of error is slim to none. 

Check back tomorrow for a very special offer!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

Ok- I'm well aware that this might sound crazy, but I can't rob you all of this story.  My friend John was having his live fantasy football draft on Saturday at the Shang-ri-la that is known as the Peppermill Reno.  I am not in this league, and I had a show in Roseville at the Boxing Donkey on Saturday night.  However, Mrs. B. went with John's wife and a group of their friends down to Santa Cruz/Capitola for the weekend, so what else was I going to do with my Friday night other than go to the Peppermill for a night?  The answer is obvious- I went to Reno. 

A quick check of the scoreboard will lead you to conclude that I've been up to the Peppermill 3 of the last 5 weeks and have just been nominated as a finalist for their "Be The High Roller" contest.  I'm either playing this smart, or just becoming a degenerate gambler. 

My friend Brandon drove up with me (he also is not in the fantasy football league) and we immediately began drinking upon arrival.  I've developed such a taste for Jack Daniels that I started with a red Silo cup that was 3/4 Jack and 1/4 Coke Zero.  Then had another, and then a car bomb, and then another.  Point being, I was ready to hit the tables. 

We started out with a fairly hot Craps table.  Played for a number of hours and at the end I was up $500.  Great times!  I'd love to give you a recap of the action, but I honestly don't remember much.  I'm just glad the money was coming my way because you can forget about my math will that many drinks in my system. 

Eventually, we went back to the room around 3am and I thought we were done for the night.  I took out my contacts, took off the sweater I was wearing, made it rain on video (I hope that doesn't surface anytime soon), and brushed my teeth.  Then it was decided that we were going back downstairs to eat graveyard food at the Coffee Shop ($7 for all breakfast items 2am-5am!)  I didn't bother putting my contacts back in, nor did I think twice about putting on an extra layer over my pit-stained white undershirt.  Yikes. 

After taking down some Juevos Rancheros, it was back to the Craps table.  As you can imagine, this session didn't go quite as well because a) we were all stumbling drunk and b) I couldn't see the dice due to my lack of contacts.  I had to wait for the dealer to call out the number each and every time.  We must've looked like wrecks to the dealers and everyone else in the casino. 

Overall, I was still up over $300 which was fine by me.  I more than doubled the money I brought up and had a great time.  I admit that there was vomit involved in the next part of the story, so I'll omit the details.  I also took a bath in the suite jacuzzi at some point, probably 7:30am?  No idea what I was doing, but it sounded like a great idea once I realized that I felt awful. 

Brandon and I left the crew to do their live draft around 3pm on Saturday.  After collecting Brandon's massive $4 Keno win (hey, a win is a win in that game!) we got back on the road.  It was smooth sailing back to Sacramento, though I was dead tired while driving.  Once back home, it was time for a quick nap, then back out to the Boxing Donkey...

Another great show at my favorite bar in Roseville!  I'm surprised I played as well as I did considering how hungover I was from the day before.  And yet, the show was great.  So great, in fact, that a girl came up to me and told me that her friend thought I was "super cute."  My two competing interests of gaining fans vs. my marital status led me to smile and laugh it off, but they were not to be deterred.  The girls slipped me "Jenny's" number on a drink coaster with a note that I'm "cute" and to "call her." 

Luckily, my drink actually needed a coaster since it was sitting on my music stand next to my computer- thanks ladies!  I promptly threw away the number after the show because of my undying love for Mrs. B.  :D

I had a blast, and it seemed like most everyone at the Donkey did as well.  Can't wait to go back!  Playing at that place is like constantly coming up to bat with runners in scoring position with no outs. 

Yesterday was spent getting my life back together.  I went to the gym.  Drank 2 oz. of wheat grass.  Ate decent food.  Went to the mall to buy new white undershirts without pit-stains.  Saw Tyreke Evans at the formally mentioned mall.  He looked like he was in a hurry in his baggy sweatpants. Put brand new strings on my acoustic guitar and bass guitar.  It was a day for re-vitalizing myself and my equipment. 

And here we are- back to Monday.  I actually feel pretty good.  My Sunday detox went really well and having a great show on Saturday just motivates me even more.  By the way, can we start the NFL season already?  The Bears look awful, but I want to see them in real action- I can't explain it.  I just do. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fantasy Football Draft #2 + Update

First things first- I'm a finalist for the Be The High Roller contest through the Peppermill in Reno!  Make sure you go to the website and "join my entourage."  It takes a second and will help me in my quest to become the High Roller!

Second, similar to yesterday, I have a draft to review.  This league has the standard 6 points per passing TD built into it's scoring.  Here is the first round:

1) Chris Johnson
2) My pick of Adrian Peterson 
3) MJD
4) Ray Rice
5) Frank Gore
6) Michael Turner
7) Andre Johnson
8) Ryan Mathews
9) Randy Moss
10) Shonn Greene (worst spelling ever)

By round, here are my picks:

2) Calvin Johnson
3) Matt Schaub
4) Beanie Wells
5) Ronnie Brown
6) Hines Ward
7) Brent Celek (again?!)
8) Jerome Harrison
9) Clinton Portis
10) Robert Meachem
11) Dez Bryant
12) Green Bay D
13) Chad Henne
14) Bernard Berrian
15) Austin Collie
16) Mason Crosby (Damn you Packers!!!)
17) Tashard Choice

So there is my second team of the year.  I guess we'll see how this one goes vs. the other league.  This league is only a 10 team league, but I did not feel in the zone during the whole draft.  It felt like a grind the whole time.  People taking the players I wanted left and right.  Oh well, hopefully it works out.

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to purchase my new album in the sidebar.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fantasy Football Draft #1

Since I had the unluckiest run of all time during this past Fantasy Baseball season, I'm absolutely ready to get Fantasy Football started.  Yesterday I had my first draft of the year.  It was for Clarkster's Cali Keepers League that was started last year.  Unfortunately, the name is misleading because no keepers were actually kept this past year.  Four out of 12 of last year's owners dropped out of the league, so the commish decided to just re-draft and deal with keepers next year. 

The other thing about this league that is worth noting is that the QB position only gets 4 points for a touchdown pass.  On top of that, it's -2 per interception.  In my opinion, this makes the QB position a lot less valuable in the overall scheme of the league.  There is definite debate over whether the old adage "Always get Running Backs first" is still valid, but in a league with these parameters, I think it still walks tall like the Rock in that one movie- you know- "Mummy Returns." 

I wish there were an easy way to just post the whole draft, but I doubt anyone would read through the whole thing, anyway.  We'll go through the first round and the rest of my team.  Here are the highlights:

- Chris Johnson was picked first.  Surprise, surprise.
- Adrian Peterson was selected second by Clarkster.  Excellent selection.  I've heard rumblings of MJD being the better #2 pick, but I disagree with that train of thought. 
- Speaking of MJD, he went 3rd. 
- Ray Rice went 4th.  People are really high on him.  Probably because he's a savage. 
- Steven Jackson at 5.  Will he be good or suck just like the rest of his team?
- This is where things get crazy.  Remember what I said about QBs?  Watch the next few picks:
6) Aaron Rodgers
7) Drew Brees
8) Frank Gore (Good value at 8)
9) Peyton Manning
- This brings the draft to my pick.  I chose Michael Turner with no hesitation at 10.  Thank you rest of the league for letting him drop to me!
- The first round ended with Andre Johnson at 11 and Randy Moss at 12. 

As it snaked back to me, I decided to keep rolling with RBs.  Ryan Grant of the dastardly Packers was my next pick at 15.  Here is a list of my remaining picks:

34) Marques Colston
39) Matt Forte (Excellent value, yes?)
58) Hines Ward
63) Brent Celek (The clock ran out on me and I was deciding between Celek, Javid Best, and Pierre Garcon- not terrible, but probably my worst pick of the draft value-wise)
82) Donovan McNabb (that's right G$- I'm rolling with the 'Skins QB.  Although, because I don't have that much faith in the guy...)
87) Carson Palmer (...so I had to draft this guy as well.  Not a bad QB tandem)
106) LaDainian Tomlinson (do the electric glide!)
111) Joey Galloway
130) Golden Tate
135) Laurence Maroney
154) Jeremy Shockey
159) Mason Crosby (did I really need the Packers' kicker as well?  There's no loyalty in Fantasy Football)
178) Patriots D (I may have to find a better Defense- we'll see...)
183) Anthony Gonzalez (how quickly we forgot about this speedy white boy after he was hurt most of last year)
202) Josh Cribbs
207) Fred Taylor (This was an autodraft selection- but not a bad one.  Now I get to see who starts between Taylor and Maroney.) 

So there's my team.  I like it for a 12 team head-to-head league.  Let me know what you think.  I have a Yahoo draft tonight for a league that actually gives QBs 6 points for TD passes.  Just the way I like it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Crowded House: Warfield SF 8/23/10

(Picture from CrowdedHouse.com - Nick is holding up lyrics to "Tombstone" written on a scroll by an audience member.)

It is fairly obvious that I had an awesome time at Crowded House on Monday night in San Francisco.  Show me someone who has ever seen a bad Crowded House concert, and I'll show you a person who is confused about which way is up.  So instead of just waxing ecstatic about how great the band is, I'm going to also talk about my individual experience.  This may include some advice for concert-goers out there.

Mrs. B. and I drove first to the Pleasant Hill BART station, then took a trip straight to the Tenderloin.  Not the safest place in the world, but it is only a few block walk to the Warfield from Civic Center station.  No one really hassled us, but our senses were definitely on high alert during the our jaunt to the show.  (Side note: The Warfield venue is literally next door to the Crazy Horse strip club.  Looks like a classy place...)

Upon arriving, we met up with my friend John (I've known him since 8th grade and he is the original person who got me into Crowded House.)  His family had tickets in the balcony and we had standing general admission on the floor.  I first hit up the merch booth and bought a USB stick that comes with the new album and allows you access to download the concert you attend.  They are recording all their shows, and the particular show you go to is available for download two days after the show.  By my count, that means I'll be able to download the show today.  Awesome.

We found a decent spot on the left side one set up stairs up from the lowest dance floor.  It was just fine until the show got going.  Mrs. B. doesn't have the luxury of being 6'6" so she bore the brunt of the following two people:

1) The woman behind her that was singing horribly and slowly creeping forward.
2) The guy in front of her that was blowing ass and doing some sort of dance shuffle that had him slowly shuffling backwards.

At one point, Crowded House was playing "When You Come" and got to the lyrics "Burning and exploding" so John, Mrs. B. and I all had a laugh about the fartman "burning and exploding like a slow volcano." Just because you don't know the people around you, and are in a large room, does not mean the people around you won't notice when you are farting around them. 

The woman behind us magically disappeared at some point, which was a relief.  At least until after Crowded House played "Don't Dream It's Over" and an old couple decided "We heard the song we wanted and we're out!"  This shifted things around in our area, and the woman reappeared like a ghost and physically moved Mrs. B. to a different spot.  Mrs. B. did not appreciate being touched and there were a few tense words, but eventually it was sorted out without fisticuffs.

So folks, remember, when attending a GA standing concert, do not eat Mexican food before the show and blow ass all around you.  Also, try to respect each others' space.  Stake your space, and don't try to physically move someone else.  It's rude and inappropriate.

Crowded House highlights:

- Opened with "I Feel Possessed."  Awesome.
- Fully enjoyed "Nails In My Feet," "Whispers and Moans," and "Kare Kare."
- "Private Universe" could've been the highlight of the night.  They mashed up "Black and White Boy" into the outtro of the song which was absolutely amazing.  Matt Sherrod killed it on drums during that song.
- "It's Only Natural" also stood out to me as a highlight.
- During the encore, they opened up a scroll that was thrown on stage by a fan.  It was the lyrics to their song "Tombstone" (from their first album circa 1987.)  It was obvious they hadn't played that song in a long time, but Neil busted it out while bass player Nick Seymour held up the lyrics.  Impromptu moments like this is what makes their shows so excellent.
- It was clear they broke curfew by a few minutes as they rushed through "Better Be Home Soon."  Damn you high security overtime costs!  I'm sure they would've played more songs had that not been a factor!

Besides the crappy (no pun intended) audience members we were around, the crowd was very energetic and sang along to almost every song.  I can't recommend Crowded House highly enough.  They are a band that absolutely knows how to entertain.  From the freelance songs they come up with, to the sing-a-long moments that involve the audience, you can't go wrong with a CH show.  Put another great show on the board!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This Time Around - Order The Album Now!

(Inside panel of the album above, the cover was posted a couple days ago) 

Because I want to reward folks who come to my blog and read my (at times ridiculous) daily posts, I've set up PayPal purchase buttons in the sidebar to order the album.  You can also use major credit cards to purchase.  You have two options:

1) Order the album - $12.65 out the door.  If you want it autographed, then just write that in the field that allows you to include "special instructions" for the seller.

2) Order the album + an autographed promotional poster - $22.49 out the door.  The promotional posters are on their way to me, so those might take a few more days to get them in the mail.  The poster is getting autographed unless you specifically note that you don't want it written on.  Also, by default I will not autograph the album in this package unless you specifically ask for it to be autographed. Here is what the poster looks like:

KEEP IN MIND- I'm packaging and sending all of these myself!  I will get them out to you ASAP, and depending on the day, I may ship them quickly.  But if there are any delays, cut me some slack!

This offer is limited.  I'm only sending out 25 poster/album combos, so if you want that option, it is in your best interest to buy it now!  I'm limiting the "album only" button to 100.  Once those run out, you will still be able to get the album at shows, on iTunes, and CDBaby.com (among other online stores.)  Remember, the regular release date is 9/21/10, so you're getting in on this first!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Case of the Mondays: Sleep Deprived Edition

Our Sing With The Band Karaoke show on Thursday was fantastic.  Our keyboard player Charlie (AKA Dr. Disco and champion of "Wipeout" from last Tuesday) came down from Reno for the show.  Our bass player Donovan is moving to San Jose so this was the last show with the line up that we had played with for the past year.

While the show was a blast, I only ended up getting 3 hours of sleep then going to work the next morning.  I was surprisingly alert all day and even decided to hang out with our friends John and Katrina after work.  John and I had a jam session with all of his music equipment.  This was also a lot of fun, but it sets up my Saturday...

I had two shows and a total of 6 hours of music to play on Saturday.  I was worried that my lack of sleep was going to affect my singing.  Luckily, Mrs. B. came up huge with some throat soothing tea and turned on the humidifier Friday night.

I had to be at the Farmer's Market in Vacaville by 9am to play from 9-11.  My voice felt unexpectedly strong.  In fact, I'm sold on this throat soothing tea and humidifier routine.  Anything to gain that extra edge, right baseball players of the 80s and 90s?

I had an excellent set mixing originals and cover songs during the 2 hour set.  I played every song from the new album (coming out 9/21- if not sooner for my loyal blog readers!) and a wide variety of covers.  I was hugely complimented by a woman who was ecstatic that I played "All These Things I've Done" by the Killers.
After leaving the Market, Mrs. B. and I ran a couple errands then drove right back home.  I immediately put on the humidifier, drank tea and took a 2.5 hour nap.  I woke up and started loading up my car to journey to Walnut Creek and play at Pyramid.  Besides a little traffic, the drive there was uneventful.

The Pyramid patio was a little chilly but they had heat lamps going to help keep the folks who wanted to stay not be uncomfortable.  Once again, I mixed in plenty of originals and cover songs.  I got many extremely nice compliments on my original songs, and that helps me remember why I play music in the first place.  Thank you for listening!

Being the crazy guy that I am, I talked Mrs. B. into stopping in Martinez after the show was over (11:40pm at this point) because my friends Shay and Chrissy were having a party.  When I showed up everyone started laughing because there was a guy named Ray at the party that everyone kept calling "Tony Bataska."  I will admit, the guy looks like me, and I feel good about helping intensify the inside joke of the party.  Shay took us for a ride in his GEM car and then we went on our way back to Sacramento.

The next day, we went back over to Katrina and John's for Katrina's birthday party.  It was another great party that capped off a packed weekend.  Did I mention that Mrs. B. and I went to the gym after the party?  Did I also mention we're going to see Crowded House tonight in SF?  It will be a great show if I don't pass out from exhaustion.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sacramento Rivercats vs. Iowa Cubs 8/18/10

Mrs. B. and I went directly from work to our second baseball game in as many weeks.  This time we headed to see the Iowa Cubs play the Rivercats right in our fair town of Sacramento.  My friends Mark and Rebecca (yes, the newlyweds that will be taking a honeymoon after baseball season- Rebecca works for the Rivercats) hooked up some tickets behind the visitor dugout to see the man, the myth, the legend Ryne Sandberg manage the AAA Cubbies.

I brought my official Ryne Sandberg jersey with the hope of getting it signed.  There was already a decent line when I got there and Rivercats security was patrolling the line.  They immediately informed me to go to the back.  I obliged and hoped that Ryno would be giving out a whole hell of a lot of autographs. 

Ryne Sandberg came out from behind the outfield fence and came over to the dugout.  He began signing, and signing, and signing.  The guy was a machine.  Much like his Hall of Fame career, he kept going like a savage.  He was taking pictures and signing all kinds of autographs for people.

As it got to be crunch time, I got up close and was worried I was about to get cut off.  I was literally wearing a Ryne Sandberg t-shirt and asking him to sign a #23 jersey.  I was hoping that won me a couple extra points.  I got up there and he signed it.  I had brought a silver sharpie.  Note to everyone- do NOT buy silver sharpies.  I thought the jersey would look fantastic with a silver signature.  However, the thing did not work when Ryno got a hold of it.  He was a little annoyed but cool about it.  He said, "If someone has a black one, that would be better."

I look down and a little kid has a black sharpie in his hand.  I panicked and snatched it from the kid.  His sister was right next to me as well, and handed her sharpie to Ryno.  I immediately gave the kid his sharpie back, thanked the kid and internally scolded myself for losing my damn mind around my childhood hero.  It wasn't exactly rude the way it all went down, but I think we can all agree that many times the allure of getting autographs brings out the worst in people.  I know you've seen a 50 year old man bowl over an 8 year old to get an autograph before.  Autographs and foul balls are the apples of the Garden of Eden of baseball.  Just ask Steve Bartman.

Anyway, Ryno signed the jersey with his signature, the number 23, and HOF 05.  SO COOL.  I was literally the second to last person to get a signature before the National Anthem played.  I was so lucky.  Here's the best part- Mrs. B. got a nice photo:

That's me with Ryne Sandberg!!!

Enough with me being starstruck.  Here's another funny pic that Mrs. B. took:

Excellent stretching routine, eh?  The night was amazing though.  Definitely feel so lucky to have gotten an autograph from such a legend.  Thanks Mark and Rebecca- you two rock!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Food Poisoning Is The Worst

Yesterday sucked.  Normally, a sick day here or there is a good thing.  You could be feeling less than 100%, but have enough energy to catch up on some movies or (in my case) write a song. 

However, Tuesday will live in infamy for me.  I woke up and NEEDED to get to work.  There is a ton of stuff to do currently and I can't afford to miss any days.  That is just not an option.  Unfortunately, I woke up disoriented, dry heaving, vomiting, and unable to get my bearings together.  No chance I was going to be able to make it to work.  I figured, let me sleep it off and I'll go in late.  Ha!  Such an optimist! 

After sleeping for a couple hours, I woke having felt like I'd slept for 300 hours- but in a bad way.  A few more trips to the bathroom and a rerun episode of "Las Vegas" later, I ate some crackers (around 2pm) and went back to sleep.  My time window of getting to work was leaving like the sweat that was exiting my body. 

Eventually I woke up at 4:50pm and realized the whole day was gone.  Even now, I don't feel like eating much.  Nothing sounds good to me at all.  I've been able to hold down toast and that's about it.  So what's the point?  Food poisoning is awful, and I have nothing to write about besides the fact that I was sick yesterday. 

Actually, that may not be entirely true.  The keyboard player from my band that moved to Reno was on Wipeout yesterday (or at least the episode aired yesterday) and he won the $50,000!  Nice work Dr. Disco!  Nothing like watching a friend of yours win a bunch of cash while you have to keep pausing the show to go to the facilities.  Yikes. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm Sick

I have nothing to say.  I'm fairly certain I under-"cooked" (microwaved) some taquitos yesterday for dinner and now I can barely stand up.  So dumb.  I can't afford to call in sick, so I have to try to make it to work anyway.  We'll see if I make it...

Related not: didn't Jay Mohr have a bit about crapping and throwing up at the same time?  Yeah, not good.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mark and Rebecca's Wild Wedding Weekend Adventure

I don't know where to start on this one.  I had Friday off of work and played a private show at an office party from 1-3pm.  I drove my equipment back home, picked up my friend Brandon, and got on the road to meet up with the rest of our group at the Peppermill in Reno.  They left around 1pm or 2pm.  Brandon and I had a pretty quick trip up (though we did stop at In-N-Out Burger for a quick meal.)  Upon arriving at the Peppermill we immediately went to the Tuscany Tower where my room was.  Mrs. B. had check in earlier and we were sharing a room with our friends Katrina and John.  The drinks were already set up and I started with a stiff Jack and Coke Zero.  I think it was 3 parts Jack and 1 part soda pop.  This was the first of (conservatively) 26 Jack and Cokes on the night.

Eventually we made our way down to Chi.  Once again, it did not disappoint.  Chi is easily my favorite Chinese restaurant anywhere.  Yes, even better than China Village in Walnut Creek (and it's not even close.)  Well done, Peppermill!

It was, of course, off to the Craps tables after that.  Before going any further, let's be clear, I realize I lost my damn mind during this next stretch of gambling.  My strategy on Craps these days is to place the Pass Line and two Come Line bets, and back them up with full odds.  This is a fantastic strategy when going well, and an awful strategy when the table is cold.  You cannot stomach more than four awful rolls before trying to pawn your wedding ring for gambling money.  I'm obviously kidding, but your money goes quick if it's bad.  Luckily, it started off alright.  The money was not pouring in, but we weren't down.

Then a douche in a Sharks shirt got the dice and started making ridiculous statements during the entirety of his roll.  "Alright everyone- let's go!  Let's make some money!  Everyone's gonna make money!"  This is what we call a jinx in the gambling biz.  I should've shut down my strategy immediately, but it was too late by the time I realized this guy was a idiot.  All my bets were laid and the inevitable 7 came out.  Side note, why was the 6+1 7 just showing up all over the place this weekend?  At this point, I'm down $300.

The Sharks guy left and came back some time later.  He asked us if the table was getting any better.  We responded with, "Eh, it's ok."  He started complaining about one of the stick men and how the dealer told him to be quiet.  I couldn't hold my tongue- "That's exactly what we were thinking," I said.  Not believing I'd be rude to his face, he said, "I know!  I can't believe he told me to be quiet."  I came back with a, "That's absolutely shocking!  SHOCKING."  He still didn't get it, and walked away.  Ok, where was I?

I decide to go play Poker.  Long short short, I was outkicked, drawn out on, and cold decked during my patient session.  Down $200 more.  I'm about to kill myself.

Why I went to the ATM again I have no idea.  I remember the ATM telling me twice to choose a smaller amount (thank you banking system.)  Brandon and I stayed out after everyone went to bed, and our Craps table caught fire.  Everyone's bets were hitting.  My Pass Lines, my Come Lines, I hit a Yo 11, and a hard 4 and hard 8.  At 5:45am, Brandon and I decided to call it a morning.  I cashed out with $600 which made me feel less like a piece of crap (pardon the pun.)

I woke up after sleeping for what felt like 5 minutes.  It was time to get a shower, breakfast, and make our way to Mark and Rebecca's wedding.  Mrs. B. was suffering from car sickness when we arrived there because she was doing make up in the van during the 1 hour plus ride.  Luckily, she didn't get sick and eventually felt better.

The wedding ceremony was awesome.  Mark and Rebecca looked quite happy and I fully enjoyed their pug Cooper walking down the aisle.  The reception was excellent.  They had a signature cocktail called "Cooper's Delight" (created by John and Katrina) that was getting gulped down by the gallon.  I had one, but stuck mostly with beer and/or water because of how wrecked I was the night (morning?) before.

I must say, the toasts at this wedding were excellent.  No one was long winded and everyone got at least one or two (some got more) laughs.  Eventually it was time for the meat-fest that was dinner.  Mark is into all kinds of meats and his father-in-law cooks up some of the best ribs, sausage and turkey I've ever had.  The beans were also out of control.  Well done Mr. Sy- well done.

After dancing and playing lots of ring toss, it was time to roll out around 8pm.  As you can imagine, a dinner filled with meats and beans after a hard night of drinking and an hour long van ride with 8 people might not be the best plan.  The windows of the van were going up and down based on the gases expelled from our respective sludge factories.

Luckily, the trip back sailed by and we got back the Peppermill.  Unfortunately, I was feeling quite run down from all the excitement.  There was still gambling to be done, though.  Back at the Craps table, we had quite a nice little session.  It was solid fun (though less rambunctious) and I ended up $100.

One quick tale, though- a dude with a shaved head came up and stood next to John during this session.  Brandon was to my right killing it on a roll.  He had a hit a few points and Come Line bets.  Any roller killing it like that, just leave them alone.  This mofo, lays down one $5 chip on the Pass Line.  He has no money besides that.  Brandon hits a 9 to win the guy another $5.  All of a sudden this guy starts yapping.  First he starts telling the dealer how many bets he is going to make once he gets a little bit of money.  Then while Brandon is in mid roll, he yells out "Don't crap out!"  This easily as bad as talking during Tiger Woods' back-swing (in fact, worse because I don't have money on Tiger Woods ever.)  Brandon didn't crapped out on the following roll and the d-bag left the table.  For any of you novice Craps players- DON'T DO THAT!  Get excited and boisterous after a win.  Otherwise, keep a low profile and never be overly boastful.  Don't be overly negative either.  Drink your drinks, smoke your cigars, and enjoy the ride.

Since I had driven separately, Mrs. B. and I had my car to go back in Sunday morning (the rest of the group left in the van around noon.)  I wanted to watch the A's game because I put them in a parlay (mistake!)  I actually was 6-2 on my baseball bets this weekend... unfortunately, that included two parlays (3-1 on each.)  Dammit.

The group that left earlier than us informed us that there was terrible traffic on highway 80.  On our way out, we got curious and decided to check out a couple other Reno casinos.  We literally have been to the Peppermill over 10 times in the last 3 years and never ventured elsewhere.

We recently saw a Travel Channel show about how to take advantage of casino coupons.  Our plan was to sign up for the casino rewards club at the various casinos, and use the coupons/free play we get.  Then we leave.  Easy, right?

First, we went to the Grand Sierra.  Interesting look to the casino.  Very different from the Peppermill with a more Country/Western/Darker look.  We signed up for the rewards club and got some free play on slots and $15 in chips for $10.  We went to the Craps table and had some fun.  The first guy rolled well, but Mrs. B. actually stole the show with her roll.  In fact, a guy next to me won over $300 quickly (he was betting a ton on the Pass Line with max odds) and tipped her $10.  I ended up winning $35, Mrs. B. won $44 and we played our free slot play and left.  Bad traffic was still around, and it was on to the Atlantis...

We signed up again, and got to swipe for a chance at free play.  Mrs. B. got $5 and I got $3.  Their free play was a bit different than I'm used to.  We played video poker.  You activate the free money, then deposit some money to play with.  If you lose, it replenishes your loss (up to the amount of free play you have.)  I won $2 of my $3 in free play (cashing out with my $5 base and $2 extra) while Mrs. B. hit 4 Queens and won $16.  She played a bit more and cashed out with $14.50.  BAM!  We walked around for a bit, and eventually decided to find our way back to Sacramento.

Overall, it was another fun weekend at the Peppermill with a centerpiece of a fantastic wedding.  Congrats to Mark and Rebecca- you both are awesome!  Back to the grind of the work week... when is Labor Day again?

Friday, August 13, 2010

This Weekend's Adventure

Last night's show was a lot of fun.  The Fox & Goose is a fun place to play, and the bonus is that the place has its own PA and it's close to my apartment.  BAM!  Thank you so much to everyone who came out- it was a fun show. 

The adventure this weekend leads me back to the Peppermill.  I know I'm getting quite the reputation for going there often, but when you find a cool spot it's hard to go anywhere else.  Between my Be The High Roller contest entry and my multiple trips, I'm a walking billboard for this place.  This time, however, there is an even more special reason to go up there- my friends Mark and Rebecca are getting married.  Of course, the wedding is happening an hour further up, but the Peppermill seems like a reasonable place to stay. 

I do have today off work in order to play a private show in Roseville at 1pm, then go up to Reno afterward. 

Also, Ronnie on Jersey Shore is a trainwreck!  I'm only halfway through the episode, but this guy is sloppy.  Handle yo s*** Ronnie!

Catch you all on Monday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thank You Notes

I borrowed this idea from the Jimmy Fallon show... wanna fight about it?

Dear Car Horn,

Thank you for existing.  West Coast folks don't use the car horn nearly enough so I'm bringing it back to prominence.  When I was stuck in traffic after the Giants game, a car successfully drove up on the adjacent exit lane then cut in front of me to cut to the front of the waiting line.  Because I tried my best not to let them in, they were stuck jutting out into a lane where cars were zooming by.  I laid on the horn for a solid 5 seconds to let them know that what they were doing as not cool.  It seemed to have great affect.  I doubt they learned their lesson about how "cutting in line is bad" but at least I had a nice laugh. 

Bringing Honking Back,
Tony B.


Dear Cardinals and Reds,

Thank you for brawling the other day.  My only regret is that Johnny Cueto didn't spike everyone on the Cardinals team while he was wildly kicking.  Just so we're clear, I'm cheering against whichever one of you makes the playoffs.  Tony LaRussa might be my least favorite manager ever. 

Tony B.


Dear Steven Slater,

Thank you for losing your damn mind.  If you don't know this former flight attendant's story, you should read it immediately!  This guy basically left his job in the most baller way possible.  Sliding down the inflatable slide?  Yes please!  After 28 years you had taken enough abuse- good for you Steven.  Now if only you would change your name to A.C. 

Best regards,
Tony B.


Dear Mike Fontenot,

Thank you for hitting a two-run double on Tuesday's game against the Giants, only to be traded to the Giants the very next day.  I can only imagine had you know you would've been traded the next day, you probably wouldn't have wanted to knock in some insurance runs against your new team.  Oh well, that's the way it goes I guess.  Hell, maybe that hit got you noticed by the Giants' front office. 

Tony B.


Dear NFL Season,

Thank you for coming back!  I missed you so much.  If you could hurry it up and get here though, it would be MUCH appreciated.  I'm not a whole person without the Chicago Bears breaking my heart each and every Sunday (or occasionally Mondays and Thursdays.) 

Tony B.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cubs/Giants 8/10/10

Mrs. B. and I went to the lovely city of San Francisco yesterday for the Cubs/Giants game.  We left work right at 5pm and drove straight there (we did stop to for a bathroom break at a huge Walgreens off San Pablo which stationed their bathrooms in the way back of the store in the employees only area- we peed and hightailed it out of there!)  We had seats in the bleachers, and our friend Sean (best man at the wedding) bought a ticket near us. 

After getting Cha Cha Bowls, we decided to look for seats away from the elements.  It was very cold last night.  After the game, Marty Lurie (on KNBR 680) said it was probably the coldest night of the year thus far.  On our way from the center field bleachers to around the left field foul pole to look for seats without a wind tunnel nearby, a guy was carrying his just purchased hot dog like he was Adrian Peterson.  Someone needs to teach him some ball security!  Mrs. B. didn't see him and the two collided, knocking the hot dog to the ground.  I didn't really see much of the whole thing go down, but I did see the end result, and it didn't look like Mrs. B. was wanting a confrontation, so we left the scene.  I think the guy was mad, but I have a feeling he probably brought the dog back and got a new one.  I can't imagine them refusing that.  Mrs. B. immediately told Sean and I that she debated telling the guy to "Charge It To Da Game!"  This would have been the funniest yet douchiest thing to say ever.  I still wish she had done it, though I guarantee I would've stopped, laughed as hard as I ever have, then gotten in an argument with "Neon Deon" about how he should have been carrying his hot dog high and tight.  Seriously, he was carrying the thing it was a sixth grade dance and a teacher had put a ruler between him and the hot dog. 

We went to section 133 under the overhang.  As far as sneaking into seats, this was quite a tame proposition, but there were still ushers looking to check people's tickets.  Luckily, we were able to pull it off without much trouble. 

I was excited to see Tim Lincecum pitch as I had never seen him pitch in person.  The results were underwhelming, but I guess that was good being a Cubs fan.  Fukudome hit a jack off Timmy in the first that went out of the stadium.  You don't see "Splash Hits" as often these days, so it was great to see Kosuke put one in the Bay. 

There were a few exciting parts to the game.  Buster Posey's double that should've been an error on Tyler Colvin, Mike Fontenot's pinch hit double to drive in two, and Ryan Dempster was quite good for the Cubs.  Also, it was great to see Sean again (twice in less than two weeks is some kind of record these days.)  Overall, I had a great time.  At least until...

TRAFFIC.  Bad traffic.  Around the 80 & 4 interchange, there was a massive slow down.  Had I Google Mapped my plan of attack I may have been able to avoid the massive wait, but I don't know the Richmond area all that well.  We sat in crawling traffic for at least an hour.  Eventually, the freeway went down to one lane, and we saw a horrific accident in the left lane.  The ambulance(s) had already left, but from the wreckage of the multiple cars, both Mrs. B. and I agreed that someone probably died.  It was awful. 

Once we were past the accident, it was mostly smooth sailing back to Sacramento.  Definitely not the perfect baseball experience with the cold weather, fumbled hot dog, and awful traffic accident on the way home, however, the good parts were a lot of fun.  My guess is that will be my final game of the season unless something crazy happens and the Giants go deep in the playoffs.  On the Triple-A front, I will be going to see the Sacramento Rivercats vs. the Iowa Cubs on Wednesday.  Let's go Ryno! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My First DJ Gig

Yesterday was 8/9/10, and I had my very first DJ gig at a wedding.  The victims were my co-worker's sister Alex and her now husband Drew.  They got married at the Lions Gate Hotel in North Highlands and I was happy to bring my PA system, computer, and guitar to give a hybrid of entertainment. 

I worked hard to get playlists together in advance, and I realized right off the bat that while the prep work was helpful, I immediately realized I had to be on my toes.  I threw on some instrumental music while waiting for everyone to get into place (we all know this takes awhile at weddings.)  For the wedding party's walk down the aisle we went with "Such Great Heights" covered by The Section Quartet.  Alex's walk down the aisle was to Air's "Playground Love" (quite the eclectic choice- nice pick!) 

Once the ceremony was over, I threw on "The Best Is Yet To Come" covered by Michael Buble.  It seemed to work well.  The cocktail hour started and I strapped on my six string (poor choice of words there, I know) and sang a few songs.  I started with my original wedding song "Perfect For Me" and then went into other original songs "You're Not Just Another Girl," "Love For Me," and "50 Stories."  I was asked to cover a few songs including "Tainted Love" and "Brown Eyed Girl" so of course I obliged. 

After a few more songs, it was time to announce the happy newlyweds into the reception then throw on a playlist and relax.  At that point I was able to eat and have a couple of my preferred light beers (no, they don't get a shout out until they sponsor my blog.)  I almost forgot about my responsibilities until it was time to cut the cake (which we played "Cut the Cake" by Average White Band.)  If anyone is keeping score, A.W.B. and I have the same initials. 

After that it was time for the first dance ("The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson) and the parents/bride/groom dance ("How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" by James Taylor.)  After that I broke into the most difficult portion of the night.  It was time for me to spin songs (by spin I mean press play on iTunes) and by relatively entertaining.  I really did just load up songs that the bride and groom specifically told me to play and I did not stray from the list.  Luckily, they allowed me to play "Ice Ice Baby" so that pretty much made my night. 

In the end, my closer was "I Had The Time Of My Life" by I have no idea on the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack.  That seemed to go over well, and alas my night was done. 

My final thoughts on the night?  1) The Cubs are awful.  2) I think I did a decent job with my limited computer programs and wide selection of songs.  3) Being a DJ is actually more difficult than one would think.  I'm not sure if I'll continue on and DJ for people that I'm not actually friends with, but I at least know what I'm getting myself into.  Congrats Alex and Drew and thanks for letting me be a part of your day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Post #500

It's back to work for me today, which is probably a good thing.  I don't want to get too used to pretending that my home is an office used for all things music... or do I?

Over the last few years, I've found a ton of things that I Like, Love and Hate about blogging.  Here are some of those things:

- I like the fact that people who I didn't realize read my blog will tell me in person that they liked something I wrote.  "Hey Tony, I really enjoyed the blog where you didn't know if you crapped your pants!"  Something like that...

- I love when people take it to the next level and actually comment.  G$ is the only true every day commenter, which is awesome because we went to elementary school together, but I would definitely like to encourage more people to comment on a regular basis.  Even if (especially if) you disagree with what I say. 

- I hate anonymous trolls that comment just to be A-Holes.  It's unnecessary.  If you can't even put an internet alias as your signature to your useless comment, then don't bother leaving it.  This happens less frequently on my blog than I have seen on other blogs, but it is very annoying. 

- I like when I actually have something to write about that is relevant to sports, music or the world in general.  Having a topic in mind is the first step toward writing a good blog. 

- I love when that topic actually turns out a few witty jokes making this blog enjoyable.  Sometimes I hold back the filthy jokes because of my less than anonymous moniker, but when I can keep it relatively clean and still funny- that is the perfect balance here at Second Rate Blog. 

- I hate when I have nothing to say and struggle through a blog that is clearly pointless.  Whether you love or hate the LOST live blogs, Wednesday was a load off my mind and helped me know exactly what I was doing at least one day a week.  I bet there are less mail-in posts when I have something regular on the schedule. 

- I like writing about current events in sports and music.  I also like writing about my own music career and how it is coming along.  I'm not sure if it is always interesting, but at least it keeps everyone updated in case I become the next Justin Bieber (I still don't get what the hype is all about on that guy?) 

- I love writing about weird things that happen to me during the day.  You all might remember the guy from Best Buy that sang "The Bear Necessities" or how about Steroid Guy from the gym.  Regular (but odd) people that do weird things are quite possibly the best topics that a blogger can harvest. 

- I hate coming up with a good idea only to have it fail within the blog, or be copied.  My "Jersey Shore vs. The NFL" may or may not have been copied by some dudes over on the user blogs of CBSSports.com, but it was odd to see it there 8 days later than my post.  I'm over it now, I just hate when it happens.  No fun at all.  (Although, I think I came close to accidentally copying G$'s post on "Teen Wolf" so I guess it's possible that those dudes had no idea I'd ever written a post comparing the Jersey Shore crew to the NFL.) 


Last, I hate the fact that while chewing gum on Sunday, I almost bit through my tongue.  Seriously.  It was bleeding like mad, but luckily I didn't need emergency medical attention.  Terrible week to do something like that as I have 3 shows and a showdown of Tim Lincecum vs. Ryan Dempster to attend (Tuesday.)  It seems like it's ok, and I've been told the tongue heals quite fast.  I may never chew gum again.  I mean, it's not like I'm a dimwitted blond from Valley High.  Beat-Bu-Beat-Bu-Bu-Bu-Beat Go Bayside!  Catch you all tomorrow...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Back From Monterey

I had Sing With The Band Karaoke last night at G St, after driving back from Monterey earlier in the day.  I was there to visit my friend Sean (best man at my wedding) and his girlfriend Trish.  Here are the highlights:

- I got to Monterey around 1:30pm on Wednesday.  We watched the rest of the Giants' game which was not the best game.  They lost to the Rockies in fairly convincing fashion. 

- We then went to a few beaches.  It was overcast, but still fun.  There was a whaler's museum and on our way out we saw two bunnies doing it in the bushes.  The one bunny looked like the Ben Roethlisberger of rabbits, though, as it was trying to mount the other bunny without obvious consent. 

- We ate at a restaurant called Hula's.  It was damn good and I highly recommend it.  I had the jerk chicken and it made my taste buds believe I was back in Jamaica on my honeymoon. 

- After watching Tosh.0 it was time for bed.  Many of their four cats traded spots sleeping on me.  I was happy about it though, because their cat (and I lived with Sean when he got this cat) Schmidty had been lost for over 3 weeks, but he returned to their doorstep the day before I got there.  He was emaciated, but seems to be healthy.  He was eating food, drinking water, cleaning himself, and occasionally licking the other cats.  I'm so happy he's home safe.

- In the morning we had a great breakfast of blueberry waffles, eggs, and fake bacon.  Then we watched the Rays and Twins game and talked about fantasy baseball for over an hour.  Just like the good ol' days!

- After grabbing lunch at a Mexican restaurant, I was back on the road.  It was a quick 24 hour roadtrip, but well worth it. 

- I got back in time for a quick nap, then it was off to the G St Pub in Davis.  Our opening set of "Today," "Take Me Out," and "All These Things I've Done" was one of our best ever.  The crowd was a little light last night, but the people who sang were quite enthusiastic and/or good which makes it more fun. 

- And here we are now.  I'm watching ESPN right now, and I don't see Brett Favre anywhere.  I guess ESPN's outbreak of Favrepes has subsided.  So hard to get rid of.  Post #500 coming on Monday...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Some Quick Thoughts

- I had my first dry vodka martini last night.  It was pretty good, and that drink goes straight to the dome!

- I woke up this morning to Comcast having given us tons of new HD channels.  Finally, ESPNews in HD!  Unfortunately...

- The Ocho was filled with talk of this particular quarterback that I am not fond of.  The funny thing is that the hosts kept asking the "experts" about what happens when Favre changes his mind in a month.  I can't take this seriously until NEXT season starts and Favre isn't on a roster. 

- I have a doctor's appointment this morning to follow up on my kidney stuff.  Wise to drink last night?  Maybe not.  But I think we're just looking at the pictures of the IVP from last week.  I would definitely fail an "are you hung over" test, though. 

- I'm hopefully driving to Monterey tomorrow to visit my friend Sean.  The blogging may be quite erratic this week but bare with me.  Coming up on post #500...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Peppermill Trip 7/29 - 7/31

This past Thursday - Saturday, I met up with two of my buddies and went on a poker-centric trip to the Peppermill in Reno.  As anyone who has read my blog previously knows, the Peppermill is my favorite casino and I'm currently trying to win a contest called "Be The High Roller" (check that out here.) 

I met up with my friends at 10am and we were on the road immediately.  The trip up seemed to fly by, and we arrived in Reno around 12:30.  My buddy Mike went immediately to the poker room and got after it.  Brian and I went to Saucey's BBQ for some delicious sandwiches.  I went with the pulled pork sandwich with the house BBQ sauce.  I hadn't eaten there in awhile, but it absolutely hit the spot.  We were back over playing poker in no time. 

If I'm not mistaken, Mike was playing pretty well when we got back over there and we sat at his table.  The table was quite tame as the average age at the table was probably 60 (yes, there was an 82 year old at the table, and plenty of 70 year olds.)  Also at the table, there was one younger guy who said he was from Chicago, so I had a nice time talking about whether or not Ryno should be the new manager of the Cubs.  We decided that it really doesn't matter, but why not give him a try?  What's the worst that could happen- they don't win the World Series? 

I was coming down with a fierce headache, so I decided to go with Brian to grab our bags and bring them back to the hotel room. After that we went back down to the poker room and Mike had switched tables and that table seemed to be a large improvement from before.  We sat down, and so began the funnest poker session I've ever experienced. 

We played tons of side bets using the "Lodden Thinks" game that has become popular on various poker shows (I saw it on "Poker After Dark" but I'm sure it has been on other shows.)  The premise of the game is to have at least three people in the game.  One person thinks of an answer to a proposed question that the person doing the thinking preferably doesn't know the actual answer to.  For example, a couple (Kelly and Pat the Police Officer) were playing on either side of the dealer, and we asked, "How many years does Tony think Kelly and Pat have been dating/married?"  So thought of the number and went with 11.  I locked it in, and let Mike and Brian go back and forth until someone buys the prop.  In the case, I forget who bought it, but if I'm not mistaken, someone took 9 and over and won.  The actual answer was closer to 20, as we found out later, but that matters little in this game. 

After some caffeine, my headache was feeling much better.  I'm not exactly sure how I can relay the rest of the poker room experience.  Just know that we were getting pretty loud, and the pit boss was none too pleased.  He had to talk to us a few times, and I think the dealers were getting sick of our prop bets (and probably 3 of 10 players were annoyed- which incidentally gave us the advantage over them during the actual poker game.)  Some of the players were also getting frustrated because we (ESPECIALLY and MOSTLY Mike) were being super aggressive with raising.  Mike could have easily raised 10 straight hands, but I can't totally back that up because we were getting awfully drunk at this point. 

In between all of our shenanigans, we got to know a few of the players at the table.  Check this out:

- There was a girl who was from Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek and went to College Park High School.  She was a year younger than me, so we chatted about the East Bay Area a bit.
- As previously mentioned, there was a guy who was in from Chicago. 
- A guy named Ryan sat down and mentioned he was in town for a mining competition for his business that helps mining companies prevent disasters where miners get stuck.  He said he was in from the Atlanta area.  I mentioned that I lived in a suburb of Atlanta from 4th - 7th grade.  He asked where, and I said Fayetteville, GA.  He was shocked.  He was also from Fayetteville.  We traded info and we went to the same elementary and middle school.  He was 5 years younger than me, so we didn't know many of the same people personally, but he had heard of some of the names I came up with that I remembered from Little League. 
- And of course, there was a 22 year old dude from Sacramento.  If you count Davis with the Sacramento Area guy, then there was only one place that I have lived that was not represented in Reno...
- I am horribly disappointed with Napoleon, OH- you'd figure they would've represented at the poker table in Reno.  G$, I expect you to be there next time! 

Much of the trip flew by because we drank tons.  I'd like to thank the people at the Peppermill for a fantastic trip.  The people at the poker room were great.  From the dealers to most of the other folks (the pit boss who kept reprimanding us was not our favorite, but I get why he was annoyed)- I was quite pleased.  They even comped me a French Bread Pizza from the Sports Deli (delicious!)

In the end, I was up a decent amount overall.  I lost a bit in Craps ($70 I think), Sports ($10 parlay that sucked- and no, I'm not betting on the Bulls.  The odds dropped to 12/1), Keno ($20), and Video Poker ($20- however I was up 8 Jack and Diets so I'm fairly sure that $20 was worth it.)  I did do well at the poker table so I think I was up around $200 for the trip. 

Such a great time though!  Oddly enough, I'm going back in two weeks because my friend is getting married up in that area.  As always, I highly recommend the Peppermill!