My Obligatory Thanksgiving Break Rant, Enjoy

No, I'm a thigh man!

No, I'm a thigh man!

This was an extremely weird Thanksgiving break. Up was down, black was white and in-laws were well, in-laws.

I came home Friday afternoon, a whole week before Thanksgiving, so I could spend a few extra days with the girlfriend. I mean, what’s more important: seeing my girlfriend or going to business calculus and philosophy class? (Dad, I don’t want to hear your opinion)

After spending the past few months in the never ending black hole of overcast, rain, and perpetual 40 degree weather that is Eugene, my skin had a minor freak out upon walking out of the airport into 65 degree sunshine–in late November.

If it weren’t for Oregon football, I’d be kicking myself for ever leaving California’s year-round sunny weather.

Ok, enough weather. Why was this week so weird?

I spent more time in a mall than I did watching football. Seriously. That’s what happens when you have a girlfriend. Is it too late to go back?

I missed out on Tiger’s accident, Pete Carroll being Pete Carroll (read: douche), and six hours of planting my ass directly in front of the NFL Red Zone channel on Sunday.

Instead, I got to spend hours waiting in front of the dressing room at Forever 21, A’gaci, Charlotte Rousse, Bebe and every single other store on the San Francisco Peninsula.

I went to three (three!) different malls, including one on Black Friday. I am ashamed.

Quick tangent.

Is it just me or does everyone who works at Forever 21 and the like look exactly the same? It’s always a kinda-gangster looking Asian or Latina chick who wears clothes one size too small, too much make-up and jewelry (almost always huge hoop earrings), a small tattoo (most likely a tramp stamp) and might be cute if she lost 10 pounds.

I even saw one girl, who was almost cute, look in the mirror (while she was working) and remark to a co-worker, “all my blubber is showing.”

Yea, that’s because your shirt is one size too small, you eat McDonald’s on your break, the only exercise you get is walking to the stock room to check if that sparkly mini-skirt is in stock, and you read way too many fashion magazines that say if you want to get a guy you have to dress like it’s Halloween every single day.

Seriously. It’s the same girls at every store.

Don’t worry though, I’m earning my man card back tonight by watching Dennis Dixon make his first NFL start. Check my twitter if you don’t believe me.

It doesn’t matter that I’m only watching because my girlfriend is at the Kelly Clarkson concert, I’m still watching!

And the other weird thing this week?

I don’t think I’ve eaten a single healthy thing since Monday. And I’ve been a super health freak ever since I went from 205 to 145 on the scale since high school.

I fit in every single one of my San Mateo comfort-food favorite restaurants, along with a Thanksgiving feast and my mom’s birthday cake in a week. Pretty impressive, huh?

Burritos, teriyaki chicken, frozen yogurt, pumpkin pie, dim sum face-stuff fest, birthday cake. Not a good diet–even for a college student.

Yet somehow, I think my pants are actually looser on me now than they were last week. Now that’s impressive.

Gotta take advantage of the metabolism while I can.

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NFL Power Rankings Week 4

My lovely girlfriend drove up with me this weekend to see me off back to school in Oregon and how did I repay her? By watching football, more football, football video games and then even more football. I actually feel kind of bad, considering she is not a football fan. Let’s just say, when I said the Cowboys are playing on Monday Night Football, she asked me, “Who are the Cowboys?”

But don’t you worry; I made it up to her. And now I’ll make it up to you by delivering the funniest, most informative NFL Power Rankings you will read all week (as long as it’s the only one).

Truer words have never been spoken

Truer words have never been spoken

32 (32) – Rams – The only thing more depressing than the Rams season is the latest episode of Entourage. Turtle got dumped, Drama had a heart attack, and E had an STD scare. Who wrote this, Joseph Merrick?

31 (31) – Browns – Take a look at Cleveland’s team stat leaders. Brady Quinn has 400 yards, Jamal Lewis has 95, and Braylon Edwards has 139. Those would only be mildly impressive for one game. Somewhere Matthew Berry is crying.

30 (30) – Chiefs – There’s a legitimate chance that Kansas City won’t get a win until week 9. They play the Giants, Cowboys, at Washington, and San Diego.  On the bright side, kicker Ryan Succop is perfect so far on the season.

29 (28) – Buccaneers – Does Raheem Morris really think Josh Johnson is the answer to his team’s offensive woes? I mean, he’s not even the best Josh Johnson in the state of Florida.

28 (25) – Raiders – The only reasons JaMarcus Russell is still starting are Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski. Is the QB from “Glee” available?

27 (29) – Lions – Detroit Fans celebrated the victory like it was 1999. Unfortunately, they won’t be doing it again for a while as they face Chicago, Pittsburgh and Green Bay the next three weeks.

26 (24) – Panthers – This messed me up last night: the Jake Delhomme drinking game. Take a shot every turnover or three and out. Man, that second half was a killer.

25 (26) – Dolphins – Forget Chad Henne, play Pat White! Yes, you might not be very good, but you wouldn’t be anyway, and you’d instantly have the most exciting quarterback since pre-prison Michael Vick.

24 (20) – Redskins – First in free agency, last in the NFC East. After back-to-back pathetic performances against two of the worst teams in the league, the Lions and Rams, Washington gets a chance to play three more winless teams in row. This could get ugly.

23 (22) – Seahawks – So much for being the sexy sleeper pick in the NFC West. Seneca Wallace looked absolutely terrified that the game came down to him leading a two-minute drill against one of the NFL’s toughest D’s.

22 (21) – Bills – One week after getting his first touchdown for Toronto, T.O. get’s another first: his first game without a reception in 185 contests. Good news though, “Beast Mode” comes back next week.

21 (22) – Jaguars – Even with the win, my buddy Alon has finally come to the conclusion that Jacksonville sucks right now. Good for him.

20 (16) – Cardinals – After losing to the Steelers last February, Arizona is suffering a Super Bowl hangover worse than if Courtney Love and Artie Lang had a cocaine-infused love child and then 19 years later sent it off to college at Arizona State.

19 (17) – Texans – The offense has finally found its groove behind Matt Schaub, but the defense is giving up a league high 436 yards per game. It should be fun on Sunday to see who can suck more, JaMarcus Russell or Houston’s defense.

18 (18) – Titans – I wonder how quickly Kerry Collins could down a 6-pack. 3 minutes? 5, tops?

Legendary

Legendary

17 (23) – Bengals – They’re a fluke catch from a white wide receiver away from  being 3-0. And I had them at number 32 in the preseason. I’m still not buying it 100%, but I owe Cincinnati an apology.

16 (19) – Broncos – I know they haven’t played anybody yet, but after all that has been said about how terrible their defense would be, it’s pretty impressive that they’ve allowed only 16 points in three games.  Unfortunately, there’s a pretty realistic chance they will be 4-6 after week 12. The upcoming schedule is brutal.

15 (14) – Cowboys – Did what they were supposed to do against the rotting corpse of Jake Delhomme. Don’t be impressed.

14 (13) – Bears – Hey Chicago, it feels pretty good to finally have a real quarterback, doesn’t it?  Although it was fun to see Jay Mariotti complain about Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman on Around the Horn.

13 (6) – Steelers – I know the loss of Troy Polamalu hurts, but come on, the Bengals, really? Give the man a Coke Zero, and get him back out onto the field.

12 (12) – 49ers – I’m sold. Going into Minnesota and giving the Vikings all they could handle was impressive. And even more importantly, Vernon Davis finally flashed the potential that made him the NFL’s highest paid tight end in 2006. With Frank Gore out for three weeks, this is Davis’ chance to really step up and carry the offense.

11 (7) – Falcons – Tim Hightower, Kevin Smith and pothead Ricky Williams are all ahead of Michael Turner in fantasy points this season. This makes me smile.

10 (15) – Packers – I wonder how many hours this week ESPN will spend hyping up Brett Favre’s first game against Green Bay. How many hours are there till Sunday? Yea, that many.

9 (9) – Eagles – Michael Vick said after the game that his return to the field (and two incomplete passes) was a top three moment in his career. I’m guessing he’s not counting his dog-fighting career. What, too soon?

8 (8) – Chargers

Ron Burgundy: Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina.
Veronica Corningstone: No, there’s no way that’s correct.
Ron Burgundy: I’m sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don’t know what it means. I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.
Veronica Corningstone: Doesn’t it mean Saint Diego?
Ron Burgundy: No. No.
Veronica Corningstone: No, that’s – that’s what it means. Really.
Ron Burgundy: Agree to disagree.

Is any of that football related? No, I just thought it was funny.

7 (11) – Jets – Mark Sanchez is the first rookie quarterback to ever start 3-0. Of all the quarterbacks in NFL history, Mark Frikkin’ Dirty Sanchez. I am an Oregon fan, remember?

6 (10) – Colts – Arizona might not have the most impressive defense, but what Peyton Manning did on Sunday was pretty damn impressive. You can give them the previously and perennially overrated AFC South right now.

This Ravens team is hungry. I wonder how Big Ben's uniform tastes.

This Ravens team is hungry. I wonder how Big Ben's uniform tastes.

5 (5) – Patriots – Now that’s more like it. Without Wes Welker, Tom Brady and New England outclassed Atlanta in every facet of the game. Even grandpa Fred Taylor had over 100 yards and a touchdown.

4 (4) – Giants – The G-men held the always dangerous Tampa Bay offense (ha) to just 86 total net yards. That’s almost as bad as Keanu Reeves’s performance in “Much Ado About Nothing.” Keanu doing Shakespeare? Uckkkk.

3 (3) – Saints – New Orleans blew out the Bills despite a human performance from Drew Brees, by running the football and playing solid defense. That’s frightening.

2 (1) – Vikings – Only Brett Favre would command a career highlight reel during a football game he wasn’t playing in. I almost gagged.

1 (2) – Ravens – This Ravens team is scarier that Keifer Sutherland’s voice in Phone Booth. That still gives me the chills just thinking about it.

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The Anti-man Crushes, People the Sports Dude Hates

First, let me say, I wasn’t going to write this blog until Tuesday, but for the sake of my girlfriend’s sanity and the future of our relationship, I needed to get out my snide comments and sarcastic witticisms before I do any more irreversible damage. Let’s just say she was not amused when I called her a “borderline midget” even though she is 5’2” and a whole one-third of a foot away from being a legal dwarf. I was clearly joking. Why she puts up with me, I have no clue. Let’s move on.

boston-sports-si-coversBrett Favre – According to ESPN, Brett Favre can do no wrong. He helps old ladies cross the street, adopts lost kittens from the pound, and if they had to venture a guess for who would find the cure for cancer, I’m pretty sure they would pick Brett Favre. Who cares if he’s only a mediocre NFL quarterback anymore? I mean, the man was just in a Super Bowl in 1997. Wait, that was 12 years ago, already? Somebody go get John Madden’s inhaler.

And then, of course, they would go on to force meaningless Brett Favre stories down our throats for the next week, making sure to get all their top analysts to line up and kiss Favre’s butt for 30 second clips. I can just picture Merrill Hoge, Ron Jaworski, Chris Mortenson and Trent Dilfer all sitting together in the make-up room, competing to see who has can squeeze the most superlatives into a 300-word speech. I set the over/under at 20, bet my life savings on the over, and then put my future children’s college education money on Jaws. It’s a stone cold lock.

Eli Manning – Continuing with overpaid, underperforming quarterbacks, I pose a simple question: where would Eli Manning be without his last name? A store manager at Sports Authority? The UFL? if he was lucky, a back-up quarterback in the NFL? Seriously, the dude was good college, but I never watched him and thought, “Man, this guy sure has what it takes to be a legit NFL quarterback.”

And then to force a trade so he could be in a major market? If that doesn’t scream douchebag, I don’t know what does. Anyone with an IQ over 75 could tell he would crumple under the pressure in New York. And I know there are some of you out there that will say, “how can he be overrated, he won a Super Bowl MVP.” It’s not that simple. First of all, he didn’t even play that well. 19 for 34 and a QB rating of 87.3 hardly screams MVP. Second, the pass that won him the award was complete luck and never should have left his hand. How he wasn’t sacked is beyond me. And if you re-did that jump ball match-up of Rodney Harrison and 18th-string wide receiver David Tyree 5 million times, do you see Tyree ever winning again? I don’t.

So let’s recap. He’s good in college, get’s drafted #1 overall because of the hope he will turn out to be half of what his brother is, sucks for four years, rides the best defensive line in the history of the NFL to a magical playoff run, receives the good fortune of the luckiest play in Super Bowl history, has his first decent season in his contract year but loses Plax and then instantly turns in four straight sub-200 yard games, dupes the Giants into one of the biggest (and worst) contracts in NFL history, and now will rely on Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks as his top receivers this year. I am not bitter at all.

Steroids – The only thing I care less about than Brett Favre. The only players I would care about if they tested positive would be Jeter and Pujols, but until then, I’d rather watch highlights of the WNBA pre-season.

Boston fans – I used to like them, I really did. All the history, Fenway Park, Ted Williams, Larry Bird, Bill Russell. There was just something likeable about them. Maybe it was being able to empathize with a team who had encountered so much epically bad luck, or maybe it was how passionate Bostonians were about their sports no matter what happened year in and year out. But then 2004 hit and all hell broke loose. The curse was over, and Boston’s collective sports personality went from cynical to cocky after a routine Ruben Sierra ground out to Pokey Reese. There wasn’t even a need to play the Cardinals after that. The ensuing 4-game sweep was inevitable.

The one time lovable losers quickly forgot their storied past and took on a whole new identity, more annoying than those Guido, work out three hours a day, wear shirts one size too small, collar popping Mets fans from New Jersey. You could say the success got to their heads. The Patriots become the best team in the NFL, the Red Sox break the curse, and the Celtics are given the Big Three in an act of collusion between ESPN and David Stern. Hell, even the Bruins are a playoff team, Matt Ryan leads Boston College to a spectacular year, and Boston University has one of the greatest comebacks in the history of college hockey. The altogether success was mind-boggling.

But this is where it get’s annoying. That isn’t enough for them. Now they have to win every year. I came in contact with this first-hand this past year in the dorms at Oregon where I met Alon. We were talking baseball, one by one going through the Red Sox roster: Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youkilis, Bay, Ortiz, Lowell, Drew, Beckett, (Mo) Lester, Wakefield, the bullpen, etc. ESPN, SI, everybody has them pegged as a playoff team and a legitimate World Series candidate, yet Alon complains to me, knowing I am an A’s fan, “I don’t really like our team this year. We need a better second lefty out of the pen.” Wow.

The San Francisco Giants – It’s already 1:30 and I have to wake up in 6 hours. Unless I want to go to work tomorrow with bags under my eyes bigger than the size of Greg Anderson’s prison cell, I am going to save this for an entirely new post. Goodnight.

The Sports Dude’s Man Crushes

i-love-you-man-segel-rudd-476x300-(2)Disclaimer – these are all completely heterosexual. I have a girlfriend.

Derek Jeter – Yeah, I know, he’s a Yankee. But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s been my childhood idol ever since I picked up a baseball for the first time. There are multiple factors that make this aging first-ballot Hall-of-Famer a personal fave.

First of all, I am man enough to admit that he’s a pretty damn good lookin’ dude. He has that boy next door look, with his huge toothy smile, and clean cut appearance. Embarrassingly, I confess that I once took a picture of his hair with me to Great Clips, pointed to the 47-year old Asian women who only spoke broken English and said, “I want that.” Unfortunately, either she skipped the Derek Jeter Haircut Day in beauty school or she didn’t think I could pull it off, saying, “no, you no want that.” To this day, I believe the former.

Also, Derek Jeter is so good at baseball that he took a typical play, the middle infielder jump throw, and did it so well that now he is forever known as the “Jump Man.” How many other players have their own play? The Jose Cruz Jr. dropped fly ball? The Ruben Rivera base running spectacular? They don’t quite have the same ring to it. I don’t think there is a major league baseball player who has caused more unearned runs in little league games by having kids try to imitate his signature play.  Plus, the man has hooked up with 6 (possibly more) of the Maxim Top 100 list despite having the middle name Sanderson. That’s G.

Albert Pujols – Have you ever seen him swing a baseball bat? If yes, you need no further explanation. If no, drop whatever you are doing and YouTube him. And he’s even got a sense of humor.

Tom Brady – First of all, how can you not love his story? 6th round pick becomes best QB of his era. He was passed over by guys like Spergon Wynn out of football powerhouse Southwest Texas State, and Giovanni Carmazzi from Hofstra. Think the Browns and Niners regret those picks?

The San Mateo, Calif. native (my hometown, baby!!!) was even drafted out of Serra high school in the 18th round to play catcher for the Montreal Expos. That’s doubly impressive because he didn’t necessarily have a body that makes you go, “wow, what an athlete.” He gives short white guys like me hope, maybe not to dominate the NFL, but intramural football at Oregon certainly isn’t out of the question.

He is basically the Derek Jeter of the NFL. Golden boy who leads their team to multiple championships, has multi-million dollar endorsements, the hottest girlfriend in the world (sorry baby, Giselle is well, Giselle) and has led the Sports Dude to several fantasy football titles. He even held his own in a recent guest appearance on Entourage, looking like a Ralph Lauren model while simultaneously making fun of Johnny Drama. Impressive.

Paul Rudd – So what if he’s not a star athlete? If I could trade personalities with anyone, it would be him. The talented actor displays the perfect combination of witty quirkiness, boyish good looks, happy go lucky attitude, and shyness topped with a subtle yet strong sense of confidence. His resume is impeccable, starring in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Anchorman, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man, while also adding a little extra bit of wonderful to seasons 6 through 8 of Friends, and displaying some impressive range in his performances of Nick Carraway in the Great Gatsby and the bad guy in the Halloween movie from 1995.

Once again, he gives me hope of becoming famous. One look at Mr. Rudd and all you see is an unassuming, mildly chubby, 5’9 pale white guy, but the more I watch him, the deeper my man crush grows. I think it’s because I can relate to him. And damn, can he dance – the sexuality was palpable.

Coming soon: The Anti-man Crushes, People the Sports Dude Hates.

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My Gift From France

So my dad just got home from spending two weeks in France with his girlfriend. He met her parents, went to the Eiffel Tower, toured castles, chilled on the beach, and you know, all the stuff that a couple would do in the summer in France.

While he was there, he specifically went out his way to find my brother a Samir Nasri French National Team kit. First of all, my brother has no real affinity for this Nasri fellow. He didn’t even know who he was until he watched me play with him on FIFA, but  nonetheless, he had to have it. My dad, thinking that Nasri was my pinhead brother’s favorite player, spent hours looking in every nook and cranny of Paris to find him this jersey. He even CC’d me on an e-mail saying he would buy a blank National Team jersey and have a professional print Nasri’s name on the back. Fantastic.

So my brother comes home and enthusiastically shows me his pretty awesome new shirt. Pretty cool. Then my brother says my dad got something for me too. I expected something, you know, maybe sports related. I mean, it’s not like I keep my sports obsession a secret. Yes, I do read Sports Illustrated under the covers with a flashlight, with the lights off, but he knows about it! OK, so what did he get me?

A shirt of the freakin’ Bayeux Tapestry. Expectations crushed. Oh well. Maybe I can wear it to a 70’s party this year at Oregon. The 1470’s. Thanks dad.

01052

UPDATE: So I met my dad for coffee tonight at Peet’s (free plug!) for the first time since he came back home from his trip. Of course, like any good friend of the Sports Dude, he came armed with gifts. Excited, I was giddy to find out what else he got me from France. Guess what the first thing he pulled out? Yes, another! Bayeux Tapestry t-shirt.

So in reality, the gift my brother passed on to me from dad was meant for him. Can’t really blame a 12 year old for not wanting a shirt of the Bayeux Tapestry, but to re-gift it to me? Not cool.

But here’s the funny part. My brother doesn’t know that my dad gave me another one. So guess what he’s getting for Christmas?

Mark one for the Sports Dude.