Archives for the month of: December, 2011

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This was an excerpt from a conversation I was having with a friend. I think it is old fashioned to think you have to place a phone call to ask a girl out on a date. 140 years ago did Alexander Graham Bell’s friends tell him he’s not allowed to call a girl to ask her out and instead he has to knock on her door? I bet he wouldn’t invent the telephone if etiquette would not change with the times.

Same thing with texting.

There is no reason that we can’t adapt to changes in everyday technology. I’m not advocating wedding proposals this way (duh, that’s what twitter is for, @girlofmydreams #marry me?)

I think it should be acceptable to open a line of dialogue using texts and one should not fear to ask questions. You won’t be texting DURING the date. It’s just a question.

“How was your day?”

“Busy but not too bad. How was yours?”

“Not bad. Are you busy this week?”

“Only Tuesday. Why?”

“Do you want to go out Thursday?” … Will she just not answer that question?

If she says yes but she secretly hates that you asked her out in a text then just be extra charming during the date. Seems sensible to me.

In an age where 20-somethings no longer have land lines and you are expected to have your phone on you at all times but can be doing absolutely anything (working, shopping, in a meeting, at an appointment, etc) it makes sense to leave a message for simple questions rather than cause an interruption.

Now obviously I don’t think you should go entire relationships without placing a phone call. But I have a feeling we weren’t really meant for each other anyway.

/too pale.

Don’t be this guy. But for all the text-haters, the phone can get you into trouble too.

Hit 245 for 3 sets of 5 back squatting. Not sure if I hit the appropriate depth on my squats. Didn’t eat enough carbs today. By which I mean zero. Ran out of energy by the end. Did 3 sets of 5 bench press at 190. My spotter criticized my technique. I was bouncing the bar off my chest. He asked me why I did this. I told him I have been cheating on bench press since I was 14. I told him I would stop. The next 2 sets were cheat free. Thanks, dude. PR’d on deadlift at 375. Going to have to eat more on deadlift days. I think I’m going to hide these workout logs in the middle of posts from now on. Tricked ya into reading about me lifting light weights! Also did 3×5 pullups with a 20lb dumbbell.

I can’t even remember the last time I asked a girl out over the phone. I have gotten to the point that when I ask for a girl’s number I just say “hope you like text messages!” If she reacts negatively then at least we established that at the beginning.

I think I used to call girls right after I met them (possibly waiting 3 days like in Swingers) but inevitably the call would go to voicemail. Then I would leave a rambling message along the lines of: “Hey (girl) it’s Mike… From (bar on saturday)”

/like she didn’t remember giving her number out. and if she did forget then I should stop hitting on intoxicated women.

“it was, ummm, nice meeting you. So give me a call back when you get this.” I guess that’s not that bad. Though I never really had much success that way. I felt like Frank the Tank from Old School calling his separated wife.

I read this on the UK version of askmen.com

“The best usage of the post-first-date text is its perceived innocence. Acceptable messages would be: “Hey, I had a great night with you. I can’t wait to do it again,” or, “Just heard someone laugh exactly like that woman we sat next to the other night, except this time she was 60 and had a German accent.” Little tidbits are reminders that you haven’t lost sight of the time you spent together, but avoid formalities that should be settled in person.

Read more: http://uk.askmen.com/dating/curtsmith_250/261_relationship-rules-text-messaging.html#ixzz1i5VlmcrW

That makes sense.

Under no circumstances should your post first date text be:

“Did you have to?”

“Did I have to what?”

“Did you have to let it linger.”

Girls don’t get Cranberries humor. Happy New Year! Occupy 2012.

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Have you made your plans yet for New Year’s Eve? If not, then don’t sweat it. Seriously. Just make sure you’re doing anything with a bunch of friends and you will be alright. It is a holiday that generates a lot of irrational stress. The only think you should be stressing about is how quickly you can get your next drink.

Find a party, bar, or event that has the best bartender to guest ratio as possible. Have a ‘no worries’ attitude about everything else- atleast for one day.

Saw someone in the gym doing a similar workout than me but with the weights I was lifting this time last year. This was encouraging for me because it reminded me of the progress I can make in one year. Hope that guy sticks with it… But really hope that dude doesn’t end up stronger than me.

Hit all my reps at 240 squat (3X5). This felt easy. Everything else felt hard. Only thought in my head was “knees fucking out”. Amazing how a weight on your back reduces you to one cogent thought. Worked up to a 175×2 pushpress but it was an unfocused effort on the way. Missed several cleans to get the bar in position. You know what looks awesome in a weightroom? Powercleaning before presses. You know what looks lame and not awesome? Missing the rep trying to powerclean the bar before a press. That wasn’t even my planned exercise.

Reader Jessie comments

I need some help with my resolutions….any ideas?

You could think about what it is you wanted to be doing nowadays back when you were 18 or 23 or 28. An example is if you wanted to go recreational travelling but always kind of put it off. You could make a resolution to seek out a frugal travel plan and visit places you always wanted to go. Or you could find a way to save money consistently over time and then spend your saved time off and money on some travelling.

For a boring resolution, however… Find out what might be valuable to do and make a resolution to include more of it your life. Could be improving your health through your diet. Could be by spending more time reading and less time with television. I guess you could go the other way around- there’s LOTS of good television. “Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan”

I’ve been meaning to do some commentary and analysis on some tv stuff (possibly using economics). Hopefully, I get to some of these ideas in the short-run (In the long run we are all dead.)

Why did this post feel like a helpful tips column?

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look closer.

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There’s a long tobacco pipe fastened on top of his hat. Well done, sir.

I’m back after a Christmas day break and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Now on to the next one.

Last year I made two new years resolutions that stuck. While I didn’t write them down or really tell anybody about them, I chose to improve myself by consistently lifting weights and by quitting smoking. I quit last December and I started using my gym membership (that was auto-deducting from my account monthly) shortly thereafter.

But those were boring improvements and were obvious steps that I should have made long ago. And I have a couple of new resolutions I will be making this year. Afterall- when looking into the Mirror of Erised, only “The happiest man on earth would look into the mirror and see only himself, exactly how he is.

  1. Stop hitting on bartenders.
  2. This includes bartenders at America’s best casual dining restaurant and bar, Chili’s.
  3. Learn how to use numeric bullet-points.
  4. Increase mobility by doing joint specific (hips, shoulders, knees) workouts (boring.. I know).

Let me explain that first one. I have always been a sucker for bartenders. I basically pay them to talk to me. It’s only one step below falling in love with a stripper (there’s always one guy in the group that makes that mistake… but thankfully its not me).

While there is nothing wrong with them as people (in fact most are sociable and extroverted personalities, and they can put up with drunk assholes), they work SHIT hours. And they will always work SHIT hours. Which means if I ever DID fall in love with a bartender, when would I date her? 3 pm on a tuesday? 5am on a sunday? The one day off a week they get (which is never the weekend).

Also they have already peaked financially.

Feel free to leave your resolutions in the comments, or tweet at me, or facebook me, or text me, so I can criticize encourage you.

It’s going to be another busy week. And just like my lovable loser Washington Wizards, we are not focusing on wins and losses right now, we are focusing on the process. So make steps and build on what you have right now. No more bartenders. Increase mobility. Learn how to use bullet-points.

And enjoy Chili’s for what it is.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction of this blog and how I want it to develop. When I look at the most successful blogs on the internet they either have a central theme that is unique or fits into a niche of blogs or they are non-focused but lead by popular writers.

This is neither. Obvi.

But that does not discourage me. I want this to be free flowing. I want this to cover important life events. I want this to cover insights into the world around us. I want this to address the readerships questions, comments, and concerns.

But if I score any hits I will sell out as quickly as possible.

And if this blog devolves into Gossip Girl fan fiction then don’t say I didn’t warn you.

/google searches to see if Gossip Girl fan fiction is a real thing…

985,000 hits? Well I guess I didn’t corner that market. Moving on…

For now, though, we will stick with the potpourri of lifting stories, weak economic analyses of popular movies, the fun of bar crawls, answering reader mail, and other FANTASTIC elements of the human existence. (but when I come up with a focused theme for a blog then I’ll probably create a new site for it. BRANDING).

Reader Jessie says (on my facebook fan page… I mean, facebook page)

Love Actually has a wedding, a lot at stake, multiple perspectives and big names.

This is true. Ad I love love, actually. I didn’t check the international box office but I hope and assume it actually made a lot of money. I know that it has become a Christmas season movie staple with a number of my friends. Some people dislike it, but then again some people have no souls. Nothing we can do about that.

The thing about Love, Actually- and this is not really a criticism- is that it is candy. There is no nutritional value. I watch it because I enjoy watching these actors charm each other around the holidays. They find each other’s love in these amazing ways. But as one of my friends told me “I can’t watch Love, Actually and then go out to bars and meet losers”. And that’s true. As much as I love the sweetness of it- you can’t live off of a dancing (by himself to pointer sisters) prime minister that is drunk off the love of a subordinate.

But in the pantheon of Christmas movies that are really just set around Christmas time and not actually about the spirit of Christmas I will always go Home Alone > Die Hard > Love, Actually.

Now I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho.

Merry Christmas!

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This is the first year that the apartment I live in has a real Christmas tree- and it smells fantastic. It’s like my apartment has died and gone to Christmas Heaven. I previously did not appreciate how a Christmas tree will improve my living room.  Au tannenbaum.

Reader Marv says

This is the worst piece of shit I have skim read in my life. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, nobody gives a fuck about what you have to say about ANYTHING!

Well Marv, I’m going to have to agree with you there. I know this entirely too well. I wouldn’t want to skim read these blog posts either. But then again, it’s the pre-season. We are just warming up and testing out the playbook. Some of the weaker players are getting a lot of minutes. The idea is to practice everything and make evaluations.

In short, we want to see where our strengths and weaknesses are.

I did some squats today at 235 and hit all 5 repetitions for 3 sets. Bench press was at 190 for 5, 4, and 3. The 5 certainly felt good. But it’s still disappointing that freshman football players can bench more than this. No worries. It was also deadlift day. I would have moved this workout later in the week but I know I will be taking off at the gym until after the holiday. Hit 370 for 1 and then 1. Personal record but I think I could have maxed out higher. I think this would have been better than most freshman football players. Winning small battles at age 26. It’s ok.

Listen- please post anything you want and I’ll answer it. I may be dishonest in my response. But I’ll answer your questions. Even if you only skim read it. And even if this comment came from a fake email address. Seriously, @frogger.com? Getting trolled by a person living in 1999 sent from an email account using Netscape Navigator.

 

In the last post: Economist’s Perspective: Guide to Making Money While Making Romantic Comedies Part 1 we looked at successful romantic comedies measured by US box office results and began to formulate ideas that capitalize on elements gleaned from that list. Stars are most important. More specifically, we need stars that have appeared in popular romantic comedies previously. Additionally the stakes need to be high in the story. We want there to be pressure to get married not pressure to date. If there is a break-up it better be devastating. This can make or break the story.

We settled on Reese Witherspoon to anchor the film. She has appeared twice on the list and is the favorite to take over Julia Roberts’ crown as the most bankable rom-com star. But do all her movies generate revenue? Actually… no. Her biggest resume blemish in recent past is the film How Do You Know.

How Do You Know has the rom-com stars (Reese, Paul Rudd, Jack Nicholson, Tony Shaloub Owen Wilson) and its director (James Brooks) appeared on our list with As Good As It Gets, however, the movie breaks our second rule of success. The stakes are wayyyyyy too low. Instead of deciding who Reese should be marrying she’s trying to decide who she wants to be dating. One lead is comfortable with a fuck buddy and the other just wants a shot. The climax is an emotional story about play-doh that gives him a shot. A shot to date her. Wheres the risk in that? Wheres the pressure? Seriously, how do you NOT know that this would fail?!

Building a rom-com around the premise of hoping characters get together to date or become boyfriend and girlfriend instead of an EPIC break-up or awesome wedding is the equivalent of making a Rocky movie about staying in half decent shape and then when you want there to be a championship fight its actually a street fight. Wait… you mean that’s the plot of Rocky 5? How did it go? BADLY!? Toldya.

So let’s not make the How Do You Know mistake. We need bold characters that are ready to make life-altering changes. Reese Witherspoon in a movie with high stakes. What else can we cherrypick from popular romantic comedies? Since we are doubling down on the wedding theme we should look at wedding movies in general as well as successful romantic comedies.

Knocked Up (not a wedding movie but useful in understanding how to use Katherine Heigl)

27 Dresses (clearly a wedding movie but not particularly successful)

Knocked Up appears on our list but it’s the only Katherine Heigl movie. She has been in every kind of romantic comedy you can think of but outside of Knocked Up they have not sold well. Well what worked in Knocked Up then? For starters its a story told from both the Male and Female perspective. The two leads are split up for half the movie and you see Seth Rogen coping in his own way (with his immature friends) and Katherine Heigl coping with her (slightly more mature) sister and brother-in-law. She wasn’t forced to carry the movie as a lead and both men and women could identify with the leads.

What else worked? Well the stakes were extremely high. A bomb was ticking. For 9 months. The pregnancy premise was used brilliantly as a means to resolve their relationship happily but there was also a fear that the shit could hit the fan and they would have a dysfunctional split household at the end.

So they use 2 perspectives with meaningful, pressure-is-on, get it together or your kid will be fucked-up stakes.

So how do we take a movie like 27 Dresses and give it the Knocked Up treatments? Don’t make it all about Katherine Heigl. Populate the movie with identifiable leading men who get a chance to share their perspective.

So we want Reese Witherspoon telling one side of a story and ummmm let’s say Matthew McConaghey telling the other. Now we need stakes. We need these 2 to get together by the end and it has to be a wedding. Before that, however, we are going to load this with other weddings. So we are ripping off 27 Dresses, Wedding Crashers, and Four Weddings and a Funeral and we are going to have Reese Witherspoon as the always the bridesmaid character who goes to her sisters wedding (Kate Hudson), and her best friends wedding (ummmm. Anne Hathaway will do). And she meets a couple guys at these weddings (Matthew Mcconaghey and someone else.. let’s go with opposite personality/body type Charlie Day).

This plot affords the writers to build in plenty of wedding hijinx, toasts, dance scenes, post-reception romps, hangovers etc. But it also sets up two important elements. We see Reese going through a quarter life crisis as she is a bridesmaid forever and you see this through her perspective. She feels pressure to get married so she doesn’t end up a spinster. And you see the male perspective through Matthew McConaghey and Charlie Day (or whoever we put in the supporting funny role) as they charm and go through women but are ready to settle down. The male side is a blatant rip-off of Wedding Crashers. It’s been fun but now I’m in love.

But what makes this slightly different than these other similar movies will be the secondary plot-line. We need an epic break-up at the end to juxtapose with our sweetheart leads finding love and getting married at the end. We need to see the first wedding/marriage crash and burn by the end. We will see this through both gender perspectives. The male (actor only needs to look good and have have so-so Q rating) will be a dog who hits on anything and eventually gets caught in the climax (of the movie… get your mind out of the gutter).

Climax/ending is a Las Vegas one year anniversary trip that for some reason the whole original wedding party attends. Original groom is caught cheating. As well as Reese and Matt elope at a cheesy chapel. Vegas scenes always work. The charm of this will be that they both assume the other person is drunk as they are revealing how much they actually feel for each other. They get married. Matt gets pulled over driving back to casino. Blows a .00 bac and Reese realizes she really did find her love. WE CAN WORK WITH THIS.

Beginning is some weddings.

Middle is the different directions the marriages seem to be going. Maybe Reese dates Matt but there is a mix-up and then she dates Charlie.

End is one big break-up and one sweet, secretly sober, eloping ceremony in Vegas. This movie writes itself.

Between vegas hijinx, wedding hijinx, high stakes, stars, quirky side characters, and bitchy best friends, we are only a couple of recognizable actors as parents away from your next surprising BLOCKBUSTER.

Call it Wedding Season and start printing tickets. The key is to balance who is carrying the weight of the movie but make the weight heavy.

About Reese Witherspoon’s next movie This Means War, it will probably do well but I think it is more of a genre mash-up which is a lot harder to predict but has a good chance to top all of the movies on our list. And she is definitely a spy too. 50% chance it makes more than $100M.

My paycheck says I am economist. But I also watch a lot of movies, monitor box office results, and fantasize about casting terrible movie ideas in my head (coming to a theater next fall: The Moving Boyfriend). Today we will combine all four of those skillsets to identify successful romantic comedies (using US box office results), analyze what contributed to their success, and attempt to build a rom-com film treatment from the ground up.

Rom-coms do not dominate the all-time box office results but that doesn’t mean a light-hearted comedy about 2 knuckleheads falling in love cannot make a shit ton of money. For the purpose of this case study we are going with the ‘if you have to ask’ criteria for what is considered a rom-com. This means that not every chick-flick is a romantic comedy and if you have to ask if it really is a romantic comedy then it probably is not. There are a few examples I left out because they seemed more like a love story with comic relief instead of a comedy with a love story. And I may have missed a few because there really are not very many that show up in the top 200 movies and I scrolled fast looking for names. Also I am not adjusting any of these for inflation because I am a lazy economist (assume older movies represent more 2011 dollars but whether they actually would make more nowadays is debatable).

73. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) $241,437,427

137. What Women Want (2000) $182,805,123

148. Pretty Woman (1990) $178,406,268

149. Hitch (2005/I) $177,575,142

186. The Proposal (2009/I) $163,947,053

211. Jerry Maguire (1996) $153,620,822 (I debated including this one. Seems more like a love story with comic relief)

215. Runaway Bride (1999) $152,149,590

219. Knocked Up (2007) $148,734,225 (not what people normally think of as a rom-com but that’s really what it is)

225. As Good as It Gets (1997) $147,637,474 (makes me laugh enough to count)

313. Sweet Home Alabama (2002) $127,214,072

318. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) $126,805,112

320. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) $126,670,704

331. Something’s Gotta Give (2003) $124,590,960

345. 50 First Dates (2004) $120,776,832

350. Four Christmases (2008) $120,136,047

363. The Break-Up (2006) $118,683,135

380. Notting Hill (1999) $116,006,080

383. You’ve Got Mail (1998) $115,731,542

397. It’s Complicated (2009) $112,703,470

STAR POWER

A couple things stand out immediately. 4 of the top 15-20 grossing rom-coms had Julia Roberts. 2 had Tom Hanks. 2 Had Jack Nicholson. 2 had Reese Witherspoon. 2 Had Helen Hunt. And then there are stars leading everyone of these movies with the notable exception of My Big Fat Greek Wedding (more on that in a second), and to a lesser extent Knocked Up. Seriously. Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Richard Gere (also twice), Will Smith, Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan (also twice), Adam Sandler, Vince Vaughn, Hugh Grant, Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep.

If your goal is to make money then you need a star (seems obvious right?). But you actually need a star FROM THIS LIST. And you really should throw all the money you have at Julia Roberts.

The list of male stars also skews older. I have a feeling this has something to do with who actually goes to see these movies (cough.. older women.. cough).

But having a battle-tested rom-com star will not absolutely guarantee box office gold (examples: Larry Crowne which had both Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts… doesn’t this break my rule?).

THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING AT STAKE

In the same way that Alfred Hitchcock understand that it is far more suspenseful and thrilling to show a bomb with a 5 minutes timer than to merely show an explosion, there must be something at stake in the romantic comedy. Tagline for Larry Crowne “After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.” Uhh, yeah. There’s no bomb about to go off. Compare that with Pretty Woman “A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love.” Think of the stakes! He’s breaking all socially acceptable norms for love! Replace highly successful corporate raider played by Richard Gere with loser going back to college played by Tom Hanks. No wonder it tanked. Stakes are low.

The Proposal: woman will be deported and man will lose job, lie to family and government, fall in love, get engaged, get married. There is a bomb ticking. And the stakes must be raised until it ends in a wedding.

Notting Hill in many ways is Pretty Woman with roles reversed.

IT DOESN’T HURT TO HAVE IT INVOLVE A WEDDING… OR 2… OR 4 (and a funeral)

This is probably a no-brainer but its worth pointing out. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, obvi! The Proposal. Runaway Bride. My Best Friend’s Wedding. Four Christmases may have been a Christmas movie but the central theme is about how when they see their friends and family in love they realize its not good enough just to be boyfriend and girlfriend.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past would have been a lot more successful as Ghosts of Wives Past… and even more successful as Ghosts of Husbands Past (obviously starring Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, and Will Smith and Jack Nicholson).

continued tomorrow in part 2.

SO WHAT MOVIE DO WE WANT TO MAKE?

Well it has to have a star. Personally I think the Julia Roberts’ and Tom Hanks’ are past their primes and we must identify stars that could potentially lead similar careers and guide us to box office fantasy gold.

While I personally think Anne Hathaway will eventually become the next Julia Roberts, she hasn’t been a world-beater at the box office. And people will return to the theater to see Actresses in familiar roles. Reese Witherspoon is the logical choice.

Reese Witherspoon appears twice on the list and is still young. Vince Vaughn is also young and appears twice on the list. But they hate each other so that ain’t happening. Will Smith is a no-brainer but I bet he makes me change my script. NO DICE, BIG WILLY! Besides, we need to pair her with an older gentlemen. Someone that older women like. Daniel Craig? Pierce Brosnan? Sean Connery Liam Neeson?

We need a wedding. And if I have my way, we need 2 weddings. One at the beginning and one at the end. Double the chance for box office success! Seems simple enough. Tomorrow we will flesh out the FORMULAIC PLOT. Also we will look at Reese Witherspoon’s next movie “This Means War” to see how it compares with the list and make a prediction on how it will fare at the box office.

I skyped with a friend doing Peace Corps in Mali, Africa yesterday. We were video chatting for about 30 minutes which I would never do just over the phone. But with video it feels more like you’re just kicking it. And its not a ping pong conversation of back and forth saying stuff. Well eventually the call ended because my friend accidentally set his couch on fire. This is par for the course for him but it was doubly funny seeing it over skype and separated by an ocean.
Internets, Y’all.
Multiple people at the gym were doing squats today. Three people including myself! Both of them were lifting heavier weights too! Love it. I love when I see people using the squat racks for squats. And I especially like it when they are doing heavy, full range of motion squats. You might be wondering what else could someone use a squat rack for other than squats. Well apparently you are unfamiliar with curls in the squat rack.
People come up with a lot of non-squat excersizes for the squat rack despite the fact that these can be done almost anywhere else in the gym (whereas back squats can only be done in a squat rack).
  • Squats: 230×5,x5,x5
  • Overhead Press: 140×5,x4,x4 (power cleaned bar into position)
  • Push Press: 175×2,x2,x1 (power cleaned bar into position) PR!
  • Power cleans: 140×3,x3

Going to do some pushups and pullups later tonight. Would have done them at the gym but it was getting crowded and I have a pullup bar and a floor at home (helpful tip: FLOORS ARE PERFECT FOR PUSHUPS!).

When I post these training logs keep in mind that I am basically following the Starting Strength Linear Progression. It is a program designed by Mark Rippetoe that features the basic complex barbell excersizes such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press. I added power cleans and rows as well as body weight excersizes like pushups, dips, pullups and occasionally I do curls (BEACH MUSCLES, BABY!).

The idea behind a linear progression program such as this is to warm up and build up to your workout weight in any given lift and then do 3 sets at that weight. You increase the weight by 5 pounds every workout that you do it. Its ideally a 3 day a week program. Squats every workout. Deadlifts once a week. The presses are alternated. Its not really rocket science. Normally monday is a deadlift day for me but I wanted to move it to the end of the week because I felt like it was interfering with my recovery before workouts later.

Everything felt real strong today. But I did miss a couple reps in the presses because the bar went to far forward.

Goals moving forward:

  1. I want to be able to lift my body weight over my head. This will require cleaning and push pressing 200lbs
  2. I want to be able to squat 1.5x my body weight (1.5x 2o0=300)
  3. I want to be able to deadlift 2x my body weight (2×200=400)

I’m not far on the push press goal (175 today) and I’m not far on deadlift (did 365 twice last week).

Stay busy. Happy holidays.

As much fun as holiday bar crawls are, I probably should not commit to all day events. It was fun though. I saw one person dressed as the Grinch. One person was in a full body gingerbread man costume with his head covered and a straw going down his sleeve into his pint. And only one person had the exact same sweater as me. But he was Asian. So there was no confusion.

I want to post an unedited version of the one blog post I made back in 2008 that was basically me venting after South Carolina lost to Vanderbilt. I remember that I also submitted this to Bleacher Report and Lisa Horne of Fox Sports edited it and gave me some comments (back when knuckleheads like me were still allowed to submit articles). I think the Bleacher Report version is slightly different as a result. Its funny to revisit this  because everything I predicted turned out to be wrong. And I’m sorry for that. Its fine.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2008

South Carolina Football: A Hopeless Endevor

The South Carolina Gamecocks led 7-0 in the 1st quarter against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Steve Spurrier’s team was ranked #24 at the time and had just scored a touchdown by completing a pass to Kenny Mckinley, a receiver that will likely break every gamecock record held by Sterling Sharpe and Sidney Rice. However, at the end of 60 minutes of play it was the Commodores leading 24-17 and on there way to their first win over a ranked team at home since 1992.

In 2007 the Gamecocks got out to a 6-1 start and a #6 ranking in the country before collapsing against Vanderbilt. At the time many believed it was a fluke. One of those crazy games against Vanderbilt when the ‘better’ team was simply not ready to play. It’s happened before against better teams than the Gamecocks and it will likely happen again against better programs than that of South Carolina. As most know, South Carolina skidded to the end of their season and subsequently replaced their defensive coordinator as well as their special teams coach. Against Vanderbilt this year South Carolina allowed 24 points – 7 more than the previous upset; fumbled and lost two punt returns, had a field goal blocked, and the starting quarterback coached by Steve Spurrier threw two interceptions. A win against Vanderbilt tonight would have made South Carolina .500 over their entire history. Instead they will continue to reach. In year 4 of the ‘Head Ball Coach’s’ tenure the Gamecocks have lost back to back games against the underdog Commodores while ranked and this confirms the belief of many college football fans that you cannot win at South Carolina.

Steve Spurrier cannot coach his quarterbacks to not make costly interceptions. His hires of Ray Rychleski and Ellis Johnson yielded the same results, which are poor special teams play and not quite enough defense. Lou Holtz managed to get the Gamecocks in back to back Outback Bowls against Ohio State and won both. He did these mostly with smoke and mirrors. The house olf cards that he built on junior college transfers and overmatched recruits collapsed and the Gamecocks were back to square one. Some believed that while Lou Holtz did not achieve what he did at Notre Dame he atleast established South Carolina as a program fit for another coaching legend that could get them over the top.

Steve Spurrier entered the picture and took the talent recruited by Lou holtz and brought the Gamecocks to their first bowl game in 4 years. Up until the final week of sec play in 2005, the Gamecocks were still vying for the SEC East title. However, like the times before when South Carolina has had success it has been created out of nothing. Steve Spurrier used smoke and mirrors.

The Gamecocks will likely get a bowl berth this year. They were bowl elgible last year at 6-6 but there were not enough bowls to go around. This year more bowls have been introduced and 6-6 for an SEC team should be good enough. The Gamecocks have had 4 straight seasons of bowl elgibility (forfeiting their oppurtunity in 2004 and missing a bowl in 2007) and this could be year number 5. Maybe that’s a good thing for Gamecock fans but it is not what they expected at $1.75M per year for Steve Spurrier and it is certainly not what Steve Spurrier expected after returning from a mediocre stint in the NFL. The problem is not recruiting as the Gamecocks have boasted many top 25 classes over the last 10 years, and multiple of which were top 10 classes. The problem is not easily identifiable.

The coaches have proved at other locations to be successful. The players have proved successful at times and successful in high school and some later on in the NFL. An easy excuse to use would be the same one Boston Redsox fans used for 86 years – ‘cursed’. The problem with that logic is the idea that someone could break the curse. If it exists, it cannot be broken. The gamecocks will never be the Trojans, they will never be the Buckeyes. It may be blasphemy, but they will never be the Clemson Tigers either. They are the Gamecocks. They are a team that will beat Georgia every once in a while and they are a team that will beat Florida every 7 decades. Forever picked to finish #4 in the SEC East and will forever be watching the SEC championship in wonderful high definition television. Home games are fun for fans. They can tailgate, drink, and be merry. The 2001 theme song, better known as ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ will continue to give fans chills up their spine every time it is played while the Gamecocks enter the field. But it should be known that any hope for the program is futile. Any success is temporary and will likely be deemed a fluke. South Carolina is a school that can boast Outback Bowls, NIT championships, and appearances in Omaha for the World Series of Baseball… Oh Yeah, and the Gamecocks are really good at Equestrian.

POSTED BY MAHNIAC AT 9:44 PM 0 COMMENTS “
I don’t think I ever even sent out a link to this. It was just an easy way to vent and save my thoughts. Oh well. Since then of course South Carolina has beaten Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Clemson in back to back years. SO I WAS WRONG!
Sunday is the day of rest. Don’t miss the season finale of Homeland on Showtime. Claire Danes went batshit crazy last episode so you know it will be good today. Also this guy is Inigo Montoya from the Princess  Bride. I would NEVER have guessed this.