Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | September 17, 2014

True Story: I am Willie Mays Hayes

71 Bus

I suck at public transportation.

It seems that my years living in Cambridge when my “commute” was all of a ten minute shuffle from door-to-door have finally caught up with me.

After years of not giving a rat’s ass about bus schedules…I’m now that guy who gets stuck in traffic on the bus for an hour, or misses the bus altogether, or watches empty buses fly right on by while he stands at the bus stop helplessly trying to flag them down.

Long story short: I’ve got bad bus luck.

As a result of my bad bus luck, I’ve reached a point where I no longer worry about how dumb and dorky I look trying to run down a bus.

When we first moved out of Cambridge, I refused to chase a bus. I was too proud. I’d been spoiled for too long and refused to let the bus have that kind of power over me.

Roughly three months and 10,000 missed buses later, I got over that feeling and turned into just another in the sad, huddled mass of commuters that will frantically check their MBTA app wondering where the bus is every 30 seconds.

I became one of those folks who will sprint for three blocks and end up pounding on the side of a bus as it’s pulling away from a stop, completely unfazed by my pathetic pleas to “open the door, please…please open the door!!”

All of that having been said, when there’s an opportunity to catch a bus, I rarely let it go. This is especially true at the Harvard bus terminal.

You see, My Faithful Readers, that’s because the Harvard bus terminal is some sort of black magic-laden pit of despair where buses have always juuuuuuuuust pulled out of the station when you walk in and they frequently disappear from the tracking app (and physical existence) mere seconds before their projected arrival, never to be seen again.

More specifically, it’s the freakin’ Bermuda Triangle for the 71 bus (aka: my method of transport between my home and Harvard).

As such, when I got off the train at Harvard yesterday and peered through the window separating the train turnstiles and the bus terminal, I saw the 71 sitting there, almost taunting me, and I knew that I’d have to run if I wanted to catch it.

I shuffled through a dense crowd of people, all of whom had seemingly forgotten how to move forward at precisely the same time, and I lumbered down the stairs into the bus terminal, weaving through more statue-like commuters.

I realized there was only one way I was going to make it before the bus took off and I threw caution (and many posted MBTA rules) to the wind.

I slipped past a small blockade of fellow commuters and I ran to catch the bus in the bus lane. This allowed me to avoid the large crowd of peeps waiting for other, obviously-less-important buses.

As my feet hit the pavement and I started to pick up some speed, I noticed that there was already a dude running in the bus lane with the exact same game plan.

Naturally, I took this as a challenge.

I did what any strapping young man (read: out of shape 30-year-old dude) would do. I turned up the volume on my iPod (Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”…obvi) and picked up my pace to show this chump who was boss of this bus lane.

Seconds later, I’d caught up to this dude.

A few steps later and we were in a footrace.

It only lasted mere seconds, just long enough for us to make eye contact. The kind of eye contact that says, “sorry bro…this bus is mine.”

And with that, I blew past him and jumped onto the bus just before they closed up the doors. I then proceeded to plop down in the back seat and fight the urge to vomit and/or simply die from physical exertion.

The moral of the story? Basically, I’m Willie Mays Hayes.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | August 28, 2014

#librarylife

books. are. hard.

I’ve got roughly eight hours until Grace and I embark on a mini-vacation (read: long weekend). This is our first “real” vacation of any sort in quite some time, so we’re pretty pumped. Needless to say, my attempts at productivity are going to be minimal at best today.

With that in mind, here’s an interaction I had with a fella on the desk this morning.

This dude walks in and hands me a sheet of paper with half of a book title and a call number.

Yes Man: “I want this book…”
Cap’n Charisma: “Okay, do you know if it’s supposed to be on course reserves or in the stacks?”
Yes Man: “Yes.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Um…yes, course reserves or yes the stacks?”
Yes Man: “Yes, the book…”
Cap’n Charisma: “. . .”
Yes Man: “. . .”
Cap’n Charisma: “…how about I look it up.”
Yes Man: “No, it’s here. I saw it online.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Okay…but I need to know if it’s in course reserves or the stacks.”
Yes Man: “Yes…it is.”
Cap’n Charisma: *SIGH* “…I’m just going to look it up.”
Yes Man: “Fine, but it’s here.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Okay, I get that…but if we don’t know where it is that doesn’t help matters any, so I’ll look it up.”

**I look it up and the system says it’s in the stacks. I rely this information to the patron.**

Yes Man: “I told you it was here.”
Cap’n Charisma: “…yep, yep you did.”
Yes Man: “Now can I have it?”
Cap’n Charisma: “You’ll need to go upstairs and get it, because it’s up in the stacks. It’s up on the seventh floor. You can take the stairs or there is an elevator about halfway around the floor.”
Yes Man: “So I need to get it myself?”
Cap’n Charisma: “Yes.”

**Five minutes pass and then the patron returns without the book.**

Yes Man: “So I need to go upstairs and get it myself?”
Cap’n Charisma: “Yes.”
Yes Man: “Ugh…”

**The patron has now been gone for nearly half an hour.**

…at what point do I send in a search team to find this dude?!

Is it safe to assume he’s just hanging out near the elevator waiting for the library butler to fetch his books?!

Is it okay to just mentally checkout and assume he’ll figure it out himself?

Do I even care?

Is it 5pm yet?

VACATION!!!

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 25, 2014

Buy Me Things

Dreams Do Come True!!

There is an ice cream truck for sale.

Honestly, I thought I could end the post with just the first sentence, but in the interest of not being the laziest blogger of all-time, I’ll add some additional context. Not that it’s necessary, I mean, there’s a freakin’ ice cream truck for sale!!

This sucker looks like an insta-buy if ever there was one.

I mean for realsies, not only is it an ice cream truck – which, once again, is really the only selling point required – but it’s also an ice cream truck that’s in top-notch, ready-to-roll, kick-the-tires-and-light-the-fires condition.

Despite the fact that this majestic beauty is from 1990, it has received a lot of recent upgrades. What kinds of upgrades you ask? Well by-golly, let me tell you. It got a new engine, a new sink, a new freezer, and a new water heater in 2012.

It’s practically a brand-new ice cream truck, y’all.

With all those upgrades and improvements this is basically the “Pimp My Ride” of ice cream trucks.

True fact: if someone were to put me on “Pimp My Ride”…my lone request would be that my ride was, in fact, pimped it into a freakin’ ice cream truck (or the Batmobile). So this is basically a dream come true.

Plus, and this is the real kicker, they’re only asking $18,500 for this beauty.

They’re practically giving it away!!

So if you forgot to get me a birthday present (and you know you did) or you want to get me and Grace an early – and practical – wedding gift, this is your chance.

Hustle over to Craigslist and buy this sucker before someone else beats you (and, in turn, me) to it!

(hat tip to friend of the blog, Andrew Swayze for alerting me to this fantastic deal)

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 10, 2014

Cutest Pet Contest

A Vote for Fridge Kitty is a Vote for Freedom (to Play in the Veggie Crisper)!!
My Faithful Readers, do you remember how I asked you for a favor last week?

Okay, cool…I need you to forget that I did that, because – surprise, surprise – I need another favor.

Well, technically, I don’t need a favor. It’s actually my cat and the shelter that she called home before she moved in with us (to employ me as her butler) that are in need of the favor.

Honey’s previous home, the Gifford Cat Shelter, is currently in the midst of their annual Cutest Pet Contest and, as you may recall from last week’s post, I’ve entered Honey into the mix to see if she can out-cute a slew of other pets.

She’s off to a very strong start, but I’d like to see her blow the (insanely cute) competition out of the water and help raise some serious coin for the folks at Gifford.

In the interest of providing a bit of background before you go tossing money to strangers, I figured you should know that the Gifford Cat Shelter is the oldest cageless, no-kill cat shelter in the United States. Yes, you read that right. Not the oldest in Boston. Not the oldest in Massachusetts. Not the oldest in New England. Not the oldest in places that view chowder as a legitimate food group. The oldest in the entire freakin’ country.

Needless to say, they’ve been at this for a little while now.

One of the reasons that Gifford has been able to stay open and operating as long as they have is due to the donations of their wonderful supporters and now each and every one of you has a shot to join that club of very awesome people. You can do so by voting for Honey (or any of the other fantastic felines) in the Cutest Pet Contest.

Each vote costs one dollar and you can vote as few or as many times as you’d like (and/or can afford). So whether you received a big ole tax return and it’s burning a hole in your pocket or if you’ve just got a couple of bucks in change in the cup-holder of your Nissan Sentra, it’s all welcome and very much appreciated.

That’s right folks, not only do you have the chance to inflate my cat’s already ballooning ego, but you get to contribute to a great cause as well. That’s what the management books call a win-win. Toss in the fact that you’ll feel pretty good as a result and you’re looking at the oft-elusive win-win-win scenario. That’s the good stuff, y’all.

I’ve included step-by-step instructions for the voting process as it can be just a wee-bit confusing about where/when/how to enter the name of the pet you’re voting for in the contest.

I want to go ahead and say thank you in advance (from myself, the Gifford Shelter, and – especially – Honey) to anyone who is considering giving a donation.

Gifford Cat Shelter

Cutest Pet Contest Voting Instructions

Step One

Visit the Cutest Pet Contest website to vote.

The page can be found (and shared) at http://tinyurl.com/Gifford-Cutest-Pet-2014.

Step Two

Look at all of the pretty kitties!! Seriously, look at ‘em!! How freakin’ adorable are these fuzzy little buggers?!

Now choose which cat or cats you intend to vote for in the contest. It’s okay if it’s a hard decision for you.

Step Three

Click on the “Donate” button to vote.

donatebutton

Note: be sure that you’re clicking on the “Donate” button in the middle of the page, as it is directly linked to the contest. The “Donate” button in the upper right-hand corner is for general donations to the shelter (which are also a-okay, but not for our current ballot box stuffing purposes).

notthisdonatebutton

Step Four

Now you’re on the Paypal login page. From here you can enter the amount you want to donate (remember $1 = 1 vote) and sign in via Paypal to pay.

donationpage-enteramount

Note: If you don’t have Paypal or you’d prefer to pay with a credit card, you can do that by clicking the credit card option near the bottom left-hand side of the page. You’ll still fill in the amount at the top of the page and then you’ll submit your credit card information on the next page.

paybycreditcard

Step Five

This one is important; this is where you enter which cat your votes are backing. On the review donation page, under the amount you’re donating, you’ll see a link that reads “Add special instructions to the seller.” Click this link to open up a dialogue box.

opennote

Step Six

Enter the name of the cat who is receiving your vote(s). If you don’t fill this in, the votes won’t go to any of the cats. Even if you don’t vote for Honey, make sure you put a name in this box. I mean, honestly, do you want a dozen sad, unfunded cats haunting your dreams? I think not.

fillinthebox

Step Seven

Click the yellow “Donate $” button at the bottom of the page to complete the donation.

confirm

Step Eight

Shortly after you’ve submitted the donation, you’ll get the confirmation screen (and a confirmation email) and you’re done!

confirmationscreen

At this point you should feel free to pat yourself on the back. You’ve donated to a fantastic cause and – assuming Honey received your vote – you’ve made my cat’s day.

All-in-all, I’d call that a win.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 7, 2014

I MUST HAVE IT!!

I MUST HAVE IT!!

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 5, 2014

Crowdsourcing: Cutest Pet Contest

Honey!!

My Faithful Readers, I need your help.

I’m looking to enter Honey in the annual “Cutest Pet Contest” at the Gifford Cat Shelter – the same place where we adopted Honey – but I’m not sure which photo to use, so I’ve decided to go the crowdsourcing route.

I’ve gone through my (vast) archives and selected what I consider to be her sixteen best photos and put them all in one Facebook photo album. This is where all y’all come into the picture. In order to help me select which photo to enter into the contest, I’m going to base it on your input.

I need you to do two small things for me:

1) Go to the Facebook photo album.
2) “Like” the photos you dig the most.

That’s it.

I’ll enter the photo with the most “likes” into the contest and – undoubtedly – dominate the whole thing.

The contest runs for the month of February, so I’m already burning valuable voting time, so I’ll take whichever photo is the leader by the end of the day Friday, February 7, and enter that one into the contest.

Help me decide, y’all!!

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | January 3, 2014

Viral Video: Britney’s Wardrobe Malfunction

well...this is awkward

My Twitter feed has been blowing up throughout much of the last 24 hours or so with reference to Britney Spears’ recent “wardrobe malfunction” during a show as part of her residency in Las Vegas.

Naturally, as someone who was a wee-bit obsessed with Ms. Spears back in the early aughts, I had to investigate to see what all of the hype was about.

This is what I found:

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?!

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering what the hell constitutes a “wardrobe malfunction” anymore.

When Janet Jackson had her infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl there was some legit, PG-13 stuff going on there.

In this particular instance, we saw Britney’s back. She’s worn plenty of outfits far more revealing than that particular getup even with the “wardrobe malfunction” factored in.

Somewhere 17-year-old me is probably really disappointed about the rather tame nature of this incident.

Meanwhile, 30-year-old me remains largely apathetic about Britney Spears as a whole, although 30-year-old me does appreciate the blog fodder (yet again)…so there’s that.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | January 2, 2014

30(ish) Random Facts

HOLY BALLS I'M 30!!!

My Faithful Readers, I have failed you.

I intended to do some sort of countdown to my 30th birthday, playing off the “Five Good Years” post I wrote back in 2008. I also intended to post something on my birthday regaling you all with stories of what I’ve learned in my 30 years on this earth. I even intended to really get this blog up and running again with regular postings.

Clearly, none of those things happened.

Despite my best intentions, I’ve done a pretty crappy job of making writing the priority it deserves to be in my life over the last year and change. I’m hoping to right the ship in 2014, but that will likely prove easier said than done.

In the meantime—in lieu of any real writing—I’ve compiled a list of 30(ish) random facts about me now that I’m 30.

Full disclosure, I started writing this list over Thanksgiving weekend. Naturally, some of the things are a bit dated. Some were written after a few beers. Some were written when I was angry or sad or whatever. It may read a bit disjointed, but I think that pretty accurately describes where I’ve been at for a while now, so here it be in all of its random, rambling glory:

I am pretty much the worst video gamer in the world. I really like the idea of being a gamer, but I generally get distracted or busy with something else and only end up playing video games maybe half-a-dozen times or so a year. When I do play – especially if it’s a sports game – I spend hours manually updating all of the rosters before I ever actually play the game at all. Tangentially-related, I just recently finished the first season of my franchise on Madden ’04. It’s taken me roughly a decade to complete one season and the playoffs, but I won the Super Bowl. So there’s that.

I like my cat more than I like 91+% of the people in my life.

I legitimately contemplate the merits of quitting my job at least once a week, every week. Not because I don’t like my job, but because of the time and energy I put into it and the fear that I’ll end up doing it for the next forty years, only to regret not trying something I loved in lieu of something that I liked and happened to be good at instead.

I like deer jerky more than I like beef jerky. I think bacon jerky tastes like death; wet, soggy, dirty-sock-water-flavored death. Yep.
Pictured: My girlfriend if I had moved to NYC.
In addition to Minnesota State University, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa; I also applied to New York University as a senior in high school. This was when I still had high hopes of being some sort of writer or – quite briefly – a comedic actor and I assumed that living in New York would pretty much ensure my success. Also, I really liked Friends and wanted that kind of life (read: making out with Jennifer Aniston in between cups of coffee and never, EVER going to work…also, rent control!) and everyone knows that kind of life is automatically bestowed upon anyone who packs up and moves to New York City.

I ultimately ended up at Minnesota State where I earned a relatively unused degree in journalism (note: it’s still in mint condition, I’ll sell it to you for half the original price) and some minors in creative writing and communications.

I once asked my parents for “a little sister” as a Christmas present. In hindsight, that was a pretty ludicrous request. I believe I got a calculator and some white tube socks instead. This was a solid response on their part.

I’m not crazy tall or anything, but I am tall. As a result, I’d say I bash my head on something (ie: low doorway, low-hanging lights, droopy tree branches, etc.) at least three times a week. I’m basically a walking PSA for concussion awareness.

I once paid for a single Laffy Taffy with a credit card at a gas station.

I am more broke now – as a “legitimate professional” – than I was at any point in college or while working as support staff for the better part of the last decade. I am absolutely mystified by this phenomenon. The internet implies that this is probably Barack Obama’s fault.

I have never made it through Ken Burns’ documentary “Baseball” without crying at least a little bit. Not once. I’ve seen the series a bunch of times now and it always seems to vary when I’ll breakdown, but it’s guaranteed to happen.

I once ate five McRibs in one sitting. I felt tingly for hours afterward. Oddly enough, it was the same way I felt tingly when I was gobbling Vicodin every four hours after my lung surgery back in college.

I am still secretly holding out hope that some network will swoop in and save Happy Endings from cancellation. I hold this hope despite the fact that the show has been off the air for the better part of a year and most of the cast and crew have moved on to new jobs.

I keep a baseball on my desk at home and at work. It’s like a stress ball, but without the squish-factor.

I owned a Furby as a kid. It died within roughly a week. We sent it in for a replacement, but it was never the same. I think they have souls and I never really connected with the replacement Furby in the same way that I did the original. This saddens me.

True Fact: A Furby will spend 83% of its lifetime thinking fondly of cold-blooded murder.

True Fact: A Furby will spend 83% of its lifetime thinking fondly of cold-blooded murder.

I always want to be a better version of me. I will never be the version of me that I want to be. This also saddens me.

I’ve noticed that ever since we moved into our new apartment and put the litter box in the bathroom – as required in our lease – Honey and I seem to be on the same potty schedule. There’s been a lot of uncomfortable mid-poo eye contact.

I am a horrendous public speaker. When I was young, I won awards and a scholarship based on my public speaking skills. I’m not sure what the hell happened to me. I blame rock-n-roll music and violent video games.

I think I disappointed a lot of athletic coaches growing up. They’d often say “you’re going to be a monster when you fill out” and I get that. I’ve got a big frame and with some legit muscle, I’d be a pretty big dude. The problem is, I’m now 30 and still have the body of an anorexic 13-year-old Swedish ice dancer. I think I’m as “filled out” as I’m ever gonna get. My apologies to every coach ever.

I’ve never been a fan of caramel corn. Also, I pronounce it car-mul not care-uh-mul. Now you know.

I obsess over the number of Twitter followers I have, this despite the fact that asinine ramblings like these are all I provide, thus severely limiting any potential for building a large audience.

I often think that if I’d been more focused or tried just a little bit harder at the whole baseball writing thing, I could be Aaron Gleeman right now. (Blogger’s Note: Gleeman writes plenty of great, thoughtful non-baseball stuff too. Read it or you’re a square…people are still worried about being squares, right?!)

I care way more about people thinking that I’m funny than I do about people thinking I’m smart.

I’ve got an odd OCD(ish) affliction when it comes to toilets. I’d tell you more, but I’m busy scrubbing bleach on our toilet with a toothbrush right now.

I want to win the lottery very, very badly…but I have literally no idea what I’d do with that kind of financial freedom. Pay off student loans, buy a nice house, maybe get a few new ties, upgrade Honey to a fancier clumping litter, and start turning up the heat in the winter like a total boss?! Beyond that, I really don’t know. Maybe try to get Happy Endings back on the air…is that a thing you can do with loads of cash?!

Seriously, just put this show back on the air!!

Seriously, just put this f’n show back on the air already and no one gets hurt!!

I wanted very, very badly to get two cats instead of just one when we adopted Honey. I wanted to do this for two reasons: 1) so that a single cat wouldn’t be lonely while Grace and I were at work or out enjoying our bubbling social lives and 2) so that I could name them Turk and JD.

I don’t like leftovers. There is no legitimate reason for it, but I think it stems from when I was a kid and my family was pretty strapped for cash. Leftovers were mandatory, not an “if you’re feeling lazy” kind of option. I think subconsciously, I prefer not to think of things that way so I opt for new food whenever possible to avoid any lingering “we wuz poor folks” kinda feelings. I’m making it a point to eat more old and decomposing food leftovers in 2014.

I am completely obsessed with animated GIFs. I assume it’s because I’m turning into more and more of an online presence than I am a real human as I age and I find they are a palatable way to emote.

I’ve never beaten a single level of any “Grand Theft Auto” game. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever even tried. I generally just run around stealing cars, getting in gang fights, and avoiding the police. I assume this is because it’s as close as I’ll ever get to being a bad-ass in real life.

I use the same password for everything. It is “b00g3rbutt2002.”

I lie about my passwords to the internet.

I have over 500 Christmas cards. I buy them almost every year after the holidays when they’re on sale and I think to myself, “…next year I’m gonna be all over this. I’ll send out cards to everyone! I’ll get ‘em out over Thanksgiving weekend and it’ll be fantastic!!” Inevitably, I spend Thanksgiving weekend watching football, drinking beer, and giggling at cat videos online. I then realize that it’s December 22nd and I haven’t even thought about the cards since I purchased them and it’s too late to send ‘em. This has happened to me every year for the last half-decade.

I currently have 14 beers in my fridge and 14 Starbucks Doubleshots in my fridge. I’m oddly tempted to alternate them one after another until they’re all gone, just to see what would happen. Although I fear that experiments like that are how supervillains are created.

I’ve had a recurring dream for nearly two years now in which Honey is the size of a full-grown lion and she allows me to ride her around town in lieu of taking public transportation. In real life, there would be zero survivors if Honey were lion-sized. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Dead. Every last one of us. She can be quite cantankerous.

I’m probably going to outlive a lot of people who are way healthier than I am and I believe it’ll piss them off something fierce. If they choose to haunt me after their untimely passing while I’m gorging on cheeseburgers and churros, I’ll be miffed, but I’ll totally understand where they’re coming from.

I have watched the “PowerThirst” video on YouTube roughly 32,000 times since 2007. I don’t believe this is an exaggeration.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that for nearly a year, I thought that “burning CDs” legitimately meant that people were burning CDs, like, putting a CD in a fire. I have no idea why I thought this, but I did. I was absolutely flabbergasted that people would pay $15-20 for a CD and then turn around and set the sucker on fire. It’s possible that I do not understand context clues. There may be a link between this and the “banging my head all the goddamn time” factoid from earlier in this post.

I once made parmesan-crusted chicken breasts and pasta for a romantic dinner Grace and I were having in college. The very next day, I burned the noodles for Mac and Cheese…twice. I am a cooking enigma.

I had my first legitimate celebrity crush on Leah Remini after she played “Stacey Carosi” on Saved by the Bell during the gang’s summer at the beach. I typed a lengthy letter professing my undying love on an old typewriter in hopes that it would win her over and we could would live happily ever after. I threw it away after I realized her address wasn’t in the phone book. Granted, I was looking for Stacey Carosi and not Leah Remini…not that either name figured to show up in the O’Brien County, Iowa yellow pages.

I believe my greatest fear is failure, more specifically, public failure. Or maybe squishy toilet seats…or wind chimes…or maybe hornets…or really all flying things; especially birds. Yeah, fuck birds.

I still have a second-generation iPod shuffle that was brand-spanking new in 2006. It holds all of my Taylor Swift and Glee cover songs with aplomb.

I have, on occasion, wondered what my life would be like if I hadn’t made the decision to move to Boston with Grace in 2006. The fine folks at Formal Sweatpants have been kind enough to answer that question for me with this comic strip:

Life without Grace

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | January 1, 2014

My 2013 Reading List

...not exactly a banner year for reading.

The calendar just rolled over to a new year and that means it is once again time for my annual tradition of recapping my reading list from the previous year.

This is the fifth year in a row that I’ve done this and I’m ashamed to say that this is far and away the least impressive year of reading that I’ve had since I started tracking my yearly reads.

Despite setting a lofty goal of 25 books for 2013, I only managed to finish nine books.

Blogger’s Note: I am, like, 40 pages from finishing a book right now, but a New Year’s Eve party kept me from completing it before the end of 2013.

I started nearly twice that many books, mostly of the management variety, and only got a few chapters into them before I got too busy, a running theme from the last year and change, and they’ve sat untouched and unappreciated on my nightstand since the initial reading.

Without any further ado, here are the – *sigh* – nine books I read in 2013:

Living the Gimmick by Ben Peller
Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works by Larry Matysik
Sloppy Seconds: The Tucker Max Leftovers by Tucker Max
Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood by Drew Magary
I Could Pee On This: And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano
The Black Belt Librarian: Real World Safety and Security by Warren Graham
I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains by Chuck Klosterman
The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
Things I Want to Punch in the Face by Jennifer Worick

I’ve got high hopes for 2014 and getting things back on track as part of my larger goals for the year, but in the interest of not looking like a total failure come next January, I think I’ll set the bar lower this year and simply aim to average a book-a-month and finish the year with twelve total books read.

If you’re interested in following my reading progress all year long (and who isn’t?), you can add me as a friend or buddy or amigo or whatever the heck it is over at Goodreads.com.

Until next year, happy reading.

Previous Reading Lists
My 2012 Reading List
My 2011 Reading List
My 2010 Reading List
My 2009 Reading List

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | September 21, 2013

I’ve Got Baby Fever

Baby Fever
My Faithful Readers, I’ve come down with a bad case of baby fever.

Now I realize that I’ve been very adamant over the years that I’m not ready for kids in any sense of the word and that the mere thought of having a daughter flat-out scares the piss out of me, but I don’t care.

It’s baby time.

I don’t just want a kid, I need a kid and I needed it yesterday!

Don’t get me wrong, I realize I’m not mature enough for kids. I realize I don’t make enough money for kids. I realize that I am not at a place in life where I’m legitimately ready for kids in any way, shape, or form.

That having been said, I want kids. I want, like, a dozen kids and I want ‘em right now so that I can “Bat Dad” their faces off.

What’s that? You don’t know what “Bat Dadding” is? Have you been living under a rock or something?

“Bat Dadding” is changing the entire parenting game and changing it forever.

Seriously, I can’t believe you haven’t heard of it.

Well by golly, let me show you what it’s all about so you can get in on the action:


RIGHT?!

Tell me that doesn’t look awesome. Try it. Try to tell me that doesn’t look awesome.

You can’t do it can you?

No. No you cannot!

Not only is this the coolest thing to happen to parenting in years, but it’s something that I’m totally equipped and ready to rock. I’ve already got a Batman costume and cowl, now I just need some kids.

baby + kid

Pictured: False Advertising

Unfortunately, I’m finding out that it’s not super easy to acquire children on a whim.

I’ve been scouring Craigslist all afternoon, but I can’t find a single worthwhile listing anywhere. The entire “baby + kid” listing under the “For Sale” section proved to be highly misleading.

I went by the daycare and, apparently, they only send the kids home with their “real” parents. Honestly, I thought it was like adopting a cat, you just walk in and pick one out. It was made abundantly clear by local law enforcement officials that this is not the case.

I’ve even gone door-to-door asking all of my neighbors if they’ve got any kids that I can have and all I’ve gotten is a bunch of doors slammed in my face and a pile of forms from the city that I need to fill out if I want to go within 100 yards of a park or playground.

Needless to say, none of that crap is getting me any closer to “Bat Dadding” like a total boss.

So if you’ve got any leads, be sure to hook me up so I can get in on this “Bat Dad” craze ASAP.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | August 31, 2013

I Miss Writing

Writing
I miss writing.

I miss a lot of things actually. I miss having time for my hobbies like fantasy baseball (note: I’m about to miss the playoffs for the first time, ever), hanging with Grace, playing with Honey, keeping in contact with my friends and family, playing slow-pitch softball on a regular basis, reading non-management books, and a whole slew of other activities.

Since last September my life has been moving at hyper-speed and I haven’t really caught up to it yet.

Roughly a year ago, I interviewed for a big boy job. A couple days later I was back in the Midwest for my best friend’s wedding and I proposed to Grace. Less than a week later my Grandma was in the hospital. Days after that, I found out I’d gotten the job. That night I had a less-than-stellar falling out with someone I’d considered a pretty good friend. The next day, my Grandma died and I flew home for the funeral. Days later I started my new job. There was a lot more going on in that time period, but you get the gist, it was a pretty intense couple of weeks.

The new job has been a test of my patience, self-confidence, professionalism, and – at times – my sanity.

I’ve been busier than ever before and the bulk of it is simply the day-to-day work of managing eight different people and two libraries. On top of that is all of the committee work and other “higher level” work that needs to be done on a regular basis.

All the while, Grace and I have been working to plan our wedding, I’ve managed a couple of different slow-pitch teams, hired a new staff member, dealt with some – ahem – interpersonal issues among my colleagues, dealt with the stark reality of the Boston Marathon Bombings and the shooting at MIT (fun fact: Grace and I are part of a small group tasked with writing emergency plans for the libraries), and we found out we were basically being forced out of our apartment in Cambridge and we had to spend a couple of months scrounging for an apartment we could afford and then begin the arduous process of packing and moving.

Needless to say, it’s been busy. It’s been very, very busy.

I feel like I haven’t had any sort of legitimate downtime in the last year and that’s absolutely maddening. I miss my hobbies. I miss feeling legitimately relaxed. I miss writing.

On top of all of that, I’m down to less than 100 days until I turn 30.

In my head I had some sort of “Final 100 Days” writing challenge where I’d post something every day as my twenties came to a close. In the end, I found myself too busy to even come up with a good theme, let alone actually get down to the business of writing up any posts.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a cry for sympathy or an excuse for why I’m suddenly very shitty at fantasy baseball, dropping my shoulder at the plate in slow-pitch, stuck in a writing drought, or basically a ghost to everyone in my life with the exception of the occasional Facebook or Twitter post that takes two seconds in between meetings.

This is just me saying that, despite all of the amazing things that have happened to me in the last year—and all of the shitty things—I’m just feeling a little lost. The last year of my 20s has been a whirlwind of both good and bad experiences and unlike much of the last decade, there’s very little to show for it.

Most of my life since college has been chronicled here on this blog. There were some obvious gaps due to basic inactivity or writer’s block or whatever, but for the most part, you can get a very good sampling of the last ten years of my life right here in black and white.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I wrote stupid little stories and made my own “newspapers” on an old typewriter when I was a kid. When I got to college, I went to journalism school and I got a minor in creative writing.

I’m about to turn 30 and the only writing I do in a professional capacity is documentation, performance evaluations, and emails. I don’t regret where I’m at. I don’t regret what I’ve done. I have a great job. I have a wonderful life.

I just miss writing.

I wish I’d done more to chronicle this past year. I wish I could find the time or the energy or the ambition to put my fingers to the keys on a regular basis.

Someday I’m going to look back on this blog and be incredibly happy that I have such a rich history of where I was at throughout my 20s, but I know for a fact that I’m going to be disappointed in how little there is about this past year.

I’m closing in on 30. I have a good job. I have a great life. I have nothing that warrants complaining about.

…but I’ll be damned if I don’t miss writing.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | August 30, 2013

It’s Baaaaaaaaack…

#PSL

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all-ages…the Pumpkin Spice Latte has been unleashed on the masses once again.

If you’re a long-time reader here at Blank Stares and Blank Pages, assuming there are any of you left after my pitiful output in the last calendar year, you know that I have a serious affinity for the pumpkin-y goodness that is the PSL.

This year, they are being super-duper sneaky and releasing it early, but only in select locations. When I got wind of this news I started scouring the Starbucks in my general vicinity and came up empty-handed time and time again.

Earlier this week, however, I noticed that the Starbucks in Harvard Square totally had the PSL early! Unfortunately, I was rushing to catch a bus that was leaving in two minutes. When given the option of paying $6 for a latte or catching a bus to avoid waiting an extra 45 minutes for the next one, I’m gonna choose the bus dang near every single time.

(Blogger’s Note: I realize I never gave any update on this to my blog peeps, but we’ve moved from Cambridge and live in Watertown now. I’ve got a real commute, thus explaining the sudden rise in importance that buses have in my life.)

Today, however, I got up early and left the house with plenty of time to spare. My bus got into Harvard with a solid 10 minutes until the next train to MIT was set to arrive so I waddled out from underground and got myself the first PSL of the season. And you know what? It was freakin’ glorious! I’m already jonesin’ for my next hit.

Cue the happy dance…

JD's Happy Dance

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | June 18, 2013

Buy Me Things

I. MUST. HAVE. THEM.

Watermelon Oreos are a thing that exists.

This is not a drill. This is real, people.

I need everyone to stand up and leave their home/office/jury panel/coffee shop immediately and go in search of these (likely awful) cookies.

I. MUST. HAVE. THEM.

Now, I know that I’ve said before that there are entirely too many types of Oreos in existence. I still stand by that statement, especially in light of the Birthday Cake Oreo experiment from last spring, but I can’t help my craving for these things. Curiosity has gotten the better of me and I refuse to fight it.

When I saw them appear on the internet a little after 5pm yesterday, I was like a man possessed. I immediately stopped what I was doing. I closed down my computer. I grabbed my things, left work, and proceeded directly to the grocery store – only to be thwarted by their lack of availability.

That’s where y’all come in.

I don’t just want Watermelon Oreos, I NEED Watermelon Oreos and I needed ‘em yesterday!

Go forth and find Oreos, My Faithful Readers. My taste buds are counting on you!

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | June 11, 2013

Viral Video: The Worst Person in the World

He's here to make the donuts, not put up with your bullshit!

It’s over, y’all.

We can just shut it all down now; the search for the worst person in the world has reached its inevitable conclusion.

This crazy chick filming her breakdown at a Dunkin’ Donuts has won the award and there’s pretty much zero chance anyone is going to take it from her anytime soon.

The entire incident – as far as the video shows – was fueled when the lady didn’t get a receipt after paying for an order at Dunkin’ Donuts.

I can attest that they do, in fact, have signs posted saying that if you don’t receive a receipt, your order is on the house. That much I can verify. Anything beyond the fact that this policy exists, however, is entirely debatable.

This feels like more than enough exposition, let’s head right into the craziness (note: this video contains some NSFW language):


 

Call me crazy, but I bet you want to punch her in the face a little bit right now, huh?

How these Dunkin’ peeps put up with this garbage for hourly salaries is beyond me.

The dude at the counter and “Needee” must be the patron saints of “not knocking lunatics the hell out.”

I also feel so bad for plaid shirt guy, just getting sucked into this whole mess. Dude just wants a cup of mediocre coffee and a glazed donut. He doesn’t want to hear some crazy lady’s bullshit rants, he doesn’t want to give his opinion of the staff at Dunkin’ Donuts, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be in this damned viral video.

Part of me hopes that the video cuts off where it does because the police finally showed up and arrested her ass or that the rest of the Dunkin’ part-time, day shift came in and attacked her like a pack of wolves.

I don’t normally endorse bullying, but if people want to find out who this lady is and harass the hell out of her until her 15 minutes are up, I think it’d be just peachy.

…just the f’n worst.

PS: Does anyone else REALLY want a Coolata now?!

(Blogger’s Note: In case you want to relive any of that craziness, the folks at The Consumerist have a nice rundown of some of her most memorable, and batshit crazy, quotes from her rant.)

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | June 8, 2013

A Moment with Grace

Apartment Hunting

We’ve been apartment hunting for about a month now.

In that time Grace has been spending pretty much every waking moment of free-time scouring the cesspool that is Craigslist in search of an apartment.

I’d be low-balling it if I said that she’s found 90% of the places we’ve had interest in; seriously, she’s been an apartment hunting machine. I’ve emailed a handful of people and charmed my way onto a waiting list. That’s it. This is basically a one-woman show.

At this point we’ve done a butt-load of apartment tours and found some great places and some…uh…not so great places.

I think the stress of it all is finally starting to get to us.

This evening, out of nowhere, Grace decided to expound on the situation, completely out of nowhere:

Grace:: “I assume this is what online dating is like.”
Graves: “…what?!”
Grace: “You know, you see an amazing profile and you get your hopes up. And then BOOM, just like that, you get your hopes and dreams crushed.”
Graves: “Uh…huh?!”
Grace: “…Or you go for a tour (aka: the first date) and the ad was a lie and the person is 20 pounds heavier than they said, but, it’s like a shitty apartment instead of a fat person.”
Graves: “Huh…”

I’m marrying this woman.

This pleases me.

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