Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | October 15, 2019

Cactus Bread Power Rankings

CactusBreadGlamourShot

Today was the first official meeting of the Lunch Bunch™ – a group of fellas from my fantasy baseball league who all live in the same town and will be getting together for lunch at least once a month. Note: I have no idea if they enjoy being referred to as the Lunch Bunch™, but that’s what I’ve dubbed them and this is my blog, so they can suck it.

At the inaugural meet-up today, they went to a Midwestern staple – Pizza Ranch! If you’ve never been to a Pizza Ranch your life has – in short – been completely wasted and you should rectify this mistake post-haste. Pizza Ranch is best known for its buffet that includes all manner of pizzas, salads, chicken, mashed potatoes, ice cream, and Cactus Bread.

Cactus Bread is essentially a dessert pizza that consists of cinnamon streusel and icing. Over the years, Cactus Bread has evolved beyond the original cinnamon flavor to include a number of different dessert options.

While in a fit of jealousy over my friends gastrointestinal exploits this afternoon, I’ve opted to create the definitive Cactus Bread power rankings. Feel free to disagree, but be aware that you’re wrong.

CactusBreadCherry

1. Cherry

Cherry pie is arguably the best of all pies. It’s a top three pie for me and easily the best of the berry pies. Naturally, when you take cherry pie filling and dump it on Cactus Bread, it’s a winner all the way. If this sucker is on the buffet, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m eating most of the dang thing myself.

CactusBreadBlueberry

2. Blueberry

Blueberry comes in with basically the same rationale at cherry, but it doesn’t have the tartness, so it’s a little more saccharine sweet and it makes it tricky to eat more than six slices in a single sitting, but it’s still delicious and worthy of high-praise and a blob of vanilla soft-serve.

CactusBread

3. Cinnamon/Original

The O.G. of the dessert pizza world for me and many-a-Midwesterner. The only drawback is that without a fruity blob of goo, it’s the most prone to drying out when left under the warming lamps on the buffet. If you get it fresh, however, it’s gonna rock your face off.

CactusBreadPeach

4. Peach

Peach is so good. It is also divisive. People have some very strong pro/anti-peach takes and that makes this one a tricky sell for a lot of folks. I am pro-peach, but I have also only encountered this particular version of Cactus Bread in the wild on one occasion. It had been out under the lamps for a bit, so it comes in at the four spot as a result.

CactusBreadApple

5. Apple

Apple is, you know, fine. I like apple pie. You probably like apple pie. It’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t really do much for me or my taste buds. I’ll opt for any of the other flavors if they’re available before I’ll reach for a slice of apple Cactus Bread…but if it’s the only one on the buffet, I’m not saying no.

********************************************************************

CactusBreadChocolate

Chocolate (unranked)

Chocolate is an elusive version of Cactus Bread that I’ve yet to encounter in my travels. Ideally, I will change that and revisit these rankings after my trek homeward for the holidays. I feel like a blob of ice cream on this sucker could be perfection.

CactusBreadPumpkin

Pumpkin (unranked)

Pumpkin is a seasonal special that I was unaware existed until the Lunch Bunch™ clued me in this afternoon when I shared my initial power rankings. It is also quite likely to be long since departed by the holidays, thus rendering it impossible for me to sample. Dammit.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | January 1, 2019

My 2018 Reading List

readinglist2018

My Faithful Readers, the calendar page has flipped, the ball has dropped, and a new year is upon us. That means it is once again time for your favorite annual tradition (now in its TENTH freakin’ year), the unveiling of my yearly reading list.

I am proud to say that I not only met my admittedly meager goal of 12 books in 2018, but I actually crushed it by plowing through 20 total books. (Blogger’s Note: it totes would have been 21, but I got lazy on New Year’s Eve and didn’t finish my latest Stephen King tome until well after we’d rolled over into 2019).

Admittedly, I was kind of shocked to see that I’d made it through that many given how much of my year was spent buried in Twitter, freaking out about the impending doom of the world, and/or watching cat videos.

While I’d love to say that 20 books is my new lofty goal for 2019, I’m going to remain realistic and simply bump last year’s goal ever-so-slightly to 15 total books. That might seem tame, but I already foresee the first half (and perhaps all) of my year being bonkers at work and I have the attention span of a gerbil. There’s a big reason my reading has fallen off a cliff since I became THE BIG BOSS MAN back in late 2012.

Anyway, without any further ado, here are the 20 books that I shoved into my eyeballs in 2018:

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
The Big Chair: The Smooth Hops and Bad Bounces from the Inside World of the Acclaimed Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager by Ned Colletti
Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball by Keith Law
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do by Daniel Cable
Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself by Amanda Marcotte
Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve by Whitney Johnson
The Outsider by Stephen King
Carrie by Stephen King
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) about Working Together by Joanne Lipman
Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry
Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever by Rick Wilson
Misery by Stephen King
Buddha in Blue Jeans: An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly by Tai Sheridan
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Needful Things by Stephen King

So there you have it. My reading year can be summed up into roughly three genres: politics, management, and – as always – Stephen King. It was a ton of fun going back and catching up on a bunch of classic King works that I’d never read and I’m hoping to conquer some more of his well-revered older works again in 2019 as well.

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

Hit me up in the comments to let me know what you read last year. It doesn’t have to be your whole list if you’re not up for sharing the whole shebang. You can just tell me your favorite or least favorite book you read last year. You can recommend a good book or series for me to try out in 2019. You can tell me why you think reading is part of the “liberal agenda” and you won’t let your kids touch a damn book. You can really pretty much hit me with anything you’ve got.

Until next year…happy reading, nerds.

Previous Reading Lists
My 2017 Reading List
My 2016 Reading List
My 2015 Reading List
My 2014 Reading List
My 2013 Reading List
My 2012 Reading List
My 2011 Reading List
My 2010 Reading List
My 2009 Reading List

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | December 31, 2017

My 2017 Reading List

readinglist2017
My Faithful Readers, it’s time for the annual tradition (now in its NINTH freakin’ year), the unveiling of my yearly reading list.

The good news – I hit my, admittedly timid, reading goal of 12 books for the year. *shoots confetti cannons*

The bad news – I barely hit it and only made it over the finish line thanks to a late push in November/December as a result of some lengthy airplane time (aka: the only time I seem to read anymore).

I want to be optimistic and think that I’ll be able to pull myself away from the news, Twitter, and/or cat videos a bit more in 2018 and bump up my reading goals a bit. I’d love to alter my commutes to include more books and a lot less staring at my phone, but I also know that I’m a sucker for getting ragey on a crowded bus at 6am over something the president just tweeted from the shitter. So there’s that.

I’ll unofficially aim higher, but in hopes of not failing miserably, I’ll keep my official reading goal for 2018 at a reasonable 12 books. One per month, given my penchant for spacing on reading for months at a time, seems like the right move.

Anyway, enough rambling…without any further ado, here are the 13 books I read in 2017:

Parched: A Memoir by Heather King
Fear by Michael Grant
Light by Michael Grant
Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People by Thomas Frank
It by Stephen King
Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King
The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage by Jared Yates Sexton
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Ty and The Babe: Baseball’s Fiercest Rivals: A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship by Tom Stanton
What Happened by Hillary Clinton
Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur
What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank
Punching Tom Hanks: Dropkicking Gorillas and Pummeling Zombified Ex-Presidents—a Guide to Beating Up Anything by Kevin Seccia

So there you have it…I finished my young adult sci-fi series, I gobbled up a couple of Stephen King novels, and I read way too much about politics and various re-hashings of the 2016 election.

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

Hit me up in the comments to let me know what you read last year. It doesn’t have to be your whole list if you’re not up for sharing the whole shebang. You can just tell me your favorite or least favorite book you read last year. You can recommend a good book or series for me to try out in 2018. You can tell me why you think reading is part of the “liberal agenda” and you won’t let your kids touch a damn book. You can really pretty much hit me with anything you’ve got.

Until next year, happy reading, nerds.

Previous Reading Lists
My 2016 Reading List
My 2015 Reading List
My 2014 Reading List
My 2013 Reading List
My 2012 Reading List
My 2011 Reading List
My 2010 Reading List
My 2009 Reading List

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | January 8, 2017

My 2016 Reading List

2016-reading-listMy Faithful Readers, it’s time for the annual tradition (we’re in year eight now, so this is TOTES a legit tradition), the unveiling of my yearly reading list!!

In a repeat of last year, pretty much all of my reading came in three big chunks rather than throughout the year with any sort of consistency. If I was traveling and/or on a plane, I was reading like a bandit. If I was chilling at home, my books were collecting dust.

Despite the fact that I got my total up to the highest number since I got my big boy job and basically shutdown on the bulk of my hobbies, I’m still keeping my goal for 2017 at a reasonable 12 books. One per month, given my penchant for spacing on reading for months at a time, seems like the right move.

Anyway, enough rambling…without any further ado, here are the 16 books I read in 2016:

Thinner by Richard Bachman/Stephen King
Joe College by Tom Perrotta
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Soar by Joan Bauer
Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak by Travis Sawchik
The Shining by Stephen King
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
End of Watch by Stephen King
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
Gone by Michael Grant
Hunger by Michael Grant
ABCDE·F·YOU: The ABC’s of Cat Ownership by Katie Cook
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
The Hike by Drew Magary
Lies by Michael Grant
Plague by Michael Grant

So there you have it: a bunch of Stephen King novels, most of a young adult sci-fi series, and a couple of new books on the best-seller list.

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

Hit me up in the comments to let me know what you read last year. It doesn’t have to be your whole list if you’re not up for sharing the whole shebang. You can just tell me your favorite or least favorite book you read last year. You can recommend a good book or series for me to try out in 2017. You can tell me why you think reading is part of the “liberal agenda” and you won’t let your kids touch a damn book. You can really pretty much hit me with anything you’ve got.

Until next year, happy reading.

Previous Reading Lists
My 2015 Reading List
My 2014 Reading List
My 2013 Reading List
My 2012 Reading List
My 2011 Reading List
My 2010 Reading List
My 2009 Reading List

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | March 2, 2016

I’m Just Gonna Leave This Right Here…

…we can check back in January 2017 and see how this all shook out.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | January 7, 2016

My 2015 Reading List

2015reading

My Faithful Readers, it’s time for the annual tradition (we’re in year seven now, so this is TOTES a tradition), the unveiling of my yearly reading list!!

My last two reading recaps have been, um, less-than-stellar. In both 2013 and 2014, my reading fell off a cliff. I was hopeful that I could right the ship a bit in 2015 and I did, although not quite the way I’d intended.

While I did increase my total number of books read back up to 13, all of my reading came in three big chunks rather than throughout the year with any sort of consistency.

I read the first three books during flights to and from Paris. After that, I didn’t read anything until September when I plowed through six books in a span of three weeks. I then didn’t read a lick until thumbing my way through Stephen King’s On Writing for the 10,000th time on flights to and from Atlanta in October. Once again, I went dormant until I plowed through the final four books in December, most of that reading done while camped out without a working computer in the Midwest during Christmas vacation.

I’m off to a much better start in 2016, thanks in large part to the aforementioned “non-functioning computer” situation, as I’ve already got two and a half books under my belt less than a week into the new year!

Despite this early progress, I’m keeping my expectations within reason and setting my goal for 2016 at 12 books. That comes out to one a month and, based on 2015, should be doable even if I totally space on reading for months on end.

Anyway, enough rambling…Without any further ado, here are the 13 books I read in 2015:

Roadwork by Richard Bachman/Stephen King
The Running Man by Richard Bachman/Stephen King
Paris vs New York by Vahram Muratyan
The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling by David Shoemaker
Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It by Matthew Berry
Kill Your Boss by Shane Kuhn
Winning Fantasy Baseball: Secret Strategies of a Nine-Time National Champion by Larry Schechter
Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI and a Devil’s Deal by Dick Lehr
Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside White Bulger’s Irish Mob by Kevin Weeks
On Writing by Stephen King
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
The Martian by Andy Weir
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

So there you have it: a bunch of Stephen King novels, a brief Whitey Bulger infatuation, some fantasy baseball reads, and a hot book on the best-seller list.

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

Hit me up in the comments to let me know what you read last year. It doesn’t have to be your whole list if you’re not up for sharing the whole shebang. You can just tell me your favorite or least favorite book you read last year. You can recommend a good book or series for me to try out in 2016. You can tell me why you think reading is part of the “liberal agenda” and you won’t let your kids touch a damn book. You can really pretty much hit me with anything you’ve got.

Until next year, happy reading.

Previous Reading Lists
My 2014 Reading List
My 2013 Reading List
My 2012 Reading List
My 2011 Reading List
My 2010 Reading List
My 2009 Reading List

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | December 21, 2015

The 21 Greatest Christmas Songs by Famous Artists, Ranked

Christmas Music

I love Christmas music.

I’m not one of those people (read: lunatics) who can listen to it year ‘round or anything, but when I flip the calendar over from November to December, I’m more than ready to hear a few ditties about sentient snowmen, thinly-veiled date rape references, bullying and exploitation, a childhood scarred by suspected parental infidelity, and the magic of pretending to care about poor, starving people for a couple of weeks now that it’s cold out.

I’ve never really been into the “classical” Christmas carols that you can really only imagine being sung by large choirs of prepubescent boys in fancy, flowing robes. No, that’s not really in my wheelhouse; that’s more Grace’s jam than mine.

While she’s content to wrap presents and bake cookies to “Little Drummer Boy” or “Do You Hear What I Hear,” I’m just not having it.

I am all about famous artists covering old Christmas songs and making them their own or, in some cases, legitimately making a song their own by throwing a handful of cockamamie references to snow, bells, or presents into the chorus to make a “Christmas song” built for Top 40 radio.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a handful of the old classics and standbys that are part of my personal Christmas canon, but it’s mostly going to be big name acts cashing in on Christmas, the way Santa and Jesus intended when they signed on with Hallmark back in 1856 or whenever the hell Christmas started.

Without any further ado, let’s jump right into the 21 greatest Christmas songs by famous artists, ranked:

Read More…

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | September 23, 2015

I. AM. IMMORTAL.

jitterylegs

If you’ve ever had to sit beside me for any stretch of time longer than about 30 seconds, you’re well-aware of the fact that I am a jittery fella.

No matter what the situation – in a meeting, on a bus, eating in a bar, waiting in line, giving a presentation, playing softball, etc. – my leg (or in some cases, both legs) is generally bouncing around like crazy.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: A) that would probably drive you f’n nuts and B) I might have a legit problem. Well, I refuse to give into the “restless legs syndrome” hype, mostly because that sounds like a fake disorder concocted to sell me real drugs just because other people get annoyed by my bouncing legs.

You see, I’ve got no problem with my jittery legs. In fact, I actually find the bouncing to be quite soothing.

On the other hand, people who are not me generally do have a problem with my jittery legs as they find them to be the exact opposite of soothing.

Luckily, it turns out that I’m going to have the last laugh over all of those people who are constantly telling me to stop fidgeting and sit still. How’s that you ask? Well, let me tell you, My Faithful Reader.

I’m going to have the last laugh, because thanks to this quaint little thing the kids are calling “science,” I’ve learned that my jittery legs are my ticket to immortality…more or less.

Or at least that’s what I’m taking away from this article The Guardian:

But a new study of more than 12,000 UK women suggests that those who claimed to fidget the most were apparently protected against the ravages of being seated. The women who sat still for hours on end were more likely to have died over the course of the study than those whose limbs tapped, wobbled and gently vibrated.

“Those of us who are more fidgety seem to have better long term health outcomes,” said Janet Cade, professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Leeds.

The findings suggest that work colleagues who are constantly tapping their feet might be encouraged to carry on rather than urged to stop, and that teachers might want to rethink their advice to similarly lively school children.

“It might be a good thing to fidget. I don’t think we are going to train people to fidget for health reasons, but it’s interesting that these small, active movements could be beneficial,” said Cade.

That’s right, y’all…jittery legs are totally going to be the hot new health craze.

It also means that my previous fears about getting a fat ass and dying due to my desk job are basically unfounded hogwash.

So there you have it. I’m immortal and all y’all who have hounded me about my jittery legs over the years already have one non-bouncing foot in the grave.

Boom…you’ve been science’d.

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | September 22, 2015

My Morning with Honey

Mornings with Honey

[5:45am]

*standing in front of me like a majestic tiger*

Honey: GetUp!GetUp!GetUp! FEED ME! I’m starving to death!!

Me: No…it’s too early. Go back to sleep.

*bites me*

. . .

[6:30am]

*puts paw in my mouth*

Honey: Stop snoring, bro! I’m trying to get some shut-eye.

Me: Mmmppffffff…

*bites me*

. . .

[7:00am]

*curled up next to my face*

Honey: Purrrrrrrrrr. Stay here and keep petting me.

Me: Sorry, dudette…I gotta get up and get ready for work.

*bites me*

. . .

[8:00am]

*out cold on her pillow*

Honey: ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz

Me: Bye Honey. Have a great day.

*wakes up and bites me*

Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | March 17, 2015

Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling

dbry002

I’ve been a pro wrestling fan my entire life and I’ve always been more than willing to admit as much.

As such, it probably won’t come as much of a shock to you that I’ve received more than my fair share of snark over the years from non-fans.

I’ve heard the following phrases probably eleven bajillionty times:

“You know it’s not real, right?”
“How can you watch that garbage, it’s all scripted.”
“That’s all so fake!”
“Dude, they’re not even really hitting each other!”
“They’d be dead if that was real.”

..and so on and so on.

The thing that non-fans rarely get is that it’s not about it being real. It’s about it feeling real.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. It is plenty real in the sense that you can’t fake falling off a ladder through a table. You can plan it in advance. You can do everything to mitigate risk, but you can’t fake it.

…but that’s not why – and this is an old wrestling fan trope if ever there was one – it’s still real to me, dammit.

It’s real to me because it is long-form storytelling with compelling characters and plot twists that you’d see in any other entertainment format and never question. It’s fiction that exists in a cartoon world of legalized violence where bullies get the comeuppance, underdogs triumph, and everyone goes home happy.

The problem is, before you get more than ten seconds into trying to explain why you actually like wrestling – and not, like, ironically, but legitimately – the detractors’ eyes have glazed over and they’ve stopped listening and labeled me a total rube who is entertained by low-brow, fake violence.

Luckily, filmmaker Max Landis has done something that – if any non-fan will actually watch all 25 minutes – will do more to legitimize wrestling as “entertainment” than any single fan has been able to do in the last fifty years of defending their love of pro wrestling.

The short film “Wrestling Isn’t Real” chronicles the career of one wrestler, Triple H, and explains over the span of 25 minutes why loving pro wrestling isn’t about thinking that what you’re watching is “real,” it’s about loving that it’s not real and still allowing yourself to get lost in it the way we do with all forms of entertainment.

If you’ve got 25 minutes, sit back and enjoy the ride.

(Note: mildly NSFW because of language and because you may be embarrassed about your co-workers knowing you’re into pro wrestling)


I laughed. I cried. I geeked out over all the cameos. I fell in love with Chloe Dykstra.

..but that’s just me, please let me know what did y’all think?

Especially you non-fans.

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