Wednesday, March 30

Singer spams entire Facebook friend list with song

I assume when someone posts a song that they created on my wall, they want me to give my input. That's fair, right? I mean, you can't just go around spamming every single person in your friend list on Facebook with your synthesized symphony and not expect some feedback, correct? But I'm just going to leave it at that. You be the judge.  Because if I were to judge this, I might make Simon Cowell look like Jennifer Lopez...

A few words of advice. If you want to make it as a musician, then don't force anyone to listen to your stuff by spamming 300 people's walls. Let people find you. Make a fan page on Facebook, create a Twitter, start a blog with a Twitter feed and fan page badge to link it all together.  Then upload your music to Mediafire or Megaupload so people can download it and have it on their iPods and stereos. Get a PureVolume account and open up a MySpace music profile. Take your music off of clunky Youtube and only upload it to Soundcloud. Put up flyers, call every single club you know of and perform live. Find a real producer or engineer and beg them to help you not sound like you are singing from inside a tin can. Don't go blasting everyone you don't even talk to anymore with videos that contain pictures from Google Images and Picniking your name in order to build a following. But what do I know, my band only performed at the 2008 Lutheran North Talent show with the elusive APF4 on the ivories... 

By Aaron Brandt, noted Hormel spiced ham critic.

Monday, March 28

Charlie Sheen. Winning? Or just exaggerating?

When Chuck Sheen's little tour was announced and tickets went on sale, the media was all over the former star of Two and a Half Men, talking about how the shows sold out in minutes, new shows were added and Sheen was back. Winning, if you will. However, it seems that his claims were greatly exaggerated. Someone in the media actually acted responsibly and didn't take the word of a former (?) drug addict's attendance report and looked up tickets at the Fox. And they are readily available. Floor seats. Next to each other. Not on Ebay for 300 times the original cost, they were available for the regular price on the regular website. She even found that some tickets are selling for less than face value. That doesn't sound like a sold out show to me. Sounds like people don't really care about Charlie Sheen. I mean, when Girl Talk is outselling you on their national tour, I don't think you are really winning. Duh. 

This brings up two issues. One, Charlie Sheen is not some all knowing master of public relations. He "violently torpedoed" his own career because he couldn't suck up his pride for a few hours a day while making millions and work with his producer. What sick person turns down that kind of money? Trust me, this wasn't some intentional, calculated outburst that was meant to advance his career. It was a brash, selfish and drug influenced decision to quit on the show that made him the highest paid star on TV (I realize he was fired, but he forced CBS to do it, with his actions and words). Sorry, but I trust the word of an entire TV studio staff, who all have families to feed as well over the words of Wild Thing.

His shtick is old, and people are tired of it. He created a novelty amount of buzz, and now there is nothing new to see at this train wreck, so the crowd moves on to better stories (Rebecca Black, ugh). He isn't a smart person. He is a selfish, arrogant celebrity that was handed the world at a young age, and never learned how to cope with adversity. Now he realizes that he needs money to pay for all his houses, child support and other costs of living a rockstar life without a rockstar paycheck.

This brings me to my second point. What a tell tale sign of the state of our media. When you have large papers and networks running stories about how Sheen sold those shows out, based on a report from TMZ that came from Sheen's Twitter, we have a serious problem. Today's "journalists" are completely irresponsible when it comes to reporting actual news and reporting it fairly. When the Sheen hype died down, what was next? A young girl who was clearly taken advantage of by literally the worst record label in history. That's what makes American news, folks. Forget Japan and Libya, we want to see what hatred Reddit is spewing about a young girl who doesn't know any better.

Sheen's five minutes are ending. Maybe he will realize what a huge mistake he made and beg to be back on the show. Or he will continue his arrogance, and watch his career wither away into Lohan status. He might be a pop culture phenomenon and sell a few t-shirts, but being a delusional buttface is no way to sustain a career. Go ahead and blink to cure your addictions. Too bad you can't blink to cure your career.

By Aaron Brandt, who owns no bowling shirts. 

Wednesday, March 23

Greatest dance off of all time

The spins! The finger pointing! The hand motions! The pelvic thrusts! If this isn't the greatest dance off that has ever occurred on the green earth, I don't know what is. Just look at these kids go at it! I expected a DJ to come on and yell "Tag your man, tag your man! Only this is 100 times better than anything Dance 360 could ever offer the human race. And the parents casually sit in the background as if they are not witnessing history in the making. They even ended the whole routine with a coordinated knee slide and finger point. I don't know how this hasn't gone viral yet. These two have etched themselves into the brand new SwimmersItch Blog hall of fame with this clutch performance.

Thanks to Molly for showing me this and LuisDubuc for this video. Only 6,000 views?

By Aaron Brandt, who is always game for a Jewish dance off. 

I want a floating soccer roof in my back yard

Whenever I can't think of anything to talk about, I simply search "soccer" in Google News and find the next ridiculous tale from the world's most popular sport. I have already given my opinions on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and one of my points was that the temperature will average triple digits. Can you imagine the amount of career ending cramps that Handspring Sam will have to tend to in that heat? Anyway, Qatar promised to build a bunch of air conditioned stadiums, and they finally revealed the plan.

Instead of building a bunch of domed or roofed stadiums, the geniuses (literally you have to be a genius to invent this) here decided to build a floating roof. That's right, a roof will be hovering over the field, shading it from the hot sun (but not all of it of course, that would make too much sense for a sport who's fans shoot flares its players...). It will have big propellers that let it hover using solar power. It is also remote controlled. Its just like an RC car, if RC cars cost $500,000 and were only going to be used for two weeks.

If this doesn't sound like the stupidest idea, I don't know what is (stoppage time). The flying roof doesn't even cover the whole field! Not only do the goalies have to watch out for rescue flares, they have to cook in the sun. This sounds like something straight out of a Popular Science from 1993. You know, the outrageous predictions that are now laughable as time has passed, like flying cars and jetpacks for everyone. Again, the World Cup selection committee passed on the United States, Japan, Australia and South Korea to go to a place so hot that they had to invent floating ceilings to keep the latest Adidas ball that everyone will complain about from melting to the turf. And this goofy identified flying object will certainly block the view from the Goodyear Blimp.

What do you do with a floating roof once the Cup is over?  The official press release says "commercial models which could also be used at beaches, car parking by using the mobile phone." What does that even mean? Do I get to use my mobile phone to dial up one of these bad boys and have it hover over my car while I shop at the mall? The Accord could use some pampering, I guess.

And what about the fans? They get no shade? So they have to sit in an arena and bake in temperatures that can reach 122 degrees to watch a game that might, and I mean might, include one goal. Are they trying to not sell tickets? Don't get me wrong, the World Cup is one of the best sporting events around, and I tune in every four years, despite all the fake injuries and lack of scoring. But what were they thinking when a country the size of Connecticut and the heat of Death Valley was chosen? I hope the guy with the remote control doesn't pass out from the heat, or else we will have a Freddy Adu pancake. And I wonder how much bottled water $500,000 would buy in Japan?

By Aaron Brandt, who was never in contention to host the World Cup. 

Monday, March 21

Intramural Flag Football: A Case Study

The Best of Thunder and Destruction - NFL's Hardest Hits [VHS]As the Endzone Divas took the field for the first time Sunday night, they struck with a vengeance. One opponent remarked, "He hit me so hard, he knocked the taste out of my mouth." Ok, ok, so maybe I took that quote from NFL's Thunder and Destruction, but you get the point. In a valiant effort, my team came out of our double header 2-0. Playoff bound.

In my three years of playing IM football at Grand Valley, it has been clear to me that no matter what team we play, there are always the same type of characters gracing the gridiron. I broke them up into categories and explained each.

The "I take it too seriously" Player- This guy shows up in full warmups, rocking an iPod and doing suicides before the game, and then strips down to full body Under Armour, a cutoff tee, armbands (with a playbook), a headband and NikeID custom cleats to match his shorts. He is not here to have fun, but rather to re-live the shortcomings of his high school football career, which was shortened due to that one unfortunate DUI situation. He tells the refs about the rulebook, high steps into the endzone on touchdown passes and meaninglessly points around the field as if to say "I am reading this defense, and I know how to break it." It's flag football, bro. There are no NFL scouts here. No need to throw a tantrum when the neutral zone isn't exactly a yard, or constantly dispute the spot of the ball. And they ALWAYS flag guard.

The "I've never played a sport in my life" Player- I feel bad for this kid. Trust me, I'm no Calvin Johnson, but I have a little bit of coordination, and I know a little bit of football. Unfortunately, you run into (literally) the kid who has no business playing sports, let alone being out in the sun. They are one stiff breeze away from toppling over like a Jenga Tower. This isn't helped by the lack of proper athletic equipment; Chuck Taylors may be cool (debatable) at a NOFX concert, but they do not ever belong on a football field. Neither do khakis. At least buy some shorts that cover up your knobby, pale knees.

The Ball Hog-This player demands the ball on every play, despite a lack of talent and triple coverage. And when they don't get the ball, they complain that they were wide open, even if the team just scored a touchdown. And when they do get the ball, any drops or losses of yardage is someone else's fault.

The Goofy Kid- This kid has a moderate amount of skill, but he chooses to make funny comments during the game, ruining his concentration and costing his team points. But yes, his commentary on last night's Tosh.0 was humorous.

The Normal Player- This is a person who has some amount of athleticism, (maybe a lot), likes football and is out to have fun. Yes, they want to win, but if they lose, its all good.

Steve Swan- Probably the worst player in GVSU IM history, this quarterback has been compared to a mix of Steven Threet and Greg Paulus. He can't throw the ball, and he can't run the ball. He still recalls a game from high school against Lutheran Northworst, where he caught three touchdowns, despite the fact that QB Richie Beebe deserved all the credit for those perfect passes, and the other team was basically terrible. We offered to trade him for a bag of athletic tape, but the Donte Stallworth Driving Academy declined the offer.

Wednesday, March 16

Oakland University. NCAA Champions?

No. They will lose in the first round. But in honor of the team making the tournament again, here is a picture of a chair made out of a real grizzly bear. Fire up Grizz, or whatever they say. It also isn't too late to join my bracket, by clicking here. The ID is 76741 and the password is basketball. A $1 prize will be awarded to the winner.
If anyone would like to purchase or make me this chair (real bears only), feel free to send me one. I would appreciate it. 

By Aaron Brandt, who has enough chalk on his bracket to supply the Chinese gymnastics team for 2012. 

Monday, March 14

The SwimmersItch Bracket Challenge III

It is time for the third annual tournament of NCAA teams and your subsequent brackets. You know the drill. 76741 is the group ID, and the password is basketball. This year's prize is $1 and an autographed note card from me. And any other junk I can round up and fit in an envelope. Sign up, space is limited. Yeah, it's that popular. HERE IS THE LINK, but it probably doesn't work. Yahoo is for the dinosaurs, but I have my reasons for staying in the site for this esteemed tournament of will power.

In other news, I lost four teeth over break. Sorry, no David after dentist videos here, the only thing I was concerned about while waking up from the sedatives was the click through rate on my ads and the analytics statistics on my western Europe blog readers. Is this real life? Check out this cool MySpace-style photograph and see the results of my dental alterations. That's right, I didn't swell or take pain medication. I attribute my toughness to the Presidential Fitness Challenge which I took in grade school. I never passed (The flexibility test was a deal breaker), but it taught me everything I know about adversity and how to overcome it. Thank you Bill Clinton.  What am I talking about again? I don't remember, just join the bracket challenge.

Thursday, March 3

Another typical soccer overreaction

I've talked about this in the past, and I was only half joking. Seriously, soccer, chill out with the theatrics. You got this medic, who is doing cartwheels like he's Kerri Strung in 1996, while some soccer player is faking yet another injury with an acting job that would make Colin Firth jealous. The fact that this medic cared more about his floor routine than attending to an "injured" soccer player really shows how fake those injuries are on the pitch. I mean seriously, this is why people in America hate soccer. We watch hockey players get their faces sown back on during the first period and out playing in the second. We see Michael Jordan with a crippling fever going out and lighting up the Jazz for 38 points. We see MMA dudes break ribs and fingers and still go out there and knock other dudes out. Then we watch some soccer player flop like he got shot with an Uzi, and his trainer sprints out doing Paul Hamm handsprings and begging the crowd for noise like he's Hooper (and Mini-Hooper); of course we are going to pick competive log sawing on ESPN 4.2 over that garbage.

Dude, you're the trainer. Not on the team, not coaching the team and you probably aren't even a doctor. Just some random guy who has that magical spray and magical cloth that magically heals all injuries (and also has studied with the Chinese gymnastics team). You see dramatics that would make General Daniel Sickles cringe, followed by "recoveries" so embarrassing that  General George B. McClellan would blush. I've seen this same stuff in high school as well. You would think Country Day had razor blades on their cleats based on the aftermath of some simple slide tackles. Come on soccer, one moment you guys are running for miles and kicking balls with laser accuracy, and the next moment you are sprawled out on the ground like an octopus at the Joe. You have dudes getting the same flat tire Joel Booth gave me everyday in high school, only instead of walking away, Mr. Ringling Brothers himself needs to come out with a stretcher and cart your carcass off to the side with the rest of the bodies from the game and the riots outside.

And now you have soccer dudes straight up Jason Hanson-extra point kicking helpless owls into the third row of the stadium. I didn't see Mr. Fancy Pants come twirling out to help that animal... The list of logical reasons for Americans to hate soccer just keeps growing and growing. I can't wait for that World Cup in Qatar, can you?

By Aaron Brandt, who once played through a sprained thumb in intramural flag football. True Grit.

Rapidfire! Round one.

Yesterday I asked the Facebook world for blog topics and they delivered. Instead of just choosing one topic, I will give  a short take on each post. Thanks for the feedback. But before I do that, I'd like to say thanks to anyone who has read the mostly pointless posts recently. I have worked hard to not forget about this blog, and it led to my most popular month of all time. Thanks!

Brigham Young University basketball player suspended for violating the school's honor code- Good for BYU. In today's college athletics world, there is a double standard. You can be a DI athlete and commit all sorts of crimes and fail all sorts of classes and not get in any trouble, while the rest of us get honest grades and stay out of trouble for no scholarship money. I'm looking at you, Michigan State. BYU has a strict code for its students, and they know of its existence before they even sign up for class. You break it, you deal with the consequences. Good to see a Division I athletic program not holding its athletes on a different playing field than the rest of the students.

Former Detroit prep star Alex Legion kicked off of another basketball team- Story here. This demonstrates the problem with the ESPN world we live in. Before this kid was even in high school, he was getting attention from everywhere. So when he "enrolled" with Country Day (I bet his signing bonus was great), he was over hyped beyond belief. It is no surprise that a kid who heard how awesome he was during the 12-16 year old developmental years is struggling to stay on a team. Getting handed the world at such a young age has consequences, and Alex Legion is proof.

Simple Dreffs-Zac Dreffs is the prototypical All-American kid. He was superstar athlete in high school that gave college football a try, but realized that there is more to life than winning DII championships every year. He is always down for a game of anything EA Sports has to offer.  His birth was shrouded in mystery; even the location is unclear. He could possibly be from Canada, Detroit, Wisconsin, Traverse City or Elk Rapids. Or none of those places. No one actually knows (besides Sean, obv). He can cook up a mean "Dreffs Special" which includes bread, ham, cheese and mayo. He recently acquired blinds in his window, which means you are no longer able to watch him get his required 8 hours of sleep per night. He has his own movie ratings system, which leans to the Jud Apatow side of the scale. Zac epitomizes "living the life," as you can find him simply living the life, usually at one of his two apartments.

"z replaces s, no questionz azked"- If you want to be cool, you muzt replace "s" with "z" at all timez. Period. No queztionz azked. It alzo addz credibilty to any paper or exam in college. Write thiz down, high zcoolerz.

Paid Tweets- Eventually Twitter needed to find a way to make money, so they let companies pay a sum of cash to have their phrase of choice shown in the day's "trending topics." I have no issue with this, as it is all part of the great capitalist model that our country uses. If you have a service that someone is willing to pay money to use, then by all means, sell that space. I wish I had thought of a website that makes money and produces no physical products. Oh wait, I did, and this space is for sale.

Thanks to Jordan, Mark, Mark Jr., Libby, and Alix for providing today's topics. Look for another Rapidfire session posted on my facebook if you want to contribute your own topics.

By Aaron Brandt, who was not joking about selling ad space on this blog. I'll color the whole thing purple for the right price.