My Unhealthy Obsession With IKEA

It’s explained with a simple post from the Facebook marketplace:

IKEA Custom Table/Island with Storage and Bar Stools.

I know what some of you are thinking: Wow, did they really just drop a $67 Kallax from IKEA sideways and call it $500? Not Exactly:

Yes, the KALLAX shelf underneath does retail for about $67 (I’ve found them on sale for $50 new), but the CAPITA legs on it are a $13 set, ($80 total), the wooden countertop is KARLBY Oak retailing new at $170 ($250 total), and the leg supports for the countertop are GERTON Legs, fully adjustable at $30/ea ($310). I can’t find the barstools online, but comparable white leather barstools pairs range from $100-$150+ (Total $410-460+).

Now, we have to factor in the labor putting this together in the first place, and you’re looking at a fair market price pretty spot on at $450-$500. It’s fully adjustable, and technically you can put any IKEA countertop on top of this and make it work pretty well. Honestly, I think just buying the STENSTORP counter already built with a purpose at $399 is a better grab, but it’s cool seeing this customized island.

Yes, I go to IKEA too much and consider myself an expert.


NFL Steals A Game From The Browns

There’s no other way to say it, there’s no other way to see it. With less than 2 minutes left in their game against the Raiders, the Browns gained a first down, and it was measured as a first down. Run the clock game over.

Then the NFL steps in, and stole the game from the Browns.

They reversed the call with zero evidence and claims the runner was down short of the first down marker, giving the ball back to the Raiders.

The NFL stole a game from the Browns, end of story.

Football was always my fourth favorite of the major sports. The officiating as of the past few years has been awful. I can’t watch anymore. It’s just not fun

It doesn’t matter what happens in the rest of the game because it doesn’t matter. The game was fixed and the NFL were the fixers. There’s no evidence to overrule where the ball was downed, the game should be over right there.

But it’s not, because the NFL stole a game from the Browns.

This is why people stop watching the NFL, because their bullshit rules they make up along the way drastically change the outcomes of games.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Carr Fumble that was whistled short because of their obsession with protecting the quarterback.


The NFL And Maroon 5 At Halftime

It is really easy to pick on the NFL for any number of reasons: bad officiating, weird rules, instant replay, bad teams, bad owners, bad players, weather, ticket prices, the fans, it’s called “football” but they use a hand-egg hybrid. But the easiest thing to pick on the NFL every year is their seemingly endless ability to pick irrelevant entertainment for the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

I previously mentioned my great annoyance with RHCP playing halftime completely unplugged which is 100% “sellout” territory and honestly a bad move, then there was that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake fiasco, Katy Perry, Madonna, and …Coldplay? These don’t sound like the right choices for the “toughest sport in the world,” but the NFL knows what they’re doing making strange choices.

The NFL is bro territory where bros talk about being bros and bro around a football with bros while pounding broskies. Bro. However, the Super Bowl Halftime Show is statistically the most watched event in the US in any given year. Roughly one third of the US will see the Halftime Show and of that, maybe a tenth are genuinely interested in the game itself. So, the NFL caters to the other 90% consistently.

Maroon 5 is the last thing I’d want to hear if I was coming out of the tunnel to battle on the gridiron, it wouldn’t be on my to hear list at kickoff, it wouldn’t be on the menu for the touchdown dance special. However, for the 90% of people that don’t care about the outcome of the Super Bowl, it’s a goldmine. The average cost of an advertising spot for the Super Bowl is a meager $5,000,000. You think you want to cut into viewers with that sort of ad-rev? Didn’t think so.

I couldn’t care less who plays at Halftime, it’s always a strategic bullshit money grab, and the only people who do care about the Halftime performer, don’t actually care about the game itself.

C’est la vie.


The Problem With Nascar

Martin Truex Jr. won the 2017 NASCAR Championship. Martin Truex Jr. is at the top of the standings in points with just eight races left for the 2018 NASCAR Championship. However, Martin Truex Jr. doesn’t have a team to race for next year.

Furniture Row Racing has had Martin Truex Jr. on their roster for two years and It’s not uncommon for race teams to lose drivers in free agency or trade drivers, but Furniture Row Racing is closing up shop at the end of the year because their main sponsor 5 Hour Energy, is leaving NASCAR altogether. No money, no team. No team, no driver. Simple.

The easiest way to look at this is that Monster Energy is the main sponsor of NASCAR (Which is why it’s called “The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series”), and having 5 Hour Energy being the best team is a major conflict of interest, so off with 5 Hour Energy. No money, no team. No Team, no driver. Simple.

But wait, why doesn’t a new sponsor just step up and sign with Furniture Row Racing? They’re the favorite to win the Championship two years in a row, and have a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, they’re pretty well connected and are a solid investment. Sponsors should be flocking in to sponsor the #78 Car, but no calls came in, no deals were made, no sponsors were signed. No money, no team. No team, no driver. Simple.

Where are the sponsors? Simple: NASCAR is white, racist, suffering from a branding crisis, refuses to gut their religious ties, and doesn’t cater to Millennials.

1. NASCAR has a diversity problem and is Racist. Full Time Non-White Drivers, there are 3 (out of 32): Darrell Wallace Jr. Races the #43 car, is the only African-American Driver in NASCAR, and the first to race in the Daytona 500 since 1971. Daniel Suarez races the #19 car and is the only Mexican-American Driver in NASCAR. Kyle Larson drives the #42 car, and is the only Japanese-American Driver in NASCAR. Danica Patrick, the only female driver in NASCAR, is officially retired. But here’s the kicker: NASCAR doesn’t want the Confederate Flag to fly at races, but they have not outright banned Confederate Flags fans bring to the tracks, that’s Racist.

2. NASCAR has a branding problem. Sports rely on a team or an individual, but they all have a modifier: City, State, Region, and/or Country. NEW ENGLAND Patriots, LOS ANGELES Lakers, NEW YORK Yankees, CHICAGO Cubs. Where exactly is Joe Gibbs Racing? Explain how someone from Seattle is supposed to cheer for Richard Childress Racing. How am I supposed to continue my support for Martin Truex Jr if he doesn’t have a team or a sponsor? 80% of Americans live in an Urban Area, whether it be a city or it’s Suburbs. This doesn’t bode well for gaining traction

3. They have an invocation before every race. They’re the only sport that does this. Not everyone is Christian. Not everyone is Religious. Simple.

4. Millennials (myself included) slowly watch sports fade out to other forms of entertainment, there needs to be a way to cater to younger newer audiences. NASCAR has no plan to modify and is stuck in its old ways. Race Tracks are typically tucked away and not friendly to major cities. The point system and playoffs change EVERY year, which becomes confusing, Stage Racing did nothing except cut a race into 3 sections, Road Courses are few and far between, and if you don’t have someone to explain the intricacies of NASCAR to a new watcher, they’ll get bored and change the channel within a few minutes of watching cars drive in circles.

To casual or new fans: Going to a race sounds exciting and fun, but watching the race on TV? BORING, unless there’s a battle to win in the last 3 laps. But, why should I waste 4 hours in an afternoon watching a race if the only highlight I need is a 60 second clip of the crashes and the last lap? I don’t know how to convince my friends to like NASCAR, and more importantly, I really don’t want my friends to become interested in NASCAR if they’ll continue to shy away from Diversity and continue to cater to racists.

NASCAR has a thing called “NASCAR Diversity Internship Program,” which is a paid internship program founded in 2004 designed to bring in POC and Women into NASCAR. Today it’s 2018, this program has been in place for 14 years, but all of the main office employees in NASCAR are white men.

NASCAR in it’s current course might survive in a small bubble, but it’s losing traction faster than rain at Bristol.


When Will the NFL Stop Stealing From the XFL?

Prior to the Super Bowl there’s a giant media storm: Players are interviewed from both teams, other teams that didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, former players, analysts, and of course the NFL Commissioner himself, Roger Goodell. During one such press conference, Roger Goodell was asked if he heard about Vince McMahon wanting to bring back the XFL in 2020. I found it hard to believe when Roger Goodell said, “I haven’t had time to look into it,” being so caught up with Super Bowl week and the upcoming changing of the Catch Rule that’s plagued the NFL for the past couple seasons.

Now do I believe Roger Goodell really didn’t have time to look into the XFL statement? God no. Roger Goodell is currently dealing with a massive crisis: NFL Players are protesting an unfair social and political climate, the NFL is being manhandled by a team from New England no one outside of New England likes, and there’s this thing called the “Catch Rule” that is essentially turning games upside down, because really, what is a catch? All of these issues are leading to the biggest problem: Fans aren’t tuning into games anymore, the NFL ratings are crashing, and they’re going to be losing a lot of money unless they pull something off fast.

In comes the Super Bowl with this narrative: David v Goliath. The classic stand of the big expected winner and the poor lonely team limping in. Given, if the Philadelphia Eagles had Carson Wentz, this would be David v David, but more of an experienced veteran Patriots v the new upcoming Eagles. Instead, we have The Patriots coming in strong, and the Eagles with their backup quarterback Nick Foles. David. V. Goliath.

This is great for the NFL if the Eagles win, the Patriots will have lost and one of the problems plaguing the NFL will temporarily be on hold, but we still have to deal with fans not tuning in, and that “Catch Rule.” Well, the fans tuning in we have, who doesn’t watch the Super Bowl? (I swear to god if you mention that that you watched the Puppy Bowl to me, I will literally never speak to you again. That is more mind numbing than the NFL concussion problem).

Problem: Fourth Issue NFL needs to deal with: Concussions. Different time for that.

Lastly, we have the “Catch Rule” and when is a better time to fix the narrative of a problem situation? Wrestlemania. Wait sorry, the Super Bowl! If everyone is going to watch, why not get rid of that stupid “Catch Rule” now, instead of waiting until next season? That’s so instead of waiting for Monday Night Football Raw to come on and explain the changes, it’ll already be enforced sooner rather than later. The NFL XFL chose the right time to change the narrative to what they needed to do, instead of enforcing the rules that have applied all season.

It was perfect, twice in the Super Bowl Wrestlemania the Eagles had “catches,” according to the NFL’s XFL’s prior rulings based on how the “Catch Rule” should be enforced, that were not really catches. But, let’s change the rule now, fuck it! Let’s show everyone now, while everyone is watching: When you tune into the NFL XFL next time, it will be a goddamn catch, are you fans happy now?

Guy Looking Back NFL Catch Rule Super Bowl Dez Bryant Jesse James

Of course in New England we’re not happy about the on the fly Rule change, but everywhere else in the country: yes we are! This is exciting and I can’t wait for the new season! Granted, these rules most likely would have applied to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and the Patriots have won some games based on the dumb “Catch Rule,” (I see you Pittsburgh), but the NFL HAD TO DO THIS, THEY NEEDED to show fans NOW how the NFL was going to change NEXT year. A complete 100% XFL move.

The rule change was not the reason we lost, by the way. The Patriots lost the same way we won last year: strip sack. After that play it was all over, and everyone knew it. We tried a Hail Mary, but Doug Flutie wasn’t on the field for this one, so it was all over for Goliath, David made the shot between the eyes. Game Over Man, Game Over.

Now I’m happy to see the NFL pull an entertainment stunt like this, they’ve been doing it for a couple years now, hello DEFLATEGATE, but this was the biggest move on the largest stage to say “Fuck the rules, fuck what happened this year, let’s play fucking football.” The NFL was a guest referee away from infringing on the XFL. If you didn’t see Roger Goodell pull a Vince McMahon right in front of your face and steal a page out of the XFL manual, RIGHT AFTER Vince announced the return of the XFL, then you need to wake up Sheeple.

Oh, and for concussions, they forgot to flag the Eagles on the helmet to helmet hit on Cooks. Nice one, NFL.


Terraforming Mars

When it comes to playing board games, I’m mostly what you would refer to as a “sore winner.” I pride myself on my ability to learn the strategies of the game fast and not only use my strengths well, but exploit my opponents weaknesses. However, when it comes to Terraforming Mars, I’ve not quite mastered that luck just yet.

When we decided to play today, I only had one goal in mind: Beat Hei Lun. It’s one thing that he’s very good at playing this game, but he’s currently undefeated. There’s only one known time that he didn’t win, and that was because he wasn’t there that night. I need to win obviously, but I’ll take a consolation prize of at least doing better than him.

The game always starts off slow for me, I never typically am able to get a good jump on the game, I’m better at late game strategy, but in the case of this game I had some luck. First, We were playing the advanced game “Hellas,” which meant starting off with disadvantages including not having a ready stock of resources. The only resource I would have at the gun was Titanium, by starting with the Saturn Systems Corporation. This would be a great advantage, because the card in my initial starting hand would be “Security Fleet”: Each turn I may change one titanium into a Fleet Ship, every Fleet ship at endgame would equal 1 Victory Point. Spoiler Alert: this turned into 10 VPs.

Hei Lun would also have an incredibly fast start a he paired Interplanetary Cinematics (which start with 20 steel), and Advanced Alloys, which increased the value of each steel to 3 and titanium to 4, meaning he would have 60 Steel to build with early in the game. In terms of early game strategy, Hei Lun’s card would allow him to build more buildings allowing more resources to flow, my card would be better for the longer late game points, but not effectively help me grow early.

For the first 2/3rd’s of the game I was able to keep pace on the Points track for one reason: Security Fleet. Hei Lun and our 3rd player in the game Ferrari, would keep pumping heat into mars, as well as oceans, their lead was easily 4-7 points ahead of me at any point, however, I kept my cool because I would make all those points up alone from Security Fleet. I decided my late game strategy of Victory Points, Victory Points, Victory Points.

Saturn Systems is a Jovian Corporation, anytime ANY Jovian card is played, I’m allowed to gain an extra money production. Obviously that means I want to play Jovian cards (especially knowing they can combo off each other), but I realistically want them ALL to be played. A huge benefit is most Jovian cards are Space cards, and I have Titanium to punch into it, as well as the advantage of holding three great benefit cards: Research Outpost, AI Central, Quantum Extractor. In order: play cards for 1 less their cost, draw 2 cards each turn, pay 2 less for space cards. Jovian cards keep coming in my hand, and I can pay less and less for them, while still hanging on to at least one titanium for my Security Fleet.

By the end of the game I would sit on 5 Jovian Cards, two of them, IO Mining Industries, and Ganymede Colony, would give me 1VP for each Jovian Tag I had, another 10VP for my end game. Although I was able to make some great combos to add cities and make more money each turn, most of that money was being pumped into some very high cost cards. I was still lagging behind on the Terraform track.

Once I came to the realization that no one was building greeneries, I used that to my advantage, I would have money coming in, and I can use my newly found Steelworks to pump up the Oxygen level on Mars. Fun Fact, we used up all the temperature, and oceans before the oxygen was increased by a single point. Between my Steelworks, Strip Mining, and using all my money to add to my Greenery production, I ended up accounting for 10 of the 14 oxygen Points, a HUGE boost to my Terraform Rating. I would even account for the 3 final points to end the game before Hei Lun and Ferrari would end the game.

We mostly used the last two rounds blocking each other on Awards and Milestones, virtually keeping each other close at hand by the end of the count, no one running away with the game. I hoped my late game strategy would work out and holy crap did it. Hei Lun would end the game with only 6VP on cards. I would end with 38 Victory Points, squashing Hei Lun by a score of 98 to 69… Ferrari lagged behind with 54.

The main reason I’m certain I won was the advanced mode being played forcing a long game. Both Ferrari and Hei Lun were well in the lead very early, and had we the access to Greenery sooner, this would have been a different game. Because I was able to hold on and keep strong with my Jovian strategy, it allowed me to really boost on to the Greenery scene late which was huge in making up points, but then the late game VP would absolutely trounce my opponents.

It took six tries at least, but this was a worthwhile victory. He’s to being a sore winner, 1-6 record. 💪🏻.

Saturn Systems Terraforming Mars Big Win


One Strange Wedding

Today I wandered out to Malden City Hall Building One (If it sounds confusing that there are multiple city hall buildings in Malden, this isn’t even the start of the story) to take wedding photos for someone I’ve never met.

Now most people who have wedding photos taken typically choose a trusted source, as in someone who has taken wedding photos before, or at least have a history of taking great photos. This was not the case for my new friend. Turns out he chose me due to a weird coincidence, you see I just so happened to be extremely intoxicated in Walt Disney World when this man decided I should be his wedding photographer.

I was in Disney in the first place visiting my coworker, technically my boss, Lisa. She was there working the college program and we talked about meeting there in Disney, and lo and behold, two weeks prior to Christmas, there I was at Disney. It was a fantastic trip and she was a wonderful host, and I honestly wish I could live at Disney because that place is magical.

Back on track to bring us closer to why I was at Malden City Hall Building One: One of the fun activities you can partake in at Disney World is known as “Drinking Around The World,” it takes place in Epcot and involves having a drink in all 11 countries, plus the African Outpost. Normally Epcot is open from 9am-9pm, which means an average of one drink per hour. Lisa and I did not have this kind of time, as she left work at 5pm, giving us about 4 hours to complete the quest of drinking around the world. We started the best way we knew how to: in England with Egg Nog, it was Christmas after all. We followed that by pounding a beer to the Canadian National Anthem in Canada, Ohhh Canada!

Now we have another coworker, who wasn’t present at the time, but he’s simply known as Sergeant Lasagna, but we just call him Lasagna. Now his name although a proper noun, can be used as a verb, such as “I’ve been Lasagnaed!” Such occasions of this usually result in comically bad things happening to you, or in some instances, to him. Everyone at one point in time at work has been Lasagnaed.

Lisa and I started working on our third drink, Avocado Margaritas in Mexico, when we noticed that the Frozen ride was broken down, which apparently happens all the time. We figured that if the ride were to open, it would only take 5 minutes to wait in a normally hour long line, and we had some drinks to consume. We figured why not finish our drinks and if the ride opened, we’d slide on in. Turns out the ride would open just as we finished our drinks, perfect timing. However, in the midst of waiting I received a call.

I didn’t have the number saved in my phone but the area code said “Fall River, MA” and I have a sister living there so I assumed it could have been someone associated to her, or enough of a reason in my semi-inebriated state that I should take the call. Turns out if was no one related to or involved with my sister, it was Lasagna. He has a favor to ask of me, “Hey Joe… I have this friend who is looking for a wedding photographer, Malden City Hall, January 5th, can you do it?”

My sister Heather had just been married at a city hall, further up the road in Salem, MA, and it was a small handful of people there, if I was guessing right, this would only be a couple of people and that screams easy money right? I’m only three drinks in, but that’s equivalent to about 12 for the normal person and I wholeheartedly agree to take photos for this guy, “Yeah Lasagna, you got it!” He put me on the phone with his friend and I told him it was cool as his wedding was the day after I was flying back in from LA, spoiler alert!

So Lisa and I go on to complete our lap around the world victorious champions, but now we must Jump ahead to LA. Lisa works for Quacks, but prior to working for the Quacks, I worked as a Photographer at a company called Photo-. I quit Photo- to work for the ducks partially because I knew it would be more fun, but mostly because I knew it paid significantly more money. Well, while I was in LA, I was meeting with a couple of my old coworkers from the days way back at Photo- and we are all much more successful and “adult” than we ever were at that company and it was a fun time and crazy to look back on all the drama that was Photo-.

Well in trying to leave LA, I encountered an issue: Bomb Cyclone. Apparently that’s the term that the news came up with to call a winter hurricane. It sounds more like a Dairy Queen and a Steak Sub made love and they called it “Bomb Cyclone.” Well this storm was causing problems because I wouldn’t be arriving home anytime soon, and even worse, I would miss this guy’s wedding. To be fair, I never met the guy, and to be even more honest, I agreed to take the photos a few drinks deep in Disney on Vacation, I was in an extremely better than usual mood, and I really, really don’t actually want to take the photos I agreed to take.

The dude and I would text, he thinks the wedding is still on, I’m convinced it’ll be cancelled, and neither he or I can contact a backup photographer with him. Thursday afternoon my last text to him says “I’m trying to find someone for you,” but I know that’s not going to happen. I hear nothing from him Friday Morning, the day of his wedding, I arrive home Friday late-afternoon, still nothing.

It’s Sunday evening and I just finished watching some football, I receive a text and it turns out the storm did actually cancel his wedding. He had it rescheduled for Wednesday, conveniently on a day I have nothing planned, because I don’t do anything over the winter. I said, once again, sure I’ll photograph your wedding.

That takes us to today, the day of the wedding at Malden City Hall Building One. Turns out there are multiple city hall buildings in Malden, all next to each other, and all serving different purposes. For the purpose of this wedding, we are needed in Building One. Nothing is more weird than walking into Building One, finding a clerk and asking them, “Did you see anyone in here looking to do a wedding? I’m here to photograph it, but I’ve never actually met him.” Turns out he was downstairs waiting for me, so I ran down to him, only to bring him right back home to the clerk’s office.

MD, NJ, and their friend (I never actually heard of was told his name) were a cute couple, right about my age. MD, he immigrated from India and was the manager of a convenience store. NJ, she was from Randolph and laughed at everything. The ceremony was held, I photographed the whole thing, all 10 minutes of it, and instead of taking the money and running, they asked if I could join them for lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant, Kashmir in Back Bay.

Hell Yes.

As we sat down together for lunch, I took the opportunity to ask my new friends how they knew Lasagna, my wonderful coworker who manages to Lasagna people into the weirdest and most comical of situations. Turns out, he had never met them either. Lasagna was in MD’s convenience store when he overheard MD saying he needed a wedding photographer and was willing to pay some money for it, so Lasanga called me as he was paying for scratchies and a drink, or something related to that.

Was I actually Lasagnaed? At first I thought I was, but then then I realized I somehow ended up being paid to eat lunch at my favorite restaurant in the Back Bay and make these young newlyweds two very happy people and capture that on film, it’s beautiful.

Chicken Vindaloo is delicious.