Friday, April 29, 2011

FVG Attempts to Boil Itself Down to a Science

Jodie can't take the ambiguity.
The problem with the typical Football vs. Girlfriend conflict is there's never a definitive right answer. She wants to do this. You want to watch that. There's no magic formula to determine who wins.

But today, I'm attempting to change that. On a scale from 1-10 below, I've rated every live sporting event I can think of, with a "10" being virtually un-missable, and a "1" being virtually unwatchable. We'll call this List F. I also had Lindsey rate every possible reason for keeping me from watching said sporting event, from the birth of a child to buying a purse. That will be List G.

The idea is that once the two lists are finished, you post List F next to List G on the refrigerator with the magnet your dentist gave you, and have an pre-determined, totally-objective verdict to any FVG case. If Chad's got the Red Sox as a 7, and Morgan has "discussing weekend plans" as a 5, then sorry Morgan, discussing weekend plans will have to wait 'til the end of the inning. And be over by the time the next one starts.

Matt's LIST F*:

10: Super Bowl, College Football National Championship, NCAA Basketball Tournament

9: NFL Playoffs, NBA Finals, NBA Playoffs, NBA Draft

8: NFL Regular Season, College Football Bowl Game, College Football Regular Season, College Basketball Championship Week, Winter Olympics, World Cup

7: NFL Draft, MLB Regular Season (Mets), NBA Regular Season, NBA All-Star Saturday Night, NBA Draft Lottery, College Basketball Regular Season

6: NCAA Tournament Selection Special, Summer Olympics, Hot Dog Eating Contest, Tennis Major Final

5: NFL Preseason, NBA All-Star Game, College Football Spring Games, NBA Summer League, NBA Preseason, World Baseball Classic, Golf Major Championship Final Round, Tennis Major

(This is the point at which I'll look for something other than sports on TV, if you were wondering.)

4: CFL, Westminster Dog Show, Triple Crown Horse Race, NFL Scouting Combine

3: MLB Playoffs (assuming no Mets), MLB Preseason (Mets), MLB All-Star Game, Little League World Series, Pro Bowl, College World Series, NHL Playoffs

2: Home Run Derby, Scripps Spelling Bee, International Soccer, Tennis, Poker

1: MLB Regular Season (non-Mets), MLB Preseason (non-Mets), MLB Draft, NHL Regular Season, Golf, MLS, PBA Bowling, NASCAR, X-Games

(If there's any live sporting event I've forgotten, it's probably a 1.)

*Surely, there are LOTS of variables that can't be accounted for -- the most significant being which two teams are playing. Obviously last year's Lakers-Celtics NBA Final carries much more national appeal than last year's Giants/Rangers World Series. But other than specifying Mets and non-Mets games for baseball, I decided it wasn't worth noting because it made my head hurt, sort of like reading too much of this italic font.

Lindsey's LIST G:

11: Wedding (your own), Baby being born, Child's birthday

10: Wedding (immediate family), birthday party (hers)

9: Parents' Night at School, Surgery

8: Wedding (extended family), Romantic Weekend

7: Friends in town, Parents in town, Taking a class together

6: Romantic dinner

5: Commiserating about work, Watching a Bravo show together

4: Going to the movies, Work Christmas Party, Royal Wedding

3: Shopping (for me), Informal Work Get-Together, Renting a movie

2: Going for a walk, Going for a run, Going to a Broadway play

1: Shopping (for her), Museum Opening

Lindsey ran into difficulties ranking as well, such as "Which friends are in town?", and "Whose baby is being born? MINE????"

I'd tell you to go do this on your own, but to be honest, it probably won't solve anything. There's just too many nuances, caveats, and other French-sounding words that come into play. I think the one thing I did learn from this exercise is that the FVG dilemma never really can be boiled down to a science. 

Which means I guess you'll just have to keep reading this blog!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

American Idiots

For his birthday, my parents gave Greg two tickets to the first Knicks' home playoff game since 2004. My dad never formally claimed the second ticket, but Greg and I assumed it was for him. After all, he bought the tickets, and he’s been a Knicks fan since, well, a long time ago.

So it shocked both of us Monday night when Dad told us the other ticket was mine…

"Sometimes I give myself the-eee creeps."
Because he couldn’t go…

Because he was going to a play.

We were aghast, as Dad desperately tried to defend himself:

DAD: There’s no intermission. I’ll get to see the end.
US: How could you?
DAD: It’s the final showing of American Idiot. Billie Joe Armstrong’s making a guest appearance!
DAD: It’s not an elimination game. It’s the only one I’ll miss!
US: You call yourself a fan?
DAD: They either win, and I’m happy, or they lose, and I’m glad I missed it.
US: It’s the playoffs!
DAD: I didn’t know when the games would be!
US: (silence)
DAD: What am I supposed to do? Mom got me the tickets as a gift.
ME: So you should be able to do what you want with them!

But my last comment caused me to hit the brakes. The exchange was beginning to sound strangely familiar. I thought back to a g-chat conversation Lindsey and I had a little over a week ago, about a wine tasting class she had gotten a gift.

ME (to Lindsey): So when are we doing wine tasting? 5/12?
LINDSEY: Oh yeah, good news about that. They can do the earlier date, 4/21.
ME (to myself):  Oh no.
LINDSEY: I figure we’ve put it off long enough. Time to just do it, right?
ME (to myself): Not if Game 3’s that night. 
ME (to Lindsey): I thought we had said 5/12.
LINDSEY:  Well, you said you could do either.
ME (to myself):  I DID say I could do either. Why the heck did I say I could do either? I knew full well when the first round would be! This must’ve been during the six-game losing streak. I lost focus.
LINDSEY: Can you not do 4/21 anymore?
ME (to myself): I could say no, but she’ll ask why. And I’ll have to explain it’s because there’s a 45% chance there’ll be a very important Knicks game that night.
ME (to myself): Whatever, it’s my gift. I should be able to do what I want, right?
ME (to myself): Right. See how that goes over.
ME (to Lindsey): Yeah, 4/21 is fine.

Was Dad any less of a Knicks fan than I was? Of course not. We were two boyfriend/husbands stupidly leaving our playoff fate to chance in order to avoid what at the time felt like unnecessary conflict. 

He paid dearly for it. I didn't.

Let's go Knicks!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bravo TV Report Card, Spring 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Much has changed in the world of Bravo TV since then. But really, has it? Let’s go to the report card and find out:

There's a new twinkle in her eye.
Bethenny Ever After: The reality TV equivalent of a lead singer’s head getting too big and leaving the band for a solo career. I expected it to work out, in this case, because Bethenny’s band sucked. You had to figure when she got married and started her own show it would be an upgrade. Not really. Bethenny’s lost her edge a bit. She’s in love now, which means she’s less cynical and more happy. Which is great for Bethenny, but not for me. I’ll give BEA the edge over RHONY, because at least now Bethenny’s playfully bickering with a man (as opposed to un-playfully bickering with a swarm of women), but only by a reconstructed nose.
FVG Grade: D-

Real Housewives of New York: They really miss Bethenny. Not literally, of course, because they all hated her, but in terms of the show being watchable, this was a devastating loss. It’s like when I was 11 and the Mets traded David Cone to the Blue Jays at the trading deadline for minor league prospects. I frantically found my Dad and asked, “Dad, why would we ever trade David Cone? He’s our only good player!!!” I understand now that moves like this make sense for a team’s long-term viability. But in the short-term, they’re just that much more painful.
FVG Grade: F-

Million Dollar Listing: When the three main characters are doing what they do best, I like this show. These are some of the best young realtors in Southern California, and since I only ever deal with the dregs of NYC’s rental market, it’s nice to know there are caring, talented go-getters out there. It’s when Bravo manufactures cat-fights between them – and makes them have staged lunches with female friends where no one ever eats – when MDL gets annoying. Maybe this is how they get the women to watch, but it doesn’t seem to me like you need it. After all, that’s what the Housewives are for.
FVG Grade: D+

Pregnant in Heels: The title is terrible. I don’t even get it. All women wear heels, so who specifically is this referring to? The main character, Rosie Pope, is cute, spunky, has a pretty (and most likely fake) Australian accent, and is great at what she does. Which is…a “pregnancy consultant”. WTF is a pregnancy consultant? Who comes up with this stuff? And that’s just it: Anyone who’d legitimately seek out the help of a pregnancy consultant has to be entertaining television. And sure enough, the pilot included two expecting couples: The first hated babies and had a husband whom Lindsey was 98% sure was gay, and the second spent upwards of 15K to “focus group” a baby name (which they insisted isn’t a name, but a “brand”), only to go against everyone’s recommendation in the end and pick the name they wanted in the first place (Bowen). It was awesome. I loved it. I even asked Lindsey when the next episode would be on. She said it’s tonight. Hmmm, Lakers-Spurs…
FVG Grade: B-

Don't even get me started.
Watch What Happens Live: As if the Real Housewives weren’t horrible enough, now they bring a bunch of them on afterwards to talk with Andy Cohen about the show we just spent an hour watching. Seriously. Why must you do this to me, Bravo? Cohen intentionally brings up the most heated moments from the show in order to cause…you guessed it: even more fighting! And, of course, Lindsey loves it! All girlfriends do. This marks the first time I’m actually mad at Bravo. They know exactly what women’s guilty pleasures are, and exploit them without any regard whatsoever for boyfriends who might be stuck watching with them. You owe me one, Bravo. Now go find me another Rosie.
Grade: F minus minus

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Well, Looks Like July and August Will Be Open

Every year, around this time in early April, I summon the baseball gods and offer them a deal:

"Today kids across the country will look longingly down at their birthday cakes, close their eyes, smile, and make a wish: That this year their favorite baseball team wins the World Series. It's very sweet, but it puts you in quite a bind, doesn't it? After all, only one out of 30 teams can actually win, right? It's not fair to you. It's not fair to them. That's why this imaginary conversation is different. I'm not here to ask for the Mets to make the World Series. I'm not even here to ask for the playoffs. All I want is for us to be IN PLAYOFF CONTENTION through the barren sports months of July and August. After that, they're free to blow it. Trust me, they won't need your help doing that anyway."

Seems reasonable, right? Almost half the teams in the league fulfill this requirement every year. I'm basically asking to be on the right side of a coin flip. Yet, even with a team loaded with talent (well, sort of), and a top-5 payroll, year after year the gods deem my request too greedy.

So this year, I didn't even ask.

This year's Mets are looking a lot like two years ago's Knicks: A new, seemingly competent management team brought in to clean house, shed fat, rebuild with youth, and help us forget the past few years ever happened. Eventually, I believe they will. I trust these new guys. I have to.

But short-term, it really doesn't look good. Santana's out until July. Beltran's an injury waiting to happen. Reyes is 28 and we're still talking about his "potential". The Braves are good. The Marlins aren't bad. The Phillies have the best rotation EVER. Hanging around through August this year seems less like a reasonable request and more like a best-case scenario. Lindsey's Aunt Pepette invited us to her family's cottage in France next summer. Can we go this one?

Beautiful, isn't it?
But maybe this year's Mets aren't two years ago's Knicks. Maybe they're this year's UConn, who I didn't think would still be playing in March, let alone April.

And look at them now.

Maybe this year's Mets have a surprise for us. Maybe this year they don't just contend into July and August, but September and October! Maybe this year, the Mets make us all eat our words....

See how stupid we are, ladies? Just like that, you can make us believe anything.