The B in Blog-Now updated at least Semi-Annually!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Adventures of B-rent and Son, Day 2

I'll fast forward through the delivery, because this is a family b-log. My wife and son were doing well, and we were preparing to head home from the hospital. A rather tall nurse with a mask came in and told us they had to run a few last minute tests before we left. So the nurse wheeled him into the exam room and we waited a few moments for them to return.
After about half an hour, I got a little nervous and I poked my head out in the hallway to see what was going on. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tall figure pushing a cart toward the elevator.
"Excuse me, Nurse!" I called.. The nurse turned, revealing an ugly, jagged scar running from his ear to his eye, back to his ear lobe, and back to his mouth.
"That's no nurse. That's Lightning Scarface! Stop that man!"
He sprinted for the elevator, still pushing my son. I reached in my pockets for anything I could throw at him, but all I had were some daggers and ninja stars. They'd have to do. One dagger caught his shoulder as he reached the doors. He turned to face me, holding a syringe to my newborn's neck.
"One step further and your boy gets a lethal dose of Sodium!" He reached for the down button and the 'ding' indicated the car had arrived. He stepped in and as the doors closed, I raced for the steps and made it to the bottom level in seconds flat.
The doors opened and, to my surprise, Lightning Scarface wasn't there. Upon further inspection, I saw him in the floor, convulsing with the needle protruding from his carotid artery. My son sat in the corner giggling and cooing. It's times like that when you appreciate being a dad. I picked him up and Lighting Scarface let out a pathetic moan.
As the security guards approached, I picked up my boy to go home. I turned once more and said, "Why so salty, Lightning Scarface?"

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Adventures of B-rent and Son, Day 1

Things got off to a wild start on the day my son was born. I had just arrived home from CIA practice. My trigger finger was a little sore, so I decided to ice it down. Suddenly, my wife whispers "I'm going in to labor." So, I grabbed the go bag and threw it in the car. I helped my wife into the front seat and we started for the hospital.
I picked up the tail immediately. These weren't amateurs, but I could lose them. I weaved in and out of traffic on the parkway as I headed for Washington. The tail remained a good distance back, but I could tell they were still following me. I took a side street through Arlington, and just when I thought I shook them, they pulled around the block right in front of us. I had to throw it in reverse through an alley, dodging vagrants and dumpsters. They were gaining on us pretty quickly. My wife was screaming. I couldn't even understand her over the squealing of the tires and the smell of burning rubber. I saw the Memorial Bridge through my rear-view mirror and it was rapidly approaching.
We were about halfway over the bridge when I decided to give those guys an oil change. Heh. That's a joke, because I had my car rigged with a special hose that drops oil all over the road for just such an occasion.
Keep in mind, I'm still driving backwards, so I have a pretty good view of this whole scene as it unfolds. I dropped the oil, and the guys chasing me run into it, skid left, then back to the right and BOOM! Right through the retaining wall and into the Potomac.
"I guess we'll see those guys again in 3000 miles," I said to myself, but in a cool way, just like a movie star.

Now that things cooled down. I pulled over and asked my wife what she was screaming about.

"They were paramedics," she said. "I called them when I was going into labor. Didn't you see that they were in an ambulance?!"

"How could you tell it was an ambulance? The letters on the front were written backwards. Idiots."

Take off your old shoes- It's time to reboot

I logged in and it said I haven't posted since February 18th! I got another email that said my Tumblr page is a year old now. Well that's great, but I'm not using it any longer. In fact, it's for sale to the highest bidder.

Just to get back on track, let's pick up where things might have left off:
I am a dad. I have been since the end of March. Well, you might be thinking, "He must have been too overwhelmed to b-log since that kid came along.". You'd be wrong if that's what you think.

The truth is, my son and I have been on lots of adventures. So many adventures, in fact, that we are just now able to relax and let the world know about them.

Without further ado, B-rent's B-log proudly present "The Adventures of B-rent and Son".

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Inside "The Outsiders": An Album Review (Anal Bum Review)

After great anticipation, I picked up Eric Church's new record (okay, CD) when it dropped (was stocked on the shelves at Target) last week.

I knew right away that this was going to be judged not by how great it is, but by how perfect it isn't. With Church's body of work, namely "Chief" and the one live show I've seen, I felt like this should be a flawless piece of work and anything short of that would result in point deductions. This might be harsher than Johnny Weir at a Bugle Boy fashion show, but this isn't open mic night at the Boar's Nest.

With that tall task at hand, let's see how Eric Church and his band did, according to a guy that likes country music (most of the time) and has no musical talent whatsoever. Side note, I did get an A in Music Appreciation in college, so, there we have it.

I decided to go track by track because it's not fair to say the entire album is a hit or a miss. It's full of both. Overall, if I had to say something, it seems like an experiment in sound effects and ghostliness. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just ruins a good song. You'll see what I mean when we get there.

1. The Outsiders-
If you've heard it, you probably like it. When you hear the rest of the tracks, you'll hear a lot more talking instead of singing and wonder what the point is. Is this lyrically significant? No, minus the great imagery of whatever a regulator is. Is this going to be an amazing song performed live with tons of pyrotechnics? Absolutely. Other than that, I've always thought if you have to tell people you are an Outsider or "weird" than you might not be. It's a batting practice homerun, I guess.

2. A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young
I've heard this song on every other Church album. Okay, not exactly this song, but not far off. Stripped down, soft guitar picking, good ol' boys doing cool stuff in cars. Think "Like Jesus Does" without the whiskey and rye on the levee.

3. Cold One
When I first listened to this I thought: He ruined a GREAT song with the instruments on this one. What, did a New Orleans parade marching band break into the studio?  Then he changed tempo too many times and made it unsingalongable. Then it sounds like there's a dj doing the scratchy scratch thing.
It's catchier with multiple listens, but it takes the potential of the Cold One triple (not double) entendre -the beer, the harsh reality of her leaving, and the nature of the woman herself- and loses it amongst the trombone and organ or whatever other instruments they had lying around the school's band room.
"Cold One" is a stretching an infield single into a double, and getting tagged out rounding first base.

4. Roller Coaster Ride-
On CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite show), they said Eric wrote some 200 songs while hunkered down in a mountain lodge and narrowed it down to 12 for this album. How this made it, I don't know.
The double edged sword is that it doesn't sound like too many (if any) of his hit songs. It's good that they tried something different, but synthesizer heavy track with a disco beat wasn't the ticket.

5.  Talladega-
It was simple really. My favorite artist + my favorite NASCAR track = a slam dunk of a song, right? It basically gets an 'eh' in my book. (This is my book, so 'eh'.) It's soft and sentimental, an homage to good buds, which I can get behind. I can't wait for Fox Sports to ineffectively use this song to intro the first race there in April or May.

6. Broke Record
That's what I'm thinking about doing by this point through the CD.

7. Like a Wrecking Ball
Fortunately, this isn't a Miley Cyrus cover. I actually like this one and I've been asked not to turn it up so loud in the car. It's not a wild and rowdy barroom brawl type of wrecking ball. It's a promise by a singer on the road to come home and bone his wife with tremendous force. ("I wanna rock some sheet rock , knock some pictures off the wall...")
I picture some very unfortunate rednecks thinking the slow danceable beat makes it a great choice as their first wedding song.
Or some high school principals raising eyebrows when they hear this at the prom this spring.

Take away the organs and the acoustic guitar and you basically have a violent rap song on your hands.
-"Don't give a damn what these keys are for, I'm gonna knock down that front door"
-"Crash right through the front door, back you up against the wall"
-"Love you baby, take it right there baby, rock you baby, like a wrecking ball"

8. That's Damn rock and Roll
A half spoken word/half rollicking romp down a name dropping mountain. Think an AC/DC song without Brian Johnson's scratchy voice.

9. Dark Side
 Drive to a state with lots of mountains and hard economic times. Park your car on a windy mountain lane somewhere and start walking uphill through the woods. When you find a cabin, look for the record player. Take a vinyl out of the sleeve and drop the needle. What you'll hear sounds just like "Dark Side", right down to the fuzz and crackle.

This is the best song on the album, with zero doubts.

10. Devil, Devil
How about instead of Devil, Devil (which sounds like a great song), you listen to 3 and a half more minutes of a spoken word prelude  that name drops country's greatest singers and songs before business picks up?
To be honest, I haven't  listened to the actual song more than 2 or 3 times. My car rides aren't usually that long.

Devil, Devil is good. It would make a fantastic Dukes of Hazzard action montage soundtrack.

11.Give Me Back My Hometown
Frankly, this song is cheesy. I'm sure fans of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood probably enjoy this one.
I can't stand it when a song:
A. Forces too many syllables in a line
B. Has a sudden and drastic change in melody to get to the chorus
C. A really unreasonable "Yeah Yeah" "Oh Oh Oh" break

This song has all 3. You can have it.

12. The Joint
Country songwriters typically have a knack for a slick double meaning. In "The Joint", it's not that slick, and not hard to find about 4 lines in. I feel like it was a wasted opportunity to write something much better.

But what really stinks about this song is the sound (I don't know- trombones, bongos,  and that synthesizer again?), Eric's voice(whispery and high), and the tempo (ghostly, crawling vocals over the faster synth beat). Other than that, well, it's still struck out.

I don't download music on an iSomething. I listen to the radio until a commercial  or a Luke Bryan song comes on, then I change the station. I don't buy a lot of CDs, but when I do, I wear it out in my car cd player. This one will get a lot of play, but I'll definitely employ the skip button once or twice before it's done.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Father's Day

Since a solid 95% of this b-log's readers are fathers, I think it's appropriate to pay homage to dads and all the great things they do. After 31 years of research, here are my findings on what makes my Dad cool:

1. B-rent's D-ad coached Tee Ball back in the 1980's. He was assisted by his two brothers, Uncle Garry and Uncle Kevin. This team featured B-rent's brother and 3 or 4 cousins. We had green shirts. Anyhow, I started as a precocious 5 year old with no discernible talent for the game. By the time most of the older players had moved on to the league for 9 and 10 year old kids, I had been on the same Tee Ball team for 3 years or something. Sometimes I got to play first baseman, and that was my favorite position. My cousin, Jeff, played pitcher (in Tee Ball, you don't pitch, but you stand lethally close to home plate in a small circle). At least 5 times a game (Elias stats can back this up), batters hit a pop fly to the pitcher and he threw it to me at First Base for a double play. I really enjoyed playing that position.
Naturally, my Dad played unfavorites and moved me from 1st base soon after. In home video footage, I can be overheard while playing 2nd base asking my Dad if I could play 1st base. He usually got angry and said no, and I never played there again for that team.
He kept coaching until my little brother moved through the ranks. A few years later, he coached in one of the older leagues. I played one more year for him. After I moved on, he kept coaching and won a league championship with his team in the 9 and 10 year old league.

2. It's weird what Dad got mad at when I was little. Usually, it was about stuff like coming in the wrong door when playing outside. Or playing outside, then coming inside, then going out again. "In or out," he'd say. I understand now it was probably annoying to have a person (albeit your own son) walk in and out of the house when you're trying to watch the NASCAR race on TNN on one of your only days off for the week.

3. It's weird what Dad didn't get mad about when I was older. Once, when I was 16 or so, I borrowed his truck to drive to work, which was 47 feet away from our home. The boss sent my friend and I on a mission to get supplies. On the way back to work, I was talked into taking an unnecessary shortcut through a field down a dirt road. On the dirt road about 200 yards in was a puddle the size of a post office. I got stuck. After an hour or so, when the boss came to check out the situation (we called from a person's house) and yelled at us, we were finally towed out. There was mud in every crevice of my Dad's truck.
He didn't get mad about that. A few years later, my younger brother installed a telephone pole between the headlights of that same truck. I don't think he even got mad at that. It's weird.

Happy Father's Day to the guys celebrating their first as dads this year. And to the dads that have been doing it a while, keep up the good work.


Last night, we braved the post-derecho waters of the raging Potomac river to take a pleasure cruise. By now you should know that my wife and I don't do anything unless it's marketed towards dogs. This Canine Cruise highlighted Alexandria's rich history, from its humble beginnings as a slave port in the 18th century, to the present, where Old Town is a must-see tourist attraction.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

He's already wearing his birthday suit

Where has the time gone? Ol' Jackson turns the ripe old age of 1 on Sunday. To commemorate the occasion, I've compiled a list of euphemisms for his favorite activity: Pooping.

In plural noun form, Jackson likes to make:
1. Yard sticks
2. Squirrel hurdles
3. Number 2 yard lines
4. Gravel gravy
5. Gopher pillows
6. Sun-dried bricks for miniature Native American homes
7. Tootsie rolls for messin' with Sasquatch
8.  Turf Turds
9. Free Range Organic Recycled Dog Food
10. Ground Beef

Of course, he gives us so much more than poop. There's, umm, memories, and stuff like that, too.  It's been a terrific 9 months of having this dog in our home. Happy Birthday, world's greatest dog.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Digger wins Mothers Day 500

Photo by digger3210

(AP)-Newark, DE- On a brisk, sunny Sunday morning, Digger "Digger3210" Diggs set outwith a modest goal: Set the world record time and make "Top Plays" on SportsCenter.  2 out of 3 ain't bad, they say.

Digger cruised to victory in a race that included 4 cautions and a pit road scuffle between racer's wives.

"The AnyTime Fitness human was running good all weekend. I have to thank them for all of their support. Gatorade, Dunkin' Donuts, Bananas, GNC. Tedy. All those guys. We couldn't do it without them," said a jubilant Digger from Victory Lane.

Digger gave credit to his Crew Chief, Hansen: "I unloaded pretty good on Friday morning. Hansen gave me some extra fiber the night before. Sunday morning, I asked her to take a round of wedge out, 'cuz my undies were ridin' just a little bit through 3 and 4. "

This was Hansen's first victory as a crew chief in the half marathon. She couldn't be reached for comment after returning to her car, furious and soaked with Andre sparkling wine.

"She made it look easy, but, man, we had our backs against the wall today- Just before he race, I was leanin' on the side of the house stretchin' out my quads."

The race for Digger marked a surprising turnaround for a guy formerly best known for telling other people how they should have done something.

Digger, you might want to think about getting a trophy case.

Editor's Note: This may have been written in jest, but Digger gets a serious and sincere congratulations from this author. Good work.