April 23, 2012

Bracketology: MTV's Battle of the Boy Bands

I recognize that the title of this blog and the content of this post seem to disagree regarding my purposes here, but I will try to make sense of this Boy Band Battle, as growing up does INDEED take time, and I am myself still a tween, even at the age of 25.

Below are the correct answers for round one, as depicted by capitalized lettering.

Midwest Region:


There can be no doubt. Westlife was put here to lose. I mean, Backstreet is going to win the whole thing, because they are responsible for "I Want it That Way," which is the world's most perfect pop song and also the ultimate in boy band perfection.
(AND still creating music! And it's exactly what you would expect! AWESOME!)

O-Town vs. JACKSON 5

I'm taking Jackson 5 and if I am taking Jackson 5, O-Town has absolutely no hope. You are talking to a woman who owns O2. What's O2, you ask? Totally legitimate question, because no one paid attention to O-Town post-"All or Nothing," which was a great song to which I still know every word.  This is as confirmed by a listen the other day, then by the following tweet:

What I'm saying is, sorry O-Town. I love you very much. Very much. O2 was...well, you know, it was O2. I purchased that album, which no one else purchased, after everyone forgot all about you. I didn't forget. I saved $15 from my terrible job at the old folks home and I went to the Best Buy and you know what? I don't regret it. Thanks for the memories.

98 DEGREES vs. The Beatles

I'm disqualifying The Beatles for overuse of legitimacy, which is a clear breach of Boy Band rules. You can't put The White Album up against "The Hardest Thing."

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK vs. Someone that is NOT New Kids on the Block

Ok, it's Take Five. Happy?

East Region:

N*SYNC vs. 5ive

I'm awarding credit for creative spelling but it just isn't enough to best the beast.

LFO vs. 112

I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch/I'd take her if I had one wish/But she's been gone since that summer.

...Since that summer.

(Also, New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits! FULL CIRCLE, guys!)

(FYI Do you know what LFO stands for WITHOUT Wikipedia? Because I do. Sick.)

JOBRO vs. Menudo

I think JoBro will win, but my vote went to Menudo, only because they gave us Ricky Martin, and for that we must display our eternal gratitude. Did I have a Ricky Martin binder for class in the 8th grade? Oh yes. Yes I did.


HOW AM I TO CHOOSE? This is the hardest match up for me personally. I am also interested in the fact that MTV failed to pit JoBro vs. Hanson. I guess they're banking on a second round matchup. I'd say it's fairly likely, but I wouldn't rule out a BBMak upset. "Back Here" and "Still On Your Side" were excellent summer jams. Still, neither is "MMMBop."

West Region:

THE WANTED vs. Color Me Badd

How can I argue with "Sex You Up"? Have you even HEARD "Glad You Came"? Because I have. On repeat. And I still love it. In a rare break from my 90's bias, I am taking The Wanted here. In their video promoting the competition, one of them says they love the Backstreet Boys because "they showed him the reason for being lonely." Which is incorrect lyrically, but still. <3

THE MONKEES vs. 2gether

Interesting Matchup,  but I think the Monkees are hard to beat here, even though I did watch and love 2gether and have all of THEIR albums as well. It's easy to forget that The Monkees were every bit as much of a fabrication as 5Gether because their music is something people sometimes listen to on purpose.

You know, people other than people who once owned O2. (Did you know a Backstreet Boy once wrote a song for them? Yeah! Howie D!)

BIG TIME RUSH vs. All-4-One

I do love "I Swear," and BTR, while cute, doesn't hit me in my soft tween center the way One Direction does. All of that said, I am taking BTR for the win because I will never underestimate the motivation of tweens to vote for these kinds of things, and MY OH MY do the tweens love them some BTR. Also, Disney Channel breeds future stars. Look for the members of BTR to come out with high grossing solo albums, a la Jesse McCartney via Dream Street (who, I'll say, are noticeably absent from this bracket but NOT from my iPod. Oops.)

BOYZ TO MEN vs. Jodeci


South Region:


I mean...I think I mentioned that I love 1D, and I think there can be no question as to who ought to win this. Even if you strip away the bands themselves, it comes down to Cowell vs. Diddy, and...

...Just get out of here, Day 26.

IM5 vs. B2K*

*UPPER CASE. I love thinking about how people came up with these names.
If only because of ""Uh Huh," B2K wins this. But there's more! "Bump Bump Bump"! Anyway, never for a second forget that Lil' Fizz is it. Ever.

NKOTBSB vs. New Edition

What do you get when you cross the Newkids with Backstreet? AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE OF 9 MEN DESIGNED TO BLOW YOUR MIND IN CONCERT.

Another Bad Creation vs. MINDLESS BEHAVIOR

Eh. Mindless Behavior, because they know how to pick gigs: opened for Bieber and the Beliebers are unlikely to forget that. I give them the edge. (Also, can we please talk about their individual names? Check out their Wikipedia entry, as they are just on another level.)

Notably Absent: 

Dream Street (HELLO, Jesse McCartney's musical home!), Dru Hill (Sisqo's musical home!), NLT (I also know what this stands for. Send me home.), LMNT (O-Town Castoffs!), B5 (another Diddy creation), and Soul IV Real (another brother act).

So anyway, I've now spent a good portion of my afternoon reliving all my Tweenage Glory Days and listening to all these songs. Which, yes, means that after the invention of the iPod I still saw fit to keep these CDs around, take the time to upload them, and then from time to time when they come up on shuffle (or, you know, manually), I still enjoy them. I hope you will see fit to agree or argue with me in my comment box.


January 02, 2011

Farewell for a Spell

Sooooo...I got a tumblr. I'm a sellout.

The reason I never blog is because I feel like I have to write a lot, and typically I don't have a whole whole lot to say, but just want to share a video or song or a quote. Or sometimes I do want to write, but just like a paragraph. I know I'm allowed to do all those things here, but it's just this big expanse on here and it makes me feel like I should fill it all up.

I don't know if I will come back here. It seems likely that I will, because in the same way I don't like posting short things here, I don't feel like Tumblr is the best forum for long posts. Is that weird? I don't care.

visit me here: chrislikes.tumblr.com
happy 2011!

November 12, 2010

To Sir, With Love

When I was little, a black cat crept up onto our porch and just. wouldn't. leave.

Mom refused to let us keep him because we already had two cats. Except that the real reason she didn't want us to keep him was that he was one of "the Nellum family cats." They just allowed their cats to run around, never spaying or neutering, and mom would put literature in their mailbox about how wrong it was and swore up and down that we would never get one of their cats.

I was a very cute 3rd grader and he wouldn't go away, and what other possible outcome was there? That cat became Sir.

He used to hate being held, so I would walk around with him wrapped in my down blanket so he wouldn't scratch me. I would take him into my room and close the door and make him let me pet him, chase him under the bed. I'm not sure how long it took, but eventually, he would let me pet him without restraining him. After a very long while, he became attached. He became my cat. I became his person.

When mom moved to Kentucky before I graduated high school, she took all our pets with us, with the single exception of Sir. And thank God she left him with me. It was a terrible time, saying goodbye to the house, my high school, and everyone else, and at the end of the day all I needed was to go home and see my cat--the same cat that I had had for nearly ten years at that point.

When I left for college, I promised myself (and my cat) that I would never move anywhere without him again. A year ago, I blogged about how Sir had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was losing weight, something I discovered while trying to get him a sedative for the 7 hour drive to DC. Sir hated the pills and they ultimately made him sick, so I stopped forcing them on him. We moved back home and Sir helped me deal with being 23 and living in my mother's basement.

In the past year, his weight cut in half again, despite mom sneaking him cheese sticks from Arby's and buying $15 cat food that is designed to help kittens gain weight. Also in the past year, I had to break the promise to myself to never leave him again. Mom took care of him while I lived with grandma working for Jack Conway. She said the entire time she just prayed that he didn't die on her watch.

I came home Saturday afternoon and Sir was unwell. He would eat a few bites and then lay down, and didn't do that thing he always did where he would purr when he ate. He didn't get all up in my face when I was sitting in the bed, eating cheez-its or Triscuits (two of his favorites, but he didn't discriminate: he loved PB & J, spaghetti, ham). He didn't insist on me kissing the top of his head (read: ram the top of his head into my face). He didn't come when he was called. He was falling apart. I was hoping he was just ill, just a cold. His nose was running, after all. I was sure it would be okay.

I was supposed to go to Columbus that night in a car Tim rebuilt, and I got all the way up there, all the way to the Lane Ave exit, and the car just stopped. Just. Stopped. So I called AAA and since they tow 100 miles free, I had it towed all the way back to Burlington and just paid for the 35 miles overage.

It was 1:30am. Sir was still unwell, but when I got in and he started to eat, he purred again. I took this to mean he was feeling better, doing well. On the road to recovery. I picked him up and took him to bed at around 2:30. I woke up the next morning. Sir did not.

Fifteen years. It's unbelievable to me that after all this time he's just gone. Either way, thank God the car died and Sir spent the last night of his life the way he would have wanted: with tuna on his face and next to his person. With that tooth hanging out that I used to poke sometimes when he was asleep. (He loved that, let me tell you.)

November 05, 2010


For those of you that haven't figured it out based on Twitter feeds, AP Photos, or just because I told you, I have been working on Jack Conway's US Senate campaign for the past four months. This explains why I have been unable to post very often: long hours and not a lot to talk about other than work, which I wasn't really able to talk much about.

But Jack Conway lost, and remains our Attorney General.

I have gotten a lot of very kind texts and emails and phone calls, and for that, I thank all of you. I am going to try to reply here, to the best of my ability.

I. Am. Heartbroken. There's no way around that. I can't explain to someone that wasn't on my staff what it feels like to work 80 to 90 hours a week, to pour everything you have into something: a person, a cause, and to get denied it.

I can't explain what it feels like to stand behind a man I believe in--we all believed in--and hear him concede the right to represent me in the United States Senate to someone that doesn't understand the needs of this state, the realities of this state, the people that live in this state. I can't explain how jarring it is to see a person responsible for lifting my spirits on the worst of days, the longest of days, the hardest of days crying in front of 500 people without being able to wipe them away--a person who was never visibly stressed or upset. I can't explain it, but I'll try: it was devastating.

I try to explain why I would work as many hours as I did, as we all did: I couldn't get past the fact that my job could affect the balance of power in the senate, and even if it didn't, it affected directly Rand Paul's chances of becoming my senator. That you look over at the British kid, who could not be paid (it would have been illegal) and yet worked some of the longest hours on the entire staff. How can you complain about being paid peanuts when Ben works harder and longer for literally nothing? What drives us? Clearly not the pay. We just kept hoping, right until 7:15 on election night when the race was called by every major news outlet, that what we were doing would result in sending the right guy to the United States Senate. We all hoped and believed at varying degrees deep in our hearts, that it was possible. Impossible, improbable, but still--possible. That is why we do what we do.

I try to explain what the people mean to me. I spent all my hours with these people. The first time I cried in the office, I apologized profusely. A friend of mine said, "Chris, you can't apologize for showing your feelings in front of people you spend literally all your waking hours with. You have to be who you are--it's the only time you have to do so." And that's exactly right. We all had to be honest with each other. It was impossible to do otherwise. And that's why I know the staff members a whole lot better than I know a whole lot of people I've known a whole lot longer.

Maybe if we had run in a different year, and certainly if Jack had been from a different state. But here we are: Kentucky could not elect a democrat in 2010. It just wasn't possible. There is nothing we could have done. This serves as a comfort--we did everything we could, no regrets, kept fighting til the end. This serves as a crushing weight--why did we bother? Was this particular lost cause worth the heartbreak?

But yes. Yes it was. Because I had the chance to meet these people. He started the speech with the old adage "The joy is in the journey." And how different I'd feel now if the joy were also in the destination, but still--I will always have that journey. I had the chance to fight for something I believed in. I'm proud of what I did, how I grew, and honestly? If I can do this and come out saying I'm glad I did it, I'm not sure I'll ever find a job I can't come out having enjoyed. So long as I am surrounded by the same type of people I now have the fortune of calling my friends.

(On another tangent: I am not ashamed of my state, nor should you be. Rand Paul had a great message: "we need to pay down the debt. Oh, and also: Jack Conway is Barack Obama." It's hard to vote for anything else when this guy has the popular opinion on a hot topic, and can paint his opponent as a president that has a 33% approval rating. He won on issues--issues I take issue with, but that's another tangent. It was a tough year to be a democrat, and a lot of really great public servants lost last night. If Ted Strickland lost in Ohio, if Russ Feingold lost in Wisconsin, what hope did Jack Conway have in Kentucky? No, it's not a point of shame for us, we were one of many states that lost the opportunity to have the best person for the job fighting for us. Unfortunate, but true. Two years ago many states and districts lost the same opportunity.)

I try to explain the reaction I have to the following phrases: Hurd dat. Train. BUMPS IN THE WILD. Fave Muffs & Morn Smooth. Fleece Vests. Summer Camp. BBQ sign. Fancy Farm. Wat-bots. Fried cheese & carpet sauce. "I SEE A HUMAN!" Aqua Buddha blues. Top 40. Point Break Live. Meow. "This is Greg." Sportsmen...Is that like Cricket players? Akikos! Political meetings. "This is Chris Matthews." "Is this Michael?" "..." Brody's round-up. Favorite British person? Homo-tern.
But those things are ours, and ours alone. Thank you Conway Staff.

Dear Dr. Rand Paul,
Congratulations. The NRSC called Jack Conway the biggest pain in their collective asses (quite an honor for us), and you beat him.
Please remember us. Please remember that there are Kentuckians who believe in the Department of Education, Kentucky students who need their schools to have the support of the Federal Government, Kentucky families who need Pell Grants for their children. Please remember that for every dollar that Kentuckians send to Washington, we get $1.40 back. And that we need that extra $.40, because we are a poor state, with higher unemployment than in most other states. Please remember that because of this election, members of both the House and the Senate are either very liberal or very conservative, and while we know where you fall, we need you to meet somewhere in the middle. Please remember the disabled, the minorities, the women in this state and in this country.
Please remember that you are also my senator.

July 25, 2010

Louisville, Kentucky

I started a new temporary job in Louisville. I love this city. I also love the job, but the nature of it requires that it be temporary. The people are amazing, the job is fascinating, the hours are devilish, but it's an exciting place to be.

So that's why I haven't written. Basically all I do is work, and I can't talk so much about work.

Living with grandma gives me a headache. And a well-fed stomach. She likes to bring up all the things she hates about democrats and abortion and unemployment benefits and it gets to a point where I just walk out. Because I just cannot.

But at least she's told me she won't be voting for Rand Paul. In fact: "I hope Conway wins. I can't vote for him, I just don't agree with the things he does, but I do hope he wins."

That's some sort of progress, I guess.

July 01, 2010


So yesterday my mother and I went to visit Danda, the name we use for her father.

My mother's side of the family is a food family. That is, most of my memories of visits to Honey and Danda's house are marked by what I ate and who was cooking. Or trips to Graeters. Or trips to Dairy Queen (God, when you're 8, there is NOTHING better than a hot dog and a Blizzard. Still isn't, actually). There probably is not a cook better than my Honey was, but since she's gone, Danda has begun to make my most favorite thing in the world: pimiento cheese.

He measures the ingredients, but knows which spoon he uses and not how big said spoons are. I had to look at the spoons he used and write everything down. And now, world, here is the single greatest thing you will ever eat:

1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
1 pound EXTRA SHARP CHEDDAR cheese
7oz. jar of pimientos
3 squirts of lemon juice (this is the great family secret, see, because not a lot of people do this)
Miracle Whip to taste (people like theirs in varying textures. As my Danda says, though, "You can add more, but it's a hell of task trying to get it out." So underestimate.)

Put the cheese alone in your CuisinArt (mom just uses a cheese greater, but the texture is weird and undesirable) and spin until it begins to "rope up." That is Honey's term. Danda, who was teaching me this, has no idea what she meant but kept repeating it. So he just pulses it until it starts to stick together but is still in small chunks. Again, you don't want to overdo it because the cheese will turn into a cream.
Add everything else. Be sure to bitch about the pimiento jar. I've seen that man make this so many times, and it's always something: the lip of the jar makes it hard to get the pimientos out. Kroger's stopped selling the right brand or the right size. They don't look like the right color. I've begun to feel like this is the most important part.
Put in Miracle Whip in globs and mix, adding a little at a time until it's the right consistency.
Make an MCS.

I could have titled this entry any number of things, but MCS is the family abbreviation for Pimiento Cheese Sandwich. Honey ordered one once, long ago, and the waitress called back to the kitchen for "an MCS." The cook asked what in the hell she was talking about, and the waitress looks at him like he's the biggest moron alive: "MCS. Menner. Cheese. Sandwich."

June 17, 2010

Census took me on for another operation, so I'll likely be employed with them until at least the end of July.

Bittersweet, I guess. It IS a lot of money.

June 14, 2010

One Year Ago.

I graduated one year ago. Today.

John Glenn spoke to a graduating class of roughly eight thousand exactly a year ago (largest in Ohio State's history!). “We are more fulfilled when we are involved in something bigger than ourselves . . .”

It's weird. I thought I would be living in DC, I thought I would be working on the Hill, I thought I would be so so many things. I don't think I pictured any of what is currently happening in my life is something I imagined for myself. And yet--I'm happier now than I was a year ago. (Though a year and a HALF ago, mid-senior year at the happiest place on earth, maybe not.)

Anyway, things have been going pretty well. The Census is wrapping up, which makes my life a hell of a lot easier (though also a lot less profitable), and the restaurant has stopped putting 15 servers on for a weekday lunch, so I walk out of there with a decent amount of money. Life's pretty good. A year ago, I was severely depressed, feeling inadequate, frustrated. Hell, I felt that way six months ago. And I still have an occasional relapse. But today at work someone told me that I make a lot of people smile. And that's enough for me.

One year feels like it should be such a remarkable thing: we measure our lives in birthdays, we make resolutions when we receive a new year, we celebrate anniversaries of relationships, deaths. Companies do an annual performance review and offer raises based on years of service. But could I not have written this post yesterday? Yesterday was very nearly a year, and also yesterday the class of 2010 graduated. Nothing much happened today: I went in to work, I made some dollars, I did about three hours of Census work, I'm preparing to go bowling. This is exactly what I did a week ago today. Could I not have thought about this a week ago? It's strange, but today feels big.

Happy one year anniversary, Ohio State class of 2009.

June 02, 2010


So Kate's in-laws (whom I call the Denys) go camping every Memorial Day weekend and call the event "Massacre." I think that should have been a sign.

First of all, I wasn't told there would be NO RUNNING WATER until days before the event, after I was already locked in, equipment secured (borrowed off of cousins and anyone else that knew what they were doing in the woods), bag packed (at least in my head), work notified. So the latrine was smelly and weird and FLIESOMG and ugh I am way too girly for camping.

Then there were the activities. Like Daniel Booneyhands. Which I did NOT RSVP for and do NOT regret not RSVPing for, but DO regret participating in. Mostly against my will. Daniel Booneyhands is a loose reinterpretation of Edward 40-hands, except that instead of duct-taping two 40s to your hands, you use Boone's Farm. (And pink duct tape, which is a way to fight cancer. They are very committed to philanthropy, those Denys). It ends exactly as poorly as you would imagine. Before we began one of the Denys dug a trench. That is foresight. There were 12 participants. Five needed use of the trench. (Including me.) Kate and I finished in what was an amazing sister to sister Booneyhandsoff at the last minute for the Ladies Division. Proud winner? YOURS TRULY. Many people claimed it was the most exciting part of the weekend. I do not disagree.

I haven't been able to take a look at the photos from this weekend yet and I am not real sure that it'll happen anytime soon. I need to let that Boone's Farm settle first. Which may never happen.

Other than those two hang-ups though, it was pretty fun. No poison ivy to report, which is AWESOME.

Will I do it again? I can see myself getting conned into this again, yes. Lord help me.

Up next? Columbus for the Memorial Tournament, one of my favorite weekends every year. Love.