"Book 'em, Dano!"

The old template for The Year of Joe used to show what music I was listening to and what book I was reading. I've burned through quite a few books in the last two or three months and I also have some recent purchases on deck and in-the-hole, so I thought I'd share them with you, as many make great summer reads, either on a roadtrip, lounging at the pool or just something to do before falling asleep. So without further ado (in chronological order):

I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski by various authors
This is my current book right now. To be honest, I'm only 11 pages in and I can already tell it's gonna be a fun read. Looks like it's a must-own for any Little Lebowski Urban Achiever.

Love Is A Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
I don't read Rolling Stone and there's no way I can consider myself a music junkie but the book's tagline ("Life and loss, one song at a time") was intriguing and I bought the book shortly after putting together a mix tape for someone. Let me just tell you, the last time I cried when reading a book was I think Flowers for Algernon. Sheffield's remarkably touching memoir about his deceased wife and interweaving their mix tapes within the story was just plain fantastic. I recommend this book for everyone, but if you love music and/or have a thing for mix tapes, this is a no-brainer.

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
Doyle is a writer for "The Simpsons" and his style of writing isn't for everyone, but I found Beth Cooper to be extremely funny. The sharp dialogue and hilarious sidebars by the third-person narrator made it an enjoyable and easy read. A movie version is in production right now, starring Haden Panettiere.

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

My b.f.f. (yeah, I used it) recommended this to me and his taste in music, film and literature runs parallel with mine, so I bought the book one night at Barnes & Noble and the first day I opened her up, I didn't put the book down until 40 pages had gone by. What a great book! I love pop culture and when you add Klosterman's witty and irreverent humor to the mix, I fell in love with each turning page.

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max
A little part of me wishes my blog (and life) was like Tucker Max's book. But then again, I don't drink Absinthe, participate in orgies in Key West, disclose who's given me blowjobs, or start riots at hockey games. I'm a nice guy for cryin' outloud and Tucker Max, as the introduces himself, is "an asshole." He goes on to admit that he gets "excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead." Then again, who wouldn't want to read the adventures of such a person?

Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Fifth year in a row I've read this book in March. I think I'm going to keep reading this book when spring training rolls around. Quite possibly my favorite baseball book of all-time.

My next two reads: Women by Charles Bukowski and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

So what are y'all reading this summer?


My Date With The Homeless Chick

Ever since my car turned into Herbie and decided to open parts of it on it's own, resulting in ending up in the auto shop, I've been car-less for four weeks now. It's really affected my social life, as I've been pretty much stuck at home twittling my thumbs (and other body parts, but that's another blog entry for another day.)

Anywho, since I have no legit modes of getting around the city, I've presently halted my eHarmony matching capabilities. I mean, c'mon, "relies heavily on public transportation" isn't high on many women's preferences. And just when I thought I was going to take a little break from dating, I was set-up on a date last night with a girl through Boner, a mutual friend.

(Before we go any further, yes, his nickname is Boner...as in the character from "Growing Pains". I was introduced to him as "Boner" and yet to referred to him otherwise. His entry in my BlackBerry? Plain and simple "Boner." And if you can try and picture what kind of person goes by Boner...well, that's him. Anyway, Boner is the kind of guy who can set you up with either a really wacked-out girl or someone really cool, which makes sense given that he himself is wacked-out and really cool at the same time. I've seen the girls Boner associates with too. I think they are referred to as "hotties" in parts of the country. Maybe even "knockouts" or dare I suggest "drop dead gorgeous"? I don't know how a guy who gets introduced at social gatherings as "Boner Roback" has access to these women, but he does. And when he offers me a number, I take it...superficial bastard that I am.)

Anyway, Boner told this girl in advance that my car was out of commission currently but it didn't phase her and she told him if I call her, she'll pick me up. Nice!

Pick me up, she did. She had to fly out of town early today so she prefaced the date last night as "just dinner and drinks," which was totally cool with me. The date went really well, as a matter of fact, but my neurotic self did have a kinda weird gut feeling during this exchange over the harvest spring rolls:

Me: "So where do you live?"

Her: "I don't really live anywhere..."

Me: "What do you mean you don't 'live anywhere'?"

Her: "Well, I kinda stay with people, friends. Like now I'm staying with a friend in La Mesa right now."

Me: "I see."

Her: "I guess you could say I'm homeless."

Me: "Ummm, okay...do you have a shopping cart or something like that?"

Her: (laughs) "No. I'm really just in between places right now."

Me: "How long have you been looking?'

Her: "Six years."

Thanks a lot, Boner.


"...'cuz it's just another day in the life of a goddamn boss"

Went to a party last night thrown by a couple of co-workers...an "all-white" party to be exact. No, not some kind of Klan meeting; you had to wear all-white to the party and now I have a pair of J. Crew white jeans I don't know what I'll ever do with again (although I did get a lot of compliments...so fuck you, Jacoby!)

Anywho, with the music bumpin', Rick Ross' "The Boss" came on. No less than five co-workers in attendance came up to me and said "This is your song, Joe!"

That's right...I am the biggest boss that you've seen thus far.


Happy Birthday, Grandpa

Today would have been my grandfather George's 80th birthday. He died before I could even meet him but through photos, articles and family stories, it's almost like he's still here.

My dad wrote a fantastic and touching tribute to him today over at his website. Please take the time to read it...you won't regret it.

The Baseball Analysts: Happy 80th Birthday, Dad


AGM in SD to GM in SB?

Santa Barbara Golf Club

So today I sent off my resume (and accompanying awesome cover letter) for the General Manager job at Santa Barbara Golf Club. Sure, I fall short in a few areas of their "ideal candidate" (degree in business administration or agronomy; specialization in turf management; seven years of responsible golf operations and maintenance experience; two years of supervisory and lead experience) but I still think my resume, the qualifications detailed in my cover letter and my impressive work references more than make up for it. I'll admit it, I'm a long-shot but my goal is to reach the interview process because not only could I charm the hell out of them, but I know my strengths would shine in an interview. They'd get to see my vision, passion and dare I say "upside" that would make me just the guy they want.

I've always said that I could see myself living in three metropolitan areas: Southern California, Phoenix and Vegas. Great weather, lots to do, west coast, fantastic for golf industry...Santa Barbara is pretty much the same as San Diego as far as I'm concerned, just smaller and a little more intimate. I spent my freshman year living in Santa Barbara, so it's not all that foreign to me and I'd love to return with something to prove!

How confident am I that I'll get an interview next month? Well, today I scheduled my next hair appointment two days before the interview dates and I plan on heading up to play the course within the next three weeks (pending I get my car back.)

Santa Barbara, here I come!


The Birthday Party Mix-Up

On any given Friday or Saturday night, somewhere there's a girl throwing herself a birthday party at some overcrowded trendy bar in Downtown San Diego. Personally, I've always found throwing yourself a birthday party is a bit sad, but I'm the type of guy who forgets it's his birthday until he gets his mail, and sees a birthday card with a check in it for $20 from his grandmother...so maybe I'm the sad one?

Anywho, wheneve I've gone to parties like these where I only know the person who invited me, I wind up spending the night doing three things: 1) Talking only to the person who invited me, 2) spending the night being the most witty person in the entire joint but no one can appreciate my humor, or 3) pretending to be doing something very important on my cell phone but really I'm sending mass text messages crying for help. One time I even left a party, went home for a bathroom break, stopped off at Ralph's for a quick snack of almonds and yogurt then come back without anyone even noticing. Anti-social? Perhaps.

So a couple of weeks ago, I fell victim to a friend's false promises of good times and access to available women. "It'll be fun," he said when he called to convince me to come to some poor girl's self-thrown 30th birthday party. "No it won't," I responded, but went anyway because nothing was on TV that night, I was out of Newcastle in the fridge and I didn't have to get up early the next morning.

I get there, and there are maybe 15-20 people present with a surprising even mix of men and women, and as all us men know, anything better than a ratio of four dudes for every one chick is rare, let alone promising. Let me paint you all a picture: Drunk Birthday Girl has WAY too much makeup on and is acting like Lindsay Lohan after a four-day bender. She spends the whole party slurring her words, while greeting the incoming guests, and saying goodbye to the departing ones. I smile and give her my standard "Happy birthday, it's nice to meet you" line. She smiles back, and gives me a "Who the fuck invited you?" look.

I have a feeling it's going to be another shitty night, so I decide to go into "people watching mode" and what do you know? It's the same people as every night, just different faces. There's the section comprised couples with the guys talking to the guys, and their other halves talking to each other. In one corner, there's the three man tag team - a trio of guys talking to one woman, all hoping to be the one to get the digits. In another corner, there's the guy who hangs with Drunk Birthday Girl the whole night because he's in love with her, but to her, he's just a friend. The closest he'll come to physical contact with her is when he inevitably holds her hair back at 3 AM when she's puking her guts out.

Oh, and then there's me! The charming fellow playing Brick Breaker on my BlackBerry with such determination so it appears as if I'm genuinely busy conducting some sort of important business, like wiring $4 million to my off-shore account.

My friend leaves me to go talk to some girl he secretly hoped would be there. I know he only invited me so he'd have someone to hang with in case she wasn't there. But alas, she was, so there I stood. I made some polite conversation with a few people, and even got a phone number from a girl. But by 1:00, I was done. I left my shamelessly left my wingman and by 1:45, I was asleep.

A few days later, my friend calls and tells me that Drunk Birthday Girl was asking about me. In what seemed like a scene from Ferris Bueller, he heard this from the chick he was hitting on who is friends with someone with whom the birthday girl works....or something like that. Anyway, he wanted to know if I was interested because he could give me her number, if I was. "We barely said hello to each other and to be honest, she was a drunk mess. But what the hell, give me her number." So he did.

The next night I called Drunk Birthday Girl, and let's just say my call wasn't received with the enthusiasm I would expect from a woman who was supposedly interested in me.

"Wait, you're who? How do I know you?"

"Um, Joe? Sean's friend? We met at your party last week? Sean said you might be interested in going out or something."

"Oh, wow, this is kind of awkward," she explained. "There was another Sean at the party, and I was interested in his friend. So sorry!"

We made small talk for the next twenty seconds and she apologized again before saying good night, and was actually pretty sweet about the whole thing. Sober Birthday Girl is actually pretty cool. But it's not to be. She wants the other Sean's friend.

Good news is that night I set a new all-time record for Brick Breaker.


Guess Who's Back, Back Again...

Man, 26 days since my last post? Time flies when you're not having fun!

I did get a few emails, texts and MySpace comments from you guys asking when I'll be back blogging and I really appreciate all the readership, I do!

Well, to get ya all caught up on what's been going on in the last four weeks, here's a not-so-short rundown:

*Returned to work with administrative nightmares in almost all departments. Apparently work doesn't get done (or done right) if I'm not there 24/7. So for the last month or so since I got back from vacation, I've been working overdrive getting stuff fixed.

*In addition to my huge workload, we've added a new department head, another key co-worker and had another co-worker get a promotion. What's that all mean, you ask? Well, I've had to train everyone on odds and ends, help get them situated at work and basically do their jobs while holding their hands until they were fully ready to do their roles on their own.

*Got into a gnarly car accident. Remember this scene from Tommy Boy?:

Yeah...I re-enacted it. On the 5 freeway. During morning rush hour. From the fast lane.

I case you never saw the movie, while going about 50 MPH, my hood decided to unlatch itself, fly open and smash my windshield. Oh, it gets worse. Because of the on-coming wind current, the hood stayed pressed against the windshield. So picture me spitting tempered glass out of my mouth, blind as a Kung-Fu master, trying to get me and my Honda to safety. I know getting over to the right side of the highway was out of question unless I wanted to try and start a demolition derby, so I figured the shoulder on the left was my only option. I think I panicked and punched it to quickly get out of harm's way, and in doing so, I clipped the car (truck?) in front of me, causing even MORE damage.

It's a packed freeway, so imagine you just witnessed this whole ordeal...got it? Now imagine being INSIDE THAT CAR! So there I am, side of the road on the way to a GM meeting in Oceanside next to my Japanese death machine. I call a friend to pick me up, which takes 45 minutes. Whomever I hit never came back, so either: 1) the driver never knew what hit him (literally), 2) the driver had no insurance or 3) the driver exited the freeway and noticed no considerable damage. I'm freaking out because I think I've just been involved in a Hit and Stay.

Anywho, I get home (not before texting the Regional Director "umm, won't make it to the meeting...car accident. i'm okay...i'll be at work if you need me.") and call two local Honda dealers who both recommend me to the same collision repair specialist (which will remain nameless, but for the sake of the story, let's call it Penske Automotive Collision Center...which is NOT the Penske Automotive Collision Center located at 7860 Balboa Avenue in San Diego. I stress, it's most definitely NOT that place...)

More on my (still on-going) experience with them later...

*Dealt with a serious health scare. I was supposed to have a melanoma, or a carcinoma, some kind of noma. So Alan Stanwyk does not I don't have cancer. I was so relieved.

*Spent a few days in a downward spiral after getting the initial news of the aforementioned medical situation...it involved a lot of drinking, a lot of dancing, a night that ended up with me waking up in a bed I don't remember getting into at a house I don't remember ending up at next to a girl I'd never seen, my shoes missing but finding two $100 bills in my pockets that I didn't start with (jury is still out if I was a jigalo that evening.) Soon the wildness turned into depression until I got the great news I was okay. So that happened...

*Got denied a salary increase.

*The nation's championship came into town (U.S. Open at Torrey Pines) and I may have been the only person working in the golf industry in San Diego who DIDN'T attend. Oh, it's not like I didn't have tickets. I was going to take Saturday off and go, but apparently I can't take any days off and had to give away my ticket and end up working from 7 AM until 10 PM. Not only did I not go, I caught only four holes for the entire five days. I did work 73 hours last week and the course made $80,000 more than last year during the same week. Did I forget to mention I got denied a salary increase?

*Cool thing is I did get my name in print...

*The Birthday Party Incident. (This will be detailed in greater detail tomorrow.)

So that's about it. Not much has happened since we last spoke...