Friday, April 22, 2011

Bareilles and Baseball

It was less than a month ago that I was typing "King of" into the Youtube search in an effort to listen to the classic Police hit "King of Pain".  On a whim I clicked on the auto-populated "King of Anything" by Sara Bareilles, thinking I had heard the song before.  After watching the video about twenty times, I was hooked and thought I had found a hot new musical act.  I was then informed by Laura that Sara Bareilles had been popular since 2007 and this was her 4th or 5th radio song....oops.  Laura also mentioned that she was a fan and concurred when I mentioned that "this Bareilles really knows what the fuck she's singing about".  A quick Google search showed that Sara Bareilles was playing in Covington on a Saturday night and the Reds were hosting the Pirates on Sunday with a one o'clock start....obviously this weekend had to happen.
Still a great song....

We needed a place to stay and after I was turned down for my Priceline bid twice I decided to Hotwire a Covington hotel for $70 and was pleasantly surprised to find we would be spending the night in the Covington Radisson, a unique, circular hotel you see right before you cross the bridge if driving 71N to Cincinnati.  I bought the open seating tickets for $24 apiece plus Ticketmaster's ridiculous $10 charge.  Honestly, I would feel better about paying that charge if Ticketmaster just called it a "bullshit fee" and let me know right up front that I was getting ripped off.  Laura took care of the baseball tickets and Stubhubbed some excellent seats (pictures to follow) for $35 apiece.  If we only get to go to a couple Major League games a year, we definitely want some legit seating.
Our hotel
Laura traveled back from Fort Wayne Saturday morning and we quickly packed and jumped in the Jeep for the 90 mile shoot up to Cincy.  We talked most of the way and decided not to listen to music. (editors note: is this sentence really necessary?)  Upon arrival we double-checked that we would be on the side of the hotel that faces the Cincinnati sky-line and not the interstate.  After dropping our luggage in the room, we headed to Kelly's, the sports bar inside of the hotel, for some grub, brews and to watch the Pacer's blow a 10 point lead in the last three minutes and lose to the Bulls (smh).  Kelly's was standard hotel sports bar fare with one huge exception:  Laura's burger was without a doubt a top 5 all time burger.  We each had a few beers and along with half of Laura's burger, I had some Nachos.  Our bill was around $40 with tip, pretty reasonable for a hotel bar.
Derrick Rose shot an NBA record 84 FTs in game one

With the concert a few hours away, we headed to the Speedway to get some energy drinks and snacks we would need for the late night after-party.  We chilled in the room and enjoyed the view for an hour or two and hiked to Gold Star Chili for some economical Cheese Coneys.  Outside of the restaurant I snapped this picture and sent it to Facebook with caption:
Little did I know that this would spark the greatest Facebook debate since Farmville vs. Mafia Wars.  Gold Star vs. Skyline cheese coneys is as heated of a debate as Democrats vs. Republicans, Kobe vs. LeBron and Acai Berry vs. Green Tea extract.  I almost had to take the photo down after one friend, whom for their safety shall remain nameless, commented that Gold Star was "too meaty".  This is one battle I am going to stay out of, other than to say I was very satisfied with the Gold Star coneys and will undoubtedly return for more in the very near future.
Genuine Happiness 

We were now gassed up and ready to roll.  We had the hotel shuttle drop us at Madison Theatre where we lined up around 645 to get a good spot when the doors opened at 7.  We were probably two of the first couple hundred people to walk in and posted up in a standing area (all open seating) with a rail that also functioned as a drink holder.  The show started at 8 with the first opening act: Ximena Sarinana.  Ximena's songs were pretty good and I thought it was cool it was just her, a keyboard and a laptop with a drum machine.  She sang a couple of songs in Spanish, which were difficult to understand.  The next opener was Elizabeth and the Catapult and their music was as unique as their name.  A couple of cool songs but probably nothing I'll ever hear again.  It should be noted that around the beginning of their set I began downing Woodchucks, which made me fit right in considering I was in a room filled with 15-22 year old girls.  
After a well timed bathroom trip, I grabbed a few more 'chucks from the bar and set up shop for Bareilles. She came out with the band and started a fun, light-hearted show.  The highlights included an audience-involved "King of Anything", a beautiful "Gravity" and an awesome rendition on Mumford and Son's "Little Lion Man".  Sara's show (first name basis now) is a lot of fun and she doesn't take herself too seriously.  the standing room was perfect for her style of show and I would definitely like to see her play again.  I told Laura that Sara throws her panties into the crowd after every show, not true.
The Real Deal
After the concert we stopped by a place called Geezil Pete's.  It turns out this was a brand new place who was going through a "trial run" before their grand opening.  The odds of this place actually having their liquor license was about 15-1.  Nonetheless, we had a few drinks and some great conversation.  Northern Kentucky is a very under-rated place to people watch.  We walked back to the hotel and settled in for the night.  Laura fell asleep and I sat on the balcony in my underwear drinking wine and enjoying this view:

To say I was a little bit giggly the next morning would be an understatement.  The following video will pretty much explain what we did up until the baseball game:

We collected ourselves and drove across the river to beautiful Great American Ballpark.  Although I am not a fan of either team, I would never pass up the opportunity to see a big league game on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  The Red lost but everyone in attendance still had a great time, the weather was perfect and it was a great back and forth game.  The beginning of the game was very interesting.  The Pirates first two hitters hit opposite field home runs on the first two pitches of the game.  I have never seen that before.  Plus I think Edison Volquez may have pitched the first inning underhanded, something else I have never seen before.
I had a great time, however Laura was unsuccessful in her plot to blow up GABP
Our awesome seats, plus it was "photo day"

Reigning MVP
A legit weekend.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Heat are Christina Aguilera (NBA Playoff Preview)

I haven't blogged in awhile. I fault my recent busy schedule and that I couldn't decide whether to blog an NBA playoff preview or a greatest female vocalist of all time bracket tournament.  Luckily I had an epiphany while driving to Subway:  I will make the NBA playoff and greatest female vocalist of all time tournament in the same entry!  Every playoff team gets what I consider to be their female vocalist equivalent and I predict who wins the NBA championship and reveal the winner of the GFVOAT tournament.  Sometimes Bill Simmons does the same type of article but his always revolve around the same five shitty movies.

East Round One:
Chicago Bulls (Madonna) vs. Indiana Pacers (Jennifer Hudson)
This is an obvious mismatch.  Derrick Rose's ascension to the top of the basketball world is similar to the Material Girl's remarkable run in the early 80s.  My Pacers are a young team who have some nice parts (like Hudson) but we cant expect much more than a couple of wins in Canseco Fieldhouse.  Bulls win in 6.
Psycho T
Miami Heat (Christina Aguilera) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Rihanna)
Just like The Heat, Christina looks unbeatable on paper.  Aguilera has an amazing voice, good looks, and can perform a variety of music styles.  The Heat have gone from being over-rated to ridiculously under-rated quite a few times this year.  Aguilera is so talented she could out-perform Rihanna without her best efforts.  Philly is a sexy pick (Rihanna) by some to win a couple of games but I don't see it happening.  Heat sweep in 4.
I'm sure some were hoping Rihanna would stick around
Boston Celtics (Shania Twain) vs. New York Knicks (Kelly Clarkson)
The Celtics trading Kendrick Perkins hurt them almost as much as Shania Twain revealing she is Canadian.  I think we tend to forget just how popular Shania Twain was and how favored the Celtics were this year.  The Knicks getting Melo and Chauncy was the equivalent of Kelly winning the first Idol...kind of a "now what?" moment.  This is a huge toss up to me, with both teams having major question marks.  I'll take Boston in 7.
Someone's not paying attention
Orlando Magic (Taylor Swift) vs. Atlanta Hawks (Lady Gaga)
I chose Taylor as the Magic because despite what other's say I still think they are both a major force to be dealt with.  I picked Gaga for the Hawks because the Hawks don't have a chance of winning the NBA championship and Lady Gaga isn't really known for her vocals.  The Magic will turn it up a notch.  Atlanta may get one at home.  Magic in 5.
I can more easily explain this than I could explain how the Hawks got a 5 seed 
West Round One:
San Antonio Spurs (Whitney Houston) vs. Memphis Grizzles (Britney Spears)
Whitney has had her ups and downs but there is no denying her voice, much like there is no counting out the Spurs.  Plus I think "I wanna dance with somebody" is Manu Ginobili's favorite song, although Tim Duncan did call it a little racy.  I do not need to explain why the Memphis Grizzlies are Britney Spears.  Spurs sweep in four.

There has to be someone who takes this picture
LA Lakers (Celine Dion) vs. New Orleans Hornets (Janet Jackson)
When everyone is healthy and the Laker's have the triangle going their victories are like Celine's voice: beautiful and effortless.  The Hornets are akin to Janet Jackson in that they aren't really that good when you think about it. In terms of Celine vs. Janet, is there a mercy rule in a singing competition?  Lakers sleep in 4.
This is the first picture that comes up when you Google image search "Hornets"

Dallas Mavericks (Mariah Carey) vs. Portland Trailblazers (Beyonce)
The Mavericks are always over-rated and so is Mariah Carey.  Mark Cuban invented the Mavericks and the internet which spread those ridiculous urban legends about Mariah's vocal range, he is to blame.  Beyonce is young and getting it all together very quickly, just like the Blazers.  LaMarcus Aldridge is the Beyonce video versus real thing commercial: i.e awesome.  Blazers upset in 7.
This picture may be the highlight of the Maverick's decade
Oklahoma City Thunder (Pink) vs. Denver Nuggets (Sarah McLachlan)
Who in their right mind would want to play the Thunder right now, or go up against Pink?  Pink has many more hits that you think and the Thunder have a little more moxy than everyone gives them credit for  The Nuggets don't have the big names anymore but they are still solid, much like the mellow, beautiful notes of Sarah Mac (not everyone calls her that but I do).  This is  going to be a hard fought series, even if it isn't f*ckin perfect.  Thunder win in 6.
A Serious Contender
Conference Semi-Finals
Chicago Bulls (Madonna) vs. Orlando Magic (Taylor Swift)
If you don't think the Magic have a good chance in this series I would say go ahead and speak now.  Derrick Rose gets to the rack as well as anyone in the game but the Magic have a trick up their sleeve: the best interior defender in basketball.  When was the last time Madonna had a real hit, and when was the last time a team that wasn't a western conference team or the Celtics won the championship?  I think the Magic's experience helps them win a tough series in 7 games.

Miami Heat (Christina Aguilera) vs. Boston Celtics (Shania Twain)
This went from what I thought was the most intriguing potential match-ups in the playoffs to just another series for me.  I think the Heat have a genie in a bottle who will grant one of their biggest wishes: beating the Celtics.  LeBron (loyal reader) will take this series over and the real Christina shows up.  I think the Celtics are a little too old and lacking perimeter D.  Heat win in 6.

San Antonio Spurs (Whitney Houston) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Pink)
This is the ultimate battle of experience vs. energy, young vs. old and crack user vs. non-crack user.  If this were Whitney from 93 and San Antonio from 05 I think they would win fairly easily, however age and crack cocaine use have caught up with them.  I think Pink and OKC ride their growing momentum to an adrenaline filled victory in 7 games.

LA Lakers (Celine Dion) vs. Portland Trailblazers(Beyonce)
Beyonce is tough and can put on quite a show, but she isn't near a Vegas show.  Unlike the other western conference semi-final, age and experience wins out here.  I think Portland can win a couple at home and really make LA work for it but in the end I'll take the Lakers in 6 and my team will go on.

Conference Finals
Miami Heat (Christina Aguilera) vs. Orlando Magic (Taylor Swift)
What Dwight Howard shows up?  If he is aggressive and can stop Wade and LeBron's penetration without fouling this is going to be a serious series.  As much as I want to pick the Magic because I feel everyone has been sleeping on them, I cant.  I think that Turk is going to find guarding LeBron to be nearly impossible.  Swift will be around for a long,long time but this isn't her year.  The Heat win in 6.
I'm gonna let ya finish but...
LA Lakers (Celine Dion) vs. OKC Thunder (Pink)
Classic and mellow vs. new age and loud.  Two completely different styles of singers and teams.  It will fun to see how this one plays out but as long as Bynum is healthy I just can't see OKC having any kind of answer for the Laker's length or Pink having an answer for "the power of love".  I think OKC will actually take a small step back from last year when they took LA to 6 and only hang around for 5 games this time.

The Finals
LA Lakers (Celine Dion) vs. Miami Heat (Christina Aguilera)
This was my Finals pick at the beginning of the year and I am sticking by it.  I am also sticking with the Lakers  winning in 6 games.  Chris Bosh will have trouble stopping Pau or Bynum, much less both of them. If Kobe can check D Wade (as best as D Wade can be checked) and Artest can sloe LeBron down a little, the Lakers interior D will handle the rest.  As for the greatest female vocalist of all time, was there ever really any doubt?  
I love this picture and I have no idea why

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coffee: A Brief History

If you are like most people you enjoy a nice cup of coffee to get yourself going in the morning.  A strong cup can turn a walking zombie into an alert, on-the-go, super-person.  We buy candles that are scented like coffee, and sometimes we will pay upwards of five dollars for a premium selection.  You would think a country so obsessed with something would know a little more about its origins, but just like many other things, we obsess without understanding.  With this in mind, Proctor's Type has set out to give a concise history of the "world's most popular beverage" with a few fun facts mixed in.

What is it?
Coffee comes from the ground beans of the Cofe' plant (scientific name kafe benji) that grows naturally in three different regions of the world (Brazil, Thailand, Colorado).  A typical Cofe' plant grows to approximately 12 feet tall with around 200 leaves that produce 20 or so beans a piece.  The plants gestation period usually lasts between 120-180 days with a world record of 2 1/2 years.  The Cofe' plant grew unnoticed for centuries due to its strong resemblance to a medium sized cactus.  Naturally you are going to ask "so how was it ever discovered?", well....

Cofe Plant
Who discovered it and how?
I often find myself eating or drinking something that came from the Earth and wondering who was the first person who ate/drank this and what inspired them to do so?  This is normally a hypothetical question, seeing that these events were not recorded in history.  Fortunately this is not the case with coffee.  It is noted in many historical accounts that the first person to extract coffee beans and grind them for drinking was Pocahontas, a Brazilian princess.  Ironically, she did not discover Coffee in her home country of Brazil but in Thailand while on a world-wide voyage in the mid 19th century.  An unconfirmed account has Pocahontas drinking what were thought to be cactus beans during a heated game of truth or dare.  An even more skeptical account has the "truth question" being whether or not she had ever kissed another girl.  

The only known photograph of Pocahontas
How did coffee get to where it is now?
There are now at least 500 Starbucks around the world (a true count would be almost impossible) and coffee is more popular then ever.  The evolution of the coffee industry is remarkable considering Pocahontas discovered it less than 100 years ago.  The truth is Pocahontas did a lot more than "take the beans and run", she helped spread coffee around the world.   While in Colorado, she met Johnny Smith (one of the founders of the Mormon Church) and they opened the first Coffee factory in the world: Maxwell House (named after their first son).  After losing an anti-trust lawsuit, the Pocahontas family allowed many other business men to join the coffee business, including Frederick Douglas, George H. W Bush and Hakeem Olajuwon.  The business of coffee continues to grow and it is now even possible to make coffee at home, something unheard of just a few years ago.

Fun Coffee Facts
*Shakespeare once said "Dog may be man's best friend but coffee is man's best beverage"

*If you lined up every coffee plant in the world end to end it would be at least a mile long

*Napoleon requested an iced Coffee immediately prior to his execution

*Astronauts did not drink coffee on the moon

*In Nebraska it is illegal to drink coffee while riding a horse