Thursday, February 25, 2010

The American (Idol) Dream

Today is my first random Friday post. If you read my State of the Blog address, you understand what's going on here. If not, check it out and you will understand what is going on here.

I watch American Idol.

Actually, I just started watching American Idol for the first time this season, and it was sort of an accident. I needed something to watch while I work out, and American Idol is conducive to being workout background noise.

Having said that, I am thoroughly enjoying watching the show. And, yet, for whatever reason, I feel the need to justify my watching American Idol by telling all of you that I only watch when I workout. This, might I add, is a lie. I now watch the show even when I am not working out because I got sucked into the Idol machine.

Why, then, do I feel the need to place a disclaimer on my viewership? Is it because I don't want to admit I am watching a show that’s biggest draw is a pompous British guy with man boobs who wears shirts two sizes to small?

Well, yes, partially.

Mostly, though, it’s because there is a certain stigma attached to a 22-year-old male watching American Idol alone in his living room. That stigma is, "wow, what a fag."

Because of this societal pressure, I distance myself from American Idol. Yesterday, when a coworker asked me what I did the night before, I responded, "sadly, I watched American Idol." I felt compelled to add that "sadly" to the sentence even though I wasn't actually ashamed, and watching American Idol isn't actually sad. And yet, in a world where the omni-present quest is normalcy, I felt compelled to make myself sound more like a "normal" 22-year-old male.

This essentially means being the guy who says, "what kind of fag watches American Idol?"

The ironic thing is, one of the things I fear most is being normal. To me, being normal is synonymous with boring, complacent and average. In a world where "you seem so normal" is meant to be a compliment, I think to myself, "what does normal mean? And why the hell would anybody ever want to be it?

When you take the concept of what is considered an ideal American life, you think of a married couple with good jobs, a nice house, and beautiful children. You think, wow there is the American Dream. They are living such a nice, peaceful, perfect existence. Everything is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this ideal. I, too, would like to get married, have a nice house, and have beautiful children someday. Who wouldn't?

That ideal, however, is not what makes a person normal. In fact nothing makes a person normal. The fact is, the people driven so completely by this idea that "I don't want to be perceived as the weird guy who has lawn gnomes in his yard, or a polka dot painted house" are chasing the impossible: normalcy.

And more importantly, why, if someone truly wants lawn gnomes or polka dots, would not having them make them normal? And even if it does make someone normal, doesn't it also make them less happy?

That thing that makes me saddest about these questions is how I personally fit into this "normal" mold. It is clear at various points throughout my average day that I am performing task, or speaking in a way so as not to be perceived as "weird." Most of the time it is irrelevant because weirdness is all relative, but every time I censor myself, or react contrary to my first instinct, I wonder am I simply behaving this way because I think I am supposed to?

If every part of me wants to tell someone off, or how I really feel about them, or whatever the case may be, and I don't say anything, it is most likely because I am afraid of their reaction. We have all been conditioned to think that nobody has the same weird thoughts in their often equally fucked up brains, so expressing myself wouldn't be beneficial to anyone. And certainly this can be true sometimes. Maybe your honesty will be off-putting because they don't feel the same way, and maybe they will give you one of those "are you serious?" or "what the fuck is wrong with you?" looks because they think you are nuts. Then you'll walk away embarrassed, and they'll walk away thinking, "what a nut job."

The fact is, however, while the person you tell your feelings (negative or positive) to may not feel the same way, and they may react like you are bat shit crazy, you can be sure that they have felt the same way you feel about them, about someone in their life. Even if that someone isn't you.

Yet, you are the odd one because you don't want to live in a world where normalcy reigns supreme.

Of course, I say all this from my high horse, knowing that I will today, like everyday, go through an average day. I will perform functions that will be considered normal. If I come across someone who annoys me, and I won't tell them they annoy me. I'll just continue about my business, and hope I can just get through another normal day.

And there, of course, is that word again.


How will I achieve today? American Idol isn’t shown on Friday after all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I love the beginning of spring training for numerous reasons. The most obvious reason being that pitchers and catchers reporting signals a symbolic beginning to the end of the perilous Minnesota winter.

What else I love about spring training? The ifs.


...Francisco Liriano returns to anywhere near his 2006 form, the Twins will have one of the best rotations in baseball.

...J.J. Hardy can solidify the defense at SS and bounce back offensively, the Twins will have a presence in the infield, as well as one of the deepest lineups in the league.

...Jose Mijares doesn't eat a small child...well, okay, that's really not realistic.

...Jon Rauch, Jesse Crain, Clay Condrey, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, and whomever else can handle the late innings leading up to Nathan, the Twins will have one of the deepest bullpens in baseball.

...Joe Nathan doesn't self-destruct, the Twins will actually win a playoff series.

...Nick Punto learns what the fuck a stop sign is, my remote might actually survive an entire Twins season.

...Joe Mauer somehow relives his seemingly unmatchable 2009, the Twins will have the most potent offense in baseball. (Yes, including the Yankees.)

...I don't get tickets to opening day at Target Field, I will shank someone and steal theirs.

...Delmon Young, Denard Span, and Michael Cuddyer can somehow cover enough ground in the outfield, the Twins as defensively minded team will actually seem true again.

...Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Nick Blackburn can step up and realize that they aren't actually young pitchers anymore, and prove ready to help lead a pitching staff, I will put the Twins rotation up against any in the league.

...everyone on the roster actually "battle's their tale off," maybe Ron Gardenhire will stop speaking only in cliches.

...Jim Thome can provide a stabilizing influence in the clubhouse, and provide a solid bench of the bat/DH, the Twins will have found one of the biggest things they have been missing the last few years.

If all this things happen? Well it is hard to imagine this won't be the most successful Twins season in recent memory.

There is a reason they are ifs, of course, and there is an infinite list of them. How many come true remains to be seen, but it's the speculation that makes spring training that much more fun.

Got any more ifs? Lets see them in the comments section.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

State of the Blog Address

Writing is a funny thing. Everyone who writes even semi-regularly knows that if you aren't really "feeling it," trying to write something that falls somewhere between readable and good (or beyond) is nearly impossible.

Sitting down to write something, even something small, is such a personal thing. You pen together a few words. Sometimes you hate what you write. Sometimes you love what you write. Most of the time you simply feel comfortable, but not extraordinary (negatively or positively) about what you write.

The irony of all ironies is that many times when you feel great about something you write, and expect others to compliment you, you receive nary a word of encouragement. Your left to think, "huh, maybe I actually suck."

Then, you have times when you throw something together you are completely uncomfortable with. You think "well this kind of blows, but fuck it I'll post it anyway." And, low and behold, that's the piece someone comments on. Or retweets. Or sends you an email saying "hey I loved what you wrote about fill-in-the-blank."

Writing is such a dissociative thing. Perceiving the written word is completely different for everyone; be it writer, reader, skimmer, accidental googler, or whomever. The fact is, if I write something I love, there is going to be someone out there who hates it. And if I write something I hate, there is going to be someone out there who loves it. Reader and writer each perceive the written word differently.

Now I'm not here to say my pithy little posts about the last decade of Twins baseball, or Nick Punto being sort of a fuck up are even remotely relevant in any grand scheme or scope. They aren't.

Quite simply, I like to write. I enjoy throwing together a few jokes and a little analysis and trying to make a coherent piece of writing that someone, somewhere will enjoy. It may seem like I am just fucking around, and to a degree I am, but I also take my writing seriously. If I don't feel at least slightly comfortable with what I am writing, I will not post it, or, as has been the case lately, if I haven't felt completely "into" what I am doing, I won't even begin writing in the first place.

All this is really a long winded way of saying, that while I know I haven't been posting lately, I am moving forward now. I feel recharged and ready to throw myself back into this site.

Moving forward, the blog outlook will be something like this:

Between two and four Twins related posts during the week (Monday - Thursday). Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, and there is actual news, I will throw myself back into the blogosphere and crank out my usual witty and insightful Twins musings.

On top of this, however, I will also feature a Friday post on random topics that will likely be completely unrelated to the Twins, and probably sports in general. This will simply be an outlet for me to feel like I am actually writing something instead of just blogging. If that makes sense.

I am not sure what form these Friday posts will take on yet, but I have been looking to try something new, and this will be a good way for me to refocus.

Basically, for those of you who enjoy my Twins blogging, I will obviously be continuing that the majority of the time. For those of you who don't enjoy my Twins blogging (I'm not sure why you are here, but I am flattered) maybe you will enjoy my Friday writings. Really, though, this will just serve as an outlet for the expense of all of you.

Really this is just something I need to get me back on track and avoid a feeling of monotony.

Hopefully, as I get back into the writing flow, there will be plenty to enjoy for everyone here at Undomed. At least, if nothing else, this slightly new format will serve as a way to keep me sane, because, let's face it, writing about sports every single day gets a little old.

So, what I am here to tell you is, that while the state of the blog has faltered as of late, the future of the blog is strong.

And that is a promise.

Thank you for your readership.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nicholas Paul Punto

Don't forget to check out all the other Nick Punto posts around the blogosphere for Nick Punto Day. If you are on Twitter check out the #nickpuntoday feed, or click on pretty much any of the Twins blog links in my side bar. Many of them have excellent additions to this magical day. And a special shoutout to Andrew Kneeland of Twins Target for coming up with the idea.

How does one properly quantify one Nicholas Paul Punto?

As a man who so many people love, and so many others love to hate, he stirs up the strongest emotional feelings for Twins fans this side of Joe Mauer. And Punto isn't even a strapping, sideburned dreamboat -- quite the opposite, in fact.

So why, then, does this little squirrely man stir up such large emotions in Twins fans?

To answer that question, let's flashback to the final game of the 2009 ALDS against the Yankees. A game that, quite simply, summed up Punto's existence quite nicely.

Come about the fifth inning or so, with the game still tied at zero, my friend and I decided it was about time to bust out a chant from the tenth row of the left field home run porch. And who better to cheer on than Little Nicky Paul Punto himself?

We dusted off an old favorite chant from our trip to Kansas City a few summers ago that went a little something like this:

My friend: POON!
Me: TOE!


We continued to chant all through Punto's at bat to both the chagrin and delight of the people sitting around us -- anytime you use the word "poon" in public it tends to stir up strong emotions in people. Some people laughed, some people gave us knucks, some people looked at us like we were slightly retarded. But, hey, it's little Nicky Punto. He deserves a chant. Right?

Well, we continued this for each of Punto's at-bats for the rest of the game (even adding some fellow chanters along the way). It was a magical Puntonian adventure in the Home Run porch that day.

As you can probably imagine, when Punto hit his double to lead off the bottom of the eight, we went nuts. Our "poon" magic had worked. We had inspired the little fella so much, that he slapped a double into the left center field gap. Things were looking pretty damn good for the Twins thanks to Mr. Punto himself.

Of course, we all know what happened from there. Denard Span slapped his infield single up the middle, and Derek Jeter caught Nicky P. wandering off third base because he heard the crowd and thought the ball got through. Great. Thanks Punto. Way to be big guy. Way to be.

So what does all of this say about one Nicholas Paul Punto? Well, that story had a little bit of everything. The highs for the Punto pimpers, and the lows for the Punto punters. It was a win-win or win-lose or lose-lose, or some sort of situation.

Really though, as I look back, that story summarizes Punto's entire Twins existence.

He is a scrappy player, who runs around, occasionally does things that are exciting, and almost inevitably ends up screwing up for being too into the moment. I mean, he ran past a fucking stop sign because there were too many noises. Really Punto? You can't function in loud places? What the hell would he do if he worked in a steel mill or something? Those places are loud right?

But I digress.

The point is, Punto stirs up so many emotions in fans because he is such a kamikaze force to be reckoned with. Sometimes his ridiculous leaping and sliding around is good, and sometimes its bad.

You pretty much just have to decide if the crazy head first shenanigans and unnecessary diving stops are worth it in the end.

Or as I now say: "sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes Nick Punto rains on your parade."

Then again, we probably wouldn't have this problem if he just didn't play everyday...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Me and Jon Rauch

I have nothing to write today, and my next real post won't be until Nick Punto Day on Friday. However, in the meantime, here is a picture of me and Jon Rauch from Twinsfest. Just cuz.

I may look awkward and confused on the outside, but I feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Also, we have similar shaped heads, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Oh, and he has a slightly less dense blank stare in person than I may have previously suggested.

And, yes, that is really Jon Rauch and not a cardboard cutout.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Light At The End Of The tunnel.

Have you ever noticed that every non-Christmas song that involves lyrics about snow is depressing? Of course, the simple reason for this is, well, snow is depressing. It's cold. It's wet. It's dreary. Quite frankly, snow blows.

Oh sure, snow around Christmas-time is all cute and cuddly, but come late-January and early-February, I think we are all about fed up with the whole winter thing. White Christmas be damned.

There is no place where the doldrums of late winter are more evident than the sports world.

Now, I think it is fairly obvious that I am primarily a baseball fan; so, naturally, I am biased. But I defy anyone to lay claim to a bleaker time of the sports calendar than late winter.

For me, surviving on football is merely a necessity in my sports-obsessed brain. If I could watch the Twins play year-round, and completely forgo the Vikings season entirely, I would gladly make that trade.

(Granted, having said that, I went on one of the most ridiculously long and loud profanity laced tirades I can remember when Brett Favre threw his interception. I believe it was a sequence that involved approximately 324 "fucks" 373 "shits" (the words, not the actions) 312 "goddamnits," and 1 very confused and frightened brother's girlfriend -- who just happened to be on the phone with him at the time and heard me yelling. But I digress.)

The fact is, while I love following the Twins offseason, (especially when they actually make moves) nothing can possibly compare to the actual season itself. Basically, as I sit here on February 9th, staring out my window at a cold, wet, dreary, snow-soaked tundra, I have to convince myself that there is a light at the end of the proverbial winter tunnel.

I guess the only thing to do now is look forward to the fact that pitchers and catchers report in 12 days, and in just over two months, the Twins will be playing meaningful baseball. And, better yet, meaningful outdoor baseball.

It can't come soon enough.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

When Good Tweets Go Bad

There has been a lot of news that isn't really news, but might be news, but might not be news, but is becoming news because everyone decided its news so therefore it is, in fact, news lately.

Don't worry, that sentence didn't make sense to me either. And that is the point.

Now, I love Twitter as much, if not more, than the next guy. Anytime I can get an inordinate number of responses to a tweet including the word "wiener," you know we have all stumbled on to something special. If there is a greater joy in life than a "wiener tweet," I have yet to experience it.

However, in light of "Mauer Monday" and "Hudson Thursday?" "O-Dog Thursday?" I don't know, the alliteration isn't there for that one (the Hudson thing couldn't have happend on a Wednesday? I mean come on who doesn't want to take part in Hudson hump day? The sexual connotations take that to a whole other level), Twitter has proven that, while it can be an enjoyable -- and often valuable -- tool, it can also be a horrible, frustrating, self absorbed, ego-driven, (insert more negative phrases here) machine.

When a journalist tweets information, even something that was intended to be innocuous, they have to understand people on Twitter who respect their opinion are going to take that morsel and spread it far and wide. There is no filter on Twitter, just rushed reactions to everything. Thus the name Twitter.

People don't think long and hard about tweets, and that is the entire point. The site is built for quck reactions and snapshots from a person's brain to their quick typing trigger finger.

Do you really think I spend along time thinking up the tweet, "If Orlando Hudson chooses the Indians over the Twins he is a huge wiener?"

Nope. I didn't. The word wiener just makes me giggle. I mean, try saying wiener with a straight face.

Now, there is no problem with this random tweeting when it is just some goofy jackass like myself spouting about my favorite sports teams. But when someone like Mark Rosen, or the random Nationals reporter or Kansas City radio station starts making unsubstantiated claims purely for the intentions of starting a publicity firestorm, then we have a problem.

When an quick shot entity like Twitter comes along in a journalistic society that judges success almost soleley on who "breaks the story," you start having some serious issues with the media flow.

Twitter can certainly be a great tool for spreading news, and spreading news quickly. But the problem is that policing the spread of unsubstantiated stories is nearly impossible. Once one tweet about Joe Mauer comes out and 3 other people retweet it, a chain reaction of retweeting and rumor mongering is set into motion.
And it is an unstoppable force.

Again, if I a jackass such as myself were the one tweeting about Joe Mauer, most people would ignore me, or everyone would just shrug like they do at any fan rumor. But when media members begin throwing very, very fringe information around in the interest of breaking a story, it becomes more of a problem.

People are programmed to believe journalists. It's part of the job description. They have inside information about news stories, and they relate that information back to average Joe over there. So when these journalists relate information back to us, even in a tweet, we tend to believe it.

Stopping the influx of unsubstantiated tweets is a difficult goal to reach. Certainly, it is not Twitters job to do so, or even care about doing so. The fact is, when a reporter is considering tweeting information, they need to realize that people digest it the same way they do the 10 o'clock news, or a news website (I'd say the morning paper, but come on, that's just ridiculous. Who reads that?)

While Twitter can clearly be both enjoyable and useful, it can also cause innummerable problems.

Next time, Mr. or Mrs. Journalist, before typing in that quick tweet, consider double checking your sources before hitting the enter key. Tweets need to be treated with the same care of any other news medium.

Otherwsie, our fast-paced society will continue it's downward spiral into quick-tweet chaos.