My Valentine’s Day Plans

Note: I posted this last year, but since my love life is surprisingly in the exact same state it was last Valentine’s Day, I just figured I post it again. Nothing wrong with running back the hits, especially when they help me cope with crippling loneliness. Haha, just kidding. Could you imagine? I’m not so low where I’m buying myself roses yet, but I might soon because it’d be nice to have some roses every now and then. Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Guys, I’ve found someone. After years of searching, I finally have someone I can call my own. A love so pure and profound I pity anyone who is unable to share in this feeling of bliss. And now, on Valentine’s Day, it’s time I go public: Chocolate Strawberry Oreos and I are getting serious.

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Arguably the best tasting cookie I’ve ever had. How it took them this long to make, I have no idea. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was love at first sight, and we’ve had great chemistry from the moment we first met. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. Unfortunately, these are limited time only, which means this love was made to burn fast and hot. Luckily, tonight is the perfect time to show Chocolate Strawberry Oreos my true feelings. So, what’s in store? Let’s run through the itinerary of our date night.

Paying Homage to Saint Valentine

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Chocolate Strawberry Oreos is a bit of a religious history nut, so we’re taking part in a reenactment of the legendary Saint’s life at the local Rotary Club. It’s an odd bit of performance art where everyone in the audience gets a randomly assigned part. Then, under cover of darkness, the person playing Valentine illegally weds couples, only to eventually get caught. So, I might end up married to someone else, face religious persecution and martyrdom, or I might wind up executing someone. Anything could happen.

A walk through a strawberry field

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As is typical with someone nearing the end of their life, Chocolate Strawberry Oreos wants to reconnect with their heritage and see the land of their ancestors. No better way that by walking through a strawberry field. Unfortunately, we live in the Northeast, so it’ll be covered in snow. All that will remain will be ghosts of past harvests and the hope that the sleeping plants will one day regain their glory. Kind of a downer when you think about it, but it’s still better than visiting a synthetic strawberry flavor factory.

Dinner

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What Valentine’s Day is complete without a romantic dinner out at your favorite restaurant? Unfortunately, not many high end places will let you bring your own food in, so the options are limited. So, we’re going to go the place I went on the day we met: Taco Bell. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than sharing some Nacho Fries together. Add in a nice bottle of wine and some nice candles and the mood will be perfect.

Going home to watch Valentine’s Day

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What Valentine’s Day would be complete without this 2010 classic? Almost unthinkable not to watch this once a year. Decent chance I’m the only one who’s ever seen it, but that doesn’t matter to me.

Dessert

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It’d be kind of messed up to make Chocolate Strawberry Oreos eat chocolate or fruit, so all that leaves really are Sweethearts. Not ideal, but we can make the most of it. Maybe blend them up and make some smoothies. Maybe melt them down for some Sweetheart fondue. Maybe I’ll skip this part because they’re gross. It’ll be a game time decision.

Seal the Deal

What happens next? Well, I’ll leave that to the imagination. Let’s just say it involves a glass of milk and me eating a million Oreos in one sitting. Hope everyone’s Valentine’s Day is as good as mine is about to be!

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Countdown to 2018

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Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone. Welcome to the second annual Countdown of Countdowns, where we go through a bunch of random power rankings to celebrate the changing of the calendar. Makes sense, right? If you’re old enough to remember, last year there were sixteen countdowns to commemorate 2016. Well, stay with me here, this year there’s going to be seventeen as we say goodbye to 2017. Before we begin, it would feel disingenuous if I didn’t mention that, despite how great the Countdown of Countdowns and random New Year’s Eve concerts are, New Year’s Eve stinks and I’m glad I’ve reached the point in my life where there’s starting to be less pressure to go out someplace way too crowded, spend way too much money, and have no fun. Anyway, now that you know I’m a New Year’s Scrooge, let’s dive right in to the CoC.

Top Five Movies from 2017 Based on Brian’s Den Scoring

  1. John Wick 2– A true cinematic masterpiece
  2. Dunkirk– Best war drama since Fern Gully
  3. Fast 8– I still can’t get over the Rock pushing a moving torpedo with his non-dominant hand
  4. Logan– That Wolverine/Professor X sex scene was wild
  5. Captain Underpants– Only sophisticated senses of humor will understand

Top Five Movies I Didn’t See but Will Say I Saw Come Awards Season to Sound Smarter

  1. Call Me By Your Name– Classic “look up the plot on Wikipedia so I can always act like I know the plot” kind of movie
  2. Darkest Hour– I’m a big Gary Oldman guy so I’ll probably get to it eventually
  3. Lady Bird– Literally have no interest whatsoever
  4. Mudbound– Sitting here wondering if it’s problematic or not that I haven’t heard of this
  5. Phantom Thread– Heard Daniel Day-Lewis plays a spool of thread. Impressive

Top Five Video Games I Played in 2017

  1. Persona 5– Played through this game two times in a row so that tells you how cool I am
  2. Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon– Pokemon games are always top five. Sorry
  3. Nioh– Finally made me believe that, no matter where you are, a white guy can be the hero
  4. Horizon Zero Dawn– Bashes you over the head with its social message, but the gameplay and visuals are top notch
  5. Assassin’s Creed Origins– After playing this I was surprised to learn that Moses did, in fact, look just like Christian Bale

Top Five Songs of 2017

  1. “Despacito”- Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Beiber
  2. “Despacito”- Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Beiber
  3. “Despacito”- Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Beiber
  4. “Despacito”- Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Beiber
  5. “Despacito”- Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Beiber

Top Five TV Shows I Watched in 2017

  1. Stranger Things– I’ve been #teamSteve since season 1
  2. Game of Thrones– Even a disappointing season is better than most things on TV
  3. Black Mirror– If you love introspection and hate technology, this is the show for you!
  4. Wallykazam!– Most complex depiction of a troll in recent memory
  5. Super Bowl 51- I didn’t really watch much TV this year so I’ll just throw this here

Top Five Athletes of 2017

  1. Tom Brady- Not much explanation necessary
  2. Kevin Durant- He’s got a whole army of fans on social media that will go to bat for him
  3. Pablo Sandoval- Was somehow the worst player in both leagues
  4. Quavo- The new Jim Thorpe?
  5. Maya Moore- She went to UConn, you know. As did I, if I haven’t mentioned

Top Five New Fast Food Items of 2017

  1. Taco Bell Potatorito
  2. Taco Bell Dollar Stacker
  3. Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chips
  4. Taco Bell Naked Egg Taco
  5. Burger King Farmhouse King

Top Five New Year’s Eve Concerts

  1. Kid Rock- Spirit Center, Kansas City, MO
  2. Migos- Red Rocks, CO
  3. Diarrhea Planet- Rough Trade NYC, Brooklyn
  4. Sting- Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
  5. Celine Dion- Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

Top Five Villains in Movie History

  1. Gothmog, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King– Best voice of all time
  2. Hopper, Bug’s Life– The Charles Manson of the bug world
  3. Palpatine, Star Wars– PPPPPPPOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ULTIMITED PPPPPOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWEEEERRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
  4. Darth Vader, Star Wars– The OG
  5. The Night Slasher, Cobra– The greatest acting performance in history

Top Five Things I Love When Other People Do

  1. Shovel snow
  2. Wash dishes
  3. Fold laundry
  4. Taxes
  5. Pick something to watch on any streaming service

Top Five Fast Casual Tex-Mex Chains

  1. Chipotle- Sorry I’m not mentally weak enough to let a little food poisoning scare me away
  2. Moe’s- Best chips going
  3. Pancheros- Most underrated by far
  4. Qdoba- Can’t believe they got rid of their old cactus logo
  5. Del Taco- It’s no Taco Bell

Top Five Colors

  1. Fuschia- Violet or lavender could also substitute
  2. Sky Blue- Compliments my eye color nicely
  3. Turqoise- Just feels like a tropical breeze
  4. Burgundy- Maybe the classiest color along with mahogany
  5. Magenta- Sorry if you don’t like feeling warm and fuzzy inside

Top Five Fictional Animals to Have as a Pet (Before you say anything, Pokemon are partners, not pets)

  1. Pegasus- Riding a horse typically looks cool, but then the horse unfurls its wings and takes flight? Yes, please
  2. Direwolf- Only if you lived in isolation. Which is my dream
  3. Owl- This means Harry Potter owl. I know owls exist in real life
  4. Dragon- From any story. Pick any dragon in recorded history and I’m down with having it as a pet
  5. Jackalope- A good conversation starter

Top Five Condiments

  1. Maple Syrup- I’d have to turn in my “Vermont native” card if I went with anything else. Yes, I have drank maple syrup, and yes, it was amazing
  2. Chick-fil-a Sauce- Arguably the greatest innovation in fast food history
  3. Mustard- All mustard, but specifically deli mustard and spicy brown
  4. Sweet chili sauce- Underrated and pairs with any meat
  5. Ketchup- Can’t ignore it altogether, but if ketchup is your favorite you have plebeian taste

Top Five Gemstones

  1. Garnet- My birthstone, so you know it’s the best
  2. Red Diamond- Most expensive gem in the world
  3. Emerald- I’m a sucker for green
  4. Alexandrite- Love stuff that changes color
  5. Opal- Just looks cool

Top Five Kinds of Bread

  1. Semolina- If cookies weren’t a thing I’d say the Italians had this whole cooking thing figured out
  2. Sourdough- Regular sourdough, not (I repeat: NOT) vaginal yeast sourdough
  3. Wheat- Lets me pretend I’m eating healthy
  4. Cinnamon Raisin- Using cinnamon raisin bread for french toast >>>
  5. White- Old reliable

Top Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2018

  1. Avengers– Gonna be the greatest movie since the last greatest movie ever
  2. Taco Bell’s newest specialties- Who knows what they’ll come up with next?
  3. Getting one step closer to the end of the world- About time the planet hit the reset button
  4. Kingdom Hearts 3– Just kidding. It’s never coming out
  5. Another year of The Brian’s Den- 2018 is gonna be BIG. I can feel it

I’m Sick of People Calling Christmas Sweaters Ugly

Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas. I love the traditions, I love the food, I love the snow, I love all of it. Well, almost all of it. There’s one small detail that really gets under my skin: Christmas parties. Actually, let me re-phrase that. I hate Ugly Sweater parties. Why, you ask? Everyone knows I love getting festive and dressing up in eye-catching outfits. Seems like a perfect fit. And it is. I’m just sick of people calling the sweaters ugly.

I mean, look at this:

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You’re telling me that’s ugly? I see a smart looking sweater that perfectly captures the spirit of a Nordic Christmas. That’s a money sweater that I wish I had. That’s not ugly. And what about this?

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That’s a good looking sweater, right there. Love me some maroon. It’s the most underrated winter color, IMO. Looks great in any situation. Does that look like the fact of a woman who thinks she’s wearing something ugly? I think not. Don’t like reindeer for some reason? Well, Christmas sweaters have a pretty deep design pool to draw from.

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That’s what I’m talking about. If anyone can look you in the face and call this ugly, they’re probably getting visited by three ghosts when they go to bed. Wearing something like this puts some pep in your step and gives you a better outlook on life. If you hate that, then you’re the ugly one, friend.

To make one thing clear: I’m only talking about legitimate sweaters. Knit sweaters that have lives of their own and tighten and loosen at the drop of a hat. Not these new age “ugly christmas sweaters” that everyone’s pedaling that are just sweatshirts with a small design steam printed on. It’s always novelty designs or pop culture references or something. You’ll see something online saying something like “New Ugly Christmas Sweaters On Sale Now!” and it’ll be something like this:

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That’s a sweatshirt, fool! That’s not a Christmas sweater. If you roll up to my Christmas party and you’re wearing this? Sorry, but you’re getting left out in the cold. A good rule of thumb: if it has a Gildan tag on it, it’s not legitimate. The design has to go all the way around and it has to be knit. There’s no comparison. Sweatshirts look bad. Sweaters look good:

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Mazel tov to anyone lucky enough to have a sweater that looks this good. This is the perfect Christmas Holiday sweater. Subtle, understated, and gets people talking. Try walking into a party wearing a lame sweatshirt and starting conversations with people. Can’t imagine it’ll go well. But if you’re wearing that? First they compliment on your sweater, you say thanks, they ask where you got it, you give a vague answer so no one can find it and replicate your style, then next thing you know you’re talking about net neutrality and the meaning of life.

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This sweater will get you respect, it will get you friends, it will get you a significant other, it will get you happiness. Can’t imagine a better garment than that. And people want to call these ugly? You try knitting a sweater while perfectly capturing the whimsical reindeer in its natural, snowy habitat on a red or green background. Would you like it if someone called it ugly? I doubt it. Calling these sweaters ugly is like calling Christmas itself ugly. I don’t think I need to say why that just wouldn’t be okay. Christmas sweaters are Christmas, and if you don’t like them or think they’re ugly, post your address in the comments so I can come fight you.

In case you somehow haven’t gotten me a Christmas gift yet, just throwing this one out there.

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My Christmas List

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Dear Santa,

I hope this finds you well. I understand this is a busy time for you and your staff, but, assuming you’re reading this, it appears I was correct in assuming my oversized envelope labeled only with magazine cutout letters spelling “I have Mrs. Claus” caught your attention. I realize it may seem extreme, but you do what you have to to stand out. To clarify: I do not actually have Mrs. Claus, so if she is currently missing, I would appreciate being removed from the suspect list. Thank you.

Anyway, as I’m sure you know, it’s the Christmas season. And, again, as I’m sure you know, the Christmas season is all about other people to buying you things. Or something. Either way, you’re the man to turn to when it comes getting stuff you want without paying for it, so I figured I’d drop you a line. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I have been good this year. I rounded up my change to help St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital the last time I went to the mall, I exposed a deep-seated conspiracy that goes back decades, I helped prop up the struggling hot dog industry, I saved New York City, and I recycle. Sure, I’m not perfect. I don’t always come to a complete stop at stop signs. I downloaded some music without paying for it. I speak to my family only slightly more often than Aaron Rodgers does. But I think you’ll find the good far outweighs the bad, and that I’m more than eligible for a haul of Christmas gifts. And while this is more of a guideline than a list of demands, I would prefer if you kind of stick to the script. I know it’s your workshop’s specialty and all, but I’ll be pissed if I get some crappy wooden toy. It’s 2017, the last thing in the world I need to a wood dog with wheels that I can pull around. Just give me coal instead, at least it has a practical use. Anyway, without further ado, I present my 2017 Christmas List.

  • A ton of money
  • My own Chick-fil-a franchise
  • A Japanese Cherry Tree sapling imported from Tokyo
  • The complete Take That discography
  • A signed copy of The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance
  • 20 more years of Tom Brady
  • A pony
  • One of the Crown Jewels, don’t really care which
  • A stylish collection of ascots so I can add some smoking lounge chic to my wardrobe
  • Gold
  • Frankensense
  • Myrrh
  • A couple Bitcoins
  • A Nintendo Switch with Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey
  • An end to fast food regionalism so I can have In-n-Out, Whataburger, Bojangles, Raising Cane’s, Zaxby’s, Cook Out, and every other Southern place without having to base a vacation around trying them
  • An all-expenses-paid vacation to go to every regional fast food place in America
  • An apparel and shoe sponsorship with Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour
  • Musical talent
  • A saltwater aquarium complete with a full range of fish. Seahorses are most important aspect
  • An appointment with the Pimp My Ride crew
  • A 10-day contract with literally any NBA team
  • Make UConn men’s basketball better
  • A role as whatever superhero is left in the next round of Marvel movies
  • A pair of game-worn Pitbull gloves
  • Access to the Book of Secrets
  • Tickets to Hamilton so I can tell people I’ve seen Hamilton
  • Matchstick Men on DVD
  • Russia to get re-instated into the Olympics so there’s someone to root against
  • Russia to win the World Cup in the most obviously rigged way possible because it would actually be kind of funny
  • A job as a nature documentary cameraman
  • My own used car dealership
  • A better cable company than Optimum
  • A private jet
  • Some kind of holiday in August
  • To find a hidden oil reserve in my backyard
  • A better feel for interior decorating
  • A lifetime supply of Cheez-It
  • A lifetime supply of DiGiorno
  • My own Margaritaville location
  • A time machine
  • Another time machine that I can give to a responsible person to undo anything I would do using my time machine
  • Better WiFi
  • A complete brontosaurus fossil
  • Someone who follows me around telling me not to eat all the really unhealthy stuff I eat
  • My own house flipping reality tv show
  • A good app idea that someone else designs but I get to sell
  • An English bulldog
  • Some new Transformers. Don’t know what they’re like now but I want to get back in the game
  • Another pony so the first pony has some company
  • My own Domino’s franchise
  • Diplomatic immunity in every part of the world except New England
  • A Manhattan brownstone
  • No more automated calls
  • A maid who’s only job is to fold laundry
  • The eradication of Dominick the Donkey and everyone who likes it
  • World peace and all that
  • An authentic Turboman

Continued on next three pages. Make sure to read all of it.

Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas,

Brian

I Would Like to Wish Everyone a Merry Hawaiian Christmas!

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Mele Kalikimaka, everybody! What a beautiful day to celebrate one of the most important days on the calendar. Hawaiian Christmas. What’s that? You’ve never heard of it? That’s a shame. It’s a truly wonderful holiday. A joyous occasion where we, the faithful public, celebrate the birth of the White Kahuna. The one sent from above to dazzle us with pinpoint accuracy and a mastery of the Run and Shoot offense. Today, we celebrate the birth of the greatest college football player of all time, Colt Brennan.

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Now, a short trip down Google Lane will tell you that his true birthday is August 16th. Well, what holiday worth it’s salt takes place in the middle of the week? That’s why Hawaiian Christmas takes place on the closest Friday to August 16th, so you’ll always have a long weekend spent living on Island Time, to go with the quiet midweek vigil you hold for the true date. And if the 16th falls on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday? Well, that’s grounds to take the whole week off, friend. Hawaiian Christmas is a time for leisure, merriment, and goodwill towards men. Your boss will understand.

The most important question facing a Hawaiian Christmas neophyte is, of course, how to celebrate. It’s quite simple really. The first step is to put on your finest Hawaiian linens. The more complex the pattern, the more bold the color scheme, the better. I’m partial to tropical flowers, birds of paradise, sea turtles, and perhaps fruit, myself, but Hawaiian Christmas is not a time for criticism. Wear what you will, as long as it’s in the spirit of things. Grab yourself a mai tai or two (more on that later), and settle in on your most relaxing beach chair for the most important part of any Hawaiian Christmas, watching a ton of Colt Brennan highlights. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen first.

You might need to take a cold shower if you get too deep into the rabbit hole, but hopefully you have access to a beach and can take a quick dip in the water. While his highlight videos are undoubtedly mesmerizing, don’t get so engrossed you lose track of time. Hawaiian Christmas dinner takes a while to cook when done right, and you certainly don’t want to lose track of time. While our savior typically feasted on helpless WAC opponents, cannibalism is unfortunately frowned upon during Hawaiian Christmas. So, instead, prepare a traditional Kalua pig. You’ll need a full pig and a pretty big pit and a bunch of hot stones, and you’ll need to learn a difficult and very specific cooking method that you’ll probably never use in any other scenario, but it’s worth it to impress your friends. Gather your family and any neighbors too lazy to cook their own pig and sit around the fire pit telling tales of gridiron glory. Traditionally, this is also where you engage in the ceremonial Hair Bleaching, so you too can look like the Heisman Finalist himself.tumblr_lmkx4zlahb1qapl86o1_500

Most pigs are probably going to be about 260 pounds, so when you add in all the tropical-themed side dishes, you’ll have plenty of leftovers! The White Kahuna isn’t an advocate for moderation.

Speaking of moderation, the most controversial part of the holiday comes at night. Here at the Brian’s Den, we would never dream of condoning drinking and driving. It’s a reckless, dangerous, and foolhardy decision. But, as with all great heroes, Colt Brennan is a flawed man. His DUI arrest is a dark mark on his otherwise spotless record. To walk in his path is to admit your own weaknesses and faults, which is the first step to personal growth. A true celebrator of Hawaiian Christmas knows how to honor the White Kahuna and keep the non believers safe, so find an abandoned patch of beach, woods, field, anywhere where you won’t have any company. Get a golf cart and your closest friends, and just drive around. If you’ve been observing Hawaiian Christmas customs all day, you should be sufficiently impaired. It’s a great time that I officially condemn, but it’s better than driving your actual car. Feel free to engage in golf-cart centric shenanigans into the wee hours of the morning, just make sure to be wearing your Hawaiian Christmas garb, so any passing law enforcement officers will know you’re merely recognizing the significance of the day.

The last part of any good Hawaiian Christmas comes the next morning. All you need to do is fail to make the NFL. Easy enough on paper, but you’d be surprised how many people mess it up. Now, go out there and have the best Hawaiian Christmas you’ve ever had. Mele Kalikimaka, indeed.