A Short Break

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Folks, as I’m sure you’ve noticed (well, hopefully noticed), I’ve been a little absent from the internet lately. Not many posts or tweets or videos or anything. As much as I’d love to say it was because I was working on some important project or I have an entirely new identity now or that I decided to prioritize my health and backpacking through Europe, the reality is I was just kind of being lazy. I was working on my book, sure, but not in a “this-thing’s-almost-done-and-I’ve-got-publishers-beating-down-my-door” kind of way. Started thinking about a vacation next year. Got really into oatmeal raisin cookies (so underrated). Played an obscene amount of Fire Emblem Three Houses (switch over to my gaming site ledbacklitmonsterenergyrefrigeratorinthecorner.com for my 50,000 word breakdown about why Sylvain is actually the best character in the game). A lot of stuff going on in my life. Listen, it was summer and there wasn’t much interesting news I cared about and I couldn’t watch a lot of baseball until recently and it was just kind of like I didn’t have any time to come up with the level of posts I’m happy with. Or, more likely, I chose not to make time. But, if you really concentrate, you can start smelling football in the air again. Hell, college has been going for a couple weeks now. So, at the very least, I’ll go back to picking games. I like it too much and I’m too good at it to give it up, even if I know no one’s reading. Anything more than that? We’ll see. Unplugged life was good, and I’ll leave it at that. briansden69.com may start to operate on a per diem basis.

But, naturally, there were two stories that nearly dragged me back to the site. The first, of course, was the great Chicken Sandwich War of 2019. Popeyes introduced a new chicken sandwich. It was very good and sold out everywhere instantly. It’s still not as good as Chick-fil-A’s. That’s the take.

The second was the Andrew Luck shock retirement. And I don’t really have a take about Luck, more about the discussion about Luck, which I fully admit is just feeding directly into the cycle of event-backlash-backlashtothebacklash-outrage-forgetiteverhappened that dominates social media, more specifically Twitter, which is easily the worst website in the world but I can’t stop myself from spending all day on it. Anyway, yeah, Luck retired. Crazy. Who knows what he’s going through, so if his body’s saying no, it’s time to get out. Football’s not a game you can be kind of committed to. If you don’t want to take the pain anymore, no shame in walking away. I’m sad to see him go, if only because he was 0-6 against the Pats and always lost by 10,000. But when the Indy fans booed as he left the field (the story leaking mid-game is one of the weirdest things about it), predictably, it quickly became a 2019 sports story. You had to either become “shut up and play, think about the coal miners” guy or one of the nameless, faceless members of the Twitter mob that think if you’re nice to the athletes they’ll become friends with you or something. Like if hell exists, Andrew Luck’s not gonna wind up there because he retired earlier than you wanted him to. But he’s also not a conquering hero, either. It’s his life and he should do with it what he pleases, but let’s not act like it’s out of line for Colts fans to be upset. Their star QB retired two seconds before the season! They can’t be pissed about that? Not even a little? I understand they shouldn’t have booed. I wouldn’t have, were I in the same position (I would never be in that position, though, because that would involve attending a preseason NFL game). But he really screwed the Colts over with this. Unless you want to get woke and say Jim Irsay knew Luck was on the way out but told him to keep it quiet so they could sell season tickets, but even then the fans are really getting the shaft. But hey, it’s 2019 and the fans don’t matter because a couple lunatics were mean to some athletes on Twitter and now if you even insinuate that a player isn’t the best all-time in their sport you’re a reckless hater and deserve to be canceled. This story is why I liked being offline. You check back in briefly and it’s just as bad and eye-roll-inducing as it was when you left. Luck’s not a spoiled millennial who doesn’t care about the little guy and he’s not a brave trailblazer who should be endlessly praised for accomplishing nothing in the league and walking away under his own power. He’s just a really talented guy who’s body said enough, that’s it. But we can’t do “that’s it” in 2019, can we?

Football’s back, hooray.

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I Love Flying

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Folks, I just got back from vacation. As expected, Blayze on the Beach was a huge success. It was such a success, in fact, that there may be a future Academy Award-winning documentary about the festival being produced as we speak. But this post isn’t about a relaxing, sun-filled holiday. This is about one of the most infuriating sequences of events in human history that turned what should have been a painless final leg of travel before entering the Valhalla that is my own bed into a living nightmare.

Let me start by saying the title isn’t a lie or sarcasm in any way. I do love air travel. I love airports. Like, legitimately. I actually enjoy spending time in airports. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my own meek, unassertive self-conscience can revel in the fact that even the most aggressive and alpha of humans are reduced to sheep on a conveyor belt with no choice but to follow orders and everyone is treated with an equal amount of disdain and anyone who rocks the boat is silenced immediately. Maybe it’s because most airports have a Pizza Hut Express every twenty feet. Either way, I like airports. And the flying itself? I like taking off and I like landing and I like the turbulent in-between. I like the little snacks and I like getting half cups of your drink of choice (I’m out on alcohol or drugs on flights, though. Just seems like a horrible time). The random dips and bumps that feel like you’re on a roller coaster just let me know I’m still alive. The only drawback is the other passengers, but most of the time, they can be ignored (shoutout to Delta, who’s apparently just JetBlue now. Took Delta on the way there and they had a million free movies and shows on your own screen. Finally saw Crazy Rich Asians. It was awesome). Unfortunately, sometimes ignoring the cretins that populate aircraft is impossible.

Coming back to New York, I had to fly crappy United. Obviously, that should have been a big red flag right away. But it was the cheapest (non-Spirit division) and seemingly easiest option. It involved a layover, but the first part was perfectly fine! The Punta Cana airport was charming and tropical in a touristy way and the flight itself went off without a hitch. There was even a beautiful flight attendant with whom I imagined a happy life together but obviously didn’t actually say a word to the entire flight. Then I spent a few hours in Washington Dulles Airport that were less inspiring but okay. Customs took forever and the airport itself felt way too janky to be that close to the Capitol. But anyway, it was time to board the plane.

D.C. to LaGuardia is only an hour long flight. Let me repeat that: D.C. to LaGuardia is only an hour long flight. Probably a little less in perfect conditions. That’s how long people had to behave themselves. Sixty minutes. And they couldn’t. This was a test of civility, and 99% of the passengers would have failed miserably. This was a fairly small plane- only four seats per row instead of six and like, 25-ish rows. I guess that just means there were fewer filler passengers to cut through the high percentage of bottom dwellers that typically fly United. Before we take off the pilot says there’s gonna be some turbulence because of wind and whathaveyou. Okay, whatever. Nothing wrong with a little turbulence. At least to me. The mood in the cabin shifted noticeably. Everyone was already panicking because, as everyone knows, the second a plane hits a rough patch it instantly explodes. Anyway, there was a couple sitting in front of me. There were countless couples on the plane, no doubt. But these two were on the across the aisle from each other. And as we took off the guy reached over to grab her hand because she was kind of freaking out. I can’t adequately explain how badly this triggered me. For starters, I can’t stand these babies. Not literal babies, but the adults who can’t handle planes. Like no one’s forcing you to be here, sweety. Either grow up or get the hell off the plane. Nothing stopping you from driving. I really don’t know why this kind of cowardice annoys me so heavily, but it does. Do we, as a human race, really need these kind of mice living in our cities? I’m not saying we don’t, but I’m not not saying we don’t, either.

But yeah, that was annoying, but I thought that would be it for travel protocol breaches. After all, this was a short flight. And until we approached LaGuardia, it was a bumpy flight, but not that bad. But then we went in for the landing. Of course, the guy reached over to grab the girl’s hand, because every pilot is obviously on his maiden voyage and every plane is made of cardboard and statistically, you’re more likely to die in a plane crash than breathe so you’ve got to hold her hand in your final moments. We were inches from landing, but we were coming in too hot so the pilot pulled up to go around and try again. This is where everything went to hell. Apparently, this was everyone’s first flight because this kind of thing happens all the time and people were legitimately panicking. Normally I’d say going around for another landing is preferable to hitting the ground way too fast and dying, but considering what happened after, I’m not so sure. The turbulence was getting particularly bad, and in the blink of an eye, it was Lord of the Flies. There were muffled yelps. There were nervous looks. People standing up despite the seatbelt sign being on and, you know, extreme turbulence that had been there all flight. But we made it back to the runway for attempt number two.

The girl in front of me, who I kind of hope dies soon, puked into her barf bag. Absolutely despicable lack of backbone. Her man bent over backward to get his own bag out to give to her just to prove how much he cares and ripped it in half in the process. Out of curiosity, I pulled my bag from behind the inflight magazines because I hadn’t actually seen it there previously, then put it back immediately. The guy actually turns to me and holds his hand out expecting me to give me the bag. Are you kidding me? You and your girlfriend have taken thirty years off my life with all this rage you’ve induced and you expect me to just give you my bag? I didn’t, obviously, but that didn’t stop him from looking back a second time moments later. WHY DID YOU THINK I CARED ABOUT YOUR STUPID COWARD OF A GIRLFRIEND THAT CAN’T HANDLE PLANES? But that’s not all. If it was I wouldn’t be writing about this. Someone behind me puked, and I mean puked, all over the floor. Just a lake of vomit right in the aisle. I know I said the couple in front of me should be dead, but if you’re so mentally weak that turbulence causes you to hurl and you also can’t do it into a bag and can’t stop yourself from desecrating the communal area that literally everyone has to walk through, you don’t deserve to live anymore. You just don’t. Then we landed and everyone clapped (so stupid).

Once everyone realized there was around four liters of puke sitting on the floor there was a scramble to get off. We hadn’t even gotten to the gate yet and people were standing up. The flight attendants had to tell people multiple times to sit down. And after both these two massive offenses, you know what’s going to stick with me for the longest time? How many people I heard say “I need to get off this plane,” with a heavy emphasis on I, because they were the only ones suffering. They were the only ones smelling puke, they were the only ones who wanted to go home, and they were the only ones that mattered. This was a United flight, none of us matter. None of us were special. Sit there and bask in the puke, no one cares about your problems. It was the most self-centered display this man has ever seen. Everyone getting as dramatic as possible saying they were about to puke. One lady sprinted up from the back covering her mouth making sure everyone heard that she was gonna be sick if she had to stay onboard for one more second. Like bitch the flight attendant just put a blanket over the puke what else do you want? People acting like were we in the middle of a genocide or something. It was just a rough flight! When did everyone get so soft? These were all New Yorkers, I thought there was a certain amount of toughness expected. Guess that’s just me. The real New Yorkers whine to anyone within earshot that they’re being persecuted for being in the same zip code as some fake adversity.

Gotta love vacations.