March, a month in review.

March 29, 2011

I’ve tried not to do too many “life-update” type blog posts on this blog thus far, instead focusing on analysis of things that other people are doing, but a lot of stuff happened to me this month, so I’m just gonna roll with it. Everything is divided into sections. There’s still some music stuff here. Just skip over the things you don’t care about. Click through to read the rest!

A dramatic retelling of how I became a fiancé

A little over 3 years ago, I met this girl named Lydia. A little less than 3 years ago, we started dating. A little over 2 weeks ago, we got engaged. A year and a half from now, we will get married. This is fantastic and I am thrilled.

The story of the engagement itself is fairly uneventful, but I will document it here so that there may be some record of it. I am not a playwright of any variety, but here is my attempt at recreating the event in dramatic form:

The scene: A couple (Jon and Lydia) sits next to each other on a wicker couch for two (love seat) in a screened in porch. The porch sits behind a two story brick house, which belongs to Jon’s parents. In front of the couple sits a few empy Schlafly Coffee Stouts and a hookah, whose hose the two pass back and forth amidst casual topics ranging in nature from trivial to consequential. Jon is internally (but hopefully not too externally) anxious.

Jon: I’m going to use the restroom.
Lydia: OK

Getting up to go to the bathroom, Jon comes to a conclusion to a problem he has been struggling with for the last few days: Should he wait until he has a picturesque situation to propose to his girlfriend, potentially delaying the engagement for weeks, or just go for it, knowing that the engagement itself is the gift more than the situation surrounding it. Having made the decision, he snuck up to his room, unbeknownst to Lydia to retrieve the necessary item to carry out this plan. He then returned to the screen in porch, where chatter resumed. At this point, Jon was extremely nervous, both at the act he was about to take on and that it would be discovered preemptively. Finally, relief.

Lydia: I’m going to use the restroom.
Jon: OK

This was the chance Jon had been waiting for. When Lydia returned, Jon stood up and gave Lydia a hug. He said nice things like “I love you.” Lydia was growing suspicious at this point, so Jon dropped to a knee and said:

Jon: Lydia Elizabeth Anne Schaftenaar, will you marry me?
Lydia: Yeah.

At this point, Jon, a bit frazzled, tried to place the ring on the wrong hand, then got it right (by right, I mean left). Further utterances of love and curiosities such as “is this real?” followed. A few friends were contacted. A whole 12 pack of Coffee Stout was finished. Everyone went to bed. Early the next day, parents were notified and Lydia returned to Valparaiso. Later that day, it was posted to Twitter and Facebook and other people found out. The end.

Engaged Picture

Finacée picking nose with newly ringed ring finger while drinking a beer.

Clinching the basketball

March Madness (the NCAA Division 1 Men’s College Basketball Tournament) is far and away my favorite sporting event of the year. The quality of competition, the thrill of the upset, the quantity of simultaneous games and the gambling opportunities are unparalleled in sports. Speaking to that last point, my father is the cofounder of a self-proclaimed “prestigious” office pool referred to as the KUBE Klassik. I have been throwing money ($10/bracket) at this event for as long as I can remember and have never won anything.

This year, I submitted 4 brackets. 1/2 of these involved primitive forms of data mining. The other 1/2 were my own primitive picks. Here’s what I came up with:

1. @mangosquash
This was my first bracket entered. Its results are based entirely on Twitter mentions. I did the following search on Google 68 times:

(Team Name as appears on bracket) site:twitter.com

And went into advanced search and limited my results to sites generated in the last week. I then recorded the number of mentions each team had on Twitter, and the team with the most mentions won each game. The final was Washington v. Wisconsin with Washington winning. Go figure.

While this may seem dumb, after the second round, this bracket was tied for first place among 330+ entries. Unfortunately, it is now in sixth and can’t gain any more points. On the flip side, it did win a consolation prize, the “Long Shot” award, for picking Richmond (12 seed) to make it to the sweet 16.

2. Jon “Sissy Picks” Becker

Pretty much what it looks like. I picked a lot of teams with good chances of winning, but did make a few more outlandish choices. For this one, I had SDSU v. Kansas for the final with Kansas winning it all. This bracket may finish in the top 30, but has no chance of winning.

3. Jon “Wild Card” Becker

Another self explanatory one. This is my own picks, with more crazy. For the final? Kentucky v. Syracuse with Kentucky winning it all. This bracket wasn’t in contention after the first weekend, but currently, if Kentucky wins it all, so do I.

4. Jon “Stolen from Obama” Becker

Also, self explanatory. I copied Obama’s bracket, pick for pick, and entered it. His final? Kansas v. Ohio State. And all 4 number 1 seeds in the Final 4. Oops. However, the bracket was in first after the first round.

So, I’m rooting for Kentucky this weekend, but wouldn’t be upset if Butler won either. But I’m not sure if Horizon League pride is worth as much as $1,500 is at this point in my life. So… Go UK!

Destoryer: 3.29.11, The Luminary Center for the Arts, St. Louis

Sorry, not doing a full concert review for this show. But… here’s the mini-review.

Destroyer

Destroyer+band

The last time I saw Destroyer, they/he opened for the New Pornographers. He was sick, I had never heard of him and I didn’t enjoy the show at all. Since then, I have grown to love Destroyer and was really excited about seeing them.

The opener was a band called The War On Drugs. Their lead singer sounded like Dylan, but the band was nothing of the sort. Their set was pretty good but the singer was a real downer in between songs. Anyway, they weren’t bad.

Destroyer was pretty good. There were 8 people in the band including Dan Bejar which was a bit overwhelming, but they all managed to keep themselves busy… except Bejar who’s tasks were (in order of frequency of occurrence) singing, crouching on the stage and playing the tambourine.

The set was heavy on Kaputt tracks and extremely light on between-song dialogue. The band reworked a couple songs from Rubies (Painter In Your Pocket and one other that I can’t remember at the moment) and those were crowd favorites, but the highlight of the show was the encore, Bay of Pigs. It was fantastic.

Overall, I guess the show was about as good as a Destroyer show could be. Bejar’s persistant state of melancholy and apathy (which make a lot of his music so interesting) also just happen to be the exact opposite of what most people look for in a live show.

Odds & Ends in picture form

Man v. Food

I met Adam Richman (Man v. Food) at Ted Drewes. He interviewed me. I think I should be on TV in June.

Brewing

So, this is my 3rd batch of beer. Made some slight modifications to the recipe on this one. Don't think it will turn out well.

Gateway Hotdogs

New hotdog truck (Gateway Dog House) opened downtown (10th & Walnut) this month. It is really good.

Help a friend

So my friend Megan Lee is applying for a job at an environmentally responsible resort in Panama. She’s pretty cool and all you have to do to help her out is watch a video and give it a thumbs up. The link I have embedded here will loop the video forever, so do her a favor and click on it before you go to sleep at night and let it play all night. Thanx

Click this to play the video forever!

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