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About Tom Stortz

Enjoying my last few responsibility free years left.

10 Things I Now Know About Nashville

A quick summary: Sam, Laura, and I went to Nashville on a road trip to see the solar eclipse. It’s about 800 miles and a 12 hour drive. This was my first visit so it was all new to me and I’ll touch on a few of the finer points.

10. Rent a Car – No exaggeration, this was the best $400 dollars we spent on this trip. When I compare driving 1,500 miles in my ’13 Acura TL or doing it with a ’17 Nissan Altima, it’s night and day. My car has 75,000 miles on it and even though I get it checked up routinely, there is still a doubt in my mind it’s ready for this kind of road trip. The new car got incredible gas mileage (39 miles per gallon) which led to fewer breaks, it also ran smoother, and was an all-around nicer ride. Paying the $6 a day for Sirius is also a must unless you plan on bringing CD’s or using all your data.

9. Passing the Time – When you have to spend 25 hours in a car together you have to all get along and find some ways to pass the time. We played the name game for a while (ever hear of Rutherford Buttfucking Hayes?), ridiculed the new Wits and Wager questions, and listened to PopRocks way too much. Sam’s enjoyment of John Mayer’s Your Body Is a Wonderland is unquestioned.

8. Air BnB vs Hotel – My intuition when going on a trip is getting a plane ticket and booking a hotel room. For the eclipse, 98% of the hotel rooms were booked when we were looking and the other 2% was too expensive. The plane tickets were over $700 each for that decision of driving. Renting the Air BnB proved to be the best option for our journey ahead. We ended up spending a tad under $1,000 for the 3 nights which broken up 3 ways was affordable. The first night we got a house with 2 bedrooms that was a mere drive away from downtown and had a huge backyard. The 2nd night was a room broken off from a complete house where space was not abundant but the owners took it seriously and it was clean and the amenities worked. For booking it so late, we made out like bandits and there were no complications at any point.

7. Broadway is 99% White – I”m not writing this because I’m racist, I’m writing this because it’s true. The main downtown street, Broadway (more on this later), is the party street with all of the bars and where everyone goes. If you’ve ever noticed that all country stars are white, this is not a coincidence. The Music City is absolutely known for it’s music and that music is country. I only went to this one area so i’m 100% certain there is diversity elsewhere, just not here.

6. Live Music is Off the Hook – Knowing what I know about Philadelphia, if a person said Nashville is 100% more fun, I’d have no argument. Broadway is a street with 50 bars and 95% of them have live music. Many with multiple bands in the same building. It’s what Nashville is known for. The kicker is that all of the acts are professional and appealing. People are loving the vibe. Everyone is having a great time. It’s sheer fun and I’d be surprised if there are many other cities that can duplicate this. I was recently in Austin and this place blew its doors in.

5. Be Careful on the Bike Trail – On Saturday morning (after an eventful Friday night which makes it further down on the list) my day went like this

1) Breakfast Beer
2) Ate a Chicken Quesadilla on at the farmer’s market
3) Drank a house tequila drink and 2 bud lights while watching Cannon Cox perform at Cervezas Jack’s
4) Drank a Helping Hands IPA while Sam woofed down a double cheeseburger
5) Drank a Yuengling at a roof top bar

With this setup, it was about 3:30 and Laura and Sam wanted to go for a bike ride. Sure thing. As we were riding my wheel slipped off the sidewalk and as I tried to get back on the tire didn’t get completely over the hump and I wiped out. Not a major injury but this was on looked right in front a police officer who I assured I was ok and sped away. Drinking and biking are not that easy.

Didn’t get to go inside

4. The Sheep Shuttle –  Figuring we were here for an eclipse, why not check out the science center? We were met with a parking lot constructed by scientists (sarcasm), a sheep shuttle which took 20 people a half mile that was walkable every 20 minutes, a sold out event with the lamest nerd festival created, a bizarre incident with a kid getting lost in a park, and parking attendants imitating Michael Jackson. This was one of those places that has good intentions and is probably fine on regular days, but volume was not its friend on this day. Plus my sno-cone sucked.

3. Hipsters Don’t Know Business – I’m sure this is every city but hipsters should stick to craft beer and making breakfast…oh wait…they couldn’t even do that. After the Science Center fiasco we decided to go to the Jackalope brewery which has the best intentions but it’s outgrown its setup. On a hot Sunday afternoon, we were greeted with a tight quartered area with a live, hippie-esque, duo that there was no space for. The ordering of the beer system was destined for lines which is pretty much the #1 concept you should try to have figured out. We ended up playing some Halftime unsuccessfully while we enjoyed our beers. Not saying this was a bad experience, it just could have been better. Which brings me to breakfast on a Monday morning at a hipster breakfast place downtown. Where to begin. The tables were shaped like guitars with actual holes in the table below the neck. It was 9am and they had run out of most breakfast items. The coffee, which they were known for, was dispensed from one of those Holiday Inn push down containers. I wasn’t even there when 3 people messed up Laura and Sam’s order, but it happened. Sheesh.

Remember this bar, Sam?

2. Don’t Give Sam Whiskey & Remember Your Location – Friday night was Sam’s time to shine as I’ll rehash what happened when we arrived. After the 12 hours drive we were ecstatic to get out there. After Sam tried to convince me that Damon from Shark Tank had hair in the early seasons, we each drank about 4 bud lights. We then went to the neighborhood bars for some cheap PBR’s and a Jai Lai. We then Ubered to Brodway where we went to a bar that must have had 50 taps. Sam and I each had 2 beers and I remember thinking when I went to the bathroom one time that I was starting to get buzzed. We wandered around to a smaller bar with live music where Laura was ready for a drink and she oddly chose a shot of whiskey. At the time, I didn’t remember that Sam wasn’t a whiskey fan so I bought 3 and downed it without much thought. This shot, and another beer or so, turned Sam’s brain from bright to dark as his solar eclipse settled in. We went to another bar where we stormed the front of the crowd and had some fun. In my drunk state I told Laura that she should take Sam home as I wanted to stay out and party some more by myself. Whoops. I creepily went to a few more bars by myself (having Laura in the group made Sam and I less creepy as a whole I may add) and at 1:30 or so decided to walk home. Considering we started the day at 4:30 in the morning and I hadn’t slept a wink, I may have been a bit out there. Without having any destination in mind, I set off to get “home”. I ended up in some part of town that I guess I wasn’t supposed to be and was approached by a police officer who asked me where I was going. I didn’t know the address of the AirBnb and told him I didn’t know. He asked if I knew any landmarks? “The Bear Den” I said (it actual place was called the Crying Wolf). He then took my phone and he asked me who I was with and I said my sister is Laura. The cop called her, she heroically saved my night, and he put me into a cab to get home. All’s well that ends well.

This one’s for you Hafe

1.  The Bars – I touched on this earlier but Nashville is the real deal when it comes to partying. I understand that the locals probably hate Broadway, but if you are there for a short period of time, it’s all you can ask for. I’m a big live music fan and you’ll get your mix of bands playing the classic party songs, bands going hardcore country, and all else in between.Country music isn’t my cup of tea but it’s an awesome sight to see all these country folk jamming out to songs I’ve never heard before and all having a great time. The city doesn’t have this uptight feeling where you’re being judged by what you look like or doing. I’ll throw out a few of the bars that I particularly liked for various reasons. The FGL bar was setup with a sick stage with a band that knew what to play and the crowd was going nuts. Honky Tonk was sweet with a more country feel. Acme has an awesome view of the city from its rooftop bar. I wish I could comment on more of them but I only remember these few. An awesome factor is that none of these bars charge cover. This offsets the fact that these “fun” bars usually charge $6 for a 12 oz Bud Light. It doesn’t matter your age or intention, you will have a good time here.

Special thanks go to Laura and Sam for making this a memorable trip. It’s nice that we can travel like this and have no issues. We do a good job understanding that we’re all in a trip like this together and are aware of each others needs. Spending that much time in a car together isn’t easy. Lots of laughs and memories created from this fun experience.

The Eclipse

The final section of this post will be dedicated to the eclipse as this was the whole reason we went. Was it worth it to drive 24 hours to spend 2 minutes in totality? Probably not. Sam was in charge of getting us in a place to see it and we found some train tracks that had a perfect view of the sun. At whatever time the moon was going to cross, you could start to see a sliver blocking sun. This lasted for about an hour before the main event occurred. We passed the time by throwing rocks at a can and complaining how hot it was. I didn’t even touch on this in my write up but this city is fucking hot. Once the moon blocked the sun in full, you could see it perfectly in line and you didn’t have to use the glasses. The entire area got dark and bugs were going nuts. It was certainly odd to see it go completely dark for 2 minutes but certainly not an apocalyptic feel. It was fun though and a perfect reason to go on a road trip. I know the video sucks but it was useless to photograph it.

By | 2017-08-22T22:03:47+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|My Life|2 Comments

A Solar Eclipse of the Heart

It’s 3:47am and I ran out of the Green Mountain for my Keurig and resorted to the shitty WB Mason brand that tastes like shit. I’m currently listening to The Nylon Curtain by Billy Joel and want to leave some brief Billy thoughts. He’s probably not as well revered as you may think as most music critics think he’s a bit of a hack. He self admits (modestly) that his piano playing is enough to get by but his body of work speaks for itself. I find myself changing virtually everyone of his overplayed songs but I enjoy, oddly, 1980’s Billy Joel which is overlooked. Specifically Laura, All For Leyna, I Don’t Want To Be Alone Anymore, and Scandinavian Skies. Why am I awake at 3:47? Good question. I don’t have an answer.

I went to sleep at 10 after having a few pints at Moriarty’s (they have Pliny the Elder). The chalk board clearly said “happy hour all day” for 3 types of beers and the bartender told me it ended at 7. I wasn’t going to argue. I had planned to clean my house (for some reason whenever I go on a trip I like returning to a spotless place) and pack for the Nashville trip but didn’t feel like doing it. I wanted to sleep more but we plan on getting up early tomorrow and figured this will make me tired throughout the day so I can sleep tonight and be ready for tomorrow.

What am I doing you ask? Sam, Laura, and I (or myself) are heading west to Nashville to witness the Solar Eclipse. I want something to do that’s different (a solar eclipse in Totality last happened in 1918) and am hoping these 2 minutes are worth 24 hours of driving. I suspect we’ll have plenty of good stories and will hopefully come away with some cool pictures and a fun trip report.

Googling “can I go blind while looking at a solar eclipse” is an amusing exercise. It runs parallel with “can I go blind looking at a laser pointer”. The obvious answer is “yes”. I’m not making light of the situation (great f’ing pun) but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of difference between when the eclipse occurs and looking at the sun in daytime. Like, no shit if I look at the sun for 2 minutes straight, I’m going to have eye problems. “I’m sorry to break your bubble, my friend, but the sun does not emit any extra ultraviolet radiation during a solar eclipse. It emits exactly the same amount ultraviolet radiation as it does on normal days.”

I found this little nugget too, “It is my greatest disappointment that so many have missed seeing one of natures most beautiful events – a total solar eclipse – because of misinformation. No photograph, no TV or other laboratory technique can represent or capture this unique physical phenomenon. The colors and contrast, the detail and structure of the image is beyond reproduction.”

 

So all in all, I’m going to be headed to Nashville with 1 million other tourists to watch day become night for 2 minutes and spend the rest of the time getting drunk and listening to Country. Anyone else going? Should be a jam packed party. I’m not sure if good pictures will be produced. I tend to think not as I did some basic research and unless your familiar with exposure settings, it sounds like they’ll turn out as duds.

By | 2017-08-17T04:44:08+00:00 August 17th, 2017|My Life|1 Comment

Adam Demamp Style

For Gourlay’s viewing pleasure. This is about 6 months old but this is what happens when Jeff and I work on projects together.

By | 2017-08-15T15:24:31+00:00 August 15th, 2017|My Brain|1 Comment

Popular Cartoons Seem To Fade

Above is a 30 minute video on the fall of the Simpsons. I watched it yesterday and was amused throughout. There were a lot of good points that echo what I had in my mind when I decided to stop watching 20 years ago. Just a few reasons why the decline occurred: loss of writers, characters started behaving away from their characteristics, and episodes that started becoming too far fetched. I can’t comment on mostly anything past, and I’m guessing here, season 10, but the show started to suck.

The same quality control happened to Family Guy. Seth MacFarlane got less involved in the show, the characters started becoming less of themselves, and the jokes were used up. The first few seasons of Family Guy stack up against any comedy because they were unique, intelligent, and over the top. The jokes had a darker feel and plot lines just as funny. People who bash them for cuts are angry people. I give South Park a lot of credit because their seasons are still as funny as ever, but remember they still have Matt and Trey pulling all the strings whereas I feel like Seth stopped.

This brings me to a new show that I watched for the first time last night that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s not Futurama, even though I have seen a few episodes recently and was chucking throughout, it is *Drumroll Please*…Rick and Morty.

I was aware of Rick and Morty but had never seen an episode. Then when I was doing my TV post 2 weeks ago, I noticed it had a 9.3 rating on IMDB which is way above other shows that I knew I liked a lot. That surprised me. How could a show on Adult Swim have such a high rating? Last night I watched 2 episodes from season 3 before I went to sleep and was cracking up. It was sophisticated. It was hilarious. The characters were tremendously funny (big Rick fan). I completely enjoyed that 22 minutes of time. I will be watching more and I’m sure it’ll make the blog.

By | 2017-08-14T14:44:33+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Tv|1 Comment

Crashing Down

If you couldn’t guess by my title, the epic run was not meant to be as per usual. I did end up winning the aggregate in golf for $700+ but this only counteract the $580 I lost playing 1-3 on Saturday night. My fantasy baseball run ended as quickly as it started in this shortened season and all I can say is it wasn’t meant to be. The guy used an average pitcher I dropped 3 weeks ago for a 2 start 40 pt performance just to rub my face in it. Oh well. To top it all off, Louie couldn’t get it done which seems to be the consistent result with our relationship. Back to Monday.

By | 2017-08-13T20:02:11+00:00 August 13th, 2017|My Life|0 Comments

Ready To Sweat

Who doesn’t love a nice Sat & Sun sweat? For me I have about 3k of sweating to do over this weekend if all goes right. Let’s dive in:

  • Frank Paone hosted a Fantasy Golf Tournament that revolved around the 5 majors (including the Players). 40+ people entered at $75 each creating a nice little prize pool. Each low aggregate of the tourny wins $375 and the winner of the lowest score of the 5 combined wins $750+. I’m currently ahead of the 2nd place guy by 20 strokes for the low round aggregate with a chance to win this tournament outright. Since I passed 5 guys, I don’t get hit with a major penalty of missing the cut. As it so happens, the guy in 2nd place is also in 2nd outright. We share 3 of the same golfers in ZJ, Fowler, and Finau. He needs Rory and Patrick Reed to beat Paul Casey and Adam Scott by 20 strokes for me to lose the $775. For 1st place of the PGA, it’s still to early to call but I’m obviously in a nice spot in 1st (same scenario with Rory and Reed to beat Casey and Scott)

Total Win Percentage: 98% 

PGA Win Percentage 33%

  • I had a bye in week one of the fantasy baseball playoffs and am currently in the Semi Finals against a guy who I’ve had some history with. This scenario is a bit odd but I’ve been taking the short end of the stick over and over again. Let’s start with me dropping Bellinger earlier in the season (I read he was being sent back down to Triple A and Adrian Gonzalez was coming back up) and this guy picking him up. Then I dropped Dylan Bundy 3 weeks ago and this guy scooped him and hit me for 20 with a start on Monday and he gets another start today. In what I thought was a good move on my bye week, I picked up Andrew Cashner for a double start this week who then scratched. Last night I felt like I had to stream so I picked up Edwin Jackson who is an RP, SP (instead of an SP, RP) and this caused me to drop one of my RP’s (Raisel Iglesias) who went for 9.9 points last night and Edwin got PPD (he pitches today but still). My catcher, Wilson Contreras, went to the DL as well this week. So as all of these things are going against me, I’m going to need my bats to show up. He has 4 pitchers today and then 2 tomorrow including Chris Sale (he can also stream once). I’m spot starting James Shields today at +130 which is a huge if, but I have to have some luck on my side. I’m looking at another stream tomorrow and I have Ervin going on Sunday. So it’ll be my 4 pitchers against his 6 (7 if he streams).

Chance To Win: 35%

  • I have more action on the PGA as well. I put 10 dollars on Louis at 70-1 and 5 more at 40-1. He’s currently in 5th place at 14-1. I also have 4 on Henrik Stenson to win 600 which is unlikely. I did mange to pass all 6 people in 1 DK team which is always a good chance to cash. The lineup is Cantlay, Kuchar, Lovemark, Matsuyama, Reavie, and Stenson. Xander Schauffele and Daniel Berger prevent 2 other teams from passing 6 so I’m hoping for maybe a min cash on those ones if I get lucky.
  • I played some Bovada Blackjack today for the fun of it and saw I had a $150 bonus. Nice. After playing about 10 hands of blackjack I was curious how long it would take me to earn the bonus. I was greeted with this message.

Almost there!

By | 2017-08-12T09:47:53+00:00 August 12th, 2017|Fantasy|0 Comments

The Coffee Cup

I’ve been going to a new breakfast spot near my house called the 3J’s market. This was after heading to the Museum Deli a few times and seeing a millipede (I couldn’t count the exact legs) run out from behind the coffee cups. Cleanliness is the most important aspect to me and the quality 2nd. These generally go hand in hand.

People tend to enjoy posts like these because they can all relate to them. Unless you cook your own breakfast every morning, you have to get it from somewhere. 3J’s opens at 7am which is around the time I get up. They have a digital ordering system which is also preferred to reduce mistakes and increase efficiency. My breakfast sandwich with a coffee comes to $4.41, which is what I pay at Dunkin and in this instance I get a well prepared Egg and Cheese on an English Muffin instead of a day old Sesame Bagel with cream cheese spread carelessly. All pluses.

Now, I probably wouldn’t be making this post if it wasn’t for my one minor gripe. The coffee station is well done. You can select from 2 types and all of the extras are adequately laid out. It’s organized in proper fashion and I like every part except for…the lid. It’s a solo cup lid and when I have to put it on the cup, every time I feel like I’m going to crush the cup because it takes so much force to get all the sides over. Total pressure packed situation every morning. To boot, the lid has an opening to put the straw in.

A hole in the cup? Who cares? Well, I do. This is why.

When you hit a bump while driving, the liquid flies out of the hole. This starts a sequence of annoyances. The liquid then seeps down the cup into the cup holder. I usually keep change in my cup holder and the coffee covers the change. As time goes by the change starts to stick to the bottom. This has to be cleaned and all change removed. Not fun. I’m sure I’m not alone in this grievance.

By | 2017-08-10T09:22:51+00:00 August 10th, 2017|My Brain|1 Comment

The Dumbing Down Of America

This was written in 1996 by Carl Sagan.

This has nothing to do with Sam saying he hasn’t read a book, just good timing. The best part about this is the non-highlighted part that says, “…the #1 video cassette rental in America is Dumb and Dumber.” Both bad jokes. What Mr. Sagan is pointing out is true and you or I can’t explain how it’s true.

I read through the numerous comments and the one that hit me the most was that you’re conditioned to think “well this isn’t me“. So when I read this I obviously know it isn’t me because of all the “substantive content” I create through this website acting as the “enormously influential media.” However his line “when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few…” you should know that you know nothing. If your name isn’t Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg (or the other thousands of people who stay out of the media), you have no influence and you have no real idea of what’s happening throughout the world. If you don’t have a billion dollars, you’re influence is limited. Regarding the media, someone tells me biased “fake news”, and who knows what’s true anymore. Being a common folk, we just need to be happy and jump off the ledge when we’re told. If Donald Trump is going to bomb N. Korea, it’s another example of Jaime Lannister’s army being torched by a dragon (at least that’s what I’m told). Personally, I’m just going to keep losing $6 a day playing fantasy baseball and waiting for when I hit the lottery so I can move to an island and drink Pina Colada’s where I’ll complain about sun burn and how there isn’t enough to do.

By | 2017-08-09T11:42:11+00:00 August 9th, 2017|My Brain|0 Comments

Keep. Creating. Content.

Content. Content. Content. I don’t even know what the word means anymore. Once I finish creating content, I have to create more content. Content is synonymous with a never ending hole that you keep falling and falling down hoping that you’ll hit the bottom but guess what? You won’t!

Perhaps it’s because I’ve found myself in this unique position of managing a bunch of my own websites that I’m literally in charge of the creation of. There aren’t many other shoulders who this work falls on. So I’m certain this has something to do with the pressure of the creation of content. It’s difficult though because, believe it or not, I’m not always in the mood to create and my livelihood depends on it. I want to update this website as often as possible but I also have to try to maintain a standard that requires more than 15 minutes of time like this post. Do you know how long it took me to make that TV image post with all the characters? At least 2 hours. That was for a stupid image! The screenshots for Ozark took forever. That doesn’t even mean the material is good. This world is tough ladies and gentlemen. It doesn’t matter how much content you create, they always want more. Now shut your fuck nugget mouth about my lack of posts!

By | 2017-08-08T15:25:55+00:00 August 8th, 2017|My Brain|0 Comments

The ATM

I swear to god if someone steals this idea for a novel or movie, I’m going to be pissed. REMEMBER, YOU READ IT HERE FIRST.

Here is a snippet from what I think is a fantastic premise.

Character – Steve
Account Balance – $200
Withdrawal Amount – $160

Steve drove 6 extra miles out of the way to save on the $1.50 ATM fee if he would have used the one by his house. This scene is the perfect example. He was recently fired from his job at Pet Smart, excuse me, laid off, but you wouldn’t know the difference. This means that money is tight and his chronic habit isn’t cheap. In order to reduce the weight of the situation he’s found himself in, he withdraws 80% of his money in order to buy a half ounce (16 grams) of that sticky icky from Luke, his neighborhood drug dealer.

The plan is simple: His preppy friend Cliff from the suburbs said he’d take an eighth (3.5 grams) which he can over charge him at $120. He also made sure to short the bag .2 because he knows Cliff doesn’t have a scale. Zach is penciled in for a gram which is an easy $20. Swiggy from the freshmen dorms is also in for a gram which won’t last the night, but money is tight when your a frosh. He’ll be back for more. Finally, Lindsay, his girlfriend Cait’s on/off again friend said she’d take an eighth, which he’ll discount $10 bucks because he’s trying to work a 3some between them all and every small gesture helps. That means that 9 of the 16 grams are sold and he’ll have made 80 bucks and still have 7.2 of the grams left which is worth at least $100. Sweet Livin.

Steve found himself in hot water when his latest drug deal went awry. His best friend Louis fronted him 3 ounces to move around campus. One night he got black out drunk as he was traveling with his backpack full of the weed for delivery and found himself cornered by 3 local thugs who caught word he was holding. Bye Bye $900 of merchandise. Now he was walking the fine line of trying to get the money back to Louis without him knowing what happened. At this rate it was going to be tough but if he could manage to keep slinging, he’ll dig himself out of this hole. No. No. Dig up stupid.

So that would be the first character. Then you’d have another character and you’d get a feel for each person based on how much money withdrew from the account. There’d be a guy who has $300,000 and he’d withdraw money out $20 at a time and you’d see how he lived. All the characters would then be intertwined somehow which I haven’t thought out yet. 

What do you think?

By | 2017-08-04T14:17:30+00:00 August 4th, 2017|My Brain|2 Comments