The Quick & Dirty Guide to Understanding Super Bowl XLVIII

26500Sports are good. Most of the time, the games allow me to drink during the daytime (sans-judgment) or wear an oversized jersey or sweatshirt (sans-real pants). And at the very least sports are a good excuse to stop whatever you’re doing in order to go hang out with your friends because this is what America does, dammit. Generally most of my football knowledge comes from Friday Night Lights and the greek god that is Tim Riggins #33, and I feel slightly unAmerican not giving too much care to Super Bowl XLVIII (which is Super Bowl “48″ in human math). Maybe I’d care more if the Vikings (lol) were playing. But if you’re going to attend some sort of friendly football-focused gathering this Sunday, here are some fast facts to catch you up to speed:

1. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are playing each other. That’s important to know, sources confirm.

2. The game is in New Jersey (random?) and Bruno Mars is playing at halftime because every other artist was unavailable, except for The Black Eyed Peas and/or Marc Anthony.

3. The Broncos apparently have a pretty big fan base in the Midwest, which is cool if you’re into the bandwagon thing. And Richard Sherman of the Seahawks basically made everyone else in the world hop on that wagon with his weird freak out after his team won the NFC Championship.

4. Pete Carroll, coach of the Seahawks, is the second oldest coach in the NFL (62 years young) and is a big Macklemore fan so that’s cool.

5. Peyton Manning took a timeout from Buick commercials to be in another Super Bowl, which is sweet because he could potentially be the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl title with two different teams (or “franchises” as the NFL likes to say.) Peyton’s brother Eli is the QB for the New York Giants. They have another brother named Cooper who is the black sheep non-NFLer, but he IS an energy broker. So you can thank him for the blackout during last year’s Super Bowl, as one can clearly assume that COOPER MANNING BREAKS ENERGY.

Btw, this was an awkward search…

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I was going to give you guys a really detailed account of all things football (obvi I’ve done a lot of research) but then I found this super helpful thing on the Internet and will just link you to it: here it is! Also if you’re going to a Super Bowl party, it’s usually nice to bring a plate of something, you heathen. This might be a good time for you to try out my guacamole recipe, hint hint. But the most important thing to realize is that the Vikes, Packers, and Bears are all missing from this game so we’re basically all just in it for a Sunday Funday.

Magic Bacon

As the sun peaked over the Fox River, we were already admitting defeat to the day. We woke up in Appleton, WI feeling hazy and cursing our bodies for their recent programming to jolt awake anytime before 8 a.m. (#PGP, AMIRIGHT) With my boyfriend’s recent move to the state of beer, we took it upon ourselves to explore the downtown bar scene and proceeded to pay for it the next morning. Needing something to cleanse us and revive our souls, we looked to bacon: magic bacon.

The recipe title may be redundant, (because when isn’t bacon magical?) but this style of everyone’s favorite [breakfast] food actually has powers. Apart from healing your hangover and tasting mind-blowingly great, magic bacon is easy and affordable to cook.

What You Need:

Thick-cut bacon 

Brown sugar

Fresh-ground pepper

Cookie Sheet

Tinfoil

Start with covering the top of a cookie sheet with tinfoil. Then lay the bacon. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of each strip, and then gently rub it into the bacon. You don’t want to drown the bacon in sugar (because clogged arteries), so about a teaspoon spread haphazardly on each strip should do.

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Next, add the fresh pepper. Make sure to hit the fatty part of the bacon so it can really soak in the spice. Again, use the pepper sparingly (similar to the sugar). You can always add more.

*Disclaimer: this is Riley’s hairy manhand, not mine.

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Now comes the baking — read carefully! Put the bacon into a COLD oven, then turn the oven to 400 degrees. Set a timer for 17 minutes. Check on the bacon after this allotted time. You’ll want to pay careful attention after the 17 minute mark, as the sugar will burn quickly if the bacon is left in the oven for too long. Check on the bacon for about another two-three minutes, making sure the bacon is cooked through before removing it from the oven. It should look like this:

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Serve up and enjoy! Man approved.

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Entering Your College Bar as a Post-Grad: Five Stages of Grief

Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 4.52.08 PM1. Denial: When did they start checking IDs here? Too many under-agers must’ve gotten tired of the dorm storm/Greek scene and tried to sneak into the bars…right? Nope. You’re not getting ID’d because you look too young. It’s because the door guy has no idea who the hell you are. Back in your prime, you had gotten so friendly with the previous door guy that you didn’t even think about bringing your ID out – a habit that later came to haunt you in your post-grad life. Doesn’t he know that, at one point, this bar was an extension of your very soul?  He must be  new – like brand new as of TODAY because this is unacceptable.

2. Anger: IT COSTS HOW MUCH FOR A PITCHER?! The bartender was someone you once trusted, someone you once knew, someone you once confided your Touchtunes selections to. Everything seems to get to you as you wait for your drink. You could’ve sworn “wine pitcher” was once on the drink menu, but apparently those days are dead and gone, alongside 50-cent beers and karaoke dreams (before the only bar with a stage literally swept it out from underneath you during its most recent renovation). You are livid when an underclassmen you once called “friend” forgets what your major was, where you live now, what your job is, who you live with, what your cat’s name is, and everything you accomplished during your four year stint in college. Like, do they even follow you on Twitter anymore?!

3. Bargaining/”If Only”: Shoulda, woulda, coulda, man. If only you hadn’t graduated. If only you had failed Library one more time. If only you had used Sharpie instead of eyeliner to write you and your BFF’s initials on the bathroom wall – now how will the world ever know you existed? The “if only” is a weak line of defense our mind creates in order to push the painful reality away. In truth, the real “if only” that we should be worry about is, “If only my college friends were here.” It’s an overwhelming feeling that goes with pretty much every event ever, post-college. How much more fun would work be if your college friends were there too?

4. Depression: “Yes, I’ll have another,” (you tell yourself because it’s a college bar and God knows there isn’t a functioning waitstaff to serve you.) This is getting weird…but you’re feeling a little out of it after a wopping… four drinks?! Never in your life have you sworn that drinks were missing from your tab. And you begin to realize one of the most enticing aspects of the bar scene was that you didn’t have to deal with the youths – people you talked to in recruitment, people who were thrown into your group project because you had to take Econ 101 two maybe three times but hey who’s counting, people who give you funny looks for wearing sweats instead of a dress to the bar. Now here they all are, banded up together, banded up against you, probably. The bars are finally their home field, and you’re just there, looking sad (but well-dressed because hey we have money now kinda.) You think about heading to a different bar, but by the time you’re halfway there, you decide the walk is too far (HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN THIS FAR..?!?) and retreat to somewhere safe, like McDonald’s.

5. Acceptance: Or whatever is closest to it. Cheers.

Celebrity Shot: They Still Serve Beer in the Ivory Tower

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 1.11.45 PMHappy new year to you all and welcome to the first Celebrity Shot of 2014! To start off the year, I  let someone else take the reigns on a topic that is unfamiliar territory to me. Personally I’d rather put forks in my eyes than go to grad school, but the consensus of my Masters-clad friends has been positive experiences. Colin Grace, current law school student and therefore prime Dementor meat, gives insight to what really goes on behind the Ivory Tower that is “further education.” (Read more about Colin here.)

I write this story snug in the cozy bosom of my parents’ house, putting in more mileage on my Netflix account than I care to admit. My first semester of law school is in the books; I’ve retired this semester’s textbooks and am watching my beer gut expand thanks to my parents’ fully stocked pantry. After four years of undergrad I have this routine down to a science (although nowadays I spend most of my breaks like some kenneled puppy waiting for my friends to get out of their real people jobs so we can play a game called drink the beer). For all you post-grads or soon to be real-worlders, I have some exciting news: the Ivory Tower won’t necessarily push you baby birdies out of the nest to fly out into society just because you got handed one measly diploma. You can stay as long as you like… for a price; however I’m in no position to weigh the pros and cons of your decision to stay in higher education. There are better writers with much more evidence and sources to cite, and that sounds like a monumental pain in the ass. What I can offer you, dear reader, are a few observations from my own experience.

From the first day your poor mother pried you off her pant leg outside the kindergarten classroom until you’re handed a college diploma, your academic career follows a pretty set path. The thing about grad school is that some of your potential classmates actually did the whole real world thing and came back, which suffers some consequences.

Older classmates will not share the same affinity for Busch Light and screaming the lyrics to “Take Me Home Tonight” at karaoke night on a Tuesday. This serves to help shatter the illusion of your own indefinitely extended college career. Later in the semester when the first few salvos of shit hit the fan, you’ll be grateful for the lack of bad influences and arm twisters. But in the beginning of the semester (when you still half heartedly believe your reading is optional) these people are a group of major disappointments. But hey, they’ll attend the first few parties and it’s probably a good thing to learn the ins and outs of adult conversation.

Grad school parties DO in fact have potential to be entertaining affairs. For the seasoned partiers of undergrad, a get-together in a bar organized on Facebook is pretty standard fare; however, many  potential classmates attended small liberal arts schools or come from other countries and have now found themselves in unfamiliar territory resulting in at least a few grad students who get far too drunk for their tolerance and pull a few moves we haven’t seen since our freshman year move-in weekend. Awkward icebreakers, truly terrible dance moves, and horrific displays of face sucking are enough to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of the straight-through socializers you need to align yourself with.

If you’re like me and are more inclined to 80s music and questionable shot concoctions than coffee houses and discussions of neo-Marxist feministic social paradigms, I would urge you to find a core group of similarly minded folks because you will have them to rely on. These people will more or less be a scaled down version of your undergrad glory days. This is not the prettiest nor the most romantic outlook on grad school but hey, it sure as hell still beats a real job, right?

(Read more about Colin here.)