Monday, November 23, 2009


So, while I was growing up, Thanksgiving was always a very traditional, family-oriented holiday. Other than the much-appreciated breaks from school and the obvious culinary gorging that occurred every November, I never experienced that giddy, childish rush that I did for other holidays like Christmas or Halloween. Thanksgiving, simply put, was nothing special for me.

I am absolutely stoked to say that times have changed. This year marks the third year in a row where I will spend Thanksgiving in San Francisco with my two siblings. If you were to look at our holiday dinner table in SF, you would notice that we have one of the most random group of family and friends that has ever assembled. But whereas Thanksgiving used to feel like somewhat of a forced holiday (not to mention a lame and somewhat confusing reason for me to wear khakis and a dress shirt to the same dinner table where I ate shirtless that morning), I actively look forward for that fourth Thursday in November to roll around.

My siblings and I have managed to become much closer as we have got older. This is especially true of me, because, as the baby, it took me some time to get on the same mature adult level that they had graced for a while without me (yes, I do call myself an adult, so keep your jokes to yourself!). In addition to my two siblings, the SF holiday consists of my brother's best friends (who also serve as my older brothers), half-siblings, quarter-siblings (that would be the half-sister of my half-brother...yep, let that one sink in), cousins of no ACTUAL blood relation, and people I've never met. All of these people come to my brother's place with three simple goals: Eat. Drink. Laugh. And let me tell you, we do all three REALLY well.

Part of the reason I love this holiday so much more now is because it now takes place in my favorite city outside of San Diego. I love San Francisco. I love seeing the lifetstyles my bro and sis lead, and it's fun just to be on their schedule for a weekend or so. They also take care of me really well. I can't remember the last time I even paid for a round of drinks for these guys...they just take out "the baby boy", and they treat me well.

I also cherish this holiday because for some reason, on this specific day, I am always "on." It's one of the days I know well before I even get there that I will be "holding court" and enjoying a bit of comedic spotlight. I am not the funniest person I know (as much as I wish that wasn't true), but man, for whatever reason, I KILL Thanksgiving. It's a great audience LOOKING to laugh, and when my material starts flowing like it does those nights, look out. My sister is always my favorite person to make laugh, because she's one of those people who, once she starts, she can't stop. And for those of you that know me well, you know the WORST thing anyone can do is encourage me through laughter. Baby Boy isn't gonna shut up now!

When Turkey Day comes around now, I no longer think "Ok, now we gotta dress up and have a quasi-bizarre formal dinner at our dinner table and pretend it's a special evening." I now get legitimately excited, because it has become an experience, an adventure, and most of all, a time that, without fail, makes me appreciate the wonderful people I have in my life. I've got some amazing people looking out for me, and even for someone who considers himself independent, there is no better feeling than having great people watching your back.

So this year, I will be flying to SF on Thanksgiving morning, my bro will pick me up at 8:00am at the airport, and the rest of the time up there will be non-stop laughter, smiles, jokes and good company. I can't wait...

...and that is so awesome.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Got Nothin

I owe you all a blog post. I planned to come home tonight from work and have yet another BRILLIANT masterpiece for you to read (I know, I know...I'm amazing). So I got myself a bowl of Chex Mix (Traditional, although I found myself craving the Bold flavor tonight), a glass of apple juice (Ralph's brand...I roll with the best) and sat down with my laptop on my couch.

(*SIDE NOTE - I really get uncomfortable with the heat that laptops put off when they are on my lap. It is seriously one of those bizarre sensory experiences that actually makes me feel so awkward that I immediately want to shower, just to rid myself of the ickiness.)

But as I sat down, I was faced with a frightening fact...I GOT NOTHIN'. Sure, I had random fragments of thoughts I tried to turn into a worthwhile blog post, such as how I'm always energetic, or how I love meeting new people, or how it would take very little convincing for you to believe I am half-monkey.

I could have written about how I have way more respect for people who admit they know nothing about a subject, as opposed to those who speak in generalities and yet, in reality know nothing about the topic at hand. I'd much rather you say "Ya know what, I really don't know much about Obama's economic reform, so I really wouldn't add much to the conversation" than try and say something like "Obama is so liberal, I don't agree with anything he says" in hopes of that being enough to get you through the rest of the conversation without being called upon to offer any insight.

Or I could have rambled on about how I finally feel comfortable in my own shoes (metaphorically speaking...I'm still breaking in my loafers). Things are solid at work, and I feel confident and relevant in that role. I feel like I can tackle anything. I'm settled in my new place. I feel like I'm on my own two feet, and not kneeling on anyone as a crutch. My friends kick ass. I've met some great new people along the way in recent months who have contributed to the overall quality of my life...including one in particular that has played a significant role in keeping my enthusiasm, passion and zest for life at their maximum capacity.

I could rave about how USC is completely mediocre at football...but that's just too easy.

All these things crossed my mind, but alas, the writing block prevailed.

Or did it?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Teachers vs. Athletes

Alright, here it is. When I started this blog, I knew this post would surface. However, it is something I feel SO passionately about, I felt I needed to save and collect my thoughts until I was entirely ready to unload on this one. Consider yourself warned. Let the opus commence...

(*clears throat*)

There is absolutely no reason that professional athletes should make more money than the educators of our society. Period. I don't care how naive or "flowers and bunnies" that statement sounds, it is unequivocally accurate.

Before I totally go off on this, let me provide an objective disclaimer. I don't just love sports. I work in sports. I work to make the sports industry an even larger influence on public life than it already is. I am proud of what sports events like the Holiday Bowl do for the community of San Diego, as it has provided our region with upwards of $500 million in economic impact over the course of 30 years. By no means do I not see the inherent value in sports. I just think we have a serious disconnect within our societal priorities.

Sports players are some of the most physically gifted human beings in our world. Most are born with insane genes, and regardless of their chromosomal makeup, they ALL found their ultimate success because of extreme dedication and sacrifice. They now live the desirable, lush lifestyles filled with butlers, Bentleys, and, of course, Benjamins. But when I am asked what their role or contribution to society is...even on my most objective, athlete ass-kissing day...the best I can ever say is that they are entertainers.

I write this as I am watching Monday Night Football. This is an event for me to come home and watch. Tiger Woods brings people out to the golf course to watch him swing a club 70 times (or less). Kobe Bryant has people lining up out the door of the Staples Center to pay to watch him find new and creative ways to put the same damn ball in the same damn hoop. These are not great feats of societal importance. They are, quite simply, amazing displays of athletic prowess.

There is just no way for me to justify how an athlete should make more money than the educators in our world. Teachers are the shapers of EVERY future generation of our country. They serve as role models. They serve as disciplinarians. They provide wisdom and knowledge. They inspire children and young adults. They provide maybe the single most invaluable service to our society...and yet...

The average teacher's annual salary in California is roughly $45,000. The average Major League Baseball player salary is $3.26 MILLION. That means the average bench-warmer on the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates makes, on average, more than 70 times more than an average 6th grade teacher.

What kind of lessons are we teaching our children? Imagine being one of those underpaid and under-appreciated teachers, and then being asked by one of your pupils, "How come LeBron James made more money last year than you would in TWO lifetimes?" I can't imagine the feeling. And yet, true to form, the good teacher would find a way to emphasize the positive role of sports and the overall impact they have on our society.

This issue absolutely cripples me. I have given countless speeches (both in school and in public) about this, starting back when I was in 6th grade, lasting well through college. Now that I think about it, this may be the single most sensitive "hot-button" issue I feel most passionately about.

I simply just do no understand how Alex Rodriguez deserves $252 million over 10 years to swing and miss 70% of the time, and field a ground ball maybe 3 times/game?

Teachers are an unparalleled asset to our society, and the way we reward them in comparison to sometimes illiterate, steroid-pumping, drug abusing athletes is sickening. We need to recognize the superior efforts of our professors and teachers, and acknowledge our fiduciary responsibility to these societal shapers. What kind of message are we sending our children with such screwed up priorities? How do we explain to a 2nd grader, learning about space in Mr Smith's science class, that Phillip Rivers ($10 million in 2009) could probably buy the Hubble Telescope (or at last get Nike to sponsor it)?

I am not saying that teachers should be paid $3 million/year. And I am not saying that athletes should be paid $45,000/year. But that at least would make sense. The way we reward our nation's workforce needs to reflect our societal values and mores. We need to show our children that the teacher who puts in countless hours of (often uncompensated) overtime working on that next day's engaging history lesson deserves more than the boxer who, when he realizes he's losing, decides to bite the ear of his opponent.

I just can't believe how incredibly elementary this logic is. It's not like I'm asking for social revolution or for people to reconsider whether the Earth is really round or flat. I am simply trying to understand a glaring blip on our societal "Oopsies!" radar.

I mentioned at the beginning of this (apologetically long) post that I work in sports and am proud to do so. But there is a reason I am not a sports agent. I have had more than one opportunity to work my way into that field as a real-world profession, and I staunchly opposed it. I flat out denied job interviews for the same reason I have preached this entire post: There is no way I could ever purposely spend my precious time working at getting more money for professional athletes. I may appreciate sports' role in society, but I am not going to be the reason that a player says "No, no, $14 million/year isn't enough...I need another year on my deal and make it $14.5 million/year, with a $3 million signing bonus."

What's amazing is that I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of the issue in this post. I will never stop this argument, but for all of your sake, I will at least stop this post.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life's Little Joys

So two days ago I was at lunch with two coworkers down in Ocean Beach, and as we were leaving, it was somewhat overcast and both the restaurant and outside were slightly chilly. We got back to the car, which had been sitting in the sun, and as we got inside, each of us had that quasi-orgasmic moment where the warmth of the car penetrated our bones and we released a collective sigh of satisfaction. I love that feeling.

With that in mind, the following is a list of some more amazing (albeit trivial) life occurrences I have come to (overly) appreciate:

-You ever have one of those nights where you are laying in a warm bed, and are starting to get somewhat hot, but not warm enough to take off the covers? Is there any better feeling in the world than when you flip over your pillow to get that cool other side on your face? Oh man.

-Or how about on those cooler mornings when you wake up, and you instantly realize that the sheets and comforter are that perfect temperature that makes you not want to move, and possibly never get out of bed? (*NOTE - These days also have the potential to go straight to hell, because after that great feeling, and you actually HAVE to go to may find yourself pissed at the world for the rest of the day. It's just cruel.)

-I love it when you put self-drying hand sanitizer on your hands, and once you've rubbed it in completely, you have absolutely no moisture on your hands and you have that smooth feeling across your palms (yep, I'm serious).

-I think all of us have had the day where we've been on our feet all day in work shoes, and then come home and rip those puppies off and chuck 'em to the side like they are garbage. When your feet get to breathe and not have the pressure all day on them...oh man, ultimate relief (*Yes, ladies, I'll give it to you, this one is probably better for you considering you wear heels).

-Checking off the final item on a long "To-Do" list.

-The first sip of an ice-cold beer on a blazing hot baseball day-game.

-Finishing a tough crossword puzzle with no outside help. I apologize to you non-crossword aficionados out there, but for those of you who know what I'm talking about, there is no greater temporary sense of accomplishment.

-Getting out of a pool in summer time on a sunny day and laying directly on the cement

-Filling up your gas tank and having the price and/or gallon screen display a completely round number.

That'll do for now...but don't be surprised if I follow up this post sometime with one about the little things in life that absolutely piss me off, like putting fitted sheets on a bed...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marc's Top Fives & Tens

This post is dedicated to all you list-makers out there.

I love lists. I survive day-to-day because of lists. I am one of those people that gains the greatest satisfaction in simply placing a check-mark next to an item I have completed. Sometimes when I make my lists, I even write down items I've already done, just for the sheer sake of getting to cross it out immediately. But I digress...

The following is an assortment of lists chronicling my "Top 5's & 10's". There is absolutely no connection between the lists; these are just things I find myself ranking often and thought I would share with my oh-so-faithful readers.

Top 10 Songs (this is what we linguists call "VARIETY")
1) "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" - Otis Redding
2) "Fire & Rain" - James Taylor
3) "My Hero" - Foo Fighters
4) "Pachuca Sunrise" - Minus the Bear
5) "I Found My Smile Again" - D'Angelo
6) "Pardon Me" - Incubus
7) "Iris" - Goo Goo Dolls
8) "Barely Breathing" - Duncan Sheik
9) "When Can I See You" - Babyface
10) "Bad Girl" - Usher

Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs (this obviously needed it's own category)
1) "Man in the Mirror"
2) "PYT" (sorry Cronje)
3) "Beat It"
4) "Bad" (however, this is his best music video)
5) "The Way You Make Me Feel"

Top 5 Favorite Views in San Diego
1) Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park
2) Torrey Pines Bluffs
3) Mt. Soledad
4) Top of the Hyatt (downtown)
5) La Jolla Cove (closer to Prospect St.)

Top 5 Favorite Outdoor Activities
1) Surfing
2) Frisbee
3) Photography
4) Catch (yep, good ol' baseball toss)
5) Horseshoes

Top 5 Apparel Obsessions
1) Watches (funny I only own 2...but if I was rich, let's just say I'd always know the time)
2) Hats (yea, no surprise to any of you)
3) Sunglasses (gotta stop at every mall kiosk I see)
4) Shoes (there's somethin' so baller about a sweet pair of shoes)
5) Ties (WAY too many)

Top 5 Actresses
1) Charlize Theron
2) Jennifer Connelly
3) Tina Fey
4) Eva Mendes
5) Sandra Bullock

Top 5 Actors
1) Johnny Depp
2) Jim Carrey
3) Morgan Freeman
4) Denzel Washington
5) Gene Hackman

Top 5 All-Time Favorite Athletes
1) Tony Gwynn
2) Michael Jordan
3) Ken Griffey, Jr. (The Kid)
4) Jesse Owens (wish I could have seen him run)
5) Deion Sanders (he killed my team, but I love me some "Prime Time")

Top 5 Sports Movies from Childhood (yep, this got its own category)
1) The Sandlot (You're killin' me Smalls!)
2) Little Big League (every kdi's dream)
3) The Mighty Ducks
4) Rookie of the Year (best name ever - Henry Rowengartner)
5) Little Giants (who can forget good ol' IceBox?)

That's it for now...but, I have a feeling there will be a sequel to this blog post. Like I said, I love lists.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Business Time...Need My Business Socks.

Yep, it's business time people (both in the work sense and Flight of the Conchords sense...).

Work is getting ker-aaazy! Once November 1st hits, as most of you know, it's balls to the wall through December 31st. Lots of meetings in the office, meeting outside of the office, conference calls, phone calls...and most of all, E-MAILS GALORE! Holy hell, I go from staring at my Outlook wondering when my daily Spam Quarantine notification is gonna pop up as my only e-mail of the just struggling to READ all of my e-mails by the end of the day.

We still don't know who will be playing in the Poinsettia or Holiday Bowls, and the way this college football season is going (ugh, Stanford, where did you come from?), we might not know until the final day of the season! That makes for an exciting football season for Joe-Fan, but it makes it a heck of a lot harder in the office for planning. All the work gets crazy when we know the teams, and the longer it takes for us to announce our teams, the longer we have to wait for all our planning to get underway.

Went to Naked Cafe in Solana Beach for the first time on Sunday morning. First off, I had no idea that place was even there (tucked away in a random alley across from Fletcher Cove)., but that made me like it that much more. I really liked the atmosphere with the bamboo-thatched roof, the eco-friendly stance of the restaurant, and of course, the beach proximity. As for the food, we ordered blueberry pancakes and soy-chorizo burritos, and both were phenomenal. This could certainly become a more frequent food stop on the Sawyer Dining Circuit.

A simple night with a couple friends Saturday night turned into what resembled a high school reunion at 1st Street Bar, when two friends turned into about twenty. That night reminded me of the different pockets of friends I have, and how I need to do a better job keeping in touch with everyone. We can always have the excuse of being too busy, but in all honesty, there are 7 nights/week, and going sometimes months at a time without talking to friends is really unacceptable. I have already made a more concerted effort this week to not be that friend that falls by the wayside "cuz we just lost touch". So for those of you reading this, let's make it happen!

This is sister's last week of her old job before she moves to her new post at Google. She is AMPED. Mom is officially retired and loved her first week of catching up with friends. She is also AMPED.

-I really wanna go see the Michael Jackson it even out anymore?
-I am going to Hodad's (claimed to have some of the best burgers in San Diego) on Wednesday for lunch, so I am very excited for this delectable lunch excursion.
-Surfed Saturday and froze my ASS off (with wetsuit). When did the Pacific become the Atlantic?
-Chargers are a LUCKY football team. However, I do think Vincent Jackson is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sawyer Says...

I think the Yankees ruin the World Series. I don't even like the Phillies, but in this series I somehow found myself cheering for Jayson Werth & Carlos Ruiz (yea, who?) harder than I did for Boyz II Men when they were nominated for comeback artists of the year!

I think Liz Lemon should be my wife.

I think the next two years are going to be loaded with my friends' weddings. Looks like I just got cheap excuses to buy some new ties!

I think I have become too dependent on the Internet (both at work and at home). Our office went through some Internet problems today, and I was seriously pulling my hair out wanting to know what e-mails I was missing, and who I was missing on valuable gChat conversations.

I think I'm REALLY glad I don't have an iPhone or Blackberry...cuz it would make my last point even worse.

I think Twitter is silly.

I think November is the most bizarre month on the sports calendar. On the one hand, I'm not a hockey fan, the NBA is absolutely not an option, and the World Series is over and now I have to wait until next April before I can resume my miserable, eye-gouging obsession with Padres. On the other hand, college football is heating up and every game matters!

I think I'm done.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sickness, Halloween And Bowl Season, Baby!

Being sick blows. My boss was sick early last week, and no question I got it from him. I woke up Friday morning so sick that I actually stayed home. I spent all Friday laying in bed, and most of Saturday. Once I developed a full-blown case of cabin fever and potential bedsores, I made a trek out to put the finishing touches on my costume. I told my college buddies I'd go out, and I wasn't about to bail this late in the game. I started the evening with some new friends downtown at a friend's apartment, had a great time and saw some great costumes, including an impressive Lady Ga-Ga, He-Man and a Vampire (none of that weak "look at my 6-year old fake fangs" crap...we're talking the real deal). Once I left there to meet da boyz downtown, I became acutely aware of how fast lethargy sets in. Apparently laying in bed all day with hopes of gaining some energy isn't enough. Because I'm pretty sure I spent the remainder of Halloween night walking away from my friends every 15 minutes to go blow my nose or cough up a lung in the Maloney's bathroom. Holla at a playa...

*Random funny story of the night: I'm walking downtown (dressed up as a mailman) with my head down as I'm texting. Some random dude who has no idea who I am yells "Hey mailman, you lost my letter!" (which was probably the 376th time I heard that...everyone thinks they're a comedian, but I appreciate the effort). I look up to see who the jokester is, and it's my best friend, Keith. He looks at me and says "What the hell?" He didn't even know it was me! He just thought it was funny to yell at the innocent postal worker on the streets...and it ended up being someone he knew! So bizarre. We played golf the next day and laughed about it for at least nine holes.

Last week was crazy busy (hence the sickness). Too busy to recap, but here are some highlights from before the weekend:

MONDAY - I realized you CAN eat too much at Wings 'n Things. Tom and Joel can attest.

TUESDAY - I bowled a turkey in the final frame of the final game in the playoffs of the social bowling league I joined with some friends to WIN the league! Yea, I'm a baller.

WEDNESDAY - I carved a pumpkin that was supposed to be scary, but due to an unfortunate carving accident that is somewhat traumatic, it ended up looking like a sassy female looking for some hot squash, if ya know what I mean...

THURSDAY - I ate more cookies than I can ever remember eating (thanks a lot, Julie)

Well, it's officially "that time of year" at work. As soon as that calendar turns to November, it's all out for us through New Year's. We are only 4 weeks away from the end of the college football season, so we are narrowing down the list of teams who may be coming to San Diego for the Poinsettia and Holiday Bowls. It's always exciting talk, but there is still a lot of football to be played. You know we're in our seasonal buzz when boss-man walks down the hallways at 7:30am yelling "Let's go people! It's bowl season baby!"

Lots goin' on in the family life. Mom just retired on Friday, and my sister just got a new job at Google! Crazy times for my peeps!

Do you realize we are less than two months away from 2010?