Fantasy Football

South Africa has cricket, Mexico has soccer, China has ping-pong, and the US has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Excuse me, I meant football. Just like that sick f*** who broke the world record for most hot dogs consumed (70 if you were curious), America’s love of football is downright unhealthy. We’re Fast Food Nation and we’re Football Nation and not the other way around.

I recently bought a baseball hat that simply says “SPORTS” because I’m constantly looking for inventive ways to get attention. I actually really like sports. Whether it’s playing, watching or actually talking about them, I’m pretty much the epitome of a “sports nut.” Despite being a natural-born athlete, I’m not good at all sports. I was the first ever female to be cut from a rec league volleyball team. Okay, so I wasn’t actually cut, per se – I just stopped going to games. I did suck though. Just ask any of my former teammates.

I like watching sports almost as much as I like playing them. I will gladly set aside 4+ hours to watch a football game because I can engage in four of my favorite activities: eating, drinking, sitting, and yelling at a TV. A statistic from 2011 says that among adults who watch football, six in ten say they spend between 3 to 5 hours a week watching it. I imagine this has changed since ’11 and the statistic people should probably do another study. Either way, I plan on watching upwards of five hours a week this season because unlike last year, this year I’ve got skin in the game. That’s right, I’m talking about Fantasy Football.

People all over the world have been playing fantasy sports for over 50 years, with approximately 40 million people participating in one or more fantasy sports every year. Many do not know where Fantasy Football even came from. I think it’s important that we sports watchers know the origins of this beloved tradition. Fantasy Football was conceived by three men at a Manhattan hotel in October of 1962. Wilfred “Bill” Winkenbach AKA Wink was the brains behind it, and is given most of the credit. The official name of the first Fantasy Football league was the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (try saying that three times fast. LOL). Mr. Winkenbach is also the brains behind similar games for golf and baseball. Little-known fact: Winkenbach’s life was the inspiration behind the phrase”Ball is Life” because sports consumed every waking moment of his life. Don’t be Wilfred Winkenbach.

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Now everyone can play! You don’t even have to know what football is or like sports!

So far my team is off to a rough start. I have one player that is suspended after getting a DWI, two are “questionable,” and one is IR, which stands for injured reserve, but might as well stand for “Immediate Regret.” The Patriot’s loss cost me my first match up against “Cry Me a Rivers.” I guess that’s what I get for choosing players based on level of attractiveness over skill. Basically unless I pull off some smart trades, I’m SOL. But who doesn’t love a good comeback? I know you’re all dying to know my team name. It’s “Tina’s Team.” Now that I know all about the history of fantasy, I think I might change it to The Winkenbetches as an homage to the game’s roots.

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I don’t deserve a car.

I didn’t think my life could get any more glamorous until I found out that my new role at Conagra came with a set of wheels (that’s cool guy talk for a car). Did I really need a car? Probably not, but I’m a “yes person,” so on May 5th, 2017, I became the proud owner of a 2015 Ford Fusion and, subsequently, the most eligible female on the 1500 block of Western Avenue.

When commoners buy a new car they go to a dealership, test drive a few, listen to a sales pitch about why the car they like is perfect for them, and finally, drive off the lot in a pre-owned Kia Sorento straight to the nearest Wendy’s. My car was specially delivered to me at my home. Now that’s what I call employee appreciation. My car was delivered by a larger man – somewhere between Rob Kardashian and Ruben Studdard.  He then proceeded to “thoroughly inspect” the car, and I put that in quotes because he literally kicked the tires as if kicking a rock down the sidewalk, and opened and closed all the doors. So I now knew that they brought me a car with working doors and wheels that hold up after being kicked. Rob Studdard dropped the key in my hand and told me to be safe. I told him I would.

I climbed into my new whip and put the key in the ignition. The engine roared to life, much like I do when I hear the word tacos. I made sure my mirrors were in the right position for maximum #safety, then turned on my favorite radio station for maximum #fun. What could possibly go wrong?

I don’t know if this is some kind of record, but I managed to fuck up the car within three days. I’d probably driven 20 miles total. I got into a crash with a telephone outside my apartment. The last time I felt this stupid was freshman year physics class. I built a bottle rocket for a class project, but I built it completely upside down. This was 1,000 times worse. Basically, I was trying to park in the super cramped spot behind our apartment and failed. There wasn’t enough room, and I hit the telephone pole. And then I hit it again. And just to make sure, once more. The damage was pretty significant. I’m not longer the most eligible female on my block.

About a month later I got into an actual accident with another car. This wasn’t my fault. I repeat, THIS WAS NOT MY FAULT. I know this blog is about making mistakes, but this was not one of them. This was an XTINAACCIDENT. Here’s a play-by-play of what went down: I was pulling out of a spot on North Avenue with my blinker on like a responsible motorist. I pull out and out of nowhere comes a speeding mini-van and it clipped the side of my car. “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” That’s what I said after the car hit mine. My heart was racing as I got out to assess the damage. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it would still require a mechanic to fix. The driver and I exchanged a few words, but in the end I let it go because he was Mexican and barely spoke English. I did tell him to be more cuidado (that’s spanish for careful) and he promised he would. Now I have this piece of shit car that is a constant reminder of my failures as a car owner. I wish I could leave it in an abandoned lot and set it on fire…I won’t do that, but I can’t say it hasn’t crossed my mind.

How does one go about returning a company car? “Hey, Conagra, what’s the return policy on cars? Can we just pretend this whole thing never happened and I can go back to taking ubers everywhere?” Oh and I forgot to mention the two parking violations I got. If this experience has taught me anything it’s that I do not deserve a car.

 

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The Five People You Meet at Trade Shows

I’ve been working at Frontera Foods for nearly three years, making it the longest, most profitable relationship I’ve had in my life thus far. Every year we exhibit at three major trade shows: a winter show in San Francisco, a spring show in Anaheim, and a summer show in NYC. Each show is special in its own right and I say ‘special’ the same way my 6th grade art teacher used to describe most of my artwork. Expo West, for instance, is known as the “party show.” Hotel bartenders love when this show rolls into town because we drink a lot and we tip generously. But if there’s one thing that each show guarantees, it’s unlimited kombucha and countless characters from all walks of life. I’ve discovered that each show draws all of the following types: the hungry exhibitor, the shopper, the Rick Bayless fan girl/guy, the salesman, and the ingredient snob. These characters, combined with all the amazing “fashion,” make these shows a lot more fun than one would think.

A brief note on the fashion: The clothing/overall look of some people at these shows is truly remarkable…I’m all for self-expression through fashion, but there is no reason a grown man in the year 2017 should be able to walk freely in an Ed Hardy shirt.

The Hungry Exhibitor

It takes one to know one. At my first trade show I consumed over 3,000 calories in 7 hours…probably. I wasn’t counting because math, but it was definitely an obscene number.

Because we serve actual food rather than slivers of bird food disguised as protein bars, people flock to our booth (unintentional bird pun). While I am more than happy to feed my hardworking peers, there are always a handful of exhibitors who treat the show like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Hungry exhibitors want to try anything and everything, including shit they don’t even like. The hungriest exhibitors visit our booth multiple times, but act like it’s their first time, every time. Like, I just saw you 5 minutes ago, Roy from Popchips, I’m sorry you have to eat Popchips all the time, but you’re getting annoying and you have bad breath.

The Shopper/Free-Loader

These people are the worst. They come to these shows with one objective: to fill their bags with as much free product as possible. Some people bring coolers. It doesn’t matter what it is – dog food, an actual dog, cured meats, they just want to walk out of there with a ton of free shit. Some of these scavengers have the decency to ask for a sample, but most just grab it off the table and walk away casually like they didn’t just steal something. News flash: it’s a trade show, not tryouts for “Looter #1” in an apocalyptic movie. Ass.

The Rick Bayless Fan

photo-944171793Bayless poses for a photo with a fan.

Rick Bayless is the brand’s celebrity chef. He’s helped promote the consumption, appreciation and preparation of Mexican food in the US through his TV show, cookbooks, and restaurants. He has over 200,000 Instagram followers, so yeah, he’s kind of a grande deal. One time we talked in the elevator at work. It was sweet.

Bayless has a lot of admirers and many are at these shows. The second most frequently asked question after “Can I take you out after the show?” is “Is Rick Bayless here?” “No, he couldn’t make it” I say. “But he wishes he could be here.” This is a blatant lie. Of course he’s not here, and in fact, he had no intention of being here…I’ve been to one show where he made an appearance, and it was kind of important for him to be there because he was accepting a lifetime achievement award.

So unless they create an award for chef with the best mustache or most flexible chef, the chances of him attending another show are very slim. And we all know Guy Fieri would win best mustache. If you really want to meet Rick, I suggest you go to one of the many cooking demos he does all over the country, or pay me $100 and I’ll personally introduce you to him. Now eat your taco and scram. But don’t forget to take a coupon and have a nice day, too. Ugh.

The Salesman

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At least 1 in 3 people at a show are in sales and are there to gather new business leads. I’m pretty much the lowest level employee at Frontera…like one notch above the copy machine, and I really have no power when it comes to making company purchasing decision. These sales guys don’t know this, so they just come up to me and start talking about whatever product/software/service they’re selling. I’m a genuine person with a heart of gold, but I’m also a master bullshitter. I’ve been subjected to countless sales pitches, and they all follow the same script…

Sales guy: Hi Christina! Who do I talk to about marketing/exporting/packaging…?

At this point I’ll either pass him off to a coworker or ride it out.

Sales guy: Great. So let me tell you a little about what we do….

He then begins to go into his sales pitch and I nod and smile, acting all engaged and shit. Sometimes I throw in random comments or ask a question to show I’m listening. Sometimes I actually listen.

After a few minutes of chatting, sales guy wraps up his pitch and suggests we schedule a follow up call. If I find him annoying I pull the old “I ran out of cards, but here’s my colleagues card” trick. But in the unlikely event that he is somewhat attractive, I give him my card and a room key.

Last but not least,

The Ingredient Snob

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Remember when there were just people with peanut allergies? Those were the days. And while I respect people who don’t eat meat, or dairy or gluten, I will never be able to relate to them on an emotional or physical level. I am a passionate meat-eater and need to be with someone who is always down to go halfsies on a rack of ribs and a filet. A decent amount of consumers come to these shows in search of products that meet their specific dietary standards. They might be looking to lower their cholesterol or sugar intake, or they might be looking for organic baby food to feed their babies who can’t tell the difference. (When I was a baby I ate an alarming amount of sand from a dirty sandbox and I turned out just fine). It’s easy to identify an ingredient snob because they pick up product off the table without saying hello and study the label silently. After reading the ingredients they either smile and say “Wow, this actually looks really good,” or they quietly set the product back down upon realizing the product does not meet their standards, and disappear into the crowd.

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Live from Western Ave.

I have three roommates. Their names are Madison and Mollie, but I just call them “M&M”(no I don’t). My third roommate is a gorgeous Maine Coon cat named Sophia.

My super cool microphone hasn’t gotten much action in the past few months. Sometimes I’ll take it out and pretend I’m a singer, but other than that it just sits in my drawer. I decided it was time for the roomies to sit down and gab about life over a glass of vino. After a glass, they were totally cool with recording our conversation. Imagine the things I could coerce them into doing after two! Wine is truly amazing.

WARNING: This recording contains explicit content and things I don’t want my parents to hear.

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not so sweet sixteen

I overheard a girl about my age say that memes are the new Chinese Proverbs. Okay fine, it was me. Anyway, the other day I was scrolling through my instagram feed, and about four hours into scrolling I came across a meme that made me pause and think. It said “2016 was a great year if you’re a horrible person.” I laughed, but then I felt sad, because the meme was right. 2016 was a year that many of us will look back on with remorse…

Let’s face it, there was nothing sweet about this sixteen…2016 was bad enough to be the inspiration behind a trailer for a horror movie parody entitled 2016. This is going to be as vulgar as I get, but I can’t think of any better way to describe 2016 other than a gigantic turd year. I don’t really want to go into it – “it” being the clusterfack that was 2016, mostly because I promised myself I would never be the type of person that uses social media as an outlet to bitch and moan about things I can’t change. I think we can all agree that the past 365 days had ups and downs. A few examples of ups: The Cubs won the World Series, I learned how to use a lighter without burning my finger*, 128 million babies were born, tiger, manatee and panda (panda panda panda) populations grew, the Summer Olympics was dope, and after a 20 year hiatus A Tribe Called Quest put out a new album, which is also very dope. A few major downs from this year: I gave up carbs for a month and gained three pounds, the country feels more divided than ever, we lost Prince and David Bowie, among several other American icons, and the latest beauty trend is shaving your face…not for guys, but for girls. Don’t we shave enough as it is? I like my hairy face.

With 2016 in the rear view mirror, I hope that we can set aside our differences and work to insight real change. The circumstances may not be ideal, but that’s when we work the hardest. And that’s the most serious sentence I’ve ever penned. Right behind “I like my hairy face.”

*I’m still burning my finger. This is why I could never be a smoker.

UPDATE: 2017 is off to a rocky start. Male Chokers were the subject of a segment on the Today Show this morning. This is not a joke.

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Breaking Curses

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a while, it’s because I’ve been so busy spending time with my new boyfriend, Raphael. We met waiting in line at the grocery store…he was buying chobani yogurt and I had to comment that black cherry was also my favorite flavor…he looks a lot like Mark Consuelos in the way that all Brazilian men look like Mark Consuelos. Then he offered to buy all my groceries. AS IF!! I’m a Siggis girl forever!

The real reason is because I’ve been living and breathing MLB Baseball. Up until this season, as far as sports go, Baseball was like the slightly nerdy but sweet guy in high school that you were nice to, but never really gave a second look. Now you’re back from college and you see this good looking guy from across the room and you’re like “whoooo is that?” to your friends and they tell you it’s that guy who used to be a nerd.

Well for the first time in a long time – 108 years to be exact – our lovable losers became lovable and winners. The Cubs won the World Series. And not only did they win it, they came back from a 3-1 deficit, which is really really hard to do, you guys! I will never forget the moment we got that last out to seal the deal. I was about to finish my sixth bud heavy when suddenly the room erupted into shouts of celebration. I grabbed a bottle of champagne out of the fridge, ran out of the house and fell down the stairs. I quickly got up and joined the rest of the city in what will easily go down as the greatest celebration of all time. I can’t wait to tell my kids, Brooke, Landon and Randall, that their mom was there the night the Cubs made history. After a few sips my bottle of champagne was confiscated, but it was more just for show, so I didn’t mind. Wrigleyville was the most lit place on earth (I never thought I’d say that) and I was in the center of it all. I think I high fived over 100 people that night. Kind of gross touching all those hands, but also kind of neat because high fives are the absolute greatest gesture.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I am as fair weather as they come. Three years ago, if you had asked me to name a player on the team, I would have said something stupid like Blake Shelton. When Joe Maddon came on as our coach I kept referring to him as Joel. I was confusing him with the lead singer of Good Charlotte. Now I know the names of the owner, manager, most of the players and of course, the WAGS. Because behind every successful ball player is an amazing WAG.

Watching the games leading up to the actual World Series was like watching the longest, most suspense-filled sports movie ever. I laughed, I cried, I drank a concerning amount of beer and an unhealthy amount of nachos. We all know this season will be made into the most epic sports movie, but I think it’s worthy of much more. A museum, perhaps? What about a wax museum like Madame Tussauds? Or how about a remake of Groundhog Day, but in this version every day is November 4th, 2016. I think Bill Murray would be into it.

Chicagoans will be talking about this season and this team for many years to come. Governor Rauner proclaimed November 4th to forever be “World Champion Chicago Cubs Day.” If it were up to me, I’d make every day “World Champion Chicago Cubs Day.” Even my birthday, because honestly I’m kinda over it.

14910542_1362776400401405_9121079805580709993_nlegendary night with a legendary crew

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We Found Love in a Hyundai Sonata

About a month ago I went on a date with a nice Filipino boy. I met him on an app, but not a dating app – I actually met him in an Uber, making it a little less embarrassing, right? Maybe not. At first, the idea of sharing a ride with a total stranger seemed a little shady, but then I realized that Uber drivers are total strangers, so what difference does it make if a couple more strangers are added to the mix? So I gave it a try and now I have 10 new friends, including a guy named Murphy who texts me every couple of weeks an enthusiastic “Hey!”, a couple of Irish guys named Mike and Chris, a Real Estate mogul named Glen, an Analyst at Macy’s whose name I can’t remember but we’re definitely friends, and of course, Bae (Anthony).

I met Anthony in a Hyndai Sinata on a ride to a conference in Rosemont, which is a comically unromantic combination of car model and location. I’m not sure how we got to talking, but our conversation went on for entire 45 minute ride, with only a few awkward pauses. We touched on many topics typically discussed on a first date: origins, blood type, job, whether or not we’d ever been convicted of a felony, best deep dish pizza in Chicago, music, and of course, which Friends character we relate to most. Anthony claimed to be a Ross, but he’s a Chandler through and through. When we rolled up to my destination, the ultra glamorous Crowne Plaza Rosemont, friendly goodbyes were exchanged, but nothing more. I had a feeling this wasn’t goodbye. This was confirmed in the form of an unexpected LinkedIn request. This is modern romance, people. Girl meets boy, boy likes girl, boy hits her with a friend request on a business-oriented social network.

When I told my friends the story they laughed, but ultimately encouraged me to give him a chance. I asked them what my next move should be. Like, how does one go about flirting on LinkedIn? Do I endorse his Powerpoint skills or is that coming on too strong? We started messaging, and our conversation dragged on for about 4 weeks before he finally mustered the courage to ask for my number. We went on two dates, and while the spark just wasn’t there, I think he’s a really cool person. There was one really big turnoff about Anthony, and to be honest, it may have meant the difference between a third date…I hated his sunglasses. I’m being serious. They were circle frames, kind of like the ones sported by Mugatu, Nicole Richie, and Willie Wonka. That’s a fucking deal breaker in my book.

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