Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We Just Met, And This Is Crazy, But I'll Post Something...Maybe.

Sometimes when I haven't posted in a while it feels like I can't post because it would just take too long to catch you up on everything.  So, for your enjoyment, I present a random assortment of recent pictures from my iPhone. No particular order, and "just the tip" (as it were) of goings-ons, happenings, and shenanigans.

Worms is doing just fine, as you can see.  She really loves the "tin foil ball on a string tied to my tail" game.  Well,  sort of.

She got a little tuckered out though.

I have a new crush. Which is funny, because there are two girls close to where I live that actually sort of look like the T-Mobile girl.  One works at a vintage clothing store and looks very wholesome in her 50's style dresses.  The other is covered in tattoos and works at a dive bar.  Not sure which one I like more.

My buddy decided that he wants to bring back shorter shorts, make them classy and cool again.  He's about 9 feet tall.  I found him these.  See, men *are* helpful shoppers.

Found some interesting new books to read.

Borrowed my mom's truck.  Which is now MY truck.  It's got a cassette player, wing windows, and an electric lighter.  WIN.  (adorable cousin with sassy mean face not included).

I've been making some new friends on the Twitter.

And, as you can see, I'll never be swimming in a pool again.

Speaking of pools.  See the picture behind me?  That's at my friend's pool. I posed for this to show the resemblance.  Uncanny, right?

Big Gay thought he could sneak in some extra Cyclone and Cardinal shit at the BS while I was away.  I disabused him of this notion.

Pretty excited about this one.  We've decided to have a Jorts party, and I knew I'd have to have some killer accessories to win.  So I found this.  Wait until I add a mullet and some Milwaukee's Best!

This is kind of freaky.  This is Prometheus, the demon-spawned minion from hell.  He's attacked everyone in the neighborhood and spends the rest of his time staring at people with this god-awful screeching meow.  We thought our prayers were answered when we saw our neighbors giving him away to some (poor) lady.  A few days later, he was back.  There aren't too many cats that I would be happy to see get run over in the street, but...

I'm not even going to explain this one.  You can figure it out.

Still working on my Words With Friends.  Apparently we have different dictionaries.

And.... this goes out to all of you hassling me about not posting very often.  I'm working on it.

Stay tuned for a new series I'm working on for a friend. "Your First Year of Law School."  I was supposed to have it done in August, but lesson number 1 about law school is never do anything on time.  See the irony?

Caleb out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The St. Louis Effect

Every city has its own unique characteristics.  Some cities have basic stereotypes (New Yorkers are assholes, vapid blondes in L.A., Providence has... Rhode Islanders, etc.) and other cities have certain representative images (Wrigley Field in Chicago, White House in Washington, AK-47s in Detroit, etc.). St. Louis certainly has its own uniqueness, but the most fascinating, and confusing, aspect of St. Louis has taken a bit longer to make its presence known.  Now that it's out there, I've been trying to analyze it without much success.

I need your help. 

What's the issue?  There is a subtle (sometimes not-so-subtle) effect in play, consistently, involving couples in St. Louis.*

*[by "St. Louis" I of course mean the relatively normal and habitable portions thereof, and not, for example, the Afghanistanesque portions in East St. Louis.]

Before I spell it out, take a look at the following photos.  I didn't take the time to stalk people and take my own photos, but these are real St. Louis people- taken from  (Great site, btw-- check it out if you want!)






See it yet?  I purposely kept these on the subtle side, but if you're still not sure, here's "drastic."

With St. Louis couples, the chick is significantly better looking than the guy in an extremely disproportionate number of cases.

Take this as true.  I'm not here to debate my accuracy on rankings, or whether it's weird to rank guys at all (most guys have a sense of this), or whether it's been statistically verified. 

As I bring this up for discussion with a wide range of people in St. Louis, any argument is most likely going to be "maybe it's just all the couples you see" or something like that (which is true).  What nobody has brought up is their own observations to the contrary.  This trend is, for all intents and purposes, verified anecdotally.

[Note on anecdotal evidence: while you can't prove something to be empirically true, you can provide strong evidence against the opposite conclusion.  For instance, I could say that there are no packs of wild hyenas roaming the streets of St. Louis because I haven't heard any reports on it.  While this might not mean that there are no packs of wild hyenas in St. Louis, it is strong evidence that there are not lots of packs of wild hyenas in St. Louis.  Thanks to the PROF for that one.]

So take a look at those first 5 pictures again, and come up with a ranking difference for each.  I won't use 1-10 numbers (that's an altogether different post) of my own, but just the reasonable difference.

1: 2 points
2: 2 points (however you pair/average them)
3: 4 points (yes, I'm using bearded dude, for reasons that will be explained)
4: 2.5 points
5: 2 points

This is about the norm for St. Louis.

In essence, as you walked the streets of random (and habitable) St. Louis, and observed the first 10 couples you saw, 7 of them would have this effect.  My reasonable guess for other cities, on average? 2 or 3.  But why?  Why, St. Louis? 

I'll go into what we've got so far for working theories.  But first, there is another St. Louis characteristic that must be explained, as it may bear directly on this phenomenon.

St. Louis has a high number of dudes that are, for want of a term, St. Louis hipsters.  They're not common enough to quite be "typical," but if you surveyed the most common subgroup of St. Louis and came up with a St. Louis Man, he would but thus:

28-34, bearded, visible tattoos (especially arm tattoos), piercings, and a lame non-baseball hat of some sort. He wears a shirt that proclaims his love of an indie band (that he's sure you've never heard of) and drinks some sort of craft beer (that he's sure you've never heard of).  He's slightly pudgy, plays kickball every weekend, and hasn't met a subject that he doesn't know just a little bit more about than you.  He'll be happy to explain this to you as he parks his scooter at the farmer's market.

Think Minneapolis hipster without the iPad or PETA shirt.

So what's the big deal?  Surely guys dating women who are hotter than they are is common.  Hell, I've mostly dated chicks that are, objectively, better looking than I am.  But, we can all probably agree that:

1. Looks aren't as important in guys (confidence, humor, success, giant wieners, etc.)
2. Sometimes hot chicks are, ahem, awful human beings with low self-esteem and can easily be taken in by arrogant and less-attractive guys

But whatevs- while that is certainly true, it doesn't explain why St. Louis experiences this phenomenon much more often than other cities.

Let's look first at some simple explanations. Maybe St. Louis has, on average, less attractive guys?

Alex Clare: an 8 in St. Louis but a 7 elsewhere?

A plausible theory, but for it to work women would have to be average or above-average in St. Louis. This, too, is plausible as my own observations would be that women here are, at least, about average.

But, here's the thing: the more you notice people in St. Louis, the more you realize that both women and men seem, on average, to be average.  The St. Louis effect only seems to materialize in relationships; it doesn't apply to individual, single people. 

Maybe there are just less available men than women in St. Louis, so market forces have raised the value of men.

According to the U.S. census, St. Louis is female-dominated by a margin of 51.7%--48.3%.  This is 1% different than the total U.S. population.  A factor, maybe, but there are a number of statistical caveats. (i.e., this is "total" St. Louis... what would the numbers be for "habitable" St. Louis?).

One time a bartender chick hinted at another possible theory when she smugly told me "Well, women go more for good personalities than good looks, so..."  Hinting, perhaps, that St. Louis is just filled with guys with great personalities.

This shall be dismissed out of hand. (And no, not just because there are an unseemly amount of Cardinals fans, either).

An explanation emerged based on the observation that there were a huge number of the above-mentioned St. Louis hipsters running around.  These guys are famous for possessing a confidence that is neither warranted nor appropriate.  Could this explain the discrepancy?

Maybe.  That surely happens, as we all know. But let's be clear: I don't think that any of the guys in St. Louis who are dating chicks hotter than them are, on average, any better or worse than average guys throughout the county.

I'm sure that you could take the first 5 pictures and explain each of them reasonably and rationally.  Great guy, tons of fun, lots of money, sweetheart, caring, dating since high school; whatever.  Those are all possibilities and I'm not trying to puzzle out each picture (or real life couple) as I go.  I'm taking a meta-view of this and asking why does this happen so often in St. Louis?

The weather?  Maybe.  It's just Missouri.  Possibly true- but what does that even mean? Cardinal fans are just crazy, irrational, and make poor decisions in general.  An interesting point.

My own theory is that there is no catch-all explanation for this phenomenon.  Instead it's likely a combination of some or all of the factors I've mentioned.  But I still feel like I'm missing something. 

Maybe you have a thought?

Interestingly, the most creative explanation I've yet heard came from a friend who is a cop.  And not a "your registration is expired" cop but a "did you murder this guy with your sawed-off or your AK?" kind of cop.  While lamenting the considerable crime in St. Louis, he volunteered this:

"People in St. Louis know that there's a lot more murders and violent crime, so they view life as if it could end tomorrow.  They make bad decisions because, statistically, they won't have to live with the consequences as long as most people."

That's a (poor) paraphrase.  An interesting point though.  What doesn't add up for me though is how you would get a girl to go from "did I just hear gunfire?" to "I better find a guy less attractive than me, fast!"  But still; something to consider.

So what's the answer?  I don't know.  But I'm putting this out there, as true, for someone to ponder.  And I will continue to bring it up in conversations throughout bars in St. Louis. (Note: the Bar-venture group from the last post?  We're at 87 bars and counting).

Why keep bringing it up?  Some have said to me, "Caleb-- what are you complaining about?  This whole theory just means that YOUR stock is up and you have a better shot at dating a hotter chick."

True.  BUT.  I'm not comfortable taking advantage of this until I KNOW WHY IT EXISTS.

I gave this example: you're at a prison with consistently shitty food.  Over time you notice certain inmates disappearing without explanation and the beef stew suddenly tastes delicious.  I don't know about you, but I'm doing some research before I start asking for seconds.

Caleb "7" Shreves

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Entry 151: Morgan Freeman And Pugsley The Cat

Teddy Brosevelts,

In an effort to... okay, basically because I like bars, a group of us have decided to try to go to every bar in St. Louis during the three years of law school.  Ambitious, I know.  You never realize how many bars there are until you start counting them off as you drive around.  We've already put about 75 on the list, so we're making good time, but we'll never get them all.  It's not like Pokemon. You CAN'T collect them all.  But the fun is in the trying.

(And yes, we have a shared Google Document to keep track of where we've been and all sorts of other information.  We're law nerds, remember?)

One of the coolest parts about this ridiculous project is that you get to see a lot of different places and experience more of St. Louis.  Surprisingly, only about a half-dozen bars have been interesting and worth going to again.  Like this one place, "Thurman's Bar and Grill."  What makes it special?

This is a place that feels appropriate for a Stephen King novel.  As in, perhaps you stepped into a weird time portal or alternate universe and this bar will be gone the next time you try to go.  "Thurmans?" says the old man after you ask where it is.  "That bar's been closed for nigh on 50 years! You say you were there just last month?"  Etc.

It's a local place, and the first thing you're going to notice is that Morgan Freeman is the bartender.  No, seriously.  Dude looks just like him.  And he's quite possibly the most relaxed guy you've ever met, and also a philosopher.  The first night there a guy was playing (well, trying) some blues on his guitar at the bar (yes, it's that kind of place) and Morgan Freeman starts bellowing out occasional blues lyrics, trying to show the guitar player how to "put the soul in your sound, man." He used L'il Wayne's "What?  Yeah! and Okay!" to sing blues for a good 5 minutes.  Then he said that the freedom promised by rock and roll --a world where Keith Richards could grace the cover of a fashion magazine-- was paid for by the success of Justin Bieber.  Made sense.

But the reason I loved this bar, and the impetus for this blog, came after I went into the restroom.  And saw this pic.

Took me a minute to realize what I was looking at.  Then I noticed the picture next to that one:

I don't know if it was the combination of the exuberant "Happy Holidays!" and the rust of the shears, but I started laughing my ass off.  Then I looked around, and saw I was in the midst of a comedic masterpiece.  Here's the rest of the pictures; all lined up along the bathroom wall.

And finally, one picture to explain everything.  I'm not sure if it's just because I was raised on crazy cat humor (thanks, mom!), but I literally cried laughing for 5 minutes looking at these.  Freaking.  Awesome!  Hope you enjoy it as well!

Best.  Bar bathroom.  Ever.

Caleb "Yeah, I've Been Back To Thurman's" Shreves

And.... for those of you wondering what sort of stuff I've been up to recently, here is a picture timeline.

Finally found some Old Milwaukee!

Thanks for the goggles, Brasky. 

Waited 5 months, but finally played Skyrim.  I just got excited typing that.

90 miles a gallon on this hog. 

Oh.  And I spun fire for the first time.  Video on my Facebook page if you want to see!