Tag Archives: Brian Matusz

The Daily Camden and 10 Mistakes

You might think the Chop is all about liquor and rock music and the fairer sex and sleeping until noon and watching baseball, but you’d be wrong. We’re smrt. And we know all about business and technology and all junk like that.

So today we’re happy to announce that we’re guest-blogging over at folkmedia.org. Folk Media is a Baltimore based start-up which helps businesses and organizations market themselves on the web. Our topic is 10 Big Mistakes You May Be Making Online. How Businesses and Organizations Unwittingly Alienate Customers.

Head over there for your daily Chop today, and if you’re just arriving from the Folk Media site, welcome! Feel free to take a look around. Scroll down and see what we’ve been up to lately or click the Archives tab for some of the Chop’s greatest hits.

Look for the Chop's photo on the Daily Camden tomorrow.

We’re also heading out to the Yard tonight to catch the O’s and the Mariners for a Tuesday bargain night/ Brian Matusz T-shirt Tuesday game. It’s also our night to take a snapshot for The Daily Camden over at Welcome to Baltimore, Hon. The Daily Camden is an ongoing photo project in which people from all over Baltimore submit a picture of Camden Yards every day of the season, game or no game, to build a collective photo record of the place we all think of as a second home throughout the 2010 season.

With Cliff Lee facing David Hernandez tonight, we very likely won’t be photographing the scoreboard.

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House Rules: How to Make a Polite Introduction

It’s Monday Baltimore. It’s a new week, and the perfect time to introduce the first in an occasional series of posts called House Rules. House Rules will focus primarily on Barroom etiquette. The art and science of buying rounds, what to drink and how to tip, rules for last call, how to choose the proper bar for the right occasion… all will be covered. Over time the House Rules category will become a comprehensive guide and one-stop resource for proper behavior in the modern bar and nightlife scene.

A visual approximation of the Chop's weekend.

Rule #1: Introductions

It constantly amazes us how many people we know in Baltimore that we don’t actually know. It’s a shameful testament to the poor social graces of the Chop’s friends, who have failed to introduce us. It’s shocking when we come across someone on Facebook who shares more than 20 Friends whom we’ve never actually met socially.

The point was driven home at a show recently when a friend failed to introduce us to a friend of theirs. It really stuck in the Chop’s mind, because we had encountered the same non-acquaintance at the same bar a month prior, where she was chatting with Roommate, who also failed to make the introduction. We bumped into her a third time this weekend, this time with no common friends present. It would have been nice to be able to say hello and chat for a bit.

Now, the Chop is no wallflower, and isn’t afraid to introduce himself to anyone on principle, although in practice this can be very socially awkward, as a self-introduction will never go as smoothly as a proper social introduction.

An introduction must be made. It sounds simple, but the first and most important step in making an introduction is that you actually have to do it. This is a case where doing it wrong is far preferable to not doing it at all. Don’t ever assume that two people you know know each other also. If you’re unsure, there’s no shame in simply saying “Do you two know each other?” In any case, if you’re in a bar and someone you know joins your circle or takes the next stool, an introduction is required.

Respect is due. Social Primer gives the guidelines for who should take precedence in an introduction. A lot of the old rules don’t fully apply to Baltimore nightlife, but it is a good idea to present men to women. All things being equal, the Chop says give deference to the friend you’ve known longest, or to whom you’re closest.

Say who’s who. In any case, you should say the full names of all the people you’re introducing. It’s also good form to state your relationship to each party or how you know one another. For instance: “Brian Matusz, this is my cousin from Colorado Garrett Atkins. [then to Atkins] I met Brian at the University of San Diego.” or something similar to that.

Note what’s common. It’s always good form to let your friends know if they have anything in common, aside from knowing you. In our example above, you might say something like “Garrett has just been signed from the Rockies, and Brian was actually born in Grand Junction.” This will go a long way toward helping two strangers feel much more familiar with one another.

State the facts. It will be polite to note something current and significant about each person. If you’re introducing a guitarist in a local band to someone who regularly does volunteer work for a non-profit, you should say so. If you’re introducing someone who engages in no particular notable activity, it is also acceptable to address a hobby or interest they might have. This is to encourage conversation between your friends.“Garrett can play first or third base and Brian likes dinosaurs and gummy bears.”

It’s pleasure, not business. While there are exceptions, it is traditionally impolite to mention someone’s job during a social introduction. Not everyone particularly likes their job. Some people can even be downright ashamed of what they do for a living. Still others have good jobs they may enjoy, but which are conversational dead ends. No one wants to discuss desks and cubicles and memoranda while they’re out at night. A fairly large income gap between your friends might also be a factor. Personally, the Chop has a very interesting job which we like and usually don’t mind discussing, but it’s uncommon enough that it provokes the same set of questions often, and answering them can become tiresome quickly.

Keep the conversation going. If you’re in the middle of a conversation you mean to finish when one of your friends approaches, You should pause to make a quick introduction and then resume the conversation, now including the person who just approached. If we were talking with Brian Matusz about who in Baltimore serves the best hamburgers when cousin Garrett stepped up to the bar, we might say to Atkins “I was just telling Brian about the burgers at Alonso’s. Have you had a chance to try Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill yet?” Which will go a long way toward making a new arrival feel welcomed and valued.

And really, isn’t feeling welcome and valued the goal with all social interactions?

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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ 9:30 Club Tonight

Every once in a while, the Chop likes to play a little game called Name a band that could compel us to drive to the 9:30 club. So far, it’s been a losing endeavor. It’s hard to think of any band in America right now that could do it. Some acts (like Morrissey or the Pixies) could, but they’ve outgrown 9:30, and are usually prohibitively expensive. We’ve taken a principled stance against almost all reunion tours, and turn up our nose at them. Most of our favorite bands going today are too small to book into 9:30, and the ones who fit there (like Ranier Maria or the Hold Steady) We’ve seen too many times before to bother with 9:30.

The Gaslight Anthem is the one band who might maybe convince us to set foot inside the 9:30 club.

So we’re totally skipping out on Ted Leo when he plays there tonight with Screaming Females and Obits.

Ted Leo plays the 9:30 Club tonight. 7 pm doors.

We can understand why some indie kids go totally nuts for Ted Leo. We get it. Problem is, we like him just okay. The Chop has seen Ted Leo plenty of times before, and in truth he’s always been one of our favorite performers to heckle. Maybe it’s because all those kids do love him so much. Maybe it’s because he’s a good sport and can give as good as he gets. Maybe it’s because yelling out the names of Elvis Costello songs hits a little too close to home. Whatever it is, we can scarcely help ourselves when Ted hits the stage.

So if we’re not rocking out in DC tonight, what are we doing? Being a responsible fucking grown-ass adult, that’s what. Stacking up that paper, that’s what. Everyday we hustlin’, that’s what.

Yeah. We’re going down to the union hall for the monthly meeting today. While we’re there, we’re going to collect a few G’s that are owed to the Chop. After that, we’re going to stop fucking around and file our taxes so we can get our $8000 Obama Money Tax Credit that we’re owed for buying our stately North Baltimore pleasure dome.

What’s our reward for acting so responsibly all day? We get to go to Target and bring home one of these, so that when we go to watch Brian Matusz pitch tonight with a six of Clipper City and a bag of Utz, it’ll be in icy-cool conditioned air.

The best part? Roommate’s going to the show, and we’ve got the place to ourselves for the night.

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