Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ramble On

>> I had a fantastic time seeing everyone over Christmas break. Weisser, sorry I didn't make it downtown Saturday night, you're probably the only person I didn't get to see all week and I feel bad. After that many nights in Grand Forks, though, I was a little Bonzers'd out. Plus our blackjack table at Southgate was Hansel, I couldn't walk away from it. If we could've just figured out a way to hook up a tape recorder at our blackjack table on Saturday night, I could just press play right now and it would be the funniest shit ever. If you don't believe me, Cheese was there, and he's a much more reliable source. I don't think I went more than like 7 seconds without laughing. I'd like to think that's what heaven is....just me and my friends playing blackjack, not winning a ton of money but never losing any, ordering drinks that make strangers question our sexuality (or at least look at us weird), doubling down on hard 14s, and making fun of anything and everything (but mostly each other.) Not that I need to concern myself with what heaven is like, since I'm clearly not ever getting that call-up to the majors.

>> I've gotten over my initial anger over the Yankees buying all these players this off-season. Fuck them. It's more fun when everyone hates the Yankees, and it's not like they've won anything since they started this philosophy of buying everyone in sight. I like how they wouldn't trade for Johan last year because they wanted to start building their farm system, then they missed the playoffs, and now they're spending $420 million in a single month. Nice one-year plan, you gaybots. Go fuck yourselves. Look what the Yankees do to me. They get me riled up and pissed off and now I'm sweating.

(For the sole purpose of pointing out how I lie to myself every day, I'm not going to edit that last paragraph. Look at the opening sentence. I say "I'm over my initial anger" then go on to bitch and moan for 150 words. So apparently I'm over my initial anger, but I've moved on to ulcer-inducing rage. Fair enough.)

>> My New Year's Eve is going to suck. Alex is still back home in NoDak, and I'm working on New Year's Day so I can take the 2nd off, so I can drive to Minneapolis to help Bergman move in to his new place on New Year's Day night and stay through the weekend. Yayyy more driving. But Bergman helped us move down here in 105 degree weather, so I suppose I owe him.

When I went to Vegas for New Year's in both 2005 and 2006, of course it was awesome at the time...but now it's ruined my whole perception of the day, like nothing I can do can top that, and so I don't want to do anything at all. So when that clock strikes midnight, and you're getting shitcanned and/or kissing your special someone (or getting shitcanned, realizing you're the only one at the party without someone to kiss, running into the streets, tracking down the shopping cart lady who lives under the Sorlie Bridge, and promising her a bottle of Cutty Sark if she comes to the party and makes out with you...man, New Year's Eve 2003 was a great night) think of me. I'll be on my couch- definitely giving my Playstation 3 a good workout; probably wearing my Elvis sunglasses I obtained in Vegas; possibly trying to get to second base with my piece of the 2008 Final Four court; and without a doubt softly weeping to myself.

>> Three mini-stories from Christmas break that made me giggle because of their stupidity:

1. We found out that a girl we graduated high school with is getting married this weekend in Minneapolis, while I'll be up there visiting. We're acquaintances with said girl, but we're not invited. Bergman's quote, said in complete seriousness: "Dude, we should totally crash that wedding! NOBODY would know!" Ummmm, yeah. Nobody besides around 50 people we gruaduated with, and the bride herself. If we can just avoid them all night, we're totally in the clear, bro.

2. Whenever someone from back home sees me chewing for the first time and starts to yell at me** I usually respond with some dumbass comment like "I just went to the dentist today, this is actually gauze" or "I got in a fistfight with my mom because she overcooked my steak, and she caught me with a mean left jab and it swelled up." I obviously don't expect them to believe it, it's basically just something to diffuse the situation or throw them off-track so I don't have to listen to a girl lecture me for 3 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. So when Hanna saw the bulge in my lip and started in with her lecture, I told her that I just got back from the dentist. Her reply: "And how is that an excuse to start chewing?!?" As I busted out laughing, she went right into her little schpiel about cancer....all the while puffing on a cigarette. When I was a 21-year-old girl, was I that ditzy too?

**unless of course it's another dude seeing me chew for the first time. Then I usually get a fist pound, or a comment like "You know, every time I used to look out at you, I would just get this overwhelming feeling, like I wanted to just kick your ass. Now you seem, I don't know....cooler. Or tougher. Have you been lifting regularly?"

3. Cheese mentioned this for just a second, but I'll expound on it: Ike, Bergman, Haley, and I went out for lunch one day. Then we helped Bergman haul furniture for the upcoming move...yada yada yada, we ended up at the blackjack table drinking beers at 2 in the afternoon because we felt we deserved it after our "hard work." Ike gets a call from Andrea, and he immediately starts lying about his whereabouts. After a couple minutes of dancing around questions, she gets him to admit that he's gambling and boozing. She then tells him it's their six-month anniversary. Trying to salvage the situation by making a joke, Ike exclaims, "You mean it's March 17th already?!?!"

Let's just say it didn't salvage the situation, and I see a flower shop in Ike's immediate future. I just hope that there will be a one-year anniversary. When all your friends start getting married, but all your friends are still idiots...good times. Good times.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Cautionary Christmas Tale

Before I tell this story, remember that it is just that- a story. On the record, I admit to nothing. Just think of this as the equivalent of when OJ was gonna write the book "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened."


You know how everyone has that one thing they've done in their life (and in some cases, many many more things) where all they can do is shake their head and say in a disappointing fashion "Man...I'm going to hell." Those things you've done that there is absolutely no justification for, and if God doesn't take mercy with you, you can't really blame him? Well, in the spirit of Christmas I'm going to tell mine (this has nothing to do with Christmas spirit, but it's kind of a Christmas tale in a sick, twisted way.)

Many years ago, probably in high school sometime, my friends and I started referencing Baby Jesus whenever something happened that was unexplained. (All I know is that it was 2001 at the latest that we started making these jokes, so when Talladega Nights came out in 2006, and all of a sudden everyone and their mother were making Baby Jesus jokes, I was very unhappy. Will Ferrell fuckin' copied us. Then again, 70% of my personality is derived directly from Anchorman...we'll call it even.) Examples include, but are not limited to:

"Who took the last cold beer and didn't stock the fridge?"
long pause, no one comes forward...
"Baby Jesus?"

"Oh man, what was the name of that one kid in our 8th grade history class who always talked to himself and tried to race the bus home on foot every day?"
"I'm pretty sure that was Baby Jesus."

And so forth. I am fully aware that this joke isn't even funny in the first place, but it was funny to us. I've never said that my friends and I AREN'T idiots.

So one cold, snowy, fateful night in December of 2001, a few of us were sitting around at the tail end of a partiularly rowdy party, freshman-year style (meaning I was in the middle of my Schmidt's phase, so I had put together a showing that would've made any 67-year-old lumberjack on welfare proud...you can't argue with $10.99 30 packs, OK? You just can't.) The question was posed, that with all the Baby Jesus jokes we make, wouldn't it be pretty awesome to have our own Baby Jesus sitting there, so we could point at it and say things like "This is all YOUR fault!" and throw empties at it? The answer, of course, was a resounding YES, followed by Jake, Ike and I piling into Ike's pickup truck to go about fulfilling our newfound dream.

By fulfill our dream, of course, I mean to say that we went into random people's front lawns and stole the Baby Jesus from their nativity scene. Jake and I accomplished ours with relative ease. I felt like Danny Ocean out there. Ike, however....I'm pretty sure his attempt was one of the deleted scenes from Bad Santa. He couldn't get Baby J out of the manger without pulling out the electrical cord and lightbulb that was illuminating his swaddling clothing. So he ended up yanking on it until he knocked over Joseph, Mary, the three wise men, Moses, Pontious Pilate, Samson, Delilah, Abraham, Adam and Eve, and whoever else was present (I'm kinda sketchy on the 'birth of Jesus' story.) As he yanked, he fell over, kicking down part of the nativity scene in the process. For real, there was gold, frankincense and myrrh all over the place. Then he calmly stood up and triumphantly walked back to the truck, covered in snow, with the cord dragging behind him.

And the next few months, all was well with the world. We felt occasional pangs of guilt, but hey, we've got our own Baby Jesii now (I'm almost positive the plural form of Jesus is Jesii.) Stories were told, laughs were shared...all at the expense of the person put on this Earth to die for our sins.

One day, however, it stopped being funny. I believe the exact conversation was

"Dude, there is a fucking BABY JESUS sitting in that chair over there with an old bottle of High Life in his lap...that is fucked up!"

"Dude...you're right. We've got to get rid of these things. Dammit this is ridiculous! Whose idea was this, anyway?"

"I dunno...Baby Jesus?"

"Hahahaha, nice! Up top, bro! Very ni- no, no, wait, WAIT! That's not funny! That's what got us here in the first place! We gotta get these out of here, dude."

And so the next problem presented itself. How do you dispose of a Baby Jesus? It feels wrong to throw it in the dumpster. You can't very well return it to the house you stole it from..."Hello, ma'am? I believe I have something that belongs to you- funny story, actually..." And there's no black market or chop shop for this kind of thing. I checked. Apparently the Second Wise Man is really in demand, though. Especially if he's wearing the green robe instead of the blue one. It's like having a Ty Cobb rookie card with the name misspelled. Error cards are worth serious money, yo. But that's neither here nor there.

Eventually, after much debate, I threw mine in the dumpster behind Culligan, and started praying for myself every night. The Baby Jesus jokes were officially discontinued that summer, but I still catch myself dropping one every once in a while.

A couple years ago, some co-workers and I were telling random stories of Christmastime tragedy....and one girl told the story of how someone had destroyed her friend's nativity scene and stolen their Baby Jesus. I asked her how long ago this had occurred, and she said somewhere around 6 years ago. All I could do was put my head down and shuffle away, knowing that it was me and my friends. And I have to live with what I've done, for the rest of my life.

And that is my Christmas story. Don't be like me, kids. Baby Jesus is a savior, not a punchline. No matter what Will Ferrell tells you.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry F*%#ing Christmas, New York

I went to sleep last night with a stack of presents under the tree with my name on them. When I woke up this morning, my parents informed me that the New York Yankees offered them $180 million dollars in exchange for my gifts, so now I don't have anything to open today. Even though the Yankees had already shelled out $161 million and $82.5 million for a couple of other kids' presents within the last couple weeks...and even though in Christmases past, they have coughed up $275 million and $189 million, they still didn't think twice about swooping in at the last minute and throwing more cash around and ruining my Christmas.

"That's awesome that you signed with the Yankees, but guess what.....now I'm going to have to kill you. I'm gonna pop a fucking cap in your ass. You're dead, you're Tupac, you are fucking Biggie. You piece of shit, I hope you fucking die or drop the chair and kill that fucking kid. I hope your plane crashes. Peace, fucker!"

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Suit Up!

We were searching for a little inspiration to spice up our Saturday night out on the town. We found it in the form of Neil Patrick Harris' character Barney from How I Met Your Mother (one of the 5 funniest non-animated shows I've ever watched.) He is continually trying to get his buddies to SUIT UP! when they go drinking and is continually denied. We decided to heed his request and we suited up. Minus the jackets, of course. I've only got one suit jacket and it's probably not gonna see the light of day until my next job interview. I don't really need that thing smelling like raspberry body spray and coated in body glitter (to give you an idea of where our night ended up.)

Since we looked like a bunch of fools who just came from a wedding reception, we figured we should have some kind of a backstory, so we dusted off some fake names (Lily Aldrin, Mike Burton, Ed Stevens, Ted Moseby, Doug Dorsey, and Robyn Scherbatzky) and told people we were an investment group out of Spokane, Washington, looking at purchasing the Woodlands race track in Kansas City (which is turning into my go-to fake backstory.)

Some guy at Sandbar was absolutely grilling us on what we were doing in town, which actually helped in the long run, since it forced us to tighten our story up. The key is knowing your details, folks. Anyway, the highlight was when we told him we worked for Hurley, Brand, & Hill (a fairly obvious reference if you follow 1990's college basketball) and he paused, rolled it over in his head and replied, "You know, I think I've heard of them." Ummmm, no you haven't.

We eventually took our shitshow to Brother's (holler!) and then to the Ninth Wonder of the World....The Outhouse. Noles had heard the tales of wonder and mystique that can only occur at a BYOB strip club, and needed to experience it for himself, so who are we to stop him from accomplishing his dreams?

Anyway, there are no outstanding stories from The Outhouse.....I mean, decent ones, but after Paul successfully jacked $20 out of a stripper's G-string, the bar has been set pretty high. Just know that strip clubs are already fun, but when, instead of a chair, you're sitting on a big cooler like you're at a picnic or a softball game or something....strip clubs become more fun.

I realize that this post is pretty weak sauce, and I'm not paying proper tribute to our night of shenanigans, but I'm leaving for North Dakota in t minus now, so this baby needs to get put to bed. OK, pretend this is like a review session for a final exam, and you need to know the main points so you can update your study guide (you nerd.)

1. Things that make an otherwise normal night of partying much more awesome:

- Fake names and backstories
- BYOB strip clubs

2. Actual names of successful consulting firms:

- McKinsey & Company
- Oliver Wyman
- Towers Perrin

3. NOT an acutal consulting firm:

-Hurley, Brand, & Hill

4. Hammen's Theorem on Objects Used as Seating Options:

Coolers > Chairs

5. Which method of obtaining a drink in a strip club is most desirable?

a. Going up to a bar and paying $9.50 for a bottle of Bud Light that tastes like it sat in the trunk of a car all afternoon
b. Having to give your credit card to a topless server, then hoping they don't randomly add $70 to your bill at the end of the night when you're too drunk to realize it
c. Rummaging around your cooler looking for a keg cup in which to pour your $8 bottle of champagne

Answer: C

6. Here's a question I won't tell you the answer to. Out of our six fake names, three came from a current TV show, two came from a show cancelled about 5 years ago, and the sixth came from a 90's movie. What were they? No googling.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Each Word More Useless Than The Last

--Noles was in Kansas City 'on business' this week so he's coming to Lawrence tonight for the weekend (wow...does that read as douchey as it sounds in my head?....'on business'...I am not a fan of being at this age now, when friends are in town 'on business.' Alas.) We'll be going to the Fieldhouse for a KU game on Saturday- his first visit ever, my first this year. From what I've heard about the new pregame video culminating in Mario Chalmers' shot, I'll probably have to bring an extra pair of socks, cause the pair I'm wearing will be rocked right off. Unfortunately, the way KU is playing so far this year, that video could very well be the highlight of the game for me.

--We had a tax seminar at the Harrah's in KC a few days ago, and I put on a FIERCE eating display at the lunch buffet, much to the amusement of my co-workers, who are all around 15-20 years older than me. The prevalent thought in their minds is "I hope this ranch dressing on my salad doesn't aggravate my ulcer" while I'm thinking "I know that I already had dessert- and damn, that soft-serve ice cream and those giant pieces of german chocolate cake WERE delicious- but that prime rib just looks fantastic right now. Fuck it, I'm getting back in line."

--Wednesday night I played my worst stretch of baskeball since I was probably 9 years old. I didn't count the exact number, but I know that there's no way I shot over 10% for the night. I personally cost my team at least two wins. And my team kept giving me the ball and telling me to keep shooting. When you play pickup ball in a church, everyone's so nice. If this would've happened at Hyslop in North Dakota, most of my team would be pissed at me, and J.J. or Eddie (or both) probably would have jumped me in the parking lot afterwards. And to be honest, I liked that style of ball better. Nothing like the fear of getting your ass kicked by black guys to make you play better.

Anyway, it got so bad that when I finally hit a 3, everyone was APPLAUDING ME (this does not happen in pickup basketball unless you're Corky from Life Goes On or something) and I went sprinting down the court with my arms in the air like Christian Laettner after the shot against Kentucky. I feel like you should know these things, because next time, when I talk about how awesome I am, you can bring this up. Hey, Hammen, remember when you missed like 20 shots in a row at pickup ball the other night? You're so gay.

Well that may be....but at least I didn't sleep with Lumberg.

(Side note: I think lines like that are the funniest lines from Office Space. All those other people with their "PC load letter? What the fuck does that mean?" and "I think someone has a case of the Mondays!" That's how you know they've only watched that movie once or twice. Watch it like 83 times, and you find out what's really funny.)

-- When I googled Christian Laettner looking for the above picture, I found this little dandy, which is one of the best commercials in ESPN history, if not THE best. Sometime in elementary school, Dunph and I recreated it in his basement on a 5 foot plastic hoop, stuffing pillows in Aaron's high school jersey to emulate Chris Farley. I can't remember if that was for school, or we were just being idiots. Either way, I'd pay like $200 to watch that home video now.

It's the last weekend before Christmas break...let's get out there and get stumbly. Unless you're traveling, then please travel safe. Click it or law enforcement will ticket.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tyler Hansbrough Writes Some Haiku

lonely as a kid
become a basketball star
a friend for tyler?

lacking in talent
will compensate with hustle
awards to follow

gerald henderson
elbow makes blood on my face
here come the tears now

jumping off the roof
pool surrounded by my peers
i am pscycho t

shot soon to be blocked
look for men in stripes to help
they will bail me out

when we play ping pong
removal of shirts encouraged
though not required

biggest game of life
pressure makes insides rumble
who's this cole aldrich

down forty to twelve
dreams crumbling all around us
will roy still love me?

nighttime is so long
eternal quest for soulmate
can anyone hear me

Monday, December 15, 2008


Somewhere around my 4th or 5th Gusto last Friday night, I suddenly had a realization that stopped me in my tracks and made me do quite a bit of soul searching.....I kinda like the song 'All Summer Long' by Kid Rock.

Maybe it was because I had spent the last three hours drinking in a bar where the only people under age 55 were the bartender, Jud, and myself (tons of fun by the way- I highly recommend drinking at such an establishment every once in a while.) Maybe it was because every other male in the bar (and half the females) would beat me in a contest of "Who's More Grizzled?" and subconsciously I needed to feel like more of a man. Maybe it's the fact that I could listen to a group of infants screaming and crying and running their tiny infant fingernails down a chalkboard...as long as the piano beat from 'Werewolves of London' is playing in the background. Whatever the case, I immediately went home, ripped the sleeves off all my t-shirts, started spitting on the carpet, and smacked Alex around a little bit (but to be honest, that last one had more to do with her ruining the tuna casserole than me listening to Kid Rock.)

Needing a second (read: sober) opinion, I downloaded the song and have listened to it a few times since that night....I still kinda like it. I let it crawl into my brain and now it's in there, and it's getting comfortable. I need the 2008 Very Schneweis Christmas CD to get here quick, or else this is the rubbish I end up listening to.

Singin' Sweet Home Alabama all summer loooooooooong!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sometimes Facebook Makes My Soul Hurt

Travis Releford is a basketball player at KU who hasn't been getting much playing time, and his Facebook status said something to the effect of 'hard work is gonna pay off' or something. Then people started commenting on his status, and a turf war over Releford's profile broke out. I cut and pasted for your enjoyment. Sometimes this blog just writes itself.

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:20pm December 14
dont u go to ku

Chris Bol at 10:22pm December 14
umm idk since his profile pic is him wit a ku jersey?

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:23pm December 14
u tryna be smart ass i didnt look at his profile

Chris Bol at 10:24pm December 14
umm maybe u should then u would know smartass

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:25pm December 14
yeah ok trick

Chris Bol at 10:26pm December 14
ok then bitchassnigga

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:26pm December 14
yeah uo mama

Chris Bol at 10:27pm December 14
ight then nigga were u at muh fucka!

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:27pm December 14
haha nigga i aint stupid

Chris Bol at 10:28pm December 14
yea caus if u smart u not not to talk to me like that...imka fuckin beast

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:30pm December 14
yeah ok nigga ...u talk shit ta me ima talk it rite back

Chris Bol at 10:31pm December 14
nigga WE GO HARD!!!!!

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:32pm December 14

Chris Bol at 10:33pm December 14
nigga u sound like a girl get ure game up.....????????????????????

Martez Lsnhooper Artis at 10:36pm December 14
ok nigga im done argruin with uo bitch ass.. is time ta grow up do u can add comments im done

Chris Bol at 10:36pm December 14
ok cya bitch

Jim Hammen at 10:43pm December 14
ohhhhh snaps! you just got served Martez! call the burn center, dawg!

Nah I'm just kidding I didn't add that. I should've though. cuz if dey smart dey best not talk to me like dat....imka fuckin beast, muh fuckas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jennifer Aniston Looks Decent On The Cover Of GQ....

....but that has nothing to do with this post. I just thought you should know.

-- A little while ago, I received my Christmas/Birthday present from Alex: a piece of the court from last year's Final Four. I was so excited I didn't know where to put it. I wanted it in the Fortress of Solitude, so I could stare at it there. I wanted it at work, so I could stare at it there. Eventually I decided on the living room, where it makes a great conversation piece. As in, every single piece of conversation in that room will now revolve around it:

Random Person X: So, Jim, how have you been?

* my eyes are constantly darting over to the piece of the court. A shit-eating grin is plastered on my face*

Me: Oh pretty good...can't complain...how are you?

*I begin rocking back and forth on the couch, biting my fingernails in excitement*

Random Person X: Oh, good, you know...I actua-

Me: That's great. Hey! Did you see that block of hardwood over there? It's part of the actual court used during the Final Four last year. Yeah, right here in my living room. No big deal, really....what were you about to say?

Annnnnnd scene.

-- I'm usually a big believer in not getting my hopes up for things, and I normally cling to the worst-case scenario until the last possible moment (beautiful example: when KU went up 40-12 on North Carolina in the Final 4 last year, and the entire bar was going bananas, I was standing on the rungs of a stool facing the crowd, screaming and motioning for everybody to settle down- literally angry that people were celebrating like the game was over. I have problems.) But you know what, screw it: I am absolutely giddy at the thought of the Red Sox signing Mark Teixeira. He's always been one of my favorite random players. He's in his absolute prime. He has a good attitude, good clubhouse character, just an all-around good guy. I guess it's pretty safe to say I'm a little bit gay for Mark Teixeira. Just a little bit, though.

His eyes are like brown diamonds.

-- This Sunday, suppose you're in the same situation I am. Your fantasy team missed the playoffs (thank you Domenik Hixon for dropping a wide open 85 yard TD pass; and thank you DeSean Jackson for throwing the ball in celebration BEFORE you crossed the goal line. Without those two plays, I win my division. Oh well, I can't bitch, everyone's got their own tough-luck stories, plus I'm in my championship grace period.) Your real life team is pretty much locked into their playoff or non-playoff position (Tennessee has already clinched a first-round bye, home field throughout the playoffs is close.) You're looking for a little something extra, to give your Sunday on the couch watching football a little pizzazz. A little something to hold your interest. And I'm here to give it to you.

I had so much fun gambling on every single baseball game on the board one day in Vegas, that we decided to do it again. We've got money involved in every NFL game this weekend. So if you'd like to see us win money, join along in cheering for these teams to cover the spread. If you're kind of a jerk, and you'd like to see us lose money (Lane, Dunph, Jon-Jon....I'm looking in your direction) then cheer against these teams. Either way, if you're bored and surfing the internet while watching football on Sunday, you can click over here and check to see how we're doing. We took a push in last night's Bears/Saints game, so we're off to a rollicking 0-0-1 start.

Packers (-2.5) over Jaguars
Lions (+17.5) over Colts
Redskins (-7.5) over Bengals
Seahawks (-2.5) over Rams
Falcons (-3) over Buccaneers
49ers (+6.5) over Dolphins
Jets (-7) over Bills
Chiefs (+6.5) over Chargers
Titans (-4) over Texans
Broncos (+7.5) over Panthers
Steelers (+2) over Ravens
Cardinals (-3) over Vikings
Patriots (-8.5) over Raiders
Giants (+3) over Cowboys
Browns (+14) over Eagles (Monday night)

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins

The Question of the Day is inspired by Paul and his strangely captivating, potentially marriage-ending project entitled "24 Days of Elf." He is on Day #9, and according to him

"Elf is going fantastic! I'm not sick of it at all! Today I saw a baby in the airport and I asked his mom what his name was and she said 'Francisco' and I was like 'Francisco...that's fun to say...Franciscoooo!' and she smiled and I was trying not to laugh in her face the whole time! What are the odds? OK bye I love you."***

***according to the voicemail message left on my phone this morning

So, the Question of the Day: if you were being forced to watch the same movie, every single day, for 24 days in a row (put yourself in Mandy's shoes here, but be careful- they're pretty small) what movie would you choose?

I have a little bit of experience here. It wasn't 24 days in a row, but I know Paul and I watched Anchorman about 15-20 times in a single week back in October 2004....yet ANOTHER reason why that is probably my favorite month of my entire life.

Also, in the summer after 6th grade, my brother, the Bergman brothers and I watched Dumb & Dumber an obscene, OBSCENE amount of times. Figure there's roughly 90 days in summer....we easily watched it 60 times. If not more.

{Side tangent: one day in 7th grade we were in Mr. B's social studies class, copying notes off the overhead and bullshitting. At this point I had seen Dumb & Dumber upwards of 75 times, and I was running my mouth, claiming that I could recite the whole movie, word for word (things like this impressed girls back then.....I hope.) So Mr. B, ballbuster that he is, tells me to prove it in front of the whole class. Without hesitation, I launch right into "Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to the medical school? I'm supposed to be giving a lecture and my driver's a bit lost...."

25 minutes later, with class winding down and me still reciting lines for the class while simultaneously taking notes about South American volcanoes or llamas or something, Mr. B finally admits defeat by telling me to shut up, and as my 'reward' the student teacher had to take my notes for me the next day in class. And this is, without a doubt, one of the proudest accomplishments of my entire life.}

{Side tangent to the side tangent: how awesome of a teacher was Mr. B? Probably top 3 of my childhood. I had him in 7th grade, then he moved up to 8th grade the next year, so I had him again, and by the time I was a senior in high school, he was teaching 12th grade econ, so I had him AGAIN. He was one of those teachers that would pretend to get mad at you when you pulled shenanigans, but secretly he enjoyed them. Like when Ike, Jake, and I decided to be Mortal Kombat characters, and refused to answer to our real names anymore, and even started signing our papers 'Sub Zero, Rayden, and Johnny Cage'.....he secretly enjoyed that. Oh and by the way, that was a 12th grade stunt, not a 7th grade stunt like you might think. Yep, 17-18 years old when we thought that was funny . Awww, sad.}

So back to the task at hand, if anyone still remembers it. Movie you could watch 24 days in a row if someone made you. Go.

At first I was going to choose a comedy, but decided against it, as I didn't want to risk ruining any movies that I really love (which I'm concerned Paul is doing right now to himself.) I tried to find a delicate balance between a movie that is very re-watchable, but not good enough to make me care if I hate it when the 24 days are up.

After a couple minutes deliberation, the choice became clear: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Every time I watch it, I only hear half the lines anyway because we're too busy ripping on it. So even though, in a roundabout way I like watching it- and more importantly, can watch it a bunch of times in a row without shattering the special features disc and slitting my wrists with the broken shards- I realize that it's a pretty bad movie, and thus don't care about potentially burning myself out on it.

As long as I can fast forward through the podrace.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'll Bet You 10 Bucks That Gambling Is Awesome

It's pretty well documented that I love gambling. Even as a little kid I liked to spice up sporting events a little bit by having a little monetary interest in it. I was running a March Madness pool by third grade. I have a distinct childhood memory of losing a week's allowance to my dad because the National League lost the 1990 All-Star Game when Julio Franco broke open a scoreless game with a 2-run double in the 7th inning. I was 7. I begged and pleaded and even cried a little, hoping my dad would let me off the hook for the money. My dad, no doubt trying to teach me a lesson that I shouldn't be gambling, kept my allowance and then broke both my thumbs for trying to get out of paying. My mom (the video game hater) was initially angry with this blatant child abuse, but then she realized that without working thumbs, I wouldn't be able to play Sonic the Hedgehog for a couple months, and she mumbled under her breath "Two birds with one stone...score" and then her and my dad performed their secret handshake while I sobbed through the pain.

Years later, it's apparent that the only lesson the big guy taught me was that gambling is awesome. I don't even care how much money is involved; I'll cheer just as hard to win a dollar as I would to win a hundred. It's not about the money, it's about making things interesting.

It was in that spirit that we went to Shaun and Nelle's wedding on Saturday. I found plenty of eager participants, and soon I was scribbling down guesses of the length of the ceremony on a bar napkin. Ringer guessed 25 minutes, the actual time was 23:20, and when the ceremony ended she immediately whipped her head around from her seat a few rows in front of us and pointed at my watch in anticipation of her victory.

We bet on the length of Jud's best man speech. Katie won that one, but she had inside info since she is dating the best man; after some controversy and deliberation we let it stand, but she is now barred from the Hall of Fame, Pete Rose style. (Side note: Lane, Tucker and I had spent the last month trying to convince Jud to incorporate some famous quote from the world of sports, eventually settling on Jimmy V's "don't give up...don't ever give up" as our choice. He wasn't drunk enough to sneak that one in there, but he did manage to use the phrase "outkicked his coverage" so we were satisfied.)

We bet on the length of Jen's maid of honor speech (the best I've ever heard, it was basically a 3 minute and 13 second roast of Shaun- barbershop quartet style.) I was victorious in that bet and will be investing my winnings sometime this week. Investing them in two chili cheese wraps, a cheeseburger with mayo and no tomatoes, and a large strawberry limeade, that is.

We also had a prop bet of "will they hook up or won't they" with the line set at 5-2. We won't mention any names, but I talked to the girl involved yesterday, and it is official: they didn't. I told her about the bet and that I was the bookie. She wasn't offended, but now she wants a cut of the proceeds because "an attempt was made but it was unsuccessful."

Also from the wedding dance: for months now Shaun has been hearing how awesome the Apache dance is. He assured us that it would be played at the wedding. What we came to find out later on is that Lane and I would be announced by the deejay, and we would be on the dance floor by ourselves for the first verse so that the entire wedding can watch us, learn it, and then join in. Luckily I had been double-fisting beers and jungle juice for a couple hours already (open bar, dudes!) so I was drunk enough that I could've gone out there naked and not been too concerned about it. It went well, everybody enjoyed themselves, but the moral of the story is: if you constantly talk about how awesome you are, every once in a while you are going to be asked to prove it....maybe in front of a large group of people.

Congratulations Shaun and Janelle.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'll Take "Sitting On My Ass Doing Nothing" For $400, Please

After a long Thanksgiving weekend full of partying and driving, all I wanted was a week or two of laying low and doing nothing. Both my wallet and my liver needed a little break. However, this was not in the cards.

After I got back, Vampire Hunter D was scheduled to perform at open mic night at The Bottleneck. Very few people reading this know of VHD, but the few who have experienced his freestyling firsthand (cough- Amber!- cough) know that I couldn't very well skip that. $1.50 beers turned into $1 beers turned into free beers, yada yada yada...we ended up at a strip club that night.

The next night I had to run errands and get groceries because I had eaten every single scrap of food in the apartment before going home for Thanksgiving. Let the record show that I seriously contemplated drinking a jar of spaghetti sauce for dinner, that's how bad I wanted to just stay home and avoid shopping.

The next night, Dunph was in Kansas City for the day, so we went and visited him and watched college basketball and had dinner and beers and whatnot. Couldn't really skip that, unless I wanted to read a bunch of texties from Dunph that said things like "get a ballsack or get bent, you fucking pussy" or "you're gayer than 8 dudes blowing 9."

Last night was trivia night at Zig & Mac's. I suppose I could've skipped this if I realllllly wanted to, but I wanted to redeem myself after I basically cost our team the victory last time we were there. (We were in second place out of 15 teams going into the final question, the category was sports, I convinced everyone to wager all of our points...and I got the question wrong. If you can tell me who the Associated Press named 'Sportsman of the Decade' for the 1960's without googling it, then you're a better man than I.) And we finally got over the hump and won last night anyway, so it was worth it.

And now this weekend is Shaun and Janelle's wedding. This is my first wedding in 16 months where I am simply a guest, and have no actual responsibilities as a member of the wedding party. Additionally, since this is the first wedding we've attended featuring our "Kansas friends", I don't personally know most of their family members. So, after a bunch of weddings consisting of friends' moms asking me all about my life since they last saw me in 1998 (while I try and answer coherently and pretend like I didn't just get done shotgunning three consecutive beers with the high schoolers in the parking lot) I'll get to have the kind of mom conversations I truly enjoy. The kind where I tell them my name is Greg Maddux, and I work at the law firm Avery, Smoltz & Glavine.

The senior partners and me. After our firm hit a low point in 1990, we experienced the greatest one-year turnaround in privately-owned law practice history, and went on to win the highest percentage of cases in the country for 14 consecutive years, until falling off a bit in 2006.

In the last two weddings I attended where I wasn't weighed down by the troublesome burden of "staying constructively sober" these were the results:

- When the deejay played 'Whoomp! There It Is,' Paul and I grabbed the best man/maid of honor speech microphone and karaoked along to it, which erupted into a multiple person, mulitple song sing-along that ultimately had to be ended by the bride and groom.

- I stayed up all night drinking, and when 7:00am rolled around, Jennifer and I loaded up two plates of donuts, fruit, and other stuff from the continental breakfast and wandered around the hotel for an hour, looking for the newlyweds' room so we could "serve them breakfast in bed."

So needless to say, all bets are off tomorrow night.

And then I'm gonna be an antisocial bastard for two weeks. Fo' serious.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Navigating I-29

One man's game plan for driving to North Dakota, which is still being tinkered with but is nearing perfection:

First, right before I leave Lawrence, I hammer down a nice Sonic lunch. The benefits here are threefold:

1. I can get my daily intake of 11,000 calories all in one shot
2. It fills me up for like 14 hours, so I don't have to stop and get food the entire trip, which saves me time
3. Sonic is fucking delicious

As I'm leaving town, I usually play something like the Beastie Boys or Wu-Tang. For some reason I like a little rap to start off the trip.

As soon as I hit the interstate, it's time to rock out. I've got a playlist that consists primarily of my top 50 most played songs. It continually evolves so that it always contains the songs I like the most at the time (it is named 'Boner Jams 08' as an homage to the scene from 40-Year-Old Virgin where Paul Rudd has the box of porno and names one "Boner Jams '03...A collection of all my favorite boner scenes from the summer of 2003.")

The only criteria for this playlist is that it must begin with 'You And I' by Rick James. There is no better way for me to begin a road trip than with 8 minutes of my boy Rick James telling me to dance on the funk. When Alex is in the car with me, I never cease to be amazed at her ability to sleep during this stretch of the drive. She's just snoozing away while I'm playing air drums, air guitar (sometimes both at once....whooooaaaa look out!) and singing most songs as loud as I can- cause I have to be able to hear my award-winning voice over the insanely loud volume, duh. (Just so I don't come across as an asshole boyfriend, I ask her every time if I should turn it down, or put in headphones, and she says no every time. Not to say that I'm NOT an asshole boyfriend....just not in this situation.)

On my way up for Thanksgiving, I was pounding the steering wheel so hard during 'My Sharona' that it popped out of its locked position and I had a minor heart attack while I tried to steer and get it back into place. The surprising thing is not that I knocked the wheel loose; I've been waiting for years for this to happen to me. The surprising thing is that it happened during a song like 'My Sharona.' What can I say, that guitar solo that starts around the 2:45 mark is badass. I've got this playlist timed to end between Omaha and Sioux City, right about when I need to get gas for the first time.

After I fill up on gas, I will usually check my phone, which I mostly ignore while I'm jamming. By this point, Bergman has probably called somewhere between 3 and 14 times, so I'll call him back first, and anyone else who may have called or texted.

After my phone time, I usually take it down a notch or so. Maybe some Zeppelin or Stevie Wonder. My favorite part of the whole drive is going through Sioux City. Memories of watching the Sox win Game 4 of the 2004 World Series at the Argosy come flooding back every time I drive through, and as I drive past that big, beautiful riverboat casino full of happy memories, I'm unintentionally doing my best Lloyd Christmas impression right after he drops Mary off at the airport.

"Goodbye my looooovvvvvvve!"

About an hour past Sioux City is when I first start to crash a little bit. I start listening to slower music, I'm starting to get a little bored with driving after 6 hours, and South Dakota is awwwwwwwful. Seriously, the highlight of this stretch is when I send the traditional "I'm in Moody County" text to Schneweis (inside joke, don't ask.) Except cell phone reception sucks in South Dakota, so there is a 71% chance he doesn't even get that text.

I usually get gas in Watertown, and since they added a tiny little bar in the same parking lot, I have made it a habit to stop in and get a beer. There are always some interesting characters in there, and one time the bartender liked the bullshit I was talking so much that she sent me on my way with a free six pack of PBR.

For the next stretch, I throw in a movie, almost invariably a comedy from the group of Superbad, Knocked Up, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Anchorman, Wedding Crashers, etc. I've been working on finding the right angle to set the DVD player on the passenger seat so I can see the reflection while facing straight ahead. Playstation in the windshield, son, how balla is that?

The movie gets me inside of Fargo, and for the last 45 minutes or so, I'll just put the iPod on shuffle and return some more phone calls. Even though during the drive I feel like I'll never get to Grand Forks, once I do arrive, the last 10 hours feel like they went by in 20 minutes.

(Note: the drive back to Kansas at the end of the weekend is an entirely different story. I'm usually hungover, sick of most of my music, and as soon as I hit South Dakota there's a blizzard, or a monsoon, or the fucking dinosaurs from Jurassic Park got loose or something. As long as it makes me drive 35 mph and kills my time, it will happen during the drive back.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fatsgiving Weekend

--No crazy shenanigans to report from the weekend. There were the usual shenanigans (smelling girls' hair while trying not to get caught; friends pretending to be passed out and watching other friends make love; getting my spitter thrown across the floor by a rather heavyset woman in an argyle sweater) but no crazy shenanigans. There will be at least twice as many of our friends back home at Christmas than Thanksgiving. That fact, combined with our relatively low-key behavior this weekend, means that somebody is probably gonna get their house burned down somewhere around the 26th of December.

--This was a lot more fun when we had places to after-party that weren't our parents' houses. This was the thought I had at approximately 2:37am on Sunday. I had just dropped T. Nels off for the night, and had spent the last 5 minutes idling outside the driveway, assuring him that no, I really didn't want to come in to his pitch-black, dead silent IN-LAWs' HOUSE for a couple beers at 2:30 in the morning.

--My Thanksgiving eating performance was disappointing, to say the least. I still ate double what anyone else at the table did, including my 275 pound father (and my 275 pound aunt-- zing!-- just kidding, she couldn't be a pound over 250...just kidding again, I don't really have an obese aunt) but it wasn't up to my lofty standards. Probably how Tiger Woods felt like when he was winning all those tournaments with his self-proclaimed C game.

--Another disappointment was my big unveiling to my family that I occasionally chew now. In my mind, I envisioned my dad and brother giving me heartfelt handshakes, my dad getting a little teary-eyed and saying "I always wanted a second son..." then inviting me out to the garage to take apart a transmission or clean some shotguns or something....but instead they just indifferently shrugged their shoulders while my mom immediately started giving me a lecture on how disgusting it is.

--Plaxico Burress is a dipshit. Next time you accidentally shoot yourself, please make it severe enough so that you can never play football again, and there is no chance that you end up on my fantasy team ever again.

--Today is Day 1 of Paul's first annual "24 Days of Elf." He will be watching the Will Ferrell movie every single night from now until Christmas Eve. In a related story, Mandy's Christmas present to Paul this year is going to be divorce papers. Mandy, you can probably just get this thing annulled, it hasn't even been 3 months yet.