Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Golden Eras

Thinking about the flood, and the time period directly afterwards that was a "Golden Era" in my life, got me thinking about other Golden Eras- times in my life that I look back on very fondly for whatever reason (mostly drinking, sports, or Star Wars.) Without further ado:

April 1999- June 1999: No particular reason, sophomore year of high school was just kinda awesome. My classes were cakewalks, I had recently purchased my first car, and my biological father Chris Dudley led the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals as an 8 seed. Plus the day that Star Wars Episode I came out in theaters remains one of the top 10 most fun days of my life, and probably deserves its own post at some point. Long story short: a bunch of us ditched out of school to wait in line all day, and we ended up throwing an impromptu party on the Midco 10 front lawn. How a group of 25 sixteen-year-olds drinking, smoking, grilling burgers, and generally causing a ruckus didn't get busted is beyond me.

June 2001- September 2001: The entire year starting from here until Summer of 2002 was probably the best year of my life, but I split it into three distinct sections. This stretch was great because Ike and Jake became the first of our friends to move out and get their own apartment, so naturally we got drunk over there around 75 days in a row until we moved into the dorms. I also took my first real road trip, going out to Seattle and Portland for about a week. It was nothing short of magical. On the drive home I got my first taste of Red Bull, and subsequently drove straight from Portland all the way to Bismarck, until a large breakfast at a diner almost put me to sleep at the wheel and derailed my dream of driving the whole way by myself.

September 2001- May 2002: freshman year of college. So many shenanigans. So many girls. So many beers. So many laughs. Despite the fact that we incorporated drinking into almost every aspect of our life during this era (kickball in the quad, writing papers, night classes, morning classes on occasion- holla at me Kos) my only regret is that we didn't drink more.

May 2002- August 2002: the beginning of the Culligan Manor Era. No need to elaborate further.

October 2004: pretty simple- the Red Sox ran through the playoffs and I experienced "my" first championship, which was every bit as awesome as I imagined it growing up. It would've been a little better if they would've waited until Game 5 in St. Louis, so Dunph and I would've been in attendance, but watching them clinch in a riverboat casino in Sioux City (and subsequently learning how to play craps and losing all my ticket money, food money, merchandise money, and a couple hundo extra to boot) was pretty awesome too.

March 2005- June 2005: first, Noles, Fundy, Paul and I took a fantastic road trip to Chicago, Lousiville, and Indianapolis- which I could absolutely write a book about. You want to talk about running the gamut of emotions: The night at Howl at the Moon in L'ville (which included Schne and JV) is one of my top 5 greatest nights of my life; and yet, just three nights later, I was sleeping on a bridge in Indianapolis after KU lost to Bucknell and I had the girl I was dancing with at a club stolen away from me by none other than Ron Artest.

Besides that road trip, I took a trip to Augusta and went to The Masters with Bergman, and even though I have two disposable cameras worth of pictures, I still have to convince myself I was actually there. I don't like to throw around the term "breakthaking" very often, but it was breathtaking.

During this era, there seemed to be a fantastic run of parties, maybe because a lot of my friends were graduating (at least the ones who actually decided to graduate in four years) and people were going balls-out before they moved on. I also had an unprecedented run with gettin' some strange (earmuffs Alex) which I also attributed to the impending graduation. Knowing that you will be moving out of town in a matter of months is nature's best afrodisiac, and I took full advantage.

I also accomplished one of my lifelong dreams by drinking for 24 hours straight on Springfest, from 6 am to 6 am, with only a 19 minute nap and a few makeout sessions in between (20 minute naps were against the rules, and the guy who sat behind me in World Geography class wouldn't let me go further than 2nd base- what a tease.) The last Star Wars movie also came out, which not only gives me a warm feeling inside, but eliminates any possible cool-guy credibility that this paragraph might have given me at the beginning.

March 2008- May 2008: Obviously. I also included May, however, because of my first Kentucky Derby trip and the Las Vegas trip, which were both shitshows for the ages.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mourning Period

This has been, without a doubt, the best I have handled a KU tournament loss in my lifetime. I had my little half hour "cool down" period, where I flushed all calls and texties, and then spent a little bit of time bitching and moaning about the missed opportunities down the stretch. And then I moved on. It was definitely a tough loss to finish the season, giving away a 5 point lead with three minutes left, but there are plenty of reasons why I should stay positive:

- KU won the title last year. That should be a good enough reason by itself, but if there's one thing I'm good at, it's writing about college basketball for 10,000 words, when 3,000 would suffice. If there's two things I'm good at, it's that- and hitting on moms. So I'll continue.

- KU had no business even making it to the Sweet 16. Looking at KU's roster at the beginning of the year, my only hope was that they didn't pull a Florida and miss the tourney. When they survived the NDSU game, the season was a success as far as I'm concerned. Bill Self deserves every coach of the year award he wins this year.

- If your team has a fatal flaw, and their season eventually hinges on that fatal flaw, you gotta accept that the season probably isn't going to end well. For KU, that would be a lack of support besides Aldrich and Collins. Going into halftime I was concerned, because Tom Izzo is too good of a coach not to make adjustments to make those two less of a factor. Michigan St. was totally keying on them towards the end of the game, and no one else was willing to go and make a big play. The one negative thing I can say about this team was that the young guys really regressed in the tournament. They seemed like they were out there just trying not to screw up, instead of being aggressive. However....

- This is a very young team, and everyone's coming back a year older, better, and hungrier. I think Tyshawn Taylor is gonna be a special player by the time he's done....the jury is still out on the Morris twins. And how about my boy Brady Morningstar throwing down TWO dunks in one half? Those were, in all likelihood, the first two dunks of his career. He tried throwing one down against Missouri earlier this year and missed horribly, so during the first breakaway last night, I was understandably nervous. My running commentary got laughs from everyone watching the game with me: "Lay it in Brady, lay it in Brady, just lay- AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH throw it down!!!!!" They were laughing at me, not with me.

- There is a decent recruiting class coming in next year. I don't expect much from Elijah Johnson, mostly since he's a point guard and we already have Tyshawn, but Thomas Robinson is supposed to be a rebounding beast who'll hopefully rub off on the Morris twins, who react to physical contact about as favorably as the random girl I sat next to on a flight to Vegas, when she woke up to find me gazing into her eyes, gently stroking her cheek and whispering "You're beautiful when you're sleeping."

Plus Self picked up Jeff Withey, a seven-foot transfer from Arizona, and the word on the street is that Lance Stephenson, the #9 rated recruit in the country, is announcing on Wednesday that he's coming to KU. Normally I would be worried about him cutting into Brady's minutes next year, but it seems that the only guy who has a bigger boner for Brady than me is Bill Self. You know Brady's gonna get his, son.

- And finally, IF Aldrich and Collins come back: look out. KU then wouldn't lose anybody except two walk-on scrubs- although there would be a noticeable lack of a goofy redhead at the end of the bench, an underappreciated roster spot if there ever was one, and a KU staple ever since the days of Ol' Roy. Reading between the lines of all of Collins' and Aldrich's quotes (which I spend an embarrassing amount of time doing- I pick apart their interviews like a prosecuting attorney looking for holes in a murder trial) I would guess that Aldrich is staying, and Collins is leaving. This makes little sense, since Aldrich is a guaranteed top 10 pick, while Collins would be a 2nd rounder, if he gets drafted at all. But Aldrich is one of those Hansbrough types who loves being in college, while Collins has a two-year-old son and some baby mama drama to worry about, so he's itching to get paid in the shade. However, both have said that they will put their decisions in Self's hands, so I'm holding out hope that they both stick around and make KU a preseason top 5 team next year. It's tough; for the first seventeen years of my KU fandom, exactly two players left school early for the NBA (Pierce and Gooden.) Now there have been four in the last two years (Julian, Rush, Chalmers, and Arthur.)

Other tourney thoughts:

- Poor Dick Enberg is absolutely losing it. Normally I hate it when announcers who have been announcing game since I started watching sports retire (I still miss Pat Summerall, especially in the Madden video games) but it's time for Dick to hang it up. He messes up names, numbers, scores, fouls, etc. around 25-30 times a game, and that is probably a low estimate. If you are paying attention to the game, he literally cannot go three possessions in a row without mixing someone up. I'm waiting for the day where Jay Bilas snaps on air and starts doing both the play-by-play and the color by himself (similar to when Dunph, already playing shorthanded, kicked Stenejehm off the court during a 3-on-3 game, telling him he'd rather play by himself than on the same team as him.)

- Happiest guy on the planet today: Reggie Redding from Villanova, who apparently had a brain aneurysm during the inbounds play and unnecessarily launched the ball the length of the court with 10 seconds left. What the hell was he thinking? You know that play was dumb when it gets second-guessed by Alex, the same girl who calls DeJuan Blair "Mr. Arm-Band Man" as in "You are not very good at free throws, Mr. Arm-Band Man! You're ruining my bracket!"

But Scottie Reynolds hits the buzzer beater, and now nobody will remember his mistake. Except for his buddies, who 10 years from now will hopefully be sitting around watching the tourney and drinking some beers with him and saying things like "Hey, remember that one time when you were 10 seconds away from making the Final Four and you decided to recreate the Grant Hill/Christian Laettner play? That was awesome."

- I've always loved Bill Raftery as an announcer, but since I found out that Jud loves him as much as I do, we've taken the joke to another level this year. We spent most of Stoutsapaloozafestathon speaking in a Raftery voice "Ohhh! Bring on another round of goldschlager forthebigfella!"....."Wing paying his $140 tab in cash? Onions!" And now Jud and I have taken to calling our home base bar "Raftery's" or "Raffy's" because we're convinced that he'd love to get sauced there. We spent a solid 15 minutes last night debating how we could persuade him to start doing Big 12 games on ESPN, so we could take him out boozing after a Big Monday game.

{Side story: Jud's buddy Ryan has done some PR work for ESPN in the past, and one time got to sit down for dinner with a couple other scrubs, some producers, and Raftery, Jay Bilas, and Sean McDonough. After dinner, Ryan and the others were going to leave, thinking they were "intruding" on the bigwigs' social time, but Raftery instructed them to sit down, and proceeded to get everyone at the table shitfaced. As the evening wore on, Raftery started busting McDonough's balls and telling him to pick up the tab, to the point where a producer told Raftery to ease off, which caused Bilas to join in, and McDonough eventually left the table to go to his hotel room. So then Raftery and Bilas continue to talk shit about McDonough, revealing that they're not just breaking balls, they honestly don't like him. They also made accusations that he was not a real basketball fan, and gay to boot. So keep that in mind next time you're watching Louisville vs. Georgetown on Big Monday and those three are announcing together. Personally, I can't wait.}

- I said it before the tourney started (and for 4 months before that) but I'll reiterate: tomorrow's North Carolina/Oklahoma game is the national championship in my mind. It's too bad that injuries derailed Oklahoma into a 2 seed in Carolina's bracket, because this would've made one hell of a championship game.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go watch last year's national championship game for the 26th time. Maybe the semifinal game against Carolina too. I don't know, I don't know if I'll have enough time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The 'Flood Of The Century' Can't Happen Twice in 12 Years

Once again, in what seems like almost a yearly tradition, the flood situation is escalating quickly in good ol' North Dakota, my hometown, the motherland-

"Cradle of fuckin' civilization!" -sorry, that is totally hit or miss. If you've seen the Black Bush skit from Chappelle Show, you're probably laughing. Not quite LOLing, I don't like to throw that term around very often, but at least smilling. If you have no idea who that guy is, go watch the skit, bitches.

For all the non-Nodaks reading right now, you might want to give this a read, as there will be many references to it throughout this post. It won't count towards your final grade, though, so a quick once-over will suffice.

When I lived up north, this was the kind of thing I bitched about, how seemingly every year the media would start mashing the panic button as soon as the snow started melting, successfully getting everyone worried...and then the river would crest, a repeat of 1997 would be averted, and you got pissed for getting concerned in the first place.

However, this year the threat is very real. Although my parents' house SHOULD be safe this time around, and Grand Forks is in better shape than Fargo (a role reversal from 1997) the fact remains that the river is in the backyard of my dad's office, and only a British Open par 5 from Culligan Manor. If this new multi-million dollar dike isn't up to the task, once again many people I care about are gonna be effed, big-time- especially considering I have a bunch of friends living in Fargo these days.

I've been getting mildly sick to my stomach thinking about the possibility of 1997 happening again. Partly because I'm older now, so I actually realize the ramifications of a flood occurring; and partly because I live 700 miles away now, and immersed in the dog days of tax season, so helping out is not feasible and I feel guilty.

The first time around, I was 14, and I remember that we didn't take the possibility of a flood seriously, and sandbagging was basically an excuse to get out of class:

"Dude, I heard that Skinner's english quiz is a real grizzly bear, and I totally didn't study. If I fail that thing, I'm screwed!"

"Fucking prepositional phrases! Well screw it, let's go fill sandbags for a couple hours, our parents will sign notes for that."

"Nice thinking...I'll try and swipe some half-smoked cigars from my dad's ashtray, we'll smoke them in the park across from Sandbag Central."

(Side note: how much more annoying would we have been if Wedding Crashers had already been released back then? I probably would've said "You sandbagging son of a bitch!" approximately 32 times. Per day.)

On the day that things stopped being polite and started getting real, my buddy TJ and I happened to be at Sandbag Central, when a guy got on the loudspeaker and announced that a number of neighborhoods were being evacuated (including his house) and we actually high-fived, because we figured he would just crash at my place for a few days and it would be awesome. Sleepover, dude. Bring your EA 4-way Play.

Our parents, obviously having a better grasp on the situation, quickly shot that down, and the next day the shit really hit the fan, and MY neighborhood was being evacuated, despite being miles from the river. Bummer, man. Soooo can I still borrow your 4-way Play? I might want to fire up some Live '95 while we're evacuated.

A few weeks later, after we were let back into town and saw what the river did to our house, I got my first glimpse of my parents being 'real.' Cracks in their facade, if you will. I had never actually seen my parents, my mom in particular, being legitmately distraught, and it rattled me a bit. I think this memory is responsible for at least 70% of the pit in my stomach when I think of the possibility of another flood.

But it wasn't all gloom and doom after that; in fact, that summer, in my mind, became one of the "Golden Eras" of my life, that I remember very fondly. We spent 12-14 hours a day gutting and rebuilding our basements (although in my case, I use that term very loosely. Pretty much all I did was haul shit out to the curb. Meanwhile, my brother, two years my junior and a sixth grader at the time, was using power tools and helping my dad make important decisions. However, I could name the starting five of all 64 teams in the NCAA tournament that year. So I had that going for me, which was nice. On a scale of 1-10, my dad's disappointment in me has to rate at least a 7.5. Minimum.)

As a result/reward of this responsibility being thrown on us at that age, most of our parents kind of let us run wild at night. This may not have been a big deal to some of my friends, but my parents were far and away the most strict, and they loosened up to the point where I had no curfew (although that would've come to a quick and painful end if they had known we were still snagging Dutch Masters from time to time.) It wasn't a bad routine: work hard all day, chill out and catch the 11:05 pm episode of The Simpsons, and gather for a midnight pickup basketball game under the lights, while comparing horror stories about our houses. Lather, rinse, repeat. Golden Era.

Anyways, things eventually turned out OK, and the city rebuilt, and now it's much, much nicer than it ever was before. But it would suck if it got demolished again by this dipshit river that decides to flow north. Good luck to everyone up north.

You sandbagging sons of bitches.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Last year, during one of the nights of opening round March Madness games, Jud, Wing, Kyle, and I went to JB Stouts. When the evening began, the plan was to eat dinner, have a couple beers, watch a round of games, and then head home to watch the late games. I even had my tab in front of me and the pen in my hand to sign off, when I uttered the famous words "Ahhh screw it- I'll have one more." I re-opened my tab, and of course everyone knows what happens next: all of a sudden it's 2 in the morning, my tab went from $18 to $73, and I'm wondering if I can make it home before I puke, or if I should swallow my pride and do it here at the bar. Just a legen...wait for it....dary night, and we immediately vowed to each other that we would keep that tradition going the next year. Which we did on Friday night.

And now, after the 2nd annual Stoutsapaloozafestathon (the name I came up with over the course of the night, after I decided that Stoutsapalooza wasn't good enough, so I added fest to it, and then later....you get it) it is quickly becoming one of my favorite days of the year. We bet on random in-game situations (when exactly will the under-12 TV timeout occur? Where is Siena located? Who will score next for Louisville?) and the person whose answer was furthest away paid for the next round of shots. I ended up taking more shots than any single night since my power hour, on top of all my beer and nachos (the bartender asked me if had a tapeworm because I ate so much and continued talking about how hungry I was....booyeah.) We added a couple newcomers, Chris and Nate, and after about 20 minutes of the madness they had already given their verbal agreement for next year.

After tourney games were done, a bunch of us headed back to Willie's, the scene of JukeboxGate 2009 from a week earlier. As luck would have it, the bartender from that story was bellied up as a customer, and as an added kicker, it turns out that she is friends with Wing. So we talked for awhile, and shared a good laugh at my blacked-out shenanigans and buried the hatchet (although she wasn't really that pissed at me to begin with- after her initial annoyance, she thought it was pretty funny, actually.)

After we talked, I went over to the jukebox and played 'Shake Your Body Down' again, just to see her reaction (and because it is still a kick-ass song.) She busted out laughing and I gave her a wink and the gun. I followed that up with about six other Michael Jackson songs, and later got a compliment from some random girls for single-handedly changing the vibe in the bar, which up to that point had been more of a Waylon Jennings/Johnny Cash "I've been here since 10 a.m., I've had 27 Old Milwaukees, and as soon as I finish this one I'm gonna go home and start a fistfight with my wife" vibe.

Moral of the story: I may be an asshole when I'm blacked out; but I'm witty, charming, and basically irresistible to all women when I'm socially drunk....at least that's what I tell myself as I'm laying in bed at 4 am, right before I fall asleep. Although it's kind of stretch to call it falling asleep- it's more like passing out.

And oh yeah, Stoutsapaloozafestathon is awesome.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Friends

My intercom buzzes, and the receptionist says: "Jim? There's a Ben Woodside for you on line 1..."

I successfully stifle my laughter, debate whether I should have her send the caller to voicemail, and finally compose myself and pick up the line: "This is Jim."

Accompanied by someone who strangely resembles Noles giggling in the background, I hear a voice that sounds suspiciously like Fundy: "Hey, uhhhh....this is Ben Woodside...uhhh...you're goin' down tomorrow!"

I suppose this is what I get for working on the opening day of March Madness (Dunph when I told you that I was at the Sprint Center, in the 7th row behind Memphis' bench, that was a dirty lie and I'm sorry- Lane and Jud made me do it)...but still, giving out my work phone number was EASILY the dumbest thing I've done so far in 2009. Well, there was the time I accidentally overdosed on allergy medicine and tried to fistfight a dog outside a gas station because I thought it called me a racial slur....so maybe this is the second dumbest thing I've done in 2009.

I hope everyone is enjoying the greatest day of the year. Please no more prank calls at work, even if it's 1:30 in the afternoon and you're already six beers deep and you think it sounds like an AWESOME idea.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Madness Thoughts

>> I think that if KU can get out of the first round, they have a chance to make a run. KU getting that matchup with NDSU was so predictable it was stupid. The March Madness Gods would like nothing more than for KU to lose that game. After I get bragging rights from the title last year, what better way to knock me back down to Earth than losing to NDSU, the first time they're ever in the tourney. Why do you think that NDSU is the first 14 seed to have FUCKING HOME COURT ADVANTAGE IN THE FIRST ROUND? If that's not the March Madness Gods at work, then I don't know what is. I think I'm more scared of NDSU than Michigan St., if that makes any sense. I suppose these are the residual scars left from the Bucknell/Bradley disasters...scars that not even a national championship can heal. Holy F, if KU loses to NDSU....I don't want to talk about it anymore.***

>> As much as I hate to say it, I think North Carolina has a good chance to walk to the title. I thought before the year that they had a chance to go undefeated, and obviously that didn't happen, as a combination of injuries and underachieving cost them a couple of wins. If Ty Lawson is healthy, even without Marcus Ginyard, this is the most talented team BY FAR. My only hope is that Ol' Roy does what he likes to do when he has ridiculously talented teams: choke. At least one thing's for sure...he'll cry at the post-game press conference.

>> After Carolina, I don't really think there's a great team anywhere else in the field. It's a far cry from last year, when all four 1 seeds were legitimately great teams. All the other top seeds this year are extremely flawed (I do really like Oklahoma, so it figures that they are in the same region as Carolina. That has been my championship game since early December.) So, one would think that this would be a crazy, upset-filled tourney, a la 2006....the only problem is, I don't think many of the mid-to-lower seeds are that great either. So basically I have no idea what to do with these brackets (particularly the Midwest, where I think Louisville, Michigan St., and KU are all begging to be upset....but by who?)

>> Teams that could win a couple games, but I'm probably too scared to pick: Texas, USC, Ohio St./Siena, and Western Kentucky.

>> Teams that could win a bunch of games, but I'm probably too scared to pick: Purdue, Wake Forest, UCLA, FSU, West Virginia.

>> Teams that I don't like as much as most other people, for no good reason: Villanova, Memphis, Louisville, Michigan St.

>> Teams that I like more than other people, for no good reason: Purdue, Oklahoma, FSU, Ohio St.

>> Potential matchups that I really want to see:

- Carolina/Oklahoma (for my money, the two best teams in the country when they're healthy)
- Missouri/Memphis (would be a wild, wild game between the two teams I hate the most)
- Duke/VCU (Greg Paulus' worst nightmare....nevermind, Paulus doesn't play anymore)
- KU/West Virginia (only because this would mean that KU got out of the first round. I really can't stress enough how scared I am of this game. If KU wins by 20, then you can all have a good laugh at my expense for being so worried; but until then, I'm preparing for the worst.)

>> It's official, I have a new least favorite team: Memphis. Not Duke, not Missouri, not Carolina, not Tupac's team in the All-City Shootout from Above the Rim that punches people during games and shoots them after losses. I think John Calipari is pretty much the antichrist. I'm tired of hearing him whine and bitch all the time about not getting respect; I'm tired of him saying that Conference USA is good when it is AN INDISPUTABLE FACT that it is awful; I'm tired of him getting every stud recruit every year (he's already got the #2 and 3 recruits next year, and there's a good shot he gets #1. That is ridiculous) and I'm tired of him deflecting criticism and shifting blame when his teams melt down in close games. Somebody please knock them out of the tournament early.

>> So, my unofficial Final Four, which will probably change a bunch of times, all the way up until Thursday morning: North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Purdue. I've already done a million different drafts, and there will be a few more before time is up. You know that scene in Happy Gilmore where Adam Sandler pulls a hockey puck out of his pocket, and Virginia asks him if he always carries a puck around, and Happy says yeah and gives her a look like well yeah, why wouldn't I....that's me with a tournament bracket from Selection Sunday til the tourney starts.

*** OK, maybe I do want to talk about it some more. Most annoying subplot of KU playing NDSU: everybody down here in Lawrence asking me, as a native of North Dakota, who I'm cheering for. The first thing people don't realize (and seem to have trouble understanding even after I explain it to them) is that I DID NOT GRADUATE FROM NDSU. I know that North Dakota is a small state, and nobody knows anything about it (or cares) but try to consider that there is more than one university in the entire state (!!!) and this one happens to be my alma mater's hated rival. When I tell them that I didn't go to NDSU, they give me a puzzled look, and say something like "Oh. I thought you said you were from North Dakota." Unbelievable. It's like, I have these conversations like this, regularly, with people all over the country, and yet WE have the reputation as the idiotic backwoods hicks. Fucking Coen Brothers just haaaad to make Fargo.

(On that note, there is a downright shocking number of UND graduates that are cheering for NDSU. I know some of them are just my friends breaking my balls, but the vast majority are actually cheering for them, and they should be ashamed of themselves. I don't care if it's their first time in the tourney, or that they're "putting NoDak basketball on the map." Our school hates their school and vice versa. You don't cheer for them, no matter the circumstances. They sure as hell wouldn't cheer for us. When the Russians launched Sputnik into space in the '50s, did America sit back and cheer them on and say "Good for them, they're putting planet Earth on the map"??? No. We got our asses into gear, started throwing billions of dollars into NASA, and had our own dudes strolling around on the moon 10 years later. Suck on that, Comrades.)

And just so we're clear, if there was a basketball team that rolled out a starting five of my mom, my dad, my brother, and twin orphans who were both dying and their Make-a-Wish was to win just one game in March Madness- and Jesus Christ Himself was their 6th man (averaging a tidy little 11-6-4 and doing all the little things off the bench)- and they were playing KU in the tourney....I would still cheer for the Jayhawks. I'm glad that's settled. Rock chalk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day

Quick update: we're using the same bracket challenge as last year. You can find the link and password in this post from last year. Urrrrbody is welcome to join, the more the merrier.


For the most part, I love having a big kid's job. The vast majority of my older friends told me that getting a real job sucks, and made me dread finishing college and growing up. After roughly 19 months of the real world, I am of the opinion that they were dead wrong. Getting weekends and holidays off, sitting in a comfy office all day, getting paid in the shade....umm, yes please.

All that being said, when it's 80 degrees outside, and it's St. Patty's Day, and I'm receiving a steady stream of texties and phone calls from everyone who's out getting sauced all day, while I'm inside doing tax returns for 13 hours.....well, that's when I would tend to agree with all those people who told me that being out of college sucks.

Drink a green beer for me, assholes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just Another Example...

...of how I'm an asshole when I'm blacked out. Sunday Funday had a little too much Funday and not quite enough Sunday to it.

Me: Excuse me ma'am, I just picked out like 20 songs on the jukebox and it stopped playing after only 4.

Bartender: Well, it'll do that if you picked the same song over and over again. Is that what you just did?

Me: Whaaaaaat? That's crazy talk!

Bartender, inspecting jukebox: Yep, it looks like you picked song #9409 twelve times.

Me: Well, you can't say that Shake Your Body Down to the Ground isn't an awesome song.

Bartender: Don't pick it that many times in a row anymore.

Me: So if I pick a different song, and then go back to the other song again, it'll work, right?

Bartender, deadpan, very unhappy with me: Yes.

Me, oblivious: Sweet. Thanks. ~pushes 9409 in the jukebox again~

Soooo yeah that was my night last night. I'll post March Madness thoughts another day (I'm sure all the girls reading this are breathless with anticipation) because right now I'm in the clutches of a crippling hangover, and the rest of my lunch break will be spent cramming ungodly amounts of Chipotle into my mouth and hopefully taking a little Costanza.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Losing My Mind

Let's set the scene a little bit: I'm staying late at work today, and I'm the only one left in the office. I have the window right next to my desk open a bit, and there's been this little rabbit outside my window, rustling around in the leaves and making noise and generally just pissing me off ALL DAY.

So since no one is around, and I'm about at my snapping point with this mother effing rabbit, I lean out my window and start making noises that can best be described as "Angry Cat"- meowing in an aggressive manner and hissing and whatnot. I continued doing this for about 5 seconds, until Peter Cottontail finally got the message and scurried away. It was only then that I realized what, exactly, I was doing.

There are so many things wrong with a 26-year-old leaning out a window and making angry cat noises to scare off an annoying rabbit (sober, and at his job, no less) that I'm not going to dive into it any further. Chalk it up to tax season, I guess...

...or maybe chalk it up to the lady who called me three times within two minutes at 7:30 this morning, and realized she had the wrong number ONLY after I called her back after call #3. Listen to the voice on the outgoing voicemail message instead of repeatedly hanging up and calling back again, you dumb B. What are you, 12?


And yes, I realize the irony in mocking someone else for acting like a 12-year-old when exactly one paragraph earlier I did something that even a 12-year-old would think is lame....but I literally just realized that irony now, so fuck it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Message Behind The Message

The following is a realization I just had. It had been sitting there in front of me for a long time now, but it took until today to officially confirm it.

I could never watch a minute of another Kansas basketball game for the rest of my life, and I would still have a pretty decent idea of how that particular season was going, due entirely to the texties I get during and/or shortly after games. I'm not talking about what the messages say (because then obviously I would know how the games were going, and this post would be a complete waste of time. Well, MORE of a waste of time, I should say.) I'm talking about who they're from. All I would need to see is the little name on the little envelope on the front of my phone, and I'd have my update. Here's how it breaks down:

Texty from Kos: game has just started, and happens to be televised in Chicago

Texty from Schneweis, Kyle, or Lane: random in-game chatter/KU won

Texty from Fundy: either a really good win or a really tough loss for KU

Texty from Dunph, Jonye, or Bergman: KU lost

Texty from Dunph within 5 seconds of the final buzzer: KU lost to a shitty team

Texty from all my friends who are college basketball fans; family members; a bunch of girls who normally don't follow college basketball; or a girl who I made out with in Los Angeles a few years ago and hadn't talked to since St. Patty's Day 2006 because she drove to Vegas to meet up and I inadvertantly ditched her- my bad, I thought our flight left the NEXT day: KU won the national championship.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words (Or However Many This Post Amounts To- Probably More Than That Due To My Affinity For Run-on Sentences And Parentheses)

So the last few days I've been getting a little bit more into March Madness mode- and as a result, I've been reminiscing more than usual about last year's tournament. (Side note: those are both lies. I've probably been in March Madness mode since mid-November, and it's not possible for me to reminisce about KU's title any more than I have the last 11 months. I've re-watched the championship game roughly 25 times; I've got the local radio broadcast of the game both on CD and on my iPod; and I recently shelled out 28 bucks for the previously unreleased Final Four game against Carolina, since my Final Four DVD only has an abbreviated version of that game.)

(Side note to the side note: what a bullshit rip job that DVD is. Yeah, it's awesome watching the title game over and over, but it advertises having "the COMPLETE Final Four" when, it actuality, it just has the complete championship game, abbreviated versions of both Final Four games, and some mediocre special features. Why not just eliminate the Memphis/UCLA game from the DVD and have the entire KU/Carolina game? What Memphis fan is buying this DVD anyway? "Hey, remember when we blew a 9 point lead with 2 minutes left and then our 3 best players left for the NBA? WHAT?!? You have the DVD? Well, quit holding out on me, let's pop that baby in!")

Annnnnyway, I hadn't seen this picture from last year's KU/North Carolina Final Four game until very recently. I'm assuming it was taken by Kyle's wife, and it's an instant classic. Besides the fact that this brings back a ton of great memories, there are other things about it that I love. Six, to be exact.

1. I've been trying to give some of my friends an idea on how crazy downtown Lawrence was during the Final Four, but it's tough to describe the chaos and energy unless you were there, or have been in a similar situation. This picture does a better job than I could: shoulder to shoulder throughout the whole place, every single person cheering for the same team. And keep in mind that we were at one of the "least crowded" bars downtown.

2. You can see me (on the far right) pitting out like it's my job. As previously mentioned, it was crowded as shit and extremely warm in there, and by the end of the game, my shirt was completely soaked through with a mixture of sweat and beer that people tossed in the air at the final buzzer. That's not really an excuse though, since just thinking about this game at any point during the six days prior made me break out into a ferocious sweat. The day of the championship game, it was even worse. One of my co-workers caught me under my desk with my shirt off, smoking 4 cigarettes at once, and it was only 9:15 in the morning. Anyway, I already use clinical strength deodorant, and if anyone else has any suggestions or tips, I'm all ears. (Besides pulling a Paul and wearing 4 undershirts at all times.)

3. Along those lines, I went and bought a new hat the day after this picture, since the one I was wearing was completely soaked with beer/sweat. After awhile, I kinda forgot about this hat, and kinda forgot why I stopped wearing it in the first place, so I gave it to my dad, who was in need of a new golf hat. He loves it, and apparently is able to overlook the fact that every time he tees off on the 1st hole, the rest of his foursome is undoubtedly wondering why he smells like Billy Bob Thornton after a three-day bender.

4. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but I still find it hilarious. Just before the game started, Lane pulls out this little dandy: "Cole Aldrich is going to end up being our most important player tonight. Maybe not most valuable, but definitely most important." Everybody dies laughing at the ridiculousness of that statement. Up to that point, Aldrich was your typical freshman: flashes of brilliance, long stretches of time where he didn't look like he had never played basketball in his life. In addition, he was KU's 8th man, averaging only about 9 minutes a game (even less than that in the tourney.) So to say he would have any real effect on this game was laughable.

Well, Aldrich came out of nowhere to put up 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 16 minutes, as well as out hustling the GREATEST HUSTLE PLAYER AND POSSIBLY THE GREATEST FUCKING BASKETBALL PLAYER IN HISTORY. Every time he made a great play, everyone in our area would immediately turn to Lane and high five him, head pat him, offer him a quick beejer, whatever.

And you can tell in this picture that Aldrich just did something awesome, as you can see Lane (in the very center with the Twins hat on) being offered a high five by Brad, getting pounded on the head by a stranger- and you can also see him pointing to himself in a manner that clearly says "I called this shit, bitch. And where's that BJ?"

5. It's weird that I seem to be enjoying myself in this picture. Granted, it was probably taken during KU's big run that opened up a 40-12 lead, but I would estimate that I spent upwards of 95% of this game either:

A) so stunned that KU was playing that well that I was unable to celebrate
B) screaming obscenities at either Hansbrough or Good Ol' Roy (or both simultaneously)
C) standing on a stool, telling everyone to calm down because Carolina was going to come back
D) watching Carolina come back and thinking about the quickest, most painless way to kill myself

It appears that this moment was captured during the other 5%.

6. Lastly, this is just a great picture. The way Laurel captured Kyle and I high-fiving each other over the crowd, she should get a Pulitzer for this photograph or something. Wait, what award do great photographers win? A Pulitzer? An Oscar? A fucking Emmy? Somebody help me out here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tyler Hansbrough's Note: 25 Things About Me

1. I am a Tar Heel for life!

2. I know my mom is hot, so quit telling me.

3. No, I've never seen my mom naked. I mean, probably when I was a baby, but I don't remember it. Quit asking me that, too.

4. I like Quizno more than Subway. Subway sucks, they put way too much mayo on my sandwiches. It's like they don't even know what "just a little mayo" means, WTF?!?

5. I've never kissed a girl before. Everytime I get one of those urges, I just go to the gym and shoot 1,000 free throws. I don't shoot 80% for nothing, bro!

6. I've seen Britney Spears in concert 7 times. She is totally underappreciated as an artist.

7. I've never looked at one of those Magic Eye pictures and NOT been able to see the hidden image. Those things are easy.

8. Also, when I was in elementary school, the first time I ever looked at a Where's Waldo? book, I beat the whole thing in 7 minutes. I swear I did, my friends timed me. The Land of Waldos at the end wasn't even hard. He's the one missing a shoe....duh.

9. I can do 17 pull-ups in a row, without stopping once. I could probably do more, but I don't want to try. I'm saving it for the scouts.

10. One year, I asked my parents, once a day, for a horse that Christmas. I didn't really want one, but I knew they were crazy expensive and my parents would say no, so then when my parents "only" bought me a new bike, a Nintendo, my own phone, a remote-control airplane, a tree house, golf clubs, and a bunch of other stuff, it made it seem like they weren't spending a lot on me. Best Christmas ever.

11. I walked out of There Will Be Blood after 10 minutes. I thought that movie was supposed to be good....there wasn't even any talking yet! UMM, hello, boring much? I demanded my money back from the guy behind the counter, then used it to buy $8.25 worth of gobstoppers. Totally worth it.

12. I don't like crossword puzzles, they're for losers. What's an 8-letter word for the Greek hero of war? I don't know, why don't you tell me, nerd? What a waste of time.

13. I had really bad acne when I was younger, and I got made fun of a lot. It finally cleared up, and now I totally rip on other kids who have pimples. I mean, I had to go through it, so why should they get a free pass? It all evens out.

14. The first thing I ever bought with my allowance was a Boyz II Men CD. It's still probably my favorite CD ever.

15. I'm really scared of heights. I still plan on going skydiving someday. I'll just close my eyes when I jump.

16. Say what you will about the others, but in my opinon, Sporty Spice was the hottest of all the Spice Girls. Easily.

17. One time, on a dare, I went up to a group of girls and asked "Can someone do me a favor and call a veteranarian?" When they asked why, I flexed my arms and said, "Cause these phythons are siiiiick!" They all started laughing, and one girl seemed totally interested, and I was gonna ask her on a date, but we had a road game that weekend, so it probably wouldn't have worked out anyway.

18. I know all the lyrics to "Jump Around" by House of Pain, and I don't usually like to brag, but I'm really good at rapping them. Sometimes I tilt my hat sideways and rap for the guys, and they all think it's hilarious. Especially the black guys, one time I caught them all recording me on their cell phones. They must have REALLY liked it!

19. One time I stole money from a homeless guy. He had passed out on the sidewalk, and he just left his little change cup sitting there! Maybe if he took better care of his money he wouldn't be homeless.

20. My favorite cereal is Lucky Charms. Most people just pick out the marshamallows and eat those, but I do the opposite. I pick out the marshmallows and throw them all away. They're not very good for you, and scouts like when you have a healthy diet. I checked.

21. I hunted for Easter eggs until I was 19. Why should all the little kids have all the fun?

22. I think Will Smith is the greatest actor in the world, and nobody can tell me differently. Have you SEEN I, Robot?

23. When I was little, I got mad cause I couldn't beat the next-to-last level of Super Mario on my GameBoy, so I threw it against the wall and it broke. I told my parents that it just stopped working, and we were able to exchange it at the store for a new one. Hahahaha suckers!

24. I hate the word 'mystery.' Why can't it just be spelled 'mistery'? It makes way more sense, and my third grade spelling bee would've turned out A LOT differently, I can tell you that much.

25. If my career in the NBA doesn't work out (as if!) I'll probably just become a writer. I got an B+ on my last Comp 101 paper, and I didn't even try that hard on it. It was a 5-pager, and I didn't even start until the day before it was due. My roommate says I might be a natural.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Iowa? Yeah....I Owe, Uhh.....Zack 10 Bucks, Can You Lend It To Me?

That was some quick thinking by A.C. Slater there. If his dad would've heard about the wrestling scholarship from Iowa, he would've been PISSED.

So, as previously mentioned, I have been laying low and not going out for the last six weeks*** in an effort to save both money and my health. Needless to say, it's been pretty uneventful.

Friday nights have been spent googling pictures of the chick who plays Hermoine in the Harry Potter movies while sucking whipped cream right from the canister. Saturday nights have been a little more special: I cover my body in glowsticks and make Alex flick the bedroom lights on and off really fast, while I listen to 'Sandstorm' by Darude on repeat and dance for hours on end.

So it's time for a little change of pace.

You know how every once in a while you hear something or see something, and it just cuts right to the core of you and pushes your buttons, so that you know, eventually, that you have to have it, and it's not even really up to you? Like for me, when I see a preview for a comedy starring any combination of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, or Jason Segel, it's like "Well, I better clear my calendar for July 16, cause I'm going to a movie" or when I hear a troop of girl scouts come into my building selling cookies it's like "Well shit, looks like I'm spending $78 on caramel deelites today."

Well, that's how I felt the first time I drove north on I-35 between KC and Minneapolis a couple months ago. I'm just cruising along in the Bumblefuck region of southern Iowa, when all of a sudden, along the horizon, the nighttime sky was completely lit up. I knew that Des Moines was still 60 miles away, so my curiousity was piqued. By the time I came to the top of the hill, I was practically chewing through my steering wheel, I was so excited/nervous. Also I had slopped some secret sauce from a KFC Snacker on the wheel, so that may have factored in, as well. In any event, what I saw didn't disappoint me: a huge, huuuuuge monstrosity of a neon cowboy/matador advertising Terrible's Casino. And right at that exact moment, I thought "Well, looks like I'm making a trip here someday."

I have driven past the neon matador a couple of times since my initial sighting, and each time, I kinda gaze at it in a creepy manner and nod at it silently, as if to say "I'm going to have you soon. Oh yes, you will be mine." Very similar to my facial expression when I drive by crowded elementary school playgrounds in my conversion van with FREE BIKES spray-painted on the side.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore, and long story short- we have a room reserved for tomorrow night. Alex, Ashley, Stephanie, Ryan and I are driving up, and Bergman is driving down from Minneapolis, and we're gonna have a good old-fashioned night of drinking, gambling, and taking jokes from Godfread's book How to Make People Laugh, page 1, paragraph 1- things like "It's not Terrible when you stay at Terrible's, ahahahahahahah LOLZ!!!!"

And by the end of the night, I hope to be shitfaced and broke, walking around aimlessly and muttering to no one in particular about how I need that 10 bucks a lot more than that spoiled-ass mother fucker Zack Morris.

*** With one exception: one night we went out drinking in Kansas City since it was Ringer's birthday, and between the long lines for poorly-mixed drinks; the overwhelming abundance of doucheboxes confined in a small area; and Alex drinking like Lindsay Lohan on her 21st birthday, it was an absolute nightmare.

You can go ahead and file "going to the Power & Light District in downtown KC" under Things I Will Never Ever Do Again, along with "asking a woman with a bulge in her stomach how many months pregnant she is" and "agreeing to open-mouth kiss a toothless lady outside the Salvation Army in exchange for free Taco Bell for life, even though I had no way of knowing that she didn't actually work there anymore, I mean she was wearing the uniform and everything, and is it my fault that I happened to be craving a Crunchwrap Supreme REALLY bad right at that moment?"

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Thanks to everyone who has chipped in so far with a music recommendation, it is very much appreciated. (Note: if you think of more in the future, you can still comment with them- I get an email every time a comment comes in, so your recommendations won't be lost in the shuffle, even if it is months from now.)

There were lots and lots that I had never heard, and some that I was already very aware of (Rob: The Clash is probably my second favorite band of all-time, after Led Zeppelin; and Weisser: I would pay an obscene amount of money for a CD with the 12 o'clock song on it- especially if it had the extended dance mix and the bonus track "Cool Discs- Creed Version" on it.) I hope that Limewire has been drinking plenty of Gatorade and stretching properly, because it's about to get a ferocious workout.

Also thanks to those of you (and there were multiple people, so I'm not singling out one person) who texted your recommendations to me, because apparently you're too cool for blogs. I know, I know, it's one thing to read them, but once you officially leave a comment, you reach a whole 'nother level of nerdery, and it's a slippery slope after that.

Guess what- you think you're too cool for school- but I've got a news flash for you, Walter Kronkite.....you aren't.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


So, in the span of five weekends beginning with Christmas, I drove to the following places:

Grand Forks (20 hour round trip)
Minneapolis (14 hour round trip)
Colorado Springs (15 hour round trip)
Ames (7 hour round trip)

That, friends, is a lot of driving, even for someone like me who usually loves life on the road. In addition, shortly after I came back, my laptop contracted a serious virus, and my downloading abilities were temporarily crushed.

Not THAT virus. Still pretty serious, though.

As a result of all the driving, and lack of downloading, I am pretty burned out on everything in my iPod, and I could use an infusion of new songs. My mission for all of you is to give me some desperately needed recommendations. It can be a single band, a single song, or a bunch of random songs from different bands if you're feeling squirrelly (that would be most appreciated.) Whatever you are personally loving at the moment.

And this request goes out to everybody. I don't care if you're Schneweis, who already provides me with multiple CDs a year; if you're DVJS, who for the most part shares the complete opposite taste in music as me; if you're one of the randos who read this everyday but never comment- I never ask much from you guys; or if you're the person from Charlotte who is only reading this because you googled "why won't Tyler Hansbrough be my facebook friend." (Somebody actually googled that and was led here, by the way. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.) Hell, I would take song recommendations from Evelyn right now.
If you want to be anonymous, be anonymous, just leave your song suggestion and go on your merry way. I want recommendations from everybody. My computer has been cleaned up, and I'm ready to go on a downloading spree, the likes of which haven't been seen since the Great Porno Rush of '99.

OK, I asked nicely, now a word from Uncle Sam:

I want YOU to give me some music suggestions! And no fucking pussy-ass Backstreet Boys bullshit, bro! Something I can jam out to off-roading in my Wrangler, hittin' a fatass joint and crushing PBR Tall Boys! Uncle Sam likes to ROCK!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Captain Kirk

The last month and a half or so I've been trying to save a little money (read: not driving to another state and drinking my face off for three days in a row.) I've been successful for the most part, until this weekend. The KU/Missouri game was on Sunday, and it was sold out. Not only is the Missouri game the biggest of the year, not only was the Big 12 conference on the line, but at halftime they were retiring Kirk Hinrich's jersey.

I initially wasn't going to go to the game in the interest of saving money, but then I had an epiphany on Friday morning which resulted in me deciding I was going to this game, one way or the other. This is what I moved here for, right? If 2003 Hammen would've heard that 2009 Hammen was skipping this game over the matter of a few dolla bills, he would've kicked 2009 Hammen's ass....or, more likely, he would've talked a bunch of shit, tried to look hard, and mayyyybe given 2009 Hammen a chest bump or two, hoping that the confrontation would get broken up by the bouncers before it escalated into actual physical violence.

And so I SUITED UP, threw some cash in my wallet, and soldiered out to the Phog Allen Fieldhouse and haggled with the scalpers. The main guy (he looks like one of the guys who work in the warehouse on The Office, and I call him Big Black, but only when he's not listening to me, looking at me, or within 100 yards of me) said that individual tickets were going for $190 each, and so I played the whole "I've only got $120 in my wallet, what can you do for me" card and snagged myself a decent ticket in the lower level. Side note: does anyone else feel like interactions with scalpers are one of those situations where both parties walk away snickering and muttering "hahaha...sucker" under their breath? I'm walking away thinking "Oh, did I say I only had $120 in my pocket? Whoops, I meant $300. My bad, I must've miscounted." And he's walking away thinking "Oh, so you think you talked my price down pretty good, huh? Damn, I guess I'll just have to live with only making a $65 profit on that single ticket...how much do YOU get paid an hour? Oh, snaps, no time for that, here come some more sucka-ass whiteboys."

Yo, check it- buy this ticket from me, and I'll throw in this Coolio CD for...let's say...another twenty scrill. Oh, you haven't heard of Coolio? You gotta check this shit out then, it's what hot in the streets right now. Gotta peep the song called 'Gangsta's Paradise', give it a month or two, and urrbody be bumpin' it. TRUST ME.

Annnnyway, whatever the price, it was definitely worth it. Not only did KU beat its hated rival by 25 (and DIDN'T storm the court- memo to Missouri fans: when you are a ranked team, and you beat another ranked team- you don't storm the court, you fucking dipshits) but I also got to see Hinrich's jersey hung in the rafters. I don't know if the dust was blowing around, or if the person in front of me smuggled a few bags of hayseed into the Fieldhouse, or what the deal was, but something must have triggered my damn allergies, cause as soon as Hinrich's highlight video started playing on the Jumobtron, my eyes were watering like crazy and didn't stop until the ceremony was over.

It's not a coincidence that my two favorite KU teams of all-time, 2002 and 2003, were Hinrich's junior and senior years. When he came to campus, he was the skinny, floppy-haired kid who struggled against full-court pressure and looked like he'd be more comfortable on the Quidditch field with Harry Potter. When he graudated four years later, he was third on KU's all-time list in assists, steals, and three-pointers, eighth all-time in scoring, and first in my heart....still looked like he would rock at Quidditch though.

If Kirk wasn't such a crappy name, there is little doubt that my first-born would be named after him. It just doesn't have a good ring to it: "Kirk! Run your ass down to the store and grab me a tin, and snag me another cold beer out of the fridge while you're up! DON'T BACKTALK ME! You don't want me to cancel Christmas again, DO YOU?!?! KIRK! I don't want to miss any of the game, goddammit! Did I ever tell you I named you after a KU player? KIRK- WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING?!?! This is why I hit your mother!"

See, it just doesn't roll off the tongue nicely.