Monday, October 31, 2011

Things I Think About During Songs. Volume 3.

Ray LaMontagne is pretty sweet. I enjoy a lot of his songs. I don't quite celebrate his entire catalogue (like the Bobs and Michael Bolton) but he's decently represented on my ipod.

However, when he sings, he sounds like a guy who is trying to get his friend's attention from across the room in a public library. Kind of a restrained yell/whisper. Lately, it's all I can think about when I hear him. "Dude.....duuuuuuuuuuude! I found that Harry Potter book you were looking for! I told you it would be in the young adult section. Hahaha, in the young adult. Totally nailed that one. What? Oh, OK, I'll just come over there...."

There, now you can't unhear that opinion. I hope that like me (and now Christine, for whom I've slightly ruined LaMontagne's songs) you now think of that the next time, and every time, you fire up some Ray. Hopefully it's before, during, or after a love-making session with your significant other-- or that broad in the slutty cat costume you inevitably meet at your Halloween party tonight.

Happy Halloween, from Ray and me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Like Ma Bell, I Got The ill Communication

For the first time in my life, I'm in love with my cell phone. I'm in iLove.

I resisted cell phones for quite awhile; I was probably in the last 20% of my friends to get one (I have no idea how to phrase that properly. I was in the 20th percentile, assuming that the first person to get one is in the 99th percentile? Let's just say that if I have 100 friends, then I was about the 80th to get a cell phone. Dammit that still sounds stupid.) Then when texting became popular, I resisted that as long as possible too, even adding a rule to the Culligan Manor Charter that said a lap must be done around the apartment for every combination of six texties.

Granted, I did like certain things about cell phones. Having 25 different ringtones for 25 different people: AWESOME. Changing my outgoing voicemail message to the chorus of "U Can't Touch This" except I dubbed my own voice in to yell "Leave a Message!": Also awesome-- anyone who tried to leave me a voicemail in 2003 or 2004 will tell you that. But for the most part, I've hated the actual cellular device. All my phones have disappointed me in some way. As we get older and phones (theoretically) get more badass, I've been even more disenchanted with them. I've thought about just going back to an old school flip phone and rolling sans internet and email, but I couldn't quite pull the trigger.

Everything hit bottom for me during my 18-month ownership of a BlackBerry. I hated almost every day with that thing. When I finally traded it in, and they asked me if I wanted to recycle my BlackBerry for $20, I told them hell no, then took the 'Berry out back and gave it the Office Space treatment. Back up in yo' ass with the resurrection!

OK, you got me. That's a lie. I took the $20. That's almost three burritos and an order of chips & guac from Chipotle.

But now, friends, I have an iPhone, and it's baller as shit. I no longer hate cell phones and think of them exclusively as a necessary evil. This phone actually brings happiness into my life. Sometimes I look at it sitting on the table and just sigh in pleasure.

The one and only thing I don't like about my phone is that it's tough to text with my fat fingers. It sucks because I'm usually a stickler for text message grammar. I hate it when I fire off a texty and realize after the fact that there is a misspelling or grammar mistake. I know I don't always use semicolons; in the right place, but overall I'm pretty good. So right now that's an uphill battle for me, constantly going back and retyping once I found out I hit the wrong button. Once I get that figured out, it's gonna be awesome (I really don't know why 22 years of playing video games doesn't translate into being able to text quickly and efficiently, but them's the breaks.)

So it may have taken over a decade, and I needed to get an iphone and actually have reception in my house for it to happen....but finally the war between cell phones and I is over. There were no winners.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We Live By The Gun, So We Die By The Gun

I finally became a more accepted member of the Hammonds household last weekend while up in Grand Forks. I've got a brother who has been shooting guns and hunting since 2nd grade, and now lives out in the country so he can spend his days shooting targets, water bottles, coyotes, and would-be trespassers without worrying about bothering his neighbors. I've got a mom who attends shooting classes across the country, and is now proficient with multiple types of weaponry. I've got a dad who, at best, could be classified as a gun worst, he's a man in possession of both an attitude and a weapons cache that makes him capable of a David Koresh-type last stand against the government, God forbid it ever came to that (and with the Democrats currently running the country, I'm certainly not ruling it out. My parents make Bill O'Reilly look like a liberal arts student at the University of Colorado.)

This may be a picture of the Branch Davidian compound in 1993....but it may as well be a future picture of my parents' house on West Fallcreek Court if Obama gets re-elected next fall.

Then you have me, who not only had never fired a gun before, but didn't even like being around them, and for many years refused to play Big Buck Hunter in the bars because what did those poor animals ever do to you? I actually had wanted to try shooting for the last few years, but various excuses kept getting in the way. I'm too hungover; there's a Laguna Beach marathon on TV; I'm re-tying all my shoelaces that night (Boom! Stacey Carosi reference there. That was her excuse for getting out of a date with McSteamy about 15 years before Grey's Anatomy. Oh, you didn't know that was him, did you? Did you know that Pinsky from Salute Your Shorts went on to be the lead guitarist for Rilo Kiley? Cover your head, I'm dropping early 90's Where Are They Now? trivia in here!)

So finally last weekend my family, along with Christine, Bergman, and Bergman's girlfriend LZE, went out to Brother's place, set up the targets, and made me into a grown-ass North Dakota man. It went well; it was quite a bit easier than I thought. I shot a 9mm and a .45 (whatever the hell those numbers mean) and though we weren't exactly shooting from a long distance, I was still able to pretty much hit where I was aiming most the time. I figured I'd barely be able to hit the board, much less the bullseye area, and maybe I would accidentally shoot someone in the foot, and that there would definitely be crying involved. My confidence grew exponentially after my first few shots, and it was all I could do to keep from throwing on a red bandana, sagging my pants, turning the gun sideways, and screaming "Break yo' self fool!" while bustin' caps on that snitch-ass target.

So while I've still got a ways to go in my gun career-- it's troubling to have the knowledge that, if I was to have an Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton-style duel with my own mother, she would be able to kill me three times before I even got the gun out of its holster-- but at least I've taken the first baby steps. Anyone want to go shoot some wild animals this weekend? A gorilla? Or a rhinocerous? Or a fucking human being? That'll get ya jacked up. You know, like a worthy adversary. Not a human being that's armed....but a clever, clever human being who knows the jungle.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Captain Tying Knots

I was going to omit a blog on JonJon and Amanda's wedding, similar to how they omitted Horp and I from the shout-out paragraphs in their wedding program (when even the friggin' READER got her own paragraph, what a slap in the face)....but I decided I'm a bigger man than that.

Random thoughts from the weekend:

- I'm gonna say something that may sound blasphemous, especially coming from me, the same guy who wrote this post once upon a time. We're gonna get it out of the way, right at the beginning.....I think I kinda liked not having a wedding dance. (Gasp!) At this point, we've done the wedding dance thing. Every sub-friend group within my entire friend group, we've done the damn thing. Multiple times. We've all seen each other do the Apache, the Macarena, the Electric Slide, the Chicken Dance, etc. etc. Plus, wedding dances go by too fast. They're like huge keggers in college; the next morning you wake up, and you know that you talked to 67 different people....but it still feels like you didn't talk to anybody. Convos at wedding dances just miss that intimacy, you know? Probably because I'm either a) screaming at the other person, to be heard over Kool & the Gang being played a couple notches too loud; or b) leaving conversations right in the middle because I heard the opening few notes of SexyBack and there's no way I'm gonna miss that song to hear about how tough grad school is right now, bro.

When dinner was winding down, our table had our doubts. What would we do for the next couple hours? Should I go try and plug in my ipod? What if I just stood up and started yelling "Sliiiiide to the left! Sliiiiide to the right! Two stomps this time! Two stomps this time!" Would a wedding dance just break out? (Both Aimee and Lisa said yes, and really wanted me to try it.) But lo and behold, the next couple hours of open bar and open conversations were fantastic-- I didn't miss dancing at all. Clutch move with the open bar, newlyweds. Clutch move. Also, the over/under for times somebody said "Open bar, dudes!" like Farva in Super Troopers was set at 5.5, and we hit the over within 15 minutes.

OK, so there was a liiiiiittle bit of's not like it was banned like the town in Footloose or anything. Plus Horp and I figured since we weren't mentioned in the program, we should get a special Usher Dance or something. Remember the old Kid 'n' Play dance? One of my all-time faves.

And although it was more fulfilling catching up with people without a dance getting in the way, I still don't remember much, because....

- I might be the worst person in the world at remembering non-numerical details about people and their lives. We'll sit there and chitchat, and they'll tell me what's happening in their life, and the next day my mom or somebody will be like "Oh, you ran into ____, what is she up to?" And I'll blank for a second and stammer out "I'm pretty sure she's studying gerontology or optometry or clinical pyschology...I dunno, she's gonna be a doctor in a few years I think." However, if that person would've told me she was playing in the WNBA and averaging 13.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 27 minutes per game, I would be able to recite that verbatim the next day. It's just the way my brain works. I need numbers.

- In a weekend full of running jokes** here was my favorite: there was a girl in attendance, Jamie (I'm not worried about using a fake name here because even though I usually write everything under the assumption that the person in question is reading, there's like a 4% chance she sees this. Also, I'm not concerned if she does-- it's a funny story.) We got along really well in 8th grade Life Skills class. I made jokes and kept her laughing; she fixed pretty much all of my projects so I didn't fail the class. Those of you who know how worthless I am at day-to-day tasks are nodding in agreement right now. Can you imagine getting held back in middle school because you continually mixed lights with darks while doing laundry, or burning the shit out of your casserole? That could've easily happened to me.

I also thought she was cute, and was preparing to "ask her out", whatever that entailed in 8th grade....and then the flood hit and instantly ended our school year. Then we went to separate high schools, didn't see each other for a few years, she got super-hot, and all of a sudden she became the only girl in my life I was ever unable to talk to. Bing bang boom. Just totally intimidated. I saw her around town every once in a while, and we've probably said 10 words to each other since 1997. So it became this running joke, that she was the middle school version of The One Who Got Away-- especially after we found out that she was friends with JonJon's then-girlfriend-now-wife Amanda. He found out that at one point she was living in Boston, and loved to give me shit that if the Flood of '97 never happened, I'd probably be living across the street from Fenway and have season tickets to my beloved Red Sox right now. The fact that she is now married with a kid hasn't slowed down our jokes at all.

So after an entire weekend of making jokes like "Katie, wanna do me a favor? Go up to Jamie, point at me, and say something like 'Damn, that Jum Hammonds really grew up, didn't he?" or "Horp, if she walks in and I'm not by the door to usher her in, I'm gonna make a bird call, and you have to stop and tie your shoe or something so I can get back in time to do it" or "Christine, on a scale of 1-10, how mad would you be if we broke up this weekend so I can follow my destiny? I mean, you'd be able to find a ride back to Kansas, right?" Saturday night was winding down. Jamie went to say goodbye to JonJon, and as she's walking away, JonJon, with more than a few in him, yells across the bar "OH BY THE WAY JAMIE, JUM HAMMONDS SAYS GOODYBE TOO!" Just totally puts me on blast. All I can do is sheepishly wave at Jamie, while giving JonJon my best "What the fuck, dude" face. It was pretty hilarious. A much better usher present than the tie he gave me. So thanks for that, big guy.

**Other running jokes: Horp and his dry hands-- the joke that keeps on giving; callling MyShawn 'Cat Stevens', another one that will never get old; Noles getting caught chewing in bed by Jenna; Schneweis' dad being a badass; calling Christine 'Waldo' because she's tall and skinny, and last time she was in GF she wore a red-and-white-striped shirt; a couple others that I can't type here because they're not suitable for the World Wide Web (remember, assume that everybody in the world reads this) and probably a few others that the ol' booze brain can't remember.

- Great wedding, great people, great weekend. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. JonJon. FYI, I chose this picture because it's taken after the wedding, yet the big guy still has the deer-in-the-headlights look. It's over now, dude. It's done. No take-backsies.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I'm heading up north tonight for JonJon's wedding weekend. Hello Red Pepper, Popolino's, Ray Richards golf course, charitable gaming, and last but not least, hello old Grand Forks friends (but probably closer to least than to first-- Red Pepper white sauce definitely ranks above a lot of my shitbag friends.) I'll see you all soon.

Also hello Dumb & Dumber tuxedos, Horp and I are expected to dress ourselves as ushers for this wedding-- always a dangerous move-- and this is what we settled on:

Naturally Horp is wearing Carolina blue, while I will sport orange.

Just kidding Amanda, we'd never actually do that. Or would we.....?

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's A Trap!

The golf course I have my side job at began being managed by Billy Casper Golf in about April of this year. The first time I saw their logo, I was confused. First of all, I couldn't tell what it was supposed to be for quite a while. A flower? A frog? A burn victim? (Nope, a buffalo.) And secondly, it looked familiar to me as something else, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then I finally realized it was a dead ringer for Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars. And I absolutely cannot get that image out of my head now.

So for the last few months, I've been dying to make a million "It's a trap!" jokes, or maybe even drop a little "Our cruisers can't repel firepower of that magnitude!", but nobody else at the course is a Star Wars nerd like me, so it's mostly wasted. The only guy who even knows who Admiral Ackbar is by name is the teaching pro, who is in his late-40's, greets everyone with an almost Bill Lumbergh-sounding "What's happening, my young brother?" and gives off a generally creepy vibe, despite being a nice guy. So since I have nobody to really enjoy this with, I foist it upon all of you.

(Editor's note: as I was finishing up this post, listening to my ipod on shuffle, the Star Wars theme came on. So between writing about Admiral Ackbar, and that song randomly coming on, if you don't think there's a 100% chance I'm popping in Episode IV right, then you don't know me very well.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Growing up, I disliked Joseph Gordon-Levitt as much as a random kid from North Dakota could dislike a famous teenage actor. Some of it was because of his work-- I never liked the show 3rd Rock From the Sun, and I always hated Angels in the Outfield.

(Side story: my friend Podge and I always did a DVD exchange for Christmas, where we would tell the other exactly which movie to buy for ourselves, but we'd still go through the rigamarole of wrapping it up and presenting it to the other, you know, in the spirit of Christmas. One year, she requested Angels in the Outfield, and I flat-out refused to buy it for her, breaking the gentleman's agreement we had with our DVD exchange. It sparked an argument that is unresolved to this day...and I guarantee if you mention the movie to her, the first thing she'll say is that she had to buy it for herself because I was being a dick. So that's how much I hated Angels in the Outfield.)

But really, if I'm being honest with myself, there was one big reason why I hated him: he was dating Larisa Oleynik, a.k.a Alex Mack, a.k.a. one of my all-time biggest celebrity crushes, Girl Next Door Category (she's probably one step below pre-jersey chaser-era Hilary Duff, and one step above Connie Moreau from the Mighty Ducks.) The fact that he was with MY girl blinded me to everything else. Having to watch them hook up in 10 Things I Hate About You drove me crazy. Not quite crazy enough to change the channel during one of the 87 times I've watched the movie on TV over the years....but crazy enough that I was simmering every time he was onscreen.

But then JG-L was in Inception, and that movie quickly jumped into my top 5 or 10 favorite movies of all time, and his character was awesome. And I just watched 50/50 last weekend, and that movie was superb, and he should probably win some sort of award for his performance. (Just in case anybody happened to see me in the theater during the 7:50 showing on Friday allergies have been AWFUL lately. I swear.) Plus he's going to be in the next Batman movie, and we all know that movie will be Baller with a capital B, so I'm going to go ahead and give him a checkmark for that one too.

So now here's where I'm at with JG-L: I'm like Wes Mantooth at the end of Anchorman, where I'm holding Ron Burgundy's ladder over the bear pit and threatening to let go. I hate you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I HATE you. But dammit.....I respect you.

(Seriously, my allergies....I mean, the pollen count is CRAZY this year, am I right? That shit is everywhere.)