Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Break Power Rankings

In ascending order:

8.  Blizzard Draco

Draco rolled through the Wednesday before Christmas and completely destroyed I-35, foiling my plans to drive up to Minneapolis and visit Easy E and LZE.  I had to bail out and take I-29 instead, which also involved quite a bit of white-knuckle driving.  (We'll get back to that.)  Draco, you were an asshole Death Eater, now you're an asshole blizzard.  You helped to kill both Dumbledore and my Christmas plans.  (HARRY POTTER JOKES, Y'ALL!!!)

7.  Sara & Me & SuperFun Booze Face Special Time

For the first the time that I can remember, Sarunas and I went boozing together, and failed to stay up until at least 5am.  It's disappointing to see streaks end.  She won't be offended that she's this low on the power rankings; we both agreed that it was a failure.

6.  The Jungle Bird

The Golf Channel was replaying last year's U.S. Open while I was home, so I had to re-watch the last hour or so, for two reasons:

- Jim Furyk's somewhat enjoyable meltdown over the final three holes (Sponsored by 5-hour Energy, huh Jimmy? Too bad it wasn't a 6-hour energy! Baaaaa-ZING!)

- The Jungle Bird. He was a big, big hit with the family, who hadn't seen this clip before, so we re-wound it a million times, and they were still laughing on the millionth viewing.

5c.  Red Pepper
5b.  Mom's Fried Chicken
5a.  White Sauce

I think it's official:  When I go back home, I get more excited for Mom's homemade fried chicken than I do for Red Pepper.  There.  I said it.  Shout-out to the Pepper though, for being named the #1 late night food eatery in America.  It's nice when I brag incessantly about something to my Kansas friends and it later gets backed up by actual facts.  Makes me sound like less of a blowhard.

As for white sauce, I have often claimed that I would eat dog food as long as it had white sauce on it.  So I brought some back to Kansas with me, hoping Teens would whip us up a taco salad or something and we could crush some white sauce.  I didn't properly describe my vision of what she should make, and we ended up with whatever this is:

The silver lining is that when I use that white sauce/dog food line in the future, I know that I'm not really exaggerating anymore.

4.  Free Beer

The one thing I'll take away from this fantasy football this year, despite easily having the most points and being The People's Champ?  Sweeping the season series from Fundy and getting a free night of boozing out of the deal.  Schooners taste much better when they're free.  Also, Fundy, you still owe me a case of beer.  Whenever it's convenient.  No biggie.

3.  The 11th (Mostly) Annual Schneweis/Hammen Kickball Extravaganza

We had a fantastic turnout, especially considering it was below zero outside. Definitely the coldest game in this event's history-- cue the NFL Films voice:  "On the frozen tundra of the Walsh Quad."  I wore regular tennis shoes, a track jacket, and light gloves, because I'm an idiot and I don't remember how to dress correctly. When I saw people showing up with boots and choppers and multiple coats, and Timmy B rocking a full-on facemask (camoflauge, natch) I knew I was in trouble. Luckily we had booze. Also, Team Hammen broke a two-year losing streak with a 5-1 victory. Despite being nicknamed Big Ern McCrackern due to my unorthodox pitching style and demeanor on the mound, I've only given up 1 run in 16 innings pitched over the last two years now. Stats don't lie, suck it Landry. Big ups to Weisser, T.Nels, Jacoby, Moose, Konerza, Mark and Rob. Even though I'll be on the opposite team of half of you next year. But whatever.

Random funny moment from the weekend:  We were discussing how none of us have really started donating to our alma mater yet, and Aimee asked us, theoretically, if we were to give money to UND, what would we want it to go to?  T.Nels and I answered simultaneously:

"An official kickball field"
"A retractable roof over the Walsh Quad"

2.  Dakota Magic Casino

So since my detour to Minneapolis was derailed, I was pretty bitter, and determined to have SOME sort of fun during my drive.  So after nine hours on the road, I got to the North/South Dakota border, said screw it, pulled off the interstate into the Dakota Magic, got a room, and bellied up to the bar by myself for a few cordials before hitting the blackjack tables.  What happened next is a classic North Dakota scene.  I paid for my first beer, the bartender gave me a shot on the house along with it, I paid for my second beer....and that was the last time I spent money on booze all night.  Why is that?...

1.  Grizzled North Dakota Farmers

....A steady rotating stream of farmers, who bought every one of my drinks the rest the night, refusing to let me return the favor, then staying around to bullshit for a while.  It ended up being a group of five or six of us, just a constant chatter of John Deere's new line of equipment, how much they think the Lavoy's farm is going to end up selling for, and the new calorie-cutting cafeteria plan that the gosh-damned school board implemented.  Meanwhile, I'm sitting there getting absolutely housed, nodding solemnly in agreement when necessary, throwing an occasional swear word into the mix (whether it's necessary or not) and thinking things like "I hope I set the DVR for The Mindy Project before I left town " and "When I put this chew in, I have to do it quick so they don't see it's just a pouch, and I'll pick up more farm cred that way." 

I have no idea how I end up in this situation so often.  Maybe I'm a good listener.  Maybe these dudes just want a sounding board for their stories-- but if they had any idea how big of a pussy I am in real life, I feel like that would end the small talk right quick.  The one time I tried to offer something substantial to the conversation was when I glanced at the bar TV and noticed LeBron James clipping his fingernails on the bench, during the game (which I thought was a big moment):

Me:  Holy shit!  Is LeBron James clipping his nails during the game, or am I just hammered right now?  (Editor's note:  I was correct on both counts.)

Grizzled Farmer #1:  What?

Me:  LeBron James!  He's clipping his nails right now, and the game is still going on!  This is ridiculous!

~Confused silence from Grizzled Farmers 1-5 as they squint up at the TV screen~

Grizzled Farmer #2:  LeBron James?  He a ballplayer or something?

Me:  What?!?  Yes!  He.....he's that guy right there, clipping his fingernails....he's the best basketball player in the know, LeBron James......

~More confused silence~

Grizzled Farmer #3:  So, like I was saying, you seen those new Strong Box batteries that Deere put out this year?  Fuckin' great life on those suckers.

Grizzled Farmer #4:  Ayup.

Grizzled Farmer #5:  Fuckin' A right.

Grizzled Farmer #2:  Hey, you chewin' pouches over there, boy?

Sometimes--not often, but sometimes....North Dakota is just the best. 

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Robotomatic For The People!

Remember the robot dance guy from Chappelle Show I wrote about a while ago?  I couldn't embed this gif of Naadir Tharpe celebrating during a recent KU game, but it's only a quick click away, I promise:

There's really only three options here:

a)  Tharpe also enjoys Chappelle Show
b)  Tharpe reads the blog, and was giving me a what-up
c)  Tharpe is just really shitty at doing the robot dance

I'm going with b), because I'm egotistical like that.  (Although, now that I think about it, Brady Morningstar did bust out his old undershirt for a game a couple years ago in response to The Brady Morningstar Undershirt Brigade I started on Facebook, so I guess it's not outside the realm of possibility that b) is correct.  But let's be real here.)

Tharpe has been struggling on the court a little bit so far in his KU career (though he's only a sophomore, and point guard is a tough position to learn) but between his robot dance and the fact that he nicknamed himself "Automatic for the People", his off-court shenanigans are quickly making him a potential Wall-of-Famer by the time it's all said and done.

There's a fine line to walk when you're giving yourself your own nickname.  If it's something funny or ridiculously over the top, like "Automatic for the People" or "The Big Aristotle"...then you're OK in my book.  But if you're trying to be cool with "Black Mamba" or trying way too hard by making hats that say "Big Jon" on them, and calling yourself part of the hockey team, when really you're just the guy who opens up the door to the bench during line changes....c'mon, man.  Get you a real nickname.  You know, like "Automatic for the People" or something.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Very Convenient Truth

I read a statistic today that if you pee in the shower, you save roughly 1,150 gallons of water a year. Most days, I take two showers a day, since after work, I usually golf, or play basketball, or have an super-intense Super MarioKart Mushroom Cup.  So I'm not gonna come right out and say it, I'll let you connect the dots....but I save right around 2,000 gallons of water-- every year!  Who knew saving the Earth was so easy?  I feel like Al Gore or something.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

So Merry Christmas, PLANET EARTH.  Don't open your present until the 25th.  (Hint:  it's pee.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Told You I Hated Fantasy Football

So my squad put up a solid 140 points again (WEIRD) and I had Z Unit beat by 2 points (WEIRD I GOT 138 HUNG ON ME AGAIN) and I went to bed Sunday night thinking that I was advancing to the title game-- although Z was threatening to appeal, whatever that entails.  Then ESPN changed its mind overnight and decided to gave Frank Gore those points after all for recovering a fumble for a TD.   And so I woke up the next morning to a loss.  I knew fantasy football would find a way to screw me.  Now my Tom Brady-Lindbergh Baby scenario doesn't even seem that farfetched.  Just total bullshit.  Go fist yourself, fantasy football.  And no, I won't be appealing.  I don't care if we were playing for a million dollars, there's no appealing in fantasy football.  That's bush league.

Remember back in the day, just before The Rock started getting super popular, and one day he just started calling himself the People's Champion?  (Don't front, I know you all remember.)  That's what I'm doing with fantasy football, starting now.  I had the best team this year, and it wasn't even really close...ipso facto, I'm now the self-proclaimed People's Champ.  The actual title game this weekend means nothing to me.  You guys can get bent.

If you smellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.........what Jum Hammonds is cookin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just A Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby!

Here's the blog post I was starting to construct in my head on Monday afternoon, when I was averaging about 130 points per game, but my overall record was only 6-7, and I was trailing Fundy by 41 points going into the Monday night game:

Once again, I have the most points in the league.  And once again, I will not be going to the playoffs.  Because Fantasy Football is stupid and pointless and doesn't make sense as currently constructed and FUCK FANTASY FOOTBALL AND FUCK ALL OF YOU I QUIT.  Have fun in the Jerkface Playoffs for Jerks.

Here's the post I'm writing now, after Tom Brady went nuts, Andre Johnson did Andre Johnson things, I stormed back and beat Fundy by one point, and Ike knocked off Jon-Jon in their matchup, creating a four-way tie at 7-7 in our division, and allowing me to tiebreak my way into they playoffs:

Guys, seriously, how awesome is fantasy football?  It's such a worthwhile and rewarding use of time and energy.  I think what I like the most is that the team with the most points is going to make the playoffs; if you made me pick just one favorite thing, that would probably have to be it.

At one point a few weeks ago, in a 12-team league, I had the #2 QB (Brady) the #1 and #5 RBs (Doug Martin & Trent Richardson) the #1 and #9 WRs (Percy Harvin & Johnson) the #2 TE (Jimmy Graham) and the #2 defense (Broncos).  I also had the #2 kicker, but even the biggest douche on the planet doesn't brag about his fantasy football kicker.  The season-ending injury to Harvin hurts me as much as it does him and the Vikings, and Graham and the Broncs have each dropped a couple of spots....which means that I masturbate while thinking about my team only three times a day, down from the four or five times daily that I was firing off fantasy football knuckle children last month.

She's a fickle bitch, that fantasy football.  I'm just glad to be on her good side right now.  However, after Z-Unit beats me when Malcolm Floyd tosses the ball over his shoulder at the 1-yard line when he thinks he's already in the end zone, or Richardson shoots himself in the leg at a nightclub, or Bridget Moynahan kidnaps Brady's newborn girl and sets off a Lindbergh Baby situation...then you can be sure that I'll be back to whining and complaining about fantasy football again.  That and shamelessly bragging about your team are really the only two things it's good for.


Unrelated, but hilarious:  this cartoon of Jacoby Ellsbury trying to convince Dustin Pedroia to let him try his first chew.  I will now be using phrases like "tripping balls" or "Dip-dip-dip-dip-dip-dip-dip-dip...Dipalodeon!" when I'm about to put in a chew for the rest of my life.  Hopefully you do too.

Friday, December 7, 2012

30 Years

My memory is pretty ridiculous.  I'm constantly ranking everything, I love making lists, and I'm the historian of my friend group.  I constantly get calls or texts from friends to settle bar bets, or disagreements on how/when/why something went down back in the day.  So what better way to put those skills to use then to rank every year of my life, from best to worst?
FYI, I tried to make this as short as possible, but I could've easily quadrupled the word count for every year.   Probably forgot some stuff too, but I tried my best.  I TRIED MY BEST.

1.  2001: I turned 18 right at the end of 2000, so the first part of 2001 was spent going to the casino almost every weekend (and many weekdays, immediately after class got done at 12:30....senior year was awesome) honing my Blackjack skills little by little.....I graudated high school, Ike & Jake got an apartment and we spent the summer boozing our faces off....I took my first real road trip without my parents, out to Seattle and Portland....I moved into the dorms with Paul, and the first semester of freshman year of college was maybe the most fun time of my life (except for 9/11, obviously.)

2.  2008:  KU wins the national championship and basically completes my existence....I attend my first Kentucky Derby and first College World Series.....Ike, Paul, ADawg get married, and between all those wedding weekends it was like I lived in North Dakota again.

3.  2004:  Red Sox win the World Series, "my" first championship as a sports fan after years and years and years of took over our lives, in a good way, and Ike built a kick-ass table that we kept at Culligan and had like three poker nights a week....flippy cup became the go-to game at all parties, and some bars, and pretty soon we were banging out best-of-seven-best-of-sevens routinely....also a good year for Culligan shenanigans, not to mention it was the Anchorman and Chappelle Show era.

4.  2012- I made the two greatest additions to my household ever by getting engaged and buying a Golden Tee (don't ask me to put those two in order though).....maybe the most fun Kentucky Derby yet, knocked the Home Run Derby and the Ryder Cup off my bucket list....this has arguably been my greatest gambling year yet, including hitting on 'I'll Have Another' to win the Derby.

5.  1994- Probably the best year in video game history:  NHL '94, NBA Live '95, Mortal Kombat, etc. etc....6th grade rocked too, had the coolest teacher ever....although Easy E and I did hit a bump in our friendship when he thought I was hitting on his girlfriend Katie, when really I was in 6th grade love with her twin sister and I was just trying to get in with the family.

6.  2002- Freshman year of college and living in the dorms finishes up...we definitely started drinking in class- but only the easy ones, don't worry!.....kickball games in the Walsh Quad  begin their storied history (Chapter 11 of that book will occur on December 23rd, be there!)....Culligan era begins....Fundy and I start our playoff baseball drinking game of drinking a beer every half-inning (I can't remember much of the 2002 playoffs, didn't the Brooklyn Dodgers win that one?) all-time favorite KU team loses in the Final Four.

7.  2003- Probably the height of Culligan/driving to Canada/underage shenanigans before we all start turning 21...although we did discover Charlie Brown's and a rebirth of our blackjack addiction....however, I unquestionably hit my low point in sports fandom, after KU lost to Syracuse in the championship, Roy left for North Carolina, and the Red Sox blew Game 7 to the Yankees, and I trashed a bunch of stuff in the parking lot as horrified bystanders looked on....also I skipped going to Cancun with Paul, Fundy & Russell because it was Hinrich and Collison's senior year and I didn't want to miss any of their last tournament run.

8.  1999- Sophomore year of high school was easy, I had awesome teachers and we caused all kinds of in-class shenanigans....we started having house parties when parents were gone; I miss the days where I could get drunk of off four Rolling Rocks....Star Wars prequels come to theaters, don't judge me, I loved them....I quit summer school after half of one class, and spent the summer playing pool in Ike's basement.  Best decision ever.

9.  2005- Definitely the most up-and-down year....for the most part, it was unreal....our March Madness trip to Chicago, Louisville and Indianapolis was legendary, and led to the KU/Bucknell night....crossed the #1 item off my bucket list when Easy E took me to The my #2 item also, when T.Nels and I went to Boston and Fenway Park....also took a west coast road trip with Easy E and ADawg and saw San Fran, LA, and Vegas for the first Springfest, I accomplished my lifelong goal of drinking for 24 hours consecutively....however, there was a stretch of a couple months where Paul and Amber had graduated and moved away, and Easy E wasn't back from Iraq yet, so I was without my three best friends, school was kicking my ass, and I was as close to depressed as I've ever been (I don't want to belittle the definition of depression, I still had it pretty good; I'm just saying, I missed my friends a lot and was pretty bummed.)  Without that, this would be a top-3 year.

10. 1992- My first real experience with The Summer Olympics, and they (the Dream Team in particular) were my birthday party, we went skating at Engelstad Arena and Aubol got his forehead skated over and I took one look and puked on the ice (I've never been a fan of hospital-based shows)....WE FINALLY GOT OUR ELUSIVE SEGA GENESIS FOR CHRISTMAS, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH GRANDMA AND GRANDPA, SUCK IT MOM AND DAD!!!!

11.  1996- I officially took up golf, and the Bergman brothers and I basically lived at the golf course all year.  We sucked up the college girls who worked at Subway and got free subs for lunch and dinner, and we golfed from sunrise to sunset almost every day of the was our last summer without jobs and we did it up right....I feel like we also threw a LOT of water balloons at passers-by in 1996.

12.  2007- Moved to Kansas....Red Sox won the World banned from Shooting Star my first big kid's golf game was horrible since I barely played.

13. 1993- A year spent balls-deep in video games, baseball cards, and Starting Lineups...also neighborhood games like Hot Box, Jailbreak, etc.....however, I did quit our Play-It-Again traveling basketball team because we had practice during the Elite 8, I didn't want to miss the games, Dunph told me if I didn't show up I was off the team, I handed him my jersey and enjoyed KU advancing to the Final Four just the same.

14.  2011- Maybe my best golfing year ever...crossed Lambeau Field off the bucket job at KU across the street from Allen Fieldhouse....the March Madness trip to Fargo, in which we literally did nothing besides watch basketball, gamble, booze, and only left Fundy's house to go to the bar down the street and play blackjack and watch more basketball, was one of the most fun vacations I've ever taken.

15.  1997- The flood destroyed the basement of our house and cancelled the rest of the 8th grade year RIGHT BEFORE I was going to make a move and ask out the girl of my dreams, instead we went to rival high schools and I didn't talk to her again until we were at the same wedding last year....otherwise great year!

16.  1995- Lots more sleepovers, baseball cards, and video games....I discover actual hip-hop, and suddenly, instead of singing along to country songs on the radio in the car with my parents, I'm listening to Dr. Dre quietly in the basement so my parents don't hear the explicit lyrics.

17.  1988- The Hammonds family moves from Washington DC to North sucks....but I start making some of the friendships that I still have to this day.

18.  1998- I got my driver's license and my first car....last half of freshman year of high school was brutal, probably the most homework I've ever had for some reason...our 9th grade basketball B team would've beat most A teams in the EDC, we were a juggernaut....I may have played three or four 162 game seasons in Ken Griffey Jr. baseball for Nintendo 64....DVJS and I started playing basketball together and we haven't stopped since.

19.  2006- I graduated college....crossed Wrigley Field off the bucket list...took a HORRIBLE Vegas beatdown over March Madness....friends were moving away left and right....the legendary "Guys on the Couch" Culligan era, starring Noles, Horp, JonJon, Big D, etc. begins winding down.

20.  1991- Highlight of the year is Dunph and I getting banned from being in a class together ever again, due to "Disruptive sports arguments during class time."  We were way ahead of our time- Wilbon & Kornheiser ain't got shit on us.

21.  2010- Not many fun trips that year besides Kentucky Derby and College World Series, didn't attend any weddings....KU lost as a #1 seed in the second round....just kind of a blah year

22.  1990- This is the year I started getting really serious about following sports; KU, the Red Sox, Knicks, and the Houston Oilers in particular....however, still not a Nintendo to be found.

23.  2009-  Had a fantastic Chicago trip and discovered drinking with Wizard Sticks...but got laid off from my first big kid's job, which pretty much ruins the last half the year for me....the recession was not so much fun.

24.  2000- Junior year of high school sucked....Y2K ended up being a dud, I was really hoping for some action there....our family + Easy E came this close to moving to Maryland, we were so out the door that we didn't even register for classes in time, and we missed the first few days of school.  Have you ever said goodbye to all your friends, then come back a week later like "Just kidding!  We're not moving anymore!  Anybody wanna trade lockers?  I'm with all the freshman now"....Awkward.

25.  1989- Basically every single friend of ours who didn't already have a Nintendo got one for Christmas....but due to my parents' hatred of video games that would be our main battle for the duration of my childhood, we did not get one.  WORST.  CHRISTMAS.  EVER.


Now, even with my memory, I'm not going to pretend like I can rank the first six years of my life.  So I'm ranking them in order of Emilio Estevez movies from that particular year, from best to worst.

26.  1985- The Breakfast Club- obligatory pick here.  Plus St. Elmo's Fire came out this year, so '85 was a tour de force for Emilioooooo!

271986- Maximum Overdrive- great movie where all the machines come to life and (of course) are instantly evil, the entire soundtrack is performed by AC/DC, and Emilio & Friends end up being held hostage at a gas station by a posse of semi-trucks.  Possibly the most 80's movie there ever was.  Highly recommended.

281983- The Outsiders- Stay golden, Ponyboy!  Great movie and great 7th grade reading material.

291987- Stakeout.  Emilio has a killer 'stache in this one, which is about the only opinion I have on this movie.  Pretty forgettable.

301982- Tex.  I suppose I didn't really need to include this year, since I wasn't even around for a whole month.  And OK, I'll be honest, I haven't actually seen this movie (has ANYBODY?)  But it has to be better than....

31.  1984- Repo Man.  One of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life.

Here's to 2013 ending up at the top of this list, am I right Emilio?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

30 Years Old In Body, If Not Necessarily In Spirit

I turned 30 on Sunday, and did way too much boozing and not nearly enough sleeping last weekend, and so I've been feeling closer to 50 than 30 the last couple days.

But reading the Facebook status of a certain uncle of a friend yesterday, I was, however briefly, made to feel young again.  (For our purposes, we'll call him Randy S.  No, wait, that's too obvious.  Let's go with R. St. Aubyn.)  Here's his status:

I can't believe how low some people are getting. I get home from work tonight and baby Jesus is missing from our nativity set out in front of our house.

Upon reading this, what was my immediate emotion?

A.  Outrage at the offending party
B.  Shame for my role in a Baby Jesus robbery spree 11 years ago
D.  Nostalgia for the good old days
E.  Both C and D

The answer being, of course, E.  Really, I do feel sorry for Randy (even though he is a K-State fan who blows up my Facebook wall every chance he gets, which for college basketball ends up being once every seven years or so) but you know what?  People stealing Baby Jesuses (Jesii?) from nativity scenes still makes me giggle a little bit. I'm not quite mature enough to resist laughing at that.

So maybe I'm not all 30 years old yet.  Still seriously hungover, though.