Friday, June 28, 2013

She's Drafty...She's Just My Type

NBA Draft night is one of my favorite nights of the entire year.  Since 1999, DVJS and I have watched together every year except for 2008 and 2010.  But it was only last year that we started the Cupcake Game.  Hannah makes a batch of (ridiculously delicious) chocolate cupcakes.  DVJS selects 25ish draftees, from lottery picks to late second-rounders, and everyone draws those names out of a hat, usually resulting in about 5 cupcakes apiece.  When the player is drafted, you eat that player's cupcake.  Not before, not after.  So for most people, it's mostly uneventful; you just get to enjoy a steady stream of (ridiculously delicious) cupcakes all night. 

Sometimes, however, it's not so fun.  Last year Double D got three picks in a row, and was completely sugared out by the second bite of the second cupcake.  Meanwhile, Teens didn't get a player until the 40th pick, so she had to sit there for over three hours watching us enjoy cupcakes in front of her while she unsuccessfully tried to move some picks in order to move up in the draft.  If you get screwed by the Cupcake Game, it can be as bad as a drinking game.  The look on Sam's face last night when he had to eat two cupcakes within three minutes, shortly after he crushed wayyyy too much Pizza Hut, was eerily similar to my face on my birthday when I've already done five shots in the last half an hour, and someone pushes a tequila shot in front of me.

One change for next year though:  we decided there needs to be more punishment.  The only "bad" thing that can happen is that you have to eat a bunch of cupcakes in a short amount of time, and you feel like shit for awhile.  For next year, we're making cupcakes along with a batch of turnips or beets or something.  Every draftee gets an appropriate draft range, and if your draftee falls below that range, you don't get a cupcake anymore, you get some shitty vegetable.  That way, you're in the same boat as your boy, and if he suffers, you suffer.  For example, Nerlens Noel's range last night probably would've been 1-4.  When he fell to #6, boom.  Brussell sprouts, mother fucker.  Anything that results in somebody staring longingly at the tray of cupcakes, mirroring the facial expression of their draftee, is a good rule in my book.

Anyway, quick thoughts on the actual draft:

- You know it's gonna be a good draft when the very first pick makes everyone in the room yelp in surprise.  Anthony Bennett?  For real?  I happen to like him, but there was absolutely no chatter about him going in the #1 spot-- that I heard about anyway.  In this day and age, with insane media coverage, Twitter, and all of's nice to be surprised every once in a while.

- Long story short (I'm probably going to post about this in the future) I am without a REAL favorite NBA team right now.  When Ben McLemore was available for Phoenix at #5, I was thinking there was a chance that the Suns could be my new favorite team, if Benny Mac was teamed up with the Morris Twins.  Even if they took Nerlens at 5, I could get on board with that.  Just wash the Calipari stink off of Nerlens, and he could be one of my favorite players.  Alas, they look Alex Len (boring) and I'm not sure Los Suns can be my amigos now.

- Biggest laugh of the night, by far:  This interview of Russian Sergey Karasev-- it's probably my favorite draft interview ever.  Ahhh America, such a melting pot.  Everybody click that link and watch it, it's only 50 seconds long, but every second is hilarious.  (Quoting Karasev became a phenomenal running joke for the rest of the night.  After JDub had to put down three cupcakes in about 10 minutes, he put on his worst Russian accent and cracked "I can't feel it now....I think...couple monthses...I gonna feel it.")

- This KG and Paul Pierce trade to the Nets is absolute garbage for the Celtics.  Getting back Gerald Wallace's crappy contract and three first-rounders sure to be non-lottery picks?  Just brutal.  Danny Ainge's assistants really let him down here.  The meeting where Ainge pitches that trade to his staff needs to go down like Tom Smykowski talking about his Jump to Conclusions mat.  Complete disgust and brutal honesty.  "That's the worst trade I've ever heard in my life, Danny."....."Yes, is horrible, this trade."

- The definition of an X-factor:  Shabazz Muhammad.  I've flip-flopped on him a million times over the past couple years, starting with his recruitment in high school.  He's got an awesome name, and KU is one of his finalist schools:  I'm in.  He's a lefty with a sweet shooting stroke and some old man up-and-under moves:  I'm allll the way in.  He wears gold shoes in high school, and by all accounts is kind of a dick:  I'm leaning out.  He chooses UCLA over KU:  I'm out, fuck you 'Bazz.  He gets suspended to start the year:  I'm way out.  Once he gets reinstated, he tears it up, and is extremely fun to watch:  I'm back in.  His body language is horrible, once even refusing to celebrate a game-winning buzzer beater because his teammate took the shot and not him:  I'm out.  The story breaks that his family has been pulling a Danny Almonte for years, and he's actually 20 years old, not 19:  I'm all the way out.  He falls in the draft down to the Timberwolves at 14:  I'm intrigued, and possibly back in.  He doesn't show up when he's initially drafted, then gets introduced later and has this bizarre entrance, trying to walk away from Stern without taking pictures, with body language that says he'd rather be anywhere else:  Ehhhhh, I've got a foot out the door again.  I'm sure I'll be back though.  He game still projects well to the NBA, and getting him at 14 is great value for the T'Wolves.  I think he could easily be a poor man's James Harden.  I think I'm just a sucker for fellow lefties.

- Most entertaining Google search of the night:  After getting a look at Dennis Schroeder's hair, an impromptu Demolition Man conversation broke out, and we couldn't remember what the violation for cursing was called.  "Verbal Morality Statute" was the answer we were looking for.  Demolition Man, tremendous movie.  People forget about that one.

- Players I don't like and/or went too high:  Alex Len, Michael Carter Williams, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk, Shane Larkin, Tony Snell, Mason Plumlee, Allen Crabbe, Lorenzo Brown, Colton Iverson.

- Players I like and/or went too low:  Victor Oladipo, Dennis Schroeder, Gorgui Dieng, Solomon Hill, Reggie Bullock, Andre Roberson, Isaiah Canaan, Tony Mitchell, Jamaal Franklin, Ricky Ledo, Erik Murphy, Romero Osby, Deshaun Thomas.

- Shout-out to Myck Kabongo for not getting drafted last night.  His cupcake was fantastic for breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Movin' On Up

I'm proud to say we've come a long way as a tailgate crew for the College World Series.  Gangel and I came from very humble beginnings.  In our 2009 debut, similar to Will Smith and his son, or Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, it was just the two of us...and we got kicked off the premises within half an hour for not being "committed to a particular tailgate."  We spent most of our afternoon sitting on a tree stump across from Rosenblatt, drinking beer almost literally as fast as we could, since we had no cooler and it was 90 degrees outside.  We were much more prepared in 2010, but we still ate dinner at McDonald's, and I was pretending to be a TCU alum in order to snake sandwiches from a Horned Frog tailgate all day.  We slowly got our act together, year by year, and 2012 was our breakout summer.  Gangel had morphed into a grill master, so we ate like kings all day long.  We had a steady stream of friends visiting throughout the day, so every time we ran low on beer or ice, we had reinforcements on the way.  And not unlike Jesus the great carpenter before him, Addy built Jumbo Jenga with his bare hands, making us the most popular tailgate in all of Lot B, and earning us some pub in the Omaha newspaper.

So where do we go from here?

College logos on the Jumbo Jenga blocks, for one.  Once again, Addy got all arts & crafty on us, and we quickly turned his new wrinkle into multiple drinking rules.  Instead of just pulling out a block and replacing it up top, now you try and guess which of the 66 schools is represented on your block.  If you're right, everyone else has to chug a beer-- nobody else could take advantage of this rule, as I was the only person to correctly predict my block, and I did it three times, as pictured above with Sparty.  If you draw one of the eight teams who were playing in the College World Series, then you have to chug a beer.  This rule came back and bit me, as well.  Many times.  Also, my most embarrassing moment was when I guessed UCLA, pulled UCLA, started running laps and telling everyone to chug a beer and suck my dick since I guessed it right again....then was reminded that UCLA was in the CWS, so I had to chug one too.  Alcohol's a hell of a drug.

My favorite rule was after you pulled a team, as you replaced the block, you had to name one athlete from that school.  Any sport.  Any era.  No repeats.  So now we're testing both body and mind.  Jenga is already nerve-racking, as the tower gets taller and less stable.  It's even more difficult when I'm up in your face, pointing, taunting and yelling "Uh-uh, mother fucker!  Kevin Durant was already named!  Find another Longhorn, you whore!"  (Love you Teens.)

Also gone were the days of using some other random tailgate's beanbag set.  Here's how the scenario played out in past years:  Gangel and I mosey over and make friends with the tailgate, humble all the way.  We "discover" that they have beanbag boards, and ask them if they want to play a game or something.  Winner stays, of course.  Fast forward three hours, and Gangel and I are still holding the court, defeating all challengers and talking crap the whole time.  Just an absolute hijacking of the unfortunate tailgates's beanbags; the guilt of which has been washed away six beers ago.  But no more:  Gangel took a page out of Addy's book and constructed these classy little gems:

So now, when Gangel and I are still holding the court, defeating all challengers and talking crap the whole least it's at our own tailgate.

In addition, our food options were even better this year.  Any combination of the words "bacon", "jalapeno", and "cheddar" assures that I'll be happy.  We lost Emily and her crew, but we added Nicole-- which means we added Nicole's cooking.  Our organization wins that trade-- Emily's crew was mostly just expiring contracts anyway.

So what's next for 2014?  Setting up a canopy?  Satellite TV?  Deep-frying a turkey?  Inviting Tommie Frazier?  Constructing a massive wind-blocker to eliminate the effects of wind and maintain Jumbo Jenga's structural integrity?  Orrrrrr maybe just purchasing tickets and actually attending a game? 

Nahhhh, let's not get too ambitious or anything.

This picture of me and the Arizona block is really just a gratuitous excuse to link to one of my favorite youtube videos of all-time.  It has no other relevance here....but couldn't you say that that being Wild about the 'Cats is relevant to everything?  Think about it.  W!  I!  L!  D!  CATS!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

OK, Let's Just Calm Down For A Minute

Here's my attempt to offer a tiny bit of perspective before tonight's NBA Finals Game 7, amidst the Miami Heat bash-fest and San Antonio Spur love-fest that's going on right now:

I get why a lot of people hate the Heat.  I really do.  I've defended them before-- I've gone on record saying that The Decision wasn't nearly the nuclear holocaust that people make it out to be, and some of the more popular reasons to hate LeBron are pretty baseless, in my opinion.  However, the whole Welcome Party thing was an absolute embarrassment; Dwyane Wade is a prick; I can think of at least 20 NBA cities whose fans deserve a great team more than Miami's do; LeBron and Wade constantly costing their team points by whining to the refs instead of getting back on defense is out of control; Bosh has become more and more unlikeable as time goes on, etc. etc.  So it's cool if you hate Miami and you want the Spurs to win.  Completely and totally defensible. 

But.  BUT.  Let's not classify the Spurs as lovable underdogs here.  Let's not forget, America, that it wasn't so long ago that we all hated the Spurs.

Tony Parker banged his TEAMMATE'S wife and destroyed two marriages in the process.  (Won't somebody think of Eva Longoria?!?!?!  What's she supposed to do now?  How is she supposed to live?)

Manu Ginobili-- besides leading the Argentinian team that beat Team USA in 2004 and resulted in our only non-gold medal-Olympics since we started using professionals-- is basically the Outbreak Monkey of flopping in American basketball, which we all know is a gigantic problem at all levels of basketball right now.  Between Ginobili and Coach K, flopping has increased 720% in the last 20 years (all statistics approximate.)  If flopping was the disease from Outbreak, and the NBA was the town of Cedar Creek, Donald Sutherland would be arguing with Morgan Freeman right now over whether or not to proceed with Operation Clean Sweep.  Pleeeeeease don't forget this about Manu Ginobili.  To paraphrase Billy Madison:  Ginobili is a bad, bad man!

After this many years in the league, Tim Duncan is now a Distinguished Professor at I've Never Committed A Foul In My Life University (and I'm the first to admit, Mario Chalmers is currently working on his Doctorate there as well.)  Yes, Duncan has had an unbelievable career, is a solid professional and all-around decent guy.  I admire him.  But when Twitter is blowing up about how he represents everything that is good about the NBA, and LeBron and the Heat are everything that is bad, remember this face:

Or this one....

Or this one....

Or this one....

Or this one....

Or this one....

OK, fine, that last one isn't really Duncan.  You got me.  But under my Google image search, this picture of Jaromir Jagr came up for some reason, and holy fuck!!  Look at that mullet!  OK, so anyway.....

I'm not even sure who I'm cheering for tonight.  I dislike both teams; I've just been cheering for a great series and a Game 7.  So far we've received both, and after Game 6 was one of the greatest games I've ever watched, now I'm gonna get greedy and ask for another instant classic tonight.  I'm not trying to tell you you're wrong for hating the Heat....just remember that the Spurs aren't this scrappy bunch of overachievers.  (Cue up The Breakfast Club ending.)  I see them as I want to see them, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.  Between Parker, Ginobili, Duncan, Gregg Popovich, and Danny Green, they are:  an adulterer, a flopper, a whiner, an asshole, and one hot-shooting lucky son of a bitch.

Enjoy Game 7.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stupid Emotions

I believe it was Larry David that said "You know who wears sunglasses inside?  Blind people and assholes."

I'd like to add a third category to the esteemed Mr. David's list:  People who walk into Yello Sub to pick up a sandwich, five minutes after saying goodbye to some great friends and their four-year-old son before they move to Rhode Island, and they're still tearing up a bit and they don't want anyone to see them because they're a GROWN-ASS MAN. 

I know it detracts from the brevity of the original quote, but I feel it has some accuracy.

Take care, Leedahl family.  (Actually, mostly just Finn and Skye-- Lane can get bent for all I care.)

Side note: counting this and my wedding speech, that's twice I've been choked up in public in two months.  Am I pregnant or something?  Is Teens and all her crying during TV shows (about 20 times through 17 epsiodes of Season 1 of One Tree Hill the last few weeks) starting to rub off on me?  Did I suppress my feelings after KU blew that lead in the Sweet 16, and now they're leaking out all over the place?  Questions abound.

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Preciousssssss

For those who don't know, I'm left-handed.  I'd been dreading having to wear a wedding ring.  Not because of what it stands for, but because it's not comfortable, I hate finger jewelry, and since I'm usually playing basketball, or golfing, or circle jerking with the rest of the Sons of Sam Horn message boards over all the young talent coming up through the Red Sox system right now, I knew I'd constantly be taking it on and off all the time.  Some sort of tattoo on my left ring finger is probably in my future, and luckily (or perhaps it's not luck-- these are the types of reasons I married her, after all) Teens likes the tattoo idea.

But in the meantime, for the first couple of weeks of marriage, wearing a ring was killing me, so I decided to give it a shot on my right hand.  It was much more tolerable, so my next step was to research what it meant to wear my wedding ring on my right hand.  It couldn't be that big a deal, could it?  What I found wasn't enouraging.  Being left-handed was at or towards the bottom of most lists.  From multiple websites, here are the top three reasons they listed for wearing your wedding ring on your right hand:

1.  Being gay or lesbian

I'm not too worried about projecting this image.  People who know me know that I'm obviously married to a woman, and if strangers meet me and think I'm gay, so be it.  More than once in my life, I've pretended to be gay in order to avoid a weird girl at the bar.  One time in a gay bar in San Francisco, the bartender was digging me, so I pretended like I was gay and in the military, flirted back, and got about $150 worth of drinks comped for me, Easy E, and ADawg that night.  Whatevs.  And really, if you watched Paul and I interact, or knew how much we slept in each other's beds in college, it's probably not that far off base. 

2.  Establishing economic independence

This one was mildly confusing.  I guess it's geared towards women who make a lot of money; wearing their ring on their right hand is their way of saying "Hey, I didn't need my man to buy my rock for me, I dropped $30K myself to get the ring I wanted!  Hide the money, y'all!  There's poor people around!  Witcha' broke ass!" 

I had never heard of this reason before, but I like it!  I'm 'bout it 'bout it:  "My ring cost $85, son!  Yeah, getting 'UNITY' engraved in it was an extra 20 scrill, so we're talkin' triple digits now, but ain't no thang!  Rich people don't write checks!  Straight cash, homey!"

3.  Being willing to cheat on your spouse

Apparently wearing your wedding ring on your right hand is code that you're married, but absolutely available for some affair action.  From some of the comments I read, certain middle-aged people know all about this code, and are presumably looking for it specifically before they make their move.  Going to the Sandbar with my ring on my right hand would be like wandering into a cougar den dressed up as a deer with a broken leg.  (Get it?  There's a lot of cougars at the Sandbar?  Cougars meaning older women?  And actual cougars eat deer?  And a deer with a broken leg would be easier to take down?  Ahh, fuck it.  I swear that metaphor sounded awesome in my head.)  Anyway, this is a VERY interesting vibe to put out there.

So if you see me drinking at the College World Series this weekend, with a guy on one arm, making out with another, throwing my independently earned money around....don't worry.  All that doesn't mean anything.  I'm just left-handed.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Day At The Ballyard


- It was "K-State Day" for some dumb reason, so they were giving people purple KC hats and crap like that.  So all through the stadium, "Let's go Wildcats" chants were breaking out when the Royals would mount a rally, and basically the whole thing was just annoying.

- Alex Gordon's walk-up song is 'Stranglehold' by Ted Nugent.  This makes me respect the hell out of Alex Gordon.

- My wife filling out her All-Star Ballot.  Hot.  (Even though she went the girl route and only voted for players she thinks are good-looking, like Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Gordon, was still fun to watch her punch her ballot.)

- The Royals beat the Astros, and are now 4-22 when I am in attendance.  Of the other three wins, two came against the Red Sox, and in the third, I lost a hundystick betting against the Royals.  So this was officially the first time I walked out of Kaufmann happy that the Royals grabbed a W.

- From the "I couldn't even make this up" category:  Matty P and I were throwing Wedding Crashers quotes around, and talking about how amazing that movie was when it came out, blah blah blah.  During the 7th inning stretch, we had to pause our conversation, as the PA introduced the singer of 'God Bless America', Sarah McInerney or something like that.  In the silence immediately following the introduction, some dude about 10 rows back yelled out "Courtesy of Sarah McLachlan!"  You probably had to be there, but it was unbelievable.  What are the odds?

- After a personally devastating two-year absence, the best chili cheese fries in the world are baaaaaaaaaaack!

- It was only Matty P, Teens and I at the game, so we weren't *tailgating* as much as we were just chillin' by our car, having a couple BL Smoothies before the game.  We started talking to the two dudes in the car next to us, who were also just kinda hanging out.  These dudes (Curtis and Grant) were a riot.  Among many other topics, we had spirited and hilarious discussions about the mysterious saga of Cullen Finnerty; driving times in the Baltimore/Washington DC area; the side effects of getting violently electrocuted; and the best baseball stadiums in the league, as a math equation factoring in the beauty of the ballpark multiplied by how easy it is to sneak booze into said ballpark.  Within 15 minutes, it felt like we had been friends for years, and when it was time to go into the stadium, I was legitimately disappointed that the conversation was over.  Just in time for the College World Series next weekend, I was reminded of the interesting dynamic that takes place while tailgating.  You can make a bunch of amazing friends within the span of a couple hours....and then never talk to, or really even think about, those people ever again for the rest of your life.

- There are three main reasons why I wish the Royals would finally put it together and just be decent already:

1.  I am monetarily invested on them winning at least 77.5 games this year.

2.  Most of my friends down here are Royals fans, and most of them have never even experienced a pennant race in their entire life.  The last time the Royals made the playoffs was 1985, and they've only been within striking distance of the playoffs a couple times since.  These poor bastards deserve it.

3.  The country would find out how awesome Kaufmann Stadium is.  Just a great place to watch a game.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Uh Oh! Guess What Day It Is!

Simply put, this is one of my favorite commercials of all time.  I'm not going to say anything else, since sometimes I have a problem with hyping things up too much.  Normally I would talk about how everything about this is great; the voice, and delivery, the writing. Maybe I'd talk about how it's as close to comedic perfection as I've ever seen in a commercial, or maybe go on and on about how it's only a 30-second commercial, but I already have like six different favorite lines, and then describe why I love each of those lines....but I'm not going to do any of that.  If you watched it and ended up only *kinda* liking it...I just couldn't live with that disappointment.

However, I will say that thanks to this commercial, you do NOT want to be my co-worker on Wednesdays anymore.  I am going to be super annoying next Wednesday, and every Wednesday, for the rest of the Wednesdays of my life. 

(This is where one of my co-workers would chime in "You mean MORE annoying than you already are?"  And in turn, I would respond "HUMP DAYYYYYYY!!!)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Disabled List

I was going to write a longer post about my knee injury, but I thought DVJS already did a wonderful job giving details here.  Long story short: unless I tear the meniscus further and require surgery, wearing a knee brace and regular rehab-type exercises is part of my athletic life now.  You know that broken-down old dude you see in the corner of the Rec Center gym, doing 45 minutes of weird exercises just to play a couple games of pickup basketball?  That's me now.  At age 30.  Fuck, man.  This is probably foolish, but I'm going to at least talk to my buddy Zim (physical therapist) to see what could happen I don't wear the knee brace, "try" to tear the meniscus further, and then get surgery so it's fixed.  I know that sounds stupid, but it also sounds stupid to me that this injury isn't bad enough to need surgery, but yet I have to run around with a knee brace the rest of my life like it's 1948?  C'mon now.  Let's use the technology.

The one funny thing in all this is the new nickname I've picked up at the office.  When I sit at my desk for long stretches, then try to stand up and walk, my knee is all kinds of jacked up, and I limp and hobble pretty heavily.  But after I walk around for a bit, I loosen up and feel better, and can walk with more or less a normal gait.  So in a stroke of genius, one of the grad students started calling me Keyser Soze.  Well played, bro.

That video totally just spoiled the ending of The Usual Suspects, by the way.  But seriously, if you hadn't seen that movie yet, you were probably never going to.  If you're upset about the fact I just ruined the twist ending of a movie from like 20 years ago, you can come to Kansas and punch me in the left meniscus.  Maybe then it will require surgery.