Friday, September 27, 2013

Cities, Of The Twin Variety

I'm about to hit the road for a weekend in Minneapolis with these fools:

As well as this fool. Don't ask me why Schne texted me us TNels' Senior Yearbook photo and why I still have it in my phone; it's a long, sexually confusing story:

I haven't been aggressively drunk in quite a while now, so I'mma see what I can do about that, starting at approximately 7:30 CST tonight. To clarify, I'm talking, like, "Texting the Zidon sisters Journey lyrics without context at 3:45am, asking a blackjack dealer if she'll take my last name when we get married or if she'd rather hyphenate, telling strippers that I used to intern at Facebook and I came up with the idea for the 'Like' button, punting burritos in the Taco Bell parking lot because they forgot to leave off the sour cream" drunk.

Four out of the five of us are engaged/married, so the wingmanning for Morley should be top notch. Last time I was on wingman duty was for Hendo at a wedding a couple months back, and I failed (I got us settled in pretty solidly with a fun group of people, but my middle relievers let us down, then we brought Teens in from the bullpen but she couldn't close anything for Hendo either.) So I've got some motivation. Here are some lines I'm hoping to use at some point over the course of the weekend:

- "See my buddy over there? His dad used to work at Paramount, and they were short on extras one day, so he actually got to be in Forrest Gump. Yeah, he was the kid on the bus who says "Can't sit here." Go ahead, ask him to say the line, he'll only break it out if it's for a girl."

- "I know, you can't even see the scar from where they re-attached his ear, can you? Don't worry, he'll be back and running the marathon again next year. You can't let the terrorists win, you know? Go ahead, say hi. Just make sure to speak into his left ear, the other one is just for show now."

- "Well, he was in L.A. for a couple weeks, working on some development deals, and ended up at some rager in the Hollywood Hills. Long story short....he got Lindsay Lohan's phone number. Wanna text her? It's a ton of fun." (For this one, you need to change the name of one of your phone contacts to 'LiLo' or whatever sketchy celeb is being applied to your situation, and you need a friend willing to participate and cooperate. Don't think we haven't tried this one before. My friend Kelsy played a dynamite Olsen Twin for me a couple years ago.)

Fathers, lock up your daughters.

Casinos, unlock your reserve stash of chips.


The worst part about this trip (keeping in line with the whole "Every time I leave town something else is going on" theme that is my life) is that I'll miss the Breaking Bad finale on Sunday night, only the most anticipated hour of TV since The Sopranos over six years ago.

I'll be driving home Monday, so it shouldn't be too difficult to avoid internet spoilers until I get to watch the DVR that evening....but if any of my "friends" try and ruin it for me, I will destroy you. I am a petty, spiteful man, and I will come down on you with the force of a hundred Walter Whites. I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Friend Zone

I found out recently that KU basketball assistant coach Kurtis Townsend (recently named the #1 recruiter in the country, according to a poll of his fellow NCAA coaches) must live in my neighborhood or something. This was completely new information to me. (As opposed to Bill Self, whose house I knew the location of before they laid the first brick. Sometimes I wake up super early in the morning, drive over and park my car in front of his house, and just watch the sun rise. I've also started leaving things on his front porch. I hope he likes the present I left him the other day-- it's macaroni noodles glued on a paper plate, in the form of he and I holding hands, and a message on the bottom in crayon saying 'Best Budz 4 Life.')

Every morning for the past few weeks, I've seen Townsend on a morning stroll as I drive to work-- me driving East, him walking West, so we're facing each other as I pass. Right off the bat, as I was just processing the fact that it was Townsend, he looked right at me and waved. I was taken aback and looked around for another car near me, as I knew of no reason why Townsend would be throwing me a what-up. Nobody else around. OK, fair enough. The next day, same thing, only this time I was cool, calm, and collected, and waved back. Next day, same thing. Next day, same thing, and every day since then.

So there are two possibilities here: either Townsend thinks I'm somebody else, or he's just being friendly. I can accept that he's just being friendly; not every semi-famous person is required to be an asshole. But then the question becomes: why isn't he waving at anybody else? There have been days since the first one where there have been other cars in the vicinity, and he doesn't wave at any of them, just me. Perhaps he's had the same thought that I've had, and acknowledging it's pretty bizarre that we cross each other within the same 30-yard diameter EVERY single day. I know people have routines in the morning, but this is getting absurd. If I'm three minutes late, then he is. If I'm six minutes early, so is he. Staying within the same 10-second window like this has been freaky.

In any event, why he is waving at me matters not. It's the as a result that matters. And as a result, I'm not going to hesitate to be super comfortable with Townsend next time I see him in public (when one of us isn't driving 40mph in the opposite direction.) If he wants to be boys, we're gonna be BOYS. I've seen him quite a few times at Henry T's, and noticed that we both almost exclusively order the buffalo chicken strips. Next time, I'm envisioning me plopping down at his table, grabbing one of his strips and nonchalantly taking a bite. "Yo, Townsy, how's the family?" I'll say, as he and his friends look startled and try to alert the manager. "Well, see ya bright and early tomorrow morning, my man. Mondays, am I right? Don't forget about those tickets you promised!" Soon after, the harassing phone calls, mutilated family pets, and doorstep macaroni presents will start.

And poor Kurtis Townsend will never go out of his way to be friendly again.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I've been balls-deep in ebay auctions for an iPod for like two weeks now, and if I lose one more auction because someone outbids me with like four seconds left, I am going to lose my fucking mind.

I mean, I don't even want to buy a new iPod. My current edition has been faithful to me for almost seven years, and we all know how I hate to let things go. I'm only in the market for a different one for two reasons:

1. My current iPod can't hold a charge for longer than 15 minutes. 95% of the time, this isn't a problem. I have a docking station in my bathroom, at my office desk, and there's a charger inside of Voltron (I neglected to mention that I got a new car a while back, the Element has been retired. The new ride is an Acura MDX, I named it Voltron. I'll let Bill Hader explain why.)

However, when I'm on the treadmill, the iPod isn't charging, and I HAVE to have music rocking, since I'm not even close to mentally tough enough to exercise without music. So when my iPod cuts out without warning after only 10-15 minutes, this is a problem, because I'm gonna shut the treadmill off right behind it. It's not like I'm running marathons or anything, I'm only running 21 miles per month-- the exact amount of running that lets me eat whatever I want, whenever I want, without getting any fatter. Here's the problem: after I tore my meniscus, I had zero physical activity for three months, and I put on 15 pounds quicker than you can say "Well, no, Teens, I'm getting a 'Six-Pack and a Pound' for just myself, what do YOU want from Taco John's?" True story: starting Wednesday afternoon, I have had pizza for 6 of my last 8 meals (not counting breakfast, I don't play that shit. Breakfasts are for rich people.) So anyway, now I need to get back down to my ideal fighting weight of 190 again. The point is, while I'm not Prefontaine or anything, I do have to be running for longer than 15 minutes at a time. Ipso facto, I need a new iPod, post haste.

2. I got called out by a Mom the other day for how crappy my iPod looked. I can deal with all the jokes I get from friends for how damaged the screen is ("That must have been a bummer when that stampede of elephants ran over your iPod-- what's Jumanji like in real life, anyway?"......"I hope they caught the guy who stole your iPod, backed over it with his car a few times, then returned it to your docking station", etc. etc.) But when a MOM is calling me out for having such a broke-ass iPod, now we have problems.

So all I need is a used, old school iPod, 30GB, nothing fancy, whatever. I don't want a new one, or even a newER one than what I already own. Just one in better shape. I'm not being picky here. We're not talking about Tony Stark technology for a new Iron Man suit or something.

But yet, these things still get all kinds of action on ebay. I swear, if I get outbid one more time, that's it. I will go on a multi-state killing spree, strangling every victim with the USB cord. I'll leave a set of headphones on each victim, then paint each body completely black from head to toe. The media will dub me the iKiller. The evidence will finally start to point in my direction, so I'll take to the road. Paul will be my driver, and we'll slowly cruise down I-435 with a swarm of police on our tail while I threaten suicide. This will take place during Game 5 of the NBA Finals. I'll finally give myself up, hire a bunch of high-priced attorneys and go to trial, and I'll be acquitted amidst a controversy that rocks the nation and encapsulates race relations from coast to coast. I'll spend the rest of my life playing golf and trying to find the "real" killer, until I eventually go to prison for an armed robbery gone bad.

Or hopefully I'll just win the next used iPod ebay auction I participate in.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


On my iPod, I have a bunch of playlists that are grouped together and sorted simply by play count. I love these kind of playlists, since it can lead to sequences like Smokey Robinson > A Tribe Called Quest > Aladdin Soundtrack > Black Sabbath > KC & the Sunshine Band > Cypress Hill > The song from the pennant race montage in Major League.

These are lists for another day, but this song would rank in the top 5 of both "Greatest Movie Montages" and "I'm Hungover As Shit, And I Know It's Only 11am....But You Wanna Crack A Beer Anyway?"

I name these playlists by jersey numbers, so that I can identify which playlist is which. A playlist of songs that have all been played 9 times is named 'Nick Van Exel'. Songs that have been played 19 times, 'Josh Beckett.' And so on and so on. Yeah, I suppose I could just name the playlist 'Nineteens' or something, but what fun is that? Get a fucking imagination.

(This is sorta unrelated, but it always cracked me up when Lane, another big believer in using jersey numbers as identifiers, had to give out his phone number in college. His number was XXX-1413, and he would tell people "XXX, Kent Hrbek, Kent Hrbek minus one." If they couldn't figure it out, they didn't get his digits.)

ANYWAY, sometimes the playlist is named after one of my favorite athletes (as per the above two examples) but sometimes it's just the first athlete that pops into my head when I think of that jersey number. The other day, I created a list of songs that had been played 35 times. I cleared my head, and the first name that flew in there was....Marion Butts. Marion Butts?

I know I spend an inordinate amount of time wishing it was 1994, but this was still pretty weird. I hadn't even thought about him in probably 15 years. It's like having a sex dream about a girl you haven't been friends with since 7th grade- what up, Amanda.

I thought this whole Butts thing was really bizarre (we're talking about Marion again now, not Amanda) so I polled a cross-section of my friends, asking who was the first athlete they thought of when they thought of #35. Here's a breakdown of their answers:

The Obvious Answer: Kevin Durant

- Horp
- Steph
- Hendo
- Myshawn
- Landry
- Matty P
- Chelsey
- Kyle
- JDub- With a secondary answer of Reggie Bullock from North Carolina
- Addy- Secondary answer: the legendary Mark Madsen
- CJ- Secondary answer ALSO Mark Madsen (is this a Minneapolis thing?) Also, discussing the Mad Dog led to this little factoid from CJ which is too good not to share: "He tried to meet up with two different female friends of mine on, surprisingly both turned him down."

The Second Obvious Answer, That Somehow Never Even Crossed My Mind: Frank Thomas

- Easy E
- Dunph
- Bird
- Mangus
- Aly B
- Razor Ramon aka Tom- Secondary answers of Dontrielle Willis and Mike Tolbert- Hey, I'm not the only one to reference a fat San Diego Chargers running back!
- Jonye- Secondary answer of Reggie Lewis
- Gangel- Secondary answer Mike Richter (I love this one for some reason, maybe since it was the only hockey entry. What, no Toby Kvalevog? Sioux Yeah Yeahhhhhhhhhh!)

The Lane Answer

"Reggie Lewis, his fucking number is retired, and he's dead"

Clearly Associated With A Favorite Team, And That's OK Too

I thought there would be a bunch more of these, to be honest. At first I was surprised there were no Minnesota Twins, but after further research, it makes sense. I didn't recognize a single player on that list....but hey, Gardy sports the big 3-5! When he's not wearing sleeveless camo, drinking Old Milwaukee, and shooting animals from his back porch, that is.

- Double D, Schneweis- Jerod Haase (I love this one, obviously)

- Fundy- Reggie Bullock (I would've bet my entire checking account that Bullock would be Fundy's answer, so I would've doubled up...but then I would've given it all back when I let the same bet ride on JDub's answer.)

The Man-Card Revoking

Alfonso: "Nobody, but I'm terrible with sports numbers" (Editor's note: Rule #76, no excuses, play like a champion.)

In closing, I thought this was a strangely fascinating game. If I ever go to grad school, this topic might be my thesis. While the question served a purpose this time (if you count a shitty blog post as a "purpose"), next time I do this it will be for no reason at all. My friends should expect a similar question in the future every time I'm bored. My new drunk texts will be stuff like "heydude,,, #4fourty-7, GO! but firsst lets get an apartment 2gether.. what does it all mean? BeeR."

Hey, maybe a question like this would be a good icebreaker. Let's open up the lines of communication with Amanda after all these years.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Conversation Between Eminem And His Agent

Eminem: So what's on the agenda today?

Agent: Well, there's this guy, Jum Hammonds, who used to like your music quite a bit a decade ago. But there's a problem: he's barely listened to you since. Quite simply, we've lost him.

Eminem: So we're gonna try and win him back now? After all these years?

Agent: Precisely. We need to come up with some ideas here today. Fire away.

Eminem: about I dye my hair blonde again? That was what I looked like when he loved my music, right?

Agent: I suppose that's a start.

Eminem: I could play up that whole serial killer angle I was going for a few years ago...

Agent: Eh.

Eminem: Jokes about the Bush Administration? That's topical!

Agent: Nah, when Jum is listening to rap music, he doesn't really want to hear a bunch of bullshit about politics.

Eminem: Are you sure? What about 'By the Time I Get to Arizona'...he loves that song.

Agent: Well, yeah, but there was a good reason for that song. Arizona had banned Martin Luther King Day, for crying out loud. You were just taking potshots at the current administration for pretty uninspiring reasons.

Eminem: OK, I gotcha. Changing gears slightly: how do we feel about burping and farting sound effects during the songs?

Agent: That's basically what lost him in the first place.

Eminem: Yelling like Pee Wee Herman during the chorus? Making fun of Michael Jackson?

Agent: If I can be frank here, I think the further we stay away from anything we did in 'Just Lose It', the better.

Eminem: Oh! How 'bout this? I rap an entire song while doing my impression of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog! Really, I'll be taking jabs at the character, only IN HIS OWN VOICE. Did I just blow your mind or what?

Agent: We already did that, remember? I thought it was genius, but Jum...well, let's just say he didn't go for it. It's weird, usually Jum loves a good diss track. I guess he just prefers that they're directed towards an actual human being and not a hand puppet.

Eminem: Oh yeah, I forgot we already did that. I fucking hate that puppet. I mean, the nerve, to try and mess with me at the MTV awards! ME! Marshall Mathers! I'M the only one who gets to make fun of people! If I could just-

Agent: Stay on track, Marshall....

Eminem: I know, I know. Sorry. We could always bring in Fitty for a song or two.

Agent: You're on the right track....

Eminem: On the right track? C'mon, that's it right there! Bring back somebody from Jum's rap music heyday that he enjoys. He's a sucker for that shit.

Agent: Very true. It's not a bad idea at all. Bringing in 50 Cent is good, much better than featuring Drake or Lil' Wayne or someone like that. It's just not quite what we need; it doesn't change anything about YOU. What can we do to improve YOU in Jum's mind?


Eminem: I got it! I'll just straight-up turn myself into a Beastie Boy!


Eminem: Quick, somebody get Rick Rubin on the phone!

Jum Hammonds: Good work, fellas. This song is pretty sweet.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grand Theft Vanessa, Manny Being Manny, & The Nostalgia Therein

Remember this video? With the driving piano and whatnot? I certainly do, because I had a thing for Vanessa Carlton, and this song was playing the first time I ever got laid** so it will always have a special place deep down in my soul. (Then again, we also listened to John Mayer during that magical session when two hearts beat as one for the first time, and that guy fucking sucks. So whatever, I guess.)

Anyway, now that your memory is refreshed, watch this:

There are things in life that get me giggling, and then my laughter snowballs until I can't control it any longer and it gets embarrassing. Sometimes these things aren't really that funny. In high school, Haley and Lane liked to call me Phil, as in Phil from The Tom Green Show, as in the guy who just sat in the background and laughed at everything.

Sometimes it's pretty easy to make me laugh. Sometimes I'm like the quiet sophomore with an enormous crush on the quarterback of the football team, and I bat my eyes and laugh at all his jokes because I desperately want him to notice me, and eventually fingerblast me in the back of his pickup truck. I kinda have the feeling that this video might be one of those things that maybe isn't as funny as I thought it was.

All that said, I giggled for the entire three minutes and fifty-five seconds of this video, so you should at least get a solid 30-45 seconds of enjoyment.

**Fun story: a couple years ago, this song came on the jukebox while we were out playing trivia in a bar. I made a comment about my first serious girlfriend, and how it was "our song." Then, for some reason (hint: beer) I did some weird Sammy Sosa-after-a-home-run-thing with my hands, and pointed to the sky. Of course, none of my Kansas friends know Molly, so an awkward silence fell over the table, and lasted for a few minutes. Finally I asked why everyone was being so quiet and weird, and they said something to the effect of "Well, you just brought up your dead ex-girlfriend, whom you've never mentioned before, out of nowhere, so we didn't know how to respond." I assured them I was just being dumb, Molly was alive and well, and I meant my hand gesture as a tribute to our past love, and we all had a good laugh. Now we'll play that song on the jukebox all the time, raise our glasses in a toast, and yell things like "R.I.P. Molly!" and "I'll never stop loving you!"


While searching for an appropriate video of Sammy Sosa doing his hand-kissing and pointing routine, I stumbled into this video of Manny Ramirez doing all the ridiculous things that he does. After my initial excitement at the video (when I wrote this post back in the day, I searched forever for video evidence of one of my favorite Manny Moments ever and couldn't find anything. Finally, at the :46 mark of this video, paydirt!) when it ended I realized how much I missed Manny and got kinda bummed out. It's been five full years now since the Red Sox traded Manny, and there's still a hole in my heart.

Bottom line, I don't know what made me more nostalgic: the first girl I ever loved, or some Dominican guy who always fucked up running the bases and once pissed in the Green Monster during a pitching change. It's a toss-up, really.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thug Life

Listening to hip-hop for most of my life (as well spending much of my childhood wishing I was black) has resulted in a couple of small side effects.  Due to my penchant for turning the 'th' sound into an 'f' sound, there are a few words I struggle to say normally anymore.  'Teeth' becomes 'teef', 'both' becomes 'bof', 'truth' becomes 'truf' get it. 

For the most part, I can keep this speech pattern in check during professional conversations (similar to the minor task of remembering not to ridiculously quote movies during inappropriate situations.) But the other day, during a seminar with about 25 other people in the room, when the answer the speaker was looking for was "Word of mouth", I blurted out "Word of mouf!" without turning on my white-accountant-in-his-thirties-filter.  It wasn't the most awkward thing in the world or anything; it's not like I stood up and shouted "Word of mouf babayyyyyyyy! I got ho's in different area codes!"

I caught a few stray glances and half-cocked eyebrows, but most people probably just thought I had a speech impediment, or had food in my mouf or something. It wasn't quite a "When keepin' it real goes wrong" situation or anything. That being said, it won't go down as a high point in my life, either.

It's tough being from the streets. How we ever gonna come up, if this is how we get down?