Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Forgive the next Fortnight

I was summoned to the Des Plaines Public Library.

After living most of my life in a city with a poor excuse for a Library - the DPPL is treat within walking distance of my condo and it's still has that new car smell (it's less than five years old).

Finally, the 16 people on the list before me have had their turn, and now it is mine! I got the book today. I've only got it for 14 days, before it goes on to the 32* people on the list behind me
*figure as of 6 p.m. on Wednesday April 24, 2007 (I'm sure it'll increase exponentially once this is posted)

In an action I'm not that comfortable with, I'm putting down a different DPML loaned novel to concentrate on finishing this highly (to me) anticipated read. I can get through the 400 pages easily if I just avoid the following three items in the next fortnight

1. Full Tilt Poker
2. The Wire Season One
3. Writing new posts

With that - I'm off to waste no more time - See ya again after the final page.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ben, we've got to talk...

"Hey Ben, we've got to talk - step into my office when you're done changing."
The Milwaukee Brewer starting pitcher and Springfield Isotope 5th round draft selection walked in a few minutes later.

"There's no easy way to say this, and I apologize in advance if I sound flippant - but I have bad news and worse news for you... First, I'm benching you this week-"

Ben had the look of someone who was half-shocked - someone who was preparing himself for the worst case of bad news - but was assured that he had nothing to worry about... He had thought wrong. He still had more to be wrong about-
"-and you've been traded to Commie Bastards."

Chien-Ming Wang was recently activated by the Yankees off the DL. He was slated to start Tuesday's game, meaning last year's 19 game winner and Cy Young runner-up would have two starts in the following week. Everybody on the 'Tope staff was expecting him to see action immediately in the starting lineup. However, with Mark Buehrle also having two starts (and fresh off a no-hitter last week) there were going to be a lot of turnover in the next week's lineup.

The truth is, Ben let his ego cloud his future. He was the first pitcher selected by his manager. He called him his "ace" before Opening Day. Would he really place Danny Haren above him on the depth chart? He did. Ben's ERA had quickly got to 5.00 (which appears worse if you consider his first start was a complete game one-hit shutout). Danny's ERA is 1.44 and looking ahead at another two start week (just like Wang and Buehrle).

After emotionally catching his breath Ben said, "I thought you would've gotten rid of John [Lackey of the Angels] first?" The writing on the wall was no longer penned with invisible ink for him... and more of it was appearing... He knew the answer before his mouth closed.

"Nobody really recognizes John around the league... People know you... You're an American hero, right?" Ben slumped in his chair - his performance in the Olympics felt like lifetimes ago. "I need to make a move - and I have to use good players to get good players. You see the standings, I can't afford to wait any-"

Clad from thighs to neck in black Under Armour, Gary Sheffield forcefully walked toward the manager. Blinded by the odd reflection of the fluorescent lights off the shimmery black nondescript material - and shock - the manager was frozen.

Yelling and borderline incoherent, "You motherfucker trader bitch! Traded?" At this time the manager realized that he had a Louisville Slugger in his right hand.

Gary's good friend Barry Bonds had leaked the news to him. Bonds had a monster week to help send the Isotopes to a second straight loss. It must've been in a post game handshake did Barry slip him the news. God only knows how he found out?

Yelling back, but still clearly intimidated, the manager said, "You're batting one-nineteen buddy, POINT ONE ONE NINE!

Gary then took the bat and cross checked the manager against the wall, pinning him: torso to wood. "You suck Shef - what? You stop juicing?"

The bat was taken off his chest, but this was only to use the knob of the bat to poke him in the gut - which made him double over in pain... His head was now just below Gary's belt - if he was wearing a belt that is...

An instant after Gary began a back-swing there was a knock at the door.

It was Vladimir Guerrero, dressed in a custom-tailored three piece light grey suit. After the knock, and eye contact with Gary was established, Vlad calmly continued his way out of the locker room.

Sheffield dropped the bat. "I'm sorry Shef."

"Yeah... yeah... (deep sigh)... ok ok ok."

And with that, Shef walked away.

"I kinda was hoping he'd swing." The voice of Ben had surprised the manager, he had forgotten he was still slumped in the chair.

"Well, I'd have a little worse than a one in ten chance of him missing, right?" Ben let out a pathetic chuckle as he collected himself and walked out of the office.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

10 weeks to go, my queue has been adjusted accordingly

Last Friday my friend told me, "I don't know anybody that didn't like that movie, but I also don't know anybody that has said it was good. It's a solid two star movie."

This is the review of a film I need to not only add to my Net Flix queue list, but also move up as a priority? (according to the same friend)

That's the case if you are ten weeks away from boarding a plane bound for Las Vegas... to celebrate a Bachelor Party.

People who know me fall into two categories. Those that know I love to go out to Las Vegas, and those that know what I like to do when I'm out there...

The friend who recommended the comedy starring Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz, Jon Favreau and Jeremy Piven (among others) falls into the latter grouping... I will watch accordingly.

The film now resides at #6 in my queue.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Missing Birthdays

Damnit, I missed another friend's birthday! This is twice in as many weeks. I missed a nother one last month. I'm not sure what's going on, but you get to know a lot of people in a life - I'm lucky I can remember my Mom's birthday (which is next month by the way).

Yeah yeah, no excuse - I'm selfish and blah blah...

Happy birthdays to Kimberly, Scott and Magen. T-bone, i'm going to wish you a happy birhtday right now cause I'm sure I'll be forgetting that next.

All the reast of y'all, i'm sorry in advance.
Personally, I don't mind it when others forget my birthday - but that's because I'm nearing the end of my own personal Logan's Run.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Band of the Moment

Ladies & Gentleman... I present Broken Social Scene:

What's funny about this second clip - they've got all these people on stage, but still need Paul on the piano?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The random thoughts currently keeping me awake...

It took less than a half hour for someone to spoil the most recent episode of The Sopranos for me. He walked out and said, "Did you see-"
I cut him off.
I said, "I haven't seen it, please don't say anything, I haven't seen it yet."
He continued to drop a major plot development.
"What part of what I just said did you not understand?"
Did I allow the fact that this man has been at the company 30+ years more than I (or that he is four levels my superior) cause me to adjust my tact? No.
This became a running joke throughout the day as he sent me notes, e-mails and even a voicemail to my extension dropping the same plot line.
I have to admit, even though I was upset, the extent this bit was taken made me laugh.
The new song dominating my subconscious is "Shampoo Suicide" by Broken Social Scene. This song was featured in a pivotal scene from Half Nelson, and after the film returned to the menu screen the song played again as a background to the disc's options. As I sat in my recliner, absorbing the scope of a film I thoroughly enjoyed, the song began to seep into me - bringing me back to the turning pointpoint of the movie... I instantly went to the iTunes Music Store and searched out the song, buying it along with another great track by Broken Social Scene. In less than 24 hours, I may have heard the song over 10 times. Yes, I know I'm running it into the ground... But folks, I'm enjoying the decent.
Yesterday I finished Voodoo Heart by Scott Snyder. The previous book finished was We Are All In This Together by Owen King. Both books are compilations of short stories. Both books mentioned the other author in the acknowledgments... I found both these books because they were listed as "top friends" of MySpace profiles of authors I have read and liked. If only I didn't have a fortnight hiatus between those two books in the form of fantasy baseball research, I would've had a nice little literary groove or momentum... I'm not sure which. These little quick short stories are a great break from the mega-novel circuit. I don't know what it is about short stories, but I gain a boost in self-esteem when I start and finish the same short story in one sitting.
I dressed up for Halloween tonight. Yes, I understand I was about a half year off. I wore my favorite navy blue front zipper hooded sweatshirt. A lazy earphone cord dangled from my front pocket up to my ears, playing the most recent podcast of NPR's "This American Life." All of this when on the rail of public transportation.
If that is not wearing the costume of an urban pseudo-pompous hipster, I'll never know what is.
Strangers at Wrigley Field are hit and miss. I always try to leave the park with a high average of hits. The misses are quite clear - the baby dolled boobers, the high five shirtless drunkards, the snot nosed whiny kids and the middle-aged upper working class know-it-alls that know nothing (i.e. the man who said tonight, "you know, most team's best hitter is their catcher.")
However I really like it when I can find an associate in the area. It's easy for me to talk to strangers to start - the fact that we all face the same direction while focusing on the same thing make it easy for them. Tonight a few of us discussed a recent contract negotiation. Thankfully, I discovered a fantasy baseball info source though his cell phone. And there's always the comradiere established by the audible box score to recap an inning missed due to concession or restroom. The cordiallity of MySister's season ticket section almost made me forget the reason why even hall of famers only hit a little over 3 of every 10 pitches.
Most of Wrigley are misses - and the painful reminder is always upon exiting... When people are no longer faced in the same direction - and no longer focusing on the same thing. The focus is not the national pastime, but a natural goodtime. It is in fact nature that produces nicotene and alcohol, right?
A few minutes ago I starred at my alarm clock so intenstly that I was able to distingish the shadows of dust particles on the display. The aspect of sleep difficulties I've always embraced was the way I can bring unfocus to a point. A free range of thought which will allow my mind to explore how the hell I interpret. It's that clarity that will often times succeed into sleep, but other times will force me to a synthesis... As plainly evidenced here... What am I doing here. I think how that prior sentence will look like with an intentional period instead of the understood question mark.
I fall into the trap of circular logic.
It's now later than I bargained for.
By the way, in seaching for a picture to post here - i found this under "hipster."
However, I liked my personal interpreation better - I had more depth:

If you all continue dreaming, I'll continue trying

Monday, April 16, 2007


"Did you leave a message?"
After he answered no, "How was I supposed to know?"
Both there statements were not entirely yelled at the United States Postal Service employee, but there were no doubt said at a higher than normal volume level - and with more forcefulness that one may bark into a drive-thru speaker.

My heart was racing. This was not so much a factor of my passion, but the fact that I had just bolted from my condo - sprinted down the hallway and leapt down two flights of stairs before wogging* to his box-mobile of government provided transportation. Minutes earlier I had returned from my parents house to discover that mailbox was empty (making it a solid week now) and another silent message on my answering machine. At that point, I did not realize the two were related. I looked out the window and noticed the postal van was still on the block.

*NEW TERN: wogging - when you want to jog, but don't want neighbors to know your running down a postal worker... So it's not quite walking, not quite jogging, but wogging.


(in a tone that can only be described as "politely catching my breath")"Excuse me, do you know who I should talk to about not getting any mail for a week?"
His response directed me to the postmaster, who should be at the post office on Monday, which was in two days time.
"Well? Do you know what happened to my mail?"
I don't remember the exact interchange that ensued... With the exception for the quoted nuggets at the top of this post... But the postman questioned the existence of a label on my mailbox. I told him that there used to be a label, which was true. I had not put my name on the mailbox (having spent the first twenty-seven plus years in suburbia, when only numbers were on the mailboxes outside homes, I didn't feel they were necessary), but did notice that someone had put my last name on a sticker near my mailbox. When it fell off last week, I didn't think it would result at my raised voice on a Saturday afternoon.

According to him, it was in "the rules" that my name be on the mailbox. For some reason I thought I was in a courtroom and wanted proof of these "rules" immediately. He turned off the engine and tried (unsuccessfully) to use the height of the van plus him to gain a down-angle view on me...

He'd been calling up to my unit every day this week before taking the mail back into his van. I sensed an angry annoyance at the couple vacant units in my building still receiving mail. Instead of taking his stories as sympathy, and worse not interpreting the silent phone messages as cries for help - I grew a tad angry and assaulted him with the line of questioned cited earlier.

Finally I just asked him if I can have my mail. And after he asked for my identification I had what was really important to me: two red envelopes from Net Flix.

Was this tirade worth it? For me to be able to watch Ryan Gosling balance a drug addiction with the lives of inner city youths this weekend? You're godamned right it was.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Memories of Tom & Me

Without question, I had the best campus job of all Marquette University:
I worked at the "Old Gym."

Before the new Al McGuire Center was built, both basketball teams and the volleyball team practiced at the Old Gym. It was also the training facility and study hall for the other University athletes.

My job, officially, was "Campus Security Monitor." My responsibility, officially, was to sit in a booth just inside the building's entrance and check everybody's Student ID only admitting authorized students.

Unofficially: I propped both swinging doors wide open, letting everybody with a heartbeat in the building as I either listened to music or did whatever work was needed for my classes. For five hours at a time, I would get my own personal paid study hall. I might have never passed Macro Economics without that job.

It allowed me to meet the entire basketball team, including the head coach. Previously I had boasted of having multiple conversations with him. Sadly, there were only two conversations - and here they are documented in their entirety:

ME: "Good afternoon Coach."
Crean: "Thanks - you too."
ME: (nods back, smiling)
Crean: "Nice to meet you, what's your name?"
ME: "Tom."
Crean: "(smiles wide) "Good name."
ME: "Ya'got that right."

I decided to not add, "hey, 'ya'got that right' is kinda my catch phrase with my friends - I use it all the time, use it in practice if you need to."

ME: "Tough game last night Coach."
Crean: "Thanks... so you were there? [to see our overtime loss to Minnesota, which was played in the nearby Milwaukee 'Mecca' Arena - the only time the team had to play there in over ten years due to a scheduling conflict at the Bradley Center]?
ME: "(in a tone I think too enthusiastic to be said following a loss)Oh yeah."
Crean: "What did you think of that place, did you mind it? (said in a sad, almost forgiving, tone)"
ME: "I didn't mind it at all, it was kinda fresh."
Crean: "(shakes his head no)We don't like playing there, last night was just an isolated problem."

[This time I was happy that I did not add that the team missed a golden opportunity to wear throwback uniforms in the arena that was home to the 1977 National Champions]

And so ends the very pathetic "history" of my relationship with Marquette University Men's Basketball Head Coach Tom Crean.

The blog will now return to normal programming.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Asterisks Revealed

The highlight of my day today was contained in an e-mail from "pAuL" who expressed a small amount of contempt at this blog's cliffhanger:

Previously on View de TQ
I've had multiple* conversations - just the two of us - with head coach Tom Crean
I have lived next door to two basketball players**
They've been in a freshman year Theology class with me
In my friend's Spanish class
A future Sports Illustrated Man of the Year was involved in a friend's broadcasting project.
I worked in the Old Gym***

And now, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story:
(Since the first and third asterisked references are best revealed in conjunction with each other - I'll post a blog tomorrow revealing those resolutions... Besides, this story deserves a post of its own)

I lived in Humphrey Hall during my junior year at Marquette University. A few characteristics set that building aside from others
-It used to be a children's hospital
-Stupid people believed it was haunted
-It was "apartments" but had a few of the perks of a dorm (net access) and a few of it's downfalls (guest check-in)
-It was also the home for most of Marquette's Basketball team
(note: Because Dwyane Wade was married with a kid during his stint at MU, he didn't live in Humphrey - he lived on his own just off campus)

My roommate Bill and I lived in between two sets of basketball players. To the north was a pair of freshman girls. They were nice whenever I talked to them, but provided nothing notable in the realm of future blog posting material. To the south were two from the Men's team. For the sake of not wanting this to appear in any google searches (I think it is highly probably that both would google themselves looking for past news stories of basketball past), I will refer to them as "Bjorn Von Stockholm" and "Jerry Jabronie."

Anybody familiar with the MU roster during the time of my enrollment there should easily figure out who the two above pseudonyms represent.

Bjorn was one of the nicest persons I have ever met. I do not have one bad word to say about him. I only wish that the chasm between Male Scholarship Basketball Players and "normal paying students" wasn't as wide - I would've liked to have hung out with him and had conversations et al.

Jerry Jabronie is what this tale is all about. He was white. He was short. He was slow. He rarely dribbled with his left hand. Basically, he was a great representation of what the pre-Tom Crean era became before the arrival of our current head coach.

On the night of this story, I was lying in bed attempting to fall asleep. (I spent a very large portion of my college night life ATTEMPTING to fall asleep). I don't know what time, but it wasn't too late in the evening for my roommate wasn't back yet. I began to hear noises through the wall. On the other side of our bedroom wall was Jerry Jabronie's bedroom.

The noises were of a blunt object hitting the wall and intermittent, for lack of a better term, "amorous audio." I quickly deduced that the blunt object was Jabronie's headboard and the other noise was his girlfriend.

The next few minutes was the sonic equivalent to witnessing an automobile crash. Along with all the curiosity and horror of an innocent bystander.

Having friends living across from the freshman dorm, boasting that the witnessed drunken bathroom sex, I now had a story of my own.

As soon as my roommate returned, and walked into the bedroom - i couldn't wait to tell him what he missed. The following was said in the loudest whisper I could muster, but in a very singsongy melody.

"You just miss-ed Jer-ry-Ja-BRO-nie ha-ving se-eh-ex!"
Bill was saddened. And upset. But also laughing. Man, if I had missed that - I would have felt the same way.

The only thing I heard from that room since was an evident break-up fight between the two. I know this because she yelled, "I thought we were making love!" I can only guess what caused the two to part ways. Maybe she wanted a boyfriend who could use both hands.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Of course, everything has a price

Homeownership has made me realize how naive I have been.
Yes, I knew things had a price... but this weekend I was met with a crap example.

I needed a new pillow. This is something I've never had to buy before. And I've always moved with my pillow (which of course my parents bought a long time ago).

It's sad, very sad, when you realize just how naive you can become. I had no clue how much a pillow costs - and of course the new pillow makes all the other pillows on my bed look like (and feel like) crap.

So I'm faced with having to buy another pillow... not to mention "pillow protectors" the kind of pillow prophylactic that must be slid over the pillow before insertion into the normal pillow case.

Worse that the realization of these things I''m going to buy - the fact that I'm waiting until the next inevitable BED BATH AND BEYOND coupon. A coupon that I will be using.

Introducing yourself to adulthood can be fun most times:
living on your own
total control over diet and entertainment
nobody over your shoulder, etc...

but other times:
it's buying a pillow
it's using coupons you used to automatically throw out
it's these kinds of conversations that can occupy your time.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Four Horsemen

Alright boys, gather around...

Sheets, you're throwing against the Dodgers at home tomorrow. They don't have Furcal in their lineup, so hopefully you can get back to your Gold Medal form quickly. Reports say you're feeling a lot healthier now... Prove'em RIGHT kiddo... You're my ace, act like it.

Okay Lackey, you're taking the mound at home versus the Rangers. They got a lot of pop in their lineup, be careful. I'm not sure why the Angels named you their Opening Day starter, or why the mags had you so high, so I'm putting a lot of unfounded faith in you. I'll tolerate hits, but not walks.

C.C., you're my GANGSTA! I was real happy to draft you. That line drive off your forearm last week made me sweat, but I'm happy to know you'll be pitching tomorrow across town in Chicago tomorrow. Many people, including me, have you as a dark horse for the Cy Young. Looking forward to having you on my club this year.

Danny Haren, my fourth opening day starter, who's pitching in Seattle. That's a good ball park for pitchers, so I'm feeling good about your start. Congratulations on beating out my former prodigy Rich Harden for the Oakland Ace award. Keep'em off the bases and you'll keep'em off the plate... I know that's easier said than done with Ichiro, but throw a couple change-ups to Beltre and Sexton and watch'em spin into the ground.

OKAY STAFF, THAT'S IT... Usually I build around the bats - but that wasn't as easy to come by this year... This time I need you all to have career years. I'm placing the entire fate of my season on your arms. Can you handle it? Tomorrow is Opening Day across the MLB. Let's get off on a good foot - throw a first pitch strike.