Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is YouTube necessary?

Q: If you've never been on YouTube, do you want to get caught up?
A: Yup, that video pretty much sums it up...

My Aunt, at a dinner a couple weekends ago, said she wanted to get on YouTube.
Her missing Obama's speech to school children is what prompted that statement.
I tried to tell her that her life is better without YouTube than with it.

That being said, I think this is a very well edited video. And I feel slightly shamed that hardly any of it was new footage for me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How good is Kickin' Impossible?

Q: How did the kickball team fare tonight?
A: In a very well played game, we were just too outmatched and lost.

Conflict Diamond now has a record of 2-3.
If you take a look at the standings, you'll see that the team we played tonight, Kickin' Impossible, is undefeated.

It's very clear to see why.
If it wasn't for our Outfielders playing extremely deep, the game might have been called due to the slaughter rule after the first inning.

Never before have I seen a kickball kicked that far, by multiple people, in the same inning.

I took the loss harder than I should.
It's a fun activity, but man - it's so much more fun when you win...

Driving a couple people home after the game, I change the my car stereo playlist from "kickball" to "Best of 2009."

The first song on that playlist happens to be "Everyone is Guilty" by Akron/Family.


My teammate asked me if I was playing that song on purpose - alluding to why we just lost.
It was a comically awful coincidence.
The same teammate said that it was our best game of the season.
He's right.
Even the umpire told me of our team's improvement.
I just wonder what would've happened if we played a different team tonight and played this well.

If we play this well again, I don't see how we can lose... Unless we meet Kickin' Impossible in the playoffs.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What mixtapes did I make?

Q: What compelled me to make multiple mixtapes this weekend?
A: It's been a while since I've made one - is probably the best reason.

I knew I wanted to have "Can I Kick It" on a kickball mixtape.
So I made it very hip-hop centric:

(But I have to admit a glaring omission from the kickball mixtape: there is no Machine Gun Mojo on it.)

You see, one of our kickball players is in a promising local band.
Please check out Machine Gun Mojo.
The kid, Matt, was pushing his band's first album around the workplace not too long ago.
Sold all his copies.
I didn't buy one on purpose - I want to buy it off iTunes (which he says is forthcoming)
Personally, I feel this is the best way to support his band - to boost the online purchase numbers.
Not to mention - ever since I upgraded by car sterero to be iPod friendly - I don't need another tangible compact disc in my life.

Here's the mixtape:


I made this mixtape shortly after work ended on Friday.
This Saturday morning, I woke up unexpectedly early - and decided it was time to make a "Best of so far" mixtape.

Which is as follows:


Note that this is only of the new music I have heard. A couple albums that had a high probability of inclusion are the latest efforts by Mute Math and Moby. But, sadly, I have not yet purchased those albums.

It's very important to note, especially with that second mixtape, that if I am on the fence between two tracks I will select the lesser known one... This is because I want to help advertise the unknown quality. However, I understand that those decisions also make me look like a music snob. You don't have to believe me, but my motive is to cause a reaction of "oh, maybe I should check out that act" rather than "oh, look at me and how obscure my musical tastes are).

It's a tough line to walk.
On one hand, I did get upset that Phoenix got so uber-popular their concert got moved to a worse (larger) venue. However, I want others to experience these good acts to help prevent the band from breaking up (and on a lesser scale, ensuring that they stop by Chicago on tour).

2009 is three quarters over - and I am feeling really bad about which songs I'll have to cut based on the new music I'll hear in these next three months from that list.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Who will win in a fight between Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg?

Q: Who will prevail?
A: For the indie crown man-boy title of our current time!

In the Blue Corner, smirking non confidently is Michael Cera:


In the Red Corner, condescendingly smiling is Jesse Eisenberg:

Where did I first see these two?
MC: From the under appreciated TV show Arrested Development
JE: From the under recognized movie The Squid and the Whale

Where did I last see these two?
MC: Getting the girl in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
JE: Getting the girl in Adventureland

Where did enough people see these two and officially break them out into pop culture?
MC: The sweet boy in the lude comedy Superbad
JE: It might be this weekend, if there are enough people willing to see Zombieland.

Two friends and I discussed the relation of these two to each other.
One called Eisenberg a 'poor-man's-michael-cera' while the other one disputed it by saying 'i don't like michael cera.'

I think they are cut from the same cloth.... And I am such a huge fan of Arrested Development and The Squid and the Whale that I actively seek out movies starring the same actors.

The Kingdom was better in my opinion thanks to Jason Bateman (A.D. alum).
The Lookout was a charming surprise totally because of Jeff Daniels (T.S.&T.W. alum).
And the main reasons behind the last two movies I've watched (Adventureland and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) are tied as well.

But who is better?
Give Cera the edge if the role is comedic.
Give Eisenberg the edge if the role is dramatic.
As for general awkwardness... that's gotta be a draw...

If there's some underage basement party, and both MC & JE are there - who gets that very hot girl dressed as unattractively as possible?
(Green Army Jacket, hair falling in front of beautiful eyes, skinny jeans with natural holes at the knees)
Cera gets her certainly.

Put that same girl reading some Greek Mythology book in a library - Eisenberg's got the edge.

Ok, let's flip it a little:
Jack Jockington, the high school Quarterback and Douche-of-the-year is going after one of those two - both seated at the same table in the cafeteria...
Cera gets hit - hard.
Eisenberg is able to talk himself out of it.

Who's more likely to divorce his first wife: Eisenberg
Who's more likely to have his first wife cheat on him: Cera
Who's more likely to become more famous after death: Eisenberg
Who's more likely to enjoy his newfound fame more: Cera
Who would I rather have next to me on a plane: Cera
Who would I want to date my 19 year old daughter: Eisenberg

--
And now a quick moment to note the topics that rise in my mind after just watching both Adventureland and Nick and Norah's...
-Both had an unexpected plot point involving Judaism
-One is heavy in illegal drinking, one is heavy in illegal drugs
-One had two very (in my opinion unattainable) women after the lead role, the other had a clear distinction in beauty between the two female suitors
-Both try to further the urban legend that intelligence is attractive

But there's something both of these movies showed that I really liked.
The fact that musical taste is a very attractive quality in the opposite sex.
It was a little more subtle in one, but displayed nonetheless through a major motif prevalent in the other... (the mixtape).

About two years ago, I mentioned to another that I had a bad date because she revealed an awful taste in music. This person (it was a woman) said to me, "Nobody likes your music, nobody even knows of the bands you listen to, you are intentionally a music snob." It was tough for me to argue on her principle (although I vehemently deny that I am a music snob).

But I can't see myself falling in love with someone who likes country music.
I have a tough time finding respect for girls who have been to multiple "Dave" concerts.
American Idol should not be where you find your next favorite performer.

I went to another concert this past Wednesday.
It was a band that I actually saw earlier this summer.
That night, I thought I might have found that girl that has an attractive taste in music.
If you recall (http://todaysquiz.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-is-watching-hitch-dangerous.html), it didn't go so well...

The show this past Wednesday wasn't as good as that time in June.
But I successfully talked to zero girls and bought zero drinks for anyone.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, nothing lost, nothing humiliated...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What time is it?

Q: How many times have you seen Phoenix or Chairlift?
A: Actually I've seen both of those acts earlier this year.

I'm on scene at the Aragon. Can't believe these guys sold out the
Aragon!

If a ball is kicked in the park, and I'm not there to see it, does it make a sound?

Q: How sad was I to miss the third Kickball game?
A: Very, especially when you consider the result of the 4th game.

I was otherwise occupied last Tuesday.
Thankfully last week Conflict Diamond (our Kickball team) won.
Rejoining the team tonight, I was hoping to contribute to the first win streak of the season.

Sadly tonight was not to be.
We lost; our record is 2-2.
As one teammate said, "Hey, we cliched a playoff spot."
(every team, there are 8, makes the playoffs in this league)

We did come out ahead in one area tonight.
The other team complimented our team shirts.

Shirts designed by a fellow teammate to feature the following logo:


It's a pretty sharp logo if I say so myself, and downright stylish when placed on a green with blue trim ringer t-shirt.

Next week we play the top team in the league. Coming into tonight, they were undefeated.
It's time for me to kick it up a notch.

Time for me to start wearing a headband for these contests.

(Post script: I received a text shortly after the game from a teammate informing me of two hamstring injuries that occurred during the game - separate incidents. We also had an unfortunate "friendly fire" incident involving Teammate A kicking a fouling screamer directly into Teammate B. The volume on this thing just got turned up)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What happened on September 22, 2005?

Q: When was the below written?
A: Last year: Thus, when I make reference to September 22 being three years ago, it's actually four.

If you have met me in the past three years,
or maybe reconnected with me in that time,
you may not know that I have a metal plate in my head.

For this night,
I am typing this on September 22,
is my three year anniversary.

The following story begins on the night of September 22, 2005.
In 2004 and 2005 I spent most of my Thursday nights playing basketball.
I was in a local park district league with some friends.
Our team name was "Loose Balls."

I usually played center.
Most often, I was one of the taller guys on the court.
Playing down by the basket didn't bother me.
Even though as a youth I loved playing around the arc.

I was accused of "flopping" too often.
That is, trying to draw charging fouls from the opposition.
When there wasn't much contact.
On this Thursday night in 2005,
There was too much contact.

Facts are still in question.
Exactly who hit who
What hit what
This is what we know.
A guy I was not guarding made a hard drive to the hoop.
I slid over to take a charge.
There was a collision involving the driver,
my teammate guarding him,
and me.
The whistle blew.

I did not get the charging call I was hoping for.
But that didn't matter to me at the time.
The collision was intense.
It knocked me straight to the floor.
I was unable to get up.
Instead, I said in an oddly calm voice, "Sub"
(calling for a substitution from the bench)
I pushed myself out of bounds across the baseline.
Literally sliding my ass across the court with my arms.
As if I was paddling a boat without oars.
There, on the baseline, back up against the gym wall, I stayed for a while.

I didn't know it then, but I suffered a concussion.
The gym wasn't exactly "spinning" in my mind.
But the feeling wasn't too far from that.
Finally, I got myself up and walked back to the bench.
I didn't go back into the game.
I drove home.
I went to sleep.
I woke up.

When I tried to brush my teeth
I realized something was wrong
Something seriously out of whack
I was unable to get my toothbrush to my back teeth.

That next day,
Friday morning,
I arrived to work on time.
With a dented face.

I was able to talk
although my teeth couldn't separate enough to slide in a toothpick.
I was in no pain.
Just a slight feeling of uncomfortable
Not unlike when you wear a button down shirt with the buttons one-off
The shirt is still wearable, just doesn't fit right on your body.
That was how my face felt.

People had a tough time looking at me that morning.
My right eye was also bloodshot.

You may be asking why I didn't go to an ER?
The answer is unique for our times.
I'm a member of an HMO.
I've had a lot of battles with HMOs over my short life.
Basically, unless I need someone to stop bleeding.
Like, from a GSW...
I'm going to my "Primary Care Physician" first.

After securing an early afternoon appointment
I told my boss that I was taking a half day
After seeing my Primary Care Physican.
I was sent off to the hospital for an X-Ray.
After my P.C.P. saw the X-Ray,
I spoke to him on the phone from the hospital's waiting room

He said, "Well, the X-Rays came back negative, but I saw your face... It's broken... I'm sending you to a specialist."

The doctor I met next, instantly recognized what happened to my face.
He was a surgeon, and informed me that I had an orbital bone fracture
(that's my eye socket)
and a zygomatic bone fracture (that's one of the bones that form my cheek)


He explained the surgery that I needed very clearly.
It was not needed to be repeated.

It would reqiure two incisions.
One under my right eyelid, to slide a titanium plate to reset my cheek bone.
The second cut would be on the inside of my cheek.

The second cut was because my zygomatic bone had slid down and was blocking my jaw muscle.
(This is why I was unable to open my mouth)
Which was great news to me, I was fearing a broken jaw bone, with a wired solution.
But this second cut was needed to allow the surgeons (plural) to insert the medical equivalent to a crowbar into my face...
To pry my bone back into place...
In order to have the titanium plate - oh and four titanium screws - set it back into it's original location.

And although I understood how it was going to be done, I still had a few questions.
Just before I was sent off to get a CAT SCAN, I had the following dialogue.
I remember it today, three years later, word for word.

TQ: Does this plate come out after the bone's healed?
Dr.: No.
TQ: (after a slight pause) Are you saying that I will literally have a metal plate in my head the rest of my life?
Dr. Yeah, but it's small.
TQ: (after a slightly longer pause) Will it set off metal detectors?
Dr.: (after a short pause) I don't know.

To hear this surgeon say, "I don't know" was gravely unsettling to yours truly.
---
Fast forward about ten days.
The morning of my operation.
I'm lying down.
Wearing a glorified tablecloth.
Already pierced with the IV needle into my left hand.
My Father next to me, acting stoic.

The surgeon enters the room.
This is the first time I've spoken to him since our last unsettling conversation.
He informs us that he has brought in his boss to help him with the procedure.
(That makes me feel more comfortable)
He then offers this gem of a comment.
Again, I remember it verbatim.
"I've seen the CATSCAN... And on a scale of one to ten, it's severe."

He walks away, and I couldn't help but laugh.
I ask my dad, "Does severe mean a ten? or an eleven?"
My dad also laughed, but it was a different sort of a laugh.
I was laughing more out of disgust.
My dad's laugh was more out of uncertainty - not wanting to respond with silence.

----
Obviously, I came out all right.
The doctors did excellent work.
Nobody can tell that I've had, what I call, major facial reconstructive surgery.
For a solid year after this, people would ask me what's new...
You know, not really wanting to know what was new...
But I would tell them, in a blank and matter-of-factly as possible...
"What's new? Probably the titanium plate in my head, what's new with you?"

Monday, September 21, 2009

How long would you wait?

Q: Have you seen Road House?
A: I must sadly admit to this confession: I have never seen the 1989 Patrick Swayze star vehicle.

I just added this movie to my NetFlix queue list.
Currently, it's availability is listed as "Very Long Wait."
This shouldn't be surprising.
Net Flix knows when newer movies will be in demand.
For example, I'm sure they had tons of Pineapple Express copies ready to be red enveloped and mailed.
There's no way they could have anticipated exactly when Swayze would pass.
At least, let's hope not.

But back to my confession: me never seeing this classic (it doesn't have to be good to be a classic) piece of motion picture movie film.

When this movie came out, 1989, I was ten years old.
Well under the full supervision of my parents.
This movie is rated R.
Easily, not something my parents would've let me rent at Family Video.
Also, for those of you that may not know... Our family didn't get cable television until 2002.
Which means, a movie such as this, that has lived for such a long time on cable - never got into my range of vision.

I'm sure I can find Road House on TV now, but it'll be on TBS or USA or Spike...but-
Nobody edits Swayze in a corner!

I want to see this film the way it's director intended.
If Swayze's gonna swear, I wanna hear it...
Give me full strength Patrick Power.

Who knows how long it takes.
It's going to be a nice surprise when it arrives.
(or more accurately, it'll be a nice surprise when I get the notification e-mail from Net Flix)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do you have a favorite all-time voicemail?

Q: Even though I first wrote the below on May 18, 2008 - is it still on my answering machine?
A: Hell yes! I actually listen to it about once every two weeks to make sure it's still there.

Sometime during Friday May 9th, the following message was left on my answering machine:

(the voice is of a woman in the late-middle ages. by this I mean a woman past 50, not one in the feudal system)
Hey Alice,
Table is set,
Lasagna is in,
How come I haven't heard from you?
Anyway, if you get my message give me a call, bye.

I was out to dinner with a few friends on Friday night. We all came back to my place and loved this message that never got to Alice. I really wish I could somehow upload the sound. It's important to understand the poem like delivery. How the pronunciation of Alice is elongated to make the word sound twice as long and how the words "set" and "in" are forcefully said as punctuation. The pause before hearing the caller's abject desperation in the "How come I haven't heard from you?" question.

One of my friends who heard this lamented that our creative writing course at Northwestern had ended. True, this kind of material would serve as the perfect impetus for a short story.

Where is Alice?
This woman, she is obviously expecting her.
This dinner must be important, no?

So here's my idea...
And I'm also anticipating selling the movie rights...
Hoping I'd retain some control on the casting, here it goes:

Edie McClurg as "Valarie" Alice's to-be mother-in-law


Leelee Sobieski as "Alice"


Will Friedle plays "Jim" Alice's fiancee

(It's not important if you don't know who Will Friedle is. he had a small role on an ABC sit com called "Boy Meets World" and is most well known for having dated Jennifer Love Hewitt before she met and dumped Carson Daly. He's not having a speaking role, just will be anxiously pacing behind his nervous mother in the background)

In another non-speaking role will be Rev. Harris - played by Sam Waterson


And now I'll introduce some tension.

Rev. Harris is the family pastor for Valerie and Jim at their local Evangelical Church. Leelee (Alice) is an eastern european immigrant from a strong Catholic family.

You see where I'm going with this, right? Valerie is very concerned about her faithful boy marrying outside her faith. She's bringing in reinforcements (Rev. Harris) to try to convince her son of this fact. However, Jim is very confident that her solid roots will withstand any cross examination from the character played by the Law and Order actor.

By the way, Leelee (Alice) is an underground stripper. The reason why she is late is because her brother was very late in picking her up from a "private party" the evening before, and she is now basically held hostage in her brother's early 90s Ford Mustang.

Adam will be played by Giovanni Ribisi.


Turns out that the only reason why Adam and Alice are in the States (illegally) is to pay off a debt from the old country. And that Adam is the reason for the debt, but we won't know why yet. Jim knows only that Adam is in bad social standing, not the kind of person you want your mother or pastor to meet. Tragically, Jim doesn't know the extent that his fiancee is involved.

Jim earlier called Alice, before Valerie's attempt. Jim heard the after-market exhaust system in the background of the phone conversation. The only way that Alice can make it before the lasagna gets "out" is if she drags Adam in with her. Which would create more tension with good ol' Rev. Harris in attendance.

---

And that's the story behind my erroneous message on my answering machine, in my opinion at least.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What do you call being nostalgic about nostalgia?

Q: Does it have to be good to be a classic?
A: I've decided I'm going to slowly move some of my more favorite posts from MySpace's now defunct View de TQ blog.

"Memories from the summer of 1995"
Originally posted August 8, 2008



I'd like to share my top five memories from my tenure at Walgreens.

5. Walking the 4 blocks to work and back. I think the only reason I decided to have Walgreens as my first job ever was because it was the only non restaurant job I could accomplish this feat.

4. Refusing to sell "a pack of Reds" to the piss ant jerk that lived down the street from me.

3. Selling a home pregnancy test to a co-worker (it was on special + the employee discount). Those of you who know me best will not be surprised that although I was 16 years old when this happened, I didn't realize what was actually going on until over a YEAR later.

2. A pack of Trojan condoms were not scanning properly. I called over a coworker to whisper for him to go find the price. The man trying to buy the prophylactics thanked me for my discreetness. Later that night, the mildly retarded man working the Liquor department announces over the store's speakers that he needs a price check for the same item. This happened when I was with the store's manager. The manager's reaction: using his hand to catch his falling head while repeating the liquor clerks name repeatedly.

1. A customer asks me about two candy bars near the register: Mounds and Almond Joy. She asks me what the difference between the two (because I assume the packaging is near identical in font and design)? I said it in the cadence to hopefully spark her memory of the popular TV commercial, "Almond Joy's got nuts (pause) Mounds don't-" It's a shame she didn't ask me "Why" because I had the follow-up verse locked and loaded.

----

The reason why I decided to walk down my retail clerk memory lane is because I saw a 36 pack of Trojan condoms at the local Costco. I had a very difficult time imagining the need for that volume of product. It appears that I'm still not that far away from that kid ringing up a home pregnancy test for a coworker.

Selling condoms were fun at Walgreens. It was in an era before they were nonchalantly advertised on TV. I respected (not to mention envious of) anybody buying them. A coworker once told me he sold a pack to a guy, and after he handed him the receipt (if you didn't it'd cost you $5) and autopiloted a "Have a nice night" salutation. The girl that was with the guy said, "Don't worry, he will."

I don't know if that story was true or not, but it made me smile then... and for a different reason - makes me smile today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are you ready to be f***ed, man? (Best Jesus at Lebowski Fest Chicago Bowling Night 2: The Duel!)

The "Best Jesus" from the First Lebowski Fest in Chicago (March 2008) was not exactly a lightweight. You can see his antics prominently showcased in Eddie Chung's The Achievers.

When he strutted (and he most certainly had the Quintana walk perfected) into Diversey River Bowl to defend his title, I don't think he expected the competition to be as good - or as sexy:

video

video

Maria May I, did win over the crowd (and me as well), but sadly finished as the runner up. Thankfully for us all, it didn't stop her from dancing.

video

If you thought these moves were good - I implore you to catch one of the two newly added performances of "Rollin' Outta Here Naked" by Vaudezilla (including this very same Jesus)![TQ]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How should I tell my (non-existent) kid about the dangers of drugs?

Q: Two night ago, when I couldn't sleep, did I scheme about how to elope in Vegas?
A: No, this time it was another scenario just as crazy.

I don't know what caused my mind to get on the track it did the other night. For the record, it before I was prescribed that codeine strength cough syrup.

However, it was the cough that kept me awake - and I had to figure something to do with my mind besides counting the seconds in between coughs.

The following is a fictitious monologue. A talk between a father and his child about the dangers of drug abuse. I think it's the way I'd want to tell a kid if I ever had to have one of these talks.

Obviously, I don't have any kids - and this talk is quite a ways away (if it even happens at all is as much a mystery). But if I were to ever become a Father - it's definitely a talk that would have to happen:

* * *
Hey, do you mind if I turn off the TV for a moment? Yeah, I know it's not called that - but TV is just so quick to say - and easier than Interactive Envrino-Holo-Globe-a-tron... I just want your undivided attention for a moment. Yeah, if you could turn that off too I'd be great... Uh huh that as well. Okay? Good.

(Deep breath)

I wa-... need to talk to you about drugs.

Yes, good, I'm glad that you've had a lot of talk in schools. But I want to focus on something that's not quite talked about in schools. Well, first off, have you been offered drugs?

By anyone?

Even friends?

(deep sigh of relief)

That's wonderful. That's going to help me fall asleep better tonight, believe me. But something that usually keeps me awake is that first time you'll be asked.

No, no. It will happen. I'm very certain and positive about it. You have friends. You're a cool guy that's going to meet a lot of people between now and then. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I have been offered drugs before. Not when I was as young as you are now...

(pause for thought)

Well, I think I was 19. Which, even by that era, was remarkably late in my life. I'd jump through flaming hoops in excitement if nobody offers you drugs between now and when you turn 19 - but I don't think that's likely... It's why I want to have this talk now.

I need to get to you first.

I was lucky. That time, when I was 19, it was a complete stranger at a concert in Milwaukee. So when a guy you never met, offers you something, it's very easy to refuse. But you won't be able to decide your own story.

It could come from your best friend at the time - someone who you might not have even met yet right now. It could also come from someone who you would want to be a good friend. A person you respect, and want to be like. Even someone you may think you are in love with. Those will be the more difficult situations that when I had to decide.

They told you this in school? Really? Ok, good. Did they talk about why people use drugs? Okay, that's true - that's true. But there's another reason why people use drugs - probably the most important of all.

Drugs work. They are very powerful and have a goal, which is almost always accomplished. They are, without question, a model of precision science at work. People who use drugs love them. It feels good to them. They were feeling bad before, and feel better because of these drugs.

It's like when you're hungry.
You have that bad feeling, and you want something... like pizza - right?
After the pizza, you feel good - so good you want more pizza and could even want your friends to have that too.

That bad feeling is a good thing - because it lets you know that you need food.
The purpose of all drugs, even the good ones a doctor may give you, is to change what you are feeling. It's why we trust doctors to give us medicine, they are smart enough to know what these bad feelings are signaling.

But let's say you're hungry - very hungry - and there's no pizza anywhere... I mean, you're so hungry you'd even have that old Pea Soup recipe from Grandmother - but nothing was around... And let's say someone offers you a small pill with the promise that you won't feel hungry after you swallow it...

The thing is, that pill won't make you feel hungry anymore. It will work. But the reason you were hungry in the first place is because you needed food - and that pill didn't change the situation. But for the moment, you don't feel hungry so it's easy to think you're not hungry and don't need food. Think about what would happen if you never ate again? Yes, it's scary. Every day people die because they don't realize - or feel that - they are hungry and need food.

The point I'm trying to make in all this is that it's not as important what drugs are out there, or what people are out there to offer you drugs... What's very, very important is to know why people are using drugs.

These are the thoughts I hope go through your mind when you are offered drugs. To think about why people would use that drug... Because, and I know this sounds like Dad-talk, drugs aren't the answer.

If you are hungry, you know to come to me letting me know - right? Just like you did about two hours ago? You know you can come to me if you have any bad feeling, right? That's why I'm here - to help you through stuff like that.

I'm supposed to feed you if you're hungry.
I'm supposed to protect you if you feel unsafe.
I'm supposed to be here if you need something...
... and there are plenty of other people, like if I'm out of town, that love you and are just as willing as I to help.

Okay, okay - I won't lecture you anymore... But this talk may be over now, tonight, but this discussion... this conversation... is not over. If you ever feel bad, so bad that you don't know how to change it, please come to me - so we can talk about it.

I'm an option.
I trust you. I know you're a smart kid and will make a good choice. Please just consider why others may have to use drugs, and realize that because I - and so many other people love you - that you have more options than they do.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's in your queue?

Q: Should I maybe still ask her out?
A: ...as a way of formally starting the comparison shopping?

The consensus is saying I need to cultivate this friendship.
Right now we aren't quite friends.
She is also dating "someone."
By my deduction, for less than 3 months.

On multiple occasions I have heard, "we were just friends before we
got married."
However, all these friendships were during school years.

I am seriously considering a ban on dating until I get my MBA.
The thought of other single professionals in a classroom appeals to me.
It may be, to borrow a Top Gun phrase, a Target Rich Environment.
Not to mention, a guy with a graduate degree is more attractive to some.
That is code for "women like money"

Only one thing exists that Women like more than the concept of a rich
husband: travel.

That is because, in my opinion, a rich man can more easily provide
access to travel.

Back to "Target."
I am very relieved that I found out a while ago that she's dating
somebody.
Because lately she has turned the volume up on our quazi-friendship.
These signs could've been horribly misinterpreted.

Or maybe she wants them misinterpreted?
Does she want a fight for her love?
Could I only be as attractive as the grass on the other side of the
fence?

Have I ever mentioned that when it comes to women, and reading their
signs, I am LOST?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is life easy?

Q:How long has it been since I've posted a "Song of the Moment?"
A: I can't remember - too long that's for sure.

One of the first "Song of the Moment" tracks I ever posted was from a small unknown band from Denmark called Mew. They have a new album, and a new song that got recognized recently on NPR's All Songs Considered.

Sometimes Life Isn't Easy.

Speaking of Life Not Being Easy.
I think enough time has passed to tell this story.
And by time passing, I mean... well, you'll read at the end.

I went on an expensive date recently.
That story, has wounds a little too fresh to reveal now.
But let me just say, for reasons very known to me - and would be very stupid if known to you, I wanted another date...
On my terms...

I had called her about three days before the next date.
Explaining that I wanted to see her again, but that I would not be able to treat her to nights as expensive as the previous date.
She complied.
Convincingly.
Or so I thought.

She was supposed to show up at my place at 3 pm.
We were going to go out golfing.
Then, to a nice dinner.

She texted me at 7 pm.
Then there were a bunch of lies from her.
How am I sure she was was not truthful?
You can thank the lack of corroborating evidence on her facebook page.
A very large case could be built against her from JUST her facebook page.
Not to mention, the sheer insult of not showing up for a date - with a weak texted apology 4 hours too late.

Yes, I wanted to have a face to face conversation with her.
Finally, I was able to get her to agree to another date... or so I thought.
She wanted to know what I proposed for the next date.
I re-proposed the plan we had scheduled.

The idea she had agreed to.

"To be honest with you, going to a 'crappy' golf course doesn't appeal to me"

(new text message)

"It shows lack of regard"

In between receiving these two texts I told her we could skip the golf part and just go to a nice dinner.

Then she replied, "Ok, fine... But it's kind of weak."

By the way, I failed to mention that this girl does not golf.
She does not own clubs.

I was pissed off when I got that message calling my date idea weak.
My response, "Don't misinterpret the fact that I can't spend $200 a date as lack of regard."

With that text - she deleted my friendship on facebook.
Which means she probably won't see this - which is why I can post it now.

That expensive date was actually our second date. Although the first date was on a weeknight and did not include dinner... it was a casual "meet for the first time" public place kind of thing... The expensive date, although it was the second time I saw her, was really the FIRST DATE.

We're talking a Saturday Night.
We're talking me picking her up.
We're talking me paying for dinner.
We're talking my consideration of applying for a bank loan if I was going to keep seeing her.

Sad to say, but that first "meet up date" is an all-time story for yours truly.
A story that exposes more of my vulnerability that even I can not share in this medium.
Someone who over thinks to the extent that I do uses tales like that to both strengthen and hide my choices.

I look forward to next week.
A week with zero romantic pitfalls on the horizon.
Hopefully the next few posts will be filled with kickball stories, thoughts on the movies Sugar and Advertureland, basketball observations and more hopeful insomniac rants.

September, for the last three years, was the best month for me.
Landmark events happened in this month.
One story specifically that I also plan to re-post on Tuesday.

The 2009 edition of September started off something awful.
Last weekend was a definite "win" but I'm rooting for this month to finish strong.

I'll start with a little MoJo victory over "AD" A.P.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Are you seeing or just talking?

Q: Have you ever known something, but had to have someone else say it to help you realize you know it?
A: Talking is before Seeing, which may not necessarily be 'dating.'

So last night's late night blog post, written from my recliner in a dark living room, yielded the most comments in this humble voyage's history. (3 different people between the Blogger and Facebook feeds! Which is downright laughable for any OTHER blog writer)

Please allow me to respond to these comments:
Before I even arrived to work this morning I saw that my friend tell me, "I don't know who she is, but I think you should ask her out."

What's my friend didn't know, but it's important for readers to know, is that I was in that (cue music) "getting to know you / getting to know more about you" phase with this - let's call her "Target." Everything I was finding out about this Target was great. The more I found out the more I wanted to know... And it was very new into this stage, which made me painfully aware that the Friend Zone was not too far away, but for sure was not yet a current reality.

There was one glaring piece of Target that I didn't know.... And this is going to throw a wrench into the story... I didn't know if she was in a relationship or not... I thought if I asked her point blank it would expose my intentions and make place me at a point of no return... Also, I refused to have any mutual acquaintances find out this information for me. Target, in my opinion, would be too smart to not see the Study Hall aspect of an acquaintance (By the same token I believe her "friends" would sooner rat me out, or at the very least see through to my intentions that I didn't want to share). This was something I wanted to learn naturally through conversation.

And I finally figured it out, through a concept reveled to me from Target that makes a lot of sense to me... A story she was detailing identified someone as, "a guy I was talking to at the time." That opening was not lost on me, asking her for further clarification on "talking."

"Talking" was her serious way of describing the time I (sometimes jokingly) refer to as "courtship." It's at that daybreak moment before an actual date. The guy in this story evidently never progressed past this "talking" stage (an outcome all too familiar with yours truly).

Then the story's other shoe dropped, because Target is actually "dating" a friend of the guy she was "talking" to earlier. And her story involved the "talked" individual asking of the "dating" individual knows that they are "dating." And Target said, "Why wouldn't he?" Thankfully, this allowed me to ask the questions that I wanted answered. All prefaced under the truth of my own experiences of the many (upon further review) platonic dates I have endured. Is he picking you up? (yes) Is he paying for these dates? (yes) I was in agreement and confirmed that the guy she is dating must know he is dating her. With that conclusion I grew a tad sad.

Target then said, "... you can't ask someone if you are on a date during a date - that's so high school..." That made me remember how I thought she'd think someone else asking her if she had a boyfriend would feel like Study Hall... It made me like her more, and of course - hurt inside a litle more as well.

So in the time that has passed since then, I've just been staying still as I tried to put last night. I'm lost and just hope her orbit comes back around. Of course that's not a content feeling. I'm losing sleep because I wonder if I should still tell her how I feel.

Which brings me to the other commentators:
(A GUY WROTE THIS): "
It's an unfortunate game. These girls that people like us would obsess about are busy screwing people that don't give two shits about them. It's all very stupid. They make it sound like they're after some incredible person but they end up getting drunkenly nailed by some ass from a bar because they're trying to enjoy their single life. After hearing about the kind of guys a nice, pretty girl will sleep with, you really have to question their thought process. A lot of girls will reject someone for a long time and once you stop showing interest, will become very interested and even pissed if you have moved on to greener pastures. You'll find someone, and hopefully you won't be too bitter at these types of people when you do.

(A GIRL WROTE THIS): "I hate when people say this, but I am going to say it anyhow...the worse she could say is "no". And although it would be a crushing blow to the ego, you will actually feel better (in the long run) that you took that step and aren't sitting in the dark on the subject anymore. Is she a friend of yours? Are you worried if the answer is no it would ruin a friendship? If that is the case, a good friend will never leave ya! No matter what. In fact she would probably be flattered you asked. I know I would have been if a good friend had asked me out. If she isn't a friend, then what have you go to loose, except the possible ego blow mentioned above, which you would get over. She may say "YES" and then wouldn't that be great!!! Only one way to find out...

In response to the Guy's comment:Thankfully, I'm not this pessimistic. And I think my continued efforts are a testament to that fact. However, I can't deny that I share some bitterness that could agree with some of those points.

In response to the Girl's comment: A very common thought, and very wrong. The worst case scenario only "begins" with a "no."

Permit me to embellish: THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN:
So after I ask her out, and she says no...
She laughs.
She tells her friends.
Especially her single friends.
Oh yeah, that really hot one too.
Guess what, even her friends, the ones in relationships, are told.
Because, they keep hassling her about when she's going to find a boyfriend.
Someone like the douchebags they have found
And now the douchebags know.
Meanwhile I still keep seeing her.
My favorite grocery store no longer becomes an option.
I start second guessing myself.
How could I not have envisioned this?
How could I have been so wrong?
This girl seemed so nice- but then she said no.
And now the douchebags know.

That's just one version of the worst that can happen.
I chose to share a version that doesn't actually include bodily harm.
Sharing that may conflict with my earlier statement that I'm not to bitter.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are you ready for some FANTASY?

Q: Will you be watching NFL's opening Titan / Steeler game?
A: For sure if you have anybody in your Fantasy Football team playing...

A good friend of mine, during the summer of 2001, was working as an intern at a Chicago Sports Radio station. He asked a few people in that office for suggestions on starting a fantasy football league.

It was an instant hit. Currently we run all year long with baseball and basketball fantasy leagues filling in the gaps. I am the proud commissioner of the NBA Fantasy League.

Our league is great. Our managers are great. Our scoring system is great. More importantly, I feel we have a one-up on nearly every other league out there for one major fact:
WE AWARD ZERO CASH PRIZES FOR FANTASY PERFORMANCE

Complimentary to my personal sense of pride is the fact that I don't see any aspect of another League that I envy...

Until recently...

A coworker brought in their "Stanley Cup" type Fantasy Trophy.
I instantly asked him if I could take pictures of it:



This league has been together since 1986! Way before the Internet and it's influence on the realm's popularity and expansion. Notice how they have had to add another block on the trophy's bottom to add more room to chronicle past champions:


We don't have a trophy in our league.
I've always wanted one.
The largest reason why we don't have one is a by product of our intense spirit of competition: We can't trust that an outgoing champion will relinquish the trophy.

I was curious to know who the "fantasy stars" of 1986 might have been.
Most of the names will surprise you:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Who can you blame?

Q: On Tuesday September 8, did something not go entirely the way you wanted?
A: I blame Oprah, for all minor setbacks and inconveniences incurred on that day.


For the second straight week, I was involved in a slaughter-rule shortened game of kickball.
The absence of further details will help you deduce the result.

I've learned in this last week that not everybody knows what kickball is.
There seems to be a cultural gap that I've roughly identified beginning in the year 1965.
From my extremely unscientific research - if you were born before 1965 odds are you did not play kickball in gym class and have no frame of reference.

Of course, my Father does not know what kickball is... When visiting him this last weekend he told me he went to the Internet trying to figure out his son's latest venture... This process probably made my Dad more confused. There are quite the litany of kickball related websites, which can be difficult to sift through.

I'm sure he at least saw www.kickball.com, which is the official site of the WAKA (World Adult Kickball Association). The organization had a story on CNN over Labor Day Weekend. MySister saw a news tease bump on last night's WGN news and quickly called me. After watching it "live" I quickly found the same story online:

Embedded video from CNN Video


Let the record show that I'm not entirely happy with kickball's depiction in this story.
I'm glad it got publicity.
It's good for people to know that we are out there having fun.
There's also a sense of coolness I feel for maybe being just behind the cusp of this wave's popularity.
But it is not an excuse to just go out drinking.
Nobody, not in 2009 - not ever, needed an organized sporting activity to get them drinking.
People have been fueling themselves for years... Long before kickball competition...

The highlight of our game tonight is when a teammate turned to me and mentioned, "I really like kickball." in a tone that had a hint of surprise. This person, I'm sure anticipated, that this activity would be fun... But it may have been underestimated.

Sadly, I will be elsewhere for next week's game.
It is against the best named team in the league: Kick Tease

I embedded a classic track after last week's result.
In anticipation for a bounce back effort against a well named team, here's a song that references our team name (Conflict Diamond).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Do you know where you are? Right now?

Q: What makes you lost?
A: It is not just not knowing your location, it's also not knowing where you are going.

2:35 AM is the time right now.
This subject is something that I have wanted to write for a while.
It has kept me up at night.
Especially tonight.

My old boss at my old job was into The Boy Scouts.
Long after his son had gone to and graduated from college my old boss remained active in the organization. The following is either the only tenent of Boy Scouts I remembered, or respected enough to still know. Lord knows I heard a lot about that gang.

THE FIRST RULE OF NEVER GETTING LOST IS KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE AT ALL TIMES.

Boy Scouts don't get lost from superior map reading or compass operating skills. They aren't supposed to take one step that isn't known where they were and where they're going.

Remembering this ideal has led me to conclude that I am LOST when it comes to women.

I look over all the dates I've been on during these past 3 or 4 years and can truthfully say I never knew where I was with them the entire time. There us nothing that I can think of that can change this. I am incopetent at reading any signs from the opposite sex (as if they were a map). More importantly, any direct information cannot be trusted (no magnetic North to get a compass reading)

Examples:
"cute" is no longer a compliment. I have heard the same girl call the following things "cute" in the same night: a basket full of dinner rolls, a woman over the age of 70, a leached dog, myself, her own purse and a ringtone.

Lies are polite. A woman will look me dead in the eye and convincingly express a desire to see me again. This is the path of least resistance, and least awkward, for these types instead of the truth.

The lines separating assertive and agressive, humility and honesty, sensitive and sissy, debonair and douchebag are diffrent for everybody. Some girls like to be right on the edge of these lines. It
might be the epicenter of the near universal BADBOY appeal glitch in their biology. Sadly, I only discover these lines after they are irreversably crossed.

Girls will always be more coordinated. Their expressed desire to "quit playing games" is bait for guys like me. On a similar note: everything matters to them. The girl who says money or looks aren't important just hasn't been tested yet. Find me the girl who would pick Screech
over Zack Morris if given the choice. And one who won't be more impressed by a large bouquet of flowers than just the card that would have come with it.

To circle back to this poor excuse of an extended metaphor, I don't know what I need to change. The simple response would be that I am in the wrong Forrest. That all the maps in that area are spotty at best. That I need to find a trustwothy woman who is an adult, and that is capable of co-navigating a voyage. One that won't leave me with a busted GPS on the side of an apocolyptic road.

That place, where the good women are, is undeachable. It either fails to exist or I lack the documentation required to travel there. Or worse, I was there already and left empty handed never to return.

This is what I mean by that last comment: Did I screw up in college not leaving with an eventual wife? All those kids that flung engagement Hail Marys, the ones I mocked, must have realized something I did not. Earlier tonight, I played basketball, and I played poorly. Playing basketball is what I ended up doing instead of dating for my college life. Was that a wrong choice?

I also don't know how to interpret the fact that the girls I am most attracted to are the least plausible options (for various reasons I can't elaborate). It can't be as simple as a being a built in reason for preventing me from trying - in a twisted hurt prevention strategy. Because if that was the case, I would have avoided every single one of my past (who knows the number) dates.

I wanted to believe I was an open minded guy.

I wanted to believe that everyone had a chance.
There were times when I thought too much
Of course there were times I wasn't thinking at all.

It's almost one hour later from when I began writing this post. All with one specific person in mind. I have envisioned ten diffrent ways of asking her out. None of them seem natural. Even when I dream of my word choice being perfect, I can't help but antcipate the awkward
avalanche all but assured will ensue.

All I know is that I am here, and she is there. As soon as I approach her I will lose my bearings and become lost.

In my personal understanding of physics, it is unable to stay in the same place on a planet that keeps spinning on it's axis and revolving around the Sun.

My plan is to try to keep spinning without losing my place and hope our orbits intersect.

(final note: I apologize for ranting to this degree. Unless you are one of those people who never have problems falling asleep - you have a charmed existence)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Who is nominated for an Emmy?

Q: Does anybody still watch TV?

A: Even if you don't, the Emmys may still be worthwhile.



Here is my take on the upcoming Emmy Nominations.
For record, throughout these nominations let me state that I don't believe it's fair that Network-based shows have to compete against Premium-cable shows. However, I don't think The Office would necessarily be better if they had nipples and F Bombs.

Outstanding Comedy Series

"Entourage" (2004) A show I haven't seen in years, thinks it gets overvalued because of how "cool" people like to feel by watching it.

"Family Guy" (1999) A show I used to absolutely love, and have since "fallen away" from by no fault of their own.

"The Flight of the Conchords" (2007) A show in which I whipped through it's first season on DVD and love when other people in a room with me catch a reference - I hope this wins.

"How I Met Your Mother" (2005) Just don't get it. Haven't watched it. I'm sure it's funny. Don't ask me why I don't intend to watch this. Although, it has a nice chance of finding me when it's on syndication.

"The Office" (2005) The last year was a quality rebound year for them. The show has become watchable again. A win for this show will make me smile.

"30 Rock" (2006) People I respect like this show. I have tried, and I guess I have failed. It just doesn't make me laugh. And I don't find it "smart" either. SportsNight was a non-funny smart sitcom I enjoyed... But this program seems forced to me.

"Weeds" (2005) I have seen zero episodes of this program.




Outstanding Drama Series

"Big Love" (2006) I've only seen this show's first season, which was good. I can only assume it's quality is still up there.

"Breaking Bad" (2008) One of my favorite shows out there. Very daring and I will continue to champion it to others - pleading with them to rent it's DVDs.

"Damages" (2007) Another show, like Breaking Bad, in which I've seen every episode. Although I like this show very much, I was surprised to see it nominated. It's just a very glossy, well produced, soap opera.

"Dexter" (2006) [My opinion, and experience, is the same as Big Love]

"House M.D." (2004) People love this show, I understand why, it's just not my flavor. I'm more a fan of large arcs in my dramas over the standard episodic approach (not that there's anything wrong with that).

"Lost" (2004) This is the show I hope and want to win. This is the show I am most waiting to return.

"Mad Men" (2007) Give it a rest.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock" (2006) Give it a rest.

Steve Carell for "The Office" (2005) Deserving.

Jemaine Clement for "The Flight of the Conchords" (2007) Why did they single out him?

Jim Parsons for "The Big Bang Theory" (2007) Really? If they say so.

Tony Shalhoub for "Monk" (2002) Here's the sympathy vote for a show's last season.

Charlie Sheen for "Two and a Half Men" (2003) Can you get negative votes for those Hanes ads?

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Simon Baker for "The Mentalist" (2008) A win here will get this show on my NetFlix queue.

Gabriel Byrne for "In Treatment" (2008) Hoping he doesn't win, because a win will get this show on my NetFlix queue.

Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad" (2008) Here's my vote.

Michael C. Hall for "Dexter" (2006) Won't be able to argue against this.

Jon Hamm for "Mad Men" (2007) Please stop.

Hugh Laurie for "House M.D." (2004) If this wins, let's hope for a YouTubeable speech to make it worthwhile.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

I HAVE SEEN NONE OF THESE PERFORMANCES!

Tina Fey for "30 Rock" (2006)

Sarah Silverman for "The Sarah Silverman Program." (2007)


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Glenn Close for "Damages" (2007) I love the show, but she's not even the best in the cast. (I'm rooting for Rose Byrne in the "supporting" category)

Sally Field for "Brothers & Sisters" (2006) For reasons I can't post, I have a problem with Sally Field.

Holly Hunter for "Saving Grace" (2007) They can simultaneously award her the Emmy with the Nobel Peace Prize and it would still not make me want to watch this show - sorry.

Elisabeth Moss for "Mad Men" (2007) Can someone give me 4 reasons that don't involve style over substance for this show to be applauded this loudly?

Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer" (2005) I hear she's good, very good...