Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Am I wrong? (An Open Letter to John Goodman)

(A quick note to everybody not named John Goodman: Chalupa of the Lebowski Podcast sent me this story yesterday - once you read that you'll get up to speed on this letter)

Mr. Goodman,

Please accept my official invitation to attend an upcoming Lebowski Fest. I should mention now that I have no authority from Will Russell or Scott Shuffitt (the "founding dudes" of Lebowski Fest).

My invitation is merely just a suggestion from one Fest attendee (me) to another potential attendee (hopefully you). As someone who spent years on the sidelines wanting to go to a Fest, and finally did - I find myself uniquely qualified to help convince someone who appears to be on the fence about attending [such as you might be].

Knowing that your time is precious, I'll list a few quick reasons:

-It is as fun as it looks... And that's well before the bowling starts.
-It is not a Star Trek convention... Nobody is going to hassle you asking if you know the name of Walter's dog.
-You might end up taking more pictures than being pictured... I won't lie to you (no funny stuff), you will be very popular at a Lebowski Fest and many people (such as yours truly) will request to be photographed with you. But I can assure you that you are going to want to take pictures of your own to help share your experience with others.

Also, on a personal level, let me say that I get the sense that you will only attend if one of your fellow billed co-stars join you. Please, don't let this be the barrier preventing your decision to come out. The same reason kept me away for years, and I finally decided three years ago to fly it solo. It didn't take me long to meet instant friends. At the very least - you can hang out with me.

I can't offer you much Mr. Goodman. And, no offense, if I had the option of cutting off my toe to get you to a Lebowski Fest I would decline it and keep my toe. However, if needed: I will sacrifice my hotel room. People will be happy to let me crash in their room knowing I gave it up to get Mr. John Goodman to town.

May I suggest the 9th Annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky to be your first Fest? It's the weekend of July 16 & 17. Although there are many more in 2010, the one in Louisville would be your best option. Feel free to e-mail Will or Scott at dudes@lebowskifest.com for more information.

I look forward to meeting you,

How long does it take to accomplish a goal?

Q: What was the official 5K time?
A: 32:31 (an average of a mile every ten and a half minutes).

So of course it took me much longer than 32 minutes and 31 seconds to run five kilometers.
It took me about seven weeks of training.

I have been close to giddy-joy since Saturday morning. Most would be humbled by a time that "slow." Yes, I have coworkers who smoke nearly a half a pack a day near my office's door that ran faster times. Screw all that, I'm too selfish to care. There are many examples in my life in which rash decision making has led to zany misadventures. It feels really great to have one of my radical decisions end up with such a positive result. It's not even May yet, but what happened early on Saturday April 24 will be tough to beat in my personal "accomplishment of 2010."

Here's what happened:
(FYI: if you don't know what I'm talking about)

My Dad volunteered to be my support team. He's been saying he's wanted to do that since very early into this process. The offer was routinely met with jokes of him riding a bike just ahead of me while filming the experience for YouTube. But it wasn't until the Wednesday before the Saturday morning race did I finally accept his offer. It just made the logistics of it a ton easier.

It was a total and complete luxury to just step out of his car ready to go. I was able to leave my wallet, my phone, my what-have-you behind without needing to bother with any unwanted stress or the madness of the "gear check" area. I arrived to the pre-race rendezvous with a lot of my coworkers at 7:30 - right on time.

In a move that's surprised a lot of people, I decided to leave my iPod at home. On the other hand, nobody [that has seen me in other athletic endeavors] was surprised to see that I brought out the headband.

The start was an absolute zoo. A shoulder to shoulder sea created a feeling that I was at a sold out Aragon Ballroom show. It took me just over two minutes to finally get over the "start" line trying to not babystep on anybody's feet. People were then making mad dashes for open space by either funneling out to be the first to the sidewalk path or trailblazing drunken zig-zags.

In the first mile, I was very attentive to my pace. I didn't let any adrenalin fool me into a faster than I had trained for pace. However, I did need an extra kick to pass random walkers and get into the next available running space.

For the record, I'm using the term running - but let me be clear - I didn't run any of it. If you want to see me run, check me out on a fast break on Wednesday Nights. My "jog" may be more for show than speed. I jog at that same pace you "hustle" when the light turns yellow and you want to make the world think you're trying to get through the crosswalk quickly.

The second mile, well...
I have to be honest...
This was by far the easiest section for me.
By this time the race path had turned north onto Ravenswood (after 5 or so blocks west on Addison).
There was no pain or fatigue felt during this second mile because my mind was elsewhere.
Sorry to admit it sports fans, but I was fantastically distracted for the about four blocks tailing (pun chauvinistically intended) a knockout beauty. Somewhere after the 1.5 mark I lost by muse, but equally distracted myself both trying to find her again while trying to find another focus of my attention.

I gave up looking for race romance while on Irving Park Road (in which we turned onto heading east after our potholed Ravenswood section was done), which was the busiest four lane road shut down for the event. This might have been my favorite section of the race. First, you have such a large road that I personally have been stuck in traffic on numerous times now filled with runners. Second, there are many people just watching and encouraging complete strangers (my favorite were a few security guards at a roadblock high 5ing passing runners). And the third reason why this road was my favorite is because the last two blocks doubled back upon itself. This last point gave me the opportunity [of distraction] to look for friends who were running faster than me and then after the turn I was able to see if I could recognize anybody behind me.

After turning onto Clark street, heading back to Wrigley Field, I started feeling the strain. People started passing me like I was standing still. I couldn't focus on the large stadium ahead of me because it wasn't appearing to get any closer. Instead, I looked to the Metro (where I'll be seeing Los Campesinos! the following Friday) and used one of their drum cadences to help me keep jogging one step at a time.

Then it was a quick left onto Waveland.
A quick right into the concourse of Wrigley Field.
Jog past Ernie Banks.
Avoid running into pillars.
It made me think of Rudy.
(the scenes of the spunky Sean Austin running inside Notre Dame Stadium)
Mainly, at this point - I wanted it over.
I see the light at the end of the concourse.
We all exit under the landmark red marquee.
But - psyche! - it's not over yet... The finish line was another 50 or so yards around the outside of the building.

The master clock over the Finish line read just over 35 minutes. Knowing that it took me some time to get to the Start line I was happy knowing I completed the 5K in under 35 minutes. When the official times were released the following Monday, and I saw 32:31 there was a mini-solo-celebration in my cubicle.

So will I continue running?
I'm not sure.
For the summer, I probably will... Maybe just two times a week.
Burn some calories and get some non-basketball exercise.
There's another 5K that I'm looking at in early June.
When the winter starts, and I'm unable to run outside for free - I'll have a decision on my hands.

I do think that 5K is the limit I want to run. I'm not going to get obsessive about this. Also, I have since changed my mind and agreed with a couple friends about the sanity of marathon runners. That's just extremist behavior, no offense if you're one of those people that run to the point of self-defecation.

Special thanks to a few other people:
My friend Brian who ran his first 5K last year and planted the idea in my head and gave me encouragement when I first said, "running is hard"
My coworkers, especially Jess, Brad and John for always smiling back at me when I told them about my goal and my progress towards it.
All the miscellaneous facebook friends who "liked" my progress updates and stories... and subsequent result
Girl Talk, Daft Punk, Paul Oakenfold, Broken Social Scene, Los Campesinos!, and of course Kenny Loggins for creating music that I used to craft playlists pivotal in my training.
And finally MySister - who reminded me of the role Children's Hospital (the cause the 5th Annual Race to Wrigley benefited) had during our family's most trying time before my first step, let alone run.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Do you like your credit card?

Q: What died recently?
A: My favorite credit card.

There are a lot of stupid things that I do.
My 'logic' is very easily polluted by nonsensical mumbojumbo.
Take for instance, the fact that I refused to activate my "new" credit card.

About a year ago, Chase and MGM Mirage had ceased their relationship with each other.
This was probably more MGM Mirage's decision than Chase's. (City Center condo anyone? anyone?)
This made me go on a somewhat moderate spending spree last summer to make sure I hit the next "reward level" plateau and qualify/cash in as many MGM Mirage gift cards as I could. That funded my November 2009 Vegas trip.

Then I got my 'next' credit card in the mail to replace the card soon to expire. The card that featured a beautiful picture of The Bellagio on it. The new card: I'm not very happy at it's boring appearance.

Of course, this shouldn't matter at all.

But I refused to activate my newer card. This past weekend, less than a week before it would've been automatically rejected everywhere, I finally cut it up my 'outgoing' card.

So I'm just left with a boring old standard issue credit card.
The picture on the card was only recognized, or commented upon, by one person the 3 or so years I had it... It was actually by a countergirl at the In-N-Out Burger in San Bernadino, California.

Again, me being somewhat illogically crazy - that story made me enjoy having that card even more.

For the record, I've never once stayed - and don't plan on ever - staying at The Bellagio.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What's the dumbest thing you've said recently?

Q: Was it more of a Geek or Nerd thing to say?
A: Regardless, I instantly regretted it and laughed at the same time.

First things first: Kick Tan Laundry got a win on Thursday Night.

Down 3-7, KTL rallied for 5 runs in the bottom half of the 6th [of a 7 inning kickball game].

3 outs later the game ended with Kick Tan Laundry winning 8-7.
I took only a few pictures, the game was too late in the day. If we get an earlier game I will take more pictures.

All 12 members of the team (that were at the game) went out to celebrate the win. Usually someone has to get back to their non-kickball life, but not that night. Sure, the Bulls and Hawks playoff games that night might have been a factor for us all wanting to get to a TV sooner than later - but there was a lot of camaraderie that wasn't going to quit after six and a half innings.

-The game winning "hit" was actually a move I'm calling "the stall" With runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs, a base hit scored the first run - but when while the kicker was caught in a run down trying to stretch it into a double, another run scored. Both runs counted, the inning was over, but that was all we needed.

-The same teammate who had the game winning RKI successfully executed the first "peg" of the season. In a crucial point of the game, he nailed a runner feet from home plate. Not only preventing another run being scored, but also getting the always elusive third out of an inning.

-Last season's Defensive MVP, due mainly to his excellent pegging skills, slipped during two flys to his post in the outfield. He might be wearing cleats next week, we'll see. He was the happiest we won because he was (wrongly) blaming himself for why we were losing.

-Yours truly had one highlight. While playing my usual position of 1st base I pulled off an unassisted inning ending double play thanks mainly to a coincidentally perfect kick path and an absent minded baserunner.

-Then there was my embarrassing moment of the evening. I had mishandled a throw to first when if I had caught it cleanly it would have been an out. Seeing as how there was another baserunner out there, I wanted to get the ball back to our pitcher quick to stop the play. I got the ball over to her, but for some reason couldn't think of the words, "time out." What did I say? I yelled, "Pause! Pause!" to the umpire. Everyone, both teams, cracked up in laughter. The only thing that's worse to say would have been, "Start button! Start button!"

By the way, did I mention that we won?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

When is Indie Rock too cute for its own good?

Q: Who is the early front runner for the Best Band Name I've heard in 2010 award?
A: Before I forget, the best band name I heard in 2009 was "Victory Auto Rockers" (inside joke only known to those living in Chicagoland)

You know me, I love NPR's All Songs Considered!
The latest episode is one I would like you to check out (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125857578).
The primary reason is because this particular episode features "my favorite band not named Radiohead"

NPR is also streaming the entire new album by Broken Social Scene, which I won't get my pre-ordered copy until the first week of May.

I will choose to wait until after their performance of "Forced to Love" (which will be on this Thursday's Letterman) gets uploaded to YouTube to tell you what I think of Forgiveness Rock Record.

Today I want to talk about The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt.
A song of theirs was also featured on the aforementioned podcast.

The song selected was "Iotdwykiyhtbr"

That's an acronym for "It's Okay To Do What You Know In Your Heart To Be Right"

It's from an album titled I Love You. I Love You. I Love You And I'm in Love With You. Have An Awesome Day! Have The Best Day Of Your Life!

The song is... okay... It seems like more effort was exhausted in the naming process. I'm kinda on the fence about these titles. It's a complete joke on itself, so you have to take it as fun. But there comes a point when you're just too cute for your own good. Here's where you can go hear the song.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If they made these for men, would they call it THUNDERWEAR?

Q: What's one good thing about not sleeping?
A: The commercials of late night television.

I got home really late last night, and decided to watch some TV before crashing asleep. I saw the commercial for "Booty Pop, the panties that make your booty pop" and had to make sure I wrote about it today!

There's nothing more I can say.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why is your kickball teamed named 'Kick Tan Laundry?'

Q: Are you familiar with what "Gym Tan Laundry" means?
A: Feel free to check out Urban Dictionary if you don't.

My second season of kickball started Thursday Night at Brands Park (Located near the triple intersection of Belmont, California and Elston in Chicago). We lost 9-11. It was a solid contest with a few mistakes, but an overall admirable performance to start a season.

You could not have asked for a more beautiful late Spring night in Chicago, as far as the weather was concerned. The entire KTL team was in good spirits throughout the game. Even when we gave up a 5 run inning, which at the time put us down 3-9, we didn't lose our spirit. We answered with a five run inning of our own - capped by a three run homer that yours truly kicked with two outs.

Now, it might not go into the official box score as a HR, per se...
Some who were there may only call it a mile high pop up that just barely got into right field.
But in kickball, fielding errors are a part of the game.
Kicking it purposely to weak fielders is a key strategy most employ.

Here's all I say: I kicked the ball and ran around the bases scoring a run before the next teammate stepped to the plate.

Mark it Dude.

Hopefully next week I'll remember to take pictures.
Double hopefully next week we'll win.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do you like haberdashery?

Q: Haberdashery?
A: Yeah, I used to think I knew what it meant.

Oh crap, I think I've been using the term "haberdashery" wrong.
Wanting to include an official definition of one of my more favorite words, I looked it up and was a little surprised:

#1 Thanks for nothing Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haberdashery)
#2 (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haberdasher)

Main Entry: hab·er·dash·er
Pronunciation: \ˈha-bə(r)-ˌda-shər\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English haberdassher, from modification of Anglo-French hapertas kind of cloth
Date: 14th century

1 British : a dealer in notions
2 : a dealer in men's clothing and accessories

As recently this last Saturday I said, while wearing one of the above pictured visors, "I'm a big fan of activity based haberdashery."

I was under the previous assumption that I was referring to headwear.
But my new understanding of the proper definition is more encompassing.
Regardless, my statement is not hypocritical.
If you've seen me at a poker table, I have more "accessories" than chips
(visor, sunglasses, earphones, and I'll also consider my repertoire of chip tricks)

My post is starting to derail.
Look, I like hats.

It comes from my Father (big hat lover)
Now he's got good cause, his baldness, to appreciate hats.
Especially in the summertime, it's a necessity for him.
One of my earliest, fondest, memories of him is coming home from work wearing his three piece suit, overcoat, and an awesome fedora.

I used to have an immense amount of Starter brand caps.
Not just local teams. I was fully invested in the Teal Craze that inhibited sports logos of the early 90s from San Jose to Charlotte.

The latest personal trend for me are visors.
I recently bought my 5th visor.

In order of purchase:
Top Left: Bought on my second trip to Vegas after falling in love with "The Wynn Property"
Top Right: Needed a new "poker visor" and wear this most often when I play cards.
Bottom Left: Jokingly bought in the Vegas airport after a flight delay - I wear it usually if I'm dealing (but not playing) cards.
Bottom Center: A clearance in the Wynn Gift Shop?! Score! Tons more comfortable than the first Wynn edition.
Bottom Right: Purchased last week, this is my new golfing headwear - replacing an extremely obnoxious straw hat I've worn for the last two years (it signals a new mentality I'm taking to the endeavor known as Golf)

For the record, this was originally a MUCH LONGER post that went through a whole litany of crazy hats I willingly wear.
But... I kinda wanted to focus on visors and might have to get back to it later.

So much to discuss:
More on my Dad's collection of caps from around the world
The death of my Straw Hat
The summer I wore a wool hat every day
Why I was unable to wear a Marquette cap for the longest time

And a story that I need to share involving my very first Bulls cap, the USS Arizona, and a very sad little boy at Pearl Harbor.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What are you chasing?

Q: Or maybe more apt, Is somebody chasing you?
A: I'm running away!

I've been meaning to tell everybody about the most significant change that's occurred since my self imposed Facebook hiatus. (Despite what you may have heard, it's not my purchase of a High Definition Television).

I run now.

On Tuesday March 9, 2010 my employer's HR department sent out a company-wide e-mail announcing the formation of a "Get Moving" committee. Although that may sound like a made up name (or at least, a name that I personally coined), I assure you that I was not involved in that official name. I know everybody on the committee (yeah, big shock) and was interested to read of their first action: they got our company to pay for 50% of all employees' entrance fees to participate in the Race to Wrigley 5K.

I've wanted to become a "runner" for about 6 years now - ever since my parents moved to nearby Lake Arlington (which features a long track around 'a lake'). My desire to start running, at least six years ago, was a function of both knowing I needed to to "something" in the realm of exercise that didn't require the humiliation or expense of a gym membership. By the way, this was before I started playing basketball regularly - which for the last 3 or so years has served as my exclusive form of exercise.

But this announcement was the final push I needed.

That day, Tuesday March 9, I left the office promptly at 5 pm.
I arrived home, and thanks to my facebook fasting, had nothing to stop me from getting outside ASAP.
In the six or so hours from the time I read the company e-mail to when I started my first run I figured that I had to run for about 30 nonstop minutes to accomplish my 5K goal.
Just over 7 minutes into my maiden voyage, I conceded into a sorry heap of an individual.

But I was honest with my coworkers the following day. Not only did I want more people, my coworkin' friends, to be out there with me I needed them to keep me honest and on track. I've had sort of a loudmouth history with my company's HR department (again, big shock) but have recently been able to have mini triumphs in the form of multiple kickball teams. It is important for this "Get Moving" committee to have a successful first effort with good participation from the company. Support will not guarantee, but certainly aid, future like efforts from our somewhat larger than they appear company.

Someone at work recommended to me the "Couch to 5K" running plan / training regime. Thank God I found that site, because my mentality was completely out of whack. I guess it's not a coincidence that I picked this for the first song to have as my running background music.

That was 5 weeks ago. I started on a very modest interval training system of jogging for 3 minutes, walking for 1.5 minutes, jogging for 3 minutes, and so on... Honestly, I was watching my damned timer praying for 3:00.00 to hit. Let's just say that I was less than confident I'd be running for 30 straight minutes when a tenth of it was a struggle at times.

I've carved out a nice running loop in my neighborhood. According to my car's odometer, my four square block perimeter runs 0.7 miles (just over one kilometer). This week I'm finally off of the interval training - and am just jogging. Both yesterday and today I jogged 3 "laps" which equal roughly 3K.

The 5K is less than two weeks away from today.

I realize I'm just over halfway, but I think if I keep up the training, I'm going to succeed in jogging this 5K without having to walk any of it.

If you don't think this all adds up, my reasoning to start running... you're right.
Especially now, I'm not close to the "liking running" stage. But what's motivating me? It's not really the half price to get that "moisture management" t-shirt or any other race swag. The health benefits are certainly good, but really don't make it justified yet in my mind. The real reason, I don't want to share here - but if you ask me I'll tell you why I'm running.

Depending on how well you know me, you won't be surprised.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Who's got an XL marriage?

Q: What happened 40 years ago?
A: My Father married my Mother.

Congratulations to my parents.

About a year ago, the rest of my family watched Revolutionary Road.
When I found this out (I had already seen it), I said something to the effect of - "yeah, that movie can show you just how bad marriage can be"

I really wish I can remember how my Dad responded to that comment. It was a very simple tone - that I remember. But he really didn't have to say anything to get his point across: My parents are a great example of love.

The two of them are awesomely different.
One loves to dance while the other prefers not to, one votes left while the other votes right, one makes jokes even though the other doesn't laugh... It doesn't matter how, or even why, they love each other to the extend they do... What's impossible to explain is that my sister and I can sense it.

And I'm eternally grateful for it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Do you like makeout party music?

Q: Seen any live music recently?
A: In the last week I've seen Machine Gun Mojo, jj and The xx

Please feel free to use the opening track of the debut album of The xx as background music while you read this post.

I have a friend, who also happens to be a coworker, that is in a local band. In an act of friendly loyalty, I purchased his band's first album on iTunes. I'm not sure how hard or difficult it is to get music onto the iTunes store. But I think it's pretty cool.

I'll link to it again, the first digital release from Machine Gun Mojo is titled Fundraising for the Devil, and only costs $5.94

But up until last Saturday, I had yet to see those kids live. I kept getting invite after invite to their shows and felt disappointed in myself for not showing. They organized a show at the Elbow Room in which five local bands would perform for the modest price of $10 in an effort to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund. What a great win-win-win scenario for me, because I also haven't been to the Elbow Room yet and wanted to cross that off my list of venues to check out. Long story short: I'll be going to another Mojo show, and it won't take me over a year to get to it.

Now for some awful news:
To refresh your memory, there was a NY-based band named Yeasayer I wanted to see.
I waited too long to buy tickets - their Metro show at the end of April sold out.
Worse, I actually had a friend lined up wanting to see them.
Here's the one thing that gets me - why am I always the person buying the tickets?

That disappointing news led me to buy tickets to see Camera Obscura, who were playing a show at Lincoln Hall. Do I like Camera Obscura as much as Yeasayer? -No. But I was assuming this show would also sell out and I hastily made the purchase. Then, I couldn't find a soul to go to this Camera Obscura show with me. Even when I would give albums to people - they'd hear it and decline it. It was quite the misstep.

Meanwhile, MGMT gets a show announced - I go to buy tickets just over an hour after their Riviera concert's tickets become available only to be denied from the insta-sellout. Tickets were priced in the under $40 range and there are already Craigslist ads looking to unload them for $80+. I wasn't that upset about missing out on that show. Later that day my Dad tried to further reassure me with the innocent question, "When is the next show you will be seeing?" I check my phone's calendar to look up the answer - and that's when I realize just how stupid that Camera Obscura purchase was...

Why did I buy tickets for a show on the first Monday in April?
The day that I know is always the day of the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship?
The night I had been planning to officially unveil my new HDTV to my friends (something that will require it's own post later)?
Double whammy: The Camera Obscura show, when I made this tragic discovery 8 days before the show, was NOT sold out.

But all turned out right with the world on this one... The show sold out 5 days before the concert and I was able to sell them on Craigslist for exactly the same price that I had purchased them. That's important to me, now. Not only have I paid for more than face value for tickets on Craigslist, but I have also sold them at that inflated price. Worse, and this is bad for me to admit, I've been known to buy double the amount of tickets I want in order to "pay" for my ticket with the profit of the others. I just don't want to do that anymore. That's extra weight I no longer want on my conscience. The guy who I sold my tickets to told me I earned good ticket karma for my action (he knows there were posts on CL selling the same tickets for $10 more).

I actually ran into that same guy who I sold tickets to again after my most recent Lincoln Hall concert! That show was this past Thursday night. Speaking of shows selling out fast, the UK foursome (correction: now just a trio) known as The xx had their Lincoln Hall sell out extremely quick - but not quick enough for yours truly. Lincoln Hall even moved the time of my show back 90 minutes in order to squeeze in another sold out performance before my concert.

The opening act was jj. After multiple listens to their first album, I was looking forward to their set. What a disappointment. It's not good when the video presentation behind the act shows the song being performed with more emotion and connection than the actual live performance. It was almost to the point when I questioned their desire to even be present.

On the other hand, The xx was exactly what I was expecting. Only having one album out, I knew not only exactly which songs they would play but also that the set would be on the shorter side. The kids, and that's what they are - all of 'em more than ten years my junior, had very solid live performances of their songs that features subtle and interesting changes from the songs' album versions. Their self titled album was described by Greg Kot from the Sound Opinions podcast as a "minimalist pop classic" when discussing the best of 2009. How would I describe their sound? I call it the coolest junior high makeout party music you could ever hear. Yes, I know that's a crazy description seeing as how I have never been, and never want to go to, a makeout party.

So what's next for me?
Well, sadly - like I said before, it's not Yeasayer. But at that same venue of that show (Metro) on the very next night (Friday April 30), I'll be seeing Los Campesinos!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's on TV?

Q: What time is it?
A: Time for a seemingly endless string of random thoughts! (Television edition)

Every week, someone dies in Justified.
Attack of the Show, how I've missed you.
Modern Family, is too ribald, for my Old Fashioned Family. (but they love it)
Frisky Dingo has been the find of 2010, if that's possible because the episodes I'm seeing are from years ago.
Kanye West's Storytellers performance was amazing, and I don't mean like O.J.
I'm enjoying watching The Office again (BBC).
I'm regretting watching The Office again (NBC).
Where did Elimidate go? (oh, it's on ABC now, has hour long episodes, and is "classy" riiiight)
If CBS was a coloring book, everything would be colored inside the lines - FX on the other hand?
I used to be proud that I watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is now changing due in ZERO part to the show itself.
Can somebody, anybody, give me an alternative to Sportscenter?
There's no way to justify the fact that I'm recording Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.
Only one episode of Damages left before the Season Finale? - why is this show, and Lost, not including finales in their countdown?
V, you better watch yourself before you wreck yourself.
Memo to Palladia: please show your Coachella program again? Please?
Stupid 24. Stupid, stupid 24!
SNL, is anybody even paying attention to you now?
Who's idea was it to make The Masters in 3-D? Will John Daly's pants be there?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Will you go to this show with me? (Shout Out Louds & Freelance Whales)

Q: Am I going to Lollapalooza?
A: Probably not, and this is why...

The lineup for 2010 Lollapalooza was announced Monday Night. Yes, there are many bands that I want to see among the names mentioned. I intend to break that down shortly, but one of the reasons I don't want to go to that mess is because I'd much rather see the acts I want to see in smaller venues.

Such as the show on Monday May 10 at Lincoln Hall

Freelance Whales is one of the smaller acts scheduled to perform at Lollapalooza.
Check out their song, "Generator Second Floor"

Freelance Whales: Generator^Second Floor (Grand Street Studio Recording) from Ryan Mack on Vimeo.

They are opening for another band that's been on my radar for quite some time (since SXSW '08) Shout Out Louds.

The concert is only $15, which is an absolute steal.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What will be posted for #500?

Q: About how many posts does this make?
A: Just over five hundred.

Once upon a time, from a close friend was working towards his Masters of Professional Writing at the University of Southern California, I was showed an odd Xyanga site that led to my first blog. That was sometime in 2004, and I think I quit less than a month after that started. Sometime in 2005, when I was between my last employer and my current, I started a second attempt at blogging that only lasted one post.

Then on January 26, 2006 I started blogging on MySpace. My first post was my infamous face breaking story from November 22, 2005 and my second was the story of my Apprentice Casting Call (the lone post from my second attempt at blogging). Amazingly, I stuck with it this time. I posted 300 nonsensical posts up until my exodus from MySpace to Facebook shortly before my 30th Birthday in January 2009. View de TQ (http://blogs.myspace.com/aquinasmu) was officially shut down and I began posting through Blogger, which imports automatically to my Facebook.

This is my 200th post of Today's Quiz (http://todaysquiz.blogspot.com/), making 500 total. However, I should declare that the number is inflated due to lazy re-posting of older stories and the occasional foray into "live blogging" (for example, last summer's San Francisco vacation travelogue).

Speaking of re-posting, I've decided to share the previously mentioned Apprentice Casting Call story because I haven't shared this story on Facebook yet, so here it is... Thanks everybody for reading (although I never know which ones of you do), and I really appreciate the random acts of feedback and encouragement.

(The following is the un-abridged journal of my attempt to get on The Apprentice. This took place on 2/19/2005, when I was between jobs)

I was planning the whole routine a week in advance... The night before I purposely slept only two hours, which allowed me to hit sleep hard at 3 pm.

3 PM: Fall asleep

12 AM: Awake

1 AM: Meal

2 AM: Shower/Prep

3 AM: Depart from home

3:30 AM: Arrive at CTA station River Road

4:15 AM: Streets of Chicago

It was the only time Chicago felt like Milwaukee. There was NOBODY on the streets. You look in all directions and nobody is around. I stood at the corner of Michigan and Wacker - looking at the Wrigley building and thought of er scenes - nobody was in eyeshot.

4:30 AM: Arrive at NBC Tower

Walking up to it from its west side, I don't see anybody, I walk around to its east side and see about 75 people already in line. I was expecting about 200. Thankfully my spot was near a garden box and I had a place to sit.

It was rather cold, but with the exception of my frozen feet, I was fine.


Martha: Not there for "The Donald." I learn that The Apprentice Open Casting Call is for BOTH the Trump Apprentice and the new Martha Stewart The Apprentice. Martha is in her early fifties, a smoker, and very outgoing and funny. She and her friend, Kim, drove down from Detroit for this special event. They arrived about fifteen minutes before me.

Linda (Martha wannabe) - 2nd grade gym teacher - non-descript but nice

Brian: (Trump candidate). A non-descript young man. He's 23, already married, already in a job he hates. Went to Indiana State University and lives in downtown Arlington Heights. He didn't have anything to add to any conversation. He was wearing dress shoes and pants, a button down shirt and tie. His leather jacket was not doing the warmth job and was bitching a lot. Martha and Kim finally gave him one of their MANY blankets to warm him. Martha and Kim also had gallons of water and their own fold out chairs.

The Mafia: (All Trumps). Three people who all knew each other arrived about fifteen minutes after I did. All very well dressed. One girl and two men, none of them over the age of 28. Talked a lot of business... Boring

Mafia-attachment (Trump). A 40 year old woman (she said her age) that didn't look a day over 30. This very well dressed Wrigley woman (I know because she wouldn't shut up about how close she lives to the park) bonded with the Mafia and participated in their many runs to Starbucks. Thankfully she steered the all business talk to reality TV and it made my conversations with the mafia worthwhile.

Madison Morons (1/2 Trump, 1/2 clueless). Bryan and Sidney. These two young twentysomethings (not college age) were making a weekend out of this deal. They arrived in the city last night and got a hotel room. I don't know when they got there because the 23 year old Brian was holding their space since before I got there. Bryan was wearing business casual sweater and kakis and Sydney was wearing jeans. I must've personally saw Sidney spend 50 dollars in the form of three different cab rides to and from our line and Starbucks goods. Supposedly he went back to his hotel room on two occasions to warm up. I think he went to his hotel room to smoke up. Sidney did not have an application and therefore was just there for the ride.

Dennis (aka Cowboy - due to the fedora he wore). This guy was an all-star. Most enjoyable person of the experience. This guy worked the line like an Al Roker wannabe. He must've walked up and down the line - telling us our place and how many people were behind us ten times. He was wearing Jeans and when Martha asked him why he's not wearing a suit he said, "I'm a Martha. I can't help it?" I really hope this guy makes the Martha Stewart show.

ME: I'm wearing black shoes, gray pants, and my black "Employee of the Month" shirt. Most people thought I was an NBC plant because of my casual attire and because I was participating in about three conversations at the same time. I just told them that I didn't want to be a lemming and wear a suit like everybody else.

7 AM: On one of Dennis' frequent trips he tells us of the information he got when he first got here. Dennis got here at 6:30 PM last night and is #2 in line overall. He tells us that the WRISTBANDS won't be handed out until 9 am (an hour later than I thought) and that the interviews will start at 10. He also said that they are only handing out 200 wristbands.

The 200 number shocked me because I thought there would be more - I was very confident I was in the first 100, so it didn't worry me.

9:15 AM: The hot apprentice girls (I call'em hot because every body with an Apprentice badge was overtly attractive) pass out the WRISTBANDS. I've been typing that in all caps because it was THE hot word of the past 3 hours. It was all about the WRISTBANDS! We gotta get the WRISTBANDS!

10:20 AM: The doors open and we enter the NBC Tower lobby - we wait in the long serpentine line that usually holds the Jerry Springer crowd. There is a large metal detector at the end of the line. As soon as we gather in line indoors myself, Martha, Kim and Linda peel off our layers and get themselves ready. I stash my sweatshirt and jacket in the backpack to have a full display of my Employee of the Month shirt. It got many compliments and smiles and several conversations with the hot apprentice girls. Martha and Kim did a near 180 of appearance as they adorned their Martha type Armour of hand crafted jewelry and crazy sweater knit combinations.

11:00 AM: After an elevator ride and a couple more lines to stand through I'm brought into a room about the size of a Marquette classroom. There are three large tables and I sit at one of them. It is a large square with me and 11 other people around three sides and a casting director woman at the fourth side. All the people described above are at the table (with the exception of Sydney who got his application-less ass bounced at the table). Even the "Marthas" are at the table.

The casting director asks us to say our name, age, where we are from and what we do.

After two blah blah forgettable introductions it is my turn,

"Hey my name is Tom, I'm 26, unemployed, and live in my parents' basement."

Huge laughter from everybody including the casting director.

The first question is asked - it is not important what it was, what is important is that 11 other voices just amp up and give their answer. No one is heard and I just sit back and make my comment at the very end when everybody finally shut up at the casting director's request.

The casting director then started a "one at a time around the table policy" Another meaningless question is asked and there are no memorable responses. Actually, the question was about if you would tell a prospective employer if you were having a baby during an interview. I said that if I was asked that question I would walk out, for it is unethical. I've been in intrusive situations and I wouldn't want that again. Somebody retorted, "so what if you boss asked you know if you wanted kids, would you walk away from the job." I quickly responded with my arm up on the table and a game show like voice, "did I mention I was unemployed?" (more laughter).

The last question is to name somebody at the table (not yourself and not the casting director) who would be the project manager of the group. nobody said me, which pissed me off. Three people said Linda, and I didn't know what the hell these people were thinking of that dumb gym teacher martha'wannabe. Looking back, I shouldn't have taken the guy that made the smart-alecky comment about my boss. I should've picked one of the Marathas because I'm not competing with them. However, I picked the other guy because he was also wearing a t-shirt - so I wanted to compliment him on that, and draw more attention to my own shirt - which got me more laughs. Someone in the group actually called me, "what do you think employee of the month" during this table session.

11:30 AM: I walk out of the NBC Tower, walk back to the CTA station, drive back home in my car.

12:30 PM: Arrive back home Ive yet to be called back.

It's been years since I've read that story myself, and some of the memories are still vivid today:
My jokes KILLED. Seriously, I know I'm being horribly immodest, but I couldn't have scripted my antidotes any better. It was clutch time and I performed smashingly. It's almost insulting how I wasn't called back. Writing that last sentence has just given me a moment of clarity: Is this how rejected American Idol contestants feel? And do I look just as bad?

As long as I'm piling on, let the record show that the Trump show went downhill with the season in which "they didn't pick TQ." And that Martha show only lasted one season. I'll blame the incarceration on the death of the Martha vehicle, but I long since said that the producers made a bad move not putting me on that show, and it suffered the just consequences.

Feel free to remind me that nobody's life is "worse" for having been rejected by a Reality TV Show.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What would your statuses have been?

wishes his former roommate a happy 30th birthday
desperately wants to post Jimmy Butler's game winning shot at St. John's
is having a tough time getting his hands to stop shaking
wants to punch a hole through the wall because of the Yeasayer show selling out
loves explaining Curling to coworkers
is still listening to my official favorite song to listen to on Valentine's Day a week later:

is back at the exponentially wonderful Lincoln Hall seeing Tortoise
specifically went out to lunch to watch Olympic Curling
really loves talking about Curling to anybody that asks (or will listen)
will actually talk to you about Curling regardless of your level of interest in it
bought tickets to see Camera Obscura at Lincoln Hall
is considering buying tickets to see Los Campesinos! at Metro
thinks buying C.O. tickets was maybe a little reactionary and impulsive
will be giving a free ticket to someone to see Camera Obsura
ran that condo board meeting like an authoritative pimp
names "Fascination" by Alpahbeat the most recent "Song of the Moment"

really appreciates that a neighbor helped move an insanely heavy tube TV
loves DVR like it is a twin brother that was once separated at birth and now reunited
is going to celebrate his friend's younger sister's 21st birthday in Wrigleyville
recorded Canada vs. Norway: Gold Medal Game (Curling!)
is fist pumping with strangers
doesn't understand how trouble seems to find others
saw Dr. Charlie who will help him see
feels that a storm on the horizon
has received many text messages warning him to check facebook
wishes, and asks, to be untagged
has FINALLY seen Louisville lose with his own eyes
is equally pissed that this was missed when it happened and thankful it's on video

is pumped that Lebowski Fest is returning to Chicago in September
is crushed that he won't be seeing Broken Social Scene at Pitchfork
assigns a higher priority to Lebowskidom than Mountie Rock
loves taking his father to Milwaukee for a Marquette game
does NOT like the fact that every Irish fan seems to be sitting in his section
is pissed
hopes my ND cousins appreciate that they were just given an NCAA invite
is going to start running
has run
will run again
is hurting
is turning off his phone, and not checking e-mail, until finished watching the recorded Marquette vs. Villanova Big East Quarterfinal
has the final piece of the puzzle in place
chose "TQuixotic" as his Playstation 3 name
needs to stop spending any more money (apologizes to the single women community of Chicagoland)
is 100% confident that no fist pumping will occur at tonight's dual 30th birthday party of two friends
is in the middle of a highly liturgical conversation with his friend's mom
will eat pork and cake
does not think anybody should live on popcorn and jerky
wishes two very close friends (who were born on the same day) a happy 30th birthday
will take that six seed, thank you very much
wants you into his Bracket Pool
believes he might be able to run a 5K in less than six weeks
welcomes a lifelong friend into Club XXX [Happy birthday Kat(i)e!]
finally had a meal at Five Guys
is having a difficult time waiting until Thursday for MU vs. Washington
will watch the iPhone made video at least 20 more times until tipoff

is ready for March Madness
wishes MySister a happy birthday
is nervous and anxious
can't believe a 15 second half lead was blown and really doesn't want to talk about it
is mathematically eliminated from winning a bracket pool
is not nearly as ready for fantasy baseball season this year as in years' past
is still running, by the way
likes the new FX show Jusitifed
is looking forward to the 3rd season of Breaking Bad
drafted Kate Hudson's ex-boyfriend with the 3rd overall pick
wants Paul Oakenfold to make a Perfecto Podcast with beats specifically matching his jogging gait
realized, two days later, that he drafted both Hughes and Chamberlain

discovered three new Broken Social Scene tracks leaked off their new album on their MySpace Page (check it out!)
is going to Michigan Ave.
bought tickets to another act you've never heard of
tried to buy tickets for an act a quarter of you have heard of (MGMT sold out instantly)
probably goes on more dates than anybody who self professes to hate dating
says NO to 96 teams!
feels sad that the greatest sports event we have, the 65 team NCAA tourney, may be no more
sold my Camera Obsura tickets (whew)
was running to the sounds of Girl Talk, but is now running to the sounds of Daft Punk
has a Dad who recently misspoke saying, "at the shake of peace"
has golf clubs in his trunk
was glad to finally support Machine Gun Mojo, a promising local band
drove an Altima