Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Wow, Geto Boys' "Mind's Playin' Tricks on Me" comes across iTunes. Beautiful. Reminds me that I promised a 10-shot of my Top 333 Hip Hop Songs of All Time. Reminds me again how much hip hop sucks in 2007. I mean, I thought last year was lousy. This year is shaping up to be one of the lamest in ages. Rappers are just scared. They act like they forgot how to do it. I watched a documentary on American hardcore coincidently called American Hardcore. They ended it with everyone recounting the final days of hardcore in America and how one day, "it just ended." A few bands went the major label route, got stacks of speakers, loaded their hair full of aerosoled products and then it just died. Makes me wonder if the same fate lies ahead for hip hop. I mean, cats these days don't even know how to make a "street" record. Everything's so polished. So radio-ready. So freaking lame. I'm not known to be one of those snobby "that-ain't-the-real-ish" type of head anymore. I grew past that because, essentially, the lines were blurred when the underground went sour.
But now the industry's just rocked by this perceived "digital revolution" that heads are thinking they don't need to put out albums to get theirs so you have a bunch of singles, but no artists. It's like going to a fireworks show and just getting dudes lighting Black Cats in garbage cans. You think about it, the game's wide open for a dude to come in and blow it up. I can barely name five records since 2003 that I'll probably be listening to ten years from now. It's a pretty shallow pond and still hip hop heads are just stifled. No icons. No heroes. No legends. No promise. No future.
Angry Tim told me the advance he received of the new Aesop Rock record was dope, but certainly not good enough to change the game. Make no mistake, he's dope as hell, but is his latest work going to be that good? Are we going to talk about it this time next year? Are we even going to remember his name ten years from now? Is the indie game just filled with guys making the formulaic indie record and, in that, just making the cookie-cutter records they have stood against for years? What about Aesop over Pharrell beats? Could it work? What about Yung Joc rocking an MF Doom beat? Why are there such hard lines in an artform that, essentially, is nearing an ugly maturation and, perhaps even, an untimely death? This is when heads should be flying at each other with collaborative propositions and it's, no, let the indie kids do their indie records and the untalented rappers do their radio singles. A&R's are cold sleeping. That's the truth and I can prove it on an Etch-and-Sketch with one knob. B'lee dat. Recognize. WHEN'S ATLANTIC GONNA RELEASE JEAN GRAE? You gonna shelf her ass until her prime has passed and she's doing the Missoula, MT circuit (no offense to Missoula, represent)?
Of course, it's a noisier market now because everyone thinks they're God's gift to the mic and, let's be real, your friendly neighborhood rapper next door might know every lyric to Young Jeezy's last record and might be able to even hold a mic like a rapper, but he's no rapper. Everyone wants to rep, but no one wants to take it on their shoulders and pull the game out of the deep rut we now have found ourselves in. Everyone wants to have their name in the lights, but doesn't want to hustle to get there. And all the good rappers are freaking retiring (what the?) or going to Hollywood and putting out crappy movies.
Hate to be overly critical, but be real, it's been a while since you've read me going on some stupid aging hip hop head rant. I know Wil feels it because, well, we alike in that manner.
Here comes another embarrassing fourth quarter from the music industry when they say, "Here's your Kanye record. Here's your Fiddy record. Eat it up. Don't talk back. Tell your friends. Don't say we never did nuttin' for you, chump." They'll overmanufacture, overship and ultimately undersell because kids have moved from hip hop to video games because, for the dollar, they're more entertaining. An artform once considered limitless is now nestled in its own cozy little pigeon hole. Thanks labels. Thanks radio. And thanks to every mindless, spineless and soulless rapper. I thank you for landing hip hop in the most embarrassing hand-to-mouth bull-ish I've ever seen. It's the puppet and the puppeteer. We gotta take the power back, f'real.
Enough bitching. Time to sleep. Por tu informacion, this marks The Root Down's 400th post. I made it to 400 before PayRod made it 500. That's all that really matters.
I gotta tell you, I was listening to a vinyl copy of De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising last night on the back porch grilling burgers and drinking a beer and, I'm pretty strongly convinced that, creatively, there has never been as strong of a record nor, hear me out, will there ever be. This one takes the cake. And it sounds so damn fresh on vinyl.
Looks like I'm heading to Santa Fe with Danny and Mashbus for the Paid Dues show which will feature Sage Francis, Cage, Living Legends, Brother Ali, Slug and Murs and more. Should be a superdope show. Of course, I'm regretfully passing on Rock the Bells in Dallas to do so, but it's a fraction of the Rock the Bells lineup that the coasts get and I'm not sure if any Wu Tang set is worth sitting through David Banner. Yeah, I'm a snob. Not only that, but Dallas heads don't bring it to hip hop shows. The worst crowds I've ever seen at hip hop shows have been in Dallas. Either they act like a show's not even going on and sit on their thumbs like, "Impress me," or they're too exuberant and someone gets hurt when some cat who has the misperception that hip hop shows are venues for violence and uninhibited idiocy. Dude goes from bobbing his head harmlessly to incorportating more shoulder movement to maybe moving around on his feet to throwing an elbow to punching a dude in the belly to taking his keys to stealing his car to orchestrating a hit-and-run on a vagrant to abandoning the car somewhere in a dark alley to never being seen again. Whatta bummer. It's okay to just get down. They can't just enjoy a show. Do you think it's any coincidence that most hip hop shows jump Dallas? I mean, they'd rather hit up Austin and Denton than land in Dallas. No offense, Wil. I think you know what I'm talking about.
Aight, we'll talk politics and Tupperware some other time. I know you cats are sometimes bored with sports and hip hop talk. Start your own blog.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The first record is pretty obvious...and tragic.
About the same story as Black Sheep, Channel Live would follow the same course as a duo under the careful guidance of hip hop veterans (in Channel Live's case, the great KRS-One) and, after blowing up, it'd be a five year lull before they'd resurface. Station Identification was super-illy. "Reprogram," "Mad Izm," "Build and Destroy"--Station was a rare moment in 1995 that found Hakim and Tuffy hustling alongside other upcoming duos Outkast and Mobb Deep in an age that the was seeing the duo or group disappearing. But then, they got kicked out of the major label penthouse party (thanks, Capitol) and had to wait five years before their follow-up, Armaghetto.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Played my third consecutive night of softball last night and it almost killed me. Subbing for the absent Looney on Trigger Happy, I threw my arm off like Dave Dravecky in the warm-ups. Yeah, felt like a stud. We annihilated the first team 20-5, though. You gotta think you got it coming when you beat dudes as bad as we did in that first game. I mean, there was some old woman in the crowd watching her son play and I'm thinking, "I just don't feel right running on these dudes like this." I mean, we scored 13 runs on them in the first inning all before the first out. The team was from the local Loves truck stop. I guess that's what they get for carrying Def Jam polo shirts (see from back in June 16th).
Second game were the type of dudes you just wanted to embarrass in front of all the spectators--from their wives to their kids. "Daddy, why does your softball team suck?" It was some concrete company. They had this mouthy pitcher who resembled Dan "Hoss" Blocker from "Bonanza."
You know the type. Talks trash all game because he thinks he's a comedian while, in reality, none of his teammates think he's funny, but they fear either being never invited back to play or, worse, physical harm and public embarrassment if they don't laugh. He's the guy who says things like, "Get 'r done!" and "Y'ain't lying!" On slightly better than average plays in the field, he'll pump his fist and grunt loudly. He usually drinks heavier than anyone in his pack and enjoys being the "life of the party," in fact, he'll sometimes refer to himself as just that. He wears multiple braces on his arms and legs because he feels it conveys to the other team that he's a "trooper" and he's paid his dues. Maybe, at a team get-together, he'll advance on some dude's wife and blame it later on a bad week and too much alcohol, but he's lying. He likes your wife and wishes he could take her from you because he lacks the ability to communicate with women because his sensitive emotional side is clouded from years of breaking bottles over his head to impress his meth-smoking friends and jumping off the roof onto a plywood table while rehearsing for the next backyard wrestling match. Sometimes he can't control the drool from dripping off his chin because he can't keep his bottom lip from dropping downward. His favorite baseball player still is Ken Caminiti and, yes, he loves Nascar. He doesn't know where Iraq actually is, but he believes we should "nuke 'em to high heaven." You know the guy, right?
Anyhow, we were down 3-18 on the verge of being run-ruled and then mounted an incredible comeback to land within striking and slaying distance at 15-18. With time expired, we managed to shave it down to 17-18 and would lose on a lazy fly ball to left field as the final out. Fist pumps from the pitcher and a few of those damaging high fives that leave your wrist and elbow tingling for hours afterwards.
Sucks to lose, but was nice to come home and pass out on the living room floor with the dogs watching 8 Seconds with my lovely wife. I really think that performance from Luke Perry is quite possibly the most feminine performance by a "90210" male cast member ever. My lovely wife loves that movie. Maybe because it brings out the Texan in her. That or it's all the footage of a young good ol' Stephen Baldwin. She likes her some Stephen, yo! I just don't get it.
So, anyhow, onto the designs. I was working within a motor motif this morning. You know, cars, automotive, horsepower. Firstly, there's this loc'ed out design that I call "Slow and Low" featuring the ultimate in versatility, the El Camino. It's a truck, it's a car--it's both. The Old English treatment on the text. Here it is, "Slow and Low."
And, then, after checking out the specs on the new Acuras and Hondas, I was inspired to create this design featuring the tag line up top, "Advanced Engineering for Optimum Performance." I was also considering simply "Powered by The Root Down Technology." Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. The winning design will be available for purchase at http://www.cafepress.com/therootdown for some incredibly reasonable price. Holla atcha boy.
On the same search, I found this wonderful edited Oprah video. I don't know why I found this so enchanting this morning, but I think you'll enjoy it. You gotta turn it up though to truly enjoy its radness.
Now, enjoy Tom Cruise getting squirted in the face. If you've seen it before, fall in love with it all over again. If you haven't, you ain't ready. Tom Cruise gets straight "scientologic" on this dude. You can see him go into a fuzzy mind-warping tone--probably the same tone he uses with Katie. "Why would you do that?" to "You're a jerk." My favorite part is, at the end, when the reporter walks away he turns on the charm for the crowd with, "Amazing!" and that beautiful Hollywood smile.
That's it for me. Ten more songs from the Top 333 Hip Hop Songs of All Time coming sometime this weekend. Stay illin'.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wait, not the Roundhouse on the University of Missouri-Rolla campus. I'm talking roundhouse like ol' boy in the video below that col' drops the dude with a roundhouse to face. This is how it's done. And this is how was did.
Respect. Ri Choi Nam in da' roundhouse, fellas. His "opponent" holds what's left of his nose even while they announce Ri as the winner. Gangsta! Gangsta!
Anyhow, highlight of the night would be when Kool Aid, as usual, blowing through base coaches on his own reckless discretion, just flies through third base going home with a throw incoming. Dude just clowns the catcher. Looked like he just slid right into the dude's ankles and, with nothing to but just stand there and cry with his head in his hands, the dude just stood there and cried with his head in his hands as the ball gently rolled away from him and play continued. Kool Aid, you're the sugary wind beneath my crippled wings. You've inspired me to write a novel about sailors and follow it up with a knot-tying manual. You're the best. No disrespect to Smokin' Aces/Nachos/Green Thumb. Good game. Just bring the food next time. I mean, if we called ourselves Juicy Steaks With Sides of Cole Slaw, we'd at least come prepared.
Also tonight, in case you missed it, Manny Ramirez hit the third longest home run in the history of Jacobs Field in Cleveland as the Sox came alive and won 14-9 and, Spankee fans, Yankees lost to the Royals 7-0. Yeah, good night. AL East lead is back up to 7.5 games.
You know, I came across a video on YouTube that just blew me away. Normally, it takes a lot. Not because I'm so refined, but because, well, I'm a jerk and I'm hard to impress sometimes. It's a promo video of the great De La Soul as they were beginning to launch headlong into the promo tour for the classic Three Feet High and Rising. Pay particularly close a few things. Firstly, Trugoy's continuously saying, "Dis is..." as in "Dis is the De La poster," or "Dis is the wall of expression." If you've heard "Afro Connections" on De La Soul is Dead, then you know what I'm talking about. Also, Prince Paul straight giving away the tricks of the trade as he puts on a Disney record and just gives you a beat. Insanity. Also, DMC from, duh, Run DMC at a promo party getting his groove on with a young lady. Daddy O from Stetsa wearing a straight Cosby sweater. Awesome stuff. Enjoy.
Man, I couldn't have started your weekend off any better. You owe me. Now have yourself a nice Friday. Go out and enjoy the sun wherever you are and buy multiple copies of De La Soul is Dead, you idiot.
Look, there's nothing less gangsta than having your face illustrated on the side of a bag of potato chips (except maybe having your mug on box of doggie biscuits). Here we find Westside Connection's Mack 10 (see also "MAC 10"--a fully automatic .45 caliber handgun) gracing what looks to be the worst potato product in the history of Idaho.
I like how they try to make him look all "hawd" with the brick wall behind him like, "This is the street snacks right here." Really trying to seize that urban market because in the white collar world of marketing and advertising design, "bricks" represent "the streets." Mack's on the front looking really high and I would attribute that to a poor illustration. He looks like he woke up hungover after a night of heavy binge drinking. He certainly doesn't look "hawd." He looks like he's one punch in the belly from puking and then taking a five hour nap. Maybe it was the chips.
And, no, just because they're "red hot cheddar cheese" doesn't mean their more gangsta. That chalk they paint onto the chips is played. The salt and vinegar chips are clearly the most gangsta. This bag just screams salt sores and heartburn. And you gotta love the way random "Say No to Drugs" message through the middle of the bag. It looks like either they were asked to do it by local law enforcement or they thought it would sugarcoat the Rap Snack experience.
"Daddy, can I have these Mack 10 potato chips?"
"Mack 10? Is he a rapper? Hell no, I hate those rapper guys. Oh wait, 'say no to drugs?' I must have been wrong about rappers. They're actually pretty good guys. Okay, young'un. You can have the Mack 10 potato chips."
Looks like Mack 10 should've said no to drugs. And you should say no to red hot cheddar cheese Mack 10 potato chips. In fact, as a general rule, you might want to steer clear of any food that has a rapper on it--Mack 10 or otherwise.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I know I've mentioned it before, but UGK's "International Players' Anthem" is one of the illest tracks I've ever heard. It's just uncut dope. But since, still, the label has actually failed to get it into the marketplace, I'm going to post Andre 3000's opening verse (which might be one of his greatest ever):
The above photo was taken by my talented brother-in-law of the young Tucker. He's a big fan of the Simpsons which, not all too coincidently, I had the pleasure of getting a screening of last night and, honestly, from someone who's not much of a fan, I found it quite enjoyable. That's all I have to say about that.
Roundhouse action resumes with the second season tomorrow night, but first, my commitments to my lovely wife's mixed league team come tonight with a late double-header. My lovely wife makes her triumphant return to the diamond after about a 12-year absence. Should be monumental.
Peeps, be good. Sorry so short this morning. If you don't like it, get yo own blog.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Either way, last week, my cubemate brought in a small piece of paper, a note card, that he found in his front yard while leaving for work. The contents of the scribble on this note card (real pimps use note cards, b'lee dat) are, quite possibly, the corniest arrangement of words I've ever had the pleasure to read. And now, thanks to David, I present to you, How Not to Get the Ladies.
There's so much to comment on here and so much that needs no comment. I mean, assuming Don Juan doesn't even know who he's addressing here except that, maybe, he's seen her walking from her car to her house, this dude starts off with the line, "Any time you need a full-body, head to toe massage with my hands and my tongue..." I might be old fashion, but I might wait until after a couple of dates before using that line. He then proceeds through a number of pleasantries before, my favorite part, when he just gives up, "If you're seeing someone, fix me up with one of your friends" of "any age" (we've already alerted Chris Hansen and local police) and, I love this qualifier, make sure she "wears sexy panties and likes to be kissed all over." Because if not, I guess Uncle Luke here just wouldn't know what do with her.
"Just knock on my door and I'll do the rest." I guess ol' boy's like one of Pavlov's dogs. Like when someone knocks on his door, he just goes into sex mode. And just in case there's concern of someone else answering the door, he assures us that he lives alone (no kidding?) after his roommate moved out. Then, dude just puts his address down.
After shared with a number of individuals in our immediate area, we got some really good feedback on what our next move should be. Someone suggested that blow up this card to the size of a poster and nail them lightposts in this dude's neighborhood. Someone else suggested to pay a obese man to go over in panties and knock on the door. I suggested, of course, we have the card made into a all-over print t-shirt. Instead, we just went to The Root Down for all of you kiddies to enjoy. Sorry if you've lost your appetite by now.
Meet Kevin Wyrick. No, I'm not related to him, but I just wanted to point out the peculiar resemblance to Ralph Macchio. Never have I seen a man with so much hair on his head, but no eyebrows. It's just freaky. I bet he can take the hair off his head, roll it into bat or baton and then use it as a weapon. Dude was ahead of his time.Today's lesson is this: note card love is just played. If you got something to say, just tell a lady. If you want to proposition her for a head-to-toe massage with your tongue, don't tell her that one of her friends will do. This coming from Loverboy #1. Have a good Tuesday.
Monday, July 23, 2007
So, I'm out antique shopping. Yes, antique shopping. I do it because, well, I love my lovely wife. I don't really know what I'm doing when I'm doing it, but I just walk around and say things like "appreciation" and "collectability" while studiously rubbing my chin. As I normally do in very large buildings, I wander away from my lovely wife like a kid in a department store stumbling away from his mother. I make my way to the second floor, turn a corner and there it was. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. What I saw was the killinest, most hideous painting of a monkey that I've ever seen. In fact, it was a small orangutan in a Victorian dress with tulips stacked on her head in front of a backdrop of dense forests. And, because I'm drawn to the bizarre, I immediately begin mentally placing it somewhere in our home. Beautifully framed, I'm thinking on the mantle in the living room. My lovely wife comes around the corner to find me awestruck with my mouth at the floor, drooling over this piece. "Isn't it awesome?" She doesn't reply except with a chuckle. I tell her, "If it's $200, I'm buying it." I search on the wall and find a small card that reads, "Donald Roller Wilson $700." Oh well. A bit out of my price range. We head home.
When I arrive at the house, so with any individual that would, with such craftsmanship and skill, paint a monkey in a dress. I mean, who paints stuff like this? I google the name "Donald Roller Wilson" and, as simple as one would imagine, a site pops up. It's his site. Suddenly, I'm staring at like paintings. I open another window and do a few more searches. I find fine art reviews reading:
"Houston born and Fayetteville, Arkansas-based, Roller is a Gothic storyteller with the phenomenal technique and precision of an old master, animating his paintings with finely wrought clothed chimpanzees, dogs, and cats, wooden matches, dill pickles, asparagus stalks, olives, and cigarette butts."
Dude's just sick, but as the Washington Post would remark, "One utterly forgives the painter's self-indulgences for one reason: he is technically impeccable." Further research would lead me to discover that he's had showcases in the Smithsonian and countless galleries across the nation. In fact, he's been commissioned for paintings from such celebs as Jack Nicholson, Steve Martin, Dan Ackroyd, Robin Williams to name a very few and his work has been used as cover art for two Frank Zappa records. Okay, I start thinking that I might just buy this thing.
I go to his site and see that he's charging and making about $20,000 a painting and I know I'm buying this thing.
That next day, during lunch, I go into the antique store and try to get more information on the painting without, at all, giving up anything to the store owners that would suggest that this thing might be valued at close to 30 times what they're hoping to make off of it. I'm actually nervous when I'm talking to the store owner. I'm trying not to fold, but know she might be onto me. I ask her to take the painting off the wall so that I may inspect it for markings from the artist, Donald Roller Wilson, as it claims on the wall was the individual who painted it. Upon inspecting it in the dim light, I validate it as, firstly, an original--able to identify individual brush strokes and I see a name in the bottom right corner which appears to be "Larry" in script. This brings up a number of questions. She says, "Well, I tried calling the seller, but she's not answering. Perhaps I could take down some of the questions you have and, when she calls back, I'll ask her for you." I tell her that I didn't have a problem doing that. "I wonder if she's had it appraised," she says. I hope not. I make my way back to the office and, knowing that I could just contact the artist myself and hopefully authenticate it himself, I email him.
I explain that I believe I might have come across one of his paintings in a local store and was wondering if he'd be so kind as to help me identify it as his work or, rather, sadly assure me it is not his work, but rather a knock-off.
In the meantime, I'm called by the store owner with answers from the owner of the painting. She explains that it's a print and was purchased for $1500. Okay, I'm not sure how much she paid for this thing, but I know it's not a print. Why would she make such a comment though if it's clearly not a print? And why would she pay $1500 for Donald Roller Wilson print when his website has them available for no more than $900? It's just not matching up. Additionally, she says, "The owner will sell it to you for $600 instead of $700, if you're interested."
That afternoon, I receive an email back from the great Donald Roller Wilson explaining that he would need all of my contact information and images of the painting in order to do any further work. That evening, after work, I quickly make way back to the store with a co-workers camera phone in hand and take two pictures of the painting and email them that evening to Roller.
I anxiously await an answer from Roller. I mean, now, I desperately want this painting and, believe it or not, my lovely wife has now agreed to allow me to display it in the dining room if I end up making the purchase. Incredible. Could I go from owning nothing fine as in "fine art" to finding a painting at a local antique store being sold for only a fraction of its value? Is it possible? I keep thinking that something's gonna give. The owner has it appraised and jacks the price up from $700 to $10,000. Someone sweeps in under my nose and picks it up before I can make it back to the store. I'm waiting for something really bad to happen. When I tell the story to even my closest friends, I make no mention of what store I found it at or make any detailed descriptions of the painting for fear my friends might stab me in the back and buy it before I do.
Two days later, apologetically, I receive an email from Roller. He says that, unfortunately, what I have found is a Chinese knock-off of his work and is not authentic. It would be worth not $20,000, not $10,000, not even $700. It's probably worth only the materials used to make it. Maybe $40 or so.
Here's a lesson for all you hopeful art collectors out there. Rule #1 to art collecting: Don't be a dumbass. In fact, that might be all fifteen rules. I mean, if the artist's name is Donald Roller Wilson and yet on the painting is the name, "Larry," buyer beware. I emailed Roller thanking him for helping me out and he offered to paint me something, but knowing well I can't afford to commission a painting, I politely decline. Maybe someday.
Alright, here's to Mondays--the most awesomest day of the week.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
"I done falled off."
Chris Hansen's doing a new show. Maybe a good thing. He's calling it "To Catch an I.D. Thief." Okay, really it's the same show, but like my lovely wife says, "He's just trying to make the world safer to live in." Keep rockin' it, Chris. But the sexual predator shows are much iller.
I think I'm finally coming around to the notion of hip hop being "dead." I'm calling it a "suicide." Only because, on a long ride home from the Getdown this weekend, I listened to a gonzo De La Soul playlist that spans their entire career including remixes, B-sides, cameos and even about an hour of Prince Paul work for good measure. They don't make 'em like they used to. Actually, I say "suicide" when it might have been "homocide" by license holders and greedy lawyers that insist on clearance and payment for every fragment of a song. Because such limitations where put on what could be used and what can't, labels and rappers alike got gun-shy and began to do everything with drum machines and live instrumentation. Since this evolution, only a very few have pulled it off with any tastiness. Pharrell, Timbaland, El-P come to mind. That's three producers out of what a bed of manure that was, at one time, considered the very future of music. Just a bunch of crap out there. It's getting harder and harder to pick 20 albums to honor at the end of the year. Seriously. I don't want to cause unnecessary alarm, but I hear about 150 hip hop albums during the year and only maybe five to ten are worth the listen. And, on top of that, only about three to five are actually worth the purchase. We gotta take it back to 1987. Turn the clock back twenty years. Trust me on this one.
Awesome that I went to Half Priced Books in the Getdown this weekend and bought Al Kooper and Shuggie Otis on vinyl, got home and found out it was warped like a muddah on the edges. Yeah, so freaking awesome. Gotta love that Tejas heat.
Jon Lester, the man who defeated cancer to ultimately return to the rotation, takes the mound against the Indians tomorrow. Now, I ain't about to say this is all wrapped up (Dolan) and the AL East is a done deal, but you gotta love a rotation that includes Curt Schilling (rehabbing), Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield (still effective except for against the Spanks), Matsuzaka, Lester (7-2 in his brief 2006 campaign), Okajima, Kason Gabbard (who has only allowed six hits and two walks in the last 16 innings), Paplebon and Madman Julian Tavarez. I mean, that's a cannon you just don't wanna mess with. Any dude that beats cancer is battle-ready, in my book.
Planning our trip to the Promise Land (Fenway, um, Boston--since, "It's not all about baseball," I tell my lovely wife.) which is racing up on us. End of August to be somewhat precise. Yeah, it's not all about baseball because I have the Samuel Adams Brewery just about three quarters of a mile away. I gotta say, if it ain't all about baseball on September 1st in Boston, I'm not sure what it is all about.
Man, the local news sucks horribly. It sucks so bad that I'm near accusing them of keeping the citizens of the Yellow in the dark. I mean, it's no surprise that the Yellow's level of global-awareness is close to that of a retarded man. If we haven't smoked ourselves stupid with historical amounts of methamphetamines (not myself, mind you) or sunburned off the remaining brain cells left after the fry we receive from watching the local weathermen (comedians), we have three television stations that deliberately filter out all the important news and, instead, feed us crap stories like some local cook that made it on a reality show, a head that was found in a dumpster without a body (okay, that one was a little entertaining) and the steady 93-degree forecast that no one really cares about. Weren't we in a war? Aren't candidates getting ready for a heated run for the presidency? There's devastating fires that are scorching acres-a-second in the mountain states and, yet, the Yellow news stations seem to believe that a pothole and a twelve-mile-an-hour breeze from the southwest is phenomenally more important than anything going on outside the city limits. People gotta step yo game up.
This is my brother. He's a righteous fella.
Tonight's Sunday night. Tomorrow, you'll have another post waiting for you. You ain't even ready for the monkey story. Holla.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I do believe that, in my many years, I've eaten quite a bit of Taco Bell and, as I grow older and consider my health more carefully, I should look for even the most subtle of reasons to never eat there again. I think I'm officially making the decision today to stop eating Taco Bell. I went to the Taco Bell right up the road and paid $4.83 for five soft tacos through the drive-thru. And when they asked whether or not I would like hot or mild sauce with that, I replied, "I would like plenty of hot sauce. Plenty." Thinking that I could have not been more explicit in my wishes, I arrive at my house to find that I was given the skimpiest taco ever which looked more like a lettuce taco than anything else and I was given, after requesting twice for plenty of taco sauce, (count 'em), five taco sauce packets. That'd be (if you're scoring at home) one packet per lettuce taco. That's it. No more. I found my reason. It's like I just finally realized that tonight's $4.83 was just $4.83 out of possibly thousands that I've put into this stupid company and even had once pledge my allegiance to this stupid restaurant when they introduced the seven-layer burrito for only $.99. But they've lost that loving feeling.
And I gotta take a dump. No more Taco Bell for me.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Monday, 1:30PM: Leave the Yellow
Monday, 3:00PM: Arrive in Little Rock, AR
Monday, 3:30PM: Leave Little Rock, AR
Monday, 4:30PM: Arrive in Memphis, TN
Tuesday, 9:00AM: Leave Memphis, TN
Tuesday, 9:45AM: Arrive in Cape Girardeau, MO
Tuesday, 1:00PM: Leave Cape Girardeau, MO
Tuesday, 1:45PM: Arrive in Little Rock, AR
Tuesday, 2:00PM: Leave Little Rock, AR
Tuesday, 3:30PM: Arrive in the Yellow
We left the Yellow at our intended time for our 26-hour trip to Tennessee/Missouri. No problem there except that there was a huge line of thunderstorms in Arkansas that was going to make it very difficult to hit our target of Little Rock and, subsequently, Memphis. We fly to Norman, OK instead and wait out the weather. This would be the first adjustment to the itinerary. After about an hour and a half in Norman, we decide to shoot to the Arkansas/Oklahoma border at Fort Smith to get closer to Little Rock. Instead of daring the skies anymore at this point, we decide to crash in Fort Smith ("crash" as in sleep). This is the second and third adjustment to the itinerary. Papa's Pizza in Fort Smith absolutely killz. Also, need to make a note that Boulevard is a fantastic beer from Kansas City. Wake up in the morning and make the jump from Fort Smith to Little Rock--the fifth adjustment to the itinerary. Our end target of Memphis is now in our sights. We lift off shortly for Memphis and land about an hour later, but about 18 hours later than expected. This is the sixth adjustment to the itinerary. We spend the better part of our day in the greater Memphis area and the thunderclouds began to descend upon us. We knew our time in Memphis was limited so we start heading to the airport. Once we arrive at the airport, our pilot says, "You guys better hurry," as the storm is now essentially right on top of us. We hop in the plane and begin to leave. We're not going to head to Cape Girardeau, but rather back to Little Rock to drop off the party that we had earlier picked up in Little Rock--the seventh adjustment to our itinerary. We line up behind about eight FedEx planes on the runway and then an ark-floating downpour levels Memphis. We taxi back to the terminal to wait through the storm. Thirty minutes later (eighth adjustment to the itinerary), we taxi back out and prepare for lift off. Lift off was successful and, upon arrival on the Little Rock runway, the plane begins to shake and vibrate rather wildly. Something was wrong with our landing gear. If you ever want to be able to quickly identify your "problem areas", land in a Cessna with faulty landing gear and watch for the jiggling. I have identified my problem areas as my boobies and my belly. Despite the vibration, our pilot stuck the landing and we rolled to a wobbling stop. The co-pilot fires from his seat and dashes to the front of the plane where he discovered that the tire on our front landing gear was flat. In fact, it was not only flat, it was warped and wrapped around the actual frame which had mangled the fender and rendered the landing gear inoperable. We spend about two hours at the terminal discussing the possible "worst-case scenarios" that didn't happen and eat ice cream. I sit with one of our party members and the locals listening to a man talk of his days in law enforcement while watching C.O.P.S.. We book hotel rooms for the night in Jacksonville, just north of Little Rock. I ain't going home tonight. This would be the ninth adjustment to the itinerary. We make way to the hotel, dinner and then downtown where I'm reunited with Goose Island beer ("I thought I had lost you forever!") and one of our party members was reunited with her favorite band, Widespread Panic, who was playing downtown on the river. I have no change of clothes. We wake up in the morning and wait for the landing gear to be fixed while making our way to some local competition and an area store. I find that the button on the only pair of pants that I have has broken off. Nonetheless, I just tighten my belt and keep an eye on my fly during the day. Same pair of boxers and socks despite showering. It feels so damn gross. Normally, I wouldn't mind, but I'm on a business trip. I pick up a Pixies t-shirt for close to nothing at a local store. It was a large, but fit rather well. The plane was ready to go at about 3:00PM. We leave for the Yellow and arrive at about 5:15PM. This would be the tenth variation from the original itinerary. All in all, I'm alive, healthy, reunited with my lovely wife and two dogs and have discovered two problem areas to work on.
Check out this photo of what our landing gear did to the runway. See the wiggly line that our messed up tire left.
It's Friday. Sox won the first game of the second half with homerless contributions from Manny and Papi. I guess we'll do it with RBI singles. As long as we're winning. A-Rod hit his 92nd homer of the year and the Spankees go back to .500 baseball. Welcome to the land of the breathing, fellas.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
It's been a discussion that I've had with a few of my close friends and familia lately. I'm not entirely sure why it's been a focus of late, but in the spirit of my continued ramblings without censor or limitations, I'm just gonna throw it out there and see if it sticks.
Look, the office bathroom is just a courtyard for confusion, perhaps frustration and, ultimately, an awkwardness that some never fully recover from. Some people go there to escape the harshness of office life, others are just passing through while even another group absolutely dreads going in there. Either way, it's 5:00AM, I just got done ready the local newspaper (flyswatter) to Donny Hathaway's Extension of a Man, I've officially entered the Hendrix power hour and I wanna talk restrooms. You might remember a past post that explored the phenomenon of the required space at the urinal in Volume 5 of "There's Always That Guy":
And, for a quick recap of all rules of the men's restroom, please watch the following educational piece.
Now, the foundation of these five completely inappropriate stunts is taking the above rules as described in the short educational film and annihilating them completely. By breaking the rules that have been set forth by generations before us, you not only create a platform for your own humorous exhibition, but you also help relax the standard day-to-day flow of office life. It's this spontaneity which has inspired me to share these practices (none of which have actually been practiced) with all of my faithful readers so maybe you too can be a source of entertainment to your co-workers and we can finally make the bathroom a place of delight and a safe space for political and social change. Maybe even emotional. This applies to men's room only since, well, I don't have any experience in the other. Sorry, ladies. I'm open to host possible opportunities in the ladies' room, however, someone would have to help me with the content.
#1: FROM FIVE FEET BACK
Guys, we know we all do it. We crowd the urinals to avoid anyone copping a stare or just glancing. Especially when there's no dividers, it's vitally important that you almost lean into the urinal. Why do we subject ourselves to such torture? In fact, it's even worse when you consider the germs and bacteria that you're exposing yourself to by almost climbing into the urinal. I say we revert to juveniles and, in the name of self-sanitary precautions, count off your heighth on the bathroom floor, back up to that point from the urinal and then do you business. But you must make sure that someone's coming into the restroom before you do it so when they come darting around the corner, there you stand about six feet back from the urinal just going to town. Even better, when you see the unsuspecting patron, yell to them something like, "Hey, Craig, check it out!" Trust me, the resulting hilarity will make it worth while.
#2: WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
The obligatory "unused urinal" which most men require between themselves and any other patron is probably the most important aspect of the restroom experience. Every man would agree. I suggest taking the "unused urinal" rule and throwing it out of the door. Invade someone's comfort zone or security circle. If you're at the urinal and a buddy comes up two urinals down the way, tell him, "Dude, it's cool. I don't care," and motion to the urinal nearest to you. This action absolutely destroys the two most important rules of the restroom: no talking and no side-by-side urinals. Angry Tim had also suggested a stunt that could possibly shatter a friendship if pulled off correctly and that is to find a buddy using the urinal, come up from behind, wrap your arms around him and just give him a big ol' church camp hug. Be careful because this action could result in what I like to call the "donkey kick." Just think about your safety first.
#3: NUMBER TWO WITH THE DOOR OPEN
While I'm by no means an exhibitionist, I can confirm with multiple sources that this stunt is the very ultimate in exhibitionism. When you're in the sitter, it's commonly held that you just hunker down and quietly go about your business. Normally, there's still no talking, in fact, there's hardly any movement. When reaching for the tissue, it's done very slowly and methodically like your disarming a bomb. The goal is to be as invisible as possible because, well, it's my guess that, in the same way that dogs appear shameful when doing the same business, humans are ashamed of the need to numero dos. My suggestion is to shake that discomfort of the public poo and just do it with the stall door open. In fact, just lean back and cross your legs in front like you're sitting in a recliner. When someone walks in front of the stall just say, "Whaddup, Craig. Man, how about that conference call, huh? That was brutal."
#4: WHOA, IS THAT YOU?!
This one's tricky, but it can be done. Just know your subject before you attempt it. It's another unspoken rule that what happens in the stall, stays in the stall, but you've heard co-workers break this rule. You hope you're not the subject of such conversation, but if you had the green sauce on your breakfast burrito, you might have unknowingly thrown yourself into a realm of office chatter that no one wants to be a part of. I say, instead of being sneaky about it, just call the dude out on the spot. For example, you walk in and the smell just overcomes you. In fact, it almost drops you to your knees. You gaze under the stall door to see a pair of, say, navy blue Nikes that belong to your buddy Craig (I like the name "Craig" for this demonstration--I'm not picking on some dude named Craig). While Craig thinks that he's safe because he's being really quiet and keeping to himself, you come walking up and, to confirm your suspicion, you hop up on your toes to peek over the door. Upon recognizing that it is in fact Craig himself, you say, "Oh my gosh, dude. You're col' killin' it in here. What in the hell did you eat, homie?" Even better, if someone else enters the restroom, let them know who it is in the stall. "Smell that, dude? Yeah, that's Craig in there. Man is on fi-yah!"
#5: TAKE IT WAY BACK
Hopefully someone taught you how to pee and hold your pantalones up at the same time at a very early age. I met a kid one time who must've been about 15 and hadn't apparently been taught the finer things in life. This is a lesson that really must be taught to any tike long before they start operating the baby urinal (the one that no one uses). It'll probably be the first thing I teach my son. Imagine this, though. Imagine coming into the office restroom to find a dude peeing with his pants down all the way to his ankles. Yeah, real awkward. How do you handle that? I, myself, would probably go to the restroom on the other side of the building. That's like a biohazard. I mean, you go from a conference call or a financial planning meeting, turn the corner and you're all of the sudden staring down the barrell of a shotgun. The shock is enough to make even the biggest man break. The awkwardness would be long-lasting. You ain't looking that dude in the eyes ever again. You're avoiding him in the hallway. You take another route to avoid sitting next to him at the intersection. Next thing you know, you're turning in your resume to companies in other industries because you can't take the tension anymore. The pants (and drawers) at the ankles is probably the ultimate in a restroom awkwardness. If you decide to employ this technique, realize the ramifications.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Got a bike thanks to my lovely wife's constant pushing to do so. It's nothing too special, but I insisted that I didn't want a bike that had a lot of decals on it. In fact, I told my wife that whatever bike I got, I wanted to paint it all black. She thought that was laughable. I just don't like how my bike is a color that I didn't pick and, well, when you're only investing $150, you're gonna have to settle on some details. While I was talked out of painting it now, I ripped off the decals that read "Silver Canyon." What a stupid name for bike. I might as well be riding a bike called, "I Didn't Date Much." So I ripped it off and proceeded to rid the bike of all decals. Even the decal that reads "Wear your helmet." Not that's not a good idea, but I just don't have to be reminded of it everytime I hop on the bike like a five year-old.
I still look like a turd on wheels, though. I mean, I'm an awkward guy as it is. I run awkward. I have an awkward golf swing. I even walk and sit awkward. It's a wonder I've made it this far without getting my ass whooped just on the premis that I'm a stupid lookin dude. Throw me on a bike and I instantly become a large moving target at which trash can be throw. We'll see. Maybe that's why I insist on no decals to add insult to injury. It's bad enough that I look dumb, but name my bike "Silver Canyon" and I'm liable to get run off the road in a hit and run.
Saw Transformers early last week and I'll tell you this: dope as hell. I'm glad I'm married now because if I said that as a single man, it'd be another twenty years of loneliness. All my married buddies enjoyed it tremendously, too. Angry Tim, Mayhem, Billy--we were grinning from ear to ear during the entire film. Personally, I think we were grinning partly because the movie was ill, but even more because we knew at the end of the night, we wouldn't go home alone in our Dodge Aries stationwagon to our parents' basements where we'd stay up all night slugging energy drinks and watching the History Channel. Just something to think about.