justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another throw away post

SLAM: Before you quit blogging about the League, you were one of the more successful and well-read writers in the hoops blogosphere. What are some of the things that led to your decision to quit the game, so to speak?

Brian Spaeth: Boredom as much as anything. I’d always considered YAYsports! NBA a comedy blog, not necessarily a basketball blog. After about a year I kinda felt I’d done everything I could with that combo of format and content.

I’d have to find it, but I wrote a post at some point when I started to get a lot of traffic that stated in no uncertain terms that one day I would get bored and quit out of nowhere. That’s exactly what happened, and then I stayed a lot longer than I should have, and it showed in the work.

Like February to maybe November 2006 is when I think the site was really killing it in terms of quality. Before that it was finding its voice. After that it was getting stale and/or I was distracted with the movie. Either way, I guess I had said all I wanted to say.


The following post like many of the recent posts is me continuing to overstay my welcome and run down this blog. Enjoy.

- I really, really need this Aaron Brooks bobblehead.

- Having been the biggest Chase Budinger fan throughout his entire collegiate experience, I could not be happier that he's now starting and routinely putting up 15 and 8 while connecting on alley-oops from Aaron Brooks.

- I also could not be happier that the Knicks #8 pick, Arizona's own Jordan Hill might be heading to the D League.

- The recent passing of Chris Henry reminded me how badly I wish Gilbert Arenas was still alive.

- Josh Pastner is one of my favorite people on earth. I was reading this NY Times article the other day at work, until I got to this line:
“You know what it is?” Pastner said, explaining his motivation. “It’s wanting not to look back and say we should have done this, we should have done that. You want to maximize your time, which doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to win a lot of games; it just means you can look back and have a peace of mind knowing you gave it your best shot.”
Then I went back to work.

- Great move by the improv comedy team, the New York Knicks, who brought back Jonathon Bender, a man who had not played professional basketball in the last decade.

- They backed up the Jonathon Bender hilarity, by announcing they'd rather play Satan over Nate Robinson, who is the default face of the team because nobody outside New York can name another current Knick.

- Finally this video of the Glove being the Glove while discussing Brandon Jennings. The end is quite poignant.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Four Minutes of Fake Thought


For better or worse my life has taken a turn for the unbloggable. I have a real job. I do other shit. I don't really find much of it appropriate to blog about. Don't worry everything is still incredibly silly, but I don't think my boss would like it if had the ridiculousness was published on the internet.

Those in my inner circle get a quality g-mail every so often and the rest are left in the dark. One recent long e-mail spawned the following conversation:

Sep: This isn't wherespmac
Tar: Of course it isn't wherespmac Sep. It was entertaining, contained 5 minutes of real thought and was read by 7 people.

For the six or so of you out there, here is some quick fake thought I am jotting down in no particular order.

1. The new Clipse album. Ughh!
2. I was devastated when the Nets one their first game I really wanted them to lose a full 82. I started reading CDR's Twitter, which was hilarious because he was tweeting in suicidal manner. Everyone was writing to him as if someone died in his family.
3. Terrance Williams Twitter appears to be quite comical as well.
4. I still fucking hate Twitter and one day I will have enough time to remove the Twitter link from this blog.
5. In the mean time enjoy the Lisa Loeb video that was my last tweet.
6. I did not watch any Arizona football games this year, not even the UA/Oregon match. I have decided the only aspect of sports I care about is Brandon Jennings.
7. I loved Nate Robinson returning from injury, shooting on the wrong hoop, landing in D'Antoni's dog house and not playing any more.
8. The funnest part about living in New York is being around die-hard Knicks fans.
9. This list would be better with links.
10. This morning I received stupid change after breaking an extra dollar on a large cinnamon bun from a street vendor that should have only been $1.00 instead of the outrageous $1.25. As the street vendor handed me my change back I wished death upon him. Then I looked at my reflection in the cart window and thought abut how silly I was being for wishing death upon a man over a quarter. Then I realized he was still the asshole for over charging for a cinnamon bun, so I proceeded to wish death upon his whole family.

Then I walked by a Salvation Army bell ringer who was singing on a stereo he had hooked up. It was nice. Then I walked by another Salvation Army bell ringer who was doing the same except murdering "Feliz Navidad." That's murdering in a bad way to clarify. It was nicer. It was 8:30 in the morning and this guy was just missing every note to a classic. So I atoned for my previous mental death wishes by giving some change to the Salvation Army dude. As I poured two dimes and a nickel (I kept the quarters for myself for future laundry purposes) in the red bucket I saw the dude was rocking a first generation Zune.

Then I walked away.
11. I have completely forgotten how to tell stories.
12. There are WPM sneaks coming in the future.
13. New banner is up.
14. My main excuse for not blogging is that I have spent the past month in the park with a hippie-blanket trying to recreate Young Jeezy and Kobe Bryant poses.




Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not a real post

This is not so much a real post as it is me bringing attention to a great wiki page of a silly rap DJ.



And five minutes after it Sep and I noticed it, it was gone.

Props to Aziz's blog for Khaled McDonalds spot.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sundays with Luther


Last Sunday I had nothing going on and nothing to blog about so I decided to go on an adventure to church because I felt it might provide an interesting story.

I also felt church might be a good place to try out newish pair of dress shoes my roommate had given me because they no longer fit him. Aside from the need for a good story and my desire to wear some fresh hand-me-down shoes, I wanted to go to church to try out a new handshake I have been working on where I put my left hand on top of closed handshake. It's pretty powerful.

My mother is Catholic. My father is Jewish. But I chose a Lutheran church on Sunday. I lived most my life treating Lutheranism like the OKC Thunder, I don't really accept it or acknowledge its presence, but I understand it exists.

Every time I do laundry I sit on the Lutheran church's steps and read a book. Within five minute of being in the church I realized I liked better from the outside reading a book rather than sitting on the inside listening to a dull sermon. My shoes were comfortable though.

I took a pamphlet from the table in the church's entry way. I noticed the pastor's last name was "Priest," which caused the the following thoughts:

1. Why is a pastor named Priest?
2. I really hope he marries Priest Lauderdale and Lauderdale takes the pastor Priest's surname.
3. Does the Lutheran church allow their pastors to engage in gay marriages to 7'4'' NBA busts?

I spent the rest of the mass thinking about those deep thoughts and wondering when the pastor was going to acknowledge Brandon's 26 points in the previous nights win over the Grizzlies. The game was a back-to-back after Brandon dropped 29 in a Friday night win over the Bobcats.

Somehow pastor Priest ignored all that even though Brandon has a rosary tattooed around his neck.

As the mass ended I gave a lot of really good handshakes to a lot of Puerto Rican people and then promptly dipped out.

I don't bust this out often, but Lutheranism only gets 1/5 Paul McPhersons on the WPM how-cool-is-you-religion scale.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wallpapers & links


I like pretty wallpapers. I like (liked, well still kinda do, but it gets tougher every day) Allen Iverson. I stole pictures from interfacelift and SlamOnline to create the pic above (1280x800).

Then I was shown up by the Bucks official website which offered my current wallpaper.

Links:

- Miley Cyrus trying to ether Jay-Z.

- A new Lil' Wayne documentary.

- It's no FRR, but nothing ever will be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

People who work harder than me


I was too busy last week and did not get around to posting this, but here is a Q&A with Jeff Leen, for Gelf Magazine that I wrote about his new book, "The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend."

Women's wrestling is not quite my cup of tea, but the book was well written and I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around the amount of research Leen did in writing the book. The book is about Mildred Burke, who as Leen describes is the "Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth of women's wrestling." She also aligned herself with her husband/manager Billy Wolfe, who beat the shit out of her, cheated on her with tens of women and in the end stole all her money. It's a pretty entertaining story if you're into that sort of thing.

Leen, a managing editor at The Washington Post, spent five years researching Burke, who reigned as the women's wrestling professional champion from the 1930s through the 1950s. Almost every hour that Leen was not working for the Post, he was dedicating to the book. He even spent his vacation driving with his wife through the route that Burke's wrestling circuit followed.

His notes on sources for the book stretch 57 pages. As a lazy blogger, this is all incredibly mind-blowing to me. I hope one day to have half the work ethic Leen has.

Here's my article with an excerpt as usual:

Jeff Leen describes the subject of his book The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend as the "Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth of women's wrestling." Yet few self-described sports fanatics could tell you whoMildred Burke is. Through extensive research into the history of women's wrestling, Leen aims to rectify that oversight, shedding light on a woman who rose from a small, Depression-stricken Midwestern town to become one of the most important wrestlers of all time—only to sink into obscurity upon her death.

Over a five-year span, Leen, a managing editor at the Washington Post, spent almost every spare minute of his time examining any form of literature that related to Burke and retracing the path of her career. The resulting biography recounts not only Burke's tale, but life during the golden age of American wrestling. It also describes the incredible amounts of physical and psychological drama that Burke brought upon herself to get the top.

Gelf spoke with Leen by phone to learn what it's like researching an obscure sports figure who passed away decades ago, and how his own Midwestern roots and 30 years as an investigative reporter helped him write The Queen of the Ring.

Continue reading...


Monday, November 09, 2009

LeBron at the Garden


Since NBA schedules were released months ago, February 5th has been an important day on my calendar. It's the first time the Brandon Jennings Experience a.k.a. the Milwaukee Bucks will play in the Garden this season. Somehow the Knickerbockers' November 6th game was not on my radar, even though many would argue that a LeBron James only regular season Garden visit is more important than an unproven 20-year-old's.

Throughout all of last week I was excited for the Cavs to play the Knicks, mainly do the extremely silly hype surrounding Bron's impending free agency. Then at about 4 pm on last Thursday I had a revelation, I should really go to the game. Plus what's the point of a first paycheck if you have not already blown half of it before receiving it. I immediately texted the only one of my friends who would be able and willing to shell out the necessary funds to get decent tickets to the Knicks game. Within 12 hours I had a solid pair of tickets in my hands.

A worthless bet I made pregame: Over/under on seeing customized LeBron Knicks Jerseys at the game: 5. I bet the over. That bet really had nothing riding on it. I would end up being wrong. I only saw 3.

A loser-buys-Monday's-lunch pregame bet: If LeBron scores 55 or over, I owed my co-worker lunch. If Jordan Hill scored 10 or more points, I was owed a lunch.

This was really a stupid fucking bet on my part, seeing as how Jordan Hill was riding a 4-game DNP-CD streak after playing all of 1:45 in the Knicks' season opener. I should also note that Bron has scored over 50 in two out of three of his last trips to the Garden, against Knicks squads that were arguably better than this year's joke of a team.

Bron started the first quarter murdering everyone in site, hitting fade-away 18-footers like they were open lay-ups. He hit his first four shots, including a fading-out of bounds-as the shot clock expired-with Larry Hughes on top of him-holy fuck-three pointer. Even though the entire Cavs squad outside of Bron is terrible, the Knicks are just that much worse and were down 19 at the end of the first quarter.

After the first quarter, half the Yankees World Champion roster walked out to half-court to receive more praise. A-Rod was there, as were many other big names I don't really care about. Jeter was not. Which, as my friend asked, makes you wonder what the hell Jeter had going on that he was too cool to sit courtside at a LeBron James/Knicks game.

Bron could have easily sat the rest of the game, but somebody gave him the memo that I paid $75 to watch him and not Jamario fucking Moon, so he came back in and toyed with the Knicks for a while.

In the second quarter Mike D'Antoni lost his mind and accidentally played his #8 draft pick, Jordan Hill.

Going back to my sophomore year of college I remember sitting on my couch, in a hazy mind state where I was deciding between Frosted Flakes or a milkshake, or Frosted Flakes and a milkshake. I was also freaking out about Hassan Adams playing for the Nets after I had watched him play in the McKale Center a dozen times. It just seemed so weird to see Hassan in a uniform that did not read "Arizona" on the chest. Note: Somewhere Hassan is on his couch, stoned out of his mind probably reminiscing about the same thing.

Seeing Jordan Hill's goofy ass play for a "real NBA team" was even more bizarre than watching Hassan. It just did not look right. It barely made sense that Hill played college ball, the fact that he somehow made his way into the NBA is just too much for me. Another note: both the Nets and the Knicks do terribly poor jobs of trying to imitate a "real NBA team."

By some miracle of God, Jordan Hill was taking 15-footers and knocking them down. He hit one. Then another. Then another. Six fucking points! It was like he knew how bad I wanted that free Cosi's pesto chicken melt on Monday.

Then there was a time-out. Jordan Hill was hot, but I figured somehow Mikey D would come to his senses and realize Jordan Hill is not a real human being. But another miracle happened and Jordan Hill was able to sneak back on the floor. He missed his fourth attempt, was soon after pulled from the action and never returned to the hardwood, which sucks for him, but more importantly means I'll be eating a dry turkey sandwich from home on Monday. Fuck the Knicks.

Bron never returned to his first-quarter like-Jesus-Christ-only-better state, not that there was a need, he could have played with both hands tied behind his back and still scored on which ever Knick tried to guard him. He finished with a modest 33 in a 100-91 Cavs win.

Since this is WPM, I have to mention that Brandon Jennings and the Bucks also beat the Knicks the following night by 15. The Knicks at one point were down 36 to the Bucks, who despite everything I claim, are a terrible, terrible team. The Knicks are now 1-6 including losses to the Pacers, Bobcats, Hornets and Bucks.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Sad Gil & More

Harping back to this blog's old days when I would just post anything Gilbert Arenas, mainly because it was easier to blog rather than CC-ing the same article to all of my friends. Here is this silly video of Gil.




Other things that I perhaps should've blogged about:

1. I went to a Maury Show live taping. It was incredible. One of the most incredible experiences of my life actually. I got to see two paternity test, three lie detector test and one lie detector/paternity test-double whammy.

The best part was watching Maury play to his audience. He came out and asked the crowd, "Where my boos at?" Then later on he made small talk with the crowd, "It's Friday, I can't wait to go home and drink a 40 (waits the perfect amount of time for crowd applause). I just switched from Olde English." Then he seamlessly transitioned to talking to a pregnant woman who was crying and believed her husband was banging other women on their kids' bed.

Good times all around.

2. I got a cool job.

3. I went on some fun bike rides.

4. I learned some valuable origami skills.

5. I made the pretty Fall-themed J.R. Smith banner you see above.

6. This picture:

Which is a remix of this picture:




Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lines I enjoy


B. Jennings G 34:16 7-16 2-5 1-2 -9 1 9 9 5 0 0 1 5 17

from MIL @ PHI 10.30.09

J. Hill 1:45 0-1 0-0 0-0 +2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

from NYK @ MIA 10.28.09

J. Hill DNP - COACH'S DECISION

from NYK @ CHA 10.30.09

"For a year or so"


So Jennings is the proud new owner of a . . .  Ford Edge. Starting MSRP: $26,900.

from JS Online... Does this mean that one day I will probably buy a Ford Edge to go along with my Under Armor sneakers and Bucks jerseys? Yes it does.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boston and Cool Jobs

Note: I wrote this post two weeks ago and just got around to publishing it. Some of the information is now dated, some is not.

Most mornings Sep and I wake up early, eat breakfast and talk about how cool it would be if we had cool jobs (for full effect drag out the o's in 'cool' and say it with a cool face). Then Sep will normally lock himself in his room and study for the LSATs, while I polish off my Frosted Flakes and spend an inordinate amount of time thumbing through a Cabela's hunting magazine that inexplicably arrives in our mailbox monthly.

Sep seems certain that a high LSAT score and subsequent fancy law degree will land him a cool job. I'm much less pro-active about my pursuit of a cool job. After breakfast I will return to my bedroom, skim through a couple of cool blogs and talk out loud to myself, "Whoa. That person has a cool job."

Recently I decided to journey to Maine to see some of my favorite people in the world not named Brandon Jennings. I decided to break up the trip to Maine with a stop in Boston, even though I had no idea where I would spend the night in Boston.

Long story short by where-am-I-going-to-rest-my-head troubles were saved by some friends I met at Vibes and because I met them at Vibes we were automatically best friends because everyone at Vibes was my best friend except the scary nitrous people, they were not my best friends.


My friend Mal met me, showed me some pretty things, took me to a cool bar where I had a hamburger with peanut butter. Then she took me to her office.

Mal has a cool job. She works at a visual effects studio in the coolest office. Even with the lights on, the office was very dimly lit and every corner was full of chotchkies; either odd chotchkies or a massive plasma TV. Most importantly her office has a milkshake making device in addition to a bar full of snacks and beer.


As I sat there destroying a Rice Krispie Treat, she put on her work's demo reel. Her company made the NBA "Where will amazing happen?" commercials. At that point I lost my mind.




After the tour and video reel, she offered me a shot of Jack Daniels from her boss's office. Normally I never drink hard liquor, but I am not retarded so I took that shot of Jack and tried to act like it was no big deal. At the end of the day Mal is just a receptionist, who has to do silly receptionist work, but it's possibly the dopest work atmosphere I have ever seen.

I asked her how she got her job. "Well I was working across the street at the Starbucks. I became friends with everyone on the block." Mal said. "The girl who was the receptionist before me asked me what I do and what I want to do in life. I told her I ballroom dance. Then she offered me an interview and I got the job."

Mal's "desk:"


This is a picture of the light's reflection in a picture of the light hanging. I liked it.


This is Jesus Christ and the United Nations building. It hangs in the bathroom.


I continued to bounce around Boston with Mal and my other Vibes friend Amber. Eventually we got back to their place and tried to watch Pineapple Express without smoking, which is like playing golf with no clubs. Either way I passed out on their couch at 10:30 at night, because that is how I roll.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Buzz Bissinger Interview


This is an interview I did with Buzz Bissinger for Gelf Magazine regarding his (and Bron's) new book "Shooting Stars."

In the real world Buzz is famous for his book "Friday Night Lights," which sold over 2 million copies and spawned a movie and TV show. In the sports blogosphere Buzz is famous for screaming at Will Leitch.

Personally I did not love "Shooting Stars" and I agreed with many of the points Henry Abbott raised on TrueHoop. When I was speaking to Buzz I slightly alluded to Abbott's article and then Buzz kinda went off.

"If Henry Abbott wants to go do it, let him go do it. Instead of suggesting all sorts of rhetorical questions for which he has no answer, he can go investigate it. All he does is raise rhetorical questions, which to me is not reporting or writing, but the very antithesis of both," Buzz said. Then he proceeded to talk to compare LeBron's biography to Ted Kennedy's. He falsely assumed I had some worldly knowledge outside of basketball and began talking about Chappaquiddick. I pretended like I knew what he was talking about, then after the interview I wiki-ed the shit out of Teddy Kennedy.

In all I was very happy with the interview and the way the article came out.

Enjoy...

Like many basketball fans, I've followed LeBron James since he was a sophomore in high school. I remember the Sports Illustrated cover. I remember the SLAM cover. I remember watching his St. Vincent-St. Mary squad take on Oak Hill on ESPN. I remember listening to Dick Vitale broadcast the game and bash everyone who was profiting off LeBron and knowing damn well that Vitale was not offering his services pro bono.

As a basketball junkie, I can tell you exactly where I was when LeBron was chosen with the first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Having never looked at LeBron's Wikipedia entry, I could probably recite 95 percent of its content off the top of my head. So I was curious what new information I would learn from reading LeBron and Buzz Bissinger's new book, Shooting Stars. Because the book tells LeBron's life story up to the point he graduated from high school, I expected to read about him being offered shady deals worth millions and cavorting around college campuses like Jesus Shuttlesworth. But there wasn't much in the way of new or revelatory information. As Bissinger—who knows how to write a story about high school sports—explains, Shooting Stars is not meant to be an all-inclusive LeBron James autobiography. At its core, it is a simple book about five kids, with the odds stacked against them, overcoming their fair share of adversity to win a state championship or three.

I spoke with Bissinger over the phone to talk about writing a book with King James, why it's not a work of investigative journalism, and how the sports culture in Akron compares to the one in Odessa, Texas. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


There was one bit of idiotic Justin Adler writing that my editor wisely cut from the article to make me look more mature and respectable than I am. But since this is my blog, I'll run the goofy paragraph:

I cannot say I disliked the book; it was entertaining. It was a literary version of methadone for my heroine-like addiction to the game. And what the fuck else am I going to do in the offseason. But I am a sucker for dirty, corrupt basketball scandals and one good World-Wide Wes story would have made the book exponentially better for me.
*Stupid photo of Bron at the top of the page is courtesy of BOP VI.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Movie Ideas


This morning I found myself alone standing outside the Boston sports pro shop in the TD Garden. It was 7:45 in the morning so the shop was closed and dark inside, but I stood there staring intensely through the glass at a green Eddie House jersey while Third Eye Blind's "How's it going to be" played over the radio.

I don't have any idea what that particular 3EB song is about. I could not tell you any of the lyrics aside from the chorus. But if my life is ever turned into a movie, I don't have any idea why the fuck it ever would be, me thinking about Eddie House while listening to 3EB needs to be climatic scene of the film. I think it would earn me an Oscar or at least an NAACP Image Award.

On the subject of silly films... A lot of people in New York claim they are writing screenplays or creating something along the lines of dreams that will never be fulfilled. The following is my rendition of that.

A while ago my friend Tom and I wondered if there is any medical condition which would only allow you to hear sounds in the tone of rapper/convicted sex offender Mystikal's voice. This is the inspiration for a screenplay I have been writing entirely in my head while riding the subway over the past week. It's about a slightly less retarded version of Helen Keller who grows up in a wealthy, white suburb but is unable to communicate in any form with anyone. All of the world's top researchers of "people who are slightly less retarded than Helen Keller" have zero success in helping the knock-off Helen Keller.

Then one day she hears a Keak da Sneak song, and the girl realizes Keak's voice is the only audible level she is able to understand. Everything clicks for the girl. Note: I made the executive decision to replace Mystikal with Keak da Sneak for many reasons. First Keak is not a rapist, therefore it will be more family friendly. Secondly Keak's Wikipedia entry states. "He is also notable for popularizing the style of wearing clothing from 2nd hand clothing stores with a mix of expensive 59Fifty hats and Bling." That is pretty fucking cool.

Eventually Keak and the girl who is slightly less retarded than Helen Keller formulate a strategy to solve the global energy crisis and ease all tensions in the Mideast. Additionally the duo create a time warping device that allows Justin Adler to sit courtside at the 2001 NBA Finals when Allen Iverson crosses Tyronn Lue, buries the 3, then steps over Lue.

The movie ends with Jewelz becoming the greatest rapper ever.

* If anyone wants to steal any of these ideas for anything please feel free. Just please put WPM somewhere in the credits and perhaps weave the restaurant where Tom works into the plot somehow. I'm sure there is a hole somewhere in the story it can be squeezed into.

** Half this post is what happens when I get on the subway sans music or a book to read.

Maine Rocks


Today I arrived in Maine. Within an hour of being here I sent the boss from my restaurant an e-mail of resignation.

Liberated, I headed out on a bike ride to see some Fall leaves and pretty coves. On my journey I saw this kid, Robert, throwing rocks at a buoy. I decided to join the fun, but I also kept my helmet on because throwing rocks can be dangerous.

Robert and I each hit the buoy (which was a good 25 feet away) once out of hundreds of throws. It was more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

The top two photos were shot by Robert's mother. The bottom photo was all me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hooligans and sneakers


Again sorry for the lack of recent blogging. I have not had that many interesting stories and the ones I do are really not appropriate to publish on the internet. For better or worse, I am not in Argentina where I can run around writing recklessly about everyone I meet knowing that I will most likely never see them again in my life.

And unfortunately I have became numb to many of the interesting weirdos of NYC, that or I am just too lazy to blog about them. Most likely the latter.

There is a crazy-ass school outside my window that produces gangs of hooligans which loiter around the campus five days a week. The school is a high school, but it is not called a high school. It's called Grand Street Campus, or GSC, which I really enjoy because it reminds me of T.I.'s rap posse, P$C (Pimp $quad Click), and I enjoy anything in life I can remotely relate to hip-hop.

One day while standing on the subway platform on my way to work some of the GSC hooligans were doing hooligan-like activities on the other side of the platform. One knocked the others fitted hat into the tracks. Without hesitation the hatless hooligan jumped into the tracks. A feat I had never seen before. Everyone started freaking out. The hooligans on his side were wildin'. The hooligans on my side began screaming, "You gon' die! You gon' die!" the kid grabbed his hat, put it back on his head, then jumped out of the tracks and calmly brushed his shoulder off.

I hopped on my train and then went to work. I should also note that I am far too infatuated with GSC's logo and school colors and I am 22-year-old male hopelessly chasing after a jersey. It's kinda gay.

I thought that was a good story, but my roommate beat me in the game of "Best story of seeing someone jump in the subway tracks." His tale involved a guy wearing a Patriots jersey, who realized he was on the wrong side of the tracks (literally, not figuratively). He then hopped over both third rails made it to the other side and yelled "That's how much I fucking love the Patriots!"

Going back to GSC... Every day I walk by the school I fantasize about going in the school and volunteering to help their basketball team. I figure I might be able to help a hooligan or two, or at the very least set up an elaborate point-shaving scheme.

My roommate Sep had the same vision, sans sports betting operation, except he has actually done something and is now tutoring some under-privileged middle school kids or something of that sort. Me, I'm still in the fantasizing stage.

Going back to people in Argentina I once wrote recklessly about. My Swiss friend who I know from Buenos Aires Yakub was in NYC recently. After missing the chance to meet up with Yakub for the first few days he was in the city, we finally arranged to meet at NikeTown, per his request. Yakub is a 5'5'' Vin Diesel look-a-like, who always tells me stories about appreciating life. The kind of stories that if my friends told me, I would call them gay, but because they are coming from a Swiss Vin Diesel look-a-like, I value his stories.

He also only spoke to me in Spanish in Argentina and then while he was in the States revealed that he spoke fluent English, in addition to about 20 other languages.

I journeyed to the 5-story NikeTown, met Yakub and his friend Beth, who introduced herself like this: "Hey, I'm Beth. I work for Converse. I can get you 40% off any thing you want in here."

"Wow." I thought to myself. "That's the best introduction I have ever heard in my life."

Even though I live along or actually under the poverty line I knew I had to buy a pair of Lunaracers (see above picture). Plus in NYC it's completely acceptable to live in public housing, be on welfare and still own expensive Nikes. The fact that I was not going to buy the Nikes with government-assisted money probably does hurt my street cred a bit.

Later on in life (a whole three days later to be exact) Beth gave me a tour of Converse's design studios. It was nice. I shook the hand of the NY Times frugal traveler's wife, who works for Converse. It was memorable.

I'll have better, more coherent, possibly more cohesive stories to come...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Things I no longer do


This is a very inconclusive list of things I once did in life, but I now no longer enjoy doing.

1. Watching football on Sundays - Throughout the entire NFL offseason I was extremely excited for the NFL season to start. Then it started and I have not watched one full game yet. Growing up on the west coast, I still can't figure out what time games start out here and I don't have a TV in my room, which makes spending a whole Sunday in my room watching football much harder.
After Brandon Jennings dominates the NBA and decides to take over the NFL, I will probably begin to watch the sport again.

2. Watching the show "Entourage" - Yes, I once declared that this show was my favorite thing in life. Yes, that's the gayest, most pathetic line any person can say. I apologize to my friends, family and humanity. I am happy to announce that I have missed the past three episodes and I don't plan on ever watching this show again.

3. Voting - I had to think for a second if I had voted in my life in order for it to qualify for this list of "Things I once did, but no longer do." I remember fake voting for the presidential election in second grade in a "Kids can vote" school-wide campaign. I remember writing in Abraham Lincoln because we were studying Honest Abe in class and because I somehow knew DeShawn Stevenson would become my favorite player in the NBA and that one day he would get a portrait of Abe tatted on his neck.

I also voted for real in the 2008 Democratic Primaries. I don't really regret voting in that instance, but it just was not for me.

As a goofy child, who grew up far too infatuated with rap music and black culture, I always said I would not vote for a president until I could vote for a black president. Then when the opportunity presented itself, I was in a tiny town in Argentina getting high with some local kids, trying to skateboard, eating pasta and listening to James Brown, all of which were much more important than voting.

At this point I don't see myself ever feeling compelled to vote again, especially now that I have experienced the sublime rush that comes from not voting.

4. Celebrating Thanksgiving - Like so many of us, I once had grand visions of celebrating Thanksgiving with a thugged-out basketball star in Buenos Aires. Last year I envisioned spending Thanksgiving with P-Mac at a rave, bringing home wildly under-aged girls, then giving him a high-five during the middle of some kind of insane Argentine orgy. I have never been to a rave in my life, but P-Mac, Buenos Aires, Thanksgiving and MDMA all seemed like they were meant to be together.

Then P-Mac ended up being terrible at his craft and I knew we would not be hanging out in Buenos Aires. Having to change my plans, I ended up spending the majority of last Thanksgiving on a 16-hour bus ride from Puerto Madryn to El Chaltén. On the day I ate two apples, a bag of cookies and a strawberry yogurt.

This year I plan on again skipping Thanksgiving to remember the mildly somber experience. My roommate Sep and I plan on drinking and hitting Two Bros Pizza for dollar slices. Maybe if I feel up to it I will watch an episode or six of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Paul McPherson, if you are by chance reading this, please keep in mind that you are also invited to these festivities. And if you want to make it up to me I am sure we can find a Thanksgiving day rave in NYC.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Interview with Sam'ron


Here is a Sam Rubenstein article I wrote for GelfMagazine.com. I grew up reading and loving Sam's work for SLAMonline mainly because I was/still am SLAM's target demographic of young, white male who is a junkie for hoops and hip-hop. And also because Sam is a good writer. For the record wherespmac.com's target demographic is my friends who are bored in class and now my friends who have moved on to being bored at a desk job or simply unemployed and bored.

Rubenstein started at SLAM as "Sam the Intern," before evolving into "SAMonline," "Killa Sam," "Sam'ron," and eventually SLAMonline's online editor.

Then one day he found some divine light in the midst of listening to Dipset and writing Ron Artest album reviews. He decided public school teaching was for him. Long story short, he got his Master's degree, thought he was going to be a full-time teacher, got fucked by the economy and is now quasi-unemployed/ substitute teaching.

To Cliff-note the last few three paragraphs (if you are three paragraphs is too much for you, then God bless you): I think Sam is way cooler than he might actually be. He wrote for SLAM. Knows his rap music damn well. And is now trying to be a teacher.

Sam also wrote these (1, 2, 3) quality pieces if which combine basketball and trying to trick people into believing teaching can be fun.

If you live in the NYC area and also enjoy basketball, hip-hop, teaching, chess or privileged, bitter girls, come to Gelf Magazine's Non-Motivational Speaker Series this Thursday night. Sam Rubenstein, Eliot Weiss, coach of HS chess powerhouse Edward R. Murrow High School, and Hannah Friedman, author of prep school memoir "Everything Sucks" will all be speaking at the event. Here are some important event details.

Here's part of my interview with Sam Rubenstein:

Five days a week Sam Rubenstein dissected the previous night's NBA action in a Manhattan office. He immersed himself in the basketball blogosphere as he ran the website for SLAM Magazine, one of the biggest sports rags in the country. After four years at SLAM, Rubenstein decided that partying (uh…reporting) in Las Vegas for the All-Star game, attending each game of the NBA finals, and hanging out with superstars was no longer for him. He went back to school, studying towards a Master's in education at Fordham University in hopes of teaching at a New York City public school.

Then our nation's economy collapsed on itself, taking out with it, at least temporarily, Rubenstein's dream of dropping some knowledge full-time. The New York City Department of Education is currently in a hiring freeze, and Rubenstein now finds himself working as a substitute, honing his skills and waiting until the city starts employing again. (Basically, it's just like that time Ron Artest worked out while he was suspended from the NBA, except that Rubenstein can't work in his field because of a dismal economy, not because he tried to fight half of Detroit.)

Gelf caught up with Rubenstein, who is 31 and lives in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens neighborhood, 20 blocks away from his childhood home in Brooklyn Heights. In the following interview, which has been edited for clarity, Rubenstein discusses why the hell he left SLAM to teach in the NYC public school system, how his student-teaching gig compares with basketball, and his unrelenting love for all things Dipset.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

8 million stories minus 7,999,995


I have not blogged in a while. My apologies.

Catching up...

Silly anecdotes from work:

Big Ra is still Big Ra, but recently the other half of the dish washing duo has been more entertaining. His name is Greg. After knowing Greg for a few weeks I asked him what his previous occupation was, since I am always curious why 53-year-old man is wash dishes.

His response: "I used to sell pussy in Philadelphia."

"That sounds about right," I thought to myself. Then Greg continued to talk about his days in the pussy-trading market in Philly. He attempted to justify his former job for a while, then he told me about his moment of clarity, which came while he was in the car while one of his employees was fellating a client.

Then he started talking about spirituality and I lost all interest.

Greg is a kind man though. Every Friday night he offers to take me out with the assurance that one of his lady friends will fellate me. I always politely decline because I like to spend my post-work Friday nights laying in bed watching "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia." But I am sure that getting your dick sucked in Far Rockaway is just as fun.

Greg also provided my favorite quote in recent memory. While talking about taking his girlfriend, who "looks 50, but is really 60," he told me he wanted to take her to the zoo, although she wanted to go to Dave and Busters.

"You know Justin, with the right girl the zoo can be a very sexual place," Greg said with his I-used-to-be-a-pimp-so-I-still-try-to-talk-like-one voice. "I like to go to the zoo and put my mack game down."

***

Best e-mail I have received in a while:

From Facebook. Subject: Jordan Hill suggested you become a fan of Jordan Hill.

Since he insisted, I electronically confirmed my fandom.

***


On DJ Drama & Pharrell "In My Mind (The prequel) Mixtape" Pharrell says he was "hurt, stunned, astounded, amazed, dazed and confused" in reference to listening to Slick Rick as a child.

That is pretty much how I feel every time I read Pearlman's blog. I enjoy the material. It's updated frequently. And yet that all upsets me because Pearlman has a job, a wife, kids and a lot of other grown-up responsibilities and he still manages to churn out a post or two a day.

And that makes me feel like shit. Especially because Pearlman wrote the kindest words anyone has ever wrote about wherespmac. In short, every time I read Pearlman's blog I get mad at myself for not writing more and then usually I'll do something else instead of write and this cycle will repeat itself with every new post on his blog.

***

The coolest woman alive:

My friend Seppy sent me this article about the coolest woman alive. It's worth a read.

***

Your token Dipset post:

Last night in between parties my friends and I stopped at the corner bodega to purchase more beer. It was 12-something and for whatever reason the store had gone from open doors to make-you-purchase-through-bullet-proof-box mode. It was myself, my friends, and some other people.

This one guy was playing Juelz Santana on his phone. After 30 seconds he began to sing along, not one to pass up a cypher I joined in. Then he yelled, "He knows the words!" and sprinted away in amazement. He ran a full block away and then returned. We exchanged pleasantries and daps.

For some reason he had to have my phone number. At this point it made sense for me to get his. It just seemed like the courteous thing to do. So now we exchanged numbers, but now I barely remember his name... Jacqwon or something along those lines.

I asked my friend where I go from here and he quipped back, "I guess you buy weed from him."

I have no real reason to call this guy (by the way many "no homo"s were uttered during our conversation), but maybe next weekend I will and I'll party with Jacqwon. Who knows, maybe I'll end up in Far Rockaway running into Greg and his lady friends.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Things I enjoy


"Things I enjoy" may or may not become a series on WPM. If it does become a series, expect each post to be about a rap lyric. However for it to become a series I would have to update this blog regularly, and we all know that probably won't happen.

This is something I enjoy:

The opening to Cam'ron's "We Make Change" off his album Killa Season.

Cam begins the track singing "People lie/ I don't know why/ and then they die/ and mothers cry/ and I can't find my alibi/ it's so so fly/ it's Dipset! Dipset!"

I enjoy that part, yes, but not nearly as much as the conversatoin between Cam and Lil' Ja that follows.

Cam'ron: What up Ja?
Lil Ja: Whattup
Cam: What's the deal?
Ja: Nuttin. Cam you can't be feedin' n*ggas
An iquisitive Cam: Why not?
Ja: 'Cause they don't appreciate shit... Guess they gonna learn when the get in the car (Cam'ron adlibs a "Killa!") start it up and boom (the "boom" echoes out until Cam starts rapping)

I enjoy this for the following reasons:

Outside of having Phillip Garrido for a father, I can't imagine weirder childhood than being raised in the Dipset family.

Lil Ja cannot be much older than six and he is featured on Cam's Killa Season discussing murder. The fact that Cam felt the need to adlib on top of the conversation and then add an echo effect a six year old talking about plotting a murder is... well it's a lot to take in.

I could over analyze this for days, but the jokes would only get progressively less funny than they already are.

After some quick Googling I learned Lil Ja is short for Ja'Quaye, who is Juelz Santana's little nephew. He's also featured in Juelz's "There it go" video. If you want to lose all hope for society and at the same time feel extremely creepy for looking at a six year old's MySpace, go to myspace.com/datniggaliljah.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A knowledgeable Haitian


Two weeks ago I was playing tour guide to my friend who was visiting New York City. It was his first time in the city and whenever I am showing somebody the city I like to stretch the truth a little bit.

When we walked to ground zero I told him that he just missed out. "If you would have came here last week, you could have seen the Twin Towers, but they just took them down for an episode of 'Entourage.' It was something about their shadow messing up a shot of Vince."

Then we sat on some steps of a building just east of the WTC site for some heavy thinking. And so my friend could call a stripper he is kinda in love with. I personally do not like strippers, although I am sure some are good people, but my friend loves strippers. Not in the silly, ironic way I love Cameron Giles, but he genuinely loves strippers. To each their own.

Then as I sat on the steps pondering how I could tie Turtle into my poor Twin Towers joke and still be respectful of the thousands who lost their lives, my train of thought was broken by a security guard.

"Hey is that a River Plate jersey?" he asked in reference to the Boca Juniors jersey I wore.

"No, it's a Boca jersey," I responded.

"(laughs) I know I was just giving you a hard time," he said, before offering an unsolicited history lesson on soccer in Buenos Aires.

"Are you from Argentina?" I asked, knowing damn well he was not from Argentina and that he was probably from Haiti.

"No, I'm from Haiti, but I'm just a big soccer fan," he said.

"Cool," I said before shaking his hand and wishing him a good day.

Then he continued to yell at people who were trying to take pictures of the WTC site over the fence that surrounds the construction zone. I'm not sure what good that does, since there hundreds of other ways to get pictures of the construction site. But I am glad to know that a cool Haitian guy who is so knowledgeable on Argentine soccer is doing his part to prevent future terrorism.

And that was my day two weeks ago. Maybe I will catch up on other silly, worthless anecdotes I have not blogged about another day.

note: the photo above is not the nice security guard, but someone who came up on a Google image search of 'Haiti'

Friday, August 28, 2009

09-10 Hoops Preview

I know college basketball does not start for a couple of months, but consider this my 2009-2010 college basketball preview. Also I hope you realized that my last post was the 2009-2010 women's college basketball preview.

I hope Arizona does well.

I hope Oregon does well.

I hope Lance Stephenson makes Brooklyn and Cincy proud and picks up at least 3 felonies by the time conference play starts.

The only other person I really care about is Louisville's Peyton Siva. I first saw Peyton play in an AAU tournament after his sophomore year of high school. He was a flashy, score-first point guard who wore the number 3. I was sold. I talked to him a couple times for meaningless interviews, but unfortunately he was too young to be a hilarious asshole yet (not everyone is blessed with the Marbury gene).

I saw him play again after his junior year and by this time he had several tats including "GOD'S GIFT" on his inner biceps. He also reps Seattle hard.

I rarely use Twitter, but because I can't fall asleep before 1 I found myself killing time on my Twitter homepage. I forgot I followed peytonsiva3, but I am glad I do because of his brilliants tweets like this:
I want to meet Obama. He like the coolest person. No homo
6:04 PM Aug 24th from TwitterFon
Another reason to root for Peyton is that he looks just like the dude from V for Vendetta.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Once again it's on

I used to claim that I started this blog to hone my writing, practice journalism and some other bullshit that I have since forgotten. Having unofficially given up on transitions, cohesive paragraphs and anything else that would moderately resemble legitimate writing, I present a post of trill stuff I did in Philadelphia.

- I have lived in New York for a couple months and I have never seen a celebrity on the streets. The first time I was in Philly within 24 hours I saw Jim Cramer. On my most recent trip, within 2 hours I ran into Danny Bonaduce. If you want to bump shoulders with A-listers and mega-celebrities, Philly is for you.

- My friend/Philly ambassador Tarny and I went to the Philadelphia Mint to see blue-collar Philadelphians do the US government minimum wage's worth of work just to make a dime. It was mildly exciting. I learned that the Philly Mint alone makes 6 billion pennies a year, which seems like a giant waste in every way imaginable.

- Every time I go to Philly I get a cheesesteak, enjoy a Rita's water ice, listen to a lot of State Property, see famous celebrities, and convert a lot of money to weird state quarters in the dope coin-converting machines Philly is famous for. Last time I was there I got some Guam jumpoffs, this time I got some American Samoas.

- I toured Tarny's dad's frozen-food warehouse, which has a dope roof that overlooks the city. I recommended Tar build a basketball court atop the roof to which Tar responded, "I would never do that because I would be too afraid my best friend would fall off trying to touch the top of the backboard. Then I would not be able to sleep at night and I'd spend the rest of my life working as a security guard at a local high school."


- The warehouse currently has a 60'x100' American flag painted on the side, which is cool, but not half as trill as the massive Iverson Reebok advertisements that once covered the wall. If I could go back to any time in history it would be living in Philly for AI's glory years.


-It goes without saying that Tar and I listened to Freeway's Flipside about 2o times.

- I rehearsed meeting Tarny's D1-hooping sister Rosie with her cardboard cut-out.


- Then I met the real deal, ate some cheesesteaks, and asked her a million questions about playing in Mac Court.

- We then bounced to the mall, found some Mike Vick tees and copped 3 purr. Didn't have to think twice. Done deal.


- The mall also had a jewelry shop selling a huge I-95 medallion. A Mike Vick tee and a I-95 pendant, this mall had everything I could ever ask for. Unfortunately these cz's were a monochromatic grey bling, unlike Joey Crack's multicolored pendant. The sales representative noticed my interest and asked if I wanted it. I told him that I needed the I-10 jumpoff. Which I did not know was a real thing until I saw K-Town wearing his.

- I'm overlooking the whole point behind wearing huge interstate inspired pendants is to make it known to anyone with 50 feet of you that you have moved cocaine along the I-95. A feat I have yet to accomplish and probably won't accomplish any time soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Linkstigating


As many of you know I am a huge Lang Whitaker fan. I have read his writing at SLAM since I was a freshman in high school and he's pretty much the reason (for better or worse) I studied journalism and wanted to be a writer.

I met with Lang two weeks ago to get some advice the writing industry and life. As an added bonus he bought me a great lobster melt from Cosi's that I will forever be grateful for. In short, Lang was a really good guy and he was quite helpful.

Lang was kind enough to run my notes from last Wednesday's Entertainers Basketball Classic in last Friday's "Links."

Below are some additional notes from last Wednesday that I did not e-mail to Lang.

************

-- After watching the first 15 minutes of the USA/Mexico game at work I ran across town to catch the second half at Nevada Smiths. Luckily I was one of the first 10 in a line at least 30 deep that got access to the bar for the second half. Sure I could have gone down the block, paid less for a beer and had a seat to watch the game, but the atmosphere would have not even been close.

-- I proudly ordered a Bud Light, blissfully ignoring the fact that the European company InBev owns Anheuser Busch. It was still a statement drink against all the Mexicans in the bar with their bottles of Corona.

-- The United States lost 2-1 and every USA-backer was forced to walk out of the bar to Mexico supporters chanting "¡Olé, Olé, Olé!"

-- Normally I'm a big Mexico fan, having grown up in the Southwest and picked up all my Spanish from Mexicans, but I left the bar furious and ready to join the Minute Men.

-- I bumped Shyne's first album on my Zune to fuel my rage, but it actually relieved my tension to be reminded that Shyne will be a free man on October 6th. I pray every day he post a "housing-wanted" ad on Craigslist and moves into my apartment.

-- I then hopped on the train uptown to catch the Entertainer's Basketball Classic semi-finals at Rucker Park.

......

Read the rest of my notes midway through this Links column.


**I'd also like to publicly hate on Gould for failing to edit my notes before I sent them to Lang. As a result there is a line that reads: "Even though it was a great guy that went down to the wire, Brandon Jennings did not look up once from his Sidekick."

It should read: "Even though it was a great game that went down to the wire, Brandon Jennings did not look up once from his Sidekick." Thank you Gould for making my man-crush on Brandon Jennings look even gayer than it already is.