Thursday, April 23, 2009
Still having entirely too much free time on my hands I decided to start attending intellectual panels, book readings and any other form of entertainment that is free and makes me feel like I am learning something.
I started yesterday evening at "The Athlete and the Media: Can they get along?" an NYU event featuring a bunch of established New York sports journalists and former Knickerbocker John Starks.
After a late start, the moderator began the event with a drawn-out introduction of each guest speaker. It was obvious they were seasoned journalists who have spent decades writing about and aggrandizing athletes who don't give a fuck about them because they quickly recognized they were talking to the only people on earth who still look up to them. They proceeded to kill the next 15 minutes talking about their personal accolades as the room full of young, aspiring sports journalists looked on. I'm still really not sure why I was there, I guess to see John Starks or because I really do have entirely too much free time on my hands. Then again maybe I'm just a hater who has read "God Save the Fan" too many times and thinks Will Leitch is cooler than he really is.
I do not know how they got John Starks to represent "The Athlete," I would have expected some 12th man from the Knicks' D-League affiliate, but apparently NYU has some pull and they got Starks. He subtly made it clear that he was "The Athlete," as he was the only one in a full suit and he even drank a different bottled water than the lesser "Media" representatives.
Finally the moderator began the discussion with a silly hypothetical situation that tested the media and athlete's ethics. The scenario involved Starks hypothetically hurting his leg at a bar and it subsequently affecting his play. And this is why I never want to be a sports journalist because the thought of revolving your career and having to care that much about another man's injured leg is just absurd to me. Which is why I quickly stopped caring about the panel's discussion. And also because I am a hater who has read "God Save the Fan" too many times.
So I decided to duck out of the panel and head to SoHo to watch a book reading I had heard about on NPR. Somehow a homeless man reading his recently published book seemed much more interesting than watching four old-school journalists and John Starks discuss how they would theoretically cover a twisted knee.
I headed to the Housing Works Bookstore, which raises money to help homeless people who have AIDS and HIV. When I walked in there was a knock-off Kal Penn in the middle of his reading, which involved him talking about being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Since I came to listen to Cadillac Man and not Fake-Kumar talk about his own birth, I left for a minute to kill time and check out some swank shop across the street.
When I returned from my time-killing excursion in a world of gaudy fashion and Japanese techno music, Cadillac Man was already at the podium wearing a pair of thick-framed glasses, a dirty, generic USA hat, a grimy green sweatshirt and some well-worn black jeans.
In case you are curious, he got his name after he was hit by six Cadillacs in six weeks while living on the streets.
There were about 40 people gathered in the tight room listening closely to Cadillac Man as he read his narratives. He read a couple chapters about his time living as a "street person," which were light-hearted enough to make the depressing stories palpable. Then after the show many people came up to ask for autographs, shake his hand and thank him.
I just sat back and listened to his post-reading discussions with his new fans. I was then confident that if I were to give up on everything and become a "street person," I would at least have something better to write about than John Starks' injured knee.
I have almost got all the subways in Manhattan down, but recently my mind was busy and I missed my stop twice.
The first time I was listening to Rick Ross' "Rich off cocaine" off his new album "Deeper than Rap." I sat there listening to a song with a hook that directly states what every other Rick Ross song dances around for 3 minutes. Then my mind began to wonder and I pondered that death might just be a dream, but actually the dream of someone else, and I would be confined to playing a background character in other people's dreams for eternity. Then I started to look around and wonder if everyone around me was just a dead person acting a certain pre-determined role in my life. Then I wondered if Rick Ross was a real person or just an actor meant to amuse me and distract from looking too closely at life. Then I realized my 77th Street stop had passed. Then I turned the Rick Ross up, got off at the next stop and zoned back out.
The second time I missed my stop I was reading "Sum: 40 Tales from the Afterlives" by David Eagleman. The book is composed of 40 very brief, but very heavy concepts for the afterlife. One of the alternatives describes the dead dream scenario I poorly summarized above. I wondered if perhaps in the afterlife I will be afforded the chance to live in a city in Florida where hoes will fuck you for your paintjob, turn an eightball into a kilo, then ship 20 Ki's up to Tennessee and eventually have a condo right on Venice Beach where I can watch my girl snort a pile while I sip tea. Because I think a Rick Ross afterlife would be a great way to spend the rest of eternity. After I awoke from my cocaine-rap, post-mortem daydream, I realized I missed my stop and was frustrated until I realized it gave me more time to listen to "Deeper than Rap."
Prophetic Facebook status of the week: Former UO Duck Bryce Taylor, whose broke from his normal updates on whichever streetwear/Clipse album is out, to write: "my nig AB and the Houston Rockets about to give the Blazers the bizness."
Reason why we do actually need sports journalists in the world: For life or death articles like this. Which evoke Manu to write Facebook statuses like this: "My apologies to Major Griffeth. Of course I had no clue what was going on. Just went to buy a laptop and they told me they had one in that one store, went there, picked it up and that was it. I'm very happy to hear that the problem was solved."
Other Manu news: I'm probably the only one who cares, but Manu put up a photo album that is just three out-of-focus pictures of a snake in his backyard.
If you are that bored: You should probably check out this guy's blog. I met him in San Martin de los Andes, Argentina. He was kinda insane. He advised me that I could save money, easily bike to this mountain in Pucon, Chile, hike it and bike back in a couple hours like he had done. When I actually got to Pucon, I learned the mountain was a good 25 km away on an uphill unpaved road and the mountain was a full-day hike for advanced climbers. After I practiced on a 40km local route in which I nearly died, I decided against trying to bike to the mountain. Needless to say, the guy is a lot harder than me and his blog has some cool pics and good stories if you can tolerate 600-word paragraphs.
Speaking of mountain climbing: Lupe Fiasco and Justin Timberlake will try Kilimanjaro. Also note there will be no more LupEND.
My favorite playoff quotes:
"We knew we were going to be a playoff team."
--Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets, Dec. 9 2008
"Lakers. (Host: That easy, again?) It’s no knock on Cleveland, I think Cleveland’s gonna get there… Cleveland to me is really not that good. If you take what the Celtics did last year…You knew, they were either gonna get to the finals, or they were gonna win it. You can’t really say the same thing about the Cavaliers. Although, they had the best record in the league this year, a lot of people like, ‘Okay, they havin’ a great year, but we don’t know if they can win the championship.’"
-- Tracy McGrady on who will win the championship this season. (If the god forbid the Blaze lose the series the Lakers would play the Rockets)
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The other day I stumbled upon the NBA Store, which was the most amazing store I had ever been in. It had every version of every NBA jersey and 9 million other NBA-related things you would never need. Seeing as how my fedi is not quite on the injured list, but has been playing hurt all season, I could not afford much, but I was able to cop the greatness you see above.
I bought it off the NBA discounted photos rack. The only other photo worth buying was of Stromile Swift in a Nets uni. Even though Swift has never done anything to warrant having any fans, I've been a fan of his since he was drafted in 2000. Mainly because his nickname is the Stro Show. But I also love him because his this season his mom passed away and Stro became too depressed to play basketball. He even told Nets coach Lawrence Frank he was considering retiring at the age of 29, which is equal parts sad and hilarious.
However each Stro Show shot was still listed at $10, because the NBA store assumes there are other Stro Show fans out there besides me, fans who can afford to drop 10 bones on a reserve's reserve who has been too depressed to play this season.
Either way I came out on top with a dope Greg Oden 8x10 officially licensed high gloss photo for 99 cents.
On a quasi related note, if you like basketball and blogs but don't read the Blazer's Edge I don't know what the fuck you are doing with your life (c) Katt Williams. BE has been in full throttle recently posting several times a day with the most hardcore Blaze love you will ever see.
Such as what you see here:
This is just a personal note, maybe not fit to be with all of the other notes and news right below, but I've got to say it anyway...Tomorrow is the playoffs and I am PUMPED! Amped. Geeked. Whatever you want to call it there's electricty running through everything today. Gavin Dawson suggested this morning that we could maybe fill an hour in studio during the series. If somebody stuck a microphone in front of my face right this minute I could probably fill the next 16 hours of programming without taking a breath. Blazers...playoffs...OHHHH yeah!Obviously this place is going to be HOPPING tomorrow. I have been thinking about the rest of the series preview all day...for the last few days really. I'm doing everything I can to spend time with my family instead of writing it right NOW! Be sure and join us for all of the fun. Things should start rolling in around midnight tonight and it'll just keep going from there.I counted up the game threads we split the final game of the season into. I think we ended the day with, what? Well over 5000 comments? Think that'll happen tomorrow?I hope you're all as excited as I am. Needless to say, if you're wearing anyting but black, red, and white TAKE IT OFF. This is the PLAYOFFS. These are the BLAZERS. This...is...IT!!!!!!!!!Enjoy the experience. I intend to milk it for every single second.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
There have been a few frustrating things about getting my NYC life in order, but I believe in the no-whining-on-blogs Jay Rochlin philosophy, so you'll never read about it here.
However I was extremely frustrated and disappointed with myself when I learned that Mos Def and Dr. Turk had a movie coming out on May 8th that I did not know about until yesterday.
It's basically like Oceans 11 - Vegas + Philly - 11 + Mos Def, Dr. Turk, Wood Harris and that one Epps who is not in House. And instead of an elaborate heist where they steal millions of dollars from a fancy casino, a misdelivered box full of cocaine ends up in their run-down apartment. So it's actually nothing like Oceans 11 at all.
But it does have Benny Boom making his feature-length directorial debut. If you're like me your thinking, "Whoa! The same Benny Boom who put together clips of Ashanti rubbing herself on a bed with footage of Shyne locked behind bars in the 'Jimmy Choo' music video?! No way it can be the same Benny Boom who also made the 'Touch it (remix)' video as well! I must have watched that video every time I scrilled during sophomore year."
Then you probably texted three of your friends trying to figure out which rapper says, "Kidnap T.D. Lewis and put Benny Boom on it" and sat there in disgust as all your friends failed you. (Revision: The line is actually "kidnap T. Lewis and Jimmy Jam on it" by Erick Sermon on Xzibit's 'Alkaholic.' This came to me just before I fell asleep. Thank you Allah.)
Well yes it is the same Benny Boom. And if Benny's first film is half as ridiculous as Hype Williams' 96-minute music video of a movie, then we are all in for a treat.
• Another challenge of life is not blowing all my money on FreeDarko shirts. However as somebody who has spent countless hours Photoshopping basketball players on to milk cartons, I feel compelled to buy this.
• Even though it is not half as hard as this shirt.
• More concerning than UA's plot to get rid of the beloved cactus is the University's plan to replace the Lute and Bobbi Olson center-court emblem with a huge picture of Russ Pennell's head.
• On the topic of Russ Pennell, my friend Tarny and I had this conversation today:
Me: I hope they Sean Miller resigns two weeks in and they bring back Rusty P ColdchainMy god why did I not think of that nickname last year
• Tucson still makes me proud though.
• I have been reluctant to get into Friday Night Lights even though every one of my friends says it's the greatest show ever. I guess I am just afraid of wasting/enjoying several hours of my life that I could valuably use to research Benny Boom music videos. But I may have to finally cave into FNL after my friend Gouldini poured his heart out in this FNL recap e-mail to my friend.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I'm a pretty big Aziz Ansari fan. By 'pretty big' I mean I read his Tumblr obsessively, his Twitter occasionally and follow his Facebook status updates somewhere between obsessively and occasionally. I go out of my way to watch his performances on other shows and I feel like I can relate to him because he is just a normal guy who blogs a lot and somehow made it big.
I'm a pretty big Will Leitch fan. By 'pretty big' I mean I read his Tumblr obsessively, his Twitter occasionally and follow his Facebook status updates somewhere between obsessively and occasionally. I go out of my way to read his writing on other web sites and I feel like I can relate to him because he is just a normal guy who blogs a lot and somehow made it big.
That being said, it was an epic collision of my favorite e-celebrities when Will Leitch penned an article for New York about Aziz's new show Parks and Recreation.
I would probably like Parks and Recreation if I never saw The Office, but I have seen the original model and The Office is far superior. Even though Aziz Ansari is more entertaining than a couple of the characters on The Office, the rest of the cast doesn't have much to offer. It has a funny concept and has received a lot of hype, but it's just like watching a watered down version of The Office. I'd be surprised if the show last more than a season.
I would have probably liked the XFL if I never saw NFL, but I have seen the original model and the NFL is far superior. Even though He Hate Me was more entertaining than a couple of the players in the NFL, the rest of the league didn't have much to offer. It had a cool concept and received a lot of hype, but it was just like watching a watered down version of NFL. No one was surprised when the league only lasted a season.
I'll be the first to admit this post did not come close to touching this one.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The above is a picture of some RC sailboats in Central Park. Really the only reason I am running the picture is because it allows me to put the silly Juelz Santana line at the top of the post, even if the two barely correlate. But really the only reason I do anything in life is so I can bring up a random Juelz line.
-- There's something special about taking a busy subway to Grand Central and then looking at a bunch of BMWs I could not afford if I multiplied my life savings by 20.
For better pictures, click here.
-- Even though I once loved F-Minus, then hated F-Minus and now feel fairly ambivalent toward it, this is a funny idea.
-- Every magazine/video game has its curse where the player gets injured/indicted shortly after his cover. But SLAM took the curse game to a whole new level, when they unleashed their "Future Shock" cover last Friday with one of Italy's most popular ballers on the cover. Then three days later a shock which measured 6.3 killed 90 people. Nice job SLAM.
-- And the award for longest, most expensive unsuccessful way to commit suicide goes to this guy.
-- And the award for best comment on the most recent WPM post goes to ATarnowski for "that wasn't a bum, it was DMX."
-- I can now add two more exciting dates to my jam-packed calendar.
April 21: The Roots Concert
May 4: Cam'rom with Funk Flex in the Crime Pays debut concert
-- What are the only albums and television shows I have been enjoying recently? I can best answer that question with NYC street ads.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
-- I just wasted entirely too much time messing with Wordle.net to create the image above, which as Wordle describes is "a toy for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text." You can also spend all day finely tweaking your word cloud. Props to Wordle for being able to handle the 23,000-word WPM blog book text. Also props to Mike McKisson's blog for guiding me to Wordle.
-- As someone who loves the NBA and loves living green, I can't knock the extremely-gimmicky NBA Green Week. Even if it does have teams who already have 24 alternate jerseys now wearing one more. I'm not sure how green the process of producing 15 extremely large jerseys that will be worn twice is, but what do I know. Denver seems like an appropriate team to go green though, since Melo and Birdman have been fans of the movement for some time. I'm sure it's also very personal for J.R. Smith who lost his friend due to burning fossil fuels.
-- The new Jadakiss album leaked this week, a monumental occasion for any Jada fan. It's no 'Kiss tha Game Goodbye', but nothing ever will be. And Jada does drop the line, "J to the muah, I'm one of the best in the world ma, that's what they say on the blogs," which fulfills my dream of Jada alluding to the blogosphere.-- My Bahia Blanca friend Marquitos who directed me to Paul McPherson also introduced me to the incredible world of Manu Ginobili's Facebook page. He updates his status all the time and it's generally pretty fucking hilarious, such as today's comment after the Spurs got beat down by the Cavs: "Ouch! Linda paliza. Hoy por hoy estan mejor que nosotros, espero que más adelante no. Noche inspirada de los Cavs y opaca para nosotros. Hay que cambiar el rumbo... Hasta más tarde."
Also to prove it's really him on Facebook he has this awkward picture with the caption: "Primera y ultima prueba (irrefutable) que la pagina es efectivamente mia. Miren la fotito, sacada con mi celu hace un rato y con el FB de fondo. Abrazos y hasta mañana. Ya es hora de dormir."
And he is now the only one of my friends with a photo album of three pages of wallpapers featuring himself.
-- Yes the new banner has Paul McPherson's name with three pictures of Stephon Marbury. No Stephon Marbury does not even play for the Knicks any more. I'm sorry for any confusion that caused anyone.
-- Congratulations to the Phoenix Suns for officially locking up homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. With a roster comprised of Nash, Shaq, Amare, Raja and Boris, few thought the Suns would even make the playoffs at the start of the season. Fortunately the defensive savant known as Terry Porter was able to keep the team focused as they played a style of ball that agreed with the whole team.
Even better was potential-GM-of-the-year candidate Steve Kerr's choice to trade Raja Bell before his poor chemistry with Steve Nash disrupted the team. Then Porter went on to bigger and better things, even if nobody knows what those bigger and better things are, and Alvin Gentry took over the squad. Fortunately that didn't break their flow, nor did Amare's decision to sit out the rest of the season because of an itchy eye. The Suns played huge in big games all season and did not disappoint when it mattered most. Where will amazing happen this postseason? You don't need to look any further than the U.S. Airways Center.
-- Actually the Suns death was for a much greater cause.
-- NYC highlights of the week:
--- A crazy bum walked in front of me with headphones in his ears screaming along to every line from DMX's "What's my name?" One of my favorite X songs of all time and to have a bum stumble by me at 9:30 in the morning literally spitting with every lyric was just beautiful.
--- While waiting on the subway platform for the 6 train, two ladies who looked more like Scottsdale soccer moms than your average subway performers, were playing some enjoyable music on their violins. After their song, everyone clapped and then two cops asked for their permits and ID. They had neither, which apparently is illegal. When one lady tried to leave, the cop warned her he would have to arrest her. He tried to put the cuffs on her, she screamed and freaked out causing a massive scene on the crowded subway platform.
She yelled, "Don't touch me! Don't touch me! I'm being accosted by this officer!" Then it took a turn for the very uncomfortable as she yelled, "I've been raped! Get off me!" right as my train arrived. Seeing how I was in no rush I could have stayed and watched the ensuing drama, but I wanted to fit in with every busy New Yorker so I hopped on and carried on with my day.
--- Just in case you were curious what my very pseudo busy, psuedo New Yorker schedule looks like, here's a peek:
April 11: Begin watching the Manny Pa