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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gelf Articles Part 2

Here’s a small collection of
Gelf Magazine articles I wrote during the most wherespmac recent hiatus. In an effort to stretch out these posts, and because I myself don’t read anything over 300 words, I’ve broke this collection into two posts. I owe my Gelf editors a huge thank you for forcing me to keep writing and allowing me to interview some awesome people.

Interview with Tommy Craggs
Deadspin.com senior editor

There was a period in my life when Deadspin was my favorite thing in life. I believe this followed my most delusional stage, when I proclaimed HBO’s Entourage to be my favorite thing in life.

Currently “Freaking out about life/my job” is my favorite thing in life* and in this bold, new era, I’m no longer that into Deadspin. I credit this to the site being a shell of its former self and my maturity level raising. While both are partially true, the Gawker network being blocked at my work is probably the biggest factor. Especially when the I consider the garbage blogs I read at work and my involvement in wildly immature e-mail chains on a daily basis.

The Gawker office was of course stupid cool. They have a cool location, cool building, cool roof deck, cool computers, cool shit on their desks and I presume most their employees are cool people. Craggs at least was cool and it fulfilled the 21-year-old version of me’s dream to be in the Deadspin office and watch Craggs post the DUAN.

I think the corresponding article came out pretty well too.

*That’s actually a lie. Planetariums are my current favorite thing in life.

Interview with Seth Wickersham
ESPN The Magazine senior writer

I wrote this article in late February and as I was rereading it I thought it was one of those interviews where I asked the subject a bunch of questions about helping my own career and completely fail to ask questions that could lead to decent article. When I wrote for the long-deceased goazcatsblog.com I once posted a Q&A with Channing Frye that solely consisted of questions on how he grew his blog.

Then I remembered that this article was more than a self-help article as most of the questions came from Wickersham’s friend and coworker, Grant Wahl, a crazy legit writer who would never use “crazy legit” to describe anything. Wahl is known for his long-form features which each involve more research and work than I have ever done in my whole life.

If you are into sports writing and the some of the behind-the-scenes elements, then read the interview. Or read it if you just want a “Where are they now?” with people who once guarded Trajan Langdon.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Gelf Articles Part 1

Here’s a small collection of Gelf Magazine articles I wrote during the most wherespmac recent hiatus. In an effort to stretch out these posts, and because I myself don’t read anything over 300 words, I’ve broke this collection into two posts. I owe my Gelf editors a huge thank you for forcing me to keep writing and allowing me to interview some awesome people.

Interview with Roger Bennett

Author of Everything You Know is Pong, and a bunch of books on Judaism, ESPN writer and guy who speaks about soccer on TV a lot

Roger and I planned on meeting at a bar in an Upper West Side restaurant for the interview. I got to the packed spot a few minutes before him and when he arrived I let me him know that it was full.

“Well, fuck it then,” he said before we paced to his back up back bar. Roger wore the same jacket that Carmelo Anthony wore the night before in his postgame interview (see photo above). This is only relevant because rarely does someone meet all my standards of cool within 20 seconds. Yes, my standards of cool consist solely of profanity and any allusion to Melo.

Aside from those important elements, Roger is a great guy. After the interview we discussed Iverson playing in Turkey and he urged me to get on the next flight over there and he said a lot of other shit to inspire/motivate me in life. We’ll see if I act on any of it.

After I wrote the article, I thanked him for the time and awkwardly linked him to the video of Melo wearing his jacket. He was very appreciative and when I saw him a week later he told me his basketball-obsessed 6-year-old son now calls his balding, Jewish father is Melo when he wears the jacket. Never before did I think my unnecessary knowledge of Melo’s wardrobe would strengthen a father-son relationship, but I’m glad I could help.

All bullshit irrelevance aside, Roger worked on books with Nick Kroll, Will Shortz, Nick Hornby and Steve Nash. He’s a brilliant dude and his newest book is great if you like ping pong, good writing or books with cool pictures.

Interview with Rafe Bartholomew
Author of Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin' in Flip-Flops and the Philippines' Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball, former Harper’s Magazine editor

I like to think Rafe is like me if I were smarter, more motivated and stuck with journalism. After college, he got a Fulbright Scholarship to study the basketball culture in the Philippines. He ended up living there for 3 years. Aside from becoming the leading American scholar on Filipino hoops, he made an appearance on the country’s biggest game show and soap opera. All me to excerpt my own article:
Bartholomew also stumbled into small-time television fame after his role on the show Bakekang: He played a racist who sleeps with the show's main character before kicking her out of his bed and calling her an "ugly Jungle Book bitch."

"When people noticed me, they were pretty excited—high-fives, hugs, smiles. I posed for a lot of cellphone pictures with people's families and children," says Bartholomew, who also appeared on the game show Wowowee. "When it was in response to Bakekang, I felt a little awkward to be holding babies and putting my arm around people's kids, since my character was such a repulsive guy."

Rafe’s dad is also the longest-tenured employee of McSorley’s which is all sorts of awesome. He's connected to Cambridge Steve through Steve's Filipino girlfriend, which is all sorts of odd. Rafe is also the first and only person I have met who grew up in Manhattan and does not suck as a human being.

He recently quit his job at Harper’s and is going back to the Philippines without a real plan. He’s a fucking hero.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

One More Inconvenience

This is another tale of inconveniences. After this I'll resume normal WPM posts or just stop blogging. One of the two. Or are they the same thing?

At work I used to risk my freedom and commit credit fraud. Except I would not think of it like that, I thought of it more as an opportunity to leave behind the fluorescent lights and retina-scarring computer monitor and get out of the office.

Perhaps it would be wise to explain the credit fraud part now. My company often buys AmEx gift cards for our clients and I would use my coworker's credit card and ID to buy these cards. This saved him time and was an excuse for me to get out of the office, even if my journey took me to a Duane Reade and essentially was work-sanctioned credit fraud.

I had done this many times before as proof that I really am getting dumber every day with my current nine to five.

However on my most recent attempt the Duane Reade manager asked me for my ID upon my attempt to purchase over $1,000 in AmEx gift cards. I handed her my coworker, Willy's driver license, which has worked before since Willy and kinda look alike and since most Duane Reade employees don't give a fuck. About anything. At all.

"This does not look like you. I'm pretty sure this is not you," she said with her heavy Jamaican accent.

I gave her the classic "Come onnnnn" that always worked for getting my college dorm mates to smoke with me instead of doing their homework. Somehow it did not translate for buying $1,000 worth of gift cards with someone else's credit card.

Before I knew it I had another manager staring me down at the register and their ghetto security guard by my side.

"This does not look good for you she said," she said.

No it did not, I thought to myself before realizing I left my wallet and cell phone at work and this was going to be a tough one to get out of.

They gave me one phone call to try to get Willy on the phone. This would have been a good moment to have my cell on me, but instead I froze up and gave them my work extension since it was the only one I had memorized.

That moment of brilliance earned me a ticket to the Duane Reade holding cell/security cubicle where I would wait until the police showed up. The whole time I was not afraid I'd actually get in trouble, but I kept thinking how motherfucking inconvenient this all was.

The judgmental asshole in me was positive the Duane Reade security guard had committed more crimes over the weekend than I had in my entire life. He snapped my photo and told me, "Don't worry, I ain't gonna cuff you." I thanked him and sat in his box patiently waiting for the cops.

I sat there for a few minutes thinking about how I would beg the cops to escort me across the street, most likely in handcuffs, to my office. Then I would enter my office in cuffs and hope Willy could restore my freedom.

Then I began to pester the security guard, Jamal, to give me a second phone call. He finally caved in and by a miracle of God I remembered Willy's work line. Jamal somehow asked Willy a string of questions without conveying the essential fact that I was in a holding cell awaiting the police to come arrest me. In the background I kept yelling at Jamal to tell Willy to come down to Duane Reade.

After the longest 10 minutes of my life I saw Willy at the end of the store. I held my wrist up and clashed them, the universal hand gesture that I was locked up or a member of Jadakiss' record label.

Willy walked over, explained what happened and that I was not really committing credit fraud, it just looked exactly like I was.

Then three plain-clothes cops came in and began the 2:00 comedy hour. They kept telling dry joke after dry joke about taking us in and putting me in jail until I could show ID. Each time I would nervously ask if they were serious. Each time they'd deadpan me and say yes, wait 10 seconds and then admit to messing with me.

On an unrelated side note, I'd like to shadow the undercover cops for an hour in my work's precinct as every day I walk more than two blocks for lunch I see at least one drug transaction. And this is with highly untrained eyes that are more concerned with the line at 2 Bros than neighborhood drug trafficking.

Finally Willy and I were released. We tried to complete our initial order for the gift cards. Then we got back the office and realized after all that the manager who almost had me arrested fucked up the transaction and did not activate half the gift cards.

I now try to shop at Walgreens whenever possible.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Two Inconveniences

The nut and bolt that holds the handlebars on my Razor scooter secure to the rest of the frame has been missing since I found it near my neighbor's trashcan three months ago.

There is a very real possibility that the scooter was not trash in the first place, but belonged to a poor kid named Damion, who in my sick fantasy uses the scooter to explore the neighborhood and furthermore as an excuse to get out of his apartment when he could no longer stand to see his single mother physically abused by her boyfriend.

I prefer to believe the scooter was actually trash because it makes me feel less guilty about potentially stealing a poor, little kid's scooter, a scooter I barely use myself.

In fact, I am almost positive it was meant to be trash because it's a pain in the ass to ride a scooter with the handlebars not secured to the frame. Still it's tough to ignore the "Damion Cruz" Sharpied on to the bottom of the scooter.

Every weekend I scooter to the local mom-and-pop hardware store on the corner hoping to get the missing piece for my scooter. It's not so much a mom-and-pop store, but more a Italian-guy-with-a-neat-mustache store, and that fancily groomed Italian hates having his shop open.

Yesterday I rode there at 11 am, thinking that provided ample time for his spaghetti and wine hangover to have passed and for his shop to be open. It was closed, but the pet shop next door told me the friendly Italian would be in his store at 1:00. I returned at 1:30, but the shop was still closed. My Razor scooter would be incomplete for another week. I found this very inconvenient.

Then a few hours later while I was out with my friend my roommate called and told me the family room ceiling was pouring what appeared to be sewage water all over our family room. This was much more inconvenient especially since I had to deal with a gang of comically incompetent characters.

Our Hasidic Jewish manager and building owners celebrate every Jewish holiday, including some holidays that I am fairly certain they make up for their own convenience. After neither of them got back to me within the first three hours of my family room's flood I was worried I would not hear from them until Hannukah concluded.

Option B was our building's maintenance man, who is a decent handy man and a mediocre thief, as he stole my roommate's guitar the first time he worked on our house. He picked up the phone but said he was busy with his mariachi band until 1 am.

The building's super picked up the phone and told me in broken English that he was in Manhattan but two hours away from Brooklyn. This would make sense if it were 1882, but the advent of bridges and subways made his argument incomprehensible.

Eventually my building's owner got back to me. Instead of telling me how he'd resolve the situation he provided me with lectures on how accidents happen and humans are imperfect and how our ceiling raining shit was not his fault. After a lengthy discussion on when Shabbot officially ends, he told me he'd take care of everything, to which I understand to mean he'll take care of it within two weeks.

Damion Cruz's karma is a bitch.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Quick Return Part 1

note: This post was written on February 24, 2010. I am not sure why I did not post it sooner.

I never meant to take this much time off from the blog. When I wrote my the "Declared Hiatus" post I already planned on writing a recap of the February 5 Bucks/Knicks game.

For a bunch of silly reasons (chiefly I was lazy, too busy, not in the mood, doing cooler things, doing lamer things) that post never happened. For the 800th time on this blog I apologize for the delay.

I'll begin with the February 5 Milwaukee Bucks/ New York Knickerbockers epic showdown of two teams who have been largely irrelevant over the past decade. Brandon Jennings shot 8-23 for 22 points as the Bucks beat the Knicks and that's all that really needs to be said. My favorite part was a Knicks fan telling me to go back to Milwaukee, a place I have spent 24 hours of my life in, after I stood up to cheer one of Brandon's rare buckets.

I went to the other Bucks second visit to the Garden with some coworkers who scored free tickets to the Monday night match-up. This time Brandon shot 1-9 and finished with 4 points, falling 97 points short of my pregame prediction that he'd break Wilt's record.

We got to the game very early and were able to watch warm-ups from the courtside seats. I sent the following pictures with the captions below to my Argentine friend Marquitos.

Tome este foto para tu. Es el orgullo de su pais.

I took this photo for myself. It's the pride of my country.

I probably could have forced a few hundred words on watching Brandon in the Garden. I've now talked to him at Rucker Park and at the Garden. He's three years younger than me, makes about 20 millions times the money I do, other contrast, another ridiculous contrast, etc...

But if I ever get too ahead of myself and start to think Brandon and I have something in common other than the fact that we both need water and oxygen to live, I saved this tweet from his now-defunct old Twitter handle @MosTWanteTEDlilb, which read:

And that reaffirms that we don't live in the same world, we never have and we never will.

Here are other things that have happened in my life since I stopped blogging.

I am still working the same job, which I like a lot (the part about liking it has changed since Feb 24), all thing considered. I can talk about sports, use excessive profanity, bike to work and show up to work looking completely unfit for office work (I still do all of this). Those are all things I really enjoy. However I still deal with the existential problems that face every 23-year-old who works in an office and wonders how the hell am I supposed to do this for the rest of my life?

I have also came to the realization that nothing in my life will ever surpass finding Paul McPherson in Monte Hermosa, Argentina. Nothing. It was my coup de grâce. And I'm not even sure what that phrase means, but it my mind it means that everything in the world came together perfectly so I could meet a beyond-washed-up basketball player that I turned into a small idol for the 40 or so people who read my blog.

Being Justin Adler, which means many things on many different days, nothing will ever beat finding Paul McPherson while on a backpacking odyssey through Argentina shortly after I accidentally graduated college that occurred just after I dropped out of college.

One day I might get married. One day I might have kids. I might do some other shit that people routinely say is the happiest or proudest moment of their lives. But I just don't see how it will ever be a more Justin Adler moment than meeting P-Mac. I guess marriage or children would be more long-term fulfilling than meeting a shitty basketball player who does not give a fuck about you, but it probably would not get my name in the Argentine newspapers, and in the end that's what I live for.

I really feel as if I have peaked 23 years into my life and I am unsure with what I should do with the rest of it.

One way I tried to fill that void that occurs between finding Paul McPherson and death was by attending a Freeway concert.

I could go on and on about why I love Freeway, but I'm not sure anyone besides Tarny cares. In short he has a cool beard, mispronounces every single word, fell off the face of the earth for seven years between his albums, he's a Sunni Muslim, he made hajj, and in my mind he released two classic albums. He's my favorite.

What else have I been doing? Well, some days I just stare into space and wish Brandon Jennings would offer his reasoning as to why he put a comma after "hitting" in his tweet highlighted above.

At work I was in charge of hiring the interns, which was silly for many reasons. I was told to hire a bunch, so I hired a bunch. One of the interns...

(and this is where I stopped writing on Feb 24, it's probably for the better as I should not be discussing the interns in this forum, but it's also for the worse as I have a million silly intern stories that I am slowly forgetting. I hope to have more post that don't take me 7 months to publish coming soon. )

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Declared Hiatus

This blog has gone on many unofficial hiatuses in the past, but I am now declaring wherespmac indefinitely suspended, but not the fun kind that involves guns, felonies and over $90 million dollars being lost.

This is just the hiatus that comes from working and going out too much and being too lazy to write about. Maybe one day I'll reach an age where I'll re-read this blog and regret not writing about what happened when I was 23-years-old, but I have never been bored enough now in life where I've wanted to re-read old Justin Adler silliness, so hopefully I won't get that bored in the future.

I promise that if I ever do anything as exciting as move out of the United States again, you'll read all about it here, but in the mean time just assume I am doing awesome things and living a life much cooler than yourself, except for you Jay Rochlin, I've always thought that your day-to-day life is much cooler than my own.

Here are a few anecdotes that you may enjoy reading and I potentially might enjoy remembering in the future.

I went to Monkey Town on Friday for a Last Chance Dance Party. Monkey Town is/was one of my favorite spots in New York. It's a nice bar/restaurant/theater that has a room with four nice couches where you can watch movies projected on all four walls. Here is a picture of it. I went there once before for a short films movie night. It was amazing. I went there on Friday for a final dance party before it close its doors for good (landlord issues).

The DJ was good. The dancing was good. My close group of friends were good. But my favorite part was watching a girl in the corner who at one point was unconscious with her friends gathered around her trying to revive her. Then seeing her awake and blowing cocaine off her friends hand two minutes after she regained consciousness. She was great.

If Monkey Town ever reopens at another location I hope that girl is still alive because she really made the party for me.

I slightly alluded to Gilbert earlier, but as a blog that was once loosely dedicated to Agent Zero, I should probably write a few words about him and his recent controversy.

I think if anything the whole gun thing makes me like him exponentially more.

After Gilbert was officially suspended I wrote this e-mail to my friend, who was unaware of Gilbert's greatness.
He went to Arizona.
His rookie year, he was not doing well in the first half so he showered at half time in his full uniform and entered the game in the second half soaking wet.
He sponsored a professional Halo team.
He won sports blogger of the year and was the first athlete to have a hugely popular blog.
He started referring to himself as the Hibachi and only talked in the third person.
He would shoot game winning three pointers and turn around, not even watching them go in.
He once said 'I am an assassin and assassins don't have a conscious."
After a game winner he told the press "My swag was phenomenal."
He ripped off jersey and threw it in the crowd after every game
He altered his house in DC so the air was thinner, like in high altitude air, which helped him train.
He let rookies sleep at his house for their first season in the league.
He turned half his mansion into a paintball arena.
He fired his agent, became his own agent and negotiated a 110 million dollar deal.
After signing the contract he almost immediately tore his ACL and has been out for the past two years.
Because of his recent gun charge, if convicted of a felony, his contract will be void and he'll lose $90 million dollars.
The whole gun thing was over a 25k gambling debt to a shitty teammate, keep in mind that 25k to Gilbert, who was set to make just over $16 million this season, is the equivalent of $77 to someone who makes $50k a year.
He acted like he did not give a fuck and he Twittered a million jokes about the incident.
Before his last game he he fake shot all his teammates in pregame warm ups, further mocking the situation.
He was indefinitely suspended today, now I am sad.
That was all just off the top of my head, except for the numbers part, which Lang Whitaker broke down. Lang also had a good, serious piece on Gil's current situation.

The main point of the story is that when I reach Gilbert's age if I haven't voided a $110 million dollar deal over a gun charge then I have failed. Gilbert is currently 28, I'm 23 and make less then one-sixth of what Gilbert made per game with the Wizards. I have some work to do.

I printed the picture of Gilbert shooting his teammates in pregame warm-ups and it now sits proudly on my desk wall at work as a reminder not to take anything too seriously. I also have a Knicks season schedule on my wall at work to remind me the same thing.

Story remitted, may one day reappear.

I went to NYC's SantaCon this year as well. There is not really much to say about it, but it was amazing. If there is ever a SantaCon in your neck of the woods, you should definitely go.

The same day as SantaCon I went to see JB Smoove (Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm) perform at Comix. I was tired from drinking all day at SantaCon and from my birthday the night before so I accidentally fell asleep in the theater. Then I woke up and I'm pretty sure JB was making fun of me.

The other day at work I spoke to about 20 kids from some sports-business organization from Indiana University. It was one of the silliest experiences of my life as I talked to 20 kids who were a year or three younger than myself about my job. They all took crazy notes about everything I said. It was truly bizarre. After the meeting they all came up and shook my hand and begged me for an internship, an internship that I was supposed to have three months ago.

They all acted quite gay. Two of them complimented my sneakers. The best part was that after the meeting my boss gave away his books to kids who could answer the following questions.

Who is the worst Knicks general manager ever? Answer: Isiah Thomas, an Indiana grad.
Who is the worst current New York Knick? Answer: Jarred Jeffries, also went to Indiana.

It was brilliant diss to the proud Indiana kids. One of the kids made a snide comment Jordan Hill after we dissed Jeffries. I immediately responded that Jordan Hill will one day be a first-ballot Hall of Famer because I was in a position of power and I could say anything I wanted and that was just about the dumbest thing I could think of.

If you like basketball, you should read Chris Ballard's new book. I wrote an article about it here. If you're a hoops junkie, it's a must-read.

For future reference the commenting on this site is now slightly moderated, just because I was getting a ton of spam comments on older posts. Please don't worry, I'll make sure to allow all witty, hateful posts from the few of you who have constantly amused me with your silly quips in the comment section.

WPM will be back one day, in the mean time I would like to recommend the following blogs:

Gould's Cardinals Blog - Basically only for die-hard fans of the Cardinals or Gould.

Leia Ting's "Not Margie Mead" - My friend Leia's blog she started while she lives in Costa Rica for a year. Well written. It's a nicely-named blog. It's pretty interesting and Leia's a good person. Check it out.

Finally, Paul McPherson. I really have no idea where you are. Your coach of two weeks in Argentina, gave me your agents name. After reviewing his shitty website (now updated) I called the number on the front page, which oddly was his cell phone number. He told me he wasn't really your agent, just a friend who helped you out. He was pretty boring as well, too boring to run the interview on this blog. He was representing an up and coming rapper named Boo from Chicago. I liked that part of the interview. He said he had not talked to you in a while and had no idea what you were up to.

Anyways P-Mac if you're out there. My contact information is to the right. I would still love to hear from you.