Archive | June, 2012

Deerhunter/Desire Lines

30 Jun

Wouldn’t mind seeing these guys live:

 

We got next

26 Jun

Things I took away from this NBA Finals experience:

  • My boys had a great season. They got better. Two years ago it was first round defeat, last year was the conference finals, this year the NBA Finals. Jimmy Johnson used to say,”If you’re not getting better, you’ve gotten worst.”

 

  • Oklahoma City have the best fans in the NBA.Going to those games have been collectively my favorite live NBA experiences. I’m almost tempted to buy season tickets next year and take the train down for games.
  • Lebron is clearly the best.  If you’re in a conversation with someone and they say otherwise walk away from them immediately, just talking with them will make you dumber.
  • KD is the best scorer in the NBA, but in order to become an all around superstar he will have to get better at rebounding and defense, cut down on the turnovers.
  • “FREE RUSSELL WESTBROOK!!!” The experiment is over. Move him over to the 2-guard where he can thrive and not have as much pressure to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. He is clearly a superstar and clearly we need him, but not as a point guard. He’s a scorer, he’s a lock down defender, he’s a great rebounder. But he is not a point guard. Get a real point guard who can pass and defend, they wouldn’t have to score, just create opportunities for the other players.
  • And while Sam Presti is at it, get a big who can come off the bench and score in the paint. If he can run well off the pick and roll, even better. One of those Ron Milsap, Karl Landry type guys would be nasty.One that thing they could have used this year was a guy they could dump it down to in the paint for an easy bucket or two. It would do wonders for the sqaud to be able to get some points inside without going to Isolation, and pick and roll plays.

 

  • Getting their  ass kicked the way they did in the final game might be the best thing to happen to them. They were clearly talented than everyone else but were too inconsistent and frankly, there were really only a couple of games this post-season where they played a complete 48 minutes. But they kept winning and that reinforced bad habits and caused people to think they were better than they were.

    The best thing that could have happened was them getting exposed against the Heat

    (It’s like when a person becomes romantically involved with someone and they embark on an intense relationship. It s an opportunity to grow from the experience and see what flaws the individual needs to work on–seeing the good the bad and especially the ugly).

 

 

 

  •  Lockout years are different than normal regular seasons so I knew that the Thunder’s best chance to make it with this particular set-up was this year (If you look up fluke in the dictionary you will find a picture of the 1999 Knicks team).If they want to win a championship some minor changes will have to be made, and I’m sure Sam Presti will make them. I don’t think they are satisfied with just making it to the Finals. I think this year was just a little taste of what’s to come.

    I’m very proud of our boys and I can’t wait to see what moves are made in the off-season to bolster that lineup and see who’s gonna step up, and who’s gonna step out.If the Thunder can fix those small holes (and even if they don’t) they should be back in the Finals, in what will probably be a rematch against the Heat. Hopefully they will use the experience to better themselves.

 

 

  • Lastly, I wanna see them make a public service announcement video much like this one. “Stop Flopping!” Fo’real! This flopping has got to stop. Dwayne Wade, Lebron James. You guys are top 5 NBA players. Why do you need the refs to bail you out?If you guys are so good you wouldn’t have to whine to the officials. Fo’real. Play basketball.  I’m just hoping the officiating isn’t as big of a story for next years playoffs.

There will need to be more team play next year for OKC to bring the title down to the Sooner state.

 

Aight. I’m out. Trying to peep these free agents SON!!!!

Things that make you go………hmmm??????

26 Jun

Is it just me or is this a tad homoerotic???

Me being a Thunder fan isn’t the only reason this video makes me uncomfortable.

Geking Out on the Internet pt. 700: “Get Loose With it.”

24 Jun

The same guy who showed me Krispy Kreme found this one.

Geeking out on the internet part 39: Art imitates reality

23 Jun

http://network.yardbarker.com/nba/article_external/5_greatest_nba_finals_moments_legoized/11037404?linksrc=foxrg_home

Dr. Naismith, Or: How I learned to stop worrying and hate Mizzou

21 Jun

My experiences in Missouri could best be described as mildly uncomfortable, to wildly absurd, to downright shitty.

Besides my first Royals game where I watched Mark Mulder (then with the A’s) pitch a 2 hitter (I had bought seats behind the plate for like 25 bucks), my trips to Kansas City have gotten progressively weirder. Whether it was being hosted by some weirdo ballet girlfriend of a traveling companion or being (almost)seduced by a tranny in a nightclub in Kansas City.

“Oh you’re transexual? Post op or Pre-op?
Pre-Op, huh? well it was nice dancing with you. You should let a guy know these things before you come inches away from being kissed by him”  (which taught me that just because there’s no Adam’s Apple, doesn’t mean that she (?) isn’t a he. I thought I felt warmth coming from her (?) crotch area, but wasn’t sure if it was just my paranoia from being drunk in a gay club. The lesson as always is to trust your instincts.)

I’ve been on Greyhound buses where we picked up some weirdo with extra chromosomes in small towns there, and Kansas City Pedo’s with underage girlfriends (who could easily be mistaken for brother and sister or kissing cousins–thought that type of behavior may be accepted out there).

I got stranded once in post-apocalyptic Joplin for nine hours because we missed our connecting bus. The operator of my bus from Kansas City was a power-tripping, crazy lady whose two unscheduled stops caused me a night of discomfort on the linoleum station floor.

I got stuck in Springfield once because I was left during during a 20 minute stop (totally my fault for trying to fit in an argument with my then girlfriend).

I had a shitty visit to ST. Louis, a place where nothing seemed to be on the level. My buddy and I paid 50 bucks to stay in a flophouse that presented itself on the internet as a hostel (we should have known with a name like the Huck Finn). It was there that I learned that no one even lives in St. Louis.

They commute from the surrounding burbs and go into town. The actual city itself is comprised of restaurants and businesses and has a pretty big racial problem.

I happened to walk up on a domestic dispute between an Italian and his lady (she was sobbing with her head against the steering wheel) and he stopped yelling at her to say ” Hey nigger what the fuck?.I laughed hysterically. My buddy from California was not impressed either.

This visit coupled with the Rangers’ loss to the Cardinals in last year’s World Series has flamed a passionate disregard for the shit hole city ( Miles Davis crazy ass might be the best thing to ever come out of there–oh yeah he was from the Illinois side–fuck em!)

Another time on a road trip to Toronto, my buddy and I had the misfortune of trying to stop at a Best Buy in Wentzville (to pick up some tunes for the road) where we encountered a fifteen minute detour because we missed the exit. We were shown a real life example of the meaning of the word, anti-climatic. Not only was the music section small, but the best selections it had to offer were in the forms of Yanni, Michael Jackson, and Yo Yo MA.

The phrase “going to Wentzville” was coined as a way to define any ridiculous endeavor that results in a bigger headache than what it was originally thought to be worth. (For example: taking a girl on a really expensive date to realize halfway through that she was annoying, boring and talked too much, but then powering through the night only to find that at the end of night she couldn’t sleep with you because she was on her period–that my friends is “taking a trip out to Wentzville).

The ”show me state” had yet to show me half the hospitality bestowed unto me in neighboring Kansas. I’ve been treated like a rock star up in Wichita. They rolled out the red carpet for me on many a visit there. The women have treated me well there, I never had to worry about a place to sleep, good coffee to drink, or good pot to smoke.

Then of course there is Lawrence. I have never been shy about my developing love for KU basketball. I can list so many epic games I’ve seen on television throughout my adult life alone. My adoration for the program really blossomed during the 2002-2003 era, when Drew gooden, Nick Collison, and Kirk Hinrich were the stars there. Keith Langford was one of my all time favorites (the lefty who could always seem to get his shot).

When I moved to Austin in ’01, I had the pleasure of seeing Drew Gooden (Don’t laugh. He was ill back in college) put up some crazy numbers against the TJ Ford led Horns.

What I took away from the game though wasn’t what happened on the court. It was what took place in the stands. There were thousands of people dressed in Jayhawk blue who had commuted from Lawrence, KS to see their team play.

Basketball was still a novelty in longhorn country and the only reason people came close to selling the arena out was Sugarland phenom TJ Ford. But even as good as he was, the place wouldn’t fill up unless it was a marquee matchup.

So to see people who genuinely cared about basketball was intriguing. And they were so nice. The fans had a lot of class and they cheered so loudly that they eventually took over the game and the arena. There was never any doubt either. They knew they were good, but they weren’t cocky, they were just good and they knew it.

I couldn’t help but sit down and root for them when the NCAA’s came around. The eventual National Champion Terrapins of Maryland beat them in the Final Four.

But they made things interesting and made me pay attention the next year when I saw Nick Collison put up a 20-20 game against the Horns down in Allen Fieldhouse. That team had Hinrich, Keith langford, Jeff graves, Michael Lee, Aaron Miles, and that team came SO close to taking it all against Carmelo Anthony and the Orange(men).

That was an awesome tourney to watch and it really made me wonder if I was really a Jayhawk fan at heart.

Maybe the Thunder should consider signing Hinrich??

In 2004 I’d take my first visit to Lawrence while on a road trip to Kansas City.

I was immediately impressed with the town, the rolling hills were unlike what I thought could be possible in Kansas. The campus was enormous, and beautiful and there was a serene calm about the town.

I liked Lawrence immediately but I was already living in a small town, and there didn’t seem to be anything to do but shop and eat.

It was sheer coincidence that I happened to be in San Antonio during the ’08 Final four.

I was in downtown San Antonio, right outside the venue when Mario Chalmers hit the game tying 3 pointer and go into overtime to beat the Memphis Tigers. I got a chance to party with the Jayhawk faithful on that championship night. Even shared a wink and nod with the great Larry Brown (pound for pound as Sheed called him) at a restaurant. I even ran into former Jayhawk 3 point specialist Michael Lee down by the Riverwalk.  There was something different about these fans and they left a lasting impression on me.

When the NCAA’s came to Tulsa, I took the opportunity to treat myself and get a taste of the excitement For 75 dollars I got great seats behind the basket (THE BOK is a smaller venue with no real bad seat in the house.) and got to watch two very different games.TNT was covering  the games and Craig Sager could be seen on the sidelines. When  I recognized the hairdo’s of Stever Kerr and Marv Albert I knew it was for real.

Texas played Arizona in the first game and KU played Illinois.  There were so many things to take away from the game. Arizona’s basketball band was really fun to see. They had a great selection of tunes to go through and you could tell they were enjoying themselves. They all wore matching Hawaiian shirts and played uptempo and contemporary songs (I’m pretty sure they played a range of JethroTull, Pearl Jam, and even some White Stripes).

While UT’s band played the same stale tunes they were playing when I was working security for them in 2003. It was actually pretty sad.

Only a handful of people had made the trip from Austin and it was clear that the U of A fans far outnumbered the Longhorn fans. It seemed like the only people there were family of the players and coaches, and people from the athletic department.

UT got hosed on a bad inbounds violation call and ended up losing in the final seconds. The dry ass Longhorn band started playing the “Eyes of Texas” for the few fans who’d commuted to lend their support and before the song was even over, the Jayhawks players ran onto the court–amidst a sea of cheers that drowned out the pitiful UT faithful.

There was a Jayhawk invasion much like in San Antonio. They took over and it felt like a home game for the KU boys (may as well been Tulsa is only four hours from Lawrence).

KU trounced them but the Illini at least won the battle of the cheer squad. They were good. The cheerleaders had great routines and they were in synch with the Fighting Illini musicians, pulling off some pretty impressive stunts and acrobatics. They managed to pull of some gymnastic formations I’d never seen before and I realized that this was why I sometimes enjoyed being at NCAA events more than NBA.

Only the tip of the iceberg. they pulled out all the stops for the tournament

It wasn’t nearly as bombastic or artificially loud. There was no crazy music going on during the game, and no silly PR promotions. It was just about the school traditions and spirits. The pageantry was on full display that night. Fans didn’t have to be urged on to cheer. They were already ravenous without prompting. The KU game against Illinois convinced me that I had to see a game in Lawrence.

Later that winter I road tripped up there, scalped myself a ticket and completed my trip to the basketball mecca of Allen Fieldhouse.

A basketball shrine. This was where it all began–where basketball was invented. Photos of KU greats like Wilt the stilt, Danny Manning, Mr. Iowa Nick Collison, Jacque Vaughn, and Paul Pierce was a bit unnerving. I felt like I was at a museum.

And of course everyone was just as nice as I remembered. Fans were such an intricate part of the process. It was a like being at a big high school game, everyone sat in the bleachers. Fans lined up along a roped off area that led to the tunnel of the players’ dressing room.There were no luxury boxed seats, no ridiculously loud music to whip the crowd into a frenzy. I couldn’t believe I was here. The only time I could recall having such a religious experience was the first time I went to a Cubs game in Wrigley. Though no tears time around, just a really big smile that lasted throughout the game and most of the night.

If you are a fan of basketball you have to go to at least one game at the Phogg. It’s truly a unique experience.

The best part of course was when the clock was running out in the second half and the chants of ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK began.

And this was just a non-conference game against Howard University. This wasn’t the famous Border Wars finale with Mizzou.

This was a blowout win against an inferior opponent. No one left early. Everyone was loud. They cheered everyone on the team from the star forward Thomas Robinson to the equipment manager. There was something to these fans that evoked admiration and respect. They were loyal, and knowledgeable and they respected the game. I was on board.

It wasn’t until the final conference game with Missouri that I was able to get some perspective on the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri. It was much bigger than basketball. This was legitimate bad blood that went as far back as the Civil War. The more research I did the more it started to make sense. 

I felt stupid for not realizing it earlier. Of course I was having fucked up experiences in Missouri,it was a slave state (as if I’d never read any Mark Twain duuuuuuhhhhhhh). It was upon my last visit that some locals gave me the lowdown on Lawrence and how it was established and why the radical roots ran so deep. It certainly made anyone rooting for Missouri suspect in my mind.

I certainly know on which side of the fence I fall. Any enemy to Missouri is a friend of mine. Jayhawkers huh? Well maybe this was the town for me then.

To be continued.

March Madness Revisited pt. 3 : Welcome to Austin, don’t forget to leave.

16 Jun

It’s official! The secret is out!

Honestly the secret has been out for decades.

The secret had been out for years by the time me and my crew moved down to Austin in ’01 . Even then old timers and locals talked about how different Austin had become since the 40 Acre days (This was before the ominous looking Frost building was erected. That was when I knew it was for real. That the the development of downtown and west campus was only beginning. So I high tailed it to California because Austin was surely on its way to becoming Houston).

I blamed Austinite Kevin Dunn and MTV. His appearance on Real World New York spelled the end of the best kept secret in the United States. He was clearly a cool dude ( and not just on television–we ran into each other a lot during UT football games), and his praises of is lovely hometown reached the masses.

Soon everyone wanted to know about the “best place in the world.”

I had a neighbor back in ’01 who said he’d met a chick in Amsterdam that was so fucking cool and was from Austin.  This encounter with her caused him to move to Austin out of curiosity. He ended up staying for over ten years (through a strange coincidence I ended up working at a Greenpeace type organization with his best friend in San Francisco– but that’s a story for a different time–you know like–never).

There has been a large influx of Californians since I’d moved out of state back in 2006. Looking around and seeing all the California license plates made me finally understand what people in Colorado and Oregon were dealing with. The damned vermin had finally ruined their lovely state and were now coming for our respective territories.

This epidemic has spawned such T-shirts as “Welcome to Austin, don’t forget to leave.” and “Welcome to Austin, please don’t move here.”

And why wouldn’t you move there if you lived out west? Land and housing is 4 times as cheap as it is on the coast. You can live the lifestyle and not pay the booty tax.

Then again I was suddenly one of those interlopers. Having grown up in Dallas I moved down to Austin as soon as I could. For weirdo Texans like myself, Austin provided a haven for us.

Too gay for east Texas, too queer for the panhandle? Well come down to the hill country.Don’t let yourself get caught up in the rat race of bullshit, big city life. Move to Austin immediately. Cease, desist and CHILL.

It was fun, it was chill, and it was definitely weird. It was like being in a Simpsons episode. I dug it. But I wasn’t the only one who was cashing in. People were moving down in droves, saturating the job market and re-living the Linklater movie, Slacker.

And then the Yuppies came. Condos sprouted up from the ground like concrete and glass herpes sores. The capital and the UT tower were mere ornament pieces in the downtown skyline.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me when I encountered a large magnitude of people for the music and film festival. Things had reached Mardi Gras proportions. Every city bus on the “drag”  heading downtown was a guaranteed 45 minute ride, when normally it took no more than fifteen.

Every bus was a party bus. Cabs sat in long lines of traffic. I soon regretted not renting a bicycle or buying a skateboard to bring down. I either walked everywhere or I waited on the bus.

By the end of the week my feet were killing me. Because of all the craziness and the way the festival had spread out, I knew I’d have to plan accordingly.

I had made a list of everyone I wanted to see. But the free shows overlapped and some of the others were way too expensive.

I did have 3 major highlights from the time I was down there:

#1 Seeing the film debut of the Bad Brains documentary,

I’d been a fan of theirs since I discovered them in college.

That was the first time I’d heard about an all black punk band from the 80’s who were also considered to be the best of all time. I’d read about their influence on some of my favorite bands like Rage Against the Machine, and the Beastie Boys.

One time I was a club in San Francisco and I saw a couple of dreaded cats in Adidas jump suits. I laughed to myself and made a joke like “Aww shit Bad Brains in the house.”

What I didn’t know was that it really was them. As I’d find out when I ran across a flier the very next day. They had played a gig that night and were playing again the next evening. I was debating whether or not I should go when someone told me not to bother. It wasn’t going to be what I expected.

The film footage in the documentary would only confirm what that person told me. The tour ended up being shitty because of some problems between HR( the lead singer) and the rest of the band and lots of that tour was documented at the screening.

The film American Hardcore touched a small bit on The Bad Brains influence in the early 80’s. I was still slightly dissatisfied with the amount of coverage on the band. Upon hearing about this new documentary being screened at South By Southwest, I knew that no matter what was going on, that I had to see it.

I met up with my friend from Colorado, L______ and we stood in line at the convention center for free tickets. I was surprised to walk in and see that nearly no one was there and that we had our pick of seats. We went towards the back row and sure enough there was HR sitting next to some fine little blonde shiksa about half his age.

During the movie I kept looking back at him to gauge his reaction to certain scenes. I imagined it must’ve been strange to see all the footage of himself as a young man, and hear people sharing all these weird facets of his life for everyone on the big screen.

The movie was highly creative, and in depth and had great interviews (Adam Yauch and Mike D were in a couple scenes as well). I walked out of the theater feeling like my trip had been made.

It was only about to get better. I went to take a piss in the urinal and it wasn’t 3o seconds after I’d whipped my dick out, that HR came in to take a piss in the urinal next to mine. “Fucking A” I thought. Taking a piss next to HR.

I bet his dick had rubbed against at least 6 times as much pussy as mine had seen. To punctuate this thought, HR ripped the loudest sloppiest fart I’d ever heard from a celebrity.

“Pardon me” he said. Then he shook himself and washed his hands and walked out the bathroom door.

I washed my hands and chuckled to myself.

#2 occured in a cramped club on Red River street. My stuffed backpack didn’t help things at all. (It just wouldn’t be a Japanther show if it weren’t in a cramped venue).

I could barely move and I was becoming irritated, agitated and claustrophobic. But once the punk duo took the stage, I hid my pack underneath a stool at the bar and went to it.

They were so punk that it was refreshing. Two dudes, a bass player and a drummer with weird telephone mics, and over sized speakers. And they were terribly loud!

Cats were moshing and fucking getting crazy as Japanther played tunes off their new album Beets, Lime, and Rice. It had the spirit of an old school punk show and they really threw down. I felt so lucky to a part of it all. I didn’t over pay to see them. I was right next to the stage the whole night, and afterwards had a great conversation about basketball with the drummer Ian (A nice bloke but I couldn’t help but remember the bike shop gig in Brooklyn when I had walked in on him and his buddies smoking weed and they all in unison gave me “piss the fuck off” looks).

Right there, so close to the band, getting wild and intimate, and trying to look up this chick’s skirt, because I suspected that she wasn’t wearing underwear. It was a loud and raunchy night. Even the dressed up girls were getting into the pit and throwing people around. It was pretty rad and possibly the best musical moment of the month.

#3 was a documentary on Hip Hop and the L.A. riots.

This was a sneak peek of a VH-1 film that was just shown in the month of May. It was real good. Hilarious interviews by NWA members and other Los Angeles artists who were around that time.

I’d forgotten so much about that time period. I was only a kid when it happened but I remember the helpless, sad, and angry feeling I had that blacks couldn’t catch any breaks in this country.

This was the point where Public Enemy and Ice Cube were really speaking my kind of language and I’d go to middle school just hoping that a white boy would say something foul to me.

The movie was real good though. I ate some over priced chicken tenders while it was being shown.  This black lady and I seemed to be the only people  laughing at some of the dark humor and ugly situations documented throughout the film (The white liberals in the audience were realizing that they weren’t quite as liberal as they believed themselves to be).

I had a great time at the festival. It was a pain in the ass getting around but it was nice seeing some old friends. Running around town got a little tiresome and I was constantly debating just how badly I wanted to move back. Any thought of me living in New York City was tempered with the realization that even Austin was almost too busy for me.

Things had certainly changed and not necessarily for the worst. The city felt a bit more swinging that when I’d last lived there. Californians brought a douchebaggery with them, but they also had brought lots of cool and innovative ideas along too.

The comedy/ open mic scene was more prevalent since my last gig in Austin. Tons more hotties and even a film studio as well. It was becoming little Hollywood.

I couldn’t make a rash decision based on this visit though. I decided it would be best to come back during a non- event week and get a true gauge of things. The summer before I was convinced that I was moving back, but now I wasn’t so sure. I’d already done this, how much better could it get?

It seemed fitting to be sharing a late night cab with a plump and proper, british gal, whom I met at the all night eatery, Kerby Lane. What better way to salvage my evening and end my trip by making out with her on my way to the bus station?

I was heading to what I thought would be a pit stop in Dallas before catching a Spurs-Thunder game and effectively ending the first spring break that I’d had in six years.

But things didn’t quite work out for me. The plump girl and I didn’t make out.  She was on some bullshit about staying in town an extra day and taking her on a proper date (Hilarious). I took her number down and threw it away as soon as I got to the bus station.

I boarded the bus thinking that maybe it’d have been a good idea to have booked my ticket for a straight shot to OKC. But the thought was quietly dismissed as we headed north on I-35, back into the weirdness i had escaped days earlier.

Sure enough Dallas would only bring about bad news. I’d find that my bus to Oklahoma City would be sold out–with the next bus getting me into town well after the Spurs game.

I’d miss the game and my ticket would be wasted (in fact it wouldn’t even be a game. The Thunder would get thoroughly dominated at home–causing many people like me to question the legitimacy of OKC’s chances to contend).

But this would only pale in comparison to the news I was about to receive that night from my little brother. His return home to Texas would be short lived as he had gotten word that his services would be needed in Afghanistan. This news sent me into a state of shock that would last for months.

My equilibrium suffered a great jolt and the ensuing shift in perspective would prove to be tremendously profound.  Things were taking on a whole new meaning. There was no way I was going to be able to look at things in quite the same way . The fun and sun down in Austin didn’t seem so fun anymore. What the fuck was I doing with my life?