I haven't mentioned softball in a while, so I figure it's about time I dished the latest gossip regarding the Novice division of the Austin Parks league. Here's a team-by-team breakdown, with names removed (except for ours) to protect the guilty.
Team Surly. I feel I can best explain Team Surly through a question. If you were really good at something, would you choose to dominate and destroy the worst competition possible, creating a lot of opportunities for taunting, trash talk, and general ill will, or would you try challenge yourself with a more evenly matched foe? Team Surly embraces the crap out of that first option, and thus, they kick the ever-loving caca out of every team in our league.
If Team Surly were a guy, he'd work the cash register down at the oil change place. During his lunch break, he spends his time writing creative insults on a napkin to scream at the umpire that night. He has a pair of specialized software cleats that he named something stupid, like 'blast boots'. He has at least one Larry the Cable Guy t-shirt, and a Keystone Light decal on his car.
Team Ringer. Last week, we played Team Ringer and they didn't have enough people to field a team. Rather than forfeit and then just play us anyway for fun, they recruited a group of Team Surly's world-class buttholes and proceeded to beat the holy hell out of us. I refuse to discuss Team Ringer any more than that.
Team Almost Decent. These guys beat the crap out of us also, but they were pretty good sports about it. I think they just barely got beat by Team Surly last week, and I didn't see a single member take out an uzi and spray the field, as a lesser man may've done.
If Team Almost Decent were a guy, he'd work in the Accounts Payable department. Maybe he played baseball for a division III school, so he's no slouch although he doesn't bring it up constantly. Occasionally, he'll bring cupcakes to work. He loves Seinfeld, the soundtrack to Miami Vice, and little cans of fruit cocktail. Rock on, Team Almost Decent.
Team Equally Horrendous. This is the one team we managed to beat, and that's only because we recruited a member of Team Surly (had I known she was from Surly, I would've resigned as ass't manager). Team Equally Horrendous has the right idea: they don't give a crap and they spend most of their time mocking their own players, not the other team. Unexpectedly, a large number of this team wears sleeveless shirts to their games, allowing them to show off the guns, I presume.
If Team Equally Horrendous were a guy, he'd be an intern. Every time he'd leave the office, he'd put on a visor and turn it backwards. He strongly prefers late Weezer to early Weezer. He's memorized Old School and the Wedding Crashers, comes in to work hung-over, and comes up with good insults for people by joining 'ass' with a strange second word (eg, ass stapler). Kinda lame, but a decent enough guy to hang out with.
Gas House Gang. This is us. We feature a few guys who can really play and then a bunch of goobers, with me leading the team in gooberosity. We lose almost always, but we lose with panache, with equal parts humor, disappointment, rage, and profanity.
How would I sum our team up? Well, we'd work in the back of your office. You're not sure what we does, but we insult you affectionately whenever you see us so everything's cool. Occasionally, you catch us in the break room, watching the Price Is Right. We were once asked to leave the office in what's come to be known as the 'Robutussin Incident'. We're always eating KFC and wearing a sweat suit, and thus both ridiculed and feared around the office.
Bad news, Vegas: I'm coming back. If you want to save any money at all, you should turn all of those casinos into giant salt water taffy/corn dog stands. Actually, you'd still lose money that way because I'd eat you out of business. What if you devoted all that space to Philly cheesesteaks or snow globes? I don't like either of those, so maybe you'd stand a chance then. I don't know, I'm just throwing ideas around here.
We're going to Vegas for my sister's 21st birthday. I've never done Vegas with the fam before. I don't imagine they'll cramp my style much, but if I hear one single complaint about my sleeping under the blackjack table and calling the dealer Mama, I'm telling the pit boss. That's one potential downside. Another, much more likely downside would be me losing all my money immediately, then having to fetch plates of crab legs or Siegfried and Roy keychains for my family members in exchange for spare $5's. Or perhaps me selling my sister to a wealthy, but eccentric Asian industrialist to settle a debt I incurred at a Rodney Dangerfield slot machine. Whatever.
All I know is, Vegas is Vegas. The family that gambles together, rambles together. (Let's assume that made sense.) And the family that sees Fat Elvis together, well, I don't even want to know what happens to them.
I devote a lot of wordage here to Blueball, a sport I helped to create with nothing more than a volleyball, a few friends, and a thirst for pain. However, I don't know how well I manage to capture the intensity of the game. I have this feeling that, all around the Internet, people are squinting at their monitors and saying, "But what does Blueball look like? What does it feel like? Most importantly, what does it smell like?" Well, take a looksie at this video. That's the official highlight reel of the world championship game, played earlier this month.
Five years from now, when our uniforms are covered in endorsements and I'm thrown out of the league for injecting bison hormones, we can all look back at this video and say, "Ahh, Blueball was pure once." If you're looking for me on that video, search for the guy in a white shirt and green shorts who has a tendency to drop the ball and burst into tears.
Unrelated note: I accidentally text messaged a few hundred people on Friday night while trying to send an update to Dodgeball. The responses varied from "go screw yourself, powell" to "who dis?" to "LOL PLAYA 4 EVA". Sorry about that, phone pals! (And if anyone can tell me how to actually send an email from my phone, please let me know.)
Good news and great news, guys. The good: it's supposed to get down to 35F tonight and our heater is broken. The great: it doesn't really matter because I'll be outside anyway! (I've got a softball game at 9:30PM.) I try not to dwell on either one of these, because it could always get worse. How could it? Let's take a look.
I pull into the driveway of my house at 11 PM. My fingertips and feet are numb from the cold; I fantasize about breaking into KFC and falling asleep in their gravy vat. As I put the key into the lock of my front door, I notice a series of notes on the door. The first one says, "There's someone in your house."
I holler, "There's someone in the house?! Laura, go get a shovel and dig around in the backyard for my gun hole!"
She runs around to the back while I peel the note off the door. There's another note beneath it. It reads, "It's not actually a person in your house, but a rabid puma."
Holy crap, a rabid puma! Whether she finds my gun hole or not, I'm not going in there.
I peel this note off the door and see yet another one under it. "The puma is invincible and can walk through walls."
I stifle a scream, then run and hide under my car. Fifteen minutes later, desperate to pee in a warm environment, I go back towards the door. I see one more note. "That rabid, invincible, wall-walking-through puma? He's emptying your bank account and drinking your good scotch."
Son of a biscuit! Certain death isn't enough, the puma must also steal my money and drink my good booze. I'm mad now, puma-fighting mad.
I grab for the doorknob, only to find it covered with a piece of paper. The paper reads, "The puma just ordered a bunch of Creed ring tones on your credit card. He forwarded the receipt to all of your friends, coworkers, and former high school class mates. He attached to it a picture he created of you in a Creed t-shirt, holding a candle and weeping."
Dejection washes over me. I slump to the ground. Not even that goes right, as my butt hits a wadded-up ball of notebook paper. It's another note. "The puma isn't going to kill you." For a minute, I'm happy; I can reason with this puma. Then I read a little further. "He only wants to make you clog for him, for all of eternity."
And that, friends, proves my point.
Wooo, make room for the berfday boy! I have better things to do than spend the evening of my birthday here, trying to impress a bunch of 13 year olds from Singapore looking to download free ringtones. In the event you wish to send me birthday spankies, you may point your Virtual Spankometer to email@example.com. That is all.
Wooooooooo, tomorrow is my birthday! When I was but a sprout, I dreamed that one day, I'd live in a duplex and write software for the oil and gas industry. Who could've guessed I'd have it all by 25?
I'm never any good at identifying what I want each year for my birthday. I always say, "I don't know, pants or guns or cupcakes or something." This year, I decided to be as specific as possible. Whenever someone asked me that question, I'd pull them close to me, bring my mouth to their ear, and whisper, "All I want is to see my enemies suffer." And then I'd hand them my enemies list, complete with name, address, and the reason for my grievance with that person.
A short excerpt
Name: the entire cast and crew of Chipmunks on Ice, circa 1987
Address: Not sure, but would start looking in cities with large ice rinks
Grievance: While in costume, collectively called me a nancy boy when I asked for an autograph. This scared me so much that I went my pants, which brought another round of jeers.
Like the mighty oak, another ring of wood goes around my trunk tomorrow. Car insurance goes down, the gray hairs continue to go up, and any cookie cakes that cross my path get destroyed.
It was always my dream that if I started up a website and posted continuously for 3 years, something cool would come out of it. When all I got was a snack cake from Jason Looney, I almost gave up. Luckily (or unluckily), I didn't. I persisted. Like Sylvester Stallone training to fight Dolph Lundgren, I continued to chop wood and run uphill in the Russian countryside. Then, suddenly, it happened: someone finally recognized the incredible, life-changing experience that is cp.com, and decided to weasel me and Dean into a fancy-pants SXSW party in reward. Now that I've had a few days to recover, I will say that I love the weaseling lifestyle.
When the SXSW schedule came out, one party captured my attention. It had a really impressive line-up (Of Montreal, Nada Surf, What Made Milwaukee Famous), the refreshments were free, and it was at a good time of day (Friday PM). Unfortunately, it was an invite-only party. Double unfortunately, it was for Jane Magazine. There were a lot of things not going in my favor there. First, I had no idea what Jane Magazine is about, except that it's for the ladies. Second, I'm not a lady. Third, not only am I not a lady, but I'm not cool, and you usually have to be a cool, bling-bling, cash money millionaire to get into these invite only things. I had but one thing in my favor: a little thing known as Goulash.
One cool thing about the site is striking up correspondences with people who email me. One of these folks is named Jeff and I knew that Jeff has something to do with publishing and lives in New York with all the other asspod publisher people. I knew I didn't have many chances here, so I set to work on Jeff. After some impressive email whimpering, Jeff told me I was on the list. I didn't expect my pleas to work, and I started to worry a little bit. Maybe in trying to get me on the list, he accidentally signed me up to clean the Jane bathrooms on nights and weekends? Or maybe I read the party description wrong and it was just a group of people giving each other wedgies and pelting themselves with garbage? I worried.
Darby and I went anyway, and boy, I am glad we did. We were actually on the guest list (score one for Jeff), and once inside, we really sucker-punched the crap out of that party. One minute, the place is full of cool people, looking pretty and discussing international affairs with a bunch of indie rockers. The next, Dean and I are camped out at the keg, yelling out puns about silverware. Continue for six hours, periodically interrupting ourselves to meet the bands, freak out the lady working the keg, and terrify Carl Newman from the New Pornographers. I cannot imagine that at any point, some Jane honcho saw us and said, "Whoever those guys are, they're coming back next year!" They probably didn't say that, but I did. Powell 1, SXSW 0.
MARCH MADNESSSSSSSSSS! Yackalackalackalacka (crazed basketball fan noises)!! If March were any madder right now, April would have a shiv in its backside!
I do love the NCAA Tournament, mostly because on the first two days, there's a very real chance that a team like Duke gets beaten by a team like Professor Hambone's School of Crockpot Repair. (Wouldn't surprise me, those Crockpotters can rebound.) Also, it's the one time of year when, as an office employee, you're legally entitled to gamble and talk smack to your coworkers nonstop. The following scene gets played out a lot.
Guy 1: Hey, I noticed on this spreadsheet, the total doesn't equal the sum of the subtotals.
Guy 2: Oops, my mistake.
Guy 1: So you're terrible at more than just picking basketball games? Here's my impression of you, (picks up pen) "SPREADSHEET SPREADSHEET *fart noise* SOUTH ALABAMA OVER FLORIDA *fart noise*!" Tell me, how do you find such slim Pampers? I can hardly tell you're a pants pooper, you pants pooping, no picking, spreadsheet ruining, piece of crap!
Yeah, it's hard to beat. I'd stay home and watch the games, if I didn't enjoy humiliating my coworkers so much.
(PS: I expect some serious props for the pun in the comments of yesterday's post.)
I come up with a lot of bad puns, but sometimes it's hard to find a place to use them. This frustrates me. If I can't unleash a pun on the world, it turns its potent energies on me and begins to eat away at my brain like a zombie weasel. Luckily, I have a website for this kind of crap. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you two puns I want to use but will never be able to do so.
Example 1: You're at a restaurant. You order a sandwich with homefries (anything that comes with potatoes). When the wait-er/ress/robot sets your plate down, you notice the potatoes are mangled. Quickly, you rise to your feet and bellow, "Talk about mu-taters!" That's right, a pun about mutated spuds. I actually think this one is pretty funny, but I'm never in a situation where I get mangled potatoes. If there's a place in Texas where they do this reliably, I'll go just to get this line out of my system.
Example 2 (and this one is far more surreal): You're in Osama Bin Laden's camp. You're putting on a talent show for him or something. Predictably, you stop the show with your one-man, modern jazz rendition of I Wanna Sex U Up by Color Me Badd. At the end, as everyone is clapping and you make your way back to your seat, you stop by Osama's seat and tell him, "Glad to see you liked it, Osama Bin Applaudin'." I know the odds are against me using this one. If I ever meet Osama Bin Laudin, it's probably because he's attempting to kill me and I can't imagine a talent show will involve in his scheme. Still, if there are any secret agents in the US Military trying to infiltrate his camp, I urge you to use this line. It's probably a great first step to becoming a part of his inner circle, which will help you stop him, which will make the world safer. Yes, this pun could literally change the world. You heard it here.
Closing note: I do get to use some puns. Last week, I was talking to someone about how I had to miss our softball game for a scotch tasting. "That's too bad," the other person said. "Yeah, but I'll be there in spirit." Scotch is a spirit, hey-ooooo! That made my week.
SXSW is this week. As Austin's resident handsome, yet irascible bon vivant, will I be attending? That's a negatory, good buddy. I avoid the hoopla for a few reasons. First, it's expensive. If you really got into it, you can definitely get your money's worth. I can't see myself doing that, though. Maybe I'd hit up the first day super hard, only to wear myself out and spend the rest of the week transcribing episodes of Mama's Family. Second, it gets a little crowded. If I want to go see a band, I don't want to do it on a night on which every music fanatic in the country is in town; I might accidentally say I don't like Captain Beefheart and get beaten to death with an original vinyl pressing of Trout Mask Replica.
In conclusion, I won't be there; that's not a big deal since I've never paid for a wristband in the past. I may hit up some of the free events, but I'm going to be devoting most of my time this week to some bachelor living. Laura is out of town for the week so I am going to revert to my previous state and slob it up for a while. Knock on my door at 10 PM tonight and I'll answer it in my underwear, holding a box of pizza in my right hand and a cap gun in the other. A pot belly pig may run out while the door is open. Ask me where it came from, and I'll just shrug and throw a cold bowl of macaroni at you.
Now that I think about it, this may be better than SXSW. SXSW costs money, while Bachelor Week will only affect my dignity and my standard of living. SXSW will be taking place like 12 miles from my house, while Bachelor Week will surround me with its sights, sounds, and smells (mostly smells) everywhere I go.
I came in to work today with a black eye, a fat lip, and claw marks on my left arm. Did I get into a fight? Was I in a car wreck? Did I attempt to stop a grizzly bear from mauling someone's grandmother? No, no, and no; I was in a blueball game that went into overtime. It was the first sanctioned blueball game in world history to go a full five quints and let me tell you, a triathlon pales in comparison to that. At least with a triathlon, you train beforehand. For blueball, you read the rules and think, "There's no way something this goofy can be that strenuous." And that, my friends, is where blue ball gets you.
We played for about two hours. That's 120 minutes of running, throwing, kicking, screaming, and accidental clobbering. (Predictably, I was involved in a disproportionate amount of the accidental clobberings.) That's a long time to play anything. Add to that the fact I was playing guys I've known for several years; as the game got more and more heated, I began to remember/hallucinate things about the opposing team like, "I bought that dude some McNuggets one time and he never paid me back!" Grudges surfaced, and the longer the game went, the more intense it became. By the time we hit the end of regulation, we had no energy but a ton of rage. It was absurd out there. We were a plane ride and a few cans of Red Bull away from taking this thing to the Middle East and making some serious strides in the War on Terror.
In the end, we won. Thank God we won. It's one thing to play a made-up game all afternoon, getting really beat-up, and win; it's sort of ridiculous, but it's funny. It's completely different to do all of that and lose at the end. That's something that could drive me to sell all my possessions and enroll in clown college. Afterwards, like most top-flight competitors, we drank a lot and boiled crawfish. All hail BlueBall: king of sports, sport of kings.
Wooooah dude, the site's been down all night! That's what happens when you opt for the only webhost that accepts payment in the form of me doing a hula dance on a web cam. Anyway, since I've been dealing with that, I have nothing here. If my topics for this post were panties, I'd be arrested for indecent exposure. Well, probably not since I'm in my den. But if topics for this post were panties and my den was a Schlotzky's or something, then I'd be arrested for indecent exposure.
Anyway, since I got nothing, if there's anything you want me to talk about or questions you want answered, just pose them in the comments and I'll respond. I know, you're thrilled. It's called an interactive thing, lame-o!
For those of you who are new to the Goulash phenomenon (and I use that word lightly), I formerly held some large social events at my apartment every time I finished a set of 100 posts. I called these Centennial parties, and they were awesome. Not awesome in the sense that you realize halfway into the thing that you've having a really good time, but awesome in the sense that you wake up nude the next morning in the middle of a forest, next to a severed moose head, only to realize that you're both alive and not incarcerated. Anywho, I haven't had one in almost a year. I stopped doing this because I moved in with a girl, and she didn't want a bunch of drunk people peeing on and then stealing her stuff. I don't understand her concerns, but I respect them.
Since I stopped having these, I find myself talking to the police and hiding from the fire department a lot less, yet I cannot deny that part of my soul is dead. There's some part of my life that just needs to be peed on and then stolen by a bunch of drunk people, I suppose. Couple this realization with the fact that I hit post numero 600 last night. Am I going to cry about it this weekend, sad that I can't have my little party? Heck no, I'm not, because the spirit of Centennial lives on!
Enter DFJ. I know that a few months back, he devised a sensitive, highly complex algorithm that modelled my posting habits. He plugged it into his supercomputer and let it chug for weeks. He could've been trying to predict earthquakes or corner the pork-bellies market, but he had bigger fish to fry. Eventually, he came up with the weekend that he knew would be the closest to my 600th post. Then, still being super sneaky, he decided to organize a big party in his front yard on that day. He didn't call it a Centennial and the list of activities will be entirely un-Centennial-like, but I know what he's doing. To the entire Goulash nation, he's saying, "I understand what happened to the Centennial. It hurts me on the inside to see it go, but I can understand. However, if we're not going to pee on and steal Cody's stuff every 100 posts, we should steal someone's. I would like to volunteer myself and my family as that someone." Who am I to refuse?
The party has a different name, it won't be at my house, and I'm not the one shelling out the dough. It already sounds like a vast improvement to a Centennial party.
The weekend was a success. Some of the fam came down to see Buddy Guy at Stubbs. It was a heck of a show and a heck of a time. I hope when I'm 75 (or however old Buddy Guy is), I too am wearing a big polka dotted suit and playing guitar for vast crowds of drunk people. Well, I hope for that as long as it means I'm getting paid a lot. If it's just me in polka dots, playing out in the parking lot of a Nascar race or a block party for free, it'd probably be a little depressing. But Buddy Guy certainly didn't play for free and he rocked the house, so I consider it a triumph of the human spirit.
I haven't had a chance to put anything up about the scotch tasting yet. Danza and I went on Thusday, and it was great. Not only was it great, but I had to miss softball to attend and later on, I found out we got beat 23-2. Do you see what happens when the back-up right fielder isn't available? They call me Spark Plug Powell for a reason, and the reason isn't some kinky gay thing. If the Gas House Gang wanted a shot at victory, they should've sent a helicopter to the liquor store so I could be retrieved mid-tasting. They'd lower one of those rope ladders down on the outfield and I'd get halfway down it before mis-stepping and crashing into the turf due to all of the 86 proof stuff we were tasting. That's how you rally a team! You make want to make sure you're falling onto an inflatable mattress or something, though, or else the team is wearing your number on their sleeves for the next year.
I did learn some interesting stuff about scotch tastings. First, they're well-attended. Second, they're very informative, in that I knew maybe 2 things about scotch before I went (it's from Scotland, it tastes like fire, keep it out of your eyes) and now I easily know 15 times more than that. Third, you don't need a vast repertoire of jokes if you're leading the tasting. Fourth, leave your credit card at home if you're attending. Fifth, if it says cask strength, pour it out or start praying.
I'm doing a lot of public speaking lately. Earlier this week, I had to give a presentation to almost the whole company, including the board of directors. Yowzzzzzzzza! I'd never met the board before, and I was a little afraid that if I made one slip-up, I'd wake up in a pine box outside of the Greyhound terminal in Istanbul. (Thankfully, they were very nice people.) Then, this Saturday, I'm going to talk at the Austin .NET Users Group Code Camp. What did/shall I present on? You don't want to know; both subjects are nerdy and boring to outsiders. I mean it. I could do half of one of my scheduled presentations, then fall asleep for the second half and you would leave the room saying, "Man, that really picked up there toward the end. Talk about going out on a high note!"
All of this activity is odd for two reasons. First, and most obviously, for someone who isn't very intelligent, I get an inordinate amount of chances to demonstrate this in public. Second, and also obvious, I have very few social skills. You could come up to me on the street a bunch of times and ask me the time, and maybe a third of those encounters, you'd actually get the time. The next 30%, I'd throw my shoes at you, and the final 40%, I'd tell you an inappropiate joke and then follow you for a block or two. I'm not going to charm the pants off of anyone but deranged homeless people, whose pants probably stink anyway.
Luckily, interacting with a bunch of people isn't the same as interacting with a single person. If a single person asks you a hard question, you're expected to answer it. If a person in a crowd asks you a hard question, you can say, "Ahhgghghg, a baby baboon with a knife! Quick, run everyone!" The crowd would start running, probably, and they'd take Mr. Questions with them. There are literally hundreds of thousands of ways not to answer questions when you're in a large group situation.
In conclusion, I present my secrets to public speaking: prepare, imagine everyone in the audience has a jheri curl, and station a drugged-up baby baboon in the back of the room before you start.
Do you ever have one of those nights where you go to sleep thinking about a problem from work/school, and then continue to think about the problem while you're sleeping? In sleepland, you find that things suddenly make perfect sense; you're starting to see this problem from an angle you never considered. You get up to hit the potty in the middle of the night and you think, "Man, we are making some PROGRESS tonight! I should be getting paid for this." But you don't stand around thinking for too long, because that takes away from your valuable sleepy problem-solving time.
When you get up the next morning, you're a little tired because it felt like you were working all night. But hey, you at least got some productivity out of it. Then you begin to think about the brilliant ideas you concocted while you were sleeping. Very quickly, you realize that they make absolutely no sense. I had one of these last night and I got really excited because I realized that I could solve everything by indentation. "If we indent everything, it'll just work!" By the time I woke up, I had no idea what I was originally trying to figure out. What exactly was I going to indent now? There is no problem in my or anyone else's life that can be solved through savvy indenting. (Maybe I was dreaming about being a renegade copy editor again, I don't know.) Around 4 AM last night though, I was practically ecstatic about the idea. A troupe of lusty maidens with stock tips and Playstation 3 prototypes could've barged into the dream and I would've thrown them out with a vengeance so I could get back to the indentation revolution.
It is for this reason that I don't keep a phone by my bed. If I did, half of Austin would start getting voicemails from a groggy voice saying things like, "Must fill spare bedroom with... otters" or "Put life savings into inventing edible mittens". Now if you receive a voicemail like that in the middle of the day, I expect you to act on it; the only cut off is 11 PM to 8 AM.