Man, it's Opening Day for almost all Major League Baseball teams and I couldn't be more ready. The NBA and I have had some good times over the past few years, but I am now wholeheartedly ready to declare baseball my favorite professional sport. Why? Let me share the reasons.
First, and most importantly, my favorite basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks, is terrible. They are terrible now, they'll be terrible in the future, and they'll be terrible until the heat death of the universe, as long as Avery Johnson hasn't taken a long walk off of a short pier while wearing cement moccasins. This man is a saboteur! Anyway, it's no fun to watch your team consistently suck.
Second, what's the point of watching the first three quarters of a basketball game? All of the excitement is at the end. However, the end is impossible to watch because every five seconds, someone calls a timeout. It's like someone designed the world's most unwatchable sport and then tricked the USA into liking it.
Third, I don't feel good about myself when I watch basketball, mostly because I can't do any of that stuff. Yes, I finally admit it: I'm not much of a dunker. Baseball, though, is 90% standing around in a field. I can, and have done, just that many times in the past. In that regard (plus my love of chawin' tobaccy), I'm quite similar to a professional baseball player.
Fourth, and most absurd, I have faith that my favorite baseball team, the Texas Rangers, isn't going to be so terrible this year. You heard it, folks: I'm both predicting and getting excited about a season of mediocrity. If they don't win 80 games, then the fudgesicles are on me.
(Note that the fudgesicle offer doesn't apply to the whole Internet, merely me and you.)
Occasionally on the AV Club, they do a feature called Random Rules where they get someone interesting, put their iPod on random, and let the person comment on whatever comes up. It turns out to be pretty cool, usually; here's Dave Attell's. Allow me to totally steal this idea.
1. 2Pac, "Heavy in the Game".
Seriously, iPod? I didn't even know I had any 2Pac. In fact, I don't think I've heard any 2Pac until this very moment. From the lyrics, I'm guessing that the game he's heavy into is not Wii Tennis.
2. Michael Jackson, "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"
Okay, this is slightly more indicative of how I roll. This is off of the 25th Anniversary rerelease of Thriller. Isn't it weird how Michael Jackson went from the King of Pop, the guy who freaking made Thriller, to the universally-agreed-upon strangest dude alive? Also, given all of the inneundo about Mr. Jackson, this is an unfortunate song title. Cool song, though.
3. My Morning Jacket, "Wordless Chorus"
The only taping of Austin City Limits that I've ever seen live featured My Morning Jacket. I was a mild fan before, and then I saw the singer with his great, big, bushy beard and his flying V guitar, and I was digging it. The free beer did not hurt either.
4. Sufjan Stevens, "In This Temple As In the Hearts of Man for Whom He Saved the Earth"
Really long title on this song and it's actually only 35 seconds long. I'm pretty sure that pronouncing the title of the song is longer than the song itself. I actually just tried to verify that, and it turns out I talk a lot faster than Sufjan plays his song. Anyway, this is just a filler song.
5. Bob Dylan, "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"
I like Dylan. Come on, everybody likes Dylan. This song, however, is 11 minutes long. I've got this thing about long songs, where I feel like trying to listen to them all the way through and actually pay attention deprives me of so many other things I could do in life. I could eat a meal, take a shower, read a chapter in a book, or listen to a single song. So, I don't think I've ever listened to this song all the way through.
6. Junior Brown, "Hong Kong Blues"
Oh man, this is a good one. In case you're not familiar with Junior Brown, he plays this guitar/steel guitar combo and he just rips that thing up. Danza and I saw him once at Bocktoberfest out at the Shiner Bock brewery, and that did not go so well.
7. Bobby "Blue" Bland, "I Don't Want No Woman"
This seems like a good drinking song right here. Bobby is pissed at women in general, and he's not taking any guff from the likes of you. It's got to be cool to make a musician so mad, he writes a pissy song about you that becomes a part of his songbook. Next time I'm hanging out with Bono, I'm going to try that.
You're probably not familiar with the following piece of trivia. I was not familiar with it, and I'm a certified lunatic when it comes to useless info. In fact, I bet the person that this question is about is also completely and belligerently unaware. For the win, how many movies has Gary Busey been in since 2004?
The answer, including movies in production, is 36. I think I would've guessed 2. 36, though! The Buse is working overtime, and he's doing it on films such as The Hand Job, The Gingerdead Man, and Succubus: Hell Bent.
Let's say that half of those movies are just Gary shouting into a camcorder behind a Popeye's in Malibu. That still leaves 18 real movies, with budgets and directors and everything, in only 4 years. (Note that I am not counting Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust, as Gary is not listed in the credits. Yet.)
I read a lot of stories about how we're in a recession and folks are losing their houses, and yet Gary Busey has been in 36 movies in 4 years. GDP may be down, granted, but GBDP is skyrocketing. It could be worse, people of America.
First, some good news: we're getting a house! Yeah, we've known about that part for a while, but there was one little part of the financing that didn't get approved until this week. And by one little part of the financing, I mean an enormous amount of money that I couldn't raise myself without a shotgun, a getaway car, and some pantyhose over my face.
I don't understand these mortgage companies throwing sums like around to chumps like me. Especially now, it seems like they'd be terrified of losing their money. If I ran a mortgage company (and if I get cancer, that's what I'm sending into the Make A Wish Foundation), here's what my application would look like.
1. What's your name?
2. Are you a millionaire?
3. If you are not a millionaire, are you closely related to an ailing millionaire?
4. Are you like, really, really closely related?
5. You understand I mean actually related, and not just blood brothers?
6. Are you in this ailing millionaire's will?
7. You've seen this will recently?
8. Any chance some succubus will slide in at the last minute, sex up your relative, get herself added to the will, and take all of your loot? (We carry a brochure for succubus insurance, if interested.)
9. Is there anything we could do to hasten the demise of your rich relative?
Thankfully, most mortgage companies don't require that kind of detail in their applications. I'm thankful for that; all of that scheming would make my head hurt.
There are a lot of things that Octopussy hasn't done in the 4 years that I've owned her. These include getting a job, doing the laundry, and learning Spanish. Probably the most impressive item from this list is that she has never peed anywhere but in her litter box; her urinary record is literally flawless.
Last week, I began to realize how important a flawless urinary record is. Laura's dog, who I spend a lot of time with also and could probably call my dog but choose not to after last week, is very old and I think she's losing her bladder control. That sounds a little sad, but here's something not so sad: she's peeing like a freight train. All day and all night, that dog is now peeing on something.
Like I mentioned, it happened last week while Laura happened to be out of the country. While I'm no dog expert, I am familiar with the art of pee removal; it's like any other spilled liquid, but grosser. And while I didn't really enjoy the act, I was diligent with my clean-ups. The problem was, I'm only one man. I must eat, sleep, work, and take care of my gums. The dog doesn't have any of these obligations, and so she devoted every moment of our time together to peeing on the same exact spot in the living room.
The smell. Good God, the smell! Walking past the 4 square foot rectanglet that she saturated was like walking into a museum for canine bodily function. It was so, so bad, and all of this was after I spent literally tens of dollars on both Febreeze and Resolve carpet sprays. These sprays didn't do a damn thing. In fact, I think they joined together with the urine to form a super stink, capable of being smelled from space.
Anyway, Laura got back last night and she's already on the case. The house smells roughly 100 times better, putting it somewhere between a leper colony and a tuna-canning facility. As for me, I now appreciate Octo in a whole nother way. Consider the hairball frenzy, little friend.
I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but in addition to it being SXSW, it's also Spring Break for the school districts around here. So, in the midst of the craziest week of the year perhaps, Laura's not here as she and al of the other teachers are off partying on a yacht somewhere.
Those two coincidences are having a strange effect on me: when I went to the grocery store this week, all I bought was Hot Pockets, carpet cleaner, duct tape, and beer. Seriously.
That's a weird purchase to be sure, but Frito and I can top it. One time, we were at the Albertson's in Arlington and the lady in front of us bought exactly two items: a pack of Marlboro reds and an enema. The mind boggles. I almost wanted to pay for her purchase, just to be a part of the greatest shopping cart ever.
Anyway, due to all of the events of the week, I'm taking a particularly lax approach to the site here. I know, you didn't think it was possible for me to get any lazier with regards to the 'lash. The point of this site, much like life, is to surprise. That is why, dear readers, on my next trip to HEB, I'm buying shotgun shells and adult diapers.
House Update! I think it's been a while I rambled on subject, so here's the big stuff: we found a house, we made an offer, they accepted the offer, and we're in the midst of getting it all inspected and repaired. I can see this heading in either of two directions.
Option A: we fail to read the contract carefully and the seller manages to slip in a crazy clause specifying that we must turn our backyard into a walrus sanctuary. The cost of caring for the walruses drive us into the poor house, and I am eventually arrested for trying to sell tusks on eBay.
Option B: all of that walrus stuff still occurs, except this time, we manage to incorporate as a charity and, through donations, we barely manage to pay the bills. The walruses begin to hate the attention of their benefactors. They become ill-tempered, then chew through the fence in the backyard and start attacking the neighbors. Lawsuits drive us into the poor house, and PETA hires a hitman to kill me.
There's plenty of time for this plan to progress, since we don't actually close until May 1. That's due to some quirks with our lease, the main quirk being that our lease is terrible. While I did manage to sneak a walrus protection clause into that lease, I somehow forgot to look and see if it was possible to leave this place early. Ahhh well, I had my priorities.
It's March 6th here in Austin and, according to the Weather Channel, it's -147f outside. Come on, Spring! Winter is good because of Thanksgiving and Christmas but after that little clump of fun stuff, there's nothing between you and horrendous, frigid dreariness but... President's Day?
The reason I write all of this is because SXSW is next week, and that is a major Spring indicator for me. I just don't know how I'll be able to offend and berate music industry insiders if I'm not cursing my choice of pants over shorts.
Now that my beloved Jane Magazine has gone under, I've got to find other SXSW parties to haunt. Man oh man, have I ever found substitutes. Sadly, on a lot of the parties, I know nothing on the bands or the refreshment situation. This means I'll spend a lot of time next week listening to Panamanian harsichordists while standing in line for biscotti. All of the time that I'm looking for possibilities, I can't help but think Jane Magazine would never allow this to happen to me.
Now seems like a good time to publicly announce that if my previous shenanigans with Jane killed the magazine, I hereby apologize. In my mind, all of that counted as positive publicity; it's not like Dean Zyvarb and I torched the place after canceling their insurance policy. Alas, those folks knew how to throw a jam session.
One more year, one more unit of SXSW craziness. Hopefully I'll have more to report here next week.
Hola, virtual amigos. Spring is in the air. I know this because I am sneezing up a storm and because I have my fantasy baseball draft tonight. Let us hope that I don't conflate the two; I might accidentally sneeze when it's my turn to pick and end up drafting Kirby Puckett. He's no longer alive, future me! Guys like that will not contribute in literally any statistical area!
While I don't like to admit it, I probably am one of those crazy fantasy sports guys. I fully realize how strange it is to pretend to be the General Manager of an imaginary sports team and compete against my friends, but I'm telling you, it's fun. I get to utilize all of the things I'm good at: data mining, read websites, talking trash, wasting time, and coming up with vulgar team names.
I never really understood the point until I dipped my toe into the murky waters of fantasy football a few years ago. Almost immediately, I found myself in all of these weird conversations about Brett Favre and all of the interceptions he throws. People would wonder at the end of these talks what part of Wisconsin I was from; surely I was a Madison guy? No way Jose, I just happened to have that dude on my fantasy team and he sucked something awful. I have literally had dozens of conversations with people that I never would've had were it not for my fantasy sports hobbies. Think of it as social lubricant.
Also, it's a good way to participate in sports without actually doing anything athletic. I have no interest, for example, in putting on a BreatheRight strip and joining the pickup game down at the YMCA; all of that running and jumping is not my thing. The people there would probably start calling me the Vanilla Walrus after a few minutes of play. Fantasy sports allow me to get the same sort of enjoyment without enduring cruel taunts or possibly getting whapped in the face, thus bending my spectacles.
Aloha, Internet! My friend Paul, longtime supporter of Goulash and official groomsman in my wedding, has started up a podcast. Why? I don't know, I think it has something to do with a community service requirement. Regardless, it is about the Dallas sports scene and you can read literally nothing about it, but still download it at TheLockdownShow.com (RSS link for downloading). Just because I nearly destroyed the microphone with a spilled beer during preproduction does not mean that I don't enjoy the show; it's good stuff.
I've often thought about spinning up a podcast of my own, but a few things have stopped me. First, I already have a half-assed website; need I really add to that a half-assed podcast?
Second, and perhaps related to my first point, it's a lot easier to half ass a website than a podcast. Open up a browser, type like a riled-up orangutan for 15 minutes, then hit Post: bam, that explains everything about this website. Podcasts, however, require hardware and software and uploads and whatnot. Do you really expect me to put that much effort into this? I'm not here to impress you people! Text is sufficient!
Third, and most importantly, I don't want to start a war with NPR. I like NPR, I enjoy their shows, and I respect what they do. I do not want to drive them out of business once the public gets a taste of my folksy, yet undeniably erudite stories on buying pants at Costco for the first time. Also, I hear the stories. Do you think the government just gives money to an organization like that? No way; they earn it the old fashioned way, with skull-knocking and shake-downs. The day I come home to see Ira Glass with a billy club in my driveway is probably the last day I spend on this earth.
In conclusion, enjoy Paul's show and leave me out of it.