Thursday, March 30, 2006

There Was Something In The Air That Night

[This is the information about my old neighbors I promised a while back. This was written in July 2002.]

I was studying for the Biostatistics final in my apartment. It was night, and I heard some commotion from the apartment I share a wall with. The only things/words I'm CERTAIN I heard that night were:

"Don't EVER call me MOTHERFUCKER! Don't you EVER call me motherFUCKER!"

I believe there was a slap or hit of some kind before, after, or between these statements. There was also talk of one person wanting the other person (the one who was slapped) the fuck out of the apartment. Then there was nothing for the rest of the night - nothing I heard, anyway.

Fast forward to the next day; I, again, was dutifully studying for a biostatistics test that would turn out to be amazingly simple. I heard voices again from next door, and forced myself to write some of the lines down (these lines have been on 2 post-it notes on my desk for the last 7 months, and thank God I can finally throw those away).

First there was sounds that may have been the moving of things in a closet, such as the sound that may have been wire hangers moving on a rod. Then I believe there was the sound of a door unlocking and opening, followed immediately by a "where are you going/what are you doing sort of comment by a man I believe to be Robert. (Robert, although I have never met him, must be the name, as people sometimes come around to the back parking lot and shout up to his window, "Robert!", prompting him to leave the apartment, go downstairs and let them in the building. I may have seen Robert before, but there's no way to tell, as it may have been a friend of his entering/exiting the apartment.) The following is from my post-it notes from that morning, verbatim, keeping in mind there was MUCH emotion in these words, more than CAPS or italics would do justice, so much so that I'm not going to bother:

Fernando don't go!
I'll change!
I will change
I promise you
I am sick enough
I am jealous enough
Why me?
I'll change
I promise you, Fernando!
I will I will I will
I'm sorry
I won't ever do it again
I'll be good
I'm sorry Fernando…no…NO!
I'll never do it again!
Please forgive me I will be different…no, really honey
I won't ever hurt you ever again
I promise you
I don't know, Fernando, I don't know
Will you stay for Christmas?
It's only one week
-but Fernando you don't TALK to me!
Do you think I have a right to be jealous?
I promise I will never do that again. NEVER! NEVER!!!

very long pause, Robert ends his audible diatribe, the final line belonging to Fernando:


With that, it was over, and Fernando left. A few minutes later, I heard the Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody through the wall - a touch of tenderness by this man who hit his boyfriend and positively wailed his case to his victim, only to be left alone (a week before Christmas!) I'm not sure what terms they're on now. I have heard Fernando's loud Latino music in early 2002, but I haven't seen him lately. I do not miss him.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

V For aVerage

I've been out. I was in Hays, in western Kansas, for work. You might think staying at a Best Western in Hays for three consecutive nights would be horrific, but you'd be wrong. It's not so bad. Hays has a movie theater with about six screens, so I was able to see Inside Man (good) and V For Vendetta (less good) at the low low matinee price of $5.75. The Hays Best Western gives you your own microwave, microfridge, and a ton of cable channels, including HBO. Most importantly, Hays is full of Germans that can fry the living fuck out of a chicken.

I have two regrets: only eating at Al's twice, and not eating a bierock.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dear Shawn Neary

Hi Shawn. I woke up Wednesday morning and thought about you. Well, not just you, but you in the context of your band. Specifically, I thought about how rough it is to wake up with the chorus of the song "Cowbell" in my head:

Do you want to live a lie
a lie to shake
a like shake
I’ve been so sure
I've been sooo sureeee

Whew. It's a lot to wrap your brain around before you've had breakfast. But I like the song - I had downloaded it and a few other Tapes 'n Tapes recordings.

Were it not for our mutual friend Steph, I wouldn't be writing this now, planting the seeds for the next time you Google yourself. (Don't worry, I Google myself, too.) I saw Steph a couple of weeks ago - she was in town for a conference, and I met her for dinner - and I asked her what that Shawn Neary fellow was up to. Not just you, but you in the context of your band - your old band, that is. Back when we were together, Steph and I went to a few of your Boy With Stick gigs. There was one time at that one place in Saint Paul; when my pal Phil was in town we all caught your show in Uptown.

Steph said that you were playing with a different band now, a band called Tapes 'n Tapes. I didn't know what she was saying at first - it's one of those band names that you have to clarify: Tapes in Tapes? Tapes And Tapes? Tapesandtapes?

Had it not been for our dinner meeting - for which I skipped a fresh episode of the WB's Gilmore Girls, by the by - I would have lumped the recent Pitchfork kudos and the Stereogum shout-out into "stuff I'm not cool enough to know about". I'm glad I was included in the loop, just in time. (I would caution others, however, that good things do not normally result from missing the latest adventures of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.)

Remember that one time we were all in Ames together for some reason? And we got back to the apartment where we were all staying, and you, semi-drunk, sitting against the living room wall, plucked at an acoustic guitar? I'd known other musician-types that acted the same way - making a beeline to the guitar, even if they're drummers, or in your case, a bassist - and I said something to that effect, and I might have offended you. Remember that weekend I'm talking about? I remember eating at a Mexican place, a local sandwich place, and a Greek place. Do you remember?

Well, Shawn Neary, when the Tapes 'n Tapes clamor reaches its pinnacle, that anecdote is going to sound different. It'll sound a lot different, because I'm going to punch it up. I haven't made a final decision yet, but I imagine you and I will return to the Ames apartment, conduct and impromptu jam session, and our jam will give birth to the riff within (insert whatever Tapes 'n Tapes song is popular at the moment).

Thanks for the new memories,

[photo via Stereogum]

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Huggins Hired

Paul wrote on 03/23/2006 09:18:26 AM:

I'd like to congratulate your alma mater on hiring Bob Huggins. I always felt that what was holding K-State back from being a Big 12 basketball power was the absence of an alcoholic dictator as the coach. I wonder if they'll show the videotape of his DUI stop on the scoreboard during timeouts.

I will say this though: if Huggins brings the two junior recruits from Ohio with him, K-State will be a top 10 team in two years. The two recruits' names are O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker, and they have supposedly stated that they will go wherever Huggins goes. It's eerily similar to the the Jimmy Chitwood/Norman Dale situation in the movie "Hoosiers".

If LeBron had never existed, Mayo would be deemed as the next Jordan. He's a 6'5" guard that is an amazing player. Walker is a post player that will also start from Day 1 at whatever college he goes too. The two of them are high school teammates, and their team is playing in the state tournaments right now here at Ohio State. Needless to say, the media coverage has been a circus. So, buy your 2007-2008 KSU season tickets now.

dn wrote:

Yeah, I saw the news this morning and told a fellow graduate, "Good, I was tired of our players graduating anyway," and he responded:

"Our players didn't graduate under Wooly, anyway. They transferred so they could play under Huggins and left school to smoke the not much is going to change, except winning games...."

So that's that. The way I see it, Manhattan is a small town, and there's less stuff for him to hit when he drives around drunk. Plus, maybe the contract include a driver for him. It could be a KSU tradition - spotting Huggins' riding in the back of a towncar, head against the window, passed out.

I'd like to expand your comment into a full post on the site - can you write me back and tell the story about the Cincinnati basketball camp?...

Paul wrote on 03/23/2006 10:43:40 AM:

That event would have happened circa 1993. The players from my class and the one above me went to a summer basketball camp at the University of Cincinnati. UC is an urban campus, and it's in an awful part of the city. We would have all been 14-15 years old and coming from a small, rural school in northwest Ohio, so not alot of street smarts at that point.

Anyways, the first night there, we needed some ice for the coolers that we brought down with us. Not knowing what kind of area we were in, around 5 of us walked off-campus to a convenience store. While we were in there, a local resident came in screaming "I'm going to kill him. I hate the mother f*%$er". We looked over at the guy, and he was holding his face which was full of blood.

At this point, we all looked at each other in complete fright. So, doing what farm kids do in an urban setting, we took off running out of the store. I remember the guy who was bleeding yelling as we left the store, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. When we got back to campus, one of my friends realized he had left with a Mountain Dew without paying, so he said "Should I go back and pay for it?"

He was almost beat to death for suggesting such a stupid idea. Needless to say, we didn't wander off the campus for the rest of the week.

dn wrote:

Thanks, Paul. That's a classic tale that needed retelling. One point I seem to remember from the first time I heard it. Didn't the store clerk know the bleeding man, and tell the man, "We'll get him."? I thought that those two were definitely going to enact their revenge together. Do you remember the clerk's response? Am I wrong?

Paul wrote on 03/23/2006 12:14:44 PM:

Good catch. I can't believe I left out the store clerk and his willingness to jump into the situation. That's exactly what he said, and we assumed the two guys were friends (in retrospect). I do remember looking in the paper the next morning to see if any homicides occurred in the area. None were mentioned, but we thought the body may not have been found yet.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Still Beats John Paxton's Ass

Here's my problem: you can't give (us) the "N" for nudity at the beginning, then have the "N" stand for "Bill Paxton's ass".

--Bill Simmons on the new HBO series Big Love

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Loring Park Lore

[This is an excerpt of an old email of mine, wherein I detailed some memories of my Minneapolis apartment. I was thinking I could extent it into a good post, but it's been in "draft" status since May 2005, so I'm purging it. More on my old neighbors to come...]


1. Chug It night.

2. Watching the lunar eclipse with Rhonda on the rooftop patio. Nothing like some cold Boulevards and a cosmic event.

3. Hearing the neighbors diagonal from me having prolonged sex. This never bothered me. It was always kind of nice, not too loud, never weird sounds, just good sex.

4. This one time when I was studying (maybe for finals?), and Steph came over and brought cookies.


1. Fernando moving out to the dismay of his abusive lover, my neighbor, whose name might have been John.

2. Watching the stupid fucking Jayhawks miss 4 million free throws and lose the national championship game. At least I didn't have to watch it alone.

3. Living without furniture for a year. How many people can say that? And not be homeless?


1. Hearing the neighbors' squeaky bed above me as they presumably had sex.

2. John, post-Fernando, blasting AC/DC as loud as he possibly could at random times for reasons unknown.

3. The surreal moment I woke at 3 a.m. to hear Fleetwood's "The Chain" being played from John's pad. So many conflicting emotions.

4. Any of the numerous fire drills, esp. the one where the alarm could not be shut off, which kept me awake for an additional 1.5 hours or so.

5. The 4 or 5 days the boiler, and hence our heat, went out.

6. When I couldn't shut my heater off, and dude was like, "I don't know how to fix this - couldn't you just open a window when you're too hot?"

7. The ridiculous ingenuity that I had to employ to wash and dry my dishes due to lack of counter space.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So Long, Sully

The Chicago trip was a huge success, despite only consuming one half of one polish sausage. I made up for that poor St. Patty's effort by sampling the pizza trifecta: thin crust at Papa Milano's, stuffed pizza delivered (at 3 a.m.) from Chicago Pizza, and deep dish at some joint attached to a Best Western.

I learned so much about the second city. Did you know Mike Ditka has his own restaurant in downtown Chi-town? Did you know that bastard Ditka makes the world's strongest rum and cokes? And did you know the decor is second to none?

Need I convince you to view the rest of the photos?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Everything But The Squeal

I will be in Chicago with half of my readership until Monday evening - Tornado Slide will be static until my return.

As you can see, everyone's pretty excited about the vacation:
--->Jack Serpentine wrote:

According to the Chicago Tribune, it's going to be 30 degrees and "very cold" for our St. Paddy's weekend. It will take lots of kegs, a few eggs, and of course prodigious amounts of Chicago dogs to keep us warm.

--->dn wrote:

You do realize that they already had the parade and turned the river green this past weekend. Those crazy Irish! So underschooled!

I will eat one deep dish pizza for every Chicago dog you consume.

--->Jack Serpentine wrote:

Damn Irish. Only reason they're over here is because they can't even grow a potato.

Your eating challenge has been accepted, and I'll add that each of my Chicago dogs will have to be washed down with an Old Style while watching Ernie Banks highlights. I'll bet Mark Grace is available to judge the contest.

--->dn wrote:

Mark Grace will be in Phoenix or something. We'll have to settle for BJ Armstrong.

My deep dish pizzas will have cheese, sausage, and italian roast beef. I plan to eat them while performing alongside Second City at the Hancock Building's observation deck.
* * *

While I'm out, you can view the trailers for the NASCAR Will Ferrell movie and A Prairie Home Companion.

Or you could try to equal this Lego feat.

Or you could look over this USA Today blog, which is surprisingly full of good information. Not only did it provide me with the above links, it also informed me that NBC's Joey is on hiatus, and that the 3rd season of Arrested Development should drop in June.

Or you could determine if any good could come of this.

So long.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Things I Do Not Want To Be Famous For

Hosting a program aside from a talk show (e.g. American Idol, Survivor)

Sex tape (probably)

Being maimed in an odd or ironic manner (death OK)

Competitive eating

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Oh, Atlanta


After checking into the hotel, my fellow coworkers and I headed into downtown Atlanta to find a restaurant. Hooters, McDonalds, and Hard Rock Cafe were open. We chose the one where I could eat a cajun chicken sandwich while watching the video to The Cult's "Fire Woman". This marked the second time in less than a fortnight where I saw The Cult on a television, and I was concerned - was God trying to tell me something? ("Dan, The overlooked them. This is a sign from Me. Also, honor your father and mother.")

I avoided drinks in the hotel lobby, choosing a long, long shower and the Oscars instead.


I tried the lukewarm cheese grits available at the hotel's breakfast buffet. Guh.

The conference agenda that afternoon was unimpressive, so I chose to use that time to explore the city. On the advice of others and after my own careful deliberation, I ruled against visiting the World of Coke, Atlanta Underground, and anything that required a train ride. I chose to visit the Georgia capitol.

The fifteen-minute walk south was the whitest stroll I have ever taken. (Remember, this is coming from the farm-raised Kansan that walked to the Hard Rock Cafe just 24 hours earlier. In comparison, the previous day's journey was downright street.) On the way to explore the history of the great state of Georgia, walking through downtown Atlanta, despite the sunny day, my skin actually lost pigment.

The capitol's website touted, "Guided tours are available Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m." I arrived before 2:00 and used the extra time to explore the capitol grounds, upon which were many statues. I didn't recognize many of the historical figures - the one I did know, Jimmy Carter, was represented by the most pitiful memorial in the area. Do you remember the Simpsons episode where Marge is convicted of shoplifting, can't make treats for the city bake sale, and Springfield is forced to buy a crappy statue of Jimmy Carter because they can't afford one of Abe Lincoln? (And a Springfield resident shouts, "Jimmy Carter?! He's history's greatest monster!") Well, the actual statue of Carter at the Georgia capitol is a lot like the Simpsons statue. But smaller.

I went through building security and was given a pamphlet and an official state capitol postcard. Two o'clock came and went without the appearance of a tour guide. "That's okay," I thought, "this pamphlet will teach me all I need to know." I unfolded the pamplet. It was in Spanish.

The capitol was crowded with suited men and attractive women; I gradually deducted that they were lobbyists. White lobbyists. The capitol felt very open, uncluttered (I'm guessing a lot of the clutter was thinned by General Sherman), portraits of past governors dotting the first floor walls. A portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. was also on display. It is a great painting - it has the benefit of some background imagery that gives it an unfair advantage to, say, the huge Zell Miller portrait to its left - but it is most striking because it feels forced, "token", to a rapidly bleaching man like myself.

The only photo I took was at the capitol's 4th floor museum. It's a diorama that was commissioned by the Georgia legislature for a World's Fair. You know, to teach the world about peaches and shit.

I walked back toward my hotel, through Centennial Olympic Park, where people like to watch kids watch the fountain.

I wasn't planning on visiting the new Georgia Aquarium, but three factors changed my mind:

1. It was 3:30 and I needed something to do.
2. It was about a block from my hotel.
3. "World's largest"

Granted, I had seen the Monterey Aquarium a few weeks prior, but this one was the world's largest! The largest in the world! There's not a single aquarium bigger than this motherfucker! For the low price of $21? Sold!

I pushed through all five exhibits quickly, then revisited my favorite fish a second time.

Overall, the Georgia Aquarium was less impressive than its Monterey counterpart. (For one thing, it's just too fucking bright - some tanks were difficult to see into due to the glare.) Still, it's not without its perks. For example, slim individuals can climb into a cylinder to examine the penguins more closely.

(my photo)

Plus, this aquarium has beluga whales, which many visitors enjoy photographing with their pitiful, shitty-ass, low-resolution cameraphones.

(my photo)

I ate an orange for dinner.


The CNN Studio Tour manages to guide you through seven floors of the cable giant's headquarters without actually showing you anything impressive. If you've seen a greenscreen or a teleprompter before, you'll leave disappointed. I did learn that the CNN Center's escalator is the largest free-standing escalator in the world (!), and the CNN Center was originally a H.R. Pufnstuf theme park.

I enjoyed the best meal of the trip at the South City Kitchen that night, sampling authentic southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, collard greens, grits, and fried green tomatoes. Thanks to EST, I was back at the hotel in time for Scrubs.


I spent all day Wednesday at the conference!

(Not even an exclamation point can make that sound interesting.)

One point of note - I tried to decipher The Children's Hospital icon, which was featured in a Wednesday Powerpoint.

What's going on with that logo? Is that supposed to be a man juggling? A man juggling human heads? Doctor heads looking at a child with a broken leg? Shit's fucked up.


The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport has a tram that moves passengers to their destination concourse. A computerized tram voice uses the NATO phonetic alphabet to inform passengers that they have reached concourse "A, as in alpha", and so on.

(I am familiar with the NATO alphabet. I posted it in my cubicle, next to my phone, after several embarrassing moments where I couldn't think of a word that began with its corresponding letter. "N as Noodle?" Now, N is November. Every time.)

On my tram, the computerized voice's recitation of the NATO phonetic alphabet was much ado. Two teenagers thought it was hilarious. One young man thought it necessary to explain to his mother, in great detail, why the NATO alphabet is used. "Some letters sound like other letters..."

But when we arrived at the D concourse, the female robot substituted "David" for "Delta", assumedly to prevent confusion between the Delta concourse and Delta Airlines.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Damn Irish

Pat had a baby...

...and, apparently, broke his foot or ankle or some shit, probably after a night of drinking Bushmills and eating hash and reading Joyce.

I'm back in Kansas. Atlanta details to come.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I'm in Atlanta until Thursday - don't touch my stuff while I'm gone.

There are over 400 posts in the archives of this site. Read one of them if you can't bear a week without my words. And read this Q&A, too, because it's interesting.

When I get back, I'll probably write some inflated bullshit about my trip, as I've done in the past.

I'm also hoping to finish a short story about a guy that calls a supermarket cashier a "fucking cunt".

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Friday Is The Day We Read Things

There is no fucking way that Tim "The Toolman" Taylor makes more money than Judge Philip Banks. Wasn't Tool Time a regional program (i.e. not syndicated) based in Detroit?

* * *

David Cross' open letter to Larry the Cable Guy is enlightening:
You were born and raised in Nebraska (hardly The South), went to private school and moved to Florida when you were 16. This is when you developed your accent?! Not exactly the developmental years are they? At age 16 that's the kind of thing you have to make a concerted effort to adopt. Did you hire a voice coach? Or were you like one of those people who go to England for a week and come back sounding like an extra from "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"?
* * *

I've read nearly every day since my senior year of college. In the last year or so, there have been a few published pieces that have really stayed with me. For example, whenever I see Wilford Brimley, I think:
As a diabetic, Kyle, I'm entitled to diabetes testing supplies and I check my blood sugar close to 329 times a day—in fact, I've checked my blood sugar 13 times since I sat down to this wonderful little meal of baby back ribs and chips.
And when I see stand-ups doing observational comedy, I think:
What's up with death? It's like: Hello? My body's going to stop working entirely at some point and nobody knows where you go after you cease to exist in this physical realm?

And when I think of Winnie the Pooh, I laugh:
So I go to get it back from him after lunch and find Winnie sitting on the floor, his hand in a honey jar, and all this paperwork, including the file I need, smeared with thick honey. It's unusable now. I might as well throw it away. Trying not to just go off on the bear, I asked him what the hell happened. He looked all confused and mumbled something about needing "a little post-lunch snack."