Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The NFL...

Just noticed something on espn.com that I wanted to mention - the NFL is full of terrible people. While this is clearly not breaking news, I wonder why it's not discussed/written about/mentioned as much as the NBA was during the years when more bad things happened publicly than good. Back when the Portland Trailblazers were known as the Jailblazers and more people were getting arrested for felony possession of pot/coke/drug of choice, than people getting community leadership awards. David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, made a bunch of rules and regulations that have turned that view around completely. The NBA Cares program is the best community outreach program of any professional sport. The dress code actually does seem to have an impact on the players and they seem to not only be dressing more professionally but also acting in accordance.

The NFL meanwhile is full of worthless, terrible people. While there are obvious standout assh*les like Pacman Jones, there also seems to be an abundance of general dumbasses wildin out. Here are the main headlines on the NFL page at espn:

- Stallworth gets 30 days in jail in DUI fatality
- Leaf faces Thursday deadline to turn himself in
- Burress hearing delayed to Sept. 23
- Cards' Patrick suspended 4 games for Adderall

These are just from the 10 headlines that are constantly being updated for new stories. How ridiculous can the NFL be. It's time for a change. There needs to be a set of rules that follows the rules of society. In real life if you are wanted for drugs, you're going to jail. Not the same for the NFL. If you kill someone while driving drunk, you're spending more than 30 days in jail. These 'punishments' aren't even a slap on the wrist. If they mess up, take away their money, contracts, endorsements and put them in jail. To simplify it down a little bit, you could look at the MSU football team from 2000 when Jeff Smoker was going out doing coke all weekend, players were raping girls, stealing cars and breaking and entering and got away with it. It took a completely new coaching staff and a new set of rules to turn things around and that is exactly what the NFL needs.

These problems are systemic and it starts with athletes getting everything they want in high school, going to college where they get even more and then to the NFL where they get the most and get away with the most. These things need to be stopped.

That's all. As always, go big or go home.

-M, p, z & shredder

oh ps - that said, go rent/buy/netflix/hulu season 3 of Friday Night Lights. Just came out on dvd a few weeks ago. Like I keep saying, start at season 1 and watch every single episode. It's all online for FREE. Stop watching 2 and a half men, you're making me ill.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Small Bladder...

Just wanted to relay a quick story from yesterday. I've mentioned this before, but as soon as I crack a beer, my bladder shrinks to the size of a peanut. Seriously. So yesterday I was at a going away party for a friend of mine and over the course of a few hours had several beers. I can't be sure exactly how many times I went, but during the course of beer pong, it's a pretty safe bet that I had to go after every re-rack. I didn't really want to get drunk so I decided to take off around 8 o'clock. I peed twice right before I left to make sure I wouldn't have to go before I got home.

My friend lives on 30th and 3rd and I live in 169th and Amsterdam. You can look for yourself on a map to see how far apart that is, but basically it takes me around an hour to get home. It could take less time but I enjoy walking, and end up essentially walking across the island to get to my train, which I then need to take up 130 blocks. I was almost to my subway stop when I started to get the feeling that I needed to go. I decided that it wasn't very bad and I could hold it until I got home. After getting downstairs, I realized I had just missed my train. By the time the next one came around about 15 minutes later, the intensity had increased quite a bit. The train I take runs express and it stops at 34th, 59th, 125th, 145th and 169th so I was pretty confident I could make it the 4 stops until I got home. Unfortunately I had never actually been on a train when I've had to pee and didn't realize all the shaking and swaying of the train would exponentially increase how bad I needed to go. By 59th St I was visibly shaking and I had crossed my legs as tightly as I could.

I was tempted to get off at 59th but decided if I focused I could hold it. As soon as the train left I realized I had made a mistake. It wouldn't be stopping for another 70 blocks and that was a lot of swaying. Finally I got to a point where I had to get up and walk around so I wouldn't pee my pants. I tried everything to focus on something else but you know how it is when you have to go that badly. By the time we were at 103rd I was hunched over holding it in and by the time we went by 116th I was smiling knowing we would be there in a second. 125th is a pretty big stop and I knew there was a bathroom there unlike most, so as soon as the doors opened I sprinted out confident I was going to be relieved in a few seconds. I found the bathroom within 30 seconds and pulled the handle only to discover it was locked. I kept pulling and pounding on the door before I saw the padlock on it and knew it was hopeless. As I was doing this a police officer came out of the employees only bathroom next door and I immediately pleaded with him to let me use it. I was hunched over imploring him to let me pee and he was apparently sent by the devil because he told me no but said I could try the women's bathroom if it was unlocked. It wasn't. He then told me to go upstairs to McDonalds. This was a great idea. I sprinted (literally sprinting) to the McDonalds and ran straight to the bathroom only to see a huge sign that said out of order (actually it said "out of odor" which I thought was funny but would have been much more amusing had I not been practically peeing my pants.)

So I ask the guy holding the door open if he knows where the nearest bathroom is (I couldn't see a Starbucks anywhere) and he tells me the bathroom is out of order. I say I know, that's why I asked him if he knew of another one. He points across the street to Popeye's and tell me they have one. I run across the street and find the bathroom and it works - only there's a line. This was the most crowded rowdy Popeye's I've ever been in - to give some context (not to sound overly racist) but it was a Popeye's Chicken in the middle of Harlem, so you can assume it was crowded. The guy in the front of the line sees me hunched over practically holding my junk like a 4 year old and asks if I'd like to go next. I look up and see that this guy, who kind of looked homeless, was wearing a crazy tux, almost like he was a bathroom angel. I took one of the longer pees of my life, came out and thanked the guy who had put on an ascot and gold sunglasses while I was in the bathroom and headed back into the world having come the closest I've been to peeing my pants since I peed on the side of the Rayburn building at Inauguration.

I'm out. As always, go big or go home.

-M, p, z & shredder

Friday, June 12, 2009

How I Almost Got Killed pt. 2...

Sorry for not finishing the story yesterday - lunch turned into day drinking which turned into night drinking. Anyways...

After our sleepless night in Casablanca, we caught a train to Marrakesh. Marrakesh is divided into a couple of areas and we were staying in the old district which is full of souks and windy alleys. Our hotel was down one of these alleyways and as soon as we got there we knew it would be impossible to find after we'd had a few drinks. It was still pretty early when we got there so we went out to the city center which essentially a large open market with snake charmers and musicians and these dudes with monkeys on their shoulders. I looked at these impossibly dirty monkeys and leaned over to Dolce and said, "look out for these monkeys, they're probably carrying ebola or something," right before one of these guys came up to me and threw his monkey at me. It was clinging to my shoulder screaming and for a second I thought it was going to rip my head off. After repeatedly yelling at the dude to get the monkey off me, he finally listened but not before I was emotionally unstable.

Since we were in the old part of town it was next to impossible to find a place to eat dinner that also served alcohol but we finally did and actually had a pretty amazing meal. As the sun went down during dinner, the town began to shut down. Women once again seemed to vanish with the sun and with the darkness came all the shady people. We went back to the hotel and referred to our travel book to tell us where to go out at night. Apparently going to bars is a bad idea because not only is it a sausage fest, but they all want to beat you up. So our only choice was a club that was supposed to be pretty fun. It ended up being in a casino and the whole thing felt very Casino Royale. We get into this club called Theatro and we're pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of people, good music and a pretty fun atmosphere. After a few drinks we were feeling pretty good hanging out dancing with ourselves. We were all too afraid to talk to any chicks because we were pretty sure we'd get our asses kicked, but we were still having a good time drinking and being ridiculous. It was then that I noticed there were guys around us that were staring at us like they hated us. I pointed this out to Dolce and he said it was probably because they didn't want us talking to any girls. I agree and continue dancing.

For those of you who have hung out with me, you know I have a ridiculously small bladder and through the course of a night will need to pee anywhere from 2 to 5 tims an hour. This club was pretty large - there was an upstairs VIP area that overlooked the rest of the club below and the bathrooms were downstairs. On one of my return trips from the bathroom I run into Ginuwine and Eddie heading downstairs. Eddie grabs me and says, "Hey come with us, we're about to start some shit." Without hesitating I agree and follow them back downstairs. When we get down there a small shoving match ensues with some guy. I find out that this guy had stolen Ginuwine's drink. He set it down at our table we were standing around and a guy walked right up and took it. Ginuwine told the guy that was his drink and this guy responds by waving it in front of him and taunting him, then headed downstairs which is when I ran into them.

Since I speak french, I approached the guy and told him that he needed to buy Ginuwine a new drink. He tried to hand the drink he stole back to me, but I refuse and say he needs to buy a new one since he had already drank out of it. Arguing goes on for a little while until this guys cousin comes downstairs to see what all the commotion is about. This cousin seems like a good guy and instantly tries to calm everyone down, he speaks English and tells us that we'll go back upstairs and he'll buy us a new drink. So we all go upstairs and I walk over to Dolce to fill him in on what was happening since he had no idea where everyone went. As I'm talking to him, I look over my shoulder and they are once again in a shoving match. I go over to see what the problem is and the cousin who was apparently placating us downstairs, calls over to a bouncer and tells him that it was us who stole his drink. I tell the bouncer that he is lying and as soon as he sees that we were American he doesn't kick us out and goes back to wherever he came from. Then shit got real.

As soon as the bouncer left I say to the cousin, "What the fuck guy. Why would you call him over to kick us out when you're boy is the one who stole our drink." The cousin grabs me and pulls me in close and says, "we're going to kill you." I tell him the situation is not that serious and that if his boy buys Ginuwine a drink everything will be fine. So, still grabbing me he says, "This is not America. This is Morocco. This is my town. We're going to kill you and your friends." Meanwhile, the guy who stole Ginuwine's drink looks at Dolce and mimics slitting his throat. I look at the cousin who is calling to his friends both behind us and upstairs in the VIP area. There had to have been at least 10 dudes total who start coming towards us. As I'm noticing this, Eddie has already grabbed me and started pulling and yells, "Fucking run dude!" I look around quickly to find Dolce and Ginuwine and they have already begun running to the side of the bar. The four of us break out into an all out sprint and head toward the emergency exit on the side of the club. Forgetting that the club is in a casino we emerge right in the middle of it. Without breaking stride we keep sprinting through the casino and out the front doors. I don't know what we must have looked like but I can't believe security or someone didn't stop 4 guys from sprinting through a casino. After busting through the doors we run through the circle entrance to the casino and jump into a cab.

We yell to the cab to go and he calmly asks us where. We tell him it doesn't matter but he doesn't seem to understand the urgency in our voice. Finally Dolce tells him city center and the cab takes off. Meanwhile I keep looking behind us to see if anyone came out of the casino. I don't see anyone and after the cab makes a turn around the corner I think everything is fine. Then, out of nowhere, comes a car speeding up to us. He gets right behind our cab and starts flashing his brights. Our cab driver slows down and moves over to the side to let him pass but instead of passing the car pulls up to the side so that the front of their car is about where the backseat is. Dolce then says, "Oh my god. This is how they got Biggie!" I am freaking out because I was sitting in the left seat and if they started shooting, I'd be the one who gets hit first. The car then pulls back behind us and again flashes it's brights and as it passes a second time it pulls right next to us. It stays there for a minute then finally speeds off.

The cab takes us to our hotel and we all nervously get out. This is an old building and by using the word 'hotel' I'm misleading you. The entrance is a big wooden door in the middle of this alley that looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. We have no keys and have to knock for someone to come let us in. We get into our room and by this time it's nearly 5am, so we debate for a while about packing up and heading to a train station and leaving on the next train. We were originally planning on leaving in the afternoon so it wasn't completely preposterous. We finally decide that we have no way of getting a cab at that hour and didn't want to risk wandering around looking for one. We had convinced ourselves that all someone had to do was ask the cabbie where he took us and they could come find us and kill us. So we packed up all our bags guided only by the light of our cell phones because we were afraid someone might see the lights (we were also pretty drunk) and though we had two rooms, we all huddled together in one room. Eddie slept in two chairs blocking the door with a knife in his hand while I slept on the floor with a pen in my hand ready to stab anyone in the neck.

We finally awoke a few hours later and realized how absurd we were being. But still, it was pretty crazy and we decided not to come back to Marrakesh the next night as was our original plan. After leaving we were constantly looking over our backs to see if anyone was following us. It was no good.

I'm out. Go big or go home...

-M, p, z & shredder

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How I Almost Got Killed pt. 1....

Originally I had intended on telling a multitude of stories from my Euro-trip but the more I thought about what stories to tell, the more I realized that most of them would sort of be on the "my life is so wonderful" side of things that might make people hate me. So rather than tell you about taking a booze cruise in Portugal to look at caves, or drinking the best sangria in the world in a plaza in Barcelona, or going to ridiculous clubs in Madrid, I'll just tell you the one story that trumps any other from the trip...

Just to give you a little background on the people I went with, two of them just graduated from med school (the celebration of which is what prompted the trip in the first place) so to keep their identities secret - we'll call them Dolce and Ginuwine. Another was an old friend who I went to school with from 6th through 12th grade - we'll call him Eddie.

Our trip had gone fine without a single hitch. Dolce and I had flown out of Detroit to Lisbon, Portugal with no problems. A couple days later we met up with Ginuwine, which after spending 2 weeks with him and realizing how clueless and slow to act he can be, is remarkable that he made it. The three of us then headed to Lagos where we spend a couple of days before heading to Casablanca to meet up with Eddie. Now the fact that Eddie and I hadn't spoken save for a few emails before I left, made me weary of the fact that meeting someone in Africa might not go as easily as planned. But, sure enough, when we finally got to Casablanca after a full day of travel that included a 2 hour bus ride, a 2 hour boat ride and a 6 hour train ride, we got to our hotel and Eddie had left a note saying he already checked in and would be waiting for us. This would be the last time everything would go well in Morocco.

Eddie and Dolce were both exhausted from a full day of travel and each of them retired to their own rooms. Our 3 bed room was given away so we got a single and a double and Dolce took the single and Eddie was in a room down the hall. As this was our first real Euro-trip, Ginuwine and I were possessed by the desire to get blasted and milk every second of enjoyment out of the trip that we could. I should also mention quickly a pact that we had made that at no time shall anyone separate lest we get lost or killed. As soon as Eddie and Dolce called it a night, Ginuwine and I were officially on our own and this was the turning point in Morocco because things got instantly whack. So whack.

We decided to go downstairs and ask the front desk where a good bar was in the area. The man promptly told us, "don't go outside. It's not safe!" We both looked at each other with concerned raised eyebrows, heeded his advice and went back upstairs. We had been staying in hostals so we were excited by the tv in our room to lull us to sleep. Of course we didn't realize that Casablanca was a terrible place and not only did our tv not work, it wasn't even hooked up to anything. We went downstairs to the 'restaurant' to get a couple beers. We ask for 2 and the man tells us it will be 20 Darhams which is about 2 Euros. We say fine and ask for two more. He brings them out and as we pay him he says they are 20 each. We only have about 50 in our pockets and do not feel like walking upstairs to get more so we tell him we only need 2. He tells us they are actually only 18 each so since we gave him 40, come back down with 45 and he'll give us the other two. After explaining to him that his gorilla math made no sense he accepted that we only wanted 2 and then charged us 20 each. Slightly upset and confused, we went upstairs and drank our beers and listened to music. We were convinced that Casablanca was a hell hole and the Dolce was downstairs watching tv and dreaming sweetly. A few hours later Ginuwine and I woke up in a cold sweat after both having nightmares and told each other what our crazy murderous dreams were about. We finally fell back asleep only to be awakened yet again a few hours later as someone was trying to get into our room. After having nightmares and then being woken up by someone trying to get in our room we just decided to stay up. We went downstairs and met up with Dolce and Eddie, both of whom had a great nights sleep. Dolce watched the French Open until he drifted off peacefully.

So that morning we spent about 3 hours in Casablanca before getting the f out of there and on a train to Marrakesh which we literally had to run to catch.

Sorry I didn't realize I would spend so much time on Casa. I have to go, but I'll finish the story tomorrow. Go big.

I'm out

-M, p, z & shredder

Friday, June 05, 2009

Roller Coaster...

I started this year thinking this was the year of me and the year things would fall into place but it seems while I've had some amazing highs (including my Euro-trip which I just returned from late last night) it's also been filled with some cavernous lows. Last night on my way home from the airport my dad told me that my other ferret, Peach, had to be put down last Saturday. She wasn't doing very well before I left for my trip but after taking her to the ER and getting some meds and looking after her like I was an ICU nurse, she seemed to be getting better - walking around and even playing with me. I was hoping the worst was over and she would start coming around. But I guess things turned last Saturday and my mom and some friends took her back to the ER where she had to be put down. Once again I'm plagued by the fact that I wasn't here and what's worse is that I was having an amazing time in Europe while she was going through this. Life is an asshole sometimes.

Peach was an amazing ferret. Where Zelda seemed to typify ferret behavior - crazy, hyper, hilarious and rebellious - Peach seemed to have been destined to be a cat. She liked sitting in laps, having her belly rubbed, eating, sleeping and had a general urge to lounge. Unlike Zelda, who surged around with reckless abandon, Peach always seemed to analyze the situation and if it took too much effort she would either move on to something else or - my favorite - lay down in the middle of the floor spread out like Superman determined to get as much relaxing in as she could before she went to sleep.

Her best characteristic by far was how much she loved her sister. She would always look after Zelda no matter what. She always kept an eye on her and protected her - always sleeping on top of her, using her bigger body to keep Zelda's Mary-Kate physique warm. They were from the same litter so I can't be sure who came out first, but I'm convinced it was Peach. One time Zelda got into a drain hole in a basement and when I came downstairs to check on them, Peach was standing vigilant outside the hole staring down chirping and all I could think of was how on earth we were going to get her out without a jackhammer so I grabbed Zelda's squeaker that she always came to and when she finally came out, covered in mud, Peach bounced up to her, smelled her, and started cleaning her off.

She was never the same after Zelda died and I know she was depressed about losing her. Not to get too deep, but I'm a pretty religious person and while I'm not sure what happens when we die, I am confident that they are finally hanging out together. It sounds ridiculous but I guess that's what faith is. I love her and I miss her and the world is much lamer without the two of them in it.

As always, go big or go home. Carpe diem.

-M, p, z & shredder

Euro stories to come soon.