Anyway, I could get into the benefits of compressing Christmas shopping into 2 trips, lasting a total of about 16 hours, but I'd rather quickly run through the events of the last 7 days or so. Now for you this laundry list of activities may seem humdrum, but for someone like me whose nights usually consist of doing Tai Chi in front of a mirror like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, this week was positively humming with activity. Here goes:
Friday (Christmas Eve): Had the day off. Spent the afternoon at KJ's moms's place. Beat KJ and her sister Donna at the Saturday Night Live Trivial Pursuit game (naturally, I rarely lose, except when playing Dan Banazek). That selfsame day, drove to Rochester to see my family. My brother and I blocked everyone else out of a crab-dip breadbowl. I explained to my aunt (who is sort of a nun, but not really) about rap music. We ate and played the Trivial Pursuit, '90s edition, which my sister Eileen and I dominated (naturally, since that sonofabitch Dan Banazek wasn't there this time either).
Saturday (Christmas Day): Got an iPod. The rest of the day is a blur set to a soundtrack of nearly 900 songs.
Sunday: Bills beat the crap out of the 49ers. Jitter, Javen and TT come to town from Buffalo, where they had gone on a wing tour. Very nice time at the Change of Pace. Everyone got a little tipsy, and I got to talk to my boy Dave for a couple hours. We talked about college and Transformers and all sorts of stuff. Didn't get as wild as I had expected, but it was fun.
Monday: After work was another blur as I explored the true depth of the iPod's value. This topic should be a blog by itself. I now have over 1,000 songs on the damn thing and haven't even scraped the surface of it's capacity. Good lord what a technological leap forward this thing is.
Tuesday: V-Day. We had an early basketball game after work, and we came to play. Our team, the Change of Pacers, went up against our arch-nemesis, Chadwick's, or as we have dubbed them, Chumpwick's. We have a history with this team/bar, both on and off the court....
Change of Pace is about 2 or 3 miles away from Chadwick's, but Chadwick's is within walking distance of my house. So back in August Toastie and I went there, and Willie met us there. Willie came in and ordered a drink. The bitch bartender looked at his ID and said, "I can't read this, you have to leave." Will has a Massachussets ID, and he doesn't drive, so his ID is a little worn out, and the date of birth is feint, but readable. Regardless, the one thing on the ID that is absolutely readable is the year of birth. And that year of birth is in the 1970s. Now, I don't profess to be a master of mathematics, but in the year 2004, if someone was born on, say, December 31, 1979, the last possible day of the 1970s, that person would be ... right, 24 years old, well over the legal alcohol consumption age. The bartender would not let Will drink, to which Will replied, "How come I've been in hear a hundred times and they've served me before?" The barkeep only said, "You haven't been here when I've been working." So she made Will stand outside while Toastie and I finished our beer. We vowed never to return to this Yankees-Steelers (???) bar.
But that's not all...
In our first basketball game with Chumpwick's in Novemeber, they acted like a bunch of assholes. First of all, we only had 6 people, and one of them, Cliff, went down with a knee injury in the first half, which meant we played the entire second half with only 5 players, and I am out of shape. They are not a more talented team than us, but they were showboating the entire second half because they opened up a big lead on us. They have mostly a couple of fat white guys, one tall black dude, and a couple of gold chain-wearing, chinstrap-brandishing, lanky wiggers who try to zig in and out of the lane for layups. None of these fuckers can shoot, they hook the arm every chance they can, and they were talking shit. But the last straw? At the end of the game, with less than 5 seconds left, they had a fast break. Toastie ran down to try to stop the ballhandler. Another team member jumped in front of Toastie and blocked him from getting to the defender, as the ballhandler slam-dunked it. This was with a 30-some point lead with 2 seconds left. Total bushleague move. The ref waived it off so it didn't count, but it just shows the kind of bullshit character that squad has.
Anyway, this game we had 6 people: Me, Will, Toastie, Toastie's Dad, Dino and Jaime. We were ready for these fat fucks this time. They tried to muscle us inside, we muscled 'em right back. They had no other game. Now that we have learned to play physical defense, they had no answer. Willie and Dino shot the lights out from 3-point range, and since they can't shoot from outside layup range (and even that is only about 50%), they got frustrated, yelling at the refs and trying to hold and hook and cheat. But this time, we beat them. This was our first legit win in the league, and frankly I don't care if it's our last. It was so satisfying to take our 5 core guys who have been there for every single game this year (plus Jaime, a newcomer who played great) and beat these pricks with solid, clean basketball.
Wednesday: We weren't able to retain our victorious mojo for trivia at Clark's on Wednesday, but Toastie did have a very nice young lady notice his Red Sox hat and strike up a conversation with him, which was nice. Everyone mocked her after we left the bar, but I thought it was nice. He should have said, "See you next Wednesday" but he wasn't thinking clearly. Apparently none of us were, judging by our score.
Anyway, Jaime got hungry for "buffalo chicken anything," so we went to Tully's on Erie Blvd to order up ridiculous amounts of fatty foods. While there, a reporter from the local Channel 9 news must have noticed my Syracuse University hat and came to our table to ask us if we had any opinion on the recent firing of SU football coach Paul Pasqualoni being fired. We threw in a few comments, and she said, great, we're going live in about 5 minutes. I went to the restroom to primp a bit, but I looked like shit. Unshaven and bloated. But I got to be on TV. And while I haven't seen the tape, I think I did pretty well. Most of the people they interview for things like this seem like they have not much to say on the topic or can't speak in the English language. So all I wanted to do was not freeze up on camera (put your hands out of your field of vision, that's the first rule) and speak as if I had any idea what I was talking about. I didn't freeze, so that was good, and I think I did alright in the speaking department. Whether I had a clue what I was talking about is up for debate, but at the end I got to give a little wink to the camera and that's all I ever wanted to do.
I was wondering if anyone would have seen me on the news, since it was the 11:00 broadcast and many people are asleep, but a bunch of people from work told me the next day that they saw me, so I was able to walk around with an arrogance about me that said, "I was on local television for nearly 3 minutes!" I think people respect that.