Tag Archives: throwback

D-Leagueing It

I haven’t written a thing in 3 weeks.  Why?  Well I’ll say it has 30% to do with the fact that I play Madden during my usual blog time, but also because I was in the middle of a very productive month on the court.  Since I’ve sucked the last few games, I guess I can get back to my old bloggin’ ways.   

It’s been a long few weeks but there havent been a lot of developments on and off the court.  This month saw such events as my 27 point 14 rebound game, but also such events as my 2 point 3 rebound game where I was ejected with two techs.  Yea, me, Rod Benson ejected with two techs.  People who know me know that it takes quite a lot to get me mad.  Many people dont even know what an angry, frustrated, kick-me-out-of-the-game-before-I-lose-my-mind Rod Benson looks like…here’s an example: 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Yep, definitely got a Tech here.  It would be easy to blame the refs, but it’s not really their fault, I get frustrated when I play badly.  It’s even worse when I’ve been playing so well all month.  Although I must say that one game I got hammered in the back and that set me off, and I apologized to the ref who I went off on later, only to have another ref talk to me on a plane flight and tell me that I just tripped over someones foot.  C’mon now?  Word?  I’m just that clumsy that I throw myself over other peoples feet?  Gotta be kiddin me.  I actually heard one player on the other team say about that ref: “I just want to be him up!”  All that aside, it’s almost playoff time, so all the games will be crazy.   

Off the court has been a little more interesting.  Well, for starters, there has been this thing that has taken over our team socially.  It’s called “No Homo”.  No homo basically means “I’m not gay”.  Now, we are by no means homophobic, but I swear if you say anything remotely gay, you better say “no homo” afterwards or somebody will call you on it.  What I used to do, back home in California, was say “That’s what she said” after such comments.  Not anymore.  My first week here I was hearing people toss out this “No Homo” thing left and right.  Now it has gotten so bad that you can’t say anything without hearing “no homo.”  Basically if you talk about anything without making it clear what that thing is, you’re probably in a world of hurt.  Let’s say your legs hurt so bad you can hardly walk.  Don’t you dare say “Dang, I’m hurtin so bad I can hardly walk.”  Ok for example, one of my teammates was putting on his deoderant — couldn’t be a less “homo” thing, right — and I guess he had applied quite a bit of it already.  Well someone asks him “Why do you put so much on?”  He replies, “I don’t know, I just keep rubbing it til the white shows up.”  Oh my Lord did he get an ear full for not saying “no homo” after.  It’s gotten so bad that we can be in the huddle now.  Coach will say “Why can’t we get any balls inside?”  I swear guys will look at each other like “He better say no homo.”  It’s crazy because we play a sport.  A sport that involves balls, no less.  You can’t say anything sports related at all.  “Dang I only got 2 balls tonight.”  Nope, can’t say that.  So now we are wrapped up in this “no homo” mess and we can’t get out.  I, personally, and pushing for a return to “That’s what she said.”  That way we can all enjoy our gross sports statements.   

We did have one guy who never bought into the “no homo” nonsense.  We picked up a 6’11” Brazilian kid named Morro.  Morro speaks almost zero english.  He has since been released and signed by the Tulsa 66ers, but it was real interesting while he was here.  All he knows is cuss words.  To me this is hilarious because it makes his points a lot more emphasized that they need to be.  For example, he hardly got any playing time because the communication barrier was too strong.  As a result he was always angry about his playing situation.  We were roomates in the hotel when we went to Austin.  Out of the blue he says to me: “My agent is motherf*#ker.  Coach is motherf*#ker.”  I start to laugh and I ask him why.  He says “No money, no play? Both motherf*#ker.”  HAHA.   I speak real broken, simple english to him and I say “It no that bad.  Be good.  Patient Morro.”  Morro then grabs my laptop and goes to brazilbasket.com.  I had never heard of brazilbasket but I can only assume it’s run by the same people as eurobasket,  the largest international basketball website.  The writing is in all portugese so I can’t understand any of it.  He points to the very front page.  “MORRO:  0, 0, 0, 0… blah blah blah portugese nonsense.”  I ask him what that means in the best way I can.  He says “Morro no play.  Brazilbasket say Morro no play, Morro no good.”  I say “Noooooo.  No say that.”  He replies “Yes!  Nene?  NBA.  Vinicius?  NBA.  Barboza?  NBA.  Morro?  The laugh at Morro!”  I couldn’t help but laugh too.  I mean that was hella funny.  In the end, he switched teams and it worked out just fine for the guy.   

Taking Morro’s place on our roster is a guy by the name of Jerome Beasely.  Jerome used to play for the Wizards, right before I got here.  I specifically remember him posterizing Brad Buckman while I was still in Austin.  Well he’s back.  I had no idea this guy was such a character.  He might even be more of a character than me.  The thing about Jerome is that he is all about wordplay.  Like today he says “You’re tired because you just need to be home, in your sanctuary.”  He takes pleasure from throwing out words like sanctuary.  Jerome also thinks he can do everything.  Like Renaldo is watching a Jet Li movie.  There are obviously many Jet Li moves that get OOhh’s and AAaah’s from a normal audience.  Jerome?  He says “Those are basic moves really.  He isn’t doing anything really advanced.  Although later in the movie he will do some more uncommon moves that I will be able to complete soon.”  Huh?  What?  Did you just call Jet Li’s upside down Chinese flying movie bicycle kick a common move?  I could only imagine his 6’10” 270 lb. self trying to do a round house kick against Jet Li.  But Jerome says he is a first degree blackbelt and that one day he will reach the 8th degree.  It was when he said that that people started to look at him crazy.  Actually, I guess it was just me, because everyone else says “That’s just J.B.”  Well I didn’t know all that.  Someone said to him “You are just a man of many talents, huh?”  He replied “Yea, well actually there are only two or three things I can’t do.”  I said “Hold up, hold up.  You mean like two or three out of all the things in the world that can be done?  Like everything, only 2 or 3 can’t be completed by J.B.?”  “That’s exactly right, I can do about everything in the world except 2-3 things,” he replies.  This really bothers me for some reason.  Not in an angry way, but like a O.K. he can’t be serious kind of way.  So I sit back and make a list of things I KNOW he can’t do.  I text it to him: 

Things u probly cant do 

1.  Tight rope walk 

2.  Hit a Barry Zito curve 

3.  Surf a wave 

4.  Recite Pi to 50 places 

5.  Define Hypotenuse 

6.  Compete in the worlds strongest man 

7.  Start a fire in the woods w/o matches or lighter 

I tried to incorporate things from all areas of life, just to shut him down.  To my surprise I got this back: 

I can do all of them. 

What?  Who are you guy?  You can’t possible believe that!  So I see him a few minutes later and I say to him “There’s no way you can tightrope walk.”  He says “It’s all about balance and focus.”  I say “And you can do the strongman competition?”  “All you said was can I compete, yea I can compete.”  Interesting.  I let it go for a while because I realize that he is not all about believing that he can do these things, but that he is about saying the right things to where you can’t prove him wrong.  I later say “You can’t swim the english channel.”  He says “If you give me enough time.”  See all he is looking for in a verbal out.  I get it.  But I did get him to admit that he couldn’t say Pi to 50 places, but even that was a struggle:  “SO what is Pi, to 50 places?”  “Well you need to give me the time to think about it,” he says.  I say “If you know it you know it, only geniuses can do something like that.  I only know to four places.”  He, of course, replies “Well you do know what classifies a genius right?  See they say we only use 10% of our brain, so if you use 11% you’re a genius.”  I guess he wins again, for now.  But I would appreciate if you could suggest things that Beasley can’t do in the comments section.  I actually think he would get a kick out of saying how he could do them.  He actually is enjoying me writing this right now.

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The Madden Racist

As many of you may or may not have read, I like to play Madden NFL 2007.  Actually, that’s a hell of an understatement, I love Madden.  I love it like my child, or my wife.  In my last post about Madden, I made all of these things clear.  Now I would say that I am more in love than ever.  I want to renew my vows to Madden because it makes me feel so good on a daily basis.  Yea, I said it.  You may think I’m crazy now, but thats ok.  Im crazy in love… with my XBOX 360 and Madden. 

I was sitting in my living room on a snowy day 3 weeks ago, when it dawned on me to go get a 360 so I could play Madden.  So I did.  It didnt take long before I realized that the 360 version is completely different than the PS2 one used to be, and that I would need time to adjust.  So I called my teammate over who claimed to be good and we played a game.  He actually beat me like 65-63.  I couldn’t believe I lost.  I hadnt lost a game since back in September 2006, weeks after the game came out.  I then decided to go online and join the Madden Nation.  Here I could test my skills, day in and day out, and prove to myself what kind of player I could be.  I have since beaten him 10 straight times.  He quit every one for fear of the score getting out of control. 

Game one, go time, no looking back, in there like swimwear.  I still didnt know the controls, but I didnt care.  Well, neither did the guy who was beating me 35-0 before I unplugged the cord from the box.  I read the manual and turned my box back on.  This time I was playing an 11 year old kid.  He got up 14-0 on me before saying “Wow, you’re 22 years old?  You suck.”  Bastard little kid, if only he knew my accolades on the PS2, if only he knew.  Well too bad for him that I came storming back to beat his 6th grade ass.  Oh yea, I was running my mouth the whole time too.  See in case you don’t know, you have a headset on when you play this game, meaning you can hear them, they can hear you.  So on my way back to victory I used my trash-talk skills.  I was like “Dont you have homework to do son?”  “Hey Jessica Simpson called, she says get proactive now before the pimples take over in two years.”  “I’m the school bully kid, time to take your beating!”  “Hey kid, dont ever speak to your elder with disrespect son.  I wont tolerate that kind of disrespect!”  Am I the bad guy here?  No.  This is online Madden, and all’s fair in love and Madden.  If he couldnt take the heat, he shouldve stayed out my kitchen runnin his mouth! 

Well since that game, I have gone 28-17.  I only challenge people with winning records, and my record isnt quite indicative of my ability because my internet cuts out sometimes and when it does, I lose automatically.  Im like a .750 winning percentage.  So I go into every game confident that I will win.  Well, I go into this game against a guy whos GAMERTAG is “FudgeOmaha”.  He’s the Cowboys, I’m the Chargers as usual.  He says “What’s up?” in a thick southern accent.  I say “What’s up?”  From then on he doesn’t say a word.  He jumps out to a 12-7 lead and then I run off 28 straight points.  The whole time Im singing various rap songs into the mic trying to get a reaction out of him because hey, trash talk is my job.  That’s when it took an unexpected turn.  As my boy Tomlinson runs in a 75 yard touchdown, I hear the guy fondle with his mic a little.  Then, no joke, he says “F*#k you, you f*43kin N-gger.”  I say “Wait, what did you say?  I don’t think I heard you right.”  He then repeats it: “I said F*#k you, you f*43kin N-gger.”  Now as a black man, there are only so many things you can do when a white guy calls you this, but when playing madden online there are even less.  I dont know this guy, he could be anywhere.  I could report his GAMERTAG in which case he would just get another one, I could get all worked up for no reason, or I could turn my box off and lose the game.  Well if you know me, you know that I don’t follow those kinds of rules.  I came right back at him.  “Hey whoa whoa whoa, don’t tell me you’re a racist?  Oh man this is just too good.  It gets better and better!”  He seemed a little surprised that I would say that so he said “Shut up!”  I was like “Hey hey hey, man where are you from?”  “Why the F*#k would I tell you, N-gger?”, he replied.  “Well,” I said, “where I’m from, guys like you are few and far between.  You wouldn’t like it there.  Too many (in a southern accent) damn liberals!”  He doesn’t reply.  Right then he runs back my kickoff for a touchdown.  You know how announcers will say things like “He’s at the 30, the 20, the 10… Touchdown!”?  Well he kinda did the same thing except it was “F*#k you N-gger, F*#k you N-gger, F*#k you N-gger… Touchdown!”  I swear to you this is what he says.  Im sure he wants me to start insulting white people or something, but I refuse.  My next possession I am just annoying the hell out of this guy.  As I’m marching down the field for my next score I, in the thickest accent I can conjure, say things like “Hey hey hey, why would you control DeMarcus Ware?  He’s black!  Wait hey hey hey!  Now you wanna use him to sack my white quarterback!?  What the hell is wrong with you?  Can I report you to the KKK?  You seem like a N-gger lover to me!  Do you have some sort of bumper sticker that says ‘How’s my Racism?  Call 1-800-LOVE KKK’?  No?  Well look, just sub in your white guys so we can have a racial battle.”  I swear this got to him so bad it was unbelievable.  All he was saying was “Shut up, shut the F*#k up!”  over and over again.  But I didn’t shut up, this was Madden.  I was winning 45-19 at this point and there were still 6 minutes left.  “So were you born racist or did you become it?  I seriously want to know.  Did your dad beat you into racism?  Was it like a class in school that was mandatory?  Do you include other races in your hatred or just blacks?”  He wont answer any of the questions because I’m just running them off a mile a minute.  Im doing my best to get under his skin and it’s working.  As the game comes to an end, I say to him “So let’s review what we learned today, shall we?  We learned that YOU are stupid, ignorant, and slow.  We learned that YOU suck at Madden.  We learned that you have no pride and are a loser.  We also learned that I am smarter than you, which really sucks because I’m black, so don’t lose sleep over it, it happens.  We learned that I completely dominated you in Madden all while out witting you and proving myself to be much more assertive and a better trash talker than you.  We learned that white supremacy can’t possibly mean athletically because you only used black players, you hypocrite, and it cant mean academically because you are one stupid summabitch.  So, I’ll ask you again… What have we learned?”   

Absolutely beautiful right?  I feel like the damage I did to him verbally is much worse than any reporting of his GAMERTAG would have been.   Well as soon as I exit the game, I get a friend request from “FudgeOmaha”.  Word?  You really wanna play me again, son?  I accepted it because he obviously wanted a rematch.  Next time I was online, he was also online and he sent me a message that said “Rematch.”  Sure, why not beat the brakes off him once again for all my people.  This time wasnt as fun because he didnt have his headset in.  I beat him 65-0.  After the game he sent me a message that said, and I am not changing it for censorship purposes: “N1553R.”  It took me a second to realize what it meant, but when it hit me I sent him back “Hey it’s too bad you wont play me anymore, I had a lot more lessons to teach you, son.”  Two days later he sent “God bless you.”  Word?  Trying to flip the script at this stage in the game?  Not even worth a reply.  What would you do in my situation?  Am I wrong for comin at him with his own material? 

Anyways, I will keep you updated on him, along with my other madden exploits that are worth mentioning.  Until then..

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Fast Times in North and South Dakota

It’s been a pretty uneventful couple of weeks since I last had anything worth saying, but I guess there have been enough developments to finally let everyone know how I’m livin.   

Last time I wrote about Bismarck, I complained that it was way too cold, and snowy, and that the only girls I could find were fat and smoky.  Well, things havent changed too much, but I’ll tell you what, it was 20 below back then and it’s 30 above now which feels like 80.  I haven’t worn my gloves in weeks, and my jacket is currently more of an accessory than something to keep me warm. I know what you’re thinkin: “Hey, it’s only 30, you do need a jacket at all times.”  I beg to differ, sweaters do the trick just fine right now, so I can’t complain about the cold too much.  However it’s still cold enough for ice to be everywhere on the ground, meaning that if you take one false step, your ass is liable to end up back flipping onto your neck.  I take little baby steps all the time to avoid the career ending injury that I’m sure is waiting for me.   

I must say I’ve adjusted to the night life.  That first night I went to Buck’s was somewhat of an anomaly, although not totally.  I haven’t seen any fat girls wildly dancing on the floor or screaming “Let hip-hop Live!”  I certainly haven’t had any fight over me.  I’ve learned two things since I last wrote about Buck’s.   

First, there are quite a few non-smoky fat girls, they just tend to avoid Buck’s for the most part, but you can still find some there.  My coach, along with some of my blog readers, suggested a couple other places for me to go.  He especially knows that I like a more professional scene and led me accordingly.  As for Bucks, I guess that the girls who had hit on me before were acting on prior experience.  Yea, I mean like they have definitely messed around with some Wizards in the past.  I guess score for them and boo for whatever former or current wizard who went for the WWE tag team.  I mean I bet those girls feel like it’s playing a lottery that they’ve actually won a few times.  Proposition a Wizard, have a great night, and go to Denny’s in the morning for a Lumberjack Slam.  It’s actually like the same four girls who are all ready like spaghetti and I see them there every time.  Im actually kind of friends with them now.  By this point they know that I like to go there and dance and have a good time without their company later on, so it’s all good.   

Secondly, I think every single state except for California allows smoking in bars, so it’s pretty much just a situation you have to deal with if you leave.  It aint just a North Dakota thing.   

All that being said, I have had some good times, bad times, and downright weird times out here the past few weeks.  For starters, one night when Matteen Cleaves was in town, we went to a place called “Stadium” sports bar.  Now I must say I had a terrible time, mostly because I was so tired from the game, and partly because there were only about 15 people there.  There were some good looking people, but I was way too tired to talk to any of them, I was ready to leave 10 minutes after we got there.  One person who was definitely not afraid to say a coddamn word was a woman I had never met before.  She was actually a very nice woman, but still provided some some strange events that night.   She’s 6’3”, 275-300 lbs.  I kid you not this is her size.  As soon as I walk in, Corey Williams says to me “Hey Rod, ask her to give you the hug.”  She then says “Oh you want the hug?”  I look at her from head to toe then I look at Corey the same way you would look at Steve Irwin if he asked you if you wanted to hunt crocodiles.  I say to Corey: “THE hug doesn’t sound good.  If it was A hug that’s one thing, but THE hug sounds like it’s a little too much.”  Right then she just grabs me and picks me up about 5 feet in the air in the middle of the bar.  My body is so long that I swear my limbs must have knocked over a couple drinks and smacked someone in the face.  I don’t get embarrassed easily, but right then I was about as flush as a black guy could be.  She finally set me down and I went about my business as if nothing happened.  I guess nobody else in the place seemed to care, maybe this was her gimmick and she was the main attraction at the bar.  Anyways, she did the exact same thing to Matteen.  This guy, no joke, screams out like a 13-year-old girl at a scary movie.  He bobbled his drink and everything he was so scared.  It was funny because she got him from behind.  It wasn’t long before she had picked up everyone.  Yes, everyone, including 285 lb. center Kevin Lyde who was helpless to fight back.  The only surprise was Darius Rice.  This kid is lighter than me, yet, when she tried to pick him up, he locked his legs in some weird sumo stance, and picked HER up.  They were almost wrestling it looked so awkward.  What you see in that picture is her basically refusing to let Corey do anything but talk to her.   Every time Corey tried to get up, she sat his ass right back down.  When I left she still had him locked up on the stools.   

So after that night I decided to cross Stadium Sports Bar off my list of potential new spots.  What came next was a road trip to Sioux Falls.  The day before we left “The Biz” as I’m calling it now, one of my closer friends on the team, Curtis Stinson, was released.  I guess that’s how it goes.  A few of us went to Buck’s to show him one last good time.  We stayed at Buck’s until closing time (not without dancing for 2 hours straight first) then headed back to the apartments to play monopoly until 3 am.  Bright idea I know.  Well, we had to get up at 6am for a flight to Sioux Falls, but my retarded self forgot to pack the night before.  So I had to pack in the morning running on empty – an event I don’t even really remember.  The whole pack job is a complete blur in my mind.  When we got to the airport I noticed that everyone else had big bags with them.  I had two backpacks — hmm first sign that I didn’t do it right.  I say to Kevin Lyde: “Hey, Kevin, how many days is this trip?” “Four,” he replies.  Oh snap there couldn’t be FOUR DAYS WORTH of essentials in my backpack, no way.  I open up my bag and look inside.  Ok, there’s one collard shirt, one pair of jeans, a pair of sweats and a jacket.  NO WAY I didn’t pack ANYTHING else.  No Underwear.  No Socks.  No toothpaste.  No deodorant.  No Phone charger.  Obviously it was the best packing job of all time.  If it weren’t for the fact that our flight was cancelled due to a big time blizzard, I would have ended up in Tulsa smelling like burnt hair and Tabasco.  Lucky for me our trip was cut short and I was able to return to The Biz for a fresh set of clothes.   

Since we didn’t go to Tulsa like we were supposed to, we ended up going to Buck’s again, but not the Buck’s I know.  Turns out there is also a Bucks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Who knows how many of these places exist out there?  I certainly did not know this place was a coddamn chain, that’s for sure.  Anyways, when we got there, for some reason, I was really feelin it.  I must be turning real North Dakota these days, but I was having a good time and at the same time thinking “Mann our Buck’s is way better.”  That’s right, OUR Buck’s.  Us North Dakotan’s haha.  So I’m in this place and they don’t play one rap song the whole time, the closest they get is “Fergilicious”.  For some reason I am not bothered.  I’m kind of feelin the country.  There are the old favorites “What hurts the most”, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”, and “We’re Comin to Your City”.  It’s safe to say that I know the words to these songs right now and if I’m really feelin myself, you might catch me singing them like everyone else there.  But this night there were new songs.  I’m talkin to my teammates and I hear “Billy’s got his beer goggles on!”  I kind of perk up.  No way is there a beer goggle song, no way.  But oh yes, it is true and I love it.  I start listening to the words: 

    Awww Yah! 

    Billy’s at the bar, he’s been there all night 

    First ten beers he’s had, since her goodbye 

    HEY! HEY! 

    She left him broke, in his new truck 

    He don’t smoke, but he lights one up 

    Temporary fix, for his heartache 

    He’s hurting bad, but he’s feeling great 

    He’s on the dance floor yelling Freebird 

    Singing off pitch but he knows every word 

    Grabs him a girl and he holds on tight 

    He’s chasing everything in sight 

    He’ll fall apart when he gets home 

    But right now his worries are gone 

    Life looks good, good, good 

    Billy’s got his beer goggles on 

    Hey! 

Could there be a better song ever in the history of songs?  No, I can’t C-Walk to this nonsense, but I tell ya what, I don’t  know a guy who can’t relate.  Hooray for you, Country Music, hooray.  So now I’m alertly listening to every word of every song and they are all appealing to me for some reason.  “I play chicken with the train” catches my ear. 

hugg a lugga [3x], 

Who? The big black neck commin’ through to you boy you done fell and bumped you head uh huh, 

That’s what they said, 

People say it’s impossible, not probable, too radical, 

But I already been on the CMA’s, 

Hell Tim McGraw said he liked the change, 

That he likes the way my Hick-hop sounds and the way the crowd screams when I stomp the ground, 

Now, big and black, clickty clack and I make the train jump the track like that 

I dont know what any of that means.  I don’t know what CMA’s are nor do I know one Tim McGraw song, but I’ll tell you what, it made me wanna play chicken with some trains.  It’s pretty safe to say I had a great time that night.  I guess I must’ve bought into the lifestyle somewhere along the way.   

Back at Buck’s in North Dakota a week later, I was having a good time once again.  This time they were playing all the hip hop hits so Renaldo, Corey, Chris, and I had a dance off.  Renaldo started it off with a head bobblin, leg wigglin thing that was very “first round”.  He was obviously saving his better material for latter rounds.  Corey comes out and does the same.  Chris hits us with a little tootsie roll action.  Hands on knees swaying back and forth, a very solid first round effort.  I want all the marbles right away, I wanna end this thing in round one.  I do my patented “Baseball” dance.  I bring the bat back and get into my stance at the plate (all to the beat of the song mind you).  I look the invisible pitcher straight in the eye, as if to say “bring it.”  The invisible pitch comes and I swing my bat to the rhythm of the song, and connect with the ball.  I put my hand over my forehead to shield my eyes from the sun and watch the ball go over the fence.  I trot the bases (still in rhythm) in place and jump up to stomp home plate.  I feel like this is game over for this dance contest.  Right then Renaldo starts round two with his “football” dance.  He gets low beneath the center and takes the snap.  He does a 3 step drop and surveys the defense.  He pump fakes left, then shifts his feet and throws right.  Right then I see Corey running a coddamn post route through the other dancers.  He catches the pass and spikes the ball.  Renaldo does he own touchdown dance.  Chris’ turn.  Chris gauges his reel, then casts his bait far into the lake.  It looks like he’s caught something.  His “fishing” dance looks solid.  He reels in his catch, right on beat, and displays his prize catch.  Although I only did one dance, I felt as though this competition was over because I couldn’t think of another good sport to dance to.  Renaldo claims that he is the champion, but I disagree because he took the sports theme from me and if Corey hadn’t gone long, it would have just been average.  It was a solo competition, not a tandem dance off.  Just another night out in Bismarck.  I think I’ll go to “Bistro” tonight, which is one of my coaches recommended spots.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll engage in a great conversation about how, now that the snow has melted, I realize that there was grass underneath all along.  It could happen. 

Last time I wrote about Bismarck, I complained that it was way too cold, and snowy, and that the only girls I could find were fat and smoky.  Well, things havent changed too much, but I’ll tell you what, it was 20 below back then and it’s 30 above now which feels like 80.  I haven’t worn my gloves in weeks, and my jacket is currently more of an accessory than something to keep me warm. I know what you’re thinkin: “Hey, it’s only 30, you do need a jacket at all times.”  I beg to differ, sweaters do the trick just fine right now, so I can’t complain about the cold too much.  However it’s still cold enough for ice to be everywhere on the ground, meaning that if you take one false step, your ass is liable to end up back flipping onto your neck.  I take little baby steps all the time to avoid the career ending injury that I’m sure is waiting for me.   

I must say I’ve adjusted to the night life.  That first night I went to Buck’s was somewhat of an anomaly, although not totally.  I haven’t seen any fat girls wildly dancing on the floor or screaming “Let hip-hop Live!”  I certainly haven’t had any fight over me.  I’ve learned two things since I last wrote about Buck’s.   

First, there are quite a few non-smoky fat girls, they just tend to avoid Buck’s for the most part, but you can still find some there.  My coach, along with some of my blog readers, suggested a couple other places for me to go.  He especially knows that I like a more professional scene and led me accordingly.  As for Bucks, I guess that the girls who had hit on me before were acting on prior experience.  Yea, I mean like they have definitely messed around with some Wizards in the past.  I guess score for them and boo for whatever former or current wizard who went for the WWE tag team.  I mean I bet those girls feel like it’s playing a lottery that they’ve actually won a few times.  Proposition a Wizard, have a great night, and go to Denny’s in the morning for a Lumberjack Slam.  It’s actually like the same four girls who are all ready like spaghetti and I see them there every time.  Im actually kind of friends with them now.  By this point they know that I like to go there and dance and have a good time without their company later on, so it’s all good.   

Secondly, I think every single state except for California allows smoking in bars, so it’s pretty much just a situation you have to deal with if you leave.  It aint just a North Dakota thing.   

All that being said, I have had some good times, bad times, and downright weird times out here the past few weeks.  For starters, one night when Matteen Cleaves was in town, we went to a place called “Stadium” sports bar.  Now I must say I had a terrible time, mostly because I was so tired from the game, and partly because there were only about 15 people there.  There were some good looking people, but I was way too tired to talk to any of them, I was ready to leave 10 minutes after we got there.  One person who was definitely not afraid to say a coddamn word was a woman I had never met before.  She was actually a very nice woman, but still provided some some strange events that night.   She’s 6’3”, 275-300 lbs.  I kid you not this is her size.  As soon as I walk in, Corey Williams says to me “Hey Rod, ask her to give you the hug.”  She then says “Oh you want the hug?”  I look at her from head to toe then I look at Corey the same way you would look at Steve Irwin if he asked you if you wanted to hunt crocodiles.  I say to Corey: “THE hug doesn’t sound good.  If it was A hug that’s one thing, but THE hug sounds like it’s a little too much.”  Right then she just grabs me and picks me up about 5 feet in the air in the middle of the bar.  My body is so long that I swear my limbs must have knocked over a couple drinks and smacked someone in the face.  I don’t get embarrassed easily, but right then I was about as flush as a black guy could be.  She finally set me down and I went about my business as if nothing happened.  I guess nobody else in the place seemed to care, maybe this was her gimmick and she was the main attraction at the bar.  Anyways, she did the exact same thing to Matteen.  This guy, no joke, screams out like a 13-year-old girl at a scary movie.  He bobbled his drink and everything he was so scared.  It was funny because she got him from behind.  It wasn’t long before she had picked up everyone.  Yes, everyone, including 285 lb. center Kevin Lyde who was helpless to fight back.  The only surprise was Darius Rice.  This kid is lighter than me, yet, when she tried to pick him up, he locked his legs in some weird sumo stance, and picked HER up.  They were almost wrestling it looked so awkward.  What you see in that picture is her basically refusing to let Corey do anything but talk to her.   Every time Corey tried to get up, she sat his ass right back down.  When I left she still had him locked up on the stools.   

So after that night I decided to cross Stadium Sports Bar off my list of potential new spots.  What came next was a road trip to Sioux Falls.  The day before we left “The Biz” as I’m calling it now, one of my closer friends on the team, Curtis Stinson, was released.  I guess that’s how it goes.  A few of us went to Buck’s to show him one last good time.  We stayed at Buck’s until closing time (not without dancing for 2 hours straight first) then headed back to the apartments to play monopoly until 3 am.  Bright idea I know.  Well, we had to get up at 6am for a flight to Sioux Falls, but my retarded self forgot to pack the night before.  So I had to pack in the morning running on empty – an event I don’t even really remember.  The whole pack job is a complete blur in my mind.  When we got to the airport I noticed that everyone else had big bags with them.  I had two backpacks — hmm first sign that I didn’t do it right.  I say to Kevin Lyde: “Hey, Kevin, how many days is this trip?” “Four,” he replies.  Oh snap there couldn’t be FOUR DAYS WORTH of essentials in my backpack, no way.  I open up my bag and look inside.  Ok, there’s one collard shirt, one pair of jeans, a pair of sweats and a jacket.  NO WAY I didn’t pack ANYTHING else.  No Underwear.  No Socks.  No toothpaste.  No deodorant.  No Phone charger.  Obviously it was the best packing job of all time.  If it weren’t for the fact that our flight was cancelled due to a big time blizzard, I would have ended up in Tulsa smelling like burnt hair and Tabasco.  Lucky for me our trip was cut short and I was able to return to The Biz for a fresh set of clothes.   

Since we didn’t go to Tulsa like we were supposed to, we ended up going to Buck’s again, but not the Buck’s I know.  Turns out there is also a Bucks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Who knows how many of these places exist out there?  I certainly did not know this place was a coddamn chain, that’s for sure.  Anyways, when we got there, for some reason, I was really feelin it.  I must be turning real North Dakota these days, but I was having a good time and at the same time thinking “Mann our Buck’s is way better.”  That’s right, OUR Buck’s.  Us North Dakotan’s haha.  So I’m in this place and they don’t play one rap song the whole time, the closest they get is “Fergilicious”.  For some reason I am not bothered.  I’m kind of feelin the country.  There are the old favorites “What hurts the most”, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”, and “We’re Comin to Your City”.  It’s safe to say that I know the words to these songs right now and if I’m really feelin myself, you might catch me singing them like everyone else there.  But this night there were new songs.  I’m talkin to my teammates and I hear “Billy’s got his beer goggles on!”  I kind of perk up.  No way is there a beer goggle song, no way.  But oh yes, it is true and I love it.  I start listening to the words: 

    Awww Yah! 

    Billy’s at the bar, he’s been there all night 

    First ten beers he’s had, since her goodbye 

    HEY! HEY! 

    She left him broke, in his new truck 

    He don’t smoke, but he lights one up 

    Temporary fix, for his heartache 

    He’s hurting bad, but he’s feeling great 

    He’s on the dance floor yelling Freebird 

    Singing off pitch but he knows every word 

    Grabs him a girl and he holds on tight 

    He’s chasing everything in sight 

    He’ll fall apart when he gets home 

    But right now his worries are gone 

    Life looks good, good, good 

    Billy’s got his beer goggles on 

    Hey! 

Could there be a better song ever in the history of songs?  No, I can’t C-Walk to this nonsense, but I tell ya what, I don’t  know a guy who can’t relate.  Hooray for you, Country Music, hooray.  So now I’m alertly listening to every word of every song and they are all appealing to me for some reason.  “I play chicken with the train” catches my ear. 

hugg a lugga [3x], 

Who? The big black neck commin’ through to you boy you done fell and bumped you head uh huh, 

That’s what they said, 

People say it’s impossible, not probable, too radical, 

But I already been on the CMA’s, 

Hell Tim McGraw said he liked the change, 

That he likes the way my Hick-hop sounds and the way the crowd screams when I stomp the ground, 

Now, big and black, clickty clack and I make the train jump the track like that 

I dont know what any of that means.  I don’t know what CMA’s are nor do I know one Tim McGraw song, but I’ll tell you what, it made me wanna play chicken with some trains.  It’s pretty safe to say I had a great time that night.  I guess I must’ve bought into the lifestyle somewhere along the way.   

Back at Buck’s in North Dakota a week later, I was having a good time once again.  This time they were playing all the hip hop hits so Renaldo, Corey, Chris, and I had a dance off.  Renaldo started it off with a head bobblin, leg wigglin thing that was very “first round”.  He was obviously saving his better material for latter rounds.  Corey comes out and does the same.  Chris hits us with a little tootsie roll action.  Hands on knees swaying back and forth, a very solid first round effort.  I want all the marbles right away, I wanna end this thing in round one.  I do my patented “Baseball” dance.  I bring the bat back and get into my stance at the plate (all to the beat of the song mind you).  I look the invisible pitcher straight in the eye, as if to say “bring it.”  The invisible pitch comes and I swing my bat to the rhythm of the song, and connect with the ball.  I put my hand over my forehead to shield my eyes from the sun and watch the ball go over the fence.  I trot the bases (still in rhythm) in place and jump up to stomp home plate.  I feel like this is game over for this dance contest.  Right then Renaldo starts round two with his “football” dance.  He gets low beneath the center and takes the snap.  He does a 3 step drop and surveys the defense.  He pump fakes left, then shifts his feet and throws right.  Right then I see Corey running a coddamn post route through the other dancers.  He catches the pass and spikes the ball.  Renaldo does he own touchdown dance.  Chris’ turn.  Chris gauges his reel, then casts his bait far into the lake.  It looks like he’s caught something.  His “fishing” dance looks solid.  He reels in his catch, right on beat, and displays his prize catch.  Although I only did one dance, I felt as though this competition was over because I couldn’t think of another good sport to dance to.  Renaldo claims that he is the champion, but I disagree because he took the sports theme from me and if Corey hadn’t gone long, it would have just been average.  It was a solo competition, not a tandem dance off.  Just another night out in Bismarck.  I think I’ll go to “Bistro” tonight, which is one of my coaches recommended spots.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll engage in a great conversation about how, now that the snow has melted, I realize that there was grass underneath all along.  It could happen.

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Hollywood

It really feels good to be back in California right now.  It’s 66 degrees (I used to think that was a little cold), there are beautiful women, and there are things to do…a lot of things.  We got in on Friday to play the Anaheim Arsenal on Saturday so it was pretty much official that I’d have to go out friday night to have any chance of offsetting the weeks of boredom spent in Bismarck.  Seriously, I honestly, really, spent Tuesday – Friday sitting at the dining room table, eating Hamburger Helper (lasagna flavor of course), wearing nothing but boxers and a comforter, hitting “refresh” on my myspace home page.  If that doesn’t sound lame to you, I don’t know what does, but I digress.  Everyone was going out and taking advantage of the change of scenery.  I had my whole entourage in town so I went out with them.  To be more specific, there was Rell, JGANT, Renee, Christina, Alex, Mario, and Becca. 

  

Some interesting notes about our night at the club: 

Rell: 

My boy Rell is a real lightweight when it comes to his drinks.   He makes these faces every time he consumes alcohol like his appendix just burst because he can’t stand the taste.  He will literally take a shot, wait ten seconds, and then say “mann, Im kinda feelin it.”  Anyways, before we left for “AREA”, I had filled up my cup from In ‘N Out with 3/4 Vodka and 1/4 Coke, but didn’t tell anyone.  I pressured Rell into taking a shot even though he wanted to wait a little bit.  No joke, I poured him a triple shot, maybe a quadruple and basically just harassed him into taking it.  His only request was that I give him a chaser.  “I have some Coke,” I said.  He grabs the “Coke” and sets it on the counter next to him.  I count down “3, 2, 1!”  He takes the super shot kinda slowly because he knows how much it is, then lunges for the “Coke” and throws it down his throat like Napoleon Dynamite drinks his Gatorade after practicing dance moves.  I swear it was one of the funniest moments of all time as his mind tells him that the shot has been chased, but his throat and mouth ring like there’s a three alarm fire in his asophogous.  He basically runs around the kitchen screaming for a real chaser.  He yells at Mario “What’s in here?!”  Mario says “Lemonade.”  Rell yanks Mario’s cup from his hands and begins to chug, “—and vodka.”  Mario says.  Rell flips out because he has probably just swallowed about 8 shots in 12 seconds.  He runs to the sink and spits out whatever is left in hist mouth as the rest of us in the kitchen are just laughing at the top of our lungs.  Here’s Rell snatching some real orange juice from Alex’s hands: 

It’s blurry because I was laughing so hard, but you can basically see the look on his face — so much pain and shame in those eyes.  As you could guess, that drink melee really got to him.  How bad did it get to him?  Take a look: 

As you can see, he’s not in this photo.  That’s not important here is that I don’t know this girl.  In fact, the only reason I have this photo is because as soon as I walked into club AREA, no joke, this girl walked right up to me and asked “Are you famous?” and wanted to take a pic with me (Hollywood, what a place).  But anyways Rell, literally kicked this girl in the head…twice.  He said he was trying to see if he could kick his leg over her head.  He was unsuccessful so he tried again.  I stood there and watched his foot kind of bobble between her neck and shoulder and she screamed in disgust.  But he didn’t stop there, no, this is “One Shot Rell.”  8 shots take it a little further: 

Yea, that’s him alright.  Shirt up, pants down.  I question myself as to why I took this photo, but then I remember that I took it for you.  In his defense, this used to be our signature move.  We would take our pants down for a song or two back at Berkeley house parties.  But now, at a big time club, in our grown man gear?  No way was I even thinking about it.   

You can see all the wacky photos from the night in the Photo section. 

So I had a great time that night but I had to get to work the next day as we had a game.  Oh yea I only grabbed 21 rebounds on em holla at ur boy!  Wow It must have been all the beautiful women and warm weather or somethin because I havent gotten that many boards since high school.  It was also cool because about 15 people came to watch me play.  It’s always nice to have friends and family come out and support me. 

I mentioned it earlier, but I need to revisit the “Are you famous?” line.  Hollywood is pretty much the only place where a question like this could really be asked.  Yea, she got kicked in the head later that night, but still she could ask it.  It’s because in Hollywood there are two types of people: people who are somebody and people who pretend to be somebody.  Either way, someone like me is a lot better physically equipped to handle such situations being that I’m 6’10”.  In a club like “AREA”, there are always big time people doing big time things.  It basically costs you $1000 just to sit down at a table so you if you see someone sitting, expect that they are big time (or just fronting and going broke until the 15th of the month). 

In Hollywood you tend to see a lot of interesting things.  Like imagine you’re on the freeway, half asleep, and you see a Chevy Aveo pass you by.  In North Dakota I wouldn’t even think twice because Aveo’s are some of the lamest cars ever made, especially since the only way I would fit inside of one would be to remove the drivers seat and drive from the back seat.  But in Hollywood, the land of people who do too much, you might look twice at this Aveo:  

Yea, in case you can’t see it right or you think you’re trippin, that really does read “Da Baddest Bitch” right there on the back of the car.  It really reminds me of a bad myspace display name.  This is the exact type of girl who will one day see my page and message me with “u lukk gud git wit the da baddest b holla bakk” or something retarded like that.  She basically just publicly identified herself not only as “da baddest bitch,” but also as a walking billboard for the new book “How to Look Like a Dummy — for Dummies.” 

Well despite the lack of common sense amongst some people, I still love my SoCal.  I can’t wait to come back down here in April after my season’s over.  Thanks to all those who came out and watched me (Renee, Alex, Branden, Mario, JGant, Becca, Rell, Christina, Mom, Terrance, Keelon, Sjondron, THE Stacy D, and Tila).  You guys just remember that when I go back to Bismarck and I’m refreshing my Myspace and lowering the temperate from “Boiling” to a low “Simmer” as directed by my hamburger helper box, that you are in my thoughts.

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Bismarck, North Dakota (Originally Published Jan 22, 2007)

As you know, or dont know, I live in Bismarck.  I just got off the phone with my boy Future who didnt know I was here yet.  When I told him I was out here he said “Mann I dont even know what to say to that.  It’s like you just told me you moved out to the moon or something.”  I can understand his sentiments because I feel like I moved to the moon.  It’s a crazy lifestyle to just up and go from Austin, to LA, to Bismarck in a matter of 7 days, but I did it.  Anyways, Im gonna lay a few things out there so you get a good idea of what “the moon” is really like: 

1.  Its cold.  When I got in everyone was like “youre gonna freeze man, you dont have a jacket?”  And I would always answer “No, I dont have a jacket, but Ill only be outside for a few seconds anyways so it really doesnt matter.  WRONG.  No, I wasnt wrong about the few seconds part, but even in a few seconds, the coldness can just overtake you.  I left LA and it was 82 degrees.  When I got into Bismarck it was 14 below zero.  Thats a 96 degree difference right there.  Every breath I take out here my lungs feel like a rusty bike chain….STRUGGLIN!  I had to walk to Carl’s JR.  It started out as a walk, but I was soon jogging so that I wouldnt get stuck in place.  When I was coming back my hand froze itself to the cup of my sprite.  There were 6 consecutive days of 20 under or colder.  Yesterday it was 1.  If that didnt make any sense to you it’s probably because you arent used to seeing 1 written as a temperature.  It was 1 degree yesterday.  And to be honest it felt soo0o0o warm outside.  I felt like I was baked into an apple pie…warm and toasty out on the counter top and it was really only 1 outside.  I invested in a new coat and a pari of gloves.  Those two things, right now, are worth more to me than a baby is to Britney Spears.  Anyways, I just wanted to reiterate that it’s cold.  Oh, and they make me pump the gas cuz Im a rookie and the gloves make me cry tears of joy now. 

2.  Everything is real, real dirty.  This is because there is so much snow.  If this doesnt make sense to you, it didnt to me either.  I guess when it snows, most cities that get alot of snow will immediately put salt on the roads to make sure that the cars can drive without sliding all over the place.  Here, in Bismarck, they dont put salt on the snow, they put ground up coal from a local mine on the snow.  This means that dirt is everywhere.  The cars all look disgusting because of all the dirt that gets on them.  The white snow looks like giant piles of dirt on the side of the road.  It makes things look real ugly. 

3.  There is nothing to do here.  Seriously.  Ive said that before but I dont think I ever truly meant it from my heart like I do now.  Ive asked about 15 people “what is there to do here?”  And theyve all answered “nothing.”  I made an oath with myself that I would discover what there is to do here – daytime, night time, whatever.  Here is what Ive discovered after nearly 2 weeks here. 

     In the daytime there is a mall.  The mall is really, really bootleg though.  I was over here trying to upgrade my wardrobe (dress code) so Im lookin for Macy’s or Nordstrom mann even a Dillards or somethin.  Theyve got some place called “Herberger’s.”  When the guy told me that the only place to buy nice clothes was called Herbergers I tried to crack a little joke I said “Oh is that better than HISberger’s?”  He was not amused.  What was also not amusing was the lack or selection in that bad boy…and nothin for tall people whatsoever.  There is a movie theatre…it has all the current movies.  Then, umm thats about it. 

    Night time?  Hmm well let me describe the nightlife to you.  There is one bar.  Those of you who know about Kip’s I want you to picture that.  Now, you’ve got Kips (or whatever little college bar you used to go to that had dancing too), now take away the fact that all of your friends are there, add about 50% country music (Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy, and What Hurts the Most get ALOT of airtime), add the fact that smoking is ALLOWED and not only that but also that EVERYBODY does it, and last but not least imagine it closed at 1230.  Thats our bar.  It’s called Buck’s and it is pretty much exactly how you are probably picturing it.  Now that may be your scene, but if you know me you know that thats not my style lil bebe.  Let me describe our Saturday night(Jan 20th) for you.  Im in dress code (as usual) real grown man fitted know what I mean and I walk into bucks.  They are charging $3 tonight because there is some lame band playing on one side of the building..its usually free.  I walk right towards the bar (to celebrate my 17 point, 9 rebound performance) and just begin to order.  There are drunken fat woman kind of lingering near me, but I really try to focus on my drinks and not throw out any signals.  One of the girls walks past me, then stops, and works her way back.  She taps me on the shoulder and shes blowing the hell out of her cigarette.  I turn the other way.  She says “Dont you want to talk to me?”  and I say “Naww, I dont want smoke to get into my blazer.”  She then throws this back at me “Well you are in a BAR, Idiot, get over it,” and she walks away.  Im now officially annoyed, but the alcohol is making forget about all that.  I eventually head out to the dance area, but Im not trying to dance like I usually do because Im real dressed up.  This one fat girl from last week who had asked me to dance sees me in the distance.  Last week I lied to her and told her I would dance later – later never came.  This week im trying to avoid her and just chill.  I swear it seems like I turn my head for a second and when I turn back shes got her ass on me trynna break me off.  I just start laughing because its really funny how she teleported fom the other size of a crowed room to right up on me undetected.  250 lbs of untrace-ability covers 50 feet in 2 seconds flat.  So she asks me “Whats so funny?”  and I reply “Nothing.”  So Im literally just standing there while she had me up against the stage doin too much.  Im laughin, my teammates are laughin, its just funny.  Then it takes an even funnier twist.  That first girl who called me an idiot has now gotten over it I guess cuz she walks past me and grabs my ass.  I pretend not to notice so she does it again.  I turn to her and shake my head…all of this is whilw the fat girl is still breakin me off.  SO another fat girl across the room walks over and whispers in my ear “Do you want me to save you?”  Im like forreal?  HaHaha how is that saving me?  Thats like wresting a grizzly bear instead of a rhino!  SO now the girl who is still breakin me off asks me “Did she say she was gonna save you?  Oh hell no!”  I answer “Naww, Im just chillin.”  Then all of about 15 seconds later, the “save me” girl comes up and grabs my hand and takes me away from girl one.  Now her and her fat friend have me in “the sandwich” but it might as well be called a philly cheesesteak with how much meat and cheese was all over me.  Im now just laughing my ass off…not dancing at all just moving away from the girls slowly.  I finally break away only to have to girl who called me an idiot catch up with me.  She complains that the place is too packed and says “Will you help me start a circle so we can do our dance moves?”  I quickly, sharply reply “No.”  She then asks my teammates the same question.  They of course dont know how crazy she is and agree.  Im tellin you man, she gets in the middle of this circle and starts going crazy.  She then drops on the floor is moving all over the place with no rythm.  The best way I could describe it would be….it’s like if you slipped on some ice and fell to the ground and then had a 10 minute long heart attack, an orgasm, and try to hold in a fart at the same time.   

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Thats her right after she got up off the floor….she would then go back down again…I had to get a photo of her.  The security guards came to take her away cuz I guess word spread about how crazy she was.  As they were dragging her away she starts screaming at the top of lungs “Help me save hip hop?!  Let hip hop live! Let hip hop live!”  If you think Im making this up you have no idea how serious I am.  She really said this.  So Im still laughing when this guy dancing on the stage all of a sudden falls off and lands on his back right on the dance floor…hard.  He then lays theres for like 45 seconds or so…Notice how people didnt notice him and proceeded to spill drinks on his drunk ass…. 

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That was just about my cue to leave.  That, and the fact that the bar closes at 12:30!  SO the only spot to go to at night closes its doors at 12:30 and now you go home and everyone on the west coast is just getting ready to head out.  Wow.  That’s Bismarck Nightlife right there.  In a nutshell…

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