Saturday, April 24, 2010

Selections from "the list of nicknames Chris Berman will almost certainly use when mentioning Seattle Seahawk 1st round pick Russell Okung"

Okung Fu fighting
Okung pao chicken
Iron Okung
Okunga din
Okung on Eileen
Okungry like the wolf
Okunger strike
Okung all ye faithful
Okunga Galunga
Okung and the restless
Okungry hungry hippo
Budapest, Okungary

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some random thoughts

  • What we need is something like craiglist, only without all the surprise trannies. That Craig's got some kooky friends.

  • Remember that conversation they had in Stand By Me about Goofy? I think it's time we have that same talk about Joakim Noah.

  • I can't be the only person who thought someone had hacked a website and added gobblygook nonsense as the top trending search phrase when I read that volcano name.

  • In the immortal words of the great Lloyd Dobler: Bavarian Dutch-style pretzels.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Once more with feeling

The last entry I wrote for this blog was when my grandma had a stroke; that was July 2008. Since then, predictably, a lot has changed. The main change is that I've moved from Seattle to New York.

I had imagined that when I last wrote that entry, it would be the final one for The Pope of Chilitown blog. I felt it had run its course, and if I ever came back to blogging I would just choose another blog title and start over. I even chose a few names, Simpsons-based just like The Pope of Chilitown: Some Magic Animal, and Quality Side.

So why resurrect this blog now, after almost two years? For an answer, I'll turn to another Simpsons' reference: I'm a lazy, lazy man.

So here I am. The main reason I'm trying to get blogging again is because I've been studying Web marketing, SEO, etc., for professional development, and having a blog is a good way to practice some things. I really need to build my own website, but... see above.

So we'll see. My old practice was to write epic posts every few weeks/months. Now, I'm going to try to post shorter entries, but more often. Some things I will almost certainly post about include sports, movies, television, music... random links and videos and maybe some books or something. We shall see.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

grandma bob

I'm not entirely sure how to approach this blog entry. The thing is, my grandma Wickman had a stroke last week and is in hospice now, resting with her family around her. Grandma Bob (as my brother and I dubbed her in order to differentiate between her and grandma Toby) was and continues to be one of the smartest people I've ever known and fiercely independent. We will miss her dearly, but I feel confident she is at peace with her life and I feel incredibly lucky to get to spend this time with her.
While this obviously been the encompassing aspect of my week, I'm not entirely sure how to approach it in this venue. I do want to give some sort of an update about my life, and this is my life right now. But so often this blog is (to put it mildly) irreverent.
One of the things I discovered this week is that more of my family reads the blog than I imagined. Aunts and uncles and whatnot. And I do tend to drop some f-bombs and douche-bombs. Even though I write this in the knowledge that my mom reads it, it's a bit disconcerting when other random people who I don't necessarily want to know the sordid details of my existence casually reference the blog. Like my aunt cracking a joke about my face kersplat.
That has been the most rewarding (if that's the right word) aspect of this entire experience. I can't remember the last time the entire family was together like this. A little background: this is my mom's mother, not my dad's (who I'm staying with). While my dad's mom has two children (my dad and my developmentally disabled aunt) and two grandchildren (me and Glenn), my mom's mom has 17 direct line descendents and most of them have been around for some period of time this past week. When I was young, we were all together a lot of the time. And the relative ages of everyone leads to a lot of interesting interactions. For example: my brother is as close in age to our youngest uncle as he is to me, and he is much older than any of the other grandkids.
Rather than lapse into the countless memories I've been rehashing this week, I just want to focus on what's been happening recently. Although the stroke was massive, grandma has retained her personality and ability to communicate. It's impossible to overstate how reassuring this has been. She was able to decide for herself that she wanted her feeding tube removed, and that she wanted to go to hospice instead of staying the hospital. She has been responsive when people visit, and retained her wry wit and whip smarts. She's mostly sleeping, of course, but just being able to tell her we love her and have her reply in kind is wonderful.
I'd also like to give a warm and sincere thank you to the Evergreen Hospital Hospice Center. It's a beautiful and peaceful place, with lots of wonderful and supportive people. I can't describe how much of a privilege it's been to be there with everyone.
I am doing alright, in general. Emotionally exhausted of course, and the days are running together. But I feel great peace between me and grandma, and am secure we've said what we need to say to each other. She is and will always be an inspiration.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Been trying to find the time to get a quick word out here, but I've just been crazy busy. Very content with the shape of the path, but it's a full schedule.
The biggest story is truly surreal: last Tuesday I went to a trivia night at a bar on Capitol Hill with a couple new friends; they set up this group that plans to visit and review every bar and club on Capitol Hill by the end of the summer. So this particular evening we're sitting there, rocking the trivia casbah, when Alex (instigator and blogger of the group) gets a phone call. Long story short; a friend of theirs works at Canlis (the fanciest restaurant in Seattle) and can get us into an impromptu, free jazz show... featuring Wynton Marsalis.
No really.
So we all jet to our respective homes, put on some nice threads, and meet back at Canlis at 11:30. At midnight Wynton Marsalis walks in with a good sized crew and they proceed to jam until 2:30am.
I had never been inside Canlis before. It looked like Hugh Hefner's study. Well, I've never been in Hugh Hefner's study before, either. But Canlis definitely had the 1960's pleasure lounge feel.
I would say more, but I mean... what else needs to be said? Definitely among the most surreal experiences of my life. Wynton was absolutely and predictably amazing. Perhaps oddest about the entire night: I can find no mention of this show anywhere on the Interwebs. Just that Wyn (we're on a monosyllabic basis now) canceled his show at Benaroya earlier in the night.
So that was Tuesday; here's what the rest of last week's schedule has looked like:
Monday: 2.5 hour yoga/meditation class. Meet a buddy in town for the night for a few drinks. In bed around 2am.
Tuesday: Hit the gym, hang out with some friends in Belltown, walk up Capitol Hill, trivia for a few hours, sprint around town in time to get to Canlis to see Wynton Freaking Marsalis. In bed around 3am.
Wednesday: Somatic movement class. Check out a bi-monthly ecstatic dance night in Interbay (more on this in a moment). In bed by midnight.
Thursday: Meet a buddy in town for the weekend and another good old friend. Go lawn bowling at Greenlake (they have an immaculately manicured lawn, really a treat). Have a late dinner (sunset at 10pm) before taking a bus up Capitol Hill to check out a dancehall reggae night at the War Room club. Cab home, go by the 24 hour doughnut shop, play board games and eat doughnuts until falling asleep on the couch around 4am watching 6 String Samurai. Still haven't seen that frickin' movie to the end.
Friday: Independence Day. More lawn bowling. Toss the Frisbee around. End up at a rooftop party in Belltown from which you can both the Forth of Julivar's and the Lake Union fireworks. As always, Lake Union show blows Forth of Juliver's out of the water. I kept expecting a full scale replica of Mount Rushmore to appear in red, white, and blue in the sky. Very impressive. Finish the night dancing to 80's music at a bar around the corner. End up retiring with a few people afterwards and, before you know it, in bed (again) at around 4am.
So there you have it. I am the type of person who is usually in bed by midnight. This has been an insane week. And yes, I did go to work this week, too. I think that's a valid excuse for the belated blog entry.
Just to return to the Wednesday night ecstatic dance event for a moment; I've been keeping my eyes out for a good ecstatic dance night since I returned to Seattle. I tried a few, but they involved people putting on CD compilations and charging you $10 to dance in the space. Totally fine, but really not what I'm looking for. The big thing, for me, is to have a live DJ laying down tracks. Someone who can interact with the energy in the room and change the flow of the music according to what kind of feedback they're getting. It's just not the same the have a pre-defined list of tracks.
(Quick note: the things that generally set apart what is called "ecstatic dance" from a normal club night are an earlier start and finish and a lack of a bar. The idea is to use the dance to achieve a sort of inebriation, to reach a different level of consciousness.)
So this night is exactly what I've been looking for. Decent DJs, and only $5.
Guess I'll just leave it at that for now. Hopefully things will settle down enough that I can get in another entry before too much time passes, but I wouldn't hold my breath. So until next time... Pope out!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bits and baubles

I found myself in the awkward position of getting annoyed at other drivers on the freeway yesterday while I was having a conversation using my Douchetooth headset. That's always been one of my rules: if you're driving while talking on the cellphone, you absolutely forfeit all your rights of indignation with other drivers. I don't care if someone crosses the center line and swerves back and forth across all the lanes of oncoming traffic waving a bottle of Jack Daniels out the window while doing rails of cocaine off a hooker's breasts. If you're on the phone, you can't complain.

The thing about the Douchetooth is that it's actually more dangerous to use while driving than just having the cell phone up to your ear. Studies have shown (and I've read them; I actually did a presentation in a class a few years back about how it should be illegal to talk on the phone while driving) that the dangerous thing about it isn't that your hand is engaged and blocking the view; it's that your mind is engaged and you don't do things like moving your eyes or turning your head. They call it the tunnel-vision effect. And the Douchetooth doesn't alleviate that effect; it just gives you a false sense of security. It's like driving an SUV; you think you're safer when you're really not, so you end up driving even less safely than you would have otherwise.

So yeah, that was me. Having a conversation on the phone and getting angry at the guy who cut to the front of the line for the exit lane that was backed up. Big day for Jerod.

The face is almost completely healed. The government did foreclose on the lease to my moustache farm, but it's all for the best. A word to the wise; don't ever try to do anything ironic using your face as the medium. If you really believe in the moustache (or decide to give yourself a mullet for Halloween like my buddy Billy a few years back), you gotta just own it. It can't be this snarky, post-modern statement or something. To paraphrase Raising Arizona, they gotta name for people like that: asshat. Not a pretty name, is it, Hi?

In any case. I didn't own the 'stache, I didn't really believe in it, so I was that asshat. And when I strapped on the headset I was the douchebag asshat. Not a comfortable hat, lemme tell ya.

Here's a haiku I wrote while jogging around the park today.

I'm done trying to
Run while sucking in my gut
It's just not much fun

Friday, June 06, 2008

More Pope Culture

I had totally forgotten how good a movie The Bourne Supremacy is. I watched it again the other night and was totally blown away. The scene where Marie (aka Lola) dies, and he is giving her mouth to mouth underwater, and then has to let her float away, and she slowly fades into the water... and then when he kicks that guy's ass with a rolled up magazine??? Seriously, wtf? That was awesome! And getting Brian Cox to replace Chris Cooper's insane CIA guy? Brilliant. Solid and entertaining all the way through.
A brief word on the NBA finals: bleh. Lakers-Celtics? Really? I'm having nightmares from my youth. They all involve too-tight shorts and bad haircuts. Of course, with the influx of European players in today's NBA, I predict the resurrection of the famous blonde afro-mullet. It's inevitable.

I wasn't sure who I was going to root for before I started watching the first game, but once I gave it even a little thought it became obvious. To break it down:
Ex-Sonic factor: Ray Allen, one of my top-5 all time Supes... or Vlad Radmonovich, the asshat who is such a prima donna he got kicked off the Serbian Olympic basketball team even though he's by far their best player, because he couldn't get along with anybody.
Superstar factor: Generally likeable team player Kevin Garnett... or brooding rapist Kobe Bryant. Also: Kobe is so unliked that he doesn't even have a nickname and had to make one up for himself. He calls himself "Black Mamba."* No really.
I also just realized that "Paul Pierce" totally sounds like a porn star name. Add in Sam Cassell's "I have giant testicles" dance** and it's really no contest. I think the Lakers will win in six, but I'll be rooting for the Celts.
By the way, what world did I wake up in when suddenly the Celtics have zero white players on their roster??? This was always the big joke, right? They regularly threw up a complete and totally competitive whitewash*** in the '80s. Boston is infamous for being one of the most racist sports cities in the country. And now not only do they not have any white players, but the coach is black, too? I'm not complaining, mind you. It just kind of blows my mind.
Face update: now that the swelling has gone almost completely down on my upper lip, I'm realizing how totally skeevy the chipped incisor looks. I smile and it's hellllo Bubba. Open this beer bottle with your teeth, would ya? So I'm gonna have to get that fixed.
*Chalk one more up in the "professional athlete's nicknames that are actually what they call their own penises" column. Your top five, in reverse order: 5. The Splendid Splinter. 4. Big Smooth. 3. The Big Unit. 2. The Chicoutimi Cucumber. 1. Magic Johnson.

***A "whitewash" is when a team plays white guys at all five positions. The '88 NBA champion Celtics regularly had a lineup of Bird, McHale, Walton, Ainge, and the guy who always died on the alien planet in Star Trek.