Thursday, March 30, 2006

I'm Sick ...

... and therefore have anything to say.

Amuse yourselves with the GoldfishCam.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Reppin' the 5-1-7!


I have no clue who he is. But this is without doubt the most Lansing pride I've ever seen in my life. That guy has a Lansing tattoo. I'd just like all the other natives of the Capital City out there to let that sink in for a second.

What high school does/did this guy go to? I'll guess Sexton, but who knows! He could even possibly be from Holt but claim Lansing because it's harder! I want to know more about this guy. Fascinating!

This photo comes from old college friend Danil Babushkin by way of Ilya. Dan (as we nickname-obsessed Yankees called him) now works for Ernst & Young in Milan. He was always the smoothest cat.

This was what Danil wrote to go with the photo: "All you Wolverine suckas in the 3-1-3 & the 7-3-4 better show some props, the 5-1-7 iz straight ballin'! respect."

Check Out J.B.!


Joe Block, always the life of the party, usually is the one getting everyone to laugh. But it seems LSU's Big Baby Davis got J.B. to bust a gut at a most inopportune time.

(For those of you who don't know him, Block is an old S'newser. He's an extraordinary play-by-play man who recently did some Spring Training work for the Dodgers.)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rocket Fever Plans Strategic Move Around Corner

This isn't news to everybody, but I'm moving into my very own apartment on April 1. It's only a few blocks from Mike and Becky, in a building above the well-known Los Feliz eatery Farfalla. The location and building are very cool, and I'm amazingly lucky to find the place.

A month or so ago, I was walking down Hillhurst Avenue, when I noticed an apartment sign on the Farfalla building (Click on the link. Look at the photo. See that window above the restaurant? That's my pad!) I'd never noticed before. I crossed the street to write down the number, thinking there'd be no way the building would have a vacancy. As I was walking back home, I daydreamed about the guy saying, "We had someone give notice just this morning!"

I left the guy a voicemail, and he called back about an hour later: "We had someone give notice just this morning!"

Things like this don't happen. A place that cool, that affordable, in such a perfect neighborhood, just don't fall into your lap like that. I got this place, and it was never on the market. It's a corner (as you can see from the photo) studio with a separate kitchen and adequate storage. The landlord is having his dudes put in new hardwood and completely redoing the place. I got to see the apartment across the hall -- these guys to a good job.

So now I'm working on having my stuff shipped to me from Michigan, and mentally preparing to spend money on furniture. Becky and I took a scouting trip to Ikea today. It was my first visit, and I thought the place was cool but not as spectacular as I thought it'd be. I found a possible loveseat, but I'm still looking. I'm a very methodical furniture shopper, details of which I will be sure to spare everyone in this space.

*****

Joining us at Ikea was the newest member of State News West, Katie Byrne. Katie graduated a few years after us, but she was friends with Leslie Rotan at the Detroit News. She just moved out here to take a copy editing job at MTV.com, correcting Kurt Loder's comma splices. Mike and I met her for beers and b-ball at the horribly named Big Wangs in Hollywood on Friday. Being S'newsers, we hit it off instantly. We're all very happy to add her to our little, but growing, refugee community.

*****

Cousin Congratulations: First, to Caitlin Slattery for graduating from massage school in Arizona, and, second, to Justin Hay for his George Mason University b-ball team's historic run to the Final Four. Huzzah to you both.

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We were so on top of this mustache thing. (Viewable only on Internet Explorer, which is dumb.)

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I was distraught to hear about the demise of Cleveland's Phil the Fire when I was still living there. It was some of the best soul food I'd ever tasted. As Mike and Becky know, it's all about "the sweet ... and the hot ..." The PD finally has the sad story behind the story.

*****

Last Vegas Post (Probably): Michael "Spotty" Karpus was good enough to send me some notes he took during the trip (I've censured my Marcia Cross comment, and another one so foul I can't even describe it, so as not to offend some of our more delicate readers):

Pat Muir called our group, "The Tribe of the Insane." He is also quoted as saying, "Yeah, there are some good jokes out there..."'

Craig Gaines relayed the idea of Andor the Transgendered Barbarian to me, quipping that his sidekick was Lezboy (Lezboy being J. Cook's idea)

Best line of dialogue Spotty heard from one of the porno card distributors talking to pedestrians:
"Hey guys, where are you from?"
"Out of town-"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This Is What I Do During Boring Meetings

*****

Does anyone else feel vaguely ill after Gonzaga's horrible loss Thursday night? Mike feels the same way: That somehow wasn't supposed to happen. Incredibly dramatic, but not nearly as satisfying as a last-second shot or drive. Texas-West Virginia was much more palatable, even though I heavily favored WVU. Odd.

*****

Don't forget about the Rocket Fever Caption Contest! It's starting to heat up!

Karmic Justice?

And people in Cleveland are saying, "But Prince gave Boozer his word!" And then they laugh.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rocket Fever Caption Contest!

What should the caption be for this photo?

*****

So what's everyone doing tonight? I'll tell you what you're doing: Watching the return of Sivert Glarum's "Out of Practice," on CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern. Hit it!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Here and There

I've been tooling around with the links again, so take a gander.

*****

A Rocket Fever Huzzah is in order for the Rapturous Russian, Ilya Perchikovsky, who has finally joined the kind of enviro company that he's been pining for. Mazel tov, you crazy you!

*****

If you were a big, fat, naked guy in the Hollywood YMCA lockerroom, would you loudly sing "I wish I was an Oscar Mayer weiner"? I mean, that's weird, right?

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Another Huzzah goes to one Rebecca A. Hudson, who took home a gold and silver during her rowing competition this weekend! A champion under our own roof!

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Happy birthday to Roanoke's Coffee Pot, the scene of my farewell party when I was working down there. A cool little spot if there ever was one!

Monday, March 20, 2006

I Didn't Jump

I'd like to thank everyone who called or e-mailed this weekend, imploring me to not react too drastically to MSU's first-round exit in the Tournament on Friday. It was probably good luck that I didn't watch the entire game on TV. I mostly just caught snippets of it online (by the way, I'm waiting for some big employer to sue CBS Sportsline for hurting their productivity; that online viewing is just too good).

I'll still be able to enjoy the rest of the Tournament just fine, as I have every other one I can remember. It obviously won't be as fun as last year, but that rarity is what makes years like that so special. Onward and upward ...

*****

Some more Vegas shots (I have tons; get used to it). All shots by Ryan Ward.





Thursday, March 16, 2006

This Is Why Digital Cameras Were Created

Photographic genius courtesy of Mike Hudson and Ryan "Tigershark" Ward. The first two are by Hud, the rest by Ward.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

So What Did We Actually Do in Vegas?

A lot of what you see below: Hanging out in our suite at the MGM Grand, cracking wise and remembering the old days. There was some gambling, some sports watching, some taking in of the sights. But, for the most part, we did what we do best: Talk bull.
Boring, you say? A waste of time? Well I'll see your Blue Man Group and raise you a Pat Muir. Wayne Newton? Try Steve Davis. Danny Gans? Danny effin' Gans? Meet Jamie Cook. We had all the entertainment we needed. You tell me what sounds more fun: Paying through the nose to watch some blue-skin freaks contort their bodies, or listening to Mike and Jamie take on the personas of former Penn State basketball brothers John and Joe Crispin.

O.K., I see how this can seem a bit arcane. But what made this trip was legendary humor, the kind that can best be appreciated among people with a shared and long history. We were finishing each other's stories and cracking up before the punch line continually for four days. Everyone would take turns: Mike would hold court, then Pat and Spotty would recount a story, then Steve would inject some Greenville humor, then Cook would shut us all down. J.C. is so adept at adding the comedic cherry to anyone's story that I named him "The Closer." I hope the nickname sticks.

This all came to a head on Friday night, when we all were in top form. We burned the night away, turning the MGM suite into our own little Friar's Club. If a bunch of morons can be in the zone, that's where we were. Timing was crisp, delivery was spot-on. I could be found rolling on the floor laughing my arse off a good half-dozen times. It was a group performance that can only be re-created once every few years. If you missed it, try to catch the next one. Those are the points in time that make all the other long stretches worthwhile. Huzzah!

*****

I should be flogged for waiting this long to hand out a Rocket Fever Vegas-Edition Huzzah to Charles Robinson. C. Rob, who covers the NFL for Yahoo, was prevented from making the trip when Gene Upshaw and Paul Tagliabue couldn't play nice. But the mensch sent hud a C-note for a round of drinks on him. If that isn't stand-up behavior, I'll just sit my ass down. Thanks.

*****

Spotty, taking notes on Marcia Cross.
(photo by Mike Hudson)

Pat, photographing the rare Southeast Michigan Passed Out Cook

"Hey, guys, how about a little love for J.C.?"

Good Times


Since I can't seem to email these to Mix Master Gaines, here's some pics from your pal...Hud.


This one is after we took somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 out of MGM thanks to Tom Iz and the gang. Buzz! (Where's Gaines & Scott & Erin & Heather & Erin?)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Vegas All-Stars

Mike Hudson, well on his way to making his first million

Steve Davis, who knows a good side of beef when he sees one

Pat Muir, sophisticated enough to live on a winery, gritty enough to pack dirty clothes

Jamie Cook, "The Closer"

Me and Becky, loving my mustache, whose name was Wayne Delacroix

Wayne Delacroix and me

Erin Davis and Becky, plotting to overthrow the Mustache Regime

Mary Sell, who finds strippers to be soft and aromatic
(photo by Heather Burns)

Spotty, looking for his bag of tracheas

Ryan Ward, international man of mystery

Cindy Lacy, finding her inner peace

Scott Baird, from his best side

Erin "The Buckeye" and Heather "The Hawkeye"
(photo by Heather)

4 Nights, 14 Friends, 4 Mustaches, 196 beers*

As Dr. Nick, J. Cook, and I say when we enter a room, "Hi, everybody!" We're back from Las Vegas, and if we're not well rested (this trip wasn't built for relaxation), we are beaming with happiness over a legendary weekend. There are too many anecdotes and pictures to fit into a single post, so the Rocket Fever Vegas Recap will be filled with remembrances all week.

A few opening observations:

We still have it. We can zing one-liners (overalls) and sling beers with the best of them. This weekend was an instant recall to the long nights spent in East Lansing student ghetto slums. The only differences: The drinks are now more expensive, and the accommodations are a bit nicer.

The mustaches were a raving success. Mike, Jamie, Steve, and I went through considerable physical and social discomfort to make ourselves look like smalltime hoods for the weekend. Even Becky finally admitted she liked the 'staches. And as far as I know, Cook still has his. (Mike has some amazing shots of these bad boys, which will appear in this space soon.)

We're troopers. All who made the trip did so at considerable personal expense. Kudos to all who burned precious vacation days for a weekend of gambling and foolery.

Watching college basketball with friends is special. Even when you have to shake Heather Burns' hand after her Hawkeyes bounce your Spartans from the Big 10 Tournament.

The Rain Forest Cafe blows. 'Nuff said.

We might have to bid adieu to the days of malt liquor 40s. Again, 'nuff said.

One final toast: To Mike Damn Hudson, who had the bold vision that made this trip a reality. A blue-ribbon Rocket Fever Huzzah to you, fine sir.

Mike and Becky Hudson + Pat Muir + Spotty ("Michael") + Jamie Cook + Steve and Erin Davis + Mary Grace Sell + Cindy Lacy + Heather and Erin + Ryan Ward + Scott Baird = Best trip ever.

*Please note that this beer total reflects hotel-room drinking only. We also killed off half a bottle of gin, almost an entire bottle of bourbon, and an untold number of drinks at various fine establishments along the Strip.

*****

Unfortunately, Blogger is not allowing me to post images at the moment. Expect a ton to come in the next few days.

*****

Final BR Poll results:

MEN
Yes (O.K. to call from the can): 10
No: 13

WOMEN
Yes: 9
No: 3

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rocket Fever Is Out of the Office ...

... and will return Tuesday, March 9. We'll be in Las Vegas, watching basketball, gambling safe amounts of cash, watching basketball, drinking unsafe amounts, linking up with the old crew, watching basketball, and busting out our 'staches (photos of which will be abundant).

In the meantime, don't play with matches or run on the pool deck.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Rocket Fever Mobile Office

A few weeks ago at the laundromat, I decided to hang out in my car rather than sit on the plastic chairs in that noisy, grubby room. I moved up the front seat and then parked myself in the back with a coffee and a copy of the LAT. I could have stayed there all day, stretched out on a comfortable seat, with ample room, a cup holder, and a wonderful cross breeze. I wished I had more laundry to do.

A few days later, I had to conduct an interview for one of my freelance gigs, but we had plumbers in that day beating the hell out of the walls. Too much of a racket! So I set up with my cell phone and recorder out in the Focus. I drove a few hundred feet farther down the cul-de-sac to get away from traffic. And it went off without a hitch.

My conversion to mobile-office worker was completed last weekend, when I spent five hours there working on a big proofreading assignment. It was a beautiful day, and I just couldn't bear the thought of sitting on an uncomfortable chair while cooped up in my room. So I packed my bag, walked outside, and stretched out for some serious work. And it was the most productive and focused I've been in weeks.

What does all this mean? It means that, weather permitting, you should give mobile-office work a shot as well. Think about it: Are you getting the full value out of your car? You paid thousands of dollars for it. Highly trained engineers spent thousands of hours designing it. Highly unionized workers spent a few seconds each constructing it. And you use it just for driving?

To maximize your mobile office experience, consider the following tips:

  • Pick your parking spot wisely. Best to find a quiet side street with little car or foot traffic. And shade is always a plus.
  • Be prepared. Nothing is worse than realizing you forgot your whatever-adapter right after settling in.
  • Expect a few odd looks and some questions. I mean, wouldn't you be curious about some kook in a car? Rather than looking at it as an annoyance, consider it an opportunity to act as a mobile-office ambassador. Spread the word!
  • If you have friends like Hudson and neighbor Ben (also this post's photog), expect to have them throw things at your mobile office. If it's just bits from trees, let them have their sport. But draw the line at bricks, which is what Mike was looking for when I told him to knock it off.
So there you have it. Californians, get out of the house and into the car today! Rust Belters, start planning your mobile-office experience now so you'll have a great time in the summer months.

*****

Don't forget the previous post. I want some more discussion on this all-important issue.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Great Bathroom Debate

A few weeks ago I was taking a drunk dial from a good friend of mine (no names), when she suddenly apologized for flushing. "Whoa," I said. "Flushing?"

"Yeah, I'm in the restroom at the bar."

"No. No ... Nooooooo!!!"

Needless to say, I was shocked. Call me a prude, but I always thought one's time in the restroom was private time, for private things. It's a time of quietude, reflection, and not talking on the effing cell phone. But am I in the minority on this?

During the next few days, I inquired among some friends if calling from the can is acceptable. So far, most of the men say no and the women say yes. Not only that, but many of the women say that they too make calls from the toilet -- both at home and while out in public! These preliminary findings -- falling so closely along the gender lines -- have shocked me. I feel like I've discovered a secret civilization living right out in the open: Savage women who make cell phone calls from the restroom.

So in the interest of modern anthropology, Rocket Fever is opening a new front in the battle of the sexes. I ask you: Is calling from the can OK? Please note that there are two polls: Ladies and Gentlemen.

Friday, March 03, 2006

This Blog is a Pipe Bomb

Ohio University will now call in the bomb squad to blow up Rocket Fever. Cool.

I wonder what these guys have to say about it.

Thanks to Frey and Fritzy for the links. They will now be blown up as well.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Afternoon Miscellany!

Coach K isn't funny, but making sport of him is.

*****

I love state politics.

A Proud Son of Tallahassee Says ...

F-L-O-R-I-D-A S-T-A-T-E

Florida State!
Florida State!
Florida State!

Photo courtesy Tallahassee Democrat

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Following Happened Between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Wed., March 1

Mr. President, my name is Craig Gaines, and I apologize for approaching you like this. But this barista at the Hillhurst Avenue Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is about to give you a latte instead of a cappuccino, and I can't let that happen. We have exactly one minute before this order is complete, and if you don't let me interrogate this person you won't get the appropriate amount of froth.

*****

So I don't usually make a big deal out of celeb sitings, but ...