Category Archives: Stuff
I don’t know why I’m so interested in fantasy football every season. Maybe it’s the only way I can feel invested in the teams I root for anymore (being a Vikings fan makes that all the more problematic). Maybe it helps me to share in the love of something that could be seen as very divisive amongst my more anti-sports nerd friends. Either way, this year I was actually prepared to give up on fantasy football. Then, one day, I got a bug up my butt to start join some free leagues on ESPN. Within 24 hours after setting up three new teams (Team Space Olympics, Team Clear Eyes Full Hearts, and The New Caprica Browncoats), I went through three drafts.
By request (of Cooper Foyt), below are the rosters of my three teams, one good, one bad, and one toss-up.
QB – Aaron Rodgers, GB (The nose knows!)
RB- Fred Jackson, Buf (“I’m NOT sorry, Mr. Jackson!” – Guy who makes the world’s worst joke and is proud)
RB- Steven Jackson (No relation.), StL
RB/WR- Doug Martin, TB RB
WR- Steve Smith, Car (Cam’s gonna have a big year, I expect, and Stevie’s gonna get the best of that.)
WR-Percy Harvin, Min (“He’s so good it makes my head hurt!” – See Fred Jackson)
TE- Rob Gronkowski, NE (GRONK SMASH!)
FLEX- Kevin Smith, Det (No relation.)
OP- Matt Ryan, Atl QB (Why do we need a Flex AND an OP? Because points! (Apparently.))
DP- Charles Woodson, GB CB (AKA Chuckie Woods.)
DP- Sean Lee, Dal LB (Because I know who THIS guy is!)
D/ST- Bears (I almost drafted Devin Hester as a backup, then I remembered punt returns don’t count for WRs.)
K- Garrett Hartley, NO (Let’s hope he actually plays!)
Bench- Toby Gerhart, Min RB (To-by! To-by! To-by!)
Bench- Reggie Wayne, Ind WR (Still got some gas in the tank.)
Bench- Jared Cook, Ten TE (….Nothing to say here.)
Bench- Nate Burleson, Det WR (Because of course he’ll do better now that he’s not a Viking.)
Bench- Brent Celek, Phi TE (See Jared Cook.)
Bench- Cardinals D/ST (C-A-R-D-I-N-A-L-S!)
Bench- Brian Quick, StL WR (Never heard of him before this draft. And yet…)
The (Really) Bad:
CLEAR EYES FULL HEARTS
QB – Peyton Manning, Den (yay?)
RB- Kevin Smith, Det (Still no relation; also, THIS is my starting RB. *shakes head*)
RB- Toby Gerhart, Min (To-by? To-by? To-by?)
WR- Pierre Garcon, Wsh (Living in Washington means I have to care about the Redskins.)
WR- Brian Quick, StL (…I drafted him again.)
TE- Vernon Davis, SF (THIS was my second-round pick. Not my best work.)
FLEX- Pierre Thomas, NO RB (Two Pierres, one team.)
D/ST- Cardinals (C-A-R-D-I-N-A-L-S…that’s how you spell Cardinals.)
K- Mason Crosby (Likely my most consistent player…..and he’s a kicker.)
Bench- Matt Schaub, Hou QB (“Not too Schaub-by.” – Percy Harvin)
Bench- Jason Witten, Dal TE (He did so poorly for me last season, I thought I’d draft him again!)
Bench- Jacquizz Rodgers, Atl RB (Tell me that name doesn’t make you giggle.)
Bench- Kevin Walter, Hou WR (who?)
Bench- Damian Williams, Ten WR (who??)
Bench- Donnie Avery, Ind WR (who???)
Bench- Adam Vinatieri (My second most-consistent draft pick.)
NEW CAPRICA BROWNCOATS
QB – Cam Newton, Car (They laughed at me for picking him 1st round. We’ll see who’s laughing in the playoffs….possibly still them.)
RB- Shonn Greene, NYJ (You know what we needed? More creative spellings of “Shawn”.)
RB- Roy Helu, Wsh (“Why, Helu there.” – See Matt Schaub)
WR- Hakeem Nicks, NYG (Friggin’ Giants, man. Had to do it.)
WR- Malcolm Floyd, SD (Is it just because I don’t live on the West Coast that I never heard of this guy before?)
TE- Antonio Gates, SD (Please don’t be too old, please don’t be too old, please…)
FLEX- Kevin Smith, Det RB (Actually, there might be some relation.)
D/ST- Seahawks (The team everyone thinks of when they think the word “defense.”)
K- Sebastian Janikowski (The crabbiest Sebastian since The Little Mermaid.)
Bench- Christian Ponder, Min QB (Please don’t let Cam Newton get injured, please don’t let Cam…)
Bench- Brian Quick, StL WR (Along with Kevin Smith, one of two players on all three of my teams.)
Bench- James Jones, GB WR (Hey! It’s…….that guy! How ya doin’….you?)
Bench- Jason Snelling, Atl RB (Sure, why not.)
Bench- Joel Dreessen, Den TE (He sure is.)
Bench- Bengals D/ST (Rawr.)
Bench- Olindo Mare, Car K (You kick that ball like a Panther, Olindo!)
Have you ever had a day where everything just seemed to line up, where from the moment you woke, small, positive things kept coming into your life and changing your view of everything around you? And on that day, has a crazy woman ever said you should kill yourself for being white?
Let me back up.
Wednesday I woke up later than usual. It was the day before I was set to start my new job (a temp job at the Council on Foundations doing general office work, a very lucky catch after a month with no work), and on waking I gradually scrounged through my social networks on my phone, delaying the inevitability of extruding myself from my sheets. The first and sweetest thing I saw was this:
My dear friend, Chris McCarthy, had made this video for his fiancee’s birthday and uploaded it to YouTube. Watch it, and if it doesn’t make you swoon, you might be blind (seriously, get that checked out). What better way to wake up than to see two of my best friends celebrating their love?
Next I jumped to Twitter, where I came across a link from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars:
— NSCS (@NSCS) June 13, 2012
Suffice it to say, I am often bored, and thus this link did so tickle mine fancy to exploriate and reviewitize. Bouncing down the rabbit hole, #22 on this list (“Turn old and unused objects such as books and magazines into practically useful objects such as these!”) led me to a site that featured an eye-catching project: “1. Hollow out an old hardback to create a nifty iPod case“
Following the link again (so much clicking!), I got to an instructional guide on how to make an iPod case out of an old book. And, wouldn’t you know it, I had all the supplies required. The picture looked incredibly clean and functional, and somehow I thought I could make something just as neat.
Well, five or so hours later, what I had was this:
Functional and attractive, though hardly as clean as the instructions. Still, I was feeling proud and handy, like I actually accomplished something useful with my life (see, mom?).
While making the audiobook, I noticed that the show Jon Benjamin Has a Van was recently added to Netflix. Now, I love Jon Benjamin, but for whatever reason I never got around to watching an episode of this series. So, feeling bold, I gave it a go.
I absolutely loved it.
Matt Walsh’s role in the first episode was hilarious, and the show’s irreverent structure and harsh but absurd sense of humor made every new sketch a surprise. It’s experimental, it’s loose, it’s often complex to follow. As sketch comedy series go, it’s definitely a winner, and made excellent background noise for my book-destroying art project.
In the middle of all of this, I got a call from a friend that shocked and awed me (Bush-style). It seems a certain old pal of mine has a new business venture. I won’t go into details lest I steal his thunder, but trust me, it’s both exciting and cool, and I could not be happier that he’s taking it on, not to mention how happy I am that such a business will exist at all.
When Ajia got home from work (with beer, which she noticed I’d run out of, because she’s awesome), I was in such good spirits I announced that I’d be taking her out to dinner. A local restaurant that we’d been putting off trying out was calling our names. So we each dressed a little more nicely and set about the walk.
And it was here we made our first mistake.
Walking towards the corner of Franklin and Rhode Island, we saw a woman presumably waiting for the light. Nothing unusual about her that we could see; she seemed young, casually dressed, clean, and absently holding a bag of groceries under her arm.
It wasn’t until we got closer that I realized she was talking to herself.
I thought briefly that she might have a bluetooth in her ear or one of those inane earbud contraptions with the receiver on the cord. But then she turned and looked at us, and things got scary.
The first thing I heard her say was “And now a couple white devils f***ing walking through here.”
See, I thought the term “white devil” was a cliche that white people dreamed up to put in the mouths of black actors in movies like Crash. Apparently I was wrong. I was also extremely unlucky; the light turned red exactly when we walked past this woman, and now we had to wait for the walk signal with a crazy woman behind us. And, of course, she immediately started berating us.
Exactly what she said for the majority of the minute-or-so we were trapped on the sidewalk with her, I’m not entirely certain. I remember her insulting both Ajia and myself (I distinctly remember her calling me “the most misshapen motherf***er on Earth” and saying awful things about Ajia’s ass), conceiving of brutal ways in which we should both be killed, and chiding us for walking through her neighborhood, as though we were tourists strolling through to see how poor black people lived so we could feel better about ourselves.
At no point did we engage her, or even turn to look at her; we were both obviously terrified. Though, as Ajia pointed out later, she did say that Ajia and I “deserve each other,” which, though it was certainly not meant as a compliment, was kind of sweet.
The last thing I heard her say as we finally crossed the street was, “You both deserve to die in some kind of murder-suicide or some s**t.”
Now, before I go on, I should point out that at the time, I merely found this encounter kind of funny. Yes, it was extremely uncomfortable, and I was listening very carefully for her footsteps in case she tried to take a swing at either of us, or worse, but I couldn’t help but laugh. In retrospect, this experience has really stuck with me. It was the first time since we moved to Washington that I’ve felt real fear, and a crazy woman calling you a devil and waxing elaborately on how you should be killed is someone to be scared of.
But more than that, it highlights a narrative that has cropped up recently in both mine and Ajia’s experience, which is that, while our neighbors are extremely polite and sweet to us and say “Hello” when we see them, a lot of the people from our area have just stared at us, sometimes disturbingly, if we try to wave, or say “Hi,” or smile, or even nod at them. On that same walk with the devil woman, we passed an RV that’s been parked on the side of a nearby street for weeks. When we walked by it, having walked by it many times before and had no encounters, we saw two things: On one side of the street, a group of three people engaged in conversation. And in the door of the RV itself, the owner.
I tried to say hi to the group. Ajia tried to say hi to the man in the RV. We both got the same response: Glares. Not stares, not eye-rolls, not even nothing; I’d have preferred to get no response at all. But every one of them glared, a seething look that really disheartened both of us.
At what point did we do something to offend anyone here? When we moved into the neighborhood? When we were born? I recognize the irony in a white male bemoaning a narrative of racial discrimination at the hands of others. But honestly, up until now, it hasn’t been a problem. We’ve met some great folks in our block that don’t seem to care what race we are, just as we don’t care what race they are. And maybe it has nothing to do with race, maybe it’s because we’re young college graduates, or that we’re not from this part of the country, or maybe it’s just that we’re new and no one knows who we are.
But I gotta say, being called a “white devil” for walking down the sidewalk has really messed me up.
Okay, enough depressing racial awkwardness.
For dinner on we ate at this amazing Neapolitan pizza restaurant called Menomale. The meal was tremendous, and even though the place was packed, we managed to get seated right away. It’s hard to believe such a chic little eatery is only a couple blocks from a street where the only food is a Papa John’s and a Caribbean fast food chain. But if you’re ever around DC, well, first say hi to us, then check that place out.
Again, none of these things on their own was life-changing. And, in the scheme of things, this is probably a boring day to most people. But somehow, the way everything added up, I came out the other side of the Day of Small Amazements with confidence and a sense that everything in our lives is going to be alright. And really, that’s what I needed most.
Oh, and also, if someone calls you a white devil, just go to the next block, and don’t wait for the light.
Loyal (read: occasional) readers, you may have (though not likely) wondered where I’ve been the last few weeks, and why I missed the boat on Power Ranking the last few weeks of the SNL season, which, I assure you, is one of my very favorite things to do in the world.
The good and the bad is this: My wife and I have moved to Washington, D.C.
Now, I love Washington so far. I mean, I’m unemployed, but I’m unemployed in a major U.S. city. There are worse things to be.
The trouble is, between the move, the unpacking, the general unease of not having jobs, and the fact that we no longer have cable (an antenna in our basement apartment would be futile) have conspired to prevent me from watching live television and writing dripping blog posts about it the next morning.
I’ve also been unable to live-tweet SNL, my other favorite thing to do in this world, and have sorely missed it.
If you’re worried about me, worry not. By the time you return to this site out of boredom or StumbleUpon, I’ll have updated the content with new entries in the Hoffman List, a music post or two, and hopefully a recap of the SNL season. And by the time the next season of SNL rolls around, money willing, I’ll have cable, and can write about it to my heart’s content.
Thank you for being patient, and continue to enjoy your internet.
P.S. You can enjoy some standup I did last month:
I don’t know what weird alternate universe I’ve been living in where I haven’t heard of Stereogum and team9′s ridiculousMySplice mash-ups, but whereever I’ve been, I’m glad I’m here now.
Because these are some of the best mash-ups I’ve ever heard.
If you, like me, have somehow avoided these beacons of cool, here’s a primer on the best tracks. Did I mention that these are free? Because they are. You can download their .zip files straight from the site at a cost of exactly $0.00.
Check them out at Stereogum’s page. But first, here’s the best of what you have in store:
If you haven’t noticed, I, Christian Hagen, the proprietor/only caretaker of Person Absurd, have decided to re-brand the site after a year-and-a-half in the dark. Person Absurd will now be (dun dun dunnnnn) my personal blog, a contrast to my professional blog christianhagen.wordpress.com, which I’ll also be trying to keep up to date. You’ll find lists, thrown-away entertainment reviews, loose thoughts, polls, run-off from my now defunct baby AudioSuede.com or my current position at themsureporter.com, and hopefully other things that aren’t terrible.
I hope you enjoy this transformation!
…Because it’s not going back.
What is absurdism?
Let me answer your question with a few of my own.
What is what?
Absurdism is absurdism?
But to answer your original question…what was your question? Fuck it, this is too hard. I’m going to take a nap.
K. Just slept for a couple hours. I think I’m ready to answer this question. Here goes: Absurdism is among the most misunderstood styles of comedy. Just look at some of the great absurdist films and comedians of our time. Look at them! Now! Do it! I’ll wait…
Before The Tonight Show was ripped from his fingers like that fried chicken that homeless guy stole from me yesterday, Conan O’Brien was reviewed by a writer from the New York Post and in said review, Linda Stasi referred to O’Brien’s signature nerdy absurdist humor as “frat guy” humor. Hyperbole aside, Linda Stasi is the dumbest person who ever wrote anything about anything ever ever ever. And this is a common misconception about absurdism: That it’s for people who are dumb or in college or drunk or on drugs. And sure, it’s for those people, but it’s not ONLY for those people. Those people can partake in it, but they’re not the targets. The humor is, in fact, often aimed much higher, the focus of many modern absurdisty comedians like O’Brien or Stella or even Zach Galifianakis is on sophisticated or at least culturally educated people who like to poke fun at the ridiculousness not only of drama or serious art but also comedy itself. The joke of classic Conan bits like “Frankenstein Wastes a Minute of Our Time” is not in the action or even the dialogue, as that mostly just affects the timing that triggers the humor, but in the fact that he’s messing with the late night format, in that bit literally telling his audience that he’s wasting their time. Without a knowledge or at least an understanding of how “normal” talk shows are structured, such a gag would fall completely flat. Which is the main thing people don’t understand about absurdism: If you don’t know what normal is, you can’t understand the absurd, so, in reality, absurdism involves as much knowledge as, if not more than, other styles of comedy.
In terms of films. the next time someone says, or even intimates, that flims like Anchorman or Wet Hot American Summer are “stupid” or “weird” or “random,” choke them with a bottle. The characters or situations of these films may be stupid, weird, or random, but their humor is rooted more in parody and dramatic irony.
When we see Ron Burgundy and company confronting the rival news team in an alley, the conflict is understood, even expected, based on a viewer’s prior experiences with other films. However, once the fight breaks out, and the multitudes of other news teams show up, things take an unexpected, grandly over-the-top turn, the events of which are surreal and patently absurd. But what makes a film like Anchorman a truly great absurdist comedy is not just the fight scene, but the scene immediately following; in a lesser film, the fight might have been brushed over or been discussed at bare minimum or lead to an even more illogical aftermath. In Anchorman, the fight is immediately followed by a conversation amongst the characters that is blunt and completely logical. The surprise at the horse and the man on fire, not to mention the infamous “Brick killed a guy” line, highlights and comments on the absolute nonsense of their own humor. The logical examination uses realism to comment on surrealism, making the fight seem all the more insane and leading to the kind of conversation the audience never expects to see after such an escalation of madcap humor.
Oh shit. I over-analyzed that. God dammit. Sorry, seriously, sorry about that. Sometimes, I just get so-UGH! WHY WAS I MADE THIS WAY, GOD?! WHAT HAVOC HATH THOU WROUGHT?!
…Sorry, got a little Solieri there.
What was I talking about?
Right. Wheaties are not as nutritious as everyone says.
Oh wait. Absurdism. What was the question? “What is absurdism?”
Oh, I have no idea. Shit, sorry I wasted your time. Would a video make you feel better?
Yeah that didn’t help me much either. Sorry, everybody. My bad.