Thursday, April 15, 2010

RIP Joseph Frank Dickenson

If this seems a little jumbled, forgive me. I started writing this a few days after my Granddad passed, and I couldn't handle it. I'm just now getting back to it.

When I left for England a couple weeks ago, I knew Granddad wasn't in good health. Dad said there was a very real chance that he wouldn't even make it through the night and we wouldn't get to see him. But he made it through the night, and for another day, before he left us. I was really glad I was able to see him, even though he wasn't coherent, but my Dad stayed with him the whole time, and when he woke up for a few minutes the day before he passed, Dad told him I was there. It meant a lot to me to know that he knew that I was there. And I think it was even comforting for him to know that his only grandchild was there.

Over the past few years we kind of drifted apart. I still haven't forgiven myself for it. It fucking kills me to know how close we used to be, and how I fucked it up. I think a lot of it was when he moved to Eastbourne from Harrogate, which coincidentally, was the same time I got my first laptop, which probably had more of an effect than the move. At the new house in Eastbourne, I got my own room, which I never had in Harrogate. So I decided to stay in my room for 80% of my stay and watch movies or play video games. It was also an awkward time because here I was, 18 years old, trying to connect with my 80+ year old Granddad. We didn't have a lot to talk about. Only seeing him once or twice a year didn't help. We would catch up on the 2 hour drive from Heathrow to his house, and after that, he would ask me questions every once in a while about life and the such.

It took me a few years to realize that Granddad probably didn't have long left, and I put the laptop away and brought a book out into the study and just hung out with Granddad. I'll never forget these times. We really started to bond over football. Even though I knew he was disappointed over my decision to follow The Mighty Gunners of Arsenal rather than his hometown Hull City squad, he would never show it, and he even pretended like cared. We still both had a passion for The Beautiful Game that helped close the generation gap.

When I was little, my Granddad was my hero. He played football, and got paid for it! He was a keeper, and I was a keeper. He played for a dismal Hull City side during The War, but I always imagined him being the best player on that team. He was my granddad, how could he not be?

He kept his love of football and Hull City with him right up until he passed. One of the last things he ever saw was the result of the Hull City - Fulham game. Hull won 2-0 that game. Granddad smiled. He fell asleep, and 2 days later he passed away. I'm glad he got to see that.

It hit me right away when he passed. But for some reason, because I only got to see him a few times a year, when I got back to the States it felt like he was still around. A couple of days ago I thought to myself that I should e-mail him and see how he's doing. That's when it hit me again. I'll never talk to him again. Never again will he have to try and lift up 3 bags at once, pretending like he's in the same shape he was when he played for City and trying to stay strong. He was getting pretty bad at the end, when the Parkinson's really started to wreak havoc on his body. I'm glad it didn't last too long, and I'm infinitely glad I got to see him one last time, even if I didn't get to talk to him. I spent some time in his room, reading and hoping he would wake up, just for a minute so we could talk about City one last time. I'll never get that chance, and it fucking kills me everyday.

He spoiled me rotten when I was a kid. Being his only grandchild definitely didn't hurt that. He would have done anything for me, or anyone in my family for that matter. Even towards the end, he would go out of his way to leave me some spending money for my trip. He was the most caring person I've ever met. I took it for granted for a long time, and for that I'm sorry Granddad.

After he passed, I came back to the States a few days later. During the week and a half that I was home, before I went back for his funeral, I got an outpouring of support that I never expected. I missed him immediately, and my friends got me through. To everyone that was there for me/with me, thank you so much. There's no way you can possibly understand how much it meant for me for you to be there, helping me through this. I got overwhelming support from all angles, and I fear that I'll never be able to repay it back. Thank you.

I miss you Granddad. RIP.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Are The World (Who Murdered Hip Hop)

Boy, where do I even begin.

Let me first say, I'm utterly shocked that Bono wasn't involved. This just REEKS of Bono.

Next, the majority of the new 'We Are the World' SOUNDED alright. They didn't mess with it and for the most part stayed true to the original. That being said, the inclusion of some people had me a little baffled. Like that dopey lookin' mother fucker in the beginning. I've been told that he's Justin Bieber? Who the fuck is he?

Look back at the roster of the original version in '85. It's full of legends. Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Dianna Ross, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Steve Perry (!), Huey Lewis (!).

Now, redone 25 years later, the only people who could be called 'Legend' or even 'Potential Legend' are Mary J, Janet, Wyclef, Snoop, LL (15 years ago LL would have been a legend, now, not so much), I'll even give Usher some love on this. Tony Bennett is, but fucking T-Pain got about 324,098x more airtime than he did. I suppose people would say Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand are legends, but those people are dumb.

But onto my real point. The hip hop portion of the song. I've had some time to cool down from my initial viewing of it, and I'm still ready to declare it the worst, most shocking thing I've ever seen. There's no coming back from this. It was shameful. For all the world to see, we put out hip hop's biggest names and stars, to completely ruin the song. There was just no room in this song for hip hop. They just tried too damn hard. Not to mention their selection of hip hop artists to put on the track. I'm assuming the 2 biggest (and arguably best) rappers on the planet (Eminem and Jay-Z) were busy that day. Where was Common, Mos Def, Black Thought or Kweli? They couldn't even get Dr. Dre (C'mon, we know you're not working on Detox). Instead we get T-Pain, Akon and Lil' Wayne trying to out auto-tune each other, and LL,, and Kanye trying to spit these sentimental rhymes that make almost no sense. Kanye didn't have the best year, Lil' Wayne is on the verge of prison, LL hasn't been a relevant rapper in over 10 years, and has slowly been killing hip hop ever since he let Fergie into Black Eyed Peas. And these are the people we put out there to spread the message?

From Jay Smooth over at
"It is with a heavy heart I must report that on the evening of February 12th, 2010, Rap Music died once and for all. After battling a long illness, our beloved Rap was too weak to withstand the overpowering shame of that We Are The World remake.

And so, out of respect for this tragic passing, I am joining in shutting down my website forever. I simply cannot go on in a world where that rapping choir happened.

Please consider giving to the people of Haiti in memory of Rap Music, 1974-2010"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes.

Last month, I watched the Bull blow at 33 point lead in the 3rd quarter against a really awful Sacramento Kings team. It really got me into those, "Why do we invest so much in these teams, what have they ever done for us?" moods. And that made me mad, because I hate being in those moods.

I haven't watched one of my favorite sports teams lift a trophy since 2005. That was when Arsenal beat Man United in the FA Cup on penalties, which was terrifying enough. But, that wasn't even in this hemisphere, let alone the city of Chicago. I've had to live through the White Sox, Cardinals, the freaking Arizona Cardinals, who came within 1 play of winning the Super Bowl, Man United, Chelsea and Boston sports teams win every major championship since then. Fuck Boston.

Since then, the Cubs have lost 9 straight playoff games, the Bears let Rex 'Sex Cannon' Grossman throw away the Super Bowl, the Bulls took the Celtics to 7 games in possibly the greatest playoff series ever, only to lose it, Arsenal finished out of the top 3 in the EPL for the first time in 20 years, the Blackhawks made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals only to lose in heartbreaking fashion to Detroit (sucks).

Do I just have terrible luck in picking teams? Do I blame my parents or location? Let's face it, I'm a Cubs/Bears/Bulls/Hawks fan because my Mom grew up in Chicago and followed those teams her whole life. My Grandma was the biggest Cubs fan I had ever met until she passed when I was 7. I got into English football because of my Dad, but I picked Arsenal on my own, can't blame him on that one.

Cubs: Don't even get me fucking started.

Arsenal: They've had a really bright future for the last 3-4 years, and it's about time we started seeing some results from that, but I don't think it will happen for another couple years. However, you never know in the EPL, a couple dropped points from Chelsea and Man U and we're right on top.

Bears: Possibly the most disappointing season I've ever experienced as a Bears fan. Pre-season: We got a QB! We're gonna be good! We can throw the ball! Post-seaon: Fuck Cutler. Interception machine. At least they fired Turner today, and Marinelli will take over the defense.

Blackhawks: If it weren't for the Hawks, life would be miserable, but man the Hawks are fun to watch. This post is not about the Hawks.

Bulls: Like I said, they blew a 33 point lead last month. They've got a bit of talent and they could probably contend for a middling spot in the East if they had a competent head coach, but they don't, so they suck.

I'm not going to stop caring, because I don't know life without sports, and I don't want to start. I would probably just sit in my apartment and stare at the wall until someone came over to play beer die, or it's time to go to UncFats. Not a fun existence.

Awesome Video of the Day:

Awesome Song of the Day (this goes out to Marcus):

Sorry I'm Away So Much

So, in the words of Michael Jordan, "I'm back."

Don't really know what happened this summer, I wasn't especially busy, could have easily kept this going. But now I'm back with a vengeance, and I might even have opinions to express (doubtful)!

First, the obligatory "My Top Albums of the Year"

Hip hop came back huge in '09, and that's something that really makes me smile. It was only a couple years ago everyone was saying/yelling/screaming/blogging that hip hop was dead (and after Kanye's last album, who can blame them).

There really was nothing between my top 3 albums, so I made it a 3-way tie for first. Had any of these albums come out in a different year, they'd be a clear cut #1. Any coincidence that they're all Rhymesayers releases? I think not. Year after year, the little giants from MPLS continue to show why they're the best in hip hop. Next year looks to be good too, with Evidence's Cat's and Dog's due out.

I'm awful at describing why I pick things, it always sounds good in my head, but never translates to paper (or blog), so I'm just going to post a couple videos from each album to help me state my case. Maybe I'll get to it later, when I'm bored at work.

1. POS - Never Better

1. Brother Ali - US

1. BK-One - Radio Do Canibal

4. Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon

5. Jay-Z - Blueprint 3

6. Mute Math - Armistice

7. Mos Def - The Ecstatic

8. Clipse - Til The Casket Drops

9. The Grouch & Eligh - Say G&E!

10. Taintstick - 6 lbs of Sound
(The album kind of sucks, but the videos are too good to pass up... red dragons)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Times, They Are Changing

Boy, over a month with no posts, sorry about that folks.

I wish I could say lots of things have been happening and I've been to busy to post, but that's clearly not the case. Been on the road with FUZE a lot recently. Went back up to Minneapolis, great time as always. Been to Lansing and St. Louis since the last post also, nothing too exciting to write home about. Heading up to Madison this coming weekend, also.

It's getting kind of weird around the apartment recently. Everyone's leaving, and a whole new crowd of people are moving in. The last of the guys on the first floor next door are moving out this weekend, and it's going to be sad to see them go, I had a great time with them for the last 13 months. Some new guys already moved in the 2nd floor apartment next door, and apparently were blasting death metal within a few minutes of being moved in, which already is quite the change of pace from is usually played around here. Should be interesting. Super excited for the 2nd floor in our building to be moved out, they were Nazis for a while about our partying.

We've officially taken over The Scoreboard, which is pretty cool. From now on we'll be known as 'The Scoreboard House,' or 'The Scoreboard Guys.' Which I suppose is better than 'The Guys Next Door To Those Guys With The Scoreboard.'

Things are getting hairy for the Blackhawks, not thrilled about how this series went. It made me realize how much work this team has to do to to really be one of the elite teams in this league (even though being in the final 4 would say they already are). And call me bandwagon if you want (Martin), but during my life the Hawks home games weren't even on TV. It's kind of hard to follow a team you can't watch. All sorts of props go out to Rocky Wirtz, who realized what his Dad did wrong and fixed it. He turned this franchise from what ESPN called 'The Worst Franchise in Professional Sports' only 3 years ago, to what Forbes now calls 'The Greatest Turnaround In Sports Business History'. Most importantly though, Rocky and John McDonough made believers out of the entire city of Chicago. The Winter Classic changed EVERYTHING. That was one of the coolest things I've ever seen, and living across the street certainly helped. Right after the national anthem, there was a flyover that went right over my apartment. Once in a lifetime.

I'll try and keep the posting more regular, and check my other blog, Wrigley's Back Yard, for most posting. Greg and I promise we'll get it going eventually.

Awesome Video of the Day (Super excited for this movie)

Awesome song of the day

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I've Met Someone Else...

I'm starting another blog. Wrigley's Back Yard. It's going to be what this blog was supposed to be; stories about the Cubs and our drunken debauchery on the weekends.

Running Into Street Poles will become the Official DrewTang Blog

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bring The Mother Fucking Ruckus

3 amazing dude-bro's I know are taking a trip around Lake Michigan on their Ruckus' (Ruckai?) for a good cause. They're riding around in support of The Inland Seas School of Expeditionary Learning which is a not-for-profit organization established to serve as a dynamic educational community for the academic and character development of adolescent youth through marine education programs. Check out their site, follow them on Twitter, donate to the cause. Help a couple brothers out.

They're actually riding up to The Good Land tomorrow to see the school and meet the students there.

Seriously, it's a good cause, help them out.

By the way,
I'm on Twitter now also, so you can follow me in my travels and pointlessness even more.