What’s in a name?

First, let me warn you that I’m useless on Friday evenings. I leave work on Fridays; go to the gym; run for an hour (which is super awesome, let me tell you) (also Fridays are prime treadmill-hogging time because all the resolvers are at happy hour and it’s not crowded); go home; eat dinner with Ben and Soren; hang out with Ben and Soren; check on my goddamn Pet Hotel, which is really pissing me off because I’m to the point where it takes 70 bazillion coins and 870 hours to accomplish anything; shower (I’d prefer to shower immediately after arriving home but this is generally not possible without being a general pain in the ass to everyone else); hang out; and then after Soren goes to bed, sit my ass on the couch, watch tv, eat vanilla ice cream with Heath chips or something awesome like a bowl of organic blue corn tortilla chips and chili cheese Fritos, and completely and unabashedly revel in do-nothingness.

As you may know, this is why I usually do “Photo Fridays” — because I’m too tired and lazy to inflict what I’d write on innocent people such as yourselves.

None of that explains why in the hell I’m writing a post tonight, by the way.

The other day while watching The First 48, which might be my favorite tv show of all time, I got kind of bummed out that I don’t have a street name. I assume you only have a street name if you’re heavily involved in criminal activity. That way, when homicide detectives call in a potential witness who will be faced with the terrible snitch-or-no-snitch decision, at the very least, if the witness does snitch, she’ll be all, oh, I heard it was Lil Jackrabbit (or whatever) but no, I don’t know his real name. You’ll at least get an extra few minutes to get out of town while some detective puts “Lil Jackrabbit” in the database and finds your real name, although in reality you’ll probably just go to your mom’s house, where they’ll find you later. Eventually, you’ll be convicted of murder even though you were just there to rob the guy, because nobody tells kids these days about felony murder.

Anyway, on this particular episode, we found out there was a witness known as Fat Mama. That’s freaking awesome. First of all, that’s one of the nicknames for our cat, Xochitl. And then you picture, well, someone who would be called Fat Mama, right? And then when they finally find Fat Mama, she’s totally not fat at all — she’s a skinny little thing. And that makes being called Fat Mama even better. (I’m operating on the assumption that people are not still using the term “Phat,” by the way.) And then you’re all, yeah, I want people to call me Fat Mama. Okay, maybe you’re not, but I kind of thought that for a minute.

Then today I found out something about Ice Cube and something about Ice-T. For the record, I know that Ice Cube > Ice-T. Ice Cube’s Good Day was January 20, 1992. Ice-T’s real name is Tracy, and he has a son named Ice Tracy, who, not that this has anything to do with anything, was born in 1992. How did it take me this long in life to know that Ice-T and I have the same name? And why have I never developed any sort of nickname involving ice?

So then today I’m watching the Winter X Games, because that’s what I do, and first of all, Torstein Horgmo (he’s like the best snowboarder of all time). I would not have minded naming my child Torstein Horgmo, because that’s one of the most awesome names of all time. But then there’s also Halldór Helgason (I had to copy and paste to get that “o” with the thing over it). He’s from Iceland. Also, turn on ESPN right now! You can still catch Torstein Horgmo in the snowboard big air finals!

The point to telling you this? There is no point. This is just the kind of stuff I think about when I don’t have anything else to think about.

Quick & Dirty Guide to the 2011 Winter X Games

The Winter X Games are this Thursday through Sunday and, now that the Super Bowl is dead to me, I’m super excited about it. I love the Winter X Games (and one of these years, I’m going to Aspen to watch this shit in person).

A full schedule of events is available here. If you’re not ambitious/interested enough to watch everything, here are my recommendations (all times MST, because that’s how we roll here in Colorado).

  • Thursday, 9 p.m.: skiing superpipe women’s final
  • Friday, 4:45 p.m.: skiing superpipe men’s final
  • Friday, 5:15 p.m.: snowboard best method (I’m recommending this only because it’s a new event this year and might be interesting; the winner will be selected by text message voting, which I think is lame.)
  • Friday, 8 p.m.: snowboard big air final
  • Saturday, 9:30 a.m.: mono skier X qualifying (Mono skier X is bad ass, so I recommend watching it every chance you get.)
  • Saturday, noon: snowboarder X men’s final
  • Saturday, 2 p.m.: snowboarder X women’s final
  • Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: skiing slopestyle men’s final
  • Saturday, 7:45 p.m.: snowboard superpipe women’s final
  • Saturday, 8:30 p.m.: skiing big air final
  • Sunday, 11:15 a.m.: skier X men’s and women’s final
  • Sunday, 11:30 a.m.: snowcross round one (I don’t like the snowmobile “style” stuff but I love the race.)
  • Sunday, 12:15 p.m.: snowcross last-chance qualifier
  • Sunday, 1:15 p.m.: snowcross final
  • Sunday, 1:45 p.m.: snowboard slopestyle men’s final
  • Sunday, 3: p.m.: mono skier X semifinal
  • Sunday, 3:45 p.m.: mono skier X final
  • Sunday, 6:30 p.m.: snowboard superpipe men’s final

A list of confirmed athletes is available here. You’ll notice snowmobile superstar Levi LaVallee isn’t there. That’s because he was injured while performing a new stunt in December. Fortunately, my pal with the best name in the world, Torstein Horgmo, will be there. (If you don’t know who to cheer for, I recommend my people, which in this case is the Norwegians, including the delightful Andreas Håtveit.)

I’m looking forward to seeing host/play-by-play guru Sal Masekela again. Tell me it wouldn’t be awesome to smoke a big fatty with him and then get strawberry crepes at Poppycocks (awesome breakfast food). (You can find out more about the broadcast team here.)

For more on skiing, check out Freeskier (@freeskier), which is a site I randomly found during last year’s games, I think because I was looking for pictures of Sarah Burke’s hair (really).

If you’re lucky enough to be in Aspen this weekend and want to get a drink, I recommend 39 Degrees at the Sky Hotel (awesome hot tub) and J-Bar at Hotel Jerome. If you’re looking for music, they have awesome shit at Belly Up (GZA is there on Wednesday), although watch out for bitch-ass hos who put their cigarettes, which they’re not even supposed to be smoking, in your beer while you’re sitting there minding your own business at the Girl Talk show and you almost have to be dragged away before getting into a physical altercation because that’s just rude.

Have fun being stoked, kids!

Note: I don’t get paid by anyone for anything I do on the internet. All recommendations and opinions are unbiased and legit.

Winter X Games = lame reality programming

I’m really disappointed in the Winter X Games, which sucks because I love the Winter X Games.

Last night’s snowboard big air featured four athletes, three from Norway (holla!) and one from the U.S. Two Norwegians went head-to-head and one Norwegian went head-to-head against the American in an elimination round.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I thought the Norwegian, Mikkel Bang, performed WAY better than the American, Travis Rice. However, because the results were determined only by audience text messages, Rice advanced, with 92% of the audience voting in his favor.

In the gold medal round, Rice went up against Norway’s Torstein Horgmo (best name ever, by the way), who won gold last year. Horgmo bobbled his first landing but nailed the second, which the announcers referred to as a “textbook” switch backside 1260. Rice did a double back rodeo 10 and landed his first and dragged his hand on the second landing. Although Rice’s jump was exciting to watch (flips are fun!), my non-expert opinion had Horgmo winning the gold. Audience members voted in Rice’s favor, 78% to 22%.

I’m not going to whine because the guy I thought should win (Horgmo) didn’t win or that the guy I thought should advance to the gold medal round (Bang) didn’t advance. The problem is that it’s really clear what happened in each round — the audience, consisting of mostly Americans watching an event that occurred in the U.S., voted for the American. There is no way in hell, for example, that in any universe, Rice outperformed Bang 92% to 8%.

That’s just weak, and frankly, it makes us look kind of stupid. No disrespect to Travis Rice, but nobody should win a gold medal in the X Games just because he’s American.

Normally in big air, judges, who know the sport and know how to objectively judge jumps, give points for several factors, including difficulty, amplitude, style, and landing. If I recall correctly, last year’s big air competition was decided by judges and audience text participation. Personally, I’d rather have only judges determine the winner, but a determination by judges and the audience makes much more sense than allowing the audience only — a bunch of people who may or may not know jack about judging snowboarding — decide who wins the competition.

I really hope the X Games powers that be change this next year. I don’t see the point of watching what amounts to reality-show bullshit. It’s not like the X Games are the Olympics or anything, but the athletes who work very hard to prepare and put on a good show deserve to have their efforts taken seriously and be judged by people who know what they’re doing.

X Games Roundup

The Winter X Games are over and, even in Colorado, we’re back to worrying about Tom Brady and his pretend ankle injury. I wish they’d list Belichick and his whole faux injury report as “questionable” this week, but there’s plenty of time for complaining about the Super Bowl later. For now, let’s wrap up the weekend in Aspen.

  • HBP favorite Andreas Hatveit took gold in men’s ski slopestyle.
  • American Daron Rahlves won men’s skier X, which featured some ridiculous crashes.
  • Lindsey Jacobellis didn’t wipe out just before the finish line, winning gold in women’s snowboarder X.
  • There was a lot of good music — Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, and Kanye West were featured, which was nice.
  • Snocross is cooler than freestyle. The flips are kind of cool, but it’s not that impressive when a dude who learned how to do a backflip on a snowmobile just a few weeks ago wins the gold medal. That said, Levi LaVallee is adorable.
  • Skiing is more fun to watch than snowboarding.
  • Slopestyle is more fun to watch than superpipe.
  • I’d appreciate more neutral announcers (I get it — Shaun White is the Brett Favre of the X Games).
  • I want some of whatever Torah Bright is on.
  • Having fans vote for Big Air winners is kind of lame, because unless one guy totally sucks, they’re going to vote for the American every time.
  • Torstein Horgmo!!!!!!!
  • I hope they get new advertisers next year, so we don’t see the creepy Edge guys getting their faces felt up by mystery hands 900 times a day. Also, if I never see the creepy excess-heads-attached-to-bodies ESPN college hoops ads again, I’ll be very happy even if I can’t erase the terrifying image from my mind.
  • Athletes must get kicked out of the games if they don’t say “stoked” at least once during every interview, unless something really bad just happened and you’re, like, totally not stoked at the moment.
  • Mono skier X is the most badass event of the X Games. That shit is AWESOME — watch it here.

I’m sure I’d get more into the X Games if I knew more about what the heck they’re doing. So by this time next year, I’ll be sure to know a cab from a misty and a whiskey flip from a kangaroo flip and just what a backside rodeo nine is. Oh, and I’ll be stoked, too.

Winter X Games: Men’s Ski Superpipe

Men’s ski superpipe results — 1.24.08

1. Tanner Hall: 92.33
2. Simon Dumont: 91.00
3. Colby West: 85.00
4. Andreas Hatveit: 81.66
5. Jossi Wells: 75.00
6. Mike Riddle: 70.00
7. Peter Olenick: 65.00
8. Sean Field: 64.00
9. Matt Hayward: 50.33

Let’s be honest. I know jack shit about skiing and superpipe. I don’t know a whiskey flip (it’s this really cool thing that only some Napoleon Dynamite-looking dude from Colorado does) from a 1080. I’m admitting right off the bat that I’m an idiot.

So here is the perspective of a jack-shit-knowing idiot who watched this for the first time, ever:

The competition was kind of boring, because Tanner Hall got a 90 on his first run, a 92.33 on his second, and nobody ever caught him. So there was no real drama or excitement. It felt like his mom was one of the judges (who are the judges, by the way?). Also, I know nothing about Tanner Hall and his 9,000 medals they kept talking about, but he didn’t come off as a very likable character. In fact, if I met him on the street, I’d probably want to punch him in the face (and I’m saying that the same way Ichiro Suzuki says it when he refers to punching himself in the face). The crowd didn’t seem to like him much either, or they just much preferred Simon Dumont. They even broke out in a chorus of “Bullshit!” at the end of the competition.

From the perspective of a newbie, there were two guys who were really interesting to watch, and they were interesting for very different reasons.

Simon Dumont was awesomely explosive, getting amazing amplitude (that means he gets really, really high in the air up the sides of the pipe). Andreas Hatveit has ridiculous technical skills, but lacks the amplitude of the other skiers. That said, he was my favorite to watch. The best thing was the way he starts off by going into the pipe backwards (switch). I always like the quirky guy who does something a little different, so Hatveit (who’s from Norway, so he’s my people) was my favorite. Also, and it’s hard to tell with all the gear they wear, but he might be kind of hot. I hate to be like that, but I have to admit that when I watch a sport I know nothing about, 90% of my cheering is based on the hotness of the athletes. There, I said it.

Also, who in the hell is Tina Dixon? I think she’s high. I could do a better job interviewing these guys.