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Friday, February 27, 2009

Hi My Name Is...

February is almost over and that means there are three things that I can guarantee are about to happen.

First of all, guys all over the world are going to start asking girls to date them (they were reluctant with Valentine’s Day approaching). Secondly, people are going to stop giving a shit about Black History until Martin Luther King Day 2010 kicks off another month-long Celebration. And lastly, people are going to start feeling guilty about the New Year’s Resolutions that they broke during the past few weeks.

To once again prove that I’m better than the common person, I got my girlfriend a pretty hooked up V-Day gift (video is private), I always celebrate Black History (wait for the video of the week) and I often refer back to my New Year’s Resolutions in an effort to stay true to my word. But this blog isn’t about any of that stuff.

While taking an analytical look into German culture to try and find new ways to live a “greener” life in 2009, I noticed some other little things that are worth mentioning. The animals out here are a lot smarter. There is no roadkill anywhere, the squirrels, hedgehogs and other rodent looking creatues do a good job of avoiding the street all together. Domestic dogs are never on leashes and always seem to stop at the curb like their owners. Speaking of stopping at curbs, not a soul out here has ever J-Walked. I’ve actually been stared down by people 4x my age looking like they wanted to fight because I crossed the street while the light was still red…even though there wasn’t a car in sight.

But the one thing that I’ve noticed more than anything else is the desire to call everyone by their given name. Even as I sit here and write this, I am not sure why this shocks me as much as it does…but I cannot think of a single friend of mine that hasn’t had a nickname growing up…and it just seems like, out here, nobody has one.

During my 23 years on this Earth I’ve definitely had my share of nicknames. Growing up it was simply a shortened version of my first name. Jason became Jay, my friend Richard became Richie or Rich and my boy Andrew was simply Drew. Then when I got to highschool my first name went out the window and most of my friends called me by my last name "Boone." But my good friend Brandon, who became Bran most of highschool started calling me Boonie and that stuck for the remainder of highschool. Right around my sophomore year basketball season (late 2000) I had a “nasty” dunk according to two varsity players (Orrin and Tomczak) and I inherited my favorite nickname of all time “Big Nasty.”

The summer before I got to college I played in a Hoboken Summer basketball league with a few of my NYU teammates; Jason Bayuk (aka JB…sucked having the same initials), Jack Sullivan (Sully, Casper, Powder, Elmers…he was pigmently challenged), Mike DeCorso (Big Mike, Gooch, E-corso…his defense was a bit non-existent at times)and Jared Kildare (J-Hood, Yogi, The Good Captian). I was dubbed Baby Shaq by a big fan of the league…he was actually a hype man for a few teams and just enjoyed watching the games and talking shit to anyone who was rooting for the opposite team. Anytime I was tired and needed a sub, our little hype man would always demand our coach to put me back in and take “Polar Bear” (big white kid from Stevens Tech) out.

When I got to college, my little brother Malcolm (MXB aka Lil’ Nasty aka Malc) started calling me “Big Jay” because apparently I was doing it “big.” But in college is where every person I know replaced their government name for a new alias. Although there were a few people I introduced myself to as Jason “Big Nasty” Boone, including my Writing the Essay Teacher freshman year, I went by Boone most of my time at NYU. For a short stint I became “Cal Ramsey Jr.” which was either because of the similarities in our playing styles or the social interactions between Cal Ramsey and my grandmother at the NYU post game reception.

During a recent trip to Cancun with my Entourage (Big Mike my best friend, Chris Bencivenga aka Benci aka the wildest mo-fo you’ll ever met aka my agent, and Mike Torres aka Miguel aka Pete Sampras aka The Mitchum Man aka my Personal Trainer) I was without a doubt the largest person in the country. Let’s just say Mexico isn’t known for their 7-footers and the sight of me caused a mass hysteria among everyone working at the resort. The mixture of Tequila and Corona that was in my system 24/7 caused me to join in on water aerobics one day at the pool and during one of the exercises the MC called me Kong (obviously short for my distant relative, the Empire State Building climbing creature). It was all in good fun and the nickname actually stuck for the rest of the trip.

Now that I’m out here in Germany, the nicknames have not slowed down. Although it’s only my American teammates that use them. I’ve been called Boone-Dawg, Jay Beezy, and Cheeseburger Boonie (refer to Feb 5 Blog). I was beginning to think that Americans were just lazy and tried to find a way to shorten everything, Benjamin’s are always Ben and Christopher’s are always Chris but when you really think about it, we just like to differentiate our friends. Or maybe we are just lazy. I don’t know.

What's Playing in Jason's iPod: Vengaboys -Boom Boom Boom Boom

Okay you got me, this song is not actually playing in my iPod but when I start thinking back to highschool and all the stupid things I did, changing the words of this song to Boone and claiming that every girl that sung this song wanted me in their room was definitely one of them.

YouTube Video of the Week: http://www.thepeoplespeak.com/

Okay you got me again, this isn't a YouTube video, but it's actually a very good trailer for a film that I think is very interesting. It's based on a Howard Zinn book and tells the story of History from "the other" perspective.

German Phrase of the Week: Ich heisse Jason...or...Mein name ist Jason

You can probably guess what those mean. The first one is a little more formal but all this talk about nicknames made me realize that I never taught you guys how to tell a German speaking person your name...in case you ever need to know how to tell a German speaking person what your name is.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Highlights vs. Frankfurt

Friday, February 20, 2009

Highlights vs. Oldenburg

And The Winner Is...

In my last blog I talked about my SLINGBOX and how much it's made a difference in passing time out here but I neglected to mention the big setback. I don't have a DVR Player, meaning the six hour time difference between where I'm at, and where the television is, makes for either late hours watching primetime show, or missing them completely.

So given that German primetime is American daytime, and I don't do Soap Operas, I've recently become addicted to GSN, the Gameshow Network. Since graduation, there haven't been many things that have stimulated my brain like a college course (and that was just when I went to class). I attempted to learn German, make weekly trips to the library to "relearn something I forgot from highschool" and pick up a new talent, but that was all too hard to really stick with. If I didn't feel like I get dumber everyday I probably wouldn't be complaining about anything, but remember I was that kid who always put academics before athletics. During college, I had class, basketball, studying and partying…and now I just have basketball, weightlifting, basketball and partying. (Am I really complaining?)

So until I enter that forbidden world of Graduate School I guess these general knowledge gameshows are all I got. My nightly routine consists of two Cash Cab episodes, a Family Feud episode, an episode of The Weakest Link, and one of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and since I've been watching them, I actually feel a improved knowledge. Did you know the survey says that a restaurant is the worst place to floss your teeth? Or that a colon is the punctuation mark commonly used to introduce a list of items?

Watching all of these gameshows, and sharing my newfound knowledge with anyone that would listen provoked a simple question to which I had to say no. Have you seen Slumdog Millionaire? Come to think of it, I haven't seen a movie in, what seems like, forever. Now seeing as the Academy Awards are coming up, my girlfriend and I had the brilliant idea to try and see all of the movies that were up for nominations. Unfortunately we tried to squeeze them all into one day and found ourselves very unsuccessful. We re-watched The Dark Knight first thing in the morning. Then Holly watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button while I was at "work" (aka practice) and when I returned she wanted to watch Revolutionary Road (but I already saw Titanic so) I decided to watch The Wrestler. Before bed that night we were able to get through Slumdog Millionaire and Milk (no homo) together. What a day huh?

Slumdog Millionaire, which my mom actually was first to tell me about, is my pick to win all the awards this year. Editing, Directing, Cinematography, Score (song) and Best Picture. I actually couldn't care about the first four, but I think it deserves to win the Best Picture. Mickey Rourke is definitely taking home Best Actor for his portrayal of Randy "the Ram" in The Wrestler and Anne Hathaway is going to win Best Actress for Rachel Getting Married (based solely off of watching the trailer on youtube). Everyone knows Heath Ledger is a shoe-in for Best Supporting Actor and that's as far as my Oscar Predictions will go.

What's Playing in Jason's iPod: Kanye West- Robocop

Although this song has nothing to do with the movie, all this movie talk made me think of this song. With all those autotunes and that 808 drum beat, it sounds like it could be the backdrop for a futuristic movie. Kanye also doesn't hesitate to speak about what's on his mind (award show snub, George Bush on Katrina). His music making is as unique as his fashion sense...and for that, he gets a shoutout in my blog.

YouTube Video of the Week: First question wrong on Who Wants to be a Millionaire http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMriTkE3igY

Because people's failures are funnier than their success, and this was one of the biggest failures ever in terms of Gameshows, I thought you guys would get a kick out of this.If this kid didn't know what a surge protector was before this, I guarantee he'll never forget as long as he lives.

German Phrase of the Week: Gewinnen/Verlieren- To Win/To Lose

With all of the competition a gameshow evokes, and all of the big winners and losers on Oscar night, I figured it would be a good idea to teach you guys how to say to win and to lose. When it comes to conjugations, you might as well just keep in the infinitive because that's where it gets difficult. I've mastered them because of the fact that the guy at the Crepe shop outside of the trainstation always asks whether or not we will win our next game when I go see him. Plus when I go to play with Holly's tennis students, they all call me a loser. Win some lose some.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Life's Little Necessities

If I knew that I was going to be a professional basketball player when I was in 11th grade, I probably would have worked a little bit harder to get that coveted "Division One Full Ride." You see, my "Mr. Popular best basketball player" highschool days were short-lived compared to my "who is this new kid lonely lunch table" highschool days. I barely made my junior varsity team as a freshman, and was dubbed, "slowest player in basketball history" during my sophomore year tryout. No one ever really thought I'd amount to much, but that was until I reached out to long-lost cousin Barry Bonds and got on that workout plan. Just kidding, it was actually a year of football exercises (plyometrics & weightlifting) and a four inch growth spurt that would change all of that.

Knowing I always had my academics to fall back on hindered the urgency to go out and get that "full-ride." So when those Division 1 coaches came and went, and the offers never really stuck around, I had to (and I am reluctant to use this word) settle for a college that prided itself on schooling, rather than sport. Although I think during my time there, people started to notice basketball a little more; the truth of the matter is that professional coaches did not. I found myself back in the same boat four year later, minus sitting by myself at lunch. After graduating from college I had a good enough basketball resume to play professionally but I knew if it didn't work out I had my degree to fall back on. The first time this happened to me, I was much more "reactive" than "proactive" and the second time around I really tried to get out there and make it happen. Unfortunately I kept hearing the same thing: "he only played division 3 basketball" or "well if he wasn't' good enough for division 1 he's not good enough for us."

Now I can pretend I used that for motivation and had I been talking in front of a basketball camp rather than typing in my pajama pants on my couch, I probably would. But the truth is that I was ready to give up. Long story short, I ended up getting that chance due to that German writer and made the most of it, but the first team I played for would teach me some important lessons. For the first few weeks of my professional basketball career I was living on my coaches' couch because my apartment wasn't finished. For the next few weeks I was living in an empty two bedroom apartment with no roommate, no television, no phone, and no internet. The radio and books saved my sanity and to make sure I never come anywhere near the brink of lunacy again there was an essential purchase that needed to be made before I came back out here again. So as this season approached, I would make sure that when it was time to leave, I had my passport, beef jerky, and SLINGBOX.

The SLINGBOX is a device that, when hooked up to your Cable Box and Cable Modem, allows you to watch your home television on your computer. Having this device has allowed me to watch all the important events such as The Obama Inauguration, the Australian Open, the MTV Movie Awards, and the NFL Playoffs, as well as my daily favorites, MSNBC's Morning Joe, ESPN's SportsCenter, and BET's 106 & Park. The American channels that I'm able to access through my SLINGBOX are a huge step up from the German Television I was subjected to last season. If I had to watch another poorly dubbed episode of The King of Queens or Married with Children I may have thrown the television set through the window.

Anyone that knows me knows that unsuccessful shopping, which occurs a lot when you are large human being, frustrates me more than most things, but the purchase of this SLINGBOX was probably the BEST purchase I have made since that college education. On second thought, a full ride would have been nice.


What's Playing in Jason's iPod: The Fray- Absolute

I actually stumbled upon this song accidentally. My iPod was dead while my girlfriend and I went to workout and since she had her Vampire Book (the third one from the Twilight series) to read, I stole her iPod and put it on shuffle. This song came on, and although I didn't really like Over My Head or How To Save A Life, I really liked Look After You, and happen to enjoy the majority of their new album...Absolute is my favorite though.

YouTube Video of the Week: Slingbox on Computer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrLZSUwakow

Although the main purpose of this device is to have access to home team sports stations, this has been the best thing to happen to me since that growth spurt. As you can see from this video, the connection and picture isn't bad at all, and with all my Hi-Def connections, you wouldn't even know it was a computer screen, except of course because it's a 14" screen.

German Phrase of the Week: Ich liebe dich- I love you

Although I occasionally tell that to my girlfriend, I tell my SLINGBOX how much I love it every night. I actually bought a stability ball and decided that for every hour of television I watch I need to do some abdominal work so I don't turn into a fat piece of $h!t. Luckily for me the weightlifting and two practice everyday help with staying fit and although ich liebe being fit, ich don't liebe all that practice.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cheeseburger Eddie

"If you had to name someone famous that I look like who would it be?" My girlfriend asked me that question one time and I honestly spent 45 minutes trying to come up with the "correct" answer. She kept telling me "it's not meant to be a hard question, just be honest." But for me it was damn near impossible. I mean, what if I say someone she thinks is ugly, I'm in trouble. And don't let me dare say someone that I think is prettier than her, because then I'll be in trouble again. I could just pick the her favorite celebrity, although the similarities are minimal, but then she'll know I tried to take the easy way out and I'll be in trouble yet again. Therefore, I did the only thing I could, I broke it down into the perfect answer, you have the eyes of (insert person with prettiest eyes), you have the smile of (insert person with the most beautiful smile) etc. etc. "But there is no one as beautiful as you."

Now when it comes to me, I've heard EVERY answer in the world. Real people: Lebron James, Ne-Yo, Denzel Washington and Eddy Curry. Make-believe people: The Incredible Hulk, X-Men'sThe Juggernaut, Street Fighter's Balrog and Mortal Kombat's Jax. The list doesn't stop. But my two all time favorite would have to be Deebo and Damon from the "Friday" Movie Series. And although my personality doesn't really coincide with either character, the actor that played Damon (Terry Crews) does have one character that I cannot help but to be associated with. In the movie, The Longest Yard, Terry Crews plays an inmate nicknamed Cheeseburger Eddie. He's the one guy in the prison that has the McDonald's connection and, somehow, always has a cheeseburger in his possession. This is a montage of his funniest clips. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7gR0dj9X6o

So last season, after seeing the damage I would occasionally do to a Mazzoni Puten Schnitzel, a teammate bet that I couldn't eat a McDonald's cheeseburger in one bite. Unfortunately for my teammate (whose name will be omitted), this video will go to show that it can be done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUNYaYCB2qo&feature=channel_page

But my purpose behind this video was just to consume it in one bite, I wasn't going for time at all…although as you can see it only took me 22 seconds to finish. But almost as soon as this video hit the internet I started to receive a countless number of "challengers" calling me out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kJSXckR_ic&NR=1

What may go unnoticed is that Thanos, a dentist here in Gottingen, started the clock a good six seconds after he first started eating the burger. If you add that to the thirteen that showed up on his stopclock before he put the French Fries in his mouth (although I think he still had some burger in there) he barely beat me. But rather than going back and forth with these YouTube battles I figured I'd let him have his glory until we could go face-to-face and have an "eat-off." Now, I'll give him the fact that he can clean teeth better than I can, he can definitely speak German better than I can, and his 3 point shot may be better than mine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xErCXU8Nf0&feature=related (although I'd be willing to challenge him in that too). But a burger eating contest? Seriously? Well Thanos was barking up the wrong tree for long enough, and now it was time to answer. After a big victory on the road in Dusseldorf and a stop at McDonald's on the way home, the stage was set.

A team manager (with the money), a crew of management, three coaches, eleven teammates, fourteen Mickey D's workers, and sixteen other McDonald's patrons were all there to witness this epic battle. The two cheeseburgers were purchase and Thanos and I took our seats across from each other. After a brief review of the rules (must consume burger in one bite and first one with an empty mouth wins) a countdown was started 3...2...1...Los Gehts

I was a bit nervous that the first person to get the burger in their mouth was going to have the advantage but as I easily made my burger disappear first, the dehydration from the game made it almost impossible to chew and swallow. Luckily, a stumble for Thanos on the initial bite caused a laugh that hindered his first attempt at swallowing too. Once I knew we were back even I just tried to keep chewing bit by bit and swallow every chance I could (pause). Looking Thanos dead in his eye, I could tell he was having more trouble than I was and once I knew I was going to finish first, I gave him the same look I had given Brant Bailey about an hour earlier. You know that, no matter what you do you cannot win, look. So as I slammed my fist on the table in victory and the 30 people standing around us in the Fight Club circle started to cheer, I felt I had nothing more to prove.

The best part of all of this is the newly invented "Jason Boone Big Cheese" at the Gottingen University Campus Cafe. For a limited time only, the cheeseburgers sold at the main food court in our town are going to be named after me. How cool is that?

What's Playing in Jason's iPod: Weird Al Yankovich- Trapped in the Drive Thru

All this cheeseburger talk, besides making me hungry, always reminds me of this song. The hilarious spoof on my beloved Trapped in the Closet by R. Kelly keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire 11 minutes of the song. I want to spoil the ending so bad right now, but the next time you have 11 minutes to kill, go ahead and listen to that one, especially if you ever heard that R. Kelly musical soap opera.

YouTube Video of the Week: If you clicked on the links during this email like you were supposed to then you should be all YouTubed out by now. But if you aren't then go ahead and watch Trapped in the Drive Thru http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmGVYki-oyQ

German Phrase of the Week: Los/Auf Gehts- Let's Go

Truthfully, I don't like this phrase because it's synonomous with all types of running at practice. "Get on the Line...Los Gehts" "Everyone get a ball behind the baseline...Dribble Suicide...Auf Gehts" But it's a simple phrase that is used quite often, and although my legs are sore and I'm out of breath just from writing this, I have to hurry up and finish because it's time to go....Los Gehts!