Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Got That Work

(If/when I write a book that requires a cover, I sure hope that Pen and Pixel is still in business)

There's freelance-related anxiety that concerns having too much work, and there's freelance-related anxiety concerning not having enough work, and there is the rare and beautiful anti-nirvana state that is achieved when those two nervousnesses occupy the same consciousness. Obviously there are hundreds of thousands of worse things than feeling jittery and overworked, but as explanations for falling behind on my own self-spammery goes, it's a pretty good explanation. So I'm taking a brief break from attempting to take a longer break to get caught up on my catching up. Then I'm going to make this chimichurri for a party I'm supposed to make chimichurri for, and maybe spend 45 minutes staring at a Word document containing an assignment that I have avoided working on because of how much I hate it and hate working on it. But right: a break. So here's what I've been doing instead of blogging or feeling comfortable.

The good news is that there are some things, besides the usual Daily Fixery and daily day-jobbery. Foremost among these, probably, is the fact that I'm writing a sports column called The Mercy Rule for Vice Magazine. Which is a cool but also an intimidating thing, both because -- with the exception of my Awl NFL columns, which was not so much easy, either, but also just sort of felt different -- I've never written this sort of thing before and because, you know, it's Vice. That obviously means something different than it did back when it was Do's and Don't's and mid-aught cocaine libertarianism/libertinism -- it's a different and more serious and more complicated thing now, and my editors are both quite serious and good at editing. Also the commenters are kind of hilariously negative, so the fact that I've only gotten one "TL;DR" and been called an "asshole" once in three columns is actually kind of good, I guess? But yeah: overall the response has been good, and I'm enjoying doing it. The three columns I wrote, about Frank McCourt, the NBA lockout and Not Saving The All-Star Game<, are here and here and here. Feel free to hit the comments and call me a retard or whatever.

I'm also still doing the Yakkin' thing at The Awl, usually with the very great David Raposa. That David R, though, also has work, and this week was covering a Lil Wayne concert when he would ordinarily have been on gchat with me making fun of Ron Gardenhire. Which is a pretty good deal for him, and which gave me an excuse to write something stupid about baseball and food, which is the sort of thing I don't actually need an excuse for. But I liked doing it, and was especially delighted that one of the more ridiculous bits of the piece -- a totally made-up bit involving paunchy journeyman reliever Mike Fetters running a renegade concession stand at Miller Park -- actually seemed to have convinced Larry Granillo, the man behind the great Wezen-Ball baseball blog, that Mike Fetters was indeed hauling a cheese-vat around a big league ballpark. See if it convinces you:

While Fetters says that he "does fine" on his mobile concession, it's clearly a labor of love—only love, after all, could compel a 40-something man to pull a bubbling cauldron of Colby cheese and that cast-iron skillet around the ballpark while evading Miller Park security. Fetters charges fans just $2 to dunk any of the other concessions available at the ballpark into the "cheese tank," and will put a fried egg—that’s where the skillet and hot-plate come in—atop any concession for just a dollar. And I do mean anything: during my visit, I saw Fetters put a fried egg atop a pile of nachos, a double-patty burger ($11) from Gorman Thomas Prime, and directly into a New Era fitted cap. "Security guys are going to bust balls, because that's what they do," Fetters says. "Food inspector guys, same thing. But the way I figure, these fans gave me a lot when I pitched here. A lot of love, a lot of support. I want to give them something back, too."

Incidentally, the idea of a ballpark steakhouse called Gorman Thomas Prime is actually my favorite joke in the piece, and this is a piece that has a few hundred words of totally made up Guy Fieri BS. You can read the whole thing here. Or you could not, that'd be fine, too. I know how it feels not to have time to do things. I know because I need to make chimichurri.

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