Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Male Playbook – The Gaylord Focker

 You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. But as any man who’s ever been on a job interview, a first date or a chat room for lesbians can tell you, “be yourself” is not a real option for a first impression. Especially when that first impression involves meeting the parents of a girlfriend. When you’re an adult, you date autonomously, so these rules only apply to those who are meeting parents because the relationship is serious.

We’ve all seen Meet the Parents, starring Ben Stiller as Greg Focker, a man taking the titular action of the film. Greg makes a horrible first impression with the parents of his betrothed, and it happens because he doesn’t adhere to the simple rules of this play, now ironically named for his introductory impotence. Some of these rules are completed with planned execution, and some require the dance of repartee, but each is essential. Know them.

Rule #1 – Meet on a neutral site – Parental turf would guarantee some revertigo from girlfriend to “daddy’s little girl.” It also gives the parents a feeling of superiority as the life they built stands all around you like a testament to your youth. The inverse of that testament is also why you don’t want them coming to your bachelor pad. Restaurants are an emotionally sterile ground. Go there.

Rule #2 – The early bird gets the worm – In this case, that worm is the meal, and YOU are getting it, check and all. Show up first so you can tell the server that the check comes to you, no matter what. Maybe even pre-tip to ensure it.

Rule #3 – It’s an interview. Dress like it. – No matter how open-minded a person is, they tend to be more guarded when their children are in question. Dressing too nicely won’t hurt you. I’d argue that it goes a long way to helping you. Wear a suit, and if it feels awkward, claim to come from a late business meeting with no time to change. This tells the parents you take work and life seriously and that you probably have a little cash in your pocket as a result. When that check lands, you’ll reinforce that assumption.

 Rule #4 – Watch the clock – Dinner and drinks. Dessert if it’s pushed. That’s it. Call it a night. The longer you’re there, the more likely you are to talk about how you convinced their all-too-naive daughter to try touching her elbows behind her back for five minutes when you met her. This is a bad thing.

Rule #5 – You are a conversational cul-de-sac – DO NOT attempt to take their questions anywhere. Answer directly and deflect to a follow up question. If mom asks you where you’re from, you say, “Kansas City, born and raised. What about yourself?” Treat your spotlight like warm potato. It’s not uncomfortable, but you don’t want to be holding it. This works with almost anything. When Dad asks what your intentions for his daughter are, you say, “It’s new, and I’m just really enjoying getting to know her at this point. Any favorite memories you can share with me?” DO NOT swing for the fences. DO NOT talk about yourself. The most common fallacy of people in a first-impression scenario is that they think they can impress people on the first try.

Rule #6 – Hobbies are the new weather – The first time conversation stalls, your automatic question is, “What do you do in your free time?” Whatever the answer is, that’s your tentpole for the evening. I don’t care if their answer is breeding cats. You will be fascinated by the topic. It’s your true North, your base camp, your safety net. When the convo stalls next, it’s because you were lost in thought of the previously rapturous topic that left you wondering, “What kind of cat food is ideal during the pregnancy?” …er, something like that.

Rule #7 – Tip heavy and slow – The “heavy” portion should be a no-brainer. The “slow” portion is in regards to how quickly you close the little booklet enclosing the check. You want to write/place your tip openly so it doesn’t appear that you’re trying to sneak a miserly gratuity. But you don’t want to just leave it out there for the world to see. Tip, look at it for a 2-count as if you’re checking your work, and close the book.

Rule #8 – Thank you card – This doesn’t have to be done every time you meet with parents. Only the first. Place them a “thank you for joining for dinner” card in the mail. Stamp and all. Wondering what to say? The four steps are 1) Thank you, 2) Express pleasure 3) So much pleasure that you hope it happens again, 4) Best wishes.

There you go guys. I’m not going to pretend that parents will walk away thinking their daughter is dating some kind of real life Ed Bloom, but you check all the boxes for “respectable fellow,” and that’s pretty damn impressive.

If there’s one thing you can say about him,
Dusty “Social Person” Riedesel

You Can’t Watch This Commercial And Still Hate LeBron

A couple years ago I wrote this article, pretty much vilifying the transcendent LeBron James, perhaps the most well-rounded player since Larry Bird, the Basketball Jesus.

Now there’s this commercial:

I hate how good this commmercial is. It makes me like LeBron James, which is in conflict with my long-held disdain for the best player in the world. This commercial makes me feel like a hypocrite. Maybe that’s why people fight change so much. It starts by admitting that your status quo is wrong.

In America, we forgive any sort of perceived flaws as long as the individual is great, and there’s probably no greater example than in the narratives we love. Don Draper, Walter White, and Tony Soprano just prove that we’ll be intrigued and drawn towards success. LeBron James is none of the evil or broken we see in our favorite TV characters. He’s just a guy who left his hometown for a better job opportunity, but that “flee the Cleve” gesture pissed us off. That was then. Today, the historical narrative is already so different than what was being crafted by us short-sighted pundits of the internet. LeBron is the best there is at what he does. For that, he’s won our praise.

Tonight he kicks off his season against Derrick Rose and the Bulls. I’m still rooting against the Heat. But the “Basketball Judas” label just isn’t fair anymore. The ends have justified the means. He’s been baptized in the redemptive waters of success. I’ll still always wish that he’d stayed in Cleveland, but that’s hindsight. He may have not become the transcendent superhero we see in that commercial if he had.

Begrudgingly respectful,
Dusty ” 30 Pieces in Debt” Riedesel

The Official Writing Bareback Preview for Kansas Basketball 2013-2014

The Kansas Jayhawks have their first pre-season basketball game tonight against the Pittsburgh State Gorillas. So here’s Writing Bareback’s official season preview..

This is a man’s world.

The criminally unfamous former head coach of the Greenwood High School men’s basketball team, Bruce Hensley, used to say, “A boy becomes a man when a man is needed.” And nothing could apply more to KU point guard, Naadir Tharpe. Last season, Tharpe showed some growth, and that growth mixed like oil and water with his tendency to shoot pull-up 3’s in transition despite being the worst available offensive option on the floor at the time. Whatever. I’m not mad at him. Some KU fans like their Tharpe to be a steady distributor with a low-turnover rate and even lower shot attempt numbers. Not me. I like my Tharpe to be irrationally confident to the point where I actually start believing he really is as good as he thinks he is. I want my Tharpe to look off a wide open Conner Frankamp—potentially the best pure shooter KU has ever recruited—and release a slightly contested wing three with only one thought in his head, “Sorry young frosh. For this shot, a man is needed.”

With Great Power Comes Absurd Expectations

I’m on the record. There is no way Andrew Wiggins lives up to the hype. And you know what, it doesn’t matter. Because this:

And maybe even this:

In the end, I suspect we’ll be much more enamored with flashes of elite talent than with consistently great basketball. I hope I’m wrong, but with reports of Wiggins being super chill at practice, it’s just easier to bet the under. But then again, there’s this:

Texts With Bill Self

He’s possibly has the nicest public image in college basketball, so I sent him some texts.

Me: Bill-o-strator!
Self: I think you have the wrong number.
Me: What? Why?
Self: Jay is the Bilastrator
Me: Who’s Jay?
Self: He’s a college basketball analyst for ESPN. Very insightful.
Me: Well, I don’t know him.
Bill: Who r u?
Me: I’m Dustin Riedesel, lifelong Jayhawks fan.
Bill: Ah, well why didn’t you say so? I’m always honored to text with a fan.
Me: Nice of you to say, Coach Self.
Bill: Shucks, call me Bill.
Me: Bill! Billy Boy! Bilbo Baggins!
Me: Bill?
Me: Coach Self?
Bill: Always honored to text with a fan.

—————————————————–

Me: Sup Coach?
Bill: Just watching the ’08 Championship for the 7,801st time.
Me: Great game. Kind of your “good to great” moment.
Bill: lol. Stop. I’m blushing.
Me: LMFAO. No you’re not! Are you?
Bill: 😉
Me: Take a Self-y right now and prove it!
Me: See what I did there?
Me: Alright, no Self-y.

—————————————————————

Bill: Hey Dustin, you got a moment?
Me: Sup Coach?
Bill: I just wanted to let you know what our team’s chances are this year. I think they’re good.
Me: Really?
Bill: Yep, we have a chance to be really good.
Me: How good?
Bill: Potentially as good as any of our other teams could have been with the same chances.
Me: I’m confused…
Bill: One game at a time. Just trying to improve every time we’re out on the floor. The ceiling’s the limit.
Me: But where’s the ceiling?
Bill: Potentially? It’s right up there.
Me: How high is up there?
Bill: You hesitate to be to sure with predictions, but it possibly might be a high ceiling kind of a season if we catch some breaks. Tons of potential here.
Me: Thanks coach.

The Lovable Giant

This is Joel Embiid:

Picture

Yep, he’s doing the foreigner finger wag. We all love the big man with personality. Is there anything funnier than Patrick Chewing?

One thing might be funnier. Here’s the great Dikembe Mutumbo still cashing checks from maybe the greatest “most with the least” marketing schtick of all time, the same finger wag Embiid should  100% adopt full time.

While most of the hype surrounding Joel Embiid is due to his “soccer-playing foreigner meets basketball just like Hakeem” potential, he’s going to win hearts and minds as long as he keeps up antics like this Mutumbo finger wag. If a kid from south Philly does this same move with a scowl, we’d be calling him a head case. Embiid does it with a Cameroonian naivete and we’re all charmed. He’s like a big kid out there! I remember feeling that kind of joy when my dad bought me an All Sport after the game. Clear eyes, full heart from Joel Embiid. Who says big men aren’t marketable?

The Future Is Now

Personally, I’m not excited for any new Jayhawk as much as I am for Wayne Selden. Unlike with Wiggins, everything you hear about this guy is fantastic across the board.

  • “Selden is the hardest-practicing freshman I’ve encountered in more than a quarter-century on the college basketball beat.” – Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News
  • “He has the frame of an NBA two-guard already and he’s only 18. Tremendously compact handles, excellent jumper, plays within himself, great body control, beautiful eyes … he really has it all” – Michael Levin, SB Nation
  • “Scouts went crazy for Selden this summer. If he shoots well and plays with some discipline, he could move into the top 10.” – Chad Ford, ESPN

Most college players do not have the elite athleticism or size to generate NBA All-Star hype coming out of high school. Wayne Selden is amongst those masses. But since he happens to join KU alongside one of the genetic rarities that has those hype-tornado qualities, he’s overlooked. I believe in habitual work outperforming flashes of excellence. When Wayne Selden is the most productive backcourt player for KU, come back to this blog and read this sentence.

I told you so.

Forgot About….Perry?

Here I stand, with full knowledge that KU’s post-favoring, high-low offense and Perry Ellis’s consistent improvement and strong summer performances, and yet I’m unable to say anything exciting. Most of my readers will remember this article with this gif:

Perry’s the one in the back right corner who looks like the foreign exchange student on his first day in the cafeteria of a new school. Let your hair down, Perry! Perry’s like the girlfriend who does everything you want a girlfriend to do, but she’ll just never have the body of that sexy Andrew Wiggins girl. I know Perry’s going to be good, but with his floor-based post game, receding hairline and 3-option rotation of facial expressions, he’s going to be the subject of roughly 439 “It’s easy to forget about Perry Ellis” conversations this year. When you hear these, resist the urge to nod off. I have a feeling those conversations are going to be harbingers to “death by tomahawk dunk” moments via Andrew Wiggins. Then an announcer will chuckle and say, “And maybe that’s why we forget about Perry Ellis.” We’ll all nod, a little bit depressed at the genetic proof that God does play favorites.

The Next Slim Shady

People were always little weirded out that young, white Eminem could rap. Let’s try to be less shocked when this kid ends up balling.

Pleased to give you a comprehensive preview,
Dusty “Who’s Tarik Black?” Riedesel

An Old-Fashioned, Diary-Style Blog Post

I’m supposed to write about my feelings today. My childhood dog died on Tuesday night. I processed it. I planned some deep-thought attempts about the value of presence and how the end of it is a harbinger of mortality that hollows us out, albeit temporarily.

I wasn’t ready. I sat down, turned on some tunes and started to type. The flow wasn’t there. Instead, this paragraph came out.

I just finished listening to a Taylor Swift song. Not by choice, mind you. It came on a thing called the radio. Not spotify or iTunes or whatever people who like music prefer these days. It was radio. An archaic form of music delivery that ignores your personal agency in regards to audio. But life is unscripted, so why shouldn’t our music be the same? I like radio. It’s natural. Call me analogue. I consider it a compliment.

It’s no Faulkner, granted, but there’s a nugget I liked. Life is unscripted. It has some merit. So let’s turn this into an old-fashioned, diary-style blog post.

In a 30-day period, I’ll have lost my dog, my girlfriend, and my roommates. I’m pretty sure the “telemarketer” I hit the ignore button on every week might be George Strait sourcing me for song ideas (I’d imagine it as some ode to the everyman drifter of 2013. Like a suburban “Amarillo by Morning” but with even less direction. “T-Shirt Blues” is a good title). And you know, I feel okay. I feel okay because life is unscripted.

I embraced the beauty of story a long time ago. And I don’t mean the usual BS about “life’s a journey” or anything like that. There’s one single element that is a writer’s most powerful tool. That tool is all the words he doesn’t write. It’s what’s not said that creates the bond between a writer’s words and a reader’s imagination.

Example: I can write, “Tommy wore dark skinny jeans with a pressed, white oxford tucked into them. A perfectly loosened Charvet slim knitted silk tie hung from the collar, and the sleeves of his grey Members Only jacket were slightly pushed up his forearms.” Or I can write, “Tommy always dressed like someone who was trying too hard.” [Editor’s note: no co-bloggers were actually insulted during the formation of this post]

Charvet Slim Knitted Silk Tie

In the first, you know exactly what Tommy’s wearing. In the second, he could be wearing anything. The answer is worth a little bit. The question is worth so much more. Every reader can put Tommy in different clothes. The possibilities are nearly endless. All of a sudden, the reader has created Tommy as much as I have. We’re building a world together, bonded in imagination. I call that place where we meet The Space Between, partially because it’s as ominous and open to interpretation as our imaginative union is, partially because I like that Dave Matthews song.

When I tell people that life is unscripted, they think it’s a “wanna see God laugh?” kind of advice. There’s a bit of that, sure, but it’s not really what I mean. I mean that what you don’t put on the script is usually the best stuff, the most powerful. It’s where you give your life a chance to connect with the rest of the machinations of this universe. It’s functional enlightenment, 21st century zen.

Signing off because I think George Strait is calling,
Dusty “Telemarkted” Riedesel

How To Celebrate Halloween As A Single Guy

Once titled “Men Should Celebrate Halloween Like Sluts Too” before much appreciated editing, I wrote this article a year ago. But what was true in 2012 is still true in 2013. 

After being prompted to write this article, I brought it up to a friend under a “celebrate Halloween like a dude” premise. The response was general but pointed: “Everyone should celebrate Halloween the same way — like sluts.”

These guys know what I’m talking about (NSFW):

I can usually post my PolicyMic articles in a lunch break (if you look at what I’ve written here, it’s not exactly brain-breaking stuff), but I just couldn’t think of an interesting take for celebrating Halloween like a dude. So screw it, the “holiday” is what it is.  Depending on your situation in life, here’s how you should approach the holiday.

Single male, ages 11 and under – You know what to do. Say trick or treat (with or without the “smell my feet” addition) and grab something good to eat. And if you pass one of those lazy houses with a “just take one” sign and a bucket of candy, don’t be a glutton.

Single male, ages 12-15 – Your last chance to trick or treat. Swallow your pride, endure the belittling stares of age skeptics, and embrace the last time you can accept a non-politically loaded handout.

Single male, ages 15-18 – I’m afraid to write to this age group. If you go to a party, leave room for Jesus, kids.

Single male, ages 18-65 – Most men in these situations think Halloween is the night where women from Topeka to Fargo (and beyond!) hit the bars like pre-nude strippers. But it’s about more than that.  Depending on your exact age and social sphere, the class of your Halloween evening may change, but not the spirit. And that spirit is invention. Unlike other evenings, you are given free reign to be the most extreme version of anything. (Despite what you might think about your free will to do that anyway, you are wrong.  You are a composite of genetic inclinations, advertising’s influence, and sociopolitical preferences.)  Most people think that freedom is about the costume, but the costume is really just an extension of your emancipated soul. This Halloween, I’m dressing as Bob from Fight Club. What’s this say about me? My character has developed prominent female attributes as a result of abusing a drug that augments an inherently masculine chemical. I’m insecure, trying to reclaim my manhood. Halloween is not just sluts, booze and bad decisions — yes, it is those things — but it is also a night of self-discovery.  Dig deep, channel your spirit animal.

Single male, ages 65+ – It’s over, dude. Put a bucket of candy outside your house, watch a movie, go to bed.

Married male, ages 12+ – You should avoid Halloween parties. I’m not saying that it’s bad to hang around lingerie-clad women with wings taped to their bras, but it’s not exactly marital fertilizer. If you’re going to go, I’d suggest a morphsuit. It’s like wearing creeper shades for your whole body.

Male with kids, ages 12+ – This is not a holiday for you. It’s exercise, and it’s work, not unlike vacation when you have kids.  Lean into it.

Single Male age 28,
Dusty “What’s my diagnosis?” Riedesel

Oxford Dictionary Adds 35 New Words, But Using Them Coherently Will Not Be Easy

We here at Writing Bareback write in all sorts of places. Other websites, tear-stained journals, on the receipts left by cute bar maids, even some less cute bar matrons depending on the hour. This is one of those pieces that landed on another website back in August, 2012. Enjoy!

oxford, dictionary, adds, 35, new, words,, but, using, them, coherently, will, not, be, easy,
There are 35 new words in the Oxford Dictionary.  You’ll probably want to open that link for definitions. In this article, I’ll try to use and bold all 35 new words without turning seven shades of locavore vomit. Check that, frankenfood vomit. It sounds nastier.

In the first season of Californication, fictitious literary trainwreck Hank Moody waxed with droolworthy syntax about screenagers creating a textspeak full of “OMGs” and “LMFAOs” while sexting sexual noobs that will most likely unfriend each other the moment one sees a muffin-top peek over the jeggings of the other. Enjoy this video clip as an introduction to my forthcoming complaints.

Totes, Hank.

Truth be told, I’m not a hater (except of guyliner on non-80s rock stars), so chillax. I do believe that language, like all things, needs to constantly upcycle to prevent our societal transformation to a collective illiterati. I just don’t think officially inducting a poor man’s onomatopoeia like “woot” or a destitute man’s “whatever” like “whatevs” into the linguistic hall of fame is crunk (alright, I obvs reached with that one).

Give cheap slang an inch and it will take a mile from wealthy diction. I’m pretty sure that’s what that grrrl Ayn Rand was talking about in Atlas Shrugged. Every time a “bling” becomes audible, an “exorbitant” loses its wings. I’ll never stop dreaming of that la-la land of words where “obstreperous” dances off Dostoyevsky’s pen while “mankini” and “mini-me” are beaten like some kind of racially insensitive comment that allows me to use “po-po” in this sentence.

If you think I’m biased, there’s a truthiness to that. I’ve always had a bromance with the originators of old-school English (Noah Webster was a pimp!), and I’ve always believed that the Twitterati were nothing but infomaniac muggles in the world of alphabetic magic. So sue me for my prejudice, but try to do it in a purple state so I have the best chance of a balanced jury.

D’oh! 34 of 35!? Seriously!? How could I not squeeze “whovian” into that mess!?

Worth a Visit? The Train Station, Cary, NC

Some people call it Harrison’s. Some people call it “that place underneath Pure Gold.” But it’s officially known as the Train station. It’s a place I’ve been for both reasons and neither of those reasons. But since I’ve been there, I considered it my duty to answer some of your burning questions on whether or not a visit is worth your time.

Do you like cheap domestic beer and shot specials? C’mon, that’s like asking if you like boobs. Everyone loves boobs, even gay guys who should logically have nothing but postnatal appreciation for their functionality. Just ask for a donor breakdown from Susan G. Komen, they’ll prove me right. But I digress. Cheap domestic beer and shot specials means YOU’RE VISITING.

Do you like strip clubs? No need to be ashamed. YOU’VE ALREADY VISITED! Probably more than once if you’re being honest. Despite their geographic camaraderie, Pure Gold and The Train Station do not see eye-to-eye on the price of Bud Light. Going to The Train Station before your gentleman jaunt is all about cash allocation.

Do you like bar games? You don’t have to like all the bar games, but you at least like either darts, billiards or skiball. So guess what, it’s WORTH A VISIT, because it’s one of the few places that doesn’t charge for pool balls.

Are you afraid of bar fights? Not everyone was born to loiter by the live-band cages of the Double Deuce. I’ve seen two separate fights break out at The Train Station. You shouldn’t feel bad that you weren’t born with the DGAF swagger of Wade Garrett. Stay home. Stay safe. YOU’RE NOT VISITING.

Do you like black light parties? You don’t know. Well look at the picture below and then see if YOU DON’T KNOW IF YOU’RE VISITING.

Do you feel like the crowd of a three-star bar can’t properly appreciate your hipster style and unique drink orders? Well, keep your disco socks and suede booties downtown, cause YOU SHOULDN’T VISIT this place, even if your upturned nose prevents you from realizing a three-star bar is just the kind of place that admires a man in $75 dollar jeans ordering a PBR. Screw it. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY VISIT!

In summation, it’s a bar underneath a strip club, and it’s in Cary. Slough off the fear of sin and glitter seeping through the cracks of the ceiling. You’ve got a lot of slow Tuesday nights coming up. It’s WORTH A VISIT.

My nickname isn’t cause I’m like Wade Garret,
Dusty “Double Deuce” Riedesel