Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Podcast - 8/25/09 - Andy Keller

For those of you who don't have Facebook or Twitter, the first podcast is now available. In the first one, I decided to start at the bottom and have my friend Andy Keller as the guest to talk about chocolate chip cookies in Arizona and Ohio, a night out with Greg Oden, lead poisoning, and why the "Call on Me" video rules.

If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to leave them. The goal right now is to put out at least one per week, and we have some really good guests lined up as we move towards our goal of having the most famous person possible on the podcast. If you have guest suggestions, pass them along to ClubTrillion@gmail.com.

We got the approval from iTunes today, so be sure to subscribe or risk feeling like a total dweeb when some girl asks if you have the most recent Club Trillion podcast on your iPod.

Pictured: The least famous person who will ever appear on the podcast




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Major Problem

When I was in sixth grade, I stood six feet tall and had more armpit hair than the rest of the elementary school combined. So when field day came at the end of the year, it was no surprise to anyone that The Shark performed swimmingly. I shattered records, I shattered dreams, and when it was all said and done, I shattered the ladies’ hearts. Anyone who witnessed that field day will tell you that it was one of the more impressive things they had ever seen. They will then go on to tell you how badly I failed to athletically pan out and that I’m a prime example of why hitting puberty early isn’t necessarily a good thing, but that’s not relevant to this story.

The reason I bring up my field day dominance is not because I wanted to discuss what I accomplished on the field that day, but rather because it prompted a solid piece of advice from my mom that I still carry with me to this day—don’t let your success get to your head. Unfortunately, I initially chose to not listen to her and instead turned to a life of pulling chairs out from under kids as they went to sit down and other various acts of mischief. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, but I assumed that my seventh grade principal had heard about my performance in the sixth grade field day and would just let each irresponsible act slide. I simply thought the rules didn’t apply to me. But when he slapped a lunch detention on my record, I knew I had hit rock bottom and had to either change my ways or get used to eating lunch by myself and missing out on all the dirty jokes that Jimmy Parkland had heard from his older brother.

Fast forward to this past basketball season. I built this blog from scratch in late October and used my position as the unknown guy on the team as the foundation. In the infancy of the blog, I wrote about how I never play, how I get left out of team pictures, and why per diem is so crucial to my well-being because I’m not on scholarship and therefore have no money. Then I went on Bill Simmons’ podcast (twice), got kicked out of the NBA draft, and ultimately ended up on the front page of Yahoo.com. I essentially became fairly well-known for writing about being unknown. Don’t worry, I’m struggling to find the logic in that sentence too.

As my blog became more and more popular (and I love every one of you for helping make this happen), it became harder for me to be the unknown on our team. I couldn’t write about what it was like to go places and everyone get recognized but me, because suddenly I was getting recognized too. I couldn’t write about how I planned on pranking The Villain because of the thousands of you reading, one of you would consistently warn him of what was coming (or he would just get on here and read for himself, which is really what I think happened). Because of this, the direction of the blog had to change slightly. I started giving a general behind the scenes view of life as a college basketball player instead of the view of life as a useless college basketball player that I originally set out to give. This upset some of you to the point that you thought it necessary to e-mail me and explain that you “want the old Club Trillion back.” I completely agree with you, but my hands have been tied. It’s not like I can just make stories up about getting disrespected and pass them off as fact. After all, I’m not James Frey.

Some of you thought that the success I’ve had on this blog gave me a big head, which is why I changed the direction of the blog, but that’s just not true. I like to think I got my big head from my dad, who wears a size 7 and 3/4 baseball cap, which, for those of you who don’t know how hat sizes work, is another way of saying the circumference of his head is 7.75 times greater than the circumference of the moon. In all honesty, ever since my seventh grade lunch detention, I’ve learned that no matter how popular I may become, I still have to follow the rules like everyone else (it may come as a shock, but not every athlete thinks the same way). I assure every one of you that the advice my mother gave me years ago is still nestled on the forefront of my mind. Seriously, don’t be fooled by the blog that I got, I’m still, I’m still Mark from the block. Besides, even if, for some reason, I have a lapse in judgment and momentarily think that I’m relevant to the success of the Ohio State basketball team, I’ll always have Coach Alan Major there to bring me back down to Earth.

Coach Major is the only coach, other than Coach Matta of course, who was on staff during the National Runner-up season and is still on staff now. You might remember him from his botched attempt at congratulating Kyle Madsen last season. Of course if any of you have ever watched one of our practices, you know Coach Major as the guy who was never properly taught how communicable diseases spread, which is why he finds it necessary to drink out of my water bottle on a daily basis.

In his defense, Coach Major perspires so much that he’s almost an impressive enough of a sweater for Bill Cosby to wear him. I’ve seen enough Gatorade commercials to know that this means he needs to replenish his sweat and the best way to do that, in his mind, is to drink water. He’s out there giving his all and working up a sweat, which is something that I can’t really say I’m doing. The man needs some water to quench his thirst and give him the energy he needs to perform at his best. Makes sense, right?

What’s so disheartening about the whole thing is that Coach Major makes absolutely zero attempt to make it a secret that he’s drinking out of my bottle. On many occasions, I have taken a drink from my bottle, set the bottle down, and watched in disbelief as Coach Major walked up next to me to take my bottle. That he doesn’t make any effort to hide that he’s drinking out of my bottle is strange because he puts forth an incredible amount of effort every day to seek out and drink only from my bottle. He will walk past at least ten other water bottles to get to mine and when mine empties, he waits for a manager to refill it instead of simply finding another bottle. It’s like he wants me, no, needs me to know that he’s drinking out of my water bottle. Psychological warfare at it’s finest.

My theory concerning what goes on every day in practice is that in another life I plundered Coach Major’s village, set his house and livestock on fire, and left him for dead. Somehow he managed to be the only survivor in the village and upon realizing this he made a promise to himself that he would find a way to exact revenge for all the townspeople who perished. Once I joined the team he figured out that by attacking me mentally he could cause much more damage than if he were to inflict physical harm, so he devised a plan to take my water bottle every day in practice and make sure that it’s bordering on empty as soon as I get done running sprints. Over the course of four years, I would eventually be driven to insanity and his master plan would come to fruition. That’s really the only feasible explanation.

Even though I apparently killed everyone in Coach Major’s village and the prize cow he planned on showing at the local county fair that particular year, I still feel like I have to fight back even more. I’ve tried asking him to get water from the fountain in the practice gym like every other coach does, but he wasn’t a fan of that idea. I then had the managers get him his own water bottle but he really didn’t drink out of it all that often (because drinking out of his own bottle doesn’t attack my sanity in any way) and the managers decided that they didn’t want to fill up a water bottle that wasn’t going to be put to use. I tried playing nice (sans the burning of cows and whatnot) but I’m running out of time and running out of pride. It’s time to take things one step further.

My next move is to put something other than water (no, not urine) in my bottle and watch as the surprise unfolds. My initial thought was to put hot chocolate in the bottle, but scalding an assistant coach’s face isn’t exactly the best idea I’ve ever come up with. Instead, I think I’m going to buy a bunch of Frosties from Wendy’s before practice someday and fill my bottle up with them. That way Coach Major will be discouraged from drinking out of my water bottle (because who wants to consume dairy while they are working up a sweat?) and I can enjoy a delicious chocolate malted beverage while standing on the sideline. I’m going to kill two birds with one stone, which will be quite an accomplishment considering killing one bird with any number of stones seems like it would be a pretty difficult task.

Every practice for the past three years (the six practices we’ve had this month in preparation for our trip to Canada next week are no exception), I’ve been reminded by Coach Major that I’m an untouchable in the basketball caste system. By drinking out of my water bottle, in front of my face no less, he is basically telling me to take my blog and shove it because he doesn’t respect me in the slightest. I appreciate his attempt to keep me grounded, but I think it’s time for him to understand that I don’t plan on making the same mistake I did in seventh grade anytime soon. I’m a different person than I was back then and if Coach Major can’t accept that maybe it’s time for me to take matters into my own hands and break the chains on my own. Let this blog entry serve as a warning to you, Coach Major. If you continue to drink from my bottle, I can assure you that you will definitely be in for a treat. A well-chilled, chocolate malted one, to be more specific.

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by John K. There’s your shout-out, John. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Facing Reality

Disregarding my occasionally infamous golf course outbursts, I have the kind of demeanor that would make historians describe me as “stoic” if I were a war general or the quarterback for the Steelers in the 1970s. For the most part, there really isn’t a whole lot in the world that gets me upset. Even when David Stern told me to “talk to the hand cause the face ain’t listening” I didn’t really care all that much. I knew I wasn’t going to get drafted anyway, so being the first person kicked out of the draft was actually a pretty sweet way of taking my name out. The other instances that caused me to rant on the blog were nothing more than me typing out my temporary frustrations. After I got each problem off my chest, I was fine again and didn’t really think about it all that much in the long term. In reality, the only thing that gets me peeved to the point that my day is completely ruined is when I’m home alone and I run out of toilet paper. Oh yeah, and when someone tells me that I can’t even get a chance to make my dreams come true because I’m not good enough (Sound familiar?).

I seem to have built a reputation in the past few years of being good enough to get close to something, but not nearly good enough to actually see that something through. Examples include being good enough to be on the Ohio State basketball team but not good enough to actually play, being good enough to have access to the information to submit my name into the NBA Draft but not good enough to keep my name in the draft, and good enough for you to read my blog but not good enough for you to let me date your daughter. Although it’s something I’ve sort of gotten used to, I’m still a little bit surprised every time I have one foot in the door and look up to find said door being slammed in my face. A few Thursdays ago was no exception.

Before I talk about what actually happened on Thursday, I first have to start this story at the beginning because, well, that’s usually a good place to start stories. A couple of Mondays back, as most of the ladies and a handful of whipped fellas know, The Bachelorette season finale took place. I joked on my Twitter that my plans for The Bachelorette finale included “not watching The Bachelorette finale.” Except I wasn’t joking at all. On the same night, Shaq (my favorite basketball player of all-time) was guest hosting WWE Raw (which could best be described as a soap opera for men). Because I can belch over half of the ABC’s in one breath (that’s one skill that deteriorates after the age of 12—the other is spending over $100 at an elementary school Book Fair), I fall into the demographic that is much more interested in watching pro wrestling than watching Johnny McSideburns fall in love with some lonely girl after three dates. Sadly, Kyle Madsen doesn’t fall into the same demographic.

Ten minutes before Raw started, I went over to Kyle’s place not so much because I planned on having a Raw watch party, but more because I like to actually leave my apartment at least once a day. Still, I assumed that I would show up and watch Kyle aimlessly flip through Family Guy reruns on TBS and a Carrot Top biography on the Biography Channel before he came across Shaq hosting Raw and put down the remote with satisfaction. Not the case. I instead walked into Kyle’s apartment and found him sitting on the couch with his eyes fixated on the television, which ohbytheway happened to be showing The Bachelorette finale.

I chose to take the anti-woman approach concerning this matter, which is a method that includes not jumping to conclusions but instead giving the accused a chance to explain themselves. After all, maybe he didn’t know Shaq was hosting Raw and maybe he thought Lost was about to come on ABC. It was a long shot, but I was willing to hear him out. He instead claimed that he had seen the past few episodes of The Bachelorette with his girlfriend, who he has been dating since puberty, and he wanted to see how it ended. I’ve been in a long-term relationship before, which is to say that I know what it’s like to get my identity stripped in the name of love, so I didn’t get too upset with his reasoning. Still, if he wanted to know how it ended he could have just read about it online or something. I explained this to him but he was having none of it. I was stuck watching The Bachelorette finale instead of one of the most entertaining athletes of all-time host Raw. Surprisingly, there was a light at the end of the tunnel that I failed to initially see.

Following the bachelorette’s decision to marry the guy she chose despite the fact that thirty minutes earlier she was in love with two guys, a commercial came on that captured my attention. The commercial asked a series of questions such as “Are you single?”, “Are you struggling with the dating scene?”, and “Do you think you have what it takes to be a reality TV star?” The answers were pretty clear to me: yes, yes, and absolutely yes.

According to the commercial, ABC was coming to Columbus on that Thursday to hold a casting call for people who thought that they have what it takes to be on The Bachelor. After my last post, which was a relationship-themed version of The Cage, I felt as though this casting call was a sign. I previously wrote that if there were a way that I could teach everyone of you how to mack the females, I would, but it simply wasn’t feasible. If I went on The Bachelor, though, it would be the perfect opportunity to basically turn the show into a tutorial on how to make the babes swoon. Plus, I’d end up with a smoking hot babe and would be famous enough to have a picture of me buying bacon and eggs end up on page 26 of Us Weekly. This was my calling.

When Thursday morning arrived, there was a different feeling surrounding me. Usually the alarm goes off, I think about why I set an alarm in the first place, and then contemplate what the consequences would be if I skipped whatever I set my alarm for and just slept for another two hours. On this particular Thursday, however, there was no contemplating of consequences. I just went ahead and slept in without thinking twice about what I was missing (it ended up being a court hearing about the incident last month when I misinterpreted a “Hit A Construction Worker—$10,000” street sign, but I’m sure I’ll be able to reschedule it pretty easily). In fact, I slept another three hours or so and didn’t wake up until about two hours before the casting call was to take place.

The chief concern I had heading into my casting call was how I should dress. I was thinking about consulting my teammate and fashion guru Danny Peters, but I realized that since I don’t own anything from Express I wouldn’t be able to satisfy his recommendation of how I should dress. I then thought about maybe going with a button up shirt and no tie (cause it says I care but not that much) with blazer over top. As I was getting dressed, though, a voice inside my head said to me (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Mark, everywhere you go you are one of the dressed people there. Play to your strengths.” In that moment, I knew I had to wear my shark tank top if I really wanted to see this dream through.

I arrived at whatever dance club the casting call was being held at with a smile on my face and an abundance of confidence in my back pocket. As I approached the club, though, I noticed something that seemed a little off to me. There were a considerable amount of young, good-looking women walking towards the same club as me. I assumed that they all saw me driving, thought I looked like a guy who liked to party, and followed me in hopes that they could swim with The Shark (it wouldn’t have been the first time something like that has happened). To test this theory, I turned my walk into a jog and eventually turned my jog into a full out sprint past the doors of the club to see if the throngs of women would come running after me like I was in an Axe commercial. Instead, they all calmly walked into the club while presumably pointing at me and laughing. Whoops.

Since I don’t do all that much sprinting when I’m waiting for the clock to run out at the end of games, the running through the parking lot and past the club got my heart rate going a little bit and produced a substantial amount of sweat. I didn’t want to go into the casting call pouring sweat (plus I didn’t want to sweat all over my shark tank top), so I decided to cool off and regroup at the Kroger that was right next door. As I walked through the automatic doors and grabbed a cart (it’s instinctual to grab a cart even if I’m not buying anything), I was greeted by what was surely going to make me the next Bachelor bachelor.

Placed right by the entrance, as if Kroger knew all about my destiny, were a few handfuls of roses accompanied by a sign that explained that they were on sale. If you watch The Bachelor, you know exactly why this would prove to be important. If you don’t watch The Bachelor, congratulations on maintaining at least a sliver of masculinity. At any rate, I proceeded to grab the sexiest looking rose of the batch, placed it in my cart, and made my way to the checkout line. After I bought my rose, I went back to the casting call with that much more confidence I was going to win the thing, but not before I left my cart in the middle of the Kroger parking lot like seemingly every other American consistently does.

To set the scene for you, when I returned to the club I was wearing my signature shark tank top, my Indy Racing League hat from 1995, and was holding a single red rose. You could say I was a little underdressed, but you’d be wrong. My demeanor masked my attire, because everyone in the club knew I was there for business, even if my business was pleasing handfuls of single and beautiful women. Speaking of women, the club was still full of nothing but women, which still had me puzzled. Anyway, I confidently walked up to the guy running the check in counter and told him that I was there for The Bachelor casting call. That’s when he dropped the hammer.

The guy behind the counter told me that ABC was only looking for girls to be contestants on The Bachelor because they had already found a guy to be the actual bachelor. He apparently thought that by wearing an earpiece and holding a clipboard, I’d be intimidated and would cower away. I wasn’t. I thought about using The Villain technique and saying “Do you know who I am?” but I instead explained how my agent told me about the gig and how he told me the part was essentially mine for the taking. The guy said he wasn’t in charge and when I asked if I could speak to who was in charge he told me “absolutely not.” I then went on to explain how I should be given a chance, if for no other reason than ABC has a new show coming out called Shark Tank and I was wearing a shark tank. Apparently that was too flimsy of logic for the clipboard guy. I dejectedly made my way toward the exit, but not before handing my rose to a random girl and asking her if she would “accept this rose” while I winked at her and blew her a kiss. If ABC would have saw that interaction they would have surely begged for me to be their bachelor.

It’s not that ABC already found their bachelor for the upcoming season (or that they didn’t specify that they were looking for chicks only) that’s got me upset. It’s that they failed to see the potential I have to benefit them in future seasons. I could have easily been the token off-the-wall guy on The Bachelorette that starts trouble with the other contestants and says weird stuff like “can I smell your hair?” on my dates (which is pretty much what I do on a daily basis). Or I could have posed as the brother of the bachelorette and thought of different things the contestants had to do to win my approval. I dare you to tell me watching high dollar investment bankers kiss my feet wouldn’t make for better television than the garbage they are currently airing. At the very least, on the next season of The Bachelor I could have played the role of the crazy ex-boyfriend of one of the contestants who shows up at the mansion begging for her to take him back. Imagine the possibilities.

America prides itself on being a country in which anybody can be anything. Americans like to believe that you are born into this country with a blank slate and over time you work towards becoming anything from a professional athlete to a notorious criminal (which, come to think of it, really isn’t that big of a range at all considering the two seemingly go hand-in-hand). The point is, all of you could have been LeBron James or Stephen Hawking if you really wanted to, according to your parents and teachers. Makes you wish you could turn back the clock and try a little harder, doesn’t it?

The fact of the matter is that it is becoming increasingly clear to me that I don’t live in the America I was told about as a kid. Sure a minority can become president and fat guys can occasionally score good-looking girls, but those have nothing to do with me and this is my blog so I’m going to continue to complain. This incident with ABC marks the second occasion this summer in which I haven’t even been given a chance to show what I’ve got. I’m not saying I would have knocked that casting call audition out of the park. I am saying that I would have at least hit a bases-clearing double, though. Again, getting told to go away by the NBA wasn’t all that big of a deal to me because I knew it was coming in some fashion anyway. But this garbage ABC pulled is taking it too far. They have no right to tell me that I can’t try out at a casting call that is only for women. Especially if you consider that it took me at least five minutes to get ready and ten minutes to drive to the place. So not only did I lose my pride at this casting call, I lost fifteen minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

I was obviously lied to as a child and I really can’t stand to see any more people fall victim to the illusion they are presented as kids. Not everyone can be whatever they want to be. The truth is I can’t be an NBA player and I can’t be a reality TV mega-star, no matter how badly I think I should be. Because of this, I feel an obligation to become a kindergarten teacher who shoots kids straight about what life has to offer instead of feeding them optimistic lies. That way they’ll be better prepared to tackle life when they get older. Lesson 1: Life isn’t fair. Lesson 2: Get used to it. And if, for whatever reason, there are any kids that can’t handle being presented the truth in such a blunt manner, they can just refer to Lesson 1.

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Football season is right around the corner and in case you haven’t heard, Ohio State is going to be good, which makes me want to be an OSU football beat writer when I graduate. For pre-season coverage every year I would just write, “We’re Ohio State and we’re always good. This year will be no different.” After a win all that really needs to be said is “We’re Ohio State. Of course we won.” And should we lose I would just write, “We lost because we got screwed.” Every Ohio State football article I’ve ever read in my life could have been condensed into any of those three segments and it would have told the exact same story. But I don’t bring up football season to talk about how good OSU will be.

The reason I wanted to talk about football season is because I want to make it known to whomever is in charge that I want to be a part of a long-standing OSU football pre-game tradition. Screw dotting the “i”—I want to be a part of the sign language crew that translates the national anthem for the deaf every home game. I first noticed them at our basketball games and shortly thereafter found out that they do the same thing during football games as well. For obvious reasons, I can’t be a part of the Happy Hands crew during the basketball games, but the football games are a different story.

If anybody reading this has any idea (or knows someone who would have any idea) how someone such as myself can go about being a part of this crew, please e-mail me at ClubTrillion@gmail.com and do it quickly. Just so it’s clear, I don’t expect anybody to let me be a permanent member of this squad. I was really only hoping to do it for one game. I’m willing to go to however many practices I would need to become a certified signer and I’m 100% serious about this. I swear to you this is not a joke of any kind. I see this as the only thing left at OSU that I haven’t done but want to do and I figured I would use this blog to connect me with someone who can help me see this through. If my history is any indication, I’ll probably show up at the first meeting and be promptly told that I can’t even tryout for the signing team. I can only pray that this time that won’t be the case.

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Kevin R. There’s your shout-out, Kevin. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder