Friday, March 30, 2007

EKM: Preview

As you know, I do the newsletter for the division. By do, I mean have vigorous sex with, then send out to the 300 plus people as sloppy...I guess seconds through threehundreds.

Each week this season we've done a different themed "magazine" of sorts. We had "Kick Fancy", "Cosmoballitan", "Kicks & Ammo" and "Martha Stewart Kicking". They take a whole lot of time. Usually while i'm working, so that's cool.

BECAUSE I love the Ninjas more than anything (sorry Mommy), I'm giving you (yes YOU) the Awesome Helicopter Ninja Blog reader a small sample of what will be in the next issue.

Under the "Classic Gaming Section"

Spitzy Kong:









"There are some games that are such a part of Studio gaming culture, that you can't help but associate the two. Certainly Super Manfredi Bros., Tecmo Kickball and Alex Kidd in Shirley's World are some of the standouts from the early days of console video games. But none are as iconic as Nintendo's Spitzy Kong. Its a classic tale. Spitzy Kong kidnaps the fair maiden, bartender Saana, as Scotty Jones tries to rescue her. Along the way, he dodges kickballs hurled by the beast, making his way up the crooked iron scaffolding to sweep her to safety.

What sets this game apart is it's endless game play. We never get tired of hearing of the constant battles between Spitzy Kong and Scotty Jones. Over and over. And OVER and OVER. To the point where you almost don't want to think about these two characters. But you keep coming back for more. Will Scotty flip the bird to Spitzy at the top of the ramp? Will he grab the ninja swords and cut the deadly balls down? Or will Spitzy knock the crap out of Scotty with his fearsome rage? You don't know. I don't know. All I do know is that this game is much better than Spitzy Kong Jr.
"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"...by the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas."

Tyler Granlund: Valley Girl. Mustache Contest Winner. Flip-cup Champion. Friend of the Ninjas.

He sent me this article he found today, from Entertainment Weekly.

Since its kinda hard to read, here is what the "Backstory" thing says on the bottom right:

"Last year, CSI's Jorja Fox and Eric Szmanda (above) were teammates on an Adult Kickball League team called the Royal Blue Balls. How did the actors fare on the court? So-so: The Balls were eliminated from competition in the semifinals. "

The article should have ended with "...by the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas, who went on to wint he championship that season, even though their season was even soer-so that the Balls."

Well, I can't wait till we play them on the "court" again. Hopefully, the end score can be 40-Love. Or I can perform a slam-dunk through the goal posts to Birdie the last hole.

Things Announcers Would Say if The Awesome Helicopter Ninjas Were In The NCAA Basketball Tournament Instead Of Kickball

"Well, I think Georgetown's 7'2" center Roy Hibbert would definitely have posed a challenge for the Ninjas down low. But, of course, we all have certainly by now heard of how his Achilles' tendon was mysteriously slashed by an unknown assailant on the way to the arena tonight."
-----------------

"North Carolina needs a three to tie. Martin gets it in the corner and fires a shot that is...wait, the ball popped in midair! It appears to have been shot down by...some sort of a blow dart."
-----------------

"Now watch this: Winfield is going to set a screen...I'm mean, it's a smoke screen, so I guess that's what you would call it. At any rate, the Kansas defenders can't find the ball in the confusion, and Love-Smith goes in uncontested for the easy lay-up."
"I think that has to be called a "Moving Screen", Jim."
-----------------

"Oh my God, is Scott Jones humping the UCLA Bruin mascot?!?"
-----------------

"Well, this is an interesting offense set: the Ninjas appear to be...maybe...YES! They are stacking themselves one on top of each other! I've never seen this before, Billy!"
"It's like they are chicken fighting, John."
"I think that's Cameron Davis on the top of this mass of Ninjas. He has the ball, and he must be 15 feet off the ground. He's got it...and it's a double somersault, 1080 spin slam dunk!!!"
-----------------

"This is incredible! You saw a few minutes ago that both teams mysteriously walked off the court with 10 minutes to go in the half. Now, only the Ninjas have returned, and they are scoring uncontested basket after basket! Let's go to Erin Andrews on the sidelines to find out what in the world is happening."
"Thanks, Dick. Apparently, at the last TV timeout, the Ninjas convinced the Blue Devils that the half was over. Apparently, they made a compelling case that the NCAA decided to have halves be 10 minutes long instead of 20 'to conserve energy as a way to fight global warming.' The Blue Devils have realized that they've been tricked, but the Ninjas weld all of the doors in the locker room shut before returning to the court."
-----------------

"Is that...does that bottle on the Ninjas bench say 'FLUBBER'?"
-----------------

"The Ninjas have promised an entrance for the championship games that, in their words, 'knocks the cock off' of anything they've done before. And here they come now, The Awesome Helicop...Oh My Mord, No! No ! No, no, no!"
"Oh, this is terrible..."
"I can't believe what I'm seeing. This is just..."
"Wow!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A pyrotechnics flash gun


Is it dangerous? Well, it shoots flames out of your hands 10 to 15 feet in the air. Do I want one? Sweet Christ, do I! If I buy one, then I need some sort of speaker system hooked up to me so that I can play "The Final Countdown" anytime I need to.

I could also have billows of smoke coming out of my hands, but why settle for ground beef when you can have fillet, right?
I just want to point out one last example of our trouble causing on Monday night.

-Tipping a certain person a dollar for the free "peep show" at the bar

Good times!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Magic Returns

It's back people.

For the last few months, our antics seemed passe to me. We win a ton of games, then throw smoke bombs and confetti. It was fun, it was celebration but the act was getting old, we were looking like a Dennis Rodman parody of ourselves. You've also got to consider the other teams' point of view: Damn Ninjas keep winning and rubbing it in our faces. Of course, if this is your point of view you probably don't know me and I shouldn't be offended that you'd think my love of theatrics has any impure motives. But hey, I understand, losing stinks and nobody wants to be reminded of it.

So now we didn't win a third straight championship (Boo-Hoo, I know) and we're 3-2 this season, finally gift wrapping a close game to Redrum (three things will change before next game) and I feel we've drifted off the radar again. Nobody has us in their sights anymore. The pressure to win is gone and I finally feel like dusting off the confetti gun. In fact, I feel like killing the lights at the park and projecting epic pre-game video to the tune of Van Hagar's "Right Now" onto a paper sheet and then crashing through it at a climactic moment. I want to perform trick plays that defy strategy, logic and public nusiance laws.

A carnival of mayhem!

For months I've lamented that other new leagues I've visited around the area have that special early-days-of-kickball feeling that's missing lately. I had been blaming the decline on too many players or too much competition. Now I'm pretty sure it was part my fault and part the natural pressure that comes from winning. After a while you're just relived to NOT lose a game. So, now the confetti gun is back, we can ease into the smoke bombs and surely we'll think of some new bull crap.

Don't get too excited if you've got us on the schedule, we're still going to play to win.

Trouble we caused last night

- Shushed people who were trying to play Flip Cup while we were having our Book Club.
- Pantsed someone from Redrum as they were standing on a chair in front of everyone trying to get their attention to start the charity gift basket auction.
- Stood there while said guy from Redrum went red in the face from screaming at us in a threatening manner.
- Stole a gift basket from the table when everyone was watching Flip Cup, only to realize that no one noticed and we actually could steal it. Then bringing the gift basket back along with all of the contents EXCEPT FOR A STICKY NOTE PAD. (Take that, Boys and Girls Club! How are you going to write memos to yourselves now? Huh?)
- Wrote helpful addition words and phrases to descriptions of gift baskets, such as "penis" and "nutsack".
- Made up for it by way overpaying for one of the gift baskets.
- Had to be talked out of beating the holy crap out of one girl on Redrum who was talking shit about someone from another team who might be the nicest, sweetest girl in the Division.
- Drank water straight from the nozzle gun behind the bar rather than waiting for bartender to get a glass of water (and I mean shooting water straight into the mouth, not just putting into another glass).

Amazingly enough, I wasn't involved in all of these things, just some of them, mainly the pantsing, the shushing and the stealing of charity gifts. The pantsing was interesting, because I believed that the target in question had the type of sense of humor where he would find that amusing. (A married, female player on another team mentioned after the fact that "I have pictures of his pubes from one of our parties", so I find it difficult to believe that his Puritanical sensibilities were crushed.)

He didn't find it funny, and I took the brunt of his anger. Which was great, since there were two of us who took part in things, but someone decided to be a "Ninja" and sneak away and leave me to take the heat. Pretty funny.

In completely, totally, 100 percent unrelated news, Adam Joseph molests raccoons.

So I wasn't involved in everything last night, just some things. This truly was a team effort in havoc-raising, and I'll let those responsible for the other parts of the evening explain themselves.

There's no game next week because of Passover, although there's a strong change that we'll practice on Monday night instead. And for our next game in two weeks: the return of smoke bombs, confetti guns and trick plays. If we're going to be a .500 team, we might as well do it in "style".

(And by "style" I mean "appalling taste and sense of decency".)

Redrum 2, Awesome Helicopter Ninjas 1

Well, we lost. You know why?



Sam.



Sam didn't show up, it was his "birthday" or something. Thanks a lot, Sam. I hope your cake was filled with um, blood.


And poison.


We had a bit of trouble with backing players up on the overthrow, on the two occasions it happened, a run scored or a runner advanced. So, um, yeah. We'll have to work on that.


That being said, there were more important things going on.


I speak of the Awesome Helicopter Ninja Book Club meeting that took place at the bar after the game.


Joe was reading up on some finer aspects of Ninja Mind Control. A romance novel of sorts, set in the thrilling age of midevil Scotland. Nah, its basically a HOW TO for aspiring Ninjas. Its pretty rad. Basically it tells you how to beat ass, hard. Also, the ancient art of nut grabbing.






Scott was parusing the ever delightful Real Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book by Robert Hamburger. The Ninja in RUP is a scamp that should be held up with other iconing american teenagers like Ton Sawyer or Mushmouth. He represents the innocence of the American youth. He is Johnny Tremain, without the horrible deformity. But basically its a fun book about the insanity of one boy's obsession with Ninjas. Everyone should read it.



I feel that there was a deeper, Faustian struggle than was was origionally presented on the surface in Pikachu's Day. This was seen in the torment of battle between Pikachu and Charmander. It reveled that in war there are no winners and losers, only tiers. Also, he is still super cute.



Richard was reading a menu from El Pollo Loco by William Shakespere. It was his last menu ever written. Some say that The Tempest was Shakespere's last great work, and that Prospero one of his greatest creations, but Richard will argue that it was Taquito's humanity that sets it apart from the rest.



Monday, March 26, 2007

Redrum Game Day Special: Free Memorabilia with Fan Club Memberships

As a way to get some good karma heading into our big match-up tonight, I'm letting you all know about an exclusive offer: the next five people who sign up for the Army of Awesome (the Official Fan Club of the Ninjas) will not only receive the usual cool crap for their $5 membership fees (including a sticker, button, autographed photo, membership card) but will also receive AUTHENTIC GAME-USED NINJAS MEMORABILIA! This could mean a headband worn by yours truly during one of our legendary playoff runs...or a kickball that was popped by Tyler Foster because he kicked it so hard...or one of Cameron Davis' suspenders. Who knows? But it will be something that is suitable for framing and placing in your game room or conservatory.

Remember, this offer is only good for the next five people who sign up for the Army of Awesome, so make sure that you do it NOW!!!

Tonight's...game (question mark)

Tonight is scheduled to be the big interconference match-up between us and Redrum (Grass Field, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2). Obviously, it's a big game, since there apparently is still some sort of rivalry between the two teams, even though we've beaten them the last four times we've played. But, it's Redrum, and they come in fully expecting to win. Somehow, we need to convince them they are the favorites, and that we, once again, are the scrappy underdogs.

The problem right now is the weather. For the first time all season, we're in serious danger of being rained out. The storm that was supposed to hit this weekend didn't, but it's expected to roll in...sometime tonight. So, that could mean after the games, during or before. The Weather Channel's hour-by-hour forecast shows that it shouldn't start raining until 10 p.m., which is right on the border for getting all the games completed. We'll update the situation with our NinjaWatch 5000(tm) storm tracking system throughout the afternoon.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ryan Dempster, Stud

I don't know if I have the authority to do such things, but I'm going to go out on a limb and name Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs as the Official Baseball Player of The Awesome Helicopter Ninjas. Why? Because the Cubs' closer is apparently in training to be a Ninja.

My favorite part of the story?:

"'It's pretty cool. I wear the outfit around the house and try to sneak up on people,' Dempster deadpanned before the Cubs lost to the Colorado Rockies 4-2."

Which is kind of bullshit: why would you sneak up on people in your own house? If you aren't able to break into other people's houses and sneak up on them, then what kind of half-rate Ninja are you.

Proof that kickball players make better Ninjas than baseball players, I guess. Plus, I would think all the noise from the tobacco spit hitting the ground and the crotches being scratched would be a dead giveaway.

Tyler Foster's Feets Of Strength: Everywhere You Want To Be

In Part II of the Feets Of Strength series, we were able to capture some more of Tyler "Bigfoot" Foster's inhuman acts of kickballery.

Tyler Foster once kicked a ball so hard, it traveled around the world, stopping only to pass through immigration.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

UPDATE: E-mail for Ninjas Fan Club Memberships is fixed

I understand that the link that was posted to join the Official Ninjas Fan Club the other day may not have been working. The problem has been fixed. To make sure that everyone is clear, you can send an e-mail to us at ninjasfanclub@gmail.com in order to join the Fan Club. Make sure you include your shipping address and what you would like to order.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I'd like to lie and say this isn't going to happen again, but hey, it's the Ninjas - barely controlled chaos is par for the course.

If anyone has further questions or issues, I wouldn't be surprised.

Tyler Foster's Feets Of Strength: To The Moon

This is Part 1 in a series of posts dedicated to the amazing and umbelievable and downright mythical things Tyler Foster, three season Awesome Helicopter Ninja veteran, can do with his feet and kicking them...at balls.


Tyler Foster once kicked a ball so hard it hit the moon...

Things learned

White People are nothing but trouble. It's okay I can say that because I am friends with some white people. Also kickball is kicking my ass.

-Face

vs. the warner pros

I like the Warner Pros. a lot. Aaron, their team captain, is part of the Studio Newsletter writing staff. He comes up with ideas and does the covers. He's a good guy. He also plays on the Grassy Best in Hollywood. Well, Monday night we played their team.


Ok, backing up a bit. LAST week, there was a bit of a verbal scuffle between a couple members of OUR team and him. He and Kate were umping our game against the Ponies of Death and a Ninja said something jokingly to an ump, that was well, sorta dickish and Aaron stood up for umps everywhere. There was a call of 'cocksucker' at one point from Aaron, too. Good times.


Anyway, it blew over. No realy harm came from it. But I wanted to make it up to Aaron and his team.


So, I thought "Wouldn't it be fun if when I went up to kick, I smashed a record (LP) with my fists". Of course this turned into more than just that, as Richard (The Duke of Kickball) and I came up with a fake setlist for the album of Warner Music (who the Warner Pros. all work for) artists. I say "we" but it was really Richard. But I had the idea, dammit! So Fuck You, Richard!


So, it turned into this: during Rock Paper Scissiors we went and, in honor of their team, presented them with a newly pressed album, showing the titles and incorporating the WP logo. Then...in honor of OUR team, we took out the album, Richard held it, and I put my fist through it. All in good fun, mind you.


This is what happened to the record.




We also won 11-1. so that was fun.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bullshit at the bar

Now, I'm not a violent person by any stretch of the imagination. The last thing I punched was a ballot on Election Day. However, when provoked, I can "get my Irish up" pretty good. (Which I know is a hopeless racial stereotype, and one that doesn't even make sense - but it sure beat the more ethnographically accurate "get my part-Mexican part-Italian part-Okie up".) As a word of warning, this post contains some less-than-pleasant language, including one word (not spoken by me) that is about as bad as it gets (hint: that word ain't "moist").

The game itself was pretty straightforward - we beat the Warner Pros. 11-1. We jumped out early and never looked back. I knew a couple of their players from Hollywood Division, and they are generally speaking about the best group of people you would want to play against.

The scene at the Sportsmen's Lodge after the game was pretty low-key - a lot of people were still feeling the effects of St. Patrick's Day from Saturday, and decided to take this week off of the bar. I'd day the bar had probably half as many kickballers in it as it usually does on a typical Monday night.

As usual, it was 99 percent kickballers there at the bar (the Sportsmen's Lodge is usually kind of...well, let's say that it's an older clientèle - or as someone put it "I came here on Saturday and it smelled like old people and death"). We usually have a few regulars sneering at us for ruining their quiet evening of getting bombed, along with a few guests from the hotel who have no idea what the hell is going on.

So, I get there at about 9:45 p.m., and head to the bar to get my first drink. As I'm standing there, I see three guys who clearly aren't with the kickball league sitting at the bar next to me. They are in their mid to late-30s, and they all look basically the same:

- White guys
- Medium build, but getting kinda pudgy
- Haven't shaved in three days
- Baseball cap
- Sunglasses placed over the bill of their cap
- Jeans and slightly dirty sweatshirt of their favorite sporting team

Basically, these guys just scream "I'm a redneck from Central California" to me on sight. I'm from Central California, and I grew up with these guys - I know my own. Sure enough, as I'm ordering, the first thing I hear out of one guy's mouth (who resembled Garth Brooks from 1998, except slighter of build and less attractive) basically confirmed everything I was thinking. Basically, as I'm ordering, and as he's surrounded by kickballers, he decides to very loudly launch into this monologue with his buddies.

"Man, did you ever think that you'd be sitting in a bar in Los Angeles, surrounded by a buncha faggots playing kickball? Shiiit..."

My first instinct was to immediately turn and say something to him, but I actually was so stunned that I didn't know what to say. So, I just finished up my drink order and walked back to my table as Faux Garth kept on blabbing about how "I bet these people never were good enough to play football in high school, so now they have to do this..." and on and on.

Throughout the course of the night, I'd head back over there to get another round, and by gawd, he still was going on and on about the "kickball faggots". I'd report this back to people, and I had several people willing to "take care of some business", including a few people that I would not want to meet in a back alley (hi Doug from Nuts & Honeys). But cooler heads prevailed, at least for most people.

Except for Scott Jones and I. If I was going to pick one person who I knew was going to get just as riled up about this as me, it would be Scott. Put us together, and man oh man...so at one point, Scott and I went up there to the bar and were talking to some other kickballers while we were next to the Blue Collar Comedy Tour: Electric Boogaloo. When there was a lull in all conversations, I turned to Scott and had the following exchange, loudly:

Me: "Man, you know what would suck?"
Scott: "What?"
Me: "Being a redneck loser who has nothing better to do than to hang out with a couple of other dudes on a Monday night at a bar."
Scott: "Yeah, that must really suck."

And with that, we went back to our seats, mission accomplished.

Except for when the last call came, and everyone eventually cleared out except for me, Scott, and The Blue Collar Comedy Tour II: Electric Boogaloo. As soon as it was just us and the bartenders, Faux Garth made another witty one-liner (I believe it involved "fags who play kickball" - I don't think that he had a breadth of material to work from) directed at us. Which led to me responding, and then back and forth...basically, it started to get ugly once I decided to do my "imitation" of them to Scott:

"Hey, let's get us into our big ole' truck and get drunk at the bar. After that, we can get some chewing tobaccky, and then drive around and see if there are any fags or blacks that we can tie to our bumpers and drag down the street."

At this point, the bartender Saana was going to kick everyone out (and I don't blame her), but Scott wound up striking up a somewhat pleasant conversation with one of their friends who came in late over football (Scott is a Chiefs fan and this guy was a part of Raider Nation). Eventually, they took off for their rooms (they were staying at the hotel from - you guessed it - Bishop in Central California, albeit on the other side of the Sierra Nevadas than me) and Scott and I stayed to chat with Saana and the other bartender, who immediately made sure we knew that they weren't mad at us, and just wanted those "hicks" out of their bar.

There are two morals here:

1. I wouldn't go to a bar in, say, Tennessee, and start loudly complaining about "all these rednecks listening to shitty country music and having sex with their cousins" - it's pretty disrespectful - and if I did do it, I certainly would expect to have a lot of people pissed off at me.

2. I also wouldn't do that because I AM A REDNECK in so many ways. Grew up in the Valley? Check. Listens to country music? Check. Has been to Dollywood? Check. Watches NASCAR and sprint car races, and prefers beer in cans to bottles? Check, check and check. However, just because I'm a redneck doesn't mean that I have to be an ignorant, racist, homophobic asshole who is frightened because he's in "the big city" and there's so much weird stuff going on.

Adults playing kickball? Blacks and whites mixing? Gay people not having to hide in fear? Nope, Faux Garth don't like it none.

Again, I know this all too well. When I went home for my 10 year HS reunion a few years ago, about 25 percent of the people there (who hadn't left my hometown) saw fit to, within 30 seconds of talking to me, slam Los Angeles. "It's too dirty. There's too much crime. It's so big. They have a lot of black people there. I hate it." In fact, Faux Garth said something to me (when he wasn't rambling about "kickball" and "faggots") about how he has a daughter and "I could never see how anyone could raise someone in Los Angeles. In Bishop, she can walk the streets by herself and no one bothers her."

Which, first off, since I overheard you mention to one of your pals that your daughter is 6, I would hope she isn't walking the streets alone. That's shitty parenting, although if Daddy's getting drunk at the bar all night, I guess she needs something to do to keep from getting bored. Secondly, I personally can't imagine raising a child in a place that doesn't have the theatre. Or ballet. Or orchestras. Or museums. Or anything cultural whatsoever. Hell, even my hometown was close to Fresno, which had all of the above things, even if it was in a limited quantity.

So, in summary, I'd like to say something directly to Faux Garth (I know the odds of him having Internets access is slim, much less ever reading this blog, but still...): I'm sorry that your life (despite having a daughter at home) is so devoid of meaning that you get your jollies staying at a bar all night to drink while surrounded by people you clearly despise. Next week, I'll be back at the park and the bar, with several hundred interesting people from all walks of life. Meanwhile, you'll be face down on the bar at Slim's Place, or Two-Hand Larry's, or whatever seedy as hell bar you frequent in Bishop, while the bartender rifles through your wallet for cab fare. I'm not angry, really, just...kind of sad for you.

Also, if I see you again, I'm going to take a tire iron to your head. Cheers!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Kickball Night in America: Week 4

Tonight's game is against the Warner Pros., which is a corporate team from Warner Bros. Records. I have two predictions:

- Plenty of jokes about payola
- We WILL run a trick play tonight, whether we are ahead or behind. We've gone three weeks into the season without one and, well, it's high time we got off our asses and did something about it.

The Ninjas Fan Club is Here

Some of you might have heard rumors about it...others might have seen it advertised with the Richard Manfredi autograph booth before the Opening Night game...and for a select few of you, it might have come to you in some sort of sweaty, fever dream involving a flaming key lime pie and former New York mayor Ed Koch (and for those of you who fall into the latter category - we again deeply apologize). But no matter if you've heard about it or not...

The Official Awesome Helicopter Ninjas Fan Club is here!



I think the advertising pretty much says it all. For just $5, you get all kinds of cool stuff:

- One bad-assed sticker. Stick it on your car! Stick it on your computer! Stick it on yourself! Better yet, stick it somewhere else to spread the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas name and logo (it's called "branding"). I'm not going to encourage you to vandalize property, but I'm just going to say that places like bus stops, record stores and police cars are perfect places to place logos where they are sure to attract attention*.
- One rad button. Which was made with the Badge Factory, so you know it's "trendy", "hot", "neat" and other "catch phrases" that seem to be popular with the kids today (at least according to the box). Wear it on your leather or denim jacket along with your other "punk" buttons (like your Green Day, Blink-182, Pennywise or other "hard rockin'" bands). Remember: "Punks not dead" - not as long as you sport this "radical" button.
- One membership card. Use it for special discounts at Long John Silvers, The Pleasure Chest, Jamba Juice and other fine establishments. I mean, you can always try to use it to get a discount - maybe you'll get some 18 year-old kid working the front desk who doesn't know what discount cards they do or don't accept. If you act belligerent enough about it, they might give you the 25 percent off discount just to shut you up.
- An autographed photo. A nice, high-quality glossy either of the team (autographed by several team members) or your favorite player. Ask for you favorite player by name, and they write some pithy, probably obscene message to you!**
- Exclusive content. "Content" being a word used to describe cool stuff that we haven't finalized yet. I do know that it will include e-mail newsletters exclusively for Fan Club members delivered every...oh, few weeks I guess, at least during the season (probably less often in the off-season). Hey, it's a work in progress, and what do you want for $5?

I promise you that you won't find a kickball team fan club that offers you this much crap for just $5 - including shipping! Want to buy even more stuff? Boy, you sure are addicted to buying things! Glad we could help you fill the hole in your life where actual human contact should be buy allowing you to purchase lots of junk. (The Ninjas support rampant consumerism.)

But I disgress. WE HAVE MORE STUFF FOR SALE! Want to buy more stickers? Yup, we can do that...



So, if you are ready to order (and frankly, if you aren't, then fuck you. You aren't the "good friend" you claimed to be when you needed that loan.), it's simple: send an e-mail to us at ninjasfanclub@gmail.com detailing what and how much of each you would like to order along with your shipping address. Someone in our Order Fulfillment Department will contact you shortly with information on how to complete your order (not to be too secretive, but it involves bamboo paper, pomegranate juice and Betty White).

So what in God's name are you waiting for? You don't need to save for "retirement" or "your kids' educations" or "that heart operation" - Order lots of stuff today!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Know a Ninja #1: Megan Griffin

We're starting a series of occassional profiles of Ninja players here on the blog (this will all be on the Web site as well.) I thought it would be a good idea to start with one of our newest players, Megan Griffin:



Name: Megan Griffin
Nicknames: Meg, Legs, Nutmeg
Hometown: Norman, OK
Age: 22…almost 23 (on April 24) – I might be the youngest in the league
Position: OF
Reason for joining kickball: I just moved here. It’s a great way to meet new people and have fun.
Occupation (other than "Kickball Goddess"): Graduate student at Pepperdine's School of Public Policy
Favorite on-the-field kickball memory: Possibly watching Joe try to slide in to 3rd and just stop about 6 inches short, legs and arms sprawled out, on the ground, as they easily tagged him out.
What being an Awesome Helicopter Ninja means to you: Well, I’m new to this, but I'm gonna go with....FUN, great company, good times, and some kickball awesomeness
What kickball prank would you LIKE the Ninjas to pull: Ooo, I'm not good with the pranking forethought, but I'm always one to help carry out the shenanigans!
What would you like to see the Ninjas do this season that we haven't done before: I don't know what you have and haven't done before.
If the team was involved in a plane crash in the mountains on our way to a tournament (like in "Alive"), and it came down to it, who would you eat first and why: Whoever has the leanest meat! Gotta keep your figure when you're goin' cannibal.
If you could only listen to one CD while stranded in the mountains and eating the flesh of your Ninja teammates, what CD would it be: Mest, “Destination Unknown”
How many pairs of shoes do you own: Ooo, tough one. I'm gonna estimate around the 75 to 80 range.
Favorite Old-School Video Game or Cartoon: Favorite video game of all time was Super Mario World
Post-game drink of choice: Hefeweisen

Ninja 3: The Domination

I would like to point out that this clip from "Ninja 3: The Domination" has pretty much everything you would want for a perfect clip for our team:

- Does it have a kick-ass Ninja? Yes.
- Does it involve a helicopter? You bet.
- Is it awesome? I'll let you be the judge:



Needless to say, if the team had a Theme Video Clip instead of a Theme Song, this would be it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Week 3 results

I wasn't there this Monday night, so I personally don't know a lot of details...but I know that we beat Ponies of Death 3-0, and that according to Scott, our defense was "perfect". Perhaps one of my teammates who was actually there can provide a more detailed recap.

I was out at SXSW this weekend with my company. I was there for the Film portion of things and came back this evening, right before the music part started. Which I think is just as well, because the place was swarming with, from what I could tell, the entire population of Silverlake, and every Silverlake part of every town in America. And I don't like Silverlake much.

Also, I was caught in a massive thunderstorm on Sunday night and was drenched - like I jumped into a shower for about 10 minutes. Good times! But I did get some kick-ass BBQ, so things tend to even out.

Oh yeah, one thing - this afternoon, as the show was winding down, they kept making announcements about how this author or that blogger was doing a signing at a certain booth. So my boss, having heard my story from Opening Night, went to the place where they were making announcements for companies, and had them announce that "Awesome Helicopter Ninjas star and kickball legend Richard Manfredi will be signing data sheets at (my company's) booth."

It was very, very awesome. Of course, no one showed up, but that's besides the point.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Why I Am a Ninja, Part XXVI

If anything sums up being a Ninja, it's this story from this morning, as told by Ninja stalwart, Pizza Club president and all around complete idiot Michael Winfield.

(Note: My wife and I had an appointment with her OB for a baby check-up this morning. Plus, I sort of have to deal with the media for my job here in LA, so I was a little hesitant to be directly tied to all of this. Also, I'm a giant pussy.)

Take it away, Mr. Winfield...

"Every once and a while the World Adult Kickball Association teams up with a local new station to promote themselves. That's cool. Well, this morning there was another "event" at the Ferrero Soccer Field in Griffith Park. The Awesome Helicopter Ninjas were not going to let this pass without being involved.

Do we play nicely and smile for the cameras? Um, no, we're the Ninjas. Were here to ruin kickball.

Scott and I ditched work for a couple of hours and drove out there. We parked about a quarter mile away from the activities at the park. When we got there, about 8:45, they were just milling about and setting up. Orion and Katie (WAKA reps) were there along with players from various divisions. But there was no sign of the KTLA news truck. We stealthily crept along the side. We were both in our shirts and had accompanying masks. Scott went with the t-shirt ninja type of mask and I had my Ninja Luchador mask I got on Olivera St. for $15. Then we waited.

And waited. They set up the field and Scott climbed a tree to get a better view, taking into account the "if you can see them, they can see you, but not if you're hidden in a tree". Scott also wanted to pee out of the tree, but he didn't have to go.

Finally, we see the news truck pull up, and the antenna extends like a mighty boner to the sky. We start prepping.

"But how did you know when to run out there", you ask. "Shut your face", I say. We had some ninjas on television duty. Most notably: Cameron, Scott P. and Jack. Every few minutes there were updates from our agents in their command centers. And finally, Gail went up to kick, cameras were in place. And the attack was on.

Scott, with his confetti gun (no smoke bombs this time people, really, we looked ENOUGH like terrorists) and I charged the field screaming and laughing. I start to round the bases. Scott runs into the middle of the field and fires off the gun. Wind takes hold and the confetti soars. Everyone takes this with good humor and they are laughing, though they are not quite as surprised by this antic as maybe they would have been in the past.

Scott and I bolt off the field.

BUT...as I'm running off, Jacob from Smurfageddon puts his leg out to fake trip me. Unfortunately, I was running at top speed and though I avoided his leg, ended up tripping over myself and ate turf, hard. (That's what she said) I picked myself up and scampered off. I was winded, needing to throw up, feverish, scraped up, dirty, had mud in my teeth and up my nose and I may have been slightly concussed. I was seeing white all over the place, like the saturation was turned way up.

Scott and I sat there panting and composing ourselves, more so for me. We eventually walked back to the cars where I swigged old water (thank you Scott) and tried to get my head straight. Then we both went to work. Being an Awesome Helicopter Ninja is pretty much the best thing a person can do."

EDIT: Now with video links - click on the "Gayle Anderson" button on the left.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Shirt sold for $10.50

You might remember my post from last week about one of my autographed T-shirts going on sale on eBay. Well, the auction is over, and someone paid $10.50 for it. The ironic part is that it wasn't a friend of mine, someone else from the Division or even myself under an assumed name. In fact, the shirt was bought by...some random dude, for the reasons of...well...I'll let you read his e-mail to Doug (who sold the shirt):

"Obviously, there is some explanation in order, or perhaps at least well deserved as to why one so apparently unaffiliated with what you do bought the kickball shirt...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. My friends and I, following the weekly religious pilgrimage to Astro Burger (at Santa Monica west of La Brea), sat enraptured halfway through another meal from gourmands of first choice. Our once again repeated scentient happiness with our french fries and grilled sandwiches became punctuated by a uniformed group, reminicing of another cooperative battle. They joked, laughed, looked around and checked out who watched them, attempting to preserve some kind of decorum. My friends' bliss, as well as my own, became interrupted not only by the group and their conversation, but also the adolescent caste system forced upon us within formative years. We turned our attutudes towards joking. What were those guys doing?...What the hell are those uniforms? That is an odd group of people, certainly of the majority, and it doesn't look like softball...they're too well organized and none have expectorated on themselves/others. Derisive comments followed. I figured out this group "kicked" as a means of exercising their frustrations. Immediately, they became the butt of jokes.

I had no idea kickball leagues existed. Maybe initiation began following 6th grade and we were only allowed to progress to the ranks of common major four sport exploits. I loved my hockey, but maybe I was not good enough for kickball. I thought junior high schoolers put kickball down as too childish and stupid? One thing struck my emotional core: I encountered the classic dichotomy between embracing the brotherhood of fellow man, a relativism and capacity of individual taste, and the persuasion to regulate those others to a subordinate and less important role than my own. Discrimination. Racism.
Chauvinism. Oft cited sources of uneducated hate and address of a primal human fear of the unknown or unexplained. My roommate who played basketball at the college level very much likes sumblimating the directives of others as unworthy or unneeded. The pangs of adherence to higher moral callings resonated within me, and yet, I partook in the ribbing. After about twenty minutes, I left the kickballers with friends in tow and returned over the hill to my apartment in Sherman Oaks. I heard jokes over the coming weeks when sports related issues arose as I work where I must interface with sports constantly. That guy Radmanovic sucks...he could probably get drafted by the kickball league though...and so forth.

The point is, the monetary contribution functions as a tribute paid to the church of personal redemption for a past misgiving. Kneeling at the altar of judgment may not hurt as forcefully. This truly will pass to others as well, as my roommate has been known to his mother and countless friends in both basketball and hockey leagues for years simply as "Dog". The degradable tangible item will pass to him, though it's message will echo through the ages, as he will retain the actual interest in the jersey. I reached the heights of food and drink, and the base of individual human experience, all because of kickball. Fin.

Back to reality and Southern California, circa 2007 A.D....We saw a team from the league at Astro Burger most likely following a match within the last 6 months and laughed at the kickball league concept. We go to Astro Burger nearly every saturday night near midnight, and of course in that area, you see the full composition of L.A. people - I still have a picture of a very normal 30's guy and his girlfriend pushing around a stroller with a basketball in it. My mother worked at the studios for years and my aunt as an MCA corporate accountant, but I never remember hearing about kickball. I manage a sports memorabilia shop in Woodland Hills and I attend Loyola Law school. With reference to the shop, I am always looking through every corner of ebay, and I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this at the bottom of the Other Autographed Sports Memorabilia category. Strangely, my roommate's only nickname is Dog. The congruity made too much sense, hence it just seemed right to buy this and give it to him.

Forgive the dramatic recount, but it seemed like a funny thing to do when I started writing.

Let me know what to do to make the transaction conclude.

Further, why didn't you guys just whack up the bid so it shows up at the top of the category? I remember some shmoe put his high school shoes up there and bought the category featured option ($20) which made it show up at the very top of a couple of different categories. That would have got you the good ebay publicity for both your players and the league for sure."

Game #2 vs. Happy Endings

It's getting to be almost spooky how we do the same things season after season. Our pattern is this:

- Lose the first game
- Play like crap for the first half of the second game, and then turn it around
- Win a bunch of games in a row after that

We've certainly lived up to the first two parts of the pattern. This week we played against Happy Endings, which had been The Royal Blue Balls last Winter season but had taken a couple of seasons off. They also have a few co-stars of a certain forensic-themed, Las Vegas-based hit TV show on their team (I don't want to name names, but the show rhymes with Bee Mess Spy). They were a pretty good team the last time they played, and we knew it would be a pretty good test for us.

Our offense wasn't a problem from the beginning, when we were able to get four runs in the top of the first. But our defense kind of went wonky after that, and we bled some runs away that we absolutely should not have given up (lack of focus, not thinking ahead, etc.)

But then, the same thing happened that seems to always happen in Week 2 of any season when we're suddenly in a close game against a team we should be beating easily - we decided to actually focus and start playing. The result? We went on to win 9-4 and get back on the right track.

Player of the game honors go to Tyler Foster, who kicked two home runs. One of them was kicked so hard that it wound up rolling into the grass field a good 300+ feet from home plate. The other one, I think, was kicked so hard that it went back in time and actually counts as a home run in a game from last season.

Next up: some team...I'm out of town next week at the SXSW Film Festival, so I won't be playing. Obviously, I'm not too concerned about our team's ability to carry on without me.

Note: We're playing the Ponies of Death.