Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We 'bout to get Turnt Up! (Within Reason)

Ramblings Post #248
You can tell all my pets, and all my Harlem coquettes, that Mr. Otis regrets, that he won't be around. You can tell the mailman not to call, I ain't coming home until the fall, I might not get back home at all, 'cause Lulu's back in town.

We been getting Turnt up! Where you been?
It's NYE 201... do you say last year or the next year? NYE 2014, yeah, works for me.

All them lies you meant to tell this year become null and void at midnight, so I suggest you speak fast. I got a bottle for party, some Pineapple Orange juice for the ladies, and half gallon of ice tea for me. I been down this road before and I thinks I know the turns. It was gonna be home with a strong drink and cheap cigar...but when opportunity presents itself.

It's a been a long strange year, one I hope to not have to repeat. Yes, I realize technically I can never actually repeat this actual year, but you get my drift...circumstances man, circumstances. If you're going out, stay safe, if you're staying in...hey, this blog is a fairly good read, goes back while. Heck, you can even leave a comment. Pop some popcorn and tell me what I should have done. Write me a poem. A dirty limerick. I even accept pictures of kittens.

In any case, I'm headed to the turn up...see ya next year! (Ha, I said it first!)

Barkeep, start me with the Buffalo Trace in the first two, then it's all sweet tea for me..

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Once again it's....oh, my back!

Ramblings Post #247
There is a theory, that one day, if things happen like in the movies, someone will invent a time machine and go back and change everything so that the world is a better place. There is another theory that this has already happened, and how you remember history IS the good version. I should also take a moment to point out that time travel pretty much is impossible, planets moving, starts moving, excetra. Please, continue as you were.

You can't really ever go home again. You can visit the house you grew up in, and roam the same streets but it will never be like when you were a kid, when the streets were more magical than treacherous, and the house was peopled by your parents, who in your mind you thought could protect you from everything. And just like you can just go home again, you also can't just be "on" again. Oh, no, no you cannot.

You see, last night my RP threw what used to be the annual end of the year party, an informal extended drop-in with food, drinks and fun for all. Because he's got a kid now his place was out of the question, so we had the joint at another friend's house not too far away. Well, not too far away on a map. In reality, I made two turns and I may as well of been in the wilds of Mississippi. It just felt far! Nice house though.

We hadn't done it in a while so it was a slow start crowd wise, but as the night wore on people I hadn't seen in ages rolled through. They were as happy as I was to see folks, have a few drinks and catch up on the life the don't put on Facebook since the last time we crossed paths. Cards were played, dancing occurred, food was eaten. It was fun. Hadn't done that in years.

Today however, my back and the associated muscle group attached have decided that last night was a total fiasco and should never be attempted again. Ever. This isn't the result of imbibing either (I didn't drink) but just standing up for let's see, I got there at 7:30pm and left at about 3am, so roughly seven hours. I'm stumbling around my house in slow motion, bowlegged, and at a 70 degree angle. And since I mistakenly didn't go grocery shopping last week - holidays and all - my fridge is almost bare of things that don't involve 45 minutes to an hour of prep time. On the upside it didn't matter, because after that big glass of water...or the other big glass of water, I went to lie down for a second, and woke up a few hours later. As of this posting I still haven't eaten today.

Double bonus, there are two parties tonight and its raining, and I hate driving in the rain. Plus my RP is having a fish fry tomorrow. Then next week is NYE somewhere. My social calender is packed for the first time in ages. Provided I can walk comfortably in a little while.

Never thought I would miss the peace and quiet of studying. But I need to get back out there if only to pop up and say hi before heading back to the mental trenches.

Barkeep, let me get two Aleve and tall glass of sweet tea. And a bowl of your finest peanuts.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Odd Quotes

Art by Paul Davey (mattahan)

"A soulmate is an ongoing connection with another individual that the soul picks up again in various times and places over lifetimes. We are attracted to another person at a soul level not because that person is our unique complement, but because by being with that individual, we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves."
~ Edgar Cayce

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Seriously? I mean Dallas, Seriously?

Ramblings Post #246
This year the NFL is running a "Why I love Football" campaign. Sometimes though, its hard to quantify the feelings I have for my team. Who are they really? Is it the name? The collection of players? The history? Well, if you're a Cowboy fan its all about the history, because they're not doing anything in Texas to build a future.

With less than five minutes to play, leading by five, with a running back averaging over SEVEN YARDS PER CARRY....and you throw the ball? Dallas, Seriously? This is basic coaching at the Pee Wee league level. I realize you have great faith in your quarterback, but the weakest defense in the league hadn't been able to even slow down the Packers offense in the whole second half. There was a long period where the clock was your friend, and running would have disrupted the other teams rhythm. But your play caller chose not to do that. What were you counting on?  A miraculous turn of events where the third string linebackers you're having to play would suddenly assert themselves? The secondary to suddenly turn into ball hawks?

When the game announcers start talking about running, think of it as a sign. 

The tactical error....no, I mis-speak. This isn't an error as that word implies a mistake that was unintentional. This was a conscious decision by the person who was supposed to be replacing last year's throw the ball every down thinking that didn't quite get them to the playoffs. This disdain for the run was deliberate. After an incredible first half, it's like the coaching staff went down to the bar to celebrate and left the game to English soccer players, I'm sorry, Futbol players. Is the Cowboys coaching philosophy that opposed to running? Is there a contract clause that requires that Romo be the hero? What gives?

It's not the players. Andy Reid took over a dismal and weak Kansas City team and with no major personnel changes have made them monsters. Dallas has arguably more talent, so what's going on here? Poor coaching. Bad game management. Misdirected team focus. All the things that start in the front office and not on the field.  

Where is that petition to have the government remove Jerry Jones as the team owner?  Because change starts at the top. And Garrett needs to be gone.

Barkeep, I'm not drinking, but leave the bottle. I just want to look at it for a while.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Odd Quotes

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.”
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

Friday, December 6, 2013

A pause...in the Long Walk to Freedom.

Nelson Mandela.
I ain't gonna play Sun City.

Most people have forgotten that phrase and the song. It was a "We are the World" against apartheid, the collection of segregation laws to maintain a white minority rule in South Africa held over from it's colonial past. Sun City at that time was a South African resort, open only to that small ruling group, and had hosted many of the top names in entertainment from around the world. In 1985, a group of entertainers, including Bruce Springsteen, U2, George Clinton, Run DMC and Bob Dylan joined in a protest song against apartheid, "I ain't gonna play Sun City." I can still remember the chorus. 

That was my introduction to South Africa. Schools didn't really cover anything but American history back then. They still don't, but back then we had to actually go to the library to learn anything. 

And from learning about apartheid I learned of Nelson Mandela.

I remember watching his release prison, and him walking with his wife. It was oddly compelling, although at that time I couldn't fully grasp the gravity of the situation.

When I learned his story, I realized what an amazing man he was. What I remember most was the lack of anger. After being put away from the world for almost three decades, he lacked a bitterness to which he was more than entitled. And then, he persuaded all the South Africans who had been trod upon under the heel of apartheid to put their bitterness aside as well. In less than a decade. Transformative doesn't quite do it justice. That Mandela, who at the time had spent most of life away from politics, was able to finesse a less than cataclysmic transition of his country into the modern age is nothing short of remarkable.

And understand he was a genuinely nice guy as well. And politics at the level sees so few nice guys. 

To paraphrase our President "We will not likely see the likes of [a] Nelson Mandela again."

This is but a pause in Nelson Mandela's story, for his story must include his legacy...and that will outlive us all.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Holidays are Here. Where is the food?

Ramblings Post #245
There is nothing quite like family. There just isn't. It is said that "home is the place that when you go there, they have to take you in." I don't know if it's true, but it's nice to think so. Looking at it as a whole, I can honestly say I've been blessed with a great family. And that about sums it all up.

I remember a comedian once joked that when he finally could afford to buy his parents a house, he made sure it had a circular driveway. That way, when he forgot why he didn't visit and dropped by, he wouldn't even have to turn the car around to leave. This holiday weekend, I went to visit family.

Now, let me preface this by saying I had been to my parents home just seven days earlier.

Visiting my parents probably is something I should be thankful , as their are many whose parents have passed on.  Still, there is the idea that once you reach a certain age, you should be treated as a adult...and at my parents house, I'm not really feeling the adult-ness. Let's start with the trip out. I rode with my brother, who had originally intended to leave on Tuesday night and get back on Saturday. But complications arose, plans were interrupted, etc and so on, and thus we didn't actually leave until Wednesday. Around 2-ish. Because he (my brother) hates travel schedules. And on the ride down, he pulled one of my dad's moves - around the just getting started mark, he suddenly feels tired. So I end up driving. Now...we end up talking the entire rest of the trip about the frustrations of office life, his plans for the future and more, but he was too tired to drive. As they say in the hood, I got got.

At the folks, I retrieved the power cable for my laptop I'd left the previous week (which crippled me when I found out the replacement could ONLY be ordered). I also introduced my mother to Solitaire on my little pad, which at first she thought was silly but then played 15 games in a row. An old drinking buddy of my brother's and later mine dropped by, looking like a man worn out by his onging his divorce. It looked like he'd dropped fifty pounds, which changed his appearance  to a shocking degree. It was even more shocking to hear from my brother say later that since the last he'd seen him our old drinking buddy had improved quite a bit. Life changes, man.

The next day, Thanksgiving, started with a dutiful trip to the grandparents, both now in their venerable years. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Thanksgiving dinner was a quiet immediate family affair, different from the extended family dance I'd grown up with. Afterwards, we did something unusual for my family...my brothers and I had a few beers and watched football. To you maybe it doesn't sound strange, but my father has never been into sports, so there is no family tradition of following any team. My mother is better, having played basketball when she was younger, but the idea of us sitting around the TV for sport really isn't something that happens at my house. There was a certain odd comfort about it.

Black Friday saw no bargain hunter strategy being employed from my mother's house. Instead,  I was
annoyed because I didn't wake up until late, and had to listen to my brothers explanation of why he had roused me : When he travels from home in Atlanta, "everyone always manages on their own". I wanted to explain two things to him - a) he wasn't home and b)he wasn't traveling with his regular travelers, so why would he think those rules applied? Some people get old and loosen up, some get old and turn into travel divas. Go figure.

In any case we trundled out to...well, the boonies to see the other side of my family. Our trip, which was supposed to be fairly quick stop by my mother's childhood home turned into three hours in the kitchen talking to one of my more theatrical aunts, who relayed stories and tales bringing us up to date and then some on the local goings on. This was followed by a trip to see my equally theatrical cousin, which filled in pieces my aunt missed and lasted probably an hour or two more than it should have. I'm seriously thinking about getting a movie camera and making a film called "Stories my Family Told", and just have them tell stories for an hour or two. The whole day was reminiscent of my childhood holidays, with laughter ringing off the walls catching up with the news of family.

Then, as we got home from a almost two hour drive, my brother said "get your stuff, we're headed back to Atlanta". He'd decided at some point that day...or maybe even the day previous...that Friday night he was going to sleep in HIS bed. Which meant gassing up and riding west for the promised land. At 9pm. After he'd been driving all day. I will give him credit though, he made it all the way.  I had a Five Hour in my pocket just in case, but he made it, no stutter.

It was family. It was fun. It was grounding and gave you a reason to soar. It was refreshing. Sometimes, in the dark of an empty house you forget things, important things. This was a good reminder.

So those were my holidays. And now...we study.

Barkeep. A chocolate milkshake. Whipped cream. No cherry. Yes, little bits of brownie would be nice. Or Oreo if that's all you got.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

And the Tide...stopped.

Ramblings Post #244
It ain't over, until it's over. The idea, notion, concept or whatever you want to call it. It's the mantra that one should always try the hardest, even when all seems hopeless. Because when all the little coincidences that need to happen all fall into place...it's like magic happened.

Image from CBS - Screen capture

I've often screamed it at Tony Romo. The usual refrain is "You don't have to win it all now! Don't bet the farm on your arm! Omigod, what are you.....Arrrrgh!" Well, maybe not that exactly, but that's the general gist of it. That and the liberal use of the phrase "Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory." But this story is about Alabama-Auburn.

I watched this game from home, because I really wasn't ready to put up with the Crimson Tide's fan base after my earlier faux pas at a Clemson-Georgia game. After revealing I wasn't a Bulldog fan it was politely suggested that perhaps I'd have a better view through a window from the yard. And whereas that might have been a joke at that party, at a Alabama viewing function you'd have thought I'd suddenly claimed to be carrying the plague. Let's just say a few of my comments during the game would have gotten me a prime garbage can spot. So I stayed home.

And I noticed that the Crimson Tide reminded me a lot of the Atlanta Falcons of last season. By that, I mean that luck was on their side. After that slow and sloppy first quarter, just about every call, every bounce, everything that could seemed to go their way. This is not implying anything untoward, it's just that sometimes, you get on a roll. I watched a player make the cut at just the right moment, an arm tackle miss, a wrong defensive read that leaves someone open, a player pop up in just the right position and the like. They were just lucky, like the Falcons. Now, this isn't to say the teams don't have talent, as it can be argued that luck is product of preparation. It's just that it always seemed that only Alabama had come prepared.

I don't watch much Auburn football, so I was a little surprised to see so much running in this day and age of "excitement" football. I think it actually worked to their advantage as they made the few pass plays real surprises. But if running is your focus, it makes it hard to score points in a hurry, and when Alabama scored on a cartoon play (99 yards), Auburn needed points. 

Now, that moment as we'll call it. Auburn had scored with short time on the clock, and Alabama looked to driving back up the field to position for a Hail Mary pass. Or so we all thought. And when the guy stepped out and the CBS graphic popped up end of regulation, I was sure we were headed for a shoot-out. But then somebody channeled the spirit of Jason Garrett, and by somebody I mean Nick Saban. Early Garrett was good for the "let's make this thirty seconds count" mantra, leading to more mistakes than a soul should have to endure. Instead of letting the game end and going for the overtime win, Saban argued for and got one second back. Again, 'Bama was on a roll.

Seriously, I thought it would be the Hail Mary. Or a trick play. They'd already missed three kicks from much shorter distances. I said out loud, in my deepest low-country brogue, "it would be goody for them if he catches that damn ball and runs it all the way back" when I saw them trotting out the kicker for a Field Goal try. But I didn't think it would happen. Not seriously. In fact I turned the channel, expecting to come back to the OT graphic.

Clicked back and went, WTF?

I enjoyed the sights of the stunned Alabama fans. If you've ever met an Alabama fan you know why. The unusual silence is just so...deafening.

Barkeep, a little ice water...I'm just gonna sink into the quiet.