Tuesday, January 24, 2017

And then the Atlanta Falcons...

Ramblings Post #331
Let me say first that my team had a good run. And hopefully, the Cowboys will take this as a sign that great things are possible with that team. I blame the end of the Green Bay game on the coaching staff, who called for Dak to spike the ball on that last drive with about 40 seconds left when they should have run a play (possibly a nice sweep? Out of bounds and advance the ball). Now we just need to get through the off-season and free agency - pray for the secondary - and maybe I'll get a return of the 'Boys to Superbowl when it's in Atlanta. Whooo! 

I'm not a Falcon fan. I've lived in Atlanta for a while, but I'm not a fan. It's called loyalty to my actual team. But this year the Falcons are going to the Superbowl. The big game. Going for the whole enchilada. The city will be...well, I'll get to that, but in the end I'm still not even going to even pretend to be a Falcon fan. So I'm giving away my seat on the bandwagon. It's seat 30,486A. I don't know who is in 30,486B, sorry.

Outsiders don't know this, but some of the great annual parties of the year in Atlanta (in any circuit you travel) are in conjunction with the most watched sporting event in the America. In my youth I've attended as many as five different functions on game day alone, my youth in this case being my early-thirties. In fact, one of the first great parties I attended in Atlanta was for the game, and it was that party, in an unfinished basement holding a red solo cup that I knew I'd moved to the right town. Sigh. Since then I've been to parties for the game in spaces that probably weren't a thousand square feet, in halls and showrooms, and yet others at mansions with 100-inch projections screens on the lower level and 60 inches upstairs. Some games I've run into people I haven't seen in a decade and at others made new hang-out buddies. It's a feast, a party and good time.   

Now, generally we folks down here in the ATL find out who won on Sportscenter sometime around eleven (if the TV is still on) or later when you finally make it home. A typical party for the game includes a DJ during commercials, food that is gone by halftime, a full donation bar, lively conversations and catching up, and a brief pause for the halftime show if it's somebody good. There is dancing afterwards if you push the furniture back, and maybe even a little after game entertainment depending on the host. There may even be five or ten fans of one of the teams playing in attendance, Atlanta is a city of transplants after all, but the vast majority of the crowd usually turns out of the festivities, not the game itself.

Don't believe for a moment that they aren't serious.
This year however, people will actually be watching the game. As in paying attention to the play calling, down and distance, yelling at the screen, and cursing the refs. I'm going to get commentary about whose open, formations and shrieks of terror or joy depending on the action. People will be caring about who wins. People will be actual FANS. I am filled with dismay.

Even worse, the really cool folks are headed to Houston. Damn if they're gonna miss this. Ticket or no ticket, they just want to be close. I'm not sure if the NFL is ready for all that. This means the parties for those of use left behind might be half empty. Ugh.

I'm sorry my fellow good time revelers, the light-hearted bootleg holiday that is the Superbowl isn't coming this year.  At least not in Atlanta.

Houston bound.
Somewhere on February 5th, the game will be in the third quarter and people will not even notice. They'll might be enjoying a drink with friends, telling a ribald tale and sharing a laugh, or perhaps sneaking a glance to see if that attractive person they noticed earlier is looking their way. Wings and blue cheese, chips and dip, possibly a brawt or two will be consumed leisurely. Alas, I will not be there. Alas.

Bartender, something in a cup. With a lid. That seals. And make it strong.   

Friday, January 20, 2017

It Begins...

My favorite commentary on the incoming Administration...

After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories - among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting - but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present.

The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.

I would like to thank Scotland’s Sunday Herald Sunday TV critic Damien Love for this. I want to get it framed and put on my wall.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Let me hear it one last time..

"We Out. Hey Joe, I know this spot got fish fresh off the grease..."

"My President is black, my Lambo is blue..."

It is a sad day.

As Sporty said, don't forget to set your clock back 350 years tonight.

It's always hard going back after a long vacation. You'd gotten used to silly things, things like a movement towards justice, concern about the environment, healthcare and human rights. Then back comes the UGH. In one fell swoop, it's like the world just went gray after you've gotten used to sunshine and hope and compassion. True it wasn't all great, there was always that undercurrent of problems you'd thought you'd left behind - of bad rhetoric and opposition, but you were on vacation. It didn't seem to matter as much. You even dreamed that the vacation might get extended. That you could potentially move and be on vacation forever.

But alas no. The UGH is back, and it seems like everything you left on your desk is still there, but now with all the stuff you missed while you were away. And it even seems like more stuff since they now realize you take vacations. The UGH. You'd almost thought it was going to be a distant memory.

That just means we need to start planning for our next vacation.

Thank you, President Barack Hussein Obama.

This is the part where somebody screams "TAKE ME WITH YOU"      

Monday, January 16, 2017

Brother Martin

Martin and History in Selma, AL
I started a firebrand piece earlier. But it felt inappropriate. It would been in line with the episode of Black-ish recently did, but more a passionate realization of who I am in these "interesting times" but ultimately they would have been full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. 

Another time. Perhaps.

This place was originally someplace to vent, to howl into the darkness but lately I've been censoring myself. Professionalism and all that. In a quiet sense, a weird way of  honoring Dr. King's legacy. Because what he fought for was my right to be black and be me. A right to be black, educated, and be anything I want to be in a world full of possibilities. A right not always afforded those who came before me, and one I'm terrified that I will waste. A right that right now feels all too temporary. A right that my generation may have to fight for all over again to pass on to our children.

At least Martin blazed a path. And if it comes to it, this time we'll get a little farther.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What I learned in 2016

This new year is just like any other. Nothing is particularly special about it. It could go good or bad. It will be through our own actions and those actions alone that determine if we move along our chosen path and bask in the admiration of others OR sit in the dark mean mugging and feeling like the world has somehow cheated us. The choice is ours.

Now, at this metaphorical beginning point, let's stop and take stock of ourselves. Are you happy with your personal status quo? Have you taken a look at who you are? And not in the superficial way we always do, that I myself am guilty of as well, we but a real in-depth look at who we are, where we are in our life, and why we do those things we do. One those introspective deep dives where you ask yourself THE WHY. Why are we not chasing our dreams? Or why are we still chasing those dreams? Most of us don't do this for various reasons, partially because we're afraid of the answer. But I think most of us should ask ourselves the hard questions at least once a year.   

We hope and pray that the coming of the new year will bring new opportunities and new direction to our lives. In reality the numbering of the year will make no difference if the circumstances we have placed ourselves in do not change. And I say placed ourselves in because I subscribe to the notion that one is usually responsible for their circumstances - well, at least 95% of the time. Some things we can't control - Earthquakes, hurricanes, corporate merger, illness, etc. But those things we can change that we choose not to we are still responsible for. I am of the belief that those circumstances that hold us back that we can change, we should change.

Change. It's a funny idea. In a world where now everything is instant, change came first. Things change in an instant all the time. And yet that same change can take what seems like forever. And both kinds of change  can be both painful or exhilarating. And both kinds happen all the time. I'm guess what I'm just suggesting that by asking the hard questions, we prepare ourselves for change. And that we can be ready for change to happen to us, AND to change those things we can on our schedule.  

I'm not ashamed to admit that last year I was off and on with the struggle to change my own circumstances. Some were successful, some weren't, and some are still in progress. I'm human. I had some up days and down days. But I kept moving. And I think you should too. Maybe your moving is different than mine, in fact, I'm almost certain it is. But being ready, not just going through the motions of life is key.  Because change is coming. So we need to take stock of ourselves, ask the hard questions and figure out how to put the change we control on our schedule where we can.

As part of my process, I gather up those things I've learned, those lessons that I've learned from my previous year. I hope to internalize them. To make myself better. I put the change on my schedule.

What I learned in 2016

I have spent years wondering the answers to questions that I never even asked.

Only being finished is being finished. There is no almost finished.

Good people to have in your life are harder to find than you think. Not because good people are hard to find, it's because everyone has a life.

Extensive preparation doesn't always make you ready. Sometimes you gotta change what you do to make an impact.

I have a tendency to get comfortable with what I have, and that's bad, because I'm capable of so much more.

The theory of nobility is much harder than the practice. 

I may be too nice and have too much patience, if that's possible.

Falling down isn't the end. Not getting back up is.

Bacon is...it just is.

Plan. Then get started. You may not follow the plan after the first few steps but plan. It gets you started and lets you know where the end lies.

Figure out what gets your day started, what gets you rolling and do that everyday. Even weekends.

I don't like calling people if it's not for business reasons. I feel like I'm bothering them.

Exercise your imagination. Daydream, pretend in the mirror, whatever. Because when we stop dreaming we stop trying.

If you're going to love someone, then love them all you can. People you will really love with your soul aren't easy to find. And they need to know you care.

Baking is God teaching you to take your time.

Learn to cultivate yourself. It's impossible for you not to reap what you have sown.