A Legendary Tale

  I remember the first time I fell in love.  It was actually the day after first feeling painful heartbreak.  All I wanted for Christmas that year was a Nintendo.  Coop had one, Corey and Jared had one.  I wanted one.  Christmas Eve is always when we celebrate with my Papa.  We had it at our house that particular year and as the festivities were dying down, discussion among the kids turned to what they hoped Santa was dropping off overnight.  As visions of “Crossfire” danced in Coop’s head, I was mentally rearranging my room to perfectly house that electronic dreamboat.  As the final guests left, Dewey dropped the bomb on me that Nintendo was likely not in the cards.  Devastation, call Santa and tell him not to bother.  He could just drop off Chase’s sweet bolo tie and cowboy hat and hit the road.

Alas, my old man had set me up.  That sweet piece of technology was front and center the next morning as I stumbled into the living room.  Looking back, I understand why the let down had to happen the night before.  I had all but accepted that I was getting one and there would be no fun in that for my folks.  Back then, they videoed our reactions as we entered the room to see our gifts and that year I let out a boisterous “Ninnn” and didn’t finish the word.  Don’t worry, Chase got the cowboy hat too. 

 Thus began my lifelong love affair with video games.  I still play them today.  I just put the controller down from another session of Fallout 4.  Games have come a long way since that Christmas.  Now there are ever expanding storylines, open worlds to explore and graphics that make you think you are watching a movie.  Groundbreaking stuff I tell you.  Perhaps the first groundbreaker though was a game that is what I can only describe as the most amazing game of all time.  Super Mario was fun, RBI was a classic and I always had a great time battling Uncle Speedy and Greg with the Bash Brothers, Lego my Gallego and Walt “Three Blind” Weiss.  But in 1991, the video game industry was turned on its head with the introduction of Tecmo Super Bowl “TSB”.  

TSB was the first sports game that had all of the NFL players (well, almost – more on that in a minute) and allowed you to play an entire season while keeping stats and setting up playoffs and a Super Bowl.  It’s not the first time stats had been involved in a video game but it was definitely a much easier process.  Prior to that, Jim and Rusty and I had played various seasons of RBI Baseball 3 with us keeping stats ourselves over the course of battle.  This time, the game kept it for you and saved it, provided you held down reset while powering off.  Tecmo Bowl (minus the “Super”) preceded TSB but didn’t have all of the teams and didn’t keep stats over time.  This game introduced a whole new way to play video games.  My buddies and I became stat junkies and began trying to one up each other on a daily basis.

For me, there was only one team on TSB back in my younger days.  That was the Buffalo Bills.  I loved them, despite their inability to win the big one.  I made sure that I won it for them over and over on TSB.  They had it all.  The stout defense included Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett, Daryll Talley and Little Man Nate Odomes.  Then the offense was high powered with Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Andre Reed and QB Bills.  Ah, “almost” all of the NFL players.  The game lacked 4 official NFL’ers.  QB Bills was Jim Kelly, QB Eagles was Randall Cunningham and QB Browns was Bernie Kosar.  There was some issue with a new licensing group called NFL Quarterback Club and the NLFPA that disallowed their names from being used.  Their attributes were the same as their real life personas though so we all knew who they were.  The fourth player not included was a biggie too.  Eric Dickerson was not included on the Colts due to a contract squabble and I wager that they would have been quite the team with Jeff George and Dickerson but it was not to be.

I became quite the player, in my opinion, with the Bills and was able to dispatch most opponents with relative ease.  I recall the first time Coop almost took me down with Philly.  QB Eagles was a difficult weapon to stop.  He was one of the fastest offensive players on the game and he was a QB.  The ultimate run/pass option.  If you wanted to beat this guy, you better be prepared to put up 60 points.  Coop battled hard that day but he was ultimately bit by an ugly facet of the game.  In what would later be dubbed “Self Preservation”, the game had a way of sensing when someone was on the cusp of ultimate joy and it would pounce.  Late in the game, Coop was trailing by a slim margin when Reggie White, The Minister of Defense, smashed QB Bills causing a fumble.  White picked it up and Coop began the cheer “Go Reggie, Go Reggie!”  Thurman Thomas chased him down and White promptly fumbled it back to the Bills as the cheer turned to a cry of desperation “Noooo Reggie!”  Bills win! 

 I spread my teams out a little more over the years but I’ve always had my favorites.  The Bills, Lions (Barry Sanders), Chiefs and Bengals have remained go to teams.  I still recall David Fulcher and the Bengals putting Byron’s Chicago Bears in their place as he tried to take down the champ.  Though I rarely used the Raiders, the greatest player in TSB history, without a doubt, was Bo Jackson.  Epic YouTube videos are available that show the sheer dominance one 8 bit player was able to inflict on the video game world.  It’s the stuff of legends.  There is one video in which a player takes Bo, runs the length of the field, turns back right before he scores, runs back the length of the field and then turns one more time to score what is essentially a 300 yard TD.  The game could have been called “Bo Jackson’s Tecmo Super Bowl” and there would have been no arguments.  Besides Barry Sanders, there wasn’t even anyone close to his ability.  Christian Okoye had a shot but was injured too often in the game and was always one self preservation play away from a controller toss.  There are still T shirts being made in 2016 in their honor. 

 Speaking of 2016, the game remains so popular that clothing is not the only merchandise that still pops up.  The masters at Tecmobowlers.com updated the original game on NES to bring fans TSB 16 with fully updated rosters but the same old gameplay.  Like a true dork, I bought it right up and rotate playing that and the old one on my classic NES.  It’s truly the only game that holds up in my opinion.  It has replay value out the wazoo.  It has been called the greatest video game of all time by major video game publications and to this day is the standard bearer for football video games.  It brought out the best and worst of my generation and still has its own annual tournament in Madison, Wisconsin each year.  This years tourney is Feb 20 and I would love to go but just don’t have the proper time to prepare.  Entry fee is only $40 but the experience would be once in a lifetime.  It would so be worth the thumb callous that would be sure to follow.

From “Go Reggie” to “Self Preservation” to the most famous scream in TSB history, “PLAY ME!!”, the game left its mark on my youth.  By the way, “PLAY ME!!” immediately followed one of the most egregious forms of “Self Preservation” in TSB history and ended with a head butt to the closet door, all at 3am.  Never has a video game been so triumphant and emasculating at the same time.  Today’s kids can have their Madden and NCAA football.  They will never know the feeling of winning a super bowl with only 8 plays in your arsenal and no way to audible in and out of poorly timed pre snap movement.  If I didn’t think Alicia would kill me for waking her up, I’d get a game in right now.  I’m proud to say I’m a Tecmo Bowler and will die one.  Hopefully they will play the TSB injury music at my funeral. 

 You may be wondering if Coop got Crossfire that year.  He did and he wound up with stitches.  What a Christmas!

Inner Monologue

Do you ever stop and wonder what your destiny is?  I believe in fate.  I believe in karma.  I believe that all of our actions are essential to the events that have yet to unfold.  I don’t think I always stop and consider it when I take an action but I believe in the effects that are caused by that action.  Every day, we have a chance, or a choice if you will, to alter our future.  We can create our own destiny.  Some days are better than others and some days make us question what “this” is all for.  “This” is a broad generalization of life and our individual purpose.  I haven’t quite figured out mine and I don’t know when or if I ever will.

The Butterfly Effect is a very interesting concept to me.  The idea that the flap of a butterfly’s wings could cause a hurricane in some distant time and place.  It’s a concept that you can probably use to trace your current position in life back to various decisions you’ve made in the past.  It is rational when thinking backward but it doesn’t seem to possess the same power when thinking forward.  It’s hard to intentionally make a decision today and understand the full payoff in the future.  You can make what you think are the right decisions and hope for future benefits but the right decision today may not be the right decision in the future.  So what are we to do?

The common sense thing to do is to make the best decision in the present and let it play out.  And to me, that’s what “this” is all about –  Letting life play out by making what we think are sound decisions in the here and now.  Sounds logical, rational and pretty unoriginal.  I’m not intending to break ground with that statement. I’m actually reminding myself on a day, when things went every way but the way I wanted, that the decisions I made to get here were sound when I made them before today.  That’s a very difficult thought to force into your head when things aren’t going well.  The natural thoughts are, “what did I do to deserve this?”, “how do I overcome this?” And sometimes even “are you shitting me with this?”  It’s almost insane to tell yourself, “let this play out and see what happens.”

That really seems to be the play though, in my mind.  Don’t misread that to mean that we shouldn’t make amends or correct mistakes.  Standing up and saying you were wrong about something is showing true humility and a desire to get better.  It also makes sense though to flap your wings again in an effort to create a new effect.  Turn your focus away from the negativity going on and find something positive to latch onto.  Sometimes that means closing the door on something or someone that doesn’t seem to be providing you with the fulfillment you need. That’s when you have a choice to alter your destiny.  It’s almost never easy but almost always necessary.  These are no doubt the moments that ripple throughout your life.

In those moments, it then becomes a time to rely on your own belief system, whatever that may be, to help you make those decisions.  No matter what that belief system is, know that your heart is always true to itself.  It will tell you all you need to know if you quiet your mind and listen.  In your darkest hour, that is your mightiest struggle, quieting the mind.  But it is the key.  I don’t know where tomorrow will take me or what my purpose is on this earth.  If I knew, the decisions would be easy.  What I do know is that I will serve a purpose.

So tonight I lay down with the following in my head, “You woke up thinking it was a normal day but it didn’t go as well as you had planned.  In fact, it was a pretty crappy day.  Realize that there are some choices to make.  It’s time to make the choices and then, if you’re lucky enough, you wake up tomorrow and let it play out.”

TBT – South Georgia Sticks

This time of year is when I start gearing up for another softball season.  Mighty SOTC will be prepping for another run at a Sherwood title in the spring and my new coed squad South Ga Wreckn Crew gets started this Saturday in the first tourney of our quest for the SCSA Rings.  I know my days as a softball player are numbered.  It gets harder to get ready and takes longer to recover every year.  Aches and pains have become all too familiar and my reaction time is even slower than it used to be.  When I do hang up the cleats though, there will be a million memories I’ll have for the rest of my life.

I guess around eight years ago about this time, I was getting ready to embark on the softball journey of my life.  The South Georia Sticks, brainchild of Adam Saint, was getting ready to hit the field for their first full season of tournament play.  A rag tag group of guys from Americus and Albany, these guys would become my softball family in every sense.  Clem and I had been invited to fill some spots the year before and had earned a permanent spot, along with Graham.  Up to that point, it had all been city league ball so the tourney circuit was a new experience.  And what an experience it was.

Over the next 7 months, we would play almost every weekend.  It started out rough as we scraped and clawed for wins and for respect.  Our tourney home was Macon and most teams had some knowledge of each other except for us that first year.  We were outsiders and that really brought us close as a team.  We would spend Friday evenings before a tourney eating Roman Oven and hanging at Saint’s house going over the previous tourney and planning for the next.  It really felt important at the time.  Unfortunately, our fun that first year was mostly off the field.  It usually takes some time for guys who’ve never played with each other to get a feel for it and gel.

Those next couple of years we would really start to pull it together and we built ourselves a solid reputation as a tough team that played the right way and didn’t fall into the mind trap that adult softball can become.  We had savvy veterans of the game and life and were able to keep our heads about us.  Travis Bishop and Jeff Hall were our outfield leaders and kept Wagon Wheel, Sleepy, Ray, Bobby, Sweet Meat, Burgess, David and several others on point.  The outfield was fast and very athletic.  Good arms too, for the most part.  One of the greatest lines I’ve ever heard from an umpire came at the expense of one of our outfielders and I won’t mention Scott by name.  He wound up and fired one in on a tag up and the umpire exclaimed, “I’ve seen better arms on a rocking chair.”  Now, he really did have a good arm but this was not one of his better throws.  But that line laid all of us out and comes up from time to time still today.    

 The infield was defensively sound. Clem and Stoney were our original 3 baggers and eventually Alex Denney took over when CJ turned to soccer and Stoney got bumped up to B Class.  I can tell you that I have never seen a third baseman as fearless as Alex.  It didn’t matter the competition or the circumstances, he was in the face of the hitter and begging them to come his way.  Third base is not for the faint of heart in softball.  Trust me, I play it now in coed and I fear for my life every inning.  Colby held down SS after several experiments at the position.  You have to have a lot of tools to play that position and Colby was all world.  The right side was reminiscent of the Bagwell/Biggio days with me and Saint.  Saint could catch three balls thrown to him at the same time at first.  We went through pitchers like underwear but had several great ones along the way.  Graham, EB22 and Goot were studs who all kept it in the strike zone and contributed with the stick.  We had several others and I’m not leaving anybody out on purpose.  It was just a volatile position.  Lastly, Woo and Drex headlined the backstop position and handled it well.  Woo was probably one of the most improved players I saw from the first tourney to our last.  Drex’s most significant contributions included Rascal Flatts covers in the dugout for Sleepy’s benefit.  So many memories were made on those Saturday’s.  Sleepy was born and I have at least 7 pictures on Facebook of Jeff asleep to prove it. Travis learned how to “shoot em” from left center.  Big D, No E became the rally chant thanks to Woo.  Constant bickering between Stoney and Saint was routine as Saint would beg him to mix in a strike from time to time.  Colby turned into Troy Tulowitzki and wowed us with his glove work.  O’Charley’s was the destination for all 0-2 tourneys and it somehow made the day a little better.  Good times!

We had a pretty good run.  We were able to get a few tourney wins, a solid ranking in the standings, and generally became one of the more respected teams in our class.  We even took down the big boys on occasion.  But as our 5th season rolled around, we had peaked and our steam began to run out.  Travis tore an ACL in an offseason basketball game, a clear contract violation.  Stoney got the call to the big leagues.  Some of our kids were getting old enough to be participating in their own sporting events on Saturdays.  Guys moved, got married, retired.  Even USSSA in Macon had fallen apart and NSA was the new classification.  The writing was on the wall and it was time to call it.  We all still played on occasion but the grind of multiple Saturday’s a month had taken their toll.  What we’re left with are some great memories with some great friends.  Some of us have remained good friends.  Several of us remain in a fantasy football league together, play golf, go to football games and take unscrupulous shots at each other on social media.  I would have never met most of those guys if not for softball.  That’s been one of the effects of the game that I have been most touched by.  The people I’ve met.  Most of my closest friends are softball friends.  Me and CJ played it for years.  It’s how I met Petey.  SOTC is like family.  Z is one of the most precious souls in my life.  Softball has given me a lot.  My days may be numbered but The Sticks will live forever!

Pet Peeves

I am going to tiptoe into the waters of contention.  We all have pet peeves.  Some of these are even habits or ticks of our loved ones. It doesn’t mean that we love them any less.  It just means that they can piss us off from time to time by getting on our nerves.  Odds are, you will agree with a vast majority of these.  But then again, there is bound to be one that makes you think, “Is he talking about me?”  The answer is no.  I just think it’s time to publicly talk about some of these personal annoyances.  I’ll preface this entire post with the following disclaimer:

“These are my views and mine only.  Some of my friends and family may be guilty of these.  I know that I have been guilty of some of them in the past.  This is not a call out post nor is it driven by anyone in particular or anything that has happened recently.  Feel free to hate everything I do.  It’s a free country (for now) and you are entitled.  I love you all and I am having fun with this.”

And with that, let’s get started.  These are in no particular order.

  • Parking in handicap spaces when you are not handicap – Ok, so this first one is probably on all of our lists.  It’s not just a pet peeve but illegal.  It’s an obvious one right?  Well, why do so many people get away with it?  The fire lane too for that matter.  A quick drop off and pick up in the fire lane is one thing but I have seen people park in the fire lane and go in and shop.  If it’s too small of an issue for the police to worry about, maybe the citizens should handle it. Who remembers the Seinfeld episode where George parked in the handicap spot and the other shoppers destroyed his car?  Is anybody running on that platform in the upcoming elections?
  • Slow drivers in the left lane – Another obvious you are saying.  I’m not talking about people that are keeping me from speeding.  I guess I have to live with that.  No, I’m talking about people doing 45 in a 55 in the left lane.  Every single afternoon on the way home on 19.  Road rage be thy name.
  • Not thanking (or even acknowledging) someone for opening or holding a door – Now this one is a little more obscure.  It doesn’t happen quite that often but when it does, it really gets me.  I think it’s the polite thing to do but when I hold the door and somebody breezes in like it’s their entrance to the red carpet, it leaves me miffed.  I usually give them a nice unsolicited “You’re welcome!”
  • Ordering food and not eating it – This one is pretty specific for me.  Bailey is one of the pickiest eaters you’ll ever meet.  She also has no concept of the value of money.  She is usually so occupied with the kids menu or iPod that she just picks something.  When it’s time to eat, you’d think they brought her a plate of roadkill.  She turns her nose up and says “this isn’t what I thought it was.”  Oh really, that’s not a chicken strip?
  • Talking during a movie – This could also qualify during a good song.  If you want to talk during Jackass or Nacho Libre, by all means, knock yourself out.  But when a man is watching Super Troopers, for the love of all that is holy, don’t talk over the punch lines.
  • Bluetooth phone devices – How many times have you been on an elevator and thought a stranger was talking to you only to get the ole finger point to the ear as they expose the Bluetooth headset?  Yeah, kind of embarrassing.  When it happens a second time on the same elevator ride, it’s your own fault.  
  • Writing a check at the grocery store – This an old gag for some standup comedians but it’s definitely enraging.  It’s 2016, even Dewey Shiver is rocking a debit card.  The check is written, the cashier has to check ID, write the license number and expiration on the memo line.  Print some serial items on the back of the check.  Come on, I’ve got cold milk here.  
  • Going through the express lane with more than 10 items – Another retail nightmare.  I’ve even chatted with cashiers who don’t like this one.  As a cashier, you come off like a jerk if you turn people away but the guy with 4 items gives you the death stare when you take them.  I blame the customer on this one.  The sign says 10 items or less.  11 or 12 is acceptable but pushing it.  Get out of here with that full cart.
  • 10 registers and 2 cashiers – This one is on the store.  Is it a staffing issue?  Too many people on break?  I can’t honestly think of a time that I’ve ever seen every line open.  Not that it would be feasible to do that all day, but let’s get some bodies in those kiosks.  As an added bonus, I always pick the wrong parking lot to use at Wal-Mart when they lock one of the entrances at 10 pm.  Curse you Wally World.
  • Pay at the pumps that say “Clerk has receipt” – This is in my top 3 on this list.  As part of my OCD, I can’t simply drive off without my receipt.  That is inviting the state patrol to pull me over and question my activities at the station where I just pumped gas and drove off without that slip of paper.  Then laziness kicks in and says “Are you really going inside to get that receipt? ”  The answer is always yes and in 22 years of driving, I’ve never been pulled over on suspicion of not paying at the pump.
  • Getting $20.01 in gas instead of $20.00 – Another gas pump nightmare.  It’s been a lot easier with gas prices under $2.00 per gallon but when they were over $4.00, you had to be Pistol Pete to get that nozzle stopped on the penny.  My twisted mind usually makes me pump another .99 in to get it rounded.  God help us all if I mess it up the second time around.
  • Being an “expert” at something but pronouncing names and towns wrong – there are literally people on TV that get paid to talk about sports and can’t pronounce a players name.  I get it, they’re difficult to pronounce.  But it’s your job!  Verne and Gary are the worst.  They don’t just mispronounce, they get the whole name wrong.  Alex Ogletree, Damien Swain, Jarvis Jenkins, Rayquan Smith, Jason Scott Wesley?  All of these are wrong.  Is there nobody in their headsets telling them this?
  • Country Music – Welp, you knew it had to be on this list.  I’ll spare everyone the dialogue on this one.  Just keep that stuff to yourselves.
  • Hashtags – Ooof, this one has been a tough one or me for years.  So many people use them I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s just me.  But it can’t be.  I refuse to be wrong on this one.  First off, it’s a pound sign, not a hashtag.  Secondly, it was created to assist in search results in social media.  I.E. If everybody was talking about the Braves, you would search with #Braves.  I think it really lost its value when Charlie Sheen started #Winning.  Much love JFP!
  • Anything called “The War On” – Nothing much to add.  Let’s just stop using it.  I don’t need to hear about the War on Soft Drinks.  The day soft drinks lead to a war is the day I’m checking out of this 3 star hotel.
  • Debates on sports or news channels – Specifically, Stephen A. Smith and that blowhard Skip Bayless.  If you don’t know them, type them into YouTube and go load your gun.  You will be firing rounds into your screen in no time.  Political sparring is also rather fruitless.  There isn’t a person on tv or radio that will ever make a point that I am arguing against that leads me to say “you know, you’re right.  What have I been thinking?”
  • Alicia asking me what I want for supper – Man, you want to see a simple situation go 0 to 100?  The dreaded question.  There is no right answer.  What I want isn’t what you want and definitely isn’t what Bailey wants.  What I want is a fat steak and potato but you can’t get that at Sonic.  I know this one goes both ways.  I also know that we are only one of millions of couples that experience this.  
  • CrossFit posts on social media – This really isn’t as bad of a problem as it has been.  It’s still there.  The chick straining to toss the cinder block and using 7 filters to make it look rustic.  The dude body slamming a Tractor tire while grimacing in pure agony.  We get it guys, you work out really hard and you are better than the rest of us at WOD.  Whatever that is. Most cross fitters should take a hint from my man Heath Gilbert.  He lets his statuesque physique say “I do crossfit.”  His posts don’t have to.
  • Any post on social media that says “Type Amen” or else – More social media nonsense.  I really don’t think that’s how it works.  A share doesn’t prove that I love God.  A like isn’t going to cure cancer and I’m not going to hell for not sharing a bible verse.  
  • Controversial cryptic posts – This is a tricky one.  It’s a peeve because it turns me into an online investigator.  When someone posts”I saw someone today and you won’t believe what this person did.  I had such high respect for them before that.  It just goes to show you that he never grew up”.  You’re right, I don’t believe what he did because I don’t know who you are talking about people:  but thanks, you just sentenced me to a night of reading every post you’ve written to properly analyse this.  The comments you are receiving aren’t helping either because apparantly I’m the only one who doesn’t know.
  • Grown men who used shaved bats – Well, here we are.  One of the saddest things to happen to adult softball.  It used to be about defense and base hitting and strategy.  I’m qualified to say “used to” because I’ve been playing it almost 20 years.  Now, the technology does most of the work.  It’s not hard to make contact in softball. If you have an illegal bat and you are 6’3, 250, give me a break with the grunting and whooping when you hit.  
  • Grown men who still need to fight to prove their manhood – Thankfully, this is dwindling for the most part as well.  There are still those knuckleheads out there that want to mix it up.  I’ve never been a fighter.  I have a job to go to on Monday morning and I don’t want to do it with my face looking like hamburger meat.
  • Sore winners – I’m looking right at you Florida Gators and FSU and Auburn and Bama…..just forget it.
  • Healthy food – Plain and simple, it stinks.  CJ’s meatball subs, not a healthy choice.  Harvest Moon’s cheesy bread, same.  Eron’s brownies, bad bad.  I eat what I enjoy.  I may be dead at 45 but I sure will enjoy the next 7 years at the dinner table.
  • Commercials on Internet videos – This one is new to us.  But it’s getting worse by the day.  I love YouTube.  I’ll watch tv shows, movies and funny vids all night sometimes.  Now, the commercial has made its way into my viewing.  Ads on our app games.  Ads on commercial free XM radio.  Enough!
  • Being hot – Not in the looks department as I rather enjoy that. You deal with the hand you’re dealt right?  I’m talking temperature.  It’s a given that you are going to be hot in summer in So Georgia. Being hot in December just ticks me off.  When it’s time to sleep, fans on, air is low and I’m very light on the covers.
  • Car pick up at school – This one is just odd to me.  I used to go read to Bailey’s class on Thursdays and would arrive at the school at 1:30.  The first couple of times I noticed one or two cars parked at the pickup area and thought nothing of it.  Later on I found out that these parents were legitimately sitting in a school parking lot 2 hours before school was dismissed so they could be first in line to get the kids.  I’ve been at the end of the line before and it takes about 15 minutes to get to the front.  What is the worth of sitting for 2 hours in the parking lot?  Unless you have a great talk radio setup.
  • School traffic – I’m just going to say this.  Parents lose their mind and subsequently their driving abilities when they take their kids to school.  Parking spots are created from the slimmest of resources.  I find myself literally taking a deep breath after dropping Bailey off and being thankful that it is over.
  • No reception or bad wifi – Until Pam and Dewy got wifi, I could go through a 100% battery in about 30 minutes and actually get through to about 3 websites.  There was always a score to check or an eBay item to buy that left me twisting in the Verizon-less Camilla wind.  
  • Incoming phone calls when I’m watching a video – This is even worse when combined with the peeve above this one.  You’re sitting there letting this video load.  A painstaking process.  Then, you’re ready to go so you push play.  About 20 seconds in you get a call to pick up some milk at the grocery store.  The video doesn’t just stop, it restarts from the beginning.

Whew, I’m glad I got that off of my chest.  I could probably go on but that’s enough for one sitting.  I think I’ve gotten agitated enough.  I’ll get a Part 2 out one day I’m sure.  Maybe there won’t be too much backlash over this one and I’ll still have readers at that point. If you have one that you want to share, add it in the comment section and it might make the next one if I share the peeve with you.  Let’s get back out there and get annoyed.


The Enemy Within

I’ll warn you now.  This post is going to be a tangled mess.  But hang in there, I really think it leads somewhere.  It’s really easy to lose yourself in this world.  Everything is so chaotic.  You can see what everyone else is doing all the time and you can measure that against what you are doing and what you’ve accomplished.  But it always feels like it isn’t enough.  I’ve spent most of my adult life lost in some way; spiritually, emotionally, mentally.  I still have that lost feeling more often than I care to admit.  Many are the nights that I find myself looking for the light that shines the way home.  Let me tell you, life is a constant battle.  

It’s easy to write about the past and the good times because in those moments, I had it all figured out.  Maybe it was a lack of responsibility.  I didn’t have three beautiful girls that depended on me to be their provider and protector.  There are traps everywhere and if you aren’t vigilant and you let your guard down, boom!  That may be the toughest thing about being a parent so far.  There is a constant buzzing in your head telling you to stay focused, stay alert.  Even laying down in the bed at night brings its own set of boxes in your head to start checking.  

I have been accused of being overly cautious as a parent but my brain doesn’t know any other way.  I seem to be wired to not let anything happen on my watch.  The scariest part of that is the fact that things are going to happen, it’s life.  The guilt that comes with things that happen are an added weight for somebody with wiring like mine.  I’m not alone in this, there are many like me.  You know the feeling of guilt or pain when something happens around you and you can triple check things in your mind and find this one sliver of something you might could have done different to avoid it.  It is usually never legitimate but you’ll find something.  Overthinking at its best puts me at my worst.

I guess you could say that this makes me overly sensitive.  I wouldn’t argue with you.  Sometimes I wish I could be different but I don’t know if I would be where I am right now and have the people in my life that matter so much if I didn’t have that quality, for better or worse.  My friend Eron, or E-Dub as she is known in some circles, has classified me in the past as being someone who feels what’s going on in other people’s lives and situations and almost feeling their hurt or their disappointment to some degree.  I got that when she said it and I get it now.  I have taken some of those situations and made them my problem when I didn’t have to.  That helps intensify guilt or worry that I have in my own life sometimes and makes me even more cautious and sensitive.  Exhausted yet?

One thing I have learned over the years is how to deal with it for the most part.  There are many different remedies that work at different times.  One is simply writing this.  Before this blog, I wrote almost daily but just for myself and a select few that I would let read from time to time.  Putting thoughts on paper have always been one of my most successful escapes.  I can sometimes feel it leaving my mind and appearing on the paper.  If I could make it rhyme, maybe I could turn it into something asthetically pleasing to the eye in the form of a poem.  For now, it remains this jumbled collection of thoughts.  

Another escape for me is music.  That has already been documented.  But all of this is probably why I don’t get into songs about dirt roads or fishing or tight blue jeans.  All of those things are likeable but they don’t make me use my mind, which is my use for music.  It’s an art form that I can listen to and be amazed in the same way some hipster may look at a painting of a toaster and get some meaning from it.  When I occupy my mind with analytical thinking, it can sometimes carry over into the fuzzy side of the brain.  The side that lives in guilt and overthinking could use a role model.

Perhaps the most important combatant in this mental and emotional battle has been surrounding myself with people I genuinely care about and I think feel the same about me.  I’ve written before about how people in general have become unreliable in nature.  I really don’t mean that in a callous way.  It’s just the truth as I see it.  So everyday for me is reinforcing those relationships and letting those people know that I am still there.  It’s not always verbal or clear to the naked eye.  It could be a snapchat that makes them laugh or a picture that makes them cringe.  It’s My way of saying, “Hey, remember me?  I’m still here.  You can’t shake me that easily.”  Wait, what?  Just kidding about that last part.  

Everybody has their own form of communication with their friends and family.  Sometimes it’s a call, sometimes a text or a share on FB. I’m still learning how to communicate with certain people. I’m not very verbal, despite what you may think.  I find other ways and I think for the most part, those close to me get that.  Not being verbal doesn’t mean I’m an ass.  It usually means that there is a traffic accident happening in my mind and I’m trying to figure out how to get the scene cleared.  I have found the most success with words on paper or a screen.  So I stick with that.  I am usually a nervous idiot when I have to convey feelings face to face.

I guess those are some pretty consistent characteristics for an anxious, overthinking, sensitive, self-observer such as myself.  I was made to feel guilt, to hurt when I otherwise shouldn’t, and to be my own worst enemy.  I’ve come to terms with that.  That was a pretty relieving event in my life.  When I fought it, it came at me punch after punch.  But I’ve learned to live with it and make the most of it by using it when I can for good.  There are tons of people that I have become acquainted with that share my thought process and faults.  It’s really not the worst thing in the world to deal with even though I thought it was at one point in my life.  It helps to know you aren’t alone.  I am not alone.

Cardboard Memories


The year was 1989.  A lot was going on that year; The Berlin Wall came down, the Exxon-Valdez dumped massive amounts of oil into the ocean, Gameboy was introduced, The Simpsons first episode aired and half of my seventh grade class was doing the Buffalo Stance thanks to Neneh Cherry.  If you look a little further off into the weeds though, you’ll find me and what made that year one of the best ever.  Our sleepy little Camilla Wal-Mart introduced me to my lifelong addiction, Sports Cards.

These tiny pieces of cardboard have seen fluctuations that would rival the real estate market over time, to scale of course.  I caught them during the peak that year.  Several now Hall of Famers, or soon to be, were rookies and appearing on cards for the first time.  Names like Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, David Robinson, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Gary Sheffield and…..The Kid himself, Ken Griffey Jr.  My first big get that year was the 1989 Donruss version of this young phenom.  That was of course because our Wal-Mart carried Donruss, Topps and Score and he would only appear in one of those base sets.  Another card company would join the hobby along with me that year.  That company was Upper Deck and the card pictured above was the version that drove me nuts then and still does 27 years later.  It’s when I realized that I had a problem.  More on that card later.

It’s been quite a strange journey with cards over the years, really too much to simply blog about.  But, I have watched an industry that operated at a production level of what seems like 1,000,000+ cards each year in the early 1990’s shrink to runs as low as 1 of certain cards today.  I had not yet taken economics from Mr. Spivey in 1989 but it all made sense as I got older.  Cards from the 50’s were worth a ton of money and the country wanted to buy in.  This was a direct contradiction to the reason the cards from the 50’s were valuable.  They weren’t collected then.  They were toys that were basically played with or used as bicycle tire accessories.  So, if you could find one in good condition, you had a pretty rare item.  When everybody started buying in the late 80’s, the companies started pumping them out 24/7 and rare was not even a consideration.

Thankfully, that was never the reason I started collecting and even though my 1989 collection is worth very little in the bank, it is a treasure chest of nostalgia.  Trading baseball cards became a part time gig for me in those days and I was a shark.  I was always looking for that next deal while stocking up whenever I went to Wal-Mart or had a birthday roll around.  I had my marks too.  Shook was a Minnesota Twins fan, Coop liked Robert Parrish, Uncle Speedy liked the old guys.  I was happy to move those players for what I was after; Griffey, McGwire, Canseco, Shawn Kemp, Bo Jackson, the Ryan Express.  And if you ask any of us, we all thought we got the better of each other.  I remember hauling my collection around in a sweet binder protecting the cards in plastic sleeves.  I even took them to school once in 7th grade but Ms. Merritt interrupted one of my many deals and confiscated them. I didn’t get them back until the end of the school year in her effort to prove that she “was the captain of the ship.”  I didn’t make that mistake again.

Along with trades, I loved opening those packs.  I would take out the Beckett Monthly Price Guide and look up every single card.  At 12, value of $10-$15 for a card might as well have been $100.  Among those semi valuable cards in those days were can’t miss kids like Kevin Maas, Brien Taylor and Todd Van Poppel.  Who?  Exactly…..but those guys were exciting pulls back then.  I actually pulled a Kevin Maas Stadium Club as I opened a vintage pack I got at my friend Charlie Heinisch’s card shop in Warner Robins last weekend.  That would have been a tremendous hit back in the day but it turned out to be little more than a punchline in the photo I sent to him.  Any base cards today are of little consequence in the value department.  The hits today are jersey swatches, printing plates, short prints and autographs among other subset items.  

I’m still a purest for the most part.  I get excited about Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Bulldogs and my favorite players, regardless of rarity.  I’ve tried to pass that along to my daughter Bailey.  She has fallen in her father’s footsteps as it relates to collecting.  She has her favorite players and it really doesn’t matter what kind of card it is.  That’s what it is about to me.  A cardboard photograph of my favorite player reminds me of the days when cards came in a pack that cost about $1.00 and there weren’t 2,000 subsets and variations you had to keep up with.  I do love adding autographs and short prints to my personal collection but that’s not what our Saturday trips to Comics and Cards to see our buddy Wade is all about.  We walk around looking at all of the singles in the case and try to find our favorite player.  It’s also about us having a common interest.  She enjoys something that I enjoyed during my youth and I can understand that enthusiasm better than anyone.

I like to think of myself as being in the minority when it comes to classifying myself as a collector.  I am collecting memories and if they are worth something one day, that’s even better.  If not, I’ll always remember when Bailey pulled her first Todd Gurley from a pack.  I have met others like me over the years and have even found a home for those who share my addiction thanks to Charlie and the Middle Georgia Collector group he created on FaceBook.  The hobby has gone through countless changes and peaks and valleys but it has always been very special to me.  It’s been refreshing to find others that want to keep the hobby alive for those that remember the wonder it brought as kids.  I really still get just as excited when I am opening cards as I did at 12.  Even those 1991 Stadium Club I bought last weekend.

Back to the Griffey in the picture above. That card is arguably one of the most popular cards ever and really is a measuring stick when comparing hot cards that come and go.  The value did not hold because of the print runs of the product but it remains my white whale.  In 27 years, I have never pulled that card out of a pack.  I have 2 that are a part of the base sets I own but have never experienced the thrill of seeing one appear in a pack that I bought.  I’ve tried, believe me.  When I see 1989 Upper Deck, I pluck a few out of the box and try my luck but over time my odds have dwindled.  You see, along with the massive print runs, there was also a problem with sequence in those days.  It’s rumored that some people can predict where the cards are in the box because of that issue and the packs left in circulation are littered with left over worthless cards.  I will hold out hope that one day I will find my Griffey Upper Deck, much like Ken Forrester did on our youth trip to Helen that year.  Yes, I remember…..did I mention I had a problem?

Almost Famous


If you know me, or have been around me for any reasonable amount of time, the name Deftones has most likely surfaced in some way or another. If you’ve sent me an email, you’ve typed it.  If you’ve followed me on Insagram or Snapchat, you’ve typed it.  If you’ve sat in my truck, you’ve no doubt heard them.  They are a constant presence in my life.  I’ve had a few people in the past ask me, “what’s up with you and Deftones?”  It’s a question that I’ve never really had a formal answer for but there has always been a reason.

I’ll start with a brief background for those who stick to Top 40 or Country.  Deftones is a band that is somewhat of a fusion of the alternative, rock, and nu-metal genres with an experimental sound to them.  They formed in 1988 in Sacramento, CA and have been creating music for almost 30 years now.  The band’s lead singer Chino Moreno has, as best as I can describe it, a melodic, soothing agression to his voice that borders on haunting tension at times.  Odd description I know, but I don’t write for Rolling Stone.  Along with Chino, Stephen Carpenter plays a superb lead guitar, Abe Cunningham crushes the drums, Frank Delgado adds the experimental sound on the turntables and Sergio Vega replaced the late Chi Cheng on bass.

I was first introduced to Deftones around 1996, about a year after their first full length album, Adrenaline, was released.  At first, they fit into the rotation with Korn, Limp Bizkit and the like.  It didn’t take too long for them to rise to the top of my playlist.  By the time Around The Fur was released in 1997, they were head and shoulders above.  I guess it really all started with Chino’s voice.  I had never heard anyone sing like him.  He could scream violently for 2 minutes and then break into one of the smoothest melodies you’d ever heard in a rock song, then finish with a breathless howl that I became addicted to.  With the discovery of the song “Be Quiet and Drive”, Deftones completely sank their teeth into me and have yet to let go.

Somewhere around 23 or 24, music started really meaning something to me.  It began to have a profound effect on my demeanor and my thought process.  I didn’t just listen to music as I traveled from place to place, I would put on headphones and just lose all sense of time and reality.  It was almost an out of body experience when listening to the right tunes and Deftones fit that bill.  No matter what was going on, there was a song for it and usually it just wound up on repeat until I lost conciousness.  Feeling somber, I went with “Be Quiet and Drive”, “Digital Bath” or “First”.  If frustration was the demon of the day, “Headup”, “Engine No. 9” or “7 Words” was the cure.  Even when I was even keel, “Bored”, “Passenger” and “RX Queen” pushed me along.  There was and still is a song that fits just right for a particular mood I am in.

The personal nature of my relationship with their music got stronger as I matured.  I felt like they were coming of age right along with me.  The distorted, screaming tones of Adrenaline were still fun to listen to but they weren’t the mental escapes they once were.  Their music was changing though.  The sound was becoming clearer and cleaner and Chino’s voice was refining as much as my understanding of the world around me was.  The music continued to speak to me.  It is almost impossible to explain in words.  Chino once said of his lyrics, “It doesn’t matter if you understand what I’m trying to say as long as I paint a picture where the music and the feeling you feel matches.  More importantly, it changes the way you were thinking for the better or makes you feel good.”  That is what Deftones had become for me.  Isn’t that why music was created in the first place?

Shifting from the music to the band itself, I finally was able to see them live for the first time in Jacksonville in February of 2006.  I had reservations because you never know how a band will sound live but they did not disappoint and instead of spending the night in Jax at the conclusion of the midnight concert, I had the adrenaline, no pun intended, to drive back home, by myself, pumping the songs for 3 more hours.  As fun as that trip was, my love for them was cemented when I saw them just a few months later at Floyds Music Store in Tallahassee.  Floyds is a much more intimate setting than Metro Park in Jax.  At the conclusion of the concert, Chino announces that the band will be hanging around the bus at the rear of the venue after and invited the crowd to hang out with them.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning!  I met every single member of the band, took photos, showed off my Deftones ink and even had a conversation with Chi that I will always cherish.  He was a mammoth of a man but as gentle and humble in person as you’d ever meet.   Just two years later, Chi would be involved in an automobile accident that left him in a semi concious state for the next several years.  He would later lose his battle on April 14, 2013.  The concert in 2006 would be the last time I saw him play live.  

I have seen them play live a few more times but the most recent was in March of 2013 at The Tabernacle in Atlanta.  The concert was by far the most amazing Deftones concert I have seen to date.  The Tabernacle felt like a venue that was built with Deftones in mind. The accoustics, the view, the energy…..unmatched!  As great as the concert was, the highlight of the evening would happen after the show.  With the venue being small and more personal, Alicia and I decided to post up near the buses and see if the band would do an impromptu meet and greet.  After waiting quite a while, Stephen appeared and began milling around with the small crowd, joking, taking photos and signing autographs.  

After about 45 minutes of just hanging out, he made a comment that he was thinking about grabbing a quick bite before hopping on the bus as their next destination was Miami, quite a haul.  Alicia broke in with a joke, “we’re heading to Waffle House, just go with us.”  He looked at a roadie, checked his watch and said, “I’m in, where is your car?”  One of my musical heroes of the last 20 years was about to go with me to Waffle House after one of his concerts…..butterflies consume me as I type this now.  A million thoughts ran through my mind as we cruised those downtown streets.  We sat in a Waffle House booth at 1 am in downtown Atlanta and talked as if we were long lost friends.  He picked up the tab, as any professional would do, and we took him back to the venue.  He disappeared on that bus and my mind would take the next several hours to process what had just happened.

There are a lot of stories out there of people finally meeting their favorite athlete or entertainer and the reality hitting them that “this person could care less about me.”  Deftones have shown me on more than one occasion that their efforts are not just selfish in nature.  Stephen Carpenter doesn’t remember who I am but for a short time, we were no different from each other.  We were two dudes who enjoyed a great night of music and finished it off with some Waho steak and eggs.  I can’t think of any better way I could’ve ever imagined that night going.  As corny as it may sound, Deftones will forever be my band and I will carry their flag with pride.  It seems they have the same plan in mind.  Their new album releases on April 8, 2016 and when asked about potential touring, Stephen was quoted as saying, “We’ll play for all the people who are interested and want to hear it.”  They want to play and I want to hear.  So I guess that’s what’s up with me and Deftones.


Video Superstore


 One post about movies is all it took for me to have this rush to the forefront of my mind.  I am one of the lucky ones to be alumni of that great establishment.  In Camilla, in the early to mid 90’s, there was really only one place for a teenager to work and be happy.  That was the Video Superstore.  They had one in Pelham too but come on, it was Pelham…..sorry Pelham folks, it’s just how I was raised.  Let’s be clear about the timeframe too – 1992-1995 was absolutely the heyday.  It was around a while later too but so was Saved By The Bell, The College Years.  

VS was nestled in the Wal Mart shopping center between Subway and Winn Dixie.  That was prime real estate during that time period and the video business was at the top of the entertainment game.  There was no Netflix, no Redbox, no YouTube.  I’m pretty sure the Internet didn’t hit the scene until 1995.  Before all of that, there was the video store.  And VS was a shining example of one!  It was the small town version of Empire Records.  We had so much fun there that most of the time it felt like we were getting paid to goof off.  Which I guess is a fairly accurate assessment too.

Sure there was work; dusting the shelves, vacuuming, window cleaning, checking the box and movie to make sure they matched up.  The managers even went through and jumbled movies from time to time to make sure we were doing the job.  “The Man” always has a way of dragging you down.  However, I knew those shelves like the back of my hand and they would’ve had to get up pretty early to get one over on me.  But back to the fun.  Friday and Saturday nights at VS were absolutely nuts!  Those were the nights everyone came to rent a video and those were also the nights that all of the other teens were riding back and forth through the Wal Mart parking lot.  The place was hopping and the doors were usually crowded with friends who would come “sit around” and just people watch.  I can still see my boys just hanging around the front door, in and out, making jokes and flirting with girls.  Usually, that last part went unrequited.  Still good times though.

There were other perks of the job too.  The T Shirts were a prize commodity.  All of my friends wanted a VS T Shirt, which came in short and long sleeve versions with the VS in the shape of the Superman logo.  We could also select any movie, below R Rating, to watch on the 3 TV’s scattered throughout the store.  During slow times, mostly mornings, you could watch entire movies between customers and catch anything that you might have been wanting to see for a while.  But perhaps the greatest perk was early viewing.  When movies came out on Tuesday, they would arrive at the store on Monday and the employees could take them home, provided they had them back before the store opened at 10 the next day.  Don’t underestimate the power of having a VHS tape in your possession before it was even released at 17 years old.

The customers were also a plus.  For some reason, most people going out to rent a video in those days were generally happy when they were in the VS.  Twenty-one years later, I can still remember one customers account number strictly based on the way he said it.   I even remember Alicia coming in the store pre-relationship.  She made it a point for me to remember.  She would ask a question like “can we come in without shoes” just to talk to me (her words not mine) and then just walk around the store and position herself so she could still see me (again, her words).  This was all after they would do a drive by to see if I was working.  I’m tellin you, that VS T Shirt did wonders for my social life.  But don’t worry, all of that infatuation dissipated during my umpire days.  But that’s another story for another day.

There are a ton of memories that I carry with me today that involve that hallowed place; Steven’s stirring rendition of Sammy Kershaw’s “Third Rate Romance”, Black Belt Jones, Lightning Jack, Shaq Fu, Munt watching movies with me on slow days and the gum ball machine that spit out tinfoil gum balls that represented a free rental.  Even the night I flipped a golf cart, bleeding all over one of the greens at Pinecrest Country Club started at the VS.  I guess that’s yet another story for another time.

Sadly, the run had to end at some point.  Of all the great aspects the store had to offer, one of the downsides was being open 365 days a year.  As it would work out one year, I had to work on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  That was enough to send this 17 year old packing in search for a more laid back schedule.  Little did I know, that would be the most laid back workplace I would ever see.  I have since joked to my friends that in high school I had envisioned living a life like that in the “Clerks” movie, working at a video store and my best friend working next door.  Eventually, the store closed and the industry as a whole disappeared as more accessible and convenient ways to watch movies emerged.  But as easy as it is to turn on Netflix, they will never be able to replace the feeling of hanging out at one of the most popular spots in town on a Friday night, watching movies and trying to get phone numbers.  Oh, and getting paid for it the whole time. I love you VS!


Old Friends

image Throughout our lifetime, most friends will come and go.  People change.  For better or for worse, we all evolve and wind up either leaving people behind or we are left behind ourselves.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Everyone and everything serves some purpose in our lives.  It’s just that sometimes the road comes to an end.  A dead end doesn’t have to be a car crash.  Sometimes, the car just crawls to a stop at the end of the pavement, you get out and start walking.  I’ve experienced friendship car crashes as well as dead ends.  What is consistent in both cases is that there are memories that always survive.

The memories, by and large, are positive reminders of good times.  As I think back on my youth and the friends I had, I realize that I still have a lot of those friends in my life to some degree.  Some are distant Facebook friends, some I still talk with regularly.  Then there are those that disappeared from my life.  Just vanished into thin air.

My best friend at 16 lived in my neighborhood.  We were inseparable.  We were essentially one person.  We knew what each other was thinking, what we were going through.  We had the same interests.  I mean, really the same interests.  So much of my likes today started with that friendship.  Horror movies, baseball cards, playing basketball, music, all came to life during that time.

I remember one night sitting in my room and flipping through the channels (which was a nightly ritual once I got my own tv).  Most of the time it was Sportscenter or  the Braves but sometimes I’d get lucky and find a good horror movie.  That night was one of those nights.  A zombie flick!  And I’m talking about 1993, not the zombie craze we are all in now.  I was an original zombie guy!  And this movie was good.  It was loaded with awesome quotable phrases, which at the time was a key component to a good movie for me.  “If we’re going to do something, let’s do it.  If we’re going to stand around and BS, let’s do it in the cellar!  Where it’s safe….”  I jumped in about 20 minutes into the movie.  We didn’t have an on screen guide back then and we also didn’t subscribe to the ever popular TV Guide so I was watching a movie I knew nothing about, including the title.  But I watched it until the end, which was after midnight on a school night but it kept me glued to the screen.

Now, my friend rode the bus with me and we met at my house about 745 every morning.  He walks in with this excited look on his face and says “I saw the best zombie movie last night!” I said, “Me too!”  We began quoting the movie to each other and thus was the introduction of what would become the most watched movie in Laurel Lane history.  I later found out that it was Night of the Living Dead, the 90’s remake.  I still own it to this day and can speak through the lines from beginning to end.

imageOf course, that led to many spinoff’s; Return of the Living Dead 1, 2 and 3,  Video Dead, Evil Dead, Dead Alive, Dawn of The Dead.  Basically, movies about the dead were our forte.  What’s weird is that I haven’t seen or spoken to that friend in probably 15 years but I think if I ran into him, the first thing he’d say would be something along the lines of “They’re coming to get you Barbara” or “I don’t think I can do this Bert.”  I would laugh uncontrollably and feel like I was 16 for a moment again.  Those are memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life regardless of our absence from each other’s lives.  Some things will never fade: movie quotes, horrible baseball card trades where we took advantage of each other, owning many a basketball court and hodie wedgies will forever be a part of who I am.  I won’t even begin to explain the hodie wedgie but trust me, it was devastating.

I guess the point is that you should always hold onto and cherish the good memories you make with people, no matter whether those people are around anymore or not.  Those memories live inside us and can help sustain us during times of struggle.  They can take you to a place or a time when your burden was negligible and your responsibilities were a fraction of what they are now as an adult.  I’m sure all of us have our own set of memories that we go to in those times.  Sometimes, we can even pick up the phone and call the person that made the memory with us.  But if you’re like me, you can just pop in an old DVD and watch some undead struggle to break into an old farmhouse and just think about how simple things should be.  Just cherish those moments…..



Indoctrination Into The Blogosphere

At long last, I have decided to give blogging a whirl.  I don’t know the exact reason just yet.  My writing has long been an escape for me and a way to get things off of my chest without having to resort to being open and verbal, which is not a strong suit for me.  A ton of that writing never saw the light of day while the paper (or keyboard) simply served as my sounding board.

On occasion, I would post my thoughts on Facebook or through an email to a friend.  Those were generally met with positive feedback and I found myself becoming more confident in my ramblings.  Confidence can sometimes push people to do crazy things and this for me would qualify.  I generally don’t intend to start debates or cause friction with people who don’t share my point of view but I am aware that making it all public now will likely do just that.  For that, I am prepared but not yet comfortable.  We’ll see how it goes.

In general, my thoughts that make it to the notepad are focused on the psychological workings of a strange, chaotic, sometimes childish mind. I’m happy to write about what I think is important in my life.  It may not be important to others but we have all taken a weird and winding journey to the present.  Maybe your journey has been parallel to mine.  Or maybe the different perspective can help the journey that appears to be bogged down.  Maybe a comment can change the way I think about it too.  Hell, there is also the possibility that nobody will ever read this blog and one day it will be opened up like a time capsule and people will finally understand why this crazy guy seemed like such an oddball.

Aside from the mental rubix cube that inspires me to write, I’m sure there will be time for some sports chat, music opinions or whatever.  I’m just going to take it day by day and see what happens.  This may turn into something very cathartic for me and others or it may fall flat.  There is only one way to find out and that is to give it a shot.  So, that’s why I’m here I suppose.  Maybe I’ll pick up some passengers on the journey.  I’m sure I’ll have others pulling the escape cord.  Either way, I’ll continue to be me.  I sincerely hope that somewhere along the way, you find something meaningful for you.  Here we go…..