Pardon My Absence

I’ve been meaning to write. No, really, I have been. But I’ve been slightly sidetracked by these rocks that are shaped like ninja stars that just happen to live inside my kidneys. No, seriously, I bet you’ve thought all this time that kidney stones are smooth little pebbles that live inside people’s bodies and cause occasional pain. Only, my pain has been going on for close to a month. And by the way, that part about them being shaped like ninja stars is totally true. Well, maybe even more true than that since ninja stars aren’t spherical.

So yeah, a spherical ninja star… living in my kidney. Scratch that, living in BOTH kidneys. Mostly I’ve wanted to sink into a hole and die but there are all these people out there who want me to do shit like live and be a productive member of society. Are you kidding me? I have multiple spherical ninja star shaped objects in both kidneys and they like to do things like stab me and say, “Haha, I kill you!” in a silent little language only recognizable by the person who both makes and owns these buggers.

This is how I imagine the parents of Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, David Berkowitz, Gary Ridgeway, and Aileen Wuornos felt – if they had all had the same parents. Because, you see, I’m on about kidney stone number 45 or so over the past 16 years. It’s like being a factory for mass-murdering pieces of calcium and oxalate.

I’m sure you’re all dying to ask the obvious question: “Why don’t you find out what’s making them so you can make it stop?” Seriously, do you think I would have let something go on this long without trying to at least figure out why? No, I’ve even gone to the Mayo Clinic and had them run the full diagnostic panel of tests on me in some hope that I’d be told something horrible like, “Don’t eat anything but cucumbers and wheat toast for the rest of your life and you’ll be fine.” But no, what they came up with after a week of being poked and prodded was that I was in the lucky 1% of the people in the world who form kidney stones for no discernible reason. I am what is known as an “idiopathic stone former.”Oh joy.

Anyway, I was going to post one of the draft blogs that have been hanging out in my queue for a while but upon reading them I realized that they had remained unpublished for a couple of reasons: 1) They were unfinished (seriously, one of them was a title and a part of one sentence) or 2) they were so bad that they were destined to remain in the draft folder until the end of time (or until I was able to come up with some way to make them at least 64% funnier, whichever came first). So in the interest of my six loyal readers I decided to post something new because, hey, it’s 4:40 a.m. on a Friday morning and I’m out of painkillers which means that I can’t sleep.

Oh, wait, the question you had wasn’t why I make kidney stones or if I’ve ever sought out medical treatment for them? Your question was how do I know the names of so many serial killers? Well that, my friends, is another blog for another time. *mysterious grin*

Posted in Venting | 3 Comments

Liner Notes

In order to get a copy of my Spring 2011 Mix you’re going to be forced to read my version of liner notes. Buckle up, kids, this might be a bumpy ride.

First of all I should tell you a little bit about my mix making process. It seems that there was a certain art lost when people went from making mix tapes to making CDs. Gone was the forethought as to what songs would fit on a side. You didn’t have to think about hitting pause, then letting a couple of seconds of blank space record, hitting pause again, and then adding another song so there wouldn’t be that annoying “thunk” sound between tracks. You didn’t sit around and painstakingly make a cover that would both look good but also have a personal flair to it. I’ll admit it, I was a very conscientious mix tape maker but when CD burners first appeared I was a bit lackadaisical about how they were made. I threw together a bunch of songs without considering if they actually fit with each other.

I think I can possibly attribute working a semester at the campus radio station when I was at Ole Miss to the successes of all of my subsequent mix CDs. I paid attention to the songs – the ebb and flow of tempos, a continuity in the theme or feel of the songs, how they segue into one another. Who are my listeners? I feel like at one point in time I had gotten so good at making a mix CD that I could have possibly sold it as a compilation album if I could have secured the rights to the songs. Yes, I know that sounds like I’m patting myself on the back a little too much but let me give you an example as to why I think this:

Ten years ago I made a mix using the methods I had learned while working at Rebel Radio. Some of my friends heard it and liked it. If I really like them then I would burn them a copy of it and if I didn’t really like them I’d pretend like I was too busy or was having problems with my computer when in truth I just didn’t want to share it with them. One day I was with a friend of mine and we ended up riding in the car with one of their friends who I had not met before that day. When I got in their car I noticed that the songs playing on their stereo were my songs – in my order. I asked them where they’d gotten the CD and they said a friend had made it for them. When I asked who it was they said the name of a person I didn’t know. My mix had been circulating around the Ole Miss campus like wildfire evidently. So yeah, I think I have the ability to make a pretty good mix. The Spring 2001 Mix was particularly good and I happen to think the Spring 2011 Mix is certainly on par with it.

So without further ado:

Track 1 – Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee

I feel like the first song should set the tone. This mix is about spring. It’s about driving in the car with the windows rolled down, breathing in the fresh air and looking at the flowers and the trees. It’s laid back. This mix is about being laid back. I encourage you to listen to it with the windows rolled down taking in all the beauty that spring has to offer. Yes, that’s all sentimental and predictable and sappy. Well deal with it, okay?

Track 2 – 40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet) – Bob Schneider

“We’re like good times that haven’t happened yet… but will”

Track 3 – The Old Apartment – Barenaked Ladies

I always like to include a throwback song or two because sometimes a mix can be “too new”. I like to sometimes revisit something that I really liked during from years past. This is one of my favorites. It reminds me of spring days in college sitting on the porch at Ashley, Jeannine and Shannon’s apartment, having a drink or two… or six… and laughing. It’s the old apartment. I miss those days. But sometimes when I listen to the music I can still remember how much fun it was.

Track 4 – Winding Road – Bonnie Sommerville

Track 5 – Howlin’ For You – The Black Keys

First of all, if you’re not listening to The Black Keys then what the hell is wrong with you? Every so often there will be a song that comes along – usually every 3 or 4 years – that is the epitome of Rock & Roll. It begs you to put the top down or roll down your windows, turn the volume all the way up, and put the gas pedal down as far as it will go.

This is that song.

Also, if you haven’t seen the video for it, may I suggest you check it out. It’s Desperado meets Rock & Roll… with models in tight leather pants and bustiers, and Sean Patrick Flannery, and Shaun White, and Todd Bridges as the priest you all know you want to have. It’s the best music video I’ve seen in years.

Track 6 – Birthday – Kings of Leon

This is a song that could have, and would have, made my mix if it had been around in 2001. It reminds me of 2001. I don’t know why, but when I hear it I feel like I’ve gone back in time.

Track 7 – Falling Apart – Matt Nathanson

I really don’t need a reason to put Matt Nathanson on a mix. I could easily find one of his songs that would work on each and every one of them. He is a master of lyrics. He captures human emotions in words and music that make you think he’s read your mind and put it into a song. He is, in a word, amazing.

Track 8 – Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnificent Zeroes

“Home is wherever I’m with you”

It almost feels campy but it makes me so damn happy.

Track 9 – Better Together – Jack Johnson

Track 10 – MoneyGrabber – Fitz and the Tantrums

This is a song I’ve been waiting to put into the Spring Mix since December. For the record, that’s when I actually started working on this mix. I’d hear a song and think, “Yes, yes, that one is for Spring.” This was the first one.

Track 11 – Shattered – O.A.R.

Like Matt Nathanson, I could probably find an O.A.R. song to use on ever mix. I have to force myself not to do it. I just like them that much. I know this is one of their most commercial songs but I felt like it fit the mix so I wanted to include it.

Track 12 – Sydney (I’ll Come Running) – Brett Dennen

This was the last song I put on the mix – not because I didn’t like it but because I couldn’t think of exactly what song I wanted to put in this slot. I have a special thing about the penultimate song on any of my mixes. I put as much importance on them as I do on the first and last song. What that means is that of all the songs I wanted to share with people, this is probably the one I wanted to share the most. I tried several songs in this spot but none of them worked. They didn’t flow right with the songs before and after them. They were too old. They were too slow. They just weren’t right. So why was it the last one I thought of? Well, quite simply put, I just heard it for the first time last week. On a break from making the mix I went to get something to eat and it came on the radio. I knew this was the song that needed to be here. It’s fresh, it’s uptempo, it’s different. I love it.

Track 13 – Unnamed Mystery Track

This one’s a surprise for when you get the CD. 😉

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Your Questions, Answered

Did you or did you not once study to become a stenographer? (I could be hallucinating but I’m trying to recall if that was you or someone else.) – Siyabonga Sithole, Chicago, IL

It’s true. I did study to be a stenographer. I have an unnatural love of typing. Honestly, I think part of the reason why I have a blog isn’t because I want you to read my rambling about Sea Monkeys and hatred of blister packs, but because I’m looking for an excuse to type. I can’t explain why, but I really, really love to type. It makes me happy. I could possibly do it all day long.

With a love of typing in mind, I thought of careers where I could make a decent income doing that and the best prospect was being a stenographer. I originally took classes at a community college near my hometown in Mississippi but the teacher had never worked as a stenographer and had learned about it as recently as about 2 months before she started teaching it to us. So after a semester there I moved to Texas and studied at Kilgore College. The teachers were quite competent at Kilgore – much more so than my teacher at Hinds.

My first semester went swimmingly well. I found learning the theory of shorthand stenography to my liking – it was like learning a secret language. The problems for me started in my second semester when we started working on speed. I was dreadfully slow. Imagine, if you will, being able to play a piano concerto and never miss a single note but you were only able to play it at about 1/4 of the speed that it was supposed to be played. That’s what it was like for me. Evidently, finger dexterity is not one of my strong points (which was proven when I was tested for my aptitudes at Johnson O’Connor in Dallas). I had suspected that this was the problem, but Johnson O’Connor verified it. It was possible that I could get up to speed at some point in time but there was no guarantee that I would ever reach the required 240 words per minute at 98% accuracy that is required to pass the NCRA certification test. After two more fruitless semesters attempting to improve my speed I decided that maybe I just wasn’t meant to run the proverbial “four minute mile.” It was at that point in time that I accepted a job on the made-for-television movie “The Initiation of Sarah” and subsequently moved to Shreveport.

And while we’re on the topic of Shreveport…

How have you survived so long in Shreveport as a person who knows what it is like to live in another place? – Jessica Chrestman, Shreveport, LA

I think the first thing I’d have to say is that I came to Shreveport with several things working in my favor. The first was that I already had friends living in Shreveport when I came so I wasn’t starting off in a new place alone. One of my best friends, Caroline, is from here and I had been coming to visit her for close to ten years before I actually moved here. So I already knew Caroline and many of her friends. I knew my way around town. Also, when I moved here I had a boyfriend who lived here and a job. I won’t say I moved here because of one or the other, I think either on its own probably would not have been enough, but the decision was definitely based a combination of those last two things.

Possibly most importantly, and what I think anyone should keep in mind when moving to Shreveport, is that I kept my expectations realistic.

I’m from a small town. Vicksburg’s population is under 30,000 and its county-wide population is right at 50,000 so I grew up accustomed to having to go to other places to enjoy things that many people who grew up in larger towns took for granted. My closest Chick-Fil-A was in Clinton (40 miles away) as were the closest decent movie theater, the closest Target, Best Buy, Gap, Old Navy, etc. I’m not saying Vicksburg is a bad place to live. To the contrary, I would dare say that Vicksburg is home to the finest and friendliest people in the world. People who move to Vicksburg are often surprised to find that within the first week of moving into their new home they will be greeted by all of their neighbors – almost all of whom will come bearing cakes, pies, or casseroles because, as everyone in Vicksburg knows, “Nobody wants to cook while you’re unpacking.”

So, coming from a small town, I appreciate the fact that I’m able to enjoy some of the creature comforts of larger towns. There are things to do, and more importantly, there are plenty of things to enjoy if you spend the time looking for them. For example, Shreveport has a ballet. I don’t go into their productions thinking I’m going to see the American Ballet Theatre because, quite frankly, we don’t have the money or resources to support it. Most of the principle dancers here are going to be high school kids with an occasional Centenary or LSUS student. However, I believe that they put on quality performances that are worthy of being seen. They do bring in guest dancers from other ballets (for the Nutcracker in December they had two dancers from the Tulsa Ballet and for Aladdin in March the feature performer will be Mary Jane Hobgood – a Shreveport native and friend of mine who is an excellent dancer studying at the Joffrey Ballet in New York). The Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet goes to great lengths to make performances enjoyable and as professional as possible. The important thing is to remember that you’re not in New York and you’re not going to see a performance worthy of Lincoln Center but you’re definitely going to see something better than your typical dance recital.

The same thing goes with Mardi Gras. I suppose I was spoiled by attending more Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans before the age of 21 than most people will attend in their lives (save those who are from the New Orleans area). Every year my mom’s friend Naomi would load up twenty or thirty people and we’d pile into every nook and cranny of her 3 bedroom apartment which overlooked St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. We’d wake up (or stay up) and see the sun rise over the Mississippi River. We’d walk across the street and get beignets from Cafe du Monde for breakfast. Naomi knew all of the best places to see parades and the best places to eat. We wanted for nothing. I experienced Mardi Gras that way every year from the time I was in grade school until I was well into college. But here’s the thing: once you do Mardi Gras in New Orleans I don’t think it’s possible to do it anywhere that compares unless you go to Venice or Rio de Janeiro. In Shreveport, Mardi Gras is more of a pasttime than a passion. Once you’re aware of those things, you can either enjoy it for what it is or you can pass on it altogether.

So, to make a very long explanation short: I think the way I live here without much of a problem is that I enjoy Shreveport for what it is. I don’t put excessive expectations on it. If I feel I can’t enjoy something at face value then I usually don’t participate in it. I like the fact that I’m able to see more avant garde films at the Robinson Film Center. I like that I’m able to get sushi and Greek and Lebanese food (my favorites). I like that I’m an easy 3 hour interstate ride from home in one direction and Dallas in the other. I think there are plenty of opportunities to make Shreveport an enjoyable place but it’s just like everything else in life – if you compare it to somewhere else, you’ll always be disappointed.

How much do you love me. Discuss amongst yourself. – Erin Olsen Peters, Auburn, AL

I think it’s hard to quantify how much I love Erin Olsen Peters. The short answer is “a lot” but there’s more to it than that. I have to say (and this goes for several people) that Facebook, for all of its distractions from daily life, has been a blessing for me in many ways. I’m notoriously bad about keeping up with people unless they’re in my face on a regular basis. Before social networking came along I’d sit around and think to myself, “Boy, I sure do miss ___. I wonder what they’re up to?” and then about 10 minutes later I’d forget about them again. People’s phone numbers and addresses change. For those of you who searching for me who had an address or telephone number for me from this time last year, you’d be out of luck because neither of them is the same. After you left Ole Miss I knew you had gone to Auburn but that was something like ten years ago. Without Facebook it’s quite possible that you’d be one more person who was lost in the shuffle of multiple moves to multiple cities (yes, I realize you’re still in Auburn but I’ve moved close to a dozen times since then).

Believe it or not, this isn’t about social networking. It’s about Erin. But it’s true, without Facebook you’d be lost in the shuffle. I am quite thankful that through Facebook I’ve been able to keep in constant contact with you and to rediscover what a good friend you are. You’re always there when I need a shoulder to cry on or when I have a funny story to share. Our epic poke war (which I’m yet to be able to explain to my mom… she doesn’t understand the purpose of a Facebook poke) means that several times a day you’re on my mind – because sometimes you don’t need to say anything, you just need to be reminded that someone’s out there thinking about you.

What do you want to be when you grow up? And favorite non-SEC team and favorite mascot? – Evelyn Hundt-Malone, Las Vegas, NV

Ahh, a two-parter. Well, we’ll start with the second one because it’s actually the easier of the two to answer.

My favorite non-SEC team is Oklahoma State. I would have never given even thought about cheering for them had Ole Miss not played them in the Cotton Bowl in 2004. When I heard of our matchup I was dismayed. Ole Miss had played the University of Oklahoma in the 1999 Independence Bowl and I found their fans (or at least the ones I encountered) to be atrocious. The people sitting next to us were rude and obnoxious – constantly shouting for OU’s defense to “Break Deuce’s (McAllister) fucking legs so he can’t walk again.” I feared that my Cotton Bowl experience would be similar and was very pleasantly proven wrong. The Oklahoma State fans proved to be friendly and seemed to understand sportsmanship once the game was over. We were greeted by dozens of complete strangers before the game who said, “Good luck” and even more after the game who told us “Congratulations. We hope to play you again sometime because this was a lot of fun and you guys are great.” The people tailgating next to us invited us to have food and drinks with them while we were waiting on traffic to clear out after the game and in the hotel lobby we were continuously congratulated by OSU fans and told how much they enjoyed being around Ole Miss people. I was absolutely shocked by how nice they were and I vowed that from there on they would be my second favorite team in college sports.

My favorite mascot would have to be Big Red from the University of Western Kentucky. I’m not sure what he is, but he’s so cute I can’t help but love him. (edited to add: Puddles from the University of Oregon is a close second because ducks are awesome)

Now… on to the tough one. What do I want to be when I grow up. There are several things that I enjoy doing but I’ve never figured out how to make any money doing them. I know that other people make money doing them, but I’m not sure how I would go about doing the same. So here they are, in no particular order:

Make up Artist
Furniture Reupholster-er
Architectural Model Maker

I actually do all of these things to some extent fairly regularly (other than making architectural models, but that’s on my list of things to do) and enjoy all of them immensely. Like I said, I just haven’t figured out how to make money off of these things.
Posted in Quiz-O-Rama | 3 Comments

Monkey Sea… Monkey Do What?

(“Sea” What I Did There?)

First of all, I think we need to establish that I was a really stupid kid. I could be told the most normal thing and my little mind would warp and twist it into the most bizarre things that I’m sure that my parents were constantly left scratching their heads and wondering what kind of idiot child they had produced.

It all started with Sea Monkeys. I learned to read at the age of three and, since I was an only child, would spend all of my free time reading. You know how you were a child and you spent time playing with your brothers and sisters? Well, I didn’t have any of those so I’d just curl up with a good book. Or with a comic book. I was a huge fan of the Archie and Casper the Friendly Ghost comic books and somehow was able to con my sweet father into buying them for me on a regular basis. Tucked in the back of the comics were ads for all sorts of things from x-ray glasses to hand buzzers to – glory be – your very own pet farm filled with swimming monkeys.

Remember These?

I was convinced that if I could only send off for Sea Monkeys that my dreams of having my very own pet would be fulfilled. I would have a pet – not just a pet, but a whole colony of little bitty swimming monkeys that I could train to do incredible things.

I feel relatively certain that my mother tried to impart some wisdom like, “Now, Courtney, these are really brine shrimp, not monkeys. Do you really want to take care of some little brine shrimp? Not the kind of shrimp you can eat, but teeny tiny ones that won’t love you back?” to which I’m relatively certain I thought “Mom, you have no idea what you’re talking about! They’re swimming monkeys!” but replied “Yes, I’m sure,” because I was convinced my mother was wrong.

Oh hey, look, I just admitted to yet another time in my life where I was wrong and my mother was right. I hope you’re enjoying this, Pam.

Somehow I convinced my parents that getting me my very own Sea Monkey colony was the right and proper thing to do and so we sent off for a kit. We opened the packets and added them to the water and waited. Nothing happened. I figured since they were just hatching that they were probably really small – so small I couldn’t yet see them. The problem was, I either got a shipment of pygmy Sea Monkeys or I got a dud shipment because I never was able to see those little suckers.

Even still, I kept vigil over my flock of aquatic primates in the hopes that one day they would grow up into visible creatures that I would be able to love and train to do tricks. I’m not sure why my parents didn’t just get me a dog, but I’m guessing it’s because they thought I was too stupid to assume that sort of responsibility. Because the truth of the matter is that I was too stupid to have a dog. I was ridiculously dumb. No, really, I was.

Point in case: Some time not too long after the arrival of my Sea Monkeys my mother and I stopped in front of the local YMCA to pick up my father. While we were sitting in the car my mother says to me, “That’s where we took you swimming when you were a baby.” Not being aware of the fact that we were in front of a YMCA, or really what a YMCA even was, I kept staring at the grandfather clock in the lobby and thinking to myself, “Wow, I must have been really small to fit into that clock… like those Sea Monkeys.”

No, I’m not kidding you. I never once thought about the fact that a YMCA would have a swimming pool inside of it, just that I had once been small enough to go swimming inside of a grandfather clock. As I grew older (read: five or six) I realized how stupid I was. Of course there was a swimming pool inside of the YMCA! All you had to do to get to it was to slide down the chute behind the door of the grandfather clock. Again, I’m not kidding. I don’t know what my fixation was with the grandfather clock was, but it factored into every notion of swimming at the Downtown YMCA in Vicksburg until I was at least 8 or 9 years old.

Posted in Childhood Memories, Humor | 1 Comment

Not Funny

If you haven’t read this article about the poisoning of the trees in Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala. then you’ve probably been hiding under a rock for the past 24 hours. If you’re too lazy to click on the link then I’m sum it up for you: Some jackass Alabama fan drove to Auburn’s campus and put the herbicide Spike 80DF on the oak trees in Toomer’s Corner – a place where Auburn students, alumni, and fans gather to celebrate Auburn victories. The amounts of Spike 80 DF measured were more than fifty times the lethal amount so the trees will die.

And while most of the responses I have seen have been of shock and horror, there seem to be some people out there who think this is some sort of prank and that it’s “kinda funny” since it happened to Auburn. So let me clarify the difference between a prank that’s “kinda funny” and malicious vandalism:

This is a prank. It’s kinda funny.

This is also a prank. It’s also kinda funny.

Even this is a prank. It’s not as funny because it’s not original. But it’s still not actually harming anything (Although the writer of the article from which I took that picture claims that the prank was along the lines of “hateful and destructive.” Dude, it’s fucking rye grass. And it’s not like they did it inside the actual stadium where it would harm the turf (which I would consider vandalism since I know how much it costs to maintain those fields). As soon as the real grass grows up in the spring it will be gone. I’m not saying it’s a real nice thing to do but it’s still just a prank. Chill out.

Killing trees that have stood for over 130 years is malicious and it’s vandalism and even if you’re not an Auburn fan you should think that it’s absolutely horrible.

I cannot tell you how utterly angry this situation with the trees in Toomer’s Corner has made me. I literally cried because it made me so sad. It makes me sad on so many levels. Obviously, the first one is “how could someone do this over a college rivalry?” I have no problems with a little big of good-natured ribbing or HARMLESS pranks. I wouldn’t say I totally agree with the person who put the score of the Iron Bowl in rye grass in front of Bryant-Denny but ultimately it’s just a little rye grass. While it may be annoying to the people on campus at Alabama, it’s not actually hurting anything and once the regular grass comes up in about 3 or 4 weeks it will be gone. That’s a prank. What was done at Toomer’s Corner was not a prank. It was mean, malicious vandalism. Period.

Secondly, the guy says he did it in retaliation for some college kids rolling Toomer’s Corner back in 1983 on the day when Bear Bryant died because he was so disgusted by it. Um, sir, you are SIXTY-TWO years old and you are retaliating for something that happened almost thirty years ago. This makes as much sense as someone burning down my house because in 1963 my dad went to a party to “celebrate” John F. Kennedy getting shot. Is it kinda tacky that my dad attended a party of that nature? Yeah, kinda. But he was 18, and 18 year olds do crap like that because they’re 18 and stupid. My dad didn’t kill JFK. He didn’t know the person who did kill JFK. He didn’t have anything to do with the death of the man in any shape, form, or fashion. But he did go to a party where people toasted Lee Harvey Oswald. So now, in 2011, someone from Massachusetts has decided that they were offended by and just burns my house down to get back? Come on. What ever happened to being the bigger person and turning the other cheek? And why did he decide that something should be done almost THIRTY years after the fact? How low has our society stooped if grown men are going out and poisoning trees because their fragile egos can’t handle the ignorant, but not harmful, actions of children who are still too young to be allowed the purchase of alcohol?

And, thirdly, and perhaps the most difficult thing of all for me to swallow, is that I fear that the people who are young and stupid and don’t have any concept of the harm that they’re doing (even though they should) will want to retaliate. Someone will think it’s funny (I’ve already seen comments on message boards and on Facebook talking about what a “funny prank” that was) and will want to copy him or up the ante. For example, I read this on an Ole Miss message board earlier today:

“As pissed as I’d be if somebody did something like this in Oxford, I think it’s pretty funny that it happened in Auburn. And they’re all in an uproar about it, saying that they’re launching an investigation and they’re gonna save the trees and shrubs. Pretty sweet prank.”

I swear to you I wanted to reach through the computer and strangle the person who wrote this because clearly they’re either too young or too stupid to recognize that this is in no way a prank and it is in no way funny. He admits that he’d be pretty pissed if someone did it the Grove at Ole Miss but it’s funny since it happened to someone else. I’m betting this moron also paid money to see the Jackass movies because he thinks they’re “pretty sweet” too.

What happens the next? Does someone poison the trees in the Grove or the live oaks at LSU? Does someone kidnap Bully or Uga or Smokey? Does someone throw some sort of poisoned meat into Mike the Tiger’s habitat and kill an endangered Bengal tiger? Does Old Main at Arkansas get torched to the ground? Where does it stop?

I’ll be honest, I don’t even like trash-talking. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to walk away from someone that I’d much rather punched for getting up in my face and saying crap to me before or after a football game. I don’t know what possesses a total stranger to walk up to me and scream “It’s gonna be a long ride home to Oxford, Ole Piss! Yeehaw!” while walking out of Sanford Stadium in Athens. This really happened. I ignored him and kept walking but he ran up and got in my face and screamed it again. I was more irritated by the show of “sportsmanship” he was setting for the child (presumably his) who was with him and said something along the lines of, “Sir, I don’t think you’re setting a good example of sportsmanship for your young child. Please leave me alone,” and kept walking. He did it a third time for good measure at which point in time I screamed back, “Not as long of a ride as it’s going to be for you to get back to your trailer if you don’t get the hell out of my face!” at which point in time my roommate grabbed the back of my collar and dragged me in a different direction. The thing about it was that I had no interaction with this man until he ran up and started screaming in my face. I hadn’t provoked him. I hadn’t spoken to him. I hadn’t even looked at him before he got up in my face.

I’m guessing Harvey “Al” Updyke is that type of guy. The type of guy who runs up and gets in your face and screams crap in front of his children, Bear and Crimson. No, I’m not kidding. Before his Facebook page was taken down this morning a friend of mine saw all of this and was smart enough to have posted it on his own website – The guy looks like the type of person who only associates with his own “kind.” The type of person who would run a tow truck operation and charge an Auburn fan an extra $50 to tow their car. The type of person who would see a guy wearing an Auburn hat halfway around the world and instead of going “Are you from Alabama? I’m from Alabama too!” would hiss “Roll Damn Tahd” in his face right after he spat in it.

It is little consolation that he has been caught and it will be little consolation if and when he is convicted because the damage has been done. The trees will die and the memories of thousands of Auburn fans will be all that is left of them. My friends who attended Auburn will never be able to take their own children to roll the trees after a home win and share what generations of people in their family enjoyed. And that is the greatest tragedy of all.

I had been struggling about how to write this – how to frame it and what to say until I got a message from my friend Laura regarding my Facebook post of Auburn’s press release yesterday. I found myself able to say to her what I wanted to say to everyone.

Posted in Venting | 2 Comments

Having a Fancy Camera Doesn’t Make You a Good Photographer

“The Scientist” by Coldplay just came on my iTunes. It reminded me of another place and time. Well, actually just another time since I’m technically in the same place.

Does anyone else out there believe in signs? Harbingers of doom? Imagine, if you will, being perfectly happy in a relationship and hearing a song like “The Scientist” and it instantly reminding you of the someone you’re dating and all of a sudden you realize that things are about to go horribly wrong. On the day and time that you hear it everything is absolutely fine – you’re sitting in a room with friends talking about Neil LaBute’s misanthropic view of the world and someone plays this song and you instantly think of the person who’s supposed to be your one true love. Why would you do that? It doesn’t make sense… only three weeks later it will. And three years later it will as well. It’s not the first time something like this has happened and I doubt it will be the last.

Look, I never claimed to be a prophet or a seer or have any gift of prophecy but I’ve noticed that in my life every single solitary time I’ve had any hint that things were about to go south in my life, they always did – even when there were no indications that there was anything wrong. I’d have dreams. I’d hear songs. I’d read the wrong book at the wrong time and think it strangely paralleled my life. There was a whole season of the show Felicity where damn near everything that happened to someone on the show happened to me. The only difference was that I didn’t cut my hair off.

I just find it strange to think that all those years ago when everything was seemingly normal I heard a very sad song about things going horribly wrong and it reminds me of the guy I’m dating for some strange reason. And then things go horribly wrong and for years I wished I could go back to the beginning and have another chance to make everything that went wrong into something right again.

It’s such bullshit. Six months down the road from the big blowup (that’d be now) I look at everything quite differently. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time. I wasted years wishing I could start over – of actively trying to start over. It’s ridiculous. The sad part is that the only positive I got out of it was the satisfaction of finally being able to hate him and put that part of my life behind me. Yes, my satisfaction is being able to hate someone. You can think what you want about that. I don’t really care one way or the other. Honestly, the way I look at it now is that if that is what it takes to keep me from ever falling into that trap again then I’ll take it. I’d rather have the hate than the hurt.

He has a fancy camera but he takes shitty photographs. I was always amazed at how terrible his composition was. How can you have a thousand dollar camera and still not be able to make stuff look good? Hell, the pictures I take on my little crappy point & shoot digital camera are better than the ones he takes on his big bad DSLR. It just goes to show you all that sometimes it’s better just be glad that you’re able to take the little bit that you have and make something awesome out of it than to have something that should be really great and still not be able to do anything substantial.

Posted in Sentimental Crap | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Things Around My House

Dear Hummus,

You get a bad rap. You’re not all that attractive looking, even when people doll you up and add some spices and an olive on top. Your name is the equivalent to a human being named Myrtle (no offense to you Myrtles out there). Even your ingredients don’t sound all that appetizing. But you are delicious and I am so glad that you came into my life. Give my regards to your cousin, Tzatziki who also suffers from an unattractive name and equally unappealing ingredients. You are both lovely in my book.



Dear Bathtub:

I’m not going to lie to you, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of my past relationships with personal cleaning devices (devices? is a bathtub a device? a method? help me out here). I only had a stand-up shower in my last place and the place before that’s bathtub was so scary I refused to use it. I’m very happy to have you, but you must realize that you’re not perfect. You, like myself, are round. However, unlike me, you are short. This poses a problem when I want to use you because only half of me fits. That means my legs are usually getting cold because they’re up on the wall so that my shoulders may enjoy your warm waters. I still love you, but I think it’s time I made you aware of your shortcomings in case you were feeling high and mighty because you are a “garden tub.” When I’m financially able, I will throw you over for this thing I read about called a “six-foot long tub” but until then we can still kick it. I’ll be visiting you sometime tomorrow so please don’t have your feelings too hurt by what I just said.



Dear Heater,

I’m sorry we have not gotten together since I moved into the new place. I had fully intended on using you but the insulation on this apartment is so good that I just haven’t needed to. It’s not your fault that you were brought to Louisiana. I’m sure some family in Idaho would have loved you much more than I would have but that doesn’t mean that I won’t some day need your services. Just watch “Rudy” if you need to feel better about yourself. One day you might be called in for the big game, okay? The DVD is in the top drawer under the television. Feel free to watch it any time. It’s a great flick that may help you better understand your predicament.



Dear Flip Flop Family (all 8 pairs of you):

I cannot live my life without you. If I had my choice I would wear you every day – and I usually do. I would wear you to church. I would wear you to work. I would wear you to my own wedding. I could possibly be codependent on you as sometimes you let my feet get cuts or to get cold or wet. You may even allow a cut to occur while my feet are both cold and wet. But I don’t care. Nobody will take you away from me. When I’m out in the “real” world you will only be as far away as my car or purse and I will sneak away from my other shoes to be with you because deep down I love you the best. Without you I am a shell of the person I want to be. Please don’t ever leave me – in spite of the fact that you do nothing for my arches. I may one day live to regret my relationship with you but I don’t want to think about that.

Yours always,


Posted in Humor, Randomness | Leave a comment