Archive for March, 2010

You are only as old as your doctor tells you

March 26th, 2010 No comments

This next week marks my achievement of making yet another complete rotation around the sun on this ferro-nickel rock ball we call home. Coinciding with my annual trek, I have recently become painfully aware of the limits of my quickly dilapidating frame.

Two factors contribute to my current tales of woe. First, in a matter of freak genetics, the males of my immediate family have unusually long torsos. This, sadly, gives us no advantages other than the ability to see over short people and the propensity for lower back issues. Second, I am horribly accident prone. Combine my bad back with my ability to injure myself in even the most safe environments and you have the perfect recipe for my current run with organized sports.

In an attempt to justify the amount of beer I drink each week, I started playing soccer (again) several years ago. When the league started up most of the teams were like-minded and saw the matches as a way to justify going to the bar afterwards. As the players started getting that false sense of pride and hope that comes with scoring goals and winning games, the league got a lot more competitive. By the time our team fell by the wayside (D-Burn/Brewsers R.I.P.!), we had managed to very successfully fill the coffers of many a medical specialist in the DFW area. I, myself, had managed to jack up both knees, tweak my back horribly, break an uncountable number of toes and even break my own rib in a fall worthy of a Warner Bros. cartoon. Did I mention I was accident prone?

In the aftermath of soccer (not dead, just on hiatus), I mistakenly thought it would be a good idea to partake in a 3-on-3 basketball season/tournament with some fellows at work. The season started roughly a month ago and I managed to get a good eight minutes in before I was crushed backwards (oddly enough by an HR specialist) and sent to the floor with my back spasming. Thus ends my current basketball career. That’s right LeBron, you’re off the hook. Three weeks later and I still have to be very wary of my horrible slouching posture lest I not be able to walk out of my office. Boy howdy that’s fun.

So that leaves me with more pedestrian methods of keeping my shattered corpse in good enough shape to keep upright for the time being. I’ll keep doing individual activities where the chance of me being folded, spindled or mutilated are slim (though I probably will find a way). My next hope at damaging myself falls this summer when work has been toying with a badminton tourney. Yes, I am, in the first time since college, going to find a way to injure myself playing a game made popular by British aristocracy whilst subjugating India. Kudos to me.

In the meantime, does anyone know of a good herbal muscle relaxer? My prescription of Flexeril is running out.

Categories: monkey, Ravings, soccer, Stupidity

That old rugged chair

March 22nd, 2010 No comments

I’d like to preface this entry with a disclaimer. If you are at all religious and/or are offended easily, you’d better stop reading right here.

Are they gone yet? OK, I’ll proceed.

This weekend I had the very fortunate opportunity to attend the wedding of two friends. It was a lovely small service in a quaint wedding chapel and that got me to thinking (uh-oh).

As a rule, I tend to steer clear of Christian-oriented locales. I was going to write that I steer clear of religious-oriented locales, but that’s just too inclusive. As a general rule, religions other than Christianity don’t try to cram their doctrine down my throat. Never once have I been proselytized to by a Muslim or Jew (except for that wacky Jew for Jesus a few years ago, but they are an entirely different kind of animal entirely), and I actually know quite a few Muslims and Jews.

Anyway, sitting in this chapel waiting for the show to kick off, I was struck by something that actually tickled my funny bone: the universal symbol of Christianity is a device of execution.

I understand that over the past couple of millennia the meaning of the cross has been turned around to a symbolic representation of redemption, etc., and I’m just fine with that, but that doesn’t change the fact that it took Constantine I to abolish it’s use as a method of execution in 337 AD. That’s a full 300 years after it was used on Jesus. Scarily enough, that date is one of the few things that has stuck with me from the formal courses in “Christian History” I took almost ten years ago.

At this point you are probably trying to figure out how I derived humor from my observation of a cross in a wedding chapel on a Saturday morning. Fine, I’ll get to my punchline.

If the time/technology for the events of the New Testament had been shifted by two thousand years or so, it is entirely feasible that the symbol at the altars of Christian churches could be a gas chamber gurney or even the electric chair. That’s what I found funny.

Can you imagine baroquely jewelled and gilded “old sparkys” adorning sacred space. How many people between 0 AD and 337 AD found the cross as repulsive?

These are the things that humor me. Oh, and for all of you who didn’t heed my disclaimer, yes, I do indeed know that I’m going to burn in your “Hell,” but I’ll keep a seat warm for you.

My poetry in motion is more like performance art

March 12th, 2010 No comments

As I’ve stated before, I’m set to “run” a five kilometer “thing” tomorrow morning (a mere nine hours as of this writing).

As is expected, I’ve got a few whiskeys in me, so I’m both at the pinnacle of my athletic prowess and about ready to be done with this at the same time. I’m a soccer player; I run for about sixty yards at a go and I sprint that sixty. I’m not saying I’m fast or anything, but I can beat that diabetic kid down the block with no problem.

Anyhoo, I’ve just come to the realization that my motivation for running is vastly different from my motivation for playing soccer. Before a typical soccer match, I juke myself up with a nasty mix of old 70′s and 80′s punk tracks with an average length of about fifty seconds.  This is fantastic for the quick blast down the field followed by an elbow to some poor chump’s jaw, but does nothing for a 3.1 mile gerbil wheel.

That means it’s crisis time.

As I said before, I’ve got a few of John Jameson’s finest blends in me, so I’m in perfect shape to think about motivation relating to a run that goes in conjunction with Dallas’ “Irish Season.” For that reason, I’ve beefed my playlist up with the Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly and The Pogues. For added motivation, I threw in some live No Use For A Name, Tiger Army and a mess of the Old 97′s. For some reason I can always get motivated to move my sorry ass around Dallas when I’m listening to the Old 97′s:  I think it’s in the water.

Next comes the self-control. To my poor wife’s dismay, I tend to make an utter fool of myself in public. I’d like to do something about that, but it’s honestly my nature. If she’s lucky, I’ll be concentrating on my next drink/smoke and paying no attention to the hundreds of people around me, but I’m not sure which side I’m going to fall on. More than likely, I’ll zone out on the heels in front of me and forget all about being a total ass and just work my way around the course. That’s the best I can hope for, but I’m not promising anything.

So, dear readers, if you see a guy wearing his green on his skin (and not just the tattoos up his left arm) jamming out to some unknown tunes while a gorgeous woman scowls at him tomorrow while you are running the 5K around Greenville Ave. in Dallas, TX tomorrow morning, give me a shout. At the very least, give me something tasty to drink because you know what they say about that hair of the dog…

Categories: Dallas, monkey, Music, Ravings, Stupidity

Imminent Death

March 11th, 2010 No comments

As a part of the regular gauntlet that is Irish Season, a new bringer of pain has been introduced by myself and friends to help justify our binging whilst nursing aging bodies that just don’t snap back after that two day bender like they used to: a 5K walk/run.

Are we insane? Probably so. Will there be blood? Again, probably so. I’m not really sure how we actually settled on doing this (the idea was definitely dreamed up on a drunken evening), but we did. So, bright and early on Saturday morning, I’ll be amongst the throngs dashing myself down Greenville Ave..

For those of you unfamiliar with the deep “Irish” (and by “Irish” I mean excuse to be drunk in public) tradition around St. Paddy’s Day, here’s what the general process is.

1. Take one part St. Patrick’s Day, and one part Mardi Gras.

2. Allow the locals to drink in the streets.

3. Mix in a bunch of drunken idiots in green and put them on either side of a major thoroughfare.

4. Put a puny parade on that major thoroughfare.

The end result is a massive party that lasts all day and ties up everything on this street well into the wee hours of the morning. The trash alone staggers me every year.

Personally, I tend to avoid the entire mess. I used to go down there and get good and drunk before 10AM, but that tends to put a damper on the rest of the day.

Now, before the parade and festivities kick off, me and a mess of friends will be attempting to make our way around a 5K course in what will become the heart of this giant cluster-fuck.

I know for a fact that I can tromp five measely kilometers with relative ease. What I’m unsure of is whether or not I can actually do it running. That, however, may not stop me from giving it a go. What’s the worst thing that could happen? (Don’t answer that)

My one goal is to make it to the finish line and then be able to get out of be of my own volition on Sunday morning. I figure if my legs don’t fall off, I’ve got one in the win column.

Categories: Dallas, monkey, Ravings

Bastard little circus punks

March 2nd, 2010 No comments

I suck at Skee-Ball. There, I’ve said it. I also suck at most carnival-related game (even though all of them are fixed in one manner or another), so I had little hope for Iconfactory and DS Media Labs’ little torture device of an iPhone/iTouch game Ramp Champ.

I’ve been a fan of Iconfactory for a whole mess of years, so the game caught my eye when I was looking for a new time waster a few months ago. I played it a couple of times and then jumped right back to my standby of Bejewelled to numb my brain. A couple of weeks ago, however, I came back to Ramp Champ. I had it in my head that I could earn a few more trophies (three are available per “ramp”) and maybe even earn enough tickets to buy some cool in-game trinkets.

Did I mention I suck at games like this? To date, I have one trophy each in the four ramps that come standard with the game: Clown Town, Breakwater Bay, Space Swarm and the Icon Garden. Wait, I have two in the Icon Garden now (I got you, you bastard Moof). Anyhoo, my lack of being any good at the standard ramps made me venture into some of the expansion ramps that are typically available for a pittance in order to expand my trophy collection. Not only do the new ramps come with new trophies, but they also come with new crap you can buy with your virtual tickets. Sure, it all just ends up being dusty pixels on dusty pixelized shelves, but who am I to laugh in the face of reward-based instant gratification?

The coolest thing about Ramp Champ is the huge variety of little targets that pop up after being knocked down in a certain order. In Grave Danger, for example (part of a Halloween expansion that I just wasn’t going to say no to), depending on which tombstones you knock down determines what pops up. Kill the three tiny stones with crescent moons on them and a moon appears. Hit the moon and a full moon appears along with three wolves. It’s Skee-Ball, so you get nine chances to get all the points you can muster, so I’ve not managed to see what happens past knocking all wolves down.

The real secret is to figure out a way to knock down multiple targets with a single ball. It’s tricky as hell, but there are certain techniques (I like to think) that maximize the potential for double and triple target clearance.

I’ve spent 45 minute jags just doing round after round after round trying to uncover new sections of a ramp while getting so infuriatingly frustrated that I really wanted to throw my phone across the room. To me, that’s the sign of a damn good game. Despite the fact that a trained chimp could probably score thousands of points more than me, I’m not giving up on Ramp Champ.

As I digress into progress

March 1st, 2010 No comments

This weekend while on a Pollo Regio run (if you haven’t tried it, you are missing out), I had the opportunity to catch a little bit of a segment on Studio 360about a conceptual art piece that Tino Sehgal is doing at the Guggenheim Museum called “This Progress.”

The piece seems rather interesting, but what struck me is that the whole “conversation” starts off with a child asking the “observer” about their definition of progress.

Progress seems to be one of those ubiquitous terms that we never have a firm grasp on. Is progress a “doing,” or is it a “done?” To screw with your brain a bit more, is there a single point in time that can be considered progress in a present tense, or is it always a forward or backward looking term?

I honestly don’t think about progress all that often. Progress is stressful and persistantly expected in work and life. Modernity has foisted progress on us as a driving factor of existence, so I’m better off not thinking about it in order to make it happen?

And, I guess, that’s my definition: progress is what happens when I’m not paying attention. Sure, it’s shallow and self-centered, but who am I to make a gross definition of a concept with purely individual ramifications. I know for a fact that every day I “progress” on a given project a work, someone else’s “progress” is being torn down and/or hindered.

In that regard, progress is semi-monadic and, quite seemingly, a singular pursuit. Yeah, it’ll make your head hurt.

Categories: monkey, Ravings