Wednesday, March 29

Kissing Your Sister

I won $12 in the Lottery!!
[Listening to: Kanye West, "Get 'Em High"]

Tuesday, March 28

Darth Tarkenton

As I start to stare down the prospect of my upcoming job hunt, it occurs to me that this might not be the absolute worst time in the world to be looking for a new opportunity.

For example, reports have it that Paul Tagliabue is set to retire his post as the longtime comissioner for the NFL. And while I'm sure he works hard keeping the league successful -- I'm having a hard time coming up with a solid list of exactly what he does day to day in order to earn his $9 million salary.

I mean when you get right down to it -- each individual NFL franchise runs itself as an independent corporation that exists under the leagues umbrella.
..Kinda like McDonalds when you think about it.
It's not like Tagliabue calls plays or officiates games or anything. As far as I can see his only responsibilities are to talk to the media and hand the trophy to the team that wins the Super Bowl.
Hell -- I could do that
As a matter of fact, it seems like if that's all he really in charge of then there's a heck of a lot of room left for expansion when it comes to the things I could do to help out the league.
For example, if elected commissioner I would gladly..
* Audition prosepective cheerleaders
* Suspend any player who puts out their own rap album
* Order all Cowboys fans under the age of 10 to kick Terrell Owens in the nuts
* Demand that all touchdowns be followed by celebration dances
* Legalize steroids "just to see what happens"
* Lock John Madden in a small room and force him to listen to his own inane rantings
* Banish Jake Plummer to the Phantom Zone.
But why stop there? -- The NFL is a media juggernaut, armed with hundreds of millionare employees and exemption from the government's anti-trust laws. Why not pool our resources to buy some fighter planes and tanks? You know -- generate a little pre-season excitement by invading non-NFL cities and declaring them conquered in the name of whatever team should be the first to secure the unconditional surrender of the local municipal governments?

The way I look at it, things have timed themselves out just right for the NFL. If this change of power had come about any sooner, I might not have been available to take the position.
References Available Upon Request.
[Listening to: Amberlin, "Paper Thin Hymn"]

Monday, March 27

Snake River Conspiracy

This past weekend here in Jacksonville they held this thing called "BBQ Blast" -- Basically a three-day festival of food, Southern Rock, and Marlboro Reds. For a lot of the people who live in this city, those things mixed together are pretty much the equivalent of heaven. Imagine a place where you have to fight to be the first one to call out "Freebird," and you've pretty much got the picture. But this year there was an added attraction that rose above even the normal appeal of the event:
This year Robbie Kenievel planned to jump
across the St. Johns River on a motorcyle.
Robbie Kenievel is the son of world-famous daredevil Evel Kenievel, who made a name for himself in the late 60's and early 70's risking his life in larger than life stunts and motorcycle jumps. These days he's too old, so his son carries on the family name traveling across the country and jumping over things.

This weekend's jump across the St. John's River would cover some 180 feet and send Robbie soaring into the air until he landed safely on a ramp at the other side of the water.
But really -- where's the fun in that?
You have to understand something here -- Robbie is going to pull this off. He's gonna make it. Cities wouldn't shell out the kind of money they did for this if they didn't think it was going to go right. Add to that the fact that he's got an entire team of planners and engineers working for him and it becomes clear that he'd never agree to do this thing unless he was 100% sure it was going to work. Things even went so far with this sort of thinking that on the day the jump was supposed happen he actually changed his mind and postponed it because of high winds and rough weather.
This whole thing annoys me, and I'll tell you why. See, I was a little kid during the early 70's -- the true heyday of Evel Kenievel's daredevil career. And if there's one thing I learned about Evel it's that he would have never backed out of a jump just because of a little wind.

He would have strapped on his red white and blue helmet, revved up his red white and blue motorcycle, hit that red white and blue ramp at top speed, sailed through the air like the mighty spear of Apollo
..and dropped into the water like a golf ball.
A lot of people think that Evel Kenievel is famous for the amazing motorcycle jumps that he pulled off -- But those people are wrong.
Evel Kenievel is world famous because of the jumps that he missed.
Dude once told everybody he was gonna stand in one place and then jump over a motorcyle that was racing right towards him. Except when he tried he didn't jump high enough and the oncoming motorcycle hit him directly in the crotch and threw him fifteen feet through the air in the other direction.

Sure, some guy jumping high enough in the air to clear a moving cycle would have been a cool thing, but which of the two options do you think would have been the most entertaining to see given the choice?

Kenievel tried to jump the fountain in front of Ceasar's palace in Las Vegas and missed -- twice. It seeemed like every third of fourth stunt he tried something would go wrong. It got to the point where people were more excited to see him screw up then they were to see him succeed.

In his most famous stunt he tried to jump the Snake River Canyon (the government wouldn't let him near the Grand Canyon) in some crazy jetcar-type contraption he built up called the X-2 Skycyle. The stunt had to be put off two or three times because he did a promotional tour where he would jump buses and trucks and then talk to the crowds about his upcoming canyon jump, except that he kept crashing during those stunts and wouldn't ever get the chance.

Finally a few months later Kenievel launched the X-2 off the side of the canyon only to have the parachute he installed as a brake accidentally deploy halfway across the span, utterly ruining the stunt and sending the vehicle to crash (ever so slowly) into the wall on other side.

People travelled from all across the country to see this. It was all over TV. Even in defeat a huge portion of the country's imagination was wrapped up in this human train wreck of a man who couldn't seem to get anything right, but always came back for more regardless of the consequences.
Let me put this another way - imagine if Paris Hilton was actually good at something.
...Now imagine every time she tried it she slipped and fell on her ass.
But even more than that, the guy was marketed to little kids like he was some sort of superhero. His face was on cereal boxes. There were lunchboxes and toys and t-shirts and dirtbikes that all had his name on them. Kenievel used to make guest appearances on The Six-Million Dollar Man where he would save Steve Austin's bacon. Steve Austin was frikkin' bionic, and he needed help beating up bad guys from the man who actually holds the Guiness Record for having the most bones in his body broken at the same time!?

So yeah, 25 hours later when the winds calmed down and the conditions were just right, Robbie Kenievel jumped over the river on his motorcycle and landed without a hitch safe and sound on the other side of the water.
[Listening to: Soil, "Give it Up"]

Tuesday, March 21

Red Skies at Night

Sometimes the sky smells like rain.

It's this feeling that something's going to happen soon - but it's just not there yet. Sometimes you want sooo bad for it to begin. A change. A shift. Water falling instead of dark clouds blocking out the day.
And sometimes you just need it to hold off a little longer.
[Listening to: The Birthday Massacre, "Video Kid"]

Thursday, March 16

We Don't Need No Education

Right now in my classroom the students are reading over the worksheets I've given them. I've told them that they have to work in groups and help each other to understand the concepts contained in the questions.

I'm hoping that teaming them up will help them to get the work done
..While I watch the tournament on TV
[Listening to: Flyleaf, "I'm So Sick"]

Sunday, March 12


Distance Run: 15K
Overall Rank: 8454 (out of 10,198)
Gun Time: 2:12:34
Chip Time: 2:06:21
5K Split: 38:58:00
10K Split: 1:21:41
Pace per Mile: 13:55
There's no denying the fact that I could have done a lot better at this years River Run, but considering that I hardly trained for it at all and only really lost about eight minutes off my time from the previous year, I feel like I did ok.

It's funny though, when my mother (whos having a rough time battling cancer right now) got wind of the fact that I was still planning on running the race even though I hadn't been practicing enough for it she actually offered to pay me the equivalent of the registration fee not to run it at all.

What she didn't realize though was that this year I was running for a reason. This year I was trying to prove a much different point than the one that I was fighting for in '05.
This one was for you, moms.
[Listening to: She Wants Revenge, "Black Liner Run"]

Wednesday, March 1

Requiem in Between

Back in the day when I worked in radio, I’d sometimes wake up in the middle of the night on my days off totally convinced that I had somehow fallen asleep during a graveyard shift and forgotten to start playing the next song, leaving the audience with nothing to listen to but dead air. The worst part about it though was the fact that the dreams were so vivid that I would actually jump out of bed and run around my apartment looking for the button that would start the next track and save my job.

Fast-forward to Tuesday night. Stretched out on the couch at home, sweat beading on my brow, every swallow is filled with the bitter tasting casualties of the battle for my sinuses. The cold bug that's been shadowing my door for the past few weeks is finally entrenched, fully realized, and armed for bear. My voice scratches on the phone, sounding the surrender of sleep more and more with every word. If there was ever a real reason to call out of work, a legitimate card to play, this was it.
But there's always another shadow.
Always another clue to consider..
The following morning I was scheduled for an in-class observation by the principal of my school. It's something I've kinda been putting off, something I've dreading for a number of reasons, but at this very moment in time -- something I couldn't really avoid any longer. If it didn't get done Wednesday it wasn't going to get done at all, and it's one of those things that just can't be missed if you want to have any hope of keeping your job at all.
There would be no calling out of work tomorrow.
The real problem I had with this observation was that for all intents and purposes I wasn't ready for it. I had a basic idea of the lesson I wanted to teach, but I hadn't put together any of the materials. But bigger than that was the fact that my boss and I suffer from an utter difference in philosophies when it comes to paperwork. He sees it as vital legal documents that should be kept pristine and orderly in case we're ever audited. I see them it more like ..paperwork.

So my task Tuesday night was clear. Put together materials for the next day's lesson and whip my lesson plan book and other forms into passable shape. A last-minute job to be sure, but not an impossible task as long as I stayed focused.
...As long as I stayed awake.
Fast-forward to many hours later, twilight's glow sifting in slowly through the blinds over my window. Despite being sick and having to stay up all night long to get it done, my lessons are all set up and my paperwork has not only been completed, but put together in such a way that it appears that I've been keeping up with it all along. I distinctly remember snuggling up against my pillow in satisfaction, knowing that I could probably catch a short cat-nap before the day started. I even remember the words that came from my lips, sleepy-voiced through a yawn -- "I'm so glad I finally got everything done."

At which moment I shot up in bed, suddenly and horribly awake from the dream I was having about getting all my work done for my observation, shouting out loud to no one in particular
"Oh shit -- No I didn't!!"
[Listening to: Fischerspooner, "Emerge"]

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