Monday, August 19, 2013

the weekend that was ...

"You know the bed feels warmer,
Sleeping here alone?
You know I dream in color,
And do the things I want.

You think you got the best of me;
Think you've had the last laugh?
Bet you think everything good is gone --
Think you left me broken down?
Think that I'd come running back?
Then baby you don't know me,
'Cause you're dead wrong!

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!
Stand a little taller!
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone!

What doesn't kill you makes a fighter --
Footsteps even lighter!
Doesn't mean I've over 'cause you're gone!"

-- "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" by Kelly Clarkson.

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I know the first Chiefs (preseason) home game of the season has come and gone ... but there won't really be a recap of it, on this site anyways.

For starters, that was arguably the most boring, dull, sleep-inducing football game I have ever attended.  Neither offense could do a thing.  I mean, playing in slappers mode on the old 007 games on the Super Nintendo fifteen years ago wasn't as yawn-inducing as Friday's game against the 49ers was.

But also, what is there to report on?  We didn't really tailgate -- our group went to RG's before the game for dinner and drinks, and arrived barely an hour before kickoff.  Half the regulars were gone -- the Springfield folks didn't come up, none of the folks from Omaha or Dallas or South Dakota came in, and again -- did you watch that game?  If you did, please -- give me pointers on how you stayed awake!  I'm gonna need it for the worst preseason game of the year ten days from now.

Hell, I didn't even hang that ugly donkey in effigy, that's how uneventful tailgating was.  And stringing that thing up -- double noose style, just to make sure he's, you know, been lynched -- is the very first thing I do, when the Bus pulls into it's usual spot.  Before the speakers, before the flags, before the food, before the iPod gets going, hell -- before I even fix myself a refill of whatever I chugged on the walk down to save our spot! -- that donkey gets lynched.

Said donkey didn't even make the trip.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Well of course not lynching that thing is tragic!  (Pause).  Say what?  (Pause).  You know what -- that is a helluva idea, Mr. Non-Existent Stevo's Site Numero Dos Ombudsman!  I like it.  I love it.  And I've done it before, albeit not for a denver game, and not for anyone affiliated with the enemy on that particular home game ... but I like it.  (Pause).  No, I haven't hauled it out in awhile.  If I remember right, the last time I did that, was for the Vikings game in 2007.  (Pause).  No, I just went to Target, bought one, and slapped Mike Solari (aka "worst OC ever")'s face on the front of that thing.

Just one thing though, Mr. Non-Existent Stevo's Site Numero Dos Ombudsman -- what craptacular candy do I throw in the pinata with peyton manning's face on it come December 1st?  It can't be quality, because nothing about the denver broncos indicates quality in any way.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Oh my God, no.  I can't do that!  If I stuck all the needles Von Miller shot himself up with in there, someone in Red and Gold might get hurt!  (Pause).  Oh come on -- that's even worse, and even more tasteless, Mr. Non-Existent Ombudsman dude!  I can't pack that thing will spray bullets, and let it rain, like it did on darrent williams six years ago!  Come on, that's classless!  Who in their right mind would crack a joke about "the only backing into anything this week will be darrent williams' corpse into the ground"* in the aftermath of his (not even remotely) tragic demise?  Come on!

We'll fill that thing with pink cotton candy.  Or pink lollipops.  Or I'll go buy (or have my cousin Brooke ship me) another one of those 250 count chocolate filled alcohol trays that are always available at Christmas.  You know, to commemorate not one, but two -- two! -- donkey executives getting a DUI in a twenty-four hour period**.

Either way, "Pin The Tail on the Bronkey" ... or "Beat the Crap Out of the Bronkey", goes down in three months.  Circle me ecstatic, Bert!

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(*: in all seriousness, the neighborhood Mr. Williams grew up in, is barely a ten minute car ride from (pick either one) my apartment in college, or TCU itself.  Here's a map to point a few things out:


(photo: me, via Snag-It, off Google Maps.)

OK, so the (a) pinpoint is OD Wyatt, where Mr. Williams went to high school.  TCU is located straight south and slightly east from Colonial Country Club -- the massive "not many roads" area just south of Colonial, is most of the campus.  My (barenaked ladies voice) old apartment is in the very top right corner of the map -- find Green Oaks on the far right side, follow it north of the Landry (I-30), and where the green of a country club is at the very top right corner ... you can barely see it, but the street that crosses where the I-30 interstate sign is, is Eastchase Parkway.  That intersection is a massive shopping off-ramp -- Target, Wal-Mart, a movie theater, and Old Navy, a bunch of chain restaurants, even a Carmax.  

The street that breaks off from it, to the east, just before you get to the I-30 sign south of the Landry, is Green Oaks continued.  (Note: Green Oaks is the Blue Ridge Boulevard of the Metroplex.  It changes locations so many times, you lose track.)  If you look closely at that green in the top right corner, you see a diagonal street that crosses over the Landry (with no freeway access).  That's Randol Mill.  My apartment in college was just before Randol Mill crosses over the Landry headed south, and Randol Mill takes you directly to both Cowboys Stadium and the Ballpark in Arlington -- about five minutes away, if that.)

The reason I mention this?  The 287 freeway you see?  Until you get to the disaster downtown where Airport, Landry, and South Freeways all meet, plus 287?  It's the MLK.  Like it or not ... there's never been a MLK Freeway dedicated in a part of town, anyone would want to live in.

For Mr. Williams to survive his upbringing in that horrific part of town (and it was -- and is -- awful)?  Only to die tragically in a random drive-by shooting?  Sickens me.  Even if he was a denver bronco.)

That ... and I so desperately want to move back, to when life made sense ...)

(**: for the record, I only have one.  And it was almost eleven and a half years ago.  My point being, if I can stay sober enough to get home 99 times out of 100 ... uuh, what are the donkey's executives excuses?)

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Saturday, I didn't do much.  I spent most of the day lounging poolside, and Saturday night, I went to a house-selling party for Chris, the lady who has sat in front of me for so long, that I was a "privileged invited guest" at her wedding to Greg seven years ago.

Saturday would have been Greg's sixty fourth birthday.

He never really knew he made it, to sixty two.

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I know Chris reads this site every so often, so I don't think she'd mind if I posited a moment on Greg, and her.

They were the neatest couple you'd ever meet.  Their wedding was ... well sh*t, it was the kind of wedding I'd dream of having.

You showed up at their beautiful Blue Springs home, headed around back, and were asked what glass you wanted -- wine, beer, or spirits.  The wedding itself took five minutes, in the gazebo by the pond.  And then the party started.  Oh, yeah -- and it occurred on the bye week in 2006.

Greg was the model of fitness -- a pharmacist who ran a Medicine Shoppe in Lexington until the day he suffered a stroke out of nowhere, ironically during the bye week in 2010, and a little over a year later, he passed.

I miss the hell out of that guy.

Chris had a neat oversized picture of Greg, posing at the tee box at the 18th at Pebble Beach, for us to sign, as a "well wished birthday" gift she intends to hang in her new home.  Friends, family, loved ones, with one last chance to express how we felt.

I was accused of writing a novel.  (In the interest of full disclosure: that isn't the first time, that accusation has been leveled at me.)  But sometimes?

People are worth having a novel written about them.

I miss the hell out of that guy.

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I crashed at my second parents house on Saturday night, and I'm telling you, the guest room bed at Russ and Mona's, is the single most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, in my life.

The only bed that even comes close?  Is the one on the ocean, at the (appropriately named) Ocean Manor hotel, I stayed at two years ago, for my cousin's wedding.

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There's getting woken up for breakfast ... and then, getting WOKEN UP!, for breakfast.

I could smell the sausage gravy going, from literally at the other end of the house, on Sunday morning.

True story: Russ' sister runs a (very popular, usually booked solid) bed and breakfast in Tyler, Texas.

The best bed and breakfast in the KC area, is Russ and his wife's house.  Bar none.

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Sign I Might Be Mentally Challenged 101: I hauled the flat screen and the DirecTV receiver out to the deck to have the race at Michigan on.  Hooked everything up, plugged in the power cords, the HDMI line ...

and nothing.  Literally nothing.

Figuring I screwed up the feed from the basement, I went back downstairs, checked the lines, checked the surge protector, and realized it was all hooked up correctly.

I went back outside, stared for a solid ten minutes at the "error code 775" on the screen ...

... and asked Russ to take a look.  (In my defense: we had an issue a few weeks ago, where it'd been so long since the basement DirecTV receiver was turned on, that we had to reactivate it.  I thought that was the issue again.)

Then, this beauty ...

(russ) wait -- why is this cable laying on the ground?
(stevo) (sees feed from satellite dish ... laying on the ground.)
(stevo) because I'm a f*cking idiot.

Approximately three minutes later, I was looking live at Michigan Speedway, where I narrowed the number of beers / drinks owed Gus at the Double for the year end "celebration" of the season ... to thirteen*.

Oy.

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(*: me and Gus have the same bet every year.  I have to take Danica and Earnhardt Jr in the first 18 races -- any race they're in -- to finish 18th or better (we drop the 7 start-and-parkers in the Cup, and the seven bottom feeders in Nationwide, from the bet), and he takes them to do worse than 18th.  We flip at race 19 (usually the Pepsi 400 at Daytona), where I root for those two asshats to lose, and he's stuck with them.  We also throw in a side bet amongst our two up-and-coming favorites that doesn't change all year.  (He has Reutimann, I have Ambrose.)  Gus was up 26 if I remember right, when we switched drivers.  (We don't pay up, until the Double's Christmas / REAP** benefit night in December.)  It's currently +11 Gus.  Let's just say, I enjoy rooting against the 88 and the 7.)

(**: REAP = Raytown Emergency Assistance Program, for families that face eviction and/or power being turned off, it's a community wide charitable organization, that provides the funds needed to keep the lights on, and a roof over the kid's heads.  Cathy and Bruce Ramey, who own the Double, two of the most good-hearted, good-natured, down to earth folks you'll ever meet, are a damned amazing driving force behind REAP, and throw a huge benefit dinner every December.  I'll post details when they're known ... but I strongly encourage everyone to show up and support a very worthy cause.  I may be a Republican at this point ... but we are all in this together.  Even Jesus noted: "what you do for the least of these?  You do for me."  I'd much rather us private citizens make a difference, than the President's views of how to provide for those in need.)

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Sometimes, life throws you a curveball ... and someone you never expect to matter much to you, turns into a reliable friend -- hell, more than that.

Someone whose advice, council, and simple friendship, you not just seek, you crave.

That's me and Donnie this summer.

Donnie is Mona (my second mom)'s best friend, dating back to kindergarten all those years ago.  He's also one amazing person, who puts up with far too much with his job, his family, and (quite frankly) life in general.

Dude, I cannot even begin to express, how much your kindness, decency, respect -- and friendship -- has meant over these last few months.

I love the hell outta ya man.  You're amongst the truest of friends, I've ever had.  Certainly far more true than many I thought were, at this point last year.

Hang in there.  Things DO get better.

And if they don't?  Well, you can have your iced tea, I'll have my vodka tonic, and we can b*tch about the world at large.

Because -- and I don't say this often ... I got your back man.  Then.  Now.

Always.

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Had my main league's fantasy football draft last night.

I thought it went well.

But I wouldn't bet any dollar amount on that.  Maybe a nickel.  A dime if I'm feeling frisky.  But we'll see.

What I do know, from last night's draft?  (a) Don Chilito's is abolutely THE sh*ttiest* Tex-Mex joint in town ... and I've succeeded Sebree as the league's punching bag.

Surprisingly ... the punching bag offends me more.

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(*: as a "heads up / future post" warning: "the Voice of Reason" and I have committed to going to lunch at Don Chilito's (off Johnson Drive and Metcalf), before the year ends.  I will attempt to "live blog" how awful an experience it will be ... but all I can offer as a preview, is three things: (a) they microwave every dish; (b) "fresh chip trough", and (c) Montezuma's Revenge ... should be renamed Chilito's Revenge.  (cue every kid who grew up in "The Golden Ghetto", nodding their head in agreement ... my God, the lengths I'm willing to go to for you, my readers ...)

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Work today wasn't too bad.  It's gonna suck in 48 hours, when SAP is down for 96 hours after that ... but today, wasn't bad.

My new boss ... ("the who" voice) same as the old boss ... was back today.  No issues to report.

Tomorrow looks ugly -- a "what the (blank -- rhymes with "buck!") conference call on yet another transition item, and a training session on whatever version of SAP we're getting come next Monday.

So be it.

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Nine years ago tomorrow, my friendship with someone I considered to be my best friend from about age 16 to 24ish ... came to an end, due to his choosing to check out from this life, of his own choosing.

Last year, four days prior to tomorrow, the person I viewed as my best (non-female) friend, did what he did, to destroy the friendship we had.

I think it's very healthy, that I miss James, far, far more, than I miss Dusty.

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So let me close ...

If you haven't seen it, former Star columnist Martin Manley, the man who (arguably) revolutionized the NBA with the sabermetrics revolution ... chose to kill himself, voluntarily, on his 60th birthday on Friday.

Just as my buddy James did, nine years ago tomorrow.  August 20th.

On what was his 26th birthday ...

Let me close, with this:

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Life has meaning.  You matter.  Even I matter.  (cue the "fertilizer!" comments from the peanut gallery.)  We ALL matter.

I got a Facebook message today I'll keep private, because I haven't confirmed it ... but just know -- whether I misread it or not?  You matter.  Always, with me.  No matter what.

As does everyone else reading this.

Even to those I despise at this point?

You matter.  At least to me.

I guess this is why I went from the biggest "pro-choice no matter what!" person ... to "I oppose all abortion period!" person I've become.

Life matters.

And you matter.

Hell, if you're reading this?  I matter enough to you, to read it.  That's gotta count for something.

I didn't use to feel that way.  You can read what I intended to do, by clicking on this link, from my intentions eleven years ago.  (Note: you gotta scroll down awhile ... but it's worth reading, I think.  Or if you want the high level summary, click here.)

I close with (arguably) my second favorite TV scene of all time, from an episode I already live-blogged/recapped ... because it so f*cking applies:



We've still got tonight.

Good enough.

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