Friday, August 29, 2008

Gameday Math

I was reading a Georgia Southern message board the other day on which the participants were complaining (rightly) about fall weddings. One gentleman in particular is said to have reminded a pair of acquaintances contemplating marriage that there are usually fifty-two Saturdays in a given year and - since he only gets to spend six of those on Beautiful Eagle Creek - that they have around forty-six from which to choose when picking a wedding date. I find the expectation that your friends would extend you this courtesy to be perfectly reasonable.

As in past years, I am hyper-sentimental on the eve of the first game of Georgia's football season. But my return to affiliation with the band coupled with my relocation necessitates a 5:00am wake-up call tomorrow morning. So there will be no lengthy monologue (as Letterman used to say, "if that's still possible").

But I have been mindful lately of the scarcity of home football Saturdays in the context of one's entire life. If you're lucky, you live to be eighty years old. If you're really lucky you get to spend every home game Saturday in Athens. If you are truly blessed, you have grown up a college football fan and were - as the old phrase goes - Bulldog born. Thus, the best you really have any right to expect is have only 480 home Saturdays in Athens over the course of your entire life.

That ain't much. So we better make 'em count. We get another chance to do just that in a matter of hours.

I hope you're ready.

PS - Mizzou-rah.
Well, he looks like a Damn Good Dawg to me...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bulldog born, Bulldog bred

I don't "do" sports here. But I loved this portion of the summary of Coach's Q and A with the Athens Touchdown Club (HT: Native Dawg, via

Q. Is AJ Green fun to coach?
A. Yes. For a couple reason. [sic] First, he committed to UGA as like a soph in HS, and he NEVER wavered. He and his HS guidance counselor said to UGA "Tell us what we have to do in the classroom to be eligible." Green had a lotta work to do. Our academic advisors set out a path for him, and AJ busted his tail getting the job done. He flat out wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog. During his final HS spring practice, Steve Spurrier came to his school... AJ skipped school that day! Later, Tommy Bowden came to the school to visit... and AJ skipped school again! That got a lotta laughter and applause. Second, it's always fun to coach a guy who is 6'5", with speed who catches everything thrown at him... (more laughter)

I love that, and I can't wait...

Monday, August 25, 2008

What I am going to blog about tonight

In an effort to calm the uproar of the part of my conscience responsible for my blogging regularity, I decided to sit and think this evening until I came up with something about which to write. I mentally combed the body of news events of the last few weeks, but found nothing about which I could shed any new light. I thought of things that have been going on in my life, but none have changed significantly enough since I last wrote about them to warrant a mention. I thought of elements of my world which I could romanticize, yet again to no avail.

Somehow, this evening I have no real complaints. My back hurts, but I have pills that dull that pain to the level of annoyance. I don't have a great deal of money, but I have enough to get me through the next several months and a great deal more than some. I have a nice job (several of them, in fact). I have an amazing girlfriend. I have a very nice apartment by third world standards, a car that runs quite well and gets forty miles to the gallon, wonderful friends, an understanding family, a great educational background, relatively good health, tv and internet, a place to belong, and something to do all the time.

Hopefully my blogging habits will one day return to the prolific level of a couple of years ago, sans the loneliness, the unhappiness, or the excessive alcohol intake. But tonight I am very happy.

That is all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why you shouldn't get older

Before I begin to complain about my back, let me acknowledge the fact that there are people with problems way worse than my own (including Ellen's now-resolved back thing, which makes mine look like a paper cut). My major organs are still working. I haven't been burned severely (other than multiple occasions in my romantic life that have long since passed). I can get from one place to another with little difficulty, I don't curse uncontrollably, I drool less than many people, and I generally have no problem controlling my body's waste disposal functions.

That said, this back thing has started to suck. Wednesday night, Meghan and I stood at Firehouse Subs and waited for our food. When our orders were filled, I reached to the counter to grab the sandwiches and head for the door. The bag slipped slightly from my hand as I grabbed it, and I flinched to catch it.

That's when I felt it - a seizing pain that reached down from my shoulder to my ass. I recognized it from last spring as something like a muscle strain. As before, it gradually became difficult to sit or walk throughout the course of the evening. I tried to sleep but had trouble doing so, as I knew I was in for a hell of time this when I woke.

When I finally developed the moxie to rise Thursday morning, it took about three minutes and ten utterances of the phrase "C'mon, Brett" to bring my body to the standing position. I walked to the kitchen leading with the genitals, as though I was being drawn in whatever direction I was moving by a piece of fishing twine sutured to my lower abdomen. As you can imagine, the process of making breakfast, showering, and collecting my belongings were labored at best and miserable at worst.

If you're still reading through the inevitable pity you must feel for me, then you may enjoy imagining the process of my putting on socks and shoes when I was alone and basically unable to bend at the waist. I had managed to kick my shorts far enough up my leg from a seated position that I could reach them with a bended knee well enough to lift them above what butt I have. After this, I laid carefully on the bed and managed to grab my shoes and socks and lay them on my chest. I began with one sock and thoughtfully placed it around the fingers of my right hand, oriented so that I could drag and pull the sock onto my foot with one hand. After putting the sock on - a process which took about ninety seconds - I moved to the shoe. I put the opposite foot flat on the bed with bended knee. I rotated the hip and bent the knee of the foot onto which the shoe was to go, placing the foot on top of the other knee. I gradually stretched the hamstring of the leg as the foot came down my angled thigh at a rate of about one inch per minute, until I could get the tip of my toes far enough into the shoe to keep the shoe on. Five minutes later I managed to stretch the hamstring far enough to painfully reach the shoe with my hands well enough to get it completely on my foot and tie it in the worst common bow knot I have tied since second grade.

I repeated the process for the other foot.

At this point, I was concerned that I would get to Winder (where my therapy sessions are) and be forced to call Big Oob for a ride home. He, of course, would get mad and assume that I was drunk, which I wouldn't be... though I couldn't fault him for thinking so. This did not happen, but needless to say the ride to Winder, Athens, and then home was not so great. Walking around downtown Athens like I had inflamed hemorrhoids was worse.

But the worst part was the frustration at being unable to care for myself. Though my issues were relatively minor, I really began to feel for those whose bodies have failed them. I dread any future day when I feel as helpless as I did on Thursday. And I can't wait to be able to bend at the waist, sit without grunting, or stand for five minutes without looking like I'm about to take a dump.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some bullets, some news, and a brief farewell

• You may recall that I had some back pain last spring. Since early April it has gotten worse, and lately it has started to concern me. Last week I finally saw a doctor. I begin physical therapy tomorrow. I'm a little nervous, but the drugs are great.

• I have been skeptical since the release of the Gillette Mach 3 Power. It has seemed less like a more efficient razor, and more like a vibrator with blades. When Meghan and I went on vacation with my family, I left my non-shaky razor at home. Dad bought me a Mach 3 Power, and I tried it. I now prefer it.

• Somehow I have been missing the music of Pete Yorn all these years. Meghan and I heard some of his tunes in Walker's a few weeks ago, and she identified it immediately. I am now the satisfied owner of one album, and intend to purchase more.

• I get more than a little excited the first time each late summer when I hear the following on the radio for the first time:

"The station Atlanta turns to first for live team coverage of breaking news.... News Talk 750 WSB. Atlanta's News, Weather, Traffic, and Georgia Bulldogs Station. Depend on it." (I wish I could handle money like Clark Howard does).

• I have hesitated to mention the following on the blog, because there are lots of thoughts and feelings floating around out there as a result of the personnel carousel of the last few years. Now that I know I am involved, I feel more comfortable talking about it.

For the first time since leaving the university in 2005, I am working with the Redcoats once again. I have spent the last week at band camp, and will be traveling to Athens at least once a week along with attending most games. I am teaching in various capacities along with offering operational advice and institutional memory.

I experienced some combination of nervousness and guilt as this opportunity emerged. Having been back for a week, I am comfortable saying that I think the group is in for something good. And, no matter how cool I try to be about it, I am truthfully very excited to get to stand in front of the band once again.

• "When did we get so old that people stopped getting married and started dying?" This was a perfectly valid question asked by Russell upon hearing of Troy's passing last Friday. And I have to admit that I feel a little of the same thing.

I won't insult his memory by what would be an insufficient description of his selflessness and optimism. I will only say that I have and will continue to look back on my times with Troy with the most genuine fondness I know.

Well, and this... I believe that one of the strongest and purest sources of human motivation is the desire to matter. It was evident today, as the lobby and chapel were filled to capacity with people who had been touched by Troy, that he had done just that. We're obviously all sad to lose a dear friend. But I also hope that everyone who knew Troy is happy for him and the fact that he exits having changed his corner in the most positive of ways. I don't think I will ever forget the amount of admiration in that room today. In this way, among many others, Troy will be here for a long time to come.

Good bye, old friend. Very, very well done.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

23 days and 6 bullets

• I began a post earlier today which railed on the people who have reacted negatively to the news of Meghan's hiring at a school with many challenges. The more I read it, the more I realized that I was just yelling from the shore, exactly like the people about whom I was complaining. So I'm simply going to say that I am very proud of her decision to get her hands dirty, endure the difficulties, and teach in a place where she has the opportunity to change something for the better.

• On that note, I think I have begun to realize that the terms "positive" and "negative" don't respectively mean "good" and "bad." I'm pretty sure I'm the last one to figure this out, but the realization has been quite meaningful.

• New releases on DVD suck right now (Hmmmm... is that positive or negative?). Except Charlie Bartlett. Charlie Bartlett was pretty good. All other new releases on DVD suck right now. Well, but then I haven't seen all of them. Hell, I have only seen one of them. But they don't look good. So, all new releases on DVD except Charlie Bartlett look like they suck, even though I don't really know that to be true. Wow. How many new DVD releases worldwide could there possibly have been in the last few weeks? Is it really possible that I have really given descriptions or reviews of even a significant fraction of them a fair shake? Probably not. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that whatever piddly number of New Release DVD descriptions and reviews I have encountered lately seem to indicate that they suck. Except Charlie Bartlett. And it was only okay.

• I have been re-bitten by the marching band bug. I have been more or less uninvolved since leaving my job three years ago. I am looking forward to helping out in a few places this fall.

• Every time I write a song after a lengthy time away, I wonder why I took time away. Then I realize that I have to eat.

• Meghan has discovered a great formula for making a great Frozen Jack and Dr. Pepper at home. Get her to tell you about it. Better yet, get her to tell you about it, and then put a spoonful on a brownie. But make sure you have a will first.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm home from Br00kwood's Band Camp, and I am more or less in one piece. Things went as well as I remember them going. I just hope things continue to be as good as they were at camp. As we all know, that's a toss up with high school students.

I finally have my apartment set up. Considering the proximity of my apartment to Meghan's, mine will function less like a home and more like an office. With the exception of the DSL (tomorrow), I'm ready to roll. I have some very interesting projects lined up for the fall, including some last minute arrangements, a waiting line of songs to write, the creation of a composition portfolio for Midwest, and some band work in various capacities.

Oh... and if you can't hear it, the drumbeat of football season is present in the distance. And it's getting louder.

Also, I think this is awesome. (HT: Blutarsky)