Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Battle Of The Bands

So.... which one creeps you out the most? Both worth a full viewing...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Drive Time Reflection

So in a month I turn another year older. Being officially forty something - I'd rather not. I remember when I hit forty - it dawned on me that if I died and someone read my obituary their first thought would be "eh, he was 40 - what do you expect? Can't live forever!". Truth is - by the time I hit 40 I had lived a pretty good life. Still living one in fact. Actually it would be hard to beat the one I have. Being married to a true friend and having perhaps the greatest kid on earth (maybe biased) is beyond blessing. Getting to do what I love to do and using God given gifts to do it is a privilege. Getting to do that with people I admire, trust and enjoy is an honor. Wrap all of that up and stick it in So. California and it's just about perfect. I don't always remember that - but when I do I'm both thankful and humbled.

But as I reflected on my life recently I realized I've really lived about a dozen of them. It would be hard to tell my story because you'd have to select a specific chapter to focus on. It all seems so random. Only God could've put it all together - and I'm glad he did cause it's really a great ride. I think the reflection began while on vacation recently. That's when I typically reflect - there's not much time for it otherwise. As we were driving from LA to Phoenix, to Tucson, to San Diego, to LA, I realized there are very few - perhaps zero - interstates I've not driven in this country. Between living different places and spending years on the road touring I've covered a lot of ground. Most of it multiple times. It's hard to name a place here or abroad that doesn't have some bizarre association for me. I'm watching the Buffalo Bills play earlier today and am reminded of the little bar on main street where they invented the Buffalo wings out of necessity. Watched the Packers later and am reminded of driving through Wisconsin and buying cheese curds on the side of the road. Celeste and I watched "In Bruges" a couple of nights ago and I loved seeing the town of Bruges, Belgium and am reminded of those incredible, old buildings and walking the streets eating waffles (it's what they do!). I was reading a CS Lewis book earlier today and remembered walking the grounds of his estate, The Kilns, in Oxford - smoking my pipe and feeling quite intellectual. Anyway - these things go on, and on, and on - not just locations - but things I've done, jobs I've had, etc.... Celeste only a month ago learned that I ever flew planes. One of the many jobs I had growing up was at an airport which eventually led me to spending hours taking lessons and flying every chance I got. I never completed my license as I moved to Colorado to be a ski bum instead - yet another chapter.

So I began listing some of these random things as I drove on vacation and it's quite something. Pretty amazing what one can accumulate over time. I'll share my driving list - or at least the counts - for amusement, but I'll spare you the details and stories for now - they're a bit involved.

States Lived In - 6 (TX, CO, TN, NM, NV, CA)
Homes - 26 (not counting periods of time hanging at someone else's place)
Roommates - 14 (same as above)
Jobs - 36 (not counting small, odd jobs - a fun list btw)
States Visited - 48 (never AK, laid over in HI several times - doesn't count)
Countries Visited - 28 (best I recall - maybe more)
Continents Visited - 5 (certain of this one)
Cars Owned - 18 (also a fun list)
Guitars - 11 (currently 4)
Dogs - 11 (currently none)
Cats - 5 (currently 1)
Motorcycles - 3 (currently 1)

Not an exhaustive list - but exhausting for sure. A million memories and stories for each chapter. So as I'm reminiscing and tabulating I realize something else. Colin - who just turned 4 - has already lived in 3 states, 4 homes, visited 16 states and has flown well over a dozen times. God help him - who knows what his list will look like in 40 years. I just pray I'm still around to help him make it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My... How He's Grown...

August 2004

August 2008

... and I don't mean Colin so much. I realized today that since he was born I've pretty much matched him pound for pound. We've each gained roughly 40 pounds since that day. I figure if I continue to match him I should weigh around 325 by the time he's in high school. I'm afraid it's time to do something - and I do mean afraid. There's not much I dislike more than eating right and working out. Why can't riding motorcycles, watching football and eating Corn Pops keep you fit? What a drag. I know I can do it - I lost 40 pounds while Celeste was pregnant - not the most sensitive thing to do by the way. I've since got them all back - maybe even a couple extra. So today as I'm lying on the couch watching football (see a pattern here?) Colin comes in and announces "Dad, you've got a big, fat tummy." Ouch! Kids say the darndest things, don't they? I immediately recall always teasing my dad as a kid with this same banter. What goes around, I guess. Anyway - I try and convince him that it's not really fat so much as just full. No - he assures me it's fat. "It looks like a big balloon", he says, "you just need to let some air out." He then spends the next several minutes pushing, sitting and jumping on my stomach in effort to deflate it and determined to see immediate results. He reluctantly concludes that this isn't really working and I agreed and told him it would require eating right and exercise. He declared that he knew some exercises and proceeded to demonstrate. Needless to say we then took a little walk around the neighborhood looking for some motivation. Didn't really find any out there. But - here I go - gotta do something. Think I'll pour a bowl of cereal and map out a plan.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...

I know what you're thinking, but this story isn't so much about football, or even sports in general, as it is about genetic makeup, rites of passage and the enduring power of pop culture. Nevertheless, a story worth telling, so I shall. I have to say that this past Monday could not have been sweeter. It's typically a good day - the weekend's over - there's a bit of a church hangover to work through, but the day is pretty well designed to do just that. But this one was especially good. Opening weekend of football season had come and gone with every game I care about having turned out beautifully. And for added pleasure, the Dodgers finally took over first place and are in position to make the playoffs. Amazing. But that's not why I'm writing - that just made it a good day. It really got sweet when I got home. We're coming into fall in SoCal - no more torturous 90 degree days - we're in the 70's and 80's now. I walked in the house, dinner was cooking, so I struck up a baseball game in the backyard with Colin until it was ready. We then sat on the patio as a family enjoying the scenery, the cool evening, dinner and each other. A great day still - but not why I'm writing. 

Following a bath, Colin and I retired to the couch in the den. Sporting new race car pj's and clasping various transformers, he crawled up next to me for a final stretch of play time before bed. As he did, I hit play on the DVR to begin the much anticipated season opening of Monday Night Football - Green Bay and Minnesota. No sooner did the piano riff at the start of Hank Jr's song begin than Colin perked up and leapt from the couch. By the end of the intro he was positioned in the open floor looking up at the TV and ready to rock. It seems "Are You Ready For Some Football" was just the phrase he's been waiting to hear for 4 years. He danced his little butt off for about 60 seconds while every ounce of testosterone in his body arose and shouted "this is why we're here!" As the song closes out, the special effects take over. Packer and Viking helmet/spaceships go burning through space until they come to a lit up Lambeau Field in which they descend. Each helmet lines up on the field facing the other - and then with great forward thrust ram head on into each other. It's a massive explosion of computer generated shrapnel that settles and morphs into the Monday Night Football logo. Just as the logo appears it is majestically underscored with the unmistakable sound of "da-da-da-da.... da-da-da-da-da.... da-da-da-da-da-da.... bom-bom-bom-bom....... da-da-da-da-da",  the orchestrated theme song that has declared it football season for 39 years. Colin - still standing in the middle of the floor looking straight up at the TV mounted above him - slowly turns his head - eyes and mouth wide open - and as if his breath has completely vanished whispers "whhooooaaa....", followed by a reverent silence. He completely gets it! No explanation needed! It's Monday Night Football for crying out loud! Surely there is a prouder moment in my life, but at this time it escapes me. I swear tears formed in my eyes. I could barely speak to express my great pride to Celeste who was sitting across the room. I was quite verklempt. 

Maybe it was the music - it stirs a lot of memories from a lot of years. Maybe it's the realization that I was just Colin's age when MNF began and can recall that same wonder. Heck - I still have it! Perhaps it's just the excitement of fall, cooler weather, holidays and football. Maybe it's just that I love my life, my family, my home and it was the culmination of a really great moment. Or maybe it was that I was out of deodorant that day and was forced to smell powdery fresh as I resorted to Celeste's that made me overly emotional. Whatever the reason - it was a great moment - on a great day - in what is hands down the most wonderful time of the year. Let the games begin.... Go Cowboys!