Stop the Ride, I Don’t Wanna Get Off! (Part 1)

I have been on a lifelong quest, it appears, to continually add more stress to my life by hoarding insignificant things. Not just the physical hoarding of old grade school papers, comic books, meaningless documents, 400 pieces of luggage (for all of the trips I don’t take), a couple dozen Philips-head screwdrivers, or the Smashing Pumpkins concert tee from circa 1992 (Gish tour, baby!).

Let’s dig deeper shall we?
I also speak of weighty, emotional hoarding. Anxiety ridden questions swirling in the grey matter. Where is my station in life? What’s next? Have I attained the furtherst success possible? For clarification, there will be things that, quite obviously, I will not surrender and are not insignificant such as family, pets, house, money, life experiences, car, and a peppering of faith. I did not want to give the perception that I was hanging it all up for a hitched ride across the country in order to cleanse myself in a spiritual journey terminating in a desert…


riding a wave of Peyote. (hmmm).

Even though I’m not willing to sacrifice certain things, I must give kudos and admit my tinge of jealousy to @missbritt and her family. Check out her adventures of giving it all up at her blog, Miss Britt In Pursuit of Happiness.

When does life take a S.H.I.T. ( H.oarding I.significant T.hings)? Uh, that time apparently would be now, because I can feel it coming… my leg hairs are standin’ up…its palpable. It’s that, “I might not make it home in time” kind of palpable. So, in my life, I am all of a sudden doing 90 in a 55 so that I may execute this physical and metaphysical purge of Titanic proportions.

This discussion of S.H.I.T. originated one day as the wife and I were talking about how cumbersome life becomes as we get older. You know the, “there’s no time for anything anymore,” kind of discussion. I commented that it was akin to a nightmare bell curve “strap yourself in… your goin’ for a ride”.  You may like it at times, but be assured at some point…you will scream.
Starting at the bottom of the curve, just barely out of the womb you’re sitting in a stroller filling a diaper, getting fed, watching TV, playing, getting loved on. LIFE IS GOOD!

You approach a slightly steeper curve, shortly thereafter, when you reach and surpass the cartoon watching, laying on the couch, mommy caring for your every need, zero responsibility, and playtime with friends, awesomeness.

The 4th through 12th grade whirlwind comes next, where we are shaped by our surroundings in sometimes pleasant and not so pleasant ways. It can pretty much be diluted down to two important milestones…discovering your dick and learning how to drive. OK…I’m not that shallow. There was the other stuff, like studying for good grades, sleeping through classes, laughing, sports, peer pressures, gaining friends, losing friends, dating, and learning the laws of the lunchroom jungle.

The next part, oh the next part, now, here is the real upward curve.  This next part comes with more danger and discovery like…say…getting in your first bar fight, getting laid for the first time, getting drunk for the first time, getting high for the first time, growing your first sculpted facial hair, seeing your first sculpted “landing-strip to Shangri-La,” (ahem)… grasping a deep understanding for the Grateful Dead, the Pixies, and Ween.  Other examples of this period include pouring the perfect beer from a keg, taking on some meaningless job and realizing what an absolute horrible prick a boss can be, learning a lot of bullshit that makes you sound smarter, and researching amazing molds that grow in your garbage littered room. You can get all of the aforementioned good times, at the amusement park, that some of us like to call…

a University.

Still not at the top yet! It is time to start the journey to the pinnacle.  Just as the Incredible Hulk relieving himself of the constraints of his shirt, you, on the other hand, get older, “wiser,” and tear away the sandals, the torn-up jeans, concert going, beer in hand (100% of the time), trying to get laid, jobless phase, self like an umbilical chord after a rather painful birthing process.

A thought goes through your head. “Hey, now its time to gather more stuff and complicate things even more.” Yeah, like a preordained instruction tablet that some shaved monks have brought down on glowing steps.  After listening to the readings from the ancients, you must blindly go the way that others have gone before you. Follow the message and…knock a girl up #loveofmylife, get married (notice the order in which those two events were sequenced), gather animals “two by two” so that your house is like an African safari, buy cars, travel twice across the country carrying all your S.H.I.T., incur bills, work your ass into the ground, “find” religion, serve your community, stop sleeping regularly, love deeply, lose deeply, realize that your parents have problems just like you…and the list goes on and on and on…God does it go on!

After reaching this crescendo of pure kick-your-ass, wear-you-down middle-aged “bliss”, the downhill side of the bell curve comes into view. It’s as if you have reached the top of and gotten stuck on, some behemoth roller coaster…and the view…well the view…totally sucks! One reason is…well…eventually you die! Hey, that’s a big one! Some would say, “Holy, Holy I’m going to Heaven so I feel good about dying! Praise Jeebus!”

Yes. If you are ready and it is coming then by all means that is the right place for you. It’s like this reassurance allaying of the sadness about the eventuality of death. As if it is better to pray for the end then enjoy the now. Well, OK, thank you for your eternal optimism and I am sure you will make it to heaven and we’ll see ya’ there (making that fake gun shape with your hand and that clicking sound like calling your dog inside) *wink *wink.  May God bless you I am sure, but I prefer not to die thank you all the same. I will definitely stall it if I can.

I do believe in a physical or transcendental place that exists beyond this earthly dwelling. Heaven, Aaru, Nirvana, etc., or whatever you want to call it. While those places sound great and all, I want to hang out here for a while longer, a long while actually. I can and will be resigned to the fact that there is somewhere to go when I do kick the bucket. I need those places to exist; they have to exist because if not, then this place is the stupidest hamster wheel ever conceived. The other part of the downward spiral is worsening health, those around you dying, your kid knocking someone up and moving away, and eventually you are crapping in a diaper again only this time in your “favorite” lifter chair with a remote in one hand and a fly-swatter in the other. If I had my choice, then I would like to do the University thing over…please?

OK. Here’s the Ying to the Yang part. There are some good times on the downward portion of the curve I suppose, like financial peace of mind (God willing), being able to have sex with the wife wherever and whenever we want #bonus, buying a car that isn’t designed to haul a hoarders paradise, having the time to enjoy friends, drink copious amounts of wine and eat bizarre cheeses, travel, brag on the kid’s success stories, maybe grand kids. But, all in all, and I do not want to mince words, this is the time for life to take a S.H.I.T.

I realize that this has been some quick and cheap existentialism, therefore I am going to break this up in some upcoming parts. What I am trying to get at is that its time to get nimble, time to get back to basics, release some of the physical and emotional baggage, raise my hands, scream, and enjoy the rest of the ride.

Oh! But I’m not giving up the Smashing Pumpkins tee. That S.H.I.T. is just too cool.

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Something Freaky This Way Comes.

He was born to be on the mound.
“In my 13 years in the big leagues, this is the only guy I’ve seen who is worth the hype. The first one.”
Former teammate Rich Aurilia
Very few pitchers at the highest level can say, “born to pitch,” or, “born to throw.” Even a smaller percentage can say both.
Tim Lincecum, ‘The Freak,’ is one of those, and he does it in Hall of Fame style. Number 55 has an unorthodox delivery that generates an amazing amount of power on his fastball and he hides the ball extremely well for his wicked breaking stuff. His stride alone is 129% of his body length! Amassing an amazing 7.5 feet. Normal pitchers can only stride out at about 80% of their body length.
Flowing black , somewhat effeminate, locks protrude out the back of his cap, which probably adds another four pounds to his cross-country runner, 170 lb. frame. There in lies the conundrum. Wirery stature with Nolan Ryan, corn fed, power. When he reaches into his pitching suitcase he finds a two-seam fastball at 90-95 mph, a change-up which he holds like a splitter, a sick curve ball, a slider and a four-seam fastball that reaches the mid-to-high 90s. He is a rock-and-roller who loves the classics; especially The Beatles. There is a bit of Washington State hippie in him. About a year ago, Lincecum was picked up for a misdemeanor marijuana possession. Not surprising, really, considering the proximity of growing up near Oregon. This is not a condemnation directed towards him as a person, or these two beautiful states and it’s inhabitants. But, let’s face it folks, there is an awful lot of tree-humpin’ going on out there in the North West and the laws for weed are pretty relaxed. So, smoke it up Timmy!
These personality traits should not distract from raw talent and dedicated work ethics. This is a 2-time Cy Younger with a ton more in the tank. Just take a gander at these career stats:
(through September 30, 2010)
Win–Loss 56–27
Earned run average 3.04
Strikeouts 907
Walks 293
WHIP 1.18 (Walks + Hits per Innings Pitched)
Shutouts 5
Footnote…he’s only been in the league since 2007!!
His professionalism at such a young age is pretty startling, as well.
“He’s not in awe of anything. Sometimes I wonder if he knows who’s up there.”
His father, Chris, told him, ‘NEVER let the opposing batters get a feeling that they have you
shaken up. You should have the same demeanor up there, whether you are striking out the side, or getting lit up.’ This after Tim was losing his temper a lot on the mound as a young pitcher. This refashioned attitude stuck with him as he has integrated it into his style as a major leager. Oh, sure he shows emotion and fire on the mound with signature “Tigeresque” fist pumps, but make no mistake…Tim is in control!
Chris, a Boeing employee, taught “Timmy” everything he knew about pitching and the unique delivery. Forcing him, on his follow through, to pick up dollar bills on the ground in front of him. His father told him, “NO,” when it came to Tim icing his arm. He said, ‘Ice is only used for two things. An injury or my drinks.’
Tim’s father was a pitcher in his youth and even claimed to throw 88 mph when he was in his 50s. His own career cut short by a back injury, but still enamored by the intricacies of pitching, he began imprinting his philosophies onto “Timmy.” They developed hand signals so that Tim knew exactly what he needed to adjust during game play. Chris also videoed every one of Tim’s games and they would then pour over the data after each one. There was also the weight training regiment Chris developed for Tim. It took his diminutive frame and added flexibility, strength, and grace to his game. He can do back flips from a standing, starting position and walk on his hands for “days.” This dedication that Chris showed to his son is truly laudable.
This is one of the truly amazing father to son, sharing stories that we have seen in years. It doesn’t happen enough.
By the way, “The Freak” is pitching TONIGHT in Game 1 of the World Series. He goes head-to-head with Cliff Lee and should be one of the great duels on record. Tune in and get your head in the game!!

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World Series (Big Boss Ross)

Well, there we have it! Ryan Howard, the multi-gazilion dollar player, staring at a beautifully breaking Brian Wilson delivery. Strike three. Outside corner at the knees. Your out!
At $45,454, oh and 55 cents, PER at bat (he had 550 total for 2010!), it was a classic example of baseball being, “the great equalizer.”
The other side of that equal sign is the now traveled outfielder, Cody “Big Boss” Ross. Just for comparitive purposes, Ross made $8,476 per at bat (having a total of 525 for 2010). A player not even picked up in our fantasy league and most fans would have said before the NLCS, “Isn’t that Diana’s brother?”
This ball player, born and raised in New Mexico, dreamed of becoming a rodeo clown, because of his father being a professional bull rider. He began his carrer for the Detroit Tigers, becoming their minor-league rookie of the year. From there he went to the Dodgers, then to Cincinatti, and eventually landing, in a trade, to the Marlins.
In late 2010, Ross came over from the beleaguered Marlins in August of this year. The Giants claimed Ross off of waivers, in order to prevent the charging Padres from accomplishing this same task. With Padres center fielder Tony Gwyn Jr. exiting with a season ending injury, it was crucial that San Fran push the dagger into the Friar’s hopes for going to the NLCS. They got Ross, while it then left the pool of center-fielders shy at best for the Padres to choose from.
It proved to be a very sharp move by the SF organization, as Ross was named Most Valuable Player of the NLCS for batting .350 with a .950 slugging percentage. Three of his four post-season homers broke up no-no’s!
If any of you got the chance to see him dial in on Philly pitching like it was batting practice, it was truly something to behold. Ross can be a rather streaky player, but like others of this caliber, when he’s on…he’s freakin’ on! Keep watching this story into the WS. Look for a continued performance from Ross because right now he’s hot, unless, of course his streaky side shows up.

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Swim, Forest, Swim!

Where’s the ignition on this Blogamajigy? Do I have to pump the gas like two or three times and then turn it over? Ah, I see, it starts by using mind power…NO?
Ohhhh! It’s like sports, you say? Maybe some practice swings are in order. A little stretching out before leaving the on-deck circle? Yeah, mmmm, that feels better. Hey, what are you lookin’ at? I don’t wanna pull a groin or somethin’!
Clear signs of procrastination all, to which I am no stranger of, and maybe some trepidation at floating out into this foreign realm. Embarking on an ocean voyage…no compass or shipmates…
…Yes, I know I have Toni and Jacob. I’m the luckiest man on the face of the Earth, but hold on a second. I’m telling the story.
I am preparing to leave this godforsaken island, because I simply must for my own sanity. It’s just been me alone, uninspired to quest, looking out over the rough, dangerous waves trying to convince myself that I can do this. Don’t let the pilot light go out, man.
The groove worn into the beachhead, from pacing indecisively, has reached my knees.
Oh, just do it!
What do you have to lose?
This can’t be too hard, right?
On the other hand, what are the chances that I’ll just float around out there on that big ocean and never make landfall? Will I just bake in the sun and finally succumb to the sharks?
I mean, who the hell cares what I have to say anyway?
Okay, must breath through my eyelids…here it goes. I have to give it a shot and now’s the chance! It’s time to step up and take a good hack at it.

Grip it…and rip it!

The water is calm at first. Cold and then getting choppy. As the first of many salty waves punches me in the gut, knocking the wind from me, choking water, “Wilsooooon!”
I am reminded…of a story.
My swim-days with the Highland Hurricanes were officially set to begin. It was about 1978, making me sevenish at the time. My father, Richard, was the lucky soul employed to escort me to the BIG pool at the high school. As I looked through the glass at that absurd amount of water and realized my fate now hung in the balance, I began to retreat with vertiginous thoughts . I have to go in there alone? Look at all those big kids. They have hair sticking out the sides of their blue bikinis like an afro under a skull-cap.
Once again…what are you lookin’ at!? It was the seventies people.
They’re going to pick on me or, or, or make me eat turds or something! I mean, the showers can be a very scary place!! I envisioned myself being drown by some big, ugly bully in the pool.
I’m too young to die!!!
The grandiose begging and pleading, which my Dad endured, must have been torturous. He stood firm. “Ummm…No. You will go in there! Get in there right now…Kurrrrt…let go of my pant-leg. Get in that locker room. Go on now.” So, with tears flowing and snot running I made a rejected, feet dragging march into the dank, chlorine, urine abyss. Assuredly, never to see the light of day again. I ran through the locker room with my hands working like blinders on a horse. There were bear-asses and dicks flying everywhere! Visual images imprinting the Grey-matter forever. It was like a damned Grecian bath house. Finally after mapping the maze of lockers and foul, crop dusting clouds, I stepped into water up to my ankles and slid a little. Ewwww! What the…Arrgghhhh! I’m in a mini…mini…foot pool by the door.
What the hell am I standing in?!
Just then, I made a warrior like dive, which broke me free of the nightmarish prison that would take a fractional part of my very being. The door slammed open to the view…of an ocean. People were everywhere, but the surroundings looked calm and the acoustics sounded non-threatening. Some laughing and joking could be heard. The sounds were kind of muffled and even the whistle seemed tame. The air was heavier and the chlorine burned my lungs, although it was better than the human toilet I had just escaped. I warmed to it slightly, but it was still not a place I wanted to be.
I believe I sat on the edge of the pool and sniveled and whimpered for a little while, as Mr. Blaskovich, the coach, prodded me to enter the water further.
No sir, I like it right here.
There I was. In control, somewhat, of my own destiny.
In front of the ocean.
Dad knew I had to go it alone on that one. Just as I sit here today in much of the same manner. No snake-pit to run through being the only difference.
Will my ideas work? What will I write about? Will anyone read this shit?
I eventually grew a pair, literally, and went on to swim quite well. I received many accolades, ribbons, and medals over the years. I showed up at a swim-off in 8th grade and blew them all out of the water in the 100 free. For some reason after winning that last race. I never swam competitively again. I had found…land.
All of this possible because my father knew that it was time for me, on that day, at that time, to jump into the cold, cruel pool of life…and swim.
Thanks Dad.

Well, there it is. The first post in a long line of such ramblings. Whatever rolls out of the gumball machine.
“That’s all we got, one goddamn hit?
“You can’t say goddamn on the air.”
“Don’t worry, nobody is listening anyway.”
I suppose it would be a detriment to start out this blogging thing, if it were to be with a fear of trying to make everyone happy. On the other hand, if I try and settle scores or call someone out with this forum, then I am inviting criticism and harsh reactions. Well, good…sometimes you just have to write it. Only time will tell whether it will hurt only temporarily. In the long run they probably deserved it anyway. So, heads up. I may pitch inside.

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