|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, April 29, 2006
It's getting warmer out. That means it's about time to break out the short-sleeved business casual garb and put the sweaters to the back of the closet. One shirt though...
The most uncomfortable feeling for me is motion sickness, but running a hot second is what I call the "back of the neck sweats." It's basically just a low grade flop sweat I'm prone to, and physical misery for me doesn't get a whole lot worse.
In the swampland of a South Carolina Indian Summer in September last year I made the mistake of doing something I hadn't really done on that scale since college (and haven't done since). I was fine for about ten minutes, then the hundred degree/hundred percent world started spinning around and I spent the next hour fighting the spins and the flop sweats on Lil' Otis' nursery.
I was wearing one of my short sleeved shirts. Every time I see the thing, let alone put it on, I can remember what it felt like to soak through my shirt in the southern heat. I start to flush just a bit and I can't imagine spending eight consecutive hours in the thing, lest I completely collapse under the weight of my own perspiration.
I was packing up for my trip this week, and it's about time the shirt got back into rotation.
Can't do it. It's still on the hangar.
A little while ago an old friend stumbled across her full married name in a post deep in my archives, and sent me a "What The Fuck?" email - which I deserved. I responded to her, she to me, and we've spent the last few months rebuilding what was a pretty significant friendship ten years gone.
The Doc and I met in the dorms back in the latter half of 1992. I remember she was wearing a short skirt and Dr. Seuss standard issue striped tights when I saw her passing me by for the first time, and it's just like a whitebread motherfucker like me to be intrigued by a funky girl. We met, grew into fast friends, good friends, friends-with-benefits on a small scale, and then threw in a couple of years of ad hoc psychiatry for good measure. Thing is, and this isn't a shocking revelation to The Doc or anything*, I totally had a thing for the girl right off the bat. I did all the typical eighteen year-old screwed-up-dude-carrying-a-torch stuff. Mixtape? Check. Bad poetry? Check. A note to her in my strategically-left-for-her-discovery diary that claimed we both carried the "mark of Cain" as read in Herman Hesse's Demian and she shouldn't be dating douchebags as a result? Check.
*Well, maybe it was... more in a minute.
I pined for this girl for awhile, then spent some time dreading running into her, then pined again, then tried to emotionally write her off, then pined again, then... well, you get the picture. I was a screwed up kid who was (at times) absolutely convinced that this girl - the first truly great woman I had the chance to meet as "an adult" - and I were "meant to be."
Well, we never got remotely close to that. To her credit, she put up with my bad habits, obvious (um...) schoolboy crush, and general idiocy to work to preserve what I think was an important friendship for both of us back then.
Being young, ignorant and utterly convinced I was madly in love with a girl who wasn't returning the favor was enough to screw things up in my head just a little bit. There were times she was the only person I wanted to talk to, and other times where I didn't even want to get within five blocks of the girl. Naturally, this was all in my own head. I wish I had been a smarter and more emotionally stable person at twenty, more capable of realizing what it was we were going to be and less concerned about all the other stuff that I was either inventing in my head or just not within my control.
Things fall apart, and the last time we saw each other was eventful only because of the ill feelings between us when she left. She was due for a visit with a very serious boyfriend in tow, which gave me the reason I needed to irrationally dread her company. Unfortunately for her, dude pulled the rug out from underneath and broke up with her unexpectedly in the hours before their drive over.
Instead of meeting the boyfriend and enduring a long weekend of rueing the day I agreed to have the two of them stay, I got a very visibly shaken M on my porch, pouring her heart out in frustration and despair. I couldn't help but feel for her. Despite being almost (almost kiddo - I believe I've got this head-to-head won) as screwed up as I was at the time, she was (and is) one of the most whole-heartedly real people I've had the pleasure to call a friend. She deserved more and better than what she got out of this guy, and I went into sympathetic damage control mode to try and offer my help.
Thing is, I screwed up the sympathy part of things, and she took off fairly upset with me. Still was, up until I apologized a few months ago.
We've been rebuilding our friendship over email, and I'm grateful. I think having her ear back has been good for me, as she's known me longer than nearly any of my other friends. Still, I haven't seen her in ten years and haven't physically talked to her but twice in that span. So when she emailed me the other day with the note, "We should talk on the phone soon. What do you think?..." I actually panicked just a little. The conversation was going fine on email. Why screw up a good thing?
Tonight I learned two things. One, she actually had no idea I had a huge crush on her - which is supposedly due to my ineffective reverse-psychology technique of denying my crush for a couple years. Second? Reconnecting with an old friend flies in the face of the metaphor I'm probably supposed to use here.
It is not at all like putting on an old shirt.
Instead, it's nice to hear from you again Doc.
My Last Two Guesses...
1. HOU - Mario Williams
2. NO - Trades out to SF - Reggie Bush
3. TEN - Vince Young
4. NYJ - Matt Leinart
5. GB - AJ Hawk
6. NO - Vernon Davis
7. OAK - Michael Huff
8. BUF - D'Brickashaw Ferguson
9. DET - Trades out to PHI - Winston Justice
10. ARI - Ernie Sims
11. STL - Chad Greenway
12. CLE - Haloti Ngata
13. BAL - Broderick Bunkley
14. DET - Jimmy Williams (or trade down to anyone trying to trump DEN for Cutler)
(since I'm a homer, I stop with the Lions - futile trying to guess at these, let alone the rest)
My Dream Scenario
1. HOU - Mario Williams
2. NO - Trades out with SF - Reggie Bush
3. TEN - Vince Young
4. NYJ - Matt Leinart
5. GB - AJ Hawk
6. NO - D'Brickashaw Ferguson
7. OAK - Michael Huff
8. BUF - Broderick Bunkley
9. DET - Vernon Davis
Not entirely implausible, but I don't see NO passing on Davis...
Friday, April 28, 2006
The point being is that the only measuring stick for the success of your blog is if it is getting you what you want out of it.
That, and it's more special when it happens for you in an honest and non-formulaic sort of way. At least that's my opinion. Good stuff Sloejack.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Fifteen Minutes Ago
A bag of wax beans. A six pack of micro-brew. Twelve cans of frozen grape juice concentrate. A not terribly bad looking brunette.
I'm behind her in line.
"Grape juice, wax beans and Oberon... I'm not really quite sure what to make of that."
She cackles a little bit - it's kind of an ugly laugh. She's got a gaudy ornate mount for a stone of indeterminite origin on her left ring finger. It probably used to be gold. Her teeth are a little yellowed through the uncomfortable smile coming from the unexpected. "Ha! Wouldn't you like to know!"
Ohhh... I'm sorry. We would have accepted "I'm making a souffle'," or "One of these things is for me, one for my roommate, and one for the hobo we've got shackled to the basement wall." Thanks for playing.
Never meant to be. My barometer is almost never wrong, except when it is.
Monday, April 24, 2006
NFL Ultimate Mock Draft
SI.com has an interesting but totally wrong look at a mock draft if all of a sudden all players were released from their contracts.
The author has some ridiculous picks in here, like Terrell Owens and Reggie Bush as first-rounders, not to mention a few exclusions/omissions (Tommie Harris? Really? Where's Julius Peppers?). Here's what the list should look like, but first let's define the player pool. These are the guys with the right combination youth, upside and excellence to be a first- or second-round pick in a mock draft. In other words, if you could start over from scratch, would you build around Brett Favre or Eli Manning? I thought so. The youth factor is why you don't see Marvin Harrison or Torry Holt, for instance. I think GMs would absolutely value upside and longevity in this scenario, that's why your favorite seven-year veteran doesn't make the list below.
QB: Tom Brady / Peyton Manning / Carson Palmer / Ben Roethlisberger* / Michael Vick* / Drew Brees* / Matt Hasselbeck* / Daunte Culpepper* / Eli Manning* / Donovan McNabb / Vince Young*
*Due solely to the assumption that the scarcity of top talent at QB would result in a panicked run to include these players.
RB: Willis McGahee / Ronnie Brown / LaDanian Tomlinson / Larry Johnson / Cadillac Williams / Clinton Portis / Shaun Alexander / Reggie Bush
WR/TE: Chad Johnson / Randy Moss / Antonio Gates / Alge Crumpler / Steve Smith / Jeremy Shockey / Larry Fitzgerald / Anquan Boldin / Santana Moss
OL: Levi Jones / Jon Jansen / Chris Samuels / Bryant McKinnie / Jordan Gross / Orlando Pace / Walter Jones / Jonathan Ogden / D'Brickashaw Ferguson
DT: Shaun Rogers / Tommie Harris** / John Henderson / Kris Jenkins*** / Anthony McFarland / Dewayne Robertson / Richard Seymour / Marcus Stroud / Jamal Williams
**I don't buy this, personally / ***I think injury history keeps him off this list
DE: John Abraham / Derrick Burgess / Dwight Freeney / Jevon Kearse / Adewale Ogunleye / Julius Peppers / Terrell Suggs / Osi Umenyiora / Kyle Vanden Bosch / Mario Williams
LB: Nick Barnett / Keith Bulluck / Andra Davis / Shawne Merriman / Odell Thurman / Brian Urlacher / Jonathan Vilma / Demorrio Williams
CB/S: Troy Polamalu / Ed Reed / Champ Bailey / Nate Clements / DeAngelo Hall / Dunta Robinson
(Lots of borderline guys in this group...)
Again, rules are simple. Who would you choose out of the entire NFL player pool (including this year's draft class) to start a franchise around? Assume you lock your pick up with a seven-year contract that you'd like to see them finish out. Who's your selection?
The first-round picks:
1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. LaDanian Tomlinson
4. Walter Jones
I don't think anyone would come up with a different top four. Different order maybe, but these guys are the top four.
5. Julius Peppers
6. Larry Johnson
7. Dwight Freeney
8. Richard Seymour
Top of my DT class, although I'm a homer and think Shaun Rogers is the best DT in football.
9. Brian Urlacher
10. Osi Umenyiora
11. Ben Roethlisberger
Yes, over Michael Vick.
12. Orlando Pace
13. Ed Reed
I thought Reed's value was a half a notch higher than Polamalu or Champ Bailey.
14. Michael Vick
15. Carson Palmer
16. John Henderson
Prefer Hendu to Stroud, both are excellent.
17. Champ Bailey
18. John Abraham
19. Levi Jones
Kid keeps getting better. Not in Walter Jones' class, but he's a young LT with room to get better.
20. Troy Polamalu
21. Terrell Suggs
22. Reggie Bush
You heard me.
23. Shaun Rogers
24. Donovan McNabb
25. Keith Bulluck
I think he's better than most people realize. Second LB off the board behind Urlacher for sure.
26. Bryant McKinnie
27. Cadillac Williams
Hard choice between Bush and Williams, but it's the home run potential of Reggie that tips the scales.
28. Jonathan Ogden
Probably still overrated in this spot.
29. Marcus Stroud
30. Jonathan Vilma
Splitting hairs between Vilma and the next two LBs to come - Andra Davis and Shawne Merriman.
31. Antonio Gates
Enough of a matchup nightmare to be a first-rounder.
32. Jamal Williams
Who'd I miss? Where'd I screw this up? Let me know...
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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