Sunday, January 23, 2011

WAY TO BE RACHEL! (and other random thoughts of basketball, pictures and Bon Jovi)

Some random thoughts I thought I'd mention...

Due to a computer malfunction, I wasn't able to post the Golden Globe running diary like I always do.  So, I posted it today, with some links and such... you can either scroll down to read it (or if you read this column several months from when it was written, 1/23/11, then just click here to read it...)

The Lovely Steph Leann and I are having dinner at CiCi’s Pizza. It’s a local pizza buffet, and you can even order the pizza you want at the buffet counter. They’ll bring you several slices of it, and its pretty awesome for a $7 meal. I tend to eat more than my $7 would normally buy.

Sitting on the couch, she decided she didn’t want a burger, or tacos, or a sub sandwich, and I didn’t have have a hankerin’ for Chicken Fillet, so I piped up with “CiCi’s Pizza?” It’s a question that I ask and get not just a no, but sometimes a “Aw, haylz to tha’ no”, when The Lovely Steph Leann is feeling especially gangsta, but this night, I got a “Yeah, that’s fine.”

I will take a “that’s fine” any day. So we went to CiCi’s. We are sitting there, she with her cheesesticks and me with my black olives, pepperoni and mushrooms, and she perks up suddenly. She looks towards the ceiling, as do I, and we both hear the same thing… “…and as my broken heart lies bleeding… you say true love is suicide… you say you cried a thousand rivers… and now you’re headed for the shore…”

We then get onto a lengthy conversation about Bon Jovi lyrics, and in that conversation, The Lovely Steph Leann actually gets giddy.  She starts giggling while remembering old Bon Jovi songs, and Jon Bon Jovi himself.  It would be the same for me if the Debbie Gibson "Foolish Beat" video or Alyssa Milano circa 1992 "Who's The Boss" just appeared.

So, later that night, we are both laying in bed about to fall asleep, and I randomly start singing "I'll Be There For You", which results in another long conversation about the differences in that song and "Never Say Goodbye", how Bon Jovi songs tend to reference the bottle as a solution to the pain, how all of his videos are just the band in concert with no story line, and an iPhone interweb search for lyrics to "Blaze of Glory".

Jon Bon Jovi was the stuff back in the late 80s and early 90s, and let me tell ya, every girl I knew loved Bon Jovi.  The band escaped what plagued New Kids on the Block, that being the sissy-boy image that forced all dudes to denounce any sense of enjoyment, whether you liked them or not.  Truthfully, I kinda like a few New Kids songs, including "Tonight", "Step by Steph" and "Please Don't Go Girl", but there's no way I'd say that around the likes of Daniel Stephenson, Shane Gillis or even Greg Avant... but seriously, it was senseless being an open Michael Bolton fan and verbally denouncing Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Danny and Donnie.

Anyway, it was cool to like Bon Jovi.  "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Bad Medicine", "Livin' on a Prayer" and of course, my favorite, "Blaze of Glory" were songs on the soundtrack to my high school life.  Somewhere around the mid-90s, Bon Jovi kinda feel out of favor overall, his songs no longer hitting the charts on a regular basis, but they are still going strong.  Jon has short hair now, though. 

And The Lovely Steph Leann still gets giddy thinking about it.

Another night, we were eating at Mt. Fuji with DeNick and DeLisa, and they had brought Baby George with them.  The food was pretty good and reasonably priced--we had coupons, which is why we went.  The Lovely Steph Leann and I are hibachi fans, but we chose to sit at the regular table, instead of one or the four or five grills they have set up.  The plan was actually to get some sushi, but we all ended up with entree platters. so the hibachi would have been better--though we weren't sure how Baby George would have handled the fire and the rice rice baby and the woo woo choo choo.

We are sitting there, catching up, having a good time, and DeLisa shares that she didn't know what channel Sesame Street came on... until a friend of hers was visiting, and using the remote, went straight to it on the TV.

DeLisa:  I had no idea where it was, and she found it!
Me: You know another way you could have found out?  Just call the cable company.
DeLisa:  Call the cable company?
Me:  Yeah.  Just call them and say, "Hey, can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?"

Ba dum dum

When The Lovely Steph Leann and I went to Samson a few weeks ago, for Christmas Eve, I had already decided on a plan for something.  In my parents house were about nine photo albums, filled with pictures from the last, oh, I dunno, 30 years and more of my own life, plus the life of my cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, extended family, friends and the like.

Here's my mom and my late father, taken probably '81 or
'82... that shirt was my favorite shirt, and I wore it daily.
The problem?  Well, as its been documented on this here very site, I grew up in a smokers home, so all the albums are full of that stale cigarette smoke that they've been sitting in for two or three decades.  My master plan is to get all the albums, remove every single picture from those albums, air them out, scan them, burn all pictures onto a CD, then send that CD to all the cousins, so they will have all the photos. 

I started almost immediately when I got back.  I've probably scanned over a hundred pics so far, but there are several hundred more to go--each photograph is in an old photo album, where the plastic has to be peeled back, and the photo has to be carefully removed from the adhesive that has held it in place for all that time.   I'll tell you I've accidentally torn a few of them, but nothing disastrous. 

Another problem is in the scanning, as most of the pics were taken with 70s and 80s era cameras, which in my family meant nothing too expensive.  I have a dozen or more pics taken from a visit to the beach at Chesapeake Bay in Virginia taken with a disc camera.   Like, the the camera was a thin square, and the film was a disc that looked like a ViewMaster disc with the white cover removed.  And it had a little slot on the top where you bought and inserted a flash that could be used six times. 

Nowadays, we don't like the picture, one that we take and immediately look at to see its quality, we just delete and retake it.  Back then?  You used your flash only when needed, and wasting a photo was too expensive. 

Melanie invited myself and The Lovely Steph Leann to watch her daughter, Special K, play some girls basketball.  The team are St. Rose Academy Knights, playing in a Catholic School League, and they were playing the St. Aloysius Somethingorothers...

The Lovely Steph Leann couldn't come, due to a Creative Memories event, but I was all about rooting on young Special K to victory.  The game was an away game for the Lady Knights, coached by Special K's father, Daddy Z himself, so we all rode out to Bessemer, Alabama, to the Catholic Church gym. 

One side of the gymnasium had two rows of chairs, where the teams were warming up, the other side had a small set of bleachers, about six rows, running down the side.  Melanie, Yours Truly, The Zach Attack and Jay-Z walked to the middle, where Knights fans bled into the other fans (and by fans I mean "parents" and random people like me who thought it would be fun to watch), and sat down.  Jay-Z, being of a young teen age, quickly split to go find friends much cooler than his mom and her friend. 

In a pic taken a few weeks before this particular game day, here's
Melanie smothering The Zack Attack and Special K with motherly
love and embarrassing affection.  Cause thats what cool moms do.

The girls who played are all 13 and under, so the game was a low scoring one.  The quarters are 7 minutes each, and by halftime, it was something like 8-0, with The Lady Knights burning it up.  Special K and her teammate, Chase Lake, were rock stars, running that ball through the crowds, getting the fast breaks, and making the plays. 

There was a girl named Rachel, however, on the other team that we all noticed.  Well, there were a couple that caught my attention, one of which I called Tank Girl, cause she was a beast.  Rachel was the other one.  The reason I noticed her?


I looked at Melanie, she looked at me, we looked around, and there was a large father sitting up by the wall on the top row.  Clapping vigorously, he screamed, "WAY TO GO RACHEL!!"

We both looked back out at the girls teams, and Rachel was giving it her all. 


Melanie looked at me then cracked up.  "Don't let them come into our house?" she mouthed to me.  "What does that even mean?"

What was even better was by 3rd quarter, The Lady Knights were up something like 10-2. In a game full of pre-teen offense and grade school defense, an 8 point deficit was a heckuva lot to overcome.  Melanie warned me that The Lady Knights always start fast, then have to hold off comebacks, but there wasn't to be much of a comeback today.


Which I found to be funny, because The Lady Knights were earning everything, and dominating.  I whispered to Melanie, "Don't eat the ball, Rachel", to which she almost lost it.


This was said several times when anyone other than Rachel had the ball.   Remember, we are in a small gym, so everything echoes in there.  His voice, while loud, was considerably amplified through the walls of the building.


I made that last one up. 

Melanie had already warned me that were he to make a bad remark on Special K, she, Melanie, would in fact come unglued.  However, Melanie's glue stayed together, as Loud Father never did such a thing.  To his credit, he never disparaged any other player, he never mocked any other player or either team and he was never insulting to any girl on the floor, or their playing ability. 

I told her that Loud Father was the kind of guy who would be all up in the coaches face if dear Rachel, heading no doubt for the WNBA right out of 6th grade, was benched for any reason, even if it was for an injury.  When Rachel did in fact sit down, which wasn't long, I half expected Loud Father to still yell "THROW IT TO RACHEL!  SHE CAN DO MORE ON THE BENCH THAN YOU CAN ON THE FLOOR!!!" But he didn't, which was probably a good thing.

All in all, it was an enjoyable game, with The Lady Knights scoring the winning basket with less than a minute left, making it 12-4, and putting the game all but out of reach.  So, when the game was over, The Lady Knights victorious, Melanie and I met the others on the court, and I shouted, "WAY TO BE, SPECIAL K!" to which I got prodded by Melanie. 

"What?" I looked at her.  She smirked.  Then laughed.  Cause I'm awesome.

**Went to the Waffle House this morning for breakfast.  The one on 280 has a health rating score of something like, 85.  Normally, this would dissuade me from going to a particular restaurant, but Waffle House is in a class all its own.  Its my theory that at Waffle House, the higher the health score, the worse and more bland the food will be.  Waffle House health rating of 96?  Clean restaurant, sure, but its missing all the stuff that makes the food good.  Waffle House health rating of 85?  Now THAT is a restaurant with secret ingredients to make those hash browns perfect.  Sold.

**The Lovely Steph Leann and I enjoy watching television shows on DVD, mostly because we can knock out an entire season in a week or two... we just finished CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's tenth season--I think I've actually watched less than five episodes when they actually came on television.  Other shows we catch on DVD include Grey's Anatomy, and the last two seasons of LOST.  Now?  We are diving headfirst into Mad Men.  So far, its pretty awesome... especially the authenticity--like the pregnant woman smoking (everyone smokes on this show, probably like they did in real life) and the kids playing while wearing big plastic bags over their heads.

**Just finished Walt Disney's biography.  Going to try to work a review in soon... its a massive book that was massively entertaining.

**Yes, yes, I know its the middle to late part of January, and still not a 100 Coolest list.  I have it, but I just haven't written it out yet.  Its coming, I promise.  Soon.

**Speaking of Disney, I'm so flipping excited about going in February.  We leave for Walt Disney World on February 3rd, and don't return until February 13th... here is what we are doing while we are there:  The new Wild Africa Trek... Hoop-de-doo-Revue... La Nouba... the Epcot Segway Tour... eating at Kouzzina... eating at Rose & Crown... eating at Via Napoli... eating at Le Cellier... and, the reason we are going actually, an all day Disney World Trading Pin Event at Epcot on January 5th.  We've already got a lot of pins reserved for purchase, so we are pumped that we get exclusive merchandise. 

**Oh, and lest I forget, we are meeting some very dear friends while we are there, and going together to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventures. 

In 12 days!

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