Friday, March 30, 2012

Suck It Trabek....Happiness Challenge.

Sometimes stories sound too good to be true.  This is true.  I'm not lying at all.  This shit is true.

Years ago, while living in Tampa, I worked at a new restaurant.  I became friends with many of the people there and some of out lives have spread apart and moved on.  I became friends with a girl named Karon.  When people ask why she's named Karon, she says because her parent's were a moron.  Get it.  Pretty witty, right?  So anyway.

I would hang out with Karon at a local bar/club in north Tampa, where her girlfriend at time worked.  Her name is Ashley.  Well one Sunday night, I was chillin' at the bar (cause that's what I do) while Ashley was working.  We were shooting the shit and laughing and having a good time.  All of the sudden this local WWE wrestler walks in with some friends.  I didn't pay much mind, but was like "hey that's so and so" and left it like that.  People would come up to him and gawk and want a picture and shit.  He wasn't really in the mood for that and I respected that.  All of the sudden, he makes a cheers with his buddies.  The other people around the bar look at him like an idiot.  I got the reference and cheersed (made that up) back.  He looked at me funny and asked if I knew what he was talking about.  I told him I did and then he invited me over for a shot and drink.

Next thing you know, we bring up the SNL skits of Jeopardy and Sean Connery.  I love those skits.  So does this guy.  We're going back and forth again and again.  People are looking at us funny as if we're stupid.  It was classic.

As you can see, this is all classic material.  We went on for a bit and then I thanked him for the drinks and the laughs and walked away.  See people, that's how you deal with the celebs and stars and whomever.  Just hit and run, but make it memorable for a specific reason. 

So then, you fast forward a couple of couple of years.  This guy started to become more and more popular and famous.  He was becoming a main attraction on WWE and "contending" for the championship.  Eventually he became champ.

One day about 6 years ago, he started to come into the restaurant I worked at in Tampa on a frequent basis.  I never brought up our very random moment, but I always remembered.  One day, he came in and I walked him to his table. He was in town and waiting for his guest.  You see, he lives in Tampa.  As we were at the table I told him that little story from above.  He looked at me somewhat funny and then actually remembered it.  He even knew which bar in Tampa we were at.  I was amazed.  I didn't think after 6 years it would jog a thing, but it did.  We laughed about the Jeopardy skits and even relived a couple of them.  Then one night the best thing ever happened.

He was leaving the restaurant with his wife and their friends.  He came up to the front door and asked for his jacket.  I said "No problem" and went and got it.  I was smiling and laughing to myself the whole time and you'll see why.  As I returned to the host stand, there was a group of people at the door.  The gentleman and his guests (4), two other hostesses, one of my bosses and four other random people up there.  I said "Here's your coat, sir."  He replied with a thanks and then I told him the following, "I like your coat.  Its a good fit and nice material."  Once again he said thanks.  I asked him if I could ask him one more question and he said yes.  I then said, "Do they make it for men?"  Everyone around me stared, shocked that I would say this.  You see, he's 6' and 250 lbs of muscle.  He stared at me and then laughed.  It was our little moment and we were the only ones that got it.  This is why we laughed.

By the way, its a funny skit.  So as we fast forward to this past weekend, said wrestler walked into the Charlotte location of where I work.  I told him hello and said it was good to see him up here and asked how things were.  He said good and then looked at me a little funny.  When I told him, that I was from Tampa, he said "Suck it Trebek."  I laughed, he laughed, it was awesome.  This is what makes me happy about my job.  I had some random moment with this guy about some totally random SNL skit.

Suck on it Cena.  See you next time you're in town.  HAHA!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lazy Happiness Writing....Happiness Challenge.

Some days when I think about this challenge, I feel like either I'm about to be a pompous ass or a completely lazy writer.  Today is me being lazy.

In college, I had the luxury of having some awesome friends.  One of them was my RA Nik.  He worked with the Student Activities Council.  His job was to bring in the comedy acts to perform at the school.  Since we were friends, I was able to meet a couple different up and coming comedians.  Then I was able to meet the pictured person below.  It was awesome.  He was funny as hell, before and during the show.  It was great to get my picture with him before he went off the map.  What's crazy is how ironic these little moments set me up for what I do professionally and how I handle/act around/talk to the stars, but that's a chat for tomorrow.

That's all there is today.  Sometimes being happy is being a little pompous and lazy at the same time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm a Show You How Great I Am....Happiness Continued.

Sorry, for the delay and two week pause in the Happiness Blog.  Things haven't been the greatest at the moment.  One week of dealing with 2 different state DMVs is a pain in the ass, but I finally have my driver's license for the first time in 10 years.  So happy for that.  Secondly, work has been a little frustrating.  But that's for a different time and place.  Now that I have things under control, I guess I can focus on some of this writing a little better.  So we get to start a new with this past Sunday.

This past Sunday, I participated in the Spartan Sprint Race.  It was located at the US Whitewater Center here in Charlotte.  I've been hitting the gym pretty steady for the last 2 months.  My weight is down, but holding steady due to muscle growth.  My midsection is slowly evaporating.  My endurance from running and weekly soccer games and walking to work each day is showing.  I've never been happy about my physical appearance from a healthish look, but I'm happy with what it going on now.  So anyway.  I've been working hard at the gym and needed to test myself.

I have had friends back in Florida do the different mud, obstacle, hell races before and was wanting to do one.  So this past weekend, the Spartan Race came to town.  I signed up and used a discount of 50% off for it.  I spent a Saturday night after work IN so I could be rested and ready for race day.  After getting out there a little close to my heat start time - 1 pm - I got myself stretched and amped up ready to go.

Bang - the gun sounds and the race starts.  I was towards the back of the pack and took off running.  After the months of tread milling at a good clip, I found that I had a good speed and was able to pass a good number of the other runners.  The first obstacle came up and I found myself having to roll under a tent, get up and run, and then tuck and roll again before trekking off into the woods.  As the woods started, that's when you know that there is no going back.  Man up and finish.  Go hard or go home.  Quitters never finish and Finishers never quit.  Pick a phrase and run with it (no pun intended).  That's how I felt and I felt good.  As I was running in single lane trails, I ended up needing to pass more people.  So all you do is yell out "On your left" and they move to their right and let you go by.  I did that quite a bit for the first leg.  Then you come around the bend and get ready for the mud.  After drudging through thigh high (on me) mud, you get to a rope and have to climb it and ring the bell on the top.  I never could do that in PE in elementary school, but man I did it now.  I was so proud of being able to ring the bell.  I then climbed through more mud and helped my other runners get out of the mud.  (It's something you do along the way.  You help push them and they help push you).  Bam - off and running again.

As the course wound around, you find yourself out of the woods and in front of a couple of wooden walls that you have to climb over, under, and then through.  It made me feel like I was Jackie Chan jumping through the car window and kicking someone in the face and out of the car at the same time.  Freakin' Awesome.  Back to the woods.  Now I'm starting to separate from some of my other runners.  I noticed that I was able to keep a steady pace and that felt great.  After having to carry a sand bag up and then down the hill, it was off to mud city.  This fun, felt like a quarter mile, section was pretty much wading through a river bed up and around a bend.  After getting out of the mud and completely covered in it, it's back to running.  By now, I was carrying what felt like about 15 pounds of mud on me.

Time to rest?  Hell no.  The next fun spot was again running out of the woods and coming up on the mud crawl with barbed wire above your head. As I crawled in straight slick-ass mud, I found my body starting to hurt like hell. My shoulders and arms hurt from trying to drag my body up-slope and then down-slope in the mud. I did a good job of not getting cut up and then I did. There was a part in the down slope that made me think of "Chutes and Ladders." The rain the night before made a small little gully that I slid down and my left leg shot up in the air. This in turn got it sliced up. Oh well. Battle scars are the proof in the pudding. Once done, back to running.

This time around, I ended up behind someone. His name is Alvin. He was going to let me pass him and then I said no. I told him that I would pace him and he me, this helping both of us to keep going. There was a tall guy behind us who was starting to lag a bit, so we added him to the pack. His name is Steve. As we ran, we put Steve in front to help push him along and switch around to keep us fresh and going.  When we three got to obstacles we would push and encourage each other. Waiting for the last to finish and then back running. We helped each other over the 6' walls. They helped me when I had to lift a 5 gallon bucket full of concrete up about 15' in the air. My arms were tired and my hands had no grip, but the two of them yelling "Come on Rich. You got this" really helped me out and I was able to finish it. As we kept running, we kept running. We go to a part where we were able to have a quick cup of water and then the guy tells us that we were barely halfway through. Fuck!

Down the hill and up the hill again we go. Top of the hill is a cinder block with a long chain attached. Please drag this down and around the curve and bring it back. Thank you. Here's your stupid block! I'm off to run through the woods again. Through the woods the three of us went and pushing and pushing the time. Then we got to my childhood nemesis, Monkey Bars. I couldn't finish them. Never have been able to, but it's something to work of for the future. The punishment for failing an obstacle is doing 30 burpees. (That's pretty much starting in a standing position, then bouncing down to a push up position, then jumping back into the standing position.) Damn it hurt. We could hear the noise and feel the end coming. Up the last major stretch of trail running and then a long wall of climbing without putting your feet on the ground and ringing the bell. DING!! No rest for the weary cause next was what felt like skiing moguls and getting the number down to zero. 0 Bitches!! Throw a spear and make it stick. Damn it!! I missed. I would never kill anything in the year 10000 BC, but I would have friends that would. Alvin nailed it. Spear in the heart. Back to the burpees again. Arrrrggg! Over the rapids and yes its a whitewater center, so its rapids. Do this on a cargo netting and get across. Done. Last leg. This is where me being Richard kicks in.

As we get to the last obstacle, there is a guy there with a fire hose spraying water everywhere. There is a wooden board obstacle that you have to climb and get over using the rope attached, but the guy is spraying you down at the same time. Feels good but is annoying. Alvin and Steve got over, jumped over the bit of fire and face the end. I helped some random guy get over and then made my way. In front of me was a guy with one of those American Gladiator jousting sticks with the cushions on the end for beating the shit out you. Behind him were two guys standing on a floating dock waiting for you with the same sticks. After you get through them, you swim about 50 yards to the finish and then your done. Do you think I made it easy? No. Why? Cause I'm an idiot who takes the right moment to do something stupid.

As I jumped over the fire, the first guy was not paying attention. He was looking over to his left with the stick in his hand like a staff. As I ran up, he didn't see me at all. I then proceeded to punch, shove, straight mush the staff right into the side of his face. It was awesome. As I climbed over the rocks to get to the floating dock, the guy threw the joust stick at me. I laughed so hard that I didn't think straight. I started to get on the dock and looked up. Both guys were ready and raring to go to town on me. I looked at them and said "So I'm gonna get bad now, huh?" They nodded and said yes. I got up and on and then tried to do a duck and roll move and failed badly. They beat me down bad. I pretty much rolled of the end off the pier into the water. Both my knees are scraped up pretty bad, but it was sooooo worth it. Afterwards, I found Alvin and Steve and they both said they were looking for me, turned around, looked at the dock, and then saw me get the tar beat out of me. They asked what I did. When I told them, they both laughed. It was a great time. I got a medal for finishing, but more importantly I got the pride of finishing. I got a great story and a couple battle scars. I'm hoping they have pictures of the finish for me, cause that would be straight classic.

When I finished, I didn't have time to bask in my glory. It was straight to shower and then work. Beat down tired, but worth it. I thought that the race was about 3 miles. No. Wrong. 5 Miles yo. First time ever doing this and I did it in 1 hr 46 min 25 sec. I finished 717 out of 1685 for Sunday, 627 out of 1197, and 99 out of 280 for my age (30-35). Next race is the Warrior Dash in May. It's a three miler, but I'll be ready. Then in October is the Tough Mudder. It's 11 miles of hell, but I'm a do it. In a Boba Fett costume with the helmet and cape. Bring it on.

I just showed you how great I am.

Happiness is not knowing where the bar is and then destroying all notions of where you think it is. You'll know at the finish line.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Love....Happiness Day 13

34 - Whodini - One Love (recorded live in NYC 2005 by @will2bee) by Will  B

I just walked into the house and this was playing on the tv. Haven't heard it in years. Reminds me of growing up in NOVA. Reminds me of sneaking to watch Yo, MTV Raps. Reminds me of watching Rap City. Reminds me of early hip-hop that was soooo good. I might have missed yesterdays post, but "your lucky just to have just one love."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Funday!!!....Happiness Day 11

When you live a "normal" person's work life, you get to have weekends off and enjoy your nights.  Me, I work nights and weekends, but I do get to have Sundays off.  Most people have the notion of Sunday Funday and try to live it up.  I normally get only one day off in a row.  If I get two days off in a row I must be 1000 miles from work.  It's okay though because I get perks that "normal" people don't have, but thats for another day.  Today is about enjoying the simple things in life and just relaxing with friends.

I moved to Charlotte with no idea of who I was going to living with.  I found out about a room for rent and agreed with just the press of the send button on my phone.  The guys I live with are great.  Even though I'm older than them by a bit, they're good housemates.  Granted it's four guys in a house, so you know that it can be messy and unclean.  Luckily for me I had an awesome step-mom who constantly was on my ass about keeping things clean when I was in high school.  I might not have her feeling on the level of clean, I do the best I can.

Today was one of those days in which you just enjoy life and your housemates.  I woke up a little groggy from the night before.  First drinks in 6 days.  I was pretty proud of myself.  Felt like ass, but it was needed.  After I treated myself to brunch, I came home and watched the end of the UNC/FSU game with the guys.  All of the sudden Noah brought up the idea of tossing washers.  If you're from St. Louis or went to college with anyone from St L, then you know about washers.  If you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, here's a picture:

It's an awesome game.  It's like tossing horseshoes and cornhole combined.  You don't have to worry about beanbags and big ass planks of wood.  It's not fun at the beach unless someone has a metal detector, but it works great on the lawn in good weather.  In college, we would play this on Saturday/Sundays at someones house and have beer and cookout and have a grand time.  (After studying was done, of course).  The scoring is simple, one point in the green, three points in the center.  Antoine and Ryann had never played before so we taught them. It was both funny and fun at the same time.  I kept thinking of the McEwans house back in college on the corner of Grand and Kimbrough.  That house was one of the best hangouts in college and I was happy to be a part of the fun times there.  Like Halloween one year.  Great times.  Anyway, back to the story.  As we were laughing at the guys inability to throw washers, Noah brought up the idea of going to the driving range and hitting golf balls.  This was mostly out of the idea that Ryann was so bad at throwing a washer, how much more fun would it be to see him hit a golf ball.  Noah is a golf instructor, so he knows a thing or two about golf.  I've hit a golf ball a couple of times, but I'm not good by any stretch of the imagination.

At the range, Noah helped each of us a bit on our swing.  Mostly the other two more than me.  I just needed to understand some of my mechanics.  Of course on the very last ball of the day, I hit the worst shot ever.  We all laughed and moved on to the next adventure for Sunday Funday.  We went and had an early dinner at an outdoor bar and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.  We talked about our plans for St. Patty's Day, but that's a secret so I can't discuss it (yet).  Normally I would end my Sunday Funday out at a bar for service industry night in Uptown Charlotte.  (It's what they call the downtown area here).  Tonight though, I decided that I had such a blast that I would end it with Walking Dead (WTF was that ending ending.  I get the first part of the end, but really WTF was that?) and some Family Guy/Simpsons.

Sunday Funday I have not seen you in a long time.  Usually the weather is bad.  Or I'm hungover and don't feel like doing anything.  Or I go to the movies and do a two for one special.  Today we got to meet again.  I loved seeing you.  I can't wait to do it again.  Happy weekend end everyone and enjoy your Monday.

And make sure you make your week happy and read these wonderful blogs:

Vodka Cranberry Clooney
The Gold Shoe Blog
That's Just My Opinion
My Sweet Addiction
Jen Talks A Lot About
Stellar Fashion and Fitness
Hugh's News

A picture is worth zero words....Happiness Day 10

Sorry for the delay in the Happiness Brigade's posts.  Working long weekends and nights doesn't really allow me to write on Saturdays.  This is Saturdays post.

Happiness comes in many forms.  Usually we find that happiness is a moment in which the muscles in our mouths make an upward turn and create a smile.  At times happiness is vocal and emits the sound of laughter.  That form of happiness tends to be short lived and very individual, due to the fact that you have to find it funny.  There are also forms of happiness that are very intrinsic and so valuable due to love of others they usually last forever.  This is mostly because they live deep in your heart and you will never let it go.  While all of these forms of happiness are discussed by myself and others during this wonderful month of March, there is one form of happiness that I find every morning.  This happiness comes from a sense of peace and tranquility.

Every morning I look at this painting.  When I have hard times, I look at the painting.  When I feel good, I look at the painting.  When I need peace, guess what?  I look at the painting.  To me, happiness sometimes comes in a moment in which there is complete nothingness.  So today, this is what makes me happy.  Take a moment to look at it.  Actually, take a lot of moments.  Then close your eyes and picture yourself there.  When you're having a rough day, think of this picture.  What you'll notice is that you'll find a moments peace and that a smile will be on your face.  Sometimes, just sometimes, that can create one of the best secrets that happiness can deliver.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A box of Lucky Charms....Happiness Day 9

White Hinterland-Icarus by user6402993

If you've seen any of my post, then you already know that I'm a ginger.  Plus, I used to have crazy red hair.  Today's bit of happiness comes from a group of people I loved and miss and hope are doing amazing things with their lives.  Many of them are getting older and wiser and hopefully part of my time with them was able to help them out.

Years and years ago, when I was in college, I worked at a local middle school coaching basketball for 7th graders boys. While I will post about the time coaching later, this is more about the two years after that.  I was doing my student teaching and about to graduate from college.  I was assigned to a Parkview High School in Springfield, MO.  I wasn't sure which grades I would be teaching, but I was excited.  When I walked into the class to meet the teacher, I found out that it would be Freshman Honors American History for 3 classes and 1 regular US History (another freshman class).

As the students started to filter into the class, some of them were excited to have a student teacher.  When you live in a college town, you grow up with student teachers and they can be an exciting break from the boredom of your regular teacher.  As they filed in, all of the sudden I heard "Coach Treehuger!!! What's up?  Are you our student teacher?"  I replied with a yes and told them that they couldn't call me that but "Coach Grimes" was acceptable.  You see, in each of my classes there were at least 3 to 5 ex-players from the 7th grade team I had coached 2 years prior.  They called me Coach Treehuger when I coached them because I had long hair and a goatee, so they thought of me as some weird hippie.  I had since cut off all the hair and the goatee to make myself look somewhat adult and respectable.

Luckily for me it took some of the tension out of being their student teacher.  These young boys would then brag about how much fun I was as their coach to their classmates.  Having that familiarity helped make the classes a little more manageable.  I wasn't the world greatest student teacher, but I loved those 4 classes.  The boys understood my sarcasm and wit and also knew when they went too far.  At the same time, the new students I had enjoyed having a "cool" college kid that could somewhat relate, even though I was about 9 years older than all of them.  As the semester progressed, the classes became more fun and enjoyable.  At times it was hard to keep them focused, but I found more ways to make them interactive.  I made the Honors classes make the notes and then tell their classmates what was important.  I let them know that what they said would be part of the test, so they had no choice but to listen to their peers.  They all laughed at my handwriting (If you've ever had the privilege to receive one of my letters, then you understand - it's unique and legible for a guy), but some of them tried to copy it.  You know imitation is the sincerest from of flattery.

One day, we were discussing the Civil Rights Movement.  I had come up with an awesome idea to teach it and it was using Oreo cookies and Dr. Seuss's "Sneetches."  I created stars with stars on them and handed them out.  We read "Star-Bellied Sneetches" and I handed out oreos to the students whose stars had stars and then to those who didn't have stars as the story dictates.  At first they didn't understand what was going on, but as the class wound down, they started to see the ignorance in segregation based upon something so simple as a star on your belly or the color of your skin or the religion you follow or your choice in sexuality, etc.  It was very gratifying to see the wheels turning in young minds. 

I had so much fun with those kids.  From my ex-players to the new players in my heart, they made it so much fun to be in the classroom.  To try new and different and odd things to get an idea across so that they walked out with a better understanding of things.  They might have remembered and bragged about having oreos in class but hopefully one day when they read "Sneetches" to their kids, a light switch is flipped and they remember that wonderful Spring afternoon.

This now brings us to the part of the happiness.  In all my years, I never really got teased a whole lot due to my red hair.  Not until college did that change.  I never got teased for it, but once my hair grew long, it became more noticeable.  Then on one my last days in class, my kids were so excited.  I had no idea what they were all snickering about and was a little curious.  Apparently the kids in ALL of the honors classes and some of my other freshman students had gotten together to get me a going away gift.  They bought a box of Lucky Charms and ALL of them signed it.  I was completely speechless and floored.  I never expected anything from my students and it was both the funniest and heart touching thing I had ever been given.  As each class came in, they would sit in jittery silence waiting for me to bring up the box.  I would go through the lesson plan and at the last 10 minutes of the class, I would let them talk about it.  My supervising teacher said she had never had something like that happen before.  It made me feel honored and special.  When you're in a classroom, you never know the impact you have on the kids you deal with.  After the classes, they gave me a hug and at the end of the day, I just sat there reading what everyone had written. 

In my years as an adult I have traveled a lot.  I have kept and lost many a things that have very little emotional value to me.  It happens when you grow up moving.  You just don't put value in things for some reason.  Unfortunately, I have since lost this box of Lucky Charms.  It saddens me when I think of my days in the classroom that it's gone.  I have no idea where it is.  I did a great job of keeping on to it for a long time, but somewhere along the way...poof, gone.  While it saddens me that it is gone, I smile every time I'm in the cereal aisle in the grocery store.  I smile because it reminds me of those kids and the fun I had.  It makes me think of what impact I might have had, if any.  I wonder what they are doing with their lives. If they went to college. If they are married.  Who knew a box of Lucky Charms could make you nostalgic.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

BEST. PROFILE. PICTURE. EVER!!!!!...Happiness Day 8

Just so you know.  There is going to be a large space between the story and the picture to be shown below.  Mostly it is to build up the anticipation for the greatness that is my profile picture.  While I was living in Tampa on my second stint there, I was out with my friend Henry at one of the clubs.  We were having a good time and everything was great.  We were hanging out in the VIP, cause that's how I roll.  Actually Henry got us hooked up there, but any way.  So there we are.  Henry was talking to some girls that wanted a picture.  So he took it.  The next day, Henry posted the picture on facebook.  He tagged the one girl in it and some other person.  I got my hands on it and laughed so hard.  Ever since then it has been my profile picture.  The only time it goes down is on my Mom and Dad's birthdays and Mother's and Father's Day.  Other than that, 24/7/361 its my profile picture.  I brag about it all the time.  I show it to people because I'm not ashamed of it.  If you've been reading about me this month then you know that I'm a little bit out there.  I do the random things in which people just say "That's Grimes."

If you think you're there, not yet

Now, I want you to think of all the profile pictures you've seen.  Think of your friends and family.  Some might be of their kids or their wedding (that's sweet).  Some might be of them doing something crazy, like skydiving (how exciting).  Some might be of something totally random.  Some might be of them with some celebrity (how once in a life-time).  Think of all of those and none of them beat what is below.  The only thing that I think wins is if someone has a picture of the President doing the Dougie with the Pope.  Seriously.  That might beat mine.

Here it is:

This is how you stay classy San Diego.  If you can't smile at this, we can't be friends.  (And yes, That is me photo-creeping.  Henry tagged me in this, which is my I have it.) 

Best. Profile. Picture. Ever!!!!

Classics and Cocktails...The Beautiful and The Damned

Even though this review is about 8 days late, I figured I would at least write it.  I actually had read "The Beautiful and The Damned" a long time ago in my late college days.  I was on a kick of reading back then and had already read some other F. Scott Fitzgerald books, so I figured I would read this one.  As I started to read it, I realized how much I didn't recall the material like I thought I would.  That should have been my first sign.  So here is my wonderful review. (PS - All sarcasm will be typed in italics, just so you can read what I think better).

As I began this book, I realized that the title should have been changed from "The Beautiful and The Damned" to "Whoa Is Me: or How Bad It Is To Be Rich and Spoiled in America."  As we are introduced to the novel, we learn that the star of the book is Anthony Patch, the grandson of one of the richest people in America at that time.  We learn that he is a graduate of Haaa-vaaardBig effin deal.  He spends his life as young adult partying and boozing and carousing and having a grand time in all the right places in NYC.  His friends seem like they're there because no one else wants to hang out with him.  He never is presented as a douche-bag, but you can surely get the impression that if you met him in real life he would be.  As the story continues, we are introduced to "Beauty."  It somewhat annoyed me how Fitzgerald made her out to be "created from the heavens" and sent to man to torment him.  I saw the story of Gloria has one of a woman who knew what she wanted and wasn't above using it to her advantage to get it.  In other words, she was whoring herself out to get what she wanted without presenting herself as a whore.  She has class.  Whatever.  As the story continues, eventually these two meet and after a back and forth become married.

I know I'm glossing over the courtship, but it simply goes like this - She paid him no attention and he none to her.  Then she wanted attention and he wouldn't provide it.  What a dick.  Then he wanted her attention and she wouldn't provide it.  What a bitch.  Then after a while, they realized they were to be together.  Aww.  How romantic.  You pursue and chase and then spend the rest of the life together resentful of each other.  That in a nutshell is the epitome of their marriage.  The book could have ended after that sentence right there, but nooooo, Fitzgerald is tooo good of a writer to let that happen.

As the story progress, they do resent each other.  One for their beauty, the other for their laziness.  You know its rough being rich.  You have to sit around and do nothing all day while you wait for someone really, really old to die so you can get your money.  As they are squandering their cheese on a house they hate, booze during prohibition, and friends that don't seem to want that life anymore, these two don't learn the lesson of life.  They learn the lesson of the rich.  Which is, "We don't talk to 'those' people anymore."  They don't realize that there is more to life than blowing all your money.  I thought it was funny all the different ways in which Anthony tried to get a living, but then ultimately decided to fuck it.  He did the rich people way, sue the shit out of the person in which the will was written in favor of in order to get his money.  Way to be a class act there buddy.  Don't worry about a job or dignity or class, be a rich asshole instead.

You see, throughout the book we learn that two things are evident.  Anyone who is "Beauty" will never learn to love anyone more than themselves.  Gloria is a self-centered "woman" who is resentful of others who need nothing of her.  She is also resentful of those that want everything of ever.  That is why she loves/hates Anthony.  It's a crazy bi-polar relationship.  Anthony is the portrayer of the "Damned."  He is damned because his life is soooo good that there is nothing for him to do.  Rough life there buddy.  Let's not forget the time in the "military," in which Anthony gets some poor Southern girl, who is "loose," to fall in love with him, because he is such a charmer.  Whatever.  I felt those pages were wasted with a story line that showed little except for the class of the wealthy to feel they could get away with whatever they wanted.

All in all, there were two major things that annoyed the shit out of me in this book.  First off, where does F. Scott get off using the biggest, most per prosperous, high brow words on the planet.  If you want to alienate your readers into believing you are a pompous ass, congratulation you win.  Thank you for making me feel both poor and stupid.  Seriously, did this guy write the book with a thesaurus on hand the whole time.  I sure has hell know he wrote it with a glass in the other hand.  Secondly, why did the end feel so rushed.  Dude, life does not end at effin 30!!!!  He makes his actors pudgy and crow-eyed and depressed and sad about life because they are 28 and 32.  Oh No, Whoa is me.  I'm so effin old now.  My life is over.  Whatever.  I'm 34 and I'm in the best shape of my life.  No grey hairs, no pudgy belly.  Why can't life be over when your 40 instead?  The last section of the book was a joke.  Why was he in a wheelchair?   Seriously, why the fuck was he in a wheelchair?  Who hit him?  When did he fall?

In comparison to the book from January "Anna Karenina," I would recommend this one over the first.  At the same time, if you would love to hear about rich people and their problems during a time in which society was at its lowest, both are wonderful fits for you.  They both present the same ideal.  Rich people have it waaaay rougher than you.  You might be struggling for food and water and a job, but they're out there trying to figure out how to spend Daddy's money and deal with all those engagements and their mistresses and find something to do with their lives, oh you don't know how rough it is out there.

In other words, from the great thespian Sean Connery:

Now where's that book about the woman who's soooo depressed.

You ain't seen crazy yet

If you thought the Grimes video was crazy, let me tell you this one might take the cake. Enjoy.

Ann Steel - "My Time"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Family time...Happiness Day 7

While my profile picture on facebook is the "Greatest Profile Picture" EVER!!!, the following story and picture makes me laugh every time I see it.

A while back, when Grandmother on my mom's side was turning 85, we had a small family get together at her house in Shreveport, LA.  It was a great time.  Many of the people in my family I hadn't seen in let's say 10 years.  Many of my cousins will tell you all about how cute and adorable I was as a child.  Great.  What happened in those 10 years was awesome.  You see, I'm the 2nd youngest in the family rank of cousins.  #6 in your program, but #1 in your heart.  First is J IV or James the Fourth.  Then comes the "Three from '73."  That's Amy, Anne, and David.  Then comes Tim, Me and last but not least Adele.

I  couldn't tell you the last time I saw any of my cousins.  I had barely seen much of my brother since he went to college and I left for Missouri.  When I went to college, I went a little crazy with the rebellious looks since I was from a military family.  Always clean cut and such.  Not any more.  I love this story from when I landed.

First off, my mother, brother, grandmother, and Aunt Catherine came to pick me up from the airport.  As I walked down the terminal, I noticed my family.  They did not notice me, at all.  Then I saw my brother start to laugh and snicker.  At that point, the eyes on the rest of the group started to grow and then it was all smiles and love for my arrival.  You see, I hadn't cut my hair since the Superbowl that year, when many of my fraternity brothers had been giving me a hard time.  I had also shaved it bald as a pledge.  These were two crazy extremes that I had never ventured with before.  It was awesome.

When I got to the house, we said our hellos and then I had to run upstairs for a little bit to relax from the travel.  Well, all of the sudden the door rings and here comes my father and sister all the way from Mississippi (they had been in Alexandria, La visiting my other Grandmother) to stop by and say hello and with my Grandmother a happy birthday. (My parents have been divorced since I was like 6 months old).  It was a sudden surprise, but a great one.  My dad hadn't seen me, David, or Sarah together at one time in a long, long time.  Or when all of us were young adults.  You should have seen his face when I appeared.  Oh wait you can:

I'm sure the first thing my dad was thinking was, "Is this my son?  What the hell happened to him?"  Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you.  I'm the ginger in the family.  While there have been others that have been added, I'm the original.  Look at the surprise on his face.  It's an awesome picture.  We then got one of the three Grimes kids with our Dad. (The picture got wet a long time ago, but there we all are.)

So back to the story of the great family photo.  At one point the only people in the house were my Aunt Catherine and Uncle Roy, Grandmother, my Mom and Dad, and the three siblings....and then it all broke loose.  I was using the phone in the corner calling my roommates back in Missouri to let them know that I made it okay. My cousin Amy then walked by me and said hello and looked away.  I replied with a "Hi Amy."  She looked at me funny for a couple of seconds and then gave that gasped, hand over mouth, eyes wide expression that I was somewhat used to.  I thought it was funny.  She still remembers this kid.

(I'm so getting killed for putting this picture up.  That's Amy behind me.)

Instead of this lovely young man, I showed up looking like the previous picture.  After she realized who I was, we all laughed.  Then, the doorbell rang and I went to answer it.  I opened the door and the lady and husband at the door looked at me surprised and then apologized for they thought they had the wrong door.  I looked at them and said "Aunt Elizabeth, you're at the right house."  That's her above in the picture as well.  They gave me the same look as Amy and laughed and came inside.  Everyone else in the family, the story goes along the same way.  But those three always stick out to me the most.

That weekend was so much fun.  I got to reconnect to my cousins in a manner that I never knew before.  We told stories and laughed.  We watched the older ones hang out with their kids.  We all drank and drank the next day.  We all told lies and laughed.  My favorite lie is the story of how I ran my cousin Tim over with the riding lawn mower.  They say it's true, but I don't remember it happening. (Love you Tim.)

We all got together on the last day to take family pictures.  All the parents.  And then the grandchildren together.  Then the individual families together.  It was a so much fun.  In the process, this awesome picture was taken.  You see, I'm kind of a clown.  Either that or I have impeccable timing.  We were all lined up in a row from youngest to oldest and we all smiled.  Then we had to take another one.  This one I timed perfectly.  Here it is:

(Adele, Me, Tim, David, Anne, Amy, and J IV)

This picture makes me laugh every time I see it.  It reminds me of part of my family that I miss.  We got together years ago and it was fun.  Tim even made this picture his profile picture on facebook. That's a great honor and I'll take it.  I told you before, I live out there on the edge and these are the things that I like to do.  I can't wait for the next reunion.  I can't wait for something random to happen again.

New Beach House.

Beach House - Myth by myblogcliche

Beach House, the wonderful duo from Baltimore, has just dropped their newest single, "Myth."  The new album is reported to come out in May on the Sub Pop label.  If they continue to grow as a band in the manner in which they have, then their newest album should be great.  I love listening to Beach House.  For some reason they always seem to find a way to make you feel relaxed.  Just like any time at a beach house should.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You know you love this movie!!...Happiness Day 6

"My dad say's I'm the best french kisser in the 8th grade."

Sorry for the delay on writing, but I love this movie.  This movie reminds me a lot of my dad when I was a kid.  Not that he was Clark Griswald, but whenever my brother and I would go visit him, we always got thrown into the car for a family trip.  My brother, sister, and I would all be squeezed in the back seat or we were all put in the big family van (you know the kind with theater seats) and go on some trip somewhere.  Mostly it was during my Dad's time in Alabama, but whenever I see this movie it makes me think of my time with my dad.  We used to live overseas off base in Germany.  While there was no TV like there is today, we did have nothing but video tapes of movies gallore.  This was one of my favorites.

From the moment that Clark gets the Family Truckster to riding the rides at Wally World, this is the best vacation movie ever.  There are a billion lines worth remembering.  There are a ton of side characters that make you laugh throughout.  You can't go wrong watching Vacation.  Ever.

Classic and Cocktails..."The Bell Jar" Cocktail

If you haven't been joining us for 12 for 2012, then you should.  If you have, then you know all about the "Classics and Cocktails" campaign that my cousin Amy has started.  She is the President of Literature while I am the Vice President of Cocktails.  It's a hard job, but somebody has to come up with themed drinks for 100 year old books.

While many of you might have already finished the book for March, "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, I have been busy testing and trying the drinks that will fit the mood of the book.  While I haven't read the book yet, I will tell you that I think I've found success for your book matching drink.  It took many stumbling nights home to find it, but I think I've got it.  Let me tell you, drink enough and you might go crazy.

If you had a good time reading "The Beautiful and The Damned," then you might have some gin leftover in your bathtub.  If not, then it's time to hit the local liquor store.  You're gonna need more gin, I can tell you that.  This drink also includes Luxardo Maraschino, Peychaud's Bitters, muddled maraschino cherries and some lemon.  I can guarantee this, when this lovely year of reading is over, not only will your bookcase be stocked, but so will you liquor cabinet.  Some of this you won't drink again until you're about 60.  Mostly, because some of these products are for old people drinks.  Also, some of them can be used for "sophisticated cocktails," for when you feel like snubbing your nose and being all hoighty-toighty.

Courtesy of my friend Andy at Soul Gastrolounge in Charlotte, NC, this is the U Soul Crazy.

2 oz of Tanqueray Gin
1/4 oz of Luxardo Maraschino
1 Dash of Peychaud's Bitters
5 Maraschino Cherries
2 Lemon wedges

Put a cocktail shaker in ice and chill it.  Take out the shaker and then add the Maraschino cherries, 1 dash of bitters, and 1 lemon wedge and muddle in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.  Then add the gin and the luxardo and a scoop of ice.  Shake and strain into a martini glass.  Add the extra lemon wedge as garnish.  It might take a moment for the flavor to get to you.  If you feel brave, or a little extra crazy, then make with two dashes of bitters.  Here's a picture of the end result.  Hope you enjoy.  See you in the psycho ward soon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

An awesome video doesn't even describe it...

Grimes - "Oblivion"

There's nothing more awesome than a musican who takes as their artists name your last name.  I will say that I love Grimes.  She's awesome.  The video is random as hell, but that's what makes it.  Be back with more right after these messages from our sponsors.

A game from college....Happiness Day 4

I was wondering what it was going to be that I would write after Sunday's post.  Its not that finding things that make me happy is hard to do, its just that so many things are personal it's hard to let them out.  Some are superficial and others are held super close.  I guess finally learning to put my guard down might actually happen.

I was thinking about my college days and how much fun I had.  Then I remembered about a person and a game that always make me laugh and smile. 

I read a blog by my friend Nik called "Captain's Quarters."  Here's the link: .  (It was up for best blog in St. Louis not to long ago, so it must be good.)  What I love about Nik's blog is that I get to feel some of that good ole St. Louis humor that I remember back in college.  Nik was my RA for a year in the dorms.  He was an awesome RA.  I remember listening to Ben Folds Five a lot during those nights.  What was really awesome was playing the best. game. ever.

It's called Super Puzzle Fighter.  Here's a video of how the game is played.

Basically, you're playing Tetris and Street Fighter at the same time.  You see, when you get a certain colored blocks together, they mold into a bigger block.  Then if you hit it with one of the glowing balls of the same color, well then all of those blocks go to your opponent.  How awesome is that.

If ever Nik and I were in his room, we were playing this game.  It's hard to find now a days, but they are moments when I wish this game was still out there.  I can listen to Ben Folds Five anytime I want, but man would I love to play this game again.  I can still remember that tiny dorm room (our dorm used to be an old hotel that some said was haunted).  I remember those god-awful desks that only saw homework on the last day.  Those super tiny fridges that could barely fit a few beers, I mean sodas in it.  Oh, college was a good time and there are many, many people that I would love to catch up with.  Some I'm friends with on Facebook and it's nice to see them growing up, with families, still tight with old college buddies.  Those things make me happy.  Maybe I'll talk about them this month, but for right now...

I'ld trade just about anything to sit down on the floor, listen to some Ben Folds Five, and play Street Puzzle Fighter one more time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Old Dirty Sundays...(Happiness Challenge Day 4)

(Every since my cousin Amy started this challenge, I've been waiting and excited to write about today.  I could have written this any other day, but since today is Sunday I'm writing it for a specific reason.  This post is going to be a little long, but when you get to the end you'll understand.)

Today is Sunday.  The best day of the week in Tampa, FL.  The reason is that today is Old Dirty Sunday, or ODS to the few who've been there.  First let me explain.  Old Dirty Sundays at Crowbar is the official name of the Sunday afternoon/night get together that a friend of mine and a couple other djs started just under a year ago.  It is a collection of djs, artists, free bar-b-que, and cheap beer every Sunday at Crowbar in Ybor City in Tampa, FL.  Every Sunday, I wake up in Charlotte sad that I won't be able to attend that day's show.  Show is a bad way to describe it.  Performance.  Not really.  Block party.  That's a better way to describe it.  It still doesn't do it justice but it's as close as I can get to it without you actually having been there.

So let me introduce you to the characters involved.  They are four djs from the Tampa Bay area that I'm proud to call my friends.  In the red shirt is DJ Casper.  He's a bit of a clown and that's why I love him.  In the green is my friend DJ Lesage of the Mixfits.  He is unbelievably gifted and can crush a house party.  Next is DJ Mega.  He plays mostly in St. Pete, but comes with a crazy Latin house/funk sound that gets me right any time I hear it.  Last is the legend himself, DJ Blenda.  Blenda is your favorite dj's favorite dj.  That is how everyone I know has ever described him.  These four guys started a party and it just won't end.

What I love the most about ODS is not just the music, but also the vibe.  ODS is not about getting together on a Sunday to listen to music and BBQ and watch Efrin do his art on the spot.

  It's not just about Tom (he's the owner of Crowbar) on the grill.

It's about something that is greater than that.  You see, all of these people don't do this for the profit.  The four guys dj at clubs all week long.  Tom owns the bar all week long.  Efren does his art all week long.  These guys do this because they love it.  The music that is played is music that they grew up on and love.  It's the non club/house/radiomix crap that they have to play for the masses that don't understand real music.  Its a time for them to unwind and relax while having soooooo much fun.  Sunday is a time in which Tom can enjoy himself and relax and attend a party that he doesn't have to work.  You see, Tom bbq's the food free of cost.  You want a burger or a dog or a grilled piece of chicken, go and get it.  He cooks until the food is gone.  If you want to put something in the tip jar, go ahead.  If not, it's cool.  Efren posts up his art, but is constantly doing art while there, to show you that the medium of inspiration is the venue and the people itself.

When the party starts, its usually midday.  There are tourist and downtown locals all around the Ybor City area.  They hear the music and stop on by.  Some stay for a while, others leave.  It's cool.  We want you here for the time you want to be here.  We also want you to have a good time for the time you are here.  Then, as the sun sets, the place gets more and more crowded.  Everyone whose been getting rest from their wonderful Saturday night out, are starting to come in.  It's never so crowded that you can have a good time and feel bottled in.  It's a crowd of all your friends that like the same things you do.  Hell, it's people you don't know that love the same things you do.

There's everything.   From break dancing battles to guest djs from out of town (or in town for that matter) to guest MCs at the end of the night, it's a great time.  (That's a young boy of like 12, getting funky)

But why does it make me happy?  Here's why.

I've been a fan of hip-hop for a long time.  I can't explain why or how, its just that I am.  I've long waited for a place that can play old school joints and succeed at it.  I've long waited to hear the music I grew up with at a place where there is no pretension.  Where everyone there is there for the fun.  That's what this place has become.  I love ODS because of what it has become and what it represents.  It started out slow, but has since become a landmark for Sunday events.  That's what I love.  What I love are the people that are there that have become my friends.  What I love about ODS is the total randomness of the night.  One night we had a local artist get up on the shanty rooftop above the outside bar/dj booth perform.

Dynasty was unbelievable that night.  I was truly amazed at the total randomness of the night.  That is why I love ODS.  We said, "Hey, lets put you on the roof, if it's safe." Dynasty said okay and rest became ODS history.  By the way, the guy in the red shirt is me.  I'm like the ODS roadie.  It's unofficial, but they know I'll do the things out on the edge for them.

The total randomness also includes how much others love ODS.  9th Wonder is a well known producer in the hiphop industry.  He was in-town looking for something to do on a Sunday night.  A friend of his referred him to come to ODS.  He did.  The next thing was legendary.  He came in at the end of the night and did an hour set on the decks.  It was amazing.  You can't beat randomness like that.  Then you throw in Mos Def/Talib show in St. Pete.  They announced during the show that they would be doing the official after show at ODS.  They performed again, with the guys on the decks and flowing for the crowd.  Do you see how close the crowd is to the guys.  You just have to love a place that allows a vibe like that.

If you don't believe me about how randomly awesome ODS is, read this article written by the legendary DJ Rob Swift:  What more can be said than that.

You see, this is what I love about Sunday.  More importanly, this is what I love about Old Dirty Sundays.  I've since moved from Tampa to Charlotte and every Sunday a small part of me is sad.  Mostly because I'm not there for the weekly family bbq.  Mostly because I'm not there to kick it with friends that have become important to me.  When you're an ecelctic soul like I am, finding people like you is somewhat hard.  These people are my family.

I also miss it because on my last day in Tampa, they let me dj for a while.  I'm not going to say it was a good set.  It was choppy and a little frantic.  I was given the opportunity to play music I liked no matter what the crowd felt and that was an awesome feeling.  I was able to feel the vibe and love of people around you loving what you are doing at that given moment.  I miss the boys greatly.  I miss bsing with Monica D, but I love the posters she does weekly that are completely amazing.  Every Sunday, I'm happy because the party is still going.  I'm happy because someone is being able to enjoy the thing I love most.  Plus, I'm happy, because when I return it's going to be the hippest family reunion I go ever go to.  Plus, maybe, just maybe they allow this to happen again:

But more importanly, I'm gonna be happy for this to happen again:


The Man, The Myth, The Legend

An "Instead of Mix"....

So, instead of finishing The Beautiful and The Damned or even starting to write my opinion on it for the "Classics and Cocktails 2012" or even starting the book for March, "The Bell Jar"  or even thinking of the drink that is supposed to go with the March book, I decided to spend my Saturday night off differently. I went to the movies and saw a double feature. When I got home, my roommate decided to go out for a night of revelry. That left me to my own devices, so here is the result. A new mix for you to enjoy. (Play list to follow soon).

March 3rd Mix by GrimeyD

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A mid day video to make you smile.

If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what to tell you.  Awesome song.  Great video.  Great band.  Song came out mid-year last year.  Hope you enjoy

My Favorite Band. Thank you Lynn....Happiness Day 3

(I will start with a little disclaimer.  First, if I could have found a video of the band playing live that didnt' sound bad due to mics and video equipment, I would have.  Second, listen to the song before reading.  Walk away and listen.  Then come back and read.  You need to hear the feeling before you can read the emotion.

A couple of years ago, I was going through a not tough, but a not so easy time. This is supposed to be about happiness and we'll get there, you'll see.  If you've finished listening to the song, then you should already have an idea of where this is going.  You should have a smile on your face already.  Maybe a little sweaty from dancing around your room when no one could see you.  Well guess what, all fans of The Givers can feel you dancing to the music.

My friend Lynn, who is completely amazing, took me to see a band that her boyfriend had introduced her to.  He was in Louisiana doing filming for a movie.  While he was in one of those remote towns that has a French-Spanish name that confuses the shit out you when you pronounce it, he went to a dive bar and saw The Givers for the first time.  He brought back the band's CD and gave it to Lynn.  Not long after that, Lynn knew I was feeling all so great.  She knows how much of a fan of music I am.  Considering the fact I have over 22,000 songs on my i-tunes, I would say fan is an understatement.  (There's always music for everything, every time).

She took me to a bar in Tampa, FL called The New World Brewery.  We arrived a little early so we relaxed and enjoyed the outdoor area of the bar and she ran into some people she knew.  We all chatted and had a laugh or two.  Then it was show time.  This is where more music is to follow:

Saw You First by GIVERS

This was the first song I remember them playing.  It was a somewhat spaced out venue with an outdoor patio/stage setup.  As the band played, I had made my way towards the middle front.  There wasn't more than 30-40 people there, so there was plenty of space to relax and listen.  As the songs continued to play, I found my tension started to ebb away from me.  This is what I feel every time I listen to them play.  As the show continued on, something amazing and beautiful happened at the same time.  The lead singer and guitarist had one of the strings on his guitar break.  Oh no!! What do we do now?

Here's what you do.  You have the band take a break and then come back after the guitar is fixed and start again, right?  Wrong.  You have the band take a break and have the female vocalist break out her ukulele and sing a soft, beautiful song alone with just her singing.  When this song was played, I knew that I was going to be in a good place soon.  I knew I had friends that were there waiting for me to catch up.  While I can't guarantee that this was the song, I imagine in my head that it was and that makes me happy.  Enjoy this video too.

I've had the luxury to see them twice. I can't wait to see them again.  As this band gets better and better, I strongly suggest you get their CD "In Light."  More importantly, go and see them live.  They are worth more than the ticket value.  I love their music.  It makes me happy.  It puts me in a good vibe.  It makes me forget about my issues, dramas (real or imagined).  It makes me realize how fun life is.  How fun it's meant to be.  Even though I don't show it a lot, it makes me realize how much love is in my heart.  Most importantly, it makes me happy.  Thank you Lynn.  Thank you sooo much.

- Bonus - if you don't know their music, you might know the commercial:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happiness Challenge (Day 2)...A Picture says a Thousand Words (more or less)

Running Up That Hill - Chromatics by ericfuentes

Today's moment of happiness comes from a picture on my computer.  It's actually my background and anytime someone sees it, they ask how I got it?  Who took it? and Where was I?  Every time I look at it, I see more and more about the people involved each time.

Here it is:

The first thing that I see every time my computer is turned on is this picture.  When most people see it, they automatically ask me a lot of questions about it.  What makes me happy about it is that I get to brag a lot about someone who is important in my life, my brother David.  You see, as awesome as this picture is, there is more to it than I realized.  I've spent many a day with a professional talking about a lot of things.  While I read a lot into meaningless things, I'm happy that I can take a lot out of important things.

This picture was taken on a trip in Oregon during my birthday.  My mother, brother, and myself went and had a wonderful time on the Oregon coast.  The location was at Devil's Churn, OR.  It was a perfect trip and perfectly timed for that moment in my life.  That is a talk for another time, today is about a picture that makes me smile.

What I love about this picture is that I see both my brother and myself in it.  Growing up, my brother was the coolest person I knew.  He was older, so what do you expect.  He had the coolest friends, Ryan and Jarrett.  They were into the coolest music and books and about has hip as you could be without being labeled a hipster (a word that didn't exist then).  David played the piano and I took lessons as well.  He was way better than I could ever be.  He was into the arts and had roles in the Jr. High and Sr. High School plays.  He was the lead in all that I remember seeing.  Ponyboy in "The Outsiders" and the Dad in "Cheaper By the Dozen."  He dabbled in drawing and was into photography.  As an adult, he has continued to excel in the use of his camera, but mostly for family time (that I see).

What I always see in this picture is the person that my brother helped become the man I am today.  If you notice, I'm out in the water and about to get splashed on by the waves.  David was always slightly pushing me to the boundaries of my comfort growing up, mostly cause I was the tag-a-long little brother.  Eventually, I was able to learn where my comfort zone was.  It happens to be way out there.  I'm the risk taker, with no showing fear of what is unexpected.  That is what I see in the picture.  It reminds me that I'm the crazy one who will go out there and do the different, awesome things.  I get asked if I got wet in the picture.  Yes, I did.  But it was worth it.  When you live on the edge, it's always worth it.  My brother was always a protector of me, even when he couldn't.  To me, this picture is a sign that I'm safe out there where he can't protect me and he's okay with that.  This picture shows that he knows how to get someone to willingly (albeit, through peer pressure) to step a little closer to the edge of themselves.

I get amazed when I look at this every time I turn on my computer.  I wonder why I was so stupid to go out there.  Then I remember how much I was laughing while it was happening.  How I tried to make myself look like a kind of stoic man, not afraid of nature but standing defiantly in front of it. (Actually, I was yelling at the waves like an idiot becuase I like to clown around sometimes).  How much my brother and I are alike.  Crazy.  Idealistic.  Quiet.  Somewhat brooding.  If you put us out of our element, we adapt and make it our own.  If you put us in our element, we shine.  If you put us together, you don't stand a chance.

I don't see my brother really anymore.  He lives in Oregon with his wife, Kyna, and daughter, Sydney.  The three of them are unbelievable and I love them very much.  They fit my brother very well.  My brother was always on the edge of what's next when we were growing up.  I was playing catch up, but not really because I guess I was already out there to begin with.  That's why this picture makes me happy.

If at first....

So, while fully aware that it is the start of March, this mix of songs is stuff that I've been listening to over through Febuary. While not as clean and smooth (transition-wise), it is the best I could do for the moment with what I have. I will say that I have a greater appreciation for all of my friends in Springfield, MO and Tampa/St. Pete, Fl that DJ now more than ever. Enjoy. Over time it will get better. Sometimes more indie/hipster pop-ish. Sometimes more old-school hip hop and maybe some funkish. But what it will always be is music that I love that fits a perfect mood for me. Enjoy. (Plus some artwork for the future as well.)

Febuary Mix by GrimeyD Track List:

1. Souls of Mischief - '93 til Infinity (instrumental)
2. Tennis - Petition
3. Nite Jewel - Artificial Intelligence
4. Soft Healer - Movie Light
5. Metronomy - Everything Goes My Way
6. People Under The Stairs - Give Love A Chance
7. Theophilus London - Why Even Try (feat. Sara Quinn)
8. Tennis - Take Me To Heaven
9. Korallreven - Honey Mine (feat Victoria Bergsman)
10 People Under the Stairs - The Wiz (instrumental)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happiness Challenge (Day 1)...I cheated. Here's two for day 1

My brilliant cousin Amy has started a blog challenge of writing about something happy each day of the month for the entire month.  I love March for more reasons than I realized once I started thinking about today.  I'm not a grumpy Gus, but I'm definitely not a super-duper, really excited person either.  I feel that at times, the things that make me happy might seem superficial, but there are real things that matter more.

March has my second favorite holiday, St. Patrick's Day.  My birthday is my favorite holiday.
St. Patrick's Day also happens to be the birthday of one of my dearest friends, Melanie, whom I don't talk to as much but miss bullshitting with.

It also has one of the few really important birthdays of the year in it, March 19th.  That's my mom's birthday.  So I guess, I'm starting the challenge with a letter from my mom.

On my 30th birthday, I got a letter from my mom.  She lives out in Oregon with my stepfather.  I've never been one to be really close to my family, both by mileage and emotions.  The letter I got that day, I've kept and always will.  This is what it said:

"Happy 30th birthday!  There we were, in Wichita, Kansas.  I woke up with labor pains and you dad called our friend Susie Roper to come over and babysit while we went off to the hospital.  Susie climbed into our be and went to sleep.  Later she woke up with little David standing at the side of the be, staring at her.  It was a little shocking for both of them.  One thing I now know about labor pains: they are a lot worse when you are lying down.  And so, by the time we got to the hospital the pains had lessened and the staff wanted to send me back home.  Fortunately, that didn't happen, because just a few hours later you were born.  I loved you from the moment they told me I had a son.  We named you a good, strong English name.  The night before we had been to a choir party and I asked the men if they liked their names.  Richard of the choir liked his, and never had a nickname.  Also, there is a Richard on your dad's side of the family and I liked that connection.  So there you are.  At first I wanted to name you Daniel, but we though having to say, "Please meet our two sons, David and Daniel, was just too much.  And I really liked Carlton, but the TV show Rhoda had a doorman named Carlton and at the time that was all anyone could say about that great name.  Far a long time I thought that if I had it to do again, I would have named you Thomas, after that family name of ours.  Or Peyton.  Did you know that my first birth certificate had Sara Belle?  What a problem that would have been since Clara Belle was the well-known clown of the times.  So Richard it is.  Your friends and other family may call you nicknames, but Richard you will always be to me."

Every year on my birthday, I read this letter.  It reminds me of many things but more importantly, it makes me really happy.  Just like this picture.

Happiness comes in many forms.  Today it's these.