This weekend a brand new crop of freshman descended and ascended the East Hill that holds up Cornell University. This year I was lucky enough to be a more integral part of the festivities than prior years, and first hand had a look at my soggy-eyed and down-hearted future 12 years down the road.
There is no escaping the trite truth that life accelerates as you age.
This week 20 years ago my parents dropped me off in Fredonia, NY for my first year as both a college student and an individual. People were getting to know me as Rob, and then finding out I was a twin for the first time. It was liberating and terrifying all in one fell swoop.
No longer was my life preserver around, the guy I could count on more than anyone…even my parents. Looking back at those first weeks it is easy to see I had it all wrong*, it was not my family I missed. It was my brother Jon and everything that came with him.
20 years ago…It is hard to imagine that amount of time could have passed and you could still say I was an adult when it started. But in a flash, at least for twenty years, here I am. I still miss the day-to-day with Jon…life happens, speeds up, and suddenly it is a month since we had a meaningful conversation, unthinkable 20 years ago. Something that is easily remedied, until you realize that 24 hours does not get you what it used to.
In 12 I will be fighting that urge to cling to my Anna, all the while letting her know that if she needs me there is always a path. What a delicate parental ballet, one that I am going to need all 12 years to get right. If the past serves to light the future, it will be here in a moment. I’ll do my best to be ready, most especially for her.
* I was 18, you could read a list of the things I had wrong in my head and not run out until the calendar hits 2013.
As Dave Matthews sang in “Two Step”, “Life is short, but sweet for certain”. Sometimes life gets so chaotic, you settle for the lesser of honey and end up missing out on the sweetest parts.
Such is the case with reading books with my daughter. In gulf between “Charlotte’s Web” and today there have been kids books, but they are all “one shots”. Last night Anna asked when we would “really read” again. I knew exactly what she meant.
Guilt ridden I promised, “tomorrow, three chapters.”
Her face lit up.
My heart sank.
How could I have let her down?
And how wonderful to have such a selfless young girl. At six she realizes that the neglect was not intentional. Instead of harping on me throughout the summer she waited for her moment to mention how much it meant to her, and how she wants to continue the new tradition.
So off the Olin stacks I went, PZ to be specific, to find our next adventure. ”Ramona Quimby: Age 8″ was snagged in case I could not find that sweet spot of classic, but not too adult. And then my eyes shot up and to the left. That is what I was looking for.
When I showed it to Anna she squealed with delight. I’ll never forget the pure, unfiltered joy in that sound. Tonight we head off to Neverland…or at least queue up, I promised her three chapters.
It’s hard to rely on my good intentions
When my head’s full of things that I can’t mention
Seems I usually get things right
But I can’t understand what I did last night ~ Toad the Wet Sprocket*
Surely I could avoid another high calorie snack in the middle of the night, right?
I had a beef, bean and cheese burrito, homemade…but c’mon! It was 4 am and the carb monster called.
I meant to get up at 6 am this morning to get a ride in before work.
8 snoozes later I rushed to get ready for work. My breakfast? It was the burrito at 4 am.*****
Mr. Goodbar would not be my friend today.**
I said hello to my little friend, three times.
And after work another ride will really tie the day together
It was a glorious nap, at 7 pm, in the living room, on the couch
I need my normal schedule, which should never be called normal. 4 hours sleep, a nice 90 minute nap and I am good to go. It is a grind, but one that, keeps the scale down, brings out the best in me, and helps me act on my good intentions.
*There are fewer uncool bands from the early 90s…I like the guys.
** I had not had the underrated candy bar in decades before they showed up in the candy dish at work. Now they a 45 calorie(!)*** side trip at least once a shift****. I cannot get over how delicious they are…they are from Hershey…great balance.
*** I should say were…45 fricking calories? What the Fudgsicle?(only 14 more calories!)
**** It was at least twice.
***** I don’t mind eating that when I have been reasonable all day and get a work out in…but see above, I was not reasonable.
Yesterday’s release of the “Madden 13″ demo did little to dampen my excitement about the latest version of EA’s annual contribution on the road to meaningful NFL action.
The passing is much improved. It was nice to finally be able to throw a receiver open. Look kids, the fade route works!
That is not to say that everything is on point.
The physics offer as many goofy “wow” moments as awe-inspired ones, and defense and line play could use a total rework…but after playing the all-too underwhelming Madden 12*, I am pumped for the latest.
I am sure the Madden 3lit3 that frequent sites like Operationsports.com and Pastapadre have a litany of items that are not “sim” enough for them already in the new offering. There were some posts where people boasted about taking off from work to be among the first to play it. How sad**
But take it all with a grain of salt: they are taking the time to break a video game, analyze the video and then post their findings online. I admire their dedication, but it makes you wonder if they deliver the same level of expertise in their jobs as they expect from EA…and if so, when do they sleep?
All told it looks to be a promising step… combined with the long sought after full Online Franchise, and it looks promising to say the least.
In what may be blasphemy to more main stream sports gamers what really has me pumped is “NHL13″. The demo comes out next week, there will be lots of work put in to getting the new skating engine down. And the new GM Connected mode has me thinking of multiple dynasties using different interfaces.
As an added bonus: the return of Mike Eastwood! It will mean more later.
Now that EA Sports finally has in-depth online career modes in the game, I am in the game. Mark it dude…
* I bought it for $10 and still feel like I overpaid.
This is no rationale: my “wasted” time is central to my narrative.
As an aside I have to take on the whole idea of people looking down on other’s “wasted” time: it is an exercise in pure arrogance. How many people truly use all their time wisely? We all have our own “geek spots”. Whether it be golf, films, reading or video games…there is no right or wrong..unless you think there is. In that case, you would be wrong, and a narcissistic shit.
This blog was the central tool to get my creative motor going, but at times it is a hindrance. I go to bed feeling satisfaction for scattering words across this digital canvas with all the precision of a broke man’s Pollock…and for a while and on certain nights that was enough.
They key is not only to recognize, but react. It starts from here, better late than never.
This summer has been a holding pattern for me on the creative front. The baby steps, both backwards and forwards and sadly more of the former, have left me full of regret for all the missed opportunities. To dwell would only add to the delay. I must “press on”.
Real life was an obstacle, as it always will be…so that excuse is pitiful at best. If I want to create what I know I can then I have to push.
…as I did to run 13.1 miles 3 times.
…to train for a 100 mile Ride for Life on a hybrid rig with studded tread.
…to be the best husband and father I can be.
The endless list of bad movies, the marathons of “Saved By the Bell” episodes (Non-Tori for me, please…Even though that set features the long overdue Zack-Lisa pairing, how did they get that tension to build so long without exploding?) , and virtual firefights I have engaged in online have contributed to who I am and what I have to say (Say No to Buddy Bands? Wait that can’t be right.). There is of course more to it all…the more serious questions:
“Why are we here?”, “What is the point of it all?”, and of course, “How the hell could Lucas screw up Star Wars as badly as he did?”
Plenty of people have railed on all three, hopefully my voice will add something new.
I am taking some sage advice from Tom French and Mike Lenehan, “Let it unfold…it is at the heart of the narrative. You have to let the scene unfold.”
That starts with not keeping it all safe and bundled up in my head.
- It goes against the very fabric of my being, but kudos to the Miami Dolphins for releasing Chad Johnson after he (allegedly) heat butted his new bride. The (alleged) attack came after an argument about a receipt for condoms that she found in the trunk of his car. I don’t normally like the morality police, but there is nothing good about that whole last sentence. It is quite a fall from grace for the former Mr. Ocho Cinco…I didn’t think he could flame out worse than he did last year. Sayonara Chad, I am looking forward to your appearance on an upcoming Dr. Drew special.
- Every May I think that I would give anything to see the NFL game, no matter if it is preseason. Every August that is disproved. The product is awful.
- Speaking of awful…The replacement refs are brutal. The stand-off, along with the brutal preseason black out policy for pre-season games is a real black eye for the NFL. Pay the refs. In fact make them full-time. There is no way that would hurt the product or the bottom line.
- 14 straight pass for Fitzpatrick in the preseason opener? Fitz gets to call his own plays? He may be the best QB we have had since Jimbo, but that does not make him Jimbo. The song remains the same: run the ball 60% of the time and this team is in the playoffs. While the rest of the league is pass obsessed the Bills could take advantage of a great two-headed monster at tailback and give every D something new to worry about. It seems too simple…and my thinking probably is, but there is no way the Bills are in the playoffs if Freddy and CJ don’t get the rock at least 25 times a game combined.
- Dear Gary Bettman, I hate your face…signed every NHL fan everywhere (except Dallas…you handed them the Cup. That has to be worth something, right?)
My youth was filled with far too many nights of inconsolable dread and terror. No matter the good day I had some nights the thought of losing those I loved the most would fill in any spilled in light from the hall and create a pit of darkness that I could not escape from. As a result my mom spent far too many nights at the side of my bed stroking my hair and fears, assuring me that everything was going to be all right.
30 years later and she has been proven more right than wrong. My parents are still alive, and I blessed enough to have three of my four grandparents still with me. Though there have been many bumps, most self-inflicted, it would be very hard to complain about my place in the world right now.
My penance for such fortune seems to be that I am blessed with a daughter who is as sensitive, if not more, than I was back then… and at an earlier age at that. It is not the only trait she received from me, but it will likely be the hardest for me to watch her work through. I know all too well the pitfalls of going through life as an extremely empathetic person. I will be even harder for her to negotiate in what is becoming an increasingly self centered, narcissistic society.
For crying out loud we have people being envious of $200 welfare checks…”why should they get that when I don’t?” If these same people had to live under the same lifestyle that $200 a month gets you I would guess that they would re-consider what kind of gift it really is to live on that pitiful sum. They can’t see past the end of their designer frames to see the larger picture: while there are some people who abuse the system there are many more who need that money to live….even that may not sway them.
I fear for my daughter’s emotional well-being.
When these panic attacks present I sit by the side of her bed, tell her it is all going to be all right, and hope that still holds true in the very different world she is going to go out into.
I have to believe it will be all right, my mom lives almost three hours away…and she would likely side with those who be-grudge the $200 bucks….yet another thing that keeps me up.