Monday, October 22, 2007

First Blood and shrunken testicles

I killed my first deer on Saturday. A nice doe worth 112 lbs. As Nate says, "strong work."

However, the beast couldn't go quietly into the night, nono. Instead, is sprints down the mountain at breakneck pace. We tried in vain for about 30 minutes to find a blood trail, but to no avail. Then Nate casually says "well let's head down this way. They like to head for water when injured." So he scours the right woods while I take the left trail, which was a bit clearer path. I finally get to bottom where the pond is, and I see something floating in the middle. I'm thinking "uh oh". So I throw a rock near the lump and the ripples cause an ear to bob.

Oh Dear.

So then I hear Nate's boyscout whistle way way way up the hill trying to contact me. We play dueling whistles for a while as I make the epic trek back up the wooded giant to find him. I see him sitting, he says "I think I found the trail." I replied "Good, but unfortunately I think I know where this trail ends." But we follow it anyway, hoping against hope that it's another deer and that mine is toasted on land somewhere. We follow it a good 1/4 of a mile through thickets and brush... all the way back to the pond. He takes one look out there "well...hehe... enjoy."

My duty was obvious. I sent Nate back 1/2 a mile to get our gear and the four-wheeler for transport. Meanwhile I strip and head into the murky water. I take one step in and my worst fears are confirmed... although the day is heating up rapidly, the water is still in the throes of the 50 degree morning. This was gonna hurt...

At first I went slowly, trying to acclimate to the temperature. I'm half numb when the water finally reaches my "critical parts". I then scream. That's when I decided to man up. I lunged out head first into the deeper water and swim as fast as I can trying to build up some body heat. Finally all that summer swimming comes in handy. I finally reach the carcass and grab the ear, pulling as I perform a one-arm backstroke to the land. At long last I reach the clay soil to where I have to stand, and began to pull for all I was worth. The second I had it firmly anchored on the clay edge I sprinted over to my dry clothes and started using my t-shirt to towel off, thus preventing sickness. Luckily I was layered and had the longer shirt (still not real heavy duty, but...). The boxers were soaked too. So, in I go to my camo pants sans undergarments. Then I knocked the clay off my feet while standing on the semi-wet t-shirt. Last on is the shirt. I let out a final primal scream and began jumping around for warmth.

It was definately a memorable way to get #1. Not bad for my initiation as a venison slayer.

Soon there will be feasting...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

too animal for me

Recently Ft. Chaffee has opened up for some special training programs. We've had an influx of temporary residents from various units around the country. Tonight I was in the gym working out with 5 of the guys from the "Special Warfare" division.


These dudes were animals. Ripped like whoa and having nothing but functional muscles. I'm usually more than enough of a stallion to feel good in the gym, but this was intimidating. It's not often that I'm in the gym with five other people and that I feel sure that I am the biggest wuss in the house. I suppose I hung as long as it was just pure weights, but when it came down to body-handling exercises... whoa. These guys were repping out weighted pull-ups like I do unweighted push-ups. It really reminds you of your place on the totem poll when you're in the presence of professional warriors.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

misunderstandings be damned

I was just speaking with someone on the subject of their brother being misunderstood by the parents. The convo was started indirectly by reflecting on Kafka's Metamorphosis.

These gripes can be legit. Certainly I sympathize with having a disconnect with the family. I often wonder... I think we're all misunderstood to some degree, especially once we've lived away from family for a while. But it seems unique to our generation that we feel that our differences are unique enough that others should actually spend their time giving a damn. Are we due that amount of special treatment?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Arkansan nightmare

Well, the Hogs have now blown three 4th quarter leads in an equal number of games, starting their SEC season 0-3. Today after the game I told my mom "You've probably seen the end of a lot of things." Even though the Hogs only lost to an admittedly decent team 9-7, I think this game dug some graves.

First things first, the Hogs cannot win the SEC West, or even lose it in such a way that they were one of the "late season hopefuls." So, in a certain sense, that game was the end of hope for this year.Secondly, this game probably ended Darren McFadden's realistic shot at the Heisman. Until now his numbers had forced people to consider him, even during Arkansas losses. Tonight those numbers weren't posted. Not his fault of course. Auburn finally called the bluff on our offense in a way that no other team until now had done. They stuffed 8 men in the box all game and dared us to pass. Instead we spent most of the game running right at them. Still the result of an overall team failing, but nevertheless, that's that.

Lastly, it was probably also the tombstone on Nutt as our head coach next year. I'm not in the Nutt hater camp, and honestly people, the man couldn't pencil in "lose your top FIVE receiving threats" into his game plan for this year. Also, let's not pretend that the Auburn offense did any better against our defense than we did against theirs. Still, results have a way of taking precedence over the facts on the ground, and the results are three straight heart breaking losses for a coaching staff who had been able to deflect substantially criticism on the basis that "love us or hate us, we win games." Now that they haven't, and any lofty objectives are functionally out of reach, that line of reasoning will no longer work.

Indeed I will probably be one of the few Arkansans who still hold a love for Nutt. I sat through those long and ugly years under Danny Ford. While things haven't unravelled the way I'd have liked, I cannot forget that bright eyed young coach who walked into Fayetteville my freshman year and lit a fire in a dead-end program. It's too bad it usually has to end this way. Everyone's hero, the two-time coach of the year, booed twice in our home stadium, riddled with possible scandal (possibly not of his own making, although certainly mismanaged). Somehow in spite of all his flaws (or perceived flaws), Nutt is "coach" to me... like coach Lunny was in at Southside high school, and like Nolan Richardson was for Arkansas basketball.

I realize of course that college football is no biggie to the world at large. Nobody outside of my little corner of the world is affected by the difficulties of a middle-sized college football program falling on hard times. But in a place like Arkansas it's still a small enough circle of people that these things hit more personally. We all have a large investment in our team, not because they're a #1 contender on any regular basis, but because they're ours. It's especially sad when I see an Arkie coaching and two other Arkies playing on the opposite side of the ball. It's difficult seeing a boy from my hometown, who's brother is good friends with my sisters, line up under center for the other team. There's a feeling of family feud that has characterized this whole thing. Maybe that's what making the grapes so sour.

Ironically the grape crop in Arkansas did die in the fields this year. But there's one berry that will still be bottled into the sweet local nectar by our two state wineries - the native Arkansas muscadine. I have elsewhere written a poem of my home state based on the characteristic of this bittersweet berry. I still feel that it is a fitting emblem. A fittingly prospering crop that endures the ups and downs that characterize everything here: from football and politics to the weather. It is my hope that our beloved football team, like our little berry, can be resilient in spite of all, weather the cold, and once again be bottled into a bittersweet liquid that calms the souls and reddens the cheeks of her native sons.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Weezer redeemed

Do you remember when you were when Pinkerton came out? Indeed, have you tried to block out 90% of what's come from the once great Geek-rock band since the blue album? Remember how we always insisted that Weezer couldn't have really sucked so badly that Pinkerton was the best sophomore record that they had to offer us? Well it turns out that we were right. Check it out

Anyhow, so apparently (as best I can piece it together), the bassist (Matt Sharp) went off to start his own band (The Rentals) and took a lot of the key songs (which were the ones that he had written) with him. I bought that cd (called Return of the Rentals) used for $6... it really does sound a lot like old Weezer, more so than Pinkerton. This leads me to conclude that those who felt that the bassist was at least 1/2 of the original sound were correct in their analysis. In fact, I like Return of the Rentals substantially more than Pinkerton. However, the best song on the would-have-been record was recorded but unreleased until later, and even then only on the back side of a single for some crappier recent Weezer song. So it's my duty to spread the love. Or in this case, lost love.

The song, titled 'I just threw out the love of my dreams' has that geek-rock sound and lyrical content that always made early Weezer so endearing. It features a guest female vocalist (not a sellout... it was meant to be a "theme" record, and so it fits in the story... just looks weird w/o the rest of the story). Apparently this is the last thing recorded by 'Old Weezer' from when they still had Sharp... besides of course that travesty called Pinkerton. Tell me this doesn't sound like what we were expecting when we got slapped with 'el Scorcho'.

Another thing that's interesting, if you read the article and do a little creative scheming, you can almost pastiche the record, minus about four songs. Still, the article on wiki makes a great case that two and possibly three of the songs from Return of the Rentals would have been on Songs from the Black Hole. Also, three or four actually were on Pinkerton in some form. Plus we've got I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams. So, all in all, you have a nice little Weezer mini-sophomore record as it was meant to be before fate intervened.Although this it all highly redemptive for Weezer in my eyes, it's just sad to know that they probably scrapped the second record we were looking for. (btw, of the Rentals songs that would have been on it, none are bad. They need that extra little Weezer touch, but I could have put them on the first record and they would've sounded at home).

As Wes and I know full well, all truly great bands dream at night of the holy grail of rock... to write a thematic record revolving around space, containing ambiguous sexual overtones. It's not until you have three completely straight guys sitting around strumming a guitar and singing your song to your boy crush at the top of their lungs that you've truly made it. And the only man who has done that... Bowie. Ziggy Stardust is still one of a kind, despite Weezer's best intentions.I like to think that Weezer could have pulled it off if they'd stuck together. Still, they tried, and mad props for that... here's to hoping they try again someday.

For now, indulge yourself on one of the songs that would have been blaring in our expectant ears cc. 1997 rather than... some garbage about half Japanese girls. Enjoy: