Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Thought That No Tonsils Meant No Sicky Sicky?

Isn't that title sort of self-explanatory?

But I can't just leave it at that. Besides, this is BLOGGER, not TWITTER. You know, I don't do the whole Twitter thing. I don't Twat, or Twirt, or Twoot, or whatever they call it. Hell, I don't even do the whole Status Update thing on Facebook very often, though I do use it on occasion.

Nah, were I a Super-Villain I would probably be The Riddler.

Mr. Verbosity. Very prone to lots of talk, talk, talk. Or in this case write, write, write. Edward least as he is portrayed in the game Batman: Arkham City (arguably my favorite game of the year and easily on my top five ALL TIME) really can't shut up, and sadly that would be me.

And yet, would be hard-pressed to find me around these parts.

I was going to deluge last week. I had my whole LOFTY 2011 ready to go. Remember that from last year all Ye Faithful? My List of Thankful Things? Two things made me not do it.

One, my technology issues. Slowed me down to a crawl last week, in what was a short week. So there was no time to finalize all the photos for it. Had it written but there was no time to finish it before a Thanksgiving trip. The second reason I canceled it was after reading a post from a fellow blogger that made me think I just didn't want to.

Not that I wasn't, or am not, thankful and grateful for a great many things. In fact, I plan to re-purpose that list for a revised new End of the Year Tradition. Instead, the post I read just made me go inward rather than outward, and that wasn't a bad thing. Sometimes it might be important for me to do that.

Maybe not everything on my mind is meant for sharing. Capise?

And now I'm just sick. Been coming on me like a trickle as of Monday. Then a creek on Tuesday. Now a river today. Sucks.

Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

I thought that I would be spared these kinds of colds for a while. But I guess even having your tonsils out does not make you immune from cold viruses. I will say this LEAST I don't have those organisms in my throat that I have to deal with during this cold. Previously, when I had the tonsils in, and they were trapping all my goo, those tonsil stones would just get unmanageable.

But now? All mucus just goes down to the depths. Nice.

Hey...gotta add that to my Year-End List...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Amazing What Happens When Technology Fails You

You don't realize how much you become dependent on a technology until you can't use it.

Typically in this House of Dripping Walls, it is when the power goes out, which happens quite a lot. And it ALWAYS happens during times that leave me shaking my head. Could be raining like the 40 Days outside and the power doesn't flutter a bit, but on a sunny, moderate day in mid-May suddenly power for 3 hours.

We live on the shittiest grid in the county.

But I'm not talking about power, I'm talking about other technology. This time I am talking about e-mail. I have several e-mail addresses, all used for different things. Many for my freelance business and part-time eBay stuff, others for Mission: iPossible, and still others for personal use. All filtered to this computer through a single e-mail program for my convenience.

I maintain my own FTP and a few web addresses for all this stuff, and the main host/server that I use was getting pummeled by junk mail lately, so in an attempt to 'fix' the problem, the host/server installed some kind of filter on to my account on Monday afternoon.

The problem is that it is FILTERING EVERYTHING!!!!

I am not getting a single MUFUGGIN' e-mail sent to my computer at all!

So now, trying to get it reverted BACK to what it was is taking forever, meanwhile I am in deep, deep shit trying to manage stuff, manually check some places to see if things have shown up where they should, though I know I am missing a TON of stuff, and BTW what the hell happened to all the correspondence from Monday to right now? No one knows. And why does it take so long to get an issue like this corrected when it was so fast and easy to get the freakin' filter turned ON in the first place?


OK...I'm done.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Pieces of Buried Treasure

I am a Hoarder.

I've gone over this before. And the truth is, Thank God I am. It has served me very well in these dark days of self/un-employment as I try to figure out where to steer my career now, because so many of the things I have hoarded in my life can be sold off as needed to make ends meet.

I hoard personal stuff too, though. Photos, letters, and not just those made of paper. The digital kind. I recently stumbled across both types, each related to the other, while I was trying to organize what is, essentially, the un-organizable.

One was a small cache of ACTUAL physical printed photographs of Bennett when he was in the NICU, that first week or two when he was born. I did not take them. I think his Aunt Mandy did, though I am not entirely sure. And I am not entirely sure how they ended up in my hands either.

But they did, and I found 'em, so I eventually got to them in my rather large 'TO BE SCANNED' pile.

The other find was that of the digital variety. I might have mentioned that I used to blog at some other places, like Palisades Toys, and after that on a blog called Grey Matters for a small business I started called Creatus Maximus.

While Creatus Maximus exists now only as the branded name for my freelance work, it used to have its own website when it was an attempt by me to facilitate the production of artists' products, but I ultimately made some stupid decisions and couldn't get over the humps needed to make it work.

Hindsight? Yeah...

Even though that CMX website is long gone, I have a textual archive of the Grey Matters blog, thanks to my good friend and former Palisades and Creatus Maximus mate Chad McCoy who, VERY sadly, has been more in touch with me recently because of a seizure event his daughter had.

I am the 'Resident Expert' on Epilepsy when it comes to my friends. His daughter had what I think was a febrile seizure, and so far only the single event, but we are still sifting through some stuff, and not sure how much or how little he would feel comfortable with me sharing.

So thanks to him I at least have the text, and the HTML references to the images that accompanied the text. AND, since I saved all the images on my computer, and labeled everything by a very specific filename with a date stamp in the title, they are, naturally, easy to find and match up.

If only the PALISADES Daily Bit stuff I have saved was that easy to manage. I was not that web savvy back then. It is so all over the place it is frightening, and much of it is lost, too, since a TON of the Made in China stuff was entered directly into the website by hand, with no copy saved by me in the computer, and since the website is gone so is the content.


Be that as it may this weekend, Saturday, I stumbled across an entry from the weekend that Bennett was born, then Sunday, the VERY NEXT DAY after I found these new photos...that I had previously not published and forgotten I even had.

Of course I SAY previously unpublished, because even though I went back and looked through the past year of Bennett-labeled posts I could not find these, who knows? I might have published them...but I think I haven't. I did learn one thing. JESUS I repeat myself a lot. No wonder no one comments. It's like watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island. is the text, with the photos peppered about.
Grey Matters: Unexpected Events
Sunday, November 11, 2007
What a weekend I have had. It's amazing how much life changes on a dime when you never really expect it to.

My wife is expecting our second son in the first week or so of December. On Friday night, she went to bed feeling uncomfortable, and at 3:30 AM she was waking me up saying that we were going to the hospital. She was in labor and she had called her doc and that's what he told her to do.

Honestly, when we got there, we both thought that it was a false labor. The doc figured it probably was also, and gave her some medication designed to stop the contractions in the event that it actually turned out to be just that.

It wasn't.

The meds did not work, and so by 8:00 in the morning she was being prepped to go in for a C-Section. It had to be that way because that was how she had our first son, Carter, since he was breach, butt down, and couldn't be turned.

The last time she had the procedure, I had a grand daddy anxiety attack and had to leave the delivery room and lay on a gurney in the hallway outside. This time, they all talked me into staying out completely, so as to avoid any possible complication with me hitting the floor.

I hated that, though I understood it, and I stayed out. I got to see the baby VERY briefly, but then they had to whisk him up to the NICU, that's Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, in case you didn't know that, and that is where he has been ever since.

He has to be given oxygen, fed through a tube intravenously, injected with antibiotics, and kept fairly isolated in an incubator. While his chances of reaching a point of 100% normalcy are good, I gotta be honest with you and say that there is nothing that prepares you for seeing your baby hooked up to junk like that, especially when you can't really touch him for long and you can't hold him.

It has been tough for Jen, and for me...though she was able to hold him for a little while early this morning. In addition, we can't take him home for a week or two or possibly more, so you can imagine how difficult it might be.

At first I wasn't going to show these pictures, but I think in the end I decided to because I can't expect to treat his birth differently than I would if everything had gone really well. If it had, I would be posting some pictures and talking about the experience and him, and since it didn't go well I should still stay as true to myself as I can. But the pics are probably much harder for me to look at than they would be for someone else.

That's to be expected.

So that's it will be a more difficult time for now, at least for a little while, but as of 8:25, at 5 pounds (TEENY), we added Bennett Leonidas Lilly to our family.
Hopefully, soon, we'll get to bring him home.


You know I tend to always cringe when I read older stuff of mine. I didn't cringe as much when I read that, since it is, at least, from the heart.

But a couple of things leaped out at me.

One, the fact that I was convinced that everything would be 100% normal. Fact is? IT WAS. For 15 months, after we got home from the NICU, everything was 100% fine. We had NO idea about the time bomb being built inside that boy's brain or what catalyst would set it off.

The other thing I notice is that I was holding back. A LOT. I've changed in that regard.


I didn't reveal how bad things were for Jen and I. How I was not supporting her at all. How shitty of a husband I was at that time. I would today. I would use this space as a place to work through that and try to come out better on the other side of it somehow. But then? I think I was still timid about revealing too much about the darker aspects of me. Maybe I felt like I had an image to maintain or something.

But now? I just don't care.

No, scratch that. I care, certainly I care, and I do take a risk by opening myself up like this, but it is the path that I choose and I find it the most comfortable...I just have come to know and ACCEPT that I am flawed human being who makes mistakes, but that doesn't make me a bad dude.

Not too much. ;)

Owning my mistakes and being open about the crap in my life is what works for me. Doesn't work for everybody else and that is totally cool.

But it works for me, cause I get to own the good stuff too. And I like that.

Anyway, just thought I'd share a bit of that buried treasure. Maybe it will inspire some of you other Hoarders out there who take crap from your significant others to dig up some stuff like this and use it as a shield the next time you need a little 'D'...


Monday, November 14, 2011

Birthday Photo Deluge

I slammed my Facebook account on Sunday with a ton of photos, thought I'd smack a few up here, not so much because most people who read this don't link to my Facebook, though many do not. Mostly because I REALLY wanted to stop seeing myself as a cheerleader and FAST.

Bennett lately simply does NOT want o look at the camera when I am taking pictures, so I find myself shooting a TON of shots that go nowhere. Also, my colors are way off these days, and I have no idea why. Settings on the camera maybe, I dunno. More likely USER ERROR.

I'll have to look into it. Sometimes I get the thing so jacked up I have no choice but to just go in and reset everything back to the factory pre-sets and start over.

Of course, it wouldn't hurt to read the frikkin' manual.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Run, Lola, Run!

And everybody else who is participating in today's Santa Barbara Marathon, but particularly Team GSF. It would take a lot for me to humiliate myself and dress my little guy up like a Cheerleader, but since I could not be there in person, I can only be there in spirit and cheer them on.

Team GSF, who you can read all about here, is a group that was brought together by The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, and by now any of you reading these pages should know who Bill, Victoria and Gwendolyn are, but in case you might be new they are the amazing family who reached out and helped out Heather and I and the rest of us and essentially made it possible for us to put that Mission One project together over at Mission: iPossible! by allowing us to take a small space underneath the umbrella of trust and security of their organization.

Without that? I don't think the first Mission is over yet. It was that important.

An amazing family, an incredible foundation, and aside from the monumental work they do? They're just damn good PEOPLE.

Wish 'em Godspeed today.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Bizarro Birthday

If there is one thing that defines my existence, and maybe always has, it is my difficulty with navigating through the complexity of my emotional states of mind. In fact, so hard do I find this task, that too often I choose not to do it, and I instead ignore my feelings, or suppress them, or disengage.

Or play SHITLOADS of X-Box 360 and blow off the things I need to do altogether! WOOHOO!'s that workin' out for ya?

This navigational difficulty has been a defining characteristic of my life, as many of you have read.

These feelings never stay submerged or repressed for long however. They always find a way to come out. Sometimes they will emerge as explosive bouts of anger and all mailboxes, everywhere, will cower in fear, or they will emerge as waterworks, with Yours Truly collapsing on the floor in uncontrollable sobs. I suppose it is the price I pay for not choosing to lead a more balanced emotional life.

I am writing about this because yesterday morning I realized that I had not cried for quite a while. Not really. Not since August, when I lost it over The iPad Incident. I have had some tears, mainly inspired during my most recent re-watching of the LOST TV show, but not outright, full-tilt crying.

Yes, I used the term 'had not'.

I broke my streak yesterday.

What's strange is that the motivator came from the Leftiest of Left Fields.

I awoke in a great mood. It was Bennett's birthday. He turned 4 years old. And although he isn't REALLY 4 years old in his head, I didn't care, and still don't. I'm was not going to let that get me down. I refused to. How's THAT for evolution, BABY?

My interactions with him that morning were pleasant and warm, and I was NOT going to stress over the fact that he had NO IDEA AT ALL that it was not his birthday and doesn't even understand the concept of one. I was not going to dwell on the fact that he doesn't understand what 4 years old means, or that he still, when asked 'Bennett, who am I?', he calls me 'Kee-KO' after the Home Health Aide.

Denial is a beautiful thing, isn't it?

Nope, because I am all about celebrating the fact that the night before he came up to me and guided me by the hand to the bathroom and proceeded to bomb Dresden in the toilet bowl, squealing 'Puh-PAY!' after every delightful grunt. Nope, because I am all about being overjoyed that when I say 'Stand up.' to get his shoes on, he stands without hesitation. Nope, because when I say 'Ben-Ben, give Dadda a kiss.' he will grin, lean in and give me a kiss, wring his hands together, giggle like the Joker and then run away.

It's the little things that you learn to appreciate when you don't have everything working as it should with your kid. And man-o-shevitz...I love that kid, and I deeply, wholeheartedly, with everything I am...appreciate how lucky I am to have what I have with him.

And if I ever need any reminder of what I am missing? All I need to do is peek around the corner and eventually I will run into Carter, my older son. He is a typical child. And even though every typical child comes with their own set of variables, and even though even a typical child can grow up to be Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer, there is definitely no reason at all why I do not understand how extra lucky I am that I have this to cling to when things seem their bleakest.

Sounds pretty balanced right? Sounds fairly upbeat right? So why in the name of Hell's chicken was I collapsed in a heap crying yesterday morning?

Because I am one weird mufugga, and I have an unnatural attachment to people I have never met.

See, this Special Needs Community, which needs a better name cause I hate that one, is, or rather has become, a sort of family to me. And with a few exceptions like Elaine and Joyce, I have not had much opportunity to meet these fine folk in the fleshy flesh, and yet I feel a bond with many of them as deeply as any bond I feel with friends I have known all my life.

Even with those I may only talk to on occasion, or not at all.

It is such s strange phenomenon. But this Fratenasorority is unlike anything I have ever known before. The other day I was talking to Elaine about it. She went to an event with some other Special Needs Moms to Sesame Place, an event that was discussed on a private Message Board called Brain Parents, of which I am a member.

I could have joined in and attempted to go to this event and finally met the likes of Danielle, who wrote a terrific blog about the whole trip, and Sinead and others, but unfortunately we in Lillyville are really struggling in a major way and could not afford it. I had to cancel the trip to see my Mom for Thanksgiving, so no way could I afford to take Bennett to Sesame Place.

So I kept quiet out of embarrassment and just watched in awe as these people got together and wished I could have been a part of it. Maybe. Someday.

But Elaine said something about the experience that rings true most of the time. When you meet people who are in these trenches with you, there is such a commonality that it is almost like you have known each other all your lives.

Take Heather for example.

When she and I first started talking to each other about the whole iPad Contest Gone Wrong, which eventually turned into Mission: iPossible, that first phone call was EFFORTLESS. And it was only around halfway through it that we even realized there was a Truth to it that neither of us had picked up on. It was if we had known each other before. She was like a sister, a dear friend I had known since I was a kid.

It was the very same way all the way through that entire experience. Any time I had the good fortune of speaking to anyone on the phone, any of the parents who were on the Recipient list, or even some that were not, it was so easy to talk to them. All because of this ONE common trait that we share.

Our kids are in distress.

Isn't that crazy?

Well, call me crazy then.

Yeah sure, there are exceptions, and I know there are feuds, and disagreements. And that's a part of community too. I wish it were NOT true but it is. But for the MOST part, it is a good thing.

Somewhere in here, I had a point. Oh yeah...why the Hell was I crying?

Because this guy, this SingleDad and one of his posts in particular, just got to me yesterday morning. And although if he reads this I know he's going to be perturbed that I allowed myself to get jacked up like that, especially after he followed up with a new post with a very positive message saying that he was OK and that there was a lot of good in his life and that he was suffering from Sleep Deprivation among other things, it just bothered the living shit out of me that things were like they were for him and his kids.

Of course, now the fact that he is getting so many offers for tail I am jealous as all get out, but hey...I'm married...and the grass, well, it is ALWAYS greener, don'tcha know. And besides...he has very often commented on the shoes on MY feet and the blessings I have with Mrs. Blogzilly.

Now, he wasn't the SOLE reason for the tear-fest, mind you. Only the catalyst. Clearly I have a few things on my mind.

It was worse because Carter was waiting for the bus, and just like laughing in Church, the more you try NOT to do something the harder it is to actually DO it, so the minute I got him out the door it was like the fly on a fat man's pants on Thanksgiving. The buttons started popping off and I had to cut loose.

So I did.

Why then? Well, like I said, I had some emotional constipation, and was bound up in the Express Thyself department. There have been some things wearing me down of late I haven't discussed much here. Why was he the emotional enema, so to speak? I dunno...aside from the obvious Man-Crush, I guess I was just sitting there wondering why this guy, who I happen to have a great deal of respect for, got SUCH a shitty end of Life's Great Stick when it comes to the Dadness. He had a terrific role model of a Father, who recently passed away, and at least from the cheap seats it seems like SingleDad is perfectly equipped (AHEM) to handle Fatherhood of a typical child very well.

In other words, he would bring great things to the relationship. And I think it would be fairly effortless for him.

And yet, here I am, on the other hand, a fucking MESS when it comes to that scenario. If Dickens were writing the story of my Dad's it would be titled A Tale of Two Shitheads. And the two of them in combo worked me over but good. And as much as I struggle with the challenges of Special Needs Fatherhood, I struggle even MORE with Typical Needs Fatherhood with Carter, and it is work, really hard WORK, to break through barriers I have to be emotionally available to him, to spend time with him, and express things I need to with him ALL because of this fucked up baggage I carry.

Where is the balance in this? How is this fair?

But I feel like that about a ton of stuff, not just with my Digital BFF.

So it hit me the wrong way, and it triggered an emotional moment, one that was probably overdue. Needed it. Purging some of that stuff is never a bad thing. To me anyway.

So thanks, SD, for helping me to get to my inner child.

If it means anything at all. When I think of 'SD' as it applies to YOU, my friend? I think of SuperDad, not SingleDad, and I imagine a giant red 'S' on your chest and you wearing your underwear on the OUTSIDE of your pants. And I think, typical child or not, you are a beautifully flawed, fantastic father and a helluva human being. And I would give anything to see you get all the things you rightfully deserve.

You are the definition of Good.

And so, after I got up and dusted myself off (MAN I have a dusty floor) the day went on, and then we had a bit of a get together for Bennett later in the evening. He got a bit overloaded, and his mood was AWFUL because of a nap we had to jolt him out of.

Waddya gonna do? It's just another day. There were some good moments, and he did eventually level off.

Learned a valuable lesson about him too.

Slow down with this birthday and other 'event' type stuff where we try so hard to do it in the 'typical' way with him.

As much as I WANT to give him multiple gifts on his birthday, I think I do that more for Carter's benefit than Bennett's. Or even my OWN benefit, for the experience of it. And frankly? It just freaks Bennett out. At Christmas, I am going to pull the reins back and just give Bennett one thing. MAYBE two. Let him absorb it, get into it, enjoy it.

Or you know what? This Christmas, maybe I'll just get Bennett a Kippah and take him down the Jewish road for a while, maybe go the Hanukkah route. Don't they give one gift each day for like twelve days or something like that and eat knish? If I passover such a great idea I would be such a shmendrik. I have just the chutzpah to do it, too, and don't you forget it.

Sounds kosher to me! Oy vay!


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Fate or Coincidence?

It is a question that I ask myself often.

It is a debate I often find myself engaging in with a dear friend of mine, one who I have written about many times in these pages, a man named Richard, author of Daddyspeak. Richard is a very spiritual dude, and he and I often speak of the G-Man, though in very, very different terms.

Richard is much more literal in his beliefs than I am. I have to warp and distort things in order to fit into my brain. I have to make things work in order to have Faith. But I have gone over that before.

My thinking is...hey, whatever works for you, great.

Same philosophy applies to anything that is good for you, doesn't it? If you prefer solitude and watching television and a certain level of privacy and you like to jog on a treadmill indoors, but that is what you do for exercise, then that is JUST as good as the other guy who enjoys going out to the local park and jogging around the trail, sucking in the sights and sounds of nature.

Because at least you are both DOING SOMETHING GOOD for your bodies and minds.

Anyway...I do not know how I feel about Divine Intervention. I struggle so often with the notion of it. I struggled with it during the entire iPad Incident I wrote about before. I think I will struggle with it all my life.

And that is OK. Struggle is probably good. It means, at the very least, that it is on my mind, and I won't argue that this alone, all by itself, is a GREAT thing.

Heard about this today, and it got me thinking about Fate vs. Coincidence. It is a story about a man who stopped along the side of a road to help two stranded women change a flat tire, and the events that occured afterward.

Good Deed Repaid on Wisconsin Highway

You tell me.

Fate? Coincidence? Who knows? Truthfully, it doesn't really matter what it is. It is still GOOD.

And THAT is what matters most.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The More Things Change

Today was an Election Day here. I did not vote. I did not care.

What does that say about me?

Did my one turn as an attempted citizen sour me so much on the experience that I am now no longer really qualified to call myself an American? I dunno. Some might think so. I might think so.

I just...well, why repeat myself?

I realize that this is a terrible thing to say, and an example for my kids that I absolutely, positively do not want to set.

But I'm tired. Tired of the rhetoric and the BS that does nothing for our economy while two very different groups will not work together to help each other as each struggles and maneuvers for control and domination and things go from bad to worse-worse.

Tired of watching all the bills go up, tired of watching my wife work for a company that takes her for granted and hasn't given her a raise in four years. Tired to have made such terrible choices in my own life involving career to where I am now, at 44, in a world of confusion over what in the world I am supposed to do to somehow change direction as I eek out a living doing...the things I am doing.

I'm just tired. Struggling is hard, and it takes a lot of the energy out of a lot of things, not the least of which is my marriage, which always suffers from it. That's true in typical and non-typical households. Money, and/or lack thereof, strains everything.

Financial considerations forced me a week ago to cancel a trip to Arkansas to see my Mom for Thanksgiving. That was a huge, HUGE emotional setback. I wanted to see her. She wanted to see me. I smelled MASSIVE, down-home rejuvenation. Or was that manure?

But times are just too damn tough.


But you know what? I do remember to count my blessings. And I am going to put together my List of Fifty Things. It is November after all. And I do have fifty. Hell I have more than fifty. And one of them is that despite being stuck here in Columbus and what that forces my career into...I cannot ignore, not for a second, and must stand in AWE at how good Bennett's benefits are.

I know of no one who has it as good as he does when it comes to Therapy hours.

One of these days, I will have to tell the VERY long story as to how that all went down. Apparently, is is NOT because of where we live. It is much, MUCH more complex than I ever imagined.

Anyway, I'm done with today's bitch-fest. I needed one. Although I try to focus on the positives in life more these days, occasionally I need to vent too. This is, after all, my digital, and totally free of charge, head shrinker.

And the doctor is ALWAYS in.


Monday, November 07, 2011

Bullets & Broomsticks

Bennett is sick today.

Pink Eye.

You ever notice how the Medical Community likes to name stuff in a very casual way? 'Pink-Eye' almost sounds fun, doesn't it?

It ain't.

I know because a while ago I actually got it. I hadn't had it in around 15 years. So I know it hurts, but we don't walk around calling it Conjunctivitis like we really should. Come to think of it, I guess the Medical Community really didn't call it 'Pink-Eye'.

We did.

OK, so I am not really over the whole Infantile Spasms thing yet. So sue me.

Speaking of getting over stuff, a couple of years ago, in the 2008-2009 NFL Season, the Pittsburgh Steelers made history and beat the Baltimore Ravens three times straight. They beat them two times in the regular season and then again in the playoffs, in the AFC Championship Game.

Not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES A LADY.

That stung. A lot. More than Conjunctivitis.

You might not know this tidbit of history, they also managed to set another record by beating us in three unique uniforms. They beat us in their Home Jersey, their Away Jersey, and in their Retro Jersey (the one with the throwback yellow helmets and white pants).

I'm just full of information today aren't I? Well, I'm passionate about a few things in life, and this is one of them.

The Baltimore/Pittsburgh rivalry is arguably becoming one of the best in the modern day NFL. ESPECIALLY with Peyton Manning getting a bit older and especially this year with him not even playing, the Patriots/Colts rivalry is taking a bit of a powder. With the Packers being SO great, the Packaers/Bears rivalry is also very, very cool.

Because in order for a rivalry to truly BE be a rivalry, there needs to be intense competition, and the one thing that these two teams bring to the table is COMPETITION and intensity. That's why the Browns/Steelers rivalry is kind of dead. The Steelers handle the Browns the way MOST teams handle the Browns. Easily.

But with the Ravens/Steelers, most of the games are NOT decided by that many points. Turnovers are key, defense is critical, and best of all the two teams have a genuine distaste for each other, both on and off the field.

It's fantastic sports entertainment.

On Opening Day of this season, the Ravens handed the Steelers one of the only real lopsided losses the Steelers have had in a very, very long time. I considered it a very flukey thing, one that the Steelers would probably not suffer again. And they didn't. In fact, moving forward, the Ravens are the ones that looked suspect, losing games to some really BAD teams while the Steelers looked like the Steelers ALWAYS do.

Damn good.

Which is why when last night's Steelers/Ravens re-match aired on Sunday night, AT Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, I was terrified to watch the thing. The Ravens had not been playing great, their O-Line was a mess, and Flacco was not the Quarterback that he was on Opening Day.

The Steelers? They just beat the Patriots. Roethlisberger just out-Brady'd Brady. Mike Tomlin, the Steelers head coach who looks like Joh Yowzah from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, out-Belichick'd Belichick.

As 8:00 PM approached, I felt a little like throwing up in my mouth.

The game was tighter than I imagined it would be. The Ravens brought their A-Game and then some. I do not know why I was expecting anything else. Oh I don't know...maybe the losses that we shouldn't have had?

But then there it was, late in the game...OH MY GOD, there was the Turnover That Changes Everything. I have come to expect this. The Steelers take the lead for the first time. My heart sinks as I realize that history always seems to repeat itself with the Ravens when they face their Nemesis.

Well, I thought to myself in resignation as the 2-minute mark approaches and we got the ball back, at least it wasn't a blowout.

Then out loud I turned to Jen and said 'See this is the thing that everyone ALWAYS talks about when it comes to The Kid. He just can't march the team down the field in two minutes for the win. That takes something...special. Brady can do it. Manning can do it. Warner. Favre. Marino. Brees. All the greats. And you KNOW Ben can do it. It takes something...extraordinary. Something you can't record or quantify. Does Flacco actually have it in him? Does he have what it takes?'

I guess he does.

Two minutes and sixteen seconds. Ninety-two yards.

I was floored. Stunned. Shocked. I think everyone in Heinz Field was too. I think Mike Tomlin was. I don't think anyone believed that they were going to do it, because they had never been able to do it before.

But they cast aside many a demon in those two minutes.

And it felt good. It felt...liberating.

It felt even better than the victory on Opening Day. Because it proved something. That first game was NOT a fluke. It was NOT an aberration. The Kid CAN do it. The team CAN do it.

And they did.

Ravens 23 - Steelers 20


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Nothing Fruitless About It

Getting back on the Horse with posting over at Fruitless Pursuits. Why the major gap in my presence over there? Well, why not hop over and find out if you are so inclined.

THOUGH BE CAUTIONED. I curse like a drunken sailor on weekend leave over there...I make no apologies for it. ( mean WORSE than here?)

Thou hast been warned.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Annie Leibovitz, I Ain't

Not even close. In fact, too many times I walk out of the house and am halfway to an event OR am already there when I realize I left the camera at home.

Didn't use to be like that.

I use to take TONS of pictures. All the time. I was a picture taking MACHINE. Not so much anymore. Not sure what happened. Something I need to work on, I suppose.

So not only did I totally blow it with Carter's Flag Football League (though I did manage to snap a few photos with my Cell Phone I can't figure out how to get them from the phone to the computer) but when Halloween came a'callin' I also missed most of the key photo opps there as well.

Only managed to snag a couple of shots of Bennett before he was out the door.

Hopefully some of the rest of the family got Carter in his outfit (I'm banking on it) or I am SOL this year.

Is it me, or does Bennett bear a striking resemblance to the mysterious Bat-Boy?


A Beautiful Blank Page

Christmas is over. That sound you hear is my sigh of relief. The tree is not actually down, as the opening image suggests. That was a tem...