Thursday, September 28, 2006

Amazing feets

I just witnessed one of the greatest escapes from possible harm. Button and I were finishing a walk when we happened upon a squirrel fight, not just a fight but one of the knockdown dragout variety.

Even Button's instinct to charge smaller creatures was bypassed as this spectacle had her at a loss. At some point either one of the squirrels was getting it handed to him/her or finally saw us only feet away and decided it was time to go.

To my horror one of our furry friends headed for Sixth Avenue and what hoped was freedom. With heavy traffic I had a pretty good idea of how this was going to go down and I really didn't want to watch...but I couldn't help myself for the most part.

Mr. Squirrel made it about two feet into the road and realized the error of its ways. On a dime it jump straight vertical about 3 1/2 feet to avoid the first car, landed and then ran under the belly of another and that is when things looked grim. The squirrel and approaching SUV were on a collision course and I couldn't watch.

Closing my eyes for a moment I heard impact, a clear thud and then something in me had to look, I'm not proud of that but nonetheless I opened my eyes and what did I see... Mr. Squirrel must have dodged the SUV, instead of getting hit head-on which looked invitable, he was agile enough to get out of the way. The thud I assume was an ill-advised jump which landed it into the side of the SUV.

By the time I saw the action again he had gathered himself and dodged another car behind the SUV before making it safely on the otherside of the road. As I stood there amazed, stunned and damn impresssed, a most fitting end to the scene... from the safety of his tree Mr. Squirrel proceeded to tell the other squirrel, button, myself, traffic and whoever else would listen what he thought of them conspiring against him.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I'm a loser

Normally I would post this to my health blog, but I decided to post this to the flagship instead. My spirits are high, my workouts are going amazing and except for a minor bout with blisters I have zero complaints.

Workouts six days a week in the AM and walks/cardio in the evening. Tonight I decided to walk about two miles and on the way stop off a steep set of stairs and see if I could crank out 5 sets going and 5 more on the way back. I wasn't sure but promised myself to do my best. I'm happy to report I did 5 on the way and 6 on the way back to push past what I hoped to do. I only used the rails for assistance on 1 set (the first) and then realized I could make it on my own. The thighs burned but I made it with a smile on my face.

I wore a shirt today that I haven't been able to fit in for almost ten years. I'm going to blow past what I thought was previously possible and shock people who haven't seen me in a while...count on it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Simply Beautiful

Please Enjoy!

Ray Brown Trio : An amazing trio that I had the fortune of seeing in person, it was a night I will not soon forget. Perfection.

If I loved you

Sonny Rollins: Perhaps my favorite musician, it is hard to find the words...just listen to his music and it's all the explanation you need.

Some background and Music
Two musical giants
God Bless the Children

John Coltrane: What more needs to be said?

Giant Steps
With Miles doing "So What"
Afro Blue

Art Blakey: The legend who took countless future jazz greats under his wing and taught them how it was done.

Dat Dere
Blues March

Dizzy Gillespie: A jazz God that I had the fortune to see live, he truly sent shivers down my spine that night. I was struck that night by his power, sophistication, restraint and precision.

with Yardbird
with Arturo Sandoval

okay that is all for now...I will have to this again..I had a blast and I hope you enjoy!!

What is happening to me ?

Watching sports have always been huge in my life. I was the kid that faked the Sunday morning sleep-in and/or flu for years to get out of going to Mass so I could watch every NFL game on Sundays. You name the sport (except nascar....sorry not a sport) and I watched it joyfully. Pre-game, post-game, heck I didn't have to any emotional investment to love watching.

It has been happening a little bit more each year, indifference has begun to creep in. My heavens I took a nap during the Cougar game today and once the game was in hand I switched off to read and work on my writing.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A knock at the door

Today, while deep in writing mode I hear this knock at the back sliding glass door. No big deal I figure it came from next door, and the neighbor who regularly makes such noises, so I go back to writing.

A minute later three distinct knocks at the door and this time I was sure it wasn't the neighbors door. Button, who was sleeping, stirred and looked at me like what is going on. Seeing no shadow at the door I got up to answer the knocks and what did I find but a pesky Steller's Jay knocking away.

This is its second appearance, the last time it raised quite a fuss amongst the birds. Opening the door it flew off to the neighbor's rooftop and like the last time the birds around went nuts. Not sure why it keeps coming back, there are basil plants and tomatoes growing outside so I'm wondering if that has its interest.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Clay Aiken gets my vote

Flipping channels a few minutes ago I came upon a "Hollywood" interview with Clay Aiken, and the interviewer could not help herself from asking him if he was gay.

I have to say I'm more impressed with his answer than I am his singing skills (though I admit he has talent)...he turned the question back on the interviewer, why should it matter to her or anyone else? Bravo Clay, freakin Bravo.

While I'm not opposed to seeing celebs grilled with tough questions (see I think with their status should come some social responsibility), asking about them about their sexual preference is nothing short of moronic.

I was about to ask myself if those shows are above such nonsense, but of course I know they aren't.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It is my intention

Ok one of the things I've been dreaming about for a long long time is getting some tattoos. Objects and sayings that are deeply personal to me and act as a source of motivation for me to continue to head down the correct pathes in life.

So sometime in 2007 when I've lost more of this weight, I plan to reward myself with my first tattoo... So far I've made an evergrowing list of what I want done.

1. Over my heart I plan to have the Erskine Crest and either replace "Je Pense Plus" (I Think More) with the other Erskine Motto "Decori decus addit avito" (He adds honor to that of his ancestors) or get that tatooed somewhere else.

2. Not sure of the placement but the next one is this. Apparently I said this back 1978, she reminded me of it and I've been fascinated and eager to learn from that wise innocent little boy. I have other ideas for the quote that I hope could help others, but more of that later...

3. Again not sure of the placement, maybe back ... of an Orca-type fish (yes I realize Orcas are not fish) This "Killer" Whale that is anything but. Maybe not a surprise to some of you I would name him "Billy Fish" (who also isn't a fish). A fish that some viewed from his exterior as being tough, but inside he was as gentle as they come, yet that part that people fear is always hidden beneath the surface.

4. A portrait tattoo of the subject of my screenplay. Probably an arm tattoo, he has become a part of me and it would be my honor to get a tat of him. I owe him so much I can't even put it into words.

5. The "we are the poor rabble" quote (see reign of the rabble for it). Probably on the inside of one of my forearms as a reminder. I came upon this quote while doing a history paper and from the minute I read it, those words were seared into me and I felt one with what he was trying to say.

6. On my back I would love to do a totem-like tattoo with each level of it being relevant to my life and the things that have shaped me...definately something that will take more time to design but I have the concept of it.

Maybe more in time after that... I could get an outline to my fraternity brand that is on my right arm. Life will dictate what else is in the cards tattoo-wise but I really am lookig forward to my first. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Second to Nun

I want to take this post to pay tribute to and wish a very happy birthday to my mother Mabel Catherine aka Sis, Sister Rosemary, Boomer, Mabes... The oldest of seven children and mother to one very lucky guy.

It is kind of nice for the ego to know that she turned her back on God just to have me (see photo) okay so maybe too drastic a statement, but hey I'm controlling this blog.

Happy *cough*ty-second Birthday mom!

p.s. Happy Birthday (belated or otherwise) to all family and friends having September Birthdays.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I wish I spoke jazz

Today the urge came to me to listen to some jazz pieces I haven't heard for years. The other day I found myself listening over and over to Coltrane and Johnny Hartman's Lush Life, a classic to be sure, you would be hard pressed to find a better voice than Hartman.

I went looking for my old Art Blakey tapes, yeah I said tapes. He and the Jazz Messengers do a instrumental version of "Polkadots and Moonbeams" that is simply beautiful and from the first time I heard I fell in love. I listen to a fairly diverse range of music, but nothing comes close to jazz. Instead of just making me tap my toes, it stirs my soul, speaking in such a beautiful and rich language.

Case in point, I'm not one terribly skilled talking to another person. Yes I can joke around and make someone perhaps crack a smile, but I rarely open up to others on what is going on inside me...maybe I don't want to scare them away or I fear they just won't care, either way it would surely get lost in the awkwardness of my presentation, so I've learned to keep it in.

The beauty of jazz to me is the fact that I could spend hour upon hours trying to communicate the different stories of my life, good and bad, or I could play Count Basie's "lil Darlin'" as performed by the Ray Brown Trio and those stories would unfold just like it they do each time to me. Jazz KNOWS me and that is perhaps why I love it so.

Now excuse me while I spend some time with "lil Darlin'"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Is it healthy to dream about killing?

So last night I had yet another one of my weird dreams. The entire dream is somewhat fuzzy but what I do remember was killing, with my bare hands and with great joy.

I remember getting a call from someone out at the property (for non-family folks (if there are any reading this) it is sort of the extended family's base camp) that there was trouble and I was needed ASAP. I drove like a freakin mad man, I could feel it building in me, yes the urge to kill.

So I arrive and what should be Grandpa's house, though it was more like a barn. Then I hear it, terrible screams of someone in great pain...okay the heart is racing a bit. As I make my way closer it sounds like someone/thing is bouncing off the damn walls. Clearly I'm in for a fight, undeterred I go inside...nothing. I have a look around and just when I feel relaxed...BAM !!!

I get blindsided by a masked exercise ball. *sidenote* Okay I'm not sure why it is masked, chances are I couldn't pick it out of a line up, so what gives?...back to dream...So the ball is straining for a piece of me and with all the strength I can muster, I dig in my finger and squeeze the life out of that damn ball.

Never did see anyone out there, but looking back those screams probably sounded quite a bit like me when I tangle with the exercise ball everyother day doing ab work.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

For shame MTV

Ok I'll admit I'm probably no longer in their target audience...and I'm over the fact that MTV or Music Television doesn't actually play music videos any more, atleast not any meaningful amount as far as I can tell. To be truthful we parted ways many a year ago and I have to give them some credit for staying afloat in an era where popular music is as bad as I thought was possible.

I'll say it for all to hear... If MTV would combine two of their shows they would win me back YESTERDAY!

Tonight while flipping channels I happened upon Punk'D, the show where Demi Moore's hubby/Boytoy pranks celebs on their own over the top version of candid camera. A bit tired but is good for a mindless chuckle or two.

And then I saw it...The logical destination for Punk'D, a show that screams "Punk'D marry me !!"...not sure of the name but MTV also has a show where kids who are just about to turn 16 throw a tantrum to their parents and whoever else is around/at their service. These aren't just your normal everyday kids, no these are the pampered mega-rich who demand just the right car, and the most outrageous, over the top sweet sixteen party to make them the envy of all their friends.

Oh MTV what do we have to do to bring these shows together and give these sweet sixteen year olds a birthday they will never forget? :)

Some changes on the way

After giving it some thought I've decided to divide up my blogging, instead of dumping all my ideas here, I will post to four separate blogs.

This site will remain to house my general thoughts on life and whatnot, in addition I will be posting more to INT. MY HEAD - DAY/NIGHT, which will be dedicated to my writing.

For fans of my semi-angry...okay angry posts regarding politics and social justice, never fear I will posting to what I will call "The Reign of the Rabble".

Finally and most important of all will be my yet titled health blog where I will chronicle my struggles and triumphs on my way to a fit me.

I hope there is something for everyone to sink their teeth into, I look forward to sharing with and especially hearing from you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Life Lesson #4

Perhaps sometimes it is best to treat oneself as you would a tough cut of meat you wish to tenderize through BBQ, heat it low and slow.

Yesterday during my workout I developed a bit of a stitch in my back, nothing serious, I was just having a hard time loosening it up. Before bed I decided applying treatment via a heating pad sounded good.

It felt so good I decided on medium-high until i felt sleepy and then I'd turn it down to low or off. Three-Thirty in the morning I wake up massively overheating, of course forgetting that heat makes me ultra-sleepy. I make it back to sleep seemingly non the worse for wear, some weird dreams but what else is new.

So I get up and as I prepare for my workout I discovered a nice blistering of the skin in the area where the heating pad was....Nicely done William!

p.s. The workout went great.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thoughts of September 11th

It is impossible for me to not give my two cents worth today on this the fifth anniversary of the attack on the Twin towers and the Pentagon.

First, there is no way I can some up all of my feelings and thoughts regarding the initial attacks and then this country’s response, but I’ll do my best to stay focused and semi-rational.

Like countless others I can remember the moments like they were yesterday, I was thousands of miles away, but it was truly a defining moment for this country and a generation that few old enough to remember will forget.

For me up until the towers actually fell it was like a blur, racing from channel to channel at a mind numbing speed to try to understand what was happening. But once the last tower fell I had two distinct thoughts that I could not shake from my mind. My first thoughts were off those poor people who never stood a chance, trapped hopelessly and knowing that they would not likely make it out alive. The second was off those people who would pay with their lives from America’s response. I’m not talking about those who had a hand in the attack, but the people who are living their lives on the other side of the planet the best way they know how.

I don’t consider myself a terribly religious man but for the first time in a long time I found myself praying for the victims and more importantly as I saw it, for our leaders to have the foresight and leadership that we needed so badly at that moment. My politics lean heavily to the left and I for one had no trouble with a military response, I would venture to say most American regardless of political affiliations felt the same. We were under attack and those responsible needed to be sought out and eliminated.

Sadly the government let an opportunity slip by, countries all over the world were with us, the attacks of 9-11 were an attack against humanity and decency. I remember getting emotional at seeing the three minutes of silence throughout Europe and shows of support from all over. But soon this administration choose to strike out on its own with a few “coalition of the willing” and divert from the mission of bringing those responsible for the 9-11 attacks to justice, and use the attacks to justify their long held plans to invade a Iraq and overthrow its government.

So here we are five years later, Iraq has not gone according to plan; the Taliban, which protected and housed those responsible for the attacks of September 11th, is showing signs of gaining strength once again in Afghanistan and the America is not looked at in the same light it had been in the past. Instead of being a big part of the solution, increasingly we are looked at as a part of the problem. Maybe it shouldn’t matter what others think, but to me with power comes responsibility and there was a golden chance for this country to truly lead, but sadly in my opinion “our leaders” failed us badly.

Now with an election year upon us we are hearing the “blame game”, fingers point here and there...Clinton is responsible for 9-11, Bush is responsible..... Yet one thing is clear. BIN LADEN AND HIS TERROR NETWORK ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PLANNING AND BRINGING THE TOWERS DOWN. End of story. I have a hard time believing a single official either Republican or Democrat would have not done everything in their power to stop the attacks if they had foreseen what would take place.

So instead of looking back to find blame, yes look back; to learn the lessons we can apply to our lives, remember those that were lost and never forget the heroic deeds performed on that day.

My biggest question is are we heading in the right direction? I still do not know how to answer that, but my gut says that we got off the right track shortly after September 11th.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Life Lesson #3

There are moments in our lives when life takes us gently by the hand and shows us the error of our ways with as little harm as possible, when our actions could have or should have warranted a harsher outcome.

Case in point:

Life Lesson #1- A young William (circa 1980), full of imagination and Olympic aspirations decided to practice high jumping in his bedroom. Having a bed that doubled nicely for the landing pit, he lacked only a bar to jump over. With ten year old logic in hand he decided a #2 pencil propped up with the writing-side pointing skyward would do the trick. It was only until he successfully landed and looked down between between his legs to see the pencil still where he placed it and only an inch from a rather vital area did he understand a whole lot more was at stake besides the gold medal. *gulp*

Life Lesson #2- Circa 1986ish...William excited to be regularly shaving (sidebar- that excitement lasted about as long as the thrill of going to a bar once I turned 21...not long). So amidst of the excitement and inexperience of shaving ones facial hair, William gets frustrated because his razor keeps getting clogged with hair. A more experinced shaver would run the razor under water or swish it around in a sink full of water...not William. What better way to to clean the blades than just remove said hair with your hands? Many bandages later I then understood the beauty of water...sustaining life, carving out the grand canyon and removing troublesome hairs from a razor blade.

Life Lesson #3- Circa an hour ago... I learned long ago to wash your hands after preparing foods before you eat, didn't I? Surely cracking fresh black peppercorns and then sprinkling over food doesn't really count. I mean I've worked with Pork, Chicken, Beef...etc, while working in a butcher shop years ago. I was always careful not only for the customers sake, but for mine as well. It is rather comical, I mean what are you going to catch from ground black pepper...*think to self* dang let me get that loose eyelash...DOH !!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Sweetest Sound

I've noticed a subtle but sweet difference between the two breeds of dog I have mostly been around, Cocker Spaniels and Labs. Generally I prefer the lab, they tend to be a bit goofier and a slight bit more affectionate. Maybe this was just the case with my former dog Chester.

Last night however I heard the sweetest sound. Button (Cocker Spaniel) was laying on her side and I decided to rub her tummy. At first she eyed me with some suspicion, but after a few seconds on well-placed rubbing to her ribs and belly I heard it... a series of staccato thumps from her stumpy little tail striking the cushion below her, a sure sign of approval.

Now I loved Chester but in all honesty, everytime he wagged his tail like that you were either at risk of getting thumped or he would surely knock something over on the coffee table.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Greatest Music Video in the World

I have yet to watch it without cracking up laughing....nay, we are but men !

Friday, September 01, 2006

Feeling good is good enough....

Just a quick note... Feeling pretty good lately, the creative juices are pumping like mad and I started up the workouts a few weeks ago. Not sure what direction this blogging is going to take but I'm planning on sharing more of my thoughts with the world ...lucky you!

My next piece will most likely be about my writing, with an emphasis about the screenplay that has consumed my life for too long. I'm finally coming to grips with the realization that it is something I am destined to do. But I'll get into it in more detail later...

I hope all is well, wherever you happen to be...