21 December, 2013

An overload of pain

I don't know why I put myself through such emotional circumstances, but I do.  I'm not even Catholic.  It probably has a lot (everything, really) with the fact that I'm drunk.  It's a vicious circle I throw myself into.  Drinking to forget what I do for a living, thinking about my Dad and  Brother, songs that remind me of them...  Throw in some memories of "Her" for good measure and I end up with a serious case of the blues.  So far there are only two songs that are guaranteed to make me cry like a baby.  Vince Gill's "Go Rest High On That Mountain" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run."  The former hit me a couple of years after my Dad died.  I was listening to it while standing in the upper parking lot of the daycare center I worked at.  The sun was on the western horizon, it was a warm day and I cried my guts out.  It was the beginning of dealing with the pain I had bottled up after my Father died.  I deal with pain of that order as if it were a time release capsule.  My first concern is taking care of others so I package everything I'm feeling and put it on a shelf to deal with it "later."  I'll then break open that package, break off a piece and deal with it.  I can only do it in that way otherwise I would go insane.   The thing is, I'm not breaking off big enough chunks.  Which is why I'm still dealing with that pain so long after.  As I've written about  previously, my level of grief got to the point where I had an alcohol fueled breakdown.  My mind was not capable of processing enough through the "time release" process and decided "Well, we have to save ourselves so, it's all coming out NOW."  I'm embarrassed of the things I admitted to my Mother but I'm glad those demons were expelled.  I had simply bottled up more grief than my mind was capable of handling and it all spilled out in one shot.  A more humiliating, yet liberating, feeling I will never experience. 

It just goes to show how important music is to us.  A song some dude wrote as  tribute to his late brother can make hundreds of thousands of other people feel the same way.  Songs that were recorded by a miraculous voice over 40 years ago, in mono two track no less (take that Britney!), can still make us cry just by hearing the intro... Music is important to us whether we realize it or not. 

16 December, 2013

So Long, YouTube

I've finally reached a decision.  I've already written about Google fucking up YouTube so I won't flog that dead horse.  I miss the community of the old YouTube from the days before Google fucked everything up.  Back before people started making money off of their videos.  Google has succeeded in driving away the people that made YouTube what it was.  It is now nothing but a cash cow.  Google knows that the SxePhils, Shaytards and others will drink the Google+ kool aid and follow along because those users depend on the income GoogleTube supplies.  If they wish to continue as they have been, they must conform and take whatever Lord Google tells them they must.  Google+ is a failure.  They're forcing it upon YouTube users in order to make their huge failure look like a success.  I won't take part in that charade.  Many other YouTubers aren't either.  I've been on Youtube since 2006 and had a miniscule part in making the website what it is.  No more.  I will no longer upload any videos to GoogleTube.  I've moved to Vimeo and hope I have found a new home.  If you have followed me on YouTube, you'll have to go to Vimeo in order to see any new content or have any sort of interaction with me.  I will not be having any sort of interaction through YouGoogle from this point on.  The videos that are there will stay there.  If they're going to treat their users as cattle, I will reciprocate and use them as nothing more than a file whore.  I have some resignations, but I'm surprisingly not all that sad about leaving YouGoogle behind.  So, those of you who have been with me for so long, I hope you'll continue to tag along.  For those that choose not to follow me over to Vimeo, I offer my sincere thanks.  I was never all that popular on YT, but I enjoyed the small batch of subscribers that I had.  Without you I wouldn't have any motivation for continuing.  I have never made one cent from my videos, so my "payment" was from you, the viewers and subscribers.  I'm going to lose a large part of my "audience", that much is true, but I still hold out hope that you hardcore Hopper1 fans will follow me into this new adventure. Goodbye.

14 December, 2013

Phys. Ed.

I didn't dislike PE as a kid but I wasn't good at sports.  Like everything else in my life I'm mediocre.  I usually passed PE with an A; a person would have to be pretty bad to not get an A in PE.  Even for someone like myself who is horrible at any sport that involves striking one object with another.  It comes as no surprise that swimming was something I was pretty good at.  I only participated in two sports throughout my time in school.  Both eighth and ninth grades I was on the swim team and in ninth grade I was on the golf team.  I got a pretty darn good life lesson from my Dad during my first year on the swim team.  The junior high I attended (opened in 1923 and now closed) had two pools.  Neither were "regulation" size.  The junior high swimming season started in January.  Being an old building, insulation was not part of the original design.  One of the walls around that tiny pool was an outside wall.  Not a big deal if we were talking about Florida, but this was in Wisconsin.  In January.  We started daily practices in this tiny pool and when the high school (which I later attended) was done with their swim season we had to find our own way to that pool.  So every day after school I would walk two miles, in January, February and March to the high school for practice.  The high school we practiced at had a pool unlike the other pools in the city.  Every other pool (the tiny junior high pools included) had decks flush with the water line.  The high school pool's deck was about 1.5' above the water line.  The coaches used that as a training aid.  We did what we called "push pulls."  we would start by holding onto the gutter (at the water line), go under water, pull ourselves up then push ourselves out of the water.  Not a big deal, but that was just the warm-up.  After a series of push pulls from the gutter we had to do them from the deck.  1.5' above the water line.  After that we would perform all manner of drills.  Whole pool lengths under water, whole pool lengths without taking a breath etc.  After a week of being miserably cold, sore and dealing with dry skin (chlorine is really hard on people with already dry skin) I wanted to give up.  A couple of teammates told me to give it just one more week but my mind was made up.  Then I went home after practice and told my parents that I wanted to quit swimming.  My Father said a few short sentences that affected me to this day.  He told me "You started swim team.  You're obligated to finish the season.  I won't go into how that bit of advice changed me.  That's for another post.  I stuck with it and eventually liked it.  I enjoyed being part of a team, I enjoyed the Kameradschaft and I enjoyed the satisfaction I felt at the end of a meet.  So much so that I did it in ninth grade.  I also enjoyed the time I spent with Dad. I rode a bus with the rest of the team to the meets, but usually went home with Dad.  I'm the least sport related kid of my family and I think he was concerned that I wouldn't ever get into any sports.  Sports were important to Dad but don't get me wrong, he never pushed me into it and I didn't do it for him.  He would have supported me in whatever interests I had.  Again, that's for another post.  I think Dad was at every meet.  Can't remember exactly.  One meet that sticks out in my mind was from the ninth grade season.  One particular junior high had the worst starting blocks I've ever seen.  Fiberglass boxes they were.  I don't care how much grip tape they put on them, they were always slippery.  I can't remember what event I was swimming but I was on the block and nervous (always was), waiting for the starting pistol.  The official fired the pistol, I pushed off with all my might... and slipped.  I had zero forward motion because of that slip and hit the water with what was the world's biggest belly flop.  The last thing I heard before hitting the water was Dad yelling "Noooooo!".  It was a bad race.  Very bad.  That same meet coach put me on the 50 butterfly.  He knew I couldn't do the butterfly, I knew I couldn't do the butterfly but he put me on it anyway.  Me trying to swim the butterfly looked more like drowning than it did swimming.  I finished last (by a pool length), got disqualified for not keeping my feet together and generally embarrassed myself.  I imagine the boy Dad saw after that meet had his head hanging very low.  We didn't discuss it, we just got in the car and headed home.  Being my Dad however, he knew I felt horrible.  Even though dinner was going to be waiting at home he stopped by a hamburger joint (long gone I'm sorry to say) and got me a burger to raise my spirits.  Hell of a guy he was.  I eventually made it to the "city meet" and almost won an event for the first time.  I won't go into why I lost right now.  I earned a letter which made me proud of myself.  Junior high ended and I went on to high school.  In tenth grade my former teammates made sure I knew when tryouts were for the swim team.  I passed, they tried to get me to join, I passed again.  Despite being a naive teenager, I knew high school sports were far above the junior high sports.  I stuck to it for eighth and ninth grades, but sports just weren't my thing.  I concentrated on music.  Both of my brothers swam through junior and senior high, Mark also ran cross country and Chris also played foot ball and soccer.  Donna played volleyball and was on the pom pom squad (a whole other arena of athletics).  All of my nieces and nephews have played (or are currently playing) soccer.  Some also played hockey, some football, some softball, track...  I'm the odd duck in our family. 

High school PE was interesting to say the least.  I had "Coach" all three years of high school.  He knew my siblings and, I assume, initially expected the same from me.  It was not to be.  Coach was a good guy but you could definitely see his disdain for students who weren't involved in sports.  Especially football and basketball.  Both of which he coached.  The only time I remember Coach praising me was during the swim unit we had every year.  He always used me as an example of how to do a certain stroke properly.  I always seemed to be the only swimmer in the class.   Hmmm....  Anyway, during tenth grade "swim" Coach saw that I was actually a little better than most at swimming.  He showed me a little more respect after that.  I still sucked at just about everything else, but I could swim well.  He also had a dead-pan sense of humor that is just classic.  One year during the volleyball section someone spiked the ball.  When it rebounded it went directly into my, uh, jewels.  I  hit the floor like a sack of potatoes.  "Not wearing your jockey strap, eh Tim?" he said without  even changing facial expressions.  "Go sit out until you regain your composure."  he said matter of fact.  Coach was a jock who grew up to teach jocks.  He was fair, he was a great coach and just about everyone liked him.  He knew all of his students by name within the first week of the school year but he liked you just a little bit more if you were on one of the teams he coached.  Meh. 

Coach never had anything to do with the "dance" unit when it came around every year.  That was left to the female coaches.  The dance stuff was seriously outdated.  Even in the late '80s they were teaching us the Foxtrot, a waltz and square dancing.  I found it to be a breeze.  I realized in junior high that not all people are capable of dancing.  The forced pairing of boys and girls from all cliques made me realize that the "hot" girls weren't always that great.  A lot of them were pretty, sure, but a surprisingly large amount of them had no concept of rhythm.  None.  They were horrible dance partners.  Thankfully, somewhere along the line Brenda, a girl I had known all through elementary school, always seemed to have PE the same period I did.  Thank God!  She had been in "show" choir and could dance very well.  Much better than myself.  At the very least both Brenda and I had a sense of rhythm.  Her from choir, me from band.  We also had the comfort of familiarity with each other.  I loved dancing extremely outdated dances with her.  We were used as examples quite often and we enjoyed it.  Coach never saw any of that.  After that brief interlude it was back to sports.  As always I was neither good, nor bad.  I enjoyed softball in the spring.  But maybe that's just an American thing.  Baseball, Spring, Mom, apple pie... I definitely didn't like flag football because some of the guys turned it into tackle football.  Pat totally drilled me one morning.  It was no accident.  He plowed right into me and knocked me on my ass. Boy, it hurt something bad.  Coach, barely looking up from his clipboard said something like "Nice hit, Pat.  But we do that on the football team.  Not here.  Five days of detention starting tomorrow."  I never spoke to Pat after that.  It was a cheap shot and it didn't even phase him.  Pat lacked the important thing required of any sport.  Sportsmanship.  Even someone as bad as me was a good sportsman.  Coach saw people like me trying our best and respected that.  He knew about sportsmanship.  He wasn't my favorite teacher, I wasn't his best student but I like the guy to this day.  Simply because he was fair with everyone.

02 December, 2013

"She" has moved on

Well, "She" has moved on and found herself another man.  I kinda figured she did as she, pretty much, dropped off the face of the planet.  Having known her for so long I've learned that when she stops calling and emailing me all the time, she usually is involved.  Like most women she never tells me because she "doesn't want to hurt my feelings."  It's not like we've been in a relationship or anything but still, it would be nice if she'd flat out tell me she has a new man.  She doesn't want to hurt my "feelings" but she's perfectly fine with letting me make an ass of myself.  I'll see some event, concert, movie etc. that I think "she" might be interested in and I'll email her asking if she would like to go.  Usually no response so I'll wait a couple weeks and send another email.  She always had something going on.  On Halloween of this year (my favorite holiday) I asked her if she wanted to come over and carve some pumpkins.  We had done it before and we both enjoyed it.  She said "yes" and, as usual, I took it with a grain of salt.  "She" has quite a track record of bailing out at the last minute.  So, I waited for the cancellation email to come but it didn't.  I figured it would be a good idea to set a general time frame and sent her another email.  We settled on a time a few days before the event and I realized I should probably clean the house and actually get some pumpkins.  So, I clean the house, get two nice pumpkins, got the other supplies ready, made some food in case she wanted to stay for dinner (my Momma raised a good host), woke up earlier than usual and waited.  The time for her to show up came and went.  I sent her a slightly nasty email for bailing out on me and not even bothering to let me know she wasn't coming.  I was seriously pissed.  She finally responded with a lame excuse (she's a really bad liar.)  The middle of November witnessed another few emails between us and she finally let on that she had a boyfriend.  Well, no shit.  I'm guessing she's been with him for quite some time, and that's fine.  She doesn't fare well as a single person.  I'm just pissed that she, again, let me make an ass out of myself.  A simple "Hey, I just started dating this new guy and it wouldn't be appropriate for me to do things with you." would have saved me a lot of time and effort.  But, I should have known better.  "She" hasn't changed, I know her well, and it's on me for getting burned again.  On the flip side, she also knows me and should have nipped it in the bud from the start.  I'm glad our relationship didn't work out way back when because we would have been a completely dysfunctional couple.  I'm sure if it had progressed to marriage (highly unlikely) that it would've ended in divorce.  Either because she would have cheated on me or because we would have, finally, realized that we just weren't compatible.  It still hurts a little though.  Knowing that despite all of I've done for her and for sticking around through all the shit she's put me through, she didn't think I was good enough.  Meh.  If this current relationship of hers doesn't work out, and I hope it does, and if she's true to her style, I'll her from her when things go bad.  I'm just wondering how I would react if she broke up with the new guy and called me.  I think, considering how's she's treated me over the years, that I would give her back, in spades, exactly what she's given me.  Assuming I'm single at the time, which is likely.  If by some miracle I actually find a woman that gives a damn about me I think I would probably tell "Her" right from the start "I'm sorry to hear about your bad times.  I'm seeing someone and I don't think it would be appropriate to continue communicating with you.  I will always be available for you in an emergency, but casual contact is not a good idea."  Not so hard is it?  "She" knows right away that I'm involved with someone and am unavailable.  I also get to give "Her" a slightly veiled "Fuck you!" and can soak in the Schadenfreude.

She still has a claw or two in me.  I just realized I wasted all this time writing a blog post about "Her".  Salt.  Wound.  Gullible.