Saturday, October 13, 2012

October Observations

Here is a varied set of observations and frustrations and frustrated observations of the past few hours, days, weeks since my last post. 

First, my attempt to write on a regular basis has become not a base nor regular by any means.  I write, in my head.  Many intelligent and even non intelligent people confuse this as thinking, which everyone does all the time, and therefore is not a measurable or meaningful goal to achieve.  Sometimes I even think about writing.  But that’s not writing either. 

Second, my redundant attempts, whenever I reinitiate my blog after a long hiatus, to ironically refer to my inability to write more consistently. 

Third, my claims stating the non-science of fantasy football as pure luck, while spending at least 5.8 hours every week adjusting line-ups and formulating hypothetical trades.

Fourth, my obsession with football, both real and fantasy, is highlighted by my apathy and disinterest in playoff baseball (I have not watched a full baseball game all year).  I finally understood the controversy concerning Stephen Strasburg, and the Nationals’ decision to permanently shut him down for the whole season.  The reason why you want to protect him and keep him healthy is so that he can help you, in the long run (presumably) he will help you win a World Series.  Nationals, you’re in the playoffs now.  He can help you win now.  This makes no sense, and you just lost to the Cardinals. 

Fifth, I cannot take pictures of people because I assume that they assume that I’m being creepy and probably crazy.  This is a dumb fear because everyone likes attention even if they don’t know it or not.  I’m thus realizing that taking pictures of facades of buildings can only take you so far. 

A facade of a  building. 

Sixth, I want to watch more documentaries because I’m curious and I like to learn about new things, but then I also don’t like investing a lot of time because I don’t like it that much.  That’s why documentaries are perfect.  I can learn everything I need to about a certain topic in about 100 minutes and be done with it.  Finally, got around to watching Hoop Dreams and it was great.  But, sadly and surprisingly I did not cry. 

Seventh, I love lists because like documentaries they feed my hunger for learning while short and to the point.  I believe that the origin of this love came from VH1’s 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All-Time, which premiered while I was in high school.  I decided that opinion and democracy aside, that it’s quite clear that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are a definitive number one and number two (order can be left to your own discretion) and anyone who would suggest otherwise would deserve to be fought.

Eighth, saw movies The Master and Looper.  I say meh to the first (which is a big deal because I absolutely love all of Paul Thomas Anderson’s previous films) and the other is quite good and I’d high recommend it.  However, there are much better films hiding in each and its unfortunate when a film refuses to live up to its promise.  I’ve come to realize though, that I find it difficult to be overly impressed with a movie after first watch.  Second dates are always necessary. 

Ninth and finally, LCD Soundsystem has recently been on rotation.  I rediscovered Sound of Silver, which I had listened to years before but never got into it.   Such a fact only reinforces my inability to delete any music from my Itunes as I believe that in some unknown deep dark recesses of my subconscious the song will reenter my life in the most opportune moment and bless me infinitely more than my initial listen.  Sort of like my rebellious, annoying expensive child who ends up being a professional athlete.  Yeah, I guess I’ll feed him tonight, jeez.  I still steal music.  A lot. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Romo's Fantasy Island

The 2012 NFL season is upon us as the Dallas Cowboys opened with an impressive – and at times sloppy – victory over the defending champion New York Giants.  The win revealed an emotional ambiguity within my heart, my inconsistent and tormented relationship with Tony Romo.
There have been plenty of times over the past five years or so where I have been more than willing to part ways with the chaotic charm of Romo’s play.  But I believe my expectations were misjudged.  At this point, I have come to recognize that Tony Romo is a really good quarterback, who makes players around him also really good.  Such a quality is typically understated when it comes to quarterbacks, and only a handful of players receive this synergistic characterization (Brady, Manning, Brees, Rodgers). 

Now, I am not putting Romo in the “elite” category of the quarterbacks previously mentioned (no ring…), but with the revelation of Kevin Ogletree the other night, Romo deserves some praise.  Since he has been the starter, Romo has effectively used his slot receiver, making them into overachieving players.  In a time where fantasy is all the rage, this gives Romo a unique value over most of his peers.

Patrick Crayton (drafted in the seventh round), Miles Austin (undrafted), Laurent Robinson (third round before becoming an NFL journeyman), and now Kevin Ogletree (undrafted).  These four receivers, with low expectations, all achieved their greatest season (up to now) and moved quite beyond expectations with Tony Romo as their quarterback.  The value with this blog post along with Romo is strictly on a fantasy level… which is what it is… (Aah, why can’t he win a Superbowl!?!)

Here is my advice, pick up Kevin Ogletree. 

Crayton’s breakout season in 2007, had Romo throwing him seven touchdowns with nearly 700 receiving yards – which was pretty good considering Romo was also heavily targeting both Terrell Owens and Jason Witten that year.  In 2009, Austin’s breakout year, he racked up 11 touchdowns and 1,320 receiving yards.  Last year, Robinson finally justified his third round draft status with the help of Romo, by accruing 11 touchdowns and 858 receiving yards.  These are pretty remarkable stats for “mere” slot receivers. 

And they have Tony Romo to thank.  Both Crayton and Robinson received significant contract raises once they became free agents from other teams.  (Crayton has significantly underperformed, failing to become a number two receiver, and we can only assume that Robinson will decline with Blaine “Failure” Gabbert throwing to him.)  Austin also received a nice contract from the Cowboys and is now one of the more recognizable persons on one of the most popular teams in professional sports.  Although only time will tell if Ogletree will produce similar stats as his predecessors – this may be difficult as he’s behind Dez Bryant, Austin, and Witten (albeit declining and spleenless… sorta) – but he is certainly worth a pick-up.  Will Romo ever win a Superbowl?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  But will he help produce some really good, unheard of, fantasy receivers?  History says yes.  And at the height of fantasy football’s influence upon the NFL and its fans, history may regard Tony Romo as one of the better quarterbacks of his generation… 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lights in Darkness

Here are some photos I took this past week walking around downtown Boone.  I enjoy black-and-white photography, particularly the way you can contrast your light source with the surrounding darkness.  My themed verse for these pictures: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:5

Monday, September 3, 2012

For Nicole Payne. Happy Birthday.

A Picture and a Thousand Words

This is not a very good picture.  You can’t even see faces.  But there might be a story’s worth of insight, even in an abstract, artistic way, and that’s always the best way anyways.  The two backs we are seeing are owners of two fronts, belonging to Justin and Nicole Payne.  They are married, and with arms wrapped around one another, surely recognize the symbolism of their posture. 

Matching outfits and coordinating colors can only take a marriage so far but it certainly is a great start.  A wardrobe can tell many things about a person, and maybe that sweater or whatever it is, tells a lot about Nicole.  Maybe it tells nothing about her.  Maybe it tells that she’s well put together, has an eye, a taste.  A person who can pick out clothes is a good person to imitate.  They understand the lily of the valley philosophy of life, the foresight to know where the day and evening takes them.  Nicole knows where she is going. 

She is following and she is supporting.  An arm on the shoulders will lead, and the arm on the waist supports. There is a door that is being opened in the corner of the frame and with a man like Justin Payne an open door can only mean adventure.  The door is not opened all the way provoking some unknown mystery, where only the brave and bold would enter.  As one said, behind every great man is a greater woman.  He may lead but she is there to sustain.  And, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways, Nicole sustains with love.

The irony of this door, and what the picture does not disclose, is that it leads only to a water heater.  But does that strip away the adventure?  Maybe, but I am certain they have smiling faces that the picture does not show.  There is no lack of joy as both Nicole and Justin appreciate the irony of things.  The musing and meditation of such an appreciation certainly has its complex sources: family history, intelligence, wit, introspection, etc. but ultimately the equation can be summed up as thus: Nicole is a woman of fun. 

We then see or try to see a handful of people who are blurred and out of focus, framed under Nicole’s left arm, conjuring up the natural avian metaphors.  Nicole, the mother hen.  If signs of life, and the good Lord’s decree, serves any direction and confirmation it is that the Payne’s will be those who lead others.  Justin, as we mentioned, leading; Nicole supporting, but also comforting and protecting.  There is no lack of human attention or care when Nicole is one of the company. 

These people are out of focus due to distance.  The compassion, the patience and gentleness will inevitably lead them closer to this couple, which will thus bring them into focus.  People are sharper, they know themselves, their identity is clearer when they’re with Nicole.  She is a woman of understanding.  Peaceable and sensible, Nicole angles her way through life, in which expectations can only be the best for the best.  She is a woman, and a woman of many titles.  A mother? Yes. Wife? Yes. Friend? Yes. Sister? One and many.  Daughter? Certainly.  Yes, in this picture we only see their backs, but such was enough for Moses – and so like Father, follows the daughter.  

(Also, this was not a thousand words...)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Song of the Week

Frank Ocean's 'Forrest Gump'

This song has been on repeat for the past week.  Along with releasing, what is in my opinion, the best album of the year so far, Frank Ocean opened up about his own sexual orientation (he states that his first love was a man).  Such a fact obviously skews the interpretation of the song, making it much more personal than Ocean merely assuming a female narrator – presumably Jenny.  I find this song to be intriguing in its ability to flow between the narrator’s nostalgic view of the past and her/his present, less romantic reality: the cigarettes are burning and the narrator admits to a nervousness of unknown undertones.  Ocean subtly employs echoed samples of cheering crowds along with a collective chorus that brings the remembered scene to the narrator’s conscious.  Sure you can read into this song on many levels, but in the end it's a song that simply reveals the effects of the past upon the present.     

Remnants of a Fire

Last month an apartment building caught on fire displacing families, students, and internationals alike.  I went and took some photographs of the remains.  Many of the rooms of the bottom two floors were stark and empty.  The top floor, where the fire did most of its damage, however, were left with rooms still "furnished" in the midst of ash and rubble.  A fire indiscriminately reminds us that what we value can be quickly and easily taken away in mere moments.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Photos and thoughts

The post-college life is quite interesting, especially when you still live in a college town and have a fairly flexible.  This picture looks a lot like college as all these people I befriended while in college, but it also looks a lot more "adult" and "mature" than most resemblances of the college life.  And not only more adult, but yes, more fun too. 

Anna Aderton took this picture.  I always find it interesting what others come up with.  Others' creativity is a source of inspiration. 

 I'm a fan of the back-shots while walking.  And I realize that I tend to hang out near the back of the pack.  It gives me more space to observe.

Beer. Settlers. Friends.  Life can sometimes be more complicated... but why?

Dan and Anna Aderton.  A year's worth of joy and marriage.  I really like these two.

There are a lot of things to say about this picture, and all of them profound.  I don't know what type of photographer I exactly want to be yet, and I don't know how to articulate my "style" but if I could capture a moment like this all the time,  I believe I'd be doing pretty well.  

Dan had been trying to get me to play Settlers of Catan for a while and I always resisted.  The game seemed complicated and long to learn.  I was not in the mood for something arduous.  However, once I finally committed to a game I was hooked.  To me, Settlers is a near perfect game.  A great combination between luck, skill, charm, and foresight.  I could probably play this everyday. 

Angles and architecture.  I'm still trying to translate what I see and what I think would be a good picture to it actually being a good picture.  What makes a good picture for me, is a good story.  I don't exactly know what that means as this picture is one that doesn't necessarily tell a story (hopefully it's still visually intriguing).  But I'm sure a story is there...