Saturday, October 22, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Week 8

Yeah, I know that I'm diverting a bit from the "style" that I created at the beginning of this season of Counter-Programming. And there is nothing more that I hate than inconsistent style when applied to a completely arbitrary concept. But even if much of the rest of what I do on this blog is meaningless, I should at least try to maintain some standards of expectation.

And yet . . .

Welcome, back everyone to another Saturday of Counter-Programming!

How is your sports avoidance strategies holding up in 2016? I realize that things are harder as Fall starts to settle in, as the leaves blanket the yard, and thoughts turn to Halloween candy and sweaters. But, don't worry! Because if your "Autumn" is anything like the one that I have been experiencing, you might think it is still summer. So, why not take the chance this Saturday afternoon to take a stroll outside? Or cut the grass one more time? Or take up disc golf. (You know that you've always been intrigued by it and wanted to see what it was like.)

But . . . on to today's FC-P topic. And it's time for some #RealTalk . . .

I am developing a fear of falling.

Not falling off of a cliff or falling off of a roof, or even falling off of a ladder--though I definitely do avoid that possibility as much as I can.

No, I'm talking about the everyday stumble. The trip over your own feet. The unexpected faceplant.

If you've known me for a while, I've surely told you the story of my spectacular fall when I was in high school and I was attending a band competition. (I don't want to spend lots of time searching the blog for a post I surely must have written on this topic some time in the past--as I am already later than I want to be with uploading this post.)

But I did find an old post where I describe where this sort of situational vertigo started.

It is not a persistent, all-the-time sort of fear. But there are these times when I focus on it more. As I said in that previous post--when I am walking in the cafeteria with a tray and part of my brain is devoted to balancing. And especially when I am walking across open spaces with a tray and my brain suddenly realizes that (if worst comes to worst) I would not have something right beside me to grab hold of.

(Do you know where I feel this most acutely? In those wide-open circular areas at the mall, where hallways converge and there are escalators? Do you know what I'm talking about? Places where there is just . . . space? Sometimes, I get an extra hitch in my gait when I hit one of those areas. My brains just sort of wakes up for a minute and makes me aware of things. And my leg muscles sort of cramp up for a step or two.)

I always wonder what that looks like to someone else. Can they notice it?

The other place where I've been bothered by it most often is walking on sidewalks. (Especially when I was walking downtown recently or last Spring when we visited Savannah and went walking on River Street. So many uneven cobble stones everywhere!) Sidewalks are full of seams and uneven borders and shifted planes and well, it is just a problem! But I am trying to take more walks--both for my health and to confront this psychological block and force it out of existence.

That is my strategy at the moment--confront and overcome. Just walk it out of existence or learn to ignore it--like I try to ignore my double-vision when it is getting to be a problem.

I admit that when my vertigo in the office cafeteria was really causing me concern a few years ago, I started to investigate whether I should visit a psychologist. I waded into the HR Benefits site at work to see if I could find anything that made any sort of logical sense. But the problem became more manageable after that and I didn't go much further with my investigation. I guess I could go back to it if needed, but for now I think I am okay.

As long as I stay upright. When I get a bit older and the specter of broken bones becomes more of a problem? Well, I guess we'll see. If I join the gym and get stronger, maybe I can gain more overall body control and learn to handle things in different ways still.

I guess I'll keep you updated if necessary. But until then, remember--absolutely EVERYONE cares if your primary field goal kicker is guilty of domestic violence. So, don't act like we don't have an opinion on that subject. Just cut that jackass from your team and move on.

See you next weekend with more Football Counter-Programming!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Week 7

Howdy everybody. Welcome back to another week of non-football Facebook distractions.

We live in a world of memes. You know what they are, right? Memes are like digital idioms--short phrases or pictures that represent bigger thoughts or points of view. They are usually pretty nonsensical and are meant either to make you laugh or to state your point of view about a topic. Things that have gone viral are memes.

For instance, all this past week, Kenneth Bone and his red sweater was a meme. At least until The New York Times decided to rip him a new one.

My first meme was All Your Base Are Belong To Us. I had recently started working at McGraw-Hill and was spending a lot more time in my life starting at computer screens. And I wish I could remember who pointed me to it. But I was intrigued by the bizarre juxtaposition of the edited imagery, the song, and the tenuous connection to a simple video game.

But I moved on with my life and didn't dive down the rabbit hole. I had young children and a job to cultivate. But the Internet was only getting bigger and more diverse and all of my friends were staring at computer screens all day long as well. So, the one that next caught our collective attention was Hopkin Green Frog.

Did you ever encounter Hopkin? Do you think Terry ever quit looking for Hopkin? I want to think that he did Find His Frog. (And I do wonder if he was found on the moon.)

Hopkin Green also started with an innocuous handmade sign that blew up into something far different and much more widespread. And that is what memes do. As a (once college-trained) amateur cultural anthropologist, I guess I am drawn to the weird propagation of the ideas. I like to see where they come from and where they are going and how people twist the ideas into new shaped and directions. It's a fun diversion.

So, enough set up. Let's get to today's focal point . . .the SNL Digital Short "Dear Sister" with the haunting soundtrack.

When I was first shown this by one of my kids, I laughed at the absurdity of it. But I didn't read any descriptions about it at the time and moved on. But I learned from my girls that it had become a meme to their friends. They would mimic the bizarre song that plays over and over again during moments of drama and tension amongst their friend groups. And I thought that was funny.

Then, last week, I read this piece on The Ringer about "Hide and Seeking" and everything fell into place. (You really should click on the link in the previous sentence and read that article.) I was thrilled to learn that the "Dear Sister" digital short was directly making fun of a scene in the old FOX network show, The O.C. (a show that I had never watched).

And I was so, SO happy! I finally had the context I wanted about where this weird SNL skit had come from. And I could connect all the dots and feel a renewed excitement in some stupid thing that made me laugh.

What bits of excitement and revelation did you experience this week? Feel free to share your news in the comments.

And, until next week, remember . . . no one cares if your alma mater's linebacker fumbled the ball while trying to return a turnover for a touchdown in last week's conference showdown. You still have to get up and go to work on Monday no matter what.