Saturday, October 29, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Week 9

I don't have any good ideas this week. Normally, I have an idea during the days leading up to Saturday and I drop down a few sketchy ideas or notes on a page and save it as draft. But nothing came to mind this wee and so I get out of bed this morning and flip open the laptop and have nothing to start with.

And I don't want to do anything elaborate, because I've got errands to run today: taking Sarah to the doctor, trying to help Grace get the last bits of her Nerd Herd Halloween costume, going to the gym for some exercise.

So, I don't have all day to just sit and noodle in front of the computer screen.

. . . so, what should I talk about? . . .

Everyone is sick of the election, so that won't work. (Though, it is really very important and if you haven't taken advantage of early voting opportunities where you live, PLEASE do go vote on Election Day. And remember that while we've only been yammering on about the big race for the White House, there are many, MANY important races at all other levels of government and those local and state races have MUCH more effect on your daily life than the occupant of the executive branch.)

It is starting to look and feel more like autumn here in central Ohio. It is getting cold each day and jackets (or a nice vest) are necessary for comfort. The leaves are in the midst of changing color and falling all over the damn ground and I have to rake them up and holy cow why does this take so long and why am I sweating inside of my sweatshirt when it is actually cold outside and this is awful. But everybody loves Fall, right?

I started watching the Netflix import from Britain "Black Mirror"this week. I've only gotten through a few episodes, but I like it. Modern day Twilight Zone episodes with An Important Issue to frame each story around. Sometimes the language and the subject matter (especially of season 1 episode 1) is a problem. But the series is good.

I fly an American flag in front of my house and it has some sort of plastic rotating collar at the top of the pole, from which there is a metal clip that attaches to a fabric tab inside the flag's sleeve. From all of this, I surmise that the flag is then equipped to rotate according to changing wind patterns and be able to adjust--at least some?--so that it won't be wrapped around the flag pole on windy days.
Can you now guess what my flag looks like?

Halloween decorating is not as much fun as Christmas decorating. In our house, we don't have a central focal point--such as a tree--to emphasize the season. There are several (but maybe not enough?) tchotchkes about the house on various shelves. (Eyes of newt, plug in pumpkins, a small witch hanging from our outside porch.) We have not yet carved our pumpkins. (That's another errand to accomplish today.) And we have some orange electric lights to help decorate the porch at night, but I couldn't get the outside outlet to work last week when I tried to plug them in. I kinda want some hay bales and corn sheaves and things like that, but we never really get into it that hard. Oh well.

Hey . . . look at that.

I did have something to write today. Whether it adds up to the fact that you should not spend all day watching football, I don't know.

But if it doesn't, just remember--nobody else cares if your Halloween costume is based off of the coach of the Sunbelt Conference winning team from 1974. Pick Dracula next year. Everybody recognizes Dracula.

See you next week.

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.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Week 6

Credit: . . . the Internet! (Sorry, I didn't locate the person who created this.)

This past Saturday, we hopped in the car and drove down closer to Cincinnati to visit the Ohio Renaissance Festival. And while it did not occur to me during the 1 hour and 10 minute drive down to the festival site, a really fun game that you can play at such events is a scavenger hunt where you look for certain typs of people.

This diversion dawned on me just as we entered the gates after scanning our tickets, when I got a look at the people walking through the trails of Ye Olde Festival. (And the main reason that I wish I had thought of it sooner is that creating the list would have helped pass the time during the drive south. But, then again, I think the specificity of the list was improved by the witnessing provided during walking around the Festival grounds.)

Anyway . . . once I had the idea, I told it to Grace, who appreciates a quality idea when it is in front of her. She took it and built out almost all of these Scavenger Hunt items.

So, the next time YOU are at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, print out this list and see how many of these fun items you can discover around you.

Renaissance Festival Scavenger Hunt

  1. Dread Pirate Robertts
  2. Elf ears
  3. Guy in a kilt
  4. Flower crown in someone's hair
  5. Overweight man eating Turkey legge
  6. Guy with real parrot on shoulder
  7. Girl with purple hair
  8. People dressed exclusively in black
  9. Inappropriate Harry Potter outfit
  10. Dude in full armor
  11. Game of Thrones cosplay
  12. Legend of Zelda cosplay
  13. Excessive display of cleavage
  14. People with way-too-tiny hats
  15. Lord of the Rings cosplay (+20 if you find someone dressed as Gollum)
  16. Feathered cap (think Robin Hood)
  17. Wizard (+5  if they have a big staff and  +20 if they have a natural beard)
  18. Fake fur
  19. Bow and Arrow
  20. Sword
  21. Someone dressed as the Pope
  22. Someone carrying a scythe
  23. Men on horseback
  24. Men wearing traditional women's clothing
  25. Men with a wheelbarrow
  26. Doctor Who cosplay
  27. Ninja? (Yeah, that's right. ninja!)
  28. Captain Jack Sparrow outfit (with +2 if he walks like he's drunk)
  29. Fairy wings
  30. Sword swallower
  31. Fire eater
  32. Bagpiper
  33. Person wearing a weird animal tail attached to clothing
  34. Person without a shirt
  35. +5 if you interacted with Ren Fair "cast member"
I thought Grace did a great job putting this together. Feel free to use it. (The Ohio Ren Fair is still open through almost all of October!)

And, here are a few pictures of my kids having fun.

And, in the end . . . remember . . . no one cares if your team screwed up defending that Hail Mary pass that improbably made them lose the game. {Because millions of people once died from bubonic plague. Let's hold on to some perspective, okay?) See you next week!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Football Counter-Programming 2016--Week 5

Every week I heroically take on the challenge of diverting the sheeple from the hegemony of college football. I don't really know if I am making any headway or not. But it gives me an excuse to keep adding quality content to this blog, so I see no reason to stop.

The only times I do consider stopping is when I sit in front of the blank screen and face the challenge of what is worth writing about.

Some "popular" blogs have a rabid army of followers who want nothing more than to suggest topics for future inclusion. But WWYG?! is slightly less popular than those--whichever ones you are thinking about.

So, my dilemma remains.


How do people sit down and create? I know it is anything but easy to take an idea from nothing and work it through into something that is finished and ready for others to enjoy. How much time and effort must be devoted to the challenge of writing a short story, a novel, whatever?

I have a running joke with my kids that when something fun happens, I comment "That will be chapter [whatever random number I choose] in my Young Adult novel." But promised novel will never appear, no manuscript will ever be written, no time will be spent even trying to write it. And the reason is simple. And if you have spent time reading WWYG?! over the years, you've already heard the answer.

I'm laaaaaazy.

My desire to create is very short--if it exists at all. I am much happier consuming the fruits of other people's creative labor--either in book, blog, or media formats. I was to be a passive observer of things, not the tireless, driven maker of something. If given a choice between doing or not doing . . . I guess I'm a non-doer.

Internally, I admit that makes me sad. Shouldn't I try hard to be the best possible version of me that I can be? Isn't it a waste of my life advantages to simply flow along through this world without trying to increase the size of my ripples?

(I said ripples.)

Or is that all delusional grandstanding that exists only in my head--an imagined estimation of my own potential that has no basis in anything but my imagination? (Especially since I've never given much of any indication that I am capable of anything beyond some random blog posts whenever I can be bothered to sit down in front of a computer for ten minutes.)

*** Random Thoughts Based on Perusing my Twitter Feed ***

1. Quick. Can you name a U.S. president who chose a dog instead of a cat? Or is it because cats don't go outside that I can't think of anyone?

2. Some day, when I get to visit New York City, I'll go to Carnegie Deli. And when I do it, I will be glad that I experienced it, but also slightly embarrassed that I have chosen such a stereotypical tourist experience.

*** Random Thought NOT Based on Perusing My Twitter Feed.***

(What no one will ever tell Apple Inc. . . . is that parents use FaceTime 100 percent of the time to call their teenagers down from their rooms for dinner and 0 percent of the time to connect with grandparents.)

So . . . there it is for another week.
And remember . . . no one cares if your defensive coordinator violated recruiting rules in the off-season.

See you next weekend!