Need a Kick?

To be quite honest, the quote that inspired this post came out of a conversation about Jungian Personality Theory and how Jung differed from Freud.  (Yes, I have INSANELY SMART FRIENDS).

“Freud just needed some good dick and a few spankings.” – One of my closest friends.

On top of the joy that quote brought me, it also got me thinking about what exactly has happened in my life over the past few months to get me where I am today.  Yeah, you could say that, upon retrospectively viewing the past 9 months (or so) of my life, there’s been a pretty seismic shift in my outlook on the world, general mood, and even my writing (all of which have been trending steadily upwards).  Obviously, there are about a million and three different things in my life now when compared to back then.  A great majority are good things and I’m incredibly happy where I am and where I’m going.  But sometimes it’s what our Souls need that really stands out among all the changes.  And unlike Freud, I’m quite alright without the spankings…

The other “inspiration” for this post is that I am supposed to write a piece about my experience at a Soccer game I went to recently (as I missed class for it).  It was fun.  The USA won.  I had a great time.  <—– There.  See, I also had this epiphany during the trip that is actually more interesting than just writing about my time at the game.  There I was, sitting on the porch of the Dubliner Bar in the Power and Lights district of Kansas City.  The air was just a tad crisp and I was nice and buzzed, sitting among new found friends and thinking about where all my life has gone these past few months.  I couldn’t help but smile at the simple realization that in everything that changed, my Soul needed Soccer.

Me at the American Outlaws’ tailgate.

To say that it was just “Soccer” that I needed would be a falsehood.  I needed what Soccer means to me.  Something to enjoy, be passionate about, connect with people through, support, and feel pride in… all existing in an external and interactive environment (whereas writing and creating is often an internal world).  I wore my Celtic jersey downtown one night and was greeted by a resounding “Hail! Hail!” from a handful of people.  I’ve gotten thumbs up from Sounders fans when I wear my ECS scarf on game days.  Hell, sitting at the Dubliner, I was chilling with a Cyclone/Timbers fan and having a grand old time (despite the rivalries).  Celebrating the 3-1 Victory for the USMNT (and subsequent advancement to the final stretch of qualification for the 2014 World Cup), it sort of congealed for me that this was the whole community I’d been missing.

I could have found all of those qualities in other environments and through other means but, for whatever reason, it was Soccer or nothing for me.  I had latched onto stories of healing and redemption and even developed a new role model through following his history of injury and his brilliance on the field (Stuart Holden).  Soccer had become the new “home” for a slightly displaced and drifting part of my psyche.  It literally feels like I have a “room” to watch games in, a “room” to interact in, and even a yard to play in (I make it a point to get out on the field at least every other day).

As fun as being a spectator is, I LOVE playing.

The best part about all of this – the “kicker” if you MUST (that one pained me to write) – is that I’m to the point where I can’t imagine life without soccer.  I can’t imagine not looking forward to a game.  I can’t really seem to remember what it was like before I met “She Who is Legend and Hangs Out With Lalas,” or “Hey, We’re Both Named Justin.  Eternal Blue! Forever Green!”  I really can’t remember not being excited about a game, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, breaking down formations, or waking up at 6am to watch Celtic play.  It’s become a pivotal part of my life and I’m ever thankful for the experience.

So THAT is what the USMNT game was like for me.  It wasn’t just a win.  It was one hell of a metaphoric house-warming party and I couldn’t be happier.

Also, I got to hang out with Hercules Gomez (one of the starting strikers for the National Team).  He’s an awesome dude who, in another life, I feel as if I’d be best friends with on account of his eloquent sarcasm and charm.  Here’s your proof.

“You guys know the dude in the white shirt is Hercules Gomez, right?”
“psh… yeah… we know… we saw him earlier…” (then mini freakouts and decision to get a picture with him)

So soccer.  Pretty freaking sweet.

‘Til next time…

At the Dubliner.

See ya, Space Cowboys.

(For rooting interests, I support the USMNT/WNT, Celtic FC, the Bolton Wanderers, and the Seattle Sounders).

The Living Bebop

One of the things I find incredibly enjoyable as a writer is to leave my mark on certain existing things.  I even find it fulfilling to simply imagine my own stories with characters I already love that manage to fit into the existing framework someone else’s work.  Some call it the “highest form of praise” and others call it “Copying” but I tend to think of it as being able to give something back – at least within the confines and safety of my own skull (where I wouldn’t be sued for copyright infringement) – to the characters and/or universes of somethings that I love.  If you paid me (or promised to not sue me), I would sit down and regale you with copious amounts of stories about The Doctor’s adventures, life as a Federation Marine during the Sphere Builder War, what happens to Alpha, Echo, Topher, Dewitt, et al between taking down Rossum and the Epitaphs, and I could even tell you a good story involving the ORIGINAL (1988 TV Series) Mission Impossible crew.

For the young kids in the audience, it may surprise you but this team worked better WITHOUT Ethan Hunt (because when his character was introduced in the movies, this team pretty much all died).  Also, Peter Graves was THE MAN (next to Steve McQueen).

There are very few things that I find influential in my life and to my writing that I DON’T wish I could get my hands on just for a brief period of time.

In the summer of 2001, I was surfing through the channels late one night while at my Dad’s house.  I’m not even going to pretend that at age 11 or 12, I didn’t have a soft spot for anime.  I will admit that around that time, I had just outgrown Dragon Ball Z  and Gundam and, being in America, I really had limited access to the wide myriad of offerings.  I managed to stumble upon a show where an androgynous child and a dog were on a scooter chasing a dude who sold magic mushrooms.  It had some wicked Jazz and took place in space and even though I was starting to shift away from “cartoons” to live action fiction, I wasn’t completely beyond giving one last anime a try.  I tuned in the next night and realized that this was going to be something I had to watch from the beginning.  Luckily enough, the series restarted a little while later and I made sure to catch every episode as the music, the mood, and the characters caught hold of my early adolescent soul and would not let go.

I need to find a way to get this as a poster.

For those who are unfamiliar (and I don’t blame or judge you), the series is entitled Cowboy Bebop.  To this day, it is one of my top 5 favorite shows… ever.  Period.  Back then, it was a a release valve.  It was an escape hatch.  It was a warm blanket on a cool, rainy day.  As a 12 year old boy – and at that specific time and in that specific location – Bebop provided one of the strongest connections to real life that I could have ever hoped for.  The simple reason was that the show – though futuristic and all Sci-fi-ey – was deeply rooted in the humanity of its characters.  How is an idealistic 12 year old really supposed to accept that the world is not predominantly “good” or “evil” and that often, things happen without rhyme or reason?  Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people, bad things to bad people, good things to good people.  There’s not one thing anybody can do about how life runs its course and at the end of everything, the world is neither good nor evil… it just simply, tragically, and miraculously exists.

The story of Bebop exists in a twilight of consciousness.  Spike, the central character, is stuck between feeling as though he is dreaming or truly awake.  He’s the man who can’t die yet doesn’t know if he’s truly alive.  All of this is a metaphor, beautifully woven together with the other characters and their colored experiences and somehow, my adolescent mind was able to accept and understand it.  Now, obviously there was humor and action and fun within the series.  It even got downright campy at times (and chillingly creepy at others) and yet no one single quality overrode any other mood in the show.  It was a neutral universe with only the characters and their experiences – both good and bad – affecting their pasts, presents, and futures.  THAT registered with me.  It struck every fucking chord it could and when the final scene faded to white, tears filled my eyes and I smiled because this “cartoon” had made me make sense of Life, accept it, and make my own place in the world.  I make a point of watching the series at least once every year and am still incredibly emotionally moved when it reaches its conclusion and the fade out allows us to retrospectively think about the entire story all at once.  In a great many ways, Bebop is the reason I’m here today, writing and just (finally) LIVING.

The series’ influence over me is pervasive in everything I work on.  From simple things such as timing and sly allusions to the show, all the way to how I think about different shots, put scenes together in my head, and even putting music to different scenes, my mind always seems to spill and get Bebop everywhere when I’m trying to work — and at the very LEAST, it allows me to open up how I think about something and expand on what I really want.

It’s also one of the few projects I’m not sure I could ever bring myself to work on, if given the opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be a crowning achievement in my life if I were given the opportunity to work on a live action Bebop (and PLEASE, fans of the series, do not worry… I understand the importance of both ENDING the show with “Real Folk Blues” AND leaving said ending open to interpretation).  It is also a series that’s initial impact was so strong because the story existed within the thin sliver between fantasy and reality that Spike experienced as his life.  The power of the show lies in the twilight between dream and reality and I’m not entirely sure I would – in the role of writer/producer – be okay waking from said twilight to realize the reality of the dream and the fantasy of “reality” (which anybody working on the production end of the project would have to).  I could do it… but I’m just not sure I want to…

BUT THEN AGAIN… It can be said that the best dreams we ever have are the ones we get to live – even for a brief moment… and even if it’s coming in on a show with an androgynous kid and collie both riding a moped and chasing down a magic mushrooms dealer.  As a writer, artist, creator, etc. isn’t it our job to create the dream for others to live and sometimes even share our dreams?

I go back and forth and the only conclusion I can come to is actually something Spike says: “What happens, happens.”

I’ll go on record and say that it would be an honor to ever be able to be a part of Bebop… but only if it was Bebop the way I know it… and if Bebop is not meant to be woken from, I’m completely okay with that.

See you, Space Cowboy.

PS… Proof that the music for the show is amazing, here’s the opening titles.  The song is entitled “Tank” and it is one of the most amazing jazz charts I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.

Space Cowboys

AAAAAANNNNNDDDD here’s my triumphant return from a short hiatus (wherein I promise I was actually REALLY busy… there are podcast episodes to prove it… and those close enough to me who are privy to certain information about things will back me up on being insanely busy).  Cue up the music and get excited for my triumphant return to the “Hall H” of my life that is my blog (… it’s a comic con reference…).

There we are… I’ve discovered a new talent: I can sing along and type at the same can’t feel myself don’t want nobody else to ever love me— well… almost at the same time.

Anyway, back to catching up.  I’ve been on a bit of a “I like stuff with spaghetti western elements” kick recently.  Lots of Enino Morricone has been listened to, some good movies were viewed, I’m knee deep in the Serenity comic books (set between Firefly and the movie, Serenity), and rewatched Cowboy Bebop.  I guess the “kick” isn’t so much me being hooked on the classic cowboy western genre movies but more how those have influenced different aspects of genre culture all around.  The image of the Explorer on the Ragged Edge is one I just can’t seem to get out of my head… and tumble weeds!  Lots and lots of tumble weeds!

For real, now….

Yes, yes, I’m the science fiction/superhero nerd… and don’t worry, I’m not swapping out my bow tie and tweed jacket for a stetson and six shooter (though stetsons, like bow ties, are also cool)… but this idea of the explorer on the frontier is a bit more fun to think about and indulge in at the moment than the BOOM EXPLOSIONS SPACESHIP ZOOM ALIEN-NOOKIE AWESOME BADASS DUDE stuff that – well… we all have a more immature side.

Here’s part of mine.

I guess it has a bit more to do with the fact that the time is quickly approaching when I’m going to be moving and doing the whole “adult life” thing.  While I do truly dislike a great majority of Iowa City, it will be an adjustment to get used to life in a larger metropolitan area.  Then there’s the whole new social landscape to navigate… and of course, there’s the 405.  That too.  All in all, it’s been a nice shift to go from “Precocious Punk” to “Eager Explorer” and it’s an angle I haven’t really taken before.

It’s not really a coincidence that the original title for Star Trek was actually “Wagon Train to the Stars.”  Life’s about exploration and discovery and the cool stuff – the things that go BOOM! and look really awesome – is but a small part of that (if your imagination is vivid enough) –  never the center of everything.  It is the human drive toward the unknown – our obsession with knowledge and craving for the “new” –  that puts us out on that ragged edge.  Whether we’re running away from something, running toward something, or just admiring the view, we’re all frontier-men/women in life and that is a fantastic story to be a part of.  We are all truly on a Wagon Train to Somewhere… and for a very lucky few with either gobs of money, an insanely long lifespan, or a wild imagination combined with ADD and a desire to tell stories, it very well may be headed toward the stars above our heads.

So that’s about it.  The Cowboy is restless and getting ready to leave… and for once, I can honestly say that I don’ think he’ll walk out of town in semi slow motion with Nine Inch Nails blaring in the background before a massive explosion rips the town behind him and he grins as a blast of wind from the explosion hits him and ruffles his clothes, making him look even more badass.  I get the feeling he’s about to ride off into the sunset, possibly on horseback, smiling all the way as he moves on in life… and with an aim to misbehave.

 

See ya, Space Cowboy.

Happy Ending (For 2 dolla!)

No no… this is not an “exotic massage.”  C’mon, people!

2 Dolla holla!

So there’s your brief moment of immaturity out of me for the day.

Anyway… So I work in this awesome place with great food and an absolutely amazing staff.  Probably the closest I’ve felt to a group being a “family” that is not called the “HMB Trombones.”  We all care about one another, all look out for one another, and take care of one another.  It’s by far my best experience at a job to date.

So about 6 months ago, I started there.  This girl with wild hair, a rambunctious side a mile long, and a pretty… strong… personality was training me.  99% of the time, I find a way to not get along with someone so SIMILAR to me (minus the hair part because mine never actually looks GOOD).  This turned out to be the 1% and we became friends.  From instagram photoshoots outside in the middle of a tornado warning to dealing with life and everything in between… (including one instance where one of us may have taken a picture of one of the construction workers and sent it to the other in a text saying “Your shift started 15 minutes ago.  This is what you’re missing right now.”  Because… what are friends for?).

The elements of this picture make up an inside joke or two. Don’t worry. It’s still a funny picture at face value.

And a few nights ago, I hugged her goodbye as she was moving the next day.  It took me a long time to realize it but if Eric is my brother, Haley is definitely my sister.  She’s wild.  She’s crazy.  And keeping with the 1% theme… that was one of the first times I struggled with a goodbye (though I got out of the restaurant before I really started having issues… what a walk home haha!).

So that whole thing kinda… sucked… a bit.  It also got me thinking.  Haley moved, Eric is moving in January… and come June-ish… I’m taking my final bows in this city (and there will be a collective applause/sigh of relief when I leave the university, I’m sure).  Unlike high school, this is an ending I get to prepare for.  I don’t really have the same “delusions” (though that’s a harsh connotation) of keeping up with ALL of the people I know.  Obviously, I’ll keep in touch and I’ll be back from time to time… but this time feels like a lot bigger step.

I don’t need to bring up sore spots for the nerds out there (spoiler alert: I’m going to anyway) but the ending is just as important as the story.  The astute nerd will cringe at…

…this.

…or the ending to Battlestar (which, for the record, I DO NOT MIND!).  Endings are important and I want to have the 3rd act of Cabin in the Woods rather than Mass Effect 3.  The issue I have is that I’m a writer so I’m constantly making up my own endings… and you can’t really write the closing of a chapter in real life… you just experience it.

So in the end, drink a toast, experience it all, and get set for a rocky but fun ride.

See ya next time, Space Cowboys.

The 5 or 6 Year Idiot.

Good afternoon.  The weather in Iowa City is currently 90 degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze toward the southwest.  Barometric pressure is holding steady at 30.3 and visibility is 10 miles… and if you look across campus, it’s an excuse for bro-tanks, yoga pants, and thongs/shorts (so… Thorts?).

I happen to be comfortably situated in my recliner (not to be confused with a “rocking chair” apparently… who would have thought a chair that rocks is not actually a “rocking chair” but something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT??  Certainly… not me….) and actually getting work done when it hits me: “Oh hey!  It’s Thursday.  Update time.”  Are you all happy about that?

Hands down one of my favorite 60s Spiderman memes.

Don’t you just love the whole: “What advice would you give your 5 or 10 year younger self?/What would wish you would have written down back then to tell you now?” type question dealios?  They’re my FAVORITE…. (sigh… I hate “getting to know you” bullshit like this but at least it’s a legitimate opportunity to look back and see how far you’ve come).  So here’s Freshman Justin… 5 years and 364 days ago (it was actually taken at the first FAC event for the trombone section… the first Friday of school).  He’s pleased to meet you… and he’s a complete idiot.

My mother had such a problem with… MY OUTFIT…. say nothing about the copious amounts of pitchers littering the table, it was that outfit that I had to hear about for the next month. To this day, I see relatively little wrong with it… as most straight guys dress like that or even worse.

Yup… that was me.  I’m going to GLOSS OVER certain parts of Freshman-Justin (I never did anything SUPER embarrassing… and if you really wanna know what I’m glossing over, just ask Mel…) and give you a bit of an introduction.  That fucker up there had no clue how the game of football was played, hated class, wrote at an even more mediocre level than he does now, and discovered a love of everything Coors Light… and he had this weird idea that he’d be a great musician!  (He also loved some really terrible music back then… I’m not referring to S Club 7 because they’re still great… more like Rihanna… ugh).  He had awful comedic timing, talked WAY too much (more than I do now…), hated school, BUT he played a mean trombone and had a pretty sick sense of humor.  In all of that though, he’s a proper idiot.

Yup… sick sense of humor.

So nearly 6 years later… I get asked this question about what I’d tell myself back 5 or 6 years at the beginning of all this… After a flurry of “Don’t live xyz place,” “Don’t kid yourself with the music major,” “Write and read way more than you do now,” “AVOID GOING TO SHITTY BARS!” “Don’t make that Anne Frank joke about your old boss to his face… even though you knew you were on your way out anyway…” “Don’t date douche-bags,” and ” Go to class just a little more than you do… doesn’t have to be all the time but definitely more…” I came to realize a mantra I’ve always lived by: I wouldn’t change a thing.

Doofus up there needed all that stuff to happen to him.  As a writer, all of my stories, scripts, stand up, and obviously my non-fiction stuff is all influenced by the events of my life… a great many of which happen because I’m still a complete dolt (just with a much better taste in music).  I like where I am and the path I’m on and if I had to be a complete moron to get here… it’s worth it.  So when responding with “I don’t really have anything to tell that guy,” it is simply because I think he figured it out in the end.

Draw me like one of your French Girls?

I guess I’m just a big party pooper when it comes to “get to know you” type stuff and that many people “didn’t want to think that hard/introspectively” (“Introspectively” was an unexpectedly large word for the individual who used it in the discussed situation)… but that’s the honest truth.

Now, I need to shower and get back to my next 5 or 6 year (to the astute among you will pick up that this is a reference to Mr. and Mrs. Smith… I love it and I’m currently watching it) round of being an idiot… pretty excited to see where this term lands me!

See ya, Space Cowboy.

OH ALSO… I don’t know how many of you this bothers… but it is one of my favorite words and I love it.

Heroes

Naturally, with an hour before I really NEED to be at work, I’m chilling in my recliner and writing.  Go figure.  I think the new “term” or whatever is #YOLO.

This really doesn’t need a caption. It is going to be hanging on my wall in my living room though…

So I’ve been kicking around this idea of a “concluding” piece or segment for my thesis — oh yes, sorry, catching you up.  I decided on a “Creative Non-Fiction Thesis” centered around the concept of….. SUPERHEROES and why they exist/the different metaphors they stand for— Really, all you needed to know was that I’m a giant nerd and am writing a thesis and you pretty much know WHY I’m writing it, what it will be about… and that you’ve basically been reading nice excerpts from it for the past 3 months or so.  but yes… this concluding piece is all about Heroes.

The “Super” prefix is rather unnecessary when you sit back and examine the impact of a Hero.  Whether he or she is living, breathing, flesh and blood or a 2 dimensional, ostentatiously colored, glossy print, the gadgets, wit, and superpowers are merely a means to an end.  What makes one super does not make one a hero.  It is what one does with one’s gifts that allow him or her to stand out from the crowd and to affect a change among others.  In that regard, I see relatively no difference between Hulk smashing Loki around a bajillion times and a woman standing triumphantly posed for a picture after stomping the living shit out of a terrifying illness… except that she didn’t need mutations or cosmic energy or a lab experiment gone wrong to garner the strength to not only stand and fight but stand and fucking WIN.  I see no difference between Wolverine with his claws between his knuckles and a marimba player with his mallets protruding from between his fingers standing in the Greenest of Green uniforms and beaming up at the packed house of a NFL Stadium on the best night of his life, knowing that he gave his all… except that the marimba player didn’t need metal grafted to his bones to become an inspiring force of nature.  I see no difference between the Flash’s ability to outrun Time itself and the young soccer player who keeps getting back up after every single injury and coming back stronger because he stayed positive and found an outlet to inspire hope about anything in the lives of those who follow him.  I see no difference between any comic book, movie, or TV show superhero and the gal or guy with a good sense of humor who made a funny picture that another dude found on a really really bad night that made him laugh…

I take no credit for this… but oh did it make such a difference when I found it…

Through all the metaphors for humanity, when one takes a long and hard look at the “Superhero,” one sees characters who NEED their powers or gadgets to overcome insurmountable challenges and inspire the rest of the world.  When one looks around at the real world we all inhabit, we see the true Heroes, devoid of the traditional “super” stuff, overcoming insurmountable challenges and inspiring the rest of the world.  They exist.  We know them.  We love them, admire them, and are inspired by them.  And the weirdest thing is that most of the time, they don’t even know that they are a hero.

We associate capes, magic stuff, suits of armor, shields, hammers, growly voices, rings, etc with super heroes.  We sometimes think of a “hero” as only someone whose efforts make the news and we are told they are great when in actuality, almost every person out there is a hero in some way, shape, or form.  So at the conclusion of this whole Superhero and Humanity thesis, I can only arrive at the realization that we project what we WISH we looked like and could do into the pulpy pages of comic books and eye-popping (haha… side note… remember that scene in Blade Runner?  Kinda makes the cliche of “eye-popping” a bit more… darkly hilarious?) visuals on the silver screen.  We WISH our battles weren’t against diseases, those who don’t believe in us, or other HUMAN things.  But in the end, there’s a little bit of a hero in every one of us and we all don’t need the prefix of “Super” to be… well…

Astonishing.

Uncanny.

Wonderous.

Amazing.

Incredible.

Marvelous.

Magnificent.

Champions.

Fantastic.

Heroes.

Mostly… we just need to be Human.  Whaddya say?

Grab-Bag: Vacation Edition

Oh I have been out of the loop for a while.  In all honesty, the past week or so has been my “Vacation” for the summer.  From Wheaton, Illinois to Kansas City, Kansas and from Wedding to Birthday Celebration to the US Open Cup Final… it was insanely eventful.  So where does this all pick us all back up together?  Well, lots of places, to be honest.  Forgive me if this gets a little bit ADD but I’ve had a few posts I’ve been working on and I’m going to throw a couple together, here.

That amazing moment when you know the guy in the meme…

So yes, the above meme definitely features one of my very close friends.  He’s spending the summer playing in the pit ensemble of the Cavaliers drum and bugle corps.  I could go on some long dealio about “hard work and determination” but the simple fact is that Pat is not just with the Cavies and through to Semi Finals tonight because of hard work and determination.  He’s there because he loves what he does and that love has made him want to be good (and rest assured, the dude’s awesome).  In a great many ways, the love of what you do is what shines above all else.  Chipped notes, biffed runs, etc… all of that is part of life and it’s the love and excitement for the craft that gets you through the natural mistakes and growing pains.  Dude up there?  In the years I’ve known him and played in ensembles with him, I’ve never actually seen him NOT smile while making music.  THAT is what performing and creating is all about.  So boom.  There ya go.  Rest assured, though I love Crown’s hornline and BD’s music… I’m rooting for the Cavies’ percussion section all the way tonight and tomorrow at finals!

Next Up: The Scottish Premiere League/Rangers’ Relegation/Celtic FC in UCL Qualifying

So I’m Scots-Irish.  I’m a HUGE soccer (or “football”) fan… and I fell utterly in love the first moment I ever saw those green and white hoops on the pitch.  THAT SAID: Though I do have a strong dislike for Rangers on the pitch, I’m not exactly big on the whole divide the rivalry between the two clubs creates.  I respect the way Rangers play and I find it incredibly unfortunate that their management could not manage to keep to legal methods when doing their taxes.  I’m not going into the details but right now, the SPL is definitely a two horse show and losing one horse, even if it is only for three years, makes things INCREDIBLY difficult for the league and for Scottish Football.

After all of that, I’m elated and excited that one of the best opportunities to keep the SPL and Scottish Football relevant has fallen to my beloved Bhoys in Green.  As of today, Celtic has advanced to the final knock-out stage in qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stages.  IF they manage to progress into the group stages, it not only guarantees greater exposure for the club (and subsequently, the SPL) but also MONEY which is sorely needed (to be honest, I have no idea how the SPL managed to keep a deal with ESPN after losing Rangers to relegation and subsequently, losing the Old Firm match as well).  I’d love to see a deep run into the UCL but right now, I’ll take every small victory I can get on the European stage.

FINALLY: I’m Sounders ‘Til I Die!!!!

So my trip to Kansas City… possibly the best period of 24 hours I’ve had in an incredibly long time.  Definitely one of the best games of soccer I’ve seen… despite the questionable officiating.  I could launch into a whole review of the game right now but that would detract from the experience.  Even though Eddie Johnson airmailed our last hope of keeping the game alive on the final penalty kick (Yes, it went the full 120 PLUS PKs and came down to the last kick… and Seattle came in Runner-up in the US Open Cup…), nothing could cheapen the experience and the fun I had.

“We are the ECS from 113!”

Had the typical sporting event camaraderie between fans whom I’d never met (the guy on the left [my left, your right] just walked up to us and we all started talking at the tailgate.  Awesome dude and DEFINITELY hope to see him again at the next game I find a way to get to) and got to watch a team that I love play.  Oh… and it POURED right before the game.  So… something like this…

Seattle Sunshine!

But outweighing the game was the simple fact that I got to have family time with my brother and make new friends.  It sounds super “kindergarten-y” and all that but honestly, there was a point right around the time Zach Scott nailed home the equalizer that I realized that the past 5 or 6 years were easily cancelled out in one day of road tripping and one night of heat, food, beer, soccer, friends, and family… oh and losing my voice singing for the full 120.  So I’ll take the loss on penalties as just a part of the experience that really feels like it’s turned the ship around and gotten me to a point where I’m starting to be ready to leave Iowa behind in less than a year.

And for those still wondering from my earlier post, I FINALLY have a picture of me and Eric together… TWO actually!

The one from the car where I look SUPER Irish…

And the one from right after the march to the stadium… we were a tad… moist…

It’s from all the “excitement” … WINKY FACE!

So there you are… I’m back and posting again.

AND FOR THOSE WONDERING ABOUT THE PODCAST… Adam gets into town next week sometime and we will resume our regular recordings then.  Get excited.

Until next time, SCARVES UP!