Thursday, June 25, 2009

Return of First 5 Friday

Today is a big day.

It is my fifth wedding anniversary. So, as a triumphant return of First 5 Friday...or at least a return of some sort.... with a trip in the way back machine.

FIRST 5 Greatest Moments of June 26, 2004

5. Golf-Part of my day of fun was nine holes at the local course with my Dad, my bestfriend, and another pretty darn good friend. After something like two hours of sleep, we teed off at nine thirtyish.

The rains came at 9:45.

Did we stop....NO!! We slogged on until we reached number seven where we saw this phantom appear out of the midst. My brother had walked out on the course looking like an extra in a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western circa 1975. Brown cowboy hat, boots, blue jeans and a western shirt....all almost totally obscured (except the hat) by a black duster to protect him from the rain. As my dad begged out to go do his father of the groom duties, my bro played out the rest of the round for him...dressed like that. I still giggle even now.

4. The moment before the ceremony-My buddy, Grady, and I were sitting around shooting the breeze as the time seemed to slip away. At some point, he asked me what I had asked him four years before. "Are ya nervous?" Nope. I was stunned to see that this was pretty much the truth. I had a definite peace about this. I knew this marriage was meant to be. There's a pretty cool pic, (I can't find it or I'd post it) of me leaning against the table and Grady looking at his watch as if he was saying, "It's time!"

3. The Challenge of the Ring. We got the thing around two months before we got married. (Give or take a few weeks) She had it inscribed "Love you forever, and the date was inscribed." Sometime in between that moment and show time I had jammed my finger and neglected to try on the ring. So, as she lovingly place the ring on my finger, she had to put a little elbow grease into it to get it on my finger. Later the next day we got it resized. But, it was a moment Bob Saget would've loved to see.

2. The Reception. From the cake to the music to the friends and family to the BBQ to the...heck, EVERYTHING it was perfect. Absolutely stunning. Our families had worked hard to get a rustic setting turned into something out of a story book. I would not've changed one thing about it. Oh yeah, we also rode a limo to the reception and to a five star hotel that night. That block of time is something I will never forget.

1. Jill walking down the aisle. If you can picture this, it was late in the day in an old country church. The place was filled to capacity. Her sister, best friend, cousin, and my sister were standing up with her as bridesmaids. On my side, My brother, my best friend, and another close friend was standing up with me. The doors were shut. When they opened I had the greatest view of my wife to be, in white with the afternoon sun as her backdrop as she walked with her dad down the aisle. It was an image that I carry with me all the time, still.

I hoped you enjoyed this walk down the aisle of my memory and to my beloved wife...

Happy Anniversary!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

First 5 Friday-Put Me in Coach

There are two things the summer is known for other than beaches and heat. It is the time where the movies start bringing in their blockbuster hits and it is a time that baseball starts heating up. Maybe it's because my beloved Rangers are in first place in their division for the first time in over a decade, but the Sneaky household is all about baseball right now.

So, I decided to talk about probably the best sports genre

The great thing about this genre is that there are literally five or six movies that didn't make the list that are pretty dang good. So, without further adieu...

First 5 Baseball Movies

Okay, this is one category where I have to mention an honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: I remember watching Major League in the theatres when it came out. The scene at the end of the movie where Ricky Vaughn comes out to Wild Thing was truly electric in that theatre. It was like all of us were at the game and at least half the audience was singing 'Wild Thing' with the movie. One of my greatest movie experiences of all time.

But, while this movie was pure genius and would be good enough to make any list, the ones ranked above it are spectacular.

5. Field of Dreams. 'If you build it, he will come.' The foundation of perhaps one of the greatest sports fantasies of any movie. A ghostly voice finally convinces Ray to build a park for the great Shoeless Joe Jackson. In a way, it is a pennance for the distance he had with his own father who passed away before things could be fixed. Their is pain and absolution along with the baseball theme. Probably would be ranked higher if there was actually more baseball in the movie.

4. For the Love of the Game. As far as fiction stories go, an aging pitcher about five years past his prime, pitching in his last game at the formidible Yankee stadium. He is not only in the moment while on the mound pitching his finest game, he also has his entire life flash before his eyes as the game is going. Just an amazing movie.

3. Bull Durham. To finish out the Kevin Costner triology of baseball flicks is this gem about a minor league legend Crash Davis who has finally bounced his way to the Durham Bulls to help Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' Laloosh. The ever annoying but in this movie, tolerable, Susan Sarandon narrates the action of this movie. It is humorous and the action is pretty realistic. Plus, the lines of this movie are so repeatable. For instance, Annie Savoy the Susan Sarandon character has this gem, "The world is made for those who aren't cursed with self awareness."

2. The Natural. Gosh the music at the end is awesome. It's the music the Rangers play when one of their guys go yard. But, this movie is way more than the music, it is the ideal. A guy with amazing talent as a kid is grieviously injured and is out of the sport for years. He then turns up as a thirty something year old rookie. During this time, he and his bat, 'Wonderboy' terrorizes the pitching. There is definitely a surreal feel to this movie as it does border on fantasy. A great story.

1. 61*. You know a movie would have to be good if it was about the Yankees and it's number one on my list. This movie is the haunting story of the 1961 season. This was the hunt to break Babe Ruth's record by a fairly unassuming player by the name of Roger Maris.

It focuses mostly on what Roger had to go through from the press and the fans during this ordeal of a season. If you like baseball at all, you simply have to watch this movie. The scenes are amazing. Barry Pepper is identical to Roger Maris and Thomas Jane looks a whole lot like Micky Mantle. The visuals, the music, the acting, heck, the whole picture is a work of art. It was a labor of love by Billy Crystal and it works.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Writer's Workshop-My Obituary...Among Other Things

It's Thursday!! You know what time it is!! Mama Katt's carnival, 'Writer's Workshop'. It's a time to get the old juices flowing and get creative.

The Prompts are in bold and my stuff is in normal:

1.) If you could cut back on something in your life that takes up your time what would it be? And what would you prefer to spend that time doing?(inspired by Lady Isra)

This is a subject that I really don't have much of an answer too. The things that take up the most time in my life in order are job, kids, and stuff on the computer (be it blogging, facebook, or poker.) I guess if I had to pick one thing I would cut back on that takes time out of my life it would be yardwork. I average about an hour every other week of yard work. (Yep, our yard looks gooooooood.) I would like to make that about an hour each year. I mean it is so pointless, I mow the lawn and then it grows. It's like a never ending cycle. I mean it's like making your bed, except everyone sees when you don't mow your lawn. So, I would cut back on that and divide that hour every fourteen days into the kids and internet 'work'

2.) Share a recent adventure you had with a friend.(inspired by Amy)

Well, it was a wondrous that was written about by my dear wife, Sneaky Momma. But, the date was May 16th of this year. Our destination was the Ballpark in Arlington for a much needed mini vacation. We dropped the kids off at my mother and father in law's house and then headed up for the game.
As we drove to the game, we listened to it on the radio. It was there where we heard the familiar tone of Eric Nadel, the Ranger's main play by play man as John Lackey was thrown out of the game for throwing at Ian Kinsler. My dear wife, a hockey fanatic, really dug that part of the game. So, we arrived at the game somewhere around the end of the first inning. From our parking lot you could see the Red River a whole lot easier than the Ballpark. But, we hiked instead of taking the easy way out on a bus and finally made it to our seats around the bottom of the third inning.
We sat up in the cheap seats and watched a very well played game in, to me, the most beautiful park in the the majors. Well, about the fifth inning we decided that it was going to get no warmer. It was about fifty windchill and we were wearing shorts and shortsleeve shirts. Funny, we both spend most of our waking moments on line and we didn't even bother to check out the weather. So, finally giving up, we decided to go get the least expensive long sleeve shirts they sell in the place. I found one that had Ian Kinsler's number 5 on the back and held it up. 'Who's Kinsler?" My dear wife asked. Did I mention she's more of a hockey fan? So, as I explained that he is the second baseman and a pretty damn good player, she was cool with the shirt. We finished the game and as everyone was jumping to 'If the House is a Rockin' my wife pointed at the poor Ranger with the pink back pack. It's his job to get snacks to the other pitchers since he is the one with the least seniority.
After the Rangers held off the Angels, we were set to go to the second part of the date. A concert by the great Robert Earl Keen. Some of his fine work is on my playlist if you've never heard of REK. He played all of the stuff we love and even some new stuff that didn't suck. We ate after the game at one of 'our' joints, Papacitos. Stuffed, slightly drunk (at least in my case), we headed home to a childless house and had the ability to jack up the volume of the TV and live like we were first married one more time. Well, with the exception of we were both dead tired by Midnight.

3.) Describe a memorable gift. Why was it important to you?(Inspired by Kit Kat)

My dear lovely wife, Sneaky Momma gave me a thousand chip poker set as a wedding gift. It was very cool, but the part of it that was the coolest was that she was accepting me as is. She knows that I have to play in life or I'm no good. Whether it be cards, bang a tennis ball around, shoot hoops, or something. In short, she married a guy that still has the heart of a kid in a lot of ways. That gift showed that she understood this. Now understandably this is something I don't use a great deal. When I play poker 'live', it's either at a casino or somebody else supplies the chips, but it is without a doubt one of my most prized possessions.

4.) If you could change career paths now and be anything you wanted to be...what would you be and why?(inspired by Lauren)

I would like to be a greeter at Wal-Mart, but they said I'm too young. Imagine being able to change the mood people are in with a bright shiny smile and a 'How are ya today?'. Yeah, that sounds like me. None of you are buying this are you?

In reality there really isn't a job that would fit me better than the one I have now. It has taken me literally a decade to satisfy myself with this fact. I am a teacher and a tennis coach at the middle school level. The tennis gives me a slight way to give my competitive side something to do and I am naturally lazy. So, the two months a year that are non structured truly is something taylor made for me.

5.) Kim's email: In the St. Louis News-Dispatch paper, they had an article of a man who wrote his own obituary before his death, and gave it to his sister to post when he died. He summed life up in 45 words:(Click here to read his words).I know it's a morbid subject, but what about a prompt about what would one's obit say, with a word limit. You could stipulate that everyone died at 100, so we'd all be predicting what our future would be like.So there you have it. Sum up life in 45 words. :) Happy happy.

Lane passed away some day at the age of 100. Lane did not find fortune nor did he find fame, so for some, his life would be considered mediocre. However, he lived the life he wanted to live...a life based on family.