SSX Late Edition: Busted Guts & Blowing Glory

Image

For the past couple of years, I’ve written about the Seattle Sounders on my personal blog. I write for those who take the bus Monday morning and need a quick but passionate read of the matchday event. I am less of a number-cruncher and more of a cheerleader. Imagine the huddle before every game and I am that person hyping up the team. It is a wonderful feeling to get a win and think that somewhere perhaps one of the players read my enthusiasm. When the losses came, I took it personally and relegated myself  to reflect on how to better instigate the fire to win the next game. Then it derailed just like Eddie Johnson’s ego. It is not surprising that I stopped commentating in the middle of last season. My love for my team outweighs any necessary common sense it would take to cheer on the USMNT. In this logic, losing so many players to the Klinsmann Machine was plain distracting. The ego-stroking, the greed, the politics. It may be a part of the background noise in Europe but not here. That’s not how we do football in the Emerald City. We never yacht alone, invent things that we didn’t realize we needed or wanted, we contribute to the conversation instead of detracting from it. But the shenanigans that Sigi and Company were throwing out were just too much for my little heart to take

Last Sunday, against the Timbers, was a return to form. Who would have thought that we would start a near perfect team after the forty billion formations of the last two seasons? Not I. I doubted Sigi’s ability to control the team ego let alone have a cohesive strategy in place. As soon as the scoreboard reached 2-2, I prayed that Sigi wouldn’t play for a draw. For about thirty minutes, we looked 2009-2011. Dangerous, creative, rock solid. The other 60? Competent but not aware. Impatient. Indecisive. That draw that I didn’t want to play for became a life and death struggle to reach as the opposition climbed up the charts through mistakes on the Sounders backline.

It was nothing like past two years but there were traces of the last year’s decrepit playoffs on our cleats and the pungent air of elitism that followed still wafted about here and there. Then Deuce pulled something out of his hat. Three thunderous goals is all it took to rattle the bones of yesteryear’s performances. You’ve undoubtedly heard and seen them by this point in the week. He mean-mugged all of Providence Park and he proved he was not just some poster boy for the MLS. The team isn’t in this for the money. Provided he works with the appropriate toolset (Neagle, Cooper, Oba, Ozzie, Pineda), they are in it to win it. This is the exact attitude we need when the chips don’t fall in our favor.

Before I go, I want to make something perfectly clear. I want the Sounders to win everything. They can do it. Just as we did from Inauguration to U.S. Open Cup 2011, we have the players and the mindset to win as much silverware as possible and stack the deck with our deep bench. Somewhere between 2012 and the implosion of the last year, some supporters thought it was good enough for us to win while divided. I’d rather lose and lose like a team that wanted the win than to just give up and not battle. A very special coach told me “We win together, we lose together. There is no blame game because we don’t have time for that.”

Take this attitude against the chart-busting FC Dallas next Saturday and I am pretty confident we’ll burst their bubble.

ON YOU SOUNDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Stars and Garters

Image

What sound effect are you most like today?

Finality has a good ring to it. Six years of haunting the nightshift has culminated in my willing departing from ATS. One year of ruining my life, one year of solitude and repair, one year of confidence, three years of brilliance, love, dominance. I am anxious which has been the word for the past two months. A concoction of stretched excitement and frayed nerves, I look back on my past posts and giggle at how I survived my water-down version of war and PTSD.

With all the bombast that has been playing in my background, I’d like a little silence. Mute the world and decrescendo the remaining pockets of whispers. I just want to runaway in my own thoughts for the first time in what seems an eternity.

So… *pop*

Terrible

Image

Alright, alright. I know. I am a bad person. Letting the blog go to shit and my life pass me by without giving any updates. So in a rather particular order, here is what is significant that has happened:

  1. Got married (yes, it was amazeballs and yes, I wish everyone could have come).
  2. Sister is graduating from USC with a grad degree (officially, she’s smarter than me. Now she has a piece of paper and huge amounts of debt to prove it).
  3. Conversely, I am one-half A+ certified (the -801 (hardware)). This means I actually know what the hell I am talking about when it comes to computers. The dream lives on!
  4. I have a new job starting April 11. No. I won’t go into detail about it because I have great respect for it. Those who know will know but just know this: I can live life like a normal person. Everyone rejoice.
  5. The car, the Impreza, handles like a dream. Not significant for you but it’s a pretty nice thing for me so nyah!

Writing ran away when I didn’t make the time. A gentleman at Cheeky Backheel has been talking to me about writing for them. I’d really like to and now that life has given me some breathing room, I can get a rhythm going to some bombastic beats and lay down some ink that concerns the Sounders. I am thinking Sounders Exchange but with a much bigger budget and smarter writing (that last bit will come from the founder, Jacob Cristobal. Smartest guy in soccer that I know). I don’t do deadlines (how the original Sounders Soccer Exchange ended up doing so well, I will never know).

As for the blog, it’s not going anywhere. I found my book of questions and I will start answering them like I used to. It’s therapeutic if anything. A fellow Twitter follower has asked me to look at his own blog and I am more than happy to help out. It’s not my expertise but I like to hope that through discovering what they excel at, I can learn and grow.

It’s a new era, ladies and gents. Expect greatness.

Towels

315b

What is your biggest obstacle right now?

Regardless of what the tabloids say, I am okay. Fat, happy, and married. I am working on that first bit but it’s all fun and games right now. In light of this question, I’ve looked back over the past few years and pondered “How did I get here?” Not here literally or geographically. It’s not hard to stay in Washington, what with my addiction to rain and abundance of love from family and friends. The circles that I run with are fantastic in that they push you to be yourself. I convinced myself so many times to be something I wasn’t and it’s such a weight off my shoulders to be weird and generous and blunt and reserved. Through these people, I sort of rebooted myself. I didn’t change. I became more comfortable. Whether it be around an octo-core computer, an uncorked 3.0 boxer engine wailing at WOT, perusing the typographical or architectural or interior design forums, it’s been a pretty cool feeling being me.

Here’s a scenario: A few years ago, say three, I would have been jealous of my sister. She’s graduating cum laude from USC in a few months with her Masters degree. She’s earned it. She really has and I am incredibly proud to call her my sister. Hell, she could have just graduated without all the honors and it still would have been a great accomplishment. And I say accomplishment as she landed on the Moon. That’s what she did. She has done something that I only dream about doing but when reality sets in, it’s just a no go. I do not test well and anxiety is just the bear of all burdens. I tend to overthink situations and produce solutions not quite in the scope of reality. And three years ago, I would have been depressed and crying my eyes out because I thought I was stupid in comparison.

Now? I found that I don’t need a cop out to be mediocre. I am perfectly happy with who I am and what I’ve become. I am not going to change the world (something I felt I was just DESTINED to do) but I am also not lay idly by as the world ruins itself through its own ignorance.

Tomorrow I take one half of my A+ (the -801 portion) test. I hate tests. God, I hate them. I have a sort of plan, loosely based in reality, woven together with a dream made in a DC dormitory many years ago. I may not have the group that supported my ideas back then but I have an army of friends that believe in who I am now.

And that’s all I need.

P.S. Hey God…help a brotha out and give me the strength to get me through these tests successfully? Thanks.

Silver Shank

nv

QoTD: Bad News: Sugar-coated or straight to the point?

Raised in a wholly American household where hippy idealism came together with a healthy dose of public self-awareness, I am inclined to say that I am a hammer with a little mashed cupcake stuck to it. Bad news is bad news, whatever way you cut it, and I just don’t have the charming sewing skills to put a silver lining on a dark cloud.

I can be a hypocrite. I fully admit it. I am human (last I checked). In this instance I’d rather take rejection up front, mano y mano. Aside from murder and the last 12th Man to leave 4th Avenue yelling their mantra, there is nothing more excruciating than someone dragging out bad news. K and I have a little pact that goes like this: If we ask each other a question and the answer is bad, we just say it. No games, no fumbling around the dark room in your underwear looking for a lightswitch because some jackass decided to ring your phone in the middle of the night. We get right to the point.

That’s what I love about my marriage (and most of my friendships). I can count on a straight answer. I was going through a phase where I had this aching need to go to Japan after the earthquake. To help, to travel, to see old friends. Which is fine and dandy if it was just me but I had K to consider. I didn’t consider K. I just went like bull in china shop into my idea. As this was beginning of our wonderful relationship, she pretty much led me to conclude that, for me to do what I wanted to do, I needed money. And I has no monies to do Japan correctly.

Still doesn’t stop me from dreaming about RX-7s, Bee*R, true touges, and Nagano. I digress.

And then there is the bad news covered up as good news that you think is genuinely GREAT news but is just unrealistic news. Recently I watched a show on Hulu produced by Playstation called Kaz: Pushing the Virtual Divide. It describes the journey to making the racing game Gran Turismo and the effect is has on players. I am like every other car fanatic out there: GT exposed my pimpled face (okay, not so pimply) to R32s and the Suzuki Monster and the joys of using a car as a battering ram to win races.

What I didn’t know was GTAcademy. A place where young dudes and dudettes can put their driving chops on the line to compete for a shot at racing for Nissan. The movie explained that it was sort of reality television series. It serves as an opportunity to put what you learn in the game to work on the track. I scoffed but my friends said it was relatively true and I should give it a shot.

I will be honest with you. A few weeks ago, I was pretty vulnerable due to being told that my back and neck was like that of a 60 year old. Goody-goody-gumdrops and even better is that I have to go through some intense physical therapy. Once again, track racing is just not in the cards and from what I’ve heard, may not be possibility ever.

Fuck that.

I tell Kristen about the GTAcademy thing. I explain how it will allow me to put my biological need to go fast, to be better than, let’s face it, my friends (only a handful really race their cars). I want to get strapped onto a rocket and smell that race petrol. And she lays reason and logic on the table. I asked her to be honest and she was. Of course I didn’t want her to say no. Her reasons are more than valid and after talking them out, it becomes clear that I should get healthy for the sake of longevity and not for a incessant need to pursue something that has passed me by. I hate reason and logic sometimes.

It really didn’t hit me until I took this moment and an event that happened no more than a day before my birthday. We were shopping for little dumb trinkets at the Dollar Store (as you do) to give away as surprise party favors. I am 12. Shut up. It’s cool. Everyone likes mustache stickers. I saw a green New Beetle toy and squealed with glee (as you do). I told Kristen that it would be pretty cool to give away as everyone knows I owned and raced the bigger version. As the words came out, I could see pain on Kristen’s face and it hit me. She didn’t have to say a word and I put it back on the shelf.

I have to put the past away and focus on the present and future. No amount of sugarcoating will ever help a person move on.

*for the record. Kristen wants me happy. She is 99% up for any of my shenanigans (see Street Fighter themed birthday parties and my car) but when something has eaten my soul away and left it like a rotten apple core, she puts her foot down. You have to have a strong stomach to tell me no and even stronger convictions in your beliefs to back it up to make me listen and understand.

—————————————————————————————————————————

Title brought to you by Brian Altano’s independant hit album, Misanthrope

Want to say something, good or bad or even outrageously amazing, put it below:

The Polarity Objective

Ricco asked me why I use a particular app on my phone. My answer was that it was beautiful. It also works very well and is flexible enough for my wants and needs.

But it’s beautiful first and foremost. That got me thinking about my standards in everything. I point to my mom, Corlis, for her influence in both art and the appreciation of art. From that opinions were born. Opinions that made me research what is the correct (read: proper) approach to a subject and why all other approaches are deemed unsatisfactory.

The thought-process, and therefore the definition, for what is beautiful is subjective. I will concede that. What I cannot fathom is someone saying that David Tennant’s Doctor Who (I have not seen Matt Smith yet. Shoot me) is not a beautiful character. Or that Timely is too cluttered and encumbered upon its own sense of worth. Or that an E63 SportWagon cannot possibly be a wonderfully engineered piece of metal that is not only beautiful to look at but also mystifying upon exiting its cabin.

A rusted out Honda is not beautiful. It’s unique and the approach to fulfill the owner’s ego is ridiculous but it’s certainly not pleasing to look at or call upon muses from the heavens. The same goes for iOS7. It’s an ugly mess that plays upon the sense that frosted glass and hints of neon are beautiful. The opposite goes for the minimalist lifestyle. I’ve really had to give this up as being married to Kris. It’s just a fact of life that minimalism costs money and it is inconvenient. Not too mention the contrast and juxtaposition of some new age Feng Shui is just a little too abhorrent to a life filled with bunnies and baking and the messes that come with them. It’s beautiful but at a terrible cost of hipsterism.

What got me thinking about this? First Ricco but then I came back to somethingJacob said a few days ago. Summarily, I open my mouth and spit my opinion where it is not wanted or otherwise just generally unnecessary. I counter that if someone does not say anything about the state of the world, the people will not discuss and no impact will be made. I believe it is more about HOW a person conveys their opinion more than IF they should.

I say he’s more correct than I due to a certain circumstance that occurred the day before I was to be married. A close friend of mine said a few things that he really should have kept to himself. Opinions. Hurtful opinions that were meant to press my buttons but instead left me with a burning rage to extinguish his life force with the fury of my pride. And all I did was stew about wondering how someone could say such things about people he doesn’t know.

So, since I am not in the business of being wise, I will continue to give my opinion in more frugal matter. I am not Jeremy Clarkson nor am I the President (thank God). Not everyone wants my opinion but that is still not going to stop me from giving it when it is needed. I hope my friend learns that lesson as well because I don’t like being friends with a douchebag.

This was a very roundabout way of saying that I think I have a New Year’s Resolution. Which I hate with a passion. Because hipster.

 

P.S. I don’t think my calm demeanor taken against my opinionated friend is characteristic of me maturing. I don’t know what it is but I do not like it one bit. It’s not who I am.