Monday, October 25, 2010

Right Here, Right Now

This past Saturday, I went to see Air Force play TCU. I wanted Air Force to win, because my brother just graduated from the Academy this past May. Air Force played well in the first half, holding the score at 10-7 for a long time before TCU scored another touchdown to end the half.
It's always great to go to Air Force games and see the flyovers, hear the Air Force band, and shout "First down!" with all the Air Force fans.
The game also had a particularly stirring rendition of the national anthem. It was very traditional, and very good. TCU (like OU) also gave a special welcome to Air Force.
"The nation's number one defense welcomes the world's number one defense."

Very patriotic. I got teary-eyed twice.

It was a great night with my parents. I love my mom and my dad, and I didn't want to be with anybody else, or be anywhere else. I gave my dad high-fives whenever Air Force made big plays (which predominantly came in the first half) and I held my mom's hand when there was a lull in the action.

Sometimes I would just look at my parents and take their faces in. I wanted to be there, with them, and nowhere else. School was not important, the future was not important, Sunday was not important: Saturday night football with my parents was all that mattered.

This world moves too fast to live. "Stop and smell the roses" never had so much significance. Entertainment and communication move too quickly. We're communicating with people we aren't with while we ignore the ones we ARE with. We're planning events and checking news from elsewhere and thinking about the future and wishing we were still in the past. No good.

You have to be WHERE you are, in body and spirit with the people PRESENT. Don't worry about tomorrow, don't try to be somewhere else.

Everything ends, so you should enjoy the present, and the present people, while you can.

When I went to a Muse concert a few weeks ago, a thousand camcorders and cell phones lit up the Ford Center throughout the concert. People were recording the moment.

But did they miss it?

I didn't bring a camera at all. I have no photographic or video evidence that I went. I cannot relive my Muse experience. But I don't want to, because I lived it while I was there.

People go to the Grand Canyon and they want to take pictures of it. They get frustrated because you can't possibly capture the majesty of the Grand Canyon on film. What you need to do is soak it in. Live it, love it, be astounded by it.

Live. You'll be dead eventually. Memory is only a one-way street.

Tell the people you're with that "I wouldn't rather be anywhere else, or with anybody else, than with you--right here, right now."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I'm a creative person. Someone once said that imitation is one of the first signs of creativity. Ever since I was a wee little lad, I tried to imitate people's voices, animal noises, historic NFL plays, and my mom's attempts to eat cookies when my dad wasn't looking.
That someone was probably just talking about imitating people's voices, but anyway...

For most of high school and freshman year in college, I don't think I did a good job presenting myself as a creative person. Maybe I lost some of my creativity and it just didn't shine. Maybe I'm a poor judge of my own behavior. Either way, sometimes I wanted to pull something out of the hat--be it a poem or a drawing--that was out o' the blue.
Music has been associated with much of my creativity for the past few years. I used to draw war scenes from the Medieval era down to the present age, but killing and violence are not very attractive to me now. At this stage in my life, I draw boring things and talk about my feelings, the human condition, or just nature. It's really lame. (I also hug trees, by the way. It's true.)

Sometimes creative people do creative things because they have something inside that they need to get outside. Maybe they have too many thoughts. Right now, I have too many thoughts.
Therefore, it's time to showcase art.

I did this one on the inside cover of a notebook. I took the edge of a pencil and drew all over it. Then I used my eraser to create designs. Then I wrote words. The designs are words or symbols. The words are words. They are also the names of songs from albums. The albums represented are Blink-182 by blink-182 (which has some naughty songs on it, so I can't recommend it), We Don't Need to Whisper by Angels & Airwaves (which naughty song on it?), Mmhmm by Relient K, and Oh! Gravity by Switchfoot.

I'm not a post-mod. I just thought it would be cool and creative to do that. And yes, I did that while I was a teenager. I still am, if only for 17 more days.

I went to Chili's with some of my friends and embarrassed them by asking the waitress for crayons and coloring tools. It was great. This drawing (or crayoning?) represents the ideal of true love, two people becoming one, and the reality (or pessimism) of life, which is a single character in a vast darkness surrounding himself with electronics to dull the pain.
It's very disillusioned, but apparently, that's what "realism" is. Realism, I reject you. I did that in the fall of 2009.

This character is also surrounded by the vast darkness of space. He has a shadow. He thinks, therefore he is. In the first panel, he has no hands and is powerless. In the second panel (or the stem of the chili), he celebrates life with the stars (that were conspicuously absent in the first panel). Everyone hold hands.

This crayoning is my take on "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire. The protagonist has glowing light bolts, the reaper is coming for him, and the people better look out below. "Wake Up" has inspired a lot of creativity in me. It's from Arcade Fire's album "Funeral," which I didn't like as a whole
I do, however, like "Wake Up," "Rebellion (Lies)," and one or two other songs on the album.

Thanks for reading. I'm not a naturalist, I'm not a post-mod, and I'm not a relativist. I have three existential crises under my belt and I believe in Jesus.

I'll be funny another day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Red River Shootout 2009

Last year on Saturday, October 17th, I went to the Red River Shootout. A generous upperclassman friend gave me a discount on a ticket. (My brother helped supplement the cost because he's awesome and because he thought it would be an awesome experience. And it was.) After growing up an Oklahoma Sooners fan, I was finally able to go to the big game at the Cotton Bowl. I moved to Fort Worth in 1999, and I've gone to the Texas State Fair many times, but going to the State Fair on GameDay--and going to the game--was awesome.

People at OU have told me that "you need to go to the game at least once while you're here." I didn't expect to go as a freshman, but when the opportunity to see my man Sam Bradford vs. Colt McCoy arose, I jumped the chance. My dad came with me to the Cotton Bowl, hoping that he would be able to buy a ticket outside the gates.

We talked the game to death (and then some) in the weeks leading up to it because Sam Bradford had been injured the first week against BYU and OU had lost to Miami a few weeks after that. The week before OU-Texas, Bradford led OU to an unconvincing victory against Baylor. Needless to say, there was a lot of apprehension among OU fans about the OU-Texas game. Even though Texas wasn't invincible, they were undefeated, and they had a healthy Colt McCoy under center.

The trip to the Cotton Bowl was long. Kickoff was around 11:30am, we left the house around 7:00am, and we didn't make it to the stadium until the second quarter. (We're less than a two hour drive away from the stadium on a good day).

The transportation problems were well-documented by the media--some people who paid over $1,000 for tickets didn't make it to the game until halftime. Naturally, the highway was a veritable parking lot, but the trains were almost worse. My dad and I took the trains, one of which broke down while we were a few miles away from the State Fair.

We--both OU and Texas fans--found ways to keep ourselves entertained, like singing at each other, shouting "OU sucks!" or "Texas sucks!" and then jointly booing any Florida fans who dared to show their faces at this closed party. Florida fans, sorry, you have no business here--it's a family feud.

Most of the fans from both sides were amiable. There were some Texas fans who cheered when word came through that Bradford had been injured (we were stuck in the train when he got injured), but that was a minority. Most of the fans were legit.

When we got to the stadium, my dad went to get a ticket and I went into the stadium. I found my seat (way, way, way up in the Sooner section) and my breath was completely taken away by the sights (and it wasn't just the elevation). You have to be there to fully appreciate what it's like to have a stadium divided in crimson and burnt orange down the 50 yard-line.

Both bands are on either end of the field, drowning each other out with their fight songs. One woman remarked after the game, "I've never heard so many people shout 'sucks!' in my life," because Texas chants "OU sucks!" and OU chants "Texas sucks!"

I had sunscreen smeared stupidly all over my face by this point, because I had hastily applied it while making my way into the stadium, which probably accounts for all the amused looks that I got.

I didn't know about the suncreen and didn't care--I was just worried about the game because Bradford was hurt AGAIN and his college career was probably over and we were about to lose the game and the Big XII and there was no chance of us making it to the National Championship and can Landry win the game and where is my seat and I hope I don't get sunburned and now that I'm settled where's dad and is he going to find a ticket?

OU made it to half time in the lead. In the lead?! We might win this game. We had a chance. It was an ugly game--agonizing even--full of mistakes, but we had a chance to win and as long as we won nothing else mattered.

The halftime show was great--I tried to find all of my friends who were in the band (to no avail, of course, but it was awesome seeing the Pride of Oklahoma anyway).
I won't recount much more of the game, because the game had a sucky ending in an agonizing way. If we had won, Texas would have said the same thing, because it was close and both teams were trying to lose and neither could win or deserved to win until OU finally said "NO, TEXAS! WIN THIS GAME AND GO TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! and Texas said, "KTHNXBAI!"

So after we lost, and all of my hopes and dreams were destroyed and I became disillusioned and disenchanted with life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Texas sang us out of the stadium.

"Go OU! Go OU! Go OU!" (Not in the sense of "Try hard and do well, OU" but "Go back across the Red River, you losers!")

They chanted "OU sucks!" and they sang their fight song and we heard it in the long, slow crawl out of the stadium (it took almost two hours to get out).
On the drive back up to OU, we passed by a ranch with a huge sign that said "Go Texas!" with lots of longhorn emblems and "OU Sucks" stuff. (They had even more people and signs this year.)

Someday, I will go to the Red River Shootout, and we will win, and we will sing Texas out of the stadium and yell "Texas sucks!" and sing our fight song...and all of their little hopes and dreams will be crushed and they'll drive back down to Austin sobbing and they'll never love again. Ha. Haha.

I wait for that day. But today is not that day, because I'll watch OU beat Texas from home.
Boomer Sooner. Beat Texas.