Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy Birthday ... and Time Marches On

Happy Birthday to me (yesterday)!  It was a wonderful day.  Actually, it was a wonderful weekend.

Since it was my birthday weekend I asked my daughters to see the movie "Pawn Sacrifice" with me, which we did.!pawn-sacrifice/c11le

I confess, it probably wasn't something the girls liked as much as I did, but I appreciated their attention.  Good for them to learn something about a unique individual, Bobby Fischer, good and bad.  Fischer was brilliant, and he was insane, and he produced some masterpieces that we will always be able to study and cherish.

The movie wasn't action packed, by any means.  It explored the mind of Bobby Fischer, the tension in his life and in his games.  And it brought out several key questions, I think.
  • What does it take to be the very, very best, perhaps the best in history, at something?  Is it worth it?  Is it worth sacrificing literally every other part of your life?
  • Is it okay to tolerate madness in order to see the brilliance that is the flip side of that same coin?  Is it okay to let someone descend into madness so the world can reap the benefits, see the beauty?  Should people have catered to Fischer's whims so much, or should they have stood up to him more?
  • Is it paranoia if they really are out to get you???
If you really want to learn more about Fischer, try watching this YouTube documentary.  It is a complicated, self-contradictory, and sad story.
Bobby Fischer - Anything to Win (Biography) FULL

Then we were hungry so I Googled up barbecue joints and we found this hole in the wall, Wyatt's Barbecue, in an interesting part of town.  I think the pictures speak for themselves.  :)

You know it's going to be good when you see a place like this.

My girls saw this immediately and were fascinated reading it!

My foot was looking good that day, but it was NOT on the menu!

Finally, we caught some free performances in support of the new Atlanta Beltline project.
September 19 at the Reynoldstown Stage

    6 pm: Staibdance – Zoroaster and Tumbleweed [Dance]

Zoroaster and Tumbleweed is an original piece developed exclusively for the Atlanta Beltline, with its roots in Staib’s most recent evening-length work, “attic.” This work is an examination of the Persian New Year Celebration of Nowruz –  the piece belongs outside, in nature, as it is devoted to the sun and the equinox.

    6:30 pm: Gateway Performance Productions

To connect the public and landscape to the importance of food in our community through a new outdoor temporary site sculpture, free writing workshops, a community food drive for the hungry and an original outdoor performance piece that includes: original music, spoken word, and dance/choreography performed by a L5-member, culturally-diverse, performing ensemble.

    7:30 pm: Dad’s Garage – Improv Show

The performance will feature five improvisers playing a variety of short-form improv games; this will be similar to what you might see on “Who’s Line is it Anyway.” We will take suggestions from the audience as well as call up audience members for interactive scenes. The content of this show will be family-friendly and accessible to a wide audience.

    8:15 pm: Saira Raza – Psychedelic Bollywood [Dance/Performance]

Saira Raza along with 10th Letter, Sanam Studio Dancers, and Becky Katz, will present an experimental cinematic and musical experience, inspired by Bollywood, folk music, and science fiction.

    9:00 pm: Ghosts Project – Silent film screening

Two evenings of live musical performance by The Ghosts Project followed by a silent film screening with live accompaniment.
We caught a bit of the 6:30 and 8:15p performances, but really were there for the Dad's Garage Improv.  During the 6:30 stuff my girls were asking how long we were going to stay.  But once the improv started they enjoyed it immensely.  I explained to them that A) sometimes you don't know how good something will be, you just have to give it a try; and B) it was free.   :)

Best part of the improv was when they brought a dog up to the stage to take part in a skit.  They had pre-arranged this; we saw them ask the owner.  We knew it was going to be good because we had played with the dog, a beautiful 3-year old female retriever named Scully earlier.  Almost reddish fur.  The girl who owned her said that she named her Scully because her hair matched Scully's hair exactly, from X-Files!  How cool is that???  My girls and I had introduced ourselves and played with Scully extensively before her big performance on-stage.  So seeing her kick ass was great!  The Dad's Garage guys said that they can't do the "dog on stage" routine much, only when performing on outdoor stages.  Very cool.

I also found out that Google is a Gold Sponsor of all this "Art on the Beltline" stuff.  Except it's the new, shitty-logo Google.   :)

Wait a minute.  On the website they have the good old Google logo.  But on the physical literature they passed out it was the shitty new Google logo.  Hmm....

Anyway, here's a picture of Scully on stage, stealing the show!

So then on Sunday, my actual birthday, my daughters and I went on a 2.5 hour Segway tour of the East Side of Atlanta.  We learned a few things, but really we just wanted to have fun riding Segways!  They were a blast.  Don't be intimidated, give it a shot!  It was awkward at first, but before long we had no problems at all.  So much fun to watch my daughters whiz around and have fun.  So much fun, also, to expose them to new things and watch them learn.

We then watched an episode of Doctor Who back at home, after watching other episodes earlier in the week.  I love that my girls love this show.

Then I had to rush to a hockey game.  Not just any hockey game, mind you, but the championship game in the open league in which I play, where I skate with the 20-somethings.

Let me set the stage.  We play in the Middle AAA division, one level below the highest level of Amateur hockey in the city, Upper AAA.  Over the seasons we've picked up some great young players.  We came close to winning the championship in our league last year, and felt like we would have a strong chance this year. Sure enough, we finished with a solid record, tied for first in the league with a team that had dropped down from Upper AAA.  We split a pair of games with them in the regular season.  They smoked us 11-5 early in the year.  Then we returned the favor later in the season, 11-7, when they were missing some of their better players.

Playoff setup is top four teams, double elimination.  We both won our first games against other teams in the first round (we won 5-3 against the team that we had lost to in the championship game last season).  We then faced each other in the second round.  It was a very fast, high-scoring game, fun to play, and we ultimately prevailed 10-8, after being down 3-0 and 5-2 early.  Great comeback.  We advanced directly to the finals and they went to the loser's bracket to play an extra game, which they won, before they, too, advanced to the finals.

No surprise, we had to play them again.  This time we got the early edge, holding a 6-3 lead at one point.  Then it all fell apart.  I think we relaxed too early, or got nervous.  But they didn't.  We gave up one goal early in the third (I was on the ice for that one).  Then two goals on one shift later in the period.  All tied up.  Went to overtime, where we play four-on-four.  One of our guys had a great chance early in OT to win it, but didn't quite finish.  Late in overtime they got a 2-on-1 break and scored.  Tough way to lose.

Since that was our first loss (double elimination, remember?) that just set up one more game, yesterday's showdown.  Close game, very fast and well-played.  We went ahead 1-0, then they tied it after I blocked a shot with my skate, but it ricocheted directly to one of their players who buried the shot from a tough angle.  Bad bounce, tied 1-1.  We gradually pulled ahead, little by little.  Before long we were up 5-3 in the third.

Sitting on our bench we could all feel the tension.  We were all thinking we blew a lead like this last game.  And they were flying, really pressing us hard.  I had to do something so .... I said, hey, haven't we been here before (holding a lead nervously as the other team was feverishly clawing their way back)?!

Spratty gave me some shit in the locker room after the game for that, saying that you can't jinx us like that!  But I felt we were tense on the bench, too nervous.  I wanted--needed--to break the tension.  Face the elephant in the room head on.  In my defense, I think I had the right attitude and it did release some tension, got a few chuckles.

And, hey, in all seriousness, where else would we rather be?  Great hockey game, battling for the championship?  I asked that out loud, too, smiling as I said it: "Where else would you rather be?"  Dustin, to my right, answered immediately: "Whistler" (skiing) he said.  Smartass!   :)

Long story short, we held on for a 5-4 win as they attacked like crazy at the end.  All three games we played against that team in the playoffs were fast and close, just great hockey.  Two very evenly matched teams.  We just happened to get the better of it yesterday, but it could easily have gone the other way.

After celebrating in the parking lot with a few beers I had to get back to real life.  Got a tire with a nail in it fixed (plugged), so got a chore done there (with the help of a friend who did all the work because I've never plugged a tire myself).  Little thing, but nice to get stuff like that fixed and done with--until the next thing breaks.

Finally, the Green Bay Packers got some tiny amount of revenge last night for last season's NFC Championship Game loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
Packers flip script, stifle Seahawks in fourth quarter

It was a very full day, a full weekend, actually.

And then back to reality.  Today I am sad.

Team captain gave me a call.  I was asked to step down from the team.  Because of our great season we got moved up to the next division, Upper AAA, whether we wanted to or not.  Stiff competition, and the team wants to go younger and faster ... without me.

I have mixed feelings.  This was not unexpected, it was going to happen at some point even if our team didn't get moved up.  But you always think "one more season" so this was maybe a bit sooner than I had thought or hoped.  I honestly don't blame the captain or the other guys, they're a great group and I'll miss playing with them terribly.  The next division up is tough.  They are right.  So I'm going to let it go, and be happy that I went out on top with this team.  Go Bears!

I have other options, buddies on my Over 35 team that have moved down as they have gotten older.  They've asked me to play with them before, so I can do that.  Or maybe I'll take a season off.

Either way, time marches on.  Always.