The flight and subsequent MARTA trip was relatively uneventful, thanks to A) Bloody Marys, and B) the constant distraction of the iPod. It took me a long time to join the iPod generation, mainly because I’ve never been one of those music snobs who thrills to discover the little known emo band that seems like they’re speaking directly to me, only to discard them once more than 15 people know who the fuck they are. Sure, I listen to music on the iPod, particularly when I’m reading, but the thing has been a (insert fictional deity here)send for listening to audiobooks and podcasts. There are a few “business” podcasts I’ll listen to, but I’ve primarily enjoyed sports and entertainment podcasts. I admire the hell out of folks who put out the weekly content devoted to their favorite TV show, often for little or no compensation. Their passion is contagious, and it certainly helps drown out the sound of the chatterboxes on the plane and makes the trip go faster. (Note to FAA, who may be looking for clues after the next great air disaster: I willfully disobey the request to turn off all electronic devices during takeoff. I keep the earbuds in, make a show of hitting some buttons and put the iPod down beside my leg. I also look and pretend to listen attentively when the flight attendants walk by me. But I’m really listening to someone rattle on about the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica or Lost. So if this makes our big shiny winged cylinder of death fall out of the sky, so be it. To my fellow passengers: Ooops. Sorry).
The pick up was fine, though it was a different Freebird chauffeur. Miz F (along with the WeeFree) grabbed me from the station, and the only problems along the way resulted from the overzealous Georgia Highway Patrol (we didn’t get busted for anything, just moved slowly) and the fact that none of the 6 DVDs in the rear seat player featured the exact Mickey Mouse video that was being vigorously requested. We stopped along the way at the Redneck Bloomingdales (WallyWorld!) and at 5 Guys for lunch. I had never eaten at a 5 Guys before, but the burgers were good, and most importantly, the fresh-cut fries were spectacular and plentiful. We also made a run to the usual stop for the IPTs (Inexplicably Priced Tallboys). I noticed that the prices went up slightly – but most intriguingly, they went up correspondingly. So a 12-pack of 12 oz Lites was $10.49 (up from $9.99), but the 12-pack of 16 oz tallboy Lites was also $10.49. The bargain remains the same. 4 free beers is still 4 free beers.
The rest of the “holiday” was rather languorously uneventful. Lasagna was made and eaten. Some unbelievable “red velvet” cookies were made and eaten. I wound up talking to someone dear, and as usual, it was intriguing, delightful and wound up going nowhere. A turkey cooked all night (with a wake up call to pull it out of the Big Green Egg) and it was delish. The football games on TV were a colossal SUCK, with barely watchable blowouts running rampant across the screen, and no amount of Crown, crushed ice and water could make them any better. House reruns, and my 42nd viewing of The Lord of the Rings on TNT, alleviated some of the boredom, as did the new CrackBerry. Google Reader on the handheld (especially coupled with wi-fi) is just about the greatest thing since the invention of the TiVo. I also added a micro-SD card with 4 gigs of memory, and now have an option of which tiny device I want to use to listen to podcasts while smoking on the porch. Two quick things about that: 4 gigs of memory on a tiny, tiny card? When I graduated, my first computer (a Mac) didn’t even have built in memory for storage. To save files, you had to use a floppy disc (remember those?) or an external hard drive. I bought one, that was about the size of a VCR circa 1985, that had 20 megs of available storage. That new 4 gig card in my phone holds 4096 megs, or roughly 204 of those ancient, humungous external drives. It seems like my waistline is not the only thing to have expanded exponentially since graduation. Second, if I had had this CrackBerry about 10 years ago, I might be married today. One of the constant wedges in that relationship was my complete and palpable boredom during soul-sucking regular visits to DSW or an antique shop. Had I had the ability to listen to audiobooks or podcasts, surf the web, blog, twitter or watch videos from my fucking phone, then I might still be up to my ears in mind-blowing sex. Well, as a tradeoff, I guess I can just watch porn on my phone.
Gameday arrived, and it was wet, rainy and overcast. Not particularly cold, just tangibly dreary. We drew the short straw again for a televised game, and had a noon kickoff. The Freebird woke up with a continuing, skull-crushing headache, and we didn’t even pack any IPTs or a cooler, if that tells you about the enthusiasm for the game. (Before you get the wrong idea and think we were starting a 12 step program, due to the rain, we were meeting and “tailgating” at a bar). The ride down to the motherland was odd, in that we didn’t spend an hour and a half dissecting the game, talking about how to defend the triple option or wondering why the fuck it’s so difficult to keep a kickoff in bounds. Nope, we got caught up in a miasma of soap opera drama and social niceties that turned out to be much ado about nothing. The Freebird and I also received an offer to play George and Weezy, and “move on up” to the SkyClub for the game. We weren’t going to leave one of our troops alone in the rain, but once we knew he had some equally rain-soaked companionship, we took advantage of the kind offer and were only too happy to ride the elevator up to the De-Luxe Apartment In The Sky. We scalped our 4 “regular” tickets to the game for $10. $10 TOTAL. (In hindsight, you get what you pay for). We undercut the hustler trying to sell two blissfully dippy chicks a pair of tickets for $10. Sign of the recession, bad weather forecast or foreknowledge of the outcome? As the good Doctor would say: “Goff Prices……Goff Product!”
The best thing about the game itself was the spread of delicious chocolate chip cookies in the SkyClub. That game, and in essence the whole season, was nothing short of an EPIC FAIL. We were out-hustled, out-manned, out-schemed, out-coached, out-rushed, out-played and obviously, OUT-SCORED. It breaks my fucking tiny, jaded and cynical heart that MoMass played the best game of his career and left his guts strewn across that field in his last time clad in red and black, and had to suffer the indignity of losing to the Trade School.
I guess this time of year is when we’re supposed to give “thanks.” And I do have some things to give thanks for, such as the dear friends who pick me up, put me up (and put up with me). Or the neverending wonders of the tiny CrackBerry. But looking at this game, here is a list of things I do not give thanks for:
- A third quarter where we were outscored 26-0.
- A defense that, according to their own players, took things for granted at halftime and thought they had the game locked up.
- A DC that could seemingly skin puppies alive at the 50 yard line, bludgeon crippled orphans with a piece of rebar, play “Iowa Fan” with 14 year old girls, and give up 30+ points and a gazillion yards week in and week out, and remain steadfastly confident about his continued employment prospects.
- Confidence in the kicking game, such that going for it on 4th and 7 seems like an infinitely better option than a field goal attempt.
- Kickoffs that have all the precision of a scud missile launched from a giant rubber band, and can’t seem to stay in bounds even though there are 53.3 yards of width to play with.
- That if you did a search on “tackle football,” the first part of that phrase would filter out any reference to the 2008 Georgia Bulldogs.
Other than the offensive fireworks that were not quite enough to compensate for our 11 man (and one DC) sieve, here was the only other highlight of the game:
If you can't tell from the pix, that's Larry Munson being honored. Thanks for all the memories, Larry.
As for the post game, the walk back to the car was dryer than we expected. The chili was tasty. The company and camaraderie was wonderful. The texting was terrific. And this quote still amuses me, even though I was at the bottom of a flask and can’t exactly remember the context: “Can't fix me a liquor drink and tell me to take my shoes off!”
This puts a perfect capper on the weekend: I got an upgrade for the flight back home. Boarded early, and started quaffing a few bloody marys. There was some delay in getting the rest of the flight boarded, so I built up a nice little buzz and enjoyed my spacious accommodations. We finally take off, 45 minutes late, but the weather is so bad across the entire east coast that they decide to keep everyone seated, with no cabin service, for the whole trip. No cocktails. So, not only is this big cigar tube of doom flopping all across the skies for a good 90 minutes, causing me to get arthritic from vice-gripping the armrests, I also can’t have any whiskey that might mitigate the stomach churning terror I’m experiencing.
Oh, and also, for the first time in 20 years of traveling, Delta lost my bags. Yep, give thanks, y’all.