Friday, November 30, 2007

Memory cues

Have you ever had one of those moments where you're out...maybe at a bar...and all of a sudden you catch this scent. And it reminds you of something. Who knows what it is. But it's something. You know the smell. It brings back a flood of latent memories that you can't quite piece together. Each little nostalgic moment comes racing back in to your head, but disappears the instant it starts to have meaning in your mind.

Why is that?

How can something so common as a perfume spark such a complicated reaction in the human brain? It's blatantly familiar, but to the point that it is painfully hard to remember why.

I've heard people say that smell is the sense most closely linked with memory. You smell bread baking, it reminds you of your mom's house as a child. The smell of pine trees equals Christmas. Pumpkins smell like Halloween and Thanksgiving. The smell of fresh cut grass is such a powerful reminder that spring is here. And it is all taken for granted. In the winter time, when your sense of smell is generally limited to recognizing the crispness of the frosty air, you think snow.

But sounds, textures, even sights can't bring back such strong memories. Unfortunately, you have to take the good with the bad in this case. They don't bring back anything nearly as strong. But they also won't put you in a place where you have the memory on the tip of your tongue but you can't quite place it.

Needless to say, it happened tonight. And the worst part about it was I identified the culprit. I had to track it down in a crowded bar. But the owner was completely hush-hush as to the brand of the perfume. If you ask me, that's selfish. Now, I have the smell stuck in my nostrils and the frustration of not being able to place it in my mind all night.

I guess I can file this post under rants.

Losing sleep begins....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wanna hear a joke?

Q: Why did the 31 year old ex-farmer cross the road?

A: Because his childhood identity bracelet was stuck in the chicken's gizzard.

Funny...because it's true? Maybe...

Aaron Giles has been reconnected 25 years later with his metal identity bracelet after having lost it in his grandfather's chicken barn when he was 5 years old. Engravings were still perfectly legible.

Talk about dumb luck.

Calling all cars...


If you've been curious, like me, as to the whereabouts of the man who sparked the deadly riots in LA in 1991, then look no further. Rodney King--whose beating led to 55 deaths, 2,000 injuries, 12,000 arrests, and over $1 billion in property damage--has been located. Have no fear.

Rodney King has found himself shot in the face/arms/back/torso with a shotgun. Don't worry, he's going to be alright. He rode his bicycle from San Bernadino to his home in Rialto after taking the blast to the face. Of course, he called the police after he got to the safety of his own home, where he couldn't possibly be beaten senseless again.

Since his arrest in 1991, he has been in and out of court for various legal troubles.

I wonder if anyone caught this one on tape.

If you have someone with a single famous moment in history--and who has since disappeared from the public eye--who you'd like to track down, go ahead and give me a shout. I'll get the news team assembled and on the hunt.

Sean Taylor Jerseys

This will be the first actual helpful and informative post on this blog.

For those of you who want Sean Taylor jerseys, there is hope. I found out today the reason they are disappearing from shelves (other than high demand). After his death, his family inherited the rights to his name and his merchandise. There was a small delay in getting them to reapprove the sale of his products.

They have given their permission, now, so all of his items will be back in circulation shortly. Once the massive demand has been met.

Sorry to all of you who spent hundreds on eBay on 'authentic' jerseys. Fortunately for me, I had a hesitant trigger finger.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Now that I'm an experienced blogger...

Let's take some time to get to know me. You're all going to be avid readers of these posts, so you might as well know now what you're getting in to.

I'm going to be writing about sports, music, entertainment, and travel. I do some writing on the side. That's what takes up just about all of my time. If you don't care about any of those things--and really, who can honestly say that none of those are interests of theirs--then don't read this blog again. Ever. Seriously. Just don't. for sports. I'm a Redskins fan. I love the NFL, but it doesn't compare to NCAA football in any way shape or form. College football (Go Hokies) has more passion, more flare, more excitement, better fans, and more meaning than any pro sport could ever hope to have. As soon as you start paying the players, it becomes a business more than a passion. College basketball is fun, but aside from Virginia Tech, I don't watch much until March. I'll watch playoff NBA (my allegiances change regularly)...this year I like the Celtics--I was fans of all three of those guys before they played for Boston--the Pistons, and the Wiz. Don't like baseball but I'll poke fun at the fans sometimes. Can't follow hockey. I'm all about World Cup soccer, but the MLS is painfully boring.

Music...I'm a bit of a rap aficionado. I don't care about the message it sends. Give me a good beat and good lyrical flow and that's all I need. I'll dabble in a little rock and alternative. Can't hate the oldies. Despite an alleged sighting of me at a Toby Keith concert, I try to avoid country music. Punk/emo/screamo/grunge/metal/etc. is garbage in my eyes. Sorry...I know...the emo kids are going to cry about that, too.

Entertainment...I'm a huge movie-goer. I like comedies, action movies, crime dramas, thrillers. Basic stuff. I steer clear of the horror flicks 'cause I just don't get the point. They're all so predictable and cheesy. I'll take a Superbad or a Super Troopers, Van Wilder or How High any day. Big fan of Bruce Willis, Denzel, and (ashamedly) Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. I can't explain it...but I always smell what he's cooking. I follow Brotherhood, Californication, Entourage, and The Wire on TV (On Demand may be the greatest invention of modern times). I do contract work for a little software company in Pittsburgh that requires a bit of travel here and there. If I'm not going anywhere for work, I have a few spots I'd like to get to. Jackson Hole, Wyoming might be the most beautiful place in the country. I'd love to hit up the tropics sometime soon, maybe take a cruise to the Virgin Islands. Tour Europe on a vespa. Road trip across America in an RV with two or three friends, a dog, and a map.

Other than that, what you see is what you get. As soon as I get a little more familiar with this 'blog' thing, these posts will get more interesting. There will be color photos and illustrations with captions. Maybe videos and songs. Who knows. It's the world wide web...the possibilities are endless.

Suggestions for improvement are welcome. Please leave comments.

My Personal Introduction to Blogging

This one is going to start on a somber note. I've been tossing around the idea of a blog for quite awhile. I realized everyone I know has, jump on board!

As I'm sure everyone knows, the Redskins lost a pretty important person in their community this week with the passing of Sean Taylor. As is the case with most tragedy, everyone is quick to give their input on what happened. Everyone wants to be the first to explain the event the right way. The talking heads jaw back and forth at each other about whether it was a random crime or a targeted professional hit, whether he is just a statistic as a young black male between the ages of 18-24 that has been murdered, whether he was really asking for this because of the life he lived.

As a graduate of Virginia Tech, I watched the news, speechless, for a solid 10 hours on April 16th. I was lucky enough to have graduated before the shooting spree happened. I still have a lot of friends in school there, though, so I drove down to Blacksburg on the 17th to be with them. I wasn't going to make anyone happy and forget all about what happened. I wasn't trying to. I just wanted to show my face and let people know they had people who cared about them. What greeted me when I got down there was a a media frenzy. It was sick. People want to grieve on their own time. Let them.

Sean Taylor may have been raised in the wrong neighborhood, around the wrong people. He may have been a thug, a gangster, a criminal. Growing up, a lot of people do a lot of dumb things. Depending on your environment, your dumb childhood mistakes might be trivial, or they might be serious mistakes. But what Sean had grown in to, as everyone heard by the testimony of his friends, teammates, coaches, and family, was a happy, caring father, a fiancee, a teammate, a friend, and a benevolent human being.

I had to watch him terrorize my Hokies in college. But as soon as he joined the Redskins, he became a part of my team. I enjoyed watching him scare the living shit out of TO on a regular basis. He was a true game-changing player. If you ask me, he was a future hall of famer. Maybe I'm jumping the gun. But he was easily the best athlete on the Redskins entire team. And he was only 24.

Now that he's gone, the Redskins are going to be a different team. Not having him hawking around in the secondary is going to be a sad sight for all of us. No amount of money or tribute ribbons or media reports is going to change any of that. The best we can do is remember him for who he had become. Remember his hits on the field. Remember the few interviews he gave off the field where he really sounded like an adult who had gotten his act together. Remember the effect he had on his teammates and his fans, even his opponents.

He said in September that he felt sorry for people who were taken too soon, who didn't get to live life to its fullest. He followed that by saying he had achieved his dreams, and he felt so lucky to have gotten the opportunity that he had to play in the NFL.

I'll remember him as one of the few people who actually achieved their dreams. He got to work in a profession that he loved with a real passion, he got to see his baby daughter born, and he had the admiration of thousands of people. What better way can a person live their life?