Westbrook: Back In Action

With the NBA Trade Deadline dead and gone, it appears the Oklahoma City Thunder made the right decision in sticking with their superstar point guard Russell Westbrook. In the absence of their most athletic scorer, Reggie Jackson filled in to help OKC go 20-7. Posing questions as to whether Westbrook’s skills were still needed, and if his role would change upon return.

Russell Westbrook

Westbrook, who was cleared to play against Miami tonight for the first time in 27 games, put up an impressive 16 points, five rebounds, and two assists in just 24 minutes time. However, The Thunder didn’t perform as well against the Heat as they did back in late January when they throttled them by 17. MVP candidate Lebron James led the pack with 33 points as the Heat stomped the Thunder 103-81, giving Oklahoma City a taste of its own medicine.

Lebron James
In early February it was rumored that a trade with the New York Knicks was in the making. I didn’t buy into this notion, it seemed like a big hoax. The Thunder were to receive Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and Raymond Felton. As well as the ability to swap future first-round picks. While the Knicks were to get Westbrook, Kendrick Perkins, and a future second round pick. No agreement was ever made by the teams.
I’m sure the real question now is whether keeping Westbrook was a good idea or not. Do the Thunder truly need another big man? Is Ibaka not enough for them to make a championship run?
Serge Ibaka
Some might think the Thunder success with Westbrook sidelined was an indication of their ability to perform without him, but I’m not convinced. Westbrook is versatile, swift, and intelligent on the basketball court. He is one of the best point guards and scorers in the league.
I’m positive that Scott Brooks and company can figure out a way to incorporate the skill sets of both him and Jackson. Although, I believe the focus of the offense should still rely on MVP candidate Kevin Durant who is having a career best season. Let’s just hope Westbrook’s game can speak as loud as his style.
This may have been a preview of the 2014 NBA Finals with the two main candidates for MVP on either squad, but I see the Thunder emerging as the eventual champions.
It’s Durant’s time to shine.
Kevin Durant

King James: Royal Disappointment?

Once again, the Miami Heat’s Lebron “King” James will not participate in the NBA Dunk Contest. Who would have guessed that? Why would the most physically dominant athlete in all of sports ever want to partake in something of that nature? The back-to-back NBA champion refrains from taking part in the All-Star Weekend’s Saturday night festivities, and I think he plans to keep it that way.

The 6’8″ 250 lb small forward seems to be afraid of imperfection, or maybe he’s just satisfied with his two NBA Championships and four MVP trophies. For someone who is considered “Jordan esque,” he’s sure not impressing anyone with his lack of participation in the contest.

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Let’s look at it this way. Both of the NBA legends that James is compared to, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, took home the gold when they participated in the dunk contest.

In fact, Jordan won twice! Once in 1987 and again in 1988. The 1988 final against Dominique Wilkins was particularly significant though, in that there was a history defining moment. Michael defied gravity with an acrobatic slam-dunk from the free throw line. Many have attempted to emulate it, but nothing will ever compare.

Jordan is typically remembered as a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Final’s MVP, and five-time NBA MVP.  However, this dunk was one to remember.

A young Kobe Bryant won the 1997 NBA dunk contest. Since then the Los Angeles Lakers legend has gone on to win five NBA Championships, an MVP trophy, and two NBA Final’s MVPs.
I’m sensing a trend here. It appears that both Kobe and Michael won their slam dunk titles early on in their careers, something Lebron has yet to achieve during his ten years in the league.
The NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest has really evolved over the years, with rising young talents taking center stage. A three-sixty dunk no longer seems to impress the judging panel, and achieving a score of “10” is no easy task. Using props seems to be the new fad, maybe they’re just running out of ideas?
Whatever it is, I truly believe that James could make a difference if he tried.
Step up your game Lebron, prove to the world that you’re more than just the “King.”
Show us that you can be the “King” of dunks.

Carnegie: Have You Heard of the Boxer Bandits?

The walk around that tired asphalt track seemed to go on for miles, This was most definitely not how I remembered it.

I do remember walking passed the basketball courts and peeking inside to see the toothpick skinny hallways,

Matched with the painting of that sinister little girl in her ragged pink overalls and deceiving brown pig tails.

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This was Carnegie. Our stomping grounds. Where we went to school, caused mischief, and made memories.

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I’ll never think of the school the same as I used to,
not after I’d heard about the “boxer bandits,” on the news.
The “big green building” as we called it,
with “rise to excellence” as its motto,
turned out to actually produce “excellent” convicts.

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In the early hours of July, 22nd 2010, a couple of boys, or who the Media referred to as “men”, drunkenly broke into that very same elementary school. Not to vandalize, steal, or intrude, but simply to take a look into life as it used to be. They didn’t mean to upset anyone, sometimes drunken thoughts just make us long for sober memories. We’re all just bubbles in a Pabst can, waiting to go flat.

Image   The Boxer Bandits

The law however, did not buy into their scheme of things.

The place that I used to claim as a safe haven,
no longer seemed so innocent.

Elementary school was a luxurious daze,
a rambunctious roller coaster,
and a plentiful pity party.

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A time to grow up, but, not too much.
I was making bets with myself on whether the water fountain across the field near the jungle gyms was working properly or not.
I remember those blazing summers when the water would scold me,
but it was still the best water I’d ever had.

Back then, we’d scrounge up a backpack full of goodies, nick-nacks, and treasure maps, anything to curb our interest in adventure.

We always wanted to outdo ourselves.

I fought a ferocious bee with a stick in that rock pit by the jungle gym once,
but not to impress the ladies or anything.

We would play ninjas and Dragon Ball Z over there in that lonely sandbox.
We were the “cool kids”, or at least I thought we were.

My best friend was the fastest kid in the school at the time.
His dirty curly brown locks echoed Ryan Sheckler,
and must have given him a couple MPH’S during the 50 yard dash.
I was always jealous, very jealous.

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I wanted to run as fast as lightning, but I couldn’t.
My specialty was jump-roping.
Yipppeee Chi-O I could do so many gosh darn double unders,
criss-crosses, and scissor jumps. You’da thought I was training for the Winter Olympics.
The school gym teacher even signed me up for the city festival,
and I won 1st place.

But I didn’t want to be that.
I wanted to be like my curly haired best friend.
The fast one, who would sneak out after dark,
who let me take a sip of beer!

The one who migrated an abundance of lawn chairs under a tree in the middle of the school’s forest area,
to do, naughty things.
The one who hung out with girls!
Eww girls have cooties, I remembered.

Gosh I liked Jayne Ratliff a whole lot though.

We became stereotypical rebellious teenagers.

That’s about the time I met the 2nd of the Boxer Bandits. He was a free soul, used to clothe himself with dresses.
His motto was to keep it no, but preserve a drawer of yesses.

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I remember thinking he was an alien, or the closest thing to it.

I just went with it, hey, it’s not everyday you get to become friends with a martian.

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In our later years, the school became a scapegoat from our problems.
Or rather, our chicken shit survival sanctuary.
We’d doorbell ditch, egg cars, and TP houses,
only to escape to our precious Carnegie.

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Hanging out there, I felt less and less like a kid.
We’d all just get drunk and forget what we did.

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The captain though, got them into deep.
A 100 proof bottle, never sounded so steep.

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They dropped their garments and let the good times roll, or the bad ideas roll in. We all have those moments with our best friend.

Cunning smiles, a terrible mutual decision, and no regrets.

Nothing could stop them, they were infinite.

A stone was salvaged and catapulted at one of the giant glass windows of the school,
and a silent alarm was triggered. An unknown sense of fear and embarrassment set in.

They maneuvered up to the metal green roof to take a look at the world,
and wrote obscenities in chalk upon the white boards of the classrooms.
Hello children twat monkeys,” explain that. Yeah, I couldn’t either.

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They ran around to look at old photos, reminiscing on their past lives, and rekindling a fire from within their inner demons.
They were crazed, possessed, and looney.

But they were still human.

Upon the departure,
something was amiss.
With the wind at their back,
and a solemn nakedness.
Bright lights, and imaginary dogs that were only meant to scare.
Arrested was my curly headed friend, somehow, in his underwear.

Helicopters, local jail, the bail bearers now in transit.
The articles swiftly ensued, have you heard of the boxer bandits?

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It was hard for people at first to grasp that the boys didn’t mean anything by their actions. The community was shaken and confused.

“How could a boy centered around the roots of the school do such a thing?”

“Lock them up and throw away the key.”

“They deserve what they got.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

These were comments the boys were subject to. They didn’t deserve it, and of course no one deserves to be called a criminal. Especially two souls with good hearts, who just so happened to get too friendly with some liquid courage. We have to remember that good judgement can be clouded by curiosity, and even the best of us make mistakes. It could have been me, you, or the world sitting in their shoes. Bad things CAN happen to good people, there’s no doubt about it.

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We all just want to remember what it was like to be a kid again.

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When our imaginations were endless. When we were unable to drive, and a walk to the local blockbuster was considered the greatest of adventures. When there was no one to impress, and nothing to worry about.

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When “best friends” meant walking into the house down the street uninvited, and a certain Mrs. was considered to be your second mother. When riding shotgun wasn’t as mandatory, cos you always had your partner in crime in the back seat with you.

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When we could pretend we were magicians, power rangers, or detectives. We were whatever we wanted to be, something I still believe in.

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When playing hide and seek was the cool thing to do, and Disney Channel Original movies were hip on a Friday night (BRINK). When we could look up to the older kid next to us.

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When creating a new friendship meant that it was Forever. No matter what happened

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When goofiness was embraced, and using chop sticks to look like a walrus was completely normal. When we created something, out of nothing. When we were all still close by.

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When we could camp out in the backyard and tell scary stories, like we weren’t actually scared. When we were certain we had it all figured out, when we were invincible.

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When the city was “ours”, and we weren’t unsure of where “home” was.

When each and every moment was important, and wasting time together didn’t mean we were wasting away our lives.

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Maybe we were “bad” kids for a time as they say, but we always had good intentions. We were just yearning to know what else was out there. Maybe we all just needed to grow up, and maybe that’s exactly what we did.

Joe, andrew, and dylan

Maybe we’ll all be doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Maybe we’ll be lovers, givers, parents, and dreamers. What I do know for certain though, is that we will stop at nothing to be successful.

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I am by no means calling this, our “childhood”, a success story. We made our mistakes, we laughed, and we cried. We overcame fears, we hurt, and we lied. That’s a part of it though, this whole LIFE thing. We all go on our separate ways, and possess an extraordinary amount of potential.

You gotta dig deep, trust, and be yourself.

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The Boxer Bandits grew up, maybe breaking into that school was the perfect mistake. At least, I like to think so.

Matt and Pete

We can carry on the story for the rest of our lives, and attribute it to the kind of people they’ve become.

Good Men.

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People don’t forget, but they sure as hell remember people that are genuine. Believe that.

This Ole Watch

This ole watch?
To me, works just fine.
But I never could rid of it,
for it once wasn’t mine.

I adore you, my dear friend.
There’s a lot of you in me.
You open doors, and help me look,
at things I couldn’t see.

It’s funny how the past though,
can get you stuck, or push you through.
Like shaking the hand of a timid ghost,
that surely once was you.

But this ole watch?
It can’t even tell time.
I only wear it,
to remember you by.

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I typically wake up, shine a light, clean up, clothe myself, then stare across the jagged corners of the room aimlessly. I always wonder how long I could sit there and think about “stuff”, but it’s the thought that counts, right? How could I. Me. Have forgotten the most important step in preparing for my day ahead? Beats me.

I always set it on my desk before I fall asleep. So that I know it’s close by. I’m referring to my watch of course. If I lost it I’d be a wreck. I’d cry harder than the first time I saw Remember the Titans, and harder than the last time I read the Outsiders. I don’t wanna go on a Dallas Winston rampage.

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Weird to think that an item as small as this can have such permanence/brilliance to a person. To me. To anybody.

My mother gave the watch to my father when he graduated college, right around the time they got engaged.

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Marriage, phewww. That seems light years away, guess times have changed.

I’d love to save somebody though. Go ahead. Lay your head down girl, I’ll be there to catch you when it falls.

Meet me halfway, I dare you.

I dare you

I dare you

I write about my father from time to time, there’s just always something from within me I feel worth mentioning. Long story short, he died when I was a young boy. Of course those were some hard times, but the void was filled when my mother married a man I can wholeheartedly call my “father” now.

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With that being said, the watch is a symbol to me. Of hope. Of joy. And of Love. Yes, I could walk nostalgically around the city he called home for so many years. I could drive by Quebec Street and take a glimpse at the orange brick house we used to live in. I could reminisce on his coining of the apple as “nature’s tooth brush”. But nothing beats the actual presence of the watch. An object passed down through blood. Through TIME. The watch to me, is what the invisibility cloak was to Harry Potter. Pure gold. An everlasting gobstopper. A Turkish delight. The ultimate memento.

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People usually ask me what time it is as they point to my left hand and my watch. “I’m not sure,” I have to respond, as they slip me a puzzling look. I really love explaining myself. It’s one of my favorite things.

My son, Chip Henry Turner (Grover IV) will wear the watch, as will his son, and his son, and the next. It is not an object in my eyes, it is a piece of me. Something that I can be proud of. That I can backhandedly show off. A mention of it by a stranger really makes me smirk.

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Being punctual is important, but I will never fix the watch. It’s brokenness has a significance I couldn’t even begin to explain. It reminds me that nice things don’t have to stay nice, to be cherished, and as Johnny said “stay gold.” The watch will always be gold to me. If something happened to it, I would go on a Dallas Winston rampage. I don’t wanna go on a Dallas Winston rampage.

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My mother reminded me last night, what she always reminds me. “Don’t forget where you’re from.” I always take this to heart. Not because of the city I grew up in, the people I involved myself with, or the way I lived. But because I don’t want to let her down. I don’t wanna ever let anyone down. Including myself. I’ve been subject to positive role models for all of my life, and I have to keep that trend going.

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We all get lost trying to find out what we want, who we are, and where we’re going. We strive to be the best “us” that we can. We dream the biggest dream, even when it seems completely out of reach.

We pick up on the little things. Things our friends say, what we read in a book, what we feel, the chances we took.

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But we have to be patient, I don’t think that “Imagine” just stumbled into John Lennon’s lap.

I don’t wanna pretend like the next chapters of my time can’t be as great as “the good ole days”. I want to be honest, kind, sincere, and a gentleman.

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I want to be significant.

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I want to give someone the world, and let them share it back with me, too.

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Everyone has good character somewhere in em, they just gotta figure out how to manage the curves.

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A Veteran’s Resurgence

Legendary rivalries are always a sight to see, especially in crunch time. Whether it’s the Yankees and the Red Sox in the ALCS, the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA Finals,  the Packers and Bears in the final game of the NFL regular season, Michigan and Ohio St. during college football’s rivalry week, or the always interesting Duke vs. North Carolina shootout in college basketball.

One that’s lost some of its Mojo over the last couple of years though, is Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal. A rivalry that can easily be thought as one of the greatest of all time, not only in tennis, but in all of sports. Rafael Nadal currently tops the ranks in the ATP World Tour, while Federer sits close behind at No. 6.

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Roger Federer (Pictured Left), Rafael Nadal (Pictured Right)

The two will meet for the 33rd time in their careers at the 2014 Australian Open, with Nadal edging out Fed in their career series 22-10. The prospect matchup between Federer and Nadal in the semi-finals of the tournament seemed out of the question when the fourth round came about.

Federer, who had the worst year of his career in 2013 with a back injury, was looking to avenge his drought. Not only did Federer defeat the French young gun Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3; 7-5; 6-4 in the fourth round, but he also broke down the recent British sensation Andy Murray 6-3; 6-4; 6-7; 6-3 in the quarter-finals. With the advice of Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg, a new larger racquet head, and a healthy back, Federer hopes to take out the scrappy Spaniard in the semi-finals.
The match promises to be one for the books, considering the history the two have against each other. The match is particularly significant to both players in regard to their places in history among the all time greats, this is, assuming one of them goes on to win in the finals against Stanislas Wawrinka.

If Federer is to go on and win it will be his 18th Grand Slam title, four above that of Pete Sampras, and a cushion to his lead for all-time Grand Slam titles. If Nadal wins, he will be tied with Sampras, and edge closer to Federer’s milestone. With Federer at 32 years old and his prime years behind him, this could be one of his last shots at beating Nadal in a Grand Slam. Not to mention that Nadal has his dominant hand heavily bandaged due to a blister, giving Federer an advantage.

At this point, the head to head aspect seems just as important as either of them winning the tournament at all. Federer vs. Nadal seems more like the final than the actual final, and a bit more exciting. I really think Federer has the edge in this one, he seems to be in good health and playing at his highest level. I believe in Roger, and I consider him to be the greatest of all-time. Look to see the vet take out the world’s No. 1 in 5 sets.

How To Impress On A Blind Date (For Males)

Let’s face it, the blind date is always going to be a bit awkward at first. Even if you’ve heard of the person or done your background research, there’s still the chance that you could fold under pressure. By any means though, do not attempt to just “be yourself.” This tactic tends to be highly ineffective, since there is absolutely no way she is going to be interested in some nerd like you. After all, you’re reading “How To Impress On A Blind Date.” Here are some tips that will lead you in the right direction, and maybe even land you a second date.

^ This is you

^ This is you

Give Her A Time:
Tell her you’ll pick her up at 6:30 sharp, then actually pick her up at 7. Women seem to be attracted to men that “don’t give a fuck.” This will surely give her the idea that you like to be fashionably late, and brighten her thought of you as a mysteriously edgy man with no place or time. It is 100% necessary for you to pull into the driveway blaring “Highway To the Danger Zone”, you need to be wearing your fake but just as good Wal-Mart Aviators.

^ This is what you should shoot for

^ This is what you should shoot for
^ Here's how you'll probably turn out

^ Here’s how you’ll probably turn out

 

Only knock twice, and as she opens the door greet her with a “sup?”. This can be particularly effective if you let the sunlight bounce off of the Aviators shiny exterior, while your hair mystically blows to the side in the gentle wind. Next, lead her to the car and open the door for her. Remember: DON’T CLEAN YOUR CAR. Let her struggle to get in the passenger seat, she will surely think that you don’t “give a fuck.” Make her rummage through beer cans stacked as tall as the Eiffel Tower and tussle with multiple leftover Mcdonalds bags from two months ago. If she gets mad, just tell her to throw it in the back. A couple more stacks of disastrously nasty things in the back won’t hurt anyone. Just pray to god she doesn’t sniff out your fictional ego, you’ll be done for.

ATTA BOI!

ATTA BOI!

Take Her To An Upper-Class Restaurant:
Apple-bees  is of course the perfect choice, but make sure to also consider places like Denny’s, IHOP, or your local sports bar. Act like you are a regular and be friendly with the waitress. By friendly I mean flirt, this will make your date jealous and make her want you more. Her believing you’re a regular will impress her, she’ll be curious as to how a guy like you could become so popular at such a fancy restaurant.

^ Shits expensive, will let her know you're serious.

^ Shits expensive, will let her know you’re serious.

Be Really Really Good Looking:
If you can check this off on the list of things you need to land a second date, then you can mark off the rest of the needs on your checklist automatically. If you’re extremely good looking, that is all you need to ensure success. Ask her simple questions, questions that will only apply to her. This is to make sure you do as little talking as possible. You have to keep that mysterious edge thing about you going at full force. Just flash those pearly whites and act interested. You can even add some zing to the conversation by throwing in the occasional “oh yeah that’s great”, or “you’re so interesting.” She doesn’t even have to know that much about you! All she has to know is that you’re super ridiculously good looking, and believe that you’re interested in what she has to say. If you’re one of those fortunate enough to be incredibly good looking, then be a go getter. If not, read on.

^ If you look like this, you're set.

^ If you look like this, you’re set.

Don’t Order An Appetizer:
Most women barely eat on a first date, they don’t want the male to know that they eat like a pig. This will save you some money, and there’s a lot less chance you’ll have to poop in the middle of dinner. If you skip the appetizer and just stick to the main dish, you might just have to pass gas once or twice at the most. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional “SBD” [Silent But Deadly], and there’s no proof that it was you in the first place. Be careful though, there is always the chance that you could “shart.” A “shart” is when you accidentally poop your pants while attempting to fart. If this actually occurs, just act like nothing happened and hope for the best.

^ YEAH. Don't do that.

^ YEAH. Don’t do that.

Let Her Know Early That You’ll Be Splitting the Tab:
Slip it into the conversation that she will be paying for half of the bill, why should you have to pay for such an expensive meal for someone that you’ve just met? Better yet, you can always use the “I forgot my wallet” or “my dog ate it” tactic. Your honesty will make her think you’re cute, and she’ll gladly pay in a heart beat.

She couldn't get mad at this face.

She couldn’t get mad at this face.

Pretend To Be Someone Else:

During dinner you can tell her about your 15 yachts and all your ex super model girlfriends. My favorite tactic though, is impersonating a movie character. If you can pull off Will Hunting from Good Will Hunting then go for it, women are suckers for an accent. Avoid characters like Forest Gump, for if you tell her your life story she’ll have you all figured out. Using the line “life is like a box of chocolates” and confessing that your first love was Jenny won’t work, and she’ll be able to put two and two together. Go for less complicated characters, any Owen Wilson role will work. You can even make up a name completely. Take your middle name and your mother’s maiden name, and re-create your life story on the spot.

Don't get caught like these goons.

Don’t get caught like these goons.

Take Her To See A Good Flick:

Now that she’s getting more comfortable with you, take her to see a movie. I suggest any film that is showing with Keanu Reeves in it, he’s one of the most influential actors of our generation and she’ll be pleased to know you have good taste in movies.

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…………………..

Play a video game with her, but don’t let her win. Rub it in her face that you are the “best of the best”, and that losing is not in your nature. You’ll sweep her off her feet in no time, by golly, maybe you’ll even be able to put your arm around her during the movie! When it’s time to leave, you might want to play a 25 cent crane game to cap off a fantastic display of your male dominance. She may want the corduroy bear in the corner, but if you can snag that Nintendo DS at the bottom, make it happen. Star Fox 3-D will benefit you much more than some useless bear will her.

YEAH!!!!

YEAH!!!!

Hint At A Second Date:

On the ride home, hint to her a second date. You have two choices, either be very subtle about it, or just flat out ask. If you’re going with the first approach, you should say something along the lines of “can I see you again?” If you go with the second, just be honest and ask “can I see you again?” Either way you still have her number, and you’ll know if she’s interested anyway.

^

^

Cap It Off:

When you arrive back to her place, let her know what a great time you had, and that you’d love to see her again. If you’ve followed all of my steps accordingly, she could possibly be digging you more than you know. Make sure to open the passenger door for her and walk her to the front door. Perhaps you could even get a kiss, the signs will all be there. If she looks you in the eyes and waits for you to finish the goodbye for more than 10 seconds, that’s your cue. You may want to refer to my other article “How To Kiss On the First Date” to prepare for the possibility of this occurrence. You want to be heavily prepared, but you also don’t want her to know that you’ve never kissed a woman before.

^ She was lovin it

^ She was lovin it

If you follow all of these simple steps, I have no doubt that you will be on your way to a second date. Just act a fool and don’t be yourself, she’ll be begging to see you again. If your buddy sets you up with someone that doesn’t seem to work out, just tell her you’re going to the bathroom at dinner and take off. If you’ve followed the steps, she won’t know your real name anyway, and Will Hunting was a “runner” in the same. You are just playing your part, don’t sweat it. Otherwise, best of luck to you my friend. Go get em tiger.

IT'S NOT HIS FAULT!!!!!!!!

IT’S NOT HIS FAULT!!!!!!!!

 

PS: If you’re going on a date with the President’s daughter, I don’t know how to help you. Ask Eric Matthews

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Dog’s Best Friend: Hope Floats

You unlock the door to an empty home, it’s dark and seemingly lonely. The posters of people on the wall pull you in, only to remind you that you’re alone. That is, until you take a step out into the back and call upon your #1 companion, your buddy, your partner in crime, your best friend. I’m referring to dogs, they’re always there for you. They are attentive to your emotions, just like a person. They know when you’ve had a bad day, and know how to make it better. They are goofy and unpredictable, and can make you smile in the worst of occasions. They sometimes watch TV with you, I almost want to believe they retain the information coming from the history channel.

With that being said, I’ve never been much of a cat person, they don’t give me the whole human vibe like a good dog can. Cats believe that you live in their house, they’re bossy, and don’t speak human like dogs. I’ve had some intellectual conversations with all of my pups, they all have different and interesting interpretations of life.

Young Lucy

Young Lucy

This is Lucy when she was a pup, she lives at home with my family. She’s a pure bread chocolate lab. Don’t let those pretty eyes deceive you, she’s a fireball. Shes a lot older now, a bit of a drama queen. She’s intelligent, and difficult to out smart. You can’t fake a fetch when you don’t actually have something for her to fetch, she catches on too quick. She is all around loyal, someone you want to have around. Her only downfall: Stamina. What goes up, must come down.

Glamor Shot

Glamor Shot

This is Lily Potter. Named after the infamous mother of the great wizard Harry Potter. Just like Mrs. Potter, Lily is generous and kind hearted. There’s no doubt in my mind that she would take an avada kadavra curse for me. She’s got quite a ferocious bark for a softy. I’ll compare her to Natalie Portman. She lives at my home in Fayetteville, my roomate bought her for $20. She’s a beautiful mistake. Not sure why a couple of 20 year-old (me and him) thought we could raise a pup in an apartment/fraternity house, I like to think it adds to her character. She’s a Collie/Australian Shepard, I’m going to just stick by that since she’s the ultimate mut. One of Lily’s favorite pastimes is chewing on her own foot, or chasing her tail. I don’t think she retains any of the history channel she watches, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I came home to her bullying that evil dog in the mirror. Lily is guilty of believing in the fake-fetch. I’m just glad that she remembers her own name. Though, she has moments of brilliance.

Old Balls

Old Balls

This is Lucky, the God-Father. He lives back home in Tulsa. The 101st of the 101 dalmations.  He is a trooper, been chuggin along for 17 years. He’s quite the grumpy old man, he likes to bask in his own farts. Not to mention that he eats his own poop. Those are all the symptoms of being old right? I should ask my folks. They call him Lucky cos he was rescued right before he was put down. He’s the kinda guy that wakes up, puts on his robe and glasses, and reads the newspaper to a nice cup of joe. Only to fall back asleep till the next day.

Captain

Captain

And finally, this is Rudy. He lives back home with Lucy and Lucky. Rudy is a long-haired sheltie, the most intelligent of the bunch. I’d compare him to Gandolf, Dumbledore, or Obi-Wan-Kenobi. As the leader of the group, Rudy waits and watches as his companions fail, and helps them correct their mistakes. They’re his padawans, even me and my siblings.  He is easy going and a great listener. The most modest and humble huma…. dog I’ve ever come across. I’ve had many a great conversations with Rudy. He is a free spirit, he even likes to meditate (seriously happened once). He retrieves the paper, he might even be smart enough to move on to the big stuff: Getting a beer from the fridge. Downfall To All the Wisdom:Rudy does not apply to the expression beggers can’t be choosers, he will take what he can get.

So getting to the point, Losing your best friend is hard. Losing a dog is equivalent to a sibling in my book, not that i have lost a sibling. They come into your life, and go out. They’re family, go look at a couple people’s family photos and tell me that their dog isn’t in the picture. You become attached, hanging with your best bud everyday creates a routine that you never want to end. And when that ends, there is an emptiness. I say this, because I have seen some horrific ends to dog lives. One was of my own, and the other someone elses.

Sunny:   Sunny was a yellow lab. The first time I saw him I was terrified. He reminded me of the dog from the Sandlot, he seemed ferocious, but underneath had a kind heart. Sunny was never an inside dog. The only time he ever made it in I hid under the covers like I wasn’t there, only to hear him knocking over a night stand and destroying whatever was in plain-view.

As he got older he began to lose his sight, and one day he started running into trees. He lost all vision, and his retinas began to form a color white as the background of this post. I admit I had a couple good laughs at his running into things, but eventually it came back to bite me in the ass. There was a pool in our backyard. This never seemed a problem for Sunny. He was smart enough to establish where the pool was in accordance to his surroundings. Kind of remarkable, I had a real-life Hellen Keller, except for the whole deaf part. He wasn’t mute though, since all dogs can speak english. I think Sunny started to develop a sort of brain cancer, it was obvious.

Towards the end of his life he started to remind me of a zombie from The Walking Dead or 28 Days Later. His eyes were blinding, and he had no discretion in jumping on whoever. Saliva catapulted from his mouth with every attempt. He meant well though, all it was, was love. He was full of it.

I’ll never forget that day I came home from school though. I looked out the window and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There he was, floating like an inner tube. He must have had a seizure and fallen in, because he could swim well and wouldn’t have drowned. My wishful thinking led me to believe he was still alive and that he may have fallen in just before I got home. I ran outside panting, with a little too much hope in my pocket. I had to grab his cold wet mass, and lift his lifeless body from the water. It was like holding my little brother in my arms. The worst was breaking the news to my family. It was hard to talk about, I was just glad they didn’t have to see him floating, no one should have to see that. At least he didn’t sink though, I like to think that Hope floats.

This does him justice

This does him justice

With one example out of the way, I’ll have to prepare myself to share the next story. It truly scarred me. I still haven’t forgiven myself, for I believe it to be my fault.

My band and I were loading up the car, getting ready for a show at the Rock and Jock Pizza. I was on top of the world. Senior year, I had a band, a job, and knew I was heading to college soon. Those were the best years. Anyway, we were almost done loading. I remember my friend yelling and directing me to something behind me. There behind me from up the hill was the smallest, greatest, most charming golden-retriever pup sprinting at me. I couldn’t contain myself. I’m just a puppy kind of guyI envisioned it like a movie where a boy and girl in love are running to each other on a beach, except it was me and this perfect puppy.

But that’s not how it played out. The drive way was at a big slant, I guess the pup couldn’t see us from above the hill. When he did, he got scared and ran the opposite direction. My joyous run to greet the dog turned into a joyous chase. Until…. it happened. It was all so fast. As I got to the top of the driveway, with the pup in the middle of the street sprinting homeward, a large charcoal van came into view.  The joyous chase turned into a frantic sprint. My heart sank, and in a seconds time, the van had struck the pup. As well as my joy. The driver got out of the car, only to watch the pup give its last squirms of life. It’s jaw was busted, it spun around in agony, and died. The driver waited, but didn’t even ask whos dog it was. As they drove off, it really started to sink in. This was my fault. I felt like an accomplice to murder. how could something so delicate, be taken from earth when its life had only just begun? I rested my head on the stop sign that the van had yet to reach, just to ponder this nightmare.

A couple of minutes later the owner came out. He must have been 50 to 60. “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED??!” he yelled  . He couldn’t seem to make the words come out right, he somewhat was just making whimpering noises. I could see in his eyes that the dog meant a lot to him, that he was going to give it to someone special. I watched as he covered its body with a blanket, and as he stormed away with it. Yelling unimaginable things, trying to make sense of it all. I was still in shock, and so were my friends. I think I took it harder than them though, I still have PTSD from the situation.

Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker

In other words, the expression Dog is a man’s best friend, means a lot to me. I think of them as a respected family member. They should have their own chairs in the living room, they deserve it. If I could, I’d give my dog a chocolate cake every birthday (my grandmother used to do this). If you have a dog right now, appreciate it. If you have one back home, give em some love next time you see em. You never know their last day just as we don’t as people. If you don’t forget them, they won’t forget you. Next time you’re hanging out, look em in the eyes. That gaze is all I need to be convinced that they can communicate with us.

Envisioning her next painting through nature

Envisioning her next painting through nature

Who says they aren’t human?