Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Dearest Charles:

My boys won. First win in almost a year. That's all I have to say about that.

For now. Heh.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Awesome Sidebar:

Oh, my God, I just made the frickin best soup ever.

I thought I'd made The Best Soup Ever last weekend. It was beef stroganoff soup, and it was creamy and mushroomy and wonderful. I even made fresh, homemade bread bowls to serve it in. Damn good, if I do say so myself.

But this? This is better. And it doesn't have a name. I just kinda made it up.

It's almost a chowder, but not quite. It's thick and rich. Potatoes, leeks, carrots, and celery. Herbs and spices. And ham. Yeah, a little weird, I know, but I didn't want chicken or turkey. And the ham works, man. It works awesome. A little roux and a little whole milk (I wanted heavy whipping cream, but I had to stop by a gas station on the way home, and all they had was vitamin D milk). And a dollop of sour cream for that finishing touch.

And in one of the leftover bread bowls? Duuuuuuude....

I'm so stuffed that I can't even finish eating the soup-soaked bread bowl, but I don't care. It was frickin awesome. And the house smells like awesome soup. I am so eating good this weekend.

Mmmmm.....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dear Charlie:

I'm starting to think that 8-8 this year will be a miracle, but I've not yet given up hope. As usual, my beloved Chiefs keep showing little flashes of brilliance that keep that hope level high. That two-minute drill before halftime? Definitely a flash of brilliance. Thigpen was darn near a surgeon in that last possession.

And what the heck did they eat or drink at halftime that put the spring in their step for the first of the third quarter? I mean, seriously. If the defense could have stopped the Falcons' first second-half possession from scoring, we might have really wrapped that game up. Our first possession right out of the halftime box was another sign of brilliance. Thigpen marched my boys down the field. Larry Johnson got more yardage in one play than in the entire first half. It was beautiful, and it ended in another touchdown, which is always a sweet symphony.

But...then it all went away. Again. *sigh*

Here's the deal: the offense and defense need to show up on the same day. And whichever side actually DOES show up needs to STAY there. You can't expect to win the game with two dramatic, genius marches down the field. I mean, if your defense is stellar, two touchdowns is more than enough. But if not? Meh.

So, we're 0-3. We've started 0-3 before and still managed to bring back the bang, but it's gonna be an uphill struggle for the entire rest of the season. We've lost to Oakland, a division rival. While always dangerous, the Raiders are usually a pretty safe "tune-up" type of game, but we lost to them. We can't do that anymore. If we can't win in our own division, it doesn't much matter how many non-division rivals we beat. 10-6 is no longer a guarantee of a play-off spot.

I still think we could pull out a very shaky, very hard-fought 8-8, but I'm not counting on it. We can definitely finish above 4-12. The last time (before last year, of course) we went 4-12 was in 1978. The year after I was born, may I remind you. We hadn't gone 4-12 in 30 years, and I hope we don't do it again any time soon.

My poor boys.

But they're starting to come together. Most fans would hope that this kind of "coming together" would have happened in training or in preseason, but they were still banking on Brodie Croyle then, and Damon Huard as a wild card. I don't think anyone expected poor Tyler Thigpen to have to start, and while I'm iffy on his abilities, he's at least showing a little more heart than I saw the first time he came in this year. He stayed in that whole game and kept on throwing.

Admittedly, you could add "interceptions" to the end of that last sentence and still be telling the truth, but I'm being diplomatic here. Heheh.

In all, it could be worse. Not much worse, but hey. I'm a cynical optimist, remember. Eventually and after much traverse and struggle, it'll all turn out all right. And I live for the hope that my beloved Chiefs will win a SuperBowl in my lifetime.

Hey. It could happen. Unless I get hit by a bus or something this season.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Well, it's half-past September, which means that it's time to indulge in my two favorite things: football and horror movies. Football, I've already touched on. Horror movies, I'm just getting in the swing of.

Heh, at some point during the next month and a half, I'll rent the whole A Nightmare on Elm Street series. I won't have to rent the Halloween movies because I own the ones I want -- Halloween, Halloween II, and Halloween: H2O. I'll watch The Changeling, which isn't exactly a Halloween type movie but definitely gave me the creeps once upon a time...and still shivers me timbers a little when the little kid starts echo-whispering.

But today...today was for Pet Sematary. Both the book and the movie. Own the book, rented the movie. The movie has more than a little cheese to it, yes, but it's pretty faithful to the book, which isn't a common thing. But mostly, I just like to remember how it scared the bejeebers out of me when I was about 12 or 13 years old.

Oh, it wasn't anything dramatic. I didn't seem too scared when I watched it with 5 or 6 of my giggling friends -- two of whom got the screaming meemies during it, which prompted my mom to suggest we turn it off...which we didn't do.

But later on...when I went to bed....

Ironically, the thing that creeped me out the most was Victor Pascow. It was probably the open head wound that did it, or the sudden appearance at Louis's bedside. Either way, I dreamed that I woke up, and there he was. Several times. For weeks, actually. I'd wake up -- or dream that I had -- and there he was, head oozing, red running shorts nearly glowing in the dark, that terrible grin on his lifeless face.

I didn't even remember why he was in the movie. Hadn't read the book yet. I just...was creeped out by him.

Many, many years later, I read the book and couldn't believe that he was a good guy. How could that be? How could a bloody dead guy haunting a bedside be a figure of help, of solace? Surely, they'd played a merry game with the book's premise and flipped it for the movie.

So, during one windy October evening my first year of college, friends and I rented it -- along with several other twitchy flicks -- and I settled in next to my boyfriend to refute the testimony of my own memory. And refute, I did. Pascow was a good guy. A helpful ghost. A harbinger of doom, yes, but one trying to avert the coming calamity.

But to this day, I remember waking up to a dead college jogger by my bed and trying very hard not to scream.

Heh.

I don't remember when I outgrew my too-vivid imagination in regards to horror movies. I remember my brother taking me to watch Aliens in the theater, and then having nightmares about aliens crawling out of the walls for weeks or even months afterward. I remember having to leave the room during House when the critter with the big claws came launching out of the closet.

But I don't remember when that dread fascination flipped. I don't remember when the nightmares ceased and the amusement and that weird satisfaction kicked in. My imagination is still too good for its own good, but it no longer plagues me with Victor Pascow's pale, expressionless, bleeding face.

Though I do have a dight too many spider dreams for my own sanity's sake. Guh.

At any rate, scary movies no longer scare me, and I watch them with much glee. I anticipate new ones -- Wicked Little Things, for instance, which isn't remotely scary but has the novel distinction of black-glaring zombie children eating people alive -- and relish old ones -- just foisted House on a friend at work last week. I try to rent all seven Freddy movies every Halloween. I try to find The Shape in every frame of the Michael Myers movies.

And I'm always on the lookout for something creepy. Something to make me think twice about that creak in the floorboards. Something to make me lay in bed and not want to look to either side in the dread certainty that someone...something...is there. Something to make me wonder if the dark is my friend or my enemy.

I don't really want that feeling again. I don't.

But...sometimes...I do.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dear Charlie:

You know, I shoulda been a sports writer. I was tempted -- briefly -- to take the offered job as a journalist at the local paper, just to see if it might turn into sports writing someday. Unfortunately, I had applied for an editorial position (the editorial staff was full until, literally, the day after I got another job; they weren't lying, either, because I have a friend on the staff who called all excited with the news...dammit) and I would have been freelance at first. Again. I've done the freelance thing -- briefly -- and...not so much.

But, the idea lingers. Because I love certain sports writers.

I love Joe Posnanski.

No matter how bad my boys get, I can always read his articles. I may wince and groan at his insightful and even brutal roastings, but I still manage to laugh. That's some serious talent, there.

Like here:

Hey, it was OK if [the Chiefs] lost. We figured they would lose. We just didn’t need them to take the Nestea plunge into comedy.

Then, there they were on Sunday, playing three different quarterbacks, inventing a Scooby-Doo mystery about dizzy spells, allowing 300 yards rushing to a Raiders team that could not throw and, it goes without saying, losing for the 11th consecutive time. Oakland crushed the Chiefs 23-8. The only thing working Sunday was the concession stand.


Ouch. But I still snickered.

Or on Page 2 of the same article:

"We couldn’t put Damon [Huard] back in," Edwards said. "That wouldn’t have been fair to him."

Instead, they left Thigpen out there to roast. You know how physicists figured that if Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt had gone all-out at the Olympics, he could have run the 100 meters in an astonishing 9.55 seconds? Well, those same physicists figured that if the Oakland defenders could catch, Tyler Thigpen would have thrown eight interceptions Sunday.


Now that is a comparison for the ages, folks. That is sports writing at its finest. Throw in a Shakespeare quote and some Nietzsche, and you got yourself a dissertation on The Year of Blight in Kansas City.

Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. My boys didn't deserve that rougher side of my tongue. I apologize.

See, I'm not a fair weather fan. I've been a Chiefs fan for as long as I can remember. I briefly flirted with the Cowboys in an abortive attempt to break free from the rampant Chiefs fandom in my house, but that flirtation, like all youthful rebellion, fell utterly flat when I realized I couldn't bear the Cowboys enough to even outlast a season. And this was back when they were good. Oi.

So I've seen them through the highs and lows. I'm not turning my back on them now. I love my boys. And I will love them again. But this year is one for the quotes, not for the thrills.

As I said after the Patriots game the week before last, I'm not as hopeless for this season as I was during the preseason. If they'll just settle that troublesome quarterback position -- and stop living that junior high credo that everybody on the bench has to play or it isn't fair, which is the only reason I could see for throwing poor #10 into the mix -- they have a real chance to develop some talented players for future seasons.

But that quarterback thing has to stop. They're killing me. I want so badly to root for my boys, but darn if Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson aren't making it just the teensiest bit difficult for me. There's good in my Chiefs. There really is.

But...there's also this:

[Tyler Thigpen] holds every passing record they have at Coastal Carolina, in part because the school did not have a football team before he got there. He was drafted in the final round by Minnesota last year and released before the season began. Well, it stands to reason — after all, the Vikings are overburdened with too many good quarterbacks.

Is it bad that I find that so damn amusing?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sidebar:

Ugh. We have got to stop playing around with our quarterback position. Our starter can't play a game without getting injured. Our back-up is great as a back-up, but just gets spanked as a starter. And our third-string?

Bless his heart, is all I can say.

Pretty please, my beloved Chiefs, get a decent quarterback. Yes, I know we were spoiled with Trent Green as our starter for so long. But we want to be spoiled again! We want reliable. We want tough. We want staying power. We want heart.

Yes, I know the QB position isn't our only problem, but a reliable leader would definitely help solidify an otherwise floppy offense. Yikes. Then we could focus on other sore spots and play up the parts that actually work.

And maybe then we wouldn't lose to...*chokegasp*...the Raiders.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dear Charlie:

So, my poor boys lost this weekend. Lost the game and lost the first string quarterback. There are those who would argue -- convincingly -- that Damon Huard should be the starter anyway, but I don't think so. He's proved himself an excellent back-up, but when they start him, he just gets beat up. Poor guy.

Not that I think Brodie Croyle is the future of the team, either. He gets hurt too much, and he doesn't do that stunningly when he's not hurt. Meh.

However, without placing any unintended credit on Bernard Pollard, my Chiefs do have the dubious distinction of knocking out the league's leading -- or at least most known -- quarterback for the rest of the season. Poor Brady. Nothing scarier than a season-ending injury to give everyone the butterflies about the rest of your career. Especially if your back-up does well. Yikes.

I dunno how Cassel will stand up to the bar set for a QB in New England, but I guess it's not really my business any longer. Unless, by some long-shot miracle, my boys get to the post season this year.

Bless their little rookie hearts.

But still, considering that everyone in the universe considered us the down-n-out underdogs of Week 1, a 17-10 loss to the Patriots ain't nothin' to spit at. Seriously. It gives me hope for games against less exalted offenses, because our defense wasn't so bad.

Sweetage.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Well, it's September. And for some reason, September always makes me want to write. I dunno why. Never have figured it out.

However, I take what I can get from that vicious taskmaster with the nerve to call himself Muse.

Thankfully, while two of those backburner novels are calling my name right now, I have a frackin' fantastic distraction to throw upon the world. That's right, folks. In honor of Writtenwyrdd's second blog anniversary, she's hosting a writing contest with prizes and kudos to those involved.

It's a simple enough concept -- 150-300 words of exposition to another world. She wants to be fully immersed in that world. To smell the colors, taste the air, hear the...you get the idea. Just post it as a comment to be entered.

Sweet!

I'mma get to world-building.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Okay, so I'm not the best at yard maintenance. I admit it. Sheepishly.

It's not that I don't like to mow the lawn. Far from it. I put on my headphones, set the ol' mp3 player on the "Mow It!" hard rock playlist, and it's grass-beware. And it doubles as exercise, so I don't feel obliged to do anything else for at least a day or two.

But it's been either monsoon-season raining or blisteringly hot lately, with nary an in between, and that makes it very difficult to keep up with that back half. I mean, the grass back there grows like Alice after her "mother's little helper". Stupid grass.

However, it's my curse, and I bend my back to it willingly. Thus, when I called my dad to ask if he'd help haul off a brush pile that my retired-and-have-nothing-better-to-do-than-lawnwork-and-snooping neighbors abhor, I didn't ask him to bring his lawn tractor.

Please notice that I did not say lawn mower.

Unfortunately, when he arrived and saw my back yard -- though, to my credit, the front is only in need of a trim, and that just since Tuesday, when I mowed it last -- he immediately asked why I hadn't asked for said lawn tractor. I told him I'd do the mowing myself. He laughed at me. Laughed.

Okay, so maybe it was a little longer than usual. Think "meadow". No, think "hay field". That's a little more accurate. Yes, some of that grass was thigh deep, and it grows as thick as a shampoo model's hair in places.

Dad, of course, decided that nothin' doin' but we're gonna load brush AND mow. The entire back half, which is basically half of three full city lots. Usually, that would only take me about an hour and a half with my old Wally World push mower. But that tall? Hell, I don't know if three evenings in a row would do the trick.

But I valiantly protested. I hadn't called him up to mow, because that's my job. I only called about the brush because, really, where am I supposed to put it? Can't burn it without a burn permit. Can't take it to the dump because it's only open weekdays (when I...ya know...work) and because I don't have a truck. Can't leave it there because I think Robert Frost was right about good fences making good neighbors. Guh.

Unfortunately, Dad would hear nothing of it and, as soon as the brush was loaded, he started in. I refused to let him shoulder the whole burden, though, so we tag-teamed that beast. It took us...and I kid you not...at least four hours. Maybe five. I kinda lost track there for a while because the push-pull-push-pull-don't-kill-the-mower-for-God's-sake deadened most of my brain's electrochemical activity.

But, by gum and by Jove, we got the whole back half done, and if I could hire a baler to come and neatly wrap the piles of chewed-up grass we left behind, I could probably make a tidy sum on the day. Good grief. My only hope is that the heavy layer of dead grass will kill off any growth for the rest of the year.

Because, otherwise, I may have to look into napalm. Or, in a less extreme option, lots and lots of asphalt. I could charge the neighborhood kiddies (however few there are) a buck a week to let them sidewalk chalk it all up, then just hose it off for the next week.

Yeah. That's the ticket.