Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Watching the Granddog, Day One


This is Davis.


He's 10 months old. He likes to sniff, chew, chase cats and rip stuffed animals to little tiny pieces.

He'll eat anything.

And he's living at my house for the next few weeks, while #1 son does his post-graduation See The World (or at least the western USA) trip, gets started in his new career and finds an apartment where he can keep this little feller, Jefferson Davis Jenkins. Mostly known as Davis.

I assume his name is meant to be ironic.

In a rather blatant attempt to jump on the Marley & Me bandwagon, I'll be posting about our adventures.

As you might've guessed, trying to write a poem a day during this crazy month proved impossible. Couldn't even manage a haiku once we got near graduation. I plan to pick that back up in January, so dear readers, you can look forward to another month of poems!!!


Yeah, try to hold that in a little. Your enthusiasm is dripping.

Monday, December 01, 2008

AFK

for a while, maybe.


Not that this is unusual for me, but I'm taking a sabbatical of sorts trying to kick start my dwindling creative process. In an effort just to get something going again in this old and tired brain, I am attempting to write a poem per day for the next 31 days. You can (if you like to watch train wrecks) find it over here. If you don't wanna, like the Terminator, I'll be baaaaaccccckkkkk.



Friday, November 21, 2008

I Love the Red Hot Chili Peppers

and I will die a happy woman should I ever get to see them live.


I've been caught up in Stadium Arcadium the last few days. Specifically, three songs from the Jupiter side: Dani California, Slow Cheetah and Wet Sand. And of those three, particularly Wet Sand. Two things I have gleaned about RHCP from the web over the last few days: 1) they really know how to write a chorus and 2) this song is perfect to 'die to.' Completely agree with the first and, while I will withhold judgment on the second until I am ready to die, I'm inclined to agree with that sentiment as well. God knows that I really tried - I think that's something we'll all be thinking in those final moments.

Anyway, that kind of got me thinking, as I listened to the song. The lyrics, like a lot of RHCP lyrics, sound really mystical and spiritually profound. I find myself believing in them, running my mental fingers over the complexities and profundities to be explored.


And then I run smack dab into 'you don't form in the wet sand, you don't form at all/you don't form in the wet sand - I do'. And what do I do with that? Wet sand? Form? You?

Fortunately, a fevered imagination will always overcome dull reality. Obviously, it's not literal. Well, not literal as in form equaling create. I see him (the sometimes handsome Anthony Kiedis, of course) walking on the beach, the sun setting, his feet at the water's edge. And the wet sand is a crystal ball of sorts where he's looking not just at his lovely footprints (that are quickly disappearing back into wet sand), but at his future, and whoever his 'you' is ain't gonna be there with him.

I can be deep, too.


The live version.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cucumber Gap Loop - the Jenkins' Experience

Family hike #1 for 2008. Ok, most-of-the-family hike #1. Well, HALF-of-the-family hike #1, if you must be literal.

September 21, 2008.


Yes, I look like a man. And that's my favorite (and only) Nick Lowe tee (in a man's size large, coinkydinkly). My hand is on the Cucumber Gap trail sign, and it reads 2.9 miles to the Little River Trail. Our total mileage for the day was approximately 5.5 miles, and those are the last miles I will hike in those ragged out shoes!

I have a hard time letting go of favorite shoes.


So, it was a not-quite-summer, not-yet-fall kind of Sunday. My husband, being the optimist that he is, told me it would take us 'most of the day' to do this hike. And then he mentioned that this was the trail where a woman was mauled to death a few years ago. As if I wasn't already having enough trouble getting the kids in the van. Seriously, that little sign on the bottom there warns that there has been a lot of BEAR ACTIVITY in the area, a phrase more suited to a Great Smokies' bear jam perhaps.


So, we found a whistle, packed some sandwiches and headed out in the great outdoors. I was a little nervous, because this was my first time as a "hike leader" and I had never been on this trail and what if I missed the signs? Nothing to worry about, it turns out. Starting on the Little River Trail, we walked out of what's left of the Elkmont community alongside the Little River (I assume), a very gentle hike along an old road bed. At approximately 2.5 miles, the trail deadended and the Cucumber Gap trail (with great signage!) took off to the right up and over the mountain that shall not be named. I need a better map. This was a quieter hike (no babbly brook alongside), and a little harder walking. Nothing much to see except trees, until you pop out on the trail/road that is the Jakes Creek trail. Down, down, down the hill (so glad I plotted this loop the right way) and back through the upper remains of Elkmont, where they are (at last) doing some restoration work. The only wildlife we saw, with the exception of dead millipedes, were a few tiny snakes, maybe 4 inches long and dark gray with a white ring around their necks. Most were run over, but one was playing possum and we exchanged startlings.


A nice afternoon.


And then I went and walked 2 more miles with the husband!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good News for Peace Queers!

Todd Snider's new ep, Peace Queer, is available as a free download here.


I've been listening to it quite a bit. It's got a little of everything: a toe tapper, a civil war ballad, some spoken word, an instrumental, a rocker. Best of all, it's full of Mr. Snider's signature good humor and intelligence.

I did not do this to change your mind about anything. I did this to ease my own mind about everything.

At least, go hence and read the Cokie Roberts bio for Peace Queer.


And anybody know how to snag that priceless photo?



is this thing working?


is this thing on?



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sad About Girls Signs

I know I live in a predominantly Republican county, in a predominantly Republican state. I *know* this. But as God is my witness, no matter how tempted I was (remember those "W The President" stickers? they enrage me), I have never resorted to vandalizing political signs. I gave some deep thought to doing something Christo-esque with them all during the last presidential election, but I let restraint be the better part of valor.

So how come all these Republican idjit punks keep messing with my boy Obama's signs? Some brave Democrat soul had put 2 up: one down by the voting machine warehouse where early voting is happening, one on the roadside near the dumpsters on Newport Highway. You'd think the warehouse one would be vandal proof, being almost in the center of town and on a very busy roadway. No. Someone, who obviously wants to prove the Deliverance stereotypes true, cut out the O. And the one down by the dumpsters? First another poster boy for modern dentistry put an "s" over the "b." You know, because he's a Muslim terrorist. That brave Democrat got his own can of spray paint and fixed that. So how does our poster boy react? He cuts out the center of the sign. There's a big gaping hole where Obama/Biden used to be. That kind of vandalism takes time. I'd say the chances of some person driving by and witnessing the deed were 50-50. Did anybody report it? No.

My fellow Sevier Countians, these cowardly acts of vandalism shame us all. I truly thought we could be tolerant of differing political views, at least in public. We don't have to agree with each other, we don't have to hold hands at the polls. But we do have to share the vistas and roadways and the aisles at Walmart. We're all in this together. I'd feel justified (by the Kindergarten Code, of course), in artfully re-decorating a few McCain-Palin signs. McPain, anyone? But I'm holding back. At least for now.

But like I tell the younguns, don't make me stop this car.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Asking the Age-Old Question

What's in it for me?


This blog, I mean.


Why do it?


Idiot that I am, I googled that question. And smarter and much more erudite bloggers answered much more succinctly than I could ever hope too. (And with a whole lot less parenthetical blathering). Smart reasons like '...participating in a world...which nobody owns, anybody can use, and anybody can improve.' Impassioned reasons like 'I want to write about things that make us feel human' or 'I blog because information is energy. I absorb it, maybe add to it and pass it on.' My personal fave: 'Because vanity plates are too restricting and Play Dough is no longer a viable option.'


But yeah, it's an ego thing. Self-expression is as necessary as breathing. I can't pretend to be political or journalistic. I can't even pretend to particularly care about politics or journalism, so take that, pundits! I'm not always sure what this blog is about. When I made those first tentative posts, I asked a handful - a literal handful - of folks I respected (and felt were not too well known for their "constructive" criticism!) to read it. One responded that he didn't like to read 'diary' blogs, and I thought, well, it's not my diary. But I guess it kind of is. My imagined diary, maybe. Like if I lived in a magazine, and all our beds were made. And it's about experiences that I hope sometimes at least touch on a common thread in a non-boring manner. Paraphrasing what one of those real bloggers said, it's the letter home I never have time to write.



Like Bob Marley said, this is my message to you.

Monday, August 25, 2008

One Fine Day

I had one.

Saturday.

August 23rd, to be exact.

On Friday, I daydreamed. Hallucinated? Perhaps. Anyway, for the first time this summer, I did not have to work on Saturday to get payroll done. And I was filled with a sense of possibility and exaltation. I visualized my Perfect Day. I would sleep a bit late, but not much because I wanted to get in my garden before it got hot. I would pick beans and clean up a bit and prepare for the next plantings. I would go to the library, and find some cool books about vegetables. I would go to Walmart and not overspend. I would fix a nice dinner, something I like (hamburgers) and not something I make because everybody else likes it (shrimp scampi). I would enjoy a few cold beers and a good soccer game. I would go to bed tired and fulfilled.


There's a song I can't remember (intentionally, I think) with a line about 'if I can see it, I can do it'.

I saw it, I did it.


Here's to the little things.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Vacation - all I ever wanted...

Today's Frolickin' Friday (TM pending) theme: vacation songs. I.E., songs you remember from vacations past, songs that make you want to be on vacation, songs that make you feel like you ARE on vacation, etc. See, it's SUMMER. And in the SUMMER, people go on vacation. And, just so it's on the public record, I want a vacation like the French do vacation. All of August, please.

So I wanted to make a suggestion or two (or twelve - the greater the number, the better chance of success) and I put my little thinking cap on for a stroll through the misty mists swirling over Memory Lane.

It's a wonder I'm not scarred for life - or, maybe, perhaps... I am - by the music I recall from summers/vacations. Driving through the beautiful Mississippi State campus (Dad's alma mater), I distinctly recall hearing Summer Breeze, that godawful Seals & Crofts song about the jasmine in one's miiiiiiihiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnd. I think I heard Saturday in the Park (yes, Chicago. the shame!) about a gazillion times the summer we arrived in Washington, D.C. And there was an Eagles tune that dominated the summer of '74 - one of the sappier, sad ones. Probably Best of My Love.

Then I heard the words 'road trip.' And I had my suggestion, my brilliant brilliant suggestion: Truckin', by the Grateful Dead.

No, *they* didn't play it. But I dialed it up on Napster, had a listen and took a good hard look at those 'other members like' recommendations. Time warp! I am 16 years old again, soaking up Neil Young's Harvest, which became the theme to the Summer of 1980, a/k/a the U. K. Invasion. (I'm sure, if I tried just a little harder, I could come up with a skin flick title involving the words 'debbie' and 'does', but we work hard here at My Mood Swings to maintain a certain level of decorum. Really.)


This is the first record I ever stole, the harbinger of all the illegal downloads to come. ;0

(j/k about the downloads, btw, my bffs FCC and RIAA.)

I stole it from my friend and neighbor Mike Moeller, while I was feeding his cat because he was away on ... you guessed it... vacation! And it came to have a lot of resonance for me. Not only because I was leaving the familiar and safe and comfortable for a strange land full of strangers with a strange English, but because there's a lot of lovely words and even lovelier truths within: You gotta tell your story, boy, you know the reason why; or I sing the song because I loved the man, I know that some of you don't understand; or the whole wispy dream that is Words (Between the Lines of Age).

So, thanks Steve and Jay. Even though you ignored my suggestion, even though you trashed my carefully selected personal musical totem, you managed to do me a favor. Ta mucho mucho, my brothers. And mangez la merde et mourez.

Obligatory Neil Young as Icon of Cool photoand I had a pair of boots just! like! those!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Long Time No Post


I guess I've been "on hiatus."

I'm back.

Not much has changed.



But I have.








I have always been environmentally aware, even if I didn't do much about it. I like to think that comes from growing up in national parks, with that protect and preserve mandate. My 8th grade science project was a working wastewater treatment plant. Recycling is important enough to me that I've been schlepping my steel cans and glass containers into Knoxville, because my own county had no recycling available, with the exception of newspaper bins. But I wasn't making a concerted effort really, just trying to keep from taking the trash out so often. It's been years since I brushed my teeth with the water running (probably since *I* started paying for it), but the only other water I conserved was the hot water I needed for showering.

Well, all that recently changed. First, our city fathers put out a magazine recycling bin. Then they took that away and put out a single freight-car style container for aluminum, steel, newspapers, plastics, junk mail and magazines. Wow! It's all supposed to be separated, but tossed into one bin. Yep, it's kind of a mess inside, but here's hoping it will remain. And, perhaps, be improved.

But, wait. There's more. It's like a switch has gone off in my head. I compost my vegetable and fruit scraps - and maggots are not necessarily bad things, just gross! I take Navy showers. I drive slower and as if I had an egg between my foot and the gas pedal. I take my own bags to the grocery store - well, mostly. But I have to have a few to tie up my recycles, right?


It's a new economy, folks.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

USA v. England, 5-28-08: The Dream Team

Well, ok, the Dreamy Team.

My preferred starting 11: Timmay Howard in goal; Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu central with Jay Demerit and Johnathan Spector bringing the sexy back to defense; DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark making the midfield marvelous; Clint "Mostest From Nacogdoches" Dempsey, Landon "The Abs, Man" Donovan and Josh Wolff - that's some serious forward thinking, pardon the terrible pun. A completely delectable 4-3-3.



Too bad I don't know how to properly illustrate the lineup! You'll have to settle for this purloined USSF photo of Mostest and Josh Wolff. Would that I were the Towel Girl.

I say we whip those pissy Englishters! 5-0!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Old Dog, New Trick

I'm attempting to aprender español.

No, really.

It's something I've been thinking about for a long time. Formal classes don't fit into my schedule yet and the total immersion trip to Spain just wasn't happening, so I did what I always do when confronted by the impossible: I shopped Amazon! Behind the Wheel got the best ratings for the $, and, bonus!, free 2-day shipping to boot. Monday through Friday, from the time I drop the younguns off at school until I park at the office, I am habla'ing to the best of my ability. Los días de la semana? Know 'em. Los meses del año? Know them too. Can I ask politely for a glass of water? Not yet. But such is the level of my dedication that I am trying to surround myself with the language, to disappear into it, to melt the ridges of my mind down until understanding is possible. Sounds very psychedelic, no? French happened for me that way. Of course, I don't remember much of *that* now. I've been consuming great quantities of tacos and fajitas, and I've surrounded myself with musica latina. Today it's the best in Argentine ska. Tomorrow, back to this continent and Ozomatli. Here's a sample - La Gallina, which means The Rooster, and reading between the lines, I think it basically says something like ''lift yourself up, quit dicking around, anything is possible (with Ozo)". Enjoy - it's quite the toe tapper.

Monday, May 12, 2008

America, Heck Yeah!!


Well, that's the PG rated version. Wish I could photo shop Danny Murphy in for Eddie Johnson, but then the Team America thing would lose some of its mojo. Big ups, Fulham. Although I am curious as to how these guys would have been dispersed, or if indeed they would have been dispersed, after the fall. Maybe I'll find out next year.

Big ups also to them Toros Rojas, smacking down the Gals in L. A.! Juan Pablo Angel gets his first goal of the season, David Beckham gets his first yellow. Methinks we got under his very lovely skin just a little. Bigger ups to Columbus for keeping the streak alive. I was mainly watching RB/Gals, but I would wander over to Crew/Quakes now and then. First peek, Quakes are winning 1-0. Next peek, Crew is up 2-1. Final score Crew 3, Quakes 2. I think I missed a great game.

A couple of suggestions: Left coast games should be played in the afternoon, so that they are not the Late Late Late show at my house. It was all I could do to stay awake. Also, could the Galaxy always play "skins"? 'Preciate it, MLS.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No Elvis Tonight, Or,

Wishes, meet cash flow.


Elvis Costello and the Imposters in Knox Angeles tonight at the Tennessee Theatre, my personal Jesus of area venues. I won't be there.


...



...


(big brave sigh)


Focus on the sunny hours, girl.


So, just in case Elvis needs to know, here's where the money went:

Some fancy duds for the Notorious K T J's prom. (Technically this was more than $100, but I won't hold that against Elvis). $35 on an updo. Did not have to shell out for shoes or jewelry, woo hoo!




Drugs. See? I'm still cool.

Only these aren't fun drugs, in the traditional sense. Enalapril for me and something for him I want to call Detrol, but not, because that's for bladder control. Letrol, maybe. Toprol for me and the mister. Because the couple that medicates together stays together.




Two tanks of gas. That's most of a month - at least 20 days, anyway. Do the bio-diesel thing, Elv. I've read green is your favorite color.




And groceries - I have grown ridiculously fond of eating over the years. And it shows.



So tonight I'll be home on the couch, most likely watching yet another re-run of Law & Order. Will it be Criminal Intent? Special Victim's Unit? Confession: I just spent 30 minutes trying to spell "victim." And I had to look it up in the end. I'll help Austin with his spelling. No, really. I'll herd Josephine into the bathtub and insist she wash her hair. I might do some laundry, I might pay some bills. This is NOT the adulthood I signed up for. It would be ten thousand times worse if I didn't know, deep down in my heart of hearts, that he'll be back.

This too shall pass.


Don't cry for me, Greater Knoxville.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Random Soccer Observations, MLS Week Six

1. Middle America gets no respect. Columbus is on top of the table, with 5 wins, one loss and zero ties. Are there photos on any of the major soccer news sites of their win Saturday night against Kansas City? Heck, no. *Some* of us would really like to see Adam Moffat shirtless.

2. The End of Rice-Eccles can't come soon enough. Dave, here, seems rather excited about playing on the Worst Turf in MLS, but viewing that match was painful. Glad I didn't stay up for the second half.

3. I do not understand the black outs. I couldn't watch the Red Bulls last Sunday which was on Telefutility (which I don't get) and blacked out on MSG and MSG2. However, I could "enjoy" Colorado/D.C. yesterday via Altitude. Just an esplanation, por favor. I'm feeling discriminated against.


End of bitching.


Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Moment of Silence, Please


To mourn the loss of my Omron pedometer, Model HJ112. Alas, poor Omron, I knew him, Horatio, a pedometer of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. I hath born him on my waist a thousand steps and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it...

Well, maybe my gorge doesn't rise, but my waistband is certainly expanding.

We had just recently rediscovered each other. I invested $4.29 (think of it as just a little over one gallon of gas) in a new battery. We were walking the dog, walking to the post office, wearing out Walmart on Saturdays. In fact, that's probably where I lost it. I was so excited last Saturday afternoon to check my total. I was dog-tired - we had soccered all over BFE, been to 4 different grocery stores AND walked the dog. But I'll never know how many steps we took that fateful day.

Because only one of us made it home.

Yes, I can go buy another one exactly like it, but it won't be the one I lost 6 pounds with. It won't be the one who was with me when we saw the possum. Or the box turtle. Or the one that made me feel brave the first time I walked to the post office (people stare when you walk around here). It just won't be the same.

Farewell, good and faithful Omron.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Soccer Weekend: Rainbows and Lollipops, Sunshine and Roses



















It was good for me, too, Landon.

The soccer, people. The soccer.

Three goals for LD in a rout over Chivas, which makes me Fantasy Queen for this week. Red Bulls win 1-0 over the resurrected Earthquakes! Columbus beats Houston 1-0. Houston - remember them? MLS champs last year, and the year before that. Now, they seem to be stuck in a moment they can't get out of. A bigger person would feel their pain. Not I.

Because I am savoring the thrill of victory, basking in the glow of sweet success, tasting the intoxicating flavor of winning. Yes, friends and neighbors, I, too, am a soccer winner this week. On the Real Field, not just the pretend one. The Sevierville U-10 Hokies posted their first victory under my stewardship. It was a well-fought game and, to be fair, it could have gone the other way. But we showed grit and determination, fought the good fight and won. I'd like to think it was my deft touch in substitutions, but since Coach Tammy already had them all figured out, I'll cling to my belief in my own special skillz as a placeholder. I was the orange traffic cone around which the team revolved; it was my pugnacious stolidity the team needed, and my earnest direction. Big kicks! Big kicks!

Words to live by.

It is my most fervent desire to retire undefeated.

And, immediately.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

Well, I've done my part, bringing this little bevy* of beauty to the circus on this day ten years ago - (insert photo of Josephine here when blogger decides to cooperate)

And that's not all. I bought a reusable grocery bag. I can't remember to take it shopping, and maybe I need to get 12, but that's really a whole 'nother issue. When my mighty mighty Maytag bit the dust, I replaced it with a water-conservative front loader. I've been walking the half mile to the post office and I've been replacing light bulbs all over the house with the CFL ones as the standard ones burn out. In the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the bedrooms, etc.

How about you?

Confession: I don't care for the light that the CFL bulbs cast. It's cold and sterile and has the ambiance of a gynecological exam. I succumbed to the Dark Side in Walmart a few weeks ago. I bought an incandescent 3-way bulb for my reading lamp.

And I find myself worshipping that glorious warm golden light.

Years from now, when Antartica has melted, when the corn fields of the midwest are a barren dust bowl, when the only kind of tomato you can buy has been grown hydroponically, incandescent light bulbs will be outlawed. And only outlaws will have incandescent bulbs.








*shoutout to Elvis, not calling my youngest schizophrenic at all.

Monday, April 21, 2008

You Inspire Me...

It's Good Friday and we should be inspired. And music always does that for me.

Ok, full disclosure: I appropriated ('stole' is such an ugly word) this idea just before I went vacationing. I gave it some thought as we descended into L. A. - that's Lower Alabama for you travel freaks - I even managed to make a note or two on the back of our License Plate Game list, but I failed to follow up after 6 days of sun and fun.

My bad.

What does inspiration mean anyway? Merriam-Webster kind of wusses out, saying it 'moves the intellect or emotions.' Litter bugs move my emotions, but I'm not sure I'd say I'm inspired by them. So, I want to add a little asterisk to that: *in a good way. Which is to say, the music of Billy Joel moves me to madness, but I can certainly, unequivocally, forever and ever, live without it. (And with a bit of luck, I will!)

So, these are three songs that inspire me.

1. Bob Marley (or Joe Strummer) - Redemption Song. Yes, I know that's soooo condescending of me - what do I have in common with oppressed Rastafarians, I hear you ask. Well, not a lot. I am of the female working persuasion, so I know a tiny bit about The Man. But what I draw from this song is a transcendent hope, that justice will eventually be served, especially if we work together.

2. Rancid - Radio. I've been dull and boring about this song before, so I'll try to keep this brief. Never fell in love til I fell in love with you; never knew what a good time was til I had a good time with you. It's about finding community, finding connections, finding kin in a hostile world.

and finally....

3. John Prine - Sweet Revenge. Because a girl has to be true to herself above all things. I'll keep looking for the youtube.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Soccer Saturday: Heartburn! Nausea! Indigestion!


But at least I didn't have my head up Saragosa's ass.

Or did I?

I had MY evening planned out one week in advance. San Ho and Chicag-o at 4:30 as a little snack. The Columbus/Chivas clash at 7:30 to get me hungry for the main course: Red Bulls at Dallas.

At least that's how it was supposed to work. Best laid plans, etc., etc. We had a friend in town. Who wanted to take us out to dinner (hence all these menu metaphors). It was a mighty conflict. On the one hand, soccer. On the other, dinner out. I get asked out to dinner twice a year, on my birthday and Mother's Day (and I generally say no to that one, because the kids - who are after all the reason I am a mother - are not invited). But of course, it was just assumed that I would be happy to go, and drive, to boot! This is where the indigestion comes in. I internalized the debate, rather than stand my indecisive ground - which is handy. You don't have to commit, so you can bitch about it either way. We were to meet at 8, smack dab in the middle of prime soccer, and they were late. At 8:15 I called Austin and asked him to record the Red Bulls. AT 8:45, when our host began calling the waiter 'bubbe', I gave up on live soccer.

Because sometimes life just throws you under the Experience Train, whether you wanna go or not. And this was an experience, fer sure.

I have never been in a more schizophrenic restaurant. I won't name names, because I actually feel pity for them. They're trying their best, after all, in their own peculiar way. I'm no decorator. I won't pretend to have Michelin credentials. But I'm not naming names, so that forgives a lot of mockery.

Three Points to Ponder:

1. Wait staff in black and white - good. Candles and cloth napkins but no table cloths? - bad. Very bad. Silk flowers instead of genuine? Worse. A pianist playing a Billy Joel medley? Hein-ous.

2. There's a difference between a vaulted ceiling and an indoor basketball court. Also, lights should flatter, not terrify!

3. Steak tips with peppers and onions are meant to be served ON a bed of rice, not beside it. And medium should have a bit of pink.

Two Strikes Against:

1. It took 20 minutes to get a beer. And a) there were about 7 people in this entire restaurant (including staff) and b) we were staring at the bartender as she dawdled and loafed. Our waiter, bless his heart, stood by the table and 'tried to get her attention', which I guess is the polite way to say 'tried to get her to move her ass.'

2. The 3 Points to Ponder above mean you ain't gonna charge me $18.99 for steak tips and a companion bowl of rice twice. In this case, not even once. Thanks, M!


The Straw That Broke This Camel's Back

They had a tv. But it was on freakin' HOCKEY. Hockey! That's just cold, man. Cold.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Feeling Wild and ...





speculative!



Let's play Foretell the Futbol.*



This Year's Brad Guzan, being all underpaid and over-acheiving: Will Hesmer. 2 games, 2 stopped penalties. Color me impressed, Ricky Bobby.




This Year's David Beckham, the Guy I Most Wanna See on a Wheaties Box: Duilio Davino. Watch this and see if you don't want to head right on over to Dick's and stalk the fitting rooms.




The Clint Mathis All That and a Bag of Chips Award, for the player most likely to succeed in spite of himself: Santino Quaranta. I'm not the only one who thinks so, proving once again that great minds think alike. Or that idiots run in herds. You decide.




Giddy Guesses and Indiscriminate Prognostications: Golden Boot - Christian Gomez. Who says he's not worth a 2 year extension? Supporters Shield will go to ... Kansas City! Houston will have a problem, and will not Threepeat. The Red Bulls, and I'm sober as I write this, will take home some hardware, either Open Cup or MLS Cup. Maybe both!

Stay tuned.






*version español.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hitchcock|Lowe|Costello @ Grand Ballroom

Color me sick. Color me green. Color me having little pangs that feel a little like regret for living in The Sticks.

Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and Robyn Hitchcock. On one stage. Ok, don't know RH enough to be thrilled at him, but jeez louise - Elvis AND Nick? My heart might not be able to take it, but I'd sure like to try.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Yeeeeeee Haaaaaaawwwwwwwww!!!


Red Bulls 2, Columbus Crew 0. Osorio becomes the first coach in team history to open with a win. I don't want to get crazy confident (because after all, this is *still* the team formerly known as the Metrostars), but maybe the spell is broken.

Anyway, it was a long cool drink of water - nay! a case of really nice beer - maybe some of that Sam Adams October brew - after an arid desert of soccer that was RBNY-less. (In case you're wondering - and maybe you aren't - I'm trying to set a personal best in dashes today). There's the ole turf still there, hopefully for the last season. There's the TV people and Giants stadium people doing something like cooperating by putting ALL the fans together, more or less, instead of allowing them to randomly dot the seats in the stadium. Good crowd, good crowd noise. FSC had Christopher Sullivan (yay!) and Max Bretos (boo!) - but I'll give Bretos a half a thumbs up just for the game show host enthusiasm he brings to every game. Please consult the game guides provided by the league, Max. They include pronunciation guides!

But honestly, I can't complain. It was Old Home Week, or something virtual-ly like it. Damn, I'm glad it's back.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I Am Here to Live Out Loud

Emile Zola had the right idea. Easier said than done however. My life sometimes feels like the Talking Heads song Once In A Lifetime, in the 'my god, what have I done?' and 'same as it ever was' refrains. But today is better than yesterday, Rock Bottom has a population of 4 now - the more the merrier, I suppose. But to keep us (the Rock Bottomites) on the straight and narrow, let's take to heart the immortal words of Rockpile and never be a fool too long again.

Check out how Nick doesn't play that acoustic.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's Robbie Fulks Day!

I am having one of those days. You know the kind, where you're just one step behind everybody else, where you're just not quite in sync with The Real World. There I was thinking I was being witty, charming and sociable, and apparently I was being boring, obnoxious and loud. Only not loud enough, because no one seemed to hear me. It was like waking up naked in your backyard with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand, a strange pair of boxers in the other and a meter reader peering over the neighbor's fence. Ok, maybe not that bad, but certainly one of those god-what-was-I-thinking moments, only without the excuse of alcohol. Friends, never let your ego tell you what to do.

Anyway, here I am in Rock Bottom, population 1. Well, 2 if you count Robbie. Spent a few minutes (hours) on youtube hunting up good stuff for you.




Don't forget that I'm Countrier Than Thou...



Holla if you out there, people!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Did You Miss Me?

What?

You didn't notice I was AWOL?


That's cold.


Anyway, I am back from vacation with a few thoughts. Thoughts may be too strong a word. Nebulous, fuzzy impressions maybe?

First off, USA 3, Poland 0. RESULT! Ok, it's just a friendly. Ok, Poland had a lot of youth and inexperience on their side. But, woo! hoo! Big ups, handsome fellers!


I am liking the red and grayish black.

Next thing of note: MLS is back, baby!

What, you hadn't noticed it missing either? Cold, man. Cold.

Some interesting results, the most surprising (or embarrassing?) was Colorado Rapids 4, L.A. Galaxy zilch. It was the altitude. Altitude! Not the defense. Because L.A. didn't actually *play* any defense. Kansas City 2, D.C. 0. I thought this was being played in D.C. in the Nationals'-vacated and reconfigured RFK - the field looked tiny. I wuz wrong. Played in KC at something called Community America Ballpark. Someone might want to get them to point the cameras toward the crowd next time, not to the vacant lot opposite. New England 3, reigning MLS champions the Houston Dynamo, a very pathetically played 0. My favorite result (because the Red Bulls were not playing), Columbus Crew 2, FC Toronto 0. I really wanted to see this one, but traveling kept me from it. Looked like a fabulous atmosphere. How 'bout those Canucks? They get around. There they were in Charleston with us a few weeks ago ( a smaller contingent, yes) and, presto chango! there they are by the hundreds(?) in Columbus. Homeland Security might want to be checking them out.

Non-soccer related observations: I love love love writing with Flairs. It's been a long time since I wrote much more than a grocery list with a pen, and during our highly competitive game of License Plates, I was just amazed watching my pen move across the page making blue letters out of thin air - it was like *I* was the cursor or something. Magic!

Also noted: this was the first vacation I can ever remember that kind of went by slo-mo. NOT because it was spent with A LOT of family members, and not slo-mo in an unpleasant way. It was relaxed with shape - enough structure to keep everybody happy, plenty of room for Plan B.

Wish I was back on it.

But, I'm back and back at it. And this is the proof. ;)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Carolina Challenge Cup, Part Dos

We had a couple of hours to kill post-checkout and pre-game, so we took it to the streets of Charleston.

Embarrassing admission #1: I thought that pink building behind my beautiful children was The Citadel. Nope, it's an Embassy Suites look-a-like. My bad.

Embarrassing admission #2: We had no clue where we were or where we were going, but we were *near* the battery (if 10 blocks counts as "near"). We parked at the Visitor Center and visited a bit - and you had to stand in line to ask a question!!! Then we took off down the street looking for the ocean. Well, we saw a lot of homeless people, a lot of expensive stores, a bunch of dogs being walked, a gazillion old bricks, but no ocean. We did find another Red Bull fan/employee outside a wonderfully aromatic cafe (too aromatic for the rest of the Jenkins Five, but full disclosure compels me to say it's usually me being gastronomically unadventurous). But it was fun. And that's the important thing.

Thing to Be Proud of #1: We were on time to that game. We even had time to pee before kick-off.

The Red Bulls did not have a whole lot to be proud of, all things considered. A 1-1 tie with a USL team that has just 2 weeks of training compared with, what? six for the RB? That's an eep. A lot of bad passes, some questionable movement, a shoe lost here, a temper lost there. It is my biased opinion that these things will work themselves out before the season begins.

Embarrassing admission #3: it never really occurred to me to sit on the other side. Looks like we could have had the run of the place. But we went back to the general Row R (that does not actually exist) vincinity, and the older three of us got sunburned for our trouble. But if you go here and click on "watch" March 16, you can see the nebulous blob that is me and the fam left of center just above a blue MUSC sign.

I was certainly impressed with JPA's skill, but I was even more delighted to see some of my faves: Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes, Seth Stammler. And a lot of faces we didn't know. We did figure out Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who came out at half time to warm up and looked in our direction when I attempted to pronounce his name. And there was this other guy who kept running around the field, looking ridiculously familiar...

Eric Brunner, RBNY's #1 draft pick. D'oh!! My bad again - it's Chris Leitch!! So maybe I'm not the most knowledgeable fan. I hope they appreciated my applause and stand-stomping when they scored, and my chagrin when they were almost immediately scored upon. It's hard out there for a soccer mom. But I'm happy to know that the Charleston Battery was showing me the love.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Carolina Challenge Cup, Part One

















It was a dark and stormy night...

Well, it didn't start out that way, but that's how the first night of the Carolina Challenge Cup ended.

We were just a little late. Maybe five minutes and it was all the fault of Sticky Fingers - I have never seen an empty restaurant be so slow. And, according to Austin, the ribs weren't all that. So, the game is already in progress as we step up the metal ramp into the stands and I find myself in one of those Twilight Zone kind of moments: there in front of me, looking slimmer than I thought he was but taller at the same time, is Danny Dichio, Toronto F. C.'s (English) version of the Tasmanian Devil. It was a low-key OMG moment, all puzzled recognition slapped upside the head by deflating reality check. It's ONLY Danny Dichio, after all. But ladies, he's well worth a gander. And the rest of the Toronto/San Jose game was like that - 'hey, there's Joe Cannon!' 'Isn't that Ned Grabavoy?' 'That guy from Kansas City...Nick...Gonzalez? no, Garcia!' The stadium was not even the size of my kids' high school football stadium. Literally, there were many moments I could have touched these guys. And you could hear every R-rated word they said. I know that makes me sound all stupid fan-girl, but it was cool. Like sticking my head inside my television or something.

And no hallucinogenics were involved.

San Jose was winning 1-0 when the game was called for lightning. Red Bulls/Charleston was postponed until 3 P. M. Sunday, so we Plan B'd it, and stayed a little longer than we planned.


More on that next post!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Some Random Photos

They were having a sale. Well, not really, but I hadn't seen these before.


The Hunchback of Craven Cottage!




What the heck are they looking at?

We *Can* Be Heroes


Thanks, David Bowie.

Yes, we can be heroes, even if we didn't much look like them Thursday night. USA 1, Panama nada. It wasn't pretty but it was 3 points.

Random observations (and, truly, are there any other kind?)

1. Eddie Gaven played well. The facial hair is not working for him however.


2. Christopher Sullivan wins the My Mood Swings Favorite Soccer Announcer Award. I find his comments as intriguing as his accent. And he wasn't doing the game last night. Let's just say, well, if you can't say something nice...Ah-do. EEE-do. Please learn the difference before the next game, Christian Miles. It was like being trapped in the Letterman Oscar joke-gone-bad (Oprah, Uma - remember that?)

3. Can we get some decent seamstresses working on these uniforms? Look at those patches. They look photo-shopped!

Saturday is the final game of the group round - we play Honduras. I'll be there in spirit only, because, well, I'll be over in South Carolina watching Jozy's regular gig at the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Go, me!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Cubans! The Cubans!


(one of the few Seinfeld episodes I do recall)

Seven Cuban soccer players, including these two pictured, have gone missing, which presents their team with one heckuva dilemma tonight. They had 18 players here. Seven have checked out and one is serving a red card suspension so he won't be eligible for tonight's game. My math is lousy, but I figure they've got 10 players available, which is one less than the 11 *usually* started. If they have to drop out of the tournament, how will that affect the group standings?

Per Fox News (I always read that "News" as "Poetic License")team official Luis Hernandez, when asked how the team planned to handle the situation Wednesday (before the news of the other 2 disappearances), said, "Win - with the five, without the five - win."

Update: My math was good, but my starting number was faulty - according to their official CONCACAF roster, the Cubans brought 19 players. They will have just enough to play as long as nobody else takes a long walk or gets injured.

Update Again
! They play with 10, and lose 0-2.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Drinking Rum and Coca Cola

Might have been a better idea than watching out U-23s play Cuba last night. Cuba Libres certainly would have eased my pain because it was my fault. I have to own up to it. After Freddy put in that first goal early on, I said we're gonna get at least 3, maybe 5 or 6!!! I was that excited. But it was not to be, and a disappointing 1-1 tie has everybody expecting *major* improvements Thursday evening. When life gives you lemons, when there's no where to go but UP, etc., insert cheesy stiff-upper-lip metaphor here.


Three bright spots:

1) Dax McCarty. I don't remember him playing all that much or all that well for Dallas. He looked confident, energetic AND consistent.




2) Hunter Freeman. Worked his babushka off. Jozy Altidore gets all the kudos, but I am so glad HF's a Red Bull.















3) Sacha Kljestan (doing the hokey-pokey, left). Honestly, the game changed when he came in. Freddy is the obvious MOTM, but Mr. Kljestan's a close second.










Bring on Thursday. Bring us redemption.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere!

And not a drop to drink! I have read about pharmaceuticals causing bizarre wildlife mutations and disease (inter-sex fish? vultures with kidney failure?), but I had not made the mental leap to these drugs being in the water *I* drink. Best reason yet to drink bottled water (assuming it's not actually tap water!) or other beverages...

Watersheds are big news in East Tennessee this week. At least the signs for them are. TDOT and the Department of Environment and Conservation have partnered up to create awareness of one of Tennessee's most valuable resources - our watersheds. I saw my first one while tooling westbound down I-40 on March 1: Now entering Holston Watershed. I state this to make one thing clear: I saw it before Sam Venable did. Go, me.

Photo forthcoming.

Monday, March 10, 2008

This Just In...

The Olympic Qualifying roster has been set. And it was out yesterday, but darn the bad luck, I didn't venture into cyberspace at all. Obviously, the lack of Feilhaber-ness is disturbing, but I'm hoping that means good things for Benito - like some PT at Derby. And two of my faves, Jozy Altidore and Eddie Gaven feature, so, yay! And it begins tomorrow, so double yay! Confession: the EPL is a substitute for MLS, but it's not a very good one for me. God knows I've tried to get interested, I've put forth effort, but it just ain't taking. And it seems like eons since the MLS Cup. This U-23 tournament is a nice little h'ouerve d'oeurve appetizer before the MLS banquet begins. To continue the metaphor (because I'm hungry, go figure!) next week's Carolina Cup would be the soup course; opening weekend a really delicious salad; this summer would be the main course - something hearty and filling - and then the playoffs and championship the dessert.







And here's wishing these two little cupcakes and the whole team good luck.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I set a new Personal Best

in weird and wacky dreams.

Sometime during the lovely quicksandish sleep I get between the moment my husband's alarm clock sounds and he gets up (shaking the bed like a series of minor earthquakes) and the moment my own alarm clock erupts, I had the most peculiar dream.

I dreamed I had another baby, which is impossible enough, but then this particular baby was actually a hamster.

And I named her Linda.

So what does all this have to do with the bathing beauty screen right?

He - Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United's version of Jesus - was in the dream, too. At some strange and marvelous water park where I took Linda. And I asked him if he would go home to Spain or to Brazil (he's from neither). He took offense, not because I failed to realize he was Portuguese, but because, as he said, he was going home. To New York. Because he was American.

Let that prove prophetic. Let him one day (and before he's washed up, please Jesus) be a New York Red Bull.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Carolina Challenge Cup is Calling Yooouuuuu!*


Kick off is 6 p.m. Saturday March 15th, and I am stoked.

These are my tickets. I keep looking at them, admiring them, touching them. I have traversed the long desolate expanse of the Off Season and reached soccer nirvana - well, the MLS version anyhoo. Like a plant drawn toward the sun's rays, I am drawn to the beacon of pre-season action in Charleston.

Have I mentioned it's a bargain? Sure, they aren't *real* games, but I WE get to see two of them. For $25 each. Stick that on your grill and smoke it, NFL. The new and improved San Jose (argh) v. Toronto, and the fabulous Red Bulls v. the Charleston Battery.

Let's go, Metros!






*a little shout-out to the long defunct Porpoise Island.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I don't know who this is targeted towards

but if they're after the lower middle (upper lower?) class white family market, count us in.



Maybe it's not such a successful commercial. I assumed it was selling international calling cards, to be honest. But it is remarkably watchable. Note the sly Three Amigos reference.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Parking Garages? We Don't Need No Stinking Parking Garages!

There's a little brouhaha brewing in Sevierville. To build a parking garage, or not to build? That is but one of the questions. Who pays? How? Where? When? Why? And why do we have to tear down established businesses to do so when there are loads of decayed and decrepit vacancies abounding?

It's a conundrum wrapped up in a riddle floating on a sea of mystery.

Or something like that.

But, citizens of Sevier County, I am here to tell you the truth. We don't need a downtown parking garage. We don't need a Central Business Investment District. What we need, friends and neighbors, is a Major League Soccer team.

Real Sevierville. FC Seevurrsville. CD de Greater Sevierville. SPORTING Sevierville.

Let it grow on you.

MLS plans to have 16 teams in 2010, and possibly 18 by 2012. Sevierville, Sevier County - 2016 is our year. We built that ballpark, and they did come. We built that convention center - excuse me! Events Center - and they are coming, even *without* liquor by the drink. All we need is approximately 50 empty acres (old landfill perhaps???) and some positive thinking. Beer is your basic soccer fan's beverage du choix - already available by the case and by the drink. Weather is good for the MLS March to November season. Lots of people come here anyway - why should we deprive them of the chance to enjoy some soccer while they're here?


C'mon, Sevierville! Where there's a will there's a way!

Like Jozy Altidore says...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ain't That a Kick in the Pants.

Dema Kovalenko, the man who could not be two months without the soccer, has been traded away to Real Salt Lake.


Why didn't they run this by me first?














I miss you already.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Will This Hellish Winter Never End?!?

It's snowing.


Not good snow. Wet, messy, never-gonna-lay snow.

And it's raining, too, when it's not snowing. 38 degrees. Dark. Dreary. Depressing.

So, I found a little mental go-around.

The party just started...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

We Climbed From The Depths of Hell Unscathèd


Thanks, Rancid.

And no, it wasn't really Hell, and we didn't climb from the depths, fer sure. We kind of floundered in the middle. And on the sides, at least in the back. USA 2, Mexico 2. We didn't play that well, but it was an education in gamesmanship for the five U-23 players who will be starting Olympic qualifying shortly.

At least nobody got shot. Well, only two people. And it's possibly just random Houston violence, not soccer-specific hooliganism.

The Good: the jerseys are not as butt-ugly as I thought, although being on Clint Dempsey helps a lot; the crowd - I don't care if they were mostly viva-ing Mexico, it was good to hear some noise; the little dust-up between Tim Howard and Antonio de Nigris - obviously, this was not just a friendly.




Look! Angry Timmy!


The Bad: Bobby Convey (or Convay, as the announcers said) - wow. just wow. slow and stupid has a new poster child; the fact that ESPN did a 30 At 30, when the game had been on less than 10 minutes!!!; an Eastern time zone actual start time of 9:25 - can we all get with the central time zone please?

The Meh: the ESPN love, which maybe is a natural outgrowth of the writer's strike and thus a fluke OR is preamble to the Beckham media circle jerk to come. (pun unintended)



The Starting XI. Two amusing things about this photo: Bobby Convey in last year's cool kid shoes (slow AND stupid!) and Timmy on his tippy-toes so he measures up to Gooch.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Seventh Sign of the Apocalypse: Fulham win?! Wtf?

Sometimes it's hard to be Clint Dempsey.

Englishter elbows. LSU balls. Repeated face-first introductions to Mr. Turf. A disturbing lack of sun and taco trucks.

On Sunday, February 3rd 2008 it was good to be Clint, but it was better to be a Fulham fan. The return to form of Jimmy Bullard, exemplifying the adage looks aren't everything. Brian McBride subbing in for a 20 minute work out. The first goal scored since January 8th (too bad it was for Villa!). Two more goals scored and the lead held until the final whistle. Everybody looked lively and interested. Big ups, dudes.

USA v. Mexico Wednesday!

Hope that's enough time for Mostest to rest up. I need to rest up too - the Stupor Bowl sucked me in at the last minute (big ups, Eli!) and then there was the new! episode of House after... And I'm taking the Austinator to see UT play Florida tomorrow night in Knoxville, and the tip off's not until 9. PM!

Bring on the Diet Pepsi.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two Amazing Soccer Stories!


Brad to Aston Villa?

How does he get a work permit? Lucy, you got some 'splainin to do.

**update. He didn't.

And you also need to 'splain these butt-ugly new USMNT jerseys.

Ick.

I predict a riot.

Seriously.


I mean, how can you play serious soccer in LAST year's Tommy Hilfiger?

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Study in Contrasts


Good Americans.


















Bad Americans.














Players good, money bad.

Or is that players tolerated, money detested?

U to the N to the I-T-Y, people!