Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who are you?

Confession time. This is a biggie, too, not "I secretly like bacon on toast with jelly". Which I do.

Some of you know this already, but the summer after I graduated high school I had elective jaw surgery to correct a weak chin and gummy smile. Talk of doing this surgery began when I was around junior high age, but I hadn't honestly given it much thought back then for two reasons:

A) I thought plastic surgery was for losers
B) I was scared pantsless about having major surgery

By the time my senior year rolled around and I'd had a supper crappy year healthwise, I was no longer scared at the thought of major surgery and said "Why the hell not?". Summer after graduation seemed the logical time to alter my features since I was moving to a college where I knew no one and could avoid awkward stares and questions. And so as of June 10, 1993, there became 2 Troubles:

Old Troubles circa 1990. What is with the dolphin, you ask? That is an uninteresting tale for another day. It's also the only old picture I had of myself lying around the house.

New Troubles circa this year. With Mel. Mel had surgery on his jaw, too, by the way. Mel knows how it is.

For years this was my little secret, with only select friends knowing the truth. It's hard for people who know me now to visualize what I used to look like, Ryan especially. He's seen old pictures and feels as though he's looking at an entirely different person. It's also weird for those that knew me growing up to see me now. For years I used this to my advantage. Every time I went home to Lawton to visit my folks I could move around town undetected and avoid the question of "what did you do to yourself" by virtue of no one being able to recognize me on first glance.

Now it's a problem. A week from now I'll be driving back to Lawton with my best childhood friend Rebecca (hard to believe, but we've known each other almost 30 years) to attend an impromptu high school reunion. We're going to be attending the Lawton High - Eisenhower football game. It's not an official reunion, although this would technically be my 15th. I think we'll have people who graduated '92, '93, '94 and maybe more. I pretty much haven't talked to anyone I graduated with in 15 years, but over the past year something great happened -- Facebook. All of a sudden, people I graduated high school with started popping out of the woodwork and someone got the idea that "hey, wouldn't it be great to see everyone again?". Thus, the impromptu reunion.

So the question remains. Is anyone going to recognize me and if so, are they going to ask, "what the hell happened to you?"

I'm a little wary, but am still extremely excited to see everyone. Will report back after the trip.

Eagles suck! Go Wolverines!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Olympics wrap up

Well, this is more than a little late, so I hope I'm not beating a dead horse with more Olympics comments, but I wrote most of this yesterday morning at dialysis so bear with me.

The Olympics are finally over and that makes me a little sad, but maybe now we can get to the Mad Men Season 1 DVDs from Netflix that have been sitting on the coffee table for 2 weeks. Olympics came at a good time for me as I've been laid a little low recently and haven't felt like doing more than flopping on the couch with the dogs and taking in hours of competition. I'm much better now, after my surgery on Friday, so I do have to say thanks to everyone for all the good wishes over the weekend!

First some notes I took for a post that never was last week. Did anyone see Shawn Johnson win the balance beam gold? Yay for Shawn, but I was disturbed at how closely the camera framed her face from the time she won until the end of the medal ceremony. They barely showed the other two medalists and I'm told they briefly flashed to the flags, but I didn't see it. I understand that NBC doesn't want to miss it if she cries (which she never did), but back off a little! I don't need to see her pores.

Long shot of Shawn

I did catch some of the synchronized swimming one afternoon. I have to applaud NBC for breaking up its coverage this year and relegating sports like synchronized swimming, trampoline, and (as cool as it is) dressage to networks like USA and Oxygen. Not enough people are fans to waste time in primetime for that, and I don't miss Ryan (justifiably) ranting about not getting to see more track and field. By the way, I'm pretty sure I saw the USA synchro swimming team throw in a move where they pointed at each other. I have no proof, but I'm sticking with my story.

The coach of pole vaulter and Olympic SILVER MEDALIST Jenn Stuczynski should be ashamed of himself. After she comes in second to the best pole vaulter the world has ever seen does he congratulate her? Give her a big hug and say "good job"? No. He yells at her for all to hear FROM THE STANDS that it wasn't good enough. Tells her what she did wrong. You, sir, are an ass.

On to the closing ceremonies (bear with me folks we're almost done). Here are a few quick observations of what we saw in the final hours of coverage:

Yao Ming, smiling and towering over everyone.

Tiny Shawn Johnson, struggling to see anything (I would've loved to see Yao and Shawn together).

The overwhelmed look of the Kenyan marathon gold medalist receiving his medal in front of the entire Olympic community.

A gleeful Jackie Chan, leading a celebratory final song.

A very cool tower of people simulating the Olympic flame.

Fireworks like I've never seen. I thought the roof of Bird's Nest Stadium was going to ignite.

Really cool light cycles.

This is what I would like for Christmas for those taking notes

My favorite part of the whole operation was the athletes entering the stadium. During the opening ceremonies, athletes enter with their own countries in "alphabetical order". Actually in the Chinese language which has no alphabet, order was determined by the number of strokes in the first character of the country name. For the closing ceremony, it's just chaos. Athletes from all countries are mixed and laughing and playing and dancing and mugging for the camera. I saw two Chinese smiling for the camera, then watched as a Russian caped in a Russian flag ran up and swallowed them in a bear hug. With all the horrible things that we do to each other on a daily basis this 'International party' of sorts brought tears to my eyes.

"Go World", indeed