Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Momz Lolz

SF has rare sun and since I inherited a genetic ability to tan, I've mostly been in the backyard at the beach house working on looking like George Hamilton.

But a quick tidbits from the land of LOLZ Mother Daughter Relationships!

It is well established that I am an adult, in age if not in actual behavior. Unfortunately no matter how old you get, your mother will inevitably still treat you like you are five. This is particularly true if you are female though slightly true still if you are male.

We were discussing Europe the other day and I said that I really want to go back but that when I do I'd like to take in a soccer match. I missed going to a France friendly when I was in Paris and despite being in Eurocup cities while there, I missed that too. I figure soccer in Europe is like THE biggest cultural thing you can do. Sure sure, it's the church, museum, castle tour, as one friend dubbed it after walking through yet another one of Europe's gorgeous landmarks, but that gets tiring. Soccer is where you'd see Europeans be Europeans. It'd be the equivalent of me dragging some European on vacation to LSU/Bama game. I mean, why would you not, and me in particular, want to experience that? I want to chant and sway and drink pints and make out with soccer fans in London/Munich/Amsterdam pubs. That sounds pretty much like an ideal vacation for me, actually.

My mother flips out. It's like she's hit that age where she's reading Reader's Digest and if it was in there then it's gospel and we're all gonna die. One too many Dateline on the evils of college binge drinking and how your child is behaving features, ya know? Unnecessary panic at every turn. And maybe some of it is actually necessary panic but if you are anything nearing normal, the amount you keep from your parents should far surpass the amount you tell them. Considering she has no actual idea what I get up to a vast amount of the time, her worry is unwarranted. There are just these lines we keep that allow us to live our own lives and for our parents to only moderately worry about us, even when we're adults. I find this whole her freaking out thing even more comical because it's not like my mother is elderly. She's 21 years older than me, for those who feel like doing math. She likes sports cars and fancy restaurants and CARRIES A GUN FOR A LIVING. But something about me, her daughter, makes her all irrationally protective.

"You can't go to a soccer game! People die at those! They get trampled!" I point out to her that I spent the better part of my late teens/early 20s attending football in a 90k person stadium without incident but when arguing with your mother it is best not to employ anything in the realm of logic. "No! It's too dangerous!" This, again, is why we keep things from our parents. This is why we learn "It's better to ask forgiveness than permission." I brush her off and stop the conversation. I have no plans to actually be in Europe anytime soon so it's moot. Also: if I am in Europe I am going and there's very little she can do about it.

I didn't point out that I also backpacked around Europe for a month, 2 years ago, BY MYSELF and geezus the volumes she doesn't know about that... Again, the things we keep from our parents.

Yesterday I took a walk on the beach alone. At dinner my mom asked me about it. I said I took the usual route (Noriega to the Cliff House), but that since tide was low I actually walked around the Cliff House point to the Sutro Baths ruins and back. "I hope you were careful!" LOLZ, WUT? "You shouldn't laugh at the ocean! It's dangerous." I'm laughing at you, not the ocean. You're being ridiculous. "Well the tide could have come back in!" In the ten minutes it took me to walk around the point? Yeah, no. "Well! I worry! It's not like I can get another one of you! It's not like you're a puppy!" Geezus lady, seriously? Just...chillax. I've been crossing streets fairly competently alone since I was about 5. Pretty sure I can make it around a small cliff and back without getting swept out to sea.

And then every so often, your mother will say something completely surprising. I mentioned that Top Gun had played in Dolores Park, a movie we should all know by now I am devoted to, but that I didn't go a) because football takes precedence on Saturdays and b) I hate sitting with hippies smoking pot outside. I get it, I live in SF. Everyone is allowed to blaze up wherever they damn well feel like it. Fine. Whatever. But personally? I HATE the smell of pot smoke. It gives me an instant headache. I also find annoying the sort of cavalier "don't give a fuck" attitude all the stoners have about it. God forbid anyone smoke a cigarette within 500 feet of another human being without someone obnoxiously making gagging sounds in this city but weed smoke wafts from everywhere. (I don't smoke cigarettes either, unless extremely drunk, but the hypocrisy of it is hysterical.) My mother is actually one of those coughing gagging "OMG cigarette smoke!" types. She was constantly fanning herself and complaining when we were in Paris. Mom, it's FRANCE. This is how they do. You need to adapt.

So I mention the thing about the weed smoke. Her response? "Really? You hate it? I LOVE the smell of weed smoke."

Seriously: LOLZ WUT? Momz.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nothing of Note

I am soooo boring. (Don't you love when I hook you guys with opening lines like that? I imagine every Catholic school English teacher I ever had telling me to knock it off. (Hi, Mr. (redacted)!) (I imagined him with a google alert on his name, because he wrote a novel, and there's probably fiction about high school girls dating him out there, and that'd be embarrassing.))

(Oh! Aside! Bartender at the LSU bar when I was watching the also boring LSU/NSU game a few weeks ago, I ordered a drink and said "please" and "thank you", told me I was incredibly polite. I told him it was because of all the years of Catholic school but really it's the uptight mother who values our manners like whoa. Which is a good thing. I value them too.) (See! I'm not THAT boring. I was at a bar! With people! So cool!) (And now I'm really just fucking with you with the parentheticals. Cuz I am that bored.)

Anyway, not much going on in my world. Job searching sucks my soul. Do you know what I, J.D. holder, am qualified to do? Absolutely nothing! *insane laughter* No, seriously. They taught us NOTHING practical in law school, for which I curse them regularly, and I didn't do enough internships because I am a lazy slacker asshole and now I'm completely unemployable. SO. AWESOME! Guh. My law school sent out an email recently asking "Do you know anyone thinking about law school? Send 'em our way!" To which my classmates and I unanimously, across the internet went, "BUAHAHAHAHAHA. No." One of my favorite bar conversations lately is when people say, "I was thinking of law school!" I respond that in a lifetime of bad decisions that was easily the worst. Seriously. THE. WORST. Unless you have the grades to get into a Top 25 law school: DO NOT GO. I know, I sound bitter and insane and maybe in five years when I'm making money and my student loans are a minor afterthought and every job isn't in insurance, I'll tell you it's a fantastic idea. But for now? No. (Sorry, I know this applies to some of you and I know you'll follow your dreams and be content and I wish you all the luck in the world if you do go. But please don't. Do something else, ANYTHING else, instead.)

Other than that: I got a puppy and that's taking up a ton of my time. Somehow she has become my dog. My mom keeps referring to me as her mom. I never envisioned myself as a little dog person. I scoffed at people who owned ten pound dogs and referred to them as dogs. We've owned a husky, a golden retriever, an American Bulldog and pitbulls over the course of my life. The smallest dog we've ever owned is the one we have now and he's still a good 35 pounds. And yet I have a pocket sized dog. I'd throw a picture of her in here but she's a dark brindle and since the only camera I ever use is my crappy cell phone one, she just looks like a dark splotch. She's incredibly cute and her name is Maya. Her name was Zoe but we previously had a dog named that so it wasn't gonna fly. She's ten pounds and has an under bite and she is currently asleep ON the kitchen table between my arms as I'm typing. It takes all my will power not to buy her LSU clothes but I will be damned if I dress this dog. I'm thisclose to crazy dog person. It's not gonna be a big leap, either.

The first step in my ownership journey was that I named her. Do you want to know how I got to Maya? Do you!? This is how my brain works: she's a chihuahua/terrier mix. Chihuahua is a state in Mexico. The Mayans were also inhabitants of Mexico (though I realize not the same state). If you take off the n... Yep. That is how I named my ten pound nothing dog.

And now we're having a battle of the wills in the training her to go pee outside. The family that previously owned her have her mat trained. Which is great. She doesn't pee on the carpet. She also doesn't pee outside. Well, she does, just not ALL the time. I was whining to my mother the other day that I can't get anything done. By the time I walk the big dog and make sure the little dog gets some exercise, the day is half over. It's ridiculous. My mom says, "It's like having a baby!" "Yes. But I'm the one who never ever wanted a baby!" Do you think this is my mother's master plan to get me to change my mind on children? I doubt she's thinking that far ahead and if she was, this experience would not have had the desired effect but the opposite. I also think this is my mother's grand master plan to make sure I never move out. My dad today said, "You should move to my house." Well now I can't! Because the dog! Will someone come kick my ass out of neutral? Please? I'm begging you. It's necessary. (But do it gently because I bite back.)

The big dog is also being a clingy needy asshole because of the introduction of the little dog's adorableness and that is SO annoying. I get not wanting to be displaced (apparently when I was 13 months old and they brought my brother home, the first thing I did was slap him. I also got a shirt 3 Christmas's ago that declares "Not Mom's Favorite" so...) but seriously dude, you're 35 pounds, you can not climb up on to me.

The little dog also ate the power cord on my Mac while I was at the gym the other night.

It's been a fun couple of weeks. Which explains why I get stupid drunk and all escapist on football days. Huh.

And I just spent more words on my dogs than anyone likely cares about. Think we've solidified the crazy dog person thing. Gonna go do something not dog related now... Like look for more jobs.

Is it football day yet?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Football Hate

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a girl who knows a bit about college football. I'm relegated to living on the West Coast where such fans are not in abundance. Sure, there are the ever casual Cal and Stanford fans but hard core passionate fans? Not so much. So when I am rocking an LSU shirt the other night, am by myself and guys want to talk to me, they should say something at least mildly impressive. Like, I dunno, knowing the first thing about football would be a good start.

I was sitting at one of the back tables at North Star by myself, after Cheryl left. It's the 4th quarter and I don't plan on being there much longer. As the bar was pretty crowded at this point, I let these two guys, nerdy, hipster types, know that no one was sharing the table with me and they were welcome to sit. Geezus don't let me do that again. Because here's what they said:

"Is this, like, the LSU bar?" I nod assent. Resisting every urge in my body to say, "No. No it's not. They just have the game on every TV, the sound on, are serving gumbo, and people are cheering loudly when we do something impressive. Let alone the fact that MOST EVERYONE IN HERE IS WEARING PURPLE AND GOLD." Is this how people generally make small talk? I mean, I'm fine with the occasional stupid comment to start a conversation, am probably every so often guilty of it, but a) I'm intently watching my live football game and b) I'm sober. Leave me alone. This is my "don't fucking talk to me" face, unless you're gonna tell me how impressive our D is.

"Does LSU play Florida this year?" Me, "Um, we play Florida every year." "Oh. Do you know when?" "We play them October 8th." "Is it a home game?" Motherfucker, GOOGLE IT. (Yes, it's a home game. On the road to Tuscaloosa, at home for UF.)

An aside to his friend that I overhear, "Florida has this cheer, 'It's good to be a Florida Gator.'" Great, you insipid idiot. It's GREAT to be a Florida Gator. Think about it. It's more rhyme-y. And good? Just good? Doesn't someone want to be better than good? How do you...? Never mind. Stupid living in California. I'm going to guess by the hints of conversation that this guy was some sort of Florida fan through his family or something. This is why I hate UF fans. So many bandwagon hoppers who have never visited the state. And their SF bar remains Hooters. Without a full bar. Which still seems super amateur to me. How do you claim to be SEC fans and then not even drink all the whiskey in the world? Sigh.

This was my favorite interaction though. As I'm getting up to leave he says, "I have a funny story about LSU! I was driving cross country with my friend and we were in Shreveport, Louisiana and we were at a Crapple Barrel. You know that place?" "You mean a CRACKER Barrel? Yes. I'm familiar with them." "Yeah, so we're at the crapple barrel (seriously, he repeated this mistake) and there are all these people in LSU gear, which probably isn't that unusual for that part of the country, so I say to my friend, 'LSU must be in Shreveport.' I walk by this old guy, like really old, sitting in a rocking chair! I mean, he's sitting there in a rocking chair! And I walk by, I'm already past him and he says, 'It's in Baton Rouge.' Ahahaha! So now I know, LSU is in Baton Rouge." All my willpower to not trot out a "Cool story, bro" to this guy. Okay so many things wrong here: OF COURSE he was in a rocking chair. They are ubiquitous on the front porches that adorn all CRACKER Barrels, of which there are many in the country (god I miss $10 filling breakfasts at Cracker Barrel). Secondly: all you've managed to tell me is that you don't know a goddamn thing about this country's geography. You probably thought SF was next to LA before you moved here from wherever too. I meant to ask him where he went to school because his stupidity was overwhelming but he was a nerdy hipster type at my North Beach dive bar and really I just wanted to punch him. But as our game was finally over and I was out of beer, I just left instead. Oh: and that story wasn't even remotely amusing.

Granted, if I wasn't a huge college football fan I might not know that LSU is in Baton Rouge. And honestly, the amount of times people assume it's in New Orleans and then I have to explain that it's not but that Baton Rouge is a mere 75 miles from NO is not insignificant. I know Iowa State is in Ames, South Carolina is in Columbia, which is also the city that Mizzou is in though obviously in a different state. KState is in the little apple, thus nicknamed for it being Manhattan, Kansas. So on and so forth. The capital of small African countries? No. But I can tell you that like the capital of Greece, the University of Georgia is in Athens.

I did point out to him that there is an LSU satellite in Shreveport but I don't think that was the point.

It's 11 p.m. at a different San Francisco bar. That means it's 1 a.m. central. I had the bartender put on the replay of the game for me because, why the hell not? I'm watching it again. Guy, "Good game so far, huh?" "Um. It's a replay. I already know we won."

Maybe I was just running touchy that night. Perhaps? Just...geezus, the chance to meet SOMEONE in this city who can have an actual conversation about college football would be nice. Bonus points if it's with a male and he's single.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

The misogyny, and some women on women crimes, of the internet have been getting to me lately. It makes me want to shut it all down and never talk to anyone ever again (which, in fairness, I've actually sort of been doing). How can everyone be such assholes? It's amazing. And yet isn't.

I hate to whine about it because I don't know what to do about it. Whining alone seems unproductive and annoying to everyone, including me. But it started to occur to me that if I unfollowed anyone who made sexist comments I'd be left with nothing to follow on Twitter. If I stopped reading articles that made reference to women as sexual objects only or criticized women's looks as do many of the sports sites I read, I'd be left with a lot fewer things to read. (I'm actually about to bury myself in books because it's all become too much.) If I boycotted everything that called men "ladies" as an insult (the Deion Sanders DirectTV ads, for example) or relegated women to traditionally women's roles (Samsung commercial where women put up cute bear cub video to replace football game), I'd be left with nothing to purchase. And that made me angry. As this is my forum, I'll do the only thing I know how to do and write about it.

It started today when I read this by Frogs O'War. (It actually started today with a horrible customer service experience at Apple, but that's a different story...) I wanted to scream. But I try not to rage a 140 characters at a time because no one hears you. And besides, I'm just some harpy shrew who is upset she's not prettier. Or that's what the internets would shout back. But that article is infuriating. To sum up: Tom Brady is not manly for doing an ad for UGGS.

First off: screw anyone who knocks UGGS without owning a pair. I love mine. I won't even qualify that with "around the house". I do. I love my UGGS. Secondly, Tom Brady is a phenomenal athlete living a pretty damn good life. You married to a supermodel? No? Then your argument is invalid (even while that argument points to women as merely sex objects and part of the male fantasy. Ugh). How 'bout: are you a super bowl winning quarterback? No? THEN your argument is invalid. Lastly, I think it's genius for him to model for UGGS. He took something that he was being made fun of for and turned it into a marketing opportunity. And ably defended his actions. Because Tom Brady is not an idiot. (West Catholic Athletic League, represent!) He also knows who his demo is and part of his popularity is being hot and being Tom Brady and appealing to women. Women wear UGGS. Ergo, model UGGS.

Also: I take exception to that Y.A. Tittle would cry. Y.A. lives in the Bay Area. Not that it necessarily follows but that generally leads to a sort of open-mindedness not found elsewhere. He's also a businessman. I think he'd be all for Brady taking whatever business opportunity he could.

My second internet run-in was when I linked an article about one of the LSU women's soccer players taking snaps as a kicker for the football team. I actually got the link via a guy I follow on twitter who was all for it. A guy who is sometimes guilty of the misogynistic comments. But I found the article inspiring while dealing with my feelings of internet stabby-ness and so tweeted it. I was then shocked to get a response from someone who follows me, a female, that that would be a horrible idea. To quote: "all you need to do is look at what it did for CU Boulder's team to know it is a TERRIBLE IDEA and ruins football programs!!!" She was referencing the female kicker in 1999 at CU who was harassed and eventually left the team.

Now, I could make a LOT of comments about the bigger issues surrounding the University of Colorado at the time, that I think still reverberate in that program, but with a 140 characters I said that I hoped LSU would be more open minded, accepting, and nicer to a female on the team. Which so far it sounds like is the case but it's truly preliminary. Upon further reflection: I think the SEC is more concerned about winning than anything else and less concerned with what gender you are. At least I hope so.

This woman, who I do not follow and do not know, but is listed as a PR Professional and has many many followers to my not many, replied to me, "hmmm wishful thinking? girls and football? I'm a big advocate of girl power. Not when it comes to FOOTBALL"

You're kidding me, right? Maybe we should just go back to our place in the kitchen and raising babies too! Barefoot and pregnant forever, y'all! (Yes, I realize the ridiculousness in this argument and that it's one of those knee jerk responses that lacks actual logic but you're seriously kidding me with this shit, right?)

I am a Title IX kid. I was raised to believe that there was very little I am incapable of simply because I am female. I have a mother who does what is still considered a "man's" job. There were never any limits placed on me, at least not by those that truly love and support me. And there shouldn't be for any other women. You want to play football? You should get all the support you want. Science, math, engineering, languages, head of state, supermodel, professional athlete. Nothing should be off limits and no one should tell you otherwise. Never ever never. Not because of your race, gender, nation of origin. It's RIGHT EFFING THERE IN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

Fine, it was a document to secede from an oppressive British government but we still hold it near and dear. We still find it's truths to be self evident. It actually says that, self evident. Here: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Pursuit of happiness. There ya go. Whatever it is, you can pursue it. You aren't entitled to support, sure. But I freely give it. To all of you, to everyone. Climb mountains, sail seas, traverse canyons. DO IT. Break down barriers and cross borders. I hate to sound like a Hallmark card but good lawd am I so tired of people placing limits on other people, me included, with their words or actions. So to female kicker: more power to you. (And yes, I'm projecting a bit. The "no"s coming from those around me that I am hearing more than I would like and the limits I put perhaps unjustifiably, perhaps not, on myself getting to me more than I would like.)

Oh, and that same Y.A. Tittle that would cry at Tom Brady not being manly enough? He has something to say about women and sports, re: his daughter, who wrote a hero's ode to him in book form:

I'll tell you one thing. If girls played football, Dianne would be an All-American defensive end because of her tenacity and her vigor and her ambition and pursuit. She's just relentless, believe me. I can remember her playing soccer. She went after that ball so hard she didn't see nothin' but just that ball. One girl she kicked, she broke her shin guard.

Read more about Y.A. and his daughter here. (That article is old but really interesting and I am now gonna go pick up both his and her book. More on Y.A. here.) (It occurred to me as I read that, my grandfather, who had season tickets back when the 49ers played at Kezar, all the way to my aunt owning them still at Candlestick, likely knew Y.A. Grandpa is a legend in our family and I wish I could ask him these things, now that I'm a football fan, but he died when I was ten so I can't and that makes me sad. Stupid internet.) (Sorry for all the parens.) (Not really.)

Other Notes: The LSU soccer player in the article is on Twitter. I very rarely recommend following people but follow her because kick ass women make the world go round and she deserves your support.

The title of this post comes from the musical Annie Get Your Gun about the life of Annie Oakley. It's a song she sings. As I listened to it for this post, I remembered that Annie Oakley was the epitome of a kick ass female and the musical is based on the true love story she and fellow marksman, Frank Butler, of whom she surpassed in skill, had. He was never threatened by her ability and they have this amazing love story. Go read about her and him.

Quasi-related: A shock to exactly no one: I am stubborn. As such, my ex's love of Sports Night meant that I refused to revisit it, even though I have one of the worst memories ever and only hazy recall watching it when it was first on and had heard many good things about it since. But having run through every romcom available on the OnDemand, (the plot and dialogue of Something Borrowed is remarkably similar to a one act play I wrote in college and I need to do more fiction writing, apparently. Not that that means it was particularly good, but I could write stuff that I could make money on. In a fiction sense. Maybe. Should work on that...) I decided to revisit it. It is good. Like really good. A little dated, sure, but whip fast dialogue and well drawn characters and a reference to Harvey in episode 3 which makes me happy. And the strong female characters who are bosses and deal with men and like sports and aren't just girly a) give me hope and b) wish we had more examples of on TV.

I'm now cuddled up on my bed way too late with both dogs asleep at my side and feeling more content now that I got that out. More Sports Night it is...

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

LSU v Oregon

I've finally decided I need a job. This conclusion brought to you by a need to support my college football drinking habit. What a glorious first Saturday of the season!

I went to the new LSU bar because it is a bar I endorse even when it's not an LSU bar. It's chill, it's around the corner from my dad's work where I can park in police car only parking with impunity, and it turns out I made friends with the bartenders on my own BEFORE they found out who I was related to and started calling me my brother's sister/father's daughter.

I've sporadically over the years attended game watching at whatever the LSU bar was and it's always been a pretty anticlimactic event. Not enough lead time to know where it was, I'd already have other plans, the crowd skewed older and not that fun, the bars were in inconvenient locations, no one cheered loudly or had witty banter, not loud enough sound, no playing of the fight song...just all around failure to bring it. I preferred watching from the safety of my own couch with my own beverages instead of with a bunch of strangers who weren't very engaging. Which is surprising, considering Southerners are famously chatty and warm. All those opinions were changed with heading to North Star for a huge matchup with the Ducks to start the season.

I knew it would be fun when we walked in and while I waited to get a beer at the front of the bar, I end up standing next to a drunk guy with a Navy jersey on and a big giant academy ring on. The LSU bar also happens to be the Navy bar. I am so totally okay with this. I was wearing an LSU t-shirt with a small LSU written over the breast pocket. Navy alum stares intensely at it. Gay best friend points out loudly to Navy alum that he is staring at my breasts. He shrugs. I laugh uncomfortably, because that is what I do when I'm sober. But not wanting to miss an opportunity, I engage with said Navy alum and ask him a) how drunk he is, as I'm sure Navy played an early game (Answer: very). And b) who did Navy play? When he tells me Delaware I say, "Oh, the fighting blue hens." I, of course, get that look. Ya know, the look guys give me when they're shocked that any girl anywhere knows who the eff the mascot of the University of Delaware is. The shit in my brain...

I grabbed a seat at the table in the middle of the back of the bar. There was an LSU mom type next to me. She was in town helping her daughter move in. Her daughter had just moved here from D.C. and took a gig with eBay. Literally just moved in, as in doesn't even have cable in her apartment yet. They were amazingly fun and as I used to be the youngest LSU alum at bars, it was nice, and humbling, to be surrounded by people who graduated in 2008. My dad stopped by. My brother stopped by at halftime and I talked to him a bit out front, before talking to the Navy alum again. I was definitely feeling the effects of the on-special Abita. I cracked up the bar staff by referring to Abita Strawberry as child molester beer. Seriously, everyone loves that stuff. I don't know why. It tastes no different than Boone's Strawberry Farm. When Kathryn, Chuck, and I first had it in Louisiana we joked that it was the stuff child molesters used to lure little girls into their vans. When I told bar staff that, they laughed. (Yes, this is a horribly inappropriate joke. But seriously, it's a JOKE. Relax.)

I saw that 49 people had RSVP'd to game watching at the bar on our local chapter facebook page but I figured that was an inflated number and assumed the crowd would be a lot smaller, as it had been at past games I'd attended. Uh. I assumed wrong. I showed up a good half hour before kickoff and was lucky to procure a seat. Beth and Michael, non-football fans who joined me, were shocked at how crowded it was. They thought there'd be like 5 people. I think they were both a little overwhelmed. I have a natural inclination to make sure my friends are okay and having fun and comfortable but I had to let it go. I was there to watch football. We knew that was what was on the agenda. I wanted to have my fun and anyone that wasn't having fun could leave. I went out for a bit of air at half time and Beth had a smoke and she left then. I don't think she was upset or anything, it just wasn't really her scene. Her and Michael both mentioned liking having a couch to watch a game from. Those are fair comments. But for me? These are my people and this is my environment and talking to another girl that actually agrees when I say, "We need to get our defense off the field so they can rest" and knew the names of more players than I did was fantastic. 

Actually: I was wearing the bracelet that my mom got me for my birthday. I call it a fancy friendship bracelet. It's made with thread wrapped around silver and has a slide enclosure thing. It's in LSU colors, naturally. It kept coming loose every time I would clap and I was constantly fidgeting with it. Michael finally said, "Why don't you just take it off?" This was about halfway through the second quarter. I sort of just looked at him. The LSU mom looks at him and says, "She can't." It was the first time in FOREVER that someone just got it. Michael looked at her quizzically and she explained, "If she takes it off and they lose..." YES! That! Exactly that! It makes sense to someone other than me! I'm suddenly not alone with my insane superstitions. 

In fact, they were MORE superstitious than I am. I kept seeing not unattractive Oregon players and making comments as such. The girl said, "Stop saying that! It'd be like dating the enemy!" I told her I was old, and thus not picky, and it's not like Oregon is in our conference, I feel a lot less guilty about it. In typical fun fan banter, she disagreed and said it would be sacrilegious. She also has been in the Bay Area for about five minutes and has no idea how tough the football fan dating scene is. I should give her some time, she'll change her mind.

So we won. We beat Oregon. We beat the #3, ranked a place ahead of us, team in the country. It is nice to be the winner. I won't get all hyperbolic about it. I was ignoring all the "LSU to the BCS!" comments in the press following it because it's week one of the season and a lot can, and will, happen. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't pass through my brain that I should start looking at ticket futures and ask for a trip to New Orleans for my Christmas present. I won't. It's jinxy. But it crossed my mind. Speaking of jinxy! I also have a ticket to cash from Las Vegas. It is excellent when we win.

When my brother stopped by he said all the bars dedicated to teams were packed. And I explained that, yeah, of course they are. Your team is perfect on the first day of the season. So you're hopeful. And it's a great time to connect with other alumni. Though I never really left a one block area, I can imagine that everyone was spilling out of bars, celebrating victories or drowning defeats (sorry, Notre Dame fans). It was a glorious start to the season and I can't even explain accurately how great it was to start with a matchup that mattered, under the giant screens of Jerradome, with a win. I can't talk about the game, I need to re-watch it with a sober, non-distracted by bar going eye. What I do know for sure is that when Les Miles came out of the tunnel and wasn't sure where to go, I just thought, "That's about perfect. That is so totally our coach." In the post game he would spell "geaux" wrong. Which would then be reported wrong, his exact incorrect spelling. Regardless, shirts have already been printed up with his new spelling of geaux. I love everything about LSU football.

Dinner after with Michael and my dad, more drinking with Cheryl back at North Star where my dad came to visit with me while working and I met the owner, the bartenders through another bartender friend of my dad's and finally, after four meetings, the one bartender who I had made friends with earlier by, ya know, drinking a lot finally said "Oh! I know your brother! He was here earlier." Yeah. To see me. Have I ever mentioned how small this city is? No? I didn't think so. But it was fine. And fun.

And I get so many more weekends of it. (I have October 8th circled. Fleet week, Navy game at noon, Caps game at 3, LSU game at 5. Gonna be epic.) Giggity!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Irrational Fandom

I shouldn't write hungover. It sucks. Writing buzzed, on the other hand, leads to epic amazingness. At least until you're hungover and then it just kinda sucks too. It all sucks. Ah. Well. Like that'll stop me.

Since my last football post was sorta meh, at best, you get...MORE FOOTBALL!

Because frankly, that's all that occupies my mind lately. Football football football. My mom texted me today about doing something tomorrow and I almost texted back, "WHY DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOTBALL DAY?! LEAVE ME ALONE!" And then I remembered it was only Thursday, making tomorrow only Friday, and we could do what she wanted. My brain just wants to skip straight to Saturday. I feel like those old JC Penney commercials. "Open open open!"

I'm currently watching Murray State v. Louisville and it. is. glorious. It's a pavlovian response that I suddenly crave whiskey and coke as soon as I see the players running across the football field and hear a marching band. It helps that SF weather kicked in to that feel that my college campus had in the fall. Fog is clearing up and warmth in the air. Which is also a double edged sword: weather finally gets nice just as I plan to spend the next 12 Saturdays parked in front of a TV, usually in a crowded and dark bar somewhere. Ah, well, choices need to be made. I choose football. I'm actually not dedicating my Thursday night to these games. I wasn't that excited about them, honestly. College football is on Saturdays, dammit! Or so says my thirteen years of fandom. But I started watching and I was enthralled. However, I have other plans for tonight so a little Louisville is all I'll see. I'll save the good stuff for Saturday.

My aunt understands. I linked to my favorite LSU pump-up video on the facebook. She called the house earlier and I answered, which is rare. She said, "Are you excited?" Me, "Yeeeesss!" She mentioned seeing my "silly link on that facebook thing, that I don't understand why it shows me some stuff and not others." Old people are cute! (I'm joking, she's not that old.)

I also had her arrange the entire 3 day weekend around football. Every year my family, on the long weekends in the summer, heads to the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa. It's this spectacularly wonderful and cheesy 60s throw back hotel. But mostly it has a huge pool and all my little cousins can swim and frolic in the sun, something SF has a decided lack of during the summer months. On one day of the weekend, we head up there to hang out with them and then go to dinner at Negri's Restaurant. It's a place my grandparents used to go when they were dating. And we, as a family, have been going ever since. Four generations of us have trekked to Occidental to have a family style meal in a town with no cell service. I didn't go Memorial Day weekend and I don't think anyone went 4th of July weekend. But I really wanted to go for Labor Day so a few weeks ago I told my mom, "I know it's early but can you ask Jeanne to do dinner on Sunday night instead of Saturday so I don't have to miss football?" My mom says okay.

But here's the "I must be adopted" thing: My mom comes back to me a few weeks after that and says, "Do you just want to go up on Saturday anyway and you can watch football and we can spend the night?" Now, normally if my mom wants to do something, I acquiesce. I mean, sure, why not? But we've gone up there before on Labor Day weekend with assurances I could watch football and it never works out. Never. They SAY I can watch football but I can't really. They don't understand that it's a 16 hour all day affair where I park myself in front of the TV and don't move, the focus of all my attention. Everyone comes in and out of the hotel room and asks why I'm not outside. Or they tell me to keep it down as I scream at the TV because some toddler or old person is taking a nap. Yeah. No. LSU is actually playing a major matchup on opening weekend, not some cake game. You people are not distracting me or telling me to stop yelling or "Geez Lisa drink less beer!" So no, I won't go up on Saturday instead, sorry.

There is a reason people who love something sporting are called fanatics. It's not driven by sanity but by fanaticism. Come Saturday I will don an LSU shirt, purple and gold socks, earrings, make-up...you get the idea. Head to toe. I'm already having a minor crisis because I'm not sure I want to put purple shellack on my fingers but I'm worried if I don't, it'll affect the play of my team. WHAT DO I DO?! Cotton candy pink that looks good with my tan or purple? (The answer is purple. I have to go with purple. If I don't and we lost...)

When I was sitting in that room full of sports bloggers in Las Vegas, they brought up the LSU/Tennessee game. I told them I was terrified of Tennessee. On paper, UT is an inferior team. We should beat them. Some would even conjecture we should do so handily. When I said I was afraid of them, all these smart, educated on sports types looked at me like I was crazy. Since I'm a fanatic, yes, I'm a little crazy. This is how the LSU/UT game ended last year. I fully expect no one in Knoxville for the next 100 years is gonna forget that. I also then figure that because of that, UT will use it as fuel and try to beat the hell out of us. Is this rational? Nope. Should it be? Nope. I can't rationally discuss my team. Facts and logic play very little into it. Which, I think it's fair to say, is a departure from my norm. But. This is what it means to me to be an LSU fan.

I am not the delusional optimist kind of fan. You will not hear me talking too much smack before a game. I will likely never yell at an opposing fan, "We're gonna beat the hell out of you!" My taunts are far more generic. Usually just, "Tiger bait! Tiger bait!" (Which in the South really sounds more like "Tiiigahhhh beeeeeet!") Or I will make fun of your mascot. Right now my taunts involve how many different ways you can prepare duck (peking, flambe, confit, roasted...) It is a tradition to come up with some way to serve your opponent while tailgating. LSU plays the Arkansas Razorbacks the day after Thanksgiving. Whole roasted suckling pigs are a tailgating staple that weekend. (I miss Louisiana.)

Back to my fanaticism: we can be playing some cupcake team and I will thoroughly believe we are gonna get our asses kicked. This is the problem with becoming a fan when your team sucks (the DiNardo era) and then watching Les Miles be batshit crazy (though I truly don't believe that. I think he's smart and plays dumb. Or people underestimate him. Or...something). Nick Saban, the coach in the middle, is also notoriously tight lipped and pessimistic about a team. Most coaches are. The respect the opponent line. The never underestimate anyone. The "we play week to week and don't look ahead". I buy it. We lost to UAB when I was at LSU. We lost to the University of Houston. And, really, if you don't know by now, my nature is to fear the jinx and always always expect bad things to happen so it should be no surprise I feel that way about my team. I hope. I have faith. I will wear all the school colors that I can because I, in San Francisco, have some determinable effect on the outcome of the game. But expect a win? Not on your life.

I look forward to Saturday. I look forward to once again hearing the opening chords of pregame and having the hairs on my arms stand up. I look forward to my team taking the field in their white jerseys and gold pants. I will dream all season long of hanging out at tailgates on warm South Louisiana afternoons, waiting for the sun to find its home in the Western sky and my team to run through the tunnel. I'll know that before the team takes the field, the band will play "Hey Baby". I know the cheers for first, second, and third down (I hate Eye of the Tiger and wish we would go back to that other third down cheer). I know that the defensive cheer is the horribly named, but awesomely played, Chinese Bandits.

I'll think of Chuck laughing at Kathryn asking him if the shirt was "too purple" while standing in the LSU bookstore, of Jamie and I rolling our eyes at the idiot girl one of our guy friends brought into the student section who asked who Steve Spurrier was when we were cursing him, and of endless other fall Saturdays where we snuck whiskey into a dry stadium in plastic baggies shoved in our bras.

So really, it's not JUST a game. It's a way of life.