> Snow Part Deux

Hey all...

Sorry about the delay in this post... "Tommorow" ended up getting stretched to a week somehow. Anyway...

Snow... what a wonderful thing.


The first pic is my backyard. We have a nice Sanford & Son thing going on back there with the couches, we hope to upgrade to a Drew Carey-style pool table soon.

The second pic was taken from my front window - do you see how my neighbors park? They dig out a spot when it's bad, then put furniture and crap in the way so no one else parks there. Which is fine, I can understand the work they did and they don't want some jackass taking their spot afterward. What pisses me off is that they keep doing it, even after the snow has melted. See that cone there? That's a police officer's spot. He's made it "official". That man is possibly the most selfish person I've ever encountered, but I'm not going to get into that now. I'll possibly have a full docu-post on him later (and if he ever finds this post or these pictures - tough luck, you park in public... maybe you should of thought of that before you started being an ass).


As you can see from these next pics, we were visited by aliens, who made a snow-circle. I'm sure they would have made a crop-circle, but we're not growing corn in the city these days, unfortunately. Maybe they'll visit us again soon... *X-Files music*... The second pic is the same, without a flash... Could swear I saw some green men in that alley.

It's half-melted now, our fourth major snowfall this year (I think). Slower to melt than the last arctic breeze that ran through this town.

When I was a kid, snow was everything. It meant fun, something new, and most importantly, school was out.

Some of my favorite snow memories of course included sledding. I was lucky enough to live right next to our neighborhood sledding hill at the time - a big, smooth hill with plenty of deceleration time before you hit the wall of trees (though one time I actually managed to clear all of the trees and land in the creek - neighborhood hero for a day).

The most dangerous hill I've ever sledded had to be the golf course... We stepped through the barbwire and "No Sledding" signs, walked for about a half-mile, and found the steepest hill, like, evar. Climbing it was a bitch - I swear the air was getting thinner. When we got to the top we all looked down and said, "No Way". But someone had to do it, right? First guy that went off hit a tree. Second one, a girl, passed the course but wiped-out really bad at the end. My turn. I grabbed my Sno-Tube and leaped... I've been in a lot of roller coasters and a lot of fast cars, but nothing compared to the sense of speed I got from that. My stomach dropped, my eyes watered, and I hung on for my precious life - then was welcomed to a shattering flurry of snow and a rush of speed... Somehow, I made it to the bottom without hitting a single tree. It took me five minutes to recover and disengage myself from the drift I landed in, but it was totally worth it. Then we all went up the hill to try it again.

At that time, we lived in a cul-de-sac at the bottom of another steep hill, even higher than that sledding hill (and even higher ones beyond that - part of the famous Cahokia Indian Mounds, I believe - we used to find tons of arrowheads up there). I used to ride my bike full speed down the street and almost always wiped out (I had some incredible "strawberries" on my legs much of my childhood). In the back of the houses though was the same steepness, complete with hills (we also rode our bikes down that... which eventually resulted in the first time I was ever knocked unconscious). One year, the whole neighborhood got together and basically built a massive race track in the snow through all of the backyards. We poured hot water on sculpted snow to create hairpin turns and guides... it was crazy. My dad tried taking this huge Beta-tape videocamera on the sled to record it the run (didn't work out too well, though he gave a valiant effort). The neighbors were so cool that they turned on all the backyard lights so we could keep sledding through the night.

My favorite snow memory though had to be the "Mad Max" experience. My parents had bought a brand-spanking new house, so there was plenty of construction going on in the neighborhood below us (as in altitude), new houses and streets. One of the old cut-off streets led exactly to my backyard (I get the best luck in sledding), and that street went about 100 yards to a major street with heavy traffic. That winter was especially icy - everything was glossed over in a hard, unforgiving sheen, on top of the snow. So all the kids gathered to try out this new, incredible track. It started out nice and civilized at first... couple of kids sliding down and almost riding right out into that street, then climbing up and telling us we had to try it. After that, it got ugly. We started at the top, said go, and dropped our sleds - after that, it was everyone for themselves. Absolute war broke out once we got going - snowballs, kicks and punches, anything goes. Not to mention we all had to brake hard before we hit that street and started dancing with traffic. I distinctly remember kicking my sister's sled and watching her go straight down into a sewer ditch and absolutely slamming into the pipe in a tremendous snow-spray (still feel bad about that - sorry sis). There's nothing quite like rushing down a hill, actually standing up, and doing battle with the people around you. Good times.

So those are most of my snow stories, hope you liked them.

On to other things...

God, I don't know about everyone else, but I've been tremendously stressed-out lately. Things have just gone so badly for me lately, and it all seems to be coming to a head. I've been working really hard to get everything under control, but it always seems to blow up in my face. But I haven't given up yet, gonna keep pushing.

Man, life can suck sometimes.

Anyway, back to some fun... A couple of artists I would like to give my props to...

Beck - He is both one of the most overrated and underrated artists out there. Most of us got know him from "Loser" years back... But his accomplishments since then have been nothing short of extraordinary. His album "Midnight Vultures" is simply a masterpiece, a wonderful mix of funk, crazy-ass lyrics, hypnotizing sounds, and impeccable rhythm. "Sea Change" was a radical seperation from his old style - a long, slow rant about his breakup with his girlfriend - and one of the most depressing, beautiful things I've ever heard. His style of blending total funk with total dorkness never ceases to amaze me:

"I got nothing to do, nowhere to go
I'll tell you what you want
If you want to know
Satin sheets
Tropical oils
Turn up the heat
Till the swimming pool boils
Let all the neighbors
Read it in the papers
Making all those gentlemen cry
Realistic tears"
- Hollywood Freaks

Ludacris - I love Ludacris. Hip-hop isn't really my thing, but, like all music, if it's good, I can appreciate and get into it. Dr. Dre, Cypress, NWA (especially Eazy-E), De La Soul, Biggie Smalls, 2 Live Crew, Beastie Boys, The Fugees... and more recently Snoop, Eminem, and Black-Eyed Peas (not to mention the really old skool guys like Grandmaster Flash, The Sugar Hill Gang, Eric B. & Rakim, and Kurtis Blow)... all of them are incredible, creative musicians that I really respect and love.

Which really makes me unhappy about the whole scene - what happened to the great ones? When did rap and hip-hop become such trash, all about the bling-bling and that crap. It used to be about a expressing a message, saying the way you feel about life and society, and screw everyone else (not unlike early rock 'n roll). Now it's all about partying, ass, and money (don't get me wrong, I love all those things, but c'mon...). They made it big and now they cow-tow to the record companies and make it all about stupid crap - a whole industry has spawned out of this garbage. What the hell happened?

Most hip-hop artists today should be ashamed of themselves. They are making a mockery of the roots they came from (sorta like the Fat Boys did - they were fun, but it all ended up being a commercial stunt). At the same time, this is the situation, and there's not much we can do about it. With that in mind, there are a few artists that work with it and inject their own style and creativity into it. Lil John is one of them - he's all about that bullshit, but he is talented, and has fun with it (Yeeeaayaahh!!!). Ludacris is another - he has fun with his music. He's talented, creative, has a great voice, and above all funny as hell. He's of course not in the same league as some of the people I just named, but he's fun - and hey, we all have to lighten up sometime, right?

"Rollout" is still one of the funniest songs I've ever heard, and it strikes me as a funny commentary on the whole situation I was just talking about. His new single, "Get Back" is just as funny, over-the-top, and an intelligent commentary about the world him. The video is especially hilarious - complete with Popeye forearms and a crew of fat girls... simply awesome. It's hard to give an example of his lyrics without putting the entire song up, but here's a taste:

"Now where'd you get that platinum chain with them diamonds in it?
Where'd you get that matchin Benz with them windows tinted?
Who them girls you be with when you be ridin through?
Man I ain't got nothin to prove, I paid my dues
Breakin the rules, I shake fools while I'm takin 'em, whooooo!"
- Roll Out

"HEY! You want what wit me?!
I'm a tell you one time, don't *Fark* wit me!
GET DOWN! Cause I ain't got nothing to lose
I'm having a bad day, don't make me take it out on you!"
- Get Back

Oh, and monkey-boy made a speech tonight. Pretty soon he'll be fashioning tools and making rudimentary weapons.