My 2013-14 NBA Adventures

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The 2013-14 NBA season was incredibly bittersweet for me, as I knew it would be from the start. At the time, I was planning on moving back to Florida in mid-December. While I knew I had to leave Charlotte, the Queen City provided me the first real opportunity to view an NBA season up close and personal. I hated to have to give this up, but life goes on.

Even though I was still living in Charlotte, I was also scheduled to visit some family and friends in Indiana at the end of October. This trip just happened to coincide with the Pacers home season opener. I most certainly wasn’t going to complain.

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Public transportation, empty 40’s, and a tale of “WHO WON DA CIVIL WAR?”

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I’ve had my same 2005 Corolla for over 3 years now. Simple, practical, often dirty…yet distinctly mine.

But for some reason, I never took it to a single Bobcats game during the 3 years I lived in Charlotte (and trust me, I went to A TON of them).

Initially, I claimed it was a matter of convenience. Yes, it was nice to be dropped off in front of the arena. Yes, I saved a single dollar every trip. But I think there was also something else about the little rides that I enjoyed. There was some sort of naturally bonding element on those train cars. Often, I shared exchanges with fellow passengers where neither of us uttered a single word.

On one particular ride, I entered into a silent exhibition with a small group of well-dressed professionals. Seated at opposite corners, our assembly quietly performed a dance of sorts. Using nothing but our feet, the four of us sat there, dodging an empty 40 as it rolled back and forth between us with each stop.

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Craigslist and the Art of Escaping Death Pt. 2

Has anyone actually experienced a peaceful transaction on Craigslist?

Fresh off the heels of another “successful” Craigslist transaction, I’m back to present you with another round of awkward excursions into the dark.

Seeing as this is the second time I’ve written about Craigslist, you might assume that I’m on there all the time. But to be honest, I might use the site 3 or 4 times a year.

So where do all of the awkward stories come from?

If you’ve never used the site before, you must understand one thing: there is no such thing as a smooth transaction. All Craigslist transactions are incredibly awkward.

Let me start with an example from earlier this afternoon.

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Craigslist and the Art of Escaping Death

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Several days ago, I came out of retirement and completed yet another successful Craigslist transaction. Yes, five years after my “maiden voyage,” I’m proud to say that I’m still alive (read that line in Eddie Vedder’s voice please).

Theoretically, if everything went according to plan, this really wouldn’t be all that big of a deal. You post about your new/used goods, arrange a simple meeting, and make the exchange. And everything should work in theory.

But it has NEVER. BEEN. THAT. SIMPLE.

Allow me to explain.

While many websites typically offer digital badges, gold stars, and various other miscellaneous incentives for completing transactions, the rewarding part of Craigslist can be explained with one word: ESCAPE.

In other words, somehow you weren’t brutally murdered while hawking your used electronics behind the Taco cart in a CVS parking lot. And for that you should feel proud.

After my latest transaction, I know I’ve still got it; I still feel like some sort of fancy escape artist.

There was, however, a time when my escapes were perhaps narrower than they should’ve been.

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My 2012-13 NBA Adventures (Regular Season)

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Several months ago I chronicled the ups and downs of owning season tickets for my local team, the Charlotte Bobcats. Not surprisingly, that adventure proved to be taxing at times, so I’m thankful I was able to experience the NBA on the road some as well. Additionally, a few years ago I pledged to try and visit a new arena every season, and once again, I was successful in doing so.

While I had already been attending games in Charlotte, the real fun started on a birthday trip to Florida in December. This trip marked the first time I attended two games in two different arenas on back to back nights.

The first night of the trip brought my group of friends to the Amway Center, an arena I’ve become very familiar with. In fact, the memory of two costumed iterations of Stuff (the Magic mascot) skillfully cornering me in the main lobby during the previous year’s playoffs were still etched in my mind. But on this night my allegiances were somewhat neutral, so there was no need for that tomfoolery again.stuff_big

Seriously, don’t touch me again.
Cheap Philly Phanatic rip-off.

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iPod Syncing: the Summer of Scott Stapp

I think it’s safe to say that everyone reading this blog is probably familiar with the phrase, “I have a song stuck in my head.” While these songs in bondage are occasionally hand-selected, more often than not I find that they’re not of one’s own choosing. But what I’m really starting to discover (thanks in part to Mister M’s Munching Mouth song)… is the enduring latency of some particular tunes.

Case in point:

Earlier this week, as I was exiting my front door, I was compelled to start whistling a little tune  – a blatant deviation from my normal workday routine. I went along with it, however, because the moment felt right.

But just like every other precious moment of bliss, this one was short lived, and I eventually recognized the words that normally accompanied the melody emitting from my face-hole.

“Welcome to this place, I’ll show you every-thing…”

CUSS, I’M WHISTLING. AND I’M WHISTLING A CREED SONG. FULL BODY SHIVER.

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Letter People Land: A Tale of Looking and Lamenting

Earlier this week, one of my good friends informed me that she would be teaching kindergarten for the first time starting this year. This eventually led to a discussion regarding the different methods of teaching younger kids how to read.

So I nonchalantly mentioned the Letter People.

“The who?”

Good. Lord.

I shrugged the incident off. But I still feel like I owe her some sort of explanation.

With that being said…UVO, take me back to 1993.

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Fear and Loathing in Charlotte: My Bobcats Season Tickets

Several years ago I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the NBA’s Bobcats. While my favorite team has always been the Indiana Pacers, living in the city quickly proved to be ideal because I could see most teams come through at a great price. After getting settled at the start of 2011, I anticipated catching an occasional game, but the season ended up being shortened by the NBA lockout. Eventually, basketball would commence and the Bobkitties achieved the status of being the worst team in NBA history (percentage-wise) with a record of 7-59. If I had to summarize that season in around 30 seconds it would look something like this:

Now up to this point I had never owned season tickets for pro basketball, and I didn’t see this changing anytime soon. But the Bobcats marketing department took a chance and created a deal that seemed too good to pass up: the “Pick the Pick” promo.

“Come see the Bobcats,” they said.

“It’ll be fun,” they said.

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Extra Info – Did Drysdale Really Carry a Tape of Kennedy’s Speech?

In my most recent posting, I was able share the story of a tumultuous week from June of 1968. During this short timeframe, the citizens of Los Angeles saw their star pitcher, Don Drysdale, break a Major League record for consecutive shutouts. Later in the same day, they shifted their focus to the California Democratic Primary, where Senator Robert F. Kennedy edged out his opponent Eugene McCarthy by a mere 4%. However, shortly after mentioning Drysdale’s record in his victory speech, Kennedy was shot and killed in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. After this unexpected turn of events, the city would once again turn to Drysdale to help cope with disaster, and he obliged by breaking baseball’s consecutive scoreless innings record several days later.

While the real meat and potatoes of the story had already been told, I was also curious about a story I kept seeing referred to on the Internet regarding Drysdale and a tape of Kennedy’s last speech.

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Robert Kennedy, Don Drysdale, and a Tumultuous Week in ’68

Growing up, I noticed mostly floral arrangements or generic paintings hanging on the walls at my friends’ houses. On the contrary, my family’s living quarters housed a framed newspaper announcing the death of President Kennedy. Looking back, I recognize the decor might have been a bit abnormal, but I honestly never thought anything of it. My mother was eleven years old when the tragedy occurred, and she still recalls the events of November 22, 1963 with an incredible clarity. The day obviously had a significant impact on her even at such a young age.

Only five short years later, my parents’ generation was once again reminded of ’63, as they were forced to endure the gruesome murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, only 63 days apart. What this generation did not realize, however, was that America’s favorite pastime could possibly provide some source of present healing for a city and a nation that were very much in shock.

As I write this in 2013, I hope to bring some light to this tumultuous week from June of 1968. You see, 45 years ago this week, Los Angeles was not only subjected to the tragic murder of yet another Kennedy brother, but they were also treated by the majesty of Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, most assuredly as a sign of hope, a sign of better things to come.

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