Pages

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Songs of the South 1--The '86 Sugar Vols and a Handshake That Wasn't

Few fans can attribute their love of a football team to a single moment. I can. 

Don't get me wrong--I grew up in a Tennesssee Volunteers family. My father, uncles, cousins, and grandfather all were Vols fans. When I was little, I learned to love the game of football. Being the only little girl in a room full of guys rooting for one team brought said little girl advantages--like staying up late so I could see the end of the game and lots of junk food. When I reached high school, of course, I had other priorities--school, books, and boys. But I always kept track of how UT was doing, and in the late 70s/early 80s things weren't exactly top of the line for the Vols. 

When I graduated high school and went to college, my interest in football began to shift. My freshman year, I started to follow the Vols more closely, heading to Knoxville several times for games. So when the 1985 Tennessee Volunteers were rewarded for their 8-1-2 record with an SEC championship and a trip to the Sugar Bowl against Miami, I was pretty excited. So I went to a fraternity's bowl party on campus, where I was pretty much the only girl who had any interest in the game at all. Most of the guys there were pals of mine, and they all thought I was the coolest girl on the planet because I not only understood the game, but knew the players' names and could spout off stats with the same ease that I could roll out answers in my political science classes or immediately find the right piece of evidence to refute my opposition's claims in a debate tournament. 

No one really gave UT much of a chance in that game. Everyone was pretty darn sure that Miami, under that ultra-arrogant Jimmy Johnson, was going to slaughter the Vols. There had been a lot of smack talking out of Florida in the few weeks before the game. Johnson, in fact, had made it pretty well known that he didn't consider the Vols a worthy opponent. Instead of talking about the bowl game his team was in, he spent his pressers talking about Penn State and the Orange bowl and how Miami had beaten Oklahoma and were obviously the best team in the nation. Unquestioningly number one. When Vinny Testaverde followed up with a warning that if UT tried to rely on the blitz they'd get burned, I'd thought that was a spectacularly stupid thing to say. UT had beat Auburn with Bo Jackson on the team. Obviously, we had a good defense. As a matter of fact, the 1985 season had been a spectacular year defensively. Our defense was nicknamed the "orange crush" and had held the last seven teams we'd played to a total of four touchdowns. Four. So after I'd read that comment by the Miami QB, I took a great deal of pleasure in telling all my football buddies that 'testaverde' meant 'green balls' in Latin--which is almost but not quite accurate. 

So there we were, preparing to watch UT's biggest bowl game in years. It being a frat house, the keg was already tapped, lots of bags of chips were being opened, girls were giggling and guys doing their pre-game 'remember this play' argument. The Sugar Bowl came up on the TV and we all cheered, because even from the Goodyear blimp it was obvious that UT had won the battle of the stadium at least. The cameras went to the center of the field for the coin toss, and our captains extended their hands for the pre-game shake. 

And the Miami captains ignored them. 

At first I couldn't believe it. They were refusing to shake hands? Seriously? At the biggest game of the year, in front of a national audience? They left our captains' hands hanging in mid-air, turned their backs, and walked away in a performance of such contempt and with such a complete lack of sportsmanship and respect that the entire frat house fell silent.  Our captains exchanged looks and turned for their own sideline. As they walked back to their team, one of the captains--I think it was Chris White--kind of squared his shoulders and stiffened his spine. Just that small change of posture was electrifying--and contagious. Because it was like a ripple on the sideline. The team stood straighter, their faces were grimmer, and their eyes were narrowed.

It electrified the frat party too. All of a sudden, the game wasn't just something fun to watch while you got drunk. Suddenly, it was an insult against all of us, against everybody in the entire state of Tennessee. Jimmy Johnson and his Hurricanes thought that the Vols were beneath them, not even worth the most rudimentary courtesy demanded by good sportsmanship. In that moment, our focus on the game shifted from anticipatory to hatred. Make no mistake about it, we were all invested in the Vols from that moment on. All the snide little comments by their coach and QB were forgotten in the absolute and unrelenting hatred we now felt for all the Hurricanes. 

And, of course, Miami took the opening kickoff and marched straight down the field to score a TD a few plays later. 

But then something miraculous happened. The Volunteers started to massacre the Hurricanes. The Orange Crush took control of the game, forcing Testaverde to gnaw on turf for the rest of the game. (Now his nose and chin were as green as his balls). Our offense started the run the ball down their throats. We sacked Testaverde seven times for a combined loss of 84 yards. Five of those sacks were in the third quarter alone, and three of those sacks resulted in fumbles that we recovered and turned into points. Add in an interception, and I'm sure Testaverde regretted his comment about how blitzing him would result in the Orange Crush getting burned.  The only thing that was getting burned at that point was his season stats. And even though Penn State did end up losing in the Orange Bowl, there was no chance of Miami ending up as the undisputed national champion. Not when they lost 35-7 to a Tennessee Volunteer team too unworthy to shake hands with their oh-so-elite team. 

It wasn't until football season cranked back up in the fall of 1986 that I realized my feeling for the UT Vols had changed. The "Sugar Vols" as we fondly call the 85-86 team had jarred me from my mild enjoyment of the game to a full-out passion, not only for the sport but for the Volunteers as well.  That moment with our three captains extending their hands and being ignored was seared into my memory. It lingers there still, as an insult that will never be forgotten and one that must be avenged, forever. I'm not sure any other team since has refused to shake hands before the game. I'm reasonably positive no other coach was as arrogant as that turnip-headed Jimmy Johnson in creating an environment where that kind of behavior would be considered acceptable. I did go to the UT-Miami game in Neyland two decades later, though, and watched Miami players practicing their chest bumps in the end zone instead of warming up. The next year was Kellen Winslow's idiotic comment about "We're soldiers"--so maybe there's just something about "the U" that bakes players' brains into some kind of vacuous arrogance. 

But one thing is certain. Since that night where my Volunteers taught Jimmy Johnson, Vinny Testaverde, and all the Miami Hurricanes a lesson on courtesy, sportsmanship, and the advantages of an 8 or 9 man rush against an overly cocky QB, they have been MY Volunteers, MY college team in all sports, MY lodestone exactly THIRTY seasons later, as I sit here impatiently waiting for the 2015-2016 season. Football is so different now, and yet that one thing remains, unchanging and unchangeable. I am a Tennessee Volunteer--a Vol for life, and the Sugar Vols of 1985-86 are the reason my feet were set upon that path.  

Celina's note: This is, I hope, the first story in a series of blog posts about college football and its fans, particularly from the SEC. I'm calling the series Songs of the South, and I'm  kind of fidgeting around with an idea beyond the blog involving these Songs. If you have a Song story you'd like to share, drop me a line at kaantira( at @)hotmail.com, and if your tale has the kind of story I'm looking for I may just add it to the Songbook. 

For more reading on the 1985-85 Sugar Vols and the Sugar Bowl, check these links out: 
http://www.allstatesugarbowl.org/site316.php
http://www.allstatesugarbowl.org/site106.php
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/sports/preps/story/2013/jul/26/whites-ut-career-has-sweet-end/114310/
http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/02/sports/sugar-bowl-miami-surprised-by-tennessee-35-7.html
http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/120514aac.html


Seasonal Song of the South: SEC Football and its Fans

So, I've been thinking...

Whenever I started out with those four words in a business meeting, all the other directors and senior staff members would groan and try to hide. Hard to do that in an online meeting, though, so they always had to suffer through it. 

So, I've been thinking...about following up on the FAN vs FANATIC post of a few days ago. 

Growing up in the deep South as I did, the beginning of football season kicks off a string of highly looked-forward-to events that seem to escalate the rate of time. For me it goes like this*: 

Football season starts-UT's first game-Labor Day-UT-Oklahoma game-the Florida game-trip to Neyland Stadium to watch the UT-Arkansas game-leaves change colors-UT/GA game-my birthday-my granddaughter Rori's birthday-my husband's birthday-Alabama week-Halloween (UT/UK game in Lexington. May hit that too)-sweater weather-countdown to championship week-Christmas shopping-Thanksgiving-Army/Navy game-Vandy beatdown-SEC Championship-put up the tree-Christmas-New Year's-bowl game-NFL playoffs-championship game-NFL championship games-Super Bowl-Valentine's Day.

*some events are interchangeable depending on when games are scheduled. This represents my list for this year, 2015

Then you get a break until it's getting close to March Madness time. 

While that may sound kind of odd to some of my writer friends, or other folks who really don't like or care about NCAA football, to my friends down South--and especially the ones who, like me, really enjoy the Paul Finebaum Show and SEC football--it sounds perfectly normal. I think we all gauge our seasons that way. And while my Song of the South is hardcore University of Tennessee Orange and White (God's team--why, you ask? Because God loves to hear "Rocky Top"), there are equally fascinating and important stories from my friends who (wrongly) bleed crimson, yell "WAR DAMN EAGLE!!" or "WOO PIG SOOIE!"(misguided), or feel their team is disrespected by the rest of the SEC (looking at you Mizzou). 

So I've been thinking. The incredibly fascinating range of stories that make up this seasonal Song of the South would make for a fun series of blog posts. I've extended an invitation to my fellow Finebaum callers/Twitter moguls to tell me their stories about why they love their teams. What made them Vols For Life, or Bammers? What made them love LSU so much that they misspell 'go' by intentionally substituting "e-a-u-x" for the "o"? (Geaux Tigers! Cracks me up every time I see it)  For every true college football fan is that moment of origin, the split second that took them from fan to fanatic. Living in Ohio, I have learned that while Ohio State fans are equally loud and just as annoying and unrealistic as the worst fans of SEC teams, their loyalty to the Buckeyes seems to be genetically imprinted upon them in utero. For some reason, folks up here love their Buckeyes because they're supposed to. Back home, fans learn to love their team--sometimes outraging whole generations of their family if they learn to love the WRONG SEC team. For example--Alabama/Auburn fans. Two great schools, two storied football programs only 160 miles apart. It is not unheard of for a kid of Alabama parents to almost literally fall in love with Auburn--either as an act of teenage defiance or just because they watch the right game at the right time. Fistfights start at weddings if someone utters "Roll Tide" at the wrong moment. 

And don't get me started on trees. 

So I'm going to compile this Song of the South. After all I am a writer, and the only thing I love more than hearing a good story is the opportunity to tell one. And if nothing else, I'll get to hear all those great stories. 

What? Football season is only 14 days away! I have to do something to pass the time, and Rocky Top only has two verses.

And who can resist a team with an entrance like this?





Only fourteen more days until the Song of the South starts for my Volunteers.

Wish that I was on ole Rocky Top
Down in the Tennessee hills.
Ain't no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top
Ain't no telephone bills...

"Rocky Top":lyrics by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, 1967
first released by Osbourne Brothers, 1967





















































Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FANdom, FANaticism and Kiss My FANny

So today I got into a Twitter war. 

Yeah, I know. Big shocker. I usually try really really hard to avoid those, mostly because words are the primary tools of my trade. Getting into a squabble with a Twitter troll is really wrong of me. It's the equivalent of Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson squaring up in the ring with Pee Wee Herman--the audience knows Pee Wee is horrifically outmatched, but just cannot turn away from the carnage. 

Like taking an Uzi to a paintball game.

At any rate, what started the fight was an argument over what constitutes a fan. A guy who roots for Florida during football season and Duke during basketball season instigated the event, and even though I used small words and tried to type slowly he chose to ignore the point I was trying to make.

To me, there's a lot of difference between a FAN and a FANATIC, even though the first term evolved from the second. For example--

I am a University of Tennessee FAN. I have always been a UT FAN--one of my earliest memories is watching football with my dads and uncles and cousins during some holiday at my grandparents' house. I have only ever rooted for UT, no matter the sport. When I was a teenager, our football program was being rebuilt and our basketball team, frankly, sucked, but I only ever pulled for the Vols. In my adult life, I have never worn another school's colors. While I will watch and pull for a team in a non-UT game, I've never rooted against UT because I liked another team better during that sport's season. When Tennessee was abysmal, I never wavered. The first song I sang to my babies and my daughters' babies? Rocky Top. I have several orange and white cats. Their names? Tennessee, Volunteer, Rocky...and Caesar. (Always have to have one oddball.)Rocky has a little sister who's gray. Her name? Smoky. And even though orange is absolutely NOT my color, I have UT shirts, fleeces, jackets, sweats, scarves, hats, gloves, ball caps, purses, travel bag, billfolds (two of them, both with grass and hedge leaves from Neyland), big fleece blanket, ice cooler, pitcher and cups set,light switch plates, rear view mirror block T, seat covers, flag, and innumerable Smokey stuffed dogs in this house. My daughter's twins just turned one. Before they were born, my son-in-law and I made an agreement--he gets one twin for UK basketball stardom and I get the other for UT football. And to top it all off, every single flower in my flower beds and garden is ORANGE. Not pink, or white, or lavender, or red, or blue, or purple. ORANGE.

Suffice it to say I am a Vol for life. Why is that? Because I am a FAN of UT. Being a good FAN is a full time job during the fall and winter. Especially from November-January, when football and basketball are both going on along with other less-visible but equally important sports. And if we lived closer than eight hours away, I'd have season tickets for Neyland Stadium.

So here's my question that caused such a ruckus today on Twitter: is it possible for someone to be a FAN of one school for football and a totally different school for basketball?

Obviously, some have extenuating circumstances. For example, I didn't go to UT; I went to Austin Peay State University, which is the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts in the state of Tennessee. I had a full scholarship at APSU, and when I was competing (I was a state and regional champion in public speaking, and placed at nationals several years which is yet another reason I shouldn't get into twitter wars with the debatorially challenged), I wore the school colors. APSU is my alma mater. But I can count the number of athletic events I went to at Austin Peay on one hand, although even then I was making 3-4 trips to Neyland Stadium each fall. Even then I was a UT FAN.

Then there's the Manning family dilemma. Archie Manning, father of Peyton and Eli, was a beloved Ole Miss quarterback. When Peyton was QB for the Vols, Archie would show up for the games--but I don't EVER remember him donning orange and white. He was rooting for the Vols because his son played for them, but he was  ALWAYS an Ole Miss Rebel.

This guy on Twitter doesn't have those or ANY extenuating circumstances. He is a Florida FANATIC because they always won when he was a kid, and he is a Duke FANATIC because they always won. So now, Florida will always win football and Duke will always win basketball regardless of what the reality is for both teams. Where I come from, that's called BANDWAGON, and this guy is totally pulling that bandwagon along behind his tractor with a flat tire.

I love to talk sports with folks from every SEC school, sometimes getting really deep into the mechanics of the game. Why? Because I really love football and am a student of the game. And there are a lot of FANS out there who are the same way. But this guy has no interest in the actual game. All he wants to do is regurgitate whatever 'facts' he pulled up on Google and Wikipedia to 'prove' he's right. And if someone disagrees with him, he goes on an insult rampage.

For example--

Today, in his continuing fairy tale about his Gators, he pronounced as usual that Florida would go 9-3 for the season, win the SEC, and go to the playoffs. Since the Gators don't appear to have anyone on their offensive line who's played a snap of SEC football, haven't named a quarterback, haven't really got any receivers or powerful running back, and who lost many of their defensive starters to the NFL and most of their commits to Auburn when Will Muschamp was hired there--because of all that, anyone who understands football tells him he's crazy. He also said that Mark Richt was no good, despite UGA consistently winning 9-10 games every season for a decade, that Nick Saban is washed up, and that Arkansas's Brent Bielema is a trash coach who 'ain't never beat nobody'.

Triple negatives are very difficult to translate and diagram, by the way. *wince* You know,  since they're GODAWFUL choices and frighteningly ungrammatical. Makes my brain hurt just looking at it.

At any rate, this is how deluded this guy is. And when I countered with--you know, facts?--his response was and I quote:

           Douchebag bandwagon idiot: There aint* no prostitutes in Tenessee. U know why?  There all volunteers--ask Celina 

*all spelling errors left intact on purpose 

Um...do what?                        

This after he told me to 'learn sports babe'.

What. The. Hell.

You know what? In college sports especially, people LOVE their teams. They  are passionate about their schools. You don't wander around UT during February and find everyone is wearing a UK shirt. You don't go to Alabama and show up at Toomer's Corner to TP the trees after Auburn beats the Tide in the Iron Bowl. It's just not done. I have about as much interest in college gymnastics or golf as I do my next door neighbor's political views, but  I sure as hell celebrate when UT does well in ANY sport. And what about the two games Florida and Duke have played in the last couple of decades' worth of NCAA tournaments? Who did the bandwagon fan root for, since the series is even at 1-1? Florida beat Duke in 2000 and in 1994 Duke beat Florida.

At any rate, after the prostitute comment, I blocked him like I should have done in the first place and saw only one side of the evisceration he received from the state of Alabama.

In my previous post, I talked about finding character studies among the people that writers associate with online. But I totally overlooked the fact that there are a lot of idiots out there who, safe behind their anonymity, cruise the internet looking for someone to fight with. This guy is like that. He calls Finebaum every day, and every day it's the same old routine--"you're not right about my Gators, man; Mark Richt is trash, man; Tennessee ain't got no reason to be hyped, man, they ain't beat nobody in years; Nick Saban is washed up, man; Bielema is a trash coach, man, he ain't never done no good, man"--and when he asks Finebaum a question, he talks OVER Paul's answer just repeating the same old crap over and over. And over. Until finally,mercifully, Paul ends the call and his entire viewing audience turns the volume back up on the TV.

So here's the gig: you're a FAN when you truly love one school/team in all things. You're a FAN when you stick with your team and wear their colors both during good years and bad. You're a FAN when your devotion to your school/team is unvaried for years--decades.

You're a FANATIC when you are incapable of listening when reasonable people are discussing your team in an honest manner. You're a FANATIC when you lose your shit because someone criticizes your team. You're a FANATIC when your idea of 'winning' an argument is to talk loudly and nonstop. You're a FANATIC when, despite your team having NO offense and only one great player (Vernon Hargreaves is, without a doubt, an absolute BEAST of a defensive back--top two in the nation probably) and a coach in his first year of being a SEC head coach and a brutal SEC schedule (relieved by a plethora of cupcakes) you still announce on a daily basis that your team is going to win the whole conference.

The only thing this guy is a FAN of is himself.

Right before I blocked him, he was saying that the reason everyone hates him is because he called the Finebaum show last March and said the Duke would win the national championship instead of Kentucky. Since Duke won the NCAA on several of my ballots, I didn't have a problem with that. Instead, I told him the truth--the reason people hate you is because you're rude and you won't listen to reasonable people's differing points of view. And in response, he equated me to a hooker.

In the end, I guess, it can all be boiled down to a fairly simple premise. FAN is derived from FANATIC and shares a lot of the same qualities. There's no doubt that the infamous Bama tree-murderer Harvey Updike is a FAN of the Alabama Crimson Tide. But there's also no doubt that Harvey is a FANATIC, because only a FANATIC would have poisoned those big, beautiful trees at Toomer's Corner  in Auburn. The folks who were just a FAN would have had a few more beers and gone to bed ticked off, but would have awakened the next day thinking "Next year we'll stomp them." A FAN wouldn't have destroyed those lovely, ancient, tradition-rich oak trees just to piss Auburn fans off.

Does anyone else wonder what kind of thought processes must have gone on in that man's mind to kill those trees and then to call Paul Finebaum up two days later and brag about having poisoned the trees to a national Sirius radio audience? That thought process is the missing link between FAN and FANATIC. I wonder if he was able to recognize that while he was in jail.

Etymologically, FANATIC means insane person, from the Latin root fanaticus meaning mad, enthusiastic, furious--and specifically was meant to describe zealots from the church--temples, in Rome, specifically the followers of Bacchus whose religion was all about going crazy. FANATIC, therefore, is meant to be a negative term, whereas FAN is a positive one. Or, as Winston Churchill famously put it:

A fanatic is someone who won't change his mind and can't change the subject.

So yeah, that FANATIC can kiss my FANny. I am a FAN of Tennessee, and his Gators are going down this year.

The jerk.

                                                                                                        

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Character Studies of Life Can Be Found Online

All of us have to deal with people who aren't quite...well...right in the way they deal with people. But social media makes that interpersonal issue much bigger than it used to be. For example, right now I have social relationships with hundreds of people that I have never met except online. You do too. But what do you really know about those people? Only what they have in their social media bios and what they tell you. 

As humans, we rely upon our ability to gauge another person's behavior by hearing to tone of their voice, judging their physical movements, the motion of their eyes, how they gesture, and the context in which they make comments. Online, we don't have that ability. Instead of varying areas of gray, we have either black (everything he says is a lie, or bullying, or bigoted) and white (I accept everything said to me at face value). There is no middle ground. And that, in turn, leads to extremes of human behavior online that are fascinating for a writer to observe. I mean think about it--would our society work if our day to day communication was conducted in the same way it is on the internet? 

How many times have you busted someone in a lie online? Or bullying? How about using a false account? According to Twitter, there are over 20 million of those. Think about yourself--would you interact with people face-to-face the same way you do through your keyboard? I wouldn't. I was brought up with the manners of the Deep South. It'd be real hard for me to look at an elder and say, "You, sir, are a misogynistic bigot playing the white male victim card because you are intimidated by women who are smarter than you which is pretty much the entire race of womankind, you moron."

Hard, yes. Impossible, no. I'd have to be REALLY mad though, and there are a couple of old coots online who would be able to spark that anger in me with two seconds and a gust of wind.

We live in an age where we type faster than we think. For a writer who can churn out 2000 words an hour at peak speeds, making an ass out of myself in 140 characters or less isn't even hard. 

But here's where it can get fun for a writer. Go through your Twitter feed on any given day. From data I can find, the average number of Twitter followers is 208. So take a look at those people. Check how they act online. Read their tweet wars. (No, we ALL have them. Don't lie.) What can you determine about people through their online personalities? 

Because most people project who they want you to THINK THEY ARE as a stronger, smarter, younger, better-looking version of WHO THEY REALLY ARE. 

Take a look at the folks you've caught in a lie. (We've all been caught and we've all done the catching) Ask yourself what that person's motivation was for lying in the first place. That can lead you down a strange path in and of itself, because for most folks, they're not lying to PEOPLE. They're lying to a computer, which dilutes the sense of responsibility a great deal. It's so easy to sit at your keyboard and type "29 year old redhead, green eyes, 5'10" 115 lbs" as compared to "69 year old, don't remember my original hair color so let's go with plaid, blue eyes, 5'8" 215 lbs". See? Lie without guilt. No one on the other side of that lie knows what you look like BEYOND WHAT YOU ALLOW THEM TO KNOW. So who does that lie hurt, right? 

Aside from yourself, of course. You know, when you get the tweet that tells you your online friend is in/near your hometown next week and would love to get together for lunch? 

You have two choices. Deflect, or confess. And since most people would rather die than look bad, most people would...?

Yep. Deflect. 

So when you're struggling to create a new character and make him/her credible, sometimes you don't have to go any further than your own Twitter feed. A little digging can give you new understanding of human behavior, and lead you to giving that new character depth. And it doesn't even  violate the "all characters are fictional" disclaimer at the front of every novel. Because when you get right down to it, the people we know online are ALL fictional characters to some degree or another.

But keep this in mind also. Twitter and Instagram and Facebook are filled with people who are so desperate for attention/affection/acceptance/romance/friends/justification/self-diagnoses/an audience that they are no longer real people. They're caricatures of reality, and even if you call them out you can't help them. They have no interest in doing anything other than what they are already doing, and they won't thank you for the friendly advice.

As I just learned again. Today.

See? Even an old dog like me can (re)learn new tricks. Find that balance between reality and farce, and make that social experiment work in your favor. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back Again, Back Again Lickety-Split (NOT)

So, I've been waiting for my laptop's return from warranty repair since June. 

That's never what a writer wants to say, especially if it's followed by  "I've lost all my work since March." 

Yep. Left to the vagaries of a frighteningly unresponsive repair department, I'm sure the hard drive that my husband the ex-hacker  network administrator couldn't extract files from is proving to be equally bullish with HP. So since I mailed my laptop off--in JUNE, let's not forget that--I've been getting my online addiction through my phone and my writing addiction--

Well, let's just say withdrawal is tough. 

Funny. Before my laptop blew up, I wasn't able to write a word. Having never been decimated by writer's block before, I must confess I am now a lot more empathetic towards writers who are suffering through weeks or months of blank pages. And now I can say been there, done that. Two months of longhand scribbling in your journals will do that to you. 

So finally, I got annoyed (as usual) and informed my husband that we were going to get a new computer. That was Saturday. Computer came today, and I rather quickly discovered that I am not smart enough to set the darn thing up.  After an hour or so of cussing (amplified because my phone decided to crap out at the same time), I gave up and waited until the husband got home. 

It took him thirty seconds. THIRTY FREAKING SECONDS. God, I hate that. I can work for hours on something electronic, bitching at him the whole while in text, and that man can walk in the door and just touch whatever I couldn't figure out and *poof!* Up it starts. Every. Single. Time. 

Except--

--for my cell. Ask yourself this random annoying technology trivia question: who is STUPID enough to make a cell phone that you cannot take the darn battery out of? 

Answer at the end of my post.

At any rate, after a long, frustrating journey, it's time to get back to some elf-killing, and with a full slate of potential topics on the docket it's looking to be a great fall.  First things first--daily writing blocks resume tomorrow, with my normal four hour AM session and at least one four hour PM session, with a break for the Paul Finebaum Show, of course. And yes, I have spent the last two purgatorial months building a brand new world--one I intend to inaugurate tomorrow morning. *evil grin* Trying to think of a name for the anti-hero main character. I'm leaning toward Godwin.

Maybe.

Then, naturally, college football is on the horizon. I've decided to actively blog football this year, mostly because that will dovetail with a couple of other professional irons I've got in the fire. Always have to be thinking ahead, you know. 

And I'll also be working to get all of my previous novels reissued and for sale again. 

What? A girl's got to eat. 

In the end, even though this computer needs a LOT of work to be up to the standards and speed of my dearly departed laptop, it allows me to do what I want to do. What I NEED to do. And that's to write, without worrying about spilling a drink on it or losing keys. I don't think I'll even hook this up to social media. The only online access I'll have on this is for research purposes. Everything else, I'll continue to do through the tablet and my phone. 

Until, at least, the laptop comes back. I might be 60 by then, but who knows? They might surprise me yet. 

Oh, and the answer to our random annoying technology trivia question? Samsung. That's right. Samsung.