Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brotherly Love for Arms

  Philadelphia fans all must think they have a great arm. Myself included. I mean, I can throw a 90 mph fastball and a little bitter my baseball career didn't take off. But thats neither here nor there. Philly fans are notorious for being rough, impossible to please, and demanding. In recent years, thankfully the Phillies have given the city of Brotherly Love something to actually cheer about. But lets take a brief history lesson on just a couple instances of Philly's love to "boo" and toss projectiles. 
Give Drew "THE BIRD" from the Dugout
  1. J.D. Drew - First of all, I hate this guy and have enjoyed booing him no matter what uniform he has worn. My sentiments are shared by my fellow Phillies brethren. Drew was drafted by the Phillies in the first round of the 1997 draft. He declined to sign because he did not want to play in Philly. He held out, and was eligible for the draft the next year, where he was drafted in the 1st round again by the St. Louis Cardinals. Poor decision. Drew made his first appearance for the Cardinals two years later, playing Right Field. He would soon make his start in Veterans Stadium, wearing the opposing uniform. Coincidentally, I think not, it was "Duracell Battery Night". Hmm..Philadelphia apparently had not forgotten being snubbed. Batteries rained from the right field seats like bullets from a machine gun being triggered by a madman. Drew ran for cover through the infield, attempting to reach the visitors dugout. Duracell missiles reached his coordinates with great precision with each lumbering step. It was so bad, the game was nearly forfeited by the Phillies because of their fans. There has not been a battery day since. A moment fans still chuckle about to this day. Drew has his lowest average in Philadelphia stadiums throughout his career.  

  2. Santa Claus - On December 15, 1968 it was the last game of a pitiful season for the Eagles. A Christmas halftime show was scheduled. The only problem, tons of snow was dumped on the city and stadium the night before. The field was torn and muddy from all the melted snow, preventing Santa's sleigh from coasting around the stadium like an ice skate..instead bogged in the mud. The original Santa bailed, thus leading to the replacement St Nick. A stumbling fool in a red getup made his way to midfield with his midget elves. Boos showered the pathetic fat man in the red suit. Then, a rogue snowball flew like a dove in the air right at the Impostor Claus, pelting him in the back. Santa shrugged it off and chuckled, the closest resemblance to the jovial bringer of gifts. This led to the onslaught of snow balls. No one was sparred, even the elves. Howard Cosell gave Philadelphia it's reputation we still hold to this day. The fans so nasty they'll even boo Santa Claus.

Even crack can't keep you awake now.
  3. Michael Irvin - Sunday, OCT 9 1999 - The Dallas Cowboys star coke head wide receiver lay motionless on the hard, unforgiving turf of Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. There was no movement for a good 10 minutes. With each minute that passed, the mocking cheers and boos rang louder and louder. The smiles and laughter grew when an ambulance was brought onto the field. Irvin was placed on a stretcher and carted off the field, still motionless. Cheers increased, not out of respect, out of pure hatred. Crushed up hotdog wrappers and beer cups were seen being thrown on the field in his direction. To this day I still hate Micheal Irvin, but perhaps a slight line was crossed. "Unspeakable, even for us," proclaimed a headline in the Philadelphia Daily News. Debatable...

You can't hide this Sunday.
 The list goes on and on. Now two notorious arms will do battle on Sunday in Philly. One right handed, Donovan McNabb. The former star QB kicked to the curb after 11 years of a near Hall of Fame career. Since day one he was booed. Fans wanted the pot smokin' Rickey Williams instead. Hmm... McNabb comes back to town wearing the hated Redskins uniform, a bitter division rival. Donovan could never carry the Eagles to the mountain top and finally bring the Super Bowl trophy to the hungry blue collar town. Despite his 5 probowls, 5 NFC championship appearances in 11 years, and one Super Bowl loss, Eagle fans never thought of him as a good quarterback. Any other city would embrace McNabb. He is a great person, never said anything wrong, and tried extremely hard to embrace this city, but never truly got the brotherly love back. Expect a mix reaction of cheers and boos, and even more boos if McNabb performs well during the regular seasons most anticipated game in recent memory.
Currently highest rated passer in NFC
  Then there is the Left. Michael Vick. The Dogcatcher. A man who was in jail two years ago, coming back to the league with no suitors. The Eagles took a chance on the lefty, thanks mostly in part to ironically McNabb. McNabb felt he is the leader of the black quarterbacks in the league today, and saw the opportunity to mentor the talented Vick. In a span of two and a half games, Vick has taken the league by storm in his second year back, and first year starting. The city has embraced him as the teams savior already. McNabb struggled to simply gain a small ounce of respect in his 11 years! His talents boasted, already claiming he is a far better the previous McNabb. I laugh at this notion, but it is truly how the people of Philadelphia feel. I just hope Vick and the Eagles show up on Sunday, otherwise McNabb and the hated "deadskins" will have the last laugh. 
..... Eagles 27 - Skins 16....FLY EAGLES FLY!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Zombies ate my UCLA girl!

  I have no war-zone in my backyard. No flimsy buildings to live in during massive earthquakes. My most likely unexpected end comes from a simple car accident. Not much of a real test of character and survival. In no way do I mean to offend anyone, this is just the nature of my topic. Sometimes I secretly wish for chaos, and I don't think I am alone. Maybe this only comes from being a sheltered and spoiled American? Believe me, I wish no harm on anyone, except maybe the Dallas Cowboys roster. All I ask for is a test of the human race. Morbid? Of course it is. But that's just the point.
Johnny Utah has nothing on me. RIP
  There are the typical doomsday scenarios. 2012 predictions, massive earthquakes, asteroids, nuclear meltdown, and the list goes on and on. However exciting the proposition of these may be, there is no real opponent. Being a regular Joe, you still have no test. You can't prevent or stop anything. If you live in Santa Monica and California suddenly falls into the Pacific..well..lets just say it. You're fucked. We can't predict when the 10.0 plus earthquake is going to happen. We can't help the military or NASA set a kamikaze asteroid of course. Or hell, at least make it land somewhere in the Pakistan. And most certainly won't surf 150 foot tidal waves like Patrick Swayze in Point Break. Great film. Even he dies though. If the world gets trigger happy and starts blasting nukes across the Atlantic, its just based on pure luck if you survive. There must be some skill, athleticism, and the down right thirst to keep living. The only problem, the best scenario includes a foe with an equally passionate thirst. The thirst for BRAINS!!!
  Yes, Zombies! Those who know me should not be surprised by this. I would say an Alien race paying a visit would be extremely intense, but they could have crazy weapons, rendering us hopeless. With flesh eaters roaming our cities, its an all out battle. A level playing field. Human versus human. Well, sort of. I am well versed in the Zombie through cinema and literature. Yet, who knows how I would handle myself if a mutated virus really did turn my neighbor into flesh craving asshole. Zombie or not, he still really sucks. I wouldn't be shocked if he starts this infection. His hours are strange and there is a pungent odor seeping through the bottom of his door. All clear signs. To what? I don't know. Regardless, hopefully he would be my first Zombie kill. A good one to pop my Zombie killing cherry.
  Seriously think about it. It has been brought out in all the typical zombie thrillers, but have you really thought about the seriousness of the issue?! Could you in the blink of an eye go from eating...err..well messing around with your girlfriend, to the next morning she is literally trying to eat your face off!! Terrible! I know. But thats the test of it all. One minute your friend or family member, the next a blood thirsty freak! Yeah, I can easily sit here and say I could shoot some crazed flesh eaters head off and spare my life. In actuality, I have only shot a firearm once, and apparently Nerf guns don't count. What if I am a lousy shot?! Remember you have to hit them in the head! And the thought of knives or anything with a large blade makes me cringe. Perhaps I am starting to realize I might be all talk. My "Zombie Survival Guide" may be rendered useless if I cannot execute a simple zombie slaying.
  I don't own a gun. Should I purchase one? What type? Are those militant nut-jobs with an arsenal large enough to supply a small army better off then me? I believe a class field trip to the shooting range is in order. No nerds, Modern Warfare on your PS3 will not help you. At least it lowers your amount of real friends, allowing you to not worry about others, since no one really cares about you. The larger the group you end up in, the more likely you are screwed. There is always the prick that will need to drop a number 2 when you are barricaded in a closet, or decides to lose their marbles at the most opportune time. With so much death and carnage around you, you may begin to question the value of life, and even your own. You get sloppy, lazy, and no longer see a reason to try. Next thing you know, your right arm becomes a zombie chicken wing. And he needs no BBQ sauce or Budweiser to wash you down. Yeah, I said it. Bud, no pussy Bud light.
You may prefer a Zombie
   Amidst my rambling, I will bring this to a close. The arena is set. You will be running, swimming, hiding, jumping and thinking. Non stop. The constant search for food, water and shelter will soon begin once the infection has spread. The need for weapons, followed by how you are actually going to be affective with a 5 inch butter knife. Then what do you have left? Who are you with and who remains? Are you with the ones you love, or do you now have a new family?
Cross your fingers, if you still have them!
     Hopefully you came across a group of ladies from the UCLA dance team, and not the Norwegian Women's Water polo front line just happening to be visiting for a tournament. Broad shoulders..woof! The true test of mankind. You finally make it. The zombies begin to starve and die. Can you take a bullet for the human race and procreate with Ulga? Our future rests in your loins! Go make some post World War Z babies!

Friday, September 17, 2010

How I fought the law...and I won!

April 21, 2010, approximately 520 pm..pacific standard time:
   I was on the job, driving back to Santa Monica from Marina Del Rey. I decided to take the "scenic" route. Which would be Pacific Ave, going right through the heart of Venice Beach. A lovely bohemian town filled with its local residents sifting through trash cans, urinating on eclectic works of art on the side of gang tagged buildings. I love it. Venice never gets old. You can truly see every human creature on the face of the planet within a 3/4 mile stretch of beach.
   There I was, stopped at the light, gazing at the dangling Venice sign strung across Windward street with great comfort. Windows down, radio singing out loud. My casual driving style never broken, left arm extended to the top of the wheel and right arm propped on the center console resting my head. Just like that sculpture "The Thinker".(is that what its called?..not to be ironic but maybe we didn't truly understand what that sculpture truly means...maybe that dude just is beside himself because he cant think at all?!) Anyways..The light flicks green and I begin to release the brake...
   Red and blue lights fill my rear view mirror to the sound of a electronic chirping. There are only two possibilities.
     1. I have some how transported to a club playing Mexican hiphop. (I believe there is a proper name for    this? Sean Paul and random sirens..but he isn't Mexican. Whatever.
     2. A COP!!
    I bet you can answer this multiple choice question. I begin to slowly pull over and turn right on the next available street away from Pacific. I am confused, and confident at the same time. I did nothing wrong. It was a work car. First thing that pops into my mind..
" Oh! I bet the registration tag is expired. No big deal. We never remember to put those tags on. Haha. Classic mix-up" i say to myself.
  Up walks the officer. Female. I have a straight face on, but slight smirk as she approaches the window of the silver Jeep Cherokee.
"Do you know why I pulled you over sir?"
          "No clue mam? Whats going on?"
"You were talking on your cell phone. I have two sets of eyes that saw you" she states.
Ok. Timeout. Here comes the truth. My cell phone was resting between my legs. This is the typical resting place for my phone while I drive. Why? No clue. Yes I keep my phone on vibrate and no that is not why its there! Do I talk on the cell phone without a handsfree while driving? You better fucking believe I do. And so do you. But this time...NO! Its was comfortable nestled between my thighs.
  "Umm...what?! I most certainly was not talking on the cell phone. Look at my call log. There is nothing" I explain.
She crinkles her nose and cocks her head to the side just in the slightest, shooting me a glare of guilt and bitchiness...
  "Yeah, well you could have just deleted it in the time it took to pull you over. We have seen it all before. I have four eyes that saw you." (with snappy tone)
I look behind me and there is another officer that was in the vehicle with her. Another power hungry female officer. Just fantastic.
  "How could you possibly see me talking on the phone when you are behind me. My phone wasn't even in my hand. This is pretty stupid."
"Well where is your hands free? Why is your phone right there in your lap?"
   Damnit! No douchey hands free headgear. Cell phone pressing my zipper region. I am furious and clueless. She shoots back some more snatchy remarks and proceeds to write my citation. Blah blah...just give me the ticket. The transaction takes place and squad car team bitch leaves. I begin to once again continue on my journey back to my branch. The entire time pondering why I was even pulled over to begin with. Then it finally clicks! She saw my head resting on my right hand while stopped at the light. I look and read the ticket.
   {Drivers right hand extended to right ear talking on cell phone}
  My anger and frustration increases. I know the state is as poor as can be, but seriously?! I will fight! Having a couple of friends in law enforcement helps. My gameplan. Delay delay delay. A couple weeks later I receive the citation in the mail. 142$ . Not the end of the world, but its the principle behind it all!!! The principle! The "bail" is due by June 7th. Two days prior I ask for an extension. You are allotted one per citation I believe. This pushes my date back to Aug 7th when it is due.
  August 7th: I show up to the courthouse on Santa Monica blvd in West LA. Line up outside the building around 830am..waiting for them to open the doors at 9. The finest of America's citizens there side by side with me. I completely expected to contest it there and then, in front of a judge. My cell phone records in hand. They felt like top secret documents that would save the world. Well, my world on that day.
  My logic and defense: Ticket stated my right hand was to my ear. Therefore it would be pretty hard to be texting or checking out my twitter since I can see the damn phone. So I "must have been chit chatting away". Well I can prove that!  No incoming or outgoing calls. No checking of voicemail.
  BOOM! Whatcha got on me now??! Man can't hold me down!

"Do you plead guilty and want traffic school? Or not guilty" she asks.
"NOT GUILTY"...Lets get ready to rumble!
"Okay, well your court date will be set a month later...your day will be September 15th at 830AM. mmkay?"
  What? What is going on? Another extension? How much of my life is this going to take? I was ready to fight for myself in the court of law. Delayed yet another month....

September 15th. 830AM
  I show up on time. Dress pants. White crisp shirt. Blue and green preppy tie with a tie clip. Lawyered up, and ready to go. They direct all us criminals inside the court room to the right.About 30 people including myself. Some normal. Two really cute girls. Some people that look guilty as soon as they walked through the door. Lets just say it wasn't shocking to see the local courts daily clientele.
  To the left sitting area...The Police officers! We the people, exhausting our civil liberties to the right. Sitting. Waiting. Every couple minutes, one by one..enters an officer. Everyones heads turning violently to the left as the heavy double doors open. With each entrance, a sigh of relief from a majority of the crowd, followed by one soul blasting out with a "Shit!" or my favorite, "Oh no!" This was pure comedy. Minutes would go by, and my lovely officer had yet to show. I was in the clear. The judge begins to enter, but the door behind me opens one last time.
        "Son of a bitch!" It was here. Palms suddenly sweaty. My right leg begins to move up and down like Thumper in Bambi. Why am I so nervous? I am right. The judge sits, we all stand in recognition and sit right back down. My turn is finally called. I climb over the guilty African American fellow sitting next to me to get to the aisle. Walk through the swinging fence to the defendants podium.
  Officer Alvayero speaks first. Explains the citation. There is no way she remembers this. She is purely here to collect some overtime cash monies. Now, its my big stage. The spotlight was mine. I was about to blow these other defendants out of the water and surely have some of them ask my to defend them in their future ventures with the law.
   "Your honor. I am not guilty of this fine. I was not talking on my phone during this time and was wrongfully pulled over. The confusion on behalf of this officer has a logical explanation as well. I do not fault her."  A little brown nosing. A little charming of the female judge as well.
"With me I have my citation, which states..{Drivers right hand to right ear, talking on phone}. Yes, my right hand was pressed to my right ear, but simply as a crutch for my tired head which was exhausted from a long days work. Simply resting while I was stopped at a light. Not driving, but stopped. When I drive I use both hands on the wheel. This ticket indicates I could not possibly be texting or checking emails. It is simply impossibly to read through my right ear. Therefore I must have been having a conversation or checking voicemail. Does this all sound logical?"
The crowd behind me, griping at every word I say, wondering what was up my sleeve. How was he going lower the boom to beat "THE MAN" ??
"Yes, that would seem logical" the honorable judge replies.
"With me I have documents containing my cell phone log. Within these logs it documents incoming, outgoing call and voicemail calls as well." I place said document on a projector that reminded me of one I used in a classroom from 6th grade geography class. Appropriately highlighted was the time of the supposed infraction. No cell phone transactions within 20 minutes of this time period. "As you can see your honor, no cell phone usage. This log is legit. You must acquit!"
Cheers ring out from the Angelinos behind me. A couple "oh snap's" followed by silence.
"Order! Order! Officer, did you document the cell phone you accused Mr Parente of using?"declared the Judge.
"No your honor" sulked the distraught female officer.
"Case dismissed! Next case."
   I give a slight fist pump resembling Tiger Woods sinking a put at Augusta. Or maybe sinking something else. I turn to my peers and repeat. Then walk to the double doors, pushing each open as if busting into the local saloon. Victory. And exit the building and then I finally breathe for the first time in the last 15 minutes.

....if this all happened, I would be a complete badass and local legend. But in all lady cop didn't show. It was dismissed immediately and just left. Happy. My refund will come back to me in 6-8 weeks.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Man

There he goes, bouncing down the busy New York minute street.  As women turn, that minute turns into days of thought.  Chin high, shoulders straight, he owns this city.  With each step the base booms through bystanders headsets.  They can feel his heels pound the cement and send life into the lifeless huddled in stores doorways.  His stride sends ripples through his rugged sleek suit.  Powerful, forceful and free.  People begin to follow and feel the music that shoots from his presence.  Basketballs strike the road along with the swinging of his arms.  Traffic officer’s whistles blow in sink with each bob of his head.  Taxi’s come to screeching halts as he raises his right hand and crisply snaps his fingers.  He turns the corner with snappish flare and shoots the cool Atlantic breeze, inducing the building flags into aerodynamic sheets ready to break free from their oppressive poles.  Like a caste shadow, every single move is magnified, noticed, and consuming.  He is streamlined, no inch is wasted.  His black shoes reflect the city lights and form an external spotlight constantly on him, beaming towards the tallest clouds.  His pants sway with purpose, screaming a warning , creating his decided path.  White tips of his cuffs peak from beneath his dark tight blazer as he rolls over the crowds.  The street approaches, but this machine war will not stop him.  The music stops.  He struts through the intersection, only stepping on the white paint of the checkered road, as tons of steel sandwich either side of him.  The breeze of the imposing forces bounce off, he continues to be polished without disruption.  Straight faced, the beat of his heart will always remain the same, he coasts through and reaches the far side.  Everyone waits and watches as he turns to the passenger crossing pole.  He peers at the dead red hand, crosses his arms and leans against the trivial pole society relies on.  He indents the button with his dominating hands and watches the red turn to white.  The beat is back, the balls are bouncing again.  The wind howls once more.  He grins, turns, and walks away.

Where I come from, I just don't come from.

Where to start? I guess the gloomy part of my existence starts with a simple question: -  "Hey, where are you from?"
I think I have answered this question 10 plus different ways in my life.
  - "Philly!" (I roll with this the most, when really I have no reason)
 - "Ah, well I was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia.." (this is true)
 - "Oh, I went to High School in San Diego. And my folks still live there." (this is also true)
 - "L.A., holmes!" (I don't really say that..unless I'm hammered making fun of vato locos)
 - "Hawaii. you like scrap?..yeah" (learn pigeon..most under appreciated language today)
 - "My dad works at the Pentagon. We are from outside of Baltimore" (Not Baltimore, but Columbia. The first planned community in America. KNOW IT!)
  ....It goes on and on. .


    Birth: Virginia Beach General; June 2 1984. What a day. Anyways..I don't know anything about my first two years of existence. All I know is we lived in this townhouse, which at the time was in a "great little community" as my mother likes to say. We all know what that means. Not so great anymore. And by that we mean it got a little darker, and we aren't talking about thunderstorms.
  2-5 : Japan. The first memories: I spoke Japanese, but purely curse words I learned from my best friend who spoke no English. I didn't live on the base the entire time, so my parents always like to share how cultured they are because of this experience. To give them credit, we did participate in a lot of ceremonies, see most of the entire country and wear kimonos whenever we wanted.
 Things I remember from Japan:
1. Falling in love with Ninja Turtles
2. Snow piles at least 12 feet outside my window
3. Riding my bad ass pedaled car around the block. It was yellow with black handles on either side to steer. Some may call this the original "Tokyo Drift". And I was damn good.
4. My Siberian husky pulling me on a sled through the snow. Legit.
5. Stepping in my dogs shit in the house..and slipping on the hardwood floor.. Then climbing into my parents bed.
6. My dog chasing me around the coffee table, causing me to trip, bash my head on the corner and receive 7 stitches.
7. Green soda and ramen.
8. Prayer circle for me in pre-school because of my mouth. I said "shit" outloud in class. In English. Some prick squirted grape juice on my brand new white sweatshirt. Apparently those are the "devil's words" and they weren't welcome in a 5 year olds classroom.
9. My sister entering the picture.
10. Leaving Japan in a Air Force cargo plane. The kind that transports tanks and other huge things. No seats. We sat in cargo nets that ran length wise along the side of the plane. 10 plus hours.

The Family. Being ethnic.
The rest....To be continued..