A Dog’s Life: Barney Fife and Wayne

haus

In my own mind, I am the most entertaining person on the planet. I have a thousand funny little comic routines that quite honestly keep me in stitches. Why my dogs can’t find a way to get with the program is beyond me. I know, I just lost you so let me explain.

I am both a morning person and not so much a morning person. I like routines, I don’t use the snooze so when the alarm goes off I am up and 26 minutes later I am leaving the driveway. I don’t know why I do this but as a part of my routines a combination of three things always happens. The first is that I sing in the shower, usually it’s the 80’s metal band, Jackyl. I know, why the heck them? No idea but inevitably I am singing When Will it Rain in the shower. When I hop out it will always be one of two routines. I know I have a quirky mind but why I ever thought of the first routine is beyond me. I am of that generation where we grew up at least on the re-runs of the Andy Griffith show and Mayberry. For the longest time I have wondered at the incredible perfection of this show. Even the town drunk Otis is a fairly good guy. I mean seriously no one is that perfect. So it came to me one day, what if Barney Fife had a bit of cursing problem. Now you’re thinking about it so there. “Dayum Andy!” It’s hilarious, I go through all sorts of little routines on this premise, Barney at a pool party, Barney at a strip club. The possibilities are endless. I crack myself up but my dogs, eh they don’t get it. Oh and trust me, I have indeed shown them re-runs of that show and their response? They look at me like dude, it’s black and white. Silly dogs!

wayne

Now the other routine is even better. I love soccer, especially European soccer and my team is Arsenal. No, no, no they’re not the joke, well maybe sometimes. I despise Manchester United and the player I despise most on Manchester United is one Wayne Rooney. He probably does not deserve my spite, wait yes he does he plays for Man U. English analysts have long made poor Wayne to be the second coming and have placed ridiculous expectations on a player who simply is not that great. Now two things about this. I used to watch soccer on a channel called Setanta and they had this amazing skit with puppets of coaches and players and Wayne with his big ears, freckles and high pitched voice was made into a puppet. I can’t get the image out of my head. The second thing is while watching a game I heard an analyst actually say that a tackle that Wayne attempted was really quite good, if the opposing player had not moved. He was serious but I could not stop laughing. I would be a great tackler if I could get people to not move, sheesh. So on many mornings “I am Wayne, Wayne Rooney, soccer player, greatest in English history, superstar biggest superstar in the world better than Messi! Great human being and tackler of the football if they don’t focking move, bollocks, bastards! I am going to change my name to just Wayne like those Brazilian players like Pele or Ronadhino, and what kind of silly name is Ronaldhino.” This seriously makes me laugh, I am laughing now. My dogs, nothing, blech silly dogs.

Now I can give my 13 year old lab Haus a break he is mostly deaf and his vision is not that great either. Sascha though my Doberman is quite quite clever. She looks at me as if I were an idiot. Come on now, I am hilarious and who the heck does she thinks buys her food. Dayum Andy!!!!

sascha

In fact, that’s pretty much what she does during all my funny routines. Dogs! No sense of humor, but I sure can’t live without them.

The Hidden Blade

This is one of my favorite Samurai movies, not a lot of action as it is mostly a love story and also deals with a Samurai who is trying to understand how he fits into a world where traditional Samurai values and beliefs are being put away for modernization especially with weapons technology. It is a beautiful movie.

Crayons and Clouds

box of 8

Crayons. I love them, because to me they are a reminder of who I am. Confused? Let me clarify. Everyone is born with certain gifts and certain handicaps. I was born with a million emotions. If feelings and emotions were crayons I think most people on the planet would have a nice box of pre-school 8. You know, the nice big fat crayons in all the basic colors, happy sad, angry, love, hate, good and bad. Most people cannot get beyond describing their own feelings beyond these basic concepts, in fact most people don’t really want to talk about feelings at all. As a man I was raised both at home and out in the world to hold a few things dear, mostly what constitutes as manhood. Men don’t cry, men are tough. Leave all the feelings to women. Makes for kind of a messed up life when you have been gifted or cursed with too many emotions, too many feelings. I have spent a lifetime trying to filter it all, to not let too may out and certainly not let too many in. At any given time I have a dozen or so feelings, ask me how I feel and who knows how I might answer. I might say fine, or I might give you some discombobulated answer like ecstatic and a little melancholy. Huh? Say that again. If feelings and emotions are crayons, I am a nice box of 12o.

box of 120

I have a dozen shades of sadness and a dozen more of joy. Good or bad that’s who I am. It has made me into the person I am, silly, moody, passionate and relentless. Maybe it’s why I choose so often to spend my time alone. I can overwhelm just about anyone. I have long come to the conclusion that its more curse than gift and I will likely spend the rest of my life alone, with one of the many shades of loneliness. Sometimes that’s ok and sometimes I don’t know how I will go another day like I am. It exhausts me sometimes. For every great height there is a tremendous depth.

So I sometimes get a bit contemplative or I write a lot of bad poetry to help process all this stuff inside of me. I might put all this despair and loneliness into a character in a story. For me as I guess most people writing is deeply personal. One day especially I remember sitting in my front driveway on a breezy day. The Texas summer sky was blue and full of clouds, big white fluffy clouds and I started to cry although I was not particularly sad. Yes I am a bit of crier sometimes. It struck me that I was like a cloud pushed along by the breeze, pummeled by bigger clouds, stormier clouds and the patterns of weather that pushed me through the sky. I found myself thinking that I was very much like those clouds and went inside and wrote what is still my favorite poem.

Low Cloud

 While walking outside

A warm and breezy day

My gaze rested upon

A bit of low flying cloud.

I marveled at this wisp

of beautiful fluff

holding steady in the breeze

to the slipstream

or whatever clouds hang onto.

I longed for that kind of strength

The kind to outlast the fury

Of all that God throws at me

And I hang onto myself

Wondering at the spite

Hurled against me so fiercely.

And I hang on, and on

To the slipstream

Or whatever clouds hang onto.

 

clouds

 That poem captures who I am, blown across the sky, pummeled by life and holding onto the slipstream or whatever it is that clouds hand onto.

 

The Drunken Samurai

Who is the drunken samurai?

Well, to start with I rarely drink and am not Japanese. The drunken samurai is from Texas in a town just north of Fort Worth. He is me of course, or is that I am him. For the longest I have thought on this new blog to express my quirky outlook on music, movies and swimming with the intention of calling it the drowning samurai. In fact it was not until selecting the title of the site and blog that I accidentally entered it as the drunken samurai, such is life. I don’t really believe in accidents though so through fate I come to this place.

I am an aspiring novelist, a horrible poet who still plunges into the depths of the soul to find quirky phrases that provide those a-ha moments all in a confidence that would make you think I am the next Dylan Thomas. Of course I am horrible, but I am completely unafraid of sharing.

So let’s get to the name. Drowning, or drunken I guess now is related to my complete addiction to swimming. Why swimming? Well its a crazy long journey that begin when I was in my 30’s and  a new father. You see there I was strolling my kid around every night and I happened to glance down and realized I could no longer see my feet. So then and there I decided it was time to start running and I loved it. Then in 2010 I had my first retina detachment followed by others, now at twelve and probably still counting. My retina surgeon told me no more running for you, or anything remotely with an impact and I followed orders and gained weight. Hey I like to eat. I could do one thing, swim. I started in my backyard pool until October when it grew too cold. I then switched to a junior Olympic pool where I found the hundred laps I was doing in my backyard pool equaled about seventeen in the big pool as I call it. I have become addicted swimming a mile and then two and then three, never minding that sometimes my entire day is geared around swimming. There are times when I am sure that people around me or watching must think I am drowning. I keep expecting to be hit in the head with a lifesaver or that someone will shout to just stand up ya moron, its only five feet deep but it hasn’t happened yet. Its a bit like poetry actually. I imagine that I look quite like Michael Phelps when in fact I look like a drunken samurai in full armor in the middle of a hurricane. Floundering, now that’s a good word.

Which brings me to the second part of this blog’s name. What the heck does a swimmer from Texas have to do with the art of the Samurai. Twenty five years ago a friend of mine who in many ways was the older brother I never had introduced me to Akiro Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai. I was told all about it how wonderful it was and how TheMagnificent Seven was an American remake of the Japanese classic. Quite honestly I hated the subtitles and would have preferred to see the Magnificent Seven. Yet over the next few years I watched it when it would come on television and it started to grow on me, so I branched out and saw Yojimbo and then Sanjuro and on and on it went. I own somewhere around twenty five of them now. I love the way the Japanese twist a story, building it until you know that its not what it seems and still being surprised. The film Hara-kiri is breathtaking in this regard.

So that’s me in a nutshell or a blogshell. I have no real direction for this blog, rather like the idea of letting my mind go a little crazy. I might share some really bad poetry or make some music commentary as I let you into my life. I have a ginormous (yes that’s a made up word) music collection that I listen to alphabetically and I am sure there will be an entry on that very topic too. You can probably count on a few reviews of some of my favorite movies many of which will be Samurai movies.