Booing Chandler Parsons

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Your home is a literal shelter. It should be a safe haven from the cruelties of the outside world, a place that brings you peace and comfort, a place filled with people that accepts you for who you are and will support you through all times, the good and the bad. Home is, according to one of the definitions in the Random House Dictionary that is falling apart in one of the cabinets at my workplace says that a home is a place of refuge, which is defined as a shelter from danger, or trouble, so that, at its essence, is what a home should be, so it’s reasonable to expect that the home court of a basketball franchise would also serve as a place of refuge for all of the home town players, but last night, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. When Chandler Parsons came into the game last night and missed two consecutive free throws, his first two attempts of the season, which was met with a smattering of boos throughout the FedEx Forum, the home court of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Last summer, the Grizzlies signed Parsons, to a four year, ninety-four million dollar deal, which was in retrospect, a mistake on the part of Memphis. Even when the deal was signed it seemed like we were risking so much for the very slim possibility that Parsons would be the player he was before all of his knee injuries. We got screwed, but that’s not on Chandler, it’s not like he’s going out there trying to play poorly, but he just didn’t look that good and seemed to hurt the team more than help us when he was out on the floor, so he ended his season early and had another surgery, hoping that by doing so he would have enough time to rehab and get back into basketball shape before the next season began, because like it or not, he’s still under contract for three more years. I will admit, last year there were times when I was upset and even took to Twitter on occasion to voice my displeasure, but by the end of the year I decided to let go of the resentment I was feeling, because it wasn’t Chandler’s fault that the Grizzlies had spent so much money on him, and also because I realized that nothing good would come from my negative feelings, so since that time, I’ve tried to be optimistic, hoping for the best out of Parsons and looking forward to the time when he would be a big time contributor to the team and prove all of the haters wrong. I hoped it might be this year, but his preseason play left a lot to be desired, but still I remained hopeful going into the season.

When it was announced earlier in the week that he wouldn’t be in the starting lineup and would instead be coming off the bench, I was annoyed. Since we gave up Z-bo and Tony Allen this offseason, it was sad, but it seemed like we were moving into playing a new style of basketball, one where Chandler Parsons would be counted on to step his game up if we wanted to continue having success and make it to the playoffs. We were relying on Chandler to be one of our top scorers, so it only makes sense that it would be in the starting rotation and getting a lot of playing time, but the coach decided to have him come off the bench, so there was nothing to do but accept it, move on, and hope that he would have great success in the role, which is exactly how I was feeling last night when he came onto the court in the first game of the season, hoping for the best, but then he missed those two free throws, and some fans, fans of the team he was playing for, started booing at him. I was upset, not because he missed the free throws but because fans of the team I support, people who live in the same community as me were being so disrespectful to one of our own. I get it that you might be upset that he is being paid so much money and isn’t producing results that are up to your preconceived standards but to yell “booooo” at the man that is on your team, the man that has been training and working hard to help your team, is not only classless but absolutely ridiculous.

We are supposed to be the city that rallies around and embraces our players. The city is one with the team and the team is one with the city, in this together, working hard and grinding, on and off the court, so to ridicule one of our own, at home, booing him for missing free throws, just isn’t what we’re about. We need to lift up the players who are struggling, encouraging them and cheering for them through thick and thin instead of what too many people are doing with Chandler and looking for reasons to dislike the guy. For the record there were a lot of people at the game standing up and cheering for him after the boos started, doing what needed to be done and showing Parsons that we as a fan base were behind him, but it’s just frustrating that there are people out there, who claim to be fans of the Grizzlies, that would treat one of our players that way. I’m still holding out hope that Chandler will start playing at a higher level, but I think that’s a lot less likely to happen if there are fans in the stadium on our home court audibly ridiculing his every mistake while he’s just out there trying his best to be the player everybody, including himself, wants him to be. Maybe we can set aside how we feel individually about Chandler and come together in spirit of unity rather than one of division and support the effort that he is making, and hold onto the hope that it will eventually pay off. It’s a lot more fun being optimistic than it is looking for things to be upset about; I’ve lived both ways, so trust me, I know.

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Cheddar’s:Worst Dining Experience Ever

IMG_4141Now I’m not one to complain, but I’m finding it really difficult to hold my tongue on this one, and my therapist told me that I need to open up more, to quit keeping things pent up inside and driving me to do crazy things like make spaghetti with sour punch straws instead of noodles, so perhaps you will indulge me while I vent about my meal last night. By the way, this isn’t just all about me and my experience, no, this is really for you, the reader, my friends, the general public, to save you from repeating the same unfortunate mistake that I made last night by going to dinner at Cheddar’s.  Until I moved to Memphis, I had never eaten at this chain restaurant that didn’t come to Little Rock until after I moved to Florida and was currently under construction in Port St. Lucie, Florida when I moved to Memphis last year, but I’d heard a lot about it and was pretty excited to give it a try. The first time I ate there was not that good, but I attributed that to the menu item I got, and vowed to give it another try, and that paid off with the incredible fish tacos I had on the second visit, so last night, which was our third time going there, I was pretty pumped since the last meal was so good, but unfortunately it was much, much worse than I ever could have imagined.

The restaurant was fairly crowded for a Tuesday night, but our small party of two was seated right away. A few minutes later the waitress came over and took our drink order, coke for my wife and un-sweet tea for me. She said she would be right back with the coke and the sweet tea, but luckily I was able to correct the mistake before she walked away and crisis was averted, at least for the moment. She returned shortly after with our drinks and took our order, buffalo chicken wrap for my wife, and a southwest bacon burger for myself, both with fries, and then she disappeared. I started drinking my tea, which was good in terms of restaurant quality tea, but my wife didn’t touch her coke. She is the kind of person that can’t drink out of a glass at a restaurant without a straw because she finds the prospect of thousands of other people having pressed their lips to the glass in front of her to be an utterly disgusting thought that she leaves her complete unable to bring that same glass up to her lips.

The waitress was nowhere to be found and my wife was starting to get impatient after a while of not being able to drink her soda in front of her, so we stopped the next waitress we saw, and she asked her for a straw, to which the waitress replied that she didn’t have any and would have to go get one from the back. There were clearly a handful of straws in the front of her apron, completely visible to us, but for some reason she didn’t want to give my wife one of them, and looking back, that is the point of the evening where everything changed, where everything after that was downhill. If I could go back in time I would’ve brought a straw from home and my wife never would have had to ask that waitress for one, and perhaps things would have been different, better, but our waitress came out of the kitchen a few minutes later brandishing a straw, not the girl who we had spoken to about it, so perhaps our waitress was mad and thought we had betrayed her by going behind her back to ask for something that we needed, despite the fact that she was nowhere to be found, or maybe she was just annoyed that she had to leave the comfort of the kitchen to bring the straw out, but whatever the reason, something within her snapped, and she became the worst waitress I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Our drinks had been empty for a long time when I heard our order being shouted in the kitchen, so I knew one of two things was happening; our food was ready, or they hadn’t made it either because they had forgotten or the order had not be turned in and they were just about to start it. The waitress who was making regular appearances at the table across from ours made a rare stop at our table to inform us that our food would be out shortly, completely ignoring the fact that our glasses were empty. Fifteen minutes later and still no food or drink refills, although we had seen the waitress’s back on multiple occasions at the other table, but she never stopped by to check on us. Finally, annoyed, I called out to her as she walked away, “Excuse Me!” She turned immediately like she had been waiting for me to speak up, and quickly walked over to our table. I asked if we could have refills and she said that she would get those right away, but she did not.

Our food arrived and the fresh drinks didn’t, so I once again asked the waitress for refills, which should be the most fundamental and easy part of her job, and once again she said okay. With our food getting cold in front of us, we waited and waited and still didn’t get our drinks. The waitress finally arrived empty handed, and seeing our full plates of food, asked if we needed to go boxes. She was ready for us to leave before we even started eating. I told her no, but once again asked her for refills and ketchup for our French fries. She again told me that she would be right back with our requested items, however my confidence in her, as you can imagine, was waning at this point. She went to the table across from us and started taking their orders, content to let us wait while to food got cold and disgusting. When she finally returned with the drinks, she asked my wife what she ordered, just to confirm that she’d brought her the right beverage. My wife said coke and she sat down the glass and walked away while my wife took a sip of her diet coke. Finally my wife got her drink and we could begin eating. The burger was overcooked and didn’t have much flavor apart from the barbecue sauce that was added on top of it and the fries were some of the worst I’ve ever had, which is why I left almost all of them uneaten, and that might not have been so bad had I not paid extra for the fries because they didn’t come with the burger.  Out of ten I would give the whole experience a 2, solely because the tea was good; unfortunately the waitress didn’t refill my drink enough to let me fully enjoy the tea to my heart’s content.

As we sat across from each other after the terrible meal, both of our plates still half full of fries we made a pact, that Cheddar’s was going on our list of places to never eat again, because the awful service combined with the terrible food made it one of the most all around miserable dining experiences of my life. I would have loved to do the online survey about my meal to make management aware of how things are being run at their restaurant, but the receipt printer was apparently low on ink, making it impossible for me to read the check number that I would need to enter into the survey, so please take this review in lieu of my survey. I will say this though, with the holidays coming up in a few months, I would highly recommend purchasing Cheddar’s gift cards as gifts for the people you are obligated to buy a present for but whom you can’t actually stand. I guarantee you they will have a miserable experience, which is something you can be happy about, which is exponentially better than I felt after my terrible dinner last night.

The Amateur Traffic Cop

Sometimes even people with the best of intentions can end up looking like idiots. Take for instance the girl I saw get into a car accident the other day. Okay so I didn’t actually see the accident take place, but I did witness the aftermath, which is really the whole point of the story anyway, so let’s not get caught up in semantics. The wreck happened at a stoplight, and I’m hesitant to use the word “accident” because after seeing the idiocy displayed by the girl, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was trying to hit her intentionally, just to keep her off the road for at least a little while, because she was clearly a danger to herself and others. I saw her from the drive through of McDonald’s, where my wife and I were waiting on her iced coffee to be ready, and we sat in both fascination and horror as the seen played out before us, this young girl, probably in her early twenties, trying to direct traffic around the wreck while coincidentally not trying all that hard not to get run over. She looked like a severely depressed girl who finally snapped and left her car parked in the middle of traffic, standing behind it just waiting for the right moment to jump into oncoming traffic, but she seemed oblivious to the danger of the situation, the innocence of her young age completely apparent, as was her stupidity.
 
    It was about eight thirty at night, too late for an iced coffee in my opinion, and also too late for someone to be standing in the middle of a dark street, attempting to direct traffic. She was standing behind a van, which wasn’t her car by the way, but the car of the person who had hit her, so I’m still not even completely sure why she was so worried about nobody hitting that van in the first place. Whatever her intentions, they were completely unnecessary because of the bright red emergency lights flashing on the back of the van, signaling to anyone within view that there was a stopped car in the middle of the road. Given the time of day, the girl was barely visible from where we sat about twenty yards away in a lit up parking lot, so I can only imagine how hard she was to see. At first it was unclear to me what she was doing, waving her arms like one of those gigantic inflatable things at car dealerships that seem to be moving of their own accord in the wind, falling forwards and then backwards then sided to side then repeated in a different order, the randomness of it all very entertaining to watch. The girl’s arms were raised, moving them from side to side, crossing over her face as she did so, and that’s when I realized she was attempting to direct people around the car that was clearly stopped in the middle of the road with emergency lights making that abundantly evident to everyone, whereas the amateur traffic director was causing confusion. When they finally saw her, drivers pulled up beside her thinking she was waving down some help, wherein reality she was making a bad situation (the car wreck) even worse by backing up traffic even more than it should have been with her ridiculous, though well intentioned, antics. I don’t know what happened to her, whether the police officer who finally arrived on the scene lectured her on why what she was doing was completely stupid, but I hope she’s okay, that she didn’t get hit by a car, so that maybe she will learn from this mistake, and pass it on to others, so I don’t have to see any more idiots standing in the middle of a dark road at night.

Winning a Marital Disagreement

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For all of the people out there in relationships that are full of disagreements and conflicting opinions, who believe that no matter what, your significant other will never come around to feeling the way you do on certain issues, there is hope. Until today I never would have believed it and have given up on even trying to sway my wife’s opinion, but rejoice my friends because today it actually happened. Over the course of our relationship, my wife and I have had many disagreements over things, some small, like where to go for dinner or how to load the dishwasher, and some big, like whether Lord of the Rings is the greatest movie trilogy of all time, or if we should get dogs or not. Well we’ve never sat down and watched Lord of the Rings together and we now have two chihuahuas so it’s safe to say that I lose a lot more than I win, but today I won, and it feels fantastic.

The biggest fundamental difference of opinion that we have is far bigger than dogs or movies or how to load a dishwasher to make sure that everything gets clean (Seriously why does it matter how you put a spoon in? They’re not that expensive we could just buy more spoons), but rather where the ideal place to live is based on the weather. My wife was born in California and lived there for nine years before moving to Florida where she lived the rest of her life before we moved to Memphis last year, so her opinion was completely biased based on the surroundings she grew up with. She loves hot weather, so between Florida and Southern California that are two of the consistently warm climates in the country, she didn’t think it could get any better. I on the other hand like the cold. I absolutely loved living in Minnesota during the winter of my freshman year of college where snow stayed on the ground for the better part of three months, whereas the four years spent in Florida were some of the most miserable of my life, so we had to come up with a compromise, find a place where we could both get what we wanted, so we moved to Memphis.

We moved here in July, which was perfect for her so she could go from one hellishly hot place to another, but then fall rolled around and the heat relented and I was suddenly a much happier man, my first taste of cool fall air in four years. Last winter was a pretty mild one save for the week where it was consistently in the upper 20’s, but it was nice to have the cold for at least a little while, and to my wife’s surprise, she survived it. Now that it’s miserably hot again she was really enjoying it for a little while, but lately hasn’t been as happy about it, and today she texted me from work telling me that she can’t wait for winter and said she actually appreciates the changing seasons now, so take that Florida and California, Memphis wins (at least in that respect)! That just goes to show you that changes of opinions or preferences can change over the course of a relationship, so don’t give up hope and maybe, just maybe, you will be as happy as I am today.

My Tumultuous Relationship With the Public Library

The relationship between myself and the public library has been a somewhat tumultuous one over the years, with many more negatives than positives, although this has been entirely my fault, and like a bad couple who seem to keep breaking up and getting back together, so it is with me and the library, thinking each new time will be different, but so far that has never been the case. There was the Little Rock Public library, the one I grew up visiting, a relationship that started off great as I spent summers throughout childhood checking out as many books as they would allow and returning back countless times for more, but as I got older things changed. I would check out books that seemed interesting at the time and then more often than not I would get distracted with something else and end up not reading them, which wouldn’t have been a problem at all had I remembered to return the books. By the time I left Arkansas to go to college in Minnesota I had racked up over seventy dollars in fees from the library, but my mom bailed me out, giving me a fresh start when I decided to venture into the world of checking out books again.

I stayed away from the library for a few years until I moved to Florida, but the allure of unlimited books drew me back in and I fell into my old habits once again. I didn’t accrue as many fines for not returning books, the total being less than five dollars, and I really did intend on doing the right and responsible thing of paying for my transgressions, but as it turned out, the Fort Pierce library didn’t accept debit cards, they were cash only, which posed a problem for me as I have never been one in adulthood to carry cash on me. A kind stranger overheard the dilemma as I stood at the counter explaining to the librarian that I would have to return to pay my fines after visiting an ATM, and the stranger intervened saying she would pay the fine for me. I had hit rock bottom. I tried to dissuade the generous woman from freeing me from my debt, but she wouldn’t hear of it, no matter how much I pleaded, and eventually, against my will, paid my fine. It was at that moment that I decided I was done with the public library system, preferring instead to purchase books so that I could read what I wanted on my own time, building a personal library that would allow me to choose whatever book interested me as soon as I was ready to read something new. Then I moved to Memphis and the library bug bit me again.

Within the first month of living here I got a library card, you know, just to have one, but I stuck to my guns and for more than a year I didn’t check out a single book. I had all but forgotten about my library card, that is until today. The bank I work at can be pretty slow in the middle of the week with the higher traffic days being Monday and Friday, so to pass the time I will often read until a customer enters the branch, which is what I was doing today, but unfortunately I finished my current book with more than five hours left in my shift, and the temptation to check out a book became to much to resist, so on my lunch break I walked across the parking lot to the library and began browsing the infinite selection of books. I did check out a book, but at least it was only one, telling myself that I would read it, then immediately return it before checking out another. Hopefully this time around I’ll be more responsible and my relationship with the public library will be better than ever before. Only time will tell.

The Problem With My Parking Spot

IMG_3603It’s a common theme throughout the landscape of the working class, that once the work day ends, nothing is better than arriving at home, seen by homeowners and renters alike as a refuge and a place to relax, so imagine arriving home one afternoon to find somebody parked in your driveway or parking space forcing you to park further away, prolonging that wave of peace that consumes you as the door unlocks and you step inside. Now imagine that happening frequently, say a weekly basis, and it’s never a pattern and no warning is given so you don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen, thus disallowing your mind to prepare itself for the disappointment it will face to encounter this problem. This has been my life since moving into my apartment complex over a year ago, and unfortunately there are no signs that this unfair practice will stop anytime soon.

At my apartments we are assigned one designated parking space, right down stairs from where we live. My wife and I have two cars so one of us parks in the spot, and the other parks further away in the uncovered areas that are open to anyone, with the person arriving home first generally parking further away so that the other person will have the close space when they get home, a system that has worked well for us, except on the weekly occasion that someone is parked in our assigned spot, forcing us to find one further away, and since the open spaces fill up as the day drags on, that person ends up having to park much further away from the apartment, sometimes even all the way in front of the main office which is about a five minute walk away. This may not seem like a big deal, and I suppose in the big scheme of things that it really is not, but when you just want to get home after a long day of work, it can be rather annoying.

The main culprit I’ve found is one of the maintenance workers, who like to park in our spot because it is directly in front of their tool shed. They do work here and should have easy access to the shed, but why then isn’t there a designated parking space for maintenance workers in order to eliminate the need to park in a resident’s spot? It’s not like our spot is the only one in front of the shed and in fact there is a whole row of spaces directly in front of it, but it seems like every time a maintenance worker is in the shed, their truck is parked in my spot, more often than not with the spaces on either side completely empty. What is so great about my particular space that they seek it out over the others? From my extensive research, hours spent studying each parking spot on either side of mine, I have been unable to find even the slightest difference. I’ve considered purchasing a traffic cone to occupy my parking space when my car is gone, but it just seems like too much of a hassle to have to get out to put the cone in place when I leave, and then again to remove it when I return home, so I guess this is just something I’ll have to continue to deal with until I finally move, and I’m not one bit happy about it.

A Trip to the Mall on a Tuesday Afternoon

IMG_4082I have to work this Saturday which means that today I only had to go into work for a few hours, so when I got home I took my wife to her chiropractor, not because I love going to the dimly lit building where my wife’s spine gets shoved back into place, but because it’s rare that we are ever off work at the same time and I wanted to hang out with her today. After the appointment that took maybe ten minutes, and cost roughly two dollars per minute, which in all sincerity is money well spent since my wife could hardly even walk before, we decided it might be fun to go to the mall since we were already over in the area, and since school started here yesterday, we figured it wouldn’t be obnoxiously crowded like the rest of the summer. Sadly, we were wrong.

I’m not kidding when I say that the parking lot was as crowded as I can ever remember and I had to park pretty far from the entrance, not that I minded that aspect all that much since it turned out to be a pretty pleasant summer day. We walked into the food court, the place where any good trip to the mall starts, and got a snack of bacon cheese fries and a soda. You really haven’t lived until you try walking around the mall on a miserably full stomach. The cheese fries were overly salty, but they were devoured nonetheless, and with no particular destination in mind, we began to wander around the Wolfchase Galleria. There were quite a few stores that have opened up since we’d last been in there, so we ventured inside, were hassled by salespeople wanting to help us find something that we ourselves didn’t know we were looking for, and subsequently left, moving on to the next one.

The process repeated in this fashion with each store we went into, which left me remembering why I don’t like the mall that much in the first place, because browsing just isn’t as much fun without unlimited funds in the bank account, and it’s uncomfortable the way the shop owner’s eyes will follow you around the store, waiting expectantly to make a purchase that never actually happens. We went into Bath and Body Works, a store that I both loathe and love, because nothing is offensive as the combination of odors that you might smell, but there are few things as satisfying as walking away with the perfect scented candle that brings back some unknown memory that translates to happiness. We walked around taking the tops off of various candles and smelling them to see if that is what we wanted our apartment to smell like for the next month or so, but more often than not we shook our heads in disgust as candles with names like “Flannel” or “Pomegranate” gave off overwhelming scents that were altogether unpleasant. We did however find one that we love, an old favorite of ours, “Pumpkin Apple”, but agreed that was a scent better suited for a nice and cool fall evening than a warm and muggy summer afternoon that is currently our reality, so we left the store empty handed, vowing to come back for that candle once the leaves begin to change and life seems much more optimistic. Although we didn’t end up buying anything, I wouldn’t consider the afternoon a bust, because it was just nice getting to spend some quality time in the mall with my wife on a Tuesday, which in itself is a pretty rare occurrence.