I have given up on the slide shows, they were a nuisance. I have opted instead for a few photos hear and there with a link to the full collection. There should be little to no narration, just analog still frames of life with no do overs. Full album here.
If there is one thing we love here at Analog savage it is the great American game of Baseball. Let us get one thing straight right now. I am saying Baseball is American in origin, not in total distinction, the world has picked it up and ran with it, and I love how far the national pastime has spread.
Baseball has always been there for me. I remember watching the Braves with my family as a kid. Those were good, easy times. I did not play as much ball, organized, as I would like to have now. Baseball was always best with your friends, out on some crap field, slamming balls in a disorganized fashion. I don’t think I ever said thank you to the guy who taught me to play catch. I still can, I have him on Facebook. Might be to weird for him…
Anyhow, here is why things like baseball are so important. They are real. Analog games are real. I am not here to put down someone’s lifestyle, but give me something real any day. What makes it real? It is the other people (if the situation calls for them,) it is the tactile experience, the ability to engage your senses. Without those things, something is just well, it isn’t real in a way.
Before someone throws down and threatens to get their ninja gear, I have played my share of video games, hell I collect them, any of them that multi-player essentially means you have to be in the same room, cords optional. I have even played a good amount of World of Warcraft, but that was many moons ago and it isn’t the same, not even close.
Real is the feel of your hands on that wood, the smell of the dirt, that crack that surprises you every time you connect with that smooth ball. It is the uncomfortable dug out seats, it is your kids squeezing in next to you to ask 5000 questions about the game because they want to be close to you, and they want to love that game on tv. Real is the sound of a slide, you know the sound, when a human being heading for a base sounds similar to a vehicle stopping on gravel. Baseball is real, and sorry to have to disappoint, football will never be the national pastime.
My team is the Boston Red Sox. Being a kid from Soddy Daisy (Chattanooga) Tennessee, we watched the Atlanta Braves. They were the closest pro team. My brother in law in South Carolina loves them, and I’m fairly certain it is still a proximity thing. How did I become a Sox fan? I did it experiencing the real.
2007, The Savage was in Baghdad, Iraq. I was walking through the PX on the big base one day while we were there, a real treat mind you, and I came across a sporting goods section. The base we were on did not even have an American owned store, so this blew my mind. I was angry that these spoiled people had time for such things. Then I realized, so did we on our base, and I could not blame them for where they were assigned. What I could do was buy a bunch of gloves and balls, and surprise the guys with a game of catch. It became our thing. We made sure they occupied some odd space in our trucks and when the bigwigs had to talk to the Iraqis leaders for hours, we sometimes tossed ball. It did not occupy every free second, some of them, if they read this, may not remember doing it, but we did it, and we loved it.
One of those guys was from Boston. He is a great guy, we are friends now. We do not speak much, but we are friends, and he could ask me for a going to jail favor today and he would have it. This is the case because there was a time where we lived the real together. He may not even know he did this, he may suspect based on my Facebook posts, but he was the one. We talked baseball, and he told me about the Boston Red Sox, and Fenway park, and the team’s history. I was sold. I was hooked just in time to pay attention during the 2007 World Series. Now The Sox, and Fenway are very important in our house. We even have a “Fenway Wall” where we chronicle our trips to the park to see games.
We do opening day right too. There will be more photos at the bottom for that one. I wrote an entry for the first time we went to see a game at Fenway, my oldest son and I, it is here. It is about the real.
You get a limited amount of time here. Do not waste it. Do not be that person on World of Warcraft with their kids begging them for five minutes attention. A game of catch transcends gender, it is timeless, and it is the open forum. You look for a way to connect with someone? Get to the real, share something real. Real can be found in some video games, but there is a fine line.
Baseball is the top of the analog games. It can even involve a television set, because my family and I, my friends and I, we are connected to something during that time. We get the senses involved, we get the right hats and shirts on. I even found a way to make it cross lines. I recently took up scoring games. What a mind blowing way to get deeper involved, to experience the game on a level I never knew. We play ball, we collect the cards, we watch games as ritual, but scoring a game was like a drug. Try it sometime. Learning how may be a little daunting, the best advice I can give, to clarify the tutorials, just score your team.
I want you to know the beauty of the real, of the analog, and baseball is as good a place to start as any. Go to a game, eat a hot dog, play catch with your kids and neighbor, have an old worn out glove and stick of American Ash cut in Louisville you write your story on.
Baseball was best summed up in the movie “Field of Dreams” by James Earl Jones’s character Terrence Mann, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”
I have talked enough, but here I will leave you with some resources for more on the greatest game in the world, and some summations of my take on ball. Never forget, the first point and most important point is to experience baseball, then read about it and watch movies as it invades your soul.
- Bats are made of wood, and Louisville Slugger is the best
- The Art of Manliness made an awesome post about the 15 Best Baseball Movies, no need for me to re write it.
- Here is some nifty info and a good score card download
- Doping can and should be fought
- I do not care about the designated hitter rule
- Baseball cards have proliferated into madness, but Topps is best
- The evidence says Joe didn’t do it, and it would be amazing to see him reinstated 100 years later
- The best feeling is when the ball lands in glove
- If it is not fun, stop playing, but never forget that you are there to win.
- There will be a last game of catch, don’t let it be because you said no too many times and they stopped asking.
Ganger-Bjorn, The Analog Savage
What has that shifty Ganger done now? I took one of my favorite things and used it as a format to make my next project. I cannot, often anyhow, write a long, drawn out, and informative blog post on everything I love, I am sad to say. It takes too long, and often times the research is there and done for me, it is a just a matter of telling you my take on it, and then connecting you the reader with the existing work.
What is this ultra-glorious format I speak of? It is the not so humble encyclopedia. I love encyclopedias. When I was a kid we had a set of World Book that I cannot quite remember the exact year they were from, but I am fairly certain my grandfather Bob bought them when there were two Germanies.
Last year I bought a set of World Book 2014. Here is the part of this blog post that is helpful. Here is how you save money if you want a set of encyclopedias, hard copy, and do not want to spend sticker price. World Book will run you $1049 for the newest. The year before, $999, and they go down from there. Oddly the backstock on 2015 costs less than my set of 2014, that may be because they have less of them and it is harder to come by, I’m unsure. My point being if you do not mind not being 100% current, buy the older ones. 2017 will only be current for nine more months, 2015 will cost you roughly $750 less than 2017. I mean, they print beautiful picture scapes on the spines, and I am terrified that I will end up collecting sets of encyclopedias, but if you read their site, you are only so many articles out of date. I paid less than $300 for my set of 2014, even after a fiasco with the post office made me replace two volumes, and to boot, the ones I bought were on Ebay, and a library had them marked to be discarded. That is way too much paper and information to just throw away when it is that new.
Anyhow, back to the point. I have created a second blog…Encyclopedia Bledsoe! Why? It makes me happy. Also, I saw a picture the other day from Barnes & Noble, and it hit me. I do read the dictionary and the encyclopedia and they are awesome! Why not organize it and share it????
So I made a blog, with what will be an alphabetical menu, that will contain entries. I will link to a dictionary and encyclopedia site, after I write my bit. Here is the key, my bit will be my opinion, my humor. For instance Amy Schumer may not be in the actual encyclopedia, but in mine you will be able to find her listed as delusional and not funny.
What I will be doing:
- Writing some original content for fun, sharing, and information
- linking to existing work, the link will serve as the citation
- picking things from reading the encyclopedias and dictionaries to write about
- writing entries that are wholly new because they are important to Bledsoe of Encyclopedia Bledsoe
What I will not be doing:
- Taking pictures of the hard copies of my books, pretty sure that is illegal
- worrying about what anyone really thinks, pending anyone reads this noise
- writing without passion or letting this become work
The link can be found in the about section here, and ofcourse you will see the posts on facebook. Enjoy.
This space has not had a true update in a bit. I have been moving and such. Let us begin there. Let us get back to what this blog used to be. It was first and foremost whatever I, the author, wanted it to be, and I always wanted it to be true. True to me specifically, and yet I have danced around topics and applied enough tact to make myself sick. What happened to the truth? What happened to the alcohol fuel, tobacco burning, dioneysian blog posts that made at least one person think, or made me feel like I was actually doing something with this?
Well it is all coming back. I described this to one of my professors as a “no s*** window into my life,” but somewhere along the way I forgot that. This is not as dramatic as it all sounds? Sometimes I got off writing about pencil sharpeners. I can tell you why I stopped doing that as much, because everybody that enjoys graphite and would feels the need to write about it (me included) and I was not reading theirs, so I stopped asking them to read mine as often, that is all it was just kind of a courtesy thing. So let us begin with an update.
We were reasssigned to Fort Sam Houston…well isn’t that peachy, leave Massachusetts, leave the circle of Boston, leave Framingham, and go back to the Ghetto. No I am not hanging out in the wrong parts of Texas, no I do not need to give it a chance, I am allowed to dislike an entire state without offering a reason, and the city of San Antonio, for that I can give reasons. I am not saying that I will not enjoy things here, I will, I always find something to do, but for me this place will always be too far South West. Now we do live two minutes from where the medics are made, and that always strikes me as a little funny.
Let us be honest here. I planned every detail of my last day at Framingham State as best as I could. I had a vision in my head and I was going to do my best to make sure it happened. I would not settle for something anticlimactic as the semester just being over and me not coming back. I made a playlist…I even wore the exact same outfit on my last day that I had worn on my first, if you will allow for the fact that I have of course bought new underwear since then. Even my socks were the same. I know because they are the ones I wear with my Doc Martin’s. I cant guarantee that it was the same pair of socks, but there are only three pairs of these, and I have had the same three this whole time. It was a private little joke that only I was in on.
This may be the only picture of me from that day. Zander was there out of necessity caused by the moving schedule and such. Nobody minded, I have lots of photos of plenty of my friends playing with him. The point is the sweater, it book ended my time at Framingham State University. I thought it was hysterical. I even made a play list. That’s right. I made a SOUNDTRACK for my last day. Most people did not notice that I had it playing most of the day walking around in my personal little movie.
I went out on country roads. My buddy Steve camethrough (without knowing it) and we went and smoked before I walked off the campus at almost exactly the same time I had left a night class on my first day. Couldn’t have done it without you buddy.
We decided to road trip out of MA. I know I have a lot more stuff I could talk about, especially people and it may come back to me later, but this will be longer than it is already going to be. We had some help getting cleaned out of our house, very grateful, and then I had to leave everyone. We had some friends when We’ve left other places, but they were army people, they knew what it was like. Here? We were attached. So we put a bunch of crap in the outback and went trecking out with kids for 1800 miles, and around 25 days. We visited family. We visited friends. I spent a good bit of the time dealing with that feeling that I am unsure if it is caused becaus we were in between and it wouldn’t go away until we had a house to put together, or if it was just the dread of where we were going. The kids actually did really well with all of the hotels and such. We spent New Years in a hotel room enjoying each other’s company. If you are bored and want to get to the point, here’s one. Home really is where the heart is, for me, I really am just happy the wife, kids, and I are all together.
The little guy and his hotel bed. They were happy as long as there was a bathtub to play in. Kids know how to keep it simple.
This whole home is where the heart is thing being true is not news. What is news is this: you are not required to continue taking people’s garbage just because you are related to them. I am not saying that all the little motivational Facebook posts about leaving negative people behind are at all true, much to the contrary, I am sure that more often that not people are not looking in the right direction. I have been there, I have forgotten to blame myself because I did not want to accept that I was the problem, but more often than not we know the type. My sister is great at this kind of thing, posting about people messing people up when she can’t make a sandwich without a family fight and the cops coming. That’s what I’m tired of, pretending I care. I love my family, but you know what I’m tired of telling them that they need to do to fix the situation. My mother and grandmother are ready to pull their hair out, my mother has the kids and doesn’t get any sleep, and when my family and I come we are mostly spectators to this circus. AND we never say anything about it. That stopped back at the beginning of this paragraph. I do not blame her kids, you have them, stop fooling with that Stalingrad dumpster fire until she pulls it together. Everyone turns on everyone so fast, and I feel like phone calls are just sirens telling me what she has done now. It has driven people out of business and before we know it her final revenge will be complete and my kids wont get to see you at all due to the early grave it has driven you to. We get tired of coming to see everyone and trying to dance around the mess that she has made. Call me what you will, but I am serious. We don’t mind helping with the kids, so long as we are not telling ours to wait around and get what is left. However! We did get my grandparents to go to the Tennessee Aquarium. That was awesome as always. That place should get an entry to itself.
Some more travels later, we found ourselves on the way to San Antonio for real. Now here is the catch. When this trip was over, I was going to have to get up the next day, get on an airplane, and do the whole thing again. It was cheaper than shipping our second car. I was going to have an awesome post all planned out for you guys, I was going to go to Route 66 and drive as much of it as possible before hitting Texas. It was going to be awesome! I bought a book and spent most of January planning it out. Then our car was broken into. I found out from my wife while I was sitting on my second plane waiting on them to check out the equivalent of a check engine light, which is admittedly more serious on a plane. I guess the crew heard my displeasure at someone having busted a window out. I looked over in the next seat and there was Woodford Reserve and a Coke. They kept appearing. Here’s to the employees of American Airlines. My road trip went by the wayside, I wanted to get home as quickly as possible, home to my family that is. Here’s the thing. We are smart enough to take the DVD players out every time we stop. We did not have a lot in the car. My bag that was in there I had put in that morning so that my wife would not have to carry it down the stairs herself with the kids. All in all they took clothes, my writing stuff, Liam’s toy bag, My wife’s clothes. The only real valuable–as far as single items go, stuff adds up–was my Nintendo 3DS. Yes I know this is a First World problem to have. Yes we are insured, yes we can and have replaced most of that stuff. However: it was ours. I hate being stolen from. A part of me hopes that they were able to sell that stuff and feed their kids, or maybe a kid who had nothing has those toys, but I know thats wishful thinking, and that part of me is small. The bigger part of me comes from a place where we fought and dueled to build a reputation so that people would not steal from us. We hate thieves, and that bigger part of me would–and I say this unable to make those who don’t know understand–that I really would break someone’s limbs over my kids toys, my wife’s clothes, and some fountain pens. The worst part is, it killed the little good I saw in this place. I have gone to concerts in Worcester MA, parked in an alley with money in the cup holders, actual bills, and people did not smash windows and take money, never has that happened in my life. Two days in this place? Thieves hang, no I do not want to hear the rest of the story.
End of the day, my wife and kids are safe. All is well. We now live on post, and the house is actually really nice. People say your blog is supposed to help people. Here it is again: putting a house together with two kids is slow. I do not mind living on post, and Liam and I have some nice places to skateboard, and a park, and if we want, we can bike to the grocery store. What’s amazing is having friends who love you enough and know you well enough to pack the perfect box to try to cheer you up.
We have been selling off some more stuff online. Here’s some more tips. #1 be prepared for people to think their stuff is worth way too much. I read an anthropology paper that did a good job explaining this. #2 be prepared for people to not be able to read. Even if you put the words “Will only meet at X” or “I have a Subaru, I cannot deliver a couch” people will not realize they don’t know where X is until they are “almost there” or they will ask when you can drop the couch off. To sell online is to need golf shoes to wade through the stupid.
OH! I wrote a novel while we were traveling. I did it by the national novel writing month standards. It is 52,000 words of crap. But I did it. I wrote a novel. My support crew were all amazing. I might even revise it. I wrote a book. That’s a bucket list item gone. I am actually kind of pleased with the novel. Next step is to print it and begin revision.
Now we are here, refining our lives, cementing who we define ourselves as. I have managed to have a pretty good, INCOWRIMO, international correspondence writing month, despite being busy, my bag of writing stuff having to be replaced, not actually being able to open the mailbox, and getting a late start, I am on 28 letters and it is not the 28th. I have gotten some really good ones from the address exchanges.
Now I prepare to leave you, back to our regularly scheduled programming, the knives and pencils, the books and movies, with some new stuff. I hope to see more readers because I have a lot to write. It is almost baseball season. Zander has turned one…
Here is the next slide show. For those who dislike slideshows the album can be viewed here.
Here is the first addition, dates are really the same. enjoy!
I saw a thing were some dude took a Polaroid, just one everyday, for around thirty years it looked like. At that moment I looked at my Instant camera, which I love and use to stick photos in my journal, and realized that I could make a never ending line of these in a slide show. I figure I will update it every once in a while, offerning no explanations beyond this, seeing how far it will go. The start is September 2015…
Tonight I kind of have to post something. It gives me a reason to put my blog on my page. I got to spend some time with my cast mates, tonight, a story I though I had put on here…I could have sworn I did, I’ll have to check my drafts. The Ganger got into a play. The university is putting on “Our Town,” and I get to be in it. More than a few people are surprised to learn that I was involved in theater in high school. That is not the point.
The point is I have some awesome cast mates. They allowed me to run my mouth for a while and explain to them that I am unconcerned with saying things like, I love marathon dungeons and dragons games, or sorting pencils, or sorting stamps from the Soviet Union. It is because I do not have time to care. No one can afford to, these are my quirks. I am so very aware that I will not be here one day, and I needed them to know that I am always on the lookout for the next thing to make into a story. I dress up with my sons for Halloween, I go to New York by train on a whim, I audition for plays, I start M&M fights with Liam, because I may not get to do so tomorrow. As you have seen I write it all down, because the next biggest tragedy would be for the stories to be lost, because then who will remember?
It was on the thought of writing it all down that I realized, I write a lot as if I were already gone. Which inspired the idea to write a terrible little poem. It is not finished, but it seems to cap off the night. Judge it all you like, I will as well.
Dead Man’s Story
Hello my dear diary of a dead man!
My gunna be the biggest to do for all the people to see
Like Wellington the people g’on come from all around
The g’on come and bury this hillbilly
They come and stay for days and live a little bit like me
There g’on be song, drink, and dance, but my hope is for you to get a good story.
What you sing, what you drink, and with whom did you dance?
You see that is how you live a bit like me, you put down the phone and begin making a story.
Now me? I am nobody from nowhere, but when I tells you about it, I’m the biggest somebody from the biggest some where you ever heard of.
I was born to the prettiest lady in the daisy land, we together one big family in one big house.
Whole family on a plot of land with a dirt track and a forest filled with dragons and demons and their ilk
My cousins and I the only thing kept them away, our blood, sweat, and play kept those big ole baddies at bay.
Yes we loved it there in the daisy, we went to the same school, the yellow building where mamaw brought the mail to the Allen.
The Allen so old that momma and uncle went there like granddaddy too.
I wish I could show it to you like it was in my day
we moved on to a fancy new street where we was the last generation of kids and a fancy new school that taught me about classes, but where I learned little in class
Now you want to live like me? You g’on need four daddies, you g’on need camping and fishing and movies with your momma across the big old sea.
You gunna live like me you gotta have tobacco, coffee, and tea
You gotta kiss a girl with bright red hair in the photo machine at the gate to the north, you gotta dance with those who cannot speak, you gotta fight when you know you will lose and play nintendo in the tops of trees.
Now you see I wanted to do all there was to see, and surprisingly I am always getting to.
Now I seen London, and I seen France, and I got asked silently by a pretty German girl to dance.
I smelled the channel salt, sailing by a white wall.
Follow me and youll see the black guards of a queen, you’ll sleep in castles in the hills, youll trod the boards with the most creative the nooga had, and you’ll ride horses in a circle every time you see them
To live like me you g’on have to put your name in the big book of an army
you g’on have to go to the man in the round brown hat and do what he say
you g’on have to go to the land of the eagles and learn how they fly
you g’on take up you gun for you destiny, and meet the people who like in the big sand sea
you live like me and you’ll see big crossed sabers, a baghdad sunset, and if you lucky you’ll get to swim in the pool of a dead dictator
you gotta fight in the war, and wonder what for
livin like me get you called doc, if you know some broken body
With me you’ll ride the steam engine to get a pencil and see the big city, gettin back just in time to win moonshine to help the kiddies, while a man tells you that its in the fruit.
To be like me you gotta plan your funeral and write your obituary just to make sure they gets it done right, who else g’on throw that good a party and tell that good a story?
We have not done a book part of this whole books, brass, bears thing in a while. For a while now I have been looking at the lists of “books everyone should read.” I watched the movie The Equalizer in which Denzel Washington’s character is said to be reading through one of those lists.
Problem one is that there is definately more than one list, there are several that come up commonly in fact. So it takes a little detective work. I contacted my friend who is a librarian if there was a list to beat all lists that libraries and their secret societies know about. According to Paula there is not, but she did tell me about a book that her library contained about this subject. However, this grand tomb is a bit much. It is 1001 Books You Must Read Before you Die, by over 100 international critics.
Technically this is the first review, this book is a fail. This is exacly why college professors give you word limits on papers. These guys did a wonderful job assembling and summarising 1001 books but, even given the total number of books in the world, this was not work. They did not have to pick something but the Bronte sisters, everything they ever wrote is in here! It does however have a break down by time frame, so there is a list of “pre 1700,” however there is still the horrid idea of buying a 35$ book…to tell you which books you need to read.
Back to the list. My next piece of detective work was to say ok what was Denzel reading. He mentions The Old Man and the Sea, and one of the two main lists had that, so that is what we are going to go with. There is a Good Reads list, and an Amazon list. I deduced it to be the Good Reads list and so that is what we are sticking with, you can find it here.
Much to my…utter horror To Kill A Mockingbird was top of the ranked list. You see I was put up to reading this in highschool, except I did not do it. I am not particularly proud of the story I am about to tell as, I look back and think I would want to beat a student senseless if they had done this. I do not know why, I got thirty pages in, gave back my copy, and took a zero for the various assignments that went along with the book. My teacher was a bit eccentric, and I feel like she protested her way through college, so I am guessing my lack of a few letter grade drop was due to some strange part of her being excited to watch me buck the institution.
So do I wish that I had read this back when? Not really. I do wish I could remember why I hated it so much back then, and perhaps not been a snot. I do not believe though that I had the capacity to appreciate this book when I was fifteen.
I may not agree that this book is “the best novel of the Twentieth Century” as purportedly said about librarians across the country, and no I do not have an immediate contender outside of The Silence of the Lambs right now, but I am not sure this is the top.
I did enjoy it though. I feel like this type of book is the equivalent to a blog back when, have story and a need to tell it. It offered a nice insight into the brutal reality of a situation with no way out, and no happy ending. The race issues portrayed in the 30s, were very relevant when Harper Lee wrote this book, and despite starting this grudgingly, and partly as a show of commitment to this list no matter what I found on it, I found myself wanting to know how it ended. Tom Robinson’s troubles were devastating and told matter of factly, in a that is life kind of way. The only thing that can be compared to a happy ending is the death of Bob Ewell. I believe in justice, even if it has to be taken, and Bob Ewell got taken out the way he was supposed to whether he did it or Arthur Radley handed it to him, but that is it. It can be good to read this kind of reality, even if it is grounded in a fiction novel, I feel it was the reality in the world and mind of Harper Lee.
Do I believe that it should remain on the list? Absolutely, everyone should read it. My next trip to the bookstore will be to turn it into the next thing that lives on my shelf.
The other thing I will be doing at this time will be to at the same time create my own list, just to see how much work goes into this, and to see what I learn, and am willing to give up along the way. It will all take years, and I hope some of you are along for the ride. I suppose this calls for a new permanent notebook…we will see, but the first book on Bjorns list of everyone has to read it, is To Kill A Mockingbird. I hope you all enjoy it, and if you read it back when that you will go back to it.