1. Jack Chick died today. If you don’t know who he is, you probably didn’t play Dungeons & Dragons back in the ‘80s. Chick was a fundamentalist Christian comic artist who wrote tracks presented in comic book form. These railed about the terrible things bringing American civilization directly into the ARMS of LUCIFER HIMSELF, like Masons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, sports, role-playing games, music, bare navels, evolution, peach pits, homosexuality, Halloween, girls wearing pants, critical thinking, and wearing sandals without socks, to name a few. They were, and are, terrible, bigoted, narrow-minded, and thoroughly, deeply hilarious. They never fail to make me laugh every time I see one. So in his way, he brought a lot of joy to my world. I think if Jack Chick was right about his beliefs, he’d probably be in Hell right now, but if my worldview is correct, his consciousness is no more and he is as one with the Universe now as he was before he was born. I think that’s a nice thought. It’s certainly more than he would have ever wished for me.
A few years ago, I gave out awards in random categories for the following reason:
…Coming up with a top ten list has to be the easiest writing job in the world. Jot down ten things, come up with superficial reasons for their inclusion, and then explain how blatantly wrong you are as just “a way to get people talking about it.” It’s the ultimate mail-it-in, who-gives-a-shit approach to writing.
So I am TOTALLY in!
I followed it up with the Second Annual Aravan Awards for 2011, then didn’t do one for 2012 or 2013 because my life fell completely to shit and it took me a while to climb back out of it. But now I have, so it’s time to dust off the formulaic and simplistic content generating machine…
THE THIRD SOMETIMES-ANNUAL ARAVAN AWARDS!!!!
What are the Aravan Awards, you probably didn’t ask? I’ll tell you anyway! The Aravan Awards are completely arbitrary awards in arbitrary categories that I give out for arbitrary reasons. For example, the 2010 Aravan Award for Best Movie I Watched in 2010 went to Pulp Fiction, which did not come out in 2010 and I’d seen years previously but happened to rewatch it in 2010 and it was better than anything I saw that year. So you know what you’re in for. Plus, the awards are arbitrary because I don’t always remember what year something happened, so it’s kind’ve a grab bag of Shit That Happened At Some Point. Bear with me. The Aravan part of the awards name comes from the pseudonym I originally used here until I published my first book and changed the blog over to my real name (OR IS IT?!?!) and I’ve stuck with it because Tradition. And now you can’t un-know any of that useless information.
Anyway, on to the cheap shitty statuettes!
This post is going to be all about football, so most of you won’t care. It’s also going to be about the Redskins, meaning still less of you will give a shit. In fact, it’s going to be about one particular Redskin, so that’ll reduce the potential audience for this post to about one. I don’t give a shit. Some things need to be said.
I’ve been conscious of being a Redskins fan for 35 years. In that time I’ve had heroes, from good days and bad: Joe Theismann, John Riggins, Darrell Green, Dave Butz, Dexter Manley, Art Monk, Downtown Charlie Brown, Joe Jacoby – hell, I could go on forever. But it’s been a long time since the Glory Days of the Hogs and Gibbs and the Pearl Harbor Crew and the Posse and Fun Bunch and all the rest. In fact, for 20 years now, being a Redskins fan hasn’t been all that fun. There was fleeting success during the Norv era, but that didn’t last, and then came the Bataan March of coaching. Schottenheimer, Spurrier, Gibbs 2.0 (and the last glimpse of success), Zorn (Jesus Christ, I still can’t believe there was a Zorn Era), and now Shanahan. I have hopes for the current coaching staff, I really do. Hope is pretty much the only thing Redskins fans have had to hang their hat on for 20 years. Hope that this year the line can stay healthy. Hope that a quarterback could emerge from the pile and become an NFL-caliber star. Hope that the defense would finally stop giving up 65% of 3rd down conversions. Hope that the young guys could do something.
For 8 years, though, there was one position that I, as a fan, didn’t have to feel hope about. It simply wasn’t necessary, because for this one area, there was certainty. At tight end, for the Washington Redskins, Chris Cooley was going to give everything he had on every play. He was a bright spot, an anchor, one guy we could count on every play even when we were certain nothing else would go right. On the field he was a beast, even if he never got the pimpage from ESPN that others like Witten or Clark or Gonzalez got. Didn’t matter. We, the Redskins fans, knew how awesome he was and how special it was to have him in the burgundy and gold. He was Our Guy.
This might come as a bit of a surprise to you, but I am a nerd. A big one. I don’t confine myself to just one or two branches of the Geek Tree either. I am a multidimensional dork. Tabletop gaming? Yep. Live action role playing? Uh-huh. I’ve even added boffer fighting to my repertoire. Comic book fan? Oh yes. I even find myself in the nerdiest of all possible corporate professions. That’s right. I’m an accountant. I am an all-around geek.
But of all of my nerdy pursuits, my favorite is video games. I was a PC and console gamer back when Combat! and Adventure were awe-inspiring. I was jaded before Super Mario Bros. came out (I owned E.T. for the Atari 2600, after all). Video games have been a life-long love of mine, and that hasn’t changed. Luckily, my wife shares this passion with me, and our side-by-side TVs and separate XBox 360s mean that we can both stay up until 5 am playing Skyrim or ME3 and not feel guilty about it. In fact, we’ve been known to apologize for going to bed and leaving the other to game by themselves. It’s our main hobby.
We don’t watch a lot of TV, because that gets in the way of all the multiplayer Mass Effect playing we can do, but there are a few we always catch. Top Shot. Archer. The most obscure one, however, would be one found on the G4 network. You probably have never watched it, because it mostly shows Cops and its teenaged counterpart Campus P.D. No one should ever watch those shows. My wife and I used to watch two of their shows religiously – Attack of the Show, which was about pop culture with a heavy emphasis on technology and other nerdy things and went to shit when Olivia Munn left, and our favorite of them all, X-Play.