Finding Peace thru Softball by Rollie Agado

Before things took an unexpected turn last week, I had committed to participating in a company Softball tournament.  An activity I genuinely loved participating in when I lived in Detroit...  but hadn't gone out of my way to get back into when I moved to San Antonio.

Stepped onto the diamond in what I believe was 13 years the other night and it felt amazing.  I couldn't believe how much I missed fielding ground balls, instructing people around me what to do and not do while at practice.  

Not entirely sure how I'm going to check my hyper-competitive-self tomorrow.  It kinda helps knowing going in that I'm taking the field with a group of people who are looking forward to having a good time.  I don't anticipate winning any of our scheduled games... I just hope we make it off the field without any major injuries.

hand in glove
Ultra Hydrated

Ballad of Rhiannon Bath by Rollie Agado

The love of my life passed away last week after losing a very long and hard fought battle to cancer.  It was a fight we kept private for roughly a year and then went public about it at the beginning of 2017 to drum up some financial support to extend treatments in hopes of beating cancer or extending her quality of life to live with it.

There were a number of times where I wanted to sit down and write about how I was feeling during our journey.  I find it therapeutic to sit in front of the screen and work out thoughts on the page.  I just happened to find it more therapeutic to spend every available second bedside as I saw the disease slowly shut down her facilities. 

So.. I'm a week into the grieving processes.  It's been really weird. There's a number of lose ends I need to still tie down: 1.) securing her ashes  2.) finalize ceremony arrangements with the Church. 3.) commit to seeing a grieving group/therapist.

I've also made the decision to return to work tomorrow...  something I wanted to do after Rhiannon's ceremony and ideally something after I spending some time by myself outside of San Antonio - but the calendar isn't co-operating.

I wish I could truly describe how I'm feeling inside right now.  I'm upset and in disbelief about her being gone about 80% of the time I'm awake.  The other 20% of my time is truly peaceful... Rhiannon and I spent a lot of time communicating clearly to one another about our mortality so I know we expressed absolutely everything that we needed to one another.  We couldn't ever find any peace in knowing that it wasn't enough time to express our love to each other but we knew how deep and genuine it was at the same time.

Last bit of advice, from me to you.  
Love your lovers.

2016 Playoffs: Spurs 94 - Grizzlies 68 by Rollie Agado

So the San Antonio Spurs put on an impressive win, while also angering me in the processes.  This is the kinda game that upsets casual fans of basketball who just tune into the Playoffs.

  • No starter for the Spurs played more than 27 minutes.  
  • The leading scorer for the Spurs had 16 points and came off the bench.
  • Spurs dropped 94 points on 66 shots.

If you followed the Spurs all season, this game kinda felt like the game they play when they're out on extended road trips where they're playing their playing their 3rd game in 5 nights.

As a Bulls fan...  I can't help but look at the Spurs and be filled with Jealousy.  They continue to masterfully manage player minutes and they will likely play an OKC team that is on the verge of imploding.

The Spurs haven't been consistently tested by an opposing team and they likely won't until they see Warriors in the Western Conference Finals...   but I think there's something to be said about this team not knowing what to do when they have to get into clutch-time-basketball.

Perhaps a referendum will be needed on the Spurs possibly having the most rested team to not advance to the NBA Finals. 

 

2016 Playoffs: Spurs 106 - Memphis 74 by Rollie Agado

2016 NBA Playoffs tipped-off over the weekend and the San Antonio Spurs confirmed what many of us already knew about the Western Conference after 82 regular season games.   The top 4 teams of the West should easily advance to the second round and that's where every team will likely face their first genuine tests over 6 or 7 game series.

The Memphis Grizzlies are simply not healthy enough to take on the Spurs...  in addition to the teams getting plenty of rest between games.  The Spurs have effectively showcased how they can manage player minutes and not really have to worry about how the starters when they're asked to show up for big games.

After seeing nearly all of their games this season, its all about how well their top 8 players perform or chip in when needed.  I'm really curious to see what the Spurs may try to do with offensive output from their back court.   Parker had a lot of contested drives to the basket and I believe he will be a liability as they get deeper into the playoffs.  Danny Green on the other hand only took one shot last night and he thankfully made it.  His struggles from the field have been well documented this season - but he needs to log more minutes in some of these blowouts to figure out his offensive contributions.

Top 3 Ballerz of the Night

  1. Kawhi logged 29 'active' minutes - pulling 20 points, 50% from behind the arc (3 of 6) and 4 steals.  Some of his early steals in the first half set the tone for the game and probably the series.
  2. LaMarcus pulled down 17 points as he continues to play though what I believe is a broken hand.
  3. Parker had an above average night tonight...  he's someone to keep an eye on tho'.  A lot of his drives to the basket were contested early.  The Spurs are shaky at gaurd.

2016 Maverick Festival by Rollie Agado

Finally had some of that good karmic energy come back to me over the weekend by way of some free tickets to Maverick Fest on Saturday...

Stopped into Southtown Vinyl on Saturday to pick up a few records and struck up a conversation with the owner about our plans for the evening...   I overheard him talk about Maverick Fest with a few other people and assumed he was going to close up the shop early to check out the Flaming Lips.  He asked me if I was interested in going and gifted me 2 tickets to the show!  I gladly took him up on his generosity and happily told Rhiannon about what occurred in the store.   

The Lips put on an incredible show in the heart of La Villita in downtown San Antonio.  It featured bouncing balloons, confetti cannons, led lights, loud sounds, inflatable bugs, rainbows and smoke.  It was pretty much an assault on the senses....

The highlight of the night was the band taking a few moments to talk about David Bowie before ripping into a beautiful cover of "Space Oddity".  Wayne crawled into an inflatable ball and crawled over the crowd to a platform just by where we were standing.  

Flatstock 53 & SXSW Gaming Expo by Rollie Agado

I'd be lying if I said I was a little worried about not making it out to Flatstock this year...  but I pulled a number of strings during the week to open up my schedule on Saturday to take in the legendary poster show.

I can't shake the feeling that Flatstock seems to be getting a little smaller every year...  the floor was set up a little differently so maybe it was the same size as last year but the floor was laid out differently.  I can't seem to shake the feeling that maybe poster making is a little saturated right now and its becoming harder and harder to come to these things and becoming acquainted with new and consistent work.

A couple of years ago the median price for posters seemed to go up from $20/25 to  $35/50....  it felt like posters came back down to $25 across the board.  Actual gig-posters (which is what I gravitate to) has kinda taken a big hit to poster makers making artwork prints in poster or t-shirt wearables.   

I kinda hoped to see more screened record mats, but I didn't really see that materialize.

I came pretty close to not picking up any posters this year until I struck up a conversation with one of the vendors at Mercadorama.  They had a number of Cafe Tacvba posters that caught my eye that seemed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their seminal album: RE.  I learned that Senior Designer at Starbucks - Victor Melendez got tapped to do the poster work so I jumped at snagging a copy for my collection.

Gaming Expo

So one of the biggest surprises I had over the weekend was getting to spend a few hours at the SXSW Gaming Expo.  I have never been to a "gaming convention" of this size or quality before... but I was happy to see that it included - Console, Tabletop, Mobile Device and Computer game development.

Attendance was strong for the event...  I believe the graduated to the Austin Convention Center this year and I suspect that this will move to a bigger room next year.  I've never been to E3 - but I would liken it to that to anything else I'm familiar with.

Picked up a card game called Gruff while there too.

Game 69: Spurs 87 - Warriors 79 by Rollie Agado

So its the morning after the big game against the Spurs and I'm still not sure what transpired last night.  I haven't really had a chance to read any recaps online but I'm opting to avoid a lot of the stuff locally or national sports radio because there will be a knee jerk reaction to a "defensive" effort by the Spurs.

My take...  The Warriors had an uncharacteristic shooting night.  The Spurs dictated a pace to the game that helped them edge out the Warriors - but I don't see that turning into blueprint for stopping Golden State.

The two teams will meet two more times before the end of the year but it may not feature two teams willing to show one another what they have planned for the playoffs.

In Memory of: Gonzalo Lopez by Rollie Agado

Penning this entry with a heavy heart...  I received word on my drive home that my Uncle Gonzalo Lopez had unexpectedly passed away.

Gonzalo was an Uncle whom I connected with cerebrally when discussing Sports or Politics.  We would spend a number of evenings by a family taco stand - pouring over periodicals and discussing world politics.  In these intense conversations, I would marvel at how man who lived in Mexico City - knew the names of Prime Ministers, Presidents and Secretary of States around the World.

I asked him once why he even bothered knowing so much about the world stage and he said something to me that was very impactful.  He said something to the effect of:  "In Mexico, we are directly affected by leaders and decisions that are made abroad."   When we weren't discussing global political topics, we would often talk about corrupt political practices in Mexico.  

To the best of my knowledge, Gonzalo did not advance beyond the US equivalence of High School.  He was soft spoken (around me) and carried on with a professorial delivery.  His mastery of the Spanish language was impeccable.  There numerous times where I sat in front of him only absorbing 90% of what came out of his mouth.   He never simplified his thoughts by dumbing down his verbal delivery...  I respected him so much for that and wished I could have told him that before his passing.   Often times, I wished that he knew better English so that I could showcase my appreciation for a number of subjects were engaged in. 

Thanksgiving In Chicago

I forget the year... but I'm pretty sure it was November of 2004.    My uncles (Federico, Jorge and Gonzalo) arranged to fly me in from Detroit to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with them.  The visit to Chicago was a little weird for me because I really hadn't seen my extended family since 1996.  There wasn't really a falling out as much as I had begun to live my 20's in Michigan and I didn't really "know" these gentlemen any more.

All my concerns were brushed away as we caught up on life over a few cases of beer in the basement of my Uncles house on the South Side of Chicago.   I forget how cold it was that night but snow began to fall pretty heavily on Chicago that night so it kinda grounded us into the house together.   We talked about a number of things...  music, movies, women, college and life.  I recall talking about the 2004 ACLS with Gonzalo for what seemed like hours as we went over Game 5 and Game 6 in fanatical detail.

I don't know where the time went..  but we drank until we finished 2 cases of beer.   My cousin Miguel and my Uncle Federico retired to their rooms upstairs and I squared away sleeping quarters with my Uncle Jorge and Gonzalo in the basement.   Jorge informed me that the couch I was sitting on had a pull out bed and that I could sleep with Gonzalo on it.   

Jorge elected to take a cot in the basement that Gonzalo regularly slept in....   The following 20 minutes got really weird.  My Uncle Gonzalo really wanted to sleep on the cot.  Not because he didn't want to sleep next to me... but because fuck Jorge, he felt that the cot was his.  This was older brother telling younger brother to eat shit.  All three of us were pretty lit so Jorge told him to piss off and insisted that he wouldn't move.  

I laid up in bed staring at the ceiling as the shouting began to escalate in the room.   I then heard Gonzalo take off his belt.... the next sound I heard was the sound of Gonzalo whipping my uncle Jorge's back in a drunken delight.   I don't know who was more shocked by the behavior... Jorge or me, but I'm going to say that I was probably him.  

I couldn't stop laughing hysterically and this sorta defused what was going on in the basement.  My Uncle Gonzalo came thrashing down again with his belt across his back and Jorge continued to not budge from the cot.

Gonzalo dropped the belt and shuffled off into another part of the basement.  A number of minutes passed by and I didn't couldn't figure out where he went.   Jorge and I talked about what just transpired in the dark and laughed the whole thing off.

Gonzalo quietly sneaked back into the darken room and dumped a freezing bucket of water onto Jorge and the Cot.   The screaming reached a new pitch and now everyone in the house was awake because of the commotion in the basement.  I'm not entirely sure how it didn't escalate into a pair of 40 year olds exchanging physical blows - but it was on the brink of total cluster fuck.

This is my favorite memory of Gonzalo and it always will be.