A Tale of Life, Death and Cats

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Seven days into this thing called “life.”

Seven days ago I saw both death and life.

Thankfully, the former was cancelled out seven times over.

As I’ve done many times this summer, I set out from my apartment complex on foot, the sun setting on west Fort Worth as I went for a walk through the subdivision just behind my apartment complex.

Dan Harmon’s “Harmontown” podcast blasted in my ears as started to trace my usual route in the August heat that used to be July heat.

A few blocks in, I walked around a bend and saw a motionless lump sitting at the mouth of a driveway.

The lump was a white cat.

That the cat was dead was made clear by the flies buzzing around it.

All of this registered in less than five seconds. By the fifth, I was quickly walking in the opposite direction, toward awaiting life.

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This is My Spotify Life, Part 2

“In order to understand the future, you’ve got to go back in time.” – “Back in Time” by Pitbull

Yes, there’s a Pitbull song on my Spotify “Starred” list. It was added on April 28, 2012.

Stop judging me. It’s a catchy tune and eight days earlier the music video for the “Men in Black III” theme song was released and I was looking forward seeing the movie when it was released on Memorial Day weekend.

Pretty simple. But then again, I also added Jimi Hendrix performing the Star Spangled Banner, so maybe I was going through a crisis.

It was finals week, so I shouldn’t be blamed for any decisions I made under duress.

By week’s end, one of my more memorable summers was getting underway.

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Jeff Gordon prepares for final road-course race at Watkins Glen

Daniel McFadin:

My NBC Sports story on Jeff Gordon’s final NASCAR road-course race, today at Watkins Glen.

Originally posted on NASCAR Talk:

The second half of Jeff Gordon’s last Sprint Cup season sees the four-time champion visiting tracks as a competitor for the last time.

Each week Gordon is asked the same questions, just with different track names used.

Friday, he received those questions at Watkins Glen International, which also plays host to his final NASCAR event at a road course.

Gordon, who will retire after 23 seasons, takes his leave as the Sprint Cup’s all-time win leader on road courses with nine. The Hendrick Motorsports driver earned five wins at Sonoma Raceway and four at Watkins Glen.

But those winning memories are not the ones that linger for Gordon.

“I feel like I say this every weekend when I get asked about a track that I’m going to for the last time,” Gordon said Friday. “I seem to remember the things that got away more than I think of the ones that (ended) sitting…

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This is My Spotify Life, Part 1

It’s been three years, nine months and three laptops since I embraced Spotify’s “who cares about Pandora and a few iTunes exclusives?’ spirit on Sept. 27, 2011, two months into my junior year of college.

It was a Thursday night and pillows propped me up in bed as I entered a very different musical world via a Toshiba laptop that wouldn’t make it to grad school.

That night I  founded my “Starred” playlist with “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” by John Meyer.

It would now take you 45 hours and 59 minutes to listen to the 664 songs I’ve deemed significant – for whatever emotionally petty reasons – to my personal musical journey.

And for posterity, I never delete songs from the list. With the exception of possibly four or five questionable entries made in moments of weakness, my real time music tastes remain intact for anyone to look at.

Here are a few songs that stand out to me from my first seven months on Spotify – from September 2011 to April 2012 – and some stories to go along with them.

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You know you’re nearly broke when…

Thank you taxes.

Thank you secondary payments related to taxes.

Thank you 22-inch Vizio TV I owned for 5 years that unexpectedly broke that led me to buy a new 40-inch Hisense TV (If you’re ever going to upgrade….).

Thank you bills.

Thank you for putting me in the position of never being more excited than I am now on the eve of a check being direct deposited into my checking account.

You know your bank account has been hanging by a thread for a month (with some very appreciated help from your parents) when:

  1. You use Taco Bell as a bank to get quarters for laundry.
  2. You miraculously go two weeks without using a quarter of your gas tank.
  3. You can list the number of places you been in the last four weeks: Wal-Mart, Kroger, Sonic, the library, 7-11 and a visit downtown for your cousin’s birthday. That turned into a trip to the Water Gardens in Fort Worth and a weird sensation of vertigo.

    The Water Gardens in downtown Fort Worth.

    The Water Gardens in downtown Fort Worth.

  4. Sitting around doing nothing after a day of working (from home) becomes something you have to do and thus loses its appeal.
  5. Swimming in the apartment pool becomes an event.
  6. You take A LOT of walks in the subdivision behind you apartment, leading to your most steps taken in succession since freshman year of college.
  7. If you died, the stray cat that adopted you and your balcony would be the only living thing that would know for at least a week.
  8. Podcasting becomes your main source of socializing (give us a listen! Please?).
  9. You rediscover how much money you could have saved by getting all of your entertainment from the library. Seriously, Red Box and Netflix would go the way of Blockbuster if our society used libraries as they were intended. The 57 people ahead of me on the wait list for Will Smith’s “Focus” know what I’m talking about.
  10. You read more books (not complaining) than you have since your last bought with midterms. This leads to learning more about the American Revolution from one book than you did from your AP American History class in high school (You also start to question why we celebrate the Fourth of July and not the Third of September).
  11. You have trouble keeping track of which “Key & Peele” episodes you have and have not seen.
  12. Your habit of sleeping in until noon is now your most effective cost-cutting strategy.
  13. You sit in your living room writing a list about being broke.

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The cat with no name

cat

It happens like clockwork.

Within minutes of giving leave of the cat with no name, it returns.

It’s out there right now, laying underneath my red and tan beach chair as the apartment complex pool is filled with the shouts and laughter of kids on summer break with nowhere else to go.

It’s claimed the balcony as its own.

It started off innocently enough. With an open door as groceries were brought into the one-bedroom apartment.

It ventured in a few feet, investigating the dividing line between the carpet of the living room and the wood flooring of the kitchen. Its presence noticed, it darted back outside.

There was a collar, but no name.

Later, its curiosity got the best of it and it welcomed the offering of some Oscar Meyer bologna. Then again, again and again.

One morning brought my routine of opening the balcony door to let some cooler air in.

It also brought the cat. Ten feet couldn’t keep it away from more bologna.

I welcomed the company as I worked. Working from home can be a lonely experience, especially when it’s tax month.

Everytime I place the cat on my door, it returns. From doorway to balcony, in no time at all.

I’ve yet to see this incredible effort take place.

This is what happens you’re adopted by a cat with no name.

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A comedian asks for a volunteer….

NatashaWhen attending a comedy show, always be prepared for the headliner to have to use the restroom halfway through the set.

When this happens, they will ask for a volunteer from the audience to vamp for two minutes (“Does anybody have a talent?”)

Always raise your hand.

If someone asks for volunteers, just do it. Don’t think twice.

Raise. Your. Hand.

Especially if said comedian asking for a volunteer is Natasha Leggero.

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