Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
If you ever need to put some custom styles in the Telerik Rad Editor of DotNetNuke HTML module it can be a little frustrating if you don't know exactly where to put the files. It's actually a simple process. I cut a quick video walking through this process and wanted to post here in hopes of helping someone who may encounter this same issue.
As a web developer and a hunter I find myself taking on two contrasting identities and, often times, bouncing back and forth between the two. When I?m with my co-workers I?m the ?web guy? with a country accent and when I?m with my hunting buddies I?m ?the guy who spends too much time up in city working on computers?(which is not really workin)?! You may be just like me, the guy who makes the commute to work in the city and returns back south chasing deer, turkeys, and anything that will bite a hook on the weekends. If you are, then you'll be able to empathize with my sentiments that follow. Accordingly, no matter on which end I find myself, I end up receiving a hard time from both my fellow hunters and co-workers. Though, I?ve come to appreciate both sides (and the hard time that they give me).
To help me illustrate what I?m describing a little, let me tell you a story about one of my friends from the city. I frequently find myself talking people from Charlotte into coming down to Pageland and ?letting their hair down?. (My dad says I ought to work on the Pageland Chamber of Commerce). I have a friend who is a New Yorker that now lives in Charlotte and I talked him into coming down to the country for a day. I took him fishing and we spent a few hours on the pond and really didn?t catch much. Towards the end of the trip I asked him what he thought about fishing. His response kind of caught me off guard. I expected him to be critical of my guiding abilities and to talk smack to me. Instead he replied saying that he really enjoyed fishing. I thought he was being sarcastic and I asked him why and he responded ?Do you hear the birds? and I said ?yes?. Then he noted to me that he never hears the birds where he lives in the city. He went on saying how he didn?t know of any pond that he could go fishing in that was close to Charlotte. He commented on how he really enjoyed the peacefulness of just floating on a pond simply because it wasn?t something he gets to do often and that it was relaxing to him.
Earlier that same day I had taken him out to a shooting range and it was his first time shooting a rifle, shotgun, and pistol. He actually hit the bull?s-eye on his first shot with the rifle, but it did bloody up his brow a little. He was even able to hit some skeet as well. He did go home with a nasty bruise on his shoulder too. Thinking he would talk junk to me about his shooting experience, I asked him how he felt about shooting and he responded that he really enjoyed it as well. He spoke of shooting the rifle and the immense moment of silence right before he pulled the trigger. He talked about the power and intensity that is packed into those few seconds of silence and yet how he didn?t even hear the gun go off. Yes, he learned and had a new appreciation. He thanked me for bringing him to shoot and for allowing him to get a new perspective on guns. He even took the target with the hole in the bulls-eye back to his house to show off!
From my friends responses it appeared that the moments he experienced "out of his element" were invaluable to him and helped him gain perspective. I believe this is the case because lessons learned when you find yourself seemingly out of your element and somewhat vulnerable offer the most room to grow. The things that hunters find commonplace were new learning experiences and good memories for my friend. He was open to coming down and, as any country boy would do, we tried to get him ?countrified? as much as possible... and it was fine by him. His normal identity is that of a city boy (who at first holds a gun on his shoulder as if it were a surface to air missile launcher). By coming down and living the life of a country boy for a day, he learned and benefitted from real-world experiences that derived knowledge that you can?t get from a book.
My friend found himself in the middle of a day that was outside of his normal environment. As I thought about his experience and how he was so grateful and appreciative, I reflected on my own life and realized that my ?normal? is being caught in between these two environments. Going back and forth between the identities is my "normal" and I?ve learned to appreciate it. I like to, how do they say, ?get in where I fit in? and that?s about all anyone can do. Though, to ?fit-in? in the contrasting environments takes a little vulnerability and openness with the end goal being to learn about the other side and yes, to learn about one?s self.
Not surprisingly, one?s identity is directly linked to what they do and the activities in which they are engaged. I'm engaged in more than one activity which leaves me actualizing multiple identitities. Though, it is only from the perspective of the fragmented identity (i.e. living the experiences of both worlds) that I am able to draw a true appreciation and understanding for both sides. Because I?m not always in the city, I appreciate certain aspects of a city life such as being able to go somewhere where nobody knows me, or the ability to get to almost any type of store relatively quickly, or being able to work with an organization that has a large scale web site who can offer me employment. On the flip side, because I?m not always in the country, I appreciate going to a restaurant and knowing the locals, or the winding country roads that are free of major traffic jams, being able to get out in the woods and work with my hands...and, as my friend said, to hear nature around me. The fragmented identity sharply brings into focus the advantages and disadvantages of both sides, allows me to see if and when the two converge, and in doing so brings on diversity and broader horizons. Had I never spent a good deal of time in the city, I wouldn't appreciate the country...and vice versa.
It's not too bad being a ?webneck?.
Now that I have been here for a few days I can catch up to what's been going on. First of all it is very cold here and I have seen snow on the ground in some places. The river was frozen in some places as well. The first day I was here we went to the field to see it. The field is near to the Centrum, which is the shopping center in the middle of the town. The turf is better than any turf field in Finland, though the stands/stadium leaves something to be desired, but I would rather save my knees/elbows and skin than have a nice bleacher section. After I saw the field the coach and I went inside the Centrum and ate. We ate kebabs, which I haven't eaten since Finland either.
Where I am staying is like a 10 minute walk to the gym, to the Centrum, and to the field so its not that bad. Zooming out on your mapquest view Tyresö is about 15 minutes (in car) southeast of the dead center of Stockholm. From what I can gather its in between Stockholm and the sea. I would say it would be the same distance relationship as like Pineville to the dead center of Charlotte, only without the ocean! I am staying in the clubhouse which is like where the main offices for the team are. There are several rooms here like I said before. The team has meetings and watches film here and there is one other guy that is staying here with me. His name is Christian and he played D-III ball in Wisconsin so he speaks English very well and for that matter every person I've met here speaks English well.
So later that day I went shopping for some snacks around the house. The stores here are about the same as they were in Finland. They resemble themselves in the manner in which they are built and how they operate. However things here are pretty expensive and as always when I'm in other countries I can never tell exactly how much money I am really spending. The conversion here is like 7.5 crowns to the dollar so I freak out when a cheeseburger is like 50 crowns or whatever. It may take me a while to get use to it and all of this metric stuff. Whoever thought I would have needed to learn that stuff in high school. Maybe I should have payed attention. During the daytime it is pretty much cold in the shade and warm in the sunlight. So later that night I went out with my friend from GWU, Ilija Sekulic. Ilija was the star tennis player at GWU ( that is along with B-Shoc of course ). He was also a computer major so we are pretty good friends from school. You can imagine how crunk we were to be seeing each other again, only this time in his country...not mine. So he came and picked me up and we went downtown. The city is a very nice city and is lit up a lot at night. We went to a Yugoslavian place and the music was different as you can imagine. You may ask why we went there...well the females we were with wanted to go there so once again I was along for the ride. We just hung out there for a while and then came back. It was good to hang out with Ilija again and I'm sure we'll hang out more as well. So yes the girls in the place did look good, but nothing to make me write on this page about yet. That was pretty much it for the first 2 days until we scrimmaged the Roosters, which will be the next entry to come.
Well this is my first entry of the second journey and I hope it ends up as well as the first one did. A hair cut at Bills, a stop by Central to receive the good luck blessing from Coach Mangum, lunch at Beth's Country Kitchen with the parents, happened to bump into David Tucker and ate some Burger King in the Charlotte airport with him and 24 hours later I'm here in my room in Stockholm Sweden starting all over again. It is almost 1 am here and I'm not tired...though I have been all day. As soon as I got on the airplane to come here the same thoughts were going on in my mind again as they did last year. Man this is going to be a long flight...I hope I can make it through all the security without any problems....hope I can play well....can the girls really be that fine...and do they really serve alcohol on European flights? I flew directly from Charlotte to Gatwick London, then caught a bus to Heathrow which is another airport in London about a 30 minute ride aways. I had to exchange money to pay for the bus trip and to buy food and calling cards. $ 125 = 60 Pounds in case you cared. Basically somewhere around 2 dollars per pound. The Heathrow airport in London is basically a shopping mall with an airport surrounding it. While I was in this airport several things came back to me that I had forgotten about.
So I arrived and was picked up by a coach and one of the players. They were waiting on me and had been for like an hour because there was a delay at Heathrow ...go figure. We took about at 30 minute ride from the airport to Tyreso, which is where I am. We went right through the downtown of Stockholm and it seems pretty nice from my first look of it. We just talked about football pretty much the whole way until we got in the dead center of town and I saw this huge lit up sign that read KPMG. Now I didn't know what KPMG meant 3 months ago either, but my cousin did an internship with them and so therefore I know. KPMG is an accounting firm that is world wide. So maybe David better come check that office out after all. When I got to my place I tried to plug my computer in but for some reason it wouldn't work. It would recognize the connection, but wouldn't let me surf. The place I'm staying is pretty nice. The team has like the whole bottom of an apartment building it seems. You have to remember it was dark when I landed so I'm trying to tell you from what I saw. Anyways, we have meeting rooms, bed rooms, bath rooms, a shower, a kitchen, a computer room and everything so its pretty spacious.
The team doesn't have practice tomorrow or Saturday, but then on Sunday we have a scrimmage against the Helsinki Roosters. Yes you may remember the roosters as the team that the Turku Trojans beat last year in the Finnish championship game. My team here in Sweden is scrimmaging them this Sunday. I wont play because its only my second day here and I don't know the plays yet. This will probably be awkward seeing them again, but in a different country. So That's pretty much it for now. I'm sure I'll have more later and unlike my brother I did call Big Frank and Frances and tell them I made it.
Well I must say that after the flight over and all of the arriving hassles I did get some sleep though it doesn't really get that dark at night. It is cold here too. It has to be cold for me to be getting cold and these people are over here riding around with the tops down on the convertibles. Its like 11 o'clock at night right now but the sun looks like it is 6 o clock in the evening. The town I'm staying in is nice and up to date technology wise. When we got to my room I met our neighbors that my new friend Marlon had already been getting to know. They seem to be nice girls and they came over to make sure that I had everything that I needed. They gave me food and were nice. It isnt bad that one of them just graduated from massage therapy school. And yes they both speak spanish due to spending time in Spain...so yeah I can hablar with them.
The place I stay in is downtown on the second level of some buildings. Its on top of some stores, one of which is a bar/pub so its pretty neat. I have never lived like that before, but I can get to things pretty quick if I need to. The room itself is small, but is also liveable (check out the video). Ya'll know me and as long as I have the internet then I'm fine. Well I have the high speed connection in here. I also have a Tv with cable, a bathroom, shower, microwave and bed. So I have everything I need. I can stand up with my arms spread and touch the walls on each side of the room.
One thing that is weard about the people here is that they dip tobacco, but they don't put it in their bottom lip. They put it in their top lip. I'm going to get a picture of one of them while they do it just so you can see how weard it looks. Thats all for today. I have to go to some kind of function that the team puts on for the kids tommorrow for publicity and then, meet with the offensive coordinator, then have practice in the afternoon. I will let you know how it all goes when its over. I really hope that my luggage gets here tommorrow like they have said.
Day 2 (The First Practice)
Today I had to get up at like 7:30 in the morning. We then went to our home field and had an exhibition like demonstration for the kids. These kids were like in high school and middle school. There were a bunch of them...enough to pack a stadium infield. I have never done something like that before, but it was ok. There was also something funny going on there which I did capture on video. There was a guy there with a dildo who was teaching the youngsters how do put on a condom. He was letting the boys and girls do this. I couldn't believe it, but they said that this was normal. I will put the video online so you can see this. I was about to die laughing at this, but I guess its a cultural thing. There were a bunch of tents there also.
At this point I was informed that my luggage had arrived. I was happy with this and so the coach brought it to me. However, the lock was missing from my bags. I looked through my bag and cannot find anything missing, but someone did take my lock. Maybe this was due to me not knowing how to set the combination. I have all of my clothes and stuff though so I'm ok. After that Marlon and I went to meet with the offensive coordinator and we met for 2 hours and went over the plays and then had lunch in a hotel. I was so tired at this point cause it would be like 3 in the morning or something over at our place that I had a headache and had to take a nap. I took a 2 hour nap and got some rest. The sun was out the whole time which made it difficult to rest well, but it felt good to sleep.
So now I had to go to my first practice knowing only half of the plays and stuff. I did get a majority of the reps today too. I think this is because they want me to learn it quickly. I understand the concepts and it is nothing that I haven't seen. I just have to learn the terminology and remember the plays and then have to figure out what the coach is trying to tell me. Sometimes they use different words than we do for routes or coverages. I did do well today though as far as throwing the ball and stuff. Some of the guys weren't use to "the heat" and not use to "the bomb". After the practice I was talking with the head coach and it was kind of funny. He came up to me and asked me "if I had gotten any sex yet" and I looked him in the eye and told him..."coach I came here to play ball and win games" and he looked me dead in the face and laughed. So you can see the difference in culture here. He also told the team that Marlon and I had changed the sex life for the whole team since we were now here. Assuming that the guys had harder chances to get girls now that we were here.
After practice Marlon and I came back here and showered then went to eat at the place where we get free meals. Tommorrow is a national holiday so you can imagine how many people were out. There were people all over the streets. There is a river that runs through the middle of this town and that is where all of the restuarants/clubs and stuff are. While we were there you could definitely tell that people were recognizing that we are americans and stuff. They were staring and stuff like that. After our meal we came back and chilled out for a bit. since my luggage had arrived, I began unpacking it. Then Marlon told me that some of the guys were going to take us out tonight. Well I couldn't tell them no, so I went with them. We went to a restaurant and by the time we got there 11:30 at night all of the people were wasted. These old women were coming up to us hovering all over us and stuff. It was very awkward, but I just went with the flow. Then we went to a club (Prima), and got in VIP because one of our friends knew the guys at the place and it was nice. He knows the owner so we met him and talked for a bit. This was a younger crowd and you could also tell that they knew that we were Americans. I was scooped up by a girl and taken to dance within an hour. I went to dance to a Bon Jovi song so you can imagine how the steps were. I didnt know how to dance and the girl was laughing at me most of the time. After this the guys and I talked about football and they asked me questions about everything and we got to know each other. It was a pretty good night. These girls over here are more blunt and don't mind staring or letting you know that they are interested in you. As we were walking I had one girl slap me in the chest with her pocketbook while we were going and said something in Finnish to me...my friends said that she said I looked good, but I've never had an encounter like this and I was ready to fight her, but they told me that she was flirting. At 4 in the morning, which is now...we came home. It is bright outside and I dont feel like it is 4 in the morning. I still have my clock set on my laptop to American time and it is 9:38 at night. I have to get my hours straight soon or I'm going to be in trouble. The guys are really taking care of us over here so its pretty nice. They understand that American football is ahead of them, but they don't have a problem with it and they will even ask you to help them out on some things. So there is no like racism or hatred that I have encountered yet. They wont let me pay for anything and come by and pick us up whenever they are going somewhere. I guess I should go to sleep now, but I'm not tired. I have another meeting with the offensive coordinator tommorrow to go over some things. I understand the playbook and concepts, just have memorize the stuff and I will be ok. We have our first game on this Saturday and I think that they will stick me in there so we will see. I still laugh at these guys putting the dip in their upperlips. I will be posting the videos hopefully and the pics soon.
I hope all of you are doing well,
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