All posts by Rob Darnell

Darnell Family Reunion 2017

We even had a cake, of which I forgot to have a piece of.

So, yeah, I spent the day at Mom and Dad’s, where we had the reunion for my dad’s half of the family. I pretty much just ate and drank beer. I didn’t talk much, but that’s not unusual for me.

Dad and Ron grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. We had a bit of a smoke storm in there.

 

Some fished, others sat around.

Mom set her karaoke stuff up on the balcony. The music could be heard across the yard.

When it got dark everyone sat around the back deck. It was decent weather. A bit warm, but not terribly. Fireflies were out.

 

Six Feet Under

I made it to the end of Six Feet Under the other night. There are five seasons, sold separately on Amazon Video. I used to watch Six Feet Under on HBO. It’s a show I got into during my first year of living on my own. That was 2001, the year I moved out of my mom and dad’s house and into the apartment in town. I remember being in a chat thing online where Freddy Rodriguez was answering questions from fans. I had a question for him, but the questions were being fed to him by a moderator. My question must have been deemed not-interesting-enough because it never appeared.

I loved Six Feet Under, but I didn’t make it to the end of the series. I was staying at a girlfriend’s house so much that I decided to cancel my cable service. When I got cable back on, I didn’t feel like adding HBO or any of those extra channels. So, Season 3 was the last season I had seen of Six Feet Under.

Until now.

I’m going to put a spoiler alert here. I’m not one who worries about spoilers for books, movies or shows that I plan to read or watch. I don’t care if I see spoilers or not, I’ll still read or watch it and I’ll probably enjoy it. But some people don’t like spoilers. So, below this paragraph, there are spoilers.

Six Feet Under is a powerful show, and heartbreaking in places. Right at the beginning of the first episode, Nathaniel Fisher is killed in a car accident. His family never quite gets over their loss. Nathaniel was the owner of Fisher & Sons, a funeral home. Now the business is left to his sons, Nate and David.

The show has a lot to do with death, loss and grief. There’s a new death in every episode, usually at the start. Some of those deaths got to me, like the one where the newborn baby died in his crib.

Keith is my hero, especially in the first couple seasons. Keith is a cop and David’s boyfriend. I really liked how Keith was there for Claire after Gabriel took a shot at someone while riding in her car. Nate was being an asshole to Claire, but Keith stuck up for her. Keith explained to Nate that the reason Claire still cares about Gabriel is “because she loves him.” I know it’s hard for the willfully ignorant to understand, but sometimes it really is that simple.

Keith tells Claire that she has to go to the police department and talk to the detectives about what happened. Claire asks Keith if he’ll be there with her, because she doesn’t want to deal with the detectives alone. Keith says he’ll be there.

Life for the Fishers is a struggle. Ruth goes through a series of boyfriends and then marries George. But after they’re married, Ruth finds out that life with George isn’t exactly the picnic she thought it would be.

Claire is an artist, but she feels that she’s not getting anywhere and she’s not sure what to do with her life. Art school isn’t working out for her and she quits  While working in an office building, she meets Ted, a young lawyer, and they hit it off.

David is trying to keep the business afloat while butting heads with Nate and Rico. His relationship with Keith has its ups and downs. Eventually David and Keith adopt Anthony and Durrell.

I knew Nate was going to die at some point. I had thought it would be in Season 4, but he made it most of the way through Season 5, and then AVM struck again. They thought he was going to recover. He was awake and talking, but then he died, unexpectedly. David was with him.

At the end of the last episode, Claire is leaving for New York where she hopes to pursue an art career. Before she drives off, she inserts the CD Ted gave her, that he made her promise not to listen to until she was leaving. The first song on Ted’s Deeply Unhip Mix is Breathe Me, by Sia. The song plays slow and soft at first, and then “Ouch.”

Storm Front, by Jim Butcher

Well, Jim Butcher knows his stuff. Storm Front is a fun book. It’s also disturbing and hilarious in all the right ways.

Harry Dresden is a private detective and a wizard. His cases are usually petty. He takes on missing person cases and lost item cases, and the such. But sometimes the police consult him when a case they’re working on is so far out they can’t make sense of it. That’s how Harry finds himself involved in a mysterious murder case.

From Pawns to Kings, by Eugene Brown & Marco Price-Bey

I first heard of Eugene Brown when I saw the movie Life of a King, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr. I thought it was a powerful movie. I agree with Gooding, what Brown does is heroic.

Eugene Brown and his son Marco Price-Bey wrote From Pawns to Kings together. Some chapters were written by Eugene and some were written by Marco. We learn about Eugene’s childhood, his upbringing and how he turned to crime and drugs.

Marco’s followed in his father’s footsteps and they both spend a lot of time behind bars. But now they’re both free men and they’ve turned their lives around.

There’s a lot of wisdom in this book.

Not In Good Spirit

I’ve been depressed this week. Trying to snap out of it and get back into my normal routine. It still feels like there’s pins and needles stuck in my heart and I’m having a hard time motivating myself. I pretty much want to stay hidden, but at the same time I feel a need to stick my neck out again.

I went ahead and bought the second season of Six Feet Under last night and watched the first episode. It’s kind of neat how I’m remembering these episodes as if no time has passed since I last saw them in 2003. I wouldn’t mind going back to 2003. It was a good time. I was in a relationship with a woman I never got over.

I woke up this morning remembering something from my childhood. It was the last year that my brother Fred and I were on the Lapeer Steelers’ freshman team. This young, college-aged assistant coach, after speaking to the entire team, threw a football into the mud down the field.

I’m not positive that this is why it happened, but I had been under the impression that the assistant coach, after throwing the ball, told Fred to retrieve it, and then he told the rest of us to tackle Fred.

I’m not positive that those were the words the coach said. My deafness didn’t allow me to pick that up clearly. But the coach did say something after throwing the ball and Fred went to get it. Then the coach said something else and the entire team went after Fred.

I trailed behind the charging team, uncertain of what was going on. I watched the dog pile grow as thirty to forty guys jumped into it. I think I added my weight to the pile, though by the time I got there, the pile was so high that I couldn’t do much more than lean against it.

And then I heard Fred yelling. I knew it was him and his yelling was a terrifying sound. I realized what was happening. In a minute the coaches were there pulling everyone off. When the last guy was pulled off, Fred was lying face down in the mud. I remember sitting beside him while everyone else took off to run a few laps as punishment. But then I got up to run the laps too. Not sure if someone told me to or if I just thought I was supposed to.

Normally when we ran laps, our running path was a simple triangle. We’d run down the field to this big tree near where the varsity practiced, turn and run past the J.V’s practice area to another big tree where the cheerleaders practiced, turn and make our way back to the freshman practice area.

But that time was real punishment. Instead of the normal triangle route, we were made to run along the outside of the entire field. Our practice field was a big park, surrounded by hills and a creek on one side.

Here’s a Google Earth screenshot of the field. Looks like they cut down a lot of the trees that used to be there.

We had to run along the outside of the field three times. When we finished our laps, Fred was sitting on the picnic table recovering from nearly being killed by the entire freshman team. But then, one of the coaches made him run the laps that the rest of us had just finished.

That was a bad year to be on the Lapeer Steelers’ freshman team. The years before that, Delbert Anderson was the head coach. Delbert was a good coach and a true role model, and the assistant coaches were all good guys. My dad was one of the assistant coaches.

But that last year that Fred and I were on the freshman team, Delbert Anderson and the other coaches from the past years had moved up to coach the J.V.. Several of the new coaches were stupid assholes, true posers putting on some pretentious military-wannabe act.

My dad was one of the defense coaches that year, but he usually arrived late because of his job. He worked as a painter at an auto body shop in Rochester. I imagine if my dad had been there when that thing happened to Fred, he would have beat the shit out of the assistant coach who set it into motion.

The Tigers

The Tigers lost the makeup game earlier today. Looked like they were about to lose the regular-scheduled game too, but they didn’t. 4-3..

I’m still not happy about all these losses. Was there a season in recent years that was this bad? I’m not sure. But this season is already looking hopeless.

Just Remembering

When I was a kid, I didn’t know the difference between a Catholic and a Cadillac. Those big castle-like churches, I thought they were Cadillac Churches and the people who went to them were Roman Cadillacs. I thought Cadillac vehicles were named after the religion.

I remember once when Fred and our cousin Jimmy tried to explain that it’s Catholic, not Cadillac. But I just couldn’t hear them right and went on talking about the Roman Cadillacs.