Categotry Archives: Let’s Go M’s

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Ups and Downs

Categories: A Day in the Life, If You're Going to San Francisco, Let's Go M's, Politics (n.): a strife of interests masquerading, Tags: , , ,

It’s been a crazy week on my home planet, one that presses the line of credibility to an extent. It seems all the books have major crises one after another, piling into one great crescendo that’s either cataclysm or triumph. But that’s not supposed to be real. That’s supposed to be Ender’s Game or its sequels (which I’m devouring at present), not 2009.

But every once in a while, there are years like this. 1968. 1987. Years that just sort of transcend everything and usher in a series of changes that seemed like it would take decades or even centuries, in a grand swoop.

It’s weird to be in a gentle transition and a soft landing against the backdrop of such a year. Although, I can anticipate the incredible bulwark of changes about to be breached. 1987 made so much sense, because my own life was in crazy upheaval and it reflected well. Indeed, maybe 1989 was really the year, far more than 1987, but things for me were calmer in 1989. Maybe it’s all just the personal filter one puts on things and maybe there’s nothing really going on at all.

Somehow, I doubt it.

But I’ve been in limbo nonetheless. A fantastic trip to Seattle, with lots of baseball and hanging out by the water and soaring to great heights (planes, Space Needle). A subsequent return to an apartment full of boxes that need weeding, resorting, unpacking toward repacking toward a ship date that looms ever closer, now looking like 7/7/9.

Yesterday, after chasing sold-out showings around the East Bay for much of the week prior, Emily and I went to see “Up”. My conclusion was that the only reason they give you 3-D glasses is that most people are self-conscious about crying around other people, even in a dark room. The substantial plastic glasses are a great cover for a movie where one spends most of the time weeping. To keep the kids happy, ever shorter of attention span (presumably, and if the youngin’s at the 10:25 PM showing were any indication), there’s a discordant chase-filled plot that even ends in a rare Pixar death (spoiler alert), but it’s bookended by tragedy worthy of Hans Christian Andersen. Seriously.

Today I went to lunch with a friend in the City (which means SF for only a few more weeks, and then I guess will mean… what, gulp, New York? Wow). She works at the San Francisco Food Bank, this huge airplane hangar of a building in the hills overlooking the freeway. As we approached the building, a pigeon flew into the glass side of the building, made a horrendous thudding sound, and fell to the sidewalk, dead.

At least it looked dead. It wasn’t even twitching – the wind gave its feathers a deceptively eerie sense of movement. But it was very much dead. Cue the Monty Python parrot sketch.

It was a horrific sight. I hadn’t seen the actual impact with the glass, but I’d heard it and seen the bird hit the ground. Its legs were curled up under itself as a last dying act, falling from the side of the building. Coming in as fast as it had, it was little wonder that it had killed itself with the impact.

The receptionist called Facilities to take the bird away, and just before I left, they informed us that the bird had been shot. It had a pellet in it and this had caused the death. Had we actually seen the bird hit the glass? Well no, I had to admit, but I had heard it. Maybe the bird was flying out of control because it already knew it was dying. Or it was hit where its ability to control its movement was, and had no choice but to fulfill a building-bound trajectory after being shot. Or it was shot just before hitting the building? But that would have to mean the shooter was far closer than we realized. And who shoots pigeons anyway? In the City of San Francisco?

If I hadn’t already been thinking about Air France flight 447, I sure was now. I couldn’t believe that something like this had happened right in front of me in the same week. Crossing one of the only radio deadzones on my home planet, the plane suddenly falls out of the sky. It was breaking up, but it was whole when hitting the water. It exploded in the sky, but didn’t break apart. We can rule out terrorism, but everyone saw a flash and fire. There was a massive lightning storm, but other planes made it through and every plane on Earth gets struck by lightning every few years. It left a debris trail, but the trail of debris was not from the plane.

It’s all about as crazy as an already shot bird hitting a window with enough force to die.

Suddenly limbo is seeming okay for now. Maybe the problem is just momentum.

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Mariners Baseball: A New Day, A New Way

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, Tags: , , ,

Trying to ride Obama’s coattails into ticket sales? Trying to distance itself from the Bill Bavasi era? Trying to highlight an ABCABC three-letters-or-less rhyme scheme? Trying to simply point out that tomorrow is, indeed, another day?

Whatever the motives behind my beloved Mariners’ new marketing slogan, I’m wildly excited to be attending my first game at Safeco in nearly six years tonight. Today opens a 4.5-day trip to the Pacific Northwest, the last venture therein as part of the West Coast Farewell Tour. Emily, her sister, and sister’s husband will be meeting up with me tomorrow.

Tickets to a whole three-game series? Check. Randy Johnson’s return to Seattle? Check. Ken Griffey Jr. vs. Randy Johnson? Check. The only three-day sunny streak in the Puget Sound all year? Check.

It’s 5 in the morning and time to get to the plane station. When I return, it’ll be time to have discipline and get serious about things again. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to rooting for the home team.

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Cool Moment

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

So I was listening to the Mariners’ radio broadcast via MLB-TV’s audio package and this ad comes on the radio advertising tickets for the Giants’ series in Seattle, marking Randy Johnson’s return to Safeco. And I realized quickly that I already had tickets to all three of those games. And that it would be after I was free of day jobs and school for the first deliberately chosen time in my life.

And that was really cool.

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A Poem on the Journey Homeward (or: Something Other than Duck and Cover)

Categories: A Day in the Life, Awareness is Never Enough - It Must Always Be Wonder, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Let's Go M's, Read it and Weep, What Dreams May Come, Tags: , , , , ,

I finished a book tonight that would’ve been more fitting to finish on my last day of work and it was all I could really think about as I was walking home from the train doing one of those walking stutter-step things you do when you haven’t quite timed the completion of your book correctly but you can’t simply let it linger over the overnight and somehow it doesn’t seem right to finish such a roadbound book in the confines of the house at six o’clock PM when the world is just darkening and everything seems at its most depressing and anger inducing but I’m not there yet I’m swinging my backpack around my shoulder to deposit book and sunglasses and contemplate the end of Oscar Wao and his world and whether it all came to a satisfactory end or not and all these tourists are staring just past me over the overslung shoulder at Godzilla or nothing at all and I don’t bother to contemplate for the storm is blowing in hard and I really can’t wait to be out of it before the rain that was supposed to be here earlier but isn’t yet and I’m suddenly rooted to the ground despite my rush by the vision of this pile of books that’s just strewn out on the sidewalk and one would normally think abandoned with a free sign that blew away but somehow this looks different worse much worse like something that was punitive and there are CD’s too and just enough peripheral stuff that it looks like someone flew away in a hurry or said you want your books huh THERE have your books how do you like them now and it was clear that they hadn’t quite been rained on yet but they would be soon and always the eternal dilemma that somehow gets to me of whether to scoop and salvage or whether the offended would be back for them soon and sometimes it’s even more complicated because there are times I think someone is meant to lose something they leave behind and another to find it and any intervention from me sometimes feels like its just abridging free will almost like I don’t think I can be a participant in the lives of others at least of strangers at least of those who seem to be on a predestined course that I should do my careful level best with not to interfere like picking up the books which just feels wrong despite the droplets I can see envisioning somehow it would be like picking up a dead body or something it just seems a monument to things I am not meant to interact with and I’m stumbling back across the Abbey Road crosswalk almost before I think of looking up to see if anyone is stopping because I’ve already burned time looking at the books and the rotting banana on the cardboard just after that seemed to tie so perfectly to the book just finished and rumbling back around in my head and I wonder how much agency he felt he had and how it compares to mine and what if you were stuck in a really beautiful prison with guards and fellow inmates who treated you well and you somehow intellectually knew it was a prison but still were so comforted by so much of it that it felt somehow strange to leave after a sentence of say three years and maybe it’s good to have rotten-to-the-core days like today because they remind you that it is a prison and there’s not even the hint of doubt about what you should be doing even though there’s times that what you think you really need IS a prison but no metaphor so much as a real prison with walls and guards and no computers or games or recreation or friends just you and just enough access to pen and paper to appreciate it enough to make it work after all you’ve talked about a hospital before or something similar but pain can be exhausting and makes for unreflective drivel like you’re barely able to chunk out now between the moments of startling exhaustion things that your father would call self-indulgent and you recognize as mental chaff but think it’s helpful too for the writing or for you or for something anyway maybe but it doesn’t matter you’re almost falling asleep on your feet falling through the gate and thinking about the dark dreary insides of the house and your one-hour no-contact foul mood and the unsatisfying release of a video game and whether the Mariners can do something today and there’s a package you weren’t expecting and an invitation you definitely weren’t expecting and you realize for the thousandth time this year how badly you’ve neglected everything that matters while in prison and the thought of nine nine nine nine nine nine nine sings you through the door like some trippy Beatles song and you know you must capture this moment and express it to yourself for one two three years hence when you’re on the brink and ask yourself like Oscar Wao flying back to the Dominican Republic goddammit is this ever going to be worth it again do you really want to live like a zombie can you ever get through this and so close to the edge that all you can do is see the walls and bars anew and wonder if you’re really going to make it or if you’re too broken down to even care and you realize that all these debates are why you haven’t been able to write anything or codify what you’re feeling and there are all the people who you do care about and believe in what they’re doing in prison and how can you explain that their paradise is your prison and your prison is still better than anyone else’s prison and now you’ve gone and upset everyone else and this is a hard lonely road to talk about with people who almost all feel differently and nine days away is just no time to make final seminal statements when you’re still in the thick of it and you have to wonder how long after nine how long after zero will you still feel in the thick how many dreams of stress and nightmare will you awaken to like this fruitless spoiled morning when you had something really due that day that then wasn’t as opposed to the school assignments the debate rounds the Seneca kids all the past things and you know that you will be haunted by this forever and somehow God please somehow let this all have been worth it.

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Great Moments in Sports

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

Tonight I watched one of the most incredible Mariners games in recent history, with the M’s crushing the Angels 11-3 on a grand slam by Ichiro in his first game of 2009, alongside Griffey’s first homer at home for Seattle since 1999. It was one of those thoroughly satisfying wins in every way, with a very close game that the M’s led throughout, capped by a 7-run 7th where they simply romped.

Meanwhile, the Blazers were pounding the Nuggets to wrap up their first playoff season in many years, clinching home court in the first round of the playoffs to boot.

It’s starting to feel a lot like 2001. This could be a very good year for more reasons than I’ve already compiled.

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Thematic

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Metablogging, Quick Updates, Tags: , , ,

Even though I’ve been feeling Octobery for a full week, culminating in yesterday’s trip to a pumpkin patch in Petaluma for Emily’s 29th birthday, I officially am declaring the October Season open today. (Hit Refresh if you don’t see why.)

It’s also the last day of the baseball season and I’m going to try to bring myself to watch some of the M’s game as they try to avoid losing their 102nd of the year. Meanwhile, I have to admit finding myself more interested in the fate of the Twins and Brewers, the last two teams I’m rooting to get into the playoffs. While I feel a pull toward both the Cubs’ breaking their curse and Lou Piniella, I think I’m cheering for a Twins-Phillies World Series, assuming the former can get there. October baseball always finds a way of drawing me in.

The BP is coming off its two lowest traffic days since I instituted advertising on the site three years ago. It rapidly seems to be forcing the issue of me making a concerted effort to re-bolster traffic effort and content or just letting the site hibernate till I have more time to maintain it.

Many decisions and changes seem to be afoot, taking shape and finding form in the darkness of an uncertain future. For now, I’m just trying to take each hour as it comes, savor the joys of uncertainty and possibility, and hope against hope for decent outcomes.

Finally getting over being sick. Finally thinking about tackling some big stuff. Too jumbled to find real focus; too energized to not comment on almost everything.

Happy October.

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Tuesday Roundup: Takin’ Care of Business

Categories: A Day in the Life, All the Poets Became Rock Stars, If You're Going to San Francisco, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Video Games Killed the Free Time, Tags: , , , , ,

Just because I don’t write Introspection anymore doesn’t mean that I don’t often think in terms of quick updates. This blog format affords the luxury of doing both short blippy quips about my life like the old days, as well as the longer, more thoughtful pieces…

One of the grand ironies of the American experience is that some of our greatest themes and anthems for revered concepts are actually songs lambasting said concept.

The least subtle example of this may be Peter, Paul & Mary’s “I Dig Rock-n-Roll Music”. This is a more obscure case, but it remains PPM’s only really fully legitimate radio song. With lines like “But if I really say it, the radio won’t play it, unless I lay it, between the liiines,” it’s not really hard to see exactly where this song’s loyalty lies. And yet it made the radio and remains there to date as a sincere tribute to rock-n-roll (as opposed to folk music, which PPM were actually advocating). I’m sure the even crueler irony of this being their one radio hit when it complains that the radio won’t play folk music… yeah.

The most damning example may be Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”. This tune has become third only to “Proud to Be an American” (a song guaranteed to induce vomiting within 30 seconds) and the national anthem itself as the theme music to flag-waving jingoistic American patriotism. And yet the song was written as an indictment of American hypocrisy and the Vietnam War. The non-refrain lyrics are just hard enough to understand and the chorus is just loud and brash enough to ensure that this song will always bring a smile to the face and a cheer to the voice of those who are unaware they are celebrating an anti-American tune. “So they put a rifle in my hand, sent me off to a foreign land, to go and kill the yellow man.”

But the song that’s stuck in my head from this category today is “Takin’ Care of Business”. Office Depot or a related office store has become the latest in an unending string of businesses using this anthem to explain how productive you’ll be when using their products. “It’s the work that we avoid and we’re all self-employed, we love to work at nothing all day.” Yeah. This song is about quitting your job and starting a rock band, which is explicitly stated to be a lazy sort of scam on those who actually slog away at day jobs. Business indeed.

The song is stuck in my head because it’s one of the rotating theme songs for my baseball video game of choice these days, the 2007 mod of the greatest baseball game of all time, MVP Baseball 2005. My Mariners are getting massacred in this game on a regular basis, but any time I win makes it all worthwhile.

And speaking of the Mariners and winning, last night offered a glimpse at the best inning of the year for the (real-life) Seattle Mariners. Raul Ibanez had 6 RBI in a 10-run seventh inning that catapulted the M’s from a 6-1 deficit to an 11-6 win. When I tuned in around the fourth or fifth inning, it was 6-0, Twins. I wasn’t even sure why I tuned in when the score was already that lopsided. The M’s haven’t exactly been specializing in comebacks this year. But Ibanez hit a grand slam that made it 6-5 and the M’s proceeded to tack on and on and on, all the way to bringing up Ibanez again in the inning as the 14th man to come to the plate, and again with the bases loaded!! He only smacked a single up the middle to plate two and the inning only ended because Willie Bloomquist tried to score too on a throwing error and got barely tagged out.

It’s funny how just an inning like that can redeem a mood and a perspective for a day or so. Even in a hopelessly lost season.

It’s the sun that’s hopelessly lost here in San Francisco, and it’s looking like my trip to Las Vegas (Thursday evening departure) couldn’t be coming at a better time. The 10-day forecast in San Francisco does not get above 65 degrees (high temperature). The same 10-day forecast in Las Vegas does not get below 81 degrees (low temperature). I am a little nervous about “Florida Syndrome” in LV, wherein people will air-condition casino interiors to the point of being as cold as August highs in San Francisco, but then I may just cancel half the poker to go sit outside on the Strip and bake. I desperately need to feel the illusion of some sort of summer.

Meanwhile, my job continues to be my job. Slightly more livable than two weeks ago, ebbing and flowing, constantly leading me on only to crush my spirit. If nothing else, it’s giving me great fodder for future books and stories, future tales of how the American work model fails its people on all levels. And I know that where I’m working is better than 95% of what else is out there. We’re not even driven by a profit motive.

And speaking of profit (and even prophet), is it too early to declare the End of Capitalism? Today, Wall Street wants to think so. It’s just so exciting to have a negative net interest rate! To just feel that money devaluing in your pocket. I mean, how often does your pocket burn a hole in your money? That’s just nifty. Let’s buy financial stocks before they fail.

What surprises me is not that people are revealed to lie, cheat, steal, cut corners, and fabricate in pursuit of almighty profit. What surprises me is that people are surprised by the revelations.

Work out.

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Things are Looking Up (Maybe)

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Upcoming Projects, Tags: , ,

The weekend was sort of a waste. A very fun waste, but I still didn’t get nearly done what I was hoping to. Both in terms of making decisions and in terms of catching up on other projects of import. There’s a lot that needs to happen in the next few weeks and the sooner the better.

But it’s Monday and that can mean fresh starts and new beginnings.

To wit:
-Silver skyrockets.
-I actually have work to do.
-A project that seemed like it was going to be harder turned out pretty easy after all (more on this tonight).

But the granddaddy of them all, the mighty news that brought an actual lift to my life today, is this:
The Mariners fired Bill Bavasi today.

The Mariners are 24-45, worst team in the majors, and just got swept by the worst team in the NL. At home. This season would be hard-pressed to become more abysmal. And suddenly, like a sunburst through the clouds, the man responsible for assembling this on-field travesty is kicked out of his comfy chair. As though somehow, somewhere, concepts like accountability and consequences may still have meaning on American soil.

Our Manager, who got lucked into the job by his old boss retiring last year, needs to go too. And Mel Stottlemyre needs to remember how to coach pitchers. And we have about half our payroll going to people who will probably never be good again. This is no panacea, and it’s not going to save 2008.

But oh, what a start. I haven’t been happy like this since Ryan Franklin finally departed the Mariner ship.

So today, somehow, I’m almost feeling like Barack Obama. There’s hope in the water. Which is a lot better than the bacterial microbes in the water of my dream last night. (We were back in India, forgetting to ask for bottled.) A lot better than the (literal) stench of death that hangs around my office today. (At least two dead mice and a third who must remain unfound, given the ongoing odor.)

Cautionary, filtered, fettered, unsteady. But today, I’ll take it all. It’s not even Tuesday yet. Hallelujah.

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The Misery Index

Categories: A Day in the Life, Just Add Photo, Let's Go M's, Tags: , ,

The world of finance, of which I’ve become just slightly more aware/interested lately, has something called a “Misery Index”. Herein, undesirable conditions for individuals like unemployment and inflation are combined to demonstrate just how much harder it is to be financially viable under those conditions. I’ve been thinking a lot about personal misery indexes lately, in part because all the meters seem to be pretty high.

Misery Index: Weather Edition

Hey, if a popular TV show can put four words together in a non-sequitir with a colon in the middle and the word “Edition” on the end, why not me?

In any case, this would be the index that determines how frequently a given city or town has weather where the high stays below 72 and the low stays above 32, with no interesting “weather events”, such as rain or extremely high winds. While many people might make an index desiring such a state, mine would uptick the misery for every day where such conditions were met.

I’m guessing San Francisco gets a 325 (the scale is 0-365, of course). Higher is more miserable.

The only thing intolerable (or indeed, even less than stellar) about the Bay Area is the weather. And my goodness, is it ever intolerable. This much middling, piddling, nondescript but still a little crappy and cold weather is just killing me. Give me rain, snow, heat, frigidity, anything but this. I mean, look:

The last time it got over 72 was May 17th, when there were, admittedly, 4 days of decently warm weather. The last time it got below 32… the data I’m looking at doesn’t go back that far.

I need some extremes, some seasons, something other than slightly miserable weather for months on end.

Now I’m really curious what would score well (low) on my Misery Index… I’m guessing places like Chicago and Albuquerque, which have weather I love. It would be great to find a site with actuals (averages don’t really cut it) for a year or two and just run the numbers.

Misery Index: Personal Edition

I stayed home from work today with a raving migraine. Despite vastly improving my migraine status with my own self-regulation and stabilization of caffeine intake, combined with the profuse wearing of sunglasses and maintaining a non-fluorescent work environment, I still do get migraines from time to time. And this was a doozy that made the idea of being on a BART train, let alone sitting in front of a desk for 8 hours, utterly laughable. It was starting to clear by about 6:30 or 7:00 this evening, this after I had spent basically all but an hour or two in bed from waking up at the parallel time in the AM until 3:30 in the afternoon. In a word, joy.

Last night, I got a $328 bill from AT&T. For calling Canada. You are no longer handling my long-distance, AT&T. SBC was a wonderful company, but AT&T is currently proving itself to have ravaged everything that was even a little good about SBC. I’ve hated AT&T my whole life, and owning the Giants’ ballpark isn’t going to get them out of this. I called Qwest this morning to switch long distance, and my internet might be on the block next. The hate I cannot exaggerate. I actually wrote a diatribe on the memo portion of my check.

I have seemingly forgotten how to play poker. Which is not a big deal (none of these things are what we would call a big deal), but it makes everything else worse, or at least feel a little more miserable. Of course, there are just enough times when I play really well, but get outdrawn at the last second that really cut to the quick. But still, early May was one of the best poker periods of my life. That time is gone.

I am no longer in Albuquerque. The trip was great, but it’s over now. And I’m left with that drought where I have no scheduled trips or breaks to look forward to. Having something to count down towards is an essential part of making life less miserable. And I’m fresh out. And there may be the ‘Deis debate reunion thing in August in Vegas, which would be great (though less so per the paragraph above, I suppose), but August is a long way down from now.

There are other things I could put here, but I really should self-censor. They are in arenas that it is just best if I don’t post about for the time being. But they are probably the most difficult/miserable items.

And the M’s are 20-34. This is, however, somewhat mitigated by the fact that the best game of all 54 of them was last night and I got to watch all 9 innings. It was a 1-0 shutout gem where Yuni Betancourt (my second-favorite position player on the current team) smacked a rare homer to cement a Bedard/Morrow/Putz strikeout-laden shutout victory, a second straight over the defending champion Red Sox.

This last fact is the only happy thing I can really think of today. That, my friends, is – what’s the word? – miserable.

Apologies for the complaint-laden post, especially when all of them are mild and only really combine to make for much misery. But in the sine-curve lifestyle, one has to take the chutes with the ladders.

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3,991 and Counting

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Metablogging, Politics (n.): a strife of interests masquerading, Quick Updates, Tags: , , , ,

Like high inflation, everyone’s proclivity toward debt, and the Iraq War, StoreyTelling being inundated with a deluge of spam comments is looking like part of the reality I’m just going to have to adjust to.

The one spam comment per minute rate looks pretty consistent, so I think that’s what it’s going to be.

Meanwhile, the general barometer of how things stand based on the people on the streets of the Tenderloin says outlook not good. The theory about the end of the month causing the trouble seemed to be dented yesterday. But who knows at this point.

And if the Mariners lose one more exciting one-run game, I think they’re going to set some kind of record for fan frustration. They’re 1-8 in one-run games. 1-8! And they’re 12-8 (.600) in the rest of the games. .600 happens to be the winning percentage of the top two teams in the AL. The only good thing about this is that they can’t possibly keep up that kind of record in one-runners, so as that progresses to .500, the M’s will go on a tear. Right?

The cable may get fixed today and we’ll have some sort of explanation. It’s Comcastic!

Work’s been better; everything else has been crazier. The rate of change is looking pretty spiky as we settle into May. I’ve surrounded myself with distraction bolsters: the APDA Forum game, playing baseball on Sunday, and so on. But the world is there whether one’s distracted or not. Does anyone really think Bush is going to take record disapproval lying down?

Happy Friday.

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This Week in Baseball

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

So, barring unforeseeable alterations or difficulties, here is a big chunk of my schedule for this calendar week:

Sunday, 4/13: Cardinals @ Giants, AT&T Park
Monday, 4/14: Diamondbacks @ Giants, AT&T Park
Wednesday, 4/16: Mariners @ A’s, McAfee Coliseum
Friday, 4/18: Pirates @ Cubs, Wrigley Field

7 teams, 4 games, 3 cities. That’s a good week. Makes it a little easier to deal with working and all that in the meantime.

But tack on things like an unexpected free trip to a luxury suite yesterday (apparent face value: ~$400/seat), Randy Johnson’s first start of the ’08 campaign today, my beloved Mariners on Wednesday, and my first trip to Wrigley on Friday? It’s downright amazing.

I’m also hoping that the streak (currently a 1-game streak) of teams I’m rooting for this week winning can keep up. Even though my loyalties are somewhat torn tonight (my favorite pitcher vs. my favorite NL team) and are not strong on Friday (though they lean pretty discernibly toward the Pirates, which I just can’t say that the Cubs bleachers fans will be excited about), I’m looking to go 4-0. Or at least 2-2, with the second win being the M’s. Because really, that’s all that matters in the end.

April may be terrible – and it is – but it at least bestows the blessing of baseball. I’m not sure how I’d survive this month without it.

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I Got Your April Right Here

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Keepin' it Cryptic, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Tags: , , , ,

A first day – no joke. A joke in the bathroom. A dental visit. A decision: no anesthesia. A walk home. A phone call, somewhere between banter and the most important decisions of our lives. A poker game, where a lesson was actually learned. A Mariners game, where all season was lived in a day, or in two tumultuous sine curve innings. A heart-stopping phone call for all the wrong reasons. A joke that just doesn’t work because of history, of context, of life itself.

I could write all the details, flesh it out, spell it out in flesh (a pounding heart in the wake of feeling the Earth slip out from under one for no good reason) and blood (spilling onto the towel from prodded gums). But there’s no need, or no cause – today felt like a day that hearkened for blippy Introspection-style reflection. And some day I’ll read and remember and another dawn of another April will come across from the distance of years or months or weeks or days. And I’ll be just there. Inside it all again. April the first. April is the cruelest month. April come she will.

And has.

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Baseball’s Back

Categories: A Day in the Life, Just Add Photo, Let's Go M's, Tags: , ,

It’s been a baseball weekend. Which helps explain the lack of updates of late. I had today off, which was not officially an Opening Day holiday, but it should have been. Might as well have been. Cesar Chavez is important too, but this is baseball.

I managed to attend not one, but two games that didn’t count this weekend. Well, if you count Thursday as part of the weekend. Both games were at AT&T Park (the most recent appellation for the SF Giants’ ballpark), both were 7-2 road team victories, and only one was the most glorious game I may have ever attended.

You see the ball in the picture up top of this post? Coming screaming off Raul Ibanez’ bat? It ended up in my hands. And then on my knee, and then on the floor in front of me, and then in my hands again. A foul ball. Stamped Official Major League Baseball. From an exhibition game, yes, but off the bat of a Seattle Mariner. And not just a Spring Training guy trying to make the team, but off our three-hole hitter in the starting lineup. My first ever foul ball.

The convergence of events that led to this Thursday catch (“catch” – it wasn’t exactly clean, but I also didn’t have a glove) were pretty remarkable. Em & I were at the game with Gris, Gris’ Dad, Gris’ Dad’s wife, Gris’ half-brother, and some friends of Gris’ Dad. We all sort of showed up in that order, with Emily being last. But it turned out that through some sort of will-call mis-timing, the friends had bought tickets down at the lower level of the park (we were in our standard nosebleed seats). So we decided to sneak down, since approximately 471 people and at least twice that number of seagulls were in attendance. We went down in about the fifth inning.

Off-handedly upon arrival, I remarked “Hey, we could get a ball here.” It seemed pretty optimistic at best, given that we were three rows under and overhanging deck, and we were lined up with shallow left field on the third base side. Not exactly behind the dugout. After discussing these odds with Gris, I admitted that it would have to be some sort of line drive.

Indeed.

Within two innings, Raul Ibanez stepped to the plate in the midst of a major Mariner rally. After collecting two strikes, he stayed alive with a swing that sent a liner sailing vaguely towards us. It kept hooking in our general direction (we stood up immediately, as fans hoping for foul balls tend to if anything’s looking to land within a half-mile of one’s seat), but it looked sure to catch the overhang. I was pretty resigned to it bouncing off the overhang above me when I realized that the pain in my hand was from a collision with the ball. I had not moved my feet at all. I had been perfectly aligned with the trajectory of the ball, in the precise seat we’d snuck down to.

It was all over in seconds. There was basically no time between being sure that it would hit the overhang and coming up with the ball off the ground in front of me after it had ricocheted from my hand to my knee to the floor. And it was so automatic that I was surprised when people were high-fiving me and congratulating me and asking to see the ball. I almost said “what ball?” while holding it aloft. I was in such autopilot that it took me maybe ten minutes to really come down to Earth and realize I’d finally caught a foul ball after so many years of yearning for just that at baseball games.

The subsequent weekend has gone down in a similar burst of speedy autopilot. It’s been mostly good, especially on the front of making major progress on a vital project that I’m doing for another website (details to follow, hopefully in a matter of weeks or perhaps even days). Played some of the best tennis we’ve played yet. And yes, there was baseball. Joined Gris to watch a depressing 7-2 drubbing of the Giants by the A’s. Then was at home for Opening Day for the Mariners, playing for keeps finally, taking down the Rangers 5-2.

It’s hard to say just how much time and energy baseball are going to take up of the next few months. While still working a day job, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to lay off myself a little. Not be quite as harsh about time for recreation and demanding more writing from myself. The way I feel I’ve lived the last five years of my life has been a lot like constantly yelling at oneself for not being able to perfectly juggle while trying to waltz on a conveyor belt. Really, honestly, waltzing on a conveyor belt should take most of one’s focal time and energy if one’s to do it at all well. And juggling while doing so, while maintaining perfect balance and waltz form, is just about impossible. And even if one can manage to get in a few tosses, it really pales in comparison to how well one can juggle when one is neither on a conveyor belt nor attempting to waltz. Seriously. You just wouldn’t believe how poor that juggling is compared to any authentic objectively good juggling.

I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not, but realizing that this is a good metaphor for my life, I’m going to try (note: TRY) to take it easy on myself about the imperfect juggling. And maybe even take a dance or two off from attempting juggling along the way. Because really stellar juggling is to come. When I’m on solid, danceless ground.

Yes, that had to do with baseball – baseball is just baseball, somewhat on the side from juggling, conveyor belts, and waltzes. But it takes time, just like those things. And the fact that I still get tempted by things like Facebook offers to give one the opportunity to blog full-time about one’s favorite team (with probably no compensation and maybe not even readership) indicates where baseball ends up falling. I love baseball. It gets my heart palpitating. And a year where the Mariners are good and MLB.tv exists? It’s just scary how much fun this could be.

I can leave the baseball-blogging to people who know what they’re doing on that front. Or at least have more time for it and more of a following already. Why do something if one isn’t going to be either the best or unique? That’s just a good standard question to ask about any expenditure of time.

Except rooting for baseball teams. Because I’m not the best and I’m certainly not unique. But not doing that would be like not breathing.

Which is very different than not waltzing on a conveyor belt.

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Uncollected Works

Categories: A Day in the Life, Blue Pyramid News, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Upcoming Projects, Video Games Killed the Free Time, Tags: , , , , ,

While you’re waiting for the Country Quiz II to be out (maybe tonight?), here are some random assortments to tide you over. And if you’re wondering why there hasn’t been anything big, it’s because the CQII is about to come out. Latest calculations have it that it takes me an hour to write 8 answers, fully coded. There’s also the question tree (done a while back), the image collection (done more recently), and getting all the merchandising ready to go ahead of time (a significant time-suck). So it sort of saps the creativity. Non-stop writing and coding will tend to block out other writing.

The 2007 Mariners (in my MVP 2005 season) are 9-2 (.818) since switching back to All-Star level. One of the losses was a heartbreaker where Travis Blackley coughed up two solo homers in relief in the 7th inning of a 1-0 lead. They also lost the first of the 11 games on All-Star, so they’ve won 9 of 10. This is looking most auspicious, but admittedly most of these games were on a tour of NL Central ballparks – not exactly stellar competition. The sweep of the Pirates just completed was the first sweep of the season – in the second week of June. Just before, RJ took a no-hitter into the 7th in Milwaukee. Thus, the playoffs are looking at least like a longshot instead of an impossibility.

The CQ2 has 32 of 64 answers completely written. Full merchandising of about 80 items per design will be available at launch. Additionally, a new advertising strategy is going into place with the launch of this quiz. You wouldn’t want everything to be just like the original, would you? I briefly thought about holding the launch till the day of the 5th anniversary of the original (it would be 18 January 2008), but timed launches of quizzes have never exactly served me well. It’s going up this month, and probably within minutes of me finishing it.

After a few months of notable average improvement, I’ve gotten beaten down with the migraine stick this month. Maybe seasonal changes have something to do with it. I’m also noticing a November pattern, given how concerned I got about these things last year at this time. Still, overall severity seems down big in 2007.

After the longest-ever 4-day week last week, it’s hard to get as excited as I’d be inclined to be about a 3-day week upcoming. Who knows how long those 24 hours can be? But there’s reason to believe they’ll be relatively straightforward, a brief lull between twin storms of last week and the entirety of December. In other news, there is no news yet, but there will be by ’08.

Finally, Free Rice is perhaps the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

This is my 62nd post in StoreyTelling, in its 48th day. Duck and Covers count for exactly half (31) of those posts.

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What are the Odds: a statistical analysis of the last post

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Upcoming Projects, Video Games Killed the Free Time, Tags: , , ,

Okay, so I got to thinking. And I can’t just leave the last post where it ended.

You might be wondering, for example, what the statistical probability is of me making the playoffs after switching to an easier difficulty after just 57 games (35% of the season). Maybe this doesn’t sound very challenging to you.

Last season (2006), my M’s went 101-61, for a .623 pace. Assuming that same winning percentage greets my next 105 games in 2007, I’ll go 65-40, for a final record of 72-90. Which will NOT make the playoffs. For an indication of how much I’ll miss by, the Angels are on pace to win 101 games (sound familiar?) and the A’s 94.

Now, you might say that after playing 57 games on Impossible Mode, I’ve improved over 2006. I sure hope so. But I’ve also set my players back a notch. And if this baseball game is like any other, the player progressions for the season are at least partially impacted by the start the player gets off to. So one would think this might mitigate any improvement.

For example, Ichiro is hitting .186 with 3 HR, 5 RBI, and 16 R. Last year, he hit .271 (yes, last year’s difficulty was hard) with 78 R. It’s unlikely that he’ll suddenly bounce back to hit .271 or score runs on that pace for the last two-thirds of the season.

Similarly, Randy Johnson is 0-11 with a 6.13 ERA in 12 starts and 3 relief appearances (61.2 IP). Last year, he was 11-8 with a 1.70 ERA in an injury-shortened season (22 starts, 158.2 IP). Staff ace Mark Mulder is 1-8 with a 6.47 after going 20-6 with a 1.71 (in 247 IP!) last year. Only Eddie Guardado is within 2 points of last year’s ERA of anyone significant on the staff. And he won the Cy Young Award last year, with a 2-0 record, 54 saves (in 54 chances), and an 0.61 ERA in 59.1 IP (64 appearances). He almost won the MVP Award. This year, he’s only managed to get into 9 games so far (8.2 IP), but has posted a 1.04 ERA, no record, and converted all 6 save opportunities.

What to conclude from all this? (Besides the fact that I’m a tremendous dork who loves baseball, statistics, and video games?) That this will be mighty difficult. Assuming the A’s go on to a 94-68 record, which is a very standard mark for a Wild Card team, I will need to compile an 87-18 (.829) record to catch them. In my Pro-level (3rd hardest of four levels) season in 2005, I only went .722. And that year, Ichiro hit over 30 HR.

Good luck.

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Greatest Comeback Ever? (or: 7-50)

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Upcoming Projects, Video Games Killed the Free Time, Tags: , , ,

I’m well aware that I haven’t posted in a while, and this isn’t really a “real” post anyway. The holiday season is hitting full stride and people have been crazy at work and at home. It’s a three-day weekend, but Em will be spending most all of it in Sacramento as the powerful at the capital try to play “Deal or No Deal”.

So hopefully I’ll have some time to update various parts of the webpage, catch up with my life, and maybe even do something meaningful.

But not yet.

Saturday mornings are some of my biggest video game times, when the whole world of possibility with free time unfolds and I can just let my mind go and relax a little. And of course I can’t stop playing MVP 2005, despite my aforementioned growing hatred of its hardest difficulty level.

So I’ve decided, in the 2007 season, to attempt the greatest comeback in the history of baseball. Rather than languishing on my 20-win pace for the season, I’m switching back to All-Star difficulty for the last 105 games of the season. The goal is to make the playoffs.

Here’s a testimony to my abysmal performance so far:
7-50 (.123) record
28.5 GB (Angels) in the AL West
26.0 GB (A’s) in the AL Wild Card
112-363 (-251) Run Differential
2-27 Home, 5-23 Road
.188 BA, 6.18 ERA
3-16 vs. West, 0-18 vs. Central, 4-15 vs. East, 0-1 Interleague
35 HR, 54 SB

And Ichiro is hitting under .200.

Can this band of scrappy Mariners, defending champions for the past two seasons (who broke their own AL record for wins with 117 in 2005) add to their accomplishments with the greatest seasonal turn-around in the history of sports?

Stay tuned…

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Getting Through Sunday Somehow

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Tags: ,

It’s a bit of a cliche in my family (both families, I suppose – that which I share with my parents and that which I share with Emily) that Sunday night is a dreadful time to be conscious. I expect this is hardly unique to any of the families which I could claim, even (perhaps) the human family. Even if you like your job, you probably don’t like Sunday night. Maybe because it reminds you of Sunday nights before you liked your job. Or maybe because no matter how much you enjoy your job, it’s still inferior to unfettered freedom.

I mostly enjoyed my job last week, for the first time in a while. I still didn’t enjoy last night.

Then there was the compounding factor – the Red Sox’ sweep of the Rockies that wrapped up at the same time. I’m sure this dulled the pain for a good deal of my friends, but I was actually rooting for Colorado. Somehow the combination of leaving Boston and 2004’s World Series has taken the teeth out of my Red Sox fandom, and who doesn’t like the Rockies? Especially this year. Though for the first time in, say, three years, I actually liked both teams involved. Before 2004, we have to go back to 1993 (Blue Jays/Phillies) to find a Series where I didn’t dislike at least one of the teams in the Fall Classic. And in ’04, I at least had a clear rooting interest. So this Series was certainly a luxury, and I still didn’t mind watching the Beantowners frolicking on the field.

But it was a disappointment. And a sweep? Was that really necessary? At least it was a close game.

So now we’re without baseball. It’s only four months till Spring Training and five till the regular season again, but watching Bill Bavasi’s off-season moves is going to make it seem so much longer. Or make me wish it were. I can’t wait till we sign some washed-up starting pitcher for $42 million a year. Maybe Steve Trachsel will be available. Or Dave Dravecky.

And we’re almost fresh out of October. I’m not really ready to let go of the month yet. Clinging to the familiar themes, Em and I went to Six Flags on Saturday for their annual “Fright Fest”. After meaning to go for years, there was really no excuse during the year which we owned season passes. It wasn’t quite a disappointment, but it could’ve stood to be spookier. I got funnel cake and three rides on the swings, though, and I was in a mood to wander around crowds at night.

But oh, Sunday, you just seem to take the life out of things.

There seems to be some sort of conflict in approaching weekends between the idea of relaxing and the idea of “doing something”. And the more one tries to do something, the less one can relax, and the less it feels like “having a weekend”. When it feels like work to have a weekend, one isn’t really having a weekend at all. But it’s almost worse to sit around and try to enjoy a Sunday where one does next to nothing. The paradox seems uniquely Sunday’s. Because even if one does nothing on Saturday, there’s a day’s worth of padding to follow.

And you’ll note that I have yet, in the history of this blog, to post on a Sunday.

I used to escape this dilemma by working 16 hours a day on Sunday. And Saturday never quite felt like Sunday during the Seneca era, though the dread of Saturday night was very real. This is the first full-time work setup where I’ve actually had traditional Sunday nights, between working 6 days/week, Seneca, or working from home. And I’m not about to become the spokesman.

The irony remains that one can often make better use of free time during workdays than one can during the weekend. Something about valuing it more and having to make good use of limited time. Which is one of the only things making me question the possible Next Big Step (TM) in this life. Though I have a more positive model (Summer 2001) than my fears.

Of course, we all know what happened when that ended.

Maybe I should start using Sundays as mini-Summer 2001’s. They can’t get any harder to get a handle on than they already are.

That sentence is just awkward enough to convey what I feel.

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5-36

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Video Games Killed the Free Time, Tags: , ,

It’s in the game.

MVP 2005 is widely recognized by those who are obsessed with baseball video games (most of my friends) as the best baseball video game ever made. The only reason that we have not gone on to anoint EA-constructed games MVP 2006 and MVP 2007 as eclipsing this game is because they weren’t made. After the 2005 season of games, MLB sold their baseball license exclusively to 2K (for the next decade, I think), and we’ve been left to play 2005 forever. It’s fine, though, because MVP 2005 lets you play through 120 seasons and that’s enough to keep one plenty occupied. Plus, savvy people are releasing roster updates for the computer version every year.

I, however, play on the PS2. And until recently, I’d been following a very predictable and stable pattern of sports video games. In the first season (in this case, obviously, 2005), I win the World Series on a relatively easy (but not the easiest) level. For 2006, I upgrade to the next level and, again, win the WS, but winning far fewer games. For 2007, I upgrade to the highest difficulty (in this case, the eponymous MVP level). Normally, I would expect to make the playoffs barely or just miss them, and probably have to wait till 2008 to return to a world title.

However, my ’07 Mariners, built into grandeur by the reputation of back-to-back championships and intelligent front office management (I’m coming for your job, Bavasi!) are 5-36.

It’s not even like I’m getting better. After a dismal 4-22 (.154) April, I am 1-14 (.067) in May.

I have tried everything. I have tried taking almost every pitch, not swinging till I have 2 strikes. I have tried starter-by-committee, where no one is allowed to pitch more than 3 innings. I have lost plenty of 1-run games, including a back-to-back 2-1, 1-0 set of losses that were so profoundly frustrating because the pitching was actually good. Loss #36, incurred this morning, extending a losing streak to 10 games, was 13-5. 5 runs would have been good enough to win any of the 4 previous games.

I even get thrown out of about 25-30% of games lately (usually in very late innings), which is consistent with a real situation in which defending champions who brought their same starting 5 pitchers back for the next season (in this case, Mark Mulder, Randy Johnson, Joel Piniero [but good], Curt Schilling, and Gil Meche) would be like. I just got an e-mail from my front office warning me of a possible firing if I don’t turn things around. After all, my team is rated to be the 5th-best in the majors, with the 3rd-best pitching and the best speed.

This is mind-numbingly frustrating in a way that video games almost never are. I adore this video game, putting it in an echelon with Civilization and SimCity, maybe DAoC, and trumping all prior baseball video games. This is the baseball game I always wanted to be playing, from the days of the Miller Associates all-text adventure and my hand-held 2-player game I used to play with friends on car rides to Seattle. It has everything, from detailed general management to management to stunning graphics. It has taken out most every other video game for the better part of a year, even securing the cessation of my addiction to Dark Age.

And yet, I hate it. I hate playing it. It is really not fun to lose 88% of the time. Even the Mariners never did that in real life.

So I now go through this weird Pavlovian shocking situation every time I want to play video games. I immediately want to play MVP (even after exactly 365 regular season games, plus 6 rounds of playoffs), but then recall how aggravating the experience has been. I usually end up turning it on, only to wonder why when I contemplate breaking my controller over my knee after swinging at a terrible pitch, or screaming swear words after giving up another homerun that was barely a strike deep in the opposing hitter’s cold zone.

I hit up Russ, grand guru of this game, for some advice, since he has been winning championships on MVP mode while having 5 players break the home-run record in the same season. He gave advice that was good at getting most games down to being close, but still not being enough to, say, win more than one game out of 15.

At this point, I am cleanly torn between trying to reap the benefits of hating my favorite video game (more time for other more productive pursuits) and switching back to the last level at some point in the season to see if I can claw my way out of this colossally deep cellar.

But video games usually take up free time when I wouldn’t otherwise be productive (probably like drinking-alcohol-time for most people). And if I hate this enough, I will find another one to play. So when is the right time to switch back? I was originally going to wait till the All-Star break, but I somehow think hitting the halfway point with 11 or 12 wins is going to be questionable. Even by switching to the easy mode, it would be hard to salvage respectability from that point.

Maybe at 50 losses. If they don’t fire me first.

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Assorted Thoughts Before Vermont

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Metablogging, Pre-Trip Posts, Read it and Weep, Tags: , , , ,

All right. Turns out that this whole “keeping posts long and narrative” idea works pretty well, but seems wholly unfitting for times like the morning before I depart on a big trip. I have a long-standing personal tradition of firing off correspondence and/or public missives before departing on trips, of getting up a little earlier to do so. Deep down, I know that a large part of the reason for this is the heightened perception of the risk of death during travel. Even though it’s absolutely not true, human beings feel this elevated threat level on planes that in someone like me (even though I know cars are eleventy-billion times more dangerous and life-threatening) makes me want to tie up loose ends… or at least give people awareness of what I was considering on the final day. Truth be told, it’s really amazing how much of my life I spend anticipating and preparing for final perceptions like that.

What a wonderfully cheery thought for five in the morning. But hey, if anything, I’m opening up even more with StoreyTelling than Introspection, because long explanations sort of require back-story, and back-story often requires taking a can-opener to those rusty containers that long ago developed botulism.

Regardless, the point here is that I have all these leftover thoughts and ideas that, now that I’m back in the blogging spirit, would normally have found their home in delicious two-liners on Introspection’s format. But there’s no place to put them. So they’re about to go here… periodically I’m probably just going to have to do posts like this with relatively unrelated assortments. I don’t think any of today’s are cryptic… I already have a whole “Keepin’ it Cryptic” category/tag planned too, since there will be inevitably be times when some other person feels they have a right to privacy, or I don’t really feel like forcing the issue with some person I know right here on this blog. But not today. So this will be like the appendix post.

Speaking of which, they allegedly found the purpose of the appendix this week. Nifty, huh? There’s a reason for everything. The proof for God is in the logical purpose, people.

Baseball is clearly something I’ve still been paying attention to, since it’s October and that’s one of the things that makes October great. And I am blessed to be paying Comcast an inordinate amount of money to get channels like TBS, so I’m not missing out on the playoffs. Hosting the baseball playoffs on TBS makes about as much sense as putting Top Chef on the History Channel. Especially since it’s the second playoffs in 465 years to not feature the Atlanta Braves. You could sort of draw a link between the channel and the show (in the same way that APDA draws links to resolutions), but no one who normally watches the channel will want to watch that show, and everyone who wants to watch will be vaguely frustrated to have to find a channel they never watch. Maybe that’s the strategy though, TBS gets to spam adds for their bizarre shows at a whole new audience. In 20 years, the Anime Channel will bid for the baseball playoffs and we’ll be inundated with ads for the latest blend of medieval fantasy themed Japanese characters with crazy hair and soap opera interactions between innings. And I’ll have to debate with Em about the value of adding the premium Anime Channel for 2 months and whether Comcast will respect our right to cancel it even though they’re already taking $746 a month.

I tend to be exaggerative in the morning.

My only real point in bringing up baseball was to observe how completely unlikely it is that anyone could’ve envisioned a Rockies/Diamondbacks NLCS even a month ago, let alone earlier in the season. And yet it looks extremely likely that this will happen. Granted, the Phillies are in the exact same position as the ’95 Mariners in their Division Series … down 2-0 going on the road. And we all know what happened then. (Or maybe you don’t. The M’s won 2 games in NY, then came home and won the decisive fifth game in extra innings in the greatest game in Mariner history.) And given that the Phils basically are the Mariners from a few years ago (not really, but the pitching staff is… after all, Pat Gillick’s their GM), it’s all possible. But at this point, the Rockies will probably be winning the World Series, so I wouldn’t put much faith in a Philly comeback.

I’m also starting to believe that a 5-game series just might not cut it for baseball. Or if it did, you’d need to have a 1-1-1-1-1 schedule, instead of 2-2-1. But it’s way easier to just go 7 games instead of changing venues for every game. The first World Series was 9 games. You don’t play 162 contests to get ousted by a 3-game losing streak. It’s just too short.

(By the way, the paragraphs directly above will earn this post the category/tag “Let’s Go M’s”. This is not because the M’s were briefly mentioned, but that will be my baseball title in general. I’m trying to limit myself a little here.)

Ack! In finding the link to that series recap on Wikipedia above, I just realized that I’ve been incorrect in my memory about the ’95 ALDS for years! Apparently they used to do a 2-3 schedule for the ALDS!! Two-three?! So the M’s were down 2-0 going into 3 straight home games, which they won all of. I’ve been recapping that series incorrectly for ages. Wow. That really blows my mind. Whoever thought 2-3 was a reasonable schedule for a baseball series? See, this really proves that it needs to be longer than 5 games.

Hm. Now I’ve gotten myself so hyped up about baseball that I’ve forgotten most of what else I was going to say. So it goes. I should go pack and clean out the catboxes anyway.

I’m going to Vermont, by the way, for Stina & Dav’s wedding, which will be in Octobery fall colors confines near the borders with New York and Quebec. It should be beautiful, and a little chilly. Em and I are changing planes approximately 4,000 times on the way out, so we’re loading up the books. The next book I finish will put me over the top of last year’s total (21), which is right about the pace I’d like to maintain for a year. My commute has been very good for keeping me reading… and I don’t want to read much more than 25 books a year, because then I’ll never write. I can’t quite decide if I like David Foster Wallace or if he’s just messing with everyone (or, I suppose, both), but his imagery is some of the strongest stick-to-your-mind kind of stuff ever.

(Gah, now I have to add a book/reading category/tag too! This is getting to be too much. I’m now believing that the way I really should have approached this morning’s posting is to post 4-5 separate posts, all neatly categorized and separated. But that would sort of be like a strobe-light-blog, wouldn’t it? Hrm.)

Thank you, by the way, to everyone who has written me e-mails in the last few days about this blog and welcoming me back into the communication fold. I really appreciate it and I will respond to everyone individually soon, but sadly not before leaving. But I want to acknowledge how touched I’ve been by your reception… it’s good to know I haven’t alienated all my readers by taking a couple months off.

Also, to delve into the slightest metablogging, I can’t figure out why the second post I made here was labeled as the third, and thereafter all the numbers have seemed to be off by one. This is the kind of thing that really bugs me about using automated blogging software and what I was always afraid of. Having an accurate postcount is one of the things that I was excited about with automation, and the slightest inaccuracy (and what could be more slight than an inaccuracy of one?) drives me crazy. When I return (there’s no time now), I will have to delve into the actual files of this database and see if I can alter everything to restore order to the numbers. So be mindful of permalinking these few early posts. If I restore the numbers and they count properly, I’ll never change them again. As I look at it now, though, it’s possible that WordPress is just terrified of a sophomore slump – category #2 doesn’t seem to exist either. Don’t fear the deuce, WordPress!

Okay, now to clean Pandora’s box.

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