Get ready for a cold weekend with lows near 10 degrees and highs near 20. We’ll have few snow showers Saturday. Colts fans will endure the coldest game conditions of the season with temperatures in the teens and wind chill near zero.
So the mid-year resolution of writing here once a week or more isn’t doing all that hot. But I bet I can do better.
For the first time in 23 years, I’m sitting on the eve of the World Series, with an actual rooting interest in the outcome. Sure, I was a “new” Braves fan when they went worst-to-first and lost the 1991 Series to Minnesota, but it hasn’t been since those same Twins in 1987 (same, but different, that roster turned over big time in four years) that I cared who won the Fall Classic. And the only real reason I cheered for the Twins is I “knew” many of the players from their minor league days. Before that, it was the 1979 Pirates in a Series, but I was five and still just rooting in my father’s shadow.
But this year is different.
On December 8, 1988, I woke up a die-hard Cleveland Indians fan. By the end of the afternoon, my favorite player, Julio Franco had been traded to Texas and, for whatever reason, I became a Rangers fan.
Almost 22 years later, I’m still here, and “my” Rangers are four wins from a championship. It’s unbelievable.
A lot of bad has been said about the Rangers this year, and maybe I’m a little (okay, a lot) biased, but I think it’s a good story. Manager Ron Washington (who played in the minors with a number of those ’87 Twins) admitted to trying cocaine last year, but kept his job. He now gets tested regularly by MLB officials and has been clean since. Stud outfielder Josh Hamilton has fought much more serious demons, has gotten a second, if not third, chance and is also living clean and being a role model to youth groups to not take the same path.
Even the entire franchise is taking advantage of a second chance. After years of mismanaged finances, the team went into bankruptcy, but has emerged with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan as part of the ownership group. It’s new life for the team and it seems to show.
I’ve been a baseball fan pretty much since birth, but in recent years, it’s lost some of the fun. This year’s Rangers have made it fun again. I just hope they can finish the job.
After the usual eternity that is the summer TV season, new shows are starting to pop back up in primetime. While it’s good to see the old standbys return, this year, I’m focusing most of my attention on Wednesday night’s premier of “Law & Order: Los Angeles.”
I was late to the original L&O party, picking up the show in cable reruns more than 11 seasons into its historic run, but it was quickly added to the watch list. The spin-offs never much appealed to me, aside from one episode of “Criminal Intent” that featured a bit part by a friend of a friend.
So as a new run of NBC’s standby gets ready to begin, I’m intrigued, excited and terrified about the new endeavor. My biggest hope is that it’s the same show with a new cast and a new city. Maybe that will be enough to breathe new life into the show, although maybe it will be the same show with a horrific new cast and all that will be moot. Likewise, my biggest fear is that the producers will abandon the formula that made them successful for 20 years and chase the “crime drama” format that’s been done to death all across the 9pm-11pm time slot.
I guess we’ll find out Wednesday night at 10 pm. Chung-chung.
If I’m good at one thing around the office, it has to be scheduling my vacations right before holidays and other miscellaneous days off. It seems, without fail, that my vacations always end up in a “2 on, 2 off, 1 on, 8 off, 2 on, 2 off” type schedules. So, to honor the “MondayFriday-ness” of today’s one-day work week, let’s get caught up.
First and foremost, if you’re a music fan, or if you’re not a music fan but have a little bit of room in your soul for an “OMG! Breathtaking!” moment or two, you have to see a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver. Years ago, my wife said that was one place she always wanted to see a show and was slowly starting to move her plans from seeing “a band she liked”, to “a band she could tolerate”, to “a band she had heard of.”
Then something happened this spring.
Not only was her absolute, top-of-the-list favorite, David Gray, going to play at Red Rocks, but he was splitting the bill with Ray Lamontagne, a solid member of the top five “others” on the list. In fact, the only thing that kept her from likely labeling them one-two is Lamontagne’s less-than-stellar history in live performances. Two out of the three times she’s seen him live, he seemed like he’d rather be elsewhere.
Not last week.
An amazing venue, amazing weather and an outstanding show by two great talents. I’ll go see a David Gray show every time, but it was great to see Ray rock it out and restore my faith in his live abilities.
As for the trip to Denver, I don’t know what it is about my wife and I, but we always seem to come back from a trip with a “no way, really?” type moment (or three). For example, our trip to Japan in June featured an appearance on the Jumbotron at a Yakult Swallows baseball game and a 6 a.m. World Cup soccer celebration in the streets of Tokyo.
In Denver, it might have gotten even a little more out there.
First off, we hit a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field. Beautiful ballpark, with (once the sun went behind the roof) great weather and an exciting game. It would have been enough of an obscurity to see a game that featured three triples, a 2-for-3 performance at the plate by the starting pitcher and Manny Ramirez getting booed, taking a strike and being ejected in about a 30-second window, but toss in a foul ball snagged by yours truly and it was quite a trip just seven hours into the day.
Two days later, we hustled a tour of the Colorado Statehouse into our departure plans. My father-in-law had heard some stories and thought it seemed interesting. Always a bit of a history buff, I learned that the dome is plated in 250 ounces of gold leaf, they used every last ounce on earth of a native stone (a type of red granite, I think?) to fancy up the interior hallways and then there were the west steps.
In 1909, local college students measured the height above sea level and engraved the “one mile high” mark on a granite step on the west side of the statehouse. Sixty years later, they realized they measured it wrong, and placed a plaque two steps higher. Thirty or so years later, Congress decided to “officially” designate sea level and the mark was wrong again. So a final (?) plaque was placed several feet lower on the stairs.
So as excited as you could be to see historical markers, we were geeked. Until we came across the abortion rally blocking two of the three monuments. And it wasn’t just a “hey, hey, ho, ho” type picketing, it was a full-on podium and presentation. With a 2:45 flight and an undetermined drive to the airport, we stretched it out about as long as we could, then as the organizers of the rally finally broke things down (20 minutes after we needed to leave) and we got our picture, in between a throng of locals who didn’t even realize the plaques existed.
So to wrap it up, Denver was awesome. A clean, developing city with generally nice folks (though a few too many exercise nuts for me!) and I’d gladly go back again, especially if I was promised such an awesome concert (and 4th row seats, too!)
A quick round-up as another weekend comes to an end:
-First, the “Observation of the Week” (coincidentally, also the “Animated Holiday TV Special of the Week,” because it’s August, we should start thinking about Christmas already!) goes to the co-worker who compared Colts back-up QB Curtis Painter to Hermey, the elf who wanted to be a dentist in the Rudolph special. Well done.
-Sticking with meaningless football games, NBC play-by-play guy Al Michaels made a curious comment at the end of tonight’s SF-Minnesota game. As the 49ers scored a safety on the game’s final play, changing the final score to 15-10, he laughed heartily and mentioned the final point differential moving from three to five points, and that “some people are not going to be happy with that, while others are going to be very happy” (paraphrased).
Obviously, he was talking about the betting line, which, sure enough, ranged from 2.5 to 3 points, favoring the Niners. First off, anyone who is betting preseason football games deserves to be kicked in the gut by a last-second safety.
But more importantly, how did Al Michaels know the betting line of a preseason game off the top of his head like that? Hmmm….
-In related news, I didn’t investigate the story too deeply, but I thought I heard that Pete Rose, who fought for 20 years to be allowed back around the game of baseball, then was finally given that right (in limited capacity), he says he can’t make a ceremony honoring him at a Reds game because of a prior commitment – at a casino.
Maybe he’ll run into Al Michaels.
-Week One of iPhone-ness has been a success. Possibly the biggest plus is the WiFi capabilities of the iPhone4, which means work at home is free and, occasionally, a signal pops up at work, making usage in the newsroom free as well. I still think I’ll come in on the high side of AT&T’s 200MB level, but it could be interesting if I can save $10 along the way.
I’m still working on making use of the phone as a work tool as much as an expensive toy, but the play side of it has been amazing so far. It came in especially handy this evening as a run through the Taco Bell drive-thru turned into a 10 minute wait in the parking lot.
Any tips you have to help me catch up to the technology are always appreciated in the comments.
On to Monday!
After several years of feet dragging, I’ve taken a bite of the poison Apple and bought an iPhone. Although I’m still not sure which side of the “work vs. expensive toy” fence it will fall on, it should help out in several areas of my personal and professional life.
Of course to do that, I have to know how to use it and thus far, all it has done is tease me from afar. After closing my eyes on the AT&T web site Friday afternoon and clicking “Complete Purchase” (or whatever the button said), I expected – because I was told by AT&T and Apple it could be 5-10 business days until they shipped it – to have a wait ahead of me.
And I was cool with that.
That coolness went away when the e-mail came announcing the shipping of the phone. “It will get here someday” was quickly replaced by a neurotic rotation back to the AT&T web site to check the status of my order. By mid-day Saturday, my new toy was sitting in a warehouse in Indianapolis and there was nothing I could do but wait. Seriously, I drive past a FedEx warehouse every day, probably the same one holding my phone hostage, and there was nothing I could do about it for two whole days.
Finally, today arrived and the phone was marked “out for delivery” and the race was on. The delivery estimate was for 3 p.m. and I had to leave for work at 3:30. By 2 o’clock and no phone, I checked the FedEx site again. “Incorrect Address.” Panic. Calm. Phone calls.
To FedEx’s credit, they were very cool on the phone, called back twice to double check our address and at 3:20, the doorbell rang. I’d have better off if they had missed me by 10 minutes.
I had enough time to open the box, look at the parts, plug it in and leave. In the meantime, my wife ordered a new BlackBerry at the same time, it was delivered in the mail this morning and she has been busy playing and configuring all day. Such a tease.
All I know now is this better live up to the hype, because the last two days have felt like 200. (Okay, a little exaggeration there.)
This meandering story of an idiot waiting for his new phone was really a call for help. What do I do now that I actually have the phone? How does a 36-year-old web guy go about best using a shiny new iPhone 4? A call out on Facebook has yielded two parts sarcastic ridicule and 1 part help, but I have access to Indianapolis, and darn it, I’m going to use it!
Apps, cases, gadgets, whatever, help me out Indy! What are your favorite parts about the iPhone and why? What can’t you live without?
With all the social media in the world, how do you use it all?
I’ve at least tried to poke my toes in the water of most social media “phenomena” that come along (anyone remember Orkut?) and some stick, others are forgotten in the mass of password reminder e-mails buried deep in various inboxes. It’s obvious that not all social media platforms are equal, but do you use them equally?
This question popped up in a recent flurry of LinkedIn invites hitting my mailbox. I forget when I first signed on over there, but I’m pretty sure only about a third of my profile information is relevant anymore. I’ve Facebooked for, I think, at least five years (back when it was a college-based invite system, yet my alumni e-mail address got me in the door) and have Tweeted for pushing two. I’m far more immersed in Facebook, personally, and have gotten a lot more mileage out of Twitter from work than from home.
But where does LinkedIn fit in?
I’m pretty open to who I invite/accept into my Facebook world, with a few exceptions, family, friends, long lost faces from a high school yearbook, whatever. But LinkedIn seems different. It’s probably the layout, but it seems to me that it’s more of a professional environment. Yet a lot of folks seem to be seeking me out lately that would serve me no apparent professional gain.
Am I crazy?
Maybe I’m missing a chance to broaden my social opportunities, but I think LinkedIn should be people that you would be able to recommend for a job, right?
I’m really curious to see where everyone else draws the lines of their social media boundaries. Are you an “everything goes” type person? Or do you pick and choose your online acquaintances as strictly as I do?
With a couple clicks and a push in the right direction, the SkyTrak Weather Team has become the SkyTrak Facebook Team! While several members of the Eyewitness News team you see on air everyday has begun a takeover of the social media “airwaves,” the weather folks have taken off!
Now, in addition to getting your forecast and weather information on Channel 13, you can get it in your Facebook news feed, too!
Check out the fan pages:
If you prefer your Twitter over Facebook, don’t miss Nicole there, too!
And just kidding about the Farmville thing. If I so much as see a lost cow anywhere around Jude Redfield, we’re shipping him off to MySpace!