June 8th, 2009

One In Three

I played baseball for two seasons in high school, my Sophomore and Junior years. I got some play time the first year because the Seniors went on the Senior Trip. I think I played in two, maybe three games. The one vivid memory I have from that time is letting a grounder go through my legs during a game. Is there anything more cliché? I guess some things are clichés for a reason.

I played a few more games my Junior year. I was second base and I loved it there. The highlight of my season was participating in a double play. A player came up to bat and I remembered that last time he was up to bat, he hit it directly over second base. The second baseman lines up about halfway between first and second, so I hadn’t gotten that one. When he came up to bat this time, though, I shifted a little, and, sure enough, he hit in the same exact spot. I snagged it, stepped on second, then threw the ball to Josh on first for the double play. Granted, if Josh hadn’t been 6’3″, we might not have pulled it off, but he was able to stretch enough to grab it.

I think I actually was a pretty good infielder. The problem was, I couldn’t bat for anything. For some reason, I never got much batting practice in during practice, and coach never worked with me on it – bigger fish to fry, I imagine. Our pitching staff batted better than I did, so coach ended up using a designated hitter for my place in the lineup, which was fine by me.

Somewhere in the middle of the season, though, coach found another guy on the roster who could bat a little and field a little, and he must have decided the tradeoff was worthwhile because he pulled me. I believe I was a better fielder than the other guy, but the non-batting did me in. Truth be told, coach never liked me that much anyway — and that’s not me thinking everyone’s out to get me, that can be verified by external sources who I am not afraid to call in on this (Eric, Josh, and Dave – that’s you guys).

So I moved into my new role on the team: benchsitter/team clown. I was the loudest cheerer, but I also had a morale-boosting hat I’d wear on the bench: it had Vulcan ears on it, and it was epic. Coach hated it, but the team mostly liked it and the fans got a kick out of it. And, hey, being in sports is about having fun, right?

Advance the clock to this past Saturday: I’m sitting on a bench in our first softball game of the season, only the Vulcan hat has long been lost in the sands of time. I haven’t played any organized sports in longer than I’d care to admit, and I’m actually feeling a little overwhelmed by the officialness of it all – there’s rosters, batting orders, umpires, and even some fans who’ve come out to watch, and it’s all very surreal. I don’t actually get a field position to start off, but the rule in this league is that everyone bats, even if they’re not on the field.

I get on base with my first at-bat, and no one’s more surprised than me. I end up making it all the way home over the course of the next couple of batters, but not before injuring myself on my trip from first to second — and by “trip” I mean a literal trip. The ground is a little uneven, and my legs are a bit unused to running, and right before I got to second base, I fell.

You know the part near the end of T2 where the T-1000 is being frozen by the liquid nitrogen? He takes a few steps with difficulty, and then one one step his leg breaks off about mid-calf and he does this kind of three-point fall? My trip near second looked about like that, with my hand thankfully on the base at the end of it, safe.

I discovered that I probably need to invest in a pair of cleats for this season. I did end up playing second base for two of the seven innings and I really enjoyed it. But on one particular play, the ball came my way, and after I got it and threw it, my right foot slidout to the side far enough that I was off-balance and fell forward. I turned it into a somersault and got right back up, but I’m pretty sure it was the only softball-field somersault saw that day, and possibly ever. If you can do your job on the field and be the team clown? That’s what I want to do.

I did get to bat two more times, but the ball beat me to first base both times. I ended the game with a .333 batting average which is, as I’m sure you know, an average the pros would get paid millions for.

First thing I’m buying when those millions come in? A new Vulcan hat.

February 9th, 2008

Star Wars Marathon – Liveblog

9:02 – So, in the final tally, four of us were here for all six movies, and two more were here for five of them, and there were nine different viewers over the course of the day. It was a lot of fun, and I can totally see doing a Lord of the Rings marathon at some point in the future…

Thanks for following along and joining in the fun vicariously!

8:55 – Emperor’s death = Galactic Party Time!

8:51 – Death Star II, R.I.P.

8:50 – Anakin Skywalker, R.I.P.

8:42 – Vader’s hand, R.I.P.

8:41 – I know it’s gotta be tough to be a Jedi, especially when you haven’t been one for long, but Luke really makes a lot of mistakes in the last battle with Vader – revealing the existence of his sister being a bit more major than most.

8:36 – “I know” – Leia, in a great reversal of roles from Empire.

8:30 – The Death Star is fully operational!

8:27 – I’m more easily convinced in the reality of lightsabers than with stick- and stone-wielding teddy bears beating Imperial troops.

8:16 – “Yub nub.” – Random Ewok

8:08 – “Leia, you need to stop kissing me, what with you being my sister and all.” -Luke

7:50 – The Ewoks have showed up. Bleah.

7:36 – Luke just figured out that Leia is is his sister. Nice work, Luke!

7:25 – Rancor is dead, Jabba is dead, and Boba Fett is Sarlacc Chow ™.

7:02 – Eric & Lance are making pancakes. Also, the Twi’lek dancer was just eaten by the Rancor.

6:59 – The return of Daniel.

6:51 – Also, sound has been restored to the left rear speaker! There was a loose wire. Woot!

6:48 – Start of Episode VI. I am happy to announce every episode started exactly when it was scheduled to do so.

6:37 – End of Episode V.

6:26 – “No, I am your father.” – Darth Vader

6:25 – Luke’s hand: R.I.P.

6:11 – “I know.” – Han Solo

6:09 – Exit Daniel (running errands for his mom, he says).

6:00 – “No, there is another.” – Yoda

5:53 – Exit Marshall.

5:46 – “And that is why you fail.” – Yoda

5:10 – Lee was awakened from dozing.

4:47 – Marshall has discovered that the left rear speaker is not producing any sound… Disconcerting.

4:40 – The arrival of Marshall!

4:39 – Luke just got hisself Wampa’d.

4:35 – The Empire Strikes Back: the best of the best!

4:25 – The Death Star has been successfully dealt with!

4:15 – Porkins: R.I.P.

4:02 – Obi Wan: R.I.P.

3:52 – C3-PO is the whiniest droid ever.

3:18 – Grrrrrrrrr. Greedo shot first. I got majorly ripped off here.

3:16 – The return of Eric!

3:05 – Another watcher has appeared.

2:53 – It would appear that these are NOT the original un-fiddled-with versions. GRRRRR.

2:28 – Now to the good stuff: Episode IV! Halfway there!

2:21 – Exit Jonell.

2:17 – End of Episode III.

2:12 – Jonell stopped by to pick up an extra Guitar Hero controller and also brought ice cream and root beer for floats!

2:11 – Darth Vader’s got a brand new suit. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

2:09 – Luke & Leia were just born.

1:51 – Update: Anakin’s bad, most Jedi are dead, and Yoda’s about to throw down with Darth Sidious.

1:18 – Mace Windu: R.I.P. :(

1:07 – In a surprising turn of events, a Sith Lord is revealed.

12:48 – Exit Eric. He had a prior engagement, but shall return.

12:29 – Hey, Padme’s pregnant!

12:26 – Daniel has arrived.

12:03 p.m. – Episode III begins!

11:36 – Pizza arrives! Lunch break!

11:35 – Episode II ends.

11:29 – Yoda vs. Dooku. FIGHT!

11:22 – Clone Troops versus Droid Army – EPIC!

10:41 – Anakin just killed a bunch Sand People. Tsk.

10:17 – The “romance” sections of this movie are some of the worst scenes ever committed to film, digital or otherwise.

9:33 – Yeesh… Hayden carries on the tradition of awful Anakins.

9:21 – Episode II started.

9:20 – Greg showed up.

9:10 – Episode I is done.

8:45 – Phantom Menace is a lot longer than a person remembers…

7:32 – Anakin speaks for the first time. Ugh. I realize good kid actors are hard to find, but seriously? This is the best we could do?

7:11 – Jar Jar’s first appearance. Up until this point, the movie seems like it’s going to be super cool. Jar Jar’s appearance is kind of like how when you’re leaning back in a chair and enjoying balancing, when all of a sudden you lean a little too far back and feel like you’re going to fall backwards — Jar Jar on screen is like feeling you’re falling backwards constantly.

7: 02 – The Wright brothers show up. This is pretty much the expected group for the first movie.

7:00 – Episode I begins!

6:55 – Lee shows up with donuts.

6:52 – Jeremiah is the first to show up.

5:42 a.m. – I woke up at 4:00 this morning and was wide awake, but like a fool I tried to go back to sleep. My plan was to get up at 5 and do some last minute preparing for guests. Instead, I kept hitting the snooze and now I’m late.

February 5th, 2008

Star Wars Marathon

This Saturday marks a first for me. Sure, I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies before, and several times at that. But this Saturday will be the first time I’ll watch them all in a row. To make this occasion slightly less nerdy, I’ve invited other people over to watch them with me. If you’re reading this, consider yourself invited.

I realize that it will be a relatively small number of people who attend this, and I also realize that the number of people who come for all six movies will be even smaller. That’s why I’ve made a handy little timeline for the day:

  1. The Phantom Menace: 7:00 a.m.
  2. Attack of the Clones: 9:21 a.m.
  3. Revenge of the Sith: 12:03 p.m.
  4. A New Hope: 2:27 p.m.
  5. The Empire Strikes Back: 4:36 p.m
  6. Return of the Jedi: 6:48 p.m.

There’s a 5-minute break between each movie, with a 20-minute break scheduled before the start of Episode III. The projected end time is 9:02 p.m.

I toyed briefly with the idea of including the Clone Wars in the lineup, but that made an already-long day even longer, and I figured I was pushing my luck as it was.

A couple of notes about the day:

  • I will do everything in my power to stick to the timetable, believe you me.
  • I’m pretty sure there will be discussion during the viewings. Our resident Star Wars historian is planning to be there, and I’m sure we will all learn a thing or two :)
  • There’s wireless Internet available at my place, so if you need to bring your laptop and do some work to make yourself feel better about spending the day watching Star Wars, feel free.
  • I’m thinking pizza for lunch (that’s the 20-minute break), so bring a couple of bucks for that.
  • I will provide soda.
  • Hey, bring some snacks with you, that’d be cool! If we snack enough, we won’t notice that I didn’t schedule a 20-minute supper break.
  • I do have two cats, so drug yourself up if you’re allergic.
  • I’ve been told my apartment is chilly, so you might want to dress accordingly.
  • There isn’t a whole lot of seating, so if you’ve got a beanbag or a camp chair or something, feel free to bring that along. When I buy a house, I’ll make sure the theater room seats 50, but for now this is pretty much what I have.

Don’t let the structuredness fool you – I think it’s going to be a fun time for those who show up. A big screen TV, 5.1 surround sound, and the original versions of Episodes IV-VI… what’s not to love?? Come for the ones you want to see – no need to stay all day if you don’t want to see them all. That’s why Phantom Menace is showing at 7:00 a.m. – if you oversleep, you aren’t missing much.

And if this goes well, the next one will an all-day Lord of the Rings marathon.