Jun 24

Dance, then baseball, now old

On Saturday we went to high school. I can’t remember the last time I was in a school. Probably a dozen years or more. We visited one because my god niece in-law (just go with it) was in a dance recital.

I wasn’t really paying attention to the exterior of the building as we pulled up, but I did notice this near the door. When was the last time you saw a pay phone?

If you look closely enough, you can see there’s no receiver. So maybe it isn’t a phone anymore. Maybe the school just dragged it out there and it is waiting for a garbage pick up.

The school, from what we saw, seemed nice. Very big. Old school. Hallways full of plaques marking their distinguished alumni. Some of the plaques were a little basic, but others were quite remarkable. A lot of professors and authors and civic leaders. There was a music promoter, and a touring manager for U2. There was someone who won the Nobel Prize in economics. The inventor of Lipitor went to school there. The state’s first black attorney, a man born a former slave soon after the Civil War, was a student there. His plaque said he got paid for his work by bushels of food. I’d like to have time to read more of them.

But there was dancing to watch.

Our dancer took part in two numbers, a ballet and en pointe. She looked great, danced with nice confidence and had a lot of fun. Had we all not had favorites, everyone in the auditorium would have chosen the two little girls that opened the recital as the stars. They were two young beginners, wearing shimmering three-tone tutus, mimicking what their coach was doing from the floor. They were adorable and stole the show. But all of the numbers and dancers were delightful in their own way, and they kept things moving.

I’ve been to two dance recitals. The first was a two-day recital, if you can believe that. Every group was organized by age, and they all danced to the same song. We heard that same bad song dozens of time. I was working on the video production, which meant I had to be there. It was a lot of standing, no food, and that same horrible song several dozen times. I am quite certain it scarred me. This weekend’s show was much shorter, had a unique song and style of dance for every group, and it was over in a little under two hours. It was a much better show.

After dinner we all adjourned to the ballerina’s home. That evolved into a big baseball game in the front yard. All of the adults sat in lawn chairs and watched the kids play. And me. We had plate music and everything.

This became a two-hour game. Usually because the kindergartner had to dance to his song, “Texas Hold ‘Em.” And we had no pitch count. A pitch count would have moved things along, but most of the kids were too young for that.

The day’s star dancer hit two huge home runs off of me. That’s what happens when you grove your pitches. There were also a lot of little league home runs. After everyone else went inside for snacks, the 9-year-old boy and I stayed out to play catch. (It was a little bit special.)

I was in a dress shirt and not-the-right-shoes for all of this, and so I was sore the rest of the night and tired most of Sunday.

Yesterday, I was admiring the new growth on the pine trees, (Pinus strobus, I think).

We have three in the backyard. They are growing tall and close to the house. They help block the late afternoon sun. They can’t stay forever, but we enjoy them now.

And the sky was just so casually brilliant …

It was worth noting.

It’s time, once again, for the site’s most popular weekly feature. We must check in on the kitties.

Phoebe was nice enough to pose, ever so briefly, on the landing this afternoon.

I’m a real sucker for when she puts her face on her paw.

Poseidon has recently discovered the lamp I have behind my computer.

He came to quickly realize that the light bulb gives off a fair amount of warmth, and so he’s never leaving.

Now, the only way I can keep Poe from that spot is to not turn on the lamp.

He knows cozy when he sees it.

So the kitties, as you can tell, are doing just fine. They’re ready for another fun week. As am I. And i hope you are, too!

Aug 23


Light day here, as most of my hours were spent on preparing coursework. Canvas! Where all the fun is had! It’ll probably be a light week all the way around because I’m not hardly done with all of this prep work. Classes start next week, though, so there’s some stress and relief in that. Will I hit the deadlines I’ve imposed upon myself? And if I don’t, somehow, hit those deadlines, will I have a backup plan?

There’s always a plan. Thankfully, though, they don’t get used a lot. Nothing a good solid 96 hours of concentrated attention and angst can’t address.

This evening, though, we went to Philadelphia. It was $20 ticket night at Citizen’s Bank Park and The Yankee is demonstrating her secondary fandom. Her beloved Yankees aren’t very beloved at the moment, so there’s the wildcard chasing Phillies.

The home team is hosting the Angels, and perhaps the greatest player of any generation, Shohei Ohtani. This is what you need to know. At Phillies games they pipe in bell noises when the good guys hit a home run. There were five tonight — Harper in the 2nd, Schwarber in the 3rd, Bohm in the 6th, Stott in the 7th and Turner in the 8th — so there was a lot of bell ringing. An almost standard night for a team that leads all of baseball in August home runs.

We also saw a successful squeeze play, a triple and watched the great Ohtani go 3-5, and get thrown out trying to steal third base.

It was a lovely night at the old ballgame as the home standing Phillies beat the #Angels 12-7.

We didn’t think the first thing about dinner. It was about 10 p.m. when all of the runs were put on the scoreboard and we made a shortcut out of the parking lot. Through the power of the Internet and cell signals I found the one restaurant between here and there that was still open at that hour on a Tuesday night. It was a sleepy little, brightly lit restaurant and bar with Formica countertops and giant flat screen TVs.

Outside were a man and woman and, though we didn’t hear it, one of them was apparently trying to get the other to do something that was no good. Of course this woman came in for a beer in her pajamas, which she pointed out to us all. The young bartender took our order since no one else was working in the front of the house. They offered sandwiches and a burger, so we got steak sandwiches. They hit the spot. The other four or five people that came in all knew him and one another. Truly a neighborhood joint. Just as we were leaving — cash only, and now I have three dimes and that felt weird.

What do you even do with these things anymore?

Some other baseball fans came in for their late dinner. The only restaurant open for miles around.

And most importantly, I guess, the Phillies are 2-0 when we’re in the stadium. There’s another $20 game opportunity coming up next month. Because it is easy to get in and out of there, we’ll probably go back again. And now we know when the kitchen closes, and just how casual the dress code can be.

Aug 23

A casual sports Friday

My in-laws arrived last night, as planned. They got in late in the evening and we had a nice casual day of it today. They are lovely guests who thoughtfully don’t over-pack, which helps me out when I carry their luggage to the guest room.

Since it was dark when they arrived, they received the full tour today. The cats, who spent a few weeks with them earlier this summer, were also happy to see them, because more pets, more play, more treats.

My father-in-law tossed around a football for a while. The big guy still has some zip. It was great fun, that little game of catch.

We took in our first Phillies game this evening. The hometown good guys started a guy who was 0-3, and the visiting Minnesota Twins, who no one really likes anyway, started a struggling former Cy Young Award winner in Dallas Keuchel. Philadelphia gave up two runs early on solo home runs, but the Phillies put six runs up in the bottom of the second, knocking Keuchel out of the game. Everything after that was perfunctory. The home team put runs up in the bottom of the fourth, sixth and eighth. The Twins finished with an outfielder on the mound, and the weekend series started with a 13-2 win for the home team. Cristopher Sanchez went six innings and got his first win of the season.

Here, I think, is what is important. It was easy to get into the sports complex area. We parked right across the street from the venue, so getting in was no problem. It was a very short walk to our lower deck seats. It was easy to get out, even if it took two tries because of a weird merge.

These days, all of the major venues are pretty good. Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004. If you have a good venue and a good product, the thing that will get you to come back, or the thing that keeps you away, is convenience.

And, tonight, it was easy to cross the bridge, get to Greenwich Island, and get out again. A good time, as the cliche goes, was had by all. Except the Twins, and nobody really likes them, anyway.

Oct 22

There’s a(nother) video at the end

I made this late last night, early this morning. Losing sleep for mashup art is a questionable choice, but when you have an idea …

There’s another video, a better one, at the end of this post. This photo, taken earlier this evening, offers a visual cue about what you’ll see in just a few hundred casual words, and after a few weekend photos.

Keep scrolling down to see that video.

We had an incredible weekend of weather. I didn’t even know what to do with it. Just warm and bright enough to feel like it could and would go on forever. Not so warm that you’d believe it to be true. And somewhere in there, amid the sun and the shade and the breeze, you can be held in a powerful grip of indecision.

We took a nice little walk on Sunday. Saw this wooly bear caterpillar, which was very much in a hurry to get to wherever it is that caterpillars go.

On the nearby goat farm they’re putting in another asphalt path. I look forward to exploring that when they remove the construction tape. One must respect construction tape, but this looks all but done.

How many colors can one tree sport, anyway?

This is on another path, and with more colors.

I got photobombed …

It doesn’t pop in the photo as well as it did in the daylight, but this tree is both yellow and red. It was fantastic, and that’s another problem of autumn. It’s too temporary — despite what I said above.

We stood under the trees and felt the breeze and caught the leaves.

If you don’t know what to do with a fine autumn day, catch the leaves.

Another work week has begun. My contribution to the cause today was this. Three-quarters of a running project are completed, and the rest will wrap up later this week. And then I’ll talk about them, perhaps, unless something more interesting takes place that day.

(Cheer for something more interesting.)

We set up a new system to show off student media work on the big screen. Wednesday we’ll roll that out. I also met two scholars visiting from France.

I got to the house just in time to take a quick bike ride. Got back in before dark, could have gotten a bit more out of the ride if I’d put a little thought into the route, but, no matter, it was 20 miles.

Went slow on this road, just for these views. Hopefully the video is worth it.

And now it’s time to get ready for tomorrow. The faster we get to it the faster I can get through it. Also, the quicker I can get to bed the quicker I can … fill my weary head with useless ideas like that Bryce Harper video. Pretty good one though, wasn’t it?

May 22

Let’s go back in time

Ten years ago I took this photograph, and published it on my Tumblr site. (Remember those?) This is the agapanthus, the African lily. From the Greek agape (love) + anthos (flower).

The plant is believed to have a hemolytic poison and can cause ulceration of the mouth. It does have other medicinal properties, however. There are about 10 species in the genus.

(Haven’t put anything on that Tumblr since November 2014. I wonder why? Probably just rightly remembered I should put everything here.)

Nine years ago I was at a baseball game, and the good guys won. We found our friend watching from a nearby parking deck.

(Happy times!)

Eight years ago we ran a triathlon in the morning, and watched a baseball game in the afternoon. (Good guys lost.) And I got Aubie to take a selfie on my camera.

(Happy times!)

Seven years ago we ran a 10K. I did it in brand new shoes.

This was a fundraiser in London, and on part of the route we ran around Wembley Stadium. The guy that won the race was an Egyptian Olympian. He lapped us. It was amazing to watch him run. He could not stick around to get his medal, they said, because he ran off to run another race. Long distance runners, man.

But look at this awesome bling!

(The next day we were in Paris. It was a whirlwind.)

Six years ago, plus one day …

I’ve never been able to eat watermelon without thinking about that. And I can’t eat watermelon without being a bit sad. Had some this morning, in fact.

Five years ago, boy, I was right about this one.

Four years ago, we were in Tuscany, specifically, Siena, and just one of the beautiful things we visited that day was the Duomo di Siena. In the 12th century the earliest version of this building starting hosting services, but there’d been a church on this spot for centuries by then. The oldest bell in the church was cast in 1149! These beautiful facades started appearing in the 1200s.

That was a grand trip. We’d do that one again, I’m sure.

Three years ago, the 17th was a Saturday, and we went on an easy bike ride.

Two years ago I apparently sat around and thought of little more than Covid. Remember the pandemic?

And last year at this time I was recovering from my first long drive in a year. We’d just come back from visiting my vaccinated family members. It had been my first drive out of the county in more than a year. It took a day or two to recover.

I did have a reason to re-use this gif, however.

The guy on the left is a sports director at a television station in Illinois now. The guy on the right is a 2L at a Washington D.C. law school. (We’re all going to work for one of them one day, I’m sure.)

So a bit of everything on this day in the last decade.