Monday, July 2, 2007

Vacation Wrap Up

Back in the grind and feeling the rust. Some random thoughts and events from the past week.

- Danny Ainge and the Celtics brain trust (and I use the term loosely) can bite me. Ray Allen? Ray Allen??!!! This is the best they could do? First, I have to admit I was excited when I heard they drafted Jeff Green. He was just what the team needed - a tough, interior presence on both ends of the floor who could also fill the lanes in the running game. You know, if they ever actually get a chance to run. Then I see the little ticker at the bottom that says 'Rights to SEA'. I don't know what the hell is going on, so I start flipping like crazy and catch one lead in that says 'Celtics get a seven time All Star and he's coming back to the area'. Seattle? Seven time All Star? Area? Fucking Ray Allen??? Are you fucking kidding me? So not only do we not get Green (Celtics - Green, how could they not keep him?) but we also give up Delonte and Wally. Don't personally care about Wally (although he did get wifey and some female friends more interested in watching the C games), but West was a hustler and someone I liked. He annoyed the other teams and was becoming more reliable with his jumper. Now he'll be lobbing alley oops to Durant and Jeff Green in Seattle and will probably be top 5 in assists next year.

I can only imagine they made this trade to make people talk about the Celtics. That's the only reason. Sure they kept Jefferson (which surprised me!) and they added some scoring, but Doc Rivers is still the captain of this sinking boat and Allen has been around for a long time. I don't get this trade at all. It reminds me of when ML Carr signed an over the hill Dominique Wilkins as a free agent. There was no reason for it, other than getting people to talk about the Celtics. Unfortunately, like now, they were talking about them for all the wrong reasons.

Did I mention they still have Telfair on the team? I hate everyone involved with the Celtics right now.

- Didn't do as many chores as I wanted over the week. Mainly because I quickly slipped into official vacation mode when the heat hit 90. Went to the beach (see below for how that turned out), took seven year old to swimming lessons, and did way more drinking than I should have. Still, I got the front stairs patched up, cleaned the cars out, and got the basketball hoop up. Of the three, the hoop was the most time consuming. There were approximately eighteen thousand parts to the fucking thing and instructions that were apparently meant as a Mensa test. Delighted to say I passed and the thing hasn't fallen over and killed anyone. Yet.

- Tried to finish up my week with a Sox game, but getting tickets is becoming more difficult than putting together a basketball hoop. Will try again this weekend. Seven year old has been asking all season.

- On Thursday, wifey and I packed up the boys and headed to Wingersheek (sp?) beach. The beach itself is great for the kids, since there are tidal pools all around when the tide is either coming in or going out. You do, however, need to keep an eye on them as some of the pools tend to be a lot deeper than they appear (again, see below). The problem is paying $25 for parking and the parking lot being far enough away from the actual beach to qualify as the last leg of the Ironman. So we wind pulling the cooler, pushing the stroller, lugging the beach chairs, and looking like Steve Martin at the end of 'The Jerk' for 3.5 miles. Not fun. On the bright side, we had worked up quite a sweat by the time we reached the beach and the water was beautiful. Love the ocean.

- One incident did ruin the day, however and I'm still angry about it now. We're walking around the tidal pool area when suddenly some older woman bolts to one of the pools yelling 'Get a life guard, get a life guard'. Her and another man both reach the tidal area from opposite sides at the same time and pull a little girl out of the water. She is limp and, from my angle, looks dead. I remain calm, but the oldest has seen what's going on and looks scared. Wifey and I tell the boys it's time to go back to the blanket for a while and eat. I just want to get them away from this horrific scene. Life guards were already there and performing CPR. We were at least half a mile away from our spot, so it takes us a while to get there. During the walk we notice an ambulance arriving at the back entrance. We get to our spot, start settling down while some of the other beachers drift over to see what's going on.

Standing near us is a woman holding an infant chatting away with another woman. She takes a few steps over to the commotion, stands on her tiptoes, like she's peering over the crowd, calmly says 'I think that's my daughter' when she sees the stretcher heading towards the ambulance and starts walking over.

Two things here. First, what the FUCK is she doing letting her seven year old daughter go roaming the beach unsupervised? Never mind the currents, tidal pools or the very good chance of drowning in general. But what's to prevent her from being taken from the beach by some sicko? The beach scene, especially on a hot day like that, is chaos. People coming and going all the time. If there was ever a time some predator would pounce, it would be when they see a kid separated from their parents at the beach.

Second, the nonchalance of the mother infuriated me. If it was my kid and I saw him being taken from the beach on a stretcher (oh, and I had no idea where he had been for the last 15-20 minutes) I would have asked who ever I was with to hold the baby and sprinted over there. She just strolled over, taking a few hurried steps in order to catch the ambulance before it left without her.

The good news is we heard from the life guards that she had a pulse and was breathing on her own by they time the ambulance arrived. I should note these life guards were about 19 years old and looked completely rattled by the experience. One woman burst into tears when they dragged the girl out of the water. I'd have to put that at the top of the list of things not to see at the beach. Right below a shark attack and right above a 300 pound woman in a G-String.

- They lost the game, but watching Papelbon come in and pitch out of a jam in the eight inning, then a 1-2-3 ninth in the final Seattle game was a thing of beauty.

- Find it interesting that Bonds doesn't hit home runs into the bay anymore. Has he hit one this year into the water? I'm not saying those were fueled by steroids, I'm just saying.....ah, who am I kidding, that's exactly what I'm saying. The guy was juiced and jacking 500 foot home runs for 3-4 years and everyone knows it. Not everyone has come to terms with it (see: Fransico, San) but we all know it.

- While we're here, why is Sheffield getting a pass on the steroid controversy? The guy was good friends with Bonds, used the same trainer, was 'roid rage personified for 5 years, and nobody even brings it up when talking about him. What gives? Are people just scared of him? Not that I blame them.

- I think I've jinxed the Rockies. They've blown a bunch of games since I put them in my baseball surprises list, including their closer giving up two walk offs against Houston. Sorry, Colorado. Sincerely.

- I now know why wireless was invented: So I can sit in my backyard on a beautiful Sunday and type crap into a blog nobody reads while my boys swim in the pool about 5 feet away. Life is good.

- Sort of...I had a friend fly in from LA for the weekend and since she's a good looking female, I had all sorts of trouble getting permission to go meet her for drinks. Finally just told wifey I had to go into work for a bit and met her in the city on Sunday afternoon. Honesty - the foundation of any solid relationship.

- Broke the kayak out finally and spent Saturday morning paddling my way up the Mystic. Currently every muscle in my body hurts. But it's a good hurt. If there is such a thing and I have my doubts.

- Oh, and the way my life jacket sat on me left a sunburn on one strip of my love handles. Or as I call them my 'Budweiser obliques'. Now it's itchy as hell and I look like an over grown monkey when I scratch. Beachbum - ladies man extraordinaire.

- The one negative of taking a vacation is coming back to a week's worth of emails and voice mails. What a drag and not a fun way to get back into the swing of things. I hate work sometimes. To top it off, I'm running head long into a project that will take our company the rest of the year to finish off. One of those massive under takings that never start or end well. Never. And look who's smack in the middle of it. Which is why it won't start or end well.

- I finally saw 'An Inconvenient Truth', that documentary on global warming with Al Gore. I'm putting off writing about it, because I want to get a little perspective. Let's just say my initial reaction wasn't favorable. This may earn it's own entry.

- You think anyone has ever been killed by that Coors' Silver Bullet Train? It always comes barrelling down the middle of the road at, I'm gonna guess, 70-80 MPH. And nobody ever knows it's coming until they have a beer in their hands. Plus, if there is an open lane on the street for the train, why is there a traffic jam? Stupid train.

- I'm watching the Sox pregame report while writing this and they just announced that the Yankees are losing 8 - 0 in the third inning and Andy Pettite has been pulled already. The reason I mention this is because it is July 1st and I can't help but wonder what moves the Yankees will try to make in the coming month. If they can make any. Every team knows they're desperate for pitching, but what do they have to offer? Would you take any of their starters? Maybe Wang or Hughes if you can get a medical history on him, but I can't see the Yanks giving up either of them. But Pettite? Clemens (would they dare)? Mussina? If you were running a team, would you take any of those three?

- Managed to get into reading mode this past week, as well. Read 'Invisible Prey' by John Sandford and 'The Darkest Place' by Daniel Judson. Recommend any of the 'Prey' books and if you haven't read any of the Lucas Davenport novels get on it. There are about 15 of them or so. In fact anything by Sandford (he also writes about a con man named Kidd) is recommended. Not so much Judson. This was the first of his I read. He's too wordy for me and the plot too implausible.

Today's distraction: As a tribute to my reading phase, here are 1001 books to read before you die by 'booboo'. Booboo seems to be a Michael Cunningham fan, which puts this entire list in question (I tried reading 'The Hours' but couldn't finish it), but you can make up your own mind. I did like that most of my all time favs are on here. They're noted below.

Books on the list I've read and there are more than I thought:

Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving (an all time favorite)
The Shining - Stephen King
Choke - Chuck Palahniuk (all timer and one of the funniest books I've ever read)
Underworld - Dom DeLillo (no, it's not about vampires)
The Secret History - Donna Tartt (all timer)
Smilla's Sense of Snow - Peter Hoeg
The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe
Get Shorty - Elmore Leonard
The Bonfire of the Vanities - Thomas Wolfe
The Cider House Rules - John Irving
Smiley's People - John LeCarre
The World According to Garp - John Irving
The Godfather - Mario Puzo
Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess (all timer)
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (high school required)
Rabbit, Run - John Updike (over rated)
Lord of the Flies - William Golding (high school)
The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (high school)
1984 - George Orwell
The Plague - Albert Camus (college)
Animal Farm - Orwell (high school)
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (high school)
Of Mice and Men - Steinbeck (college)
At the Mountains of Madness - HP Lovecraft (scariest book ever written)
Dracula - Bram Stoker
The Time Machine - HG Wells
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain (high school)
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (all timer)
The Pit and the Pendulum - Edgar Allan Poe
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe (high school)

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