Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Through some very good luck on my part, I got invited to share tickets to the Nationals game on Tuesday night.  Why lucky?  The tickets were bought at a charity auction, and were actually private suite seats.  Granted, it was the smallest type of box at National's Park, a Jefferson suite .  But it was pretty posh.

I didn't think to bring my camera, so these are only camera-phone snapshots.  But we were close to the field, we had our own little kitchenette, bathroom, etc.  I can understand some people getting used to it.

It was a lot of fun, especially since it was a pretty good game (Dingers!) and I got to meet a lot of my friend's friends.  Great weather for a late-season game, too.  Last but not least, I was told the tickets for the box were donated by probably my favorite player on the Washington team, Dmitri "The Meat Hook" Young.

While it was a great night, I don't see myself ever being a luxury-box kind of fan.  The box was one level directly below the seat I had the game on Sunday.  My ticket on Sunday was $18.  That gets you a few minutes in a suite, I think.

I guess luxury boxes are for a fundamentally different kind of fan.  I know many people go to the park, and it is a more social experience - lots of interaction with the people you are sitting with - they are party suites, so it's more like a party that happens to take place with a view of baseball.  I am less likely to do that at a game.  I'll talk about sabermetrics, or background on players and teams, but my mind doesn't wander far from the action on the field.  Perhaps I'm not as engaging as company at a game, but if you want to know how to calculate Expected Runs in your head, sit next to me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baseball & Bicycles

The Washington Nationals have a free bicycle valet at their home stadium, and I finally got around to trying it out at their last home day game.  And I have to say, it is a fantastic setup.  I didn't have to wait in line to drop off my bike, or to pick it up at the end of the game.  I had to wait to cross Capital Street South when I was leaving, but other than that it was very quick and easy.  And by riding the 14 miles, I made up for at least some of the beer and half-smoke all-the-way I had.

The gorgeous weather only made it better.  It was a great day for a ride, partly sunny in the 70s with light breezes.  Also ideal conditions for sitting in the upper deck and watching a ballgame, I think.

The game itself was pretty good; Cha Seung Baek made a great start for the Padres, shutting down the Nationals for most of the game.  Washington was not so fortunate, giving up runs right in the first inning and trailing all the way to the end.  They did get some offense - a homerun from star 3B Ryan Zimmerman was the  highlight - but it wasn't enough.  San Diego piled on in the late innings, ending with a score of 6-2 Padres.

It was an excellent afternoon, and I am sure I will use the bike valet again.  It's easy, fun to ride to the ballpark, and worth mentioning again that it is free.  Great for day games, and it might even be useful for earlier-starting night games in the middle of summer, when the light lasts longer.  If you are in DC,  give it a try.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I hate crickets. Ever since they started getting into my first apartment here in DC, chirping away while I'm trying to get some sleep. One of them got in the door, inside the hollow metal front door, and it was like an amplifier, chirping in surround sound THX.

So, this evening after watching some tv, I headed downstairs and heard one. In the house. And when they hear you coming, they go silent. Oh, they stay silent until you spend hours tracking them, waiting for another of their damn chirps so you can triangulate. So clever, hiding in the smallest places, moving just when you think you know where they are. And even when you find them, so quick, flying and jumping.

But I've dealt with them before. I dealt with the ones in the basement (left out deep pans of water - they go in, can't get out. Can't chirp in the water, you bastards), I dealt with the one in the door (at about 3 AM), and I dealt with one tonight. There was some collateral damage, as seen in the photo, but the job got done.

As a soothing contrast, I found a nice shot from Two Lights park in Portland that I took the other weekend. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for being by the ocean.


When I got home on Monday, I was surprised to find a team of landscapers working on my yard.  The property management does this from time to time, usually without any advance notice.  It's nice, for the most part - they trim back the hedges, clear up the fences, etc.  However, they never deal with the real problem of the yard, which is the crabgrass-infested lawn.  Also, without fail they seem to arrive each year just as the honeysuckle blooms, and proceed to absolutely destroy it.

Inspired by their example, I finished the job after dinner by mowing the lawn.  It got a little long, since I was out of town last weekend.  And thick, since like I said it is mostly crabgrass.  It think I should plow it all under and restart with something more manageable.  Lichen, maybe.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Still More Babytime

A staggering number of pictures of Labor Day in Portland.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Over Labor Day Weekend I went to Portland to see my nephew, Isaiah, for the first time.


More Pictures

Some of the pictures are from other peoples' visits - everyone is eager to be in The Presence.  I was lucky enough to be there at the same time Karen was visiting.  She is Isaiah's godmother, and clearly adores him.  It was nice to see her and catch up; she's on a few different rescue squads now, takes classes on how to use the  jaws of life (including how to avoid being shocked while chopping up a hybrid), and has driven the fire truck in Bristol.  She continues to be awesome.

He does seem like a pretty good kid, for a first try.  He didn't cry much when I was around, and slept regularly for long stretches.  I couldn't help but imagine that he would easily upset and waking up at random times.  But he's great, and according to Nana Cheryl is the cutest baby ever.

The visit was more than just attending on the new Eling.  I went for a nice bike ride with Dad, around the Back Cove, through the Old Port, and over to Ryan and Bethany's... to see the baby.  And do yard work to help them out.

One night we went to a Portland Sea Dogs game, the Red Sox' AA affiliate.  Good game, though it got to be a bit of a blowout.  We had seats behind home plate, right in front of the press box.  Many nearby foul balls, until later in the game, when one came right at me.  I'm still kicking myself - I did not have a glove, and tried to barehand it.  Got a piece of it, but I wasn't quick enough to clap down both hands and hold on.

We also took an outstanding cruise on Casco Bay.  Rather than a tour for vacationers, we just rode the evening ferry that goes from the Old Port to Great Diamond, Long, Great Chebeague, and Cliff Islands.  Looking at the crowd, especially on the way out, it was more like riding a bus.  People coming home from work, bringing groceries packed up by the supermarket in banana boxes.  While the islands are mostly filled with summer homes, many people live there year-round.  So it gave the boat a much different feel than what I expected, but it was a blast.  The Bay is beautiful, and the islands are dotted with amazing homes.  Great Diamond even has an elegant restaurant at the stony cove where the ferry docks.  Lots to see, and it is always a great pleasure to me to get out on the water.  The campers on Little Chebeague even set off fireworks as we went by.

It was a fantastic visit, very restful and reinvigorating.  Mom took a few thousand more photos, I think, which hopefully will be up soon.  Then you can enjoy Babytime preserved for the ages.