No AC

I can’t believe my first car did not have air conditioning. I mean, I paid $300 for it, and I’m sure if it did have AC, I would have disconnected it to get a faster 0-60 time, because that and a loud stereo were about all I cared about then. But I was thinking about the fact that I spend all day indoors in the AC, and I go into our enclosed garage and get in the car with AC, and sometimes it can be days before I’m exposed to the outside air. That’s great when it’s 95 out, but it’s also weird, which made me think about life with no car AC.

That Camaro had an all-black interior, and no pleasant new-car smell anymore, so getting in after parking for an afternoon in the sun was never pleasant. And the only antidote to the summer sun was opening the huge side windows, and maybe running the vent fan setting, which worked about as effectively as crepe paper body armor. But I spent a lot of damn time in that car back then. And I remember driving down Cleveland Road, the back way to Mishawaka from Elkhart, thinking about how the soup of hot air would flood the car every time I stopped at an intersection.

The Camaro had no AC. My first Escort had no AC, but it also had no right side, so it never got hot. My Turismo had AC, but it was disconnected when I got it. Also, that car lasted a school year and blew up before the summer, so I never needed air. VW: disconnected air. Mustang: it had AC, but it was almost out of freon. If you drove a long roadtrip, it would spin enough to produce some cold, but otherwise it was useless. So that’s almost a decade of cars without AC, and then my second Escort (no thanks to Evergreen Ford) had a very good AC system, and the new car smell that made you want to keep the windows closed.

New car smell, by the way, is carcinogenic outgassing from the plastic. What’s good is bad.

I still have many fond memories of driving around in the summer, though, in that huge black beast of a car. It’s so strange: my current economy wagon-thing has more BHP than my Camaro, and weighs half as much, and gets maybe twice the milage if not more. And I was always horribly broke back then, making something like $100 a week if I was lucky, and there probably hasn’t been a day in 2007 that I had less than my 1987 net worth in my wallet without even trying. But my brain still goes back there.

I still have this conflict that I want this time right now to be the same, or bigger than what was then. Like when I’m 50, I want to be thinking “man, back in 2007…”, and I probably will be, but it’s easy to overlook that. (Hell, sometimes the right song hits the shuffle on my iPod and I’m thinking back to 1997, and I have absolutely no intention of ever going back to Seattle, and I have no desire to revisit any part of my life back then.) And the part that gets me is that I don’t want to ever write another Summer Rain, or dick around with short stories trying to capture some long-ago part of my past. But when I start thinking about these things, I do want to write them down, or use them as source material. It’s so tempting, but it’s also not what I want to do anymore.

I went back to “book three”, which is tentatively called The Device, and I keep yo-yoing between that and some other random project of the week, but I know I need to finish this first. I’m 65,000 words into it; it’s three parts, with the first one done, the second one getting there, and the third pretty mapped out. What I have now is pretty basic and doesn’t have the thickness or level of weirdness Rumored does. But the first draft of Rumored didn’t either – it took seven major drafts and about five years worth of work to get it there.

The zine deadline is tomorrow, and it is 16,500 words short of #11’s length. Maybe there will be some last-minute additions, and I guess I have to write an introduction, which is like a thousand words. But shit, I can’t keep waiting. I will just widen the margins or something.

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Rockies – Padres

I went to the last Rockies-Padres game of the series yesterday, which wasn’t part of the six-pack or the other two loose tickets I had, but just part of a general scheme to try and see each MLB team in play at some point. I think by the end of the year, I will be about halfway there. Anyway, a quick bulleted list:

  • I am running out of witty observations about Coors Field, and paying more attention to the game. Fun for me, but it means I have less to write about here.
  • It was HOT yesterday, close to 100, and even though I wore SPF 60, I got sunburned. I also wore my leg brace (because it’s acting weird lately) and now I have a perfect red circle burned into my knee, where there’s a little hole in the fabric.
  • My seats were in 331 again, but in the last row, so there was a wall behind me, and I got a tiny bit of shade.
  • A guy sat next to me that reminded me of the George Sibley character from Six Feet Under and talked to me through the entire game. Normally, I would have beaten him down, but he was a walking baseball encyclopedia, and we talked the whole time about the game, which was great. Because of this, I didn’t listen to my radio, but I didn’t really need to.
  • A ton of kids were there, from some school or maybe a church thing. There were entire blocks of seating with just kids wearing matching bright yellow or bright orange or bright red shirts. Aside from the general congestion, the kids cheered at 100% for every damn thing that happened for about three innings, then they got bored and shut up.
  • Aaron Cook (Who I still think looks like a pirate) pitched the entire game in only 74 pitches, which I think ties a MLB record. He also had three hits, all non-bunts which is not bad for a pitcher. In the 8th, everyone expected him to get switched out with a pinch hitter. When he came out to the mound and basically said “look, I’m not a pussy”, there was probably the biggest round of applause I’ve heard at that stadium, and everyone stood up and cheered him.
  • The Padres has some monumentally stupid fielding errors. The Rockies had a couple of all-out-dive-catches that were excellent.
  • In one of those Rockies catches, someone (and I forget who) dove and dug in, but caught the ball, but then a bunch of people came out on the field. Everyone was thinking “oh shit, someone got injured”, but it turns out everyone was staring down at this divot in the outfield, and a groundskeeper put it back, and all was well.
  • Matsui was on second and there was a grounder hit out, and he probably should not have run at all, but he took off like a bat out of hell and made it home. That guy can run like a motherfucker!
  • Todd Helton still needs to shave off that goatee. If he really wants to get traded to Boston, he should shave off that shit so they think he’s way younger.

Next game is the Brewers – actually I’m going to a day game an a night game. I need to find some better sunscreen. I’m also thinking about bringing a small soft-side cooler with a few water bottles in it, instead of paying $27.50 for a 6-ounce bottle of lukewarm water at the park.

I’m still at work on a couple of different writing projects, and getting the zine rolling will be the big 800-pound gorilla. I have almost everything in. If you’ve promised me a story, get off your ass and finish up, before the train leaves the station. (Okay, too many metaphors for today.)

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Wasting time on Yelp, da Cubs

First of all, I’m wasting a lot of times writing reviews on Yelp. So go to jkonrath.yelp.com and check that out. It would also be cool if some of you joined and hooked up with me. I don’t know why, but I know a certain lawyer in the Chicago area that has an encyclopedic knowledge of dive bars and Harley joints and it would be interesting to hear about some of that. Yes, it’s another one of those “create content for us so we can make money” things. But here in Denver, I’ve found that the only types of restaurant reviews are the prefabricated ones that linkfarm sites use that are essentially useless for finding a place to eat, or the newspaper reviews from the places that are completely brown-nosing the local restaurant scene, and providing useless information. Like all reviews for Best Indian Restaurant pointed to this one place, saying “they’re really authentic! they’re really formal! It’s so great! GLGLGLGLGLGLG!” and we went and it was on par with one of the places in New York where taxi drivers buy food between shifts. So, it was good to see an alternative, and I’ve found like 19 restaurants that I want to try out here. It’s also fun to rag on places in Elkhart.

I have been working on two writing projects, so I haven’t had much time to do anything on here. There is also some weird construction project across the street, where it looks like they’re stringing a huge piece of sewer pipe underground from one block to another. There are a couple dozen pieces of heavy machinery, a water truck, what looks like a CO2 or maybe coolant tanker, a ton of guys in orange vests standing around doing nothing, and about two weeks of jackhammering, concrete sawing, and other high-decibel noise that you don’t want happening right across the street from your desk. But it looks like it will end soon. And hey, I have a laptop now! I mean I did before, but now my main machine is a laptop, so it’s very easy to unplug and go elsewhere. I did that this afternoon: I had to bring the car to the dealer for its first 3750-mile oil change and tire kick. I sat in the waiting room with the laptop, logged onto their Wifi, and basically had my entire home setup with me, minus iTunes, iPhoto, and the big main monitor. But all of my mail, all of my writing, all of my files – it was all there. Very nice.

So it turns out (tentatively) that we are going to three of four Cubs games in August. We had tickets for a night game (Thursday, I think) and the Sunday afternoon game. Turns out one of Sarah’s coworkers is a rabid Cubs fan, and they bought a block of 100 seats in one of the upper deck sections. they’re having a huge roof party so everyone can get loaded on Old Style, then march over to Coors Field and act like heathens during the game. So yeah, we’re in. Well, I don’t drink though, so no Old Style. I’m also not sure where I stand on the whole Cubs thing. I realize a certain author in the Chicagoland area has a strong allegiance to the the team (unless maybe it is at the point of the season where he’s rebuilding his Lou Piniella hate shrine in his basement) so maybe I should choose my words carefully. In choosing my alliances, there are the following facts:

  • Lots of family from Chicago; reinfornces that Chicago nostalgia thing.
  • Many childhood memories of Hari Cari drinking excessively and singing drunkenly on WGN.
  • The first year I decided to follow baseball, I picked the Cubs as my “hometown” team, since Indiana didn’t have baseball. They finished the season 64-98. I decide not to follow baseball for about 25 more years.
  • I’m struggling with the concept of being a Rockies fan, and I’m starting to really like them.
  • There’s the whole “support your home team” thing, and not wanting to be a total piece of shit like Yankees fans at away games.
  • The Brewers are ahead of the Cubs by 3 1/2 games right now, and if there’s any team I would rather follow aside from the Rockies, it would be the Brewers.
  • I realize Sammy Sosa no longer plays for the Cubs, but he’s a bat-corking piece of shit juicer (sorry, alleged juicer.)

So yeah, tough call either way. Maybe I will just not wear any teamwear and keep my mouth shut.

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Memory, games, WMDs

I have always named my computers after weapons of mass destruction, or general devices of warfare. I named my new machine 245t. Look it up.

My memory is still not here. Today, allegedly. I have 1 gig in now, and I will swap the 2×512 for 1×1 and 1×2 gig, so 3. Fun.

I am partially sick (probably from the rain, although everyone says getting sick from the rain is a wives’ tale, but it always happens to me) and it looks partially sick outside, so that’s not good. I’m also still mis-typing every third word on this damn keyboard. I should give up and go back to the old MS ergo.

I lied about only two more games this season – there are now 8. I bought one of the mini-series 6-pack deals. The new games are:

  • Milwaukee Brewers – 06 AUG 2007 at 07:05pm
  • Chicago Cubs – 09 AUG 2007 at 07:05pm
  • Chicago Cubs – 12 AUG 2007 at 01:05pm
  • San Diego Padres -07 SEP 2007 at 07:05pm
  • Los Angeles Dodgers – 19 SEP 2007 at 06:35pm
  • Washington Nationals – 24 AUG 2007 at 07:05pm

Those are all sets of tickets in the infield upper reserved. So right behind home plate, but up high. It was insanely cheap though – twelve total tickets for $216. I also have single day game tickets for the Brewers and Giants. And of course I’ll be buying those Rockies postseason playoff tickets when they go on sale. (Well, maybe not this year.)

Okay I am going to rewire the universe and get this keyboard figured out.

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Rockies – Phillies

I know I said my next baseball game was the Brewers next month, but Sarah had to work today, and I thought it would be a good idea to see the last game in the Rockies-Phillies series. Pictures are here. Here’s the commentary:

  • My seat was in Lower Reserved Infield, section 329, 6th row. If you know where the press box is behind home plate, there’s a set of corporate boxes above it, and then this section above that. The topmost concourse has two sets of seats, a handful lower, and a bunch upper, and these were the lower. These were actually really good seats, especially for $30, because you look right down at the entire field and can see everything.
  • I got another Papa John’s rubber pizza kit, and it wasn’t as great as last time.
  • It was 90 degrees out, and there was a chance of thunderstorms. I didn’t really think this would matter much.
  • The balcony up on the 300-level has a really kick-ass view of downtown.
  • The national anthem was sung by some paramilitary jesus-freak organization and they sang so bad, it was hilarious. Back when I worked in a theater and the first-graders would sing “Here Comes Santa Claus” for the christmas show, they would be more in tune.
  • The game was a game, and a few things went on, but I won’t get into it. It was a game.
  • I had my new AM/FM/TV radio, which made it a lot more interesting, except for when they went on endless commercial breaks.
  • So in the 5th or 6th inning, it starts to get dark. There are lightning strikes in the distance, and thunder booms across the stadium. They turn on the stadium lights. Big clouds start rolling in. The guys on the radio say a huge storm is going to hit just after three. I look at my watch: 2:55.
  • It starts raining. People freak out and start leaving. I don’t care too much. Remember the part about it being 90? I’m surprised they aren’t charging people for the rain.
  • Then it starts really raining. The groundskeeper dudes are trying to roll the huge tarp over the field. Right after they open it up, these huge bursts of gale-force winds hit the field, and some of the groundskeepers hanging onto the tarp GO AIRBORNE. Half of the tarp flips inside-out.
  • The Rockies have already retreated to the clubhouse. The Phillies are all on the bench, getting drenched. They see these dudes flying in the air, and the entire 40-man roster plus coaches and trainers runs out to the field and tries to hold down the tarp.
  • I’m in the tunnel approaching my section, trying to take pictures. It is raining 90 miles an hour sideways into the tunnel. I’m about as wet as you would be if you stood in a shower for five minutes in your street clothes. It is pitch black outside, except for the stadium lights and the lightning.
  • Outside of the section, there’s a narrow section where the roof sticks out about ten feet where it is more or less dry. About 20,000 people are in that section. It looks like a disaster movie, except they’re still selling beer.
  • The radio station has used the rain delay as an opportunity to run back-to-back commercials constantly, except to come on every 20 minutes and say “still raining!”
  • About an hour later, the rain stops. Half of the people have left, the rest are trying to dry off their seats with Papa John’s napkins.
  • The tarp rolls off, and they quickly rake stuff and chalk down lines.
  • Ten minutes later, it is blue skies and 90.
  • The Rockies lose, 8-4.

Anyway, weird experience. And now I must go caption photos. Or not.

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New Mac

The new Mac is here. It got delivered yesterday, shortly after I mentioned it on here. So from China to Denver in about two days – pretty remarkable.

Having a new computer is always great to me. Just the smell of a new machine, right out of the box, is always incredible to me. It’s like a new car smell, mixed with the faint ozone of new electronics. I got the machine fired up in no time flat, and found a temporary home for it, right where the keyboard of my old machine usually sits. Using a firewire cable, I went through the import wizard, and after about 45 minutes of churning, my entire account, desktop, and all apps were on the new machine. There were a few minor glitches, but the big major thing – getting it all moved – went flawlessly.

The Macbook has a 1280×800 screen, which isn’t bad, but since everything of mine was sized for 1600×1200, some things were too big. But I got a Mini-DVI to DVI adaptor, and plugged in my old 21″ monitor, which is sitting behind the laptop on my desk. The internal video card is able to drive the laptop display and this external one, so I have two-monitor action going on now. The Mac in general handles two-headed displays better than Windows, with one exception – there is only one menu bar for all displays. You can choose what display to put it on, but there’s a 50% chance that will be the wrong place at any given time.

I’m always happy about the new toys. There is an iSight camera built into this, as well as stereo microphones. So if I ever need a mug shot or have to video conference with someone, there you go. There’s also a little IR remote to use FrontRow and watch movies or whatnot, although I don’t know how useful that would be on a laptop. There are a handful of new programs that weren’t in the last iLife, like the photobooth, and iWeb, a cheapie web publishing thing. And internal dual-layer SuperDrive – nice.

iTunes and iPhoto didn’t make it over correctly, because they were on an external drive. I plugged in the external and it worked fine. I don’t really want to move that shit, because it’s like a third of the disk space I have on the machine. So I will keep that stuff external and at home. If I’m on the road and want to hear music, I’ve got my iPod. And photos – well, they can stay at home too. So my at-home setup is huge: seven plugs hang off the left side of the computer. I need to buy a dock and do some serious cable management at this point.

Eclipse totally freaked out when I moved it, and I had to start over. Luckily, I had all of my crap checked in, and I could just start over. “Just” – it takes about an hour and a half to get Eclipse downloaded and then set up all of the Ruby, Rails, and Subversion shit. All of my ruby and rails stuff on my system, along with the rest of my Macports stuff, made the journey with no problems. I wonder with that, as well as other stuff, if they are universal binaries or not. I don’t know, but I do know that Eclipse starts about 80 times faster, which is sweet.

I ordered memory from OWC – a 3 Gig kit (1×2,1×1) was about $150. I still remember in 1993 when I bought a MEG of memory for $160, and now three GIGS is $150. That’s depressing in a way. Anyway, all Apple docs say you can only upgrade to 2 Gig with paired SIMMs, but you can really do 3 with no problems. The slight hit in performance from non-matched SIMMs is offset by the gain in memory. But honestly, even with a gig in here, I’m not really seeing any swapping. It also, by the way, is pretty damn cool in the Activity Monitor to see two CPU graphs because of the dual core.

I got another new toy yesterday, which is my new AM/FM/TV pocket radio. I bought it so I can listen to games, since they only broadcast on AM 850. (And it turns out that 850 is like all-Limbaugh during the day, which isn’t that great.) The TV tuner is interesting, too. So now I have a radio for the upcoming Brewers game, or whenever I want to listen here at home.

BTW, just installed skype – if you have it, I’m jonkonrath – drop a line.

98 degrees today. Guess there is no possibility of putt-putt this afternoon.

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From Shanghai to Anchorage

My new Mac has gone from Shanghai to Anchorage to Indianapolis, and is now in Denver as of six minutes ago, according to the FedEx page. I don’t know if that means it will get delivered today or Saturday or Monday, but I have my fingers crossed. I think FedEx is generally better than UPS or USPS, so maybe they won’t drop the ball.

I have been doing this Rails coding for my old friend Jason, and as a token that I’m fixing more than I’m breaking these days, he sent me the Real World Golf game for the PS2. This was my choice, by the way – it’s something I wanted to mess with for a while. I have this strange interest in golf, although I am not that interested in spending $16,000 on a new golf club or paying some “pro” $800 an hour to have him improve my swing (or not). But I am interested in the social aspect, and it’s a kind of exercise that’s more interesting to me than, say, racquetball, or running.

I’ve only played golf twice, both times on a 9-hole course in Edwardsburg, Michigan. According to my dad, this Garver Lake course was a junkyard when he was a kid, and the owner had a stripped down, beat up, army surplus tank that they drove around to haul cars to their resting places. They cleared out almost all of the junk (there were still a few spots hidden in trees where you could see part of an old car carcass, or a piece of metal sticking up from the ground, like the remains of an old battlefield in France) and the course wasn’t bad. My uncle Jim had an old set of clubs that he got at a garage sale, and my uncle Al was a regular golfer. His son, Alan Paul, was a few years older than me, and was on the school golf team. (He was also on the football and wrestling teams, and made some rushing record for the football team that was a state record and might still stand. So yeah, slightly more athletic than me.)

I must have been about 14 when I went out there a few times. When my parents split, my dad lived with my grandma and uncle Jim for a bit, and then lived with my uncle Al for a while, until he bought a place. We’d go on these week-long visits in the summer, which were largely boring, because I was at that age where all I cared about was playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends and watching MTV, and I couldn’t do either away from home. So golf was a diversion, and a good one at that.

Edwardsburg, as I’ve mentioned before, is not big. It’s population is smaller than my high school graduating class. So this golf course is a pretty sleepy place. The clubhouse was more of a shed than a country club manor house. The one thing I remember is they had one of those old-timey Coke machines that had the 16-ounce glass bottles behind a glass door, and you put in your money (probably like 35 cents) and then popped open the glass door and took your bottle. So yeah, any memory of drinking Coke from glass bottles is a good one.

I couldn’t play golf then – I still can’t, probably – but I think the problem then was I was too light and too short to really get any power behind my swing, so a 75-yard drive was phenomenal for me, but it turned a par-3 into like a par-12. What I did like was just the process of walking across the course. This was at an age where I spent a lot of time exploring, walking through the woods behind our subdivision, or riding my BMX bike in places I’d never seen. Once I got my license, this process lost its appeal, because I could drive to these places in no time flat, and I became a tourist and not a traveler. But back then, the experience of just walking across the mowed grass, looking at the woods and little bits of water hazard and sand bunker, that was something I could do all day, game or no game.

Like I said, I did horribly. I think in 9 holes, I was at like 83, 84. But both my uncle and my cousin were supportive, and gave me a lot of tips. And even with my bad game, it was still great to go out with them and do something fun like that. Golf is bonding in that way, and it makes me wish I had three good friends here in Denver, so we could load up the car and drive out to one of the ten million courses here and have a good Saturday morning talking and playing.

I guess one of the other reasons I think back to this a lot is that my Uncle Al died almost ten years ago, from brain cancer. And he died in my birthday, which is harsh. And what’s more, he lives in a neighborhood right near the Conrail yard, where there are tons of EPA superfund cleanup sites from hazardous chemical runoff, and he had well water, and that always makes me wonder if it was from the water. I don’t know. I do know that he was a great guy, the nicest to us, and I enjoyed the time I spent with him in the couple of games we played out on Garver Lake.

So now I have this computer game. It comes with a weird controller that consists of this pair of gloves that you wear, and those clip to a pair of cables that come out of this base unit. So when you stand there in front of the TV, any movement of your hands, including the velocity of movement, is detected and sent to your PS2. And in the game, when your dude is standing on the fairway and you’ve selected a three-iron or whatever, it can sense how you’re holding the club (you have this fake plastic club to play with; you could also use a real one, but I’m afraid I would break something) and it will control the player accordingly. If you half-swing and put no movement into it, you’ll tap the ball. Stuck in some high grass? Hit low and follow up high and you’ll chip it out of there. To get a good solid drive, you give it a really hard back, behind, forward with all of your might and it will knock the ball a few hundred yards. It’s actually damn hard to get a good swing, mostly because your back, your core muscles, and your arms all have to put some force into this unnatural movement. But it’s fun. I don’t know if I would go out on a course for a few reasons: cost, nobody to go with, and I don’t want to look like an idiot. But I know I could use the exercise, and I would be more apt to walk ten miles on a golf course than walk ten miles on a treadmill. So who knows.

Another big eBay day – three going, two awaiting payment. That might not sound huge, but I had like five auctions end yesterday, so my mailbox was a flurry of eBay mail. Anyway, better get started.

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Rockies-Mets

Our fourth of July was spent watching the Rockies destroy the Mets, and then a fireworks show. Pictures are here. The summary:

  • Our seats were in section 222, 3rd row. That’s just in from first base, on the first deck club level.
  • I wore the Brad Hawpe t-shirt I got for free a couple of games ago, not because I am a big fan, but because it was about 100 out, and wearing a black t-shirt didn’t seem like a good idea.
  • LOTS of people there. The last two games were sold out, and this looked like it was too.
  • It was very nice to go from the outdoors to the air-conditioned concourse behind the club seats. I thought more than once that we should just not sit down and watch the game from the bar.
  • I got a Papa John’s prefab rubber pizza, which wasn’t bad. It’s still weird that I remember when there were about four Papa John’s locations in the world, and one was a block from 414 S. Mitchell and I always went there when I had a buck or two for a slice, and now they have kiosks at ball parks and airports everywhere.
  • We got to our seats, and not only was the heat unbearable, but the sun was coming right at us as it set. I had no sunglasses, and was wearing jeans, further proving that I am a genius.
  • The national anthem was sung by a woman from the Air Force Academy, and was actually not bad. We also got a quartet of F-15s making a high speed pass over the stadium, which I thought was cool.
  • First pitch was thrown in by this old WW2 vet, which I thought was nice. He barely got it in from the front of the mound, but he saluted the crowd and waved to everyone, and that was cool.
  • The Mets drove in three runs in the first inning. Sarah thought it would go downhill, but I said, “don’t worry, the Rockies will probably score ten runs in the next two innings, like the last two games.”
  • I should mention that there aren’t as many Mets fans, but some. They, however, are not total pieces of shit like Yankees fans, and manage to shut up for most of the game.
  • At the first Rockies at-bat, Cory Sullivan splinters his bat and a huge chunk flies at the pitcher. I didn’t see if it actually hit or not, but he kept pitching. First time I’ve seen that happen, but I guess it happened at a Brewers-Cubs game recently and the pitcher had to leave the game.
  • Second inning: Brad Hawpe hits a home run with Atkins on base, and the crowd goes nuts. I don’t feel as stupid wearing his shirt anymore.
  • Third inning: I am completely overheated. Retreat to the AC, drink a gallon of Powerade, I feel much better. Cory Sullivan steals two bases, then gets in on a Todd Helton sacrifice fly.
  • I swear, Todd Helton looks more and more like pro wrestler Mick Foley every time I see him. He really needs to shave off that 1997 goatee.
  • Fourth inning: three runs. Fifth inning: six runs. I don’t mean the score was six, I mean a home run, a double with bases loaded, and three more in. Oh, the Mets got one in. 12-4. There are two Mets pitcher changes in the fifth.
  • Sixth inning: three more for the Rockies, one for the Mets. 15-5. This is ridiculous. If it weren’t for the fireworks, we’d probably leave.
  • Someone’s kid right behind me WILL. NOT. SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP! He he doing all of these sound effects and singing the Vonnage theme song over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and if it was souvenir bat night, I would be in jail right now for smashing his fucking skull in, and then beating his dad’s testicles so he could never breed again.
  • The sun starts to go down, and we get a bit of a breeze.
  • 7th inning: Rockies score two more. I am 50% certain they will win with a 20-point lead.
  • They do the kiss-cam, where the jumbo screen camera zooms in on a couple and they are supposed to kiss. This one guy kisses his girlfriend, and then grabs her tit while on camera. They quickly go to the next shot.
  • (BTW I always think it would be great if they zoomed in on two guys and they kissed, like maybe during pride week or something. The Jesus folk here could use a good kick in the ass.)
  • For the 7th inning stretch, a guy on the trumpet plays God Bless America.
  • They got the biggest wave going I’d ever seen. It was HUGE and went around time after time. Each time it was approaching, it sounded like you were on a beach when a Tsunami was coming in.
  • A scoreless 8th inning drags on. A massive wind is blowing in, and every hit pops up and behind. The kid behind me is still singing the Vonnage song, and asking his dad 200,000 times what a wave is.
  • After the 8th, it starts raining. This makes me wonder if they would call the game, and if they would cancel the fireworks.
  • Top of the 9th, 16-6, the Mets need to get in 11 to keep it alive. They get in one. Game over.
  • This is the first time a team has swept both the Mets and the Yankees in regular season play. And even if some other team beats that, the Rockies hold some kind of record for sweeping both and for losing 12 games in between.
  • This is the 4th time I have seen the Rockies, and the 4th time I’ve seen them win. They’ve lost many games when I wasn’t around, though. Maybe they should slip me some season tickets, right?
  • They open up the field so all of the people in the bleachers and facing away from the fireworks can get on the field. They’ve roped off the infield, so you can just go and stand there.
  • Some kids run out there and are holding up brooms (i.e. sweep) and running laps around the outfield.
  • I’m jealous that we don’t get to go on the field, until I realize that it’s going to be as packed as a Who concert in Cincinnati
  • The Barney purple dinosaur and a few others are using a slingshot to throw rolled-up t-shirts into the crowd. The kid behind me is yelling “MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE” and I seriously want to beat him to death.
  • The dinosaur shoots a shirt, and it is going right into our section, and I’m watching it arc, and it goes right toward us, and I watch it go right in and HIT ME IN THE FUCKING KNEE. I wonder if the kid would shut up if I gave him the shirt, and then I keep it.
  • It is, BTW, the shittiest shirt ever. I could make a better shirt with a magic marker and a grocery bag.
  • The lights go off, and they show one of those “season sofar” highlight videos. It has stopped raining.
  • As far as the fireworks go: the fireworks themselves were pretty damn good. We were close, and there were a lot of specialty shells.
  • You could see a sea of 10,000 camera phones trying to get pictures, and I knew every single one of them would produce nothing.
  • The music really sucked. It was all of this jingoistic country music, and they played the Neil Diamond song “Coming to America”, which I can’t listen to with a straight face because of that Will Ferrell skit where he’s ND and says “I wrote this song because of my extreme hatred for minorities and immigrants…”
  • Overall though, the fireworks show was good. Loud, bright, and very good.

So, a good 4th. Next game is against the Brewers, I will be at the day game for that one.

My computer just shipped from China. Apple, can’t you get a warehouse in Reno or something? Christ. And now, I must pack up a million things for eBay.

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Apple Store, Kwik-E-Mart

I bought a new computer. It is the Macbook, the higher-spec white model, with the 2.16 Ghz processor. I bought it online, which means it hasn’t shipped yet, and now it’s a holiday, so it probably won’t ship for a couple of days, and then it will take a couple more days, so I’m like a kid trying to fall asleep on the night before Christmas. I also know when I get the thing, there will be days and days of moving files, reinstalling stuff, reconfiguring things I redid long ago, and so on. Plus I need to figure out where I will physically put the thing, and how I will hook it up. I’m trying to think of a way I can still use this giant 21″ monitor, and the laptop display at the same time. I don’t know how good Apple’s multiple display stuff is these days. I know it sucked in Windows.

So I went to the Apple store yesterday. I went to Cherry Creek mall, which is gigantic, and is a real mall in every way, not one of these de-malled shopping center strip malls. It’s like Short Hills mall in Jersey, or a bit like the Bellevue mall on the east side of the lake in Seattle. It’s all very upscale and high-end, all Williams and Sonoma and no video arcade. I realized that I have had some sort of seachange where it comes to malls. I used to love malls – ask Mr. Falli, I would go to any mall for whatever reason and spend hours there, even if I hated all the stores and didn’t buy anything. It was something hypnotic about the mall, relaxing. Now that I don’t have money to spend, don’t have that collector impulse anymore, and don’t like to walk as much with this mostly-healed-but-still-recovering foot, it’s just not the same. I guess I get some of the quaalude effect, but it’s also a bit depressing.

Anyway, Apple store. They had a ton of iPhones around, and I played with one for a bit. My first reactions: way smaller than I thought; I can barely read the text; I bet this screen scratches and smudges in ten seconds, look at my iPod screen; how do I get a menu or whatever, it keeps flipping and moving and the interface is weird, I feel like an old person trying to use a mouse; I can’t type for shit. (The best commentary on this in a baseball context is here.) Anyway, no $600 iPhone for me. I seriously use my cellphone about 6 minutes a month, so that’s too much of an investment, even if it does run widgets or a 20×20 pixel web browser. While I was there, I looked at the Macbooks that I ordered but didn’t have yet, which made me depressed, because I was typing away on something I will wait like another week to have. Also, the Apple droids bugged the shit out of me when I was on the iPhone, and then nobody talked to me while I was messing with the laptops, and I really wanted someone to ask me if I had any questions, so I could say “I just bought one of these!” and then they’d be all nice. Or not. Whatever. I’m sure they have tons of homeless people in there all day using their free internet.

The last three submissions to the zine have all been excellent. (Actually 4 from 3 people.) The good part of this is that all of the writing is great; the bad part is that it makes me worry about my own writing, and the fact that I am getting absolutely nothing done these days. Anyway, that has me up to 36,000 words out of 80,000. I think I am going to close submissions of stories shorter than 5,000 words so I can just get a few longer bits in there. I am also writing an article for Slouch Magazine about the production process of the zine, which is largely a huge rant about why I even do this at all.

Oh, I went to the 7-Eleven in Denver that was redone as a Kwik-E-Mart for the Simpsons movie. It was not as overwhelming as the ones I’ve seen pix of in California. The signage was all funny, and they had the Slurpee machines redone as Squishy machines. The one product they had a lot of was Buzz cola, and I bought a 6-pack. No idea what it tastes like yet. I will give a full report and maybe get some pix at a later date. (And no, I am not hording these cans as some sort of collector’s item because 1) soda cans rust over time. 2) I am trying not to collect shit anymore and 3) the cans will be worthless over time, because they made so many, and every Comic Book Guy will be hoarding them in their mom’s basement.)

OK, time for breakfast.

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Baseball, Die Hard

First, the baseball update. I now have tickets for the following games:

  • 4th of July vs. the Mets, club box seats on the first base side of the press box. This is also a fireworks game, so there will be many explosions and flares and whatnot.
  • Aug. 8th, Rockies vs. Brewers. Afternoon game, I have an infield box seat between third and home, below the club seats we had for the Devil Rays. I took a seat like 20 rows back, to avoid the sun.
  • Sept 3rd, Rockies vs. Giants. I have a seat in the second row of the rightfield box. Unfortunately, this is too far for me to throw D-cell batteries at Barry Bonds’ giant mongoloid head. (Also, I’m sure if I did, he would keep them for the Barry Bonds Hall of Fame.)

I also bought a cheap AM/FM/TV radio to bring so I can hear the announcers during the game. I can’t believe I could not find one lying around the house. We got this free shit MP3 player from Qwest, and it has a radio, but it is FM only, and the games are only broadcast on AM in Denver. (They are on FM pretty much everywhere else in the state. I heard this was because the Broncos preseason was more important than the Rockies, so they pushed them to AM. And with the way the Rockies have been playing lately, I’m not surprised they got bumped for news coverage of local junior-level amateur womens’ golf.)

eBay is slowly paying off. I have made about $1100 since I started about a week ago, so I can get a new laptop. I have a bunch of other sales pending, then I will get all of my money out of PayPal and/or get a debit card from them and go to the Apple Store and try to beat down all of the idiots drooling over the iPhone. They might as well call that thing the iScratchAndSmudge, because I don’t see how that thing doesn’t turn into a giant smear of grease and abrasion. I look at my iPod, which I treat fairly well, and then imagine that it would be pressed up against my face, and also that it would cost at least three times as much. I’ll stick to my Sidekick, especially since it now looks like a huge bargain.

I’m going to the gym now, so the foot is pretty much better. I’m not, and the treadmill is killing me, but hopefully that will go away soon.

We saw the new Die Hard movie this weekend, so I feel obligated to mention that in the context of some kind of review. First of all, I’ll say that Bruce Willis may be horrible in about 90% of the movies he tries to make, but this franchise is the one kind of role he can really pull off. I think the first two Die Hards were decent, above average but nothing that made you think or had a really intricate plot. The third one, with Samuel Jackson, was excellent. The chemistry between the two of them balanced it out. And even though the plot was over-the-top stupid (who the fuck can get from Wall Street to Central Park in like three minutes?) I still liked it.

This one was not as good as the third, but it wasn’t bad. The parts where the “I’m a Mac” kid joked around were pretty good. The computer stuff: 100% fake. 200% fake. Kevin Smith: stick to directing. The dialogue in the serious parts: corny to the point of laughter. But the action scenes? Jesus fucking christ they really tried to outdo themselves. Crashing a car into a helicopter? Taking out an F-35 jet? This stuff was awesome beyond belief. The plot in general was about the same as any of the other Die Hards. The one thing missing was that the bad guy wasn’t related to those Nazi fucks that were in all of the first three films. I guess they ran out of brothers.

This film fits in well with the whole summer blockbuster lineup, and is probably the one I wanted to see most. I have no desire to see the Transformers movie; I was too old to play with Transformers as a kid, so I never got into them in the first place. I’m sure the film will be 90% inside references to the original toys or comics or cartoons or whatever. I’ve sworn to never, ever see a movie based on a comic book again, so that cuts out like a third of the lineup. I would like to see the Simpsons movie, although I think there’s about a 50% chance it will bomb. Rush Hour 3 might be decent. The Bourne Ultimatim might not be too bad either. Now that movie tickets cost less than Rolling Stones reunion tickets, I can justify seeing some not-top-tier movies.

Okay, got a whole stack of crap to go to the PO, so I better get to that.

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