Phillies @ A’s

Hello, still from San Francisco. Things are going well here, although I am still thrown for a loop by the cold. But last night, A met up with us and we went to dinner at some freaky Pan-Asian place. It’s always good to see A, and the food was pretty decent, although I had great paranoia that I would ruin my diet for the rest of the century. When I got home and added it up, I actually should have stacked on another satay or two.

Today, I went to see Oakland host Philly, and as always, you get a nice bulleted list.

  • For the record, I have not previously been to Oakland’s coliseum, and I had never seen the A’s. I saw the Phillies last year at Coors Field twice; once for the infamous tarp incident, and once at Coors for the final game of a 3-game sweep in which the Rockies won the pennant.
  • This is the first game I’ve been to where I’ve used public transportation since a Yankees game I went to in 2006 when I still lived there. I walked down a few blocks to the Powell Street BART, then walked from the train to the stadium on the other end.
  • After riding the NYC subways, the BART is hilarious to the point of absurdity. There’s carpet on the floors, the seats are padded and upholstered and nicer than most plane seats, and nothing smelled of piss. Nobody asked me for money (within the train), and they have digital message boards telling you when the next train is arriving. And cell phones work in the trains. If you magically transported a BART line to New York, it would be destroyed in 17 seconds. I don’t understand how it works here, but it was nice.
  • I wrote in my journal and then read a book, and couldn’t remember the last time I did that on a subway. It was a real throwback.
  • A lot of Oakland reminded me of some Chicagoland stretched-out urban sprawl, but with water and shipping cranes, and that’s not so bad. I always imagined it would have entire city blocks on fire and bodies hanging from lampposts and laying in gutters, but maybe that’s just because of the Raiders.
  • After I got out of the train, I had this weird jog where I had to go down the stairs to the main level, and then go up a set of stairs and over to a huge half-mile long ramp that led to the stadium. I got there at 11:00 for a 12:30 game, so there weren’t any people on the walkway.
  • The McAfee Coliesum is used for both the Raiders and the A’s, so as I walked in, I got all of the usual propaganda for both teams.
  • The will call window is set up so that if you ignore all of the signs and walk about a hundred feet to the right, you are there. If you follow the signs and go left, you have to walk all the way around the entire stadium complex, which is about 47 miles in circumference. Guess which one I did.
  • This was another geriatrics and pediatrics game, and a fleet of buses showed up with summer camp kids, all dressed in identical-colored shirts. And of course, the Taliban could cause as much terror as ten school buses of fourth graders, even if you spotted the jihadders a dozen crates of stinger missiles. As far as the geriatric part, there were more Rascals than an Our Gang marathon. But I mind the old folks a lot more because it’s easier to beat a kid until they shut the fuck up than it is to beat a parapalegic until they can miraculously walk again.
  • There were a lot of Phillies fans. A LOT of Phillies fans.
  • Complaint one about the mixed-use stadium: the concourse looks like a maximum-security prison built to riot-proof specifications in the 1960s. After seeing AT&T Park yesterday and then seeing this, it was a lot like touring Frank Lloyd Wright houses, and then taking a tour of a high-security mental institution built by a county government where a board member had a brother-in-law that owned a concrete plant.
  • My seat was not bad; I was 15 rows up and in the middle of the section immediately to the first base side of the backstop net. These would be seats only available to dugout club members at a lot of parks, but I bought mine for $50 online. I had a pretty excellent view of the game, and if I walked up to the front of the section, I was directly on top of the visitor’s dugout.
  • Complaint two about the mixed-use stadium: the seating is really fucked up. First, things are a lot steeper than they are deep, which is standard for football, but it made things weird. Also, the outfield has two little clips of section at the club level on either side, but no ground seats, and this huge blank spot of no club seats. Then there are two levels of suites above that. The whole thing makes it look like they started with a 14,000-seat minor league field, and then added layer after layer of decks above that to pump it up for football.
  • The only A’s I know are either retired, traded, or dead. If I was playing a video game where I could pick Jason Giambi and Catfish Hunter and Cory Lidle, I would know what was going on, but I didn’t.
  • The national anthem had a flyover with a Coast Guard helicopter, which was weird.
  • There were far more hipster doofuses at the game than I’ve seen anywhere before. I guess if you’re going to be stylishly ironic and get all tatted up and wear an undershirt only and thick glasses, Oakland’s a good place to do that, and the A’s are a good team for you.
  • The game started, and this was very much an AL game, where everything was either a strikeout or a homerun, and the term “manufactured run” draws a blank stare.
  • Complaint three about the mixed-use stadium: as this is a football stadium, they added a shit-ton of seats to make it gigantic, including a giant deck of seats across the outfield at high altitude that increased the capacity to 60,000. The attendance at this game: 17,000. To “alleviate” this, the upper deck seats are all covered with huge vinyl banners with various logos and years of championships in giant letters. But still, when you look across at this gigantic section of 20,000 wall-to-wall seats, it’s pretty depressing.
  • There was an inning when I almost thought they would have a grand slam, but it didn’t happen. Someone did have two home runs. There were a lot of strikeouts. Are there other things that can happen? Maybe they can just flip coins from now on.
  • I do have to say the weather was pretty decent. It touched the 70s, and I was in the uncovered area, so I got some sun. The wildfires have been kicking up a lot of wind and soot, which has been on-and-off screwing up pitching at both parks, but it didn’t bother my eyes or anything.
  • The big screens and scoreboards were football-type, so there was one small video screen, and one Dodgers-style amber monochrome screen, and another set of two on the other side. They weren’t as good as Coors field, but they weren’t as bad as Dodger Stadium. There wasn’t any walkup music, and the announcing was at a minimum. I listened to the game on the local AM, and the announcers were not that colorful, but they did have a lot of stats and history, and talked a lot about the historic Phillies-A’s rivalry when they were both out in PA.
  • The game was FAST – just over two hours. Oakland shut out the Phillies, and scored five.
  • One more complaint about the mixed-use stadium – it was NOT designed for egress. It took forever for the mass of people to slowly leak out of there. I don’t know what would happen if 60,000 drunken Raiders fan were leaving at the same time

So they game was eh, the stadium was not great, but I did have a pretty good time of it anyway. And I’m glad I went, because allegedly the As are getting a new home in four or five years, and I’m still pissed that I never went to Shea Stadium, and now I never will.

Gotta go wash off suntan lotion now.

Hello from San Francisco

Hello from San Francisco. I’m on the 18th floor of the Sir Francis Drake hotel, and I’m not sure what neighborhood that puts me in, except maybe “middle neighborhood”. But from a quick walk around last night, it’s an interesting place. There are hills, cable cars, buses with overhead power wires, and stores with old-timey signs and awnings out front that I really need to get a few shots of when I get a chance. The hotel itself is old and strange, with giant windows and a bellhop out front that looks like he’s dressed for a gig at Medieval Times.

I have a conference call in an hour, then I will set out to go to AT&T park and take a tour of what’s supposed to be an incredible ballpark. I won’t be able to see a game this trip, but tomorrow I will see one in Oakland. I don’t believe I will be wearing Rockies gear to either destination. And I probably won’t be buying any Giants wear, unless they have a psychedelic day-glo shirt with a picture of Barry Bonds’ gigantic head on it, with enough room at the bottom for me to sharpie in a “kids! winners do drugs! Bud Selig is a punk!” caption at the bottom.

OK, off to it…

FINISH THIS IN 90 SECONDS

It appears I will be in San Francisco next week. I don’t remember, other than A, who does or does not live there these days, so if you do, ping me. I am not sure what I would want to do there, other than maybe go to Alcatraz, and I am not sure you still can. It will be interesting to see the city again. I was in the area in 2006, and before that in 1996. Maybe I should get a map this time.

I just bought a ticket to the A’s-Phillies game next week. I was going to go to a Giants game, but they’re on the road. I really don’t care about the Giants, but I would like to see their new park. I don’t know much about the A’s, and I’ve never seen their stadium, so that crosses two things off my list. And maybe I can catch a park tour at AT&T and see it that way.

I got a fairly okay seat for the game – a couple sections over from the plate, 15 rows up, in an MVP box. $50, plus fees and delivery on a ticket I pick up and convenience charges, so $672.87. I have this other pet peeve about all MLB-related sites – when you fill out their giant form and there is a flashing thing saying “FINISH THIS IN 90 SECONDS YOU DOUCHEBAG” and you finish it and submit, and it bounces back with “ERROR – THE DIGITS IN YOUR PHONE NUMBER MUST BE SPELLED OUT IN LETTERS”, so you hurry to finish it. But meanwhile, all of the checkboxes you cleared for “Put your name on a mailing list and get 50 piece of spam an hour for the rest of your life?” are all RE-CHECKED! And if you don’t catch it, they sign you up for some promotional crap forever. I think they do this on purpose. Just like how the MLB media player page has “save your login” checkboxes, but forces you to log out and log back in every time you listen to something. Fuck!

I went to Home Depot yesterday to get the torx screwdriver. There’s an entire village of Mexicans camped out exactly 100 feet from the entrance, waiting for day labor work. It’s pretty disconcerting – I wonder if any of them get work, or if this is some kind of Grapes of Wrath thing. There is a McDonald’s in the Home Depot, which is also weird. And a quick check showed no Nibco PVC fittings, but plenty of ABS and copper. I don’t know if that ABS is made in Goshen where me and my dad worked. I know the copper isn’t made in Elkhart where I worked, because that plant is long gone. The box labels only have the elkhart corporate address. It’s always funny, because if you look at enough boxes, you will always find a crudely-sketched map of an entire plumbing system freehanded on the back of a box, from a plumber mapping out what he needed to buy.

I’ve got to get moving. I still want to get those widgets going, but they are all insanely stupid looking. I ditched the Amazon one, which seemed to be causing the most problems, though.

Tweaking CSS, analog imports, hard drives

Yes, I am screwing with the look of the journal. There are a lot of minor changes piled on top of each other, mostly CSS junk. My big worry is that it doesn’t look right in other browsers, so if it freaks yours out, let me know. (A screenshot would be great.) The rounded corner boxes are the biggest pain, and will take some work to perfect. Also, the table loads weird, like you get two columns and then the third shows up. I think the Amazon ad at the bottom is doing that, This sucks, because I want to put some other widget-type stuff in the right column, but if it’s a widget that takes 20 seconds to load and fucks everything up (i.e. twitter, amazon), then I can’t do it. I would like to put a last.fm chart over there, but not if it takes an hour to render.

I am through with these tapes. I gave up and bought a copy of this Stanley Clarke album (Time Exposure) because I didn’t want to import it from tape. I bought this album when I was first learning to play bass, because my old teacher, Jamie Magera, turned me onto his stuff. It’s probably the first funk/fusion album I ever got into, and it was a real change from listening to Megadeth or whatever I was into at the time. Half of it is the “how the hell does he do that” factor of the tapping/popping stuff, and the other half is how smooth the laid-back parts are. The title track has a lead played by Jeff Beck, the kind of Beck-ian line that you will have stuck in your head all day. And George Duke is on the synth! The combination of bass and piccolo bass always add this depth to the songs, too. I haven’t listened to it for years, and now I will probably listen to it for five weeks straight.

Growl finally fixed their support for Mail.app in OSX 10.5, so I finally have tray notifications of incoming mail again. It looks different than when I did it in a plugin, but at least it works. I have a bad habit of having emails come in and I don’t notice them because the computer is muted and the dock is hidden. Not that I get any worthwhile emails these days anyway; I think I average about five a week, and 8000 junk. And now the 8000 are stripped out, so it’s just 5.

I have a new hard drive on the way for the Macbook, so maybe tomorrow I will swap it out. I will put the new one in an enclosure, use CCC to clone the current internal drive, then do the switcheroo. The Macbook is pretty easy to switch out, take out the battery and three screws. But the drive is held to its sled with four Torx T-8 screws, and I don’t think I have one of those around. So, a trip to Frey’s is in order. And I really don’t like being in the chute approaching the cash register with 50,000 different candybars.

OK, gotta get to it.

10,000 songs

I’m starting to suddenly remember all of the pain-in-the-ass issues with cassette tapes, as I try importing some of them to my computer. First, I have a shoebox of Sony C-90s with no labels at all, and I have no idea what’s on them, short of listening to the whole thing. Also, many are not in cases, so the wheels have worked loose, and the tape is all unwrapped inside, which means lots of time re-tensioning things with a pen. A couple have the foam bit underneath the play head rotted away, so the tape plays like if you were underwater, spinning records backward. And I’ve remembered I had a bad habit of making half a mix tape and then forgetting all about it. The idea of setting levels and trying to mark the ends of songs to clip them apart is also something I’d forgotten. Tapes are a true pain in the ass.

But tapes are also interesting. I mean, I listen to the dropouts and cracks and pops, and still remember those exact imperfections on the tapes. And it’s weird to be holding a tape that someone gave me 15 years ago and think of all the strange energy still held in it from that connection. (I don’t really believe in “energy” in that way, but it is still nostalgic.) I was playing a tape that I know I first dubbed 25 years ago, and that blew me away.

Anyway, I am above 10,000 songs in my iTunes library – it’s 10,009 right now. I have all of my CDs from A-Z plus soundtracks in binders. I have to do the various artists, and then I’m sure a bunch of loose CDs will show up. I just got the newest Adam Marsland greatest hits thing in the mail (here, it’s only $6 on Amazon, and worth much more) and had a panic fit because I realized I would have to re-do the M section to get it put in there correctly. Oh, I also need to get a new hard drive, because I am fucked on storage. Time Machine has started bitching that it can’t make backups anymore.

I started using last.fm again, so if you are too, look me up – username jkonrath – http://www.last.fm/user/jkonrath.

Gotta split – long drive to Torrance ahead..

Tape imports

I’ve been back since Thursday, but I’ve been busy with a few different projects, some worthwhile, some asinine.

One thing is this ongoing saga of storing my CDs. I went to Fry’s this weekend and bought three no-name binders that allegedly hold 320 CDs each on sleeves. That’s actually 160 per book, because I’m using one pouch for a CD, one for its booklet. I already had 200 CDs in loose sheets, too. Yesterday, I got all of my CDs from A-M ripped, bound, and in books. Not only am I getting a lot of new/old music into iTunes, I’m purging myself of jewel cases and I’m also pitching some CDs that are taking up space. I know this goes against what my personal philosophy was at one time, but I’ve moved enough and dragged around pieces of plastic and metal that I will never, ever listen to again, so less is more.

I also pulled my old JVC tape deck from 1993 out of storage, and wired it into my Mac. I then downloaded a copy of Audacity and started digitizing stuff. Actually, I first started by sorting through tapes and pitching things I had on CD already, or that were entirely useless. My tape collection is down to two shoeboxes and one of those plastic cases you keep in the car, and I think I will get it down by one shoebox when this is over.

After a huge pain-in-the-ass in setting it up, Audacity is actually working well. It’s free, which is good. It also lets you trim audio after you input it. You can also look at the waveforms and drop in a named bookmark when you find the start of a song. Then you click and export everything, and it splits up the songs by bookmark and dumps them to MP3 for you. Very nice. There are some additional functions for cleaning up sound and reducing noise, but I haven’t messed with them. These are mostly 15-20 year old tapes, so there’s not a lot of super high end sound I can squeeze out of them.

The whole procedeure is a huge throwback to 1993. First, that’s when I got this tape deck. Before that, I would plug a walkman into my receiver to listen to tapes. When I worked at Wards that summer, I used my employee discount to buy this tape deck, which had a record deck with the kind of auto-reverse that spun the heads, instead of just moving them over and reversing the tape direction. There was some advantage to this, and I don’t remember what – something about magnetic particles or something. Anyway, it has been a long time since I’ve seen this deck’s little amber display staring back at me, and it’s a weird little flashback to me. Hell, it’s a huge thing just to play tapes anymore. I rarely even touch CDs these days.

The other big flashback is that I’m pulling in a lot of the demos and other odd tapes I could never find on CD. I’m listening to a band called Oliver Magnum, which are a prog-rock-esque metal band from Oklahoma. This self-released tape, Drive-By, spent a hell of a lot of time in my walkman back in the day. I think if I made a top-ten list of the most-played tapes I listened to while trudging across the IU campus back in 1993, this would be in the top 5. And I haven’t listened to it in years and years, so it’s good to see it flashing by on the VU meters in Audacity. Last night, I pulled in an old Germ Attack demo that I loved back in ’93. So this is all a fun little time-waster for me. At least it is delaying me from going on iTunes and buying a bunch of new music.

The iPod is up to 9182 songs; the goal is 10,000. Maybe by Wednesday.

As of yesterday, I have lost 18.2 pounds since 4/27; I managed to lose 3.6 pounds in the week we were in Vegas. (I was 100% sure I gained, but walking a dozen miles a day does something, I guess.) That puts me under 200 pounds for the first time in, well, a while. I think I was in the 190s back in 1997. Before that, it was probably in 1993, when I was walking everywhere (and listening the the aforementioned tapes.) When I get to my 10% goal, I am supposed to pick what my ultimate goal will be, and I don’t know what to use. this page has a calculator that shows results from a bunch of different standards, but it seems like I remember a BMI calculator that took into account your frame size by measuring your wrist, and I can’t find one of those. I think I would be happy if I could get below 180 (184 is officially the low edge of the “overweight” category,) but a harder goal would be somewhere in the 170-175 range.

One of our DVD players exploded on Friday. I went to turn it on, and it flashed orange and shot smoke out of the front. I had to move my player in the bedroom (I never watch movies in here, anyway) and now I need to take apart the old one to extricate the DVD in there.

Gotta go fill up my car. The absolute, absolute best price I can find is $4.54/gal, at Costco. Yeah, I know it’s *only* $4.14 in Elkhart. But to get that price, you have to live in Elkhart. I’ll pay the extra $250 a year for actual paved roads.

Beavers @ 51s

I went to a minor-league game last night, the Portland Beavers versus the Las Vegas 51s. Here’s my bulleted list synopsis.

  • The 51s play at Cashman Field, a 9300-seat park built in 1983. It’s located in North Las Vegas, just a few minutes north of downtown.
  • I thought the park was way north, so I ended up getting there way too early, and was probably the first person there.
  • It’s a nice little park, very well-kept and modern looking, and resembles a college field in size and general feel.
  • I got my ticket and waited at the gate, as a group of hyperactive t-ball kids quickly drove me insane.
  • The 51s are a Dodgers farm team, the Beavers a Padres team. So wearing a Rockies jersey, and even more, a Torrealba jersey, was a big mistake on my part.
  • Inside the park – there’s no upper deck, other than the radio booths. There’s also no seats other than those on the first and third base line. Past the outfield wall is nothing but desert. There are no bullpens; teams warm up pitchers in a widened area where a warning track would normally be. The whole thing gives an illusion that it’s a very small park, but the field is as big as a regular MLB field.
  • My seat was about four rows up, directly behind the plate. They were $12. Also, they were real seats, and the ushers brought you to your seat.
  • Wandering around, I stopped at this table pimping the new Mike Myers movie, and the woman working there talked to me about the Rockies. It turned out she lived there before, and I should have been able to tell, because she had that leathery tan that made me unable to age her at 20 or 40.
  • The gift store was decent, although they had a lot of Dodgers stuff and not enough 51s stuff. I picked up a t-shirt after arguing whether it would be worth it or not to get a windbreaker or warm-up jacket. Also, the store was air conditioned.
  • The heat – it was a high of 108, which is a temp so hot, that even when the wind picks up, it’s more like standing in front of a blowdryer. The seats under the press box had those water-misting coolers set up, but I did not sit under there. After a while, it slowly cooled off, or maybe I just got used to it. It went from unbearable to pretty bad over the course of the evening.
  • There were only a couple of places for food, so I got two hotdogs.
  • The game began, and I realized I did not know or care about either team, which changes things considerably.
  • I was close enough to clearly hear the umpire’s calls, and hear the ball hit the glove on each pitch, which was cool.
  • Kerwin Danley, the umpire we saw get hit in the throat with a pitch in a Rockies-Dodgers game, was first-base umpire, on a rehab assignment.
  • I can’t even remember the play-by-play much, since I didn’t know anyone. There were some spectacular errors – if you popped it back close to the wall, in a place that any MLB player would catch it, you’d most likely drop it for a base hit, because nobody could field well. Both pitchers were also pitching an incredible number of balls, although there was some speed there.
  • One player – Chip Ambres – managed to hit a home run over the left wall in his first two at-bats. Then someone in our section started yelling “COME ON CHIP! LAY A BUNT DOWN! BE A TEAM PLAYER!” What was weird to me is that this wasn’t a giant stadium, and we were like 30 feet from him, so you know he heard everything people were yelling.
  • Our row won tickets to the aforementioned Mike Myers tickets in a random drawing. Actually, the row in front of us won, but nobody was sitting there.
  • The guy sitting next to me was an umpire for high school and junior college baseball. He knew a lot of the other umpires, and it was also interesting to hear his commentary on “that’s a tough one to call” sorts of things.
  • The mascot came out, “Cosmo”, who looked like a large Jar-Jar Binks in a uniform. When he was in our section, he gave me shit about my Rockies shirt.
  • In the 6th inning, a rally started when a pitcher walked something like ten people in a row, and then they started driving in the people on base. That ultimately meant 13 runs in the inning for Las Vegas, which entitled everyone to a free shrimp cocktail at some shithole casino downtown.
  • The game went downhill from there. Things started so slow, and then got fast at the end. The big thing in AAA is that teams are so mismatched, and that means uneven games.
  • They put me on the “jumbotron” because of my Rockies shirt. I put that in quotes because you can buy a bigger screen than their scoreboard at your local Best Buy.
  • They sold about 2000 tickets, but I think 2/3 of those people left by the 6th. By the 9th, it was absolutely quiet between pitches. At the end of the game, maybe a couple hundred people remained.
  • Final score: 14-8. Playing time was a bit shy of four hours.

OK, I need to find a swimming pool.

Vegas has been fundamentally broken

Hello from Las Vegas! I am on the 8th floor of the Prince tower (I think) of Caesar’s Palace, eating a bowl of all-bran. We got a mini-fridge and went to Von’s (the NV/CA Safeway contingent) and stocked up. If they give you shit about the mini-fridge, tell them you need it for medication. Because my doctor told me to drink more water, and that’s sort of medicine, right?

I am glad to be here, but I think in the last five years, Vegas has been fundamentally broken. Everything is gone. The Denny’s I used to go to for all of my birthdays is gone! Never mind that I couldn’t eat a single thing on the Denny’s menu, but that pisses me off. Stardust – gone. Frontier – gone. Boardwalk – gone. The strip mall where I used to use internet is now some Hawaiian bastard child. Aside from the old versus new, there’s something missing I can’t explain. I remember this short story by Joseph Heller, a memoir, about how as a kid, they used to swim in Coney Island, out to the first buoy, where you can’t even see the land anymore. Before that, there are lots of places you can stop, the first safety net and floating things that divide off the beach from the ocean, and if you want to stop, you can grab on and rest. But after the last one, there’s this long stretch where turning back will take as much energy as continuing on, and if you need to stop, you’re essentially fucked, unless your friends are there to help drag you to the buoy. And there’s a certain panic in reaching out into that unknown. It’s like flying a plane to Hawaii, when you reach that magic point in the Pacific where you need to keep going, because there is no alternate place to land if your engine goes out. And to me, Vegas had a lot of those metaphorical points, little stores or lounges or museums or t-shirt places or whatever else that broke up the stretch of nothing but places to drop lots of money or go deep into your vices. Now there are a lot of places from Tropicana to Sahara where you can get bled, and not many places anymore where you can’t. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s my best explanation of how the dynamic has changed.

I went to the Bodies show yesterday at the Trop. It was interesting, although I don’t know if it was $34 interesting. This is the thing with cadavers that have been plasticized and posed in various ways, with parts trimmed and dissected away. I wanted to go because see also my previous rants and descriptions of the sliced-up-in-glass cross-sections of people in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. This was a lot different and maybe less intriguing because everything was there. And the plasticising made it look a lot more fake. There were some interesting things, like removed organs, hearts and brains and cross-sections of stroke victims and of course the smoker’s lungs, along with a plastic box where you could dispose of your cigarettes. (And at current prices, I wonder how many people really do, or if this is just a prop.)

I think the most fucked up thing for me (aside from the conjoined twin fetuses) was all of the parts and pieces I’ve broken personally in the last few years. I could rattle off every muscle and ligament in the knee in under five seconds after all of the x-rays and MRIs in the last few years. (Check it!) And to see those same muscles I’ve sprained and bones I’ve broken, cut apart and laid out for display, that was a bit weird. There was also the cirrhotic (sp?) liver on display, which brought back the memory of my friend Chuck who died last year when he drank his way through his liver. (And oddly enough, I just this second remembered a conversation with Chuck back in 1994-ish at the support center, where we were talking about how Kerouac drank his way through his liver. Weird.) Anyway, looking at other stuff, it made me wonder if in a few years, I’d be thinking back about what a kidney really looked like as I dealt with a bunch of doctors telling me that mine were going out. Or heart, or stomach, or whatever. A lifetime of fast food and psych drugs gives you a few choices there.

So yeah, I am still on my health kick, even in the city of high calories. I don’t think I have mentioned this yet, but I have lost of all of my weight in the last six weeks by going to Weight Watchers and using their new online resources for men. There’s no way I could do a “eat only blue food on tuesday” diet, because they are all a crock. Eat less, exercise more, is the basic thing, but there’s a lot of re-learning how to eat. I eat way too many carbs and fat, not enough protein. I eat way too many high-energy-density foods and not enough fiber or vegetables. I am addicted to Coke. Getting around all of these is the challenge. Being held accountable to what I eat every day helps. Doing that in Vegas – harder than I thought. I figure I can eat breakfast in the room, eat lunch every day at Subway, and then eat something sane for dinner. The hard part is that I normally would be drinking Cokes or stopping for fries or nachos or whatever all over the strip. Late nights = fourth meal. The easy part is that walking from Caesar’s to the Trop and back in 103 degree heat as fast as you can burns like an entire meals’ worth of calories. (It also gives you a mild case of heat stroke, btw.)

Gotta shower and then walk more. I’d like to swim, but I am sure the pool is horror central today. I have a minor league baseball game at 7, and I have a car, so maybe I will find some other trouble after lunch.

Dental hell

I have a few seconds for a quick update. I wish I had time to write more in here, but my time seems to be vanishing lately.

I have been in dental hell since last week. They ground down two of my teeth in preparation for crowns, took impressions to send off to the lab, and then put on temporary crowns. The bottom temp is basically a metal cap that looks like something you’d put over a screw head on a piece of furniture, except coated with a thin coat of white paint. The top one is a chunk of nylon. I think I described this before as looking like North Korean dentistry. Anyway, the top one came loose when I bit into a wrap sandwich thing, and freaked me out. They re-cemented it for me, but the cement, which is basically that Mr. Gasket stuff you use to seal hoses in your car engine, has been disintegrating, leaving a lot of weird edges. Yesterday, the white part of that lower metal cap started flaking off, so I have a nice sharp edge in my mouth. Luckily, the lab is done, and in an hour, I go in and get the real article permanently cemented into my mouth. It’s been a week of Slim-Fast and applesauce, which really sucks.

It’s not a good time to be a Rockies fan, but it’s a true test of my fanhood that I’m still watching. After a long, long slide, they won their last two against the Dodgers. There was even a bench-clearing brawl the other night, although it wasn’t terribly exciting, just a bit of shoving. I probably should have went to the day game yesterday, but for whatever reason, flaked it. My next baseball will be a minor league game in Las Vegas next week. I also got us tickets to a Golden League game down in Long Beach on the 14th. Box seats were $10. I think they are box seats on a little league field, though.

I will be in Vegas next week. With any luck I will see Simms, and get to a baseball game, and not spend any money otherwise. It will be a tough trip, because of the heat, the fact that I don’t want to gamble, and also the fact that I don’t know how I will eat. I can’t just march into Fatburger and eat a months’ worth of calories anymore.

I think I am down 15 pounds now. I can eat well in perfect laboratory conditions, but going out to eat is still panicky for me. I also need to work more on the exercise component. Long walks in 140-degree Las Vegas sun, maybe.

Top-secret writing project I can’t talk about is underway. My not-top-secret project has been transferring CDs into binder sleeves. I know at one point I would have considered this a travesty. But now that everything is in iTunes, I never look at the CDs, they just take up space. So I bought the sleeves, and I have been putting stuff in, and also organizing things, and ripping CDs that aren’t in the system. All day yesterday and a bit this morning, and I am doing with G, H, and I. I have a garbage bag of jewel cases headed for the garbage, and have maybe a 100% gain in storage space. Now I need to order about ten times as many sleeves to do everything – this was a trial run of 100 sleeves to see how it would go.

Gotta shower, get to the DDS. Fingers crossed on the new teeth.