Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Weekend with Bernie (the Brewer)

Last night I booked the big annual pilgrimage to Denver to catch some Rockies baseball at Coors Field.  We’ll be going August 12-15th, to catch two of the games in the series against the Brewers, which should be awesome.  We’re staying at the Warwick again, which was a pretty decent place, although it’s a little weird staying in an area right by our old default grocery store, our old default Chinese restaurant, our old default Mexican restaurant, and so on.  I mean, it’s weird in general to be staying in a city where I used to live, and I always get weird, conflicted thoughts when I’m in Denver.  It’s usually stuff along the lines of “it would have been really great to stay here, IF…”, with the if part having to do with easy-to-attain stuff (if I found a better job, if Sarah found a better job, if we bought a cool house, if we scheduled more vacations to beat the worst of the weather and to break up the various ruts), and the impossible stuff (if there was an ocean nearby, if I wasn’t floored by allergies, if all of the rednecks packed up and moved to Wyoming and left behind all of the cool people.)

It will be cool to go back, though.  And the baseball part of it – the Rockies are doing well right now.  And I bought the most incredible tickets.  On Friday night, we’re up in club level (239, I think).  But on Saturday night, I bought Coors Clubhouse seats on StubHub.  These are the seats immediately behind home plate, five rows back.  That’s the little “special” section ahead of the field-level general seating, next to the tunnel entrance to the clubhouse areas.  It’s the seats you see when you watch the game on TV, and you’re closer to home plate than the pitcher is.  Also, you go back that little tunnel and there is a private restaurant with a buffet set up, and the whole thing is included in the ticket price.  And the club is air-conditioned.  And the seats are nicer.  And I paid an insane price for these seats, so much that I can’t actually admit how much they cost, except that I think my World Series tickets were cheaper.  (And if you really need to know, I think I have a picture of my WS tickets on my flickr page.)

I am also very excited to bring the new camera rig with me on this trip.  I plan on taking two and a half million pictures while I’m there.  I think I need to plan some other non-Coors side trip while I’m in town to get out and get some good snaps.

I think we’re talking about also booking a long weekend in September or October to go to Vancouver.  Sarah went there for work recently and only got like ten seconds to see the city, but she really liked it.  I drove up there in maybe 1995, but actually didn’t even get out of the car.  Back then, I had a serious On the Road obsession, and spent many late nights with my Rand McNally atlas planning some giant voyage from Seattle to Alaska, trying to calculate how long I’d have to drive nonstop in my Ford Escort to get to the 49th state.  You think Alaska’s like right next to Washington, like you just take a little jog through Canada and you’re there.  But it’s seriously like a 2300 mile drive just to get to Anchorage, which is like two days of constant driving on tiny, shitty, unmaintained two-lane roads.  I also spent almost every weekend thinking about pointing the car north and going to Vancouver.  And several times, I got on I-5, loaded up some tunes in the tape player, and headed north, only to get bored of the whole thing and turn around in like Everett or Mountlake Terrace or Northgate Mall or an exit north of my house.

But one time, I actually did get up there.  I hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch, and drove straight up on a beautiful sunny Sunday and crossed the border and ended up in Hollywood North.  And I circled around, and listened to some local radio station, and thought it would be awesome if I found some X-Files film shoot or ran into Gillian Anderson at some cafe.  And I was starving and wanted to stop to eat.  And I had to pee.  And I couldn’t figure out what neighborhood was what and where to park, so I just said fuck it and turned around and drove back home.

And here’s the funny part.  I get to customs, and of course they are huge pricks.  I mean, here’s a guy in a new car, nobody with him, been in the country for an hour, and no reason to be there.  Here is the conversation with the customs dude:

Him: “So what are you doing in Canada?”

Me: “Not much.  Just driving around.”

Him: “Just driving around?”

Me: “Yeah, beautiful day, sunny out, nice Sunday drive, you know?”

Him: “Where were you born?”

Me: “Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota”

Him: “You took a Sunday drive from North Dakota to Vancouver?”  (Note: I’ve handed him a Washington license with a Seattle address on it, and my car is plated and registered in Washington.)

Me: “No, I live in Seattle.”

Him: “Where do you work?”

Me: “Spry.  A division of Compuserve.”

(brief pause, look of stupidity.)

Me: “It’s an internet company.”

Him: “Wait are you one of those guys that posts instructions on how to make bombs on the internet?”

Me: “umm….  no?”

Him: “Pull over to bay 1, we need to search your car.”

(Spend the next 20 minutes as four guys dismantle my hatchback trunk, look under my car with mirrors on sticks, pop the hood, and have two dogs sniff every inch of my car.)

Other good news on the Rockies front: Sarah’s group at work got the box at AT&T Park again at the end of August, and it happens to be during the Rockies series there, so I will get to see them again in San Francisco, this time from a suite.  There are only two issues: it’s a Tuesday night game, so I’ll need to hustle to get from Palo Alto after work.  The other problem is what to wear – I probably can’t show up in the suite wearing head-to-toe Colorado gear.  (Didn’t they do a Seinfeld about that?  Also, do you remember a time in our cultural history when almost any event was coupled with the rhetorical question “didn’t they do a Seinfeld about that?”)