Archive for July, 2009
With all baseball related activities officially over, I sprinted through the middle of last week trying to catch up at work for time missed. By Friday I was back on track and ready for more of the Week of All Stars.
First up was all around All Star and 2008 gold-glover Jamie. His big 30th birthday bash & bar-game-a-thon was Friday nite and the competition was fierce. Pink Galleon1 was Jamie’s Thunderdome, and the bloodsport was brutal: Shuffleboard
Thirtieth birthdays seem to be plentiful this year; I’ve moved on from weddings to old age! Still, I had a blast welcoming Jamie to the old man’s club. Congrats on the big 30 Jamie. We can now officially start complaining about idiot kids in their twenties!
The next day was the final day of my marathon All Star Week, and perhaps the most physical. Last Saturday Megs and I took our four year-old nephew, Ben, and seven year-old niece, Elizabeth, to the City Museum for the afternoon. Those kids ran circles around me!
Ben is pretty fearless for a 4-year old, so I decided to be the cool uncle and accompany him where ever he wanted to go in the Museum. We climbed to the top of all of the outdoor areas, even all the way up to the airplane cockpit.
We even managed to sneak onto the roof without paying and jump on the bus that hangs over the edge!2
A few hours running around City Museum left me amazingly tired, and I spent the next day+ recovering with Meg. Ten days of fun definitely took its toll.
My Week of All Stars was amazing, especially considering what I ended up missing. On the Friday nite of Jamie’s party, I missed a free Sonic Youth concert at the Arch, and missed a mini-reunion of my favorite high school band, Ashtray. And that was just Friday! But on the whole I was quite pleased with how the timing worked out for this busy week. I was able to enjoy great times with some of my favorite people in a very short period of time. Thanks to the parade of All Stars that made for such a memorable week.
Check back on Monday for a trip back in time, as the Captain recounts how he spent the past week living like a bachelor. Until next time.
1 For those not familiar with the Pink Galleon, it’s basically a X-rated, nautical themed blacklight poster turned into a bar. And yet somehow I forgot to bring my Captain’s hat to the one bar where it would fit in with the décor.
2 Elizabeth is very much into following the rules at her age, and informed her brother and I that we would be going to Jail for sneaking on the roof.
In the two weeks since my last post I’ve been too busy to stop and catch a breath. But I’ve set aside some time this weekend to bring this ship back up to speed.
Why so busy? A parade of some of my favorite people made their way through St. Louis over a 10 day period in July. Seeing so many cool folks in a short period of time doesn’t leave room for much else, especially when it coincides with the All-Star Game! The first half of my story spans the five nites that comprise the MLB All-Star game here in St. Louis.
But first a bit more on All Star Weekend. Since I’m an avid baseball fan and live downtown, this event weekend was bound to have a large impact on me. Even though I didn’t plan on attending the All Star Game or the Home Run Derby, I was still thrilled to be living down the street from so much baseball activity. St. Louis is such a great atmosphere for baseball.
Besides the scheduled festivities, Meg and I have been quite interested in following the lead up to All Star Weekend. In the year since we moved downtown we’ve enjoyed slowly tracking the changes planned for hosting the event. With so many half finished construction projects downtown, it was interesting to see which ones were able to finish in time for the event. City Garden looked pretty cool.
Ballpark Village looked like a shitty State Fairground.
Some places were rushed open, like the Over Under Bar that was built in less than a week. The most common site was large banners or pictures thrown up to cover eyesores. The RFT’s article on putting lipstick on the StL piggy summed it up best.
So with downtown all gussied up, it was time to bring in the big guns. First up was the Cleveland-by-way-of-Florida All Star and 2007’s MVP, Amir. He flew in Friday nite to start off a four-for-four hangover weekend. Friday was a wonderful blend of several kinds of nonsense that I don’t really remember. I know that Jamie and D joined us, and that at some point Amir won a bunch of money at the Craps table, but beyond that it’s rather fuzzy.
Saturday started off slow, but eventually became a 12 hour downtown baseball marathon. Amir and I wandered around the All Star area for several hours, checking out the Busch Stadium festivities and all of the other various Fanfest events
Eventually we made our way to the Hookah bar from the nite before, and closed out the nite at the Pepper Lounge with the ARRG Roller Derby gals. Derby All Star and Referee Extraordinaire Bethany even made an appearance, which was an added bonus.
A sudden rainstorm canceled our Sunday winery plans with Jamie and Rachel, so we just bought a bunch of wine and drank it in our loft. But not before catching a matinee screening of Bruno!!! But my thoughts on this wunderbar filme will have to wait for another entry.
By the time our third hangover on Monday rolled around, Amir and I were shot. The weekend had left us tired, starving and smelly. Amir was so hungry he dabbled in some mild cannibalism.
I dropped an exhausted Amir off at Lambert Monday afternoon and returned home for some much needed downtime. I needed to rest up since I still had two nites of baseball left in me. I watched the Home Run derby with Meg at our loft and tried to fill my tank up for later in the evening. I was anticipating another round of All Stars in the form of the Brothers Schneider.
My old buddy Marc was in town from New York to attend the Home Run Derby with his three brothers. They had great seats next to the right field foul pole, and managed to catch a foul ball off of Nelson Cruz. Well, actually Marc dove out of the way while his brother actually caught the ball. It looked something like this1
They spent several hours dinking and spraying beer off of the roof with the Captain before finally heading home. I hadn’t hung out with Marc since 2006, so I was really glad that Marc stopped by for a few hours of nonsense.
By the time the actual All Star game rolled by, I was a complete wreck. Tired and bloated, I decided to check out the ambiance around the stadium with Meg. Even though I was exhausted, I was still pretty enthused to see so much happening downtown. It was packed on the street with fans lined up to see the game and President Obama. I was thrilled to be around this enormous baseball setting. Megan, she was excited about the free tacos at the Taco Bell truck.
We made our way back to our loft for the start of the game, and I totally vegged out for the remainder of the nite. And this is where the part one of the story ends.
I had high hopes for the All Star Game and I was very happy with the result. Downtown looked decent, the weather was decent, and the times were fantastic. Special thanks to my own All Stars, Amir & Marc, for making my four day weekend into a five nite marathon. Well done fellas.
Check back tomorrow for Part Two of my week of All Stars!
1 This is merely an artistic recreation and not the actual catch. In reality, Marc looked way more girly diving out of the ball’s path.
Last year Meg and I’s 4th of July weekend was a marathon. We had friends staying with us from out of town, a Cards-Cubs game, and loft packed full of 20 friends to watch the fireworks. We had a blast but it was a little tiring to say the least.
Subconscious memories of exhaustion somehow led to a mental block of this year’s holiday. I made it to the last week of June before I realized that I had forgotten to make any kind of plans for the 4th this year. With less than a week before the holiday Meg and I quickly discovered that nothing was happening in St. Louis. Last Tuesday we were trying to come up with something to do when Meg suggested that we sneak out of town for a few days. That wife of mine sure is smart.
We decided to plan a short trip to America’s #1 vacation destination, Ohio!
I may have made several jokes about Ohio in the past, but there are plenty of great things to come out of Ohio. Our Florida friends were all originally from Ohio and they were lots of fun1. Plus, Megan was born in Ohio, so it can’t be all that bad.
Planning the trip took less than 24 hours, which worked out nicely since that’s all the time that we had available. We loaded up the minivan Wednesday nite2 and embarked Thursday afternoon on an 8 hour drive. We arrived a little before midnite in Toldeo, or the Las Vegas of the Midwest as I like to call it. No seriously, we drove to Toledo. On purpose.
Our actual destination the next morning was Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Point is the grand pooba of all amusement parks, and a personal favorite of ours. I hadn’t been to Cedar Point since my trip with Grellner and Spillman back in 2001, and Megan hadn’t been since that time she almost died.3
As it turned out, the 3rd was a perfect day for an amusement park; the crowds were large but not too enormous and the weather was warm but not too hot. We had plenty of time to enjoy the best two things in amusement parks: Skeeball
We spent most of our time in line for rides. One hour of time invested for less than three minutes of excitement, with the worst offender being the Top Thrill Dragster. It’s an amazing ride, and it last 17 seconds. Damn that’s fast!
While long lines can be boring, it provides plenty of opportunity for a favorite activity of ours, people watching! Theme parks are the best, with all of the bad t-shirts and worse tattoos. And we discovered something new; apparently parents now allow their 12 year old girls to dress like prostitutes while on family vacations. Teenage girls used to sneak behind parents’ backs to dress scandalously, but now they don’t even bother to hide their slutty sides. My sister may have gotten away with a lot of questionable outfits back in the day, but she never tried any of them in front of my mother. WTF?
The rides were as great as I remembered and were totally worth the trip. We managed plenty of funny faces for the in-ride cameras, but never funny enough to shell out $25 for a copy. The Downs were the only ride slow enough for me to snap a picture.
Cedar point wore us out pretty quick so we left before nitefall to return to Toledo. Saturday morning we headed three hours south to Cincinnati for a Cardinals game. I love seeing the Cardinals play in other cities. The Reds’ Great American Ball is now the fifth Major League ballpark where I’ve cheered on the Cardinals. Too bad I picked such a shitty game.
There was a lite drizzle the entire afternoon that made the day quite unpleasant, and the Reds make quick work of the Cardinals. Friday nite Albert Pujols hits a grand slam, Sunday afternoon the Cardinals won 10-1 behind Chris Carpenter, and Monday nite my other favorite team, the Phillies, scored 22 runs against the Reds. But I picked the Saturday game, the one where the Redbirds played like shit and lost 5-2. Oh well, can’t win them all.
It was still fun to see another ballpark, and we were lucky enought to enjoy the company of our friends Dr. Chris and Susan. They live in nearby Columbus and drove down to catch the game with us. Chris is a diehard Cards fan like me, so we had plenty of time to discuss the team while our wives discussed the food at the concession stands. Even though the game was less than spectacular, I still really glad we made the trip.
We decided that day to drive back to St. Louis after the game instead of staying in Cincinnati. Our bed just sounded way better than a hotel. The weather on the drive home was pretty crappy, but we managed to make it home before midnite. From the looks of things downtown it appeared we picked a good year to skip town. Watching fireworks on an overcast and rainy 4th would have been a disappointment.
If old age has taught me anything, it’s to leave myself a day after vacations to recoup and regroup. Sunday was a perfect mix of relaxation and preparation for the busy week I’ve had at work. This weekend is gonna be even busier with the All-Star festivities and Amir flying in from Florida for a few days. Speaking of which, I have a ton of stuff to prep for the weekend. So I’ll say goodbye and wish America a late happy 232rd b-day!
1 Except Patrick. Real stick in the mud that guy.
2 Shout out to my mother-in-law for loaning us her über-comfy minivan for the trip. Wait, that’s two shout-outs in a row… I guess I am now obligated to make a disparaging remark in my next blog. Duly noted.
3 Meg was on a trip with her Mom and a couple of friends when a piece of metal pierced the gas tank of their vehicle. This caused the minivan the four were traveling in TO EXPLODE! Everyone was able to escape in time, but still, their minivan BLEW UP! Holy Schnikes!
Today is the ninth day in a row I have lived in my loft alone. I’ve been living the bachelor life for over a week now and boy can I tell the difference.
As I’m still happily married, I will never truly be a bachelor; I just played one at home this past week. Megan has been staying at her parent’s house since last Monday to help them around the house. Her nine day absence has created a rare portal that has briefly transported me back to my days as a bachelor.
As you can probably guess, the first thing to go was my pants. Last Monday I unofficially dubbed my bachelor week as Epancipation ’09, and I’ve been lovineveryminuteofit since. The other big thing to go was the air conditioning. St. Louis had a freak cold front last week, and the temperatures have been amazing mild for July. Yesterday was the first day since Meg left that I had to turn on A/C.
So, with nine whole nites to myself, how has the Captain been spending his time? Ummm, I’m not really sure. There’s been a whole lot of this:
Sitting around on the couch is the coolest! Besides couch surfing, I’ve been busy finishing lots of little projects that I’ve put off for awhile, such as:
· I finally did a Flickr update for the last month of pictures, including this gem from my summer league kickball team:
A drunk guy in a priest’s smock playing kickball, now that’s what I call a competition!
· I’ve downloaded a ton of new music and have been working hard on my Modern Rock 2009 discs. After feeling lackluster for several months about 2009’s musical offerings, I am finally excited about new music this year. I really love the new albums by Band of Skulls, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Dinosaur Jr., and God Save The Girl. But the real breakout has been Amazing Baby. Their single Headdress and the corresponding video are my absolute faves at the moment.
· Perfectly timed with Comic Con ‘09, it’s been a regular Nerd Con ’09 on my Netflix cue. I had Dave over last Tuesday1 to dork it up big time with me for the release of Watchmen on DVD. Since then, I’ve made my way through all of the Director’s Label DVD series. Man do I love good music videos, especially this one by Richard Ashcroft that manages to perfectly sum up my feelings on being a bachelor.
· And updating the Quarters has of course kept me busy. Well, more like the procrastinating involved with updating the Quarters has kept me busy.
Besides my ongoing projects, the differences that living like a bachelor creates have kept me busy. Most noticeable and perhaps most humorous have been my attempts at cooking. It’s been over three years since I had to feed myself for an entire week, and let’s just say I’m a little rusty.2 I’ve been raiding our kitchen for food for too long now; the fridge is bare and the pantry is barren.
Most of the other differences are small but still noticeable. Facing the TV when I eat. Talking for an hour on the phone. Music in the background. Baseball on the television.3 . Leaving the seat up. Talking to myself
Living the bachelor life has been a fun little throwback for me, but it’s starting to get a little old. I’m excited for Megan to return home tomorrow. But until then I have one more nite of Epancipation to enjoy.
1 Before anyone makes a crude inference, let me state that I temporarily lifted the pants-free moratorium while Dave was in my loft.
2 Then again, I was never really that good to begin with…
3 How ‘bout them Redbirds! I’ve watched the last seven Cardinals game from start to finish and it’s been a fun ride. This revamped lineup is exciting to watch!
Throughout the last half of June I put up daily posts on Facebook and Flickr of a bunch of old pics I scanned. I grouped them into three broad categories: High School, College, and Self-Portraits.
As tempting as it is to analyze every picture and tell a relevant and/or poignant story, I will spare you the reader from a bunch of long-winded nostalgia. But on the other hand, a few might be entertaining.
My last three pics happened to be my favorites, so why not repost them here and tell a quick story. The first pic is from my early days of Captaining in college.
This is my roommate Easy-B and I sitting on the dock at Tall Tom’s lakehouse. The picture was supposed to look natural, but it of course was completely staged.1
Even though I planned out this pic, I somehow unwittingly summed up my final year of college. We’re both sitting in darkness, but staring ahead at the light. My face is in the sunlight, but I’m wearing shades. The Busch beer cans symbolize the beauty of nature, and our hungover expression conveys an air of…I’m full of shit.
Really I just love this pic because it reminds me of good times. Maybe there is some symbolism in this picture, but it escapes me. Not everything has to be deep and meaningful, ya know?
The second pic is from my senior year of high-school.
This is my lovely wife Meg and I after our high-school production of Lil’ Abner. I played a member of the Scraggs, the dirty hillbilly clan. Megs played Mammy, rootin’ tootin’ mother of the title character. This pic was a quick snap after the show,2 and shows both of us at our hammiest.
I’ve known Meg for almost 15 years now, and yet when I look at pics like this it seems like just yesterday that we met. Hard to believe that these two crazy kids got married 11 ½ years later…Saving the best for last, here is my famed Mullet Truckers License.
Yes this is a real CDL drivers license, and yes that it a real mullet.
In college, I answered an ad for shuttle bus drivers on the SMS campus. I was hired and trained to drive the buses on the caveat that I cut my shoulder length hair before I started the job. I had two weeks to cut my hair while I was training, so I decided it would be hilarious to cut the top of my hair short before cutting it all off.
My sister trimmed it first for a feathered mullet look, which was funny. Eventually, I decided to go full out and grabbed some clippers and buzzed the top into a spike, thereby creating the ultimate mullet.
I planned to go for the “Ex-Con” look in this license, so I donned a wife-beater and refused to smile for the picture. The resulting picture is by far the closest I’ve ever come to creating art. Scanning all of these old pics brought up a lot of great memories, and lots of friends have pitched in some memories of their own. But I try not to linger in the past. Those were some fantastic times, but I’ve always been happy with where I’m at in my life. The only difference between now and then is that I’m a little bit older now.
I’m reminded of this when I walk past the Zoltar machine in Union Station on the way to work. Some days I feel like little Josh Baskins as a kid, wishing to be Big at the carnival. Other days I feel like the adult Josh, wishing by the shore to be a kid again. But most days I feel like a little bit of both. And that’s just fine with me.
1 Shout out to Brown Jeff for taking the pic.
2 Shout out to my Mother-In-Law for taking the pic.