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Posts Tagged ‘SF Giants’

Page turners

Time to catch up the old library. This is going to be sort of a long list so we’ll run through them quickly…

Scared Stiff by Annelise Ryan

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This was a fast read about a murder in a small town. You know one of those that everyone knows everyone else’s business? It was enjoyable and I really liked that the protagonist wasn’t taken too seriously throughout. She had more than her fair share of embarrassment which made for a great change of pace from the perfect heroes in most stories. 6/10

A Band of Misfits by Andrew Baggarly

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I had to relive the great postseason run of my San Francisco Giants after the disappointment of not making the playoffs last year. What a fun ride! 9/10…but I’m really biased.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

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The second in the Hunger Games trilogy. Started out great and kinda fizzled at the end. I just expected more before I ran out of pages…7/10

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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The conclusion of the Hunger Games. Don’t know why, but I wasn’t satisfied with this one. Wanted more from these characters I grew so fond of in the first two books. 4/10

The Long Run, by Mishka Shubaly

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This was a mildly entertainingly narrative of a man that transformed from a drunk, druggie, couch potato slob to a long distance runner. 5/10

The People of The Mist by Haggard H. Rider

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Mr. Rider has taken me on a few great adventures now and is becoming one of my favorite authors. They are page turners that a filled with adventures of explorers and treasures. This one didn’t disappoint. 8/10

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

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Another great classic from THE great American author. I wish I could spend one day in his imagination. 8/10

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie

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The origin story of Peter Pan. Just had to find out how the story started, could have lived without it. 3/10

Sons and Princes by James LePore

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A gritty story from the New York mafia and protecting your children. Was a good decent read that kept me interested from start to finish. 7/10

Dust by Arthur Slade

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Off the wall story involving missing children and a Piped Piper type character. I didn’t want to like it, but I kept coming back to see what was going to happen. 6/10

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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The basis of Apocalypse Now. An journey on a river of chaos and insanity. 7/10

Under Your Skin by JR Chartrand

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Teens are literally scratching themselves to death in this mystery novel. One that you have to keep reading to see what is going to happen. 7/10

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, John LeCarre

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The best spy novel ever written, even though it’s a bit dated now. I couldn’t put it down and agree with all the hoopla over it. Think that I am going to have to read it again though, I’m sure there are parts that I will love rediscovering. 9/10

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

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I had stared this book a handfull of times and stopped in about the same place each time. Just couldn’t get into it for some reason. This time I put my nose down and powered through and was pleasantly surprised that is got really good after that stopping point. A different perspective on the typical Dracula myth. 8/10

Birdmen by Phil Williams

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The only reason that I picked this out was that I have met the author. He is the husband of my best friends cousin…full disclosure. What an incredible surprise when I became completely immersed in the story. The twists and turns of a military tour were incredible and I truly came to care for the guys and what they were going through. I would highly recommend and hope that there are more stories to come from this yet pretty much undiscovered author. You’ll thank me for it. 9/10

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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I went for this because of the movie trailer starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. What a weird journey I was taken on. Sad, disturbing and somewhat depressing. Then I tried to watch the movie and was incredibly disappointed, should have never been attempted as a film. I would give the book a 7/10.

Superbia by Bernard Schaffer

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A cop mystery that deals with cop killers, child predators and police corruption. 7/10

The Girl That Kicked The Hornets Nest by Stieg Larrson

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I just hand to finish the trilogy. While I was into what was going on in the back of my mind I had a nagging voice repeating “this is nowhere close to the first one.” While I am going to miss Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and where their adventures might have gone. I think it might be best that they separated ways after three books. 7/10

The Parrot Talks in Chocolate by Everett Peacock

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Wanted some lighter subjects and this was just the ticket. Nothing can beat tiki bars, Hawaii, surfing and bar stories. No plot to follow, no deep meaning to unearth, just observations of life in an island bar. Good fun read that brought a smile to my face and a desire to get back to an island ASAP! 8/10

Whew…caught up on my reading. Hope I don’t get that far behind again.

Til next time…get out and live!

American Baseball History – A complete course

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I have considered myself a baseball fan from the moment I learned the game…I think I was seven. I played and watched and every once in a great while went to a San Fran Giants or Oakland A’s game. It taught me teamwork, respect, work ethic, fair play, unfair play, passion, heartache, and joy! It also taught me appreciation of “the moment.” That time in every game in which the outcome hinges upon. Some games have one, some have several. More than any other spectator sport baseball is built upon “the moment.”

Recently I had become more and more aware of some gaping holes in my knowledge of the history of the game. Sure I had heard of stories about the game and “moments” of it’s players, but stories have a way of becoming blurry with the truth the more they are told. I wanted to find the truth in all these “fish” tales of the game. My wife got me a book called Storied Stadiums by Curt Smith as a gift. It is a massive volume that highlights all of the greatest tales from every stadium that major league baseball has ever been played in…up to just a few years ago. It has a wealth of knowledge, but is very difficult to follow along. Mr. Smith wrote in a very fragmented style and paid particular detail to the physical characteristics of each park. I thought that this book was at it’s best when delving into the actual game play in each facility. Every park in the history of the game has been witness to incredible feats and unbelievable “moments.”

Hx of all the parks in American Baseball

I used Storied Stadiums as an addition to the true meat and potatoes of my survey which has been Ken Burn’s documentary Baseball. This epic 20+ hour volume starts at the lie that has been passed as the origin of the sport (Doubleday denies having anything to do with the sport, much less inventing it) and last year updated it with a 10th inning that chronicled from the 1994 strike through the now infamous “steroid era.”  The early hours were largely photos and interviews with historians that have studied the game. As the years passed Mr. Burns added video and talks with the people that lived through those times and those games. Special attention was given to the Negro leagues and the treatment of the players that made that league just as competitive and popular (if not more so) than the MLB. The last couple of hours went quickly as it concerned the years that I could remember. I had much more fun reliving those moments, where I was, how old I was, what my world was like at the time, than all that came before. I think that is just in human nature though. Everyone like to hear and see their own stories.

I now feel like I have reasons to call Mays, DiMaggio, Mantle, Johnson, Aaron, and Gehrig my heroes. In addition to the ones I grew up with…Clark, Bonds, Griffey Jr., Ripken, Puckett, Williams, Thomas, and Gwynn. I understand some of the rivalries better (still don’t believe New York/Boston qualifies as a true rivalry…until 2003 anyway.) Mostly I just enjoyed sitting back and hearing and seeing the legends of the game replayed for me. All the Yankee champs, Boston near misses, Giants/Dodgers battles, Cubs heartbreaks, Cardinals champs, Orioles greats, and Braves destroying fans hearts as they moved from city to city.

Lesson learned: The object is always to get back home safe.

I will always love this game. This year has been trying with the Giants free falling in their division and the sweet memories still fresh from the World Series Championship, but that is why I’m a fan. It is a game of emotion, some good, some bad. At the end of the year only one team is happy with how it went. Only one team is shedding tears of joy, the rest are just wiping their tears and prepping from the next run at the title.

Writing Baseball on my 100th Post

August 7, 2011 2 comments

So I’ve hit the triple digits. This is my 100th post on this blog.  I am very proud of this little accomplishment. Not to mention all the adventures that I have enjoyed on the way. I am surprised that I have kept up with it. It’s been over a year and a half, I’ve knocked off 22 items from the list and started a bunch more. Highlights have included the World Series, learning to pole dance, flying an glider, learning new skills, reading more than I have since I was a kid, proving that I can go without my deepest seeded vices, and becoming a better person. I’ve become a father again. I’ve learned to appreciate my life and all the blessings that I have in it. Most surprisingly I have made “virtual” or “cyber” friends. People actually read what I was writing, and often commented. That was most incredible to me.

Enough with patting myself on the back.

Today I accomplished a skill that I really am surprised took me this long to get to. I have been rapidly increasingly my historical knowledge of baseball. I’m closing in on finishing off Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary, reading a history of all the major league stadiums, and constantly keeping up to date with current events. For those that aren’t as up to date as I am, my beloved SF Giants have been in a slump the last two weeks, losing many more games than they have won. Of course being a loyal fan I must have been doing something wrong. I decided to stop their bleeding by finally undertaking scoring a game. The Giants had lost 3 in a row to the Philadelphia Phillies and needed a helping hand.

I can tell you exactly what happened with these hieroglyphics.

I think that I had put off learning to score a game mostly because baseball is a very emotional event for me. I hang on every pitch and have been known to spew obscenities when I disagree with a call. It is one of the few events in my life that I have allowed myself to get completely engrossed in. I am a completely baptized and faithful to the religion of baseball. My bishop is Bochy and our robes are the Orange and Black. I was afraid that if I was worried about filling out the complex looking boxes for every batter I would miss something.  Lord knows I didn’t want to miss a minute of action, they are so far and few between with these Giants.

So to get started I looked up this site that explained how to keep score. I loved that it was like a secret language that I was learning. I loved that the first lesson is that there is no wrong way to keep score of a game. The goal of keeping score was just to be able to look back and tell what happened during the game. I looked at it this way, I’ve been speaking ball for a long time…it was way past time to write it as well. You know, become fluent.

Step one was to find a score card and these guys had several different layouts to choose from, download and print. Easy Peezy! Next was the game. I was extremely nervous, mostly because I couldn’t bear to think of the Gigantes getting swept by the Phils. Since I was sitting at work we had to DVR the game and I ended up running about 2 hours later than real time due to calls. The first couple of innings were work trying to figure out how it all worked, but by the bottom of the 3rd I was in a groove and starting to enjoy myself and joke around about it. Really helped that the Giants showed up and hit today giving Timmy Lincecum a lead to work with. There was a couple of times that I got wrapped up in the game and would have to think about what I just saw in order to put the play down.

This is how you spell Giants Win!!

Written Baseball

In the end, Giants win, I learned and proved that I could score a game. Might have even started a new hobby for myself. Until today I never understood why the little old ladies sat there with their books and scribbled down the entire game. Now I do. It keeps you engaged and actually gives you a chance to feel like your participating in the game.

Thanks to everyone that is reading this. I really do appreciate that you took the time. I also am hoping to keep it going for a while. I am having a great time with this and feel it has enriched my life. Even though I have spent less time on pursuing the items the last few months I am in this for the long haul and hope one day when I am much greyer on top, have a few more wrinkles, and move a little slower that I look back and smile upon an entire list of crossed out adventures.

Til post 101…

#27 – Now what am I going to do?

#27 on my list is to watch a shuttle launch.

Damn!

A couple of weeks ago NASA launched the last shuttle of the program. NO MORE LAUNCHES!

So now I don’t know what to replace it on the list? I also have #119 to think of…Something someone else comes up with.

The floor is now yours. Got any great suggestions that I haven’t put on the list?? I would love to hear them so that I can fix this problem.

 

Additionally, if anyone has a way to get me into Kruk and Kuip‘s broadcast booth for an inning I REALLY need help with that.

Happy Birthday to The Cartman!

And last but not least…another good friend of mine has decided to become a blogger. Check out her exploits at Adventures in Medicine and Mommyhood.

Hopefully will have more to share soon.

Changing #123: Kruk, Kuip and Corip – Let’s make this happen

I have taken a hiatus from here to take care of some other priorities in my life. I had some career, personal and mechanical issues that have come up in the last month or so, and guess what? Blogging takes a back seat to real life. Besides all that, I have two boys to play, wrestle, spoil and chase around.

The big news is surrounding my change to the list. I just wasn’t really all that into #123 – Toboggan at the Great Wall of China. I put it on the list after seeing a YouTube video of the place and thought it was neat. However when I went and watched it again it just seemed hanky and junky. Still would be fun, and I will jump if I ever get a chance to do it, but I can live without it.

The New Improved #123 – Call an inning with Kruk and Kuip.

I am going to need a miracle to pull this off. I want to be able to sit and call an inning of a SF Giants game with the legendary (that’s right I said it!) San Francisco Giants play by play team of Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper. I have no idea how to get this done. I mean even anywhere close to happening. Seriously, if anyone out there reads this and is owed a huge favor by either of these two, or the Giants, or the Comcast Sports Net people, please consider wasting it on my dream.

When I was a kid I always imagined that I would end up as shortstop of the Gigantes, but that dream has slowly been wrestled from my grasp. (Cursed by inability to hit a curveball…slider, knuckle, fast, basically anything other than a straight down the pipe slow pitch.) So I am evolving my baseball dream into commentary. I firmly believe that those that can’t play…talk about it. I am very serious when I say that I am going to need help getting into this booth. This might be the most impossible task that I have ever undertaken. It is also probably one of the most incredible experiences that I can imagine.

There are no other announcers in the game like Kruk and Kuip. They have their own fans. They have fans in opposing cities. What other team ANNOUNCERS have fans?!? Fans bring signs for them in the stands. It truely is an incredible relationship that they have with the city and the Giants fans. I fully realized how important that they are to the team last year during the playoffs. It was painful to have to sit through the dribble that the national broadcasters spewed. (Especially Joe Buck. I hate Joe Buck. He is a disgrace to the sport. ) It was so bad that I was muting the T.V. and pulling a boombox radio into the room to listen to KNBR, and I wasn’t the only one. There was instructions on the internet to properly sync your radio and T.V. for the Giants playoff games. My first point of order when I become Commish of MLB is that the team play by play team will move with the team through the playoffs. Ahhh, I’m off topic. Back to K&K. Quite simply, they are the best. It would be a dream come true to sit and call the game with them.

I have some books that I need to add to #37, so I’ll add that soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I will get some of this stuff done…just busy raising my kids and taking care of life.

Willie Mays, Matt Cain, History of Baseball and a sandwich

April 18, 2011 2 comments

Lately I haven’t had much time to do anything but get to work and take care of my family. We are only two months into having Cody, and I know that it won’t be this hard for much longer, but this is what we have to do. So I guess this is a half-hearted apology for the lack of excitement on here lately. I have to repeat that none of this means anything without my family, so I have no problem pushing off trying to get things crossed off in order to raise my beautiful family that means more than anything to me.

I have been able to make some baby steps on a few items, and just something cool that we decided to do.

First off I finally finished the Willie Mays biography Willie Mays, The Life, The Legend by James Hirsch. I was blown away by this biography. I now feel that I was a poser of a fan of the man and really didn’t have anything other than a highlight reel knowledge of his contribution to the game and my favorite team. As a fan of the game I learned so much of the history of the Giants that made me feel more complete as a fan. I also have so much more respect for the man that IS the greatest to play the game. No one else has had his skills as a player and overcame so many obstacles with as much class and respect for fellow man. Being exposed to some of the situations that he endured made me angry, frustrated, embarrassed, and sad. Needless to say these are not emotions that I usually think of when I think of baseball. I believe that Mr. Hirsch did an excellent job of being faithful to the truth of the subject matter yet respecting the man whose story he was blessed with telling. All of the highlights are here, The Catch, the pennants, the Series, the move to San Fran, but each is expanded to include Mays own thoughts and how he feels the famous highlights don’t paint a complete picture of him as a player, and that he doesn’t consider most of them to be his most incredible moments of the diamond. To find out what he considers his finest plays…you should pick up the book.

An incredible life that was lived in the spotlight of both coasts.(I had to read it on my Kindle because my wife wouldnt let me handle our autographed copy.)

It was funny that I had to purchase the Kindle version of the book, even though we already owned it. Dani wouldn’t let me read our autographed copy because it is to special to us. After reading the book and knowing all that Mays accomplished and what he had to go through to accomplish it I am glad that we kept the book in pristine shape. It is quite a collectors item and will be awesome to hand down to our sons. (They better not turn around and sell it.)

My pick for 2011 Cy Young Award. (This supposed to be a family picture with Matt, but the guy zooomed in, Robby turned and blocked out his brother Cody, and Dani was cut out completely. Complete fail on family pic with Giants Ace.)

My cousin that lives in Texas married a NorCal boy somehow. Great news is that is sounds like he is just as big a Niners and Giants fan as I am, and has successfully converted my cousin. They flew out for a couple of the Giants opening series against the Cardinals and it would have been nice to go to the games with them, but having a 6 week old at the park just didn’t sound like a great day. Instead my wife thought that we should go and get Matt Cain‘s autograph at a signing that he was doing, and I thought that we could meet up with my cousin afterwards for dinner or at least a drink.

The trip to the signing actually didn’t go badly at all, both of our boys are pretty good car travelers so far. We had to make a stop and pick up some things at Costco, and find Robby a new Giants shirt (he had outgrown all of the ones from last season. I swear the kid can’t stay in a size of clothes for more than a week.) While in the parking lot our car battery died. So we had to wait about 45 minutes for the tow truck to find us and jump it. Through all of this our boys were awesome. I thank God everyday that he has blessed us with sons that are pretty mellow and go with the flow no matter the situation. After all that we still had over an hour to get to the card shop.

Once we got to the card shop it could have taken a turn for the worst. It was freezing, and there was a line outside the place (not so much a line a convergence of many many people huddled around trying to get a peek at Cain) and we still had to get our ticket. I made my way with lil Cody to the door and asked how to get my ticket. The man asked my name to make sure I had one reserved and then let me in to pay for it. While in the shop they announced that tickets 160 and lower were allowed. I glanced at my ticket and saw we were 270. We had more than a hundred people in front of us!! Cody and Robby were going to freeze unless we could think of something. I know they weren’t going to want to get back in the car. Thankfully the shop owner told me to just get in line. He didn’t want lil Cody to be sitting out in the cold. I could have hugged and kissed the man. They let me go and grab Dani and Robby and we got in the short line to the table.

Once we got to the table I handed our camera off to a guy that said he would take our picture with Matt. I got down and squeezed next to the table. Dani handed Robby the ball to give to Matt to sign. Robby then rears back and says ball…

My son might be two years old, but he knows how to throw a ball across a house. I had a vision of Robby smoking one at Matt Cain’s head and blackening his eye. Just what I need…to put an All Star on the DL with a broken orbit because my 2 year old can’t control his arm strength.  Thankfully he then just handed to ball to Matt. Cain signed the ball and gave it back to Robby.

At this time we are being ushered out and the guy with our camera tells me that he might have had it zoomed in too much. The “bouncer” is telling us we have to go and there will be no more posing for pictures. So we said good-bye, I shook his hand (became dazzled by the World Series ring that he had received the day before) and we left. When we got back to the car I glanced at the pic. It was great of Matt and I, but Robby is facing the wrong direction and his hat effectively blacked out his brother altogether. In addition Dani is absent completely. So much for a great family photo. But we have another autographed ball for the boys.

Matt Cain, winner of Game 2 of the 2010 World Series!! The game that I was at!!

Afterwards I was unable to get a hold of my cousin to meet up. All in all it was a pretty failed day. Car broke down, met Matt Cain for 30 seconds, picture was a failure, didn’t meet my cousin from out of state. The great thing though is that we had fun on this misadventure. Even when the going got tough Dani and I kept our spirits up and our kids persevered through all of it. Yet another reason that I am amazed with my wife and the family that she has given me.

A lot of baseball lately. My newest addition to the family, Cody, was named after Cody Ross of the Giants and the great run that he had through the playoffs. Well, this kid refuses to sleep from anywhere around 11:30 pm to 3:00 am for at least an hour and a half. He just wants to be held and rocked. I have taken advantage of this time to knock out some of Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball. I am now in the top of the third inning and almost all of it had been watched while hanging out with Cody in the early morning hours. If reading Willie Mays’ bio made me feel like a better fan of the game this doc is giving me a degree in baseball. I am amazed at how much I’ve learned and how entertaining he has made it. The early innings are mostly pictures and stories, but done in a great fashion. Like most Ken Burns stuff that I have seen you have to want to watch it to get the most our of it, but this is one of my great passions in life. I have been a fan of this game for as long as I can remember.

The start screen from our Blu-Ray streaming our Netflix of Baseball

I would highly recommend this for any true fan of the game. You will learn an incredible amount of how the game was founded, formed and established as the national pastime. You also get insight into the origins of all the traditions that you might take for granted, such as the President throwing out the first pitch of the season. I was fascinated and dismayed to learn that my Giants should have been in the 1908 World Series instead of the Cubs (it was the last one they won), but because of a mistake by one player known as the Merkle Boner, they were left out. I know believe that is why the Cubs are cursed. They won a Series they never should have been in!!!

The smells coming off it as it grilled made my mouth water!!

Since I didn’t want this to be completely a baseball post I want to tell you about a sandwich I made recently. Might seem a bit strange, but this is the best grilled cheese that I have ever made in my life!!! Most of the credit for that is going to have to go to Thomas Keller, widely considered the best Chef in America today. Men’s Health printed an article tasking some of the best chefs to reimagine normal, manly dishes. Chef Keller did a grilled cheese that is incredible. I also did the ribs from the same article and guest posted on Joy of Pork for The Cartman. This sandwich had two types of cheese, jalapeno pepper, red bell pepper and sourdough bread. It was a work of art and tasted just a good as it looked. I was very impressed with myself for being able to follow in Chef Keller’s foot steps with something very simple. Hey, at least I can say I’ve tasted something that he has made before…at least until someone takes me to the French Laundry because Lord knows I’m not in any position to afford a meal like that anytime soon. If you would like to attempt this easy, yet delicious sandwich you can find the recipe here at Spicy Pepper, Monterey Jack and Cheddar Grilled Cheese.

It tasted so much better than it looks here, and I think it looks pretty good.

Bon Appetit

Is being a man an art?

Recently I became a father again…to another little boy. This is a ton of responsibility having to teach my boys to be men.

Leave it to The Cartman to try and help me. He introduced me to a blog that is dedicated to helping men claim their manliness again. He sent me an article that had the 100 books that every man should read. Of which I have added many titles to my reading wish list. I have really enjoyed the site’s articles and you can find it at The Art of Manliness. Apparently we are turning into a bunch of sissy la la’s. In my return to work my shift guys and I had a lengthy discussion about this particular topic. The next day an Newsweek magazine “arrived” at the station about the loss of manhood in this country and a call for its return. The main point of all these sources is that men need to start “man-ing up.” Luckily the Art of Manliness gives many stories of how men can return to being men, without resorting to the negative aspects in history. Basically men need to return to the pillars of etiquette, dress, grooming, money, career, family and skills.

So we as a shift came to the conclusion that we needed to see the 100 movies that every man needs to see. Thanks to Netflix streaming a number of these classics are available online and on demand. The shift decided that we should be able to watch one classic manly movie a tour. Last week we started with the Newman and Redford classic The Sting. A good film about men trying to pull an elaborate scheme. (I feel bad when I talk about movies and books cause I don’t go that deep into it, but I don’t want to give too much away.)

Since there wasn’t anything else on the tube we started another one. Bruce Lee’s last movie Enter The Dragon which is the godfather of all the secret karate tournament stories. Bruce Lee was an amazing martial artist and while the movie isn’t the most polished story, it has it’s fingerprints all over almost every martial artist film I have ever seen.

I was really disappointed to find that my Kindle was cracked. In the lower right corner a small hairline crack just appeared, which was odd because I go out of my way to take care of it, and keep my two year olds hands off of it. I called Amazon’s customer service and told them of my situation, which they surprisingly took care of. The Amazon representative didn’t hesitate and put a new Kindle enroute within an hour. Needless to say I am very impressed again with the way that Amazon is taking care of business. Thank you Amazon.

Baseball has returned!!! I love Opening Day and somewhere I forgot that the season is a marathon and the playoffs don’t begin til October. I have been yelling and screaming at the Giants, especially since the Giants lost their first two to the hated D*^%$&s! Luckily today they beat the hell out of them 10-0!

Last fall Ken Burns released the 10th innings of his definitive history on the American pastime, Ken Burns Baseball. I didn’t want to watch the end without seeing the first nine innings so I passed on it. Then it seemed as if the series fell off the face of the planet. I expected it to be everywhere, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Aside from a few old VHS copies for sale on eBay it was gone. Netflix wouldn’t even rent the discs anymore. Then yesterday Netflix blessed its customers with the new edition of the Baseball documentary on disc and available to stream. So I am going to start wading through the 20+ hours of baseball history to cross it off the list. Seems like a huge undertaking, but every man should know the history of the sport. I am really looking forward to learning new stories and relearning all the ones that I know already.

So get out there are be a man…or a woman if that’s what you are.