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Real Talk and chasing dreams

Well here I am again.

I have some work to do to get back into full Wannabe, but I think that I am inspired to do so. Looking back over my list there are some changes that are going to have to take place. There are some others that I am going to have to wrestle with did I actually accomplish what I set out to do or should I give it another shot. For example, I completed a screenwriting course online that wasn’t associated with MIT. Does it really matter that it wasn’t a MIT course or was the point to complete an online class? More to come on that.

This last Monday I was invited to speak on my first podcast. It was a great time and really inspirational to get off my ass and back into accomplishing some things while I am on this journey. Chris and Austin from Real Talk Live both decided that they wanted to put something together and have done just that. Simply by deciding that they wanted to give a shot at creating their own podcast show. You can find my episode here: Real Talk Live Podcast. If you enjoy help those guys out by using their amazon link or giving them a good review.

As far an crossing something off the list… here is one. I started a club of sorts. Last year the Squeal’n Pigskin Syndicate was born. It is a fantasy football league that I put together with 11 of my “friends.” I use that term loosely because we are ridiculous and brutal to each other through the season. Trades are overanalyzed. Arguments are heated. Not to mention the insane betting that goes on through out. I am currently in a horrible losing streak and sit at 2-4 on the season. I owe wager pay ups of a Dinner that I only purchase at the dollar store, I have to host one of them overnight at my house. I also had to perform a dubsmash everyday for a week following a loss. These are very benign wagers for this league. We have had worms eaten, scandalous music videos, and paintball firing squads in the past. I have also been known to produce a weekly video recap of the syndicate that all of the other ridicule relentlessly.

That being said I am very proud of my Syndicate and feel that it more than qualifies as a club that I’ve started. I hope that all the fellow owners would agree with my as they have high expectations for how we play after a season and a quarter.

The Slop Trough

Our Championship Trophy: The Slop Trough

-John

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…

In a funk, and Roald Dahl: that crazy sum bitch

August 7, 2011 1 comment

So I’m in a writing funk lately. I just haven’t been able to do it, or really wanted to. Part of it has been that I haven’t done anything to cross off the list, but more than anything I have been stressed about life in general. Just all the crap that we allow to get into our heads and mess with our incredible opportunity to live.

Money,

Bills,

Work,

Material stuff,

other people’s stupid drama!

I mean really…who needs it??

So now I am determined to get on with it. I’ve been blessed with an incredible family, health, fantastic friends. What more does any man truly need?

Glad I got that off my chest. I feel much better now.

Like I was saying I don’t have much to say about the list, but I have been amazed at how fast my boys are growing up and how incredible they are. Quite simply the best thing that could have ever happened to Dani and I. Even when I let all that other crap get to me they can pull me up and plaster a smile on my face.

The Code-man

My 5 month old Cody is becoming more and more a kid and less and less a baby every minute. I swear that he is racing to grow up and catch his bigger brother. It actually is breaking my heart to see him get so big and learn so much so quickly.

Riding the boats at the fairgrounds.

Robby, my 2 1/2 year old, is already such a character and now is adding a soundtrack to his life with being able to talk. He is the funniest person sometimes, and others reminds me so much of myself and his mom. He lives with so much enthusiasm that it is a constant reminder for me to enjoy this life. I want to let him keep that innocence for a long as I possibly can, it truly is contagious and addictive as a drug.

That’s a brief look into why I haven’t been burning up the list lately. Would you if you had these two in your life? And I didn’t even get started on their mom, the love of my life. I am a blessed man.

Moving on…

Mass Craziness!!

Roald Dahl was one crazy mofo!! We bought this collection of children’s books to read to our boys. You know…bedtime stories. This guy was off his rocker. The first story that Robby and I read was George’s Marvelous Medicine. I became increasingly concerned as I am explaining to my child that this kid (George) is trying to kill off his Grandmother by mixing together a HazMat. He took everything he could get his hands on (under sinks, in barns, medicine cabinets) and gave it to her to drink. It goes in a totally bizarre direction after that, but I don’t know if kids should be exposed to that being okay.

So I went to another, Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is all about a fox being hunted by three farmers and how he steals from each of them. Which side of the fence do you sit on that one?? I mean Mr. Fox is stealing from the three farmers, but on the other they are attempting to murder the Fox and his family and friends. Great bedtime fodder for dream time right?

At the very least I got two more books done to add to that item. Got to get those 1000 knocked out.

Some other things that have been knocking around in my head…The SF Giants (of course…hope they pull it together soon), Jason Aldean (don’t know why, but going through a bit of a country faze again), Bumfuzzle, and spending a lot of time at my in-laws pool (summer finally arrived with a vengeance last week!)

Hope to talk to you 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.

Don’t give up on me…I’m still around

Things have been different for the ol’ adventure wannabe lately.
Mostly I have been hanging out at home with the boys while my wife has gone back to work. As difficult and overwhelming as it can get trying to juggle the needs of a 2 year old and a three month old I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world. I really feel like I am fortifying the bond between myself and my new son Cody. I do wish that my wife didn’t have to go back to work, but that’s the world we live in now I guess.

All of these new kid duties has cut into how much I am able to write. He cuts into all of the time that we have…good thing he is so dang cute. I am still working on things. I have the number to a lady that is supposed to teach me to ride a horse. I’ve continued to read, very slowly now though. There are some other things that are going on that could, or might not lead to list cross offs.

I also have been putting some time in (when I can find it) writing post for Technorati. So far I have been able to put two articles up, but I am very happy for the opportunity to write for possible readers. Never know, that might lead me to my second career.

So I know it’s been slower, but don’t lose faith in me. I will still get all these items completed. Raising my sons is just my first priority and what greater adventure is there than to play with your children. Soon they are going to be dictating what adventures they want to do. I can’t wait!

P.S. Just in case she is reading. I am so incredibly proud to be married to Dani. She is the greatest mother I have ever seen and I am the luckiest man on Earth for catching her for my wife. Everything that I am or do revolves around her and I couldn’t and wouldn’t be the man I am or know what man I want to be without her by my side. Thank you baby baby.

Call of the Wild…really is the best that I could come up with

Jack London, he used to vacation in my town

So not much going down in the land of the new dad…at least as far as the list is concerned. I have had lots and lots of time to learn all about my new little man. He is pretty incredible, and now he’s getting more interactive. It especially warms my soul when he looks up and smiles at me.
I did finish another book though. In high school I had to read parts of Call of the Wild, and it always kind of bothered me that we didn’t have to read the entire book. It really isn’t all that long, so I got the free Kindle download and went to work. Only took a couple of days to get through this one and it was actually really good.
The story is about a dog that gets kidnapped and turns toward his primal side as he pulls a sled across the frozen landscape of Alaska during the gold rush.
Seriously, check it out, it is a good quick read.
Wish I had more to report, but I promise things will pick up when my kid starts to sleep all night and can keep up with us on some of the adventures.