Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giants Baseball... Torture

"Giants baseball... torture," remarked Giants announcer Duane Kuiper after another intense one-run Giants game. The phrase stuck. That's how it has been all year. That's how it was for the division series and the NLCS.

Each game was an intense nail-biting, nerve-wracking, down-to-the-wire finish. That's what makes it so exciting. Like they did against the Braves, against the Phillies, and against the Rangers in game 4 tonight the Giants keep on winning.

I've invested more time and emotional energy into this post-season than I ever have before. I also have invested more emotional energy than any normal human (not playing sports professionally) should for any sporting event.

I thought the Giants could beat the Braves. I thought they could beat the Phillies. And I thought they would beat Texas in Six. That's why I picked game 6 to attend.

My hope was after four games the Giants would be leading the series 3-1, and they are.

So tomorrow will not be torture for me. I will not be stressed. I will be watching with ambivalence, maybe even apathy (not about the Giants, but about them wining or losing the game).

Because nothing bad can happen for me tomorrow. I watched the Giants get swept out by the A's in the Battle of the Bay back in '89. I watched the Giants take a 3-2 series lead into game 6 in 2002, only to watch the game unravel.

I stood by during the torture last season as the Giants once again flirted with greatness only to fall short of the playoffs.

Not tomorrow. Kick off your shoes and relax. Because by this time tomorrow evening my beloved Giants will be World Champions for the first time in my lifetime, and the first time since 1954, or they will still be up in the series three games to two coming back to San Fransisco. And I will be there. Wednesday could be the first World Series game I have ever attended, or it could be day three of our celebration.

For tonight, all is right in the world.

Pic of the Week

Saving Gio's life while rafting in Honduras.

Thought of the Week

Suppose your favorite baseball team has a chance to win the World Series on the road in five games, but you have tickets to game 6 at home. Assume they are up 3-1 in the series going in to game 5. Would you root for them to lose so you could go to game 6? (What if you have never been to a World Series game in your life?)

Feel free to imagine a team from the NHL or NBA if that helps.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ashkon's Don't Stop Believing

I've already watched this numerous times, but I thought it deserved be reposted here:

Go Giants.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Mi-kay-lee

I teach five classes, and I tell my students to give me three weeks to learn their names. Maybe this year I should have asked for more time.

I have four students named Alexis, three of them female. I have two Isaiah’s in the same class and two Kenneth’s in a different period. I have two Yulia’s. 2nd period has three Tayler’s. Also, in that class are Keiliyah and Kei’laja (but don’t worry those names are pronounced completely differently.)

Just two days ago I heard one of Raechele’s friends call her “Rachel” even though all year I’ve been calling her “Rachelle.” Turns out it’s pronounced “Rachel.”
I also slaughtered Michele’s name when I made the silly assumption of calling her “Michelle.” I should have known if you misspell Michelle it’s pronounced Mi-kay-lee.

In one period I have Aeakira, Cadaya, Virydiana and Waraguru. It took a little practice, but I finally say all their names correctly. Monserate is also in that class, but fortunately he goes by Mo.

And when I made new seating charts last week I unintentionally sat Yulia next to Julia.

I have three kids that go by their middle names despite the roll sheet listing their first names. Among them is Judith Holly Wood. (Yeah. On her papers she writes “Holly Wood.”)

Believe me folks. I can’t make this stuff up.

I didn’t even mention: Runako, Daysia, Aniyah, Tania, Kauron, Ke’Andre, Emoni, Janez, Berenice, Yelena, Leziya, Sevan, Goharik, Kashiemar, Leziya, Leparis, Zakiya, or Chanoy.

Pic of the Week

During the first week of school on of my best students from last year, Ayana, came back to visit me. I didn't notice that she added on to the class business section of my white board.

I was pretty amused; she made it look like my writing.

Thought of the Week

Getting a song stuck in your head is annoying. But it is much more annoying if it is a song sung by Katy Perry.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Giants Closer: Brian Wilson

I was watching Ashkon's video again, and I accidently stumbled across this Brian Wilson interview.

Rome: You get fined a 1000 bucks for orange spikes. What was the fine for?

Wilson: Uh... having too much awesome on my feet.

Click here to watch the entire interview.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This is Where I Leave You

Jonathan Tropper is magnificent in his recent novel This is Where I Leave You. Judd recently discovered his wife’s affair, and his father just died. He is going through a state of anger, sadness, loneliness, and depression. So the setting is perfect for a comedy. Tropper pulls it off beautifully.

The rarely practicing Jewish family was led by their atheist father. For some reason in his final days he met with God, and his dying wish was for his family to sit Shiva… for seven days. The four adult children were quite reluctant to this idea, but when they started to present their excuses their mother stepped it, “Stop It! Your father lay dying in his bed for the last half of year or so. How many times did you visit him, any of you? Your father made his last wish known, and we will honor it. All of us. For the next seven days you are all my children again.” That was that. For one week the family dysfunction would be on display for the reader to enjoy.

Their mother made the speech while still flaunting her inappropriately large fake breasts, and a parenting book she authored years ago. (The book managed to offer embarrassing and detailed accounts of each of the four children without any attempt to change their names.) Each of the siblings brought their own character flaws and family history into the mix. Just imagine if your own family (including multiple generations) was jammed into a small living area sitting on miniature chairs for an extended period of time.

The story was told through Judd’s perspective as he contemplated his life and his relationship with his family, and doing so while relegated to the basement because this visit he came without a significant other. His mother, whose fake breasts and short skirt didn’t fit her age or the situation, always believed in openness and honesty. The book is written in the first-person as Judd describes various situations like when Betty Allison, the mother of one of his grade school classmates, came over to pay her respect:

“I’m so sorry to hear about your father.”


“Betty’s daughter Hannah was divorced last year,” my mother says brightly, like she’s delivering a nugget of particularly good news.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I say.

Betty nods. “He was addicted to Internet porn.”

“It happens,” I say.

“Judd’s wife was cheating on him.”

“Jesus Christ, Mom!”

“What? There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Judd becomes self-conscious as other people in the room may be noticing the conversation, but the two mothers continue the ploy. Betty adds that she is sure her daughter would love to hear from Judd.

Betty and my mother smile conspiratorially at each other and I can hear the telepathy buzzing between them. Her husband was addicted to porn, his wife screwed around . . . it’s perfect!

“I’m not ready to start dating anytime soon," I say.

“No one said anything about dating,” my mother says.

“That’s right,” Betty agrees, “Just a friendly phone call. Maybe a cup of coffee.”

They both look at me expectantly. I am conscious of Phillip’s elbow in my ribs, his low, steady chuckle. I’ve got six more days of this, and if I don’t nip it in the bud, my mother will be trumpeting my situation to the entire community.

“The thing is, I enjoy some good Internet porn myself, every now and then,” I say.

“Judd!” my mother gasps, horrified.

“Some of it is done very tastefully. And especially now, being single and all. It’s a great resource.”

Phillip bursts out laughing. Betty Allison’s face turns red, and my mother sits back in her chair, defeated.

Tropper brilliantly takes you inside one man’s head, and creates a story that had me shocked a couple times, once openly saying “please don’t, please don’t,” and bursting up laughing several times. Even with only fifty pages left I found myself asking, “Will Judd try to salvage things with his wife, pursue something with his old high school fling, or go a different route all together?” Not only was I unsure how the book would end, I was unsure how I wanted it to end. But I would certainly enjoy the rest of it.

And it ended just as it should.

Pic of the Week

Laura's bookshelf in San Jose:

Thought of the Week

If you want your handheld can opener to have special features like "the ability to open cans" then I would suggest spending more than $2.14.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I was listening to the Yankee game yesterday on the radio and the announcer was discussing one of the players. He said, "And just a few years ago he turned 27 years of age."

Interesting. Me too.


This was posted on the island of Cayos Cochinos in response to people stealing the turtle eggs for male sexual enhancement.

Feel free to ask me if you don't know why this is funny.

Thought of the Week

I think I am getting younger with time.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Noah's Letter

Last night I was at my parents' house with my sister's kids. She was working the evening shooting a wedding with her husband. Noah, her youngest (almost 4) said to me, "Uncle Kevin can you help me write a card for mom?" I asked him if he wanted me to help him write the letters or actually write the words for him. We agreed that he would dictate and I would write. Initially, he wanted me to write a "k," but after having no reason for the random letter he got directly to the content. Then when he finished I asked him, "How do you want to sign it? Your son, love, sincerely?" (I didn't really plan on choosing sincerely I was just trying to get him to close the letter.) He came up with his own, one that never would have even occurred to me.

Noah's letter:

Dear Mom,
I love you. I love you past Heaven. I love you to the moon and back. I love Uncle Kevin too.

I love you at the zoo,

Not bad. I may solicit his help in the future.


Thought of the Week

If you pack for the weekend before work on Friday, and get home after 10pm Sunday, a weekend away can feel like you were gone along time.