Althea Found!

•May 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

After four long days, we got Althea back!  We received about a dozen phone calls from the neighborhood, their attempts to locate the cat for us are so much appreciated.  The calls we received included two false alarms for the same cat (that mind you looked exactly like Althea and had been hanging near our house!) and then there was the Jewish family from up the street who claimed Althea had been sleeping in their house for three to four days.  We brought pictures over, and they said, “Absolutely, that’s her!”  A day or so later Emily received the call saying Althea had come back to their house, so she quickly ran off, only to find the family hanging out with a cat that looked nothing like Althea at all – oops!  Perhaps the most interesting call came on day 3, late at night when Emily was just beginning to become quite emotional about Althea being gone that long.  Some sicko called Emily’s phone and said they had the cat and were going to kill it unless Emily came to get her shortly.  These type of people don’t really deserve my brain power, but to elaborate a little… they said they were going to put the cat on a WebCam so we could see her, and then if we wanted her back we’d have to find the house… otherwise she was dead – little idiots like that who somehow gain self esteem by preying on other people’s vulnerability are the trash of the earth.  I was a trouble-maker when younger, but never did I want to compromise people’s comfort.  In the end, the cat was returned by us to a family who was walking down by the beach and noticed the kitty following them back to their home.  They had seen one of the perhaps 200 fliers we put up in the neighborhood and called us, and our little daughter was returned to us!  Safe and sound, though a bit shy at first.  We assume she was moving from location to location for the four days, getting bits of food from other cat’s bowls along the way… and maybe eating another bird.  In any case, we’re extremely happy to have her back in our life and hope she decides to not roam to the beach again anytime soon, she certainly got lost!

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The Love of our life, missing, now over 48 hours…

•May 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The little kitty that is often times on the hood of my car showing off her tiny little meow for the whole world to see has popped up missing.  It’s been a long 48 hours, that’s for certain.  Friday at 8am Emily fed Althea the way she does everyday before work, and typically we see her back within a few hours.  She runs around, plays with some other kitties…lays in the sun carelessly, but always returns shortly to remind us she wants her food!

She’s a far more needy cat than most, she sleeps under the covers in Emily or I’s arms every single night and has only spent the night out alone twice in her whole life besides this little episode.  We’ve fliered, talked to neighbors, went to every shelter… so far we have come up completely empty.

Speaking of empty… that’s how I feel.  I want that fucking cat back, and I want it back now.  She has had enough time to go get to know the neighborhood.  Maybe she’s trying to send a message, “I want Salmon every night, no Kibble!”  In any case, I’d be happy to honor her requests if she’d just give me the chance.

This has been extremely difficult for Emily and I.  Looking into Emily’s eyes daily and seeing her cry for hours has taken its tole on me.  For a full day almost I didn’t cry one bit, I was able to keep things together and tell myself that the cat was just exploring and that she’d be right back.

Friday afternoon I was hanging out over at Christian’s.  We were in his kitchen talking about God knows what, when I told him that lately I’ve felt really weird vibes in the air.  I had been getting odd messages from my intuition.  When my intuition tells me something, I often respond… because alot of the time it remains a less action entity than some claim theirs to be.

In any case, I told Christian I felt like something very significant was taking place, and about to show up in my life.  I went on to say that the event could be either great for my life, or harmful and toxic.  I was leaning towards a bad event.  Three hours later, I went home to find the cat missing… and we haven’t seen her since.  I pray to God that this isn’t the event I was talking about.  No, this is God’s way of flirting with me…  his way of keeping me on my toes.  

As if things hadn’t been difficult enough for us, after putting up fliers all over the neighborhood, last night we received a call from some sick fuck telling us that he had the cat and he was going to harm it.  He told Emily he had the cat on webcam and that if she didn’t come to find her, she’d kill the cat.  This obviously was a prank, some stupid fucking kid that deserves to get the crap people outta him by his parents.  Today, our very first thing to do is get that idiot arrested.  The police have been notified and we now need to call the phone carrier to file a complaint, after that…they will trace the call and make arrests.  

Please come home Althea, we love you, we miss you so much more than you can imagine, and every waking moment has been a struggle since you left.  I just want to know where you are.

Fund Raiser For Sarah…

•May 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Been a bit since I’ve updated.

A few weeks ago we had a fundraiser for Sarah who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  What better way to bring people together, friends whom haven’t seen each other in a long time than to try to raise money for a family clearly in need.  Sarah, bald headed and seemingly more tired than usual face served as a sober reminder that while we can rise up as a community and try to fix this, the end solution is in the hands of someone else, someone bigger.

Sarah, young, vibrant and health conscious fell victim to cancer after giving birth to her child, Marek, just a few short years before.  When we think of people getting sick we often have reservations about what that actually means.  Call me an optimist but I don’t envision a 30 year old woman, recently having given birth as the prime candidate for cancer.

Cancer has no prejudices, no reservations about who it can or can’t attack.  It either happens to you or it doesn’t, but surely Cancer has played a role in most people’s lives at one point or another.  It has to be one of the scarier words in the English dictionary, even the sound of the word at times sends chills down my back.  I do remember the heart-ache it put on my family when I was young.  Luckily Mom made it, but seeing my Grandparents so vulnerable and sad… it broke my heart and I still have vivid memories of my Grandfather sitting at the kitchen table one night crying.  I told him I knew Mom was  going to be okay, that he shouldn’t be sad.  He replied with a realistic tone and said, “She’s the only Mother you’ve got, you better hope she’s okay.”

Back to the fund raiser.  It appears the fund raiser was a great success raising in between 5000-6000 dollars – wonderful.  I personally didn’t buy anything at the silent auction, but Tony ended up with a print by Ryan (Sarah’s cousin) that was taken from a concert we attended at Moe’s sometime ago.  It now hangs proudly in his living room above his computer.  Instead of purchasing something I opted to just give money to Sarah and Dan, maybe that’s a tacky way of doing it, but I don’t care.

In all the fund raiser hosted well over 100 people.  We were told despite the press the event got in the local papers (Thanks Emily!) only two people off the street came in to show support.  It’s a good thing Sarah and Dan are known around the community as wonderful people, all their friends and family showed a great amount of support and truely, it was a very nice afternoon.

The Fund Raiser was flooded with newly born children, most in between 1-4 years old.  It appears we’re getting to that age in which the pressure of having a kid sets in.  During Space Heater’s music the children ran in circles right in front of the stage, reminding us to stay positive and youthful, with endless hope, and perhaps, maybe even a bit of nativity.  

I really do hope Sarah gets back to full health.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to deal with this at such a young age.  On one hand you have the intense feeling of financial stress everytime you open another medical bill, on the other hand you really don’t care how much the fucking bill costs, as long as it’s improving you health.  It should be god damn illegal for medical companies to charge some $9000 for a single shot administered to Sarah, but it isn’t and you simply can’t put a price-tag on life.

I’m trying to personally use this time of struggle for them as a way to remind myself to appreciate each and everyday.  We often times become complacement with life, and come to expect these wonderful things that happen.  The beauty of friendship, music, and love to name a few.  I’ve been lucky in my life.  I had a great group of friends in highschool, and after that moved to one of the most beautiful regions of the US.  In fact, I think it’s the nicest place I’ve been to ever.  At times I lose track of these simple appreciations for what I’ve been given.  Wonderful friends, an absolutely gorgeous beach a half a mile down the road from me, a supportive and attractive girlfriend, and a loving family.  When these unfair and shocking events pop their ugly heads into our lives, we need to sit back and think of all that is good.

Hopefully someday Sarah will look back and tell her friends she kicked cancer’s ass with ease.  The truth of the matter is, I think her positive attitude will prove to be instrumental in her regaining.  I often wonder who is controlling this spiral we call life.  Who calls the shots?  Most importantly, if there is someone else controlling this, how the hell can this be dealt to someone?  They say everything happens for a reason, but I’m just not sure that’s always the case.  I sometimes find myself angry at the person behind the wheel, a bit of disgust that they would let this happen.  My anger then transforms into something closely resembling hate… and then, I tell myself, stop, or he’ll send you to hell.

Keep it hot!

•April 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sox Take Both Games In Double Header, Streak Alive at 7

Sox wear green for Earth Day, Apparently Penny Is Irish – 6 Innings, 3 ER

Wakefield, another strong start – becomes oldest knuckler to pitch two complete games in a row

Mikey Lowell, Youk Keep Things Hot – Both Homer in Game 1

 

Does this guy really have some gas left in the tank?

Wakefield leads the Sox with a 3.0 ERA - no, this is not a typo

Twins Red Sox Baseball




 



 

 

 

 

Offense stays hot despite few signs of life from the guy you knew as Mr. Clutch a few short years ago!

 

Yankees come to Boston this weekend for a three game set against our B Team – Dice, Lowrie, Roco all expected to miss the series

 


NBA Playoffs Time!

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The NBA playoffs have begun and I was considering writing about the various matchups that are taking place, I think myself, and most basketball fans alike have their minds set on one match up and one match up only:  Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers vs LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs.

 

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant

 

 

The stage is set for what would be an epic battle, and likely a series that would make it official… who is taking the torch from Michael Jordan as the best basketball player?  My opinion is that the Cavs will likely sweep through the east, or come close and find themselves in the finals.  With Kevin Garnett out for the duration of the playoffs, it seems nobody in the east stands in the way of the potent Cavs.  They boast the best defense in the league, and a solid offense led of course by LeBron.  His role players include Zydrunas Illgauskas, Delonte West, Ben Wallace, Daniel Gibson, and Wally Szczerbiak.  They are led by coach of the year Mike Brown.  

In the west, the LA Lakers, who are in my opinion the best, and deepest team in the NBA are poised to make it back to the Finals this year, hopefully with a different outcome than last year’s embarassment dealt to them by the Boston Celtics.  Kobe Bryant, looking to silence critics saying he can’t win a ring on his own, would like more no more than to solidify himself as one of the best players in NBA History… that title will not be given to him until he does it without Shaq.  

Kobe, two games into their first series is accounting for nearly 41% of all of LA’s points, by way of assists and his personal points.  This is hardly the same selfish Kobe fans saw for the first 5+ years of his career, he has matured and is now making players around him better, the way the truly elite players do.  With Andrew Bynum back in the mix, the Lakers are by far the most talented team in the NBA in my opinion.  

After pulling off one of the most lop-sided trades in NBA History, the Lakers now have Pau Gasol as Kobe’s #2 guy.  Pau would be the best player on 80% of NBA teams, combine a guy like that with Kobe’s irrefutable offensive and defensive talent, and you have a 1-2 combo much like the Pippen\Jordan combo that brought so many rings to the Bulls in the 90’s.  That is of course, if they can work as a team.  Last year in the Finals, we saw Kobe struggling to get production out of such players as Gasol, Odom, and Vujacic.  

 

One of the best duos in NBA history, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

One of the best duos in NBA history, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

 

 

This year, I do feel things will be different for LA.  They are a year older, much hungrier and far more potent with a healthy Bynum.  The stage is set for what will go down as one of the more memorable matchups in NBA History.  The two best players in the league, LeBron 24 years old, and Kobe Bryant 30 years old.  It’s amazing Kobe is only 30 years old, he seems like he’s been in the NBA for a few decades now.  LeBron on the other hand, is younger, more physically dominant, and in my opinion are superior player and team mate.

With LeBron being a free agent after this year, he would like to do nothing more than to earn his first, and possibly many to come, NBA Title.  He has said he’d like to be the first billionaire athlete in the world.  With the entire world watching him in the NBA Finals, what better way to prove he is worth the cash.

This possible matchup, while likely, is never a shoe in.  Although these two teams are by far the best on paper, a sleeper team could always sneak up and shock the world.  That, however, is something I sincerely doubt will happen.  

 

 

The trophy all NBA players dream of holding will be handed out again shortly...

The trophy all NBA players dream of holding will be handed out again shortly...

Ten years ago, two distinctly different yet strangely similar worlds collide in San Franciscol

•April 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Trey Anastasio & Phil Lesh

Trey Anastasio & Phil Lesh

You had to imagine at one point it would happen…  The world that is  “Phish” would run straight into an aging, yet equallly revolutionary world– the Grateful Dead.  On April 15th 1999 this often talked about dreamteam took the stage. 

Phil Lesh invited two members of Phish, Trey Anastasio and Page McConnel, to take the stage for three absolutely epic shows that will stand the test of time– be talked about as some of the best music created in the 90s for years upon years to come.

One can only imagine what it was like to attend the show, but luckily the magic tranlates extremely well onto CD.  Do yourself a favor and if you haven’t heard heard these shows, do not pass go, do not collect $100, and listen to the fucking shows immediately!

You can download the shows, or stream them for free at archive.org.  From the very first few notes of music played, the audience and listeners alike know they are in for an enormous treat!  A truly must-listen for any music fan.  I remember being 17 years old, turned onto Phish a few years prior, glued to my computer watching the setlist pour in on a Phish Message Board.  California seemed like world’s away at that point, especially to go see a rock concert.  Ten years later, I find myself living an hour from where the shows took place.

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Two games in Oakland, two losses for Boston

•April 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Friday night Teddy,  Grippi, Teddy’s girlfriend (who’s name suddenly slips my mind), and myself went to see Boston\Oakland.  We had absolutely amazing seats, besides sitting in the 411 Club at Fenway they were easily the best seats I’ve ever had for a sporting event.

We were three rows off the field, and nearly dead center behind the plate.  I would actually prefer to be a few yards from directly behind the plate as you get a better angle for pitches, and probably a bit better of a view once the ball is in play.  It was amazing to be able to sit that close.

As if the astounding view of the field wasn’t enough, our seats were about 10 feet from the on deck circle which provided some fun entertainment throughout the night.  We heckled Jason Giambi the entire night.  Most insults revolved, but weren’t limited to, his use of steroids.

I didn’t really realize how clearly the players could hear us when we yelled to them while they were in the on deck circle until I yelled at Mike Lowell, “Hey Mikey, we love you – we never wanted Teixeira, we want you in Boston.”  Much to my suprise Mike Lowell put up his right hand and waved at us.

It’s rare that players show emotion, and respond to often times drunk and stupid fans.  I had more than  few beers in me for the game, but Mike Lowell took the comment to heart and showed rare attention to a fan by waving at me.  After reading interviews with Lowell earlier in the year, it quickly became apparent that he was upset that the Red Sox had chased Boras and Teixeira around in negotiations.

Assumptions by most was that the Sox would move Youk over to third to make room for Teixeira and Mike Lowell would have then been traded for two sacks of marbles and a few Gummy Bears.  Negotiations obviously failed as the Sox offered a whopping two million dollars less per year than their hated rivals over in New York – hey, Mark has a family to feed too.  18 million dollars a year wasn’t sufficient for him, nor was the alledged 16 million dollars Baltimore offered him to come play baseball just miles from where he grew up and most of his family resides.

The seats were absolutely stunning, but unfortunately the Red Sox wern’t.  Youk continues to be extremely hot at the plate, but the Red Sox offense in general has been quite lacking in these first eight games.  Jon Lester looked equally uncomfortable on the mound getting slapped around by Oakland’s offense that includes former Red Sox Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra.  Even still game was quite fun, especially from those seats – simply put, they were some of the best in the house, and only cost us $52 a piece.  The crazy part of it all was that we bought the tickets online a mere two days prior to the game – a clearly indication that Athletics ticket sales are way down this year.

In year’s past Red Sox\A’s games have been sold out entirely for weeks prior to the games, with lower level tickets often times being scalped at a near 50% markup.  Not this year, lots of lower level tickets available even on gameday.  We had most of our section rolling laughing at our belligerency in yelling witty, and sometimes insulting things to a variety of Oakland players, Giambi receiving a particular amount of attention.

Quite a few people in our section opted to join the fun, mostly making fun of me when hassling most of the A’s players in the on deck circle.  In front of us were a few Yankees fans that came came entirely decked out with Yankees gear.  One of the guys must have taken a liking to us, and ended up giving us free tickets to a Tampa Bay A’s game later this month in his season tickets, 2 rows behind homeplate.  Very nice gesture considering Tampa is likely one of the higher demand series of the year, and he also mentioned to us he was supposed to sell the tickets to someone he didn’t know, but wanted us to come enjoy the game with him a few weeks from now – should be fun.  I wouldn’t mind scoring those tickets off him several times this year… extremely entertaining to be that close to the game.

Tonight Emily, Brian, Lady B and myself went to the second game of the three game set and sat down the first baseline about 15 rows – very nice seats but I have to admit after being spoiled the first night, the tickets though very close, was not mind blowing.  Sometimes in life when we get a taste of the best, that becomes a starting point for evaluating future perspective on things.

I was lucky enough to arrive early and snap some great pictures during batting practice and we also got some solid ones during the game.  Below I have posted several of these shots.  I will have to bring the camera when I go see Tampa later this month and snap some more.

Boston lost in the 12th tonight, after an extremely poor outting by Dice-K, giving up 5 earned runs in the first 4 outs he recorded.  Boston’s offense was more potent tonight, putting five on board but it simply wasn’t enough.  Youk is red hot, but other than that the offense looks relatively flat this year.

Ortiz continues to struggle, which is not all together suprising to me.  His bat speed looks much slower this year.  We watched him struggle to get a piece of 90 mph fastballs, something we haven’t seen much in the past.  My personal predictions for Ortiz this year would go down as his worst season in a Red Sox uniform.  He seems to be aging, and (take a deep breathe Sox fans, and perhaps take a seat) I suspect he was using steroids during his prime years just a short time ago.  He has been riddled with injuries since widespread investigation and media reporting began on steroids use, and just doesn’t seem to be half the player he once was.

He is still batting third in the lineup, but that could change especially if we add a bat during the season.  My prediction for the player that was just a short time ago the most intimidating bat in baseball are something like:

100 games played, 380 at bats, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, batting around .258.  Some fans will tell you those expectations are fairly low, but I think in the end they will be close to on point.  A little bit shocking from a player that averaged 43 HR a year from  2004 to 2006.  The loss of bat speed, and team’s increased ability to get David to hit into the shift has tamed the big fella out quite considerably.

A few words about the attendance at the games.  Nearly the entire second deck for both games were empty, something you would rarely find at any A’s games a few years ago, and likely the worst attendance for a Boston\Oakland series in the last 10 years.  Even large portion of the lower section were empty, and word tonight was that they only sold 22,000 tickets of the 35,00 tickets available leaving the stadium 37% empty.  If they are having a difficult time selling out Boston games, especially early in the season when each and every team has renewed optimism about their team, I can’t imagine the hit they will take later on thsi year… most likely some games will have 50% of the seats not sold.

For a team that has clearly always had financial woes most MLB teams aren’t accustomed to, this will come as an enormous hit to the organization.  Once they fall out of playoff contention, most likely around the trade deadline, I expect them to move players to save money, Matt Halladay comes to mind.  They won’t be the only ones looking to shed salary space, as lots of mid level and small market organizations might report a 35-45% decrease in net profits.  It’s revealing of just how bad the economy is when America’s Past Time is showing serious serious signs of financial woes in the near future.  Baseball’s attendance has stayed pretty consistent in the last fifteen years, and has actually been growing each and every year… clearly won’t be the case.  Recession after recession, people continue to go out to the ballpark with their families, enjoying the heart warming feeling merely stepping into the stadium provides.  Something about the sights, sounds, and beautiful field really does invoke comfort and happiness, at least I know it does for me.  It will be interesting to see just how bad things get for America’s most popular sport.

In any case, I’ll update soon when I have more positive things to say for our Sox.  For now, it ain’t  looking pretty.  Here are some pictures from both batting practice and the game.  Enjoy and feel free to post comments if anyone is following along.  Sorry for the dupes, I’m still trying to get used to this site and I’m having a hard time getting rid of the dupes.  Anyhow, hope you enjoy.