Once a month, sometimes twice, my work day pummels me. Pharma copy and legal review is basically what I imagine it feels like to come up to bat in the 9th and see Mariano Rivera has come in from the bullpen.
So usually when this rolls around, I'll find comfort in the arms of sour gummy bears. Or hot white chocolate from DD. The former is off-limits for another ~40 days. The latter was too far a walk when it's pouring rain out.
(I swear to God, I'm like 3 minutes away from cracking, on account of this candy-fast. Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night, as usual, and slept-walk into the kitchen, as usual. And while normally this results in me sleep-eating candy, I guess my delirium was resolute enough to know not to pound Sweet Tarts. But NOT conscious enough to know that a tortilla wrap with Reddi-Whip and peanut butter would not be a good idea. Next year I'm giving up Pepsi.)
But I digress. The point is, in the absence of comfort staples, I found joy in the least likely place:
Oh, David Arias! Ever since your jersey was buried in Greatness' New Home, the home of the reigning World Champion Yankees, you've been one walking punchline after another.
I'm too kicked from the day to recount ALL of them. But here's a start...
Ortiz didn't hit his first home run until nearly June, was dropped in the order, benched, and ultimately outed as testing positive during Major League Baseball's anonymous survey testing in 2003. Ortiz copped the "carelessness with vitamins and supplements" plea on the latter charge, but couldn't ignore the doubt swirling around him.
But then today, he does what he does best. (Ah, remember when "what he does best" was clutch hitting? Yeah. Now what he does best is flap his gums so mindlessly and carelessly that he truly brings new meaning to the adage, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." He's kind of like Percy in "The Green Mile." No one knows what to do with him at this point, and he's all but depleted his fan favorability leverage.)
In the past, Ortiz has graced us with his denouncement of steroid use, his whining about MVP, his whining about throwing at batters, his sympathy pains for his team's hardships (one of my personal favorites), and his contention that he was honest to God just taking vitamins! Seriously! Vitamins. My ears just started bleeding thinking about that.
(Eh, maybe I'm not too kicked from the day to rattle off a laundry list of Ortiz implosions, after all.)
Blech. Anyways, so today I get a good kick out of his most recent public relations disaster, when he starts rambling about how he's going to turn the page on last year, and how it's soooo not fair that the fans were so Negative Nancy towards him.
Actually, you know what adage Ortiz REALLY brings new meaning to? "THE WOMAN DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH."
Every single time this dumbass gets in front of a microphone bank, he employs the same boilerplate format to his whines:
I. Casually assert dissenting opinion.
III. More emphatically assert dissenting opinion to establish his veracity
V. Lie OR deflect culpability/doubt on someone other than himself
VI. Forget what he was even talking about
Today, he goes on and on about how he's peeved at the fans for giving up on him so quickly.
(Well, sure. That's understandable. It's totally reasonable to expect fans to lionize him throughout a season of hemorrhaging stranded runners, whiffing so much he looks like a bending straw in the middle of a maelstrom, and basically taking a sledgehammer to the Sux's offensive presence.)
“I think people gave up on me too early too fast, started talking about age and all that kind of stuff. You listen to it for a minute. It was the same people that were clapping for you a year before and saying good things about you. (Their) minds changed that quick? I don’t believe in that. It’s a one-minute thing. That’s the way I see it. I’m strong enough to know how to deal with it and put that in the past.”
But wait, he's not done yet...
"It seems a lot of times like there’s a lot of negativity floating around. It’s a situation I guess that’s where people make their money out of it. That’s too bad. In my situation, I know I’m an employee here. It doesn’t matter how things are going - I try my best. This is just another year, just like the others. We have an owner, we have a GM, they are the ones who decide what to do. Like I say, I’m going to try my best and move on.”
Ughhh...I HATE it when slumping athletes try to tug at our heart strings. No one cares. RULE #76, PEABRAINS.
"My focus point right now is do some damage."
HAHAHAHHAHA, awww don't be so hard on yourself. I'd say there's a pretty good argument that you did just as much damage last year as you had the year before. Just...not to the right team.
"I'm not a beginning guy, I'll tell you that right now. I'm an end of the season guy pretty much my whole career."
I hate him.
"I'm not going to lie to you, I wasn't feeling comfortable. I guess you have a lot of games too early last year, important games, like the WBC, you wasn't ready for, you putting pressure on yourself just because you want to produce and you're not ready for the time and that cuts you off from doing what you gotta do at this time of the season to get prepared for the season."
You're not gonna lie to us? As soon as someone says "I'm not gonna lie to you," or "To tell you the truth," or "to be perfectly honest," I get leery. What about everything said that you DIDN'T qualify with one of those lead-ins?
"Last season was an experience for me, but at the end of the season when I sat down in my house, I was proud of myself."
Oh, to have those kind of personal standards....
"And it was because there's not too many people that know how to bounce back from that hole that I was in those first two months."
"And I asked myself, 'how can I bounce back?'"
"And I have an answer for that."
"I just stay strong, not put attention to all the negativity that people sometimes bring around. I just stick with what I have."
Ha, I wasn't far off.
"This is just another year, just like the others."
Welllll....not EXACTLY like the others. You thought you missed Manny last year? That's nothing compared to how much you're gonna miss the roid shots this year.
"I feel good. I feel good. Do I look good? [Swing] feels strong.... it's pretty much part of the game that people worry about your body shape. I'm not going to look like Ricky Martin right now. I'm going to be the same guy. I might get stronger. I might try to stay away from injuries, but I'm not going to look any different. I wish I could look like Ricky Martin."
!!!!! Oh my God. Yes, these are the days of our lives. David Ortiz is not about 130 pounds lighter because he laid off the
So there you have it. David Ortiz is moving on. If "moving on" means passive aggressively absolving himself of last season's train wreck by assigning the blame to less than enthused fans.
Well played, assclown. Well played. You made me smile. (So did this, btw.)
So see if you can rustle up some more monuments to idiocy tomorrow. Because it's slated to rain again, and I don't want to have to trek to Dunkin Donuts if I have another rough day.
No, not of the Logan persuasion. (Though, come to think of it, has anyone heard anything about this guy? Is he still a Yankee? We did acquire Boone Logan this off-season, yeah?)
I'm referring to one AARON BOONE.
Words will never do justice to what you did for us.
And when you faded into oblivion after playing pickup hoops in the offseason, I think you knew what you were doing. After hitting the first pitch of the inning off Wakefield and sending us into the World Series, you can't go anywhere but down. Or away.
You'll never be forgotten. Ever.
PS, Nintendo Baseball Stars is one of the best video games ever. Not Zelda-caliber. But it's like The Bends. I don't care how long I've gone without it, I can sit down and put it on and it's just as amazing the whole way through. And it's awesome for the following reasons:
..until Opening Day.
8 more days til Spring Training Game #1.
I gave up candy for Lent. I've gone 6 days sans Sour Patch Kids, Gummy Bears, Reeses Pieces. sour peaches, etc. And I'm already climbing up the walls. My coworker always jokes that what he feels most sympathetic about is the fact that someone already got to my soulmate before I could.
Maybe for the 40 days and nights before Opening Day I could give up something to make the whole wait more meaningful. And by "meaningful," I guess I mean "excruiating." Ahh, unfortunately, I'm coming up short on the ideas department. (Other than giving up unnecessarily staying up til dawn just to play video games and other assorted Calvin & Hobbes-like activities.)
I got home from work today and realized there was no news in Yankee world. No walls to paint. Not even any taxes to do.
(I finally got around to doing them and I realize now why my dad became an accountant. The sheer inefficiency and roundabout manner that defines a W-2 form is right in my dad's wheelhouse. Every time I saw something that was like, "If you answered Yes in box 7B, go to box 12. If no, then turn the page to line 43" only to discover line 43 and 7B yield more maddening cross-referencing...I was reminded of every time my dad gave us driving instructions. "First, drive down to Pittsburgh. Fill the car halfway with gas. Then make a left after 4 turns. Get back onto the highway, and come home. Feed the cats. Go to the Exxon 2 towns over and ask for Manny. Tell him you want HALF A TANK OF GAS. He'll know what it means. Then come back home. Then get on 95 and follow the signs to DC, and you'll be Florida in no time.")
I have to admit, I almost enjoy this little lull. When was the last time I was free of obligation? Tomorrow, I'll be a frantic all-over-the-place cuckoo again, but tonight? QT with Mo.
1.) The American Dreams team is mostly ex-Yankees.
2.) The Lovely Ladies chick team wears pink uniforms and cries when you hit them with a pitch. And their starting pitcher is named Kris.
Ahhh, I feel warmer and healthier already.
It's amazing what one 12 minutes trip to Travelocity.com can do.
March 10 through March 15, I'm Spring Training bound.
For the past 6 years, I've gone to the Yankees preseason at Legends Field, sometimes during actual games, sometimes during February warmups. I've seen the non-roster invitees, the legends, the old guard, the meaningless games in 80 degree weather. I've waited outside the fences with raucous toddlers all clamoring to get their baseballs signed. I even sat next to the Boss himself once.
This year, I'll be exploring the world of Mets, Cards, and Sux Spring Training down in West Palm beach.
NO, I haven't changed sides. My parents did. Sort of. They changed sides from the North to the South, and moved to West Palm beach. And while there are very few things in life that throw the trump card on the Yanks, family is one of them.
I'm going to think of it as my own scouting-out-of-the-talent trip. And who knows, I'll be there for a week...I may very well decide to hop in the car and take the 4 hour trip east to Steinbrenner Drive...
(As an aside, my boss at my first advertising job, who liked baseball about as much as I like the guy in the Union Square subway station who bangs on buckets with sticks and sells CDs of this, used to call Spring Training, "baseball camp." Which I loved, because whenever I asked for time off to go to Florida, he would be all, "ooh, for baseball camp??!" and I got a kick out of everyone thinking I was going down to Tampa to work on my crow hop and pick offs.)
CYC: So, you heard Damon's gone.
Laur: Yeah, to the Tigers or something, right?
CYC: I feel bad for him, he seemed like a good guy.
Laur: Detroit's not so bad, it gets a bad rap. It could be worse. It could've been Kansas City or something.
CYC: You know he played for them originally, right?
Laur: He did?
CYC: And I think he's from there, too.
Laur: Oh. Well, then maybe KC wasn't a good example.
Johnny Damon has agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.The 36-year-old Damon hit .286 with 24 homers for the New York Yankees last season. He likely would bat leadoff for the Tigers, filling the void left when Detroit dealt Curtis Granderson to the Yankees.
Part of me feels really bad for Damon. The other part of me is thrilled the Damon watercooler talk is finally seeing its long overdue denouement.
Ok. He's gone. He was dealt to another team. We got Granderson. They got Damon. No harm, no foul. I'm pretty sure the Yankees will live to survive this. Besides, it's not like Detroit's a bad team. Sometimes their Detroitness eclipses the reality they're actually decent. It's like the Lions and city itself are such a wreck that I forget about the Red Wings and potential-laden Tiggers.
I don't know, I know I spent 4 years spitting vitriol at the guy when he was in Beantown, but then after the initial shock of hearing his name incorporated into the RF bleachers' roll call wore off, I really started to like the guy. Those little anecdotal blurbs that run across the screen a la Little League World Series style more often than not had me unduly impressed with him.
So in honor of Damon leaving the Yankees and heading for greener pastures in Michigan--btw I just had to google Detroit to find out what state it's in--here's my list of Reasons I'll Miss Damon That Have Little to Nothing at All to Do With His Value as a LFer on the Yankees.
1.) On August 8, 2001, in a game in Oakland against the Red Sox, Damon hit a liner down the right field lines and the ball rolled into a beer cup.
I read this, I read "Beer Pong." Any player who understands the importance of sinking a ball into a beer cup is a player after my own heart. (Speaking of, I think I spent as many hours playing beer pong this weekend as I did studying for my English Comprehensive Capstone Exam in college.)
I honestly feel that this pretty much covers it for me:
Sad. That may the list topper of things I fear I will never outgrow, as my credibility as an adult continues to decline...
2.) He publicly rushed to the defense of A-Rod after Torre carelessly threw him under the bus.
Damon spoke out about the A-Fraud comments in Joe Torre's book. On hand for the 29th annual Thurman Munson awards, Damon is quoted in today's New York Post as saying:3.) He never takes shots at anyone.
"[A-Rod] is just a great guy who works harder than anybody," Damon added. "Alex is one of the greatest players ever, and I would put my odds on him to win another MVP this year."
Damon later added that he has no intention of reading Joe Torre's book.
We always lionize Jeter for being one of the classiest guys in the game, and he undoubtedly is, but so is Damon.
4.) When he became a Yankee, he became a Yankee.
Think about it. Think about that moment in December when you first heard that Damon was going to be wearing pinstripes. And you're lying if you claim you were excited.
I remember being at home playing Scattegories and getting a text message from my sister's boyfriend, "Welcome to the Yankees, Damon." I was sputtering and spitting and throwing the 20-faced die around with aggressive abandon.
Who'd have thunk things would have played out like this?
5.) "Good way to start. Get embarrassed on the first play."
Self-deprecating humor goes a loooonng way with me. I never expect to see sarcasm come out of famous people. It's like they relinquish all dry wit upon signing their contract for celebrity status.
6.) He's of military stock.
Johnny Damon was born in Fort Riley, Kansas. His father was a staff sergeant in the United States Army, stationed in Thailand. Damon, born at Ft. Riley, an Army base in Kansas, spent much of his early childhood as an “Army bright” moving to several bases from Okinawa, Japan, to West Germany, before his father left the Army and settled the family in Orlando, Florida, during Damon’s preschool years.Probably one of the main reasons Ted Williams is my favorite player of all time is because he left his superior career as a baseball legend to fight for his country. Damon didn't exactly go that far, but his respect for patriotism is evident.
So there's that. Damon is gone. Farewell, soldier. You'll be missed. The rampant Damon speculation game will not be.
And in weirder Yankee news...
Chan Ho Park is coming to pitch for the Yankees.
Ok.... sure, I guess. Why not. I just got a bad taste in my mouth from this guy from the World Series. I had beef with him last year when I accused him of spitting on the ball. Which, actually, wasn't so much about him as it was about the fact Mariano Rivera got crucified for something that he never did, while Park's potential foray into illegality went untouched.
But, uh, welcome to the team, CHP.
I don't understand this, but as Cashman eloquently explains:
As for Park fitting into an already full bullpen, Cashman said, "The more, the merrier. You can never have enough."
HAHAHAHHHAHA. The more, the merrier?? That's the philosophy guiding the bullpen construction? Awesome. Cash has been hanging with Swish too much.
My "bold predictions" for the coming season. And I may be playing it a little fast and loose with the term "bold." But "Gamut of Outlandish to Conservative Conjectures" didn't roll off the proverbial tongue as well.
10:28pm Wednesday Night
I actually feel different. It's weird.
* * *
2:47am Friday Morning
And that's all I had written last night before I konked out. The old falling asleep on your laptop trick is aggravating under any circumstances, but even more so when it meant I woke up Thursday morning in the living room AND NOT MY BEDROOM AND HENCE WAS DENIED THE JOY OF WAKING UP IN FRONT OF THE STADIUM FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Ha, what a weird night. I think the paint fumes and sleep deprivation finally caught up to me.
So now it's 3am, Friday morning. And I feel like I'm subconsciously starting to ween myself back into baseball schedule mode. Blogging in the middle of the night after working late. Determined not to fall asleep. Confusing the building's doormen with each arbitrary trip to the deli across the street for Pepsi and powdered donettes. All that's missing is the YES Encore playing in the background.
It's good to be back.
On Wednesday, my coworkers were having a field with me, and I don't really blame them. I was galloping around the office in my Yankee zip-up and hat and beaming from ear to ear, deliriously happy and excited, like I'd just caught a bunch of frogs in the backyard to bring in for Show & Tell.
"She's just excited because it's Pitchers and Catchers Day," my buddy explained to someone. "And just so we're all clear, her skipping around the office is more exercise then what goes on down in Florida today. No games. No practice. Just people coming in and checking their names on a sign in sheet."
It's SYMBOLIC, though. (And besides, why ya gotta waste my flava? I was already in unforeseen straits of discomfort on account of not wearing a jacket in 20 degree weather. I honestly assumed the P&C-ness of the day would invariably effect Nature to follow suit.)
When I was in 3rd grade, I did a report about the Life Cycle of the Red-Spotted Newt. Because I was 100% normal and that's a perfectly standard topic to write on. What. Anyways, they have these very specific life stages (which probably a lot of animals do, but I know nothing about since I went the "what will be the hardest to research on a Brittanica set" route) and I am at the land-dwelling stage of my season. I spent some time messing around in the pond, but it was really all working up to baseball season where I could hop on a rock and take the game in.
So...you'd never tell a newt, "oh yeah, your red eft phase of your life is meaningless," so same applies to Yankee fans. But that's what I feel like right now, like the life cycle of baseball fans is sectioned out into Offseason, P&C Day, Spring Training, Regular Season, Playoffs. And we're out of the crap larvae stage finally.
How can that be meaningless? Yeah, I know. I understand. You don't need to pop your head in to remind me that "spring training doesn't count." Unless, of course, you're a Sux fan and just practicing for when the Yankees open the season with a sweep at Fenway. And then you've got the whole, "who even cares about regular season games anyway" mantra down pat.
First of all, everything that has to do with the Yankees means something. And for that matter, everything that has to do with baseball matters. Otherwise it wouldn't happen. If the playoffs were the only "real" games, the season would just start there.
Second of all, Spring Training actually does mean something. It means that a whole new neatly delineated time frame of our year has begun. It's not like Restaurant Week. Or Summer. Or Christmas time. Or Spring semester. It's probably more along the lines of the whole 6 months of sun, 6 months of darkness thing that allegedly goes on in Alaska.
(And, boom, there it is. That's what I'm saying next time someone asks me why I own night vision goggles. It's a symbol of the patience and endurance that punctuates the wait for baseball.)
The season starting means more than the Yankees playing again. It means everything that goes along with it. It means a whole shift in lifestyle. I was thinking yesterday about how last year, I only bought whatever #27 was in the vending machine. I used to have the elevator stop at the 27th floor even though I got off at 9. No wearing red. No anything red. And every single time it was 2:22 or 4:44 or 11:11 etc, I wished for the Yankees to win the World Series.
Maybe those things aren't exactly life-altering, or even life-putting-a-dent-it-in, but it's a whole new calibration of priorities and focus. A whole new mindset. And it begins now. Like we're seeing a giant, awesome pirate ship. But instead of One Eyed Willie's rich stuff treasures of diamonds and rubies, it's filled with walkoffs and dings and comebacks and ridiculous plays at 1st and CC's fat.
So, in more relevant Yankee news:
"After using just a three-man rotation en route to the Yankees' 27th World Series championship, manager Joe Girardi plans to adjust the workload of his starters during Spring Training."
Well, that's good news! We're already getting off on the right foot. Although, I have to admit, it'd be kind of hilarious if Girardi opened up Spring Training by announcing he was planning on using CC, AJ, and Andy in a 3-man rotation until Opening Day.
In his P&C Day welcome speech, Girardi did, of course, touch upon the #1 Subject That Has Perhaps Been Missing in Our Lives, But Never in Our Thoughts:
STARTER? RELIEVER? LET THE RIOTS ENSUE.
“I expect two guys to pitch at a very high level. Will statistics play 100 percent of the decision? No. We’ll look at guys, how they’re throwing the baseball, and what we feel as an organization and coaching staff is the best for everyone involved. … It is a healthy competition for the fifth starting spot and I love that. I think that brings out the best in people.”
Ah, it's a welcome change from the Johnny Damon rhetoric.
The outfielder situation isn't vexing me as it was during the offseason. Eh, Granderson in CF, Gardner and Swish bookending the situation. Or shuffle it up like the Guess Which Cap is Hiding the Ball game. (On an aside, Granderson is handling everything so gracefully and admirably and hence brilliantly, like a guy asking his girlfriend's father for his blessing before he proposes. Well done, Curtis. I like your attitude. You keep this up, and I can probably get past your lack of middle name.)
I wish I was in Florida right now. I was watching videos of the boys tossing the old cowhide around, and I couldn't help but smile and even get some goosebumps.
They're really back.
Annndd...me surveying what I will now see every single morning when I get out of bed:
LIFE IS GOOD.
See ya in a few hours for more on Pitchers & Catchers Day!
Day 11 (Friday) didn't see much in the way of productivity. Specifically, none. It sort of evened itself out on Day 12, I guess. Kind of like re-assigning different "effort percentages" to each player on a basketball team, so that all 5 add up to an even 100%. Which is a practice I wholeheartedly am on board with. After "stepping up to the plate," "playing 110%" is a good, solid choice for Most Inane Expression That Not Only Doesn't Mean Anything, But Possibly is Diluting Your Desired Communication Objection.
(How can you play more than 100%? And if you can, than why only 10% extra? Morons.)
Ah, speaking of morons...I wake up today at what I assume is 9am, yell at my sister for calling me so early to ask about bagels, and then listen to her inform me it's actually 2 in the afternoon. Way to keep your head in the game, Kris.
Friday night sort of reminded me of when I was little, and me and my cousin used to stick my sister in our little yellow and red cozy coupe car, drape a towel over it so she couldn't see where she was going and than maniacally wheel her around the back deck. Sometimes we'd accidentally lose control of it and it'd roll down a few stairs.
(To be clear, I wasn't really in a cozy coupe last night. Though I can understand if this were taken literally considering some of the things that have historically served as entertainment for me in my adult years.)
The good news was that because I was too banged up and tired to do anything all day, I didn't get distracted from painting every 2 seconds. It's a lot easier to be productive when stuff like Pop-A-Shot and video games make your head hurt.
P&C is about 3 days away, and I just may finish this by then after all!!
Under normal circumstances, a screwy sleep schedule could mean spending Sunday playing a fun day of "Press Your Luck: At What Inopportune Time Will Too Little Sleep Abruptly Catch Up to Me."
Not today, though!
I'm off Monday. Sunday is automatically awesome. So from where I'm sitting, everything's turning up Milhouse.
I can't believe the Yankees are almost back in my life again. It makes me giddy.
Still a little behind schedule, as I only did about 90% of the right side of the wall and still havent filled in all the straight lines. I tried to. I realllly tried to. But around 4am I started to fall asleep standing up. Which is somewhat of a liability when I'm clutching a can of charcoal grey paint and paintbrush laden with said hue. So at that point, I begrudgingly called it quits. Or my body did, anyway.
When I got back to my apartment after an evening of reliving Week 17 of the 2o08 season, I was running on fumes and was about 3 minutes from collapsing on the bed, until I thought about my junior year of college, when I had registered for this creative writing independent study course where the whole semester worked towards writing a short novel.
So of course every Sunday when I was supposed to be writing a new chapter, I was watching football instead and telling my buddies that I'd just "write 2 chapters next week." Then "ok, next Sunday definitely, I'm going to catch up and write 3." Then 12 weeks later, I get an email from the professor saying, "Kris, I haven't received any writing from you all semester. It says you're still registered for this class, though. Please see me."
For 3 days before the last day of the semester, I holed up in the Business School library (because I wouldn't get distracted by any of the books there) and wrote for essentially 72 straight hours until I "finished" a 156 page piece. And I think I could die happy if I never have to a.) do anything like that again and b.) never find this manuscript in the back of my closet or something and pick it up and read it. I have no electronic version of it, and I think if I ever found it, I'd probably put a match to it just to avoid the cringe-apalooza that would ensue from revisiting it.
Which is why I pushed through the tired last night and painted. Also, I want to go out and get after it on Sunday since I'm off Monday.
Yes, quite the life I've carved out for myself.
Today is already awesome because not only is it Friday, but we're only 5 DAYS AWAY FROM BASEBALL SEASON!
So I'm a little behind schedule. I'm want to blame the weather, because I hate snow and have no compunction about throwing it under the bus for something that 100% isn't its fault. In reality, I'm behind schedule because I've been a bit under the weather. That, however, is something that I can absolutely pin on the [admittedly pretty and exciting] blizzard.
It's getting there, I guess. I still have a boatload of work to do on the facade, and given the battle it waged with me this afternoon, I suspect neither the facade nor I will escape from this ordeal without significant crippling.
I think it got to the point where I was seeing facade beams in my head, which was pretty much exactly what happened to me when I first got Tetris for Christmas like 20 years ago, and I played it so obsessively that I was starting to see Tetris blocks in just about everything I looked at. Windows on buildings. Piano keys. Magnets. (And this is to say nothing of the near madness I was driven to from having the Nutcracker Suite song running on a loop in my head for about a month and a half.)
Good times. One more week til P&C Day. The fact that baseball is starting in mere days is so weird-- and unassailably heartening-- in the context of the Logo-Warranting Blizzard. Baseball season is so, so close.
And that's what I'm going to think about when I'm sloshing through 10 inches of gray icy swamp on my walk to work tomorrow.
WAHOO!!! ONE MORE WEEK!
As much as I'm prone to the "if-I-just-forgo-sleep-and-work-through-the-night-I-can-pretty-much-finish-anything-I-really-need-to-get-done" mentality, it's probably not a good idea when it comes to painting. (Or, actually, anything else for that matter...)
I can generally conquer mental fatigue but when my arm has been elevated for 6 straight hours like I'm Andrea Zuckerman or something, it's time to make the Verizon call to the bullpen. In this case, the bullpen=my bed.
In Yankee news, Marcus Thames agreed to a minor-league contract with the Yankees to give themselves more left-field options. Thames, who turns 33 next month, began his major-league career with the Yankees in 2002 and homered on his first big-league pitch that June 10 off Arizona's Randy Johnson.
Interesting move. I'm into it. Mainly because I'm just so happy to read any Yankee news. They could have said, "Yankees finalizing 8-year contract with Julio Franco" and I'd probably be on board.
Plus, I feel like the more arbitrary the acquisition, the more my interest is piqued and consequently sated. Very clever, Cashman. It's kind of like when I see someone with a completely ridiculous get-up and I always end up complimenting it, regardless of whether or not I actually like it. I think it's because it's like begging for something to be said about it, and, well, as a general rule, it's better to be nice than a jerk.
I should probably just not say anything at all, I guess.
Yeah, couldn't have just finished the last letter. 9 Days left to finish this. It's gotta be a productive week. If for no other reason, then because it'll drive me bananas looking at an unfinished wall, as the last thing I see before I fall asleep every night.
Speaking of things I see before bed, I was looking for a movie on demand last week to put me to sleep and my interest is piqued by some tongue-in-cheek flick called "How to Be a Serial Killer." Pretty much fit the bill for what I was looking for in terms of short movie, somewhat entertaining, that I don't have to think about it.
But before I order it, I go online to watch a trailer, and it was then that I realized that I was staring at the #1 Ultimate List-Topper in "Worst Possible Things Someone Could Find in Your Google Browser."
I don't know why this is so hilarious to me. But I keep breaking into fits every time I think about it and the possibilities around someone coming over, asking to borrow my computer, and seeing this on the screen:
I'm sure this will now be the last time I'm ever allowed to use the internet at work.
In other news, the Saints beat the Colts 31-17 last night in an improbably boring Super Bowl. My sister begrudgingly came out with me to watch it, and right before we leave my apartment groans, "Oh God. Everyone's going to be talking about football. I can't do this."
The depths of her hatred for football know no bounds, as she sees it as a cruel impediment to baseball. "All I ever want to do on the Super Bowl is make cupcakes with little footballs on them. That's it." And she didn't even get to do that. But on the plus side, she did, once again, win, since every year she roots for only 1 thing:
"I'm rooting for it to be over."
When Peyton had the ball on 4th and goal, I told her that this is it. They don't score here, it's officially (well, unofficially I guess) baseball season.
She also couldn't figure out why me and my buddies were so bored with the game for about 85% of it. Mainly we whined about how this was supposed to be an offensive shit show. And while theoretically, a 16-17 game should be prime SB situations, we felt jilted.
My sister put up with it like a champ, though, even when I treated her to a classic case of "Kris inventing trivia anecdotes that should never be shared since in all likelihood they are 100% fabricated." BUT THIS TIME I WAS RIGHT. Sort of.
"You know where the Super Bowl came from?"
"Ugh, are we still talking about football? No more football."
"Some guy's daughter was playing with a toy or something. And it inspired the concept of Super Bowl."
"Are you kidding me with this? That makes no sense at all."
So there's that. And now the next task at hand is getting through the always miserable Monday after the Super Bowl.
That took me about 5 hours. And it's like not even 1/3 of the wall. I may or may not have underestimated the scope of work for this undertaking. With a little less than 10 days left til P&C Day, I have my work cut out for me.
And with the Super Bowl going on today, my level of productivity may or may not be somewhat compromised.
On a side note, if anyone needs any paint, I am in wild excess of it, thanks to the Benjamin Moore employee who refused to sell me a pint of paint (DESPITE THE FACT THERE WAS A SIGN ON THE COUNTER THAT SAID, "SAMPLE PINT CANS AVAILABLE $7.00.") Suffice to say it was a long, arduous battle that was going nowhere good.
Actually, that's not true. One good thing came out of it.
So after the guy tells me 1 quart covers 100 square feet, after I tell him the entire wall isn't even 100 square feet, after he tells me he doesn't have pint sizes, after I tell him I'm looking at an offer for pint sized cans, and after another 25 minutes of aggravating back and forth about why I can't get the pint, I ask him, "Ok, what am I supposed to do with 5 quarts of paint when I need like 1/15 of that?"
"Well, do you have kids?"
"Well, if you have kids, you can use the extra for fingerpainting."
That's right. He wanted me to give me non-existent children 5 cans of latex wall paint so they could get some fingerpainting use out of it.
Alllllmost done with the sketching. Just gotta put in the little doorways along the bottom. Some awnings. Maybe a couple of street lights. And then it's PAINT TIME.
I went out this morning to Benjamin Moore, even though I kind of wanted to wait til I was fully done with the pencil outline first. But for some reason I feel like the paint store is open for about 23 minutes a week, and this might be a rare opportunity to actually lock up the paint purchases.
So I go to the paint place on 87th and York, and in response to every. single. question. I asked, the man working there rattled off some boilerplate monologue about the differences between flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss finish.
I'm not even kidding. Even when I asked if I could get a size smaller than a quart. Very well played, B-Moore guy. I stopped asking questions after the 3rd time. "FINE I'LL TAKE THE QUART-SIZED. IN EGGSHELL. I DON'T CARE ANYMORE."
Genius. A wildly unhelpful man leveraged his gruffness into sales of 5 paint cans. And a paint brush.
I'm pretty sure I just got jedi-mind-tricked.
Well played, sir. You're like a more clever version of Amtrak Julie.
I was reminded of a scene in Ace Ventura yesterday, after my sister--who is insanely brilliant/talented and basically this otherwordly prodigy/pundit in all things art--saw the work-in-progress wall.
And the scene it reminded me of?
"Well, that's a fine painting, Pollina. But unfortunately, real painters have to worry about a little thing called...PERSPECTIVE."
So...Day 3=more an exercise in seeing exactly how much use I can get out of a 2" by 1" pink eraser. HOWEVAH, I have a feeling tonight is going to be aggressively productive. Mostly because I just am impatient to start the painting part of it, and I know how I am: I'll stay up til 5am killing myself to finish this, which will consequently lead to me crashing Friday afternoon. I really wish the human body didn't require any sleep at all.
That, and I wish there was a function on email systems where you could postdate an email. Like if I remembered an email I had to send out at like 3am, I could just write it and schedule it for delivery for 8am...because really, anything you write at that hour is going to be overshadowed by the backstory behind it. It's like Christmas morning for my mom every time she gets an email with a timestamp past 1am. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING AWAKE AT THIS HOUR? STORY?"
My birthday's coming up...there's 2 gift ideas right there. Sleepless physiology. Postdated emails.
I may never again be as thrillingly overjoyed as I was on February 3, 2008. I used to think this was actually kinda sad, but now I just am happy to have known that unique breed of sublime euphoria at least once in my lifetime.
In honor of this special day that I can only assume is on the queue for "Events to Eventually Be Declared Federal Holidays," here's a reprint of the column I wrote during the Giants Super Bowl XLII ticker tape parade:
About 50 blocks south of me the New York Giants are holding court in the Canyon of Heroes. Thousands are flooding lower Manhattan in an overwhelming parade of gratitude. Thank you, Big Blue. For doing for your fans what the Red Sox did for Boston in 2004. We needed more than just a Super Bowl, and somehow the Giants gave it to us.
They didn’t simply win an NFL championship. They toppled the most arrogant, “flawless,” and powerful force ever to take the field. They stripped down Brady to reveal he is, in fact, mortal. They humiliated a man who spent the 2008 season calling pass plays on 4th and goal, running up the score, and perfecting not just an army of athletes, but a condescending smirk he bestowed upon losing coaches on 18 different occasions.
Every Brady sack, every pass completion, every tackle–they weren’t just “playing to win.” It was like watching a team transcend themselves. Yes, the Giants fought their way to the Super Bowl, but never had they looked like this.
They were playing on a different level as they bounded into history on a kind of karmic boomerang, bringing everything that had happened full circle and into a surreal realm of poetic justice…
This all started with New York. It seems fitting it should end with New York. I don’t know if I think the Patriots are really cheaters or not, but their response to Spygate allegations were even more offensive than illegal sideline taping. New England fans were giddy over the 40+ point wins Belichik repeatedly posted, but maybe this gave the league an all-access pass to the Pats’ playbook–as the season wore on, the Pats’ offense became less of a mystery, with the team barely scraping by against teams like Baltimore and Philly.
And now? The Giants ended the gluttonous run by holding them to the fewest points the Pats scored all season.
Plax’s Outlandish Prediction…and Brady’s scoff
Why was this such a big deal? He predicted a modest score for the Super Bowl, and people acted like he claimed he could win with one arm tied behind his back. Not to mention the fact the Patriots unequivocally had the market cornered on overconfidence. (“19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England’s Unbeatable Patriots” was available on presale for $14.95. Amazon should have distributed it anyway–they would have made double the sales off Giants fans.)
Maybe Brady was right to laugh at the measly 17 points. But it was certainly enough to beat him.
Tom Brady’s Transformation
I’m picturing an E! True Hollywood Story about Brady, chronicling his golden boy days, and then right before a commercial break we get, “Coming up: From 18-1 to done.” Throughout the season, every clip of the MVP QB showed him laughing and twinkling, kissing babies, kicking it with the glitterazzi, helping little old ladies across the street, etc. After Big Blue’s defense kicked him into the turf, he could do nothing more than sheepishly purport his ankle had been bothering him.
And in a spectacular display of maturity befitting to a man regarded as God’s right-hand guy, Brady has opted out of the Pro Bowl.
Fourth Down and Irony
What did Stephen Gostkowski do all season, really? He’s like the intern you give the meaningless jobs to just to get them out of your hair. “Ok FINE, you want to go in? Go make the extra point kick.” Belichik’s arrogance and penchant towards general bad sportsmanship had him going for it all season on fourth down, even when up by, well, hundreds of points. The final game of his season proved no different, when he opted to pass on 4th and 13 in the 3rd quarter.
Well, somewhat different. The difference between 3 points and none. The difference between overtime and aborted perfection. Belichik impaled himself on his own sword.
United They Stood, Divided They Fell
When the Pats beat the Rams in 2002 for their first SB win, they entered the stadium introduced as a team, rather than as individual starters. A lot of their success this year has been attributed to their ironclad unity and well-oiled chemistry.
But with one second left in their final game and one loss left in their record, their fearless leader abandoned ship and hightailed it across the field prematurely–bookending his failed season with classless lies obscuring his tainted tactics.
19-0 to 18-1
The more I look at these numbers, the less they resemble W-L counts, the more the numbers 19 and 18 stand out, and the more I’m sublimely grateful to have a new chant to replace 1918.
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
Feburary 3 marked the biggest win of the New England Patriots’ history. And now six years later, the same date will be remembered as their biggest defeat. The symmetry is just otherwordly.
* * *
This past Sunday undoubtedly ranks among the All-Time best nights of my entire life–from the second I walked into my favorite bar in upper NYC at 3:12pm (wearing an old school Giants helmet) til the second I walked out of it, exactly 12 hours later (helmet still on).
It’s been 3 days, but I still have the 4th quarter of the game running on a mental loop, I still get chills when I think of Plax’s game-winning TD, and I’m still reliving the night the Giants restored faith in New York by bringing everything full circle. The night we witnessed a genesis of heroes.
I ran into a guy at said bar, that I had met once before–on the day the Yankees had just lost to Detroit in the ALDS. I had ventured to that very same bar on October 7, 2006, to suffer a litany of abuse, jeers, and psychological warfare. And after watching the Giants rise to glory in the same place where I’ve watched the Yankees fall from grace, this guy says, “Remembering that night makes this one even more amazing. Because we’re on the other side of it now.”
We were. We don’t pretend to be tortured Boston or Buffalo or Chicago or any other hapless sports town. New York wasn’t aching for a ring, we needed a renewed allegience. We didn’t need a title, we needed a hero.
It was a tall order, but it’s been said that heroism is not just in the man, but in the occasion. Like beating Boston as harshly and dramatically as they beat us 4 years ago. Bringing the pride and glory back to the New York in the most satisfying and stunning way possible. The ticker tape parade ended earlier today, but the streets are still pulsing with lingering electricity and delirium.
So maybe their 14-6 record proves the Giants were indeed flawed. But to New York, their season was perfect.
Ah, 3am. Apparently, my aversion to getting a good night's sleep really knows no bounds. Which can only mean 1 thing: baseball is right around the corner. (Or that I'm a 5-year old, I guess.)
Happy 18 and 1 Day!
And happy 2-
So I didn't exactly get to all of what I had set out to do tonight. Namely, the "Yankee Stadium" lettering atop the facade and Gate 4. The windows were kicking my ass basically. Which isn't surprising considering I had to do them twice. (The first time was a delightful snafu stemming for the fact that 28 divided by 7 isn't, in fact, 14. I'm not proud.)
The consensus among my friends/family has been that my P&C Day finish time is ridiculous, and that I should be prepared to give up any social life/outside activities. Seeing as it's currently snowing and, in my mind, approximately -128 degrees out, I'm okay with this sacrifice.
Additionally, seeing as both of the aforementioned sacrifices may or may not even exist, per se, in the offseason, I'm again okay with this move.
Day 3 goals: Finish the pencil sketch 90% (Gate 4, "Yankee Stadium," facade detailing) so I can possibly start painting on Day 4. Most likely won't get to paint til Saturday, though, seeing as I just realized this afternoon I forgot about the inevitable difficulties in recreating this. Twice.
It's a big hard to see...this may give a bigger view, though most likely will not make discerning the pencil lines significantly easier.
Speaking of easy, here's some proof why I was an English major...
Day 2 plans: Sketch out Yankee Stadium letters on foreground and on the top of the facade. Also, put in the windows and doors between pillars. If my hand hasn't completely cramped up, then try to start drawing "Gate 4."
*Greatness's New Home. Ah, feels good to use that again.
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
--T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land"
February is the cruelest month, breeding
Restless activity in the offseason, waiting
For the games to begin, stirring
Hot stove rumors with great debate.
Winter kept us cold, covering
Yankee Stadium in useless snow, leading
Me to go insane with impatience.
--CYC, "The Waste of a Month"
Why does it seem like winter is lasting forever this year? I thought no winter could possibly feel longer than the one before the 2005 season. But alas, in a winter when I should still be savoring the sweet taste of victory, relishing my omnipotent shield against all things Yankee-antagonistic...I'm just antsy.
That shield is quite an upgrade from the old one, by the way, and consequently it's been a quiet winter in terms of fending off aggravating attacks from Boston fans. I still got some grief about the Giants, of course, but that lasted, oh roughly a week, until the Patriots imploded in the most humiliating way possible. Hee hee.
15 more days til P&C day. No weekend is more indicative how much life hurts sans baseball, than the weekend of the Pro Bowl. It's like grounding your kid and then saying, "Ok, fine. You can go out, but you have to take your 3-year brother out with you, and I want you home by 7pm."
However, despite the complete lack of direction that punctuates my sports-less days, I DID accomplish 2 things this weekend. Actually, the more important of the 2 was the handiwork of my sister. Dammit, so make that 1 thing.
1.) While trying to compare my mom to a lost child in the city, my sister says, "It's like that little kids' book, about the girl who has all those adventures in different cities? You know what I'm talking about, there was a Family Guy clip about it..." We nailed down the name of the character in question within minutes.
But that still left the issue of this mysterious Family Guy clip, whose existence my sister was adamant about. Fruitless searches led to soliciting the help of my lunatic friends on Facebook. AND NOTHING. Not a one response.
While my sister was growing legitimately concerned she was actually losing her mind, I has resigned to believing she had in fact imagined the whole thing. I can find ANYTHING on the internet. And if I can't find it, at least I can always find some other psycho who's at least looking for the same thing.
At 6:22pm last night, she was vindicated.
She kept saying over and over how happy she was that she wasn't going insane, though it should be noted that I, for one, do not believe actually finding the video absolves either of us of any lunacy, seeing as we did spend a good 3 hours obsessively searching for it.
2.) I finally, FINALLY, put a bow on the project that's been driving me batty for the last month. I felt like Bruce Willis when he's crawling through the air vent in Die Hard. "Oh, sure. The post office in Madrid? I can paint that no problem."
WHICH MEANS, now that that undertaking is done, I am officially in the throes of painting my bedroom in the likeness of new Yankee Stadium. My goal is to be done by P&C day.
So...we're kind of in the early stages of planning, which is to stay I've gone so far as to print a picture out to stare at for inspiration all day.
And have taken to making crude drawings of it, a practice that will ultimately prove to be completely useless when I'm working with 100 square feet of wall space.
So in the overtly deadened, vast space between now and P&C day, I'll post my progress. Unless something more interesting and relevant comes up, a la Family Guy wild goose hunts.