Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Take Me Out To A Ballgame... Again!

That was this weekend.

Monday I went to the White Sox game with my company.

I didn't realize that the boss had paid for really good tickets, up in the skyboxes. We rode the elevator up, walked down the hall and into the box. It was only five seats wide, but that was enough because half the guys just munched down on hot dogs and the dessert cart - man, was that fancy!

I enjoyed myself, really. It was quite the gesture from a boss who won't pay to have our name on the sign out front.

But one, it was the White Sox. Crosstown rivals to my team, the Cubs.

Actually, the Cubs are our team. You just can't get fifteen tickets to a Cubs game, even if you had an open checkbook. There are certainly no skyboxes!

And two, the Sox are leading the division, just like the Cubs, but there were plenty of seats available that night. Look, guys, your team is WINNING and you can't sell tickets? The Sox are continually advertising tickets for sale. The Cubs sold everything out in hours, months ago.

Truth to tell, I kind of wish the Cubs had some extra tickets available, so you could just go down to the game. Just can't do that, and that's a shame.

Kind of funny. The Sox have this big new stadium with lights and sports boxes and fireworks with every home run and spinning lights on the scoreboard and TVs and really good food and it's right off the freeway.
The Cubs have an ancient hole of a stadium with no special boxes and ballpark food and it's in the middle of a neighborhood (NO parking!) and the score is kept by hand - it's not even an electronic sign!
And guess who attracts more fans?

Be it Miller Park in Milwaukee (just up the road - hey, they serve Leinenkugel, can't be all bad ;) ) the Sox or the Cubs, there's no place in the summer like a ballpark.

Take Me Out To A Ballgame... Please!

Aaron Storck dropped by this week, in town for a meeting. We went out to pizza with Maggie, out to the local racetrack (where Aaron showed me a thing or two with his consarned fancy betting - Exacta? Didn't he used to fight Combatra in Shogun Warriors?) and up to the Yolo Auto Museum before he had to head home.

The Yolo Auto Museum is quite a place - six large buildings filled with finely-shined cars from all different eras, all for sale. But wait! There's the Batmobile, Black Beauty, the Scooby-Doo van, Fred Flintstone's car, the Back to the Future DeLorean, a Hagar the Horrible viking boat car (?!), Herman Munster's dragster, Grandpa Munster's coffin car, and cars from XXX, Fast and the Furious, and quite a few other movies.

There's also a military sort-of museum, which I call GI Joe Museum, because the displays are based on what they could get - you see a Soviet group with a machine gun next to an Italian display next to an American display of a tiny snowmobile-like vehicle. Cool, stuff I haven't seen elsewhere, but the diaramas get kind of cheesy after awhile.

Oh, and six more buildings filled with antiques. And a General Store. And a candy store. And...

Well, we just did the military and cars.

That night Maggie and I went to a Kane County Cougars game, intending to meet up with her cousin, who had written a book on baseball's Hall of Famers and was signing the book at the game (seems he got his start in sports with the Cougars and was paying them back, so to speak).

Well, we made the mistake of going to Mass before the game, and got there at 6:15. We kept getting idrected farther andfarther from the stadium and at 1/2 mile away I asked a parking lot guy whether there were any tickets - and he said just lawn seats. We actualy did not go in,figuring by the time we walked to the stadium there wouldn't even be that.

It was Single A ball!

What the heck? I mean, the Schaumburg Flyers never sell out!

Of course, the Cougars advertise like hell, have fireworks on every weekend game, and promote the team incessantly. Guess it works.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thunder and Lightning

Last night we had a thunderstorm - or rather, several.

And they weren't the normal nice thunderstorms, but the kind where you literally can't see out the windows because the rain is coming that hard and it's blowing sideways, besides.

Oh, and it's white, because the lightning is literally coming every second, right over your house. (Seriously, a map of lightning strikes was just one big blur, on the news.)

But for all the storm's ferocity over those couple of hours... I actually enjoyed it.

I mean, we were inside the house. No broken windows. We had power, but it wouldn't have mattered much if we hadn't - the place was quite well-lit from those bolts and I had candles besides.

It was strangely... I hesitate to say peaceful, but maybe peace-bringing?

I'm not sure how to explain it, but being safe inside while the fury of the storm raged around, just watching out the windows as the neighborhood was lit up lie a Christmas tree, jumping as the occassional bolt hit the driveway... well, Maggie and I just sort of relaxed and took it all in.

I know it was a ferocious storm, tearing the roofs off of houses, gusts to 95 mph, tornado sirens screaming at Wrigley, buildings blown flat, trees down, power out for days, probably.

But it was still beautiful, awesome in its power.

Just a little reminder from above, I guess. :)

Well... MAYBE...

I went down and saw Lisa after he surgery, and initial reports are pretty good. They may have gotten all of the cancer out. Then again, they may not.

But the fire in her eyes is back, and they actually let her eat a Popsicle (well, she ate about a quarter of it) - her first food in three days. '

Over the past couple of days, she's had her parents, her sisters, myself, my mom and dad, Sean, the kids - even her cousins who stopped in. Considering we all live very far away, that meant a lot to her, I think.

She may need chemo - likely, truth to tell - and she's going to be in the hospital for another week and she can't eat dairy for at least three months... but she's a heckuva lot better than the doctors cautioned us.

For now.

Nice. I'm feeling pretty good about now.